Imam Siraj Wahhaj
While mocking an explosive new book that presents internal documents showing it is a U.S. front for global jihad, the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations is trumpeting a keynote speaker at its 15th annual banquet next week who was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing investigation and who told New Jersey Muslims the U.S. government would one day be taken over by an Islamic caliphate.
CAIR currently features Imam Siraj Wahhaj’s name on the opening flash page to its website, along with co–keynote speaker Dalia Mogahed, who sparked controversy of her own recently when she defended Shariah, or Islamic law, on a British television show hosted by a member of an extremist Muslim group, insisting the majority of women around the world associate Shariah with “gender justice.”
Mogahed, senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, was appointed to President Obama’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
CAIR, which itself was designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-financing case in U.S. history, responded Wednesday to a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in which four House Republicans called for an investigation of CAIR’s activities on Capitol Hill, based on documents obtained in a daring undercover operation that formed the basis for the newly released book “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” published by WND Books.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, who is on record stating he hopes to see the U.S. become a Muslim nation, dismissed the lawmakers’ claims.
“It’s a shame to see elected officials take part in a smear campaign based on bigotry,” Hooper told The Hill newspaper.
But the book by counter-terrorism investigator P. David Gaubatz and “Infiltration” author Paul Sperry produces evidence, based in part on 12,000 pages of internal documents, that CAIR’s ultimate purpose is to transform the U.S. into an Islamic nation under the authority of the Quran.
The evidence affirms CAIR is part of an organized crime network in America made up of more than 100 other Muslim front groups that collectively comprise the U.S. branch of the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood.
In an attempt to prevent the press conference from taking place, CAIR’s in-house legal counsel faxed a letter to the lawmakers alleging the book’s authors had engaged in “criminal actions” and warning that a report already had been filed with law enforcement authorities.
Wahhaj, a Brooklyn-based former CAIR advisory board member, is just one of many Muslim leaders affiliated with the group who have been named or prosecuted by U.S. authorities for terrorism-related activities and crimes.
In 1995, he was a character witness for Omar Abdel Rahman, the “blind sheik” found guilty of conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government in an investigation stemming from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mary Jo White, listed Wahhaj as one of the “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in Rahman’s case.
Wahhaj was recorded telling New Jersey Muslims in 1992 that if only Muslims were more clever politically, they could take over the U.S. and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate, according to Islam and Middle East expert Daniel Pipes.
“If we were united and strong, we’d elect our own emir and give allegiance to him,” Wahhaj was quoted as saying. “[T]ake my word, if 6 to 8 million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us.”
Counter-terrorism expert Steven Emerson got a hold of a video of a Wahhaj speech in Toronto Sept. 28, 1991, titled “The Afghanistan Jihad” in which the imam declared:
Those who struggle for Allah, it doesn’t matter what kind of weapons, I’m telling you it doesn’t matter! You don’t need nuclear weapons or even guns! If you have faith in Allah and a knife! If Allah wants you to win, you will win! Because Allah is the only one who fights. And when his hand is over your hand, whoever is at war against my friends, I declare war on them.
“Muslim Mafia,” citing Emerson’s research and Sperry’s book “Infiltration,” reports Wahhaj, a black convert to Islam, is converting gang members to Islam and holding “jihad camps” for them. With a combination of Islam and Uzis, he has said, the street thugs will be a powerful force for Islam the day America “will crumble.”
In another recorded speech, at a mosque, according to Emerson, Wahhaj declared “one of the most diabolical plots ever in the annals of history, in my estimation, has been the war in the Persian Gulf.”
“It was a plan, and believe me, it is a part of a larger plan, to destroy the greatest challenge to the Western world, and that’s Islam,” Wahhaj said.
The Muslim leader said he saw “the demise of the Soviet Union as a sign for the American people that what happened in the Soviet Union will definitely happen in America unless America changes its course from the new world order and accepts the Islamic agenda.”
“Muslim Mafia” cites internal documents that show Wahhaj remains heavily involved in CAIR business. At last year’s banquet, Wahhaj conducted the fundraising, bringing in $210,000 by the end of the night. In 2006, CAIR’s national office enlisted him to work with the group’s leadership to raise $1 million.
‘Lethal cocktail of liberty’
Mogahed appeared last week on a London-based TV discussion program hosted by Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party, the London Telegraph reported.
