Editor’s Note: PJ Media contributor Patrick Poole is the author of the Middle East Review for International Affairs (MERIA) article “Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach and the Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy,” which was published earlier this month.
Steve Emerson and John Rossomando of the Investigative Project reported last night that Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), was received by senior Obama administration officials in the White House on June 13:
Bin Bayyah’s website claims that he met June 13 with senior Obama administration officials at the White House.
Nonetheless, it was the Obama administration which sought the meeting with Bin Bayyah, his website’s account said.
“We asked for this meeting to learn from you and we need to be looking for new mechanisms to communicate with you and the Association of Muslim Scholars (another name used for the IUMS),” Gayle Smith, senior director of the National Security Council, reportedly said.
Bin Bayyah’s June 13 account placed other senior officials in the meeting, including: Rashad Hussain, the U.S. special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and White House spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri. But the account was later changed to delete the reference to Donilon’s presence at the meeting.
Smith also thanked Bin Bayyah for “his efforts to bring more understanding amongst humanity” during the meeting, the Bin Bayyah account said.
The White House did not respond to repeated requests for comments between June 14 and Tuesday.
Bin Bayyah posted a picture of himself in the White House on his website:
Obama’s OIC envoy Rashad Hussain and other top Islamic advisers to the president, including ISNA president Mohamed Magid, traveled to Mauritania last year (where slavery is still openly practiced) to confer with bin Bayyah.
What’s even more remarkable about bin Bayyah’s White House reception is that he was one of the clerics endorsing a IUMS fatwa in November 2004 authorizing the killing of Americans in Iraq. Bin Bayyah was vice president of the organization at the time. The IUMS fatwa was even promoted on the official Iraqi resistance website.
More recently, bin Bayyah capitalized on the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last September to appeal to Western governments to criminalize defamation of Islam (a call seconded by some U.S. Islamic organizations), as the administration began pushing the bogus “YouTube video” justification for the attack:
We are extremely concerned with a small active minority in your countries that seeks to perpetuate a state of conflict and war.
We estimate that such objectives do not serve the general interest. Therefore, it is our hope that you reconsider and criminalize the denigration of religious symbols, as such provocations do not serve the principles of free speech, principles that you and us both seek to uphold.
It should be noted that this White House visit is not bin Bayyah’s first trip to Washington D.C. In April 2011, bin Bayyah was feted on Capitol Hill by Obama advisers Mohamed Majid and Hamza Yusuf, who were ironically holding a session on “Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism from a Theological Perspective.” The event was sponsored by Obama administration outreach-partner organization Muflehun.
Bin Bayyah was also the keynote speaker at a May 2012 Georgetown University symposium with Mohamed Majid and IUMS board member Jamal Badawi. I have previously noted that Badawi is a foreign cleric who is known to have raised money for terrorist organizations and openly supports terrorist organizations, and yet is still let into the country by the Department of Homeland Security.
Emerson and Rossomando also note that bin Bayyah is deputy of the international Muslim Brotherhood’s senior jurist Yusuf al-Qaradawi, aka the “Theologian of Terror,” who is the president of IUMS and was the first Sunni cleric to issue a fatwa endorsing suicide bombings back in 1994. As a result of his terror endorsements, Qaradawi has been banned from the United States since 1999.