Thursday, December 07, 2023
View Blog
Aug 24

Written by: Diana West
Tuesday, August 24, 2010 10:24 AM 

From left to right: Kingdom Foundation director Muna Abu Sulayman, a happy Harvard official, Talal and wife Ameerah celebrating in 2008 Talal's $20 million purchase of -- I mean, donation to build -- an Islamic studies program at Harvard.

From a report by Paul Sperry at

The Saudi prince whose post-9/11 relief check was rejected by former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani has found a more willing recipient in the city for his millions: the head of the Ground Zero mosque project.

The same Saudi potentate, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, owns the biggest chunk of the parent company of the Fox News Channel outside of the Murdoch family.

Dear Talal.

Former Bush advisers have similar ties to the prince and the proposed mega-mosque in Manhattan, which may explain why they've asked Republicans to soften their opposition to it.

WND has learned that one of the original board members of the nonprofit group promoting the 13-story mosque and "cultural center" took the job as a favor to James A. Baker III, the former President George H.W. Bush official and lawyer who defended Saudi government officials against a lawsuit filed by families of 9/11 victims. Baker has counted bin Talal as a client.

Bin Talal has pumped more than $300,000 into the project headed by New York imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as part of the prince's campaign to "improve the image of Islam in the American public." The prince's charitable foundation in 2008 gave $125,000 to Rauf, which came on the heels of an earlier $180,000 gift, according to the Arab press.

The foundation is run by Muna Abu Sulayman, a Saudi woman who appears on Rauf's website as one of its "Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow."

But not just any Saudi woman. Last summer, while trying to keep up withon Yale's tin-cup submission to Islamic prohibitions against depicting Mohammed in a Yale Press treatise about the Danish Mohammed cartoons, I ran across Muna Abu Sulayman, who was described as a Saudi Arabian "media personality," a newly minted Yale World Fellow, oh, and director of Talal's charitable foundation, which just oozes petrodollars. (I can just see Yale Prez Levin saying to Abu Sulayman over welcome-reception gin and tonics: Do you happen to have any with you?) Abusulayman, as reported by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report (via Family Security Matters) also has a pedigree worth noting, particularly as we now she learn that, as a Rauf-sponsored (Cordoba Initiative-sponsored) "Muslim Leader of Tomorrow," she also administers the flow of Talal bucks into Rauf's project:

Ms. Muna Abu Sulayman is the daughter of Dr. AbdulHamid Abu Sulayman, one of the most important figures in the history of the global Muslim Brotherhood. According to various biographies, Dr. Abu Sulayman was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and received his BA and MA at the University of Cairo and a PhD in International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania in 1973. His global Muslim Brotherhood affiliations include:
  • Secretary General of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) (1973-79)  
  • Chairman, Department of Political Science at King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, (1982-84)
  • Initial Board of Directors SAAR Foundation (1983)
  • Founding member of The Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) (1972) and its former President, (1985-87)
  • Rector, International Islamic University Malaysia (1989-1999)  

Dr. Abu Sulayman is currently Chairman of the Board and trustee of International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) and its former president and founding member. IIIT was founded in the U.S. in 1980 by important members of the Global Muslim Brotherhood who wished to promote the “Islamization of Knowledge.” IIIT was associated with the now defunct SAAR Foundation, a network of Islamic organizations located in Northern Virginia that was raided by the Federal government in 2003 in connection with the financing of terrorism.


Sperry's WND piece goes on to report:

After 9/11, Rauf co-founded the Cordoba Initiative with former Aspen, Colo., Mayor John S. Bennett, which explains why Cordoba's tax filings list an Aspen address.

During his four terms as mayor, Bennett was introduced to bin Talal and other Saudi royals, who own chalets and other properties in Aspen (Bennett's own home is valued at more than $2 million). Bin Talal met his second wife in Aspen.

Is that consecutive wife or concurrent?

Before taking over Cordoba as executive director, Bennett headed the Aspen Institute, which included among its board members former Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, as well as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice has appeared with Rauf at events in Washington and overseas.

Aspen Institute recently launched the Middle East Leadership Initiative with "generous support" from Saudi Arabia. AbuSulayman, bin Talal's aide, is an Aspen Institute Middle East fellow.

Cordoba's tax filings show that Julia A. Jitkoff of Kingsville, Texas, was a director before resigning in 2007. Sources say the Texas socialite was sponsored by "longtime friend" Jim Baker, who sits on the board of her family's King Ranch holding company.

FEC records show Jitkoff and her family gave over $30,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaigns. Cordoba's 2008 IRS statement shows its books are kept by Kay Zimm of Kingsville.

According to bin Talal's biography, he and Baker met regularly in Houston to discuss business in the 1990s, when bin Talal was a Carlyle Group client of Baker. Joining them for business lunches at the Bayou Club was former President George H.W. Bush, a senior Carlyle adviser at the time.

Baker's Houston law firm, Baker & Botts, which defended Saudi officials against the 9/11 lawsuit, is one of the top international firms specializing in Shariah-compliant finance – another hobbyhorse of bin Talal.

Bin Talal in 2007 donated $250,000 to the James Baker III Institute at Rice University.

Bennett is also close to the Bush family. He graduated from both Yale University and Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. In 2002, bin Talal donated $500,000 to help fund the George Herbert Walker Bush Scholarship at Phillips Academy.

The Cordoba documentary

The Cordoba Initiative is promoting the Ground Zero mosque. According to its tax filing, its mission statement, among other things, is to "address the root causes of international terrorism."

Cordoba was the center of the Islamic caliphate in Spain, and the Cordoba mosque was built over the cathedral there.

Rauf has also worked on a documentary film – "Out of Cordoba" – by New York director Jacob Bender, a peace activist and Islamic apologist. The 2008 film, for which Rauf is listed as an adviser, purports to document how Islam led Europe out of the Dark Ages.

"Cordoba was the most advanced city on the European continent," Bender says.

He also claims it was the most tolerant, allowing Christianity and Judaism to "coexist" with Islam....

He may claim it, but Andrew Bostom debunks it -- here.

Listed first among "major funders" backing the film: Alwaleed bin Talal Foundation.

Another backer is the Islamic Society of North America, which bin Talal also finances. The uncle of Rauf's wife, Daisy Khan, serves on ISNA's board. The U.S. government recently named ISNA an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history.

An ISNA affiliate – the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences – changed its name after federal agents raided its offices after 9/11 on suspicion of supporting terrorism. Northern Virginia-based GSISS is now known as Cordoba University.

It's a small umma.   

Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use
Copyright 2012 by Diana West