The case of Rashad Hussain

Watching the speech given by Obama national security adviser John Brennan at the NYU Islamic Center this past weekend, one is struck by the extent of his abasement before his audience. Brennan’s speech is full of the apologetics, false equivalences and straw men that we have come to expect from the Obama administration in addressing these matters. As he instructs the faithful in the meaning of Islam, he doesn’t quite get around to the subject of jihad.
In the question and answer period, Brennan explains that to recognize the terrorists’ invocation of jihad wrongly dignifies the terrorists. And yet to pass over it in silence, as Brennan does in his remarks, is an act of willful blindness representative of the higher wisdom operative in the Obama administration.
Brennan testifies to the beauty and goodness of Islam. Brennan refers to having visited “Palestine.” Is that, as Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Authority textbooks have it, the country otherwise known as Israel? Or is it some part of the West Bank or Gaza? Where is Palestine?
Elsewhere in his speech Brennan decries “violations” of the PATRIOT Act (?!), surveillance that has been viewed as excessive, policies that have been perceived as profiling, and the creation of an “unhelpful atmosphere” around Muslim charities. The pandering and evasions that permeate Brennan’s speech have to be seen to be believed.
Now comes word via Fox News regarding attorney Rashad Hussain. Already serving as a high officer of the administration, Hussain is now Obama’s chosen envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. He is also a fan of Sami al-Arian, the convicted head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in North America. According to Hussain in 2004, al-Arian was the victim of “politically motivated persecutions.” Hussain also reportedly asserted that al-Arian was being “used politically to squash dissent.”
According to the Fox report, the White House says the controversial remarks defending al-Arian two years earlier were made by al-Arian’s daughter rather than by Hussain, who both appeared on a Muslim Student Association conference panel. As Fox also notes, however, the reporter covering the event stands by the quotes she attributed to Hussain, who was a Yale Law student and an editor of the Yale Law Journal at the time.
What does Hussain say? Hussain does not deny the remarks. A White House official who talked with Hussain on Tuesday said he acknowledged attending the event to discuss civil rights in a post-9/11 world but has “no recollection” when it comes to the comments attributed to him. He has not (yet) sought to explain away the remarks as a youthful indiscretion. What does Hussain think of Sami al-Arian today? The White House doesn’t say.
The Muslim Student Association is itself an unsavory organization. Founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, MSA was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memorandum as one of the Brotherhood’s likeminded “organizations of our friends” who shared the common goal of destroying America and turning it into a Muslim nation. These “friends” were described by the Brotherhood as groups that could help teach Muslims “that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands … so that … God’s religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions.”
The case of Rashad Hussain also casts retrospective illumination on John Brennan’s NYU Islamic Center speech. In Hussain’s case we see the depth of Brennan’s appeasement and flattery of his NYU Islamic Center audience.
PAUL adds: Hussain has an interesting bio. He’s a former high school debate star, but we won’t hold that against him.
The striking thing for me is that President Obama made Hussain his deputy associate counsel at a time when, as best I can tell, he had maybe a year of experience as a lawyer (plus some time as a House Judiciary Committee staffer). And now, a year later, he has given Hussain what appears to be a reasonably significant diplomatic-type job.
I guess there’s a fast track for Muslim-American lawyers, at least those with connections to Paul Soros [note: also a prominent liberal, Paul is the brother of George; I’m only speculating that Hussain’s connection with him is relevant] and sympathy for Palestinian jihadists.
UPDATE: The estimable Daniel Pipes notes the unreliability of the publication that originally reported on Hussain’s 2004 remarks (they have since been airbrushed). Pipes, however, fails to note Hussain’s non-denial of the remarks attributed to him. Pipes also links to Josh Gerstein’s cautious Politico article on Hussain.

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