January 31, 2008
Kamran Bokhari - spokesman for Al Muhajiroun group (linked to UK bombings) - working as Stratfor's 'in house Jihadi'
July 25, 2005
Dr.Pipes' article exposing Kamran Bokhari.
From www.danielpipes.org |
The U.S. Institute of Peace Stumbles
by Daniel Pipes
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 taxpayer-funded organization to whose board President 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.
Mr. 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," Towering Day in History." It celebrated the second anniversary by hailing "The Magnificent 19." Its Web site currently features a picture of the U.S. Capitol building exploding. (If the site changes, an archived copy is available.)
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 Mr. Bokhari and CSID, permitting radicals to pass themselves off as moderates.
That legitimation follows an assumption that USIP carefully vetted CSID before working with it. But USIP did nothing of the sort.
When its leadership insisted on working with CSID, it explained its reasons: "The CSID is assessed by relevant government organizations and credible NGOs supported by the Administration to be an appropriate organization for involvement in publicly funded projects organized by both the government and NGOs, including the Institute."
Translated from bureaucratese, this says: "Others have worked with CSID, so why not us?"
But such buck-passing means that in fact no one does due diligence — each organization relies on those that came before. Once in the door, a disreputable organization like CSID acquires a mainstream aura.
Or it does until its true identity becomes clear. Over and over again, branches of the American government have been embarrassed by their blindness to jihadist Islam.
In all these cases, no one was minding the store. The lesson is simple but burdensome: each governmental institution must do its own research.
In the war on terror, it is not enough to deploy the police and the military; it is just as necessary to recognize and reject those who develop the ideas that eventually lead to violence. The American government needs to wake up to those elements in its midst whose allegiance in the war on terror is on the other side.
Response from the USIP
Subject: Center for Islam and Democracy
Dr. Richard Solomon asked me to respond to your e-mail regarding the Institute's March 19 workshop on "Ijtihad: Reinterpreting Islamic Principles for the 21st Century," which we co-sponsored with the Center for Islam and Democracy (CSID).
The purpose of the workshop was to provide an occasion for Muslim scholars committed to the reform of Islam and the advancement of a moderate Islamic agenda to address some of the most troublesome obstacles to adapting Islam for life in the 21st century, with implications for the status of women, the role of democracy in the Muslim world, and the nature of interfaith relations. The panelists, who are well established and highly regarded moderate Muslim scholars, presented very thoughtful and reformist positions. We invite you to view the event on our website at http://www.usip.org/events/2004/0319wksislam.html.
The Institute was aware of and took seriously the accusations made against CSID and some of the speakers at the event. These allegations were investigated carefully with credible private individuals and U.S. government agencies and found to be without merit. The public criticism of CSID and the speakers was found to be based on quotes taken out of context, guilt by association, errors of fact, and innuendo.
The speakers invited to the event have well-established records of promoting moderate Islamic perspectives, advocating democracy within the Muslim world, and opposing terrorism. One speaker, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, was invited by President Bush to lead a Muslim prayer at the Interfaith Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral after 9/11. He is also the leading Muslim participant in the Catholic/Muslim dialogue with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and has been very actively involved in other interfaith projects.
CSID, which co-sponsored the event, is judged by senior officials at the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy, who have spoken from CSID's platform, to be a moderate organization dedicated to promoting Islamic reform and the establishment of democracy in Muslim countries. It strongly opposes dictatorship everywhere in the Arab and Muslim worlds.
With regard to the concern about Kamran Bokhari, this individual was not involved in the March 19 workshop in any way. He severed his ties to the al-Muhajiroun organization five years ago, prior to joining CSID, and has publicly denounced terrorism and political violence.
The Institute, in accordance with its Congressional mandate, and as requested by the Administration, is focusing on the full range of issues associated with relations between the United States on the one hand, and the varied countries of the Muslim world on the other hand. Institute programming does not represent endorsement of particular views. Our events intentionally bring together those of differing perspectives to highlight critical issues and provide guidance to policymakers. That said, there are clear limits regarding whom we will allow to use the Institute's podium. Advocates of violence are among those we would refuse to provide a platform.
Again, we appreciate your having taken the time to contact us with your concerns.
March 31, 2004 update: For my response to this letter and further information, see my weblog entry, "The USIP Responds to My Critique."
