A bill to brand the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization appears to be on a fast track on Capitol Hill, clearing important committees and gaining new backers each day – including now even Democrats. The legislation is expected to pass a floor vote later this year, possibly teeing it up for a President Donald Trump to sign into law next year.
The number of House co-sponsors of The Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act has mushroomed from 28 in February to 49 as of the end of April. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., now officially has bipartisan support, with two Democrats signing on as co-sponsors: Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
Advertisement - story continues below
In a key development, the House Judiciary Committee recently voted, 17-10, to send the bill to the House floor. Though it's not clear when a full chamber vote will be held, the GOP leadership under House Speaker Paul Ryan supports the legislation.
Meanwhile, a companion bill introduced in the Senate by former presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, now has five key co-sponsors: Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; James Inhofe, R-Okla.; Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; and Jerry Moran, R-Kan. Johnson chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee and is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Hatch and Cruz sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is expected to mark the bill up. It will also need support from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., where it is currently stalled.
Advertisement - story continues below
If enacted, the legislation would freeze Brotherhood assets and effectively outlaw its front groups, which number in the hundreds inside America.
U.S. organizations identified in the text of the bill as radical Muslim Brotherhood front groups, citing U.S. Justice Department criminal court documents, include: the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the North American Islamic Trust and the Muslim American Society. In effect, CAIR, ISNA, NAIT and MAS would be designated as foreign terrorist organizations with enactment of the bill.
Already, the Muslim Brotherhood has been banned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has specifically designated Washington-based CAIR and MAS as terrorist organizations.
Brotherhood entities in America have raised millions of dollars for the terrorist group Hamas. The most famous case involving Hamas terror-financing was the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial in 2008, which ended in convictions and imprisonment of several of its leaders.
Advertisement - story continues below
FBI case agents across the country have found elements of the Brotherhood showing up in virtually every terrorism case they have worked, including the 9/11 attacks and the Boston Marathon bombings.
The pro-jihad Brotherhood gave rise to Hamas and al-Qaida, and shares ideology with ISIS.
Formally designating the Brotherhood a terrorist organization would not only deny U.S. admission to any foreign national tied to it, but force banks to block financial transactions related to it. What's more, it would make it a crime for any person in the U.S. to provide material support to the Brotherhood.
This, in turn, would criminalize the hundreds of Brotherhood front groups – as well as mosques – in the U.S. that the FBI says secretly support and finance terrorism. It would allow the agency to use racketeering and conspiracy laws to put them all out of business, while turning off a major spigot of jihadi funding flowing in the American Muslim community.
Advertisement - story continues below
The bill explicitly identifies several mainstream, supposedly "moderate" U.S. Muslim organizations as Brotherhood entities, and cites evidence tying them to the Brotherhood and its Palestinian terrorist wing Hamas.
"Federal prosecutors implicated a number of prominent United States-Islamic organizations in this conspiracy, including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)," the text of the Senate bill states.
"These groups and their leaders, among others, were named as unindicted co-conspirators. The Department of Justice told the court that these United States-Muslim Brotherhood affiliates acted at the direction of the international Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorism in a July 2008 court filing," which revealed:
"ISNA and NAIT, in fact, shared more with (the Holy Land Foundation) than just a parent organization. They were intimately connected with (HLF, now a convicted terrorist front) and its assigned task of providing financial support to Hamas.
"CAIR was later added to these organizations. The mandate of these organizations, per the International Muslim Brotherhood, was to support Hamas."
The FBI says the Brotherhood's goal in the U.S., according to secret documents that agents uncovered after 9/11, is to carry out a "grand jihad in eliminating and destroying (America) from within."
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has testified that "elements of the Muslim Brotherhood both here and overseas have supported terrorism."
Even so, the Obama administration continues to claim the Brotherhood is a "moderate" group and meet with its leaders, even inviting them to the White House.
As former FBI agent Mike Rolf acknowledges in "Muslim Mafia," CAIR has had "a number of people in positions of power within the organization that have been directly connected to terrorism and have either been prosecuted or thrown out of the country."
