9:40 pm Eastern
© 2010 WorldNetDaily
WASHINGTON – The federal government is financially supporting and officially embracing a radical mosque in the Washington suburbs that is directly connected to al-Qaida and the 9/11 attacks as well as other terrorism.
The Census Bureau has signed a two-year, $582,000 lease with Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, where top al-Qaida recruiter Anwar Awlaki ministered to the Pentagon hijackers and the Fort Hood terrorist as a mosque leader.
Meanwhile, the State Department is taking diplomatic trainees on tours of the large Falls Church, Va., mosque, while featuring it in a video as a model depiction of Islam in America – even as the Department of Homeland Security warns that it is a terrorist front.
According to recently declassified internal reports obtained by the respected Investigative Project on Terrorism, Homeland Security has warned federal agents that Dar al-Hijrah is "operating as a front for Hamas" and "has been under numerous investigations for financing and proving (sic) aid and comfort to bad orgs and members."
WND has learned authorities are also investigating the mosque for child molestation and credit card fraud, following reports of mysterious Dar al-Hijrah line-item charges appearing on the statements of local individuals not even connected to the mosque.
Republican U.S. Rep. John Carter, whose Texas district includes Fort Hood, has demanded the government sever its lease, citing the threat Dar al-Hijrah poses to homeland security.
"The purpose for creating this cabinet-level agency (Homeland Security) in 2002 was to coordinate all agencies of the federal government to prevent any more radical Islamic attacks like 9-11," Carter said. "Eight years later and they can't even tell a federal agency they're renting office space from the very mosque involved with the 9-11 attacks, and that has seeded this past year's assaults through the likes of Awlaki."
General Services Administration, which holds the keys to federal buildings and coordinates security with Homeland Security, rented off-site office space owned by the mosque for census workers. GSA did not return calls seeking comment.
Dar al-Hijrah – known as the "Row Street mosque" by local law enforcement – was home for two years to Anwar Awlaki (a.k.a. Aulaqi), the charismatic, American-born cleric now hiding in Yemen, who radicalized Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, Christmas Day crotch-bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and, most recently, Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.
"Awlaki not only led prayers at Dar al-Hijrah, he lived there," listing the Row Street address as his residence, said terror expert Paul Sperry.
He says Awlaki fled the country in late 2002 after narrowly escaping arrest on a federal warrant. Citing classified intelligence reports first documented in his book, "Infiltration," Sperry says the Muslim preacher showed up on terror watchlists as the subject of multiple federal investigations.
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CIA-operated drones reportedly have now targeted Awlaki for assassination, and are hunting for him in a remote mountainous region of Yemen.
The State Department says Dar al-Hijrah was chosen as a training center for diplomats working in Arab countries because it is a large mosque that is conveniently located for them. A State Department video showcases the mosque and depicts its congregants as diverse and patriotic, while ignoring the mosque's record of extremist statements and ties to terrorist groups.
"With the controversy surrounding Dar al-Hijrah now, I wouldn't want to send the message to the world that this is Islam in America," said Hedieh Mirahmadi, a Sufi Muslim who combats radical Islamist ideology as president of the World Organization for Resource Development & Education in Washington.
While Dar al-Hijrah now publicly disavows Awlaki, whom it hired as its lead imam before 9/11, its leadership is still closely tied to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement that counts Awlaki as a member in good standing. The mosque is affiliated with the Muslim American Society, or MAS, a group formed as "the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States."
Former MAS President Esam Omeish served on the mosque's board of directors. Omeish had to resign from a Virginia immigration board in 2007 after he was caught on videotape praising Palestinians who chose "the jihad way" to liberation.
Dar al-Hijrah's current imam, Shaker Elsayed, is a former MAS secretary-general. In a 2004 profile on the Muslim Brotherhood in America, Elsayed praised Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan Al-Banna, saying his ideas are "the closest reflection of how Islam should be in this life."
The late Al-Banna preached that "jihad is an obligation from Allah on every Muslim," and praised "martyrs" who die fighting infidels in the cause of Allah.
Elsayed himself has said that Muslims have the right to use violence: "We do have license to respond with all force necessary to our attackers."
Another cleric at the mosque, associate imam Johari Abdul Malik, has preached to American Muslims that they are within Islamic law to "blow up bridges" and other infrastructure. "You can do all forms of sabotage," he said in a 2001 Hamas conference.
Al-Banna also taught that "Islam wishes to do away with all states and governments anywhere which are opposed to this ideology and program of Islam. Islam requires the earth – not just a portion, but the entire planet."
Malik, likewise, has called for Islamic supremacy in America.
