Wednesday, June 12, 2024

CAIR Leader Eulogizes Bin Laden’s ‘Spiritual Leader’

NewsCAIR Leader Eulogizes Bin Laden’s ‘Spiritual Leader’

It’s happened again. The leader of one of the premier pro-Hamas Islamist organizations in the United States has lionized an anti-American Islamist who, in addition to serving as the spiritual leader for the man responsible for 9/11, ordered the attack on the USS Cole, which killed 17 American sailors in 2000. It’s almost enough to make you think that Islamist leaders in the U.S. don’t like America or Americans very much.

Nihad Awad, founder and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), eulogized a Muslim Brotherhood cleric whose al-Qaida ties put him on the United Nations Security Council’s list of specially designated terrorists. The U.S. Department of the Treasury likewise proscribed the late Sheikh Abdul-Majid al-Zindani for his connections with Osama bin Laden and Hamas fundraising.

Sheikh Abdul-Majid al-Zindani was a good friend to Osama Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader who engineered 9/11. He also praised Hamas suicide bombers. CAIR’s National Director Nihad Awad had nice things to say about al-Zindani upon his death. (YouTube screenshot)

On April 22, 2024, Awad eulogized al-Zindani in Arabic, saying: “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. The Islamic nation has lost one of its biggest emblems and men with the passing of Sheikh Alam and worker Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani after he dedicated his life to the service of the Quran and the manifestation of its miracles that never cease. He remained tall and firm in the face of challenges, tribulations, pressure, and rankings until he met the Almighty Allah. Our condolences to his family, Yemen, and our nation. We ask Allah, the Merciful, the Merciful and the Forgiving, to have mercy on him, forgive him and reward him with the best of rewards.”

Awad and CAIR national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper ignored a request for comment from Focus on Western Islamism (FWI) about Zindani’s designation as a terrorist and well-documented affiliations with jihadists who have killed U.S. citizens.

A 2013 U.S. Treasury Department press release reported that al-Zindani delivered religious fatwas on behalf of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), most notoriously known for having been led by U.S.-born jihadist leader Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki.

The U.N. Security Council designation noted that “al-Zindani had a role in providing advice and views to Usama bin Laden (deceased) and others during the formation of Al-Qaida in the period 1993 to 1998.” According to that body, Al-Zindani “continued to provide support to Al-Qaida, in particular Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, including through his public statements and role as a highly influential Yemeni cleric.”

Individuals linked to the October 2000 USS Cole bombing alleged in published reports that al-Zindani ordered the al-Qaida attack on the American warship as it stood in the port of Aden, Yemen.

The U.S. Treasury Department first listed al-Zindani as “a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under the authority of Executive Order 13224” in 2004. U.S. efforts led to the U.N. decision to list al-Zindani as a specially designated terrorist. It noted that al-Zindani had “a long history of working with bin Laden, notably serving as one of his spiritual leaders.”

The Islamic nation has lost one of its biggest emblems and men with the passing of Sheikh Alam and worker Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani …

Nihad Awad

Al-Zindani “has been able to influence and support many terrorist causes, including actively recruiting for al-Qaeda training camps,” the U.S. Treasury Department said in its press release announcing his designation as a terrorist. “Most recently, he played a key role in the purchase of weapons on behalf of al-Qaeda and other terrorists.”

Additionally, al-Zindani founded al-Iman University in Sana’a, Yemen, where al-Awlaki became a lecturer after fleeing the U.S. following 9/11. American Taliban John Walker Lindh also attended al-Iman University. He has been a personal link between al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood.

He also headed and co-founded al-Islah, the largest Muslim Brotherhood-linked party in Yemen. Al-Islah fighters have fought alongside both AQAP and ISIS at different times.

The U.S. Treasury noted in 2008 that al-Zindani served on the board of directors of a Hamas fundraising syndicate created by Hamas leaders in 2000, shortly after the start of the Second Intifada. It was headed by the late Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, with whom Awad had a direct relationship.

“In 2006, Zindani delivered a fundraising speech at a Hamas conference in Yemen, where the crowd pledged millions of riyals for Hamas,” the Treasury Department said.

He declared his support for Hamas suicide bombers in 2006.

“[The Israelis] responded with their plan of striking terror: ‘We must strike terror [in the hearts] of these Palestinians and make them die of fear in their homes, in their streets, and everywhere.’ What did the Palestinians have? They said: We have a response. What is your response? What will you do? Do you have anything that one could call a weapon, so we could say that there is a balance of military power? They said: We have something that will create a balance of terror. We will create this balance of terror in a way known to the believers. What is it? The martyrdom-seekers,” al-Zindani said, according to a MEMRI translation.

Awad is not the first CAIR official to express admiration for al-Zindani. Former CAIR Connecticut official Mongi Dhaouadi posted a pro-Qatar video by al-Zindani on his Facebook page in 2017.

While this marks the first time that Awad has publicly declared his support for an al-Qaida-linked figure, his support for Hamas is well-known. He explicitly stated his support for Hamas during a 1994 panel discussion at Miami, Fla.’s Barry University, and participated in a 1993 meeting of Hamas activists in Philadelphia that led to CAIR’s creation the following year. Late last year, Awad lauded Hamas’s October 7 massacre, declaring that he was “happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land and walk free into” Israel. This prompted the Biden Administration to rebuke CAIR’s national director and to remove the organization from a list of groups participating in a White House effort to combat antisemitism.

“Everyone has a responsibility to call out antisemitism and violence wherever it rears its ugly head,” a Biden spokesperson declared.

John Rossomando has written extensively about national security, counter-terrorism, and counter-Islamism.

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