MIM: After Bokhari was exposed as an Islamist he wrote a lengthy response to an article by Dr. Daniel Pipes and myself. I refuted his claims below. The text of Bokhari's message is at the bottom of the page.
Response to Kamran Bokhari
by Beila Rabinowitz
This is a reply to Kamran Bokhari's statement at http://www.joplinindependent.com/comments_main.php/imawitz1080787894/kabokhar1080792248. .. www.militantislammonitor.org and to Dr. Daniel Pipes. I was also contacted by Kamran Bokari, who told me that although he never formally disassociated himself from Al Muhajiroun, and proof of his "post Islamist" gestalte was the signing of a post 9/11 press release issued by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, CSID which is a group with militant Islamist affiliations and accepted Bokhari as a fellow. The CSID press release was cynically used for bashing Israel and to indicate that the attacks were a result of American Middle East policy. http://www.islam-democracy.org/Sept11Statement.asp As one can see from his letter Bokhari refers to himself as a "Post-Islamist "( which begs the question if this definition also would also include suicide bombers who decide not to detonate themselves at the last minute).
Bokhari:Contrary to Dr. Pipes' claims that I was ALM's spokesperson until last year, I would like to state, for the record, that I have not had any ties to this group for five years now.
MIM:Bokhari's claims of having peripheral ties and being and having an "insignificant" role in Al Muhajiroun, and that his group was "autonomous from London", is completely negated by the simple fact that:
On August 3rd 1997 Bokhari was the featured introductory speaker at an Al Muhajiroun "Rally Against Oppression" in London. He was listed on the event flyer as "Br. Kamran Ashgar Bokhari -Spokesman for Al Muhajiroun in the USA Chairman ". Omar Bakri, Anjem Choudary, and Dr.Muhammed Al Maasri, of the CDLR were among the speakers. A statement was read out by a representative of the jailed Omar Abdel Rahman .
Five years ago means 1999 but Kamran Bokhari has a documented association with Al-Muhajiroun from 1997 until 2001, as indicated by many sources including videotapes. For example, in April 2000, he organized an event at Southwestern University in Missouri to which he invited the head of Al-Muhajiroun in the United Kingdom, Anjem Choudary, to speak on "Islam an Democracy." Bokhari was seen and videotaped at a April 28, 2001 Al-Muhajiroun rally in front of the Israeli embassy in New York leading chants calling for Bin Laden and jihad. Excerpts from the video of this event include Bokari declaring:
"We are only a few here, but we have a billion Muslims behind the jihad. They support the jihad in Palestine, they support the jihad in Chechnya, they support the jihad in Kosovo and in Kashmir. And although you may see a few before you, one day we will liberate all Muslim lands. One day you will see the flag of Islam over the White House! Allahu Akhbar!"
Bokhari then lead the crowd in chanting, " Hezbollah, Hezbollah! And we support Bin Laden! Bin Laden! We support Bin Laden! What do we want? Jihad! What do we want? Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!"
Bokhari has never formally or publicly renounced his association with Al-Muhajiroun. If he has, he needs to document this.
Bokhari:In fact, I have severely condemned al-Muhajiroun on multiple occasions.
MIM:Thorough research of Kamran Bokhari's statements nowhere turns up his criticizing Al-Muhajiroun. If he has done so "on multiple occasions," he needs to prove this.
To the contrary, he is quoted in a Feb. 24, 1999, Southwest University Standard article in a fashion that suggests his enthusiasm for, not his repudiation of Al-Muhajiroun:
Bokhari, a senior majoring in political science, is far from an ordinary undergraduate student. At age 30, he is the official spokesperson for the Al-Muhajiroun in North America. … We are an Islamic group trying to re-establish the Islamic State (the Caliphate) through intellectual, ideological, political and revolutionary means," Bokhari said. "However, the group is not militant, he said."
To call Al-Muhajiroun "not militant" speaks volumes about Bokhari's disingenuousness. For example, Al-Muhajiroun planned a "Rally for Revival" in London in 1996 that included, among those invited, Osama Bin Laden, billed as " a wealthy Saudi citizen." (The event was cancelled due to Jewish protests).
