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Congressional Muslim Staffers Hosted Second Al-Qaeda Cleric on Capitol Hill

Hajjaj’s bio on his America Islamic Information Center website, and Meeks’ letter to Homeland Security on his behalf, notes that he is a professor at the American Open University. In fact, the university’s current phone number is the same used by Taibah International on its last IRS Form 990. The president of AOU, Jaafar Sheikh Idris -- who has attacked the Western notion of separation of church and state and authored a tract on “The Process of Islamization” for the Muslim Student Association -- was stripped of his religious worker visa and deported from the U.S. in July 2004.

Hajjaj is also the former education chairman of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the former president of the Dar-al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia. Dar-al-Hijrah is the mosque where Anwar al-Awlaki served as imam and at least two of the 9/11 hijackers attended services. Hajjaj continues to teach weekly at the mosque.

The presence of two al-Qaeda clerics on Capitol Hill -- hosted by Muslim congressional staffers -- is problematic on several levels. As we see in Rep. Meeks’ intervention in Hajjaj’s case, it is his involvement with Muslim staffers on the Hill that was invoked to demonstrate his acceptability. Thus, these high-level government contacts give these terror-tied clerics legitimacy and cover from media and public scrutiny.

Another deleterious effect was identified by a group of Muslim leaders who spoke on Capitol Hill earlier this month, hosted by Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), who complained that the mainstreaming of terror-tied Islamic clerics by government officials ends up crowding-out the voices of true moderate leaders -- many of whom have been openly critical of Muslim Brotherhood-backed infiltration efforts.

But the stories of al-Qaeda clerics Anwar al-Awlaki and Anwar Hajjaj leading prayers on Capitol Hill raise even more questions about who else the Congressional Muslim Staff Association has been hosting in the People’s House. That’s a question members of Congress and other media outlets ought to be asking.