Muslim scholar tied to pro-Hamas group, radical cleric visits White House
A Muslim scholar whose group supports Hamas, who has urged the U.N. to criminalize blasphemy and who is the deputy of an Egyptian cleric banned from the U.S. over his radical statements was able to secure a visit at the White House earlier this month.
A report from The Investigative Project on Terrorism uncovered a statement on the website of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah claiming he met June 13 with Obama administration officials in Washington.
Bin Bayyah is vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, a group founded by Egyptian cleric Yusuf Qaradawi -- a Muslim Brotherhood leader who has called for the death of Jews and Americans and himself is banned from visiting the U.S.
While Bin Bayyah secured a visit, he and his group also have a history of questionable positions, IPT reports.
A 2009 fatwa from the group barred "all forms of normalization" with Israel. Bin Bayyah also got behind a campaign to pressure the U.N. to pass a resolution criminalizing blasphemy. IPT also found Bin Bayyah was vice president at the organization when they issued a 2004 fatwa saying that resisting U.S. troops in Iraq is a "duty" for Muslims -- effectively allowing the killing of Americans.
On his website, as first reported by IPT, Bin Bayyah said the Obama administration requested the meeting.
He quoted National Security Council official Gayle Smith as saying: "We asked for this meeting to learn from you and we need to be looking for new mechanisms to communicate with you and the Association of Muslim Scholars."
The post reportedly claimed he had met with Smith; Rashad Hussain, U.S. envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; and the national security adviser, among others.
According to the IPT report, the reference to meeting with the national security adviser was later deleted.
IPT reported that Bin Bayyah was lobbying the White House to do more to help the Syrian opposition.