The Freedom Defense Initiative, a new organization I started with author and scholar Robert Spencer, hosted its inaugural event to an enthusiastic standing-room-only crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 19. But this event was at CPAC, not of CPAC. Could this be because of the influence of conservative kingmaker and power-broker Grover Norquist, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC? The only event concerning the war on America at CPAC was worse than nothing at all: It was an Islamic propaganda (taqiyya) presentation entitled "You've Been Lied To: Why Real Conservatives are Against the War on Terror." Its message was that "real conservatives" don't support the war on terror because it is a creation of the "Israeli lobby."
How did CPAC come to this?
Grover Norquist's ties to Islamic supremacists and jihadists have been known for years. He and his Palestinian wife, Samah Alrayyes -- who was director of communications for his Islamic Free Market Institute until they married in 2005 -- are very active in "Muslim outreach." Just six weeks after 9/11, The New Republic ran an exposé explaining how Norquist arranged for George W. Bush to meet with fifteen Islamic supremacists at the White House on September 26, 2001 -- to show how Muslims rejected terrorism. Wrote TNR author Franklin Foer:
On the afternoon of September 26, George W. Bush gathered 15 prominent Muslim- and Arab-Americans at the White House. With cameras rolling, the president proclaimed that "the teachings of Islam are teachings of peace and good." It was a critically important moment, a statement to the world that America's Muslim leaders unambiguously reject the terror committed in Islam's name.
Unfortunately, many of the leaders present hadn't unambiguously rejected it. To the president's left sat Dr. Yahya Basha, president of the American Muslim Council, an organization whose leaders have repeatedly called Hamas "freedom fighters." Also in attendance was Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who on the afternoon of September 11 told a Los Angeles public radio audience that "we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list." And sitting right next to President Bush was Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America, who last fall told a Washington crowd chanting pro-Hezbollah slogans that "America has to learn if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come."
It was Norquist who ushered these silver-tongued jihadists into the Oval Office of an incurious president after the worst attack ever on American soil. Instead of Hamas, Hezb'allah, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Ibn Warraq, Bat Ye'or, and Wafa Sultan should have been advising the president. Instead, at that September 26 meeting, Bush declared that "the teachings of Islam are teachings of peace and good." It was a critically important, historic incident. What should have been the most important teaching moment of the long war became a propaganda tool for Islam. A singular opportunity was squandered, and the resulting harm is incalculable.
Bush did this because he trusted Norquist, who vouched for these Muslim leaders. Yet "the record suggests," wrote Foer, "that [Norquist] has spent quite a lot of time promoting people openly sympathetic to Islamist terrorists." And this continued for years. In December 2003, David Horowitz wrote that Norquist,
... has formed alliances with prominent Islamic radicals who have ties to the Saudis and to Libya and to Palestine Islamic Jihad, and who are now under indictment by U.S. authorities. Equally troubling is that the arrests of these individuals and their exposure as agents of terrorism have not resulted in noticeable second thoughts on Grover's part or any meaningful effort to dissociate himself from his unsavory friends.
Horowitz wrote this in an introduction to a detailed exposé by Frank Gaffney showing how Norquist had given Muslims with jihad terror links access to the highest levels of the U.S. government.
Grover Norquist was on the Islamic payroll before and after the carnage of September 11. Gaffney revealed Norquist's close ties to Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is now serving twenty-three years in prison for financing jihad activity. In 2000, Alamoudi said at a rally, "I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas. Anybody support Hamas here? ... Hear that, Bill Clinton? We are all supporters of Hamas. I wished they added that I am also a supporter of Hezb'allah." Alamoudi was at that time head of the now-defunct "moderate" group known as American Muslim Council (AMC), and he was active in other Muslim groups in the U.S. that showed sympathy to or support for jihadists. And Alamoudi, according to Gaffney, gave $50,000 to the lobbying group Janus-Merritt Strategies, which Norquist co-founded. Alamoudi's money bought influence. Gaffney wrote in 2003: "It seems unlikely that even in Alamoudi's wildest dreams he could have imagined the extent of the access, influence and legitimacy the American Muslim Council and allied Islamist organizations would be able to secure in Republican circles, thanks to the investment they began in 1998 in a relationship with Norquist."
Alamoudi also helped found Norquist's Islamic Institute with a $10,000 loan and a gift of another $10,000. The founding director of the Islamic Institute is Khaled Saffuri, a Palestinian Muslim who had previously been active in Islamic groups in Bosnia, where Islamic jihadists from all over the world gathered "to establish," says Gaffney, "a beachhead on the continent of Europe." Gaffney adds that Saffuri "has acknowledged personally supporting the families of suicide bombers -- even though, in public settings, he strenuously denies having done so." Saffuri also denounced Bush's shutdown of the Holy Land Foundation, which was funneling charitable contributions to Hamas.
