A new report documents the failures of Muslim outreach conducted by the U.S. government before and after the Sept. 11 attacks, faulting both Republican and Democrat administrations for reaching out to known terrorist funders and leaders.
Published by the Israel-based Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center by Patrick Poole, a counterterrorism consultant and investigative reporter, the 14,000-word exposé details the federal government’s “long-standing policy of engaging extremists.”
Among the many examples, Poole cites government leaders inviting radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to the Pentagon, just months after one of his spiritual disciples had flown a plane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
The report, “Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy,” finds that a “campaign of political correctness” has been ingrained in government, hindering investigations and resulting in culturally sensitive policies towards Islam, such as guidelines that required FBI agents to remove their shoes before raiding a mosque that financially supported the Taliban.
According to the report, President Obama issued a directive in August 2011 ordering law enforcement to engage “community partners” to help combat “violent extremism.”
“One example of the effect of this new policy are the Shari’a-compliant guidelines that federal law enforcement officials must now comply with when conducting raids related to Islamic leaders or institutions,” Poole explains. “This was exhibited in May 2011, when the FBI raided a South Florida mosque and arrested its imam and his son for financially supporting the Taliban.”
The rules required law enforcement officials to remove their shoes before entering the mosque and dogs were barred from property, Poole said. “The common sense of these new rules undoubtedly would have been put to the test had the subjects tried to flee, to be pursued by shoeless federal agents.”
The report also reveals that numerous leaders linked to terrorism have been used as conduits for the Muslim community since the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.
Poole points to Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, who was a regular visitor to the White House under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who asked him to help train Muslim military chaplains. He made six taxpayer-funded trips as a civilian goodwill ambassador to the Middle East for the State Department beginning in 1997.
But throughout his time working with the government, al-Amoudi was a major fundraiser for al-Qaeda.
Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born Imam who was killed in Yemen by a drone strike authorized by Obama in 2011, was also a go-to community partner for the U.S. government.
“One of the first Muslim leaders that the government turned to was Anwar al-Awlaki,” says Poole, “the al-Qa’ida cleric who was in direct contact with at least three of the September 11 hijackers.”
“As the cleanup from the terrorist attack on the Pentagon continued, Awlaki was invited by the Pentagon’s Office of Government Counsel to speak at a lunch in the building’s executive offices as part of the government’s new Muslim outreach policy,” Poole writes. “Ironically, one of the September 11 terrorists who had helped hijack American Airlines Flight 77 that was flown into the Pentagon had described Awlaki as ‘a great man’ and his ‘spiritual leader.’”
Awlaki had ties to terrorist suspects dating back to 1999, and continued to support terrorism, including email exchanges with Ft. Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan.