Media Coverage on Islamist Extremism?

[1]- A deep and frightening financial crisis dominates news coverage. A flood of layoffs, tumbling stock prices and a battle over government's role in stemming the tide rightly leads newscasts and the front pages of America's ever-shrinking newspapers.

Important stories can get lost in the mix. But sometimes, it seems the stories are ignored due to uncomfortable facts associated with them. Andrew Sullivan, one of the most prolific news junkies in the blogosphere, made that point last week. He expressed dismay at missing the news of the beheading of Buffalo resident Aasiya Hassan Feb 12. Muzzammil Hassan, founder of Bridges Television – a cable network created to enhance the image of Muslims – is charged with killing his wife.

"I learned of the case for the first time on Bill Maher, which means the MSM [mainstream media] must have been doing a very good job suppressing it," he wrote.

It's just one of several stories about Islamist extremism that has been ignored by U.S. news outlets in the past month. The Israeli military has declared that its investigation has found the number of civilian casualties from its recent fighting in Gaza has been grossly exaggerated. Those inflated figures are helping drive divestment efforts and protests at universities in the U.S. and abroad. Those protests are growing increasingly hostile and threatening.

So far, only Time magazine's Scott MacLeod has noted a Jerusalem Post report on the IDF investigation. In doing so, MacLeod cast its findings in doubt without ever addressing its methodology. In short, the Post reported Feb. 16 that the world had been "duped" by claims that well over half the 1,300 Palestinian casualties in Gaza were civilians.

Col. Moshe Levi, the head of the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA), led an effort to positively identify all the dead. So far, "580 of these 1,200 [known dead] had been conclusively 'incriminated' as members of Hamas and other terrorist groups," the newspaper reported. Another 320 casualties haven't been identified, but were all men. The IDF estimates "two-thirds of them were terror operatives."

The investigation has positively identified 300 women and children as civilian casualties. That's a large number, but a far smaller proportion than offered by Palestinian sources and accepted by the media during the fighting.

MacLeod defended media casualty reports, noting that they were accepted by the United Nations, the Red Cross and Israeli human rights groups, some of which had people in Gaza. But, he argued figures can be manipulated:

"One problem is the conflicting definitions of combatant. Are you a combatant if you are a member of Hamas but do not carry arms? Are you a terrorist if you are not a member of Hamas but still went into the streets to defend your neighborhood against Israel's incursion?"

Never mind whether the figures are accurate. Besides, those questions can be inverted. Are you a civilian if your husband or father is a senior Hamas terrorist and he refuses to let you leave your home even after Israeli officials warn you in advance it is about to be targeted?

That's what happened to Nizar Rayyan, a Hamas military commander, who ignored Israeli warnings to evacuate his home because it was about to be bombed. Rayyan died in the blast, along with at least two wives and up to 10 of his own children.

Are you a civilian if you are a Hamas member with this image in your life, but you are listed in casualty counts as a medic? Anas Naim is listed among the civilian dead. His uncle is a Hamas government minister.

No one expects the media to accept the IDF report on its face. But it certainly warrants more attention and even challenge. The debate over Israel's response to incessant Hamas rocket fire has focused on civilian pain – whether Israel inflicted too much or whether Hamas deliberately placed its own people in harm's way. If the civilian count in one of the world's most densely populated regions against an enemy that seeks out human shields is actually lower – much lower — than conventionally cited, it's an important distinction.

There's no indication major media outlets are trying to examine the CLA report. Instead, the original casualty figures remain the accepted standard and groups like the Muslim American Society (MAS) use them to push a suspension of American military aid to Israel.

Precisely nailing down casualty counts is not easy. But any trust placed in initial estimates from a terrorist-governed region ignores the lessons of recent history. The "massacre" in the West Bank town of Jenin, then-dominated by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, turned out to be a total of 52 people, almost all terrorists. The original estimated death toll, in excess of 1,000 people, has been forgotten.

