Why is a powerful congressman trying to pave the way for terror-linked speakers to appear on Capitol Hill?
That’s the question that comes to mind following the abrupt cancellation of the Muslim Mobilization Conference by the US House of Representatives Sergeant-at-Arms. The event, originally scheduled for August 11, would have taken place in the Cannon House Building Caucus Room had it not been for the last minute discovery of the terror-linked speakers that the DC-based Peace and Justice Foundation had invited to participate.
However the organization is claiming that Congressman Gregory Meeks, who initially helped organize the event, is actively working with them to reschedule, notwithstanding the organization’s public defense of several global terrorist organizations and two notorious cop killers. And a review of the Peace and Justice Foundation’s corporate documents shows that the group has been operating illegally for nearly a decade without any accountability whatsoever for funds it has raised for a wide variety of extremist causes.
According to an article in The Muslim Link, the scheduling of the August conference had been handled by the chief-of-staff for Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY6), Jameel Alim Johnson. Only after the Sergeant-at-Arms contacted Congressman Meeks directly and discovered that he would not be attending was the group told the event would not be permitted in congressional facilities. The conference was held the following day at a local DC-area mosque.
As a result of that decision, accusations of Islamophobia and censorship were immediately made by the conference organizers and speakers. Even Jameel Johnson of Congressman Meeks’ office said in an email, reported by Final Call, that “this certainly seemed to me to be the red-flagging of a Muslim group. For the Sergeant-at-Arms to call out of the blue on the last day to make sure (Rep. Meeks) is going to be there and is sponsoring the function is unusual and unfair.”
But an investigation by Pajamas Media has discovered a host of troubling accusations regarding the Peace and Justice Foundation and its leader, Mauri Saalakhan. Perhaps the most troubling are his enthusiastic, public support for designated terrorist organizations and convicted terrorists, and his efforts on behalf of convicted cop killer Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.
These multiple ties to terrorist organizations and operatives raise questions about the continued assistance offered to the group by Congressman Meeks, who holds positions on the powerful House Financial Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. He is also active with the Congressional Black Caucus. This reporter spoke with Meeks spokeswoman Candace Sandy, but neither she nor the DC or District Congressional offices for Rep. Meeks would return repeated calls asking for comment on his relationship with Mauri Saalakhan and the Peace and Justice Foundation.
One of the scheduled speakers for the Capitol Hill Muslim Mobilization Conference was Anisa Abd El Fattah, a longtime former employee and past president of the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), which one convicted terrorist leader described as “the political command for HAMAS in the United States.” The organization was one of the US-based organizations found liable in a $156 million federal court judgment in the death of an American teenager killed in a Hamas suicide attack in Israel.
Fattah was the subject of a recent Pajamas Media article describing her covert attempts to be appointed to the Columbus (OH) Public School Board. Fattah has also co-authored two books with the current spokesman for Hamas, Ahmed Yousef, and was a longtime consultant to terrorist leader Abdurahman Alamoudi. Alamoudi was convicted of conspiring with the Libyan government to kill Crown Prince Abdullah, the Saudi royal heir at the time and now the king of Saudi Arabia.
After the Capitol Hill event was canceled, another scheduled speaker at the conference, Abukar Arman, promptly scheduled a similar event at the Ohio Statehouse on October 28 with many of the same speakers. These included Anisa Abd El Fattah. This reporter was the first to report on the Ohio Statehouse event, as well as the public financing that paid for the event, noting that the previous conference in August in Washington, D.C., with approximately the same set of speakers, had been cancelled because of their extremism and terror connections.
Those reports prompted a published response from the Peace and Justice Foundation. In an open letter to the Ohio event’s organizers penned by Mauri Saalakhan, this reporter was attacked and numerous terrorist organizations and terrorist leaders were defended:
In addition to the aforementioned individuals and organizations, Mr. Poole also attacked a number of others who I’ve come to know only through careful research, in my capacity as an advocate with a Metropolitan Washington-based human rights organization – individuals and organizations such as Fawaz Damra, Sami Al-Arian, Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, Mousa abu Marzook, the World Islam and Studies Enterprise (WISE), HAMAS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda.
A quick review of the “others” that Saalakhan had “come to know” is appropriate:
¬∑ Fawaz Damra – convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad fundraiser, deported earlier this year;
¬∑ Sami Al-Arian – convicted North American Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, currently in federal prison for reneging on his plea deal to testify against his terror-supporting co-conspirators;
¬∑ Sheikh Ahmed Yasin – founder of the terrorist group HAMAS, assassinated by Israel in March 2004;
¬∑ Mousa Abu Marzook – HAMAS deputy political leader, former HAMAS North American fundraiser, deported by the US government.
