The questions raised by Rep. Michele Bachmann and four of her congressional colleagues over the potential influence of Muslim Brotherhood operatives in Washington D.C. have been met with widespread scorn from the political chattering class and the establishment media.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has denounced Bachmann from the Senate floor, Speaker of the House John Boehner has called the charges “dangerous,” and House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers is now trying to force her out. (Bachmann serves on the Intelligence Committee, whose members are selected at the sole discretion of the Speaker.)
And that’s just on the GOP side of the equation.
But the notion that the U.S. government is influenced by Muslim Brotherhood operatives is absolutely nutty, right?
Take, for example, the case of Louay Safi, a Syrian-American Islamic leader who has been actively involved with groups close to the Obama White House.
Safi himself has been fairly influential in government circles. For several years, he was only one of two endorsing agents for the Pentagon’s Muslim military chaplain program as Director of Leadership Development for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). He was also responsible for teaching about Islam to American troops deploying to Afghanistan and Iraq.
So it was particularly curious last year when Safi reappeared last August as the director of the political office of the newly-formed Syrian National Council (SNC). His profile appears on the SNC’s website, and pictures taken at the unveiling of the SNC in Istanbul shows Safi front and center of the leadership.
His new SNC role and his connections to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood were first reported by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report.
Now Safi’s presence on Al-Jazeera is nearly ubiquitous when it comes to matters concerning Syria and the efforts of the SNC and its subordinate Free Syrian Army to topple the regime of Bashar Assad:
But what is the relationship between the SNC and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, historically one of the most violent Muslim Brotherhood offshoots in the world?
One May 2012 Reuters report observes the pervasive control of Muslim Brotherhood over SNC operations and policies:
At a meeting of Syria’s opposition, Muslim Brotherhood officials gather round Marxists colleagues, nudging them to produce policy statements for the Syrian National Council, the main political group challenging President Bashar al-Assad.
With many living in the West, and some ditching their trademark beards, it is hard to differentiate Brotherhood from leftists. But there is little dispute about who calls the shots.
From annihilation at home 30 years ago when they challenged the iron-fisted rule of Hafez al-Assad, the Brotherhood has recovered to become the dominant force of the exile opposition in the 14-month-old revolt against his son Bashar.
The report goes on to note one incident picked up by the Arab media (see also John Rosenthal’s report at the National Review) of Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leaders touting in meetings with other Middle East leaders their control of the SNC and how they positioned a “liberal” leader up front to maintain an illusion for Western leaders:
Careful not to undermine the council’s disparate supporters, the Brotherhood has played down its growing influence within the Syrian National Council (SNC), whose public face is the secular Paris-based professor Bourhan Ghalioun.
“We chose this face, accepted by the West and by the inside. We don’t want the regime to take advantage if an Islamist becomes the Syrian National Council’s head,” former Brotherhood leader Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni told supporters in a video.
The footage is now being circulated by Brotherhood opponents, seeking to highlight its undeclared power.
“We nominated Ghalioun as a front for national action. We are not moving now as Muslim Brotherhood but as part of a front that includes all currents,” said Bayanouni.
Here is the video of Bayanouni’s comments:
The SNC leadership also traveled to Doha, Qatar (where Safi is now based), back in February to receive the blessing of Yusef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood.
Thus, it’s not a surprise that the non-Islamists opposing Assad have openly complained about the Muslim Brotherhood’s tight grip on the SNC.
Which brings us back to Louay Safi. How does someone who served as one of the Pentagon’s top Islamic advisers turn up as a political leader for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood front group waging a bloody civil war against the Assad regime?
Perhaps someone should ask John McCain, John Boehner and Mike Rogers that question, as well as where their outrage was when an Egyptian terror group member was given a visa in violation of federal law, flown to the U.S. on the taxpayer’s tab, and escorted into the White House to meet with members of Obama’s national security staff to demand the release of the terror group’s leader imprisoned in the U.S.?
In the past Safi has cast himself as a neutral, objective academic, but his Muslim Brotherhood pedigree in the U.S. goes back a long way.
His ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood became an issue when Safi’s relationship with the Pentagon became public after the November 2009 Fort Hood shootings.
At the time of Major Nidal Hasan’s lethal attack, Safi was teaching Islam to deploying soldiers at Fort Bliss. He had also been teaching a class, “Theology of Islam,” at Fort Hood. It is unknown whether Safi had any contact with Maj. Hasan.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the classes taught by Safi were overseen by the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and Safi served as a sub-contractor to Hunstville, Alabama-based Camber Corp., which had a $17.7 million Pentagon contract to teach Islamic theology as part of the U.S. Army’s Islamic education program.
After the Fort Hood attack, Safi appeared with a group of U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders at a press conference announcing the formation of a “Fort Hood Family Fund” under the auspices of Safi’s ISNA.
But Safi’s visibility and his ties to the Army’s Islamic education program brought considerable public criticism.
Read the rest at Breitbart