Something similar may have happened in the infamous Israeli bombing of a United Nations school building in Jabaliya. According to reports at the time, dozens of civilians huddled there for safety, but 42 were killed when the building was hit.

Now even the United Nations admits that's not true. No shell directly hit the school building. After UN officials insisted no rocket fire was coming from the school, it turns out two members of a Hamas mortar crew were among the dead.

According to the CLA investigation, a total of 12 people died at the school, nine of whom have been identified as Hamas operatives. According to the Post:

"From the beginning, Hamas claimed that 42 people were killed, but we could see from our surveillance that only a few stretchers were brought in to evacuate people," said Levi, adding that the CLA contacted the PA Health Ministry and asked for the names of the dead. "We were told that Hamas was hiding the number of dead."

Likewise, the fallout from Gaza is contributing to a threat of a different kind that appears to be escalating on college campuses in North America and, again, it is generating little attention. Anti-Israel demonstrations grow increasingly hostile, leading some to fear for the safety of counter-demonstrators.

At San Francisco State University, two students were arrested in January after a fracas during an anti-Hamas rally by the College Republicans. See video here. The students were soliciting signatures on an anti-Hamas petition and encouraging people to throw shoes at a Hamas flag. According to Boston University researcher Richard L. Cravatts, the assaulted students actually face school sanction:

"[T]he College Republicans must be punished or sanctioned for throwing shoes at the Hamas flag; pending charges should be dropped against the two protestors who assaulted the College Republicans and seized the Hamas flag; and, most ominously for defenders of free expression on campus, a forum should be created to 'educate' students about what forms of speech the 'offended' students deem acceptable or unacceptable, including what the Left regularly tries to proscribe as 'hate speech.'"

As bad as that is, it pales in comparison to the intimidation at Toronto's York University and the inexplicable response by school administrators.

On Feb. 11, campus police had to escort dozens of Jewish students out of the campus Hillel office after an angry mob gathered outside. It's a confusing situation, one that seems to stem as much from a student group's support of a lengthy faculty strike as it does with the battle in Gaza.

Regardless of why it happened, the school's anemic response to the incident prompted Kings College Professor of Computational Linguistics Shalom Lappin, a York alumnus and critic of some Israeli actions, to cancel a planned talk at York later this month.

"Given that the incident took place two weeks ago, I find it odd that the administration has been unable to come to any conclusions on what took place. It is particularly remarkable that it felt no need to release at least a general statement specifying that violence and abuse of any kind will not be tolerated on campus, and confirming that all students have the right to express their views without fear of intimidation.

The fact that the University has not taken up this assault with the students who launched it, nor acted to reassure the students who they targeted indicates a severe failure on the part of the administration to fulfill its responsibility to sustain a campus free of physical violence and harassment."

Since Lappin wrote, York officials have followed the lead set by San Francisco State, indicating that they intend to suspend and fine the students who had to call police for protection as much as the students who seemed to be threatening them. According the National Post:

"This past Thursday, the school announced it was fining and suspending four groups for protesting too loudly on Feb. 12, a series of demonstrations that disrupted classes.

Mr. Cappadocia said the groups Hasbara Fellowship at York, Hillel@ York, Students Against Israeli Apartheid and the Tamil Students' Association broke promises to hold demonstrations that would respect the rights of students in nearby classes. Now all face fines from $250 to $1,000 and potential suspensions from 10 days to a year. The groups, however, will be granted a hearing to plead their case."

Thank goodness no one is blaming the victim in the Hassan murder case. Recent reporting shows Hassan had a history of spousal abuse that may have been known by some of his associates. Because of the nature of her murder – a beheading – there has been debate over whether this is an "honor killing," or whether it is simply an ugly manifestation of domestic violence, which affects all communities.

