Mehdi Alhassani (middle) at the White House
There is a troubling common thread that links Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff to the current special assistant to the National Security Council chief of staff of the military’s Islamic chaplain program.
The thread is more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood. It is the Muslim World League, a group accused of financing al-Qaida fronts. The organization’s offshoots have been declared official terrorist organizations by both the State Department and the United Nations.
Yet despite the troubling facts, Muslim World League-linked individuals have been in key national security positions and are currently helping to run the military’s chaplain program.
The case of Mehdi K. Alhassani, special assistant to the Office of the Chief of Staff of the National Security Council, drew attention last week in the blogosphere after former PLO operative Walid Shoebat reported on Alhassani’s ties to Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups.
Alhassani’s name emerged in an administration email made public last week as part of a Judicial Watch lawsuit. The email was sent three days after the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack to Alhassani and other officials from Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communication.
In the email, Rhodes communicates the need to “underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
Alhassani, it has emerged, was president of the Muslim Student Association at George Washington University from 2005 to 2006. The MSA was openly founded by Muslim Brotherhood activists.
While the MSA was founded by Brotherhood activists, its roots are far more dangerous and tie into both Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and adviser, Huma Abedin, and Alhassani as well as the military’s chaplain program.
Start-up funding for the MSA was provided by the Saudi Arabian charity the Muslim World League, or MWL.
Jihad is our way
As Shoebat reported, Abedin served on the board of the MSA at George Washington University in 1997.
The MSA’s official anthem is a restatement of the Muslim Brotherhood credo.
Allah is our objective
The Prophet is our leader
The Quran is our law
Jihad is our way
Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope
WND previously attended an MSA event at which violence against the U.S. was urged by speakers.
“We are not Americans,” shouted one speaker, Muhammad Faheed, at Queensborough Community College in 2003. “We are Muslims. [The U.S.] is going to deport and attack us! It is us versus them! Truth against falsehood! The colonizers and masters against the oppressed, and we will burn down the master’s house!”
WND reported Abedin worked on the editorial board of her father’s Saudi-financed Islamic think tank alongside Abdullah Omar Naseef, secretary-general of the Muslim World League. Naseef is deeply connected to the Abedin family.
Huma’s father, Professor Syed Abedin, was the founder of the Institute for Minority Affairs, a Saudi group that reportedly had the quiet, but active, support of Naseef.
Huma’s mother, Saleha, is currently the editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, the publication of Syed’s institute.
The institute bills itself as “the only scholarly institution dedicated to the systematic study of Muslim communities in non-Muslim societies around the world.”
Huma served on the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs’s editorial board from 2002 to 2008. Documents previously obtained by Shoebat reveal that Naseef served on the board with Huma from at least December 2002 to December 2003.
Naseef’s sudden departure from the board in December 2003 coincides with a time at which various charities led by Naseef’s Muslim World League were declared illegal terrorism fronts worldwide, including by the U.S. and U.N.
Saleha Abedin has been quoted in numerous press accounts as both representing the MWL and serving as a delegate for the charity.
The MWL, founded in Mecca in 1962, bills itself as one of the largest Islamic non-governmental organizations.
But according to U.S. government documents and testimony from the charity’s own officials, it is heavily financed by the Saudi government.
The MWL has been accused of terrorist ties, as have its various offshoots, including the International Islamic Relief Organization, or IIRO, and Al Haramain, which was declared by the U.S. and U.N. as a terror-financing front.
Indeed, the Treasury Department, in a September 2004 press release, alleged Al Haramain had “direct links” with Osama bin Laden. The group is now banned worldwide by United Nations Security Council Committee 1267.
There long have been accusations that the IIRO and MWL also repeatedly funded al-Qaida.
In 1993, bin Laden reportedly told an associate that the MWL was one of his three most important charity fronts.
An Anti-Defamation League profile of the MWL accuses the group of promulgating a “fundamentalist interpretation of Islam around the world through a large network of charities and affiliated organizations.”
“Its ideological backbone is based on an extremist interpretation of Islam,” the profile states, “and several of its affiliated groups and individuals have been linked to terror-related activity.”
In 2003, U.S. News and World Report documented that accompanying the MWL’s donations, invariably, are “a blizzard of Wahhabist literature.”
“Critics argue that Wahhabism’s more extreme preachings – mistrust of infidels, branding of rival sects as apostates and emphasis on violent jihad –laid the groundwork for terrorist groups around the world,” the report continued.
An Egyptian-American cab driver, Ihab Mohamed Ali Nawawi, was arrested in Florida in 1990 on accusations he was an al-Qaida sleeper agent and a former personal pilot to bin Laden. At the time he was accused of serving bin Laden, he also reportedly worked for the Pakistani branch of the MWL.
The MWL in 1988 founded the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, developing chapters in about 50 countries, including for a time in Oregon until it was designated a terrorist organization.
In the early 1990s, evidence began to grow that the foundation was funding Islamic militants in Somalia and Bosnia, and a 1996 CIA report detailed its Bosnian militant ties.
The U.S. Treasury designated Al Haramain’s offices in Kenya and Tanzania as sponsors of terrorism for their role in planning and funding the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa. The Comoros Islands office was also designated because it “was used as a staging area and exfiltration route for the perpetrators of the 1998 bombings.”
The New York Times reported in 2003 that Al Haramain had provided funds to the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which was responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people. The Indonesia office was later designated a terrorist entity by the Treasury.
