"Controversial Muslim Resigns from Virginia Commission"
by Lorenzo Vidino
September 27, 2007
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SEAN HANNITY: Joining us now is the author of Al Qaeda in Europe, Deputy Director of the Investigative Project. Lorenzo Vidino is with us.
Lorenzo, I've got to tell you, when I look at these words, and we have a copy of this videotape and this guy is saying that "you've known that jihad is the way to liberate your land." And he praises, for example, "for the sake of Allah and the sake of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades," a terrorist group he's talking about – How is it possible this slipped through the cracks?
LORENZO VIDINO: It's very difficult to explain. This is public information. It was available on our website.
Just by doing a Google search on Mr. Omeish, you can get a lot of good information on how radical he is and about his rhetoric. It's very difficult to explain.
I think what we see here is that individuals like Mr. Omeish, people who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States, are very good at infiltrating the government at any level, at the state level, at the federal level.
And they've managed to show this nice, moderate facade, and a lot of people don't go beyond this facade and see how radical they are.
HANNITY: If I'm the average American, and I'm, thankfully, sitting home watching "Hannity & Colmes" tonight here, and we're at an American solutions conference. We're trying to, you know, create a better future for our kids and grandkids here.
And we see a guy that has endorsed jihad and this radical, fanatical point of view, slip through the cracks, you know, we've got to wonder how many other people are slipping through. And how can the government fail on such a large scale?
I mean, it's breathtaking. It really is, considering, you know, it's six years after 9/11.
VIDINO: You're absolutely right. It goes to the core fact that these organizations that belong to the Muslim Brotherhood network like Muslim-American Society (MAS), have this propaganda machine.
They receive money from foreign countries, and have this very expensive propaganda machine that has managed to push them into the mainstream and have been able to portray themselves, for the Muslim community…
HANNITY: Let me ask you this.
VIDINO: …very difficult for the government to find out who they are.
HANNITY: I'm at an American solutions conference, and the answer is to come up with solutions. How do we prevent things like this from happening, in your estimation, in the future? What is necessary that our intelligence needs to do better?
VIDINO: Two things. First of all, is to shed light on who these people are. The second thing is empower moderate Muslims. There are a lot of good Muslims, moderate Muslims.
In northern Virginia, for example, some of whom I talked to today. And they were as enraged as you and I are about his nomination to the committee. There are a lot of them. They do not have the funds that organizations like MAS receive.
We need to empower these moderate voices in the Muslim community and make them stand up and be a competition to the most radical groups, like MAS.
ALAN COLMES: Hey Lorenzo, it's Alan Colmes. Thank you for doing our show.
Look, I think what he said is extreme. It's radical. There's no question about it. But it didn't slip through the cracks. They did find out about his statements, and he's no longer going to be a part of this commission.
But isn't this...
VIDINO: After it came out in the media…
COLMES: But isn't this -- isn't this conservative political correctness? Let's say he's got radical views. What's wrong with having a commission where we have all kinds of views, even extreme views, on a commission?
VIDINO: Well, first of all, I don't think anybody who supports violent activities, and is clearly endorsing jihad, violent attacks in Israel, killing individuals, should have any position...
COLMES: I'm not aware that he said killing
COLMES: …he actually said he's of the opinion that the invasion of Lebanon was wrong.
VIDINO: No, no, no. If you go the 2000 tape, he endorses jihad in Palestine -- this is at the peak of the 2000 Intifada, in October 2000. So he's endorsing jihad. And he calls in other parts of the tape for supporting the Mujahideen, the Islamic fighters. So he's clearly endorsing violence.
COLMES: Is it possible to see his point of view that he feels the Palestinians have been the victims of violence, and he is countering that.
Look, I don't support what he says. I'm just trying to say is there a way to understand where he might be coming from, and is he truly a threat to the United States?
VIDINO: I'm not saying he's a direct threat, and he has freedom to think and say whatever he wants. I don't think he should be in a position of representing the Muslim community of Virginia and working for the state of Virginia. I don't think anybody that supports a violent action should have any position in the government.
COLMES: And how representative do you think that is of the Muslim community?
VIDINO: Well, it's very difficult to say. But there are many moderate voices that would disagree with what -- and especially in northern Virginia -- that would disagree with what Mr. Omeish says. He's not an elected representative of the Muslim community. He is a self appointed representative of the Muslim community. There has been no election – his organization claims to speak on behalf of the Muslim community there – how do we prove that? There's no way to prove it.
COLMES: And the governor says he is a respected physician and community leader. The governor said in his announcement he would no longer be part of the commission. Is that not a possibility, that he could be a respected physician and community leader with very strong radical views?
VIDINO: Absolutely. Being a physician, that is a different thing. A community leader – in part of the radical community that does exist in northern Virginia for sure. Of the larger Muslim community in Virginia, of the silent majority, we don't know. It's very difficult to prove. I'm saying this is part of a very radical network that has managed to put itself in a…
HANNITY: This shouldn't happen. It needs to be stopped and prevented in the future. I hope we have learned our lessons. Thank you so much for being with us.