The most recent salvo in the kerfuffle between Minnesota congressmen Michele Bachmann and Keith Ellison finds Ellison attacking Bachmann for her statements made on Glenn Beck’s radio program on Thursday, where she said:
GLENN: Okay. So when you wrote this letter, then Keith Ellison comes out. And Keith Ellison is ‑‑ he has a record of being the Mafia hitman.
CONGRESSWOMAN BACHMANN: Well, he has a long record of being associated with CAIR and with the Muslim Brotherhood. CAIR is an unindicted co‑conspirator, as stated in the large terrorist financing case that we’ve had in the United States of America and so he came out and essentially wanted to shut down the inspectors general from even looking into any of the questions that we were asking. So he wanted to shut it down. In response I wrote another letter back to Keith Ellison, a 16‑page letter which I would encourage all of your listeners to go and read this letter. It’s what I call a bulletproof letter. I have 59 footnotes with one example after another of the penetration of the Muslim Brotherhood into the federal government…
In response, Ellison told the Huffington Post:
“I am not now, nor have I ever been, associated with the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said with a laugh.
In fact, it is his denial that is laughable.
But this weekend Ellison doubled-down on his denial, telling Politico:
I support American institutions. I don’t know enough about [the Muslim Brotherhood]. What I know about them is that in Egypt, one of their candidates has ascended to the presidency. I’ve never met that person. But I do think the United States should have a foreign policy where we talk to foreign leaders of all kinds. But no, I don’t have any, I don’t have any Muslim Brotherhood connections that she’s talking about.
According to Ellison’s impeccable logic, since he hasn’t met Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader and new Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, therefore he has no knowledge of the Muslim Brotherhood.
But a mountain of evidence of his contacts with and support of Muslim Brotherhood front groups – identified as such by the U.S. government – shows that the Muslim Brotherhood definitely knows who he is.
As Scott Johnson at Powerline noted at the time that Ellison had conflicting stories about who paid for the trip:
The Star Tribune first reported on Ellison’s hajj in two puff pieces by Mitch Anderson this past December. Anderson first reported the statement of Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert that Ellison had paid for the trip himself. When Anderson returned to the story, he got such deep stuff from Ellison as this: “This is just me trying to be the best person I can be.” In the second story Anderson also reported that the MAS Minnesota paid for Ellison’s trip to Mecca, though Anderson didn’t pause to note the discrepancy between his two stories on this point.
As Fox News reported on the MAS sponsorship of Ellison’s trip, Ellison returned the favor to his benefactors by speaking at the 2007 and 2008 MAS-Minnesota conventions.
But who is MAS?
Fortunately, federal prosecutors cleared up the matter back in December 2007 when they said in a court filing in the federal appeal of convicted terror operative Sabri Benkahla (page 58, footnote 13):
MAS was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.
As support for that statement, the federal prosecutors cited a September 2004 investigative report by the Chicago Tribune, which chronicles the efforts by the international Muslim Brotherhood to create Islamic states worldwide including the U.S.
The group identified by the Chicago Tribune as the main organization operating today on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood was MAS:
In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation’s major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members.
So in 2004 – four years before Ellison’s MAS-financed trip to Saudi Arabia – MAS had been identified in the establishment media as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.
And in case there was any confusion on Ellison’s part, federal prosecutors addressed the issue again in December 2007 – one year before Ellison’s MAS hajj trip – saying that MAS was “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”
That alone should prompt an apology by Ellison to Bachmann.
As the late Billy Mays would say, but wait, there’s more.
Another group that Ellison has a longtime association with is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), going back at least as far as his 2006 campaign when he was first elected to Congress.
As Joel Mowbray reported in the Washington Times during that campaign, CAIR raised tens of thousands of dollars in bundled donations for Ellison’s election war chest and held CAIR fundraisers specifically for Ellison’s campaign.
Since that time, Ellison has reciprocated CAIR’s support by appearing at a number of fundraisers on the group’s behalf.
For example, immediately after his election Ellison gave this videotaped address to the CAIR national fundraiser on November 18, 2006:
The following year Ellison spoke on behalf of the CAIR-Los Angeles chapter:
And lest Ellison and his backers claim this is old news, here’s an advertisement for a CAIR-Los Angeles fundraiser where Ellison was the keynote speaker in May 2011:
Please note that this CAIR fundraiser was co-sponsored by none other than MAS.
So who is CAIR?
Again, federal prosecutors and the federal courts have sufficiently cleared up the matter.
In the same December 2007 federal appeals court filing by federal prosecutors in the Benkahla case that identified MAS as “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America,” they also stated with respect to CAIR (page 58, footnote 13):
Moreover, from its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.
So according to the federal government, CAIR was not only founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, but it was founded to help support terrorists. (Bet you won’t read that in the Huffington Post.)
Earlier than that, in June 2007, federal prosecutors named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial — the largest terrorism financing trial in American history. In naming CAIR in the case, it identified the group as among “the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations.” (page 5, no. 11)
The Justice Department gave some context to CAIR’s creation and role in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee when it responded to motions filed by Islamic groups seeking to have their names removed from the unindicted co-conspirator list.
Federal prosecutors said in their response (page 13):
The U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood created the U.S. Palestine Committee, which documents reflect was initially comprised of three organizations: The OLF (HLF), the IAP, and the UASR. CAIR was later added to these organizations… The mandate of these organizations, per the International Muslim Brotherhood, was to support HAMAS…
During that trial in September 2008, FBI Special Agent Lara Burns testified in federal court that CAIR was a front for the terrorist group Hamas.
As a result of the convictions in that case, and the trial evidence submitted by federal prosecutors in the case, the FBI announced in January 2009 that it was severing all ties to CAIR.
