The White House’s National Security Council has confirmed that staffers held a June 13 meeting with Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, an Islamist cleric who shares leadership of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, where he is vice-president and the terror supporter Yusuf al-Qaradawi is president.
The meeting occurred on the same day the Obama administration announced plans to arm Syria’s rebel factions, in the wake of a determination that President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against his own people.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism, which released a report Late Tuesday covering the circumstances of the meeting, wrote that bin Bayyah has referred to the anti-Semitic Islamist al-Qaradawi ‘as “a mountain upon whose peak there is light” and as “a great reformer” who “spreads knowledge and wisdom.”‘
MailOnline saw a late draft of that report.
‘Like many in the global Muslim Brotherhood movement who pose as moderates to the press and to liberal intellectuals by issuing condemnations of al-Qaida,’ it read in part, ‘Bin Bayyah refuses to label the acts of groups such as Hamas, Hizballah or Palestinian Islamic Jihad as terrorism.’
He has also issued ‘an endorsement of the push by Muslim intellectuals to criminalize blasphemy against the Muslim prophet Muhammad and Islam,’ the group reported.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS
Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Development and Democracy at the National Security Council, met with Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah on June 13
Bin Bayyah (2nd L) released this photo on his website, showing the June 13 meeting with Obama administration officials including Gayle Smith (2nd R) and Rashad Hussain (4th L)
Bin Bayyah wrote on his website in the days following that meeting that he ‘visited the White House where he met with Ms. Gayle Smith, a senior aide to President Barack Obama, and Mr. Rashad Hussain, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of the Islamic Conference.’
‘He also met with a number of experts,’ that claim continued, ‘including the director of public relations in the White House, the national security adviser, and representatives from seven government agencies.’
Smith is Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Development and Democracy at the National Security Council. Hussain is the lawyer tapped to implement the ‘new beginning with Muslims around the world’ which President Obama promised during a June 4, 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt.
Bin Bayyah cultivates an image as a Muslim moderate despite his views. Al-Qaradawi, meanwhile, is a more vocal proponent of Muslim suicide bombers killing Jews, especially in portions of Israel that Palestinians claim as their territory.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi (R), shown with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (L), leads the International Union of Muslim Scholars. His second-in-command, Abdallah bin Bayyah, was welcomed into the White House on June 13
Al-Qaradawi is generally considered the leading Islamic scholar affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. He has called openly for the destruction of Israel and the deaths of all Jews, called Adolf Hitler a divine punishment for the ‘misdeeds of the Jews’ and claimed the Nazi Holocaust has been popularly exaggerated.
Al-Qaradawi has also said he wants to die ‘in the service of jihad’ by blowing himself up in Israel and killing Jews in the process.
‘I have supported [suicide bombings] for the past 20 years,’ he said in 2008.
‘I do not automatically support martyrdom operations,’ he continued. “I permit them under specific constraints, when necessary, like in the case of our Palestinian brothers who are forced to defend themselves by turning themselves into bombs.’
The two clerics’ close association has caused reputational trouble for bin Bayyah among Western governments, and the U.S. State Department has denied al-Qaradawi entry into the country since 1999. But the Obama administration welcomed bin Bayyah into the White House.
Bin Bayyah’s own views about Palestinian terror attacks on Israeli targets may have made inviting him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a difficult call.
Barack Obama has made overtures to the Israel lobby since the days of his first presidential candidacy, but members of his national security team met secretly with the vice president of a leading anti-Israel group this month
Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, circled in red, is shown at the December 2012 International Union of Muslim Scholars’ board meeting in Doha, Qatar. Yusuf al-Qaradawi is shown to his left (camera-right). The meeting ended with a call for the destruction of the state of Israel
‘That the Obama Administration would invite to the United States a radical Muslim cleric whose organization supports terrorism and whose leaders have issued fatwas calling for the killing of Americans and Jews is beyond comprehension.,’ Investigative Project on Terrorism executive director Steve Emerson told MailOnline.
Emerson called on Congress to investigate ‘immediately.’
‘In my 30 years of covering terrorism, I have never in my life been so appalled and outraged at what can only be called criminal behavior by this administration,’ he said.
NSC communications director Caitlin Hayden told MailOnline in an email that she was ‘unfamiliar with this meeting,’ but later allowed that she was ‘not disputing it.’
Separately, a senior administration official confirmed to MailOnline that ‘Gayle Smith and members of the National Security Staff met with Shaykh Bin Bayyah to discuss a wide range of issues including poverty, global health efforts, and Bin Bayyah’s efforts to counter the al Qaeda narrative.’
‘Ms. Smith stated that she looked forward to working with him,’ the official added, ‘and with other faith leaders on issues of mutual interest.’
Abdallah bin Bayyah’s English-language website initially reported that ‘the national security adviser’ of the U.S., Tom Donilon, was a participant in the June 13 meeting
Read more at IPT