In his open letter, he defends each of these terrorist leaders in detail. Additionally, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda are all well-known US-designated global terrorist organizations. Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest and largest purveyor of jihadist ideology, as well as the incubator for virtually every single Islamic terrorist organization in the world today.
Saalakhan also rose to the defense of current Hamas spokesman Ahmed Yousef, identifying him as a “moderate” and a longtime personal associate. He failed to note that Yousef fled the country in 2005 to avoid prosecution in the Fawaz Damra trial, after which he immediately reappeared as a top Hamas official:
Dr. Ahmed Yusuf is not an “extremist.” He is a deeply committed and caring Palestinian activist; someone who is routinely described by those who know him as a “moderate” – and someone who is understandably committed to the liberation of his people. As one of the principle founders of UASR, I always found him to be genuinely committed to dialogue and peaceful resolution whenever possible. (And I’ve known Dr. Yousef for many years.)
Also in Saalakhan’s open letter, he states that his organization had met with Rep. Meeks and is working with his congressional office to reschedule the canceled Capitol Hill conference:
The short of it is this. We have since met with the congressman; he apologized for the mishap and assured us that we will be able to plan the event again with his full knowledge and support.
If Congressman Meeks and his office staff are in fact continuing to assist Mauri Saalakhan and his Peace and Justice Foundation with Congressman Meeks’ “full knowledge and support”, perhaps they can also explain why they believe it is appropriate considering Saalakhan’s ongoing efforts to promote the cause of convicted cop killers Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin and Mumia Abu Jamal.
In the case of Al-Amin, Saalakhan has published numerous articles in his defense, even though Al-Amin was convicted on all charges by a Georgia jury and was identified as the shooter by the partner of the murdered police officer, who was also severely injured in the attack. The weapons used in the ambush of the officers were recovered at the time of Al-Amin’s arrest.
Saalakhan has also published a number of articles in defense of the following convicted terrorists: Zacarias Moussaoui (the “20th 9/11 hijacker”); Abdurahman Alamoudi (discussed earlier as a conspirator in the plot to kill Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah); Jose Padilla (al-Qaeda “dirty bomber”); the “blind sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman (currently serving life plus 70 years for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing); and the members of the Northern Virginia Jihad Network.
Mauri Saalakhan has even come under fire from segments of the Muslim community, such as New Trend Magazine, for failing to disclose the details of the funds he has raised in his various activities, particularly the extensive fundraising he conducted all over the country in support of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin’s defense.
Our Pajamas Media investigation into the Peace and Justice Foundation found evidence that is sure to raise even greater concerns about Saalakhan’s fundraising practices. Unlike all other not-for-profit organizations which are required to file a Form 990 if they raise more than $25,000, the Peace and Justice Foundation has never done so. In fact, the group has never filed a Form 990 nor has it ever requested a tax exemption letter from the IRS. It has also never registered, as required by numerous state laws, to conduct fundraising for its support.
Also, a review of corporate documents for the Peace and Justice Foundation filed with the Maryland Secretary of State (the group lists a Silver Springs, Maryland address) indicates that when the organization was formed in 1996, it was chartered as a for-profit corporation with Mauri Saalakhan as the sole agent. However, the group’s corporate charter was reported forfeited by the state in October 1999 for a failure to file a property report for tax purposes. Thus, the Peace and Justice Foundation has been operating illegally without any corporate status for the better part of a decade, presumably without having filed any of the necessary federal income tax returns and undoubtedly without any public accountability for the funds it has collected over the years for various causes. A search of corporate records for surrounding states and Washington, D.C., found no records for the Peace and Justice Foundation.
These multiple factors – Mauri Saalakhan’s repeated public defense of convicted terrorists, global terrorist organizations, and cop killers – combined with the highly questionable corporate and fundraising practices of the Peace and Justice Foundation itself, raise troubling questions about how an extremist organization can be allied so closely with one of the most powerful congressmen on Capitol Hill. These questions are heightened even further when one considers that the Peace and Justice Foundation is using its access to Congressman Gregory Meeks to schedule events featuring terror-linked suspects in the epicenter of American political and civic power. Meeks appears more than willing to help establish the group’s public legitimacy and give tacit endorsement to its extremist agenda.
Patrick Poole is a counter-terror consultant to law enforcement and the Executive Director of Central Ohioans Against Terrorism.