President Obama praised a radical Muslim cleric during his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. The president referenced Abdullah Sheikh bin Bayyah in an attempt to promote moderate Muslim responses to radical Islamist ideology.
"The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed, confronted, and refuted in the light of day," Obama said. "Look at the new Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies – Sheikh bin Bayyah described its purpose: 'We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.'"
By itself, this quote may appear to be moderate. But it overlooks bin Bayyah's deeper record of radical associations and views.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism documented bin Bayyah's problematic connections last year after he met senior officials at the White House. Bin Bayyah was vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), a group founded by and headed by radical Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi, regarded as the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood movement, is banned from the United States for his extremist views, including calling for the killing of Americans and Jews.
Bin Bayyah reportedly left the IUMS in September 2013. The IUMS is extremely hostile toward Israel and supports terrorist attacks against the United States and the Jewish state. A 2004 fatwa, issued while Bin Bayyah was an IUMS board member, sanctioned "resistance," meaning attacks on American troops in Iraq as "a duty on every able Muslim in and outside Iraq."
Moreover, bin Bayyah criticized the West in 2011 for designating Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as terrorist organizations and treating them in the same category as al-Qaida.
"[P]lacing the Palestinian resistance, which defends internationally recognized rights, on an equal footing with intercontinental terrorist organizations (al-Qaida) is not based on any moral principle and would be detrimental to the cause of the fight against terrorism and mix the cards and raises questions to the world conscience and serves terrorists," he said.
Click here to read the IPT report on the White House meeting.