Bokhari:What's more is that my views on radical Islamism and jihadism are open for public scrutiny in my articles, most recent of which are ‘Is Democracy Kufr?' & ‘What is Moderate Islam & Who Are Moderate Muslims?', published in the December and March issues of Q-News, respectively. http://www.q-news.com/352.pdf
MIM:In these two essays, Bokhari refutes the thesis that Islam is incompatible with democracy. Stating that Muslims need a democracy compatible with an "Islamic ethos" means secularising Islam or Islamising society. Once again Bokhari's attempts to prove 'post Islamist' agenda is sabotaged by his choice of evidence.
Q-News is not a moderate publication and it's editor Fareena Alam, was dubbed "the face of Muslim anti Americanism in the UK" after she brought the former US ambassador to tears at a BBC public forum, stating that the U.S. deserved the 9/11 attacks because of their support of Israel, .After receiving more the 2, 000 complaints the head of the BBC was forced to issue a public apology for the distress and outrage Alam had caused ..http://www.schnews.org.uk/sotw/a-time-to-question.htm
In "Is Democracy Kufr " (the domain of infidels), he claims that the "tracts of radical Islamists... betray their simplistic conceptualization of democracy". Bokhari's own views appear no different then these radical Islamists whom he wishes to appear to regard with disdain. . Bokhari sums up the concept of Islam and democracy in one sentence. "Since Islam has not provided any political system for the believers to adopt, and democracy is nothing more then organising the political affairs of a people, where is the haram and kufr in this?" In other words, he seems to be saying that democractic constructs to manoveur into a position where we can impose our "Islamic ethos" the conditione sine qua none being the rule of Allah which ultimately trumps all manmade precepts ? Bokhari pays lip service to the concept of Islam and democracy to further his moderate image when in reality, he can produce no solid proof that his views and affiliations have changed.
Bokhari:Moreover, the archives of the Political Islam Discussion List (PIDL), based out of The University of Texas server, which I founded in June 2000, and continue to moderate, are replete with my views for everyone to see whether I am a radical Islamist supporting al-Qaeda (as depicted by Dr. Pipes) or an aspiring Muslim scholar of political Islam.
MIM:The PIDL group Bokhari refers to is located at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Political-Islam/. This page indicates it has exactly one member and was founded in July 2001 not in June 2000. As it is open to members only, there is no way of gauging what its contents are. I call on Bokhari to give me access to the site so I can see it.
Bokhari:What is really ironic is that Campus Watch, a project founded by Dr. Pipes expressed appreciation for a panel entitled ‘Rescuing Islamic Political Theory from the Jihadist Ideology', which I organized at last year's Middle East Studies Association (MESA) annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. I presented a paper ‘Jihad & Jihadism: A Rendition of Transnational Militant Non-State Actors' as part of this panel. I will be presenting this paper again at this year's American Political Science Association (APSA) annual meeting in Chicago in August.
MIM:Campus Watch never "expressed appreciation" for that panel. As the reader who goes to Jonathan Galt Harris's article, "The Middle East Studies Left," will see, Harris criticized the subjects presented at the Middle East Studies Association conferences and, far from expressing appreciation to the content of Bokhari's paper, Harris approved only the topic:
There is also some progress. Three scholars will present papers on "Islamic Activism" and five will address "Rescuing Islamic Political Theory from the Jihadist Ideology."
Bokhari:An earlier version of this paper ‘The Social & Ideological Roots of Jihadism: A Constructivist Understanding to Non-State Actors' also appeared in the Middle East Affairs Journal [8:3-4], a publication of the United Association for Research and Studies (UASR). Incidentally UASR, back in 1999 invited Dr. Pipes to a forum ‘Islamism: A Critique, and Dr. Ahmad Yusuf, the head of UASR published an article in the Middle East Quarterly [5:1] of which Dr. Pipes is the publisher.
MIM:Citing Ahmed Yousef publishing Daniel Pipes as proof of moderation is nonsense, especially given Yousef's recent bizarre diatribe against Daniel Pipes, "Can a Jew be an Anti Semite?: Daniel Pipes takes the Stand." Besides being antisemitic, UASR has been described by Steven Emerson as "the strategic arm of Hamas in the United States."
MIM: update 7/12/04 The UASR was raided today and was described as a basement headquarters for Hamas and Al Qaeda, a "part of a shell game for international terrorism" operating 14 miles from the nation's capitol. The UASR director Ahmed Yousef has dissappeared without a trace. (Update-Ahmed Yusuf is living in Syria and is an advisor to Khalid Mashal and Hamas:http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/7/12/121909.shtml
Bokhari:Anyway, my brief and limited affiliation with ALM was not in the capacity of the typical member or leader, as Dr. Pipes has inaccurately stated.
