As we reported on June 4, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's office held a conference call with various American Muslims immediately after President Obama's Islamic outreach speech in Cairo. Among those invited to participate was former Muslim American Society (MAS) President Esam Omeish, who lost in his bid to become a Virginia State Delegate just days after the State Department phone call.
It is now clear that the State Department knows about Omeish's controversial background. In a June 10 State Department Bureau of International Information Programs section, there is a "press guidance" relating to "Muslims: Department of State criterion in choosing Muslim American contacts/leaders."
This press guidance appears to be linked to possible questions that may have been asked about the conference call. There is the anticipated question, "What is Department of State's criterion in choosing/identifying Muslim American contacts/leaders?"
The State Department answer:
• The Department meets with a wide range of American citizens and domestic groups who have an interest in United States foreign policy.
• We do so to hear a diverse number of opinions as well as to explain our policies to American citizens.
• We value hearing all opinions, whether people agree with U.S policies or not.
And if that generic answer was insufficient for inquiring reporters:
• This call was designed to amplify the President's speech in Cairo. A general invitation was issued by the Bureau of Public Affairs to a large list of groups we have interacted with over many years. While I will not discuss the specifics of any one group or individual, Americans' have the right to free speech, protected by the constitution.
Background for Briefer: Esam Omeish was invited by the PA/PIL to participate in a conference call designed to amplify the President's speech in Cairo. This call was for Arab and Muslim Americans, Mr. Omeish is listed as a, "Doctor and Former President of the Muslim American Society (MAS)." The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee was also included on the call and may have raised concerns about Mr. Omeish.
Mr. Omeish is a candidate for representative of Virginia's 35th District to the State House, and a doctor at Northern Virginain (sic) Community Hospital. In 2007, he had to resign from the Virginia Commission on Immigration due to comments he made regarding "Israel's war machine" during the 2006 Israel-Hizballah conflict. He is also accused of supporting suicide attacks and violence in achieving a Palestinian state.
Mr. Mahdi Bray, MAS Executive Director, could not be on the call, Mr. Omeish took his place.
The State Department knew about Omeish's support for violent jihad, yet he was still included in the post-speech forum. Also revealing is that Omeish was not the State Department's first choice. MAS executive director Mahdi Bray, a multiple convicted federal felon, con-man, thief and drug abuser, "could not be on the call" and Omeish "took his place."
Are jihad supporters and convicted felons the partners of choice for Secretary Clinton in her "outreach" efforts into the American Muslim community?