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Monday, 30 August 2010 01:05

Conservatives Chew Up Their Own in Battle Over Islamic Community Center

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BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH

Ryan Mauro, taking off the gloves in the battle over the building of an Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero, claims Grover Norquist is palling around with terrorist sympathizers, and, ‘is likely a convert to Islam.'

Back in December 2003, when the Iraq War was in its infancy and conservatives were hunting down anti-war "subversives" on the left, Frank Gaffney published an article at David Horowitz's Frontpagemag.com that accused longtime conservative activist Grover Norquist of palling around with Islamic terrorists. In his introduction to the Gaffney piece, Horowitz pointed out that it was “the most disturbing [piece] that we at frontpagemag.com have ever published.” He added that “It is with a heavy heart therefore, that I am posting this article, which is the most complete documentation extant of Grover Norquist’s activities in behalf of the Islamist Fifth Column.”  

Now, in these heady days of Mosque-at-Ground-Zero 24/7, a young conservative by the name of Ryan Mauro -- considered by his colleagues to be a Steve Emerson-like expert on terrorism -- has resurfaced these charges against Norquist, adding that Norquist, whose wife is a Muslim, "is likely a convert to Islam."

Born in 1986, Ryan Mauro was kind of a boy wonder; plowing the fields of the war on terrorism even before he was eligible to vote. Mauro is the founder of WorldThreats.com, national security advisor to the Christian Action Network and he is an intelligence analyst with the Asymmetrical Warfare and Intelligence Center (AWIC). These days, Mauro is associated with the longtime anti-gay Religious Right group, the Christian Action Network.

He is also the author of “Death to America: The Unreported Battle of Iraq” (Publish America, September 2005). The book’s “Product Description” at Amazon maintains that Mauro “reveals the truth about the existence of Iraqi WMD programs and their movement into other countries, Saddam Hussein’s role in helping Osama Bin Laden attack the free world, and the ongoing treachery of so-called allies.” 

Mauro’s most recent piece, posted at David Horowitz’s Frontpagemag.com on August 24, is titled “Fake Hate Crimes: An Islamist Weapon.” His thesis: “As Daniel Pipes has documented for years, Islamist organizations in the West are quick to label crimes as anti-Muslim hate crimes as part of their effort to make Muslims feel under attack and to paint themselves as Muslims’ protectors.” Someone should tell that to the New York City taxi driver who recently had his throat slashed in his cab!

While Mauro’s “Fake Hate Crimes” piece is predictably and peculiarly provocative, it is fairly tame compared to an article of his posted one day earlier on Frontpagemag.com. While the piece, titled “The Ground Zero Mosque’s Conservative Supporter,” attacked Suhail Khan, Chairman of the Conservative Inclusion Coalition and a former member of George W. Bush’s administration, it honed in on longtime conservative activist Grover Norquist, pointing out that “Norquist and his associates are calling on the Republican Party to drop its opposition to the plan, arguing that the GOP is threatening the rights of Muslims and that its criticism will backfire politically.”

Mauro cited a letter sent by a group of Arab American and Muslim American Republicans to their fellow Republicans. The signers of the letter are “deeply concerned by the rhetoric of some leading members of our party surrounding the construction of the Muslim Community Center in downtown Manhattan. These comments are not only constitutionally unsound, they are also alienating millions of Arab American and Muslim American voters who believe, as we do, in the principles of our party - individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law.”

The letter goes on to say that “it perplexes us as to why some vocal members of our party have chosen to oppose the construction of a cultural and religious center on private grounds. Not only does the First Amendment to our Constitution protect the right of these private citizens to worship freely, it also prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion. Our party and the leaders in our party should not be engaged in judgment issues of the location of a cultural center and a house of worship in direct contravention of the First Amendment.”

It was signed by David Ramadan, Vice Chair, Ethnic Coalitions, Republican Party of Virginia, Sherine El-Abd, President, New Jersey Federation of Republican Women, Randa Fahmy Hudome, Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy, Bush Administration, George Salem Solicitor of Labor, Reagan Administration, Suhail Khan, Chairman, Conservative Inclusion Coalition, and Samah A Norquist, Senior Advisor to Arab and Muslim Outreach, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Bush Administration.