MIM:This is a subjective statement; in fact, he was the group's spokesman, something he does not deny. Dr. Pipes had his role exactly right.
Bokhari:Instead, as a Muslim individual, I was interested in the initial ideas of the group, at the time of its formation. ALM began as a forum for promoting debate and cooperation amongst various Islamic organizations, and fighting partisan politics among Muslims interested in the establishment of an Islamic polity via peaceful means.
MIM:Al-Muhajiroun never served as a forum for debate but has always been a violence-oriented and extremist group. The above is sheer dissimulation. Since 1993, reads one biographical account,His (Bakri's ) rhetoric often extends beyond the limit of the law. In 1993 he led a rally in which he encouraged 5,000 Moslems to chant, "Death to Jews!" http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2000/05/30/Features/Features.7480.htm
Bokhari:Omar Bakri presents himself as the spokesman of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders. This organization, by Bakri's own admission, participates in fundraising for Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and is "in touch" with Hizbullah. Bakri has further claimed to have recruited volunteers for training in paramilitary camps located in the U.S. and Lebanon.
MIM:In 1996, Omar Bakri broke from the group Hizb ut-Tahrir which had been banned from British college campuses for advocating the murder of Jews. The newly formed Al-Muhajiroun group organized a "Rally for Revival" whose listed speakers included Osama Bin Laden and Omar Abdul Rahman (the "blind sheikh," mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing).
Bokhari:I have always strongly stood against the use of violence as a means to effecting political change. One of the reasons behind my interest in ALM was its advocacy of socio-political change through intellectual/ideological/political means. I disassociated myself from the group when it became clear to me that ALM had reduced itself to being a cheerleading club for jihadists.
MIM:Al-Muhajiroun is not just a "cheerleading group for jihadists" but is long actively engaged in recruiting for jihad. Omar Bakri and and Anjem Choudary claim to have sent fighters to Chechnya, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. In 2001 the British parliament held hearings on the threat posed by Al-Muhajiroun recruiting Muslim men to train for Jihad in camps abroad. In addition, two suicide bombers who perpetrated attacks in Israel were tied to the group, as well as Hani Hanjour, one of the 9/11 hijackers. The group's second in command, Anjem Choudary, said that "jihad is a Muslim duty" and that is is no surprise that some should go to Israel and fulfill their duty in this way.
MIM:A memo written by FBI special agent Kenneth Williams and sent to the headquarters on July 10, 2001, noted a connection between Middle Eastern men (including Hani Hanjour) in Phoenix-area flight schools and Bakri's London-based Al-Muhajiroun.
http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/68 http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0615soubra15.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2004/04_april/05/suicide_bombers.shtml]
Bokhari:Also, I realized that my true calling was in the academic/scholarly study of Islam as opposed to activism. Then, over time, I also underwent an ideological shift, which is why I refer to myself as a post-Islamist.
MIM:The signs of this shift are not apparent to someone who follows Bokhari's writings; he must prove this point, not assert it.
Bokhari:Put differently, I am a moderate Muslim committed to the goal of establishing democracies in the Muslim world in keeping with its Islamic ethos, an objective, which is also shared by the Bush White House.
MIM:Many radicals claim to be moderates; that in itself tells us nothing.
Bokhari's goal of "establishing democracies in the Muslim world in keeping with its Islamic ethos" is a code word for using democracy as a way for Islamists to take power, then not relinquish it. This is the policy that former assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs Edward Djerejian, once described as "one man, one vote, one time."
Bokhari:My interest in democratization and democratic consolidation led me to become a Fellow with the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID).
MIM:The CSID is an Islamist organization with worrisome affiliations. It is directly connected to the the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a Saudi-funded think tank that promotes Wahhabi ideology under the guise of scholarly research. The IIIT was raided by the FBI in March 2002. IIIT and is believed to have bankrolled Sami Al Arian's World Islamic Studies Enterprise which was the North American branch Palestinian Islamic Jihad. http://w3.usf.edu/~uff/AlArian/Prehistory.html.. http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-epstein031903.asp and to have links to Al Qaeda .
CSID is also connected via its founder John Esposito to the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, a UK branch of the IIIT led by Azzam Tamimi, a Hamas activist. IIPT director Basher Nafi was indicted in 2003 for his ties to Palestine Islamic Jihad.Therefore, Bokhari's affiliation to CSID hardly proves his moderation
MIM:Bokhari's thesis is not available and his second-hand report about a panel is no substitute for the original of his paper; I request that he make it available to me.
Bokhari:What is both ironic and interesting is that on one hand we have individuals like Dr. Pipes accusing people like myself of being militant Islamists, while the real radicals & militants accuse us of being U.S. lackeys.
MIM:Bokhari must document this accusation: who, when, and where has accused him of being a "U.S. lackey"?
Bokhari:Going back to ALM, with the exception of myself, all of the other U. S. affiliates of ALM (a London based group) lived in New York. Since I resided in Springfield, MO, I was never part of the group's meetings, planning, decision-making, etc. My relationship with the group was unidirectional in that I kept up with the group's literature and activities on my own initiative mostly via the web.
MIM:All very interesting; but it remains the case that he was the group's spokesman, and thus one of its leaders.
Bokhari:I never had any formal membership with the party, which is why when I left, there was no formal disassociation either.
MIM:What does formal membership mean in the case of Al-Muhajiroun? He was identified as the party's spokesman in an Al-Muhajiroun press release issued in August 1998, which obviously makes him a member. The press release refers to "Brother Kamran Bokhari" as the "spokesperson for Al-Muhajiroun in North America."
Bokhari:Moreover, I was also not involved in the formation of the group's U. S. chapter (if one can call it that). In early 1996, a few former Hizb al-Tahrir (HT) affiliates in New York left HT after serious disagreements with the leadership, and were looking to form an alternative group to pursue their intellectual, ideological, political, and cultural interests. At about the same time, coincidently they found out about Omar Bakri's departure from HT in the UK, and his subsequent founding of ALM. These ex-HT members became interested, and following a lengthy and extensive phone conversation with Bakri, they decided to form a chapter on a voluntary basis in New York, autonomous from London.
MIM:"Autonomous from London" can't explain Bokharis'listing on the flyer for the"Rally Against Opression" where he was the introductory speaker .The rally was held on August 3rd 1997 in Trafalgar Square and "Brother Kamran Ashgar Bokhari 'spokeman for Al Muhajiroun USA", was to kick off the rally at 2 pm with a " 5 to 10 minute introduction". Bokhari's appearence was also videotaped. Omar Bakri and and AM's second in command Anjem (Jim) Choudary, were also present.
The depth of Bokhari' mendacity is highlighted by his appearence at an AM rally in London in 1997 after claiming he had never had a "formal membership in the party" and was "autonomous from London". .Besides appearing at an AM rally in London Bokhari's other activities in his capacity as leader make it obvious he was much more then peripherally involved with the groups core in the U.K. as he wants us to believe.
Autonomous from London is still irrelevant even if they engaged in their own activities, and balanced their own checkbook.Bokhari and his followers in the U.S, were part of Al-Muhajiroun, period. The MSA at Southwest Missouri State University, headed by Bokhari, invited the head of AM in the United Kingdom to speak on April 12, 2000, providing further proof of Bokhari's close connection to the central group. Anjem Choudary is the Al-Muhajiroun leader and runs the group together with founder Omar Bakri.
Bokhari:I myself was not part of this process, and only decided to become part of the group much later, but always remained a long-distance affiliate.
MIM:"A long distance affiliate"? These are quibbles, especially in the age of the Internet. Bokhari plain and simple was a leader in Al-Muhajiroun.
Bokhari:In reality, I was far more active as part of the Muslim Students' Association on my campus and in the local mosque than with ALM.
MIM:Both Al-Muhajiroun and the MSA promote jihadi agendas, as indicated by WorldNetDaily.com: "On Wednesday January 14, 2004, the Washington Post reported that the Senate Finance Committee has requested the IRS to turn over financial records of Muslim organizations including the Muslim Student Association. An unidentified senior aide to the Finance Committee is quoted stating that the listed Muslim organizations are being targeted for their alleged role in supporting terrorism or disseminating the propaganda of terrorists."