Aasiya Hassan filed for divorce from her husband a week before her death and secured a protective order against him. Whether this classified as an honor killing really doesn't matter, Andrew Sullivan wrote:

"Attempts to deny any connection between this kind of behavior and the brutal misogyny of much Islamic culture seem bizarre to me. Obviously, the abuse of women is no community's or religion's exclusive sin. Chris Brown, anyone? My own church maintains a completely irrational and blanket discrimination against women in the priesthood. But the cultural and religious norms that facilitate brutal and often violent patriarchy in Islam make it easier for men to abuse and harder for women to resist. And the woman was beheaded." [Emphasis original].

Muslim reform advocate and former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani told the Associated Press that Muslims should avoid a reflexive denial the murder was linked to Islamic teaching.

"It's sort of like the typical reaction to terrorism in the community, where people want to say, 'This had nothing to do with Islam,'" Nomani said. "Well, it doesn't have anything to do with your interpretation of Islam that teaches you can't kill innocent people. But terrorism, violence, honor killing — they are all part of ideological problems we have in the community we need to eradicate."

Since then, Nomani has spoken with relatives and associates of Hassan and his former wives. Their story indicates that his actions may be rooted as much in mental illness as anything.

The failure of many media outlets to report these stories in detail is disturbing, at the very least. Many might argue that too many reporters emphasize the claims by some Muslim groups of profiling and targeting, while avoiding stories that may offend these same groups. Whatever the reason, these stories require more attention. Lives and policies can be changed as a result

This article was originally published on InvestigativeProject.org

AND:

[2] – Questions for Florida Lawmakers to Ask Ex-CAIR Leader

Busloads of new civic activists are due to hit the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee this Tuesday, ostensibly to engage in the state political process for the first time. But some lawmakers are suspicious because of the man leading the effort.

Ahmed Bedier used to run the Tampa chapter for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), where he was among its most visible spokesmen. That all ended mysteriously last spring, with CAIR saying it wanted to "go into a new direction" – indicating Bedier had been fired – and with Bedier saying he chose to leave to launch "a new peace-making initiative."

One of them must be wrong. Regardless, Bedier did launch a new venture, called United Voices for America. Its call to increase "the participation of ethnic and religious minorities in the political process" is laudable. But at least one lawmaker, State Rep. Adam Hasner (R-Delray Beach) reportedly alerted a group of Jewish lobbyists seeking "an information campaign in opposition."

In correspondence with a Miami Herald reporter, Hasner cited CAIR's ties to Hamas as part of his concern. Bedier dismissed that as "ridiculous" and "nonsense," unrelated to his effort.

Questions about CAIR's Hamas connections, and Bedier's knowledge of them, are far from nonsense. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas-support case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). Evidence in the case showed CAIR's founders were part of a U.S.-based effort to support Hamas and that CAIR's foundation was an outgrowth of that effort.

The evidence was so compelling, the FBI decided to cut off outreach meetings with CAIR last summer.

Bedier maintains a relationship with CAIR even if he doesn't work directly for them. Since leaving his job last April, he has traveled the country to host CAIR-sponsored screenings of the documentary "USA v. Al-Arian," which is sympathetic to the former University of South Florida professor who served in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's leadership. In November, Bedier served as master of ceremonies at the CAIR national banquet outside Washington.

So questions about his knowledge of CAIR's agenda, and where he departs from it, are legitimate. Has he ever read the transcripts from the Philadelphia meeting? What does he think of the fact that two of his former bosses participated in the meeting, in which they plotted ways to derail U.S.-led peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians and in which they openly discussed deceiving the American people about it?

What does he think of CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad's enthusiastic affirmation for the statement that "War is deception?"

"Politics is a completion of war," Ahmad said.

Has he seen Ahmad's and CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad's names on this telephone list of the Palestine Committee? (see #s 25 and 32 on page 4. Omar Yehya is a pseudonym for Omar Ahmad).

A July 30, 1994 agenda for the Palestine Committee, seized by federal agents and introduced at trial, showed that "suggestions to develop the work" of HLF, CAIR and other organizations was on the agenda.

Under the heading "The need for trained resources in the media and political fields," the agenda said: "No doubt America is the ideal location to train the necessary resources to support the Movement worldwide."

