POLITICS

Controversial Cast of Characters

An Al Qaeda leader, the head of a designated terror organization and a jihadist-in-training are among the controversial figures who have participated in weekly prayer sessions on Capitol Hill organized by the Congressional Muslim Staff Association.

Anwar al-Awlaki

Anwar al-Awlaki, the notorious Al Qaeda cleric, led a prayer session on Capitol Hill organized by the founders of Congressional Muslim Staffers Association in 2001.

AP

Anwar Hajjaj

Anwar Hajjaj headed Taibah International Aid Association, a U.S. government-designated terrorist organization and co-founded World Assembly of Muslim Youth with Usama bin Laden's nephew, Abdullah bin Laden. WAMY has been deemed a suspected terrorist organization and a suspected Al Qaeda fundraiser, according to court records. Hajjaj is shown here leading a CMSA prayer service on Capitol Hill in April.

Roll Call

Esam Omeish

Esam Omeish was forced to resign from the Virginia Commission on Immigration in 2007 when his prior incendiary comments became public. He has called for "the jihad way," spoken in support of suicide bombers and advocated for the impeachment of President George W. Bush.

He has led CMSA prayer services on Capitol Hill.

AP

Salam al-Marayati

Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, spoke at an August 2010, CMSA forum aired on C-SPAN.

In 1999, Marayati was forced to step down from a national terrorism committee post after his prior inflammatory statements became public. 

AP

Nihad Awad

Nihad Awad, (near right) executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), attended a 2001 prayer session on Capitol Hill led by Al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. 

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Johari Abdul-Malik

Johari Abdul-Malik is the imam of Dar al-Hijrah, the Virginia mosque where Anwar al-Awlaki once preached. Critics say Malik has made numerous statements in support of members of his mosque convicted on terror-related charges. He has led CMSA prayer services on Capitol Hill. 

AP

Tariq Ramadan

Tariq Ramadan was banned from the U.S. for six years for his alleged donations to a group now classified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a terrorist organization. CMSA hosted a reception for Ramadan in April.

AP

Esam Omeish

AP

Abdulaziz Othman Al-Twaijri

Abdulaziz Othman Al-Twaijri, the head of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a division of the Organization of Islamic Conference, attended a CMSA briefing in May at the Capitol Visitor Center. 

Ford School, University of Michigan

Controversial Cast of Characters

An Al Qaeda leader, the head of a designated terror organization and a jihadist-in-training are among the controversial figures who have participated in weekly prayer sessions on Capitol Hill organized by the Congressional Muslim Staff Association.

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