Radical Islamist groups are planting activists posing as ordinary Muslim Americans to ask candidates questions at the presidential debates.
Most recently, the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations, several of whose leaders have been prosecuted on terror-related charges, sent the executive director of its Chicago chapter to take part in the Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, which was supposed to be an opportunity for “ordinary people” to ply candidates with questions.
At Saturday’s debate, aired on C-Span, CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab stood up and asked Sen. John Edwards if he would help Muslims fight “prejudice” and other “abuses” such as hate crimes.
“It seems we’re facing a culture of fear-mongering,” Rehab complained.
“Senator, in the ’60s, Malcolm and Martin gave up their lives fighting for justice for all,” he added. “The civil rights movement is not over. It’s not done yet. We’re still fighting.
“Senator,” he continued, “we would like to know if you will fight with us if elected president.”
A number of Muslim activists around Rehab erupted into applause and cheers.
“You’ve got some fans,” Edwards remarked, before vowing to end “profiling” of and “spying” on Muslim terrorist suspects. He also promised to “close Guantanamo” and stop the “torture” of terrorist detainees.
Despite Rehab’s assertion that Muslims are victims of hate crimes and other abuses on a “regular basis,” the FBI last month released 2006 data showing anti-Islamic crimes have fallen 68 percent since 2001, and represent just 11 percent of all religiously motivated attacks. According to a report in Investor’s Business Daily, the overwhelming majority of such crimes – 66 percent – target Jews.
Also, at last month’s Republican debate in St. Petersburg, Fla., a former CAIR intern was selected by host CNN to challenge GOP presidential hopefuls about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and complain about the anger they’ve created in the Muslim world.
Wearing a hijab, Yasmin Elhady complained they’ve created anger in the Muslim world. “My question has to do with the current crisis in Iraq, as well as the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan,” she said.
“After living abroad personally in the Middle East for a year, I realized just how much damage the Iraq war and the perception of invasion has done to the image of America,” Elhady added. “What would you do as president to repair the image of America in the eyes of the Muslim world?”
CNN, which claimed to pick questioners at random from a pool of “undecided voters,” did not cite Elhady’s activist background with CAIR. The network simply identified her as “Yasmin from Huntsville, Ala.” (She actually lives in Los Angeles, where she attends college at UCLA.)
In recent court documents, federal prosecutors list CAIR and its founder as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement, as well as unindicted co-conspirators in an ongoing terror fund-raising case. Moreover, as WND first reported, no fewer than 14 CAIR officials – including the Washington-based group’s founder and its executive director – have either been convicted or named in terrorism investigations.
Earlier, at CNN’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas, another Muslim activist associated with CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood was handed the microphone.
Again, CNN failed to identify him as anything but an average American Muslim.
“Our next questioner is – Khalid Khan, if you would please stand for a moment,” CNN host Suzanne Malveaux said. “You and I spoke very briefly, and you said you have some concerns about racial profiling.”
“Yes, I do,” Khan said, sternly. “I am an American citizen and have been profiled all the time at the airport. Since 9/11, hundreds of thousands of Americans have been profiled. And, you know, it is like harassment.”
Edwards, who fielded the question first, responded that the Patriot Act needs to be “dramatically changed,” to which Khan nodded in agreement.
But Khan, an immigrant from Pakistan, is no ordinary American citizen. He’s president of the Islamic Society of Nevada, which has its roots with the radical Muslim Student Association. MSA, which was founded by members of the notorious Muslim Brotherhood, is the forerunner of the Islamic Society of North America, an unindicted co-conspirator in the same terror case with CAIR.
Khan runs the largest mosque in Las Vegas, and hired its controversial imam, Aslam Abdullah, former vice chairman of MPAC in Los Angeles.
In June 2004, Abdullah, who heads an Islamic “seminary” in Pakistan, accused President Bush of engaging in “a religious and racist agenda and prejudice against Islam, Muslims and Arabs.” He also has likened Marines in Iraq to the 9/11 terrorists, and publicly questioned whether videotapes showing Osama bin Laden gloating over the attacks were authentic.
Abdullah claims to be moderate, even “progressive,” but terror expert Steve Emerson says he is in fact an Islamic extremist.
“The record of Aslam Abdullah’s comments during the past few years demonstrates an ideology of militant Islamic extremism,” Emerson said. “Pretending to be moderate, his radical agenda typifies the deception of groups that falsely assert to be non-extremist.”
Khan, who runs several businesses registered at his home address in Henderson, Nev., had his access badge revoked in 2004 by officials at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.