"We will see the day when Islam, by the grace of Allah, will become the dominant way of life," Malik told his flock in 2004. "You will see Islam move from being the second largest religion in America to being the first religion in America."
Federal investigators say Dar al-Hijrah is a dangerous breeding ground for known terrorists, including:
- Fugitive Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, a former mosque leader.
- Ismail Elbarasse, a founding mosque member, Saudi government employee, and Muslim Brotherhood leader who was arrested for allegedly casing the Chesapeake Bay bridge for attack.
- Abdelhaleem Ashqar, mosque leader and suspected Hamas operative recently convicted for obstruction of justice.
- Mohammed al-Hanooti, a longtime mosque leader and unindicted co-conspirator in both the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and recent Holy Land Foundation terror finance case.
- Top al-Qaida fundraiser Abdurahman Alamoudi, now serving 23 years in federal prison for terrorism. Alamoudi's brothers live in Saudi.
- Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the would-be al-Qaida presidential assassin whose father worked for the Saudi Embassy.
- Abdullah bin Laden, Saudi nephew of the al-Qaida kingpin whose name appears on the federal terrorist watchlist.
- Maj. Hasan, accused of murdering 13 and injuring 30 others in a jihad-inspired shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas.
- Hani Hanjour, 9/11 hijacker and Saudi national who flew the jumbo jet into the Pentagon.
- Nawaf al-Hazmi, 9/11 hijacker and Saudi national who joined Hanjour on the Pentagon flight and acted as second in command of the entire al-Qaida operation behind hijacking ringleader Mohamed Atta.
The mosque, in fact, helped Hanjour and al-Hazmi obtain housing in the area.
After 9/11, investigators found the phone number for Dar al-Hijrah in the Hamburg, Germany, apartment of one of the planners of the 9/11 attacks – Ramzi Binalshibh, now a Gitmo detainee.
Constructed with $5 million from the Saudi Embassy, Dar al-Hijrah is "a terror mill and a direct threat to national security," asserts Sperry. So why is the controversial mosque still open? "It enjoys a high level of political protection," he says.
Once a month, Elsayed meets with top officials with the Saudi-funded Council on American-Islamic Relations on the first floor of its Washington headquarters, Sperry notes his new book, "Muslim Mafia." Also attending the monthly breakfasts: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Congress's first Muslim member.
CAIR is Dar al-Hijrah's top defender in Washington, and routinely runs interference between law enforcement and the mosque, Sperry says. (CAIR, which operates a booth at Dar al-Hijrah, even pressured sneaker maker Nike to build a playground at the mosque.) Dar al-Hijrah, in turns, attends CAIR's annual fundraising dinners and is a major supporter of the nonprofit group.
The Justice Department says CAIR, like Dar al-Hijrah, also is a terrorist front group for Hamas and its parent the Muslim Brotherhood. CAIR in 2007 was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal scheme to funnel millions of dollars to Hamas suicide bombers and their families, prompting the FBI to cut off all outreach to the group. A federal grand jury in Washington is actively investigating CAIR and its ties to Hamas and other terrorist groups.
Malik, who also acts as the mosque's official spokesman, is a close friend of Awlaki, who privately ministered to the Saudi hijackers. After the 9/11 attacks, Awlaki fled to London, where he gave a sermon extolling the virtues of martyrdom.
In an interview with author Sperry, Malik defended his friend's sermon, arguing Muslims who die while fighting unbelievers in the cause of Allah are no different from U.S. Marines fighting and dying for America in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"That's the same thing as telling Marines in this country semper fidelis," Malik told Sperry. "Telling people to give their all for their faith is not an unusual idea."
His mosque handled the funeral services of Maj. Hasan's mother when she passed away in 2001. It was then that Hasan first fell under the spell of the al-Qaida cleric Awlaki, who corresponded with Hasan in some 20 emails in the months leading up to Hasan's alleged massacre. Awlaki praised Hasan as "a hero" and blessed the attack on U.S. soldiers as a legitimate form of jihad.
One of al-Qaida's top Western recruiters, Awlaki is considered a rock star among jihadists, and has cultivated fans among CAIR officials.
For example, CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper's protege Ismail Royer and his terrorist cell chauffeured Awlaki around Washington in October 2002, as he looked for new terrorist recruits, according to Sperry. Prosecutors also found Awlaki's phone number stored on their cell phones.
Royer, who was personally recruited by Hooper and worked under him at CAIR's headquarters, is serving 20 years in federal prison. Internal CAIR memos show Hooper is heading his appeal effort within CAIR.