Supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Republic of Iran are gathering in Kansas City this weekend, as the Muslim Congress convenes their annual national convention. The topic? “The Divine Concept of Freedom.” Apparently, the American concept of freedom is insufficient, and they’ve chosen July 4 to express their dissent.
The Muslim Congress is a network of more than 120 Shia mosques, schools, and organizations operating in 24 states that are little more than fronts for the Iranian regime. In fact, the U.S. government is in the process of seizing through civil asset forfeiture a number of their mosque properties in five states owned by one of their member groups, because they have laundered money for the terror and weapons procurement branches of the Iranian government.
At the conference this weekend, they will be receiving a communication from the spiritual leader of one of the most murderous militias in Iraq, a group directly supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Their support for Ayatollah Khomeini isn’t subtle, either. The Muslim Congress website used to list Khomeini as one of their “prominent scholars” and maintained a lengthy biography, which curiously overlooks his leadership and direction in seizing the American embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and the subsequent 444 days that his minions held our diplomats in illegal captivity. Also missing: any mention of the tens of thousands murdered under his authority during the Iranian Revolution and early years of his rule. They conclude his biography with this glowing assessment of his achievements:
The Islamic Republic of Iran, having followed the guidance of Imam, now has a strong and powerful system both at the national and international level. Islamic tenets and laws are referred to when policies and decisions are made in government and this at all times ensures that any activities or proposals carried out are in the interest of the people.
Contrary to the views expressed by the Western media, the people of Iran have gained a new respect and dignity. They can proudly say that what they have is self-achieved that their modest dress is proper and is their cultural identity (and not an outdated custom), and that their values are Islamic and pure.
Those pages have been removed from the Muslim Congress website (which I’ve recovered through Internet Archive), yet many of the mosques and leaders are not shy about openly promoting their ties and allegiance to Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian regime.
Their Tampa mosque features a picture of current Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei at the very top of the front page of their website. And the alim of that mosque, Muhammad Ali Baig, who is also the top scholar at their seminary, boasts a large portrait of both Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei on his Vimeo page. And as the mosque’s constitution requires, the alim must “believe in, follow and be committed to the Leader.”
And the website of the mosque in Kissimmee, Florida, contains a direct link to the official website of Supreme Leader Khamenei. That same page also identifies jihad as one of the “branches of religion.”
The Muslim Congress Florida mosques hold no monopoly on allegiance to Ayatollah Khomeini. In December 2004 the MOMIN Dallas/Fort Worth mosque convened a day-long seminar on the departed Iranian leader featuring that mosque’s alim, Shamshad Haider — who will be speaking this weekend in Kansas City — and representatives from the Dallas office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). One of the other speakers at that Khomeini event was Mohamed Elibiary, who, as I reported back in October, was serving on the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group. He was sworn in just days later by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to the DHS Homeland Security Advisory Council.
So what’s happening at the Muslim Congress conference this weekend?
One of the highlights noted on the conference webpage is that they will be receiving a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to deliver a communication to the group from the top Shia religious official based in Najaf. Sistani is the spiritual leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which operates the Iranian-trained Badr militia as its military wing. The Badr militia not only regularly fought coalition forces in Iraq, but also was responsible for death squads targeting Sunnis. Sistani is also infamous for the fatwa he issued on his own website saying that gays and lesbians should be killed in the “worse, most severe way,” which his Badr militia quickly began to act on.
One of the other listed speakers for this weekend’s conference is Abdul Alim Musa, an American cleric who heads the extremist As-Sabiqun movement in the D.C. area. Musa, a regular staple at Muslim Congress annual conferences, openly advocates for Islamic revolution and global domination. One of his most infamous statements occurred during an interview he conducted with Sean Hannity on Fox News, where he backed Osama bin Laden and denied that Hezbollah and Hamas were terrorist organizations.
Strangely missing from this year’s Muslim Congress conference line-up is another staple of their past conferences, the notorious Mohammad al-Asi. A January 2003 Washington Post article cited U.S. law enforcement and intelligence sources who said that Al-Asi is an Iranian agent who in 1994 pledged his allegiance to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei. In an appearance on Iranian TV, al-Asi said that the U.S. government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. The Anti-Defamation League keeps a running tab of his anti-Semitic statements, such as an article he wrote saying that the final hour will come when “the Muslims deal the deathblow to the Yahud [Jews].”
One of the most risible claims made on the Muslim Congress website is that it “has no ties or links whatsoever to any domestic or foreign entity or organization.” What makes that laughable is the U.S. government has indicted the head of one of their member organizations, the Alavi Foundation, and is currently pursuing a civil asset forfeiture lawsuit against the foundation claiming that it laundered money for the Iranian regime. Included in that lawsuit are the properties of several Muslim Congress member mosques in New York, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, and California.
The FBI press release on the civil lawsuit describes what the Alavi Foundation was up to:
The Alavi Foundation has been providing numerous services to the Iranian Government, including managing the Building for the Iranian Government, running a charitable organization for the Iranian Government, and transferring funds from 650 Fifth Avenue Company to Bank Melli. Likewise, Assa Corporation and Assa Company Limited (“Assa Co. Ltd.”) have been providing numerous services to Bank Melli in contravention of IEEPA and the Iranian Transactions Regulations promulgated thereunder, including transferring rental income generated from 650 Fifth Avenue Company to Bank Melli, following Bank Melli’s instructions with regard to Assa Corporation’s affairs, reporting back to Bank Melli on Assa Corporations’s financial situation and business dealings, and managing the affairs of Assa Corporation for the benefit of Bank Melli.
Not surprisingly, there’s no mention whatsoever of this matter, that the Muslim Congress might lose several of its largest mosques in the U.S. because of their efforts on behalf of Iran, or that many other Muslim Congress member organizations received money from the targeted Alavi Foundation.
As the rest of America celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence and its commitment to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” it’s doubtful that the residents of Kansas City will be aware that the avowed opponents of such ideals in the form of Iran’s U.S. Khomeini contingent will be rolling into town.