The MSA at Southwest Missouri State University was led by Bokhari, listed in 1998 on the MSA website as the" North American leader of Al-Muhajiroun. In 1999 the group comprised about 35 students and was given an Islamic Center by "an unknown donor" according to SMSU professor and MSA advisor Ahmed Ibrahim. In 1996 Ahmed Ibrahim had served as a translator for Omar Abdel Rahman who was imprisoned at the Federal Penitentiary at Springfield afte the previous translator was indicted togethr with lawyer Lynn Stuart and 3 others on charges of helping Rahman smuggle out"Jihad' instructions to his followers from prison. http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/nation/7994466.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp
This "local mosque" is a place of some interest in its own right. In 2004 the Islamic Center of Springfield was closed by the U.S. Treasury Department for ties to Al Qaeda. In 2003 the president of the MSA, Mohammed Al Hadharami was denied reentry into the U.S. after he went back to his home country of Yemen for a visit. The State Department has refused to comment on the case.
The Springfield Islamic Center was recently in the news as one of several Islamic centers shut down by the U.S. Treasury Department in connection with "Al Haramain and ties to Al Qaeda."
The advisor to the mosque,SMSU professor Ahmed Ibrahim,stated that he "had no idea where the money for the mosque had come from." The Washington Post reported http://www.washingtonpostcom/ac2/wp-dyn? pagename=article&node=&contentId=A55875-2004Feb19¬Found=true that the Treasury Department ordered banks "to freeze the accounts of the Oregon and Missouri branches of a large Saudi charity that U. S. officials say has been used to finance the al Qaeda terrorist network around the world... One of the top leaders of that mosque was Kamran Bokhari, a student from Southwest Missouri State University, who was the U.S. representative of a London based group called Al-Muhajiroun which supports Al Qaeda." http://216. 239. 39. 104/search?q=cache:lv44OjiBBtUJ:www. kansascity. com/mld/kansascity/news/nation/7994466. htm+ahmed+ibrahim+missouri&hl=en&lr=lang_de|lang_en&ie=UTF-8
Bokhari:Another thing that needs to be understood is that the ALM of today is very different than the group it began as in 1996. It started off as a group seeking to bridge the differences amongst the many Islamic movements worldwide. It also called for healthy dialogue amongst people of different faiths. Little did many of us know that ALM would turn into something much more worse than HT. In mid-1998, however, and to the shock of those of us here in the U. S., the group began assuming pro-jihadist stances. This was quite paradoxical as Bakri earlier had written a detailed treatise rebutting claims by militant Islamists that jihad was a valid modus operandi to establish an Islamic state. Nevertheless, this was the point when many of us began having second thoughts, and one after the other, almost all of us eventually left.
MIM:There is reason to believe just the opposite – that Al-Muhajiroun attracted Hizb ut-Tahrir's more radical supporters. The Guardian http://education.guardian.co.uk/students/story/0,9860,554652,00.html finds that "Al-Muhajiroun was formed in 1996 as breakaway group of the Hizb ut Tahrir, itself a militant Muslim organisation banned from UK universities." UK Home Secretary David Blunkett said that he was monitoring the group after it had called publicly for the death, "of those who wage war against Allah." A colleague of Vladmir Putin labeled Al-Muhajiroun "an agency for recruiting Muslim students in London to fight against Russian troops in Chechnya." http://chronicle.com/free/2001/09/2001092007n.htm
Also, this reply begs the question as to why Al-Muhajiroun is gaining supporters in Britain and has recruited close to 2,000 young men to go to train in Jihad camps abroad. Some of those recruits are Americans. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/672306/posts http://www.bupipedream.com/011005/news/n4.html
Bokhari:Three years later, shortly after the horrendous attacks on September 11, 2001, I learned that Bakri had issued a fatwah condemning the 9/11 attacks as Islamically forbidden acts, because non-combatants and civilian infrastructure had been targeted.
MIM:Bokhari offers no proof of this nor have I found any documentation to this effect .
MIM:Bokhari lies once again. Al-Muhajiroun was the group which gained notoriety by celebrating the 9/11 attacks as a "towering day in history" and calling the hijackers "the magnificent 19". http://forum.onecenter.com/cgi-bin/forum/forum.cgi?c=msg&fid=bwoi&mid=13960 Al-Muhajiroun leader Bakri praised the attacks saying "you bomb Sudan...before 9/11.. "They are going to find the opportunity to retaliate back". http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9595
Bokhari:After the U. S. invasion of Afghanistan, however, he made an outrageous volte face, and said that the attacks were in fact justified. By 2002, the group had undergone yet another change as it had metamorphosed into a Neo-Salafist (Wahhabi) /Jihadist outfit. This is actually another example of the many diametrical changes in ALM. In the early days, Bakri wrote an article blasting the founder of Wahhabism. Since then he has done a 180 where he now celebrates Muhammad bin Abdel Wahhab.
