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The Controversial "Free Muslims Against Terror" March on DC Nears, Amidst skepticism

Ex terrorist lawyer Kamal Nawash says people regard him as "being sent by God" and of being called "the Martin Luther of Islam"
May 13, 2005

Kamal Nawash:

MIM: Not just another Jihadi face : "Someone described me as the Martin Luther of Islam. To me,that's not bad".

From terrorism lawyer to Free Muslims Against Terrorism - Kamal Nawash's organisation sees Jews/Israelis as the root cause of terrorism, no wonder he revels in being compared to the German anti semite - Martin Luther .

MIM: Kamal Nawash and FMAT - Will the March Against Terrorism reveal the advent of a Muslim messiah in DC ?

"I like to see myself as a leader of a Muslim reformation," Nawash says. "For certain people, I'm a hero. For certain people, I was sent by God. . .."

"...Nawash's office is four blocks from the White House, and the lobby directory doesn't list the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism. No Kamal Nawash law office listed. No Nawash, period. "We don't put our name down there in case bin Laden comes looking for us," says Nawash, emitting an uneasy laugh that suggests this might be funny, if only it were..."

MIM: If Nawash is really interested in separating Muslims from terrorism, why is his Falls Church, Virginia law office in the same building which which houses two Al Qaeda and Hamas fronts, WAMY and the MSA? Both groups are now under Senate investigation for terrorism funding. According to Paul Sperry in his book "Infiltration",

"The building used to be the home of the U.S. branch of the Saudi based World Assembly of Muslim Youth,before it moved up the street to bigger digs. During his failed political campaign, Nawash, who specialises in immigration law, put up signs outside the nearby Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center,which is a Saudi controlled Wahhabi mosque popular with Palestinians like Nawash. But he against Wahhabism. Of course he is..." "Infiltration" pg. 289-290.

MIM:The Dar al Hijah mosque,where Nawash was soliciting clients was described by Sperry as "this hardline Wahhabi mosque, one of the nation's largest,is a Saudi sponsored hub of terrorist activities,hate filled rhetoric, a fundraising house for Hamas and a magnet for Islamic militants and terrorists- including some of the 9/11 hijackers, who received aid and comfort there..." "Infiltration " pg.109

MIM:Nawash's credibility is further strained by the fact that he claims he was 'mistakenly identified' in an Islamonline interview as Abdulrahman Alamoudi's lawyer while being on record as dissembling about Alamoudi's ties to terrorism.

"...And, despite myriad public statements he has made in support of officially designated terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, his lawyer, Kamal Nawash, says: [Al]Amoudi has no links whatsoever to violence or terrorism."

(Alamoudi was the head of the American Muslim Council who was jailed last year for 23 years on terrorism related charges). Paul Sperry cited court affadavits proving that Nawash was on Alamoudi's legal team.Counter terrorism expert Michael Waller, expert testified in a Senate hearing on 'Terrorism Recruitment and Infiltration in the United States, that:

"... 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..."

MIM: Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer reports this exchange between writer Erich van Abele and Kamal Nawash . When Abele asked Nawash to clarify FMAT's stance against terrorism Nawash responded with an abusive and insulting email:

"...(Also), not long ago I received a critical analysis of certain premises of the March and FMAT from a writer named Erich von Abele. He noted that while FMAT statements "say they reject the violent interpretation of ‘jihad,' they seem to leave wiggle room open for it with the following comment: ‘The Coalition feels that the concept of jihad should be reinterpreted for a modern day context in which holy war is obsolete. No holy war needs to be waged; there is no clear and present threat to Islam...' This comment implies that a violent type of jihad would need to be waged if there were a clear and present threat to Islam…"

Von Abele sent this analysis to FMAT's Kamal Nawash and received this response: "Dear Erich, Paranoid schtsophrinia [sic] is a treatable disease now. Please see some one about your problems. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you are nuts. 21st century medicine has cures for just about anything. This is our official response. I hope you keep your word and have it published." complete article below Also see "Free Muslims Against Terrorism - An Exercise in Muslim Sophistry?

