If a Hollywood studio were to release a film resembling Abdurahman Alamoudi’s life, it would likely be picketed as yet another example of the prejudice Muslims endure in post-9/11 America. Prominent Washington socialite and founder of the American Muslim Council (AMC) turned terrorist financier? Surely the story of such a double life must be relegated to the pages of pulp fiction spy novels, scarcely memorable and shipped to your local book store by the dozen. Yet, in the story told by a recent affidavit filed by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent Brett Gentrup, Alamoudi resembles the very sort of stereotype he has denounced as unrealistic for years.
On August 13, 2003, Alamoudi answered the phone in his London hotel room, and was greeted by the voice of a man speaking Arabic with a Libyan accent. He said he had something for Alamoudi. Could he come up? When the man arrived in the doorway, he silently handed over a Samsonite briefcase and left. Arranged neatly inside was $340,000, conveniently strapped in bundles of sequentially numbered $100 bills. Alamoudi transferred the money to his own luggage, left the Samsonite for the maid to deal with, and headed off to board a plane at Heathrow Airport. Destination: Damascus, Syria. The plan was foiled during a routine customs search.
In subsequent interviews with British officials from the National Terrorist Financial Investigations Unit, Alamoudi explained that fundraising for his charitable group, the American Muslim Foundation, an offshoot of the American Muslim Council, was “a constant struggle.” The much-maligned Libyan government was only too happy to help, it seems. In 1997, one year after he became a naturalized citizen, Alamoudi approached the Libyan Ambassador to the United Nations, Abuzed O. Dora. Dora suggested that if Alamoudi could secure the release of any of Libya’s frozen assets (using his high-level contacts in the Clinton administration and Congress, presumably), Libya would give Alamoudi an “unspecified share” of the cash. The United States government had not, however, forgotten the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. So no deal. Dora then suggested Alamoudi request the money from the World Islamic Call Society (WICS), a jihad fund set up by Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. The WICS, according to the U.S. State Department, “is the outlet for state approved religion, as well as a tool for exporting the revolution abroad.” The U.S. government believes Alamoudi became a member of the WICS in 2000.
Alamoudi told British officials that his plan had been to deposit the large sum in banks in Saudi Arabia and funnel it back into banks in America in smaller amounts. There is a name for such a transaction: money laundering. It happens to be a crime, as Alamoudi found out when he returned home to the United States on September 28 and was promptly hauled off to jail. Among the other alleged crimes in the 18-count indictment that shortly followed: prohibited financial transactions with the Libyan government, misuse of a passport, procuring naturalization by fraudulent means, and failure to report foreign bank accounts. If Alamoudi thinks the Brits and U.S. Customs have been rough on him, wait until the IRS smells that blood in the water.
British agents also found two U.S. passports and one Yemeni passport on Alamoudi. This information was passed along to their American counterparts, and when he arrived at Dulles International Airport on September 28 he told customs officials he had only been to England and Saudi Arabia. In fact, his concealed U.S. passport showed that he had also visited Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and Libya. A comparison of records and passports showed that this was not the first time Alamoudi had not been forthcoming about his travels.
Worse, Libyan jihadists were not Alamoudi’s only friends. A government document filed in support of Alamoudi’s detention alleged that through his control of the Success Foundation, the Happy Hearts Trust, and Taibah International Aid Association, Alamoudi provided “material financial support” to al Qaeda fronts, including the designated terrorist organization Global Relief Foundation and the Foundation for Human Rights & Humanitarian Relief, which “supported the cell responsible for the Millennium Bombing plot.”
In a letter to Dora found in Alamoudi’s offices in Falls Church, Virginia, Alamoudi refers to a planned meeting with Iranian President, Mohamed Khatemi, in New York, and asks Dora for help arranging meetings with leaders of Pakistan, Sudan, and Iraq. The Boston Herald reports: “Alamoudi’s Palm Pilot, seized in August by British police… contained the names of seven men designated by the U.S. government as global terrorists.” Authorities are trying to find out if an unsigned, “Hamas document” seized in Alamoudi’s office was authored by him. The document, written in Arabic, is a to-do list of terror, including, “Executions of operations against the Israelis to delay the peace process,” and “Preparation of a budget for Hamas cells in various areas,” among assorted other tasks.
Michael J. Horowitz, director of Hudson Institute’s Project for Civil Justice Reform and Project for International Religious Liberty, calls Alamoudi “the most artful Fifth Columnist to ever operate on American soil.”
FOR YEARS ALAMOUDI DEFLECTED EVEN the mildest criticism of his association with and apologetics for terrorists with cries of “anti-Muslim bigotry.” To question Alamoudi’s bold statements was to instantly be labeled a jingoistic crusader intent on persecuting the American Muslim community.
The contradictions inherent within Alamoudi’s professed aims of unity and peace and his regular cries of bloody revenge were not enough to raise a red flag in the eyes of the politically correct Washington establishment. Apparently they were more keen on sensitivity than reality, or perhaps that up-for-grabs Muslim voting bloc was too tantalizing a prize. Whatever it was, Alamoudi prospered.
His AMC was labeled by an FBI spokesperson as the most mainstream Muslim group in the United States. Clinton appointed him as a roving “Goodwill Ambassador” to the United Nations in 1997. He helped Republican stalwart Grover Norquist get the Islamic Institute off the ground with sizable contributions. Then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had him draw up the guest list for the first official White House celebration of Ramadan. He met personally with Al Gore and Bill Clinton at the White House and then-presidential candidate George W. Bush in Austin. The head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, was the keynote speaker at a June 2002 AMC convention.
Alamoudi was routinely quoted as an expert on Islam in America in the nation’s most prominent newspapers, from USA Today and the New York Times to the Washington Post and the Los Angles Times. He also appeared many times on CNN, not only on political shows such as Crossfire, but also on midday fluff talk shows where people called in to ask him questions about everyday Muslim life in America. He gave money, both his own and the AMC’s, to a diverse roster of political candidates, from conservative Senator John Sununu of New Hampshire to fringe leftists Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and now presidential-candidate Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. He sent money to both Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign and George W. Bush’s presidential bid.
In the end, most of the contributions were returned and it’s certainly no crime to play both sides of the fence in an election year — just ask any pharmaceutical executive. But, as it turns out, the “goodwill ambassador” had a dark side, brashly held out all along for everyone to see.
Consider this public statement Alamoudi made at a meeting of the Islamic Association of Palestine, a Hamas front organization, on December 29, 1996:
“I think if we are outside this country, we can say, oh, Allah, destroy America. But once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it. There is no way for Muslims to be violent in America, no way. We have other means to do it. You can be violent anywhere else but in America.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
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