Current opening screen on CAIR’s website advertising annual banquet featuring Siraj Wahhaj and Dalia Mogahed
Hizb ut Tahrir has declared it wants to help foster the non-violent destruction of Western democracy and the creation of a global Islamic state under Shariah.
Mogahed, appearing alongside Hizb ut Tahrir’s national women’s officer, Nazreen Nawaz, watched as two members of the radical group made repeated attacks on secular “man-made law” and the West’s “lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism,” the Telegraph reported.
The Hizb ut Tahrir members called for Shariah to be “the source of legislation” and said women should not be “permitted to hold a position of leadership in government.”
The Telegraph said Mogahed made no challenge to the demands.
“Muslim Mafia” co-author Gaubatz actually had an unscripted role in last year’s CAIR banquet in Washington.
As WND reported, Gaubatz personally served CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad with notice of a lawsuit accusing a CAIR staff member of falsely representing himself as a lawyer and improperly taking the money of many Muslim clients.
The federal civil complaint alleged criminal fraud and racketeering against CAIR and Morris Days, the “resident attorney” and “manager for civil rights” at a now defunct CAIR chapter in Herndon, Va.
Gaubatz’s son, Chris, who posed as a Muslim convert and served six months as a CAIR intern in the “Muslim Mafia” special operation, obtained documents CAIR planned to shred that supported the case against Days.
Among the former and current CAIR leaders with known associations to violent jihad are:
- Muthanna al-Hanooti: The home of the former head of CAIR’s Michigan office was raided in 2007 by FBI agents in connection with an active terrorism investigation. Agents also searched the offices of his advocacy group, Focus on Advocacy and Advancement of International Relations, which he operates out of Dearborn, Mich., and Washington, D.C.
FAAIR claims to be a consulting firm raising awareness of Sunni grievances in Iraq, but investigators suspect it’s a front supporting the Sunni-led insurgency in Iraq.
Muthanna al-Hanooti, wearing traditional headgarb
Al-Hanooti, who emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq, formerly helped run a suspected Hamas terror front called LIFE for Relief and Development. Its Michigan offices also were raided in 2007. In 2004, LIFE’s Baghdad office was raided by U.S. troops, who seized files and computers.
Al-Hanooti is related to Sheik Mohammed al-Hanooti, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He currently leads prayers at a Washington-area mosque that aided some of the 9/11 hijackers.
The FBI alleges al-Hanooti “collected over $6 million for support of Hamas,” according to a 2001 FBI report, and was present with CAIR and Holy Land officials at a secret Hamas fundraising summit held last decade at a Philadelphia hotel.
Prosecutors added his name to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case.
Al-Hanooti denies supporting Hamas, although he’s praised Palestinian suicide bombers as “martyrs” who are “alive in the eyes of Allah.”
Last year, his younger brother, Hamid al-Hanooti, was found dead in Iraq after reportedly being held by local security forces as a suspected terrorist.
- Laura Jaghlit: A civil-rights coordinator for CAIR, her Washington-area home was raided by federal agents after 9/11 as part of an investigation into terrorist financing, money-laundering and tax fraud. Her husband Mohammed Jaghlit, a key leader in the Saudi-backed SAAR network, is a target of the still-active probe.
In the 1990s, Jaghlit sent two letters accompanying donations – one for $10,000, the other for $5,000 – from the SAAR Foundation to Sami al-Arian, the former University of South Florida professor who pleaded guilty in 1996 to assisting the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In each letter, according to a federal affidavit, “Jaghlit instructed al-Arian not to disclose the contribution publicly or to the media.”
Investigators suspect the funds were intended for Palestinian terrorists via a U.S. front called WISE, which at the time employed an official who personally delivered a satellite phone battery to Osama bin Laden. The same official also worked for Jaghlit’s group.
In addition, Jaghlit donated a total of $37,200 to the Holy Land Foundation, which prosecutors say is a Hamas front. Jaghlit subsequently was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.
- Abdurahman Alamoudi: Former director of the Northern Virginia office of CAIR, he is serving 23 years in federal prison for terrorism-related activities in support of Hamas and Hezbollah. Alamoudi, who was caught on tape complaining bin Laden hadn’t killed enough Americans in the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, was one of al-Qaida’s top fund-raisers in the U.S., according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
- Nihad Awad: Wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case put CAIR’s executive director at a Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and activists that was secretly recorded by the FBI. Participants allegedly hatched a plot to disguise payments to Hamas terrorists as charitable giving.
During the meeting, according to FBI transcripts, Awad was recorded discussing the propaganda effort. He mentions Ghassan Dahduli, whom he worked with at the time at the Islamic Association for Palestine, the parent of CAIR. Both were IAP officers. Dahduli’s name also was listed in the address book of bin Laden’s personal secretary, Wadi al-Hage, who is serving a life sentence in prison for his role in the U.S. embassy bombings. Dahduli, an ethnic-Palestinian like Awad, was deported to Jordan after 9/11 for refusing to cooperate in the terror investigation.
Awad’s and Dahduli’s phone numbers are listed in a Muslim Brotherhood document seized by federal investigators revealing “important phone numbers” for the “Palestine Section” of the Brotherhood in America. The court exhibit shows Hamas fugitive Mousa Abu Marzook listed on the same page with Awad.
- Omar Ahmad: U.S. prosecutors also named CAIR’s founder and chairman emeritus as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case. Ahmad, too, was placed at the Philadelphia meeting, FBI special agent Lara Burns testified at the trial. Prosecutors also designated him as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee” in America. Ahmad, like his CAIR partner Awad, is
- Nabil Sadoun: A CAIR board member, Sadoun has served on the board of the United Association for Studies and Research, which investigators believe to be a key Hamas front in America. Sadoun co-founded UASR with Hamas leader Marzook. The Justice Department added UASR to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case.
- Mohamed Nimer: CAIR’s research director also served as a board director for UASR, the strategic arm for Hamas in the U.S.
- Rafeeq Jaber: A founding director of CAIR, Jaber was the long-time president of the Islamic Association for Palestine. In 2002, a federal judge found that “the Islamic Association for Palestine has acted in support of Hamas.” In his capacity as IAP chief, Jaber praised Hezbollah attacks on Israel. He also served on the board of a radical mosque in the Chicago area.
- Rabith Hadid: The CAIR fund-raiser was a founder of the Global Relief Foundation, which after 9/11 was blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury for financing al-Qaida and other terror groups. Its assets were frozen in December 2001. Hadid was arrested on terror-related charges and deported to Lebanon in 2003.
- Randall “Ismail” Royer: The former CAIR communications specialist and civil-rights coordinator is serving 20 years in prison in connection with the Virginia Jihad Network, which he led while employed by CAIR at its Washington headquarters. The group trained to kill U.S. soldiers overseas, cased the FBI headquarters and cheered the space shuttle Columbia tragedy. Al-Qaida operative Ahmed Abu Ali, convicted of plotting to assassinate President Bush, was among those who trained with Royer’s Northern Virginia cell.
- Bassam Khafagi: Khafagi was arrested in 2003 while serving as CAIR’s director of community affairs. He pleaded guilty to charges of bank and visa fraud stemming from a federal counter-terror probe of his leadership role in the Islamic Assembly of North America, which has supported al-Qaida and advocated suicide attacks on America. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison and deported to his native Egypt.
- Ghassan Elashi: One of CAIR’s founding directors, he was convicted in 2004 of illegally shipping high-tech goods to terror-supporting Syria and is serving 80 months in prison. He’s also charged with providing material support to Hamas in the Holy Land Foundation trial. He was chairman of the charity, which provided seed capital to CAIR. Elashi is related to Hamas leader Marzook.
- Hamza Yusuf: The FBI investigated the CAIR board member after 9/11, because just two days before the attacks, he made an ominous prediction to a Muslim audience.
“This country is facing a terrible fate and the reason for that is because this country stands condemned,” Yusuf warned. “It stands condemned like Europe stood condemned because of what it did. And lest people forget, Europe suffered two world wars after conquering the Muslim lands.”
“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant,” a local reporter quoted him as saying, along with asserting the Quran “should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
Ahmad insists he was misquoted. However, the reporter and editor stand by the story, and an FBI wiretap transcript quotes Ahmad agreeing with terrorist suspects gathered at the secret Philadelphia meeting in the early 1990s to “camouflage” their true intentions.
Hooper, CAIR’s communications director, also has expressed his desire to overturn the U.S. system of government in favor of an Islamic state.
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” Hooper said in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
Editor’s Note: CAIR’s website now features civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, instead of Dalia Mogahed, as a keynote speaker along with Siraj Wahhaj.