Last week, I became a whistleblower.
(According to Merriam-Webster, a whistleblower is someone “who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority.”)
This is not a role I expected or sought, but I felt compelled to go public when the U.S. Institute of Peace, in Washington, D.C., the tax-payer funded organization to whose board President George W. Bush appointed me, insisted on co-hosting an event with a group closely associated with radical Islam.
That group is the Washington-based Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy; the event was a workshop that took place – over my strenuous objections – on March 19.
Most of CSID’s Muslim personnel are radicals. I brought one such person in particular, Kamran Bokhari, to the attention of USIP’s leadership. Bokhari is a fellow at CSID; as such, he is someone CSID’s board of directors deems an expert “with high integrity and a good reputation.” As a fellow, Bokhari may participate in the election of CSID’s board of directors. He is, in short, integral to the CSID.
Bokhari also happens to have served for years as the North American spokesman for Al-Muhajiroun, perhaps the most extreme Islamist group operating in the West. For example, it celebrated the first anniversary of 9/11 with a conference titled “A Towering Day in History.” It celebrated the second anniversary by hailing “The Magnificent 19.” Its website currently features a picture of the U.S. Capitol building exploding.
Nor is Al-Muhajiroun’s evil restricted to words and pictures. Its London-based leader, Omar bin Bakri Muhammad, has acknowledged recruiting jihadists to fight in such hotspots as Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Chechnya. At least one Al-Muhajiroun member went to Israel to engage in suicide terrorism. Al-Muhajiroun appears to be connected to one of the 9/11 hijackers, Hani Hanjour.
USIP’s indirect association with Al-Muhajiroun has many pernicious consequences. Perhaps the most consequential of these is the legitimacy USIP inadvertently confers on Bokhari and CSID, permitting radicals to pass themselves off as moderates.
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