If he did review the material, what does he think of it? How does he reconcile CAIR's adamant denials that it has ever served in support of Hamas?

When it comes to defending accused terrorists and equivocating when challenged to condemn specific terrorist groups, Bedier is perfectly in sync with CAIR national leaders.

A more detailed report is here. Though he recently acknowledged Hamas is a terrorist organization, he minimizes Hamas' deliberate storage of weapons and firing of missiles from civilian areas but places Israel among "Irresponsible rogue states, terror states like Israel."

Like CAIR national leaders, Bedier often casts Muslim Americans who are accused of wrongdoing as victims of a bigoted government. As he told the Associated Press in 2004:

"From our position, prominent Muslim individuals are being targeted selectively by the government. The allegations are overstated and Muslims are facing a double standard."

Asked for CAIR's position on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a designated terrorist group, during a 2004 news conference, Bedier replied, "We have not published one." On a Tampa television program the following year, Bedier was asked whether support for the PIJ was immoral:

"To a certain degree," he said. "Now, before 1995 there was nothing immoral about it." Bedier later claimed he meant there was nothing illegal about it, but the question was about the morality of a terrorist group that has killed dozens of innocent civilians, including at least two American citizens.

The PIJ questions were prompted by Bedier's unwavering support for Al-Arian, who was charged with providing material support to the terrorist group. Al-Arian later pled guilty to conspiring to provide goods and services to the PIJ, acknowledging that he knew it used violence to meet its objectives.

Likewise, Bedier staunchly defended two USF students arrested during a traffic stop in South Carolina in August 2007. Police found ingredients to make a pipe bomb in the trunk of their car, and a laptop computer they carried contained a number of jihadi videos.

Bedier portrayed the students as victims of unwarranted police attention, minimizing the explosives as "fireworks" and calling them "naïve kids."

"No acts of terrorism are alleged; that is not even an issue," he said after the arrests.

In fact, Ahmed Mohamed pled guilty last June to one count of providing material support to terrorists. A 12-minute video he produced was on the seized laptop. On it, Mohamed detonated a remote control bomb and explained how the device allows someone to "preserve his life" rather than carrying out a suicide bombing.

Rather than expressing betrayal, Bedier minimized the plea, writing on his web blog, that "Mohamed chose to cut a plea to one count of material support, which carries of a maximum of 15 years in prison, rather than risk spending the REMAINDER OF HIS LIFE behind bars if convicted."

Bedier insists his upcoming Tallahassee trip has nothing to do with such issues. Instead, he said his group will focus on education, healthcare and the economy. It is unclear how many people Bedier intends to bring. The United Voices website advertised "Comfort charter buses are scheduled to depart Tampa, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale."

The program includes a breakfast atop the state Capitol building, a midday panel discussion and workshop, and a concluding rally outside.

In a letter requesting meetings with lawmakers, Bedier said the goal is "to introduce minorities to civic engagement and encourage their involvement in the political process. We believe this is a great opportunity for you to communicate directly with minority constituents you may not be able to reach via traditional channels."

That's all a lovely sentiment. And if the program brings more people into the process, that's a good thing. However, Bedier's involvement, given his history of defense of terrorist supporters, can only serve to taint that effort, not advance it.

Ahmed Bedier

http://www.investigativeproject.org/profile/175

Ahmed Bedier is the founder and past executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Bedier left the position in May of 2008 after five years of service to CAIR.[1] He now serves as the president of the Tampa/Hillsborough County Human Rights Council[2] and has created an organization called United Voices for America.[3] According to the organization's website, United Voices "is a non-profit non-partisan civic engagement organization dedicated to increasing the participation of ethnic and religious minorities in the political process."[4]

However, a look at Bedier's past statements shows his sympathies with designated terrorist organizations, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas, and with accused terrorist supporters – even after they admit their crimes. In addition, he equates acts of terrorism and has offered false information.

