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Bill to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Terror Organization Gains Support

Ten more members of Congress have agreed to cosponsor the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015 since our last update. The legislation identifies three U.S. – based groups — including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) —  as part of the Brotherhood network linked to financing Hamas.

If passed, the bill would state that Congress believes the Muslim Brotherhood fits the State Department’s criteria of a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The Secretary of State would be required to designate the Brotherhood within 60 days or to provide a detailed report explaining why it does not. Three U.S.-based Brotherhood entities named in the bill are CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT).

The House version of the bill (HR3892) was introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) with Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Randy K. Weber (R-TX), Diane Black (R-TN) and Mike Pompeo (R-KS) as original cosponsors. They are now joined by Reps. Steve King (R-IA); Steven Palazzo (R-MS); Kay Granger (R-TX); Jim Jordan (R-OH); Steve Stivers (R-OH); Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Charles W. Dent (R-PA); Bill Johnson (R-OH) and David A. Trott (R-MI).

HR3892 was referred to the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on December 4, 2015. Two cosponsors, Rep. Gohmert and Rep. Trott, sit on that subcommittee.

The Senate version of the bill (S2230) was introduced by presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and later cosponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). It was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on November 3. Two of Senator Cruz’s presidential rivals, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) sit on that committee and have not taken a position on the bill.

Although the bill has yet to earn bi-partisan support at this early stage, it is supported by members of Congress from different spectrums of the Republican Party. It includes endorsers of the presidential campaigns of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich and not only supporters of Ted Cruz.

As our original article about the legislation explained, the bill could be a watershed moment in the fight against Islamist extremism. It is important for voters to know where their representatives stand on this important issue.

We encourage readers to contact their representatives and Senators and ask them for a position statement. Please forward any official statement to the Clarion Project so we can update readers on where they stand on the Muslim Brotherhood. A statement of opposition is just as important as a statement of support.

Of particular interest are the members of Congress who are assigned to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Below is a table of those who sit on those committees and have yet to take a position:

House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration & Border Security Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Ken Buck (R-CO) Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY)
Luis Gutirrez (D-IL) Ben Cardin (D-MD); Ranking Member
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) Christopher Coons (D-DE)
Raul Labrador (R-ID), Vice Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN); Chairman
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) Cory Gardner (R-CO)
John Ratcliffe (R-TX) Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Edward Markey (D-WA)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
David Perdue (R-GA)
James Risch (R-ID)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Tom Udall (D-NM)

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Rough & Smooth: Iran Sanctions Lifted; Frees 5 American Prisoners

Iran Captures and Releases U.S. Sailors: the Back Story

Gitmo ‘High-Risk’ Prisoner Released; Vows to Kill Americans

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of CAIR Founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad (right) with Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s spokesperson and national communications director. (Photo: © Reuters)

Connecting the dots to the Texas gunmen

Both gunmen identified in the May 3 attack against the “Draw Muhammad” event at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, attended the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, according to news reports. Elton Simpson and his roommate, Nadir Soofi, both were known to mosque leadership dating from 2006, although Usama Shami, chairman of the mosque’s board of trustees, claimed they stopped attending recently.

Interestingly, the imam at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (ICCP) is Sheikh Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz Ahmad Sulaiman, one of the so-called “flying imams,” who filed suit in March 2007 against US Airways officials for allegedly showing discrimination in removing them from a flight after the imams’ suspicious behavior raised alarm among crew and passengers. That behavior included loud praying at the gate area prior to boarding, refusal to sit in assigned seats, requests for seat belt extensions that were unnecessary and unused, and travel on one-way tickets with no checked baggage.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which was demonstrated in federal District Court to be affiliated with Hamas (the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a designated terrorist organization as listed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), and its attorney, Omar Mohammedi, a former president of CAIR’s New York chapter, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the six imams, including Imam Sulaiman.

The Egyptian-born Imam Sulaiman has served since 2002 as the imam at the ICCP, which was founded in 1982 and received its tax-exempt 501(c)3 status as a religious establishment. The ICCP website openly identifies the mosque as Shariah-compliant, with reference on its donations page to paying the “zakat,” an obligatory annual tax for all Muslims that is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and of which one-eighth must go to support jihad. According to its website, the ICCP’s property is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). The trust is yet another Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, as confirmed in a 2009 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Dallas Division, which identified the trust as a Hamas associate.

Imam Sulaiman is a member of the Washington, D.C.-based North American Imams Federation, whose board of trustees include the Jordanian-born Imam Omar Shahin (another of the so-called “Flying Imams” and former imam of the Islamic Center of Tucson, Ariz.) and Imam Siraj Wahhaj, whose name appeared on a U.S. government list of unindicted co-conspirators for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Imam Sulaiman is a 1992 graduate of the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he received his doctorate with a specialization in the hadith, the accounts of the life and deeds of Islam’s founder, Muhammad. He memorized the Koran at the age of 11 and overall, has spent some 33 years in the study of Islam. Given this background, Imam Sulaiman is a very senior cleric, whose authority projects influence in the Phoenix area. Unfortunately, in April 2004, when Zuhdi Jasser, the founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, organized a Muslim Rally Against Terrorism, Imam Sulaiman and other imam members of the Valley Council of Imams refused to lend their support because they refused to condemn terrorism in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Although not yet confirmed, it’s likely that the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix was the mosque where Texas gunman Elton Simpson, born in 1991 in Illinois before moving to Phoenix, was converted to Islam, reportedly while attending high school, 2005-09. It was, however, about 2006 when he began discussing the Muslim’s obligation to engage in jihad in telephone conversations recorded by the FBI. Due to the court’s apparent ignorance of the fact that the only kind of jihad discussed anywhere in Islamic Law is “war against non-Muslims,” the government failed to convict him of anything beyond making a false statement about his intention to go to Somalia to participate in jihad. Further, according to published media reports, it was in 2006 that Usama Shami, the ICCP mosque president, dates his own relationship with Simpson, who would have been converted to Islam at about that time.

The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix’s Facebook page has posted links to both the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Muslim American Society and the Islamic Community Center of Tempe (or Tempe Masjid). Although not an event linked by the ICCP, the Tempe Masjid’s Facebook page currently contains an announcement for a May 15-17 course titled “Dawn of Mercy: The Messenger in Mecca.” One of the featured speakers for that event is Siraj Wahhaj, whose name appeared on a U.S. government list of unindicted co-conspirators for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Finally, in April 2015, Imam Sulaiman figured among other local imams who condemned the Islamic State and its barbarity as somehow divorced from Islamic doctrine and singled out Fox News, which he claimed was “paid to create an animosity between people.”

At least in the case of these two jihadi gunmen, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, the formative influence of a mosque like the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix and its clerical leadership must not be overlooked, especially when their affiliations, leadership and programs are as troubling as these.