Norquist has also carried water for Islamic supremacist attempts to weaken anti-terror efforts. Gaffney reveals that "Norquist was also a prime-mover behind efforts to secure one of the Islamists' top pre-9/11 agenda items: the abolition of a section of the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act that permits authorities to use what critics call ‘secret evidence.' ... Norquist was an honoree at an event held by Sami Al-Arian's National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom in July 2001, two months before 9/11. The award was for being a 'champion of the abolishment movement against secret evidence.'" Al-Arian in 2006 pleaded guilty "conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds to or for the benefit of Palestinian Islamic Jihad." Palestinian Islamic jihad is even worse than Hamas's; it celebrates the killing of Israeli civilians and calls repeatedly for the destruction of Israel. Scott Johnson of the Powerline blog noted shortly after Gaffney's article appeared that Norquist's reponse to this exhaustively documented exposé was "personal and evasive. He attacks Gaffney as racist and bigoted; not a trace of evidence in the public record supports these charges. I heard Norquist respond to Gaffney in this manner at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this past January . He did not deign to respond to Gaffney's remarks in substance." Norquist also introduced Nihad Awad, co-founder and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to President Bush. CAIR is one of the foremost Islamic supremacist hate sponsors in the U.S. Terror expert Steve Emerson wrote that "CAIR, which touts itself as America's premier Muslim civil rights organization, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Terror trial." He noted that CAIR co-founders Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad attended "a 1993 Philadelphia meeting where the HAMAS members and supporters discussed a strategy to kill the Oslo Peace Accords, which threatened to marginalize HAMAS. The group also discussed ways to improve HAMAS fundraising in America."
Emerson also reveals that according to the testimony of an FBI agent, "CAIR was listed as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee." The Palestine Committee is dedicated to jihad for the destruction of Israel. Emerson reveals that a 1992 memo seized from a jihadi's home explains that "Palestine is the one for which Muslim Brotherhood prepared armies -- made up from the children of Islam in the Arab and Islamic nations to liberate its land from the abomination and the defilement of the children of the Jews and they watered its pure soil with their honorable blood which sprouted into a jihad that is continuing until the Day of Resurrection and provided a zeal without relenting making the slogan of its children ‘it is a Jihad for victory or martyrdom.'" Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad were also listed as members of the Palestine Committee.
Robert Spencer added this about CAIR:
CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR's cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Honest Ibe Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements. CAIR has warred against free speech in the past.
These are Grover Norquist's bedfellows. Is what Grover Norquist did legally actionable? Abusing his power and access, he introduced Islamic supremacists who advocate the stealthy overthrow of the government to those who have sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and advocated for their cause. The enemy's strategy for winning is to subvert our senior leaders. Norquist made that possible. Bush was incurious, and he may not believe that he was subverted. In fact, he was.
Grover Norquist has continued his activities on behalf of the Islamic supremacists: In 2008, journalist Paul Sperry revealed Norquist's sponsorship of Muslim candidates with shadowy ties to terrorists and wrote that Norquist had a "wicked project to dress Islamists up as patriotic Republicans so they can infiltrate the government." Norquist sponsored Kamal Nawash's unsuccessful bid to become Republican Party leader in Virginia; Nawash was Abdurahman Alamoudi's attorney. Norquist also aided previous failed political runs by Nawash -- including Nawash's 2003 Virginia state senate bid, to which Saffuri gave money. Norquist also aided Faisal Gill's failed run for the Virginia state legislature in 2007. Gill, like Nawash, was an associate of Alamoudi. During his run, he took $3,000 in contributions from the pro-jihad Safa group. So it is no surprise that CPAC 2009, like CPAC 2010, had nothing addressing the war we are actually engaged in. This is due to the influence of Norquist, Keene, and Suhail Khan, a CPAC board member. According to Discover the Networks, Khan "has repeatedly been a featured speaker at MSA, ISNA and CAIR events" -- that is, the Muslim Students Association, Islamic Society of North America, and Council on American-Islamic Relations, three groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, the international Islamic organization dedicated to establishing the rule of Islamic law and the subjugation of infidels worldwide.
Grover Norquist almost singlehandedly ushered Islamic supremacist leaders into America's highest levels of government -- subversives, the Islamic fifth column. He gave them unparalleled access. Why didn't Gaffney's revelations, and those that preceded and followed his exposé, end Norquist's influence among conservatives? Why does he still have so much power?
Norquist had great influence over the toothless, amorphous "Mount Vernon statement" issued at the time of CPAC 2010. This statement said nothing about national security or the war against the global jihad. It was a tactic to rein in the independent and truly grassroots tea party movement with a pat on the head, because the establishment right is desperate to control it -- and no one is more desperate to do so than Grover Hiss.
Grover Norquist should be a pariah, not a kingmaker. If we can't get obvious enemies removed from conservative positions of leadership, we won't get elected the kind of men -- honorable men -- that we need to turn the tide.
Norquist must be rebuked.
Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs website and is former associate publisher of the New York Observer. She is the author (with Robert Spencer) of the forthcoming book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America (Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster).