As if recognizing that his subordinates didn’t do proper due-diligence work on the American Muslim Council (AMC) before committing him to speak at its convention, FBI Director Robert Mueller praised Muslims in America who helped investigators crack down on terrorism – but notably broke protocol and avoided praising his host, the AMC itself.
The FBI director drew a distinction between the many American Muslims who volunteered to serve their country to help fight terrorism, and those who have not. The Center for Security Policy had urged Mueller not to address the AMC because it fell in the latter category – and Mueller properly addressed those concerns in his speech:
"Unfortunately," he told the AMC, "persons associated with this organization in the past have made statements that indicate support for terrorism and for terrorist organizations. I think we can – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – justifiably be outraged by such statements."
The FBI chief called on his AMC audience to help "overcome" factors "that incite terrorism and support for terrorism." He appeared to be referring to AMC co-founder and longtime executive director Abdulrahman Alamoudi, an outspoken supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah.
Mueller is mistaken, however, that AMC leaders’ pro-terrorist acts are "in the past." Alamoudi still runs operations out of AMC headquarters. The night before the FBI director’s speech, on June 27, AMC Executive Director Eric Vickers appeared on CNBC’s Hardball show with Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney. Asked about denouncing terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, Vickers said AMC "condemned" the acts of terrorism, but he would not denounce the groups themselves. Host Mike Barnicle then asked, "How about al Qaeda?"
Vickers responded, “They are involved in a resistance movement.” He did not comment further. That was at least the ninth time in as many days when Vickers, given the opportunity to denounce al-Qaeda by name, chose not to.
Barnicle asked Vickers to denounce a pro-terrorist statement by AMC founder and former executive director Alamoudi. Instead, Vickers protested, “why is AMC being put in the position of having to defend statements made by Mr. Alamoudi?” He called it “pure guilt by association.” Barnicle asked him twice to denounce Alamoudi’s statement, and again, Vickers changed the subject.
Vickers challenged Gaffney, “Then name the evidence. Then name the evidence. . . Then lay it out.”
Gaffney did, noting the AMC’s leading role in the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom (NCPPF), a decades-old terrorist support group currently headed by Palestian Islamic Jihad figure Sami Al-Arian and Kit Gage, an organizer for an old Soviet lawyers’ front organization. By taking such a prominent role in NCPPF, Gaffney argued, AMC was joining the cause of cop-killers and other terrorists. NCPPF has agitated on behalf of Leonard Peltier, who murdered FBI Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams.
AMC constantly snipes at US law-enforcement for raiding groups suspected of supporting terrorism. AMC has trouble drawing a distinction between Muslims and terrorists. Responding to March 2002 raids on suspected terrorist support groups in Virginia, AMC acted as if the raids were anti-Muslim, proclaiming, "Brothers and Sisters this is YOUR community that has been attacked." It slammed federal authorities for "using ‘McCarthy-like tactics’ in a search for ‘evidence of wrongdoing that does not exist.’"
We will take AMC up on its challenge and will continue to lay out the evidence. Center President Gaffney does in his current column for Fox News, titled "The Truth About the AMC."
Epilogue: FBI Director Mueller did recognize AMC President Yahya Basha for loudly condemning “acts of terrorism,” he did not recognize the AMC. Dr. Basha was quoted recently as stating that the AMC is not ready as an institution to condemn terrorists: “I will do it in the community as an individual but to put it on AMC paper will take time.”
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