MIM:Omar Bakri's spiritual and ideological flip-flops do not explain why Bokhari stayed with the group. After a 1998 press release which refuted claims Al-Muhajiroun received money from Osama Bin Laden, it proclaimed Bokhari as its North American spokesman. Bakri never changed his agenda from the time he founded AM until the present. If anything the group has become larger and more violent., and Bakri has decreed that chemical attacks are in accordance with Islam and urged people to flyi planes into 10 Downing Street http://united-states-of-earth. com/default. asp?MenuID=817 http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/news/stories/Detail_LinkStory=86545.html The violent nature of the group was recently highlighted by the discovery of 2 suicide bombers from the UK who were connected to Al Muhajiroun and recent terror arrests involving people who were affiliated with the group.
Bokhari:I am not sure, but I do not think that there are any ALM activists in the U. S. any longer as the group was small to begin with, and Omar Bakri's flirtations with jihadism drove pretty much everybody away, quite some time ago. Clearly ALM has turned out to be one of those fringe London-based rogue Islamist groups that seek media attention by making a lot of noise after jihadists stage their attacks.
MIM:Omar Bakri is doing much more then just "flirting with jihadism " The recruitment of nearly 2,000 Jihad fighters, and several suicide bombers (see above) proves that Al-Muhajiroun is much doing much more then "making a lot of noise" and is far more deadly then "just one of London-based fringe Islamist groups," as Bokhari would have us believe.
Bokhari:Given that it is a one-man show, I predict that ALM will not outlive its leader Omar Bakri.
MIM:Anjem Choudary is the leader of Al-Muhajiroun in the UK. Another AM member,Hassan Butt is presently under investigation and boasted of recruiting hundreds of people to fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan, and was in charge of AM operations in Pakistan. Butt made headlines in the UK this month when he said "he wanted to be a martyr and that he envied the Madrid bombers."
The AM second in command, Anjem Choudary claimed that the group's membership is much higher then official estimates and that they have..." a worldwide following with 30 offices". http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2001%2F10%2F31%2Fnmus231.xml In 2001, UK law enforcement sources stated that the group had a core membership of a few hundred. http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=membership+in+al+muhajiroun&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search&meta= In 2003 the head of the Al Muhajiroun in Arizona, Zacharia Soubra. was deported to Jordan . He was linked to the Tempe Mosque and 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour who attended a flight school. . http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/68
Bokhari:Looking back though, I regret my ignorance of the group's evolution and intellectual trajectory. Not being in close proximity to the group's core, however, prevented me from sensing the radical/militant direction in which the group was heading. At the time, I was an undergraduate, but upon entering grad school I realized that my interest was in academic scholarship and not in activism, which is perhaps another reason for my departure from the group.
MIM:This repeats; Bokhari needn't have looked far to see that the group's "evolution and intellectual trajectory" was Islamist at any time since its founding. That Al-Muhajiroun actively recruited jihadi fighters and suicide bombers should have given him a broad clue.
Bokhari:My assuming of the role of ALM's spokesperson on this side of the Atlantic was by no means a serious undertaking (ALM's presence in the U.S. was always quite insignificant).
MIM:Again this word "serious"; what does Bokhari mean here? Explanation and documentation are needed.
Bokhari:I guess I was asked to take up the position due to my communicational skills, and abilities. It was an idea thrown out by one of the ex-affiliates from New York. Since ALM as an organization had no structure in the U. S., it was proposed that a spokesperson would be the best point of reference for the group. I was never given any directions by Bakri or anyone else on what I should say.
MIM:Bokhari "guesses" he was asked to take up the post of spokesman for Al-Muhajiroun due to his "communicational skills and abilities." But he claims in the next sentence an unability to communicate his grievances to the leadership of Al-Muhajiroun, saying that to "my utter dismay, my protestations only fell on deaf ears."
On a few occasions, I recall voicing my own frustration with the folks in London that even though I had no input in the decision-making process, I was forced to defend their statements, many of which I found myself strongly disagreeing with. To my utter dismay, my protestations only fell on deaf ears.
MIM:Why did he not quit? No one forced Bokhari to serve as spokesperson, after all.
Bokhari:In the beginning, I viewed myself as responsible for representing ALM in the media and the general public. The occasion to represent the group in the media (electronic/press) never arose, but I did write a handful of messages on a host of Muslim email discussion/distribution lists, trying to explain the group's take on miscellaneous matters. In essence, I was a spokesperson only in cyberspace and that too briefly. I take it that this is perhaps how my relationship with the group may have become public knowledge.
Bokhari himself wrote articles praising Bin Laden in the Southwest University Standard student paper and was profiled as the self proclaimed spokesman of Al-Muhajiroun. He is documented as publicly calling for a caliph (i.e., a single Islamic state ) as far back as 1998.
Bokhari:In any case, it is most unfortunate that a scholar of Dr. Pipes' stature would choose to cast me in such a negative light based on cursory and inaccurate information, and without even bothering to ascertain the precise nature of my limited association with ALM.
MIM:Dr. Pipes did not "chose to cast him in a negative light." Bokhari's defense of Osama Bin Laden, his invitation to Al-Muhajiroun head Anjem Choudary, and his involvement with a mosque closed by the U.S. Treasury in connection with Al-Qaeda funding speak for themselves.
Bokhari:Such reckless and misleading characterizations can ruin the lives of many innocent people. What I find really odd is why Dr. Pipes never wrote about me until now, i. e., many years after I left ALM.
MIM:There are many Islamists at large and only a handful of researchers. Dr. Pipes had no occasion to take up the matter of Kamran Bokhari, a rather small fish in the Islamist sea, until his affiliation with CSID connected him indirectly to Dr. Pipes. ( Dr. Pipes pointed out Bokhari's membership in the CSID as proof of CSID being an Islamist group as he objected to CSID participation with the U.S. Institute of Peace. http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1659
More importantly, why would someone calling for democracy be part of an organization that considers democracy to be antithetical to Islam?
Bokhari is referring to the CSID, a Saudi-funded Wahhabi organization connected to the AMSS and by extension the IIIT and the IIPT, both of which have terrorist links, as mentioned above. http://www.middleeast.org/archives/1998_09_12.htm A close examination of the individuals involved and the CSID links and agenda will dispel any illusions that the CSID is a moderate organization.
Bokhari:Anyway, Dr. Pipes' determination to protect people from dangerous individuals and organizations is both understandable and admirable, however, is the good doctor willing to live with the guilt that his irresponsible attitude caused unnecessary grief to individuals and their families?
MIM:"Unnecessary grief to individuals and their families" – what is this a reference to? Bokhari's group Al-Muhajiroun openly calls for the killing of Jews, Americans, and other non-Muslims. http://www.ict.org.il/articles/articledet.cfm?articleid=131 It has been connected to the stabbing of a Jew in London.
The attack came days after Jo Wagerman, president of the Board of Deputies, wrote to Lord Williams, the Attorney General, warning that there was a "direct and causal link between literature which invites hatred and the level of racist violence on the street". http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2000/10/19/next19.xml
http://www.floridajewish.com/israel_under_seige/046.html http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2000/10/19/next19.xml In 2000 a Jewish student riding a bus was stabbed by an Arab.The attack was linked to the poster campaign which had been conducted by Al-Muhajiroun which stated that "The final hour will not come until Muslims kill the Jews" http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2000/10/18/JewishWorld/JewishWorld.13929.html
MIM:Bokhari writes that "I sincerely hope and pray " that this message will clear up any misconceptions with regards to my status on ALM. As researcher and director of Militant Islam Monitor and Wahabi Watch on Pipeline News, I have undertaken to clear up the misconceptions which Kamran Bokhari has tried to generate in his response to Dr.Pipes and Kenneth Timmerman's exposure of his continued Islamist activities .
Evidence continues to surface of his close involvement with the Al Muhajiroun leadership in London and the Islamist agenda of the organisations such as the CSID and the AMSS of which he is presentently a member. His employment as a geo political analyst at Stratfor is the ultimate travesty. Even the best of spin meisters and whirling derwishes will not be able spin away Kamran Bokhari's leadership of Al Muhajiroun and continued affiliation with militant Islam.
MIM: Bokhari's message is below: