The White House has admitted to a senior government official that it did not vet the audience members in attendance at President Bush's speech last week at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., despite having been warned of the potential presence of individuals who might have triggered national security concerns.
An informed source has told me that the White House was completely unaware that a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) representative would be present at President Bush's speech last week for the rededication ceremony of the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., and, in fact, had no idea who the mosque leaders had invited to the event, basically surrendering the vetting process to the Islamic Center, a Saudi-funded institution with a documented history (pdf) of extremism and anti-Semitism.
Further, the source told me, "We desperately need to know what radical Islamists are doing in this country" and he was "shocked and surprised to learn that the White House would not take greater care of who was vetted to this event," adding, "this was not your typical Rotary Club invitation." The source told me that a White House official said that it does not vet all attendees at events to which the President is invited to speak, and the Islamic Center ceremony was no exception. Additionally, the White House was warned by a senior government official that it was making a huge national security error in not vetting those in attendance at the mosque. A White House liaison has told me in the past that CAIR has been barred from attending White House events on national security grounds.
And on cue, CAIR is playing up spokesman Ibrahim Hooper's attendance at the speech and taking full advantage of its presence to insinuate itself into the President's agenda.
On the heels of President Bush's strange announcement at the mosque that he would appoint a "special envoy" to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a body with a very disturbing track record (see my article published in the National Review Online, Radical Outreach: Bush coddles American apologists for radical Islam), CAIR has started lobbying for the job.
On a trip to Saudi Arabia to meet with OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ishanoglu to "discuss future CAIR-OIC projects," CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad made his feelings on the American-OIC envoy known, telling the Saudi-based Arab News, "[w]e hope that the selection of the individual would also be representative of the Muslim community and its views," meaning that to avoid an Awad-engineered outcry and pressure campaign, the envoy must be "CAIR-approved."
President Bush said that the special envoy's job would be to "listen and learn" from the OIC, and that the envoy "will share with (the OIC) America's views and values." Unless the purpose of the envoy would be to see who can be the more radical and anti-American mouthpiece, CAIR needs to be kept as far away from this initiative as possible, lest both organizations gang up in some outrageous, Karen Hughes-approved "grievance theater" performance. CAIR and the OIC are already in lockstep on virtually all issues, especially relating to terrorism, and CAIR is in no position to share America's views and values with anyone. In fact, someone needs to explain America's views and values to CAIR.
As readers of this blog know, CAIR was recently officially named (pdf) as a Muslim Brotherhood organization and as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the case against alleged Hamas-fundraisers, the Dallas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). Beyond that, CAIR's lengthy history of extremism, pro-terrorist sentiments and anti-Semitism has been extensively reported and is well known.
And the Arab News article telegraphs just how useless having a CAIR-approved individual as special envoy to the OIC would be:
Muslims and Muslim organizations in the US have been criticized for not being effective in lobbying and standing up to smear campaigns compared to other US minorities. This is the most common criticism heard from the Muslim world, according to Awad, who added that Muslims in the US are heading in the right direction and that the Muslim community there is becoming more effective and gaining ground in building bridges.
So the "most common" criticism has not been that Muslim organizations in the U.S. have failed to sufficiently condemn terrorism or put forward policies and positions that condemn the targeted use of violence against civilians by such groups as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda, but that CAIR is not "effective" in standing up to "smear campaigns" against it. Expect more of this if CAIR has any say about the President's appointment.
The President's plan to appoint a special envoy to the OIC was a bad idea from the start, and can only be further compounded by letting CAIR – or other Islamist groups like it - have any say in the matter.
Cross-posted at Counterterrorism Blog