Obama’s “violent extremism” summit: an exercise in community organizing

Andy McCarthy points out that, even as the White House throws “a public hissy fit” over the upcoming speech to Congress by Benjamin Netanyahu, it chooses to be “chummy” with Salam al-Marayati, the Muslim activist best known for saying, right after the 9/11 attacks, that we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list.

You have to hand it Obama, he knows who his friends are. It’s America’s friends that he hasn’t a clue about, and that’s giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Marayati attended the White House’s “summit” on “Countering Violent Extremism” this week. Although he has tried at times to present himself as a moderate, his assertion that Israel should be suspected of the 9/11 bombing is no aberration. Marayati is, in fact, a consistent apologist for terror.

McCarthy recites some of Marayati’s “greatest hits.” For example:

In 1996, a Palestinian terrorist named Muhammad Hamida plowed his car into a crowded Jerusalem bus stop, killing one Israeli and injuring 23 others as he screamed “Allahu Akbar!” He was shot on the scene, before he could do any more harm. Immediately afterwards, while mum on the jihadist’s atrocity, Marayati demanded that the shooters of the jihadist be extradited to the United States to face trial on “terrorism charges” for this “provocative act.”

Others examples can be found here. They include these:

During a 2006 conference, he said terrorists “are suffering from depression and despair, and then they resort to violence as a result.”

One week after the Fort Hood attack, which left 13 people dead and 32 wounded, and after Hasan’s communication with al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was well documented, al-Marayati claimed Hasan likely “had a complete psychological breakdown and resorted to shooting anyone around him.”

Al-Marayati repeatedly went to bat for Sami Al-Arian, a former University of South Florida professor arrested in 2003 for allegedly serving as North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a designated terrorist organization. Despite indisputable evidence showing Al-Arian to be an officer in a murderous Islamic terrorist organization, Marayati protested the fact that the professor was being put on trial and even defended him after Al-Arian pled guilty in 2006 to making and receiving contributions of funds, goods, and services to or for the benefit of the PIJ. In March 2006, al-Marayati lauded Al-Arian at a fundraising dinner.

As to the first of these examples, one wonders how much distance there is between Obama and Marayati. There doesn’t appear to be much between Marayati and Marie Harf.

McCarthy argues that Marayati’s inclusion at the “summit” is indicative of the overlapping objectives of the American left and the Islamists. He accuses Obama of using the issue of terrorism as a pretext (a crisis-generated opportunity not to be wasted) “for a large-scale exercise in community-organizing” on behalf of the “legitimate grievances” of young Muslim — grievances that turn out to be the ones the left always grieves over. In my view, Obama is guilty as charged.

As for the Islamists, “they are also anxious to gull Westerners into seeing their grievances as driven by wayward American policies rather than sharia principles.” Again, I say guilty as charged.

Whatever the precise extent of the overlap between President Obama’s leftist agenda and that of Islamist apologists for terrorism, it pretty clearly exceeds any overlap between Obama’s objectives and those of Israel’s government.

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