In February 2004, the U.S. Treasury Department froze all of Al Haramain’s financial assets pending an investigation, leading the Saudi government to disband the charity and fold it into another group, the Saudi National Commission for Relief and Charity Work Abroad.
In September 2004, the U.S. designated Al-Haramain a terrorist organization.
In June 2008, the Treasury Department applied the terrorist designation to the entire Al-Haramain organization worldwide
Bin Laden’s brother-in-law
In August 2006, the Treasury Department also designated the Philippine and Indonesian branch offices of the MWL-founded IIRO as terrorist entities “for facilitating fundraising for al-Qaida and affiliated terrorist groups.”
The Treasury Department added: “Abd Al Hamid Sulaiman Al-Mujil, a high-ranking IIRO official [executive director of its Eastern Province Branch] in Saudi Arabia, has used his position to bankroll the al-Qaida network in Southeast Asia. Al-Mujil has a long record of supporting Islamic militant groups, and he has maintained a cell of regular financial donors in the Middle East who support extremist causes.”
In the 1980s, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, ran the Philippines offices of the IIRO. Khalifa has been linked to Manila-based plots to target the pope and U.S. airlines.
The IIRO has also been accused of funding Hamas, Algerian radicals, Afghanistan militant bases and the Egyptian terror group Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya.
The New York Post reported the families of the 9/11 victims filed a lawsuit against IIRO and other Muslim organizations for having “played key roles in laundering of funds to the terrorists in the 1998 African embassy bombings” and for having been involved in the “financing and ‘aiding and abetting’ of terrorists in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.”
‘Saudi government front’
In a court case in Canada, Arafat El-Asahi, the Canadian director of both the IIRO and the MWL, admitted the charities are near entities of the Saudi government.
Stated El-Asahi: “The Muslim World League, which is the mother of IIRO, is a fully government-funded organization. In other words, I work for the government of Saudi Arabia. I am an employee of that government.
“Second, the IIRO is the relief branch of that organization, which means that we are controlled in all our activities and plans by the government of Saudi Arabia. Keep that in mind, please,” he said.
Despite its offshoots being implicated in terror financing, the U.S. government never designated the MWL itself as a terror-financing charity. Many have speculated the U.S. has been trying to not embarrass the Saudi government.
Muslim chaplain program
In his blog posting last week, Shoebat reported Alhassani attended the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland, Massachusetts, the sister mosque to the Islamic Society of Boston, which was founded by convicted terrorist Abdurahman Alamoudi.
WND first reported on Alamoudi’s role in founding the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council, created in 1991 and operating under the umbrella of the American Muslim Foundation.
The group was the official endorsing agency of the military’s Muslim chaplain program along with the Muslim Brotherhood-tied Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA.
ISNA, an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas, is still the official endorsing agency for all Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military.
Alamoudi is an Islamic cleric who served as an Islamic adviser to President Bill Clinton and who guided the establishment of the military’s Muslim chaplain program.
Alamoudi reportedly handpicked the army’s first Islamic chaplain, Imam Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad, who still serves in that position. It was Muhammad who endorsed the most recent Islamic chaplains who just joined the military.
Alamoudi was instrumental in the selection of several of the military’s other Islamic chaplains.
Alamoudi currently is serving a 23-year sentence for terrorism-related financial transactions with the Libyan government and for his alleged role in a Libyan conspiracy to assassinate then-Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.
Alamoudi was described as an “expert in the art of deception” in a report by Newsweek journalists Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff.
The Newsweek article noted Alamoudi espoused moderate, pro-American views while lobbying for Muslim causes in the U.S. but then expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah at a rally.
Alamoudi founded the American Muslim Council in 1990, a lobbying group to advocate on behalf of Muslims in the United States.
The first Islamic military chaplain, Muhammad, is himself tied to the al-Qaida-front Muslim World League.
Muhammad was recommended for appointment by Alamoudi’s American Islamic Council.
Alamoudi attended Muhammad’s swearing-in ceremony just as he was present for the 1996 swearing-in of the military’s second Muslim chaplain, Lt. (junior grade) Monje Malak Abd al-Muta Ali Noel Jr.
Muhammad is a convert to Islam. In 1974, he joined the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, a black Muslim group that espoused racial separatism and black nationalism. Muhammad later said he did not fully subscribe to the radical group’s philosophy but was attracted by what he said was the organization’s emphasis on personal responsibility and self-help.
“In the projects where I grew up,” Muhammad said, “the women were exploited. In the Nation of Islam the men were always polite. They were always clean cut. I felt the Nation of Islam had more to offer than the church.”
In a 1993 interview with Muslehuddin Ahmed of Islam4all.com, Muhammad detailed his association with the Muslim World League.
The website reports Muhammad was in dialogue with the charity to help establish the army’s Muslim chaplain program.
During the period of Muhammad’s association with the MWL, the group spawned Muslim charities that were alleged fronts for al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden.
Muhammad recounted to Islam4all that he was an “honored guest” of the MWL for his pilgrimage to Mecca.
“He was also full of praise for the Muslim World League for its excellent arrangements, which it had made for its guests, and was highly impressed by its dedicated Secretary General Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Ali, who symbolized for him a model Muslim leader,” reported Islam4all.
The Islamic website reported Muhammad offered to work closely with the MWL and that he began an “ongoing interaction with the MWL in shaping and developing a vital Islamic presence within the U.S. Armed Forces.”
The website reported Muhammad “evinced keen interest in the magazines and other publications of the Muslim World League and other similar organizations for support in his Dawah (outreach) work.”