White House visitor records show that administration officials have hosted numerous White House meetings with a series of U.S.-based Muslim political groups that have close ties to jihadi groups and push to reduce anti-terrorism investigations.
The visits were discovered by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which compared the Obama White House’s visitor records with its database of Islamist advocacy groups.
For example, the records show that officials from the Council on American Islamic Relations have visited the White House 20 times, according to the organization’s report.
Members of CAIR were invited to the White House, even though an April 2009 FBI statement said the bureau “does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner” because of its ties to the Hamas jihadi group.
Administration officials also invited Syrian-born Louay Safi to the White House twice in 2011, even though he had been named an unindicted co-conspirator in two terrorism cases, and had been barred from Fort Hood following the 2009 jihadi attack by a Muslim U.S. Army major.
In contrast, White House officials have not invited Zuhdi Jasser, an Arizona-based, American-born moderate Muslim and former Navy officer.
“We’ve never been invited and nether have any of [the 24 leaders in] our American Islamic Leadership Coalition,” Jasser told The Daily Caller.
The absence of invitations to real Muslim moderates allows White House officials to pretend that members of the well-funded, U.S.-based radical group are moderates, even when they’re linked to the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, he said.
Jasser’s nonpartisan coalition includes left-wing and feminist Muslims who are frequently criticized by the groups invited to the White House, he said.
“The White House has selectively omitted genuine [Muslim] moderates and instead has picked radical Muslims to meet,” said a statement from Steve Emerson, founder of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
The closed-door White House meetings legitimize the radicals, but do not bring them into the mainstream, Emerson told TheDC.
“The American public has a right to know why the White House is meeting with Hamas front groups,” he added.
The visitor logs show that many of the Muslim advocates met with coalition-building officials in the White House, rather than with national security officials. The officials they met with include Paul Monteiro, the associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Amanda Brown, assistant to the then-White House director of political affairs Patrick Gaspard.
Gaspard is now the executive director of the Democratic National Committee.
The White House’s Secret Service guards do not veto invites from White House officials, but merely tell the officials if the guests will be arrested on existing charges if they arrive at the gates.
The meetings were likely intended to boost the president’s nationwide effort to bind often-rivaling constituency groups into the Democratic Party’s diversity coalition.
That disparate coalition already includes groups claiming to represent environmentalists, blue-collar workers, immigrants, African-Americans, Hispanics, gun-control advocates, Jews, gays, tort lawyers and many others.
In April, White House officials invited members of the National Network for Arab American Communities to a White House meeting.
“Our issues are American issues that affect our entire nation … and we will ensure that our community’s voice is at the forefront of public debates around healthcare, immigration and national security reform,” Linda Sarsour, NNAAC’s national advocacy director, said in an April press release.
Sarsour has been a White House visitor on seven different occasions. Her network includes 23 separate member associations, including the Illinois-based Arab American Action Network.
That group’s director, Hatem Abudayyeh, has been under criminal investigation at least since late 2010, when FBI agents raided his home as part of an investigation into terror-related financing.
Abudayyeh visited the White House in April 2010, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s study.
Muslim voters likely comprise less than one percent of the nation’s electorate. Many are in blue states, including California and Illinois, but a significant number of Muslims have settled in Michigan and Virginia, where every vote could potentially sway a close election.
Overall, 75 percent of Muslim Arab Americans support Obama, while 8 percent support Gov. Mitt Romney, according to a poll of 400 Arab Americans taken in September by the Arab American Institute.
In turn, Christian Arabs strongly favor Romney by 16 percentage points, reducing Obama’s overall support among Arab Americans to 52 percent, according to the poll.
In 2008, Obama won 67 percent of the Arab-American vote.
James Zogby, the Arab-American founder of the AAI, estimates there are a combined 833,000 Arab-American voters in Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.
The White House’s Muslim constituency group meetings are supplemented by additional meetings outside the White House.
In June, George Selim, the White House’s director for community partnerships, told TheDC that “there is [sic] hundreds of examples of departments and agencies that meet with CAIR on a range of issues.”
Selim’s office was formed in January to ensure cooperation by law enforcement and social service agencies with Muslim identity groups in the United States.
The CAIR meetings were arranged even though CAIR has extensive ties to jihad groups, including Hamas — the Palestinian affiliate of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood.
Top officials, including President Barack Obama, have participated in the Muslim outreach.
Obama has chosen to meet personally with leaders of several Muslim groups, including the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
That group’s co-founder, Iraqi-born Salem al-Marayati, visited the White House six times. He has denounced several successful convictions of jihadi terrorists, and has repeatedly called for Muslims to stop cooperation with the FBI except when it is mediated by MPAC or other Muslim groups.
The Islamic Society of North America was declared an unindicted co-conspirator in a successful 2008 trial of a Texas-based Muslim group that smuggled funds to Hamas. In October 2011, Mohamed Magid, the Sudanese-born president of ISNA, told top Justice Department officials that “teaching people that all Muslims are a threat to the country … is against the law and the Constitution.”
Some of Obama’s deputies, especially Valerie Jarrett and Tom Perez, who runs the civil-rights section in the Justice Department, have also been enthusiastic supporters of the outreach policy.
Jarrett spoke at ISNA’s 2009 conference, and Perez spoke at its 2012 event.
TheDC emailed or called the White House, MPAC, CAIR, Safi, Sarsour’s press secretary and Abudayyeh for comment. None responded.