The Washington Post reports that Abdurahman Alamoudi, once embraced as a “mainstream” and “moderate” Muslim activist who courted both the Clinton and Bush administrations, will plead guilty today to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from Libya in violation of U.S. law and attempting to hide it from the government:
Abdurahman Alamoudi has agreed to admit guilt to three counts, including one related to the mysterious movement of $340,000 he allegedly received in a London hotel room from a charity funded by the Libyan government, sources familiar with the case said yesterday. The other two counts cover tax violations and lies on his immigration forms…
Court documents to be made public today will trace in rich detail an explosive allegation that Alamoudi made in plea negotiations with prosecutors — that Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi plotted to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah, de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia…
His arrest last September shook the U.S. Muslim community and reverberated through Washington’s political elite. As leader of the American Muslim Council, Alamoudi met on occasion with senior Clinton and Bush administration officials. He also helped found the Pentagon’s Muslim chaplain program and is particularly well known in the Muslim community of Northern Virginia, where he helped run a number of charities and political groups.
Local Muslim leaders have protested the government’s prosecution of Alamoudi, portraying him as a moderate with no ties to radical groups. But prosecutors have sketched a different picture in the indictment, alleging that Alamoudi hid his ties to a top leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
His sympathy for Hamas was no secret. In 2000, independent terrorism investigator Rita Katz, Director of the SITE Institute, while working undercover, taped Alamoudi voicing his open support for the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. Alamoudi stated before an excited, cheering crowd:
“I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas…Anybody support Hamas here? Hear that, Bill Clinton? We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezballah…Does anybody support Hezballah here? I want you to send a message. It’s an occupation, stupid…Hamas is fighting an occupation. It’s a legal fight.”
Despite this defiant public declaration of support for terrorists, Alamoudi was welcomed in GOP elite circles at the behest of power player Grover Norquist. Insight magazine reported:
Norquist was Alamoudi’s most influential Washington facilitator, authorities believe, noting that Norquist reminds friend and foe alike that he is close to the president’s powerful political strategist, Karl Rove.
Norquist, who previously has denied any suggestion that his work facilitated any wrongdoing, not only introduced Alamoudi to Washington GOP power circles but also Sammy Al Arian, whom prosecutors arrested earlier this year for alleged terrorist activities. Federal law-enforcement sources say they are focusing on some of Norquist’s associates and financial ties to terrorist groups.
Alamoudi ran, directed, founded or funded at least 15 Muslim political-action and charitable groups that have taken over the public voice of Islamic Americans [see sidebar, p. 34]. Through a mix of civil-rights complaints, Old Left-style political coalitions and sheer persistence, Alamoudi helped inch the image of U.S.-based Islamists toward the political mainstream and induced politicians to embrace his organizations. He sought to secure the support first of the Clinton administration in seeking to repeal certain antiterrorist laws, but when Bill Clinton failed to deliver, Alamoudi defected to Bush, then governor of Texas. Alamoudi and other Muslim leaders met with Bush in Austin in July , offering to support his bid for the White House in exchange for Bush’s commitment to repeal certain antiterrorist laws.
That meeting, sources say, began a somewhat strained relationship between the self-appointed Muslim leaders and the Bush team. Some senior Bush advisers voiced caution to Rove, who is said to have disregarded such concerns, seeing instead an opportunity to bring another ethnic and religious group into the GOP big tent. A photo of the Austin event shows Bush with Alamoudi standing over his left shoulder, flanked by the former head of the Pakistani Communist Party, several open supporters of the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups and other individuals Insight is trying to identify.
Canceled checks obtained by Insight show Alamoudi provided seed money to start a GOP-oriented Muslim group called the Islamic Institute, which Norquist originally chaired and now is led by former Alamoudi aide and former AMC staffer Khaled Saffuri. A White House memo obtained by Insight prepared for coordinating Muslim and Arab-American “public-liaison” events with the White House shows that the Islamic Institute was instrumental in establishing the connection. The memo, from early 2001, provides lists of invitees and the name, date of birth and Social Security number of each. Norquist, as the first chairman of the Islamic Institute, tops the list.
Alamoudi and others, including Norquist, tried to keep critics at bay by branding them as “racists” and “bigots.”
Norquist owes a public apology to fellow Republicans whom he has smeared as bigots for raising fundamental questions about Alamoudi and the Islamist-supporting apparatus in America. More importantly, Norquist owes answers about why he partnered with a known terrorist sympathizer, whether or not he now defends Alamoudi, when he plans to stop hiding behind the race card, and what exactly he plans to do to disavow Islamist influences.
Update: Copies of two checks from Alamoudi to the Islamic Institute: