Edited Replies to Queries from U.S. Senators on Wahhabism
by Stephen Schwartz
Replies to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass:
Let me begin my replies to Sen. Kennedy's questions by noting my rejection of his attempt to reformulate my remarks to imply opinions I do not hold and statements I did not make.
I indeed believe that all adherents of the Wahhabi sect of Islam profess a violent, separatist, exclusionist, and totalitarian belief and therefore represent a danger to American Muslims, to the security of the U.S., and to the future of religious civility in the world. I have no idea to what Sen, Kennedy refers with his obscure reference to "others who believe in an extreme form of Islam."
I have reserved my comments to the Wahhabi sect, which is the state religion of Saudi Arabia. I wrote a book, The Two Faces of Islam, analyzing the relationship of this sect to other tendencies in Islam, some of which have been described as extreme by Westerners. My book was based almost entirely on Islamic sources and was written with an understanding of how such Western terms as "moderate," "extreme," "radical," and "fundamentalist" may be applied in an Islamic context so as to retain some real meaning.
I have never said or implied, either publicly or privately, that the authorities should "track down all Wahhabis." I have said and emphatically repeat that the U.S. authorities must investigate the funding and control of mosques, Islamic academies, prison and military chaplaincies, and public organizations, established on the territory of the U.S., that enjoy financial support from or ideological coordination by a foreign government, that of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and its official, extremist religious structure, which is the Wahhabi sect.
In my view, "searching for terrorists and their finances" is the same as investigating the matters described in the preceding paragraph. Distinctions between the two are merely technical.
I specifically and energetically reject the description of any investigation of Saudi-Wahhabi activities in the U.S. as "profiling." I do not believe in or advocate "profiling." Sen. Kennedy restates my comments, asserting that I spoke of "using U.S. law enforcement to stop the growth of the Wahhabi sect." My actual wording was, "employing law enforcement to interdict the growth of Wahhabism and its financial support by the Saudis."
By referring to the use of law enforcement, I meant the following, which I have stated in public on numerous occasions:
· Monitoring terrorist incitement, recruitment, protection, and collection of funds in Saudi/Wahhabi-controlled mosques.
· Reviewing the employment of Saudi/Wahhabi-controlled chaplains in the U.S. military and the federal and state penal systems.
· Monitoring the abuse of state educational accreditation by academies that teach and incite violence in line with Wahhabi doctrine.
· Investigating the ownership and funding of mosques and academies by foreign governments.
· Investigating the abuse of diplomatic status by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the dissemination of Wahhabi hate literature and similar activities.
I see no Constitutional protection for terrorism under the guise of religion, for the establishment of Wahhabism as the official form of Islam in the U.S. military services or the federal and state penal systems (indeed, I view this as a violation of the Constitution), for the teaching and incitement of violence in state-accredited schools, or for the control and manipulation of religion on American soil by a foreign state.
Let me add three further points:
· Adherents of the Aryan Nations, Christian Identity, Creativity and other neo-Nazi conspiracies that have attempted to masquerade as religion have not been granted the protection of the Constitution on that argument.
· Terrorism by Christian extremists against abortion clinics, and by Jewish extremists against various targets, does not enjoy the protection of the Constitution on the basis of religion.
· During the second world war, Shinto shrines owned by the Japanese empire were shut and padlocked by the federal government. With the end of Soviet rule, the Saudi regime is the only foreign state allowed ownership or ideological control of religious institutions in the U.S. Notwithstanding the official status of the Orthodox Christian churches in their various homelands, the Greek, Russian, etc. governments do not control churches in the U.S. in the way the Saudi regime and the Wahhabi bureaucracy control mosques in the U.S. The Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran churches, as state bodies, may support religious outreach for their citizens abroad (for example, the Norwegian Seamen's Church in San Francisco, Calif.) but they do not exercise political control over the Lutheran churches in the U.S. Britain does not control the Anglican Church in the U.S. Israel does not control any Jewish congregations in such a manner; nor does the Vatican exert any such direct control over American Catholic parishes. There should be no exemption under Constitutional pretexts for Saudi/Wahhabi activities in this area. American Islam must and will live by the same rules as other religions in America.
Sen. Kennedy declares, "government can protect us from security threats, but it cannot protect us from the influence of a different, even extreme ideology, just because some of its believers are dangerous." In reality, successive American governments investigated and monitored the activities of the Communist Party, USA, which, like the Wahhabis, sought constitutional protection as a "different, even extreme ideology," only "some" of whose "believers" were "dangerous." Communist ideology induced individuals to participate in espionage, treason, and terrorism. Wahhabi ideology induces individuals to participate in treason and terrorism. A government that does not protect its citizens from ideologies promoting treason and terrorism is not a government. Such a political order would have forgone its first duty to its citizens, which is the essence of security. To enjoy freedom, we must defeat the enemies of freedom. And we can have security without freedom, but we cannot have freedom without security.
The duty of the U.S. government to combat Wahhabism is especially an expression of its duty to protect the religious freedom of non-Wahhabi Muslims, rather than conflicting with religious freedom. There can and should be no freedom in the U.S. for Wahhabi terrorists to intimidate, suppress, censor, silence, ostracize, and otherwise threaten non-Wahhabi Muslims.
Sen. Kennedy asks for a description of "the most effective way for our law enforcement agencies to distinguish between violent extremists who are a threat to our security and those who simply hold religious beliefs that differ from most Americans? (sic)" A law enforcement agency, or its employees, that cannot distinguish between criminal activity and the mere holding of extremist beliefs is incompetent. Equally incompetent is a law enforcement agency that would deny that extremist beliefs create a propensity for violent and other criminal behavior. Rhetorical attempts to downgrade Wahhabism to a "religious belief that differs from [those of] most Americans" are as inappropriate as would be similar efforts to downgrade Nazism to "a political view that differs from [those of] most Americans."
Sen. Kennedy describes as "shameful" to suggest that Saudi-funded and –controlled mosques, Islamic centers, and schools "preach terrorism or pose a threat to America's national security." Sen. Kennedy states, "if they did, we would have thousands or hundreds of thousands more terrorists attacking our country." In my view, thousands of terrorists are engaged in a struggle against interreligious civility in the West and throughout the world, including some in the U.S. That they have yet to commit further gross terrorist atrocities on our soil is obvious. But I do not propose to wait until they do.
Finally, Sen. Kennedy asks how "our intelligence officials" can "distinguish between institutions that support unpopular religious beliefs and those that pose a serious danger to the United States and other countries." They can do this by consulting with, listening to, and studying the writings of anti-extremist Muslims. President Bush is to be commended for his outreach of various such figures. I can provide a roster of other such Muslims, which would include Sheikh Fahdel al-Sahlani, an Iraqi-American Shi'a leader residing in New York who met with President Bush; King Mohammed VI of Morocco and King Abdullah of Jordan; the Grand Mufti of Kosovo, H.E. Rexhep Boja and the Reis-Ul-Ulema of Bosnia-Hercegovina, H.E. Mustafa efendija Ceric; a Turkish author named Fethullah Gulen, President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia, and the heads of various Sufi orders. I can also recommend other American Muslims for such a list, on a confidential basis. However, I would recommend no Saudi-Wahhabis for such a group.
Replies to Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY:
I will reply to Sen. Schumer's queries according to the numbering of their submission.
1. Wahhabism differs from the other forms of Islam above all by its suppression of the spirit and institutions of Islamic pluralism. Throughout the history of traditional Islam, Muslims were free to organize themselves in competing sects, legal schools, and spiritual orders, and were encouraged to produce and respect differing opinions. The Prophet Muhammad compared the illumination of Muslim scholars to the heavenly bodies in the night sky. He said, "The simile of the scholars of knowledge on the earth is the stars in the sky by which one is guided in the darkness of the land and the sea." He further declared, "the differences among my Companions are a mercy to you." This benign view of controversy and debate is essential to traditional Islam. Wahhabism seeks, through violence, financial corruption, and political influence, to completely suppress such differences, to impose ideological conformity and uniformity, and to bring the entire global community of Muslim believers under Saudi control.
