Friday, October 20, 2006

 

What Newsweek did and didn't Tell About British Muslim Brotherhood Leader

First the Newsweek story, then Steve Emerson fills in the details that Newsweek left out.

From Little Green Footballs:

Newsweek has an article on another “influential” Islamic scholar—read: a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood—who has been barred from entering the United States.

Oct. 18, 2006 - A leading member of Britain’s Muslim community, headed to New York for an academic conference, was forced to leave his transatlantic flight without explanation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security earlier today.
The removal of Kamal Helbawy, the 80-year-old founder of the Muslim Association of Britain [Another “mainstream” group. —ed.], came just minutes before his American Airlines flight was due to take off from London’s Heathrow Airport. The incident is the latest instance in which U.S. security officials have denied prominent Muslim leaders entry to the United States.

The move startled officials at New York University Law School who had invited Helbawy to be a featured speaker at a conference the organization is sponsoring Thursday night on the Muslim Brotherhood movement. “He’s a really respected guy,” said Paul Cruickshank, a fellow at the law school’s Center for Law and Security, which had organized the conference. “He’s very influential within the Muslim community in Britain and his name is recognized throughout the world.” ...

Helbawy, an Egyptian-born Islamic scholar, was for years a leading spokesman in Europe for the Muslim Brotherhood, a secretive organization founded in Egypt that some U.S. officials say is dedicated to spreading a radical brand of Islam throughout the world. [This kind of doublespeak is maddening. It’s not just “some US officials.” The Muslim Brotherhood themselves openly declare their intent to dominate the world; they don’t even try to hide it, but Newsweek won’t report that. —ed.]

While not denying his affiliation with the Brotherhood, Helbawy described himself in a telephone interview today as a moderate who has publicly denounced terrorism “thousands of times.” He also noted that he serves on the Muslim Council of Britain—a semiofficial British government advisory committee that works to turn British Muslims away from violence.

At the Counterterrorism Blog, Steve Emerson fills in some of the context about Helbawy that Isikoff and Hosenball apparently don’t think is important enough to mention in their article: Muslim Brotherhood Member Barred from United States.

Helbawy appeared at a conference of the Muslim Arab Youth Association in December 1992. I was there. And here are excerpts from the speech he made recorded on videotape:

“Do not take Jews and Christians as allies, for they are allies to each other.”
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“O’Brothers, the Palestinian cause is not a conflict of borders and land only. It is not even a conflict over human ideology and not over peace. Rather, it is an absolute clash of civilizations, between truth and falsehood. Between two conducts – one satanic, headed by Jews and their co-conspirators—and the other is religious, carried by Hamas, and the Islamic movement in particular and the Islamic people in general who are behind it.”
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“Lastly I am going to say something about Imam Hassan al-Banna, peace be upon him, who had been trying to establish 70,000 fighters. And he started with the first battalion with 10,000 fighters and today the Palestinians became strong fighting battalions, let us stand and support this great nation and the future is for Islam and I ask God’s forgiveness for you and for me and the Muslims. We ask God to give victory to our brothers and we ask God to release the leader of the Intifada, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, praise be upon him.”

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal also spoke at the same conference, immediately after Helbawy. Meshaal told the audience “ ... the Palestinian nation was ignited with heroic jihadi martyrdom on the Palestinian land. And the start of the blessed Intifada, which was ignited by the blessed man, the handicapped Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, is the one who caused the earth to shake from under the feet of the occupiers. Since then, the Palestinian people have shown examples of sacrifice and courage and heroism. Among the proofs are the revolution of the stones, the Molotov cocktails and the knives.”

In 1991, Helbawy spoke at a conference hosted by the Islamic Committee for Palestine, a front group that was headed by convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative Sami al-Arian. Other speakers at the event include Specially Designated Terrorist and current General Secretary of PIJ, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, the notorious Egyptian “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdul Rahman (spiritual leader of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, currently serving a life prison sentence for his role in a plot to blow up New York City landmarks), and PIJ founder and spiritual leader Abdel Aziz Al Awda.

Helbawy’s radicalism and support for terrorism (and terrorists) is both longstanding and well documented. Despite his current protestations and NYU’s willful blindness, U.S. government officials are rightfully wary of his past and level of influence. The Department of Homeland Security deserves credit for keeping Helbawy, and others like him, out of the United States.

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