A former spokesman for several Muslim lobby groups in the U.S. pleaded guilty to serving as the leader of a Virginia-based terrorist network that conspired to train on American soil for “violent jihad.”

Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer – who most recently served as communications director for a fund-raising effort sponsored by the American Muslim Council – allegedly trained in Virginia for holy war against the United States and sent several members to Pakistan to join Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Kashmiri terrorist group with reported ties to al-Qaida.

A federal judge sentenced him Friday to 20 years in prison. In a plea bargain, Royer claimed he never intended to hurt anyone but admitted he organized the holy warriors after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., according to the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C.

He was among nine men who either pleaded guilty or were convicted in connection to the charges. Two others were acquitted on all counts.

Royer, 31, of Falls Church, Va., also was on the national staff of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group that considers itself a leading civil rights voice for American Muslims.

Later, he was a spokesman for the National Liberty Fund, which is defending Sami al-Arian, the Florida professor in federal custody as an alleged leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The National Liberty Fund says it is combating the Justice Department’s “opportunistic and politically motivated prosecutions.”

As WorldNetDaily reported, American Muslim Council founder Abdurahman Alamoudi was indicted last September for allegedly financing Islamist activity in Washington. He was arrested after arriving from a trip to the Middle East in which he allegedly tried to transport $340,000 from a group tied to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. A trial is set to begin June 1.

The Center for Security Policy notes that after his arrest last summer, Royer sought legal counsel from Hamas lawyer Stanley Cohen, who said after 9-11 he would consider serving as a defense lawyer for Osama bin Laden if the al-Qaida leader were captured.

The federal indictment against Royer, issued June 27, contends he traveled to Pakistan, engaged in propaganda work for Lashkar-e-Taiba and “fired at Indian positions in Kashmir.” The charges also allege in September 2001, he “possessed in his automobile an AK-47-style rifle and 219 rounds of ammunition.”

CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association For Palestine, identified as a “front group” for Hamas by two ex-FBI counterterrorism chiefs.

Another CAIR figure, Bassem Khafagi, was arrested in January 2003 while serving as the group’s director of community relations. The previous December, Ghassan Elashi, the founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, was indicted for financial ties to Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook.

In a statement last month, CAIR strongly condemned Israel’s killing of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin without mentioning the cleric’s affiliation or his responsibility for countless terrorist attacks against Israel, which were part of his stated objective to destroy the Jewish nation.

Last year, Royer characterized the allegations against him as baseless during an interview with the Washington Post. He dismissed the discovery of pistols and rifles inside the homes of some group members as insignificant.

“Ooooh, gosh, they have weapons,” Royer said. “I really resent the idea that a Muslim with a gun – he’s a threat. A Jew with a gun – he’s not a threat.”

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