Photo: When the Obama campaign practices "Muslim outreach," it comes up with Mahdi Bray
NBC (actually) reports:
The Obama campaign’s Muslim outreach director participated in a meeting in mid September that was attended by several controversial Muslim activists, NBC News has learned.
And who might they be?
For starters, there was...
...Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Society, several of the participants said. The MAS website describes Bray as an imam and “long time civil and human rights activist.” Bray’s critics say he has a history of defending terrorists. They point to a video of Bray at a rally in 2000, for example, in which he can be seen pumping his fist in the air in support of the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. In a 2004 interview, he called the Israeli assassination of a Hamas spiritual leader an “unlawful, cowardly and dangerous act of state-sponsored terrorism.” Bray did not return a call requesting comment.
Maybe NBC ran out of room or something, because there's more to Bray's record than pumping his fist. For one huge, enormous thing, his group, Muslim American Society, was actually founded by the Muslim Brotherhood. Then there's this: From discoverthenetworks.org:
Bray has worked in concert with International ANSWER, a front group for Ramsey Clark's International Action Center and the communist Workers World Party. Denouncing what he calls America's "barbaric and illegal invasion of Iraq," Bray has declared the War on Terror to be a "war against Islam" and has called President George W. Bush "the little Pharaoh." At a 2002 University of Michigan event, he called Israel an "oppressive, apartheid and racist system."
According to columnist Debbie Schlussel, "In October 1998, Mahdi Bray coordinated and led a Washington rally of 2,000 people during which he played the tambourine as the crowd repeated, 'Let's all go into jihad, and throw stones at the face of the Jews.' On December 22, 2000, Bray organized and spoke at a rally outside the White House at which the emcee and crowd chanted responsively in Arabic: 'O Jews, the Army of Muhammad is coming for you!' The Nazi swastika was openly displayed."
At the December 22 event, wrote Steven Emerson in his book American Jihad, "posters calling for 'Death to Israel' and equating the Star of David with the Nazi swastika were openly displayed, and anti-Semitic literature calling for the destruction of the Jews and Israel was distributed. Members of the crowd burned the Israeli flag while marching to the White House." Bray's invited fellow speaker that day was Imam Mohammed al-Asi, who, wrote Emerson, "exhorted the crowd to violence in the name of Islam," urging those in attendance to take up arms "to liberate Al Quds [Jerusalem] and Al Aqsa [the mosque on Temple Mount atop the Western Wall in Jerusalem]."
In October 2000, Bray appeared at a rally lauding the start of the second Palestinian Intifada. He stood by and cheered as American Muslim Council founder Abdurrahman Alamoudi publicly announced his support for the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. (Click here for a video of this event.)
In March 2003 Bray testified at the bond hearing of Sami Al-Arian, who at the time had been indicted as a leader of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Claiming responsibility for "mentoring [Al-Arian] about the civil rights movement" in America, Bray declared that he and Al-Arian were "kindred spirits" on the issue of Muslim political activism. Bray denounced Al-Arian's February 2003 arrest as part of a "pattern of political intimidation by an Attorney General [John Ashcroft] who seems to be targeting the American Muslim community's leaders and institutions…."
In July 2004 Bray called the detention (in a Saudi jail) of American-born citizen Ahmed Abu-Ali, who was suspected of conspiring to assassinate President Bush, a "national disgrace and tragedy." At the time, Abu-Ali had been incarcerated for 13 months. In Februuary 2005 Abu-Ali was transferred to U.S. custody, and in September and October of that year he went on trial. Documents which were unsealed on September 20, 2005 revealed that Abu-Ali had acknowledged his desire to join al Qaeda during his Saudi interrogation, though he maintained that the conspiracy to kill President Bush was merely a fantasy, not an actual objective. On November 22, 2005 the jury rendered a guilty verdict, and four months later Abu-Ali was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Bray also came to the defense of the aforementioned Abdurahman Alamoudi, the longtime Hamas and Hezbollah supporter who in 2004 was sentenced to 23 years in prison for tax and immigration violations, for his participation in a plot to murder Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah on behalf of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, and for illegally accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from high-ranking Libyan officials.
When the Virginia-based Islamic scholar Ali Al-Timimi was sentenced (in 2005) to life in prison for encouraging American Muslims to join the Taliban and fight against U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Bray protested. "What he [Al-Timimi] said was perhaps repugnant and inflammatory," Bray conceded, "but was it really his intent to have people go and take his words and translate that into going and killing other human beings, specifically Americans?"
Bray is currently working on two major projects. One is "Campaign V.I.P.: Voting Is Power," a voter registration drive launched in conjunction with the NAACP, the Rainbow-Push Coalition, the Interfaith Alliance, and other leftist groups. The other project is "Activist Training Seminars," whose objective is to train at least 1,000 people in the "skills necessary for effective activism."
Back to NBC:
The Obama campaign now concedes that was a misjudgment, and that its top Muslim staffer would not have attended the meeting if she had known the full participant list beforehand.
“Would a campaign staffer have attended if they were aware of the complete list of attendees? No,” said Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt in an email statement to NBC....The Obama campaign would not allow NBC News to interview its Muslim outreach director, Minha Husaini.
That's funny. If it was all just "a misjudgment," why wouldn't the Obama campaign "allow" NBC to interview Miss Muslim Outreach? The campaign doesn't have anything to, um, hide, does it? Then again, it didn't publicize the meeting in the first place. From NBC:
The meeting was not advertised and some attendees got text phone messages notifying them that day of the meeting’s location, the participant said. ...
A second meeting participant speaking on condition on anonymity said he was stunned to learn that [CAIR's Nihad] Awad and Bray had been invited to an event where Obama representatives would be present. The participant said Awad and Bray are considered politically “radioactive.” He said that some in the Obama group knew ahead of time that top CAIR officials would be in attendance--an allegation the Obama campaign disputes.
“Yes, when I knew they were coming it made me uncomfortable,” the attendee said. “There was some hope it wouldn’t get out” into the media, the attendee added. “There was some concern within the Obama camp that some of these people coming may be a political liability.”
But that's not all.
Chicago-based lawyer Mazen Asbahi also attended the meeting.
Hey, isn't he the supposedly ex-Obama guy with the Muslim Brotherhood ties? Yep. Or, as NBC more daintily put it:
He is the Obama campaign’s former Muslim outreach coordinator, who abruptly resigned in August after the Wall Street Journal and websites that track fundamentalist Islam began questioning Asbahi’s involvement in an Islamic investment fund and various Islamic groups. When reached by NBC News, Asbahi would not comment about the September gathering or his brief stint eight years ago on an investment fund board which also included a fundamentalist imam.
When informed that Asbahi had attended the recent meeting, an Obama spokesman said: “Mazen Asbahi resigned from his role as the campaign’s Muslim American outreach coordinator and was replaced--he is not an employee of the campaign and does not speak on behalf of the campaign.”
Well, I dunno. As Investors Business Daily reported earlier, Asbahi also attended a campaign-sponsored luncheon during the Democratoc Convention in Denver where told the crowd he was "110%" behind Obama and that he was participating in campaign conference calls on Muslim outreach.
Stepping down was a "strategic decision," he told the audience.
Then what's the strategy?????