MIM: Ray Hanania, a board member of the Free Muslims Against Terrorism, shows himself to be a conspiracy theorist and blames none other then Sean Hannity, Mayor Giulani, and Dr. Daniel Pipes, for the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan.Both Hanania's claims and Nawash's answer to a critic accusing him of "schtsophrinia"(sic), lead one to conclude that the "Free" in Free Muslims Against Terrorism" is an allusion to it's members having escaped incarceration in an asylum...

By Ray Hanania

Al-Jazeerah, May 14, 2005

"...In a way, you have to blame Americans like former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and media bigots like Sean Hannity and Daniel Pipes for the moral corruption that drives many of the abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan..."


Controversial "Free Muslims Against Terror" March On DC Nears, Amidst Skepticism

By Beila Rabinowitz, Militant Islam Monitor

Proclaiming that "God loves Christians & Jews as much as he loves Muslims," the newly organized FMAT will hold its first rally in support of "moderate Islam" on Friday May 14.

While the group claims 70 endorsing organization, at least one, the Fairfax Republicans, deny they gave permission to use their name.

MIM: A previous article by the writer of this piece asked the rhetorical question: "Free Muslims against terrorism" - An exercise in Muslim sophistry?" and pointed out that for FMAT, the root cause of terrorism is Israel, and if Israel ceased to exist, there would be no cause for Islamist terrorism.

As the FMAT March Against Terrorism draws near, one is inclined to speculate as to who will make up the bulk of the marchers. Given the fact that 20 out of the 70 'endorsers' are non-Muslims, a good bet would be 95% percent non Muslim, with the rest made up of FMAT members and whoever they can round up from central casting.

The 'endorsers' listed on the FMAT site are a diverse bunch, ranging from 'The Government of Free Vietnam, to the Zanzibari - American Association.

It is also debatable as to how many of the endorsers will make their presence known, since - as was the case of the Fairfax Republicans - they might have not given permission to be listed as endorsers in the first place.

Republican FMAT leader Kamal Nawash is good friends with Karl Rove sycophant - and newly-wed convert to Islam - Grover Norquist. In 2003 Norquist held a fundraiser for Nawash who was running for a seat in the Virginia State Senate. The close relationship between Free Muslims Against Terrorism founder Kamal Nawash and Norquist was detailed by Paul Sperry in his book "Infiltration", under the heading; "A Foreign Intelligence Operation".

Kamal Nawash realized that his legal representation of the now jailed head of the American Muslim Council, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, (who was accused. among other things, of masterminding a plot to kill Saudi Prince Abdullah) might be a political liability, especially after Nawash was quoted on the Islamonline website as saying that "the case against Alamoudi was politically motivated", and went on to claim that he 'had been erroneously identified by Islamonline as Alamoudi's attorney. Paul Sperry then asks the obvious question as to why Nawash's signature was found at the bottom of a 'Power of Attorney' affidavit for Alamoudi at the Fairfax Circuit Court.

The spinmeisters of Free Muslims Against Terrorism must be whirling like dervishes on speed to generate a publicity blitz which will make these 'Soldiers of Allah' appear to be the harbingers of Muslim moderation. Their scheduled march against terrorism in Washington DC is going to take place on May 14th 2004. According to ex terrorist lawyer and FMAT 'fuehrer' Kamal Nawash, the FMAT march will show the world that all Muslims want is peace - while leaving out one minor technical detail, namely, that the peace which they are talking about only applies to Muslims, and the terrorism they are condemning does not rule out waging Jihad.

MIM: According to Free Muslims Against Terrorism the 'Trojan horse' of peace is going to arrive in Washington D.C. on May 14 in the guise of former terrorist lawyer Kamal Nawash, and most likely a posse which will include his suicide bomber supporting crony Ray Hanania, and a host of others who are going to show the world that there really are 'nice Muslims'. The list of endorsers of the FMAT march, which is being touted as being as being more historically significant then Saladin vs the Crusaders, includes such heavy hitters as :

The Nawash Law Offices

JPJ Fashions

Scentual Fragrance

The Friendship Caravan

March Against Terror International

MIM: It is worth noting that FMAT has provided two separate lists of endorsers and supporters and that one page of 68 links are all inactive, while another page of 65 links includes 15 active ones, one of which belongs to Free Muslims Against Terror. It is also noteworthy that out of the 15 active links several are either dead or link to advertisements for schools and services.

FMAT aka FMC, assures 'those of little faith' that 'Allah loves Jews and Christians too', and says they are really sorry for all those "horrors committed in the name of Islam" and are asking people to give them 'another chance'. What FMAT fails to mention is that their co-religionists who "committed" the 'horrors" were acting in accordance with Koranic law and are behaving as good Muslims. Which makes the FMAT/FMC appeal to Christians and Jews not to make their '"final judgment about Muslims and Islam" all the more ominous.

"...The Islam we represent respects other religions and we know that God loves Christians and Jews just as much as he loves Muslims. To those Christians and Jews who watch horrors committed in the name of Islam, we say please don't make your final judgment about Muslims and Islam...

"...As to the March Against Terror, moderate American Muslims recognize that those who commit murder and destruction in the name of Islam are using a warped interpretation of Islamic theology to justify their evil. "... We want to reclaim our religion and we want to send a strong message to the extremists and terrorists that we are against them and we will do all we can to stop them from turning our beloved religion into a murderous ideology..."

As Paul Sperry pointed out in his book "Infiltration" under the 'Top Ten Myths of Islam';

No. 6 -'Osama Bin Laden Hijacked Islam and Distorted its Teaching';

"...This is a fundamental misunderstanding of both the faith and the enemy. Bin Laden has not betrayed his faith . Quite the contrary , he has honored it like few Muslims have over the past fourteen hundred years of Islam..."

"They (Muslims) call Bin Laden a terrorist but in reality he is a true Muslim hero who deserves to be backed by all Muslims throughout the world..." "I may denounce them, I cannot however disown them..."

Bin Laden did not "hijack" a "great religion"..."He embraced it..." "The horrible truth is, he is a good Muslim, and a model one at that..."

More proof of the FMAT's cynical manipulation of the desperation of people to believe in the advent of a moderate 'Muslim Messiah' is the title of their proclamation - 'Why we are marching against terror', which sounds like a cynical takeoff of the title of Frank Capra's WWII pro war propaganda films - 'Why We Fight'.

As The Free Muslims Against Terrorism plan to march on D. C. the question once again becomes, with Free Muslims Against Terrorism as friends, who needs the terrorists?


Kamal Nawash: "Someone described me as the Martin Luther of Islam."

MIM: The FMAT hype is belied by the fact that the radical Islamist All Dulles Muslim Society Mosque, which is tied to terrorism, has told it's worshippers about the rally. It appears that the FMAT had better hope that March participants are non Muslims, since if more groups like the ADAMS mosque join they will have to change the name of the group to "Fundamentalist Muslims who Assist Terrorism".

Muslim Group will lead march against terror

Washington (AP) - An Islamic group hopes to draw more than 1,000 Muslims, Christians and Jews to a march against terrorism Saturday at Washington's Freedom Plaza.

Kamal Nawash heads Free Muslims Against Terrorism, which is sponsoring the "March Against Terror." He say that there is no clash between Islam and the West. He says the real battle is between modern Muslims who believe in secularism, democracy and women's rights and traditionalists who want to continue to live in the 14th century.

But some in the Muslim community say Nawash is looking to advance his own political agenda. Nawash has run unsuccessfully for public office in Virginia. Hussein Ibish of the Progressive Muslim Union says Nawash has gone too far in apologizing to the American public for the actions of terrorists, saying that just feeds on people's stereotypes.

But the imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque says he's informing worshipers of the rally and letting them decide on their own whether to attend.


Muslim Group will lead March Against Terror

May 13, 2005

A local Islamic group is aiming to have more than 1,000 Muslims, Christians and Jews rally against terrorism tomorrow in the District.
The group Free Muslims Against Terrorism, headed by Kamal Nawash, has organized the 'March Against Terror,' which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at Freedom Plaza.
March organizers said the event is the 'front line' in an ideological war against radical Islamic teachings.
'Most people talk about a clash of civilizations, between Islam and the West. This is totally wrong,' said Mr. Nawash, 35, a Palestinian-born lawyer who has become a U.S. citizen.
'The battle today is between modernist Muslims who live in the 21st century, who believe in secularism, democracy and women's rights, and those who want to live in the 14th century, the traditionalists,' he said.
Mr. Nawash, a former candidate for the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates, has generated a national profile in the past year by participating in hundreds of radio and television interviews. His year-old group promotes a secular interpretation of Islam.
More than 80 groups, including the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), have signed on as supporters of the rally.
AIFD leader M. Zuhdi Jasser, a 37-year old physician, said groups like his and Mr. Nawash's are different from traditional Muslim groups because they denounce Islamic radicalism.
'There is a big difference between condemnation when you are pressed and leadership to root out the cancer in our midst,' said Dr. Jasser, the U.S.-born son of Syrian parents who fled their homeland in 1966.
Dr. Jasser, who left the Navy as a lieutenant commander in 1999, is scheduled to speak at the rally.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has criticized Mr. Nawash, will not participate.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said the group will conduct its own conference tomorrow. He referred questions about Mr. Nawash to Hussein Ibish of the Progressive Muslim Union, a group of mostly young Muslims based in New York.
Mr. Ibish said Mr. Nawash has gone too far in apologizing to the American public for radical Islamic terrorism.
"It's debasing and buys into a discourse of stereotyping and discrimination against American Muslims," Mr. Ibish said.
Some local Muslim leaders expressed suspicions about the political motives of Mr. Nawash, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for Virginia offices.
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, director of community outreach at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, where about 3,000 attend Friday prayers, said Mr. Nawash "has a credibility problem."
Mr. Abdul-Malik said he thinks the march is an extension of Mr. Nawash's agenda to garner personal attention.
Some local clerics are tacitly supporting the march. Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque, where about 1,000 attend Friday prayers, is sending an announcement about the rally to the mosque's e-mail list.
"There is no official endorsement, but we are sending it to our list. We will give the community a chance to make its own mind," Mr. Magid said.


Muslims' Unheralded Messenger
Antiterrorism Group Founder Hopes To Rally a Crowd

By Don Oldenburg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 13, 2005; C01

Kamal Nawash would like to see tens of thousands of Muslim Americans join his March Against Terrorism tomorrow morning at Freedom Plaza, but he likely won't. Only a few hundred showed up to another group's anti-terrorism march in Phoenix last April, and on his permit application, Nawash has tapered his dreams to 1,200 people -- and four portable toilets. Still, he longs for something like the 2002 Palestinian-rights rally at the Ellipse, which drew several thousand -- all those abayas, chadors and headscarves sprinkled among the crowd.

Nobody's expecting a Million Muslim March, not even close, and more than a few critics think it's the right message, but Nawash is the wrong messenger.

"We may not draw a lot of people, who knows?" says Nawash, 34, the outspoken president of the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism, which he founded last year. "But the point is that it is done."

Promoted as the first Muslim-led public demonstration against terrorism in the nation's capital, this rally is seen by some as an overdue response to the nagging public perception, right or wrong, that American Muslims have been too hushed in their criticism of Islamic extremists.

Nawash's office is four blocks from the White House, and the lobby directory doesn't list the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism. No Kamal Nawash law office listed. No Nawash, period. "We don't put our name down there in case bin Laden comes looking for us," says Nawash, emitting an uneasy laugh that suggests this might be funny, if only it were. "You can't be too safe," he says, insisting he isn't really afraid, though his parents beg him to find a different job.

"I like to see myself as a leader of a Muslim reformation," Nawash says. "For certain people, I'm a hero. For certain people, I was sent by God. I get calls from the Middle East saying thank you for doing this. . . . Someone described me as the Martin Luther of Islam. To me, that's not bad."

In many ways, Nawash is a study in a certain kind of Washingtonian -- the niche organizer, the self-appointed spokesleader. He refers to the coalition and Saturday's march in the plural sense -- an incessant "we." Numbers-wise, he says he's up to 9,000 members, with 14 people on his directors and advisory boards. And a full-time staff consisting of . . . Kamal Nawash. He says he represents new generation of Muslims worldwide who are hungry for democracy, equality for women and separation of religion and state.

He's a visibly patriotic, mediagenic Muslim American. He says he made 300 TV and radio appearances last year, including on Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor," where he called on Muslims to reject extremism after the arrest of mosque leaders in Albany, N.Y., who allegedly agreed to launder money for use in terrorist acts. If a reporter needs a Muslim to say the United States has good reason to keep Yussef Islam, the former Cat Stevens, from entering the country, Nawash was and is available. When a Northern Virginia imam was convicted last month for inciting followers to train overseas for violent jihad, some Muslim leaders called it a witch hunt. Not Nawash, who announced he was pleased with the verdict.

"We are the first Muslim organization to take the lead and do the right thing, basically," he says. "You never know who is going to find that intolerably offensive."

In fact, many do.

"People in the Muslim community are all for raising their voices against terrorism," says Mahdi Bray, a spokesman for the Muslim American Society, based in Falls Church. "It is just sad this is being led by the wrong person. . . . Unfortunately, Mr. Nawash doesn't have credibility within his own community."

A Palestinian who came to the United States with his parents and six siblings when he was 9 years old and didn't know a word of English, Nawash today looks the standard K Street lawyer. He sports hip eyewear and has a receding hairline. Seated behind his desk in a cramped office, he leans back toward its big-window view of the downtown skyline. He likes that. This is where he issues news releases, applauds convictions of Muslims found guilty of terrorist ties, and hammers out online diatribes against fundamentalists for turning his religion "into a killing machine."

"This has become almost an obsession for me," says Nawash. He now works only enough hours at his immigration and personal-injury law practice to help fund the Free Muslims. Unmarried, no children, he says he has nothing better to do.

"I can think of almost nothing else. What we are fighting is an ideology. I call it political Islam. Others call it religious fascism. Whatever you call it, it is a threat," says Nawash.

Muslim American leaders hesitate to come down hard on terrorism, he says, not because they support the violence, but because they share with terrorists the dream of a theocratic Islamic state.

He is unapologetic for his homilies on the subject, unaware that his voice rises excitedly with fervor until he is speaking too loudly, in his office, or while walking along L Street NW, or in a restaurant, attracting glances from passersby. "Yes, many Muslims may be oppressed in the world. We understand that," he says. "But there can be no justification for attacking civilians. Even if Muslim civilians are being attacked -- and they are -- that doesn't justify going into a restaurant and blowing it up."

Bethlehem to Big Easy

At Bacchus, a Middle Eastern-Lebanese restaurant near Dupont Circle, Nawash speaks fluent Arabic with owner Munther Tellawi, who takes his order of meze -- an assortment of hummus, tabbouleh, grilled chunks of chicken and lamb.

A recording of Fairuz plays in the background. Decades ago, Nawash says wistfully, the popular Lebanese singer put Arabic words to the music of Beethoven and Mozart. After his family fled the Palestinian refugee camps for New Orleans in 1979, he heard Mozart on the radio and thought someone had copied Fairuz.

Growing up, Nawash helped his parents operate their grocery store in a New Orleans ghetto. His first taste of media attention came in grade school when, every Christmas, he was interviewed on local TV and in newspapers. "Because I was born in Bethlehem!" he says.

The alluring and even corruptive narratives of Louisiana's history-- from Huey P. Long to Edwin Edwards -- beckoned Nawash to study business and international politics at Southern Louisiana University. He got a law degree from Thomas Cooley Law School in Michigan, and earned a master's in law at American University. In Washington, he worked for a couple of years as an attorney for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Following a failed campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates in 2001, Nawash, a resolute Republican, ran in 2003 for the Northern Virginia seat in the state Senate. He lost 40 pounds campaigning door-to-door at 11,000 homes, he says. "Because I'm a Palestinian refugee, it would automatically have given me an international audience. I would have had a forum for doing things for good."

In fact, being a Muslim posed fewer problems for him than being a Republican in heavily Democratic Arlington County. "They'd slam the door in my face," he says.

And he found it frustrating that while he wanted to address issues such as roads, traffic and taxes, many people wanted him to talk about Arab-U.S. issues. One Muslim PAC, called Platform for Active Civil Empowerment, was ready to make a contribution, and Nawash says they sent questionnaires to him and his opponent, State Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple. Nawash says the PAC asked Whipple the usual candidate questions, but asked him only one: "Do you pray five times a day?"

When he responded that his relationship with God is private, the PAC endorsed his opponent, he says.

But Mukit Hossain, the PAC's founder, says they never asked Nawash about his religious devotion. "That's nonsense. Being Muslim is not the only condition. He did not add up as a candidate," Hossain says.

"Most of our organizations are run by fanatics," Nawash says. "I pray differently than what the average imam says I have to pray. I like to take a walk and talk to God." (A month before he launched his Senate campaign, Nawash went on hajj -- the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia required of all Muslims once in their lifetimes, if possible.)

He lost his state Senate bid in part due to his friendship with American Muslim Council founder Abdurahman Alamoudi, who, as the campaign got underway, was arrested on charges of money laundering and ties to terrorist organizations. "That has really been a dark cloud over me," says Nawash, adding that everybody who was anybody knew or at least had met Alamoudi -- from Hillary Clinton to President Bush. Alamoudi is now serving a 23-year plea-bargained sentence.

Nawash's agenda has gotten the support of Ahmed Subhy Mansour, an Egyptian-born political refugee and a noted Islamic scholar once jailed in Egypt for defending moderate Islamic causes. The former Harvard visiting fellow is now based in Northern Virginia and has joined the Free Muslims advisory board. "Kamal is very concerned about terrorism," says Mansour. "We have the same ideas. . . . We believe in human rights and free speech for everyone."

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a prominent civil rights and advocacy group based in Washington, bridles at Nawash's characterization of CAIR and other Muslim American organizations as doing practically nothing to denounce terrorism. Hooper lists dozens of anti-terror actions, from a small rally held in Dallas in October 2001 to condemning specific acts as they've occurred.

"The American Muslim community has consistently condemned terrorists both before and after 9/11, but unfortunately that's one of the criticisms we have the most -- that we haven't done enough -- and it just isn't true," Hooper says.


In last Sunday's MuslimWakeUp!, an online Muslim newspaper, an article titled "New Muslim Groups: The Ugly, the Bad and the Good" castigated the Free Muslims as "the ugly" and called Nawash's charge that mainstream Muslim organizations haven't spoken out against terrorism "a damned and odious lie."

The author is Hussein Ibish, spokesman for the Progressive Muslim Union of North America, and onetime colleague of Nawash at the anti-discrimination committee.

During Nawash's state Senate campaign, Ibish called him "a hard-working and patriotic American" just to be "vaguely supportive," he says. "No one really had any problems with him until he decided to launch a campaign within the community in the guise of being the only one to be against terrorism."

But now Ibish considers his former colleague to be "a sham for the ultra-right." Ibish says the list of seventy-some supporting groups for tomorrow's march and rally includes numerous borderline Islamaphobes: "There are organizations that are plainly hostile to Muslims, like the right-wing fundamentalist Council of Volunteer Americans and, a Web site that streams stridently anti-Muslim content. The United American Committee is absolutely hostile as are the Vietnam Veterans for Academic Reform," says Ibish, who anticipates all mainstream Muslim groups to boycott the rally. "No respectable organization can accept this."

Told of his critic's attacks, Nawash says it is "certainly not surprising. . . . They hate us now more than they hate the biggest enemies of Islam. They despise us because we're the biggest danger to them. They had a total monopoly over what Islam was and now we are providing an alternative to Muslims. . . . Everyone sees that most of the terrorism in the world is done by Muslims. I mean, people are cutting people's heads off while reading the Koran! When are they going to realize we have a problem? When are they going to speak up against it?"

Nawash is undaunted, and is still hoping for a big crowd tomorrow. He has been planning the rally for two months. Estimating the turnout on the Park Police permit application, he wrote 12-1,200 but hopes for more. A rent-a-rally company is set to deliver a stage, podium and PA system for the 15 scheduled speakers. Vinyl banners touting "March Against Terrorism" and "Free Muslims" are at the ready. He says he's got major TV, radio and print media coverage lined up. Yesterday all that worried him was a 30 percent chance of rain -- and the numbers that would show.


Marching Far Enough ?

by Robert Spencer
Posted May 12, 2005

The Free Muslims March Against Terror, scheduled for this Saturday and sponsored by Free Muslims Against Terrorism (FMAT), is generating considerable excitement among non-Muslims. Could this finally be large-scale Muslim anti-terror action that the world has longed to see since 9/11?

Maybe. But there are some strange things about it. In the first place, there are a large number of non-Muslim groups among the endorsers of the March: the Objectivist Center; the U.S. Copts Association; the Institute on Religion and Public Policy;; American Family Coalition of Virginia; Government of Free Vietnam; Canadian Israeli Students Association at the University of Calgary; Fairfax Area Young Republicans, etc

This makes me wonder in what sense this is really "Muslims" marching against terror. There are more non-Muslims on the list than Muslims. If the rally attracts large crowds, the media will no doubt report that large numbers of Muslims marched against terror, when it is entirely possible that more non-Muslims will march than Muslims. I am all for opposing terrorism, but I wonder what such a gathering would really accomplish in terms of establishing the existence of a Muslim presence against terror.

Also, I confess that I am somewhat puzzled by a list of endorsers that includes Marion Meadows Entertainment, JPJ Fashions, The Law Offices of Andrew Pakis, The Nawash Law Office, Rask Law Office, and Scentual Fragrance. What do these groups have to do with terrorism and jihad? What does their presence on the endorser list do except pad the list — enabling FMAT to send out a press release recently touting the March's endorsement by over 50 groups?

Also, not long ago I received a critical analysis of certain premises of the March and FMAT from a writer named Erich von Abele. He noted that while FMAT statements "say they reject the violent interpretation of ‘jihad,' they seem to leave wiggle room open for it with the following comment: ‘The Coalition feels that the concept of jihad should be reinterpreted for a modern day context in which holy war is obsolete. No holy war needs to be waged; there is no clear and present threat to Islam...' This comment implies that a violent type of jihad would need to be waged if there were a clear and present threat to Islam…"

Von Abele sent this analysis to FMAT's Kamal Nawash and received this response: "Dear Erich, Paranoid schtsophrinia [sic] is a treatable disease now. Please see some one about your problems. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you are nuts. 21st century medicine has cures for just about anything. This is our official response. I hope you keep your word and have it published.

For obvious reasons, I found it highly disturbing. I am used to getting abuse from Islamic apologists, but I thought von Abele's questions were entirely reasonable, and warranted a serious answer. That Nawash instead chose to respond with vituperation and insults is more than unfortunate.

Like von Abele, I wonder what FMAT means by "terror." It would be refreshing if FMAT could be more specific and host a Muslims March Against Jihad Terrorism. I would be happy to endorse such a March. After all, everyone is against "terrorism." Even the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has denounced "terror" — even while three of its officials have been arrested for various terror-related offenses in recent years. That CAIR would not endorse this March is the best testimony in its favor. But in a recent phone conversation with an FMAT official, CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper stated: "The leadership of this organization does not believe that FMAT represents the interests of the American Muslim community. We believe that CAIR does, and our organization has spoken loudly and clearly against terrorism. We are not sure what this rally would accomplish."

I'm not sure either. I'm against mass murder and mayhem against civilians, and I'm glad FMAT is finally establishing a Muslim stance against them too. Much, much more is needed. Will it come from Kamal Nawash? The jury is still out.

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at