Islamic Center of Washington

The Council on American-Islamic Relations – recently linked to a plot to fund the terrorist group Hamas – said it welcomed an announcement yesterday by President Bush to name a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the international body of 57 Muslim-majority nations.

Bush made the announcement at an event marking the 50th anniversary of the Islamic Center of Washington, the mosque he visited after the 9/11 terror attacks.

As WND reported earlier this month, federal prosecutors named CAIR, along with two other prominent U.S. Islamic groups, as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a plot with five officials of the defunct Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, who go on trial July 16 in Dallas.

Bush explained yesterday the special envoy “will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states and will share with them America’s views and values.”

“This is an opportunity for Americans to demonstrate to Muslim communities our interest in respectful dialogue and continued friendship,” he said.

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said his group welcomes the appointment “as recognition that positive and respectful dialogue is the best way to build bridges of understanding between our nation and the Muslim world.”

CAIR is a spinoff of the defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, launched by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and former university professor Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to provide services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Several CAIR staffers have been convicted on terrorism-related charges, and CAIR founder Omar Ahmad allegedly told a group of Muslims they are in America not to assimilate but to help assert Islam’s rule over the country.

In his speech yesterday, the president said extremists falsely claim “America is at war with Muslims and the Muslim faith, when in fact it is these radicals who are Islam’s true enemy.”

“We must help millions of Muslims as they rescue a proud and historic religion from murderers and beheaders who seek to soil the name of Islam,” Bush said. “And in this effort, moderate Muslim leaders have the most powerful and influential voice.”

Bush said he admires Muslims “who have denounced what the secretary general of the OIC called ‘radical fringe elements who pretend that they act in the name of Islam.'”

“We must encourage more Muslim leaders,” Bush said, “to add their voices, to speak out against radical extremists who infiltrate mosques, to denounce organizations that use the veneer of Islamic belief to support and fund acts of violence, and to reach out to young Muslims – even in our country and elsewhere in the free world – who believe suicide bombing may some day be justified.”

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