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Rashad Hussain’s Samigate

Posted By Robert Spencer On February 17, 2010 @ 12:05 am In FrontPage | 29 Comments

Someone is covering up for Rashad Hussain. But who?

And what did Barack Obama know, and when did he know it?

Rashad Hussain is the Obama administration’s newly appointed special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the thuggish international organization that is engaged in a full-scale campaign to intimidate Western governments into adopting hate speech codes that will effectively quash criticism of Islam – including jihad violence perpetrated in its name. Rashad Hussain is an apposite choice for this position, since several years ago he defended a notorious U.S.-based leader of a jihad terrorist group.

But someone doesn’t want you to know that, and made a clumsy attempt to cover it up.

In 2004, Rashad Hussain, then a Yale law student, declared that the investigation and prosecution of University of South Florida professor Sami al-Arian, who ultimately pled guilty to charges involving his activities as a leader of the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was a “politically motivated persecution” designed “to squash dissent.”

Journalist Patrick Goodenough of Cybercast News Service reports that Hussain’s remarks in support of Al-Arian were published in the jihad-enabling Washington Report on Middle East Affairs in November 2004. But now all that has gone down the memory hole. The Washington Report’s archived version of this November 2004 article lacks two paragraphs that were included in the original version: the ones quoting Rashad Hussain. Otherwise the article is unchanged.

The Washington Report editors, caught red-handed, decided to brazen it out, and blame their accusers – a tried-and-true tactic that is also frequently employed by jihadists in the West. They insist that there was no cover-up, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a venomous Islamophobe: according to Goodenough, “WRMEA news editor and executive director Delinda Hanley denied there was a ‘cover-up,’ and implied that anti-Muslim discrimination was behind the fact this was now being raised.”

Sure. It’s just “anti-Muslim discrimination” to be concerned about Rashad Hussain’s support for Al-Arian, a vicious suicide-bombing supporter who chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” and clearly meant it. When two Islamic Jihad suicide bombers killed eighteen people in Israel in 1995, Al-Arian called them “two mujahidin martyred for the sake of God.”

But there was no cover-up! It was all a mistake, you see: according to the Washington Report now, Sami Al-Arian’s daughter, Laila Al-Arian, actually said the words that were attributed to Rashad Hussain.

But this explanation doesn’t make sense, since the article was altered just to remove the quotes, not to change the name of the person quoted. Also, the author of the original story, Shereen Kandil, contradicts the Washington Report’s explanation, telling Goodenough:

“When I worked as a reporter at WRMEA, I understood how important it was to quote the right person, and accurately. I have never mixed my sources and wouldn’t have quoted Rashad Hussain if it came from Laila al-Arian. If the editors from WRMEA felt they wanted to remove Rashad Hussain from the article, my assumption is that they did it for reasons other than what you’re saying. They never once contacted me about an ‘error’ they claim I made.’”

Was the Washington Report covering for Rashad Hussain at its own discretion, or at the behest of someone else? Did Barack Obama himself know about this cover-up? Did  someone in the White House or the State Department find out about Hussain’s defense of Al-Arian, and act to cover for the bright young special envoy before this defense was discovered and he became known as a terror apologist?

Or is the Obama Administration wholly uninvolved – and unaware of the fact that the President has chosen as an envoy to the world’s leading organization of Islamic states a man who has openly declared his support for an admitted leader of a jihad terror group? Alternatively, is Hussain’s disdain for the war on terror and support for Al-Arian precisely what Obama thought might make him appealing to the OIC? In 2007 Hussain declared that federal law should prohibit “the targeting of non-citizens solely on the basis of their racial, religious, or ethnic backgrounds.” In other words, airport security officials should keep on pretending that eighty-year-old Iowa grandmothers present just as much of a terror risk as do young Muslim males. It’s an outrage to common sense and a waste of resources, but it pleases Barack Obama, Rashad Hussain, and the Islamic countries to which the Administration is so desperately and fruitlessly reaching out.

Whoever is covering up for Rashad Hussain should come clean. And in the process, Obama should reevaluate the wisdom of sending a man like Hussain, with the views that he holds, to an organization such as the OIC – as should question whether he should really be sending an envoy to the OIC in the first place.

But Obama is in far too deep for that.


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