Roger’s Rules

A mystery too deep for me (Islamist edition)

The other day, I wrote a brief column in this space called “The State Department Invertebrate Embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Taking off from a column by Andy McCarthy about the case of Huma Abedin. You remember Abedin. She’s a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is also a conspicuous sympathizer of the Muslim Brotherhood. I puzzled, as did Andy, over the behavior of folks like Senator John “I’m-a-Maverick” McCain and Speaker John Boehner with respect to the concerns raised by Michelle Bachmann and some of her GOP colleagues about Abedin’s connections with the MB given her access to sensitive material bearing on national security. Here’s the situation that Andy reported:

  • Abedin’s late father, an Indian-born Islamic academic founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs in Saudi Arabia. That institute was backed by the Muslim World League. It has, Andy points out, “served as the principal vehicle for the propagation of Islamic supremacism by the Saudis and the [Muslim] Brotherhood.”
  • Abedin’s Abedin’s mother, the Pakistani-born academic Dr. Saleha Abedin, has been a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, the distaff side of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood, Andy reminds us, “is not only the font of Sunni supremacist ideology, it spearheads the international support network for Hamas, the terrorist organization that openly proclaims itself as the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch.”  Hmm. Andy also cites William Jacobson of  Legal Insurrection,  who shows that Dr.  Abedin has led the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child (IICWC), an Islamist organization that “hews to the positions of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s leading sharia jurist” and supporter of the terrorist organization Hamas. (N.B.,  the IICWC defends “such practices as female genital mutilation and child marriage, which find support in Islamic law and scripture.”)
  • Then there is Abedin’s brother, Dr. Hassan Abedin who has been a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies in Great Britain,  Sheikh Qaradawi was a member of the Oxford Center’s board of trustees.

Regarding Ms. Abedin’s family ties, Senator McCain accused his GOP colleagues of “McCarthyism” (that’s Joseph McCarthyism, not Andrew McCarthyism). “These sinister accusations,” McCain said,  “rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma’s family.”

Really?  McCain is right that the connections are sinister. But I would suggest he avail himself of a dictionary.  Far from being “unspecified” and “unsubstantiated,” I’d describe them as highly specific and irrefutably documented.

In the ordinary course of things, such close family ties with suspect individuals and terrorist organizations explicitly bent on the propagation of an ideology wholly at odds with the canons of limited government and individual liberty upon which the United States used to rest would raise a red flag or two in the background check department.

It gets worse, by the way. Huma Abedin’s ties to Islamic radicalism are not, as Andy puts it in a recent PJM column, not just a “family affair.” It’s not just through her father, mother, and brother that she has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other organs of Islamic radicalism, including al Qaeda. No, it’s worse.  Abedin herself, as Andy shows, “is directly connected to Abdullah Omar Naseef, a major Muslim Brotherhood figure involved in the financing of al-Qaeda.”

Abedin worked for a number of years at the Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs as assistant editor of its journal. The IMMA was founded by Naseef, who remained active in it for decades, overlapping for several years with Abedin. Naseef was also secretary general of the Muslim World League in Saudi Arabia, perhaps the most significant Muslim Brotherhood organization in the world. In that connection, he founded the Rabita Trust, which is formally designated as a foreign terrorist organization under American law due to its support of al-Qaeda.

Forget the red flags.  Those responsible for doing background checks ought to have been hearing sirens wailing and alarm bells clanging. As Andy points out, “A person is not required to have done anything wrong to be denied a high-ranking government position, or more immediately, the security clearance allowing access to classified information that is necessary to function in such a job. There simply need be associations, allegiances, or interests that establish a potential conflict of interest.”

But forget all that—or, rather, don’t forget it, but add this data point to the heap of incriminating evidence: “Huma Abedin should have been ineligible for any significant government position based on her own personal and longstanding connection to Naseef’s organization.”

We are not talking here about some random imam in the dizzying alphabet soup of Islamist entities. In the pantheon of Islamic supremacism, there are few positions more critical than secretary general of the Muslim World League. In fact, one of the MWL’s founders was Sa’id Ramadan, the right-hand and son-in-law of Hassan al-Banna, the Brotherhood’s legendary founder.

The MWL manages the “civilization jihad” — the Brotherhood’s commitment to destroy the West from within, and to “conquer” it by sharia proselytism (or dawa), as Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s top sharia jurist, puts it. Nevertheless, the MWL has a long history of deep involvement in violent jihad as well.

Hmmm?  And consider this: “Huma Abedin was affiliated with the IMMA’s journal for a dozen years, from 1996 through 2008. She overlapped with its founder, Naseef, for at least seven years.

It gives, or should give, a whole new dimension of meaning to the phrase “seven-year itch.”

Andy’s pieces on this subject have been widely read but have as yet to penetrate the hard carapace of studied indifference that encapsulates the the legacy media’s attitude towards radical Islam.

I’m used to that.  What I don’t get is why even many ostensibly  conservative organs are shying away from this story.  And here is where the journalist Diana West enters. In a disturbing column yesterday, West details the story of the Washington Examiner’s spiking a column she wrote arguing that Bachmann and her colleagues were right to call on the Inspectors General to investigate Huama Abedin and the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on US government policy.

Why did the Examiner spike the column? Because, David Freddoso, the editor said, “there is no hint of proof that [Abedin] has done anything improper.”

Well isn’t that nice. But when it comes to distributing government security clearances, you don’t have to have done something improper to be denied one.  West quotes Andy McCarthy on this score:  “A person is not required to have done anything wrong to be denied a high-ranking government position, or more immediately, the security clearance allowing access to classified information that is necessary to function in such a job. There simply need be associations, allegiances, or interests that establish a potential conflict of interest.”  And those associations, allegiances, and interests exist in florid profusion in the case of Huma Abedin.

In the column the Examiner doesn’t want you to see, West quotes Rep. Bachmann:  “For us to raise issues about a highly based U.S. government official with known immediate family connections to foreign extremist organizations is not a question of singling out Ms. Abedin. In fact, these questions are raised by the U.S. government of anyone seeking a security clearance.”

I think West is probably correct when she speculates that “the bit about Abedin is the only piece of this complex story most readers have heard of. It has come to dominate and distort the response to a rational and patriotic effort to bring more transparency to government decision-making in order to ensure that it remains Muslim Brotherhood-free.”  Is that too much to ask?