Second Radical Cleric Leading Prayers on Capitol Hill

by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY October 15, 2010
A few weeks back, Patrick Poole broke the story  of how the Congressional Muslim Staff Association (CMSA) had brought al Qaeda’s Anwar al-Awlaki — imam of 9/11 hijackers, the Fort Hood terrorist, and the would-be Christmas underpants bomber — to lead Friday prayers on Capitol Hill. Now, at Pajamas, Patrick reports that a second al Qaeda-linked cleric, Anwar Hajjaj, has also been leading CMSA prayer meetings.
As Poole explains:
Anwar Hajjaj was the long-time head of an Islamic charity, Taibah International Aid Association, which the U.S. government identified as an al-Qaeda fundraising arm in May 2004 and designated as a terrorist organization. The UN also designatedTaibah as a terrorist organization.
Hajjaj’s terrorism fundraising efforts were aided by American al-Qaeda bagman Abdurahman Alamoudi, who served as Taibah International’s vice president and who is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence [arising out of an investigation that showed him to be a major fundraiser for jihadist groups, including al Qaeda]. Prior to his arrest, Alamoudi was responsible for establishing the Muslim chaplain program for the Defense Department, and was appointed a “goodwill ambassador” to the Middle East by the State Department.
When Alamoudi was arrested in 2003, prosecutors identified Alamoudi’s work with Taibah in court documents as evidence of his “material financial support” for al-Qaeda. In July 2005, the U.S. government said that Alamoudi’s arrest was a “severe blow” to al-Qaeda’s fundraising operations….
Taibah is not Anwar Hajjaj’s only link to al-Qaeda. Hajjaj was also director of the American branch of the Saudi-funded World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) with Osama bin Laden’s nephew, Abdullah bin Laden. WAMY’s Northern Virginia offices were raided in June 2004, and Hajjaj’s partner Abdullah bin Laden subsequently left the country. The FBI began its investigation into WAMY in 1996 for being a “suspected terrorist organization.”
Hajjaj’s bio on his America Islamic Information Center website, and [Congressman Gregory] Meeks’ [(D-NY)] letter to Homeland Security on his behalf, notes that he is a professor at the American Open University. In fact, the university’s current phone number is the same used by Taibah International on its last IRS Form 990. The president of AOU, Jaafar Sheikh Idris — who has attacked  the Western notion of separation of church and state and authored  a tract on “The Process of Islamization” for the Muslim Student Association — was stripped of his religious worker visa and deported from the U.S. in July 2004.
Hajjaj is also the former education chairman of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the former president of the Dar-al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia. Dar-al-Hijrah is the mosque where Anwar al-Awlaki served as imam and at least two of the 9/11 hijackers attended services. Hajjaj continues to teach weekly  at the mosque.
I wrote about the Dar al-Hijrah, the State Department’s favorite “moderate” mosque and former home base for Awlaki, here. And as I’ve noted several times (see, e.g., here), ISNA was named an unindicted coconspirator in the terrorism financing case against the Holy Land Foundation based on its demonstrated ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and its support for Hamas.
While the CMSA appearances by Hajjaj go back to 2006, they are hardly old news. As Patrick relates in a second post at Big Peace (here), Hajjaj has led prayers on the Hill as recently as April of this year. The appearance was captured on video by Roll Call (here) but, as Poole notes, no one in the mainstream media has seemed interested enough to ask questions about Hajjaj or about how it is that Islamists keep turning up here, there and everywhere in our government.

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