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WASHINGTON – The federal government is financially supporting and officially embracing a
radical mosque in the Washington suburbs that is directly connected to
al-Qaida and the 9/11 attacks as well as other terrorism.
The Census Bureau has signed a two-year, $582,000 lease with Dar al-Hijrah
Islamic Center, where top al-Qaida recruiter Anwar Awlaki ministered to the
Pentagon hijackers and the Fort Hood terrorist as a mosque leader.
Meanwhile, the State Department is taking diplomatic trainees on tours of
the large Falls Church, Va., mosque, while featuring it in a video as a
model depiction of Islam in America – even as the Department of Homeland
Security warns that it is a terrorist front.
According to recently declassified internal reports obtained by the
respected Investigative Project on Terrorism, Homeland Security has warned
federal agents that Dar al-Hijrah is “operating as a front for Hamas” and
“has been under numerous investigations for financing and proving (sic) aid
and comfort to bad orgs and members.”
WND has learned authorities are also investigating the mosque for child
molestation and credit card fraud, following reports of mysterious Dar
al-Hijrah line-item charges appearing on the statements of local individuals
not even connected to the mosque.
Republican U.S. Rep. John Carter, whose Texas district includes Fort Hood, has
demanded the government sever its lease, citing the threat Dar al-Hijrah
poses to homeland security.
“The purpose for creating this cabinet-level agency (Homeland Security) in
2002 was to coordinate all agencies of the federal government to prevent any
more radical Islamic attacks like 9-11,” Carter said. “Eight years later and
they can’t even tell a federal agency they’re renting office space from the
very mosque involved with the 9-11 attacks, and that has seeded this past
year’s assaults through the likes of Awlaki.”
General Services Administration, which holds the keys to federal buildings
and coordinates security with Homeland Security, rented off-site office
space owned by the mosque for census workers. GSA did not return calls
Dar al-Hijrah – known as the “Row Street mosque” by local law enforcement –
was home for two years to Anwar Awlaki (a.k.a. Aulaqi), the charismatic,
American-born cleric now hiding in Yemen, who radicalized Fort Hood shooter
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, Christmas Day crotch-bomber Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab and, most recently, Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.
“Awlaki not only led prayers at Dar al-Hijrah, he lived there,” listing the
Row Street address as his residence, said terror expert Paul Sperry.
He says Awlaki fled the country in late 2002 after narrowly escaping arrest
on a federal warrant. Citing classified intelligence reports first
documented in his book, “Infiltration,” Sperry says the Muslim preacher
showed up on terror watchlists as the subject of multiple federal
CIA-operated drones reportedly have now targeted Awlaki for assassination,
and are hunting for him in a remote mountainous region of Yemen.
The State Department says Dar al-Hijrah was chosen as a training center for
diplomats working in Arab countries because it is a large mosque that is
conveniently located for them. A State Department video showcases the mosque
and depicts its congregants as diverse and patriotic, while ignoring the
mosque’s record of extremist statements and ties to terrorist groups.
“With the controversy surrounding Dar al-Hijrah now, I wouldn’t want to send
the message to the world that this is Islam in America,” said Hedieh
Mirahmadi, a Sufi Muslim who combats radical Islamist ideology as president
of the World Organization for Resource Development & Education in Washington.
While Dar al-Hijrah now publicly disavows Awlaki, whom it hired as its lead
imam before 9/11, its leadership is still closely tied to the radical Muslim
Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement that counts Awlaki as a member in
good standing. The mosque is affiliated with the Muslim American Society, or
MAS, a group formed as “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the
Former MAS President Esam Omeish served on the mosque’s board of directors.
Omeish had to resign from a Virginia immigration board in 2007 after he was
caught on videotape praising Palestinians who chose “the jihad way” to
Dar al-Hijrah’s current imam, Shaker Elsayed, is a former MAS
secretary-general. In a 2004 profile on the Muslim Brotherhood in America,
Elsayed praised Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan Al-Banna, saying his ideas
are “the closest reflection of how Islam should be in this life.”
The late Al-Banna preached that “jihad is an obligation from Allah on every
Muslim,” and praised “martyrs” who die fighting infidels in the cause of
Elsayed himself has said that Muslims have the right to use violence: “We do
have license to respond with all force necessary to our attackers.”
Another cleric at the mosque, associate imam Johari Abdul Malik, has
preached to American Muslims that they are within Islamic law to “blow up
bridges” and other infrastructure. “You can do all forms of sabotage,” he
said in a 2001 Hamas conference.
Al-Banna also taught that “Islam wishes to do away with all states and
governments anywhere which are opposed to this ideology and program of
Islam. Islam requires the earth – not just a portion, but the entire
Malik, likewise, has called for Islamic supremacy in America.
