Monday , October 01, 2001
Since the terror attacks against the United States, President Bush has been flanked by Muslim leaders in an attempt to reach out to what many have perceived as moderate members of the Muslim community.
According to a videotape obtained by Fox News' Rita Cosby, however, some of the Muslim leaders involved attended a Washington, D.C. rally last year where known terrorist organizations were given support.
One of the leaders invited to appear with Bush was Abdurahaman Alamoudi, the president of the American Muslim Council. Three days after the hijackings, Alamoudi joined Bush at a prayer service dedicated to the victims of the attack.
On the videotape of last year's rally, Alamoudi says, "We are all supporters of HAMAS," the group that supports installing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel and that has taken credit for numerous suicide bombings in Israel.
Alamoudi also adds on the video that he supports Hezbollah, the group the U.S. Navy credits with several anti-U.S. attacks, beginning with a 1983 suicide truck bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
In fall 2000, Hillary Clinton's campaign for Senate returned a financial contribution from Alamoudi because of his ties to HAMAS.
Also invited to the prayer service attended by Alamoudi after the attacks was Muzzammil Siddiqi, the spiritual leader of the Islamic Society of Orange County. At that service, Siddiqi prayed: "keep our country strong for the sake of the good."
Only a year earlier, Siddiqi was an organizer of the rally where Alamoudi expressed support for HAMAS and Hezbollah. Then, Siddiqi said, "The United States of America is directly and indirectly responsible for the plight of the Palestinian people. If you remain on the side of injustice the wrath of God will come."
In a phone conversation with Fox News, however, Siddiqi says he was not aware of all the speakers at the rally and doesn't support the extremist viewpoints some expressed.
"I don't support Hezbollah and HAMAS. I don't support any terrorist groups. Terrorism is not what Islam teaches," Siddiqi said.
It seems likely that the White House knew of the viewpoints expressed by Alamoudi and Siddiqi before the clerics were included.
"The intelligence Community has known for sometime the association of Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, and Mr. Alamoudi and their association with terrorist organizations," former Secret Service officer Ron Williams said.
White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer emphasized that inviting the clerics did not mean the president saw eye-to-eye with them.
"I don't think it would surprise anybody that the President often has meetings to discuss a whole host of issues with people that he may not agree with everything they may have said in the course of their lives or careers," Fleischer said.
Reaction is coming quickly from Capitol Hill. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., released a statement to Fox News saying, "The words spoken by these clerics are very disturbing and certainly give the appearance that they back violence and terrorism. If they have had a change of heart, I would demand that they denounce all terrorists including HAMAS. And, if not, they should be treated like the terrorists they are."
Alamoudi and Siddiqi are not the only questionable guests to the White House, intelligence sources tell Fox News.
Sources say that a man based in the White House and working as the White House's liaison to the Muslim community is the son of a man who helped raise money for a Muslim leader connected to Usama bin Laden.
Fox News' Rita Cosby contributed to this report.