The lies about Anwar al Awlaki are coming thick and fast from his apologists and past promoters. “Oh no, he wasn’t radical in the past, it was being imprisoned in Yemen [in 2006-2007] that changed him” is the basic line. He was just wonderful when he was in Britain in 2003 and 2004, don’t you know.
Here, for example, is Qasim Rafiq of the Islamist student group FOSIS:
Spokesman Qasim Rafiq said: “There is no religious, ethical, moral or legal justification for the current views being espoused by Anwar al-Awlaki and we in no uncertain terms reject the current views espoused by Anwar al-Awlaki.
“Had he expressed these views previously, we most certainly would not have invited such a speaker on to campus, not only because such views are illegal, but also because we truly believe such views are Islamically incorrect.”
Anwar al-Awlaki was once a strong critic of the acts of 9/11, and paid visits to both the Pentagon and Capitol Hill.
Qasim Rafiq added: “Al-Awlaki required a great deal of vetting by the FBI and other security agencies. It was as a result of this that many Muslim organisations in the UK invited Anwar al-Awlaki and he was invited to the FOSIS Annual Conference in 2003.
“Between ourselves and the Pentagon, no one could have envisaged that a respected individual such as Anwar al-Awlaki, once a vehement critic of the acts of 9/11, would go on to advocate the targeting of innocent individuals.”
What a joke. First of all, the FBI did not vet and clear Awlaki for the lunch at the Pentagon. In fact, he was being investigated at the time. This report and a grumpy line from a veteran shed light on the lunch:
The incident was flagged by a current Defense Department employee who came forward and told investigators she helped arrange the meeting after she saw Awlaki speak in Alexandria, Va.
The employee “attended this talk and while she arrived late she recalls being impressed by this imam. He condemned Al Qaeda and the terrorist attacks. During his talk he was ‘harassed’ by members of the audience and suffered it well,” reads one document.
According to the documents, obtained as part of an ongoing investigation by the specials unit “Fox News Reporting,” there was a push within the Defense Department to reach out to the Muslim community.
A former high-ranking FBI agent told Fox News that at the time Awlaki went to lunch at the Pentagon, there was tremendous “arrogance” about the vetting process at the Pentagon.
“They vetted people politically and showed indifference toward security and intelligence advice of others,” the former agent said.
More importantly, Awlaki’s jihad trail is very long and old. The post below sets out some of the evidence.
Let’s go back even further. Awlaki was talking up jihad and scored his first jihad recruitment success way back in the mid-1990s, in Colorado:
A former Denver Islamic Society community leader who asked not to be identified out of concern for his safety said that once, after al-Awlaki gave a series of sermons on jihad struggles around the world, al-Awlaki persuaded a Saudi Arabian student that he ought to join Muslim fighters in Bosnia.
The student approached the leader, who told him al-Awlaki’s idea was nonsense. “I said: ‘No! You need to have permission from your parents before you go to jihad. They sent you here for education.’ ” The leader said he confronted al-Awlaki in the mosque, warning him that “if you come close to anybody in my group, I’ll throw you in the trash.”
The Saudi student traveled anyway from Colorado to Bosnia, the leader said, and in 1999, he was killed in Chechnya.
Now let’s move forward to March 2002. What was his reaction to a federal operation targeting terrorism funding? An angry, bitter and defiant speech. This was the message:
– Encouragement of separatist anger and opposition to the US government’s “war against Muslims and Islam”
– The war on terror is actually a bid to “extinguish the light of Allah”
– Muslims must unite to stand up for terrorism suspects
– Convicted cop killer H. Rap Brown was actually not guilty, and Muslims must donate to and work for campaign groups supporting him
– In fact, no Muslim can expect to get justice in America
– He speaks in mocking tones of the September 11 “official story” (elsewhere he has suggested that Mossad did it)
– The Gulf War of 1991 was actually a US plot to destroy Kuwaiti business power
Read some quotes from the speech for yourself. Keep in mind that these are the words of a man speaking in public and being recorded who knew he was being watched. How much further did he go in private in those days? Here’s a clue:
…a year after 9/11, Aulaqi returned briefly to Northern Virginia, where he visited a radical Islamic cleric and asked him about recruiting young Muslims for “violent jihad.” That cleric, Ali al-Timimi, is now serving a life sentence for inciting followers to fight with the Taliban against Americans.
This is not now a war on terrorism. We need to all be clear about this. This is a war against Muslims. It is a war against Muslims and Islam. Not only is this happening worldwide but it is happening right here, in America, that is claiming to be fighting this war for the sake of freedom, while it is infringing on the freedom of its own citizens, just because they are Muslims. For no other reason.
As Muslims, if we allow this to continue, if we do not stop it, it ain’t gonna stop, it’s not gonna stop. If you do not stand up in this struggle, and make your voices heard, and unite, and make it clear to the authorities that you’re not going to allow your necks to be stepped over, and your rights to be infringed upon, if you do not do that, then only Allah knows where it’s going to stop. Maybe the next day the Congress will pass a bill about Islam that it is illegal in America.
Therefore it is the responsibility of us as Muslims to make it very clear to the world that American Muslims are persecuted on a religious basis and the country that is claiming to be fighting for the religious rights of people in the world is infringing on the rights of its own citizens when it comes to religious issues.
Even if we would take the official record of what happened on September 11, it is very clear from the official story that American Muslims had nothing to do with what happened on September 11. So why these associations? Why tie in these American Muslim institutions to what happened on September 11 when there is no connection?
This attack was on the Muslim community and all of us are harmed. We are all part of this. Therefore we need to forget about our differences, put them aside, and stand united. Because if today it happened to these organisations, tomorrow you’re going to be next.
Now I have mentioned my opinion on the issue of Jamal Amin [H. Rap Brown, a former Black Panther convicted of murdering a police officer] and I am going to repeat it again. I take it as an article of faith for myself to believe that he is innocent, and that the claim that he was guilty doesn’t have substantial evidence for it, even though the court did sentence him to life in jail without parole. Why? Because now we are dealing with a randomly selected jury, that is coming from a pool in the society that has a wrong image of Islam.
[On groups campaigning for Jamal Amin] It’s time that you support what the leadership of the Muslim community is doing. You support it by your money, by your manpower, and also by your advice and ideas.
[On the government playing tricks] In the Gulf War, the announced objective was freedom of Kuwait. Well now ten years later it’s very clear that it is invasion of oilfields. It is to destroy the Kuwaiti business power, and this is one of the things that people rarely know about, that one of the objectives was to destroy this network of businesses that Kuwait was managing all over the world.
This war against terrorism, it is using a legitimate cause for some underground objectives and one of them is to eliminate Islamic work. And it’s happening here and it’s happening all over the world. They want to extinguish the light of Allah.
Not to be forgotten in all this is the very poor record of the British public sector in identifying Awlaki as a threat to be countered. From the Quilliam Foundation, we learn this:
In July 2009, Quilliam similarly contacted Kensington and Chelsea council in London to ask them to prevent a video message by Awlaki from being broadcast during an event to be held by the ‘Cageprisoners’ organisation (1) on 30 August 2009 at Kensington and Chelsea town hall. The event was co-sponsored by the Cordoba Foundation (2). On 22 July 2009, Quilliam received the following response from the council:
“Have had further discussions with police counter terrorism officers and GOL [Government Office London] and they are not advising me to cancel this booking or require Anwar al-Awlaki to be removed from the list of speakers. I will review this if the advice I am getting from the Police and Government changes.”
The East London Mosque, FOSIS, Cageprisoners and other Islamist agitators are not the only groups which should be asked some very searching questions in the days ahead.