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Abdulrahman Alamoudi - Head of American Muslim Council goes to jail for 23 years

"Militant Islam is the enemy - even it's slickest adherents must be viewed as such"
October 29, 2004

I've lost my mojo!

Crown Prince Abdullah

Prince Abdullah -intended target -

Abdulrahman Alamoudi - Head of Muslim American Council and jailed James Bond wannabe

MIM: On October 13, 2004 Abdulrahman Alamoudi,the head of the American Muslim Council,was sentenced to 23 years in jail for his part in a scheme to assassinate Prince Abdullah at the behest of Libyan leader Muhammed Gadhafi. In a scheme which Dr.Daniel Pipes described both as "James Bond " and "Mickey Mouse" style drama" :

  • James Bond-style drama: "It was arranged for him to receive a sizeable cash donation during his stay at the London Metropole Hotel, Edgware Road, London between August 11, 2003, and August 16, 2003. Alamoudi told Special Branch [for National Terrorist Financial Investigations Unit, United Kingdom] officers that on the morning of Wednesday, August 13, 2003, he received a telephone call to his room from someone who spoke Arabic with a Libyan accent, informing him he had ‘something' for him. The individual arrived at Alamoudi's room and handed him a small ‘Samsonite' style briefcase. Alamoudi said there was no conversation and the visitor abruptly left Alamoudi's room. Upon opening the case he discovered $340,000 of United States currency."
  • Mickey Mouse-style drama: Just yesterday, when Alamoudi returned to Dulles airport outside of Washington, D.C., from a seven-country, month-long trip, he tried to hide his travel to five of those seven countries in the most primitive way. He used a U.S. passport for England and Saudi Arabia; and a Yemeni passport for travel to Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and Libya. When he arrived at Dulles, Alamoudi was questioned by Senior Customs and Border Protection Officer Wesley Hartman. During that questioning, Alamoudi was twice asked what countries he had visited on this trip. Both times he responded that he only visited England and Saudi Arabia. After the CBP Officer began to review his three passports, they again asked what countries he had visited on this trip. Alamoudi stated that he had also visited Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen during this trip. He concealed the fact that, after visiting those countries, he had also visited Libya and Egypt."

    In his article "A Slick Islamist Heads to Jail " Dr. Pipes described Alamoudi's role as head of the American Muslim Council and how US government agencies aided him to promote himself the AMC as "mainstream and be touted in the gullible media "as a pillar of the local Muslim community":

    "...In 2002, the spokesman for FBI director Robert Mueller memorably described the American Muslim Council (AMC) as the "the most mainstream Muslim group in the United States." A year later, the Catholic bishops called the AMC "the premier, mainstream Muslim group in Washington."

    Its founder and long-time chief, Abdurahman Alamoudi, was a Washington fixture. He had many meetings with both Clintons in the White House and once joined George W. Bush at a prayer service dedicated to victims of the 9/11 attacks. Alamoudi arranged a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner for congressional leaders. He six times lectured abroad for the State Department and founded an organization to provide Muslim chaplains for the Department of Defense. One of his former AMC employees, Faisal Gill, serves as policy director at the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence division.

    In brief, as the Washington Post describes him, Alamoudi was "a pillar of the local Muslim community."

    But the one-time high-flyer last week signed a plea agreement with the American government admitting his multiple crimes in return for a reduced sentence. His confession makes for startling reading....

    MIM: For the war on terror to be fought sucessfully it is imperative that the US government reach the same conclusions as Dr.Pipes, to see beyond the facade of moderation of militant Islamists and self proclaimed "mainstream Muslim organisations.

    "...The Alamoudi story points to the urgent need that the FBI, White House, Congress, State Department, Pentagon, and Homeland Security – as well as other institutions, public and private, throughout the West – not continue guilelessly to assume that smooth-talking Islamists are free of criminal, extremist, or terrorist ties. Or, as I put it in late 2001: "Individual Islamists may appear law-abiding and reasonable, but they are part of a totalitarian movement, and as such, all must be considered potential killers."

    Militant Islam is the enemy; even its slickest adherents need to be viewed as such..."


    "Muslim Activist Sentenced to Jail for Illegal business dealings with Libya"

    By Jennifer C. Kerr 10/15/04

    A prominent Muslim activist who admitted participating in a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's crown prince was sentenced Friday to the maximum 23 years in prison for illegal business dealings with Libya.

    Abdurahman Alamoudi, 52, pleaded guilty in July to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from high-ranking Libyan officials while serving as a go-between for them and Saudi dissidents.

    While Alamoudi was not charged in connection with the alleged scheme to kill Crown Prince Abdullah, prosecutors cited the plot as reason for him to receive the maximum sentence.

    "This conduct is so base, so reprehensible that this defendant deserves every day of prison that this court will impose upon him," government attorney Steven Ward said.

    Defense lawyer Stanley Cohen asked for leniency and Alamoudi said he was sorry.

    "Your honor, I regret my involvement in everything," Alamoudi said before U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton imposed the sentence.

    Alamoudi, of Falls Church, Va., was a naturalized U.S. citizen from Eritrea who helped found the American Muslim Council and related American Muslim Foundation. His position within the Muslim community garnered him an invitation to the White House during the Clinton administration. He also participated in a group discussion with then-presidential candidate George W. Bush in 2000.

    Alamoudi pleaded guilty to violating sanctions against travel and trade with Libya, making false statements on his immigration application, and a tax violation. As part of a plea deal, he surrendered his U.S. citizenship.

    According to a 20-page "statement of facts" filed by prosecutors, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi wanted Abdullah killed after a March 2003 Arab League Summit during which the two called each other names.

    Within two weeks, Alamoudi, who had in the past frequently traveled illegally to meet Libyan government officials, was summoned to a meeting in Tripoli and told Gaddafi wanted to punish Saudi leaders. The unidentified Libyan officials wanted Alamoudi to introduce them to Saudi dissidents who could create "headaches" for the Saudi regime, authorities said.

    Alamoudi was not initially told the ultimate plan was to assassinate Abdullah, learning of it only several months later from an unidentified "high-ranking Libyan government official," the papers said.

    Last year, a Libyan official paid Alamoudi $250,000. Court documents indicate Alamoudi used some of the cash for himself and transferred the rest to two others for personal use.

    Alamoudi received more cash from Libya and provided some to the Saudi dissidents. He was carrying $340,000 of that cash in England when it was seized by airport authorities there during a routine baggage search. Alamoudi was questioned about the money but not arrested.

    He returned to Libya and was arrested Sept. 28, 2003, when he returned to the United States.

    Bush administration officials sought to portray the prosecution as a victory in the war against terrorism.

    The sentence "shows that the system works: a terrorist facilitator has been sentenced to jail and we have reason to suspect that through his cooperation, we will obtain intelligence that will assist us in our ongoing efforts to advance these critical investigations," Attorney General John Ashcroft said.

    Alamoudi's lawyer said his client was a victim and walked into the assassination plot "unknowing and unwitting." Cohen said he expected the government to seek a sentence reduction next year because of Alamoudi's continuing cooperation with prosecutors.




    Muslim Activist Sentenced to 23 Years for Libya Contacts

    By Jerry Markon
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, October 16, 2004; Page A17

    A federal judge yesterday sentenced Muslim activist Abdurahman Alamoudi to the maximum 23-year prison term for illegal dealings with Libya that included his involvement in a complex plot to kill the Saudi ruler.

    Once so prominent that his influence reached the highest levels of the U.S. government, Alamoudi stood before U.S. District Chief Judge Claude M. Hilton in a green prison jumpsuit and said quietly: "I regret my involvement in everything unlawful I did." His attorneys urged a lighter sentence, portraying Alamoudi, as a minor player in the scheme to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.

    But Hilton accepted the argument of prosecutors that the longtime activist played a key role as a go-between who introduced Libyan officials to two leading Saudi dissidents in London who were coordinating the plan. Alamoudi pleaded guilty in July to illegally moving cash from Libya, admitting that he pocketed nearly $1 million and used it to pay conspirators in the plot, which sources said came close to succeeding before it was broken up by Saudi intelligence officials.

    "He saw an opportunity make a buck in a murder-for-hire plot," Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven P. Ward said. "I submit to the court that this conduct is so base, so reprehensible that the defendant deserves every day of prison that this court will impose upon him."

    The sentence marked the final downfall of one of America's best-known Muslim activists -- a former head of the American Muslim Council who met with senior Clinton and Bush administration officials in his efforts to bolster Muslim political prominence. Alamoudi, 53, of Falls Church also helped found the Pentagon's Muslim chaplain program and was involved in a variety of other Islamic political and charitable organizations.

    "It's terrible. It's a human tragedy," Stanley L. Cohen, one of Alamoudi's attorneys, said outside the federal courthouse in Alexandria after the hearing. He said the sentence was "exactly what we expected," but he portrayed Alamoudi as a victim of other conspirators who did far more to carry out the plot. "Alamoudi walked into a situation, unknowingly and largely unwittingly," Cohen said.

    Government officials called the sentence a major step in their efforts to shut off terrorist financing.

    "This is a clear victory in the war against terrorism," said Paul J. McNulty, the U.S. attorney in Alexandria.

    Michael Garcia, the Department of Homeland Security's assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the sentence "reflects the seriousness of Alamoudi's crimes." He said that during the investigation, agents "tracked suitcases stuffed with cash, unearthed Swiss bank accounts and documented meetings with shadowy figures around the globe."

    Alamoudi has undergone extensive debriefings, and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said yesterday that Alamoudi's cooperation will aid "critical" terrorism investigations. Government sources have said, for example, that Alamoudi will be asked about the sprawling probe into whether a cluster of Islamic charities, companies and think tanks in Herndon and elsewhere in Northern Virginia financed terrorist organizations.

    Alamoudi was closely involved with the Northern Virginia cluster, which has denied any terrorist links. It was unclear yesterday how much, if any, information Alamoudi has given. One of his attorneys, James P. McLoughlin Jr., said Alamoudi will "cooperate to the best of his ability. If he has information, great. If not, he's not going to invent it."

    Alamoudi's arrest, shortly after his arrival at Dulles International Airport on Sept. 28, 2003, caused an outcry among friends and associates, who portrayed him as a moderate activist. Yet almost as many federal officials were in the courtroom yesterday as supporters of Alamoudi, who smiled as he was led away by security officers.

    Born in Eritrea, Alamoudi is a naturalized U.S. citizen who automatically lost his citizenship when he pleaded guilty to engaging in prohibited transactions with Libya, along with tax and immigration counts.

    Court documents said the assassination plot arose from a March 2003 conference at which Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and Prince Abdullah had a heated exchange. Angered at how Gaddafi was treated, Libyan officials recruited Alamoudi.

    Even after he learned that the target was Abdullah, Alamoudi shuttled money and messages between Libyan officials and the two Saudi dissidents in London, the documents said. Although Gaddafi is not named as a planner, sources familiar with the case have said he appears in the documents as "Libyan government official #5," who met personally with Alamoudi.

    Staff writer Mary Beth Sheridan contributed to this report

  • ---------------------------------

  • MIM:Excerpt from Counter Terrorism Expert Michael Waller :Terrorism Recruitment and Infiltration into the United States- The Military and Prisons as Operational Bases


    Alamoudi: The operations chief in the U.S.

    In 1990 Abdurahman Alamoudi, an emigrant from Eritrea of Yemeni descent and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, set up a political action organization in Washington called the American Muslim Council (AMC). This subcommittee heard testimony almost six years ago that the AMC, based at 1212 New York Avenue NW, was inter alia, the “de facto lobbying arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Earlier this month, AMC advisory board member Soliman Biheiri, whom federal prosecutors say was the financial toehold of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, was convicted of violating U.S. immigration law.

    Alamoudi is presently in jail on federal terrorism-related charges. He was arrested in late September 2003 at Dulles International Airport after British law-enforcement authorities stopped him with $340,000 in cash that he was trying to take to Syria. U.S. officials allege that the money may have been destined for Syrian-based terrorist groups to attack Americans in Iraq. Charges include illegally receiving money from the Libyan government, passport and immigration fraud, and other allegations of supporting terrorists abroad and here in the United States.

    Since Alamoudi has not had his trial, it may be inappropriate in this Judiciary subcommittee setting to discuss the case further, other than to say that one of his attorneys, Kamal Nawash of Northern Virginia, spoke to the suspect after his arrest and called the case politically motivated. Nawash told reporters less than two weeks ago that Alamoudi “has no links whatsoever to violence or terrorism. On the contrary, he supported the U.S. war on terrorism.

    Alamoudi has a long public record that indicates why his instrumentality in founding and shepherding the U.S. Muslim military chaplain program unfortunately calls into question the integrity of the entire Muslim chaplaincy, and requires thorough investigation.

    Alamoudi successfully burrowed into the American political mainstream until some of his extremist statements made him a public liability. My testimony will not discuss the details of his political activity other than to say that it included both main political parties and two administrations.

    Alamoudi timeline

    A timeline of events and statements shows that the Pentagons Muslim chaplain program was compromised at the start due to the fact that Alamoudi founded it and guided it, and nominated the first chaplains.

    During the time he and his organizations were involved in the chaplain program, Alamoudi was a senior figure in Northern Virginia-based entities that were raided or shut down for alleged terrorist financing; he openly spoke out in support of Hamas and Hezbollah, he campaigned for the release of a Hamas leader, and he attempted to secure the release of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader convicted for his role in plotting to bring down civilian airliners and bomb bridges, tunnels, and skyscrapers in New York City.

    1979: Abdurahman Alamoudi emigrated to the United States.

    1985-1990: Alamoudi was executive assistant to the president of the SAAR Foundation in Northern Virginia. Federal authorities suspect the Saudi-funded SAAR Foundation, now defunct, of financing international terrorism. SAAR is the acronym for Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi, a wealthy Saudi figure and reputed financer of terrorism. Victims of the 11 September 2001 attacks allege in court that The SAAR Foundation and Network is a sophisticated arrangement of non-profit and for-profit organizations that serve as front-groups for fundamentalist Islamic terrorist organizations.�

    1990: Alamoudi founded the American Muslim Council (AMC) as a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organization, based at 1212 New York Avenue NW in Washington. The AMC has been described as a de facto front of the Muslim Brotherhood. The AMC's affiliate, the American Muslim Foundation (AMF), is a 501(c)(3) group to which contributions are tax-deductible. SAAR family assets financed the building at 1212 New York Avenue NW.

    1991: Alamoudi created the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council (AMAFVAC). Its purpose: to “certify Muslim chaplains hired by the military.� Qaseem Uqdah, a former AMC official and ex-Marine gunnery sergeant, headed AMAFVAC.

    1993: The Department of Defense certified AMAFVAC as one of two organizations to vet and endorse Muslim chaplains. The other was the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (GSISS).

    March: Alamoudi assailed the federal governments case against Mohammed Salameh who was arrested ten days after the first World Trade Center bombings in February: All their [law enforcement] facts are " they are flimsy. We dont think that any of those facts that they have against him, or the fact that they searched his home and they found a few wires here or there are not enough. Salameh was convicted in the bombing plot and is currently serving a life sentence in prison.
    In December 1993, Alamoudi attended the swearing-in ceremony of Army Capt. Abdul Rasheed Muhammad (formerly Myron Maxwell), the first Muslim chaplain in the U.S. military, and pinned the crescent moon badge on the captains uniform. The American Muslim Council chose and endorsed Muhammad.�

    From about 1993 to 1998, the Pentagon retained Alamoudi on an unpaid basis to nominate and to vet Muslim chaplain candidates for the U.S. military.

    1994: Alamoudi complained that the judge picked on the 1993 World Trade Center bombers because of their religion: I believe that the judge went out of his way to punish the defendants harshly and with vengeance, and to a large extent, because they were Muslim.

    He began a public defense of Hamas: “Hamas is not a terrorist group . I have followed the good work of Hamas…they have a wing that is a violent wing. They had to resort to some kind of violence.

    1995: Alamoudi continued his Hamas defense, arguing that “Hamas is not a terrorist organization. The issue for us (the American Muslim Council) is to be conscious of where to give our money, but not to be dictated to where we send our money.

    Alamoudi accompanies AMAFVAC chief Qaseem Uqdah on a tour of naval installations in Florida to assess the needs of Muslims in the U.S. Navy.

    1996: In 1996, Alamoudi became a naturalized citizen of the United States. In so doing he swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    Alamoudi spoke out in response to the arrest at New York's JFK Airport of his admitted friend, Hamas political bureau leader Mousa Abu Marzook. Months after the arrest, Alamoudi blamed the February 25th Hamas suicide bombings of Israeli citizens on Marzook's detention: If he was there things would not have gone in this bad way. He is known to be a moderate and there is no doubt these events would not have happened if he was still in the picture.�
    He continued to defend Marzook: Yes, I am honored to be a member of the committee that is defending Musa Abu Marzook in America. This is a mark of distinction on my chest.I have known Musa Abu Marzook before and I really consider him to be from among the best people in the Islamic movement, Hamas in the Palestinian movement in general and I work together with him.
    May 23: Alamoudi became a United States citizen.
    As one point during the year, Alamoudi spoke at the annual convention of the Islamic Association of Palestine in Illinois, stating in Muslim Brotherhood terms:

    It depends on me and you, either we do it now or we do it after a hundred years, but this country will become a Muslim country. And I [think] if we are outside this country we can say oh, Allah, destroy America, but once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it.
    o Alamoudi called on the president to free Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman,� the Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader serving a life sentence for his role in the early 1990s of bombings and attempted bombings in New York, and for plotting to destroy civilian airliners.

    And again: know the man [Marzook], he is a moderate man on many issues. If you see him, he is like a child. He is the most gracious person, soft-spoken. He is for dialogue. [His arrest] is a hard insult to the Muslim community.
    August 1996: Alamoudi was there when the U.S. Armed Forces commissioned its second Muslim chaplain, Lieutenant JG Monje Malak Abd al-Muta Ali Noel, Jr. “We have taken a long and patient process to bring this through,� Alamoudi said. He spoke of cultivating others to take posts in the political system and law enforcement: “We have a few city council members. We are grooming our young people to be politicians. We also want them to be policemen and FBI agents.
    Alamoudi protested federal airline safety measures concerning terrorism.

    1997: Back to Hamas: I think [Hamas is] a freedom fighting organization.

    2000: Alamoudi publicly embraced not only Hamas but Hezbollah. At a videotaped protest in front of the White House on 28 October, Alamoudi shouted, “Anybody who is a supporter of Hamas here? Hear that, Bill Clinton. We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah. Anybody who supports Hezbollah here?

    Alamoudi described a two-track political approach, advocating prayer for the destruction of the United States, but counseled that while working within the U.S., his allies should try to change policy: I think if we are outside this country, we can say oh, Allah, destroy America, but once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it.

    2001: In January, Alamoudi attended a conference in Beirut with leaders of terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda.

    • November 2001: After NBC and other channels broadcast a 2000 videotape of him proclaiming support for Hamas and Hezboollah, Alamoudi told reporters, I should have qualified what I have said. I should have said that we should support Hamas and Hezbollah in the effort for self-determination.

    2002: Alamoudi protested the arrest Imam Jamal Abdullah Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown): I think there is a witch hunt against Muslims. Al-Amin, who held a former AMC post, was later convicted of murdering a Georgia law-enforcement officer.

    March: Federal agents raided Alamoudi’s American Muslim Foundation during Operation Green Quest, as well as several other organizations which Alamoudi had led, staffed, or otherwise been affiliated.
    April: Alamoudi reacted to the Department of Justice’s ordering of names of known or suspected terrorists to be added to federal, state and local police nationwide: “I really don’t understand a government that acts on suspicion instead of facts. America is no longer the land of the free.�
    Alamoudi modified his tone on Hamas: In an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel on April 30, 2002, Alamoudi explained, Hamas may be on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, and may deserve that designation for some of its actions â€" such as unconscionable bombings of civilians â€" but this is not the ‘Hamas’ I support. What I support is the legal military defense of Palestine, and the political and humanitarian work of Hamas to provide representation to the occupied territories as well as medical, educational and other desperately needed social services to the Palestinian people.
    June: AMC Executive Director Eric Vickers was asked on Fox News and MSNBC to denounce Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda by name. Vickers would not In one instance, he stated that al Qaeda was “involved in a resistance movement.
    The FBI announced that Director Robert Mueller would address the AMC's second annual national lobbying conference. The FBI called the AMC the most mainstream Muslim group in the United States.

    2003: In September, Army Capt. James Yousufa Yee, a Muslim chaplain who ministered to the 660 terrorist detainees at the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba, was arrested and identified as having been sponsored by the AMAFVAC.

    Alamoudi was arrested by federal agents as he returned from a trip to Libya, Syria, other Arab countries, and the United Kingdom.
    At his bond hearing, attorneys May Shallal Kheder and Maher Hanania of the law firm Hanania, Kheder & Nawash represented him. The third partner of the firm, Kamal Nawash, spoke to him in jail and identified himself on October 1 as an Alamoudi lawyer.

    Somehow despite all the above public events, the Pentagon found fit for Alamoudi to start and effectively run the Muslim military chaplains program. Somehow the State Department saw Alamoudi as an appealing representative of the United States in its public diplomacy activities, making him a goodwill ambassador to Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and elsewhere, as part of the USINFO program.

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