According to another FBI veteran familiar with recent and ongoing cases involving CAIR officials, "Their offices have been a turnstile for terrorists and their supporters."
A review of the public record, including federal criminal court documents, past IRS 990 tax records and Federal Election Commission records detailing donor occupations, reveals that CAIR has been associated with a number of convicted terrorists or felons in terrorism probes, as well as suspected terrorists and active targets of terrorism investigations. The list is long and includes:
|FBI agents arresting CAIR founding director Ghassan Elashi in 2002.|
- Ghassan Elashi: One of CAIR's founding directors, he was convicted in 2004 of illegally shipping high-tech goods to terror state Syria and is serving 80 months in prison. He was also convicted of providing material support to Hamas in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing trial. He was chairman of the charity, which provided seed capital to CAIR. Elashi is related to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook.
Muthanna al-Hanooti: The CAIR director's home was raided in 2006 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 al-Hanooti operates out of Dearborn, Mich., and Washington, D.C. 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 September 2006. 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.
Muthanna al-Hanooti, wearing traditional headgarb
"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 in 1993 at a Philadelphia hotel. Prosecutors added his name to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case.
Although Al-Hanooti denies supporting Hamas, he has praised Palestinian suicide bombers as "martyrs" who are "alive in the eyes of Allah."
- Abdurahman Alamoudi: Another CAIR director, he is serving 23 years in federal prison for plotting terrorism. Alamoudi, who was caught on tape complaining that bin Laden hadn't killed enough Americans in the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, was one of al-Qaida's top fundraisers in America, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Siraj Wahhaj: A member of CAIR's board of advisers, Wahhaj was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The radical Brooklyn imam was close to convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and defended him during his trial.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj
"Muslim Mafia," citing co-author's Paul Sperry's previous book "Infiltration" as well as terror expert Steven Emerson's research, reports that 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."
Wahhaj was a key speaker at CAIR's 15th annual fund-raising banquet in Arlington, Virginia, in 2009.
- 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 George W. Bush, was among those who trained with Royer's Northern Virginia cell.
- Bassam Khafagi: Another CAIR official, 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.
- 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. Jaghlit sent two letters accompanying donations – one for $10,000, the other for $5,000 – from the SAAR Foundation to Sami al-Arian, now a convicted terrorist. 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.
- Nihad Awad: Wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case puts CAIR's executive director at the Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in 1993 that was secretly recorded by the FBI. Participants 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, another Hamas front. 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. (An April 28, 2009, letter from FBI assistant director Richard C. Powers to Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. – which singles out CAIR chief Awad for suspicion – explains how the group's many Hamas connections caused the FBI to sever ties with CAIR.)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 showed 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 ethnic-Palestinian.(Though both Ahmad and Awad were senior leaders of IAP, the Hamas front, neither of their biographical sketches posted on CAIR's website mentions their IAP past.)
- 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. In fact, 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. UPDATE: In 2010, Sadoun was ordered deported to his native Jordan. An immigration judge referenced Sadoun's relationship with Hamas and the Holy Land Foundation during a deportation hearing.
Mohamed Nimer: CAIR's research director also served as a board director for UASR, the strategic arm for Hamas in the U.S. CAIR neglects to mention Nimer's and Sadoun's roles in UASR in their bios.
- 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 fundraiser was a founder of the Global Relief Foundation, which after 9/11 was blacklisted by the Treasury Department 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.
- 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."
IMPORTANT NOTE: The CAIR legal attack on WND's author is far from over. WND needs your help in supporting the defense of "Muslim Mafia" co-author P. David Gaubatz, as well as his investigator son Chris, against CAIR's lawsuit. The book's revelations have led to formal congressional demands for three different federal investigations of CAIR. In the meantime, however, someone has to defend these two courageous investigators who have, at great personal risk, revealed so much about this dangerous group. Although WND has procured the best First Amendment attorneys in the country for their defense, we can't do it without your help. Please donate to WND's Legal Defense Fund now.