Thursday, April 24, 2008
Will Muslim chaplains
radicalize U.S. troops?
Congresswoman calls for probe
of all green-lighted by terrorist
Posted: April 24, 2008
12:33 am Eastern
Fearing the radicalization of U.S. soldiers, the leader of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus has called for a government investigation of all Muslim chaplains serving in the U.S. military to determine whether they have ties to radical Islamic groups.
Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., says the Pentagon has failed to properly vet the Muslim chaplains ministering to U.S forces since it first set up its Muslim chaplain corps 15 years ago.
The military chaplains were approved by a convicted terrorism supporter who at the time headed the American Muslim Council. Abdurahman Alamoudi is now serving a 23-year prison sentence on federal terrorism charges.
The U.S. Department of Treasury in 2005 announced in a statement that "Alamoudi had a close relationship with al-Qaida and had raised money for al-Qaida in the United States."
According to Myrick, the chaplains he sponsored have not been re-screened since his sentencing.
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"Alamoudi placed Muslim chaplains throughout the military. He is now in jail on charges of terrorism," she said. "The chaplains to my knowledge are still in their current positions."
Myrick added that "while there may be nothing wrong with the Muslim chaplains that he approved, it seems logical that our government would re-check the chaplains who were approved by a convicted terrorist."
In January 2007, Myrick founded the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus. The bipartisan group, with more than 120 members and headed by Myrick and Reps. Bud Cramer, D-Ala., and Jane Harman, D-Calif., was formed to allow members to meet with terrorism experts and become educated about the dangers radical Islamists pose to America.
The caucus meets twice a month and hears from terrorism experts, including Ken Pollack, Steve Emerson, Walid Phares, Gen. Anthony Zinni and Lawrence Wright.
Myrick, who is up for re-election this year, has been working on numerous issues related to radical Islamists, such as writing letters to the Department of Justice and FBI taking issue with their outreach to radical groups, as well as looking into similar issues at the Pentagon.
Myrick's call for a formal probe of Muslim chaplains coincides with her release of an ambitious 10-point legislative agenda, dubbed "Wake Up America." She says Washington is not doing enough to protect the nation from the threat from radical Islam, and the public as a consequence has grown complacent.
"People would rather watch 'American Idol,'" she said.
She also is calling for a government investigation of all U.S. prison chaplains who were approved by Alamoudi. At least one Muslim cleric who contracted with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in New York had supported al-Qaida and the 9/11 hijackings.
The FBI says U.S. prisons are a top recruiting ground for al-Qaida now that it is trying to lower its Arab profile and recruit American converts.
In addition, the congresswoman will ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate the selection process of Arabic translators hired by the FBI and Department of Defense.
Since 9/11, several federal translators have been charged with espionage-related crimes, according to Paul Sperry, author of "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington."
Myrick complains that the FBI, desperate to hire Arabic-speaking translators and agents, is currently recruiting candidates through pro-jihad publications, organizations and even mosques connected to the radical Muslim Brotherhood.
As part of her 10-point agenda, Myrick also plans to ask the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the Council on American-Islamic Relations' non-profit status, which restricts lobbying on behalf of foreign governments.
U.S. prosecutors say CAIR, which receives financing from Saudi and UAE sheiks, is a foreign-funded front for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The Brotherhood has a stated objective of destroying America from within, and Hamas is an officially designated terrorist group.
U.S. prosecutors last year named the Washington-based CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers and their families. CAIR's ethnic-Palestinian founder was listed as a Brotherhood leader in America.
More than a dozen CAIR officials have been caught up in counterterrorism investigations, with several landing in jail.
CAIR insists it receives most of its money from member dues and none from foreign governments. It dismissed Myrick's concerns as Islamophobic.
"It sounds like your usual laundry list of talking points you can see on anti-Muslim hate sites on the Internet," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, who in the past has stated his desire to see America become an Islamic state.
Myrick says she will also introduce a bill making it an act of sedition or treason to preach or publish materials that call for violent jihad and the death of Americans or the destruction of American property.
She will also ask GAO to conduct an audit to verify the total amount of sovereign wealth fund investment from the Middle East in the United States.
What's more, she says she will rally Congress to cancel the scholarship student visa program with Saudi Arabia until they reform their textbooks. Despite promises by the Saudi government to reform its texts, independent reviews show they still preach hatred and violence against Westerners.
The State Department plans to double the number of student visas issued to young Saudi men from 15,000 to 30,000 -- despite the fact that nearly all of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals who immigrated to the U.S. on visas.
"We aim to increase their numbers to 30,000 over the next five years," U.S. Ambassador Ford Fraker this month told Saudi officials at the Al-Jouf Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In the past, a large number of Saudi students have failed to show up for classes, coast to coast, and have overstayed their visas. Many of them have been caught up in terrorism investigations.
In addition, Myrick will introduce a bill to restrict R-1 religious visas for Muslim clerics who come from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other countries that do not allow reciprocal visits by non-Muslim clergy.
Since 9/11, several foreign imams have been prosecuted or deported for soliciting jihad, including a Pakistani cleric in Lodi, Calif.
Myrick also plans as part of her anti-terror legislative action to introduce a bill to cancel U.S. contracts to train Saudi police and other security forces in U.S. counterterrorism tactics until the Saudis certify the prosecution of designated al-Qaida financiers such as wealthy Saudi businessman Yasin al-Kadi as well as the detention of repatriated Guantanamo terrorists whom the Saudis have released back into the general population after being "rehabilitated."
Some Gitmo detainees repatriated to Saudi Arabia have re-joined the jihad against U.S. troops overseas.
The U.S. trains Saudi security forces in counterterror techniques at both the Quantico Marine headquarters in Virginia and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Finally, Myrick says she will introduce or sponsor a bill to block the sale of sensitive military munitions especially Joint Direct Attack Munitions to Saudi Arabia. JDAMs include so-called smart bombs.