“We will see the day when Islam, by the grace of Allah, will become the
dominant way of life,” Malik told his flock in 2004. “You will see Islam
move from being the second largest religion in America to being the first
religion in America.”
Federal investigators say Dar al-Hijrah is a dangerous breeding ground
for known terrorists, including:
- Fugitive Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, a former mosque leader.
- Ismail Elbarasse, a founding mosque member, Saudi government
employee, and Muslim Brotherhood leader who was arrested for allegedly
casing the Chesapeake Bay bridge for attack.
- Abdelhaleem Ashqar, mosque leader and suspected Hamas operative
recently convicted for obstruction of justice.
- Mohammed al-Hanooti, a longtime mosque leader and unindicted
co-conspirator in both the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and recent Holy
Land Foundation terror finance case.
- Top al-Qaida fundraiser Abdurahman Alamoudi, now serving 23 years
in federal prison for terrorism. Alamoudi’s brothers live in Saudi.
- Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the would-be al-Qaida presidential assassin
whose father worked for the Saudi Embassy.
- Abdullah bin Laden, Saudi nephew of the al-Qaida kingpin whose name
appears on the federal terrorist watchlist.
- Maj. Hasan, accused of murdering 13 and injuring 30 others in a
jihad-inspired shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas.
- Hani Hanjour, 9/11 hijacker and Saudi national who flew the jumbo
jet into the Pentagon.
- Nawaf al-Hazmi, 9/11 hijacker and Saudi national who joined Hanjour
on the Pentagon flight and acted as second in command of the entire al-Qaida
operation behind hijacking ringleader Mohamed Atta.
The mosque, in fact, helped Hanjour and al-Hazmi obtain housing in the area.
After 9/11, investigators found the phone number for Dar al-Hijrah in the
Hamburg, Germany, apartment of one of the planners of the 9/11 attacks –
Ramzi Binalshibh, now a Gitmo detainee.
Constructed with $5 million from the Saudi Embassy, Dar al-Hijrah is “a
terror mill and a direct threat to national security,” asserts Sperry. So
why is the controversial mosque still open? “It enjoys a high level of
political protection,” he says.
Once a month, Elsayed meets with top officials with the Saudi-funded Council
on American-Islamic Relations on the first floor of its Washington
headquarters, Sperry notes his new book, “Muslim Mafia.” Also attending the
monthly breakfasts: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Congress’s first Muslim
CAIR is Dar al-Hijrah’s top defender in Washington, and routinely runs
interference between law enforcement and the mosque, Sperry says. (CAIR,
which operates a booth at Dar al-Hijrah, even pressured sneaker maker Nike
to build a playground at the mosque.) Dar al-Hijrah, in turns, attends
CAIR’s annual fundraising dinners and is a major supporter of the nonprofit
The Justice Department says CAIR, like Dar al-Hijrah, also is a terrorist
front group for Hamas and its parent the Muslim Brotherhood. CAIR in 2007
was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal scheme to funnel
millions of dollars to Hamas suicide bombers and their families, prompting
the FBI to cut off all outreach to the group. A federal grand jury in
Washington is actively investigating CAIR and its ties to Hamas and other
Malik, who also acts as the mosque’s official spokesman, is a close friend
of Awlaki, who privately ministered to the Saudi hijackers. After the 9/11
attacks, Awlaki fled to London, where he gave a sermon extolling the virtues
In an interview with author Sperry, Malik defended his friend’s sermon,
arguing Muslims who die while fighting unbelievers in the cause of Allah are
no different from U.S. Marines fighting and dying for America in Iraq and
“That’s the same thing as telling Marines in this country semper
fidelis,” Malik told Sperry. “Telling people to give their all for their
faith is not an unusual idea.”
His mosque handled the funeral services of Maj. Hasan’s mother when she
passed away in 2001. It was then that Hasan first fell under the spell of
the al-Qaida cleric Awlaki, who corresponded with Hasan in some 20 emails in
the months leading up to Hasan’s alleged massacre. Awlaki praised Hasan as
“a hero” and blessed the attack on U.S. soldiers as a legitimate form of
One of al-Qaida’s top Western recruiters, Awlaki is considered a rock star
among jihadists, and has cultivated fans among CAIR officials.
For example, CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper’s protege Ismail
Royer and his terrorist cell chauffeured Awlaki around Washington in October
2002, as he looked for new terrorist recruits, according to Sperry.
Prosecutors also found Awlaki’s phone number stored on their cell phones.
Royer, who was personally recruited by Hooper and worked under him at CAIR’s
headquarters, is serving 20 years in federal prison. Internal CAIR memos
show Hooper is heading his appeal effort within CAIR.