Following the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has come under fire for failing to connect the dots concerning bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. But new information concerning the NCTC’s de-radicalization expert, Yasir Qadhi, raises questions about how far the rot of political correctness extends within the agency most responsible for connecting the dots.
Qadhi’s association with the NCTC came to light late last week in a report by CNN that Abdulmutallab had attended a 16-day conference in Houston sponsored by the AlMaghrib Institute, where Qadhi is a featured instructor. The report also noted that Abdulmutallab had attended two other AlMaghrib events in the UK.
Qadhi spoke to CNN on behalf of AlMaghrib, attempting to explain away the terrorist’s repeated attendance at his organization’s events. Towards the end of the CNN report came a disturbing revelation:
Qadhi, of New Haven, Connecticut, has been involved in de-radicalization efforts in the United States and was a leading participant in the U.S. Counter-Radicalization Strategy conference organized by the National Counterterrorism Center in the summer of 2008.
To say that Yasir Qadhi has been involved in de-radicalization efforts in the U.S. is a sick joke. That he was a leading participant in the NCTC’s conference on counter-radicalization is a step into the surreal. Was al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Aulaqi not available to attend? When it comes to Islamic radicalization, Yasir Qadhi is the problem, not the solution. And the NCTC only had to consult its own records to know exactly who they were dealing with.
An August 8, 2006, article in the Houston Chronicle reported on a meeting in Houston with Department of Homeland Security officials where Yasir Qadhi complained openly that he was on the terror watch list.
How might have the NCTC’s de-radicalization expert ended up on the terror watch list? Was his placement on the terror watch list some kind of mistake and an example of rampant Islamophobia? Hardly. Just last week, in response to the CNN report, a post at the Jawa Report observed that Qadhi’s Ilmquest media company had been selling more than a dozen audio CD sets by al-Qaeda cleric Aulaqi, even after the cleric had been tied to the Ft. Hood shootings (the post included a screen shot of Ilmquest’s Aulaqi products — all since removed from the Ilmquest website). Aulaqi’s sermons have also recently been sold at AlMaghrib seminars. These sales of Aulaqi’s sermons continued while Qadhi criticized Aulaqi on his MuslimMatters website.
Additionally, Qadhi has been one of the most outspoken advocates for convicted “Virginia jihad network leader” Abu Al-Tamimi, and his MuslimMatters website openly champions the cause of captured al-Qaeda operative Aafia Siddiqui.
Last July I wrote here at Pajamas Media about an upcoming appearance by Qadhi at an AlMaghrib seminar in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, noting the virulently anti-Jewish statements by Qadhi. In a sermon delivered by Qadhi in 2001, where he directed his listeners to a book entitled The Hoax of the Holocaust, he elaborated on that book’s theme of how Adolf Hitler was misunderstood:
All of these Polish Jews which Hitler was supposedly trying to exterminate, that’s another point, by the way, Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews. There are a number of books out on this written by Christians, you should read them. The Hoax of the Holocaust, I advise you to read this book and write this down, The Hoax of the Holocaust, a very good book. All of this is false propaganda and I know it sounds so far-fetched, but read it. The evidences [sic] are very strong. And they’re talking about newspaper articles, clippings, everything and look up yourself what Hitler really wanted to do. We’re not defending Hitler, by the way, but the Jews, the way that they portray him, also is not correct.
After Qadhi was denounced by Dominic Grieve, the UK’s shadow home secretary and attorney general, during a speech at the 2008 Global Peace and Unity event (where Qadhi was also speaking) as an example of the radicalism infecting the Muslim community, Qadhi came out — seven years after making those statements — with an explanation. He said he had been tricked into making these statements because he didn’t know that the Holocaust deniers he relied upon would actually be pushing Holocaust denial.
But no sooner had Qadhi walked back his previous statements did he appear at last year’s Islamic Society of North America conference, decrying the treatment afforded to notorious Holocaust denier David Irving (video is here). As I observed in an article more than two years ago, Qadhi had also posted links to articles by another Holocaust denier, Alexander Baron, on an Islamic online forum after Baron had returned from a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran sponsored by the Iranian regime.
A Boston Globe editorial published last July noted that Qadhi had said that Jews want to destroy Muslims and had described Christians as theologically “filthy.”
Qadhi has not reserved his special brand of hate just for infidels. In 2006, Qadhi took to the AlMaghrib online forum to denounce prominent Sunni Islamic scholar Sheikh Alawi al-Maliki as a polytheist (and thus deserving of condemnation to hell). After Muslim bloggers began calling for a boycott of AlMaghrib in response to Qadhi’s takfiri ideology, the post quickly disappeared from the AlMaghrib forum.
And just last April, the UK-based Islamic group Quilliam Foundation issued an alert noting Qadhi’s anti-Jewish tirade, and also noting statements he had made attacking Shia Islam as “the most lying sect of Islam,” including: “The Shias are allowed to lie and it is their religion to lie.”
Again, this is the NCTC’s “de-radicalization” expert.
Yasir Qadhi is not alone amongst the AlMaghrib instructors responsible for promoting the extremist ideology that nurtures Islamic radicalization and terror. AlMaghrib founder Muhammad Alshareef expressed his thoughts on Muslim-Jewish relations in an article entitled “Why the Jews are Cursed.” And in a speech entitled “What Have You Done for the Deen of Allah,” AlMaghrib instructor Waleed Basyouni identified the behavior of Jews during Muhammad’s era as the reason that Jews do not and cannot know Allah.
Comments made by another AlMaghrib instructor, Ashraf Ismail, were recorded in 2006 by the Investigative Project on Terrorism. During his speech, he instructed the video camera operators to turn off their equipment and explained how Islam was destined to become preeminent throughout the world. Ismail’s comments after the video was turned off were captured by the Investigative Project operatives — showing yet again that the public face of the AlMaghrib Institute is directly contrary to the one it reveals privately to its devotees.
If Yasir Qadhi represents what the NCTC believes to be an example of a leader in de-radicalization — and it quite clearly does — then Congress should begin an immediate investigation into the usefulness of the agency. In this instance, Qadhi had already connected the dots for the NCTC, admitting in a meeting with top Homeland Security officials that he was on the government’s terror watch list. By representing that Yasir Qadhi is a partner in de-radicalization efforts, the NCTC has been outwitted by a two-faced, low-level ideological Islamic thug — proving that it is no match for the likes of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and al-Qaeda.