The Obama administration has an infamous history of questionable Islamist outreach, as noted here, here and here. These outreach efforts have been engaged by the highest levels of the Department of Justice (DOJ), resulting in decisions affecting potential prosecutions of Islamist leaders and closing ranks with other Islamist leaders in the name of civil rights enforcement.
More recently, a U.S. Attorney in Tennessee suggested that anti-Muslim inflammatory Internet postings might rise to the level of violating federal civil rights statutes. This caused an uproar of concern that such biased outreach may cross a line encroaching on First Amendment protected free speech.
Thanks to the revelation of an innocuous contract solicitation by the U.S. Department of Education, we know President Obama takes a direct interest in these outreach programs. On April 29, the Department of Education posted a solicitation bid titled "White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Annual Report." The principal purpose of the bid was listed as:
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Under Secretary requires a writer to prepare a comprehensive summary report of the activities and recommendations of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Commission) to the President covering the period October 14, 2009 through Fiscal Year 2013. The report must reflect the work and recommendations of the Commission, as well as the findings and recommendations gleaned from the Muslim Outreach Summits….
The Initiative, through the U.S. Department of Education, requests to enter into a firm fixed priced contract for a writer to write, document and produce a comprehensive summary report based upon the recommendations of the Commission, the Muslim Outreach Summits, and the Initiative to be presented to the President.
The federal contract solicitation indicated there are three upcoming Muslim Outreach Summits and those are June 15 in Chicago, June 22 in San Francisco and June 29 in New York.
The Department of Education reported the contract was awarded on May 23 from a bid list of 18 to Ignatius Bau, a San Francisco-based community activist and lawyer who was previously engaged with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Bau has been involved in immigrant rights and health care advocacy, and was so lauded in a YouTube video from January 2011 wherein, among others, former DOJ Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, who has been responsible for much of the DOJ Muslim outreach effort, spoke on Bau's behalf.
With the issuance and publication of this taxpayer contracted report, we now know the president himself is interested in the results of his administration's longstanding special outreach programs to Muslims. The problem too often is on what elements of the Muslim community those outreach efforts have primarily focused.