2. U.S. Army Sgt. Asan Akbar, an American Muslim, is accused of a bloody terrorist attack in the early hours of March 23, 2003, in the command area of Camp Pennsylvania, the rear base in Kuwait for the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. Akbar had attended the student mosque at the University of California, Davis, controlled by the Muslim Students' Association (MSA). He also listed (under his original name, Mark Fidel Kools), an address at the Bilal Islamic Center in Los Angeles, a Saudi-funded institution. The Bilal Islamic Center and its Saudi-trained imams are known for venomous preaching of Wahhabism.
The MSA was created in 1963 in close coordination with the Muslim World League, founded in 1962 by the Saudi government. As noted by Khomeini biographer Hamid Algar, "particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, no criticism of Saudi Arabia would be tolerated at the annual conventions of the MSA." Within its ranks, Algar noted, "official approval of Wahhabism remained strong," and in 1980 it produced an English translation of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's own writings, the foundation of Wahhabi doctrine.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) enforces Wahhabi theological writ in the country's 1,200 officially recognized mosques (out of a possible total of 4,000, including unrecognized and small congregations).
ISNA former president Muzammil Siddiqi, described by many of his critics as a power-hungry fanatic, appeared in the ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington directly following September 11th. However, on October 28, 2000, at an anti-Israel "Jerusalem Day" rally in Washington, Siddiqi asserted, "America has to learn… if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come. Please, all Americans. Do you remember that?… If you continue doing injustice, and tolerate injustice, the wrath of God will come." Many of the main mosques in the U.S. were recently built with Saudi money and saddled with a requirement that they follow Wahhabi imams and Wahhabi dictates. Testimony to this effect comes (among many others) from Kaukab Siddique, the radical editor of New Trend, an Islamic periodical of anti-American views yet also opposed to Wahhabi domination of American Islam, who charged: "ISNA controls most mosques in America and thus also controls: 1. Who will speak at EVERY [Friday prayer]. 2. Which literature will be distributed there… New Trend tried right from 1977 to warn the people about this danger of monopoly created by funds coming in from Saudi Arabia... the Ikhwan mafia, a group of six… were bringing in funds from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. The movement for reform was quashed by the mafia (who are the revered 'elders' of ISNA) who went from city to city."
I have discussed the relationship of ISNA to the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) in my testimony. I have no comments at this time on the American Muslim Foundation.
3. It is my understanding that A.A. Batterjee remains unmolested as a public figure in Saudi Arabia, although he has been named as a major funder of terrorism through Benevolence International Foundation and similar entities. He is not alone in this regard. To my knowledge none of the Saudi subjects prominent in the financing of terrorism has been arrested.
4. The U.S. must coordinate with the anti-extremist Islamic leadership around the world in compelling the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to sever its state structure from the financing of international Wahhabi expansionism. This means that Wahhabism would become no more than one among a great number of Islamic sects, legal schools, and spiritual orders that would be encouraged to function in Mecca and Medina. (At present, the Wahhabis have an absolute monopoly on religious works in Mecca and Medina, so this would involve a change.) It also means that the Saudi government would no longer finance the international dissemination of Wahhabi doctrine through medresas. Educational reform in Saudi Arabia can be accomplished by encouraging Saudi subjects and the Saudi regime to accept and accelerate a transition to a constitutional, parliamentary, Islamic society that might most resemble Malaysia, based on pluralism and guaranteed personal rights and dignities. Both of these outcomes are inseparable from an undiluted demand by the U.S. government for full disclosure, full light, and open inquiry into official Saudi support for al-Qaida and Wahhabi terrorism in general, beginning with a full and transparent accounting of Saudi participation in the atrocities of September 11th – no matter how high in Saudi society such an inquiry must go.
Replies to Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz:
I will similarly reply to Sen. Kyl's queries according to the numbering of their submission.
1. To inventory all the liaison meetings, "sensitivity" sessions and other instances in which federal authorities have provided access to "Wahhabi lobby" representatives, beginning with the appearance of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) ex-president Muzammil Siddiqi in the ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington directly following September 11th, would take a major research effort. I would say, in summary, that the majority of American Muslims have the impression that the "Wahhabi lobby" has gained an unchallengeable position of influence. Such access to official institutions translates into a powerful argument for control over the activities of American Muslims in their own mosques and schools. Since the "Wahhabi lobby" apparently has attained recognition as the legitimate representatives of American Muslims, criticism of them, independence from them, or initiatives taken separately from them may easily be attacked as disruptive, subversive of community unity, and disloyal to community interests. For numerous sociological reasons, Muslims in America feel profound drives toward group conformity. Establishment of the "Wahhabi lobby" as the guardians of Islamic interests with the authorities reinforces such tendencies.
2. It was clear with the first steps taken in the 1980s to establish a base in the U.S., by Hamas front groups such as the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), that these entities intended to follow the model established in the past by the Soviet-controlled Communist Party, which used American Constitutional protections to shelter them while they pursued subversive activities. In addition, they imitated the Irish radical nationalist movements which have, for a century and a half, used the U.S. as a financial base and staging area for attacks on British institutions.
HLF was the nerve center of the Hamas front in the U.S., headquartered in Texas, with branch offices in Paterson, N.J., Bridgeview, Ill., and San Diego. Established in 1989, HLF took off when it received a $200,000 cash infusion from Musa Abu Marzook, the external director of Hamas, who lived in the United States until he was deported in 1997. Marzook, brother-in-law of Ghassan Elashi, chairman of HLF, financed six terrorist attacks in Israel from his home in Falls Church, Va. In 1995, the U.S. authorities asked for the arrest and deportation of Marzook to Israel, where he had been indicted for involvement in terror attacks carried out while he resided in the U.S., and in which 47 people were killed. Although Israel then dropped its demand, because of "security concerns," the U.S. deported Marzook to Jordan. His chief of military affairs was another U.S. resident, Muhammad Salah, of Bridgeview, Ill. Ordinary Americans would have been shocked and outraged to learn that Hamas was running its terror campaign from a sanctuary in the U.S.
Federal authorities had been watching the foundation since 1996, and concerned American Muslims had denounced its activities on numerous occasions. On September 5, 2001, less than a week before the World Trade Center atrocities, federal anti-terrorism agents raided InfoCom Corporation, the company that ran the HLF website. The InfoCom connection is crucial to understanding relations between the various components of the "Wahhabi lobby." According to defectors from Hamas, the HLF web server was also used by ISNA, the Muslim Students' Association, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and other terrorist apologists on our soil. All of these groups shared a single administrative and technical contact for the maintenance of the server. They had been erected as political shells around the Hamas hydra-head represented by HLF.
This enterprise resembles the front activities long maintained by the Communist party: separate groups, none of them directly identified with Hamas, each crafted to appeal to a particular constituency. Their methods and rhetoric are devious and deceptive. Further, they recognize no diversity within Islam; for them there is one Islam and they are it, and their goal is to make sure that any examination of Islamic issues, from the White House down, begins and ends with them. In the immediate aftermath of September 11th, they had extraordinary success in achieving this goal.
Even after the horrors repeatedly unleashed in Israel in the aftermath of September 11th, few Americans fully recognized what HLF represented. In addition to defending suicide bombers, the foundation paid annuities to the children of Palestinian "martyrs." It also supported the Wahhabi clerics whose fatwas declared that, since all children are, by Islamic legal definition, innocent, Jewish children slain at the hands of the bombers are guaranteed entry into Paradise. These fatwas advance the same claim for other innocents, Muslim, Jewish, or Christian, accidentally killed in the September 11th attacks: these too are "involuntary martyrs" headed for paradise. This hideous doctrine rationalizing the murder of children is a pure expression of the Wahhabi totalitarianism emanating from Saudi Arabia.
HLF embraced the identity of an Islamic charity; this religious cover has given the group and its satellites a fund-raising appeal far exceeding that of any earlier Arab advocacy group. During the Afghan campaign President George W. Bush ordered the closing of HLF.
3. Some of the most damning evidence of Saudi charitable institutions being used to advance terrorism was found early in 2002, in the offices of the Saudi High Commission for Relief to Bosnia-Hercegovina. The documents seized by the Sarajevo authorities provided a fascinating window on the scope and actions of the Saudi-backed Wahhabi "jihad" in the Balkans during the previous decade. Further raids netted documentation crucial to the U.S. prosecution of Bin Laden agents functioning on American soil – specifically, in the Benevolence International Foundation based in Chicago, Ill.
After the Dayton agreement was signed in 1995, agents of the Saudi kingdom and other Gulf states had flooded the Bosnian Muslim zone. While the scruffy mujahidin found the streets of Sarajevo inhospitable – filled with loud music, women dressed in the latest European fashion (all black, as it happened), and Western troops and police – the Saudi High Commission had come, with considerable assurance, to take over local Islam. Rape victims and other refugees from Serb massacres, the handicapped, the widows and orphans of soldiers as well as of ordinary citizens, demolished mosques and schools – all provided pretexts for the Wahhabi extremist infiltration of the "Pearl of the Balkans," as Bosnia-Hercegovina is known. The needy and destitute would be fed and housed – and pushed to adopt Wahhabism. Mosques and schools would be "rebuilt" – according to the strictures of Wahhabism, with Wahhabi imams, prayers, and other baggage imposed on local believers.
On July 13, 2001, the Saudi High Commission for Relief to Bosnia-Hercegovina disclosed its income and expenditures over the previous nine years. Since the Bosnian war had begun in 1992, the commission had collected $600 million – that is, only three times as much as the 2001 Saudi annual donation for the protection and maintenance of Islamic structures in Jerusalem. Although the Saudis preened over this effort, claiming it as uniquely grand and successful in the Islamic global community or ummah, the suffering of Bosnian Muslims was clearly low on the Saudi list of priorities. In the same nine-year period, about 110,000 tons of relief supplies, or less than two shiploads in a modern container vessel, were sent to the wartorn Balkan nation. Two million food baskets were provided – about one basket per person throughout the length of the relief operation. However, $33.79 million was spent on the "restoration" of 160 mosques, along with "cultural centers, Islamic institutes, orphanages, and housing."
But Wahhabism attracted few Bosnian recruits. Instead, Balkan Muslims rebelled against Wahhabi attempts to impose puritanical strictures on their pluralist religious culture.
Thanks to the inexhaustible resources of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Wahhabis also appeared all over Kosovo once fighting ended there. On August 9, 1999, the Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo (SJRCK) announced a 20-day training course for 50 imams and muftis in the Arabic language and the Wahhabi version of Sharia law. A few days later the SJRCK moved its headquarters from Albania to Prishtina, the Kosovo capital. On August 22, the relief committee stated that in addition to extensive health facilities, and repatriation of 50,000 refugees from Albania to Kosovo, it was also busy distributing copies of Qur'an and "books on Islam." The prospective Wahhabization of Kosovar Islam had begun in earnest.
According to a September 9 SJRCK news release, out of four million Saudi riyals spent in Kosovo, nearly half went to sponsor 388 religious "propagators" (i.e., missionaries) with the intent of converting Kosovars to Wahhabism. Another six hundred thousand riyals went for the reconstruction of thirty-seven mosques, and two hundred thousand riyals was spent on two religious schools. The amount of money involved was fairly modest (four million riyals is a little more than a million U.S. dollars), except when one considers that the Saudis had only been on the scene for a little over two months. It was characteristic that a greater proportion of Saudi aid was spent on fundamentalist "propagators" and on mosque building than on broader humanitarian needs.
In one of the more remarkable developments in Kosovo, Islamic fundamentalists came under fire from the Kosovo Liberation Army's Kosovapress news agency. Kosovapress declared: "For more than a century civilized countries have separated religion from the state. [However], we now see attempts not only in Kosovo but everywhere Albanians live to introduce religion into public schools. . . .Supplemental courses for children have been set up by foreign Islamic organizations who hide behind assistance programs. Some radio stations. . .now offer nightly broadcasts in Arabic, which nobody understands and which lead many to ask, are we in an Arab country? It is time for Albanian mosques to be separated from Arab connections and for Islam to be developed on the basis of Albanian culture and customs." The Grand Mufti of Kosovo, H.E. Rexhep Boja, expressed himself similarly, stating boldly that Albanian Muslims had followed their faith for more than five hundred years and did not need anybody to teach them how to be Muslims or how to decorate their mosques.
At the end of March 2000, a group of Saudi "aid workers" was rousted by UN police from a building in Prishtina and accused of surveilling foreign vehicles, presumably in preparation for a terrorist attack. A representative of the Saudis, one Al Hadi, complained that the telephone in the building where they resided had been tapped. The real story behind this was never reported: a KLA commander had discovered the "aid workers" spying on American diplomats and was preparing to kill the Saudis. The U.S. diplomats intervened to save them.
Kosovar Albanian resentment of Arab meddling was also sharply expressed when an Emirates diplomat promised that fifty beautiful, new mosques would be built around Kosovo, to be paid for out of the diplomat's own pocket. Naim Maloku, a former KLA commander, brusquely rejected this proposal, stating that Kosovo needed employment opportunities more than mosques.
In mid-2002, however, the Saudis seemed to have had enough of dealing with the Kosovar Muslims. "The Muslims here behave like Christians," Faris Haddaj Hadi, running the Saudi Joint Relief Committee, told the Los Angeles Times irritably. "They have accepted living like in Europe. I think in 10 years it will be worse... We will not stay." This constituted an admission that in Kosovo, the Wahhabi-Saudi "jihad" had failed.
4. I have no knowledge of liaisons between U.S. law enforcement officials and Shi'a and Sufi Muslim representatives, and cannot characterize the decisions of law enforcement officials in this area.
5. I have no knowledge of the state of awareness or practices of law enforcement officials about the internal situation of the American Islamic communities, and have no comments to offer on any meetings or other liaison between such officials and any Muslim community figures.
6. An essential element of the compact or alliance between the U.S. and the Saudi state, beginning at the end of the second world war, has been a clear "hands off" policy by the U.S. toward Saudi internal and ideological matters. The main oil corporations, represented in the Arabian-American Oil Company (Aramco) and its successors, along with their friends in American public life, have conducted a long and shameless effort to prettify the extremist and terrorist origins of the monarchy. Hypocrisy about the backward and corrupt nature of the Wahhabi-Saudi regime was not limited to Arabia itself. The economic historian J. B. Kelly wrote that Aramco "constituted itself the interpreter of Saudi Arabia – its people, its history, its culture, and above all its ruling house – to the United States at large, and because there were no other sources of information about that country open to the American public, ARAMCO could put across its version of recent Arabian history and politics with almost insolent ease… Naturally, little prominence was accorded in ARAMCO's publicity to the fanatical nature of Wahhabism, or to its dark and bloody past."
As to the attempt to disguise the nature of Wahhabism in the Islamic global community, as I indicated in testimony, Wahhabism is like Communism; its partisans know it is hated and feared. So, as the Soviet Communists called themselves "socialists" and "progressives," the Wahhabis call themselves "Salafis," a term intended to mean "restorers of pure Islam."
7. Saudi agents and Saudi-educated Wahhabi imams take over mosques and schools according to a typical pattern, if the mosque or school does not begin with full Saudi funding and control. In such cases, no takeover is necessary. Where Saudi agents and Wahhabi imams take over existing institutions, they do so by the typical, obvious means: they preach that they are purer and better Muslims; they use money to buy off local leaders and potential opponents; they pack governing committees and similar bodies with their supporters; they organize special classes or social groups within the mosque; and in some cases they drive out opponents.
8. The accuracy of my thesis explains the scarcity of Sunni leaders openly critical of Saudi state-sponsored operations in the U.S. The campaign, and particularly the efforts at intimidation and imposition of conformity, have been successful. But there is no lack of Shi'a Muslim community leaders willing to express such criticism. Unfortunately, they are marginalized in American media and political life.
9. Shi'a community leaders have conducted a consistent campaign against Saudi influence in many mosques. To provide an inventory of incidents would require extensive further research. I cannot offer advice to those attempting to research the concealment of terrorist funding by the commingling of legitimate charitable financing with terror financing. I am not an accountant, do not have specialized knowledge of this area, and would defer such questions to the Treasury Department. I do believe that once a donation leaves the hands of the donor, the intent with which the donation was made becomes somewhat irrelevant. An individual may believe a donation is going for food and blankets in Chechnya, but if it is actually going to support Saudi-backed terror in Chechnya, the intent of the donor has little weight.
10. The Saudi state and the supporters of Wahhabi ideology act along lines identical to those pursued by the Soviet state and the international Communist network, with some exceptions that must be noted. The Soviet state clandestinely financed fascist groups in Europe and the U.S., which were publicly anti-Soviet. The Saudis and Wahhabis do not finance, e.g., Shi'a or other traditional Islamic groups with a public stance opposed to the Saudis. There may be some connection between the Saudis and Wahhabis and isolationist "antiwar" groups that are otherwise anti-Muslim. But while the Russian state and its Communist imitators, such as Cuba, always practiced the manipulation of fake opposition groups (see, e.g., the infamous "Trust") for purposes of provocation, sabotage, diversion, and subversion against its opponents, the Saudi state and the Wahhabis have no such history, unless one counts al-Qaida, which in my view is not really opposed to the Saudi order. The Saudi state does finance various commercial, academic, and related efforts in the West, to advance its specific interests in those areas, often without openly declaring the origin or aim of such support. But the core of the "Wahhabi lobby" is the problem, not peripheral enterprises.
11. The leading members of the "Wahhabi lobby" are well-known:
· the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), current president Muhammad Nur Abdullah;
· the Muslim Students' Association (MSA), current president Altaif Husain;
· the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), current president Omar Ahmad;
· and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), current president Zulfiqar Ali Shah.
Other groups such as the American Muslim Council (AMC) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) act as "grab bags" or "halfway houses" within which Wahhabi agents work. However, MPAC has officially denounced Wahhabism in a vocabulary unknown to ISNA or CAIR.
Smaller organizations such as the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) and one of two entities with the title Muslim American Society (MAS), current president Suhail al-Ganouchi, are subsidiary players in the "Wahhabi lobby."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is dedicated to pressuring media to accept its definition of Islamic issues and sensitivity thereto. When President Bush stood up in the Washington mosque in the days after September 11th, CAIR's national director, Nihad Awad, an inexhaustible agitator for Hamas, stood beside him.
12. I do not propose to advise the FBI on law enforcement techniques. Any educated citizen should be able to distinguish, on a common sense basis, between terrorist activity and simple adherence to an extremist ideology, and between views that are "unpopular" and those that are extremist. A law enforcement agency, or its employees, that cannot distinguish between criminal activity and the mere holding of extremist beliefs is incompetent. Equally incompetent is a law enforcement agency that would deny that extremist beliefs create a propensity for violent and other criminal behavior. It is absolutely false to even suggest that "all the members" of American Islamic communities or all people of Islamic faith or background are potential terrorists, and I would not dignify such a question with a reply.
12. CAIR, desiring but unable to challenge my research and criticism of its activities, has accused me of various falsehoods, while also making and recycling outlandish allegations against me. CAIR's adherence to Wahhabism is demonstrated by four simple facts: a) its receipt of Saudi money and other backing; b) its defense of Hamas, a Wahhabi terror group; c) its campaign against Sufi critics of Wahhabism, and d) its general exclusion of Shi'as and other non-Wahhabi Muslims from its work. Otherwise I am unconcerned with CAIR and its blandishments.
* * * * *