Two of the letter’s signatories are particularly annoying to Mauro; Suhail Khan and Samah A Norquist, the wife of Grover Norquist.

The Khan connection

Mauro reported that Suhail Khan’s father was “Vice President of the Muslim Students Association, founded by the Brotherhood. His father also served as an official of the Islamic Society of North America, another Brotherhood-tied group currently listed by the government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation trial, a designation shared with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Khan’s mother served on the board of CAIR’s California branch and Khan accused critics of CAIR [the Council on American-Islamic Relations] of exploiting the Fort Hood shooting for their ‘political partisan and worse, for their racist ends.’ Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy, told me that an FBI Special Agent involved in terrorism investigations informed him that Khan is indeed a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Khan was also intimately involved in Norquist’s efforts to help these groups develop a partnership with the Bush Administration. He was reported as being the one at the White House responsible for managing the outreach to the Brotherhood-tied groups whose events he has a history of speaking for.”

Khan has probably not helped himself with Mauro and compatriots by his several appearances on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.

Norquist’s ‘activities in behalf of the Islamist Fifth Column’

Earlier this month, Grover Norquist told Slate’s David Weigel that "You're not just going to lose Muslim votes. You're going to lose Jewish votes, Indian votes, Buddhist votes. Every member of a minority group looks at a situation like this and says, oh, the people hitting this minority will eventually start hitting me."

According to Mauro, “Norquist is trying to convince Republicans that attacking Rauf’s plan will cost them in the November elections, even though nearly 70 percent of Americans agree with them. He describes it as a ‘distraction’ that will cause the party to lose support among non-Christians.”

Mauro pointed out that “Norquist has aligned himself with the Muslim Brotherhood network in the U.S. that is supporting Imam Rauf [the initiator of the community center] and accusing his opponents of having ‘Islamophobia’ and having an anti-Muslim bias.”

“To understand Norquist’s role in the campaign to aid Rauf,” Mauro writes, “we must look at his history.” Norquist’s history was spelled out by Frank Gaffney in a December 2003 article at FrontPageMag.com. The piece, titled “A Troubling Influence,” was so provocative that in an introduction to the piece David Horowitz pointed out that it was “the most disturbing [piece] that we at frontpagemag.com have ever published.” Horowitz added that “It is with a heavy heart therefore, that I am posting this article, which is the most complete documentation extant of Grover Norquist’s activities in behalf of the Islamist Fifth Column."

According to Mauro’s reading of Gaffney’s history, Norquist “founded the Islamic Free Market Institute in 1998 with financing from Abdulrahman Alamoudi, a Brotherhood activist supportive of Hamas and Hezbollah that was later convicted on terrorism-related charges. Norquist’s group was also funded by the International Institute of Islamic Thought, listed as a front in the Brotherhood’s own documents.

“Using his connections in the conservative movement, Norquist was able to help his Brotherhood associates develop a relationship with the Bush Administration, particularly after the attacks of September 11 when the government sought to assure the American-Muslim community that the war on terror was not a war on Islam. In November 2001, John Zogby said Norquist was “central to the White House outreach.”

According to Mauro, “Norquist is likely a convert to Islam himself. His wife, Samah, is a devout Muslim and it is unthinkable that she would marry a non-Muslim if she takes her faith seriously. In 2008, they adopted a baby from the now-Muslim city of Bethlehem. When Norquist was asked by Paul Sperry if he had converted to Islam, he said it was ‘personal’ and left it at that.”

“What we see, at the very minimum, is his role in serving the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood, whether it’s intentional or not, but I happen to think it is,” Frank Gaffney told FrontPage. He said the “Muslim Brotherhood is all over the Ground Zero mosque” and that Norquist’s activism on their behalf is a “classic influence operation.”

So according to the Mauro wing of conservativedom, Grover Norquist is in league with what some conservatives are calling the “Islamist Fifth Column.” And Frank Gaffney, David Horowitz and a host of others have known about it for almost a decade. Yet despite these connections, Norquist continues to be one of the most influential conservatives in Washington, and is still holding regular weekly meetings with other influential conservatives. Is he palling around with terrorists or not? Maybe we’ll get an answer to that question from Sarah Palin via her tweet machine.