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Imam Siraj Wahhaj
Explaining officials must “talk to everybody” to “prevent tragedies,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosted yesterday at City Hall controversial imam Siraj Wahhaj, a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations and an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing who urges the violent overthrow of the “filthy” U.S. government and the establishment of Islamic law.
Wahhaj was among religious and civic leaders who met with Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to discuss the massacre at Fort Hood in Texas allegedly carried out by Muslim Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the New York Post reported.
Bloomberg initially claimed he was unaware Wahhaj was at the meeting but had to backtrack.
Asked by a reporter if he was uncomfortable with Wahhaj’s presence, the mayor replied, “I don’t know. He’s not here.”
But when told Wahhaj was at the meeting, Bloomberg reversed course, the Post reported.
“That one. Yes. We have to talk to everybody,” the mayor said. “That’s what dialogue is all about. That’s how you prevent tragedies.”
Wahhaj told the New York paper Bloomberg invited him to the roundtable and shook his hand when he entered the meeting room, which was closed to reporters.
“I think that if the mayor had any discomfort he would not have invited me,” said Wahhaj, an imam at Masjid Al-Taqwa in Brooklyn.
Bloomberg’s spokesman Stu Loeser told the Post the mayor’s aides, not the mayor himself, invited Wahhaj and others to the meeting.
Wahhaj’s name was not on a guest list given to the press after photographers were invited in.
Loeser explained the list identified the guests who showed up, and since Wahhaj arrived late, his name was not on it.
‘Allah demands us to fight’
Wahhaj’s presence at the annual banquet of the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations sparked controversy last month, prompting an activist group to launch a campaign to urge the hosting hotel to cancel.
As WND reported, Wahhaj, a regular CAIR fundraiser and a former member of its advisory board, initially was a featured speaker but ended up giving only a short fundraising appeal at the banquet in Arlington, Va., Oct. 17.
As late as nine days prior to the banquet, CAIR featured Wahhaj and White House adviser Dalia Mogahed in its promotions as its two marquee names. But on the eve of the event – after WND reports of Wahhaj’s radical views as documented in the newly released book “Muslim Mafia” – a press release did not even mention them.
Wahhaj is one of many Muslim leaders affiliated with CAIR who have been named or prosecuted in U.S. terrorism-related investigations. CAIR itself was named an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation probe in Texas, the largest terrorism-finance case in U.S. history.
Wahhaj is on record urging a violent overthrow of the “filthy” U.S. government assisted by jihad warriors armed with Uzis.
In a videotaped May 8, 1992, sermon obtained by the authors of “Muslim Mafia” titled “Stand Up for Justice,” Wahhaj makes it clear that, contrary to CAIR’s media guide, he believes jihad means “holy war,” not merely a “struggle to better oneself.”
“If we go to war, brothers and sisters – and one day we will, believe me – that’s why you’re commanded [to fight in] jihad,” the Brooklyn-based Wahhaj says. “When Allah demands us to fight, we’re not stopping and nobody’s stopping us.”
Wahhaj preaches Islam teaches violent insurrection in “infidel lands” such as America, points out the “Muslim Mafia” co-authors, counterterrorism investigator P. David Gaubatz and “Infiltration” author Paul Sperry.
“Believe me, brothers and sisters, Muslims in America are the most strategic Muslims on Earth,” Wahhaj says in the 1992 sermon, arguing the government can’t drop bombs on warring Muslims in the U.S. without causing collateral damage.
The American government’s “worst nightmare is one day that the Muslims wake these people up in South Central Los Angeles and other inner-city areas,” he says in the video.
Wahhaj exhorts the faithful to go into the “hood and the prisons and convert disenfranchised minorities, and then arm them and train them to carry out an Uzi jihad in the inner cities.”
“We don’t need to arm the people with nine-millimeters and Uzis,” he says. “You need to arm them with righteousness first. And then once you arm them with righteousness first, then you can arm them [with Uzis and other weapons].”
CAIR tells the public in its media guide, however, “There is a common misperception among Westerners that the Quran teaches violence.”
Wahhaj makes it clear, nevertheless, he sees Islam as a uniquely militant religion.
“We don’t have a turn-the-other-cheek philosophy” like the Christians, he says. “Allah has given us permission to fight them” so that “the word of Allah can be uppermost.”
Wahhaj also 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.”
Counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson obtained 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.
Citing Emerson, “Muslim Media” notes Wahhaj once likened the U.S. to a trash bin and prayed it would “crumble” and be replaced by Islam.
“You know what this country is? It’s a garbage can,” Wahhaj said. “It’s filthy.”
If you’re a member of the media and would like to interview Paul Sperry, Dave Gaubatz or Chris Gaubatz, e-mail WND’s marketing department or call Tim Bueler at (530) 401-3285.