In response to that announcement, New York Sen. Charles Schumer joined Arizona Sen. John Kyl and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller asserting the ban on contact with CAIR “should be government-wide policy”:
And in a federal court decision unsealed in November 2010 by Judge Jorge Solis, who presided over the Holy Land Foundation trial, he dedicated six pages to outlining the “ample evidence” connecting CAIR and other Islamic organizations to the Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee’s conspiracy to support Hamas (pp. 14-15):
What’s remarkable about all the trial evidence and court decisions regarding MAS and CAIR is that Keith Ellison would be aware of it since Bachmann included this information along with links to all of the relevant documents in her 16-page July 13th letter to the congressman, which he derided last week as “16 pages of nothing.” (The Huffington Post and the rest of the establishment media could have informed themselves as well if they had also read her letter.)
But before leaving the issue of Ellison’s relationship to CAIR, it should be observed that the first Muslim congressman has run into conflicts with his own congressional colleagues over CAIR.
In addition to Sen. Schumer’s aforementioned plea to make the FBI’s ban on contact with CAIR “government-wide policy,” other Democrats have made public statements critical of the organization. In a September 2003 hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin described CAIR as “unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its association with groups that are suspect.” (page 21):
However, I have noted previously Durbin’s apparent change of heart.
In 2006, California Sen. Barbara Boxer rescinded an award to a local CAIR chapter, which she called a mistake, expressing her concerns after she heard from law enforcement officials that CAIR “gives aid to international terrorist groups.”
Will Ellison be consistent and attack his fellow Democratic colleagues as “malicious and bigoted” as he has Bachmann for making the same assessment of CAIR?
And when Ellison appeared at a September 2009 CAIR-Arizona fundraiser, three members of the Arizona congressional delegation, supported by the Arizona-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy, sent a letter calling on the Minnesota congressman to reconsider his appearance in light of CAIR’s extensive documented ties to extremism and terrorism (somebody better tell John McCain to get his delegation in line). Ellison appeared anyway.
Without the slightest tinge of irony, Ellison said at that CAIR-AZ fundraiser that “I would never associate myself with anyone even soft on terrorism.”
But go back to the August 2006 fundraiser sponsored by CAIR. According to the Washington Post, Ellison’s CAIR campaign fundraiser was headed by none other than CAIR co-founder and executive director Nihad Awad. Awad also bundled contributions on behalf of Ellison’s campaign.
So who is Nihad Awad?
According to Justice Department, Awad is a longtime Hamas operative. Multiple statements made by federal prosecutors identify Awad as one of the attendees at a 1993 meeting of US Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee leaders in Philadelphia that was wiretapped by the FBI under a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant. The topic of discussion during that 1993 meeting was how to help Hamas by working in the U.S. to help sabotage the Oslo peace accords.
In April 2011, I broke the story here at PJ Media that the Holder Justice Department had scuttled the pending indictment of Omar Ahmad as part of the second round of Holy Land Foundation prosecutions. AG Holder admitted later that week that Ahmad’s prosecution had been dropped.
A government exhibit in the Holy Land Foundation case identifies both Nihad Awad and CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad at the 1993 Philadelphia Hamas meeting:
And during the Holy Land Foundation case, one of the trial exhibits submitted to the court by federal prosecutors was a list of Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee members, which includes Nihad Awad (page 4, no. 32):
So in contradiction to Ellison, he not only associates with individuals soft on terrorism, he’ll freely associate with those who are hard on terrorism.
Speaking of which, as the Weekly Standard has reported, in February 2000 Ellison delivered a speech at a fundraiser for former Symbionese Liberation Army member Kathleen Soliah (aka Sarah Jane Olson), who was arrested in June 1999 for the attempted pipe bomb murder of LAPD officers in 1975. During that same speech Ellison spoke favorably of cop killers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur.
In October 2001, Ellison’s pal Soliah pled guilty to two counts of possessing explosives with intent to murder.
So in the case of both Nihad Awad and his friend Kathleen Soliah, Keith Ellison had no problem associating with individuals soft and hard on terrorism.
Finally, Keith Ellison has some serious chutzpah to attack anyone as “malicious and bigoted” considering his history as the former local Minneapolis spokesman for the rabidly anti-Semitic Nation of Islam.
Among the many lowlights of Ellison’s pre-congressional career was a statement he gave during a meeting of the Minnesota Initiative Against Racism, where he defended “the truth” of the claim that “Jews are the most racist white people.” Lovely.
So before the media parrots his heated accusations of Michele Bachmann’s supposed “bigotry,” perhaps Keith Ellison needs to be measured by his own standards.
And color me skeptical of his claim that because he hasn’t met Egyptian president and Muslim Brotherhood party leader Mohammed Morsi, he has no knowledge of the Muslim Brotherhood.
That, however, brings up the the following question: if he really doesn’t know who the Muslim Brotherhood is, how can he attack Michele Bachmann for trying to bring him up to speed?
In the spirit of PolitiFact, considering Ellison’s extensive contacts with both the Muslim American Society and the Council on American-Islamic Relations – both identified by the U.S. government as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood – we would have to rate his disingenuous and outright laughable claims to have no associations with the Muslim Brotherhood as “pants on fire.”
But having sufficiently proven his associations with identified Muslim Brotherhood fronts and leaders in the face of his heated denials of any association, no doubt his media guardians will now attack me for “guilt by association.”
One final note to the establishment media: you’re not going to be able to run and hide from these statements by the FBI and Justice Department about Keith Ellison’s Muslim Brotherhood front friends for much longer. Drop the witch-hunt hysterics and let’s have a real debate about the facts. (This is me not holding my breath.)