Here’s more evidence that the administration’s approach to terrorism is becoming increasingly muddled. Joel Mowbray reports in the Washington Times that the Defense Department paid for, and the State Department sent a high-ranking representative to speak at, a conference co-sponsored by the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT). This is a group that, according to Mowbray, provided funding to Sami Al-Arian, the former University of South Florida professor who recently walked on terrorism related charges by virtue of a hung jury. IIIT’s co-founder, Taha Jabber al-Alwani (an unindicted co-conspiracy in the Al-Arian trial), has called Al-Arian “a part of us and an extension of us.” And properly so, inasmuch as Al-Alwani himself apparently once wrote a fatwa proclaiming that “Jihad is the only way to liberate Palestine. . . .[N]o person or authority may settle Jews on the land of Palestine or cede to them any part thereof. Although Al-Alwani wasn’t at the recent IIIT conference, Mowbray says he remains on their board.
One of the keynote speaker at the Defense Department sporsored IIIT conference (along with the State Department representative) was John Esposito. According to Mowbray, Esposito is an ally of, and co-author with, Azzam Tamimi, an unabashed supporter of Hamas who also expressed admiration for the Taliban. In 2004, Tamimi voiced a wish to go to Paletine and “sacrifice myself.” Mowbray points out that Tamimi was exposed several years ago, yet Esposito remains on the board of an organization he runs, the Institute of Islamic Political Thought.
Given all of this, if we are supporting the IIIT are we truly at serious war with terrorism?