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The Radical Ties of the Imam Behind the Trump Immigration Lawsuit by Jordan Schachtel

Originally published in the Conservative Review, March 10, 2017:

The plaintiff listed in Hawaii’s lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order on immigration is a member of an organization that has several current and former leaders tied to terrorist activity.

Dr. Ismail Elshikh — the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii — is suing Trump in reaction to the second version of his immigration moratorium, which was signed on Monday. The order imposed a 90-day hold on foreign nationals from six terror-tied countries from entering the United States.

According to the Muslim Association of Hawaii website, Imam Elshikh is a member of the North American Imam Federation (NAIF), a fringe Islamic organization that has a board and current leadership stacked with radical Islamic connections.

Kyle Shideler, a terrorism expert and director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy, tells CR that it’s concerning that Imam Elshikh is a part of NAIF.

“Given NAIF’s history it should come as no surprise that the end goal of this lawsuit is, ultimately, weakening American counter-terrorism or immigration security efforts,” Shideler said.

He added: “That a member of an organization whose leaders have included a convicted war criminal, an individual who defended donating money to a Hamas linked charity, and an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism bombing wants to tell the American people who they can admit for immigration should say a lot about why such an executive order is needed in the first place.”

Steven Emerson, the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, also voiced his concerns about Elshikh’s associations. He tells CR:

“NAIF is an extremely radical Islamist group whose leaders and members have defended some of the most violent terrorist groups in the world. Some members have been found to be actually linked to acts of Islamist terrorism. This is a group, some prosecutors have argued, whose incitement for violence could qualify their categorization as a providing material support for terrorism.”

Current NAIF board members include the former leader of an al-Qaeda-connected mosque and a radical preacher. Former leaders include a man convicted of leading an international death squad, and a prominent Islamist preacher who has praised Osama bin Laden.

Current NAIF leadership

Omar Shahin, a current board member of NAIF, is the former president of the Islamic Center of Tucson, a mosque that was once utilized as the “de-facto al-Qaeda headquarters in the United States,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. As imam of the mosque, Shahin raised funds for the Holy Land Foundation, which was later shut down for funneling money to the terrorist group Hamas. He also held fundraisers for the Global Relief Foundation, which was later deemed by the U.S. Treasury Department to be connected to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

El Shikh received his PhD from the Graduate Theological Foundation Islamic Studies Department, which is headed by Shahin. The program was created in collaboration with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that was started as a Muslim Brotherhood front group.

Dr. Waleed Meneese, another NAIF board member, has explicitly called for fellow Muslims to kill Jews. “When the Children of Israel returned to cause corruption in the time of our Prophet Muhammad,” Meneese said in a recent sermon. “And they disbelieved him, God destroyed him at his hand. In any case, God Almighty has promised them destruction whenever they cause corruption,” he said of the Jewish people.

Meneese has also called for the killing of apostates from Islam, and for the treating of non-Muslims as second-class citizens.

Former NAIF leadership

Ashrafuzzaman Khan is the former president of NAIF and a current leader at the Muslim Brotherhood-connected Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). In 2013, he was tried in a Bangladesh court as he was accused of drafting a kill list of intellectuals inside the country. He was charged with 11 counts of war crimes as the alleged leader of the Al-Badr death squad. In 2013, he and an accomplice were sentenced in absentia for the abduction and murder of 18 people, including nine university professors, six journalists, and three physicians.

Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim was the chairman of NAIF at the turn of the century. In 2005, he agreed to deportation to Qatar after U.S. authorities were concerned about his potential connections to terrorist organizations. Ghoneim has called Osama bin Laden a “martyred heroic mujahid” and is now closely tied to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He has been banned from entering several countries due to his radicalism.

LINK: Wagdi Ghoneim Video

Another former NAIF board member is Siraj Wahhaj, who was infamously listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Wahhaj testified in defense of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who served a life sentence for being the mastermind behind terrorist plots in the United States.

What else?

The North American Imam Federation is perhaps best known as the group that allegedly planned and staged the “flying imams” incident. After a 2006 NAIF conference, several imams connected to the group were booted from a domestic flight after exhibiting bizarre, threatening behavior, terrifying fellow passengers. NAIF and the Hamas-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) showcased the incident as a prime example of America’s supposed problem with “Islamophobia.”

President Trump’s immigration moratorium, blocking non-citizens from coming into the U.S. from the six terror havens of Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Libya, will go into effect next week, barring a successful legal challenge by Elshikh and Hawaii or other actors.

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American Muslim Leaders Shocked, Shocked to Find that Terrorism Is Going On Here!

Over at PJ Media, I ask why authorities are still taking mosque leaders’ statements after terror arrests at face value.

It’s an iconic moment in American cinema, from Casablanca: Captain Renault tells Rick Blaine that he is “shocked! shocked!” to discover that gambling is going on in his establishment, and that it will be immediately closed — just as a clerk approaches and hands Renault his winnings. Muslims aren’t generally known for cinematic tributes, but mosque leaders around the country deserve Oscars for how they reenact this scene every time a jihadi is apprehended. For how long are law enforcement officials going to fall for the act?

The latest example comes courtesy of Arafat Nagi of Lackawanna, New York, who was arrested last week for recruiting for the Islamic State. According to WIVB, the local Muslim community is “devastated and in shock.”

In shock, eh? Dr. Khalid Qazi, President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York, said that Nagi “had withdrawn from the community about three years ago. He had some domestic issues, some family issues.” Ah, that does explain it. Qazi is implying that Nagi was a bit unbalanced, leading to his involvement with the Islamic State, and that if he hadn’t withdrawn from the peaceful Muslim community three years ago, this wouldn’t have happened.

But wait: back in 2002, Nagi had wanted to join the Lackawanna Six – six local Muslims who attended an al-Qaeda training camp.

According to Qazi, Nagi only withdrew — he wasn’t expelled for his “extremism,” but withdrew — from the local Muslim community only three years ago. That means that for ten years after trying to join an al-Qaeda group, Nagi was presumably a member in good standing of the local Muslim community.

Clearly his recent arrest shows that he hadn’t given up his “extremism.” Yet when Nagi is arrested, the local community is “in shock”? They knew for at least thirteen yearsthat Nagi was a supporter of the violent jihad doctrine they supposedly reject and abhor. What was shocking about his arrest?

Qazi was, of course, posturing for the media and law enforcement authorities, and there is no indication that either didn’t wholly swallow his act. Indeed, despite the fact that this same act has played all over the country, it always gets rave reviews.

It played in Birmingham, Alabama, last April, when a young Muslim woman fled to the Islamic State. A spokesman for the girl’s parents — why did they need a spokesman? — said:

For them this is worse than losing the life of a child, to have them join such a horrible, horrible gang of violent extremists. Nothing can describe the pain they are facing.

The spokesman was none other than Hassan Shibly, a lawyer and the chief executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group with established ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Shibly claimed that the woman had withdrawn from the local Muslim community a year before joining the Islamic State, and added:

The reason she withdrew from the community is because the Muslim community is very vocal against groups like ISIS … she made the decision based on her communication online with them that she wanted to join them.

He didn’t bother to explain why the peaceful Islam the young woman presumably learned from the community and her shocked and devastated parents wasn’t able to withstand the appeal of a supposedly twisted, hijacked version of the religion. He didn’t have to: he could be secure in the knowledge that no one would ask him to do so.

And so it goes. After the July 16 jihad massacre of U.S. Marines in Chattanooga by Mohammod Abdulazeez, the Times Free Press reported that Bassam Issa, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga:

… has said how shocked he was to find out that a young man who went to his mosque harbored radical ideas. He doesn’t see how anything Abdulazeez learned locally could have led to such thinking or to such a tragic plan.

And last April, a Muslim woman named Noelle Valentzas was arrested for plotting, along with another Muslim woman, a jihad bombing on U.S. soil. Valentzas’ husband, Abu Bakr, said of his wife’s arrest:

I don’t believe any of it, period. We are all shocked, the whole community. That’s not who she is.

But back in 2007, Abu Bakr was photographed at the Muslim Day Parade in New York City with the black flag of jihad. He carried it at other parades as well.

A particularly hammy version of this play-acting came in Rochester, New York in June 2014, when Mufid Elfgeeh, a Muslim local restaurant owner, was arrested for plotting to murder American soldiers. Sareer Fazili, President of the Islamic Center of Rochester, said:

Our religion is one of peace and one of submission and I think all of our friends in the faith based community know that. … I’m very shocked, I’m very upset, very disappointed that somebody who claims they follow Islam, the same religion that has been taught for so many years would think that he is within the bounds of our teachings because nothing could be further from the truth.

He was shocked to hear that someone who professes to be a Muslim would commit an act of violence? Really?

Had Sareer Fazili never heard of 9/11? 7/7? The Bali bombing? The Boston Marathon bombing? The Fort Hood massacre? Or any of the thousands of other jihad attacks perpetrated by people who not only profess to be Muslim, but say that when they bomb and kill they are following the teachings of Islam?

Fazili also said, according to WHEC, that he “does not believe Elfgeeh has ever been a member of the Islamic Center.” That may be, but it is noteworthy how so many devout Muslims who turn to violent jihad — Elfgeeh had tweeted “about the prophet Muhammad and terrorist groups fighting in the name of Allah” — never seem to go to mosque.

Every time there is a jihad attack or plot in the U.S., local Muslims say that no one knew him, he never went to mosque. Yet by their own words, these people are fanatically devout and observant….

Read the rest here.

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