Thursday, April 22, 2010

Obama and Islam

File this under Enemy Within.  Steven Emerson presents a thourough picture of the Islamic infiltration int othe office of the President.


Meet the pollster who works behind the scenes with radical Islamist groups to enhance their standing in the presidential council's activities

By Steven Emerson

Few American Islamists receive the kind of glowing media coverage given to Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, who is sometimes described as the "most influential person" shaping the Obama Administration's Middle East message.

Mogahed, who claims to have played an important role in the drafting of President Obama's historic Cairo speech to the Muslim world, was appointed to serve on the President's Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The council released its final recommendations last month.

When European Islamist Tariq Ramadan kicked off his U.S. tour earlier this month at Cooper Union in New York City, Mogahed and two journalists joined him for a panel discussion. Her remarks emphasized polling data showing that Muslim Americans are more affluent and socially content than their European counterparts.

Muslim Americans are no more likely to support political violence than the rest of the nation, Mogahed said. The minority of Muslim Americans who do support attacks on civilians base this position on politics, not religion.

It's a message that Mogahed attempts to drive home at every opportunity.

She routinely is depicted as a scholarly analyst monitoring public opinion on subjects like anti-Muslim prejudice in the United States or global Muslim attitudes toward America. On other occasions, she is treated as a pioneering Muslim celebrity or portrayed as a victim of anti-Muslim "smears."

But the reality is much more complicated. Mogahed is not some apolitical social scientist chronicling political trends in the manner of George Gallup, founder of the parent organization for her polling center. While Gallup strived to maintain his objectivity, Mogahed has followed a very different course. As we will explain in more detail below, she works behind the scenes with radical Islamist groups to enhance their standing in the presidential council's activities.

Mogahed is a protege of John Esposito, executive director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and a longstanding apologist for the Muslim Brotherhood. The pair have worked together at the Gallup Center, and co-authored the book Who Speaks for Islam? What A Billion Muslims Really Think in 2007, which was subsequently turned into a film. Read the State Department website's coverage of the film premiere here.

Mogahed has been a tenacious defender of groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), both of which are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. During a September 2008 appearance at the Religion Newswriters Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., she was asked about links between the two organizations and Islamic radicals. Mogahed replied that it would be unfair to have those groups "disenfranchised" because of "misinformation." Without offering evidence, she claimed "there is a concerted effort to silence, you know, institution building among Muslims. And the way to do it is [to] malign these groups. And it's kind of a witch hunt."

In CAIR's case, that "witch hunt" is rooted in the halls of the same government Mogahed now advises. It is the FBI's judgment, based upon evidence admitted in court in a Hamas-financing trial, that CAIR is a Hamas front and not "an appropriate liaison partner." Those Hamas connections appear to be the focus of an ongoing grand jury investigation into CAIR.

ISNA, like CAIR, was an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism-financing trial. Exhibits from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) trial showed that the North American Islamic Trust, an ISNA subsidiary, paid $30,000 to senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk and his wife, along with another $30,000 to the Islamic University of Gaza, a school long known to be controlled by Hamas. Five former HLF officials were found guilty of illegally routing more than $12 million to Hamas.

When the White House announced Mogahed's appointment in April, her selection was warmly welcomed by CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad:

    "Congratulations to Ms. Mogahed on this well-deserved appointment. Her knowledge and expertise will be an asset to this important council. The American Muslim community can feel confident that she will be a balanced and valuable resource on the vital issues the council must address."

Outreach to Islamists from White House