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Faisal Gill, The AMC, And The Islamic Institute

By Greg L | 15 February 2007 | 51st HOD District | 8 Comments

I’ve mentioned before that candidate for the 51st House of Delegates, Faisal Gill, worked for two Islamic organizations in 2000 — the “American Muslim Council” and the “Islamic Free Market Institute” (known as the “Islamic Institute”), and for the most part the discussion has revolved around whether his work for these organizations was properly disclosed in what became known as the “Faisal Gill Affair“. What has been missing so far is what these organizations really were, and whether his working on their behalf is informative to voter’s decisions about Faisal Gill as a candidate for the House of Delegates.

The AMC was founded by Abdurahman Alamoudi in 1990 and designed to protect the political and civil rights of Muslims in the United States. Abdurahman Alamoudi was imprisoned in October of 2003 after being convicted on multiple charges of engaging in terrorism. Alamoudi was a supporter of Hamas, Hezbollah, founder of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP) Musa Abu Marzook, and Omar Abdel Rahman who was responsible for the first bombing at the World Trade Center. At the time of his arrest, Alamoudi was discovered carrying a briefcase full of cash that originated from Libyan dictator Muammar Quaddafi.

Radical black activist Eric Vickers was the executive director of the AMC, and has been active in the defense of Sami Al-Arian, a supporter of Palistinian Islamic Jihad who was convicted on charges of supporting terrorism and is currently in prison. He described Al-Quada as a “resistance movement” against outside agressors in a June, 2002 interview on Fox News, and is known for sending out an email on behalf of the AMC entitled “Seeing The Signs” in the wake of the 2003 Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, suggesting that it was a case of God’s retribution for the presence of an Israeli astronaut onboard.

AMC board member and Safa Group principal Jamal Barzinji’s house was raided in an anti-terrorism investigation. AMC advisory board member Soliman Biheiri was convicted in 2003 for perjury in connection with his relationship with Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook. One-time executive board president Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin has been on the FBI’s most-wanted list twice and is now in prison for murdering a police officer.

In 2002 the AMC urged Muslims to contribute to the “Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development” which was a fundraising front for Hamas, and has had it’s assets frozen by the Treasury Department. It also solicited funds for the “Global Relief Foundation” which provided assistance to Osama Bin Laden.

The Islamic Institute was set up by Alamoudi using funds that appear to have come from either Libya or Wahabbis from Saudi Arabia. The Washington Post described it’s continued funding as coming from a “secretive group of tightly connected Muslim charities, think tanks and businesses based in Northern Virginia [and] used to funnel millions of dollars to terrorists and launder millions more” – a number of whom are currently part of the “largest federal investigation of terrorism financing in the world.” Khaled Saffuri was it’s executive director, who has supported the families of homicide bombers in Israel, was a close associate of Sami Al-Arian, and has been an outspoken defender of the Holy Land Foundation, and the government of Sudan which is complicit in the genocide of a segment of it’s own population. After Saffuri left, former AMC director Abdulwahab Alkebsi, supporter of the Iraqi Communist Party, took over as the executive director.

USA Today had this to say about the political activities of the Islamic Institute:

The Islamic Free Market Institute Foundation has paid for at least 23 trips by lawmakers since 2000, at a cost of $235,839. Most of the travel was to an annual conference in the Persian Gulf country of Qatar. The group raised $456,777 in 2003, according to its latest federal tax return, but declined to disclose its financial backers. Among the organization’s founders in 1998 was Grover Norquist, a Republican activist and anti-tax lobbyist. He no longer is on the institute’s board, but the organization shares an office with Norquist’s group, Americans for Tax Reform. The Islamic Institute also has worked with another lobbyist, Asim Ghafoor, who represented an association of Islamic banks.

Notice the name Asim Ghafoor, who is a self-proclaimed sharia law advocate and is currently Faisal Gill’s law partner?

Now here are a few things all this absolutely does not mean: this doesn’t mean that Faisal Gill supports terrorism. And it doesn’t at all mean he’s a terrorist himself. I haven’t seen, heard or read a single thing which even hinted at such a thing. What it does mean however is that Faisal Gill has displayed consistently spectacular poor judgement in picking his associates, some which he seems close to today. The degree to which he has supported some of their policy positions — something I think voters would be very interested in — isn’t at all known, and so far we haven’t heard anything about what Faisal Gill did in lobbying on behalf of the Islamic Institute nor have we seen any of the statements he made for the American Muslim Council as their spokesman. This whole period in his life seems shrouded in a mystery that Faisal Gill hasn’t seemed interested in revealing.

I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near these organizations or their principals, and I’m surprised that someone who did would think he should run for office. Who you choose to associate with is pretty indicative to voters of your values and beliefs, after all. While a one-time brief association might be a strange coincidence for a candidate, multiple connections over time (with Asim Ghafoor, for example) would seem to indicate something far more intentional, and would be pretty informative about a candidates convictions. I believe these personal and professional associations are absolutely relevant to his candidacy, for the same reasons I’ve believed that Jeanette Rishell’s association with Mexicanos Sin Fronteras was relevant to her candidacy, and that Jeff Dion’s relationship with “homosexual rights” organizations were relevant to his. Who and what we support is very relevant to who we are, and for a candidate I believe those associations provide valuable insight.

Faisal Gill’s supporters seem strangely untroubled by all of this, though. I can’t understand why, but since they seem so active in discussions regarding Faisal Gill, I hope they’ll visit and help me understand why they believe that none of this matters to them.

UPDATE: For more information on Asim Ghafoor and the Global Relief Foundation, GoodbyeJim published an article today that’s worth a visit.

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  1. The Skeptic said on 15 Feb 2007 at 9:23 pm:
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    I’m mesmerized as to why politically savvy and intelligent minded people aren’t as concerned about this as you and I. Why would Norquist come to his rescue when he recieved administrative leave? Norquist’s best friend and ally Karl Rove must have been protecting something or someone. Was it better to let Faisal walk away then to risk bringing embarassment to the Bush administration three months prior to an election?

    I used to frequent the Maraakesh Restaurant in DC and to wonder if my money was later used to buy guns that may have killed our own soldiers makes me sick.
    It’s obvious that Faisal intentionally worked as a contractor rather than an employee when he worked as Chief Lobbyist, and was successful at sheltering himself from a criminal indictment, for now.

  2. The Skeptic said on 15 Feb 2007 at 9:35 pm:
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    Why is this being swept under the rug? This isn’t about racism, this is about terrorism. I will NOT support a candidate that has close connections Muslim extremist. Please help Greg get out the word and put a stop to this NOW!

    [Ed note: the following Washington Post Article was copied in-line in this comment: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A23876-2003Nov30?language=printer While I appreciate the information that this article provides, it’s a copyright violation to reproduce the entire article and I’ve already got enough lawyers in my life.]

  3. Jonathan Mark said on 15 Feb 2007 at 10:43 pm:
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    As a general rule quoting from three paragraphs with comments constitutes fair use.

    Here are three paragraphs from http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A23876-2003Nov30?language=printer which are important to know about.

    “”"Finally, Cheema and others said, the board removed Alamoudi as executive director in 1996. He took over the American Muslim Foundation, a small sister organization.”"”

    Alamoudi thus never left the AMC. The AMF was “a sister organization” of the AMC, meaning that the AMC and the AMF had a common management.

    “”"Stanley L. Cohen, Alamoudi’s attorney, said the government was trying to build a case of guilt by association because Alamoudi is a Muslim. “At the end of the day, you have a case about a regulatory violation involving Libya, nothing more,” he said.”"”

    Anytime you accuse any jihadist of involvement in terrorism, you get the same measly defense. Whether it is Alamoudi or his employer/client Gill, the accused is a victim of “guilt by association” and anti-Muslim prejudice.

    “”"Ex-colleagues say Alamoudi gradually became more isolated. Yahya Basha, a Muslim council leader, recalls seeing Alamoudi try to enter a reception sponsored by the Arab American Institute in honor of President Bush’s 2001 inauguration. “He was stopped at the door, and they told him he was not invited,” Basha recalled.”"”

    This is the most important paragraph of all. In early 2001 Faisal Gill worked for the AMC or had just started to do so. Already at that time a fellow community leader, James Zogby of the Arab American Institute, knew that Alamoudi was trouble and kept him out of the AAI.

    And indeed, to this day no one associated with the AAI has ever even been arrested. About a dozen CAIR and AMC folks have been arrested and convicted or deported for cause. CAIR spokesperson Randal Royer is doing 20 years. Alamoudi is doing 23. CAIR-Texas founder Ghassan Elahi is doing seven, with another trial on the way.

    That is because CAIR and AMC were and are jihadist organizations allied with Hamas and the Libyan government, respectively. AAI is an American group and not extremist.

    So why, WHY, was Faisal Gill working for the AMC and not for AAI or a similar moderate group?

  4. Loudoun Insider said on 16 Feb 2007 at 12:52 am:
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    This latest Asim Ghafoor stuff is pretty damning. Do read the stuff Jonathan has pulled together as well as what greg has supplied here. Where are the Gill sycophants rushing to his defense? Ghafoor has far too many connections to questionable players and he is Gill’s law partner - too close for comfort. For the sake of the party we should all get behind Julie Lucas and put Gill on the back burner politically. I’m still wondering how much of this will blow back onto Bill Bolling.

  5. Anon 3 said on 16 Feb 2007 at 11:13 am:
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    Greg L., now this is good, solid reporting that sticks to the facts (which are damning). What is your take on why the right-wingers are supporting him? It doesn’t seem to make any sense. You would think the Christian-right (Bolling, Stewart, Lingamfelter etc.) would be up in arms over this guy’s ties. Are they blinded by his conservative Muslim views on social issues? Is it the Norquist link? This really makes you wonder about the Christian-right. Will they get in bed with anyone to advance their social agenda? We have got to nominate Julie Lucas, and not just to retain the delegate seat. If we don’t, the Democrats are going to use Gill against all our candidates by forcing them to endorse him and then running mailers about it. What the hell are Bolling, Stewart, Kopko and the rest doing? If they care at all about the party they should be pressuring Gill to drop out.

  6. Sheik Yabba Dabba Doo said on 16 Feb 2007 at 5:26 pm:
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    May your tauboli rot, and your Kabob give you the runs! Gill, the faithful, was a good spokeman for us. He was a Navy Officer, and a Lawyer. He put a great American face on our efforts. He made into the deepest part of the government. There are more like him. You should be afraid.

  7. Anonymous said on 16 Feb 2007 at 5:55 pm:
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    Faisal is from Pakistan, tauboli isn’t Pakistani.

  8. Loudoun Insider said on 16 Feb 2007 at 6:11 pm:
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    Is this guy for real or is he an agent provocateur?


    NLS has a post up on this issue.

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