Moral Equivalence on Terrorism

Speaking about the 2005 film "Munich," which depicts Israel's attempt to hunt down and kill the terrorists who slaughtered Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972, Bedier said:

"The only difference between what these so-called Mossad-sponsored assassins and other terrorists – they both use the similar means. They make bombs and they blow up people and they kill innocent civilians in the meantime. Violence begets violence. The policy has not worked and I'm glad that people like Steven Spielberg have produced a movie to raise questions about these certain policies of killing individuals. Especially without due process, without providing the evidence."[5]

Blaming Israel for the Gaza War While Ignoring Hamas Rocket Fire

Bedier co-hosts a talk show on Tampa community radio station WMNF. During the January 23, 2009 broadcast of "True Talk," Bedier called Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip "terrorism."[6]

Additionally, he and co-host Samar Jarrah say the war on terrorism should attempt to halt the Israeli bombings of Gaza. First, a clip of President Obama's inaugural address is played in which Obama said:

"And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us and we will defeat you." [Emphasis added]

Coming out of the clip, Bedier asked, "Does that include terror in Gaza?" Jarrah responded, "Not the terrorists in Gaza." Bedier then asked a very similar question to emphasize his point, "Or the terrorism that happened in Gaza." Jarrah responded, "of course not."[7]

Earlier that month, during a debate on WMNF radio, Bedier argued that any effort to target Hamas would endanger civilians:[8]

"And every time they say Hamas is using this as a base, Hamas is using that as a base. Well Gaza's very crowded. No matter where you're gonna go you're gonna find some Hamas people there. But that does not justify the killing and targeting of any innocent civilians."[9]

That misrepresents the reality in Gaza, where Hamas deliberately stores its explosives in mosques and in residential areas and otherwise uses human shields.[10]

During the January 16th 2009 broadcast of "True Talk" Bedier argued that Hamas is powerless to stop rocket fire from the Gaza strip into Israel, while condemning resulting fire from Israel into Gaza. When a caller asked why Hamas or the Palestinians in charge did not stop people who shot rockets and comments that the Palestinian Authority is not trying to prevent the terrorists from lobbing rockets into Israel, Bedier said:

"So wait, wait, let me get this argument right. So Israel with its mighty army, the strongest army and military, with its biggest weapons in the whole region cannot stop the rockets, but you expect defenseless, helpless poverty stricken Palestinians to go and stop the rockets. Are you making any sense? Are you making sense?"[11]

Refusal to Condemn the Palestinian Islamic Jihad

At a May 27, 2004 CAIR-Tampa press conference concerning University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, who was facing charges of aiding the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Bedier was asked:

"Do you agree with the government designation of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organization?"

He responded:

"We are not here to discuss the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or any other terrorist organization or any other group. We are here strictly to discuss the confinement conditions of this individual who is not in Palestine or in Israel. He is right here in Florida."

Bedier was also asked whether CAIR had a position on the PIJ, a designated terrorist organization responsible for scores of deaths, including several Americans. "We have not published one," he said.[12]

On December 8, 2005, Bedier appeared on a local Tampa show, "Your Turn with Kathy Fountain," on WTVT to discuss the verdict in the federal prosecution of Al-Arian. The host asked him, "If he was associating with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, doesn't that seem immoral, in your opinion?"

Bedier replied: "To a certain degree. Now, before 1995 there was nothing immoral about it."[13]

On Hizbollah

Again on WTVT in Tampa, Bedier minimized that Hizbollah's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, citing, in his opinion, Israel's lack of respect for Lebanon:

"I think there's a – what did Hizbollah do in this latest incident. They captured two soldiers. Since when does Israel recognize the boundaries and borders of other sovereign states? They cross it all the time."[14]

He also stated that Israel behaved like a terror state, and he did not condemn Lebanon or Hizbollah's actions:

"Irresponsible rogue states, terror states like Israel, that's how they behave. And that's unacceptable for Israel to do that."[15]

On Hamas

During the WMNF debate, Bedier blamed the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict squarely on Israel:

"Israel has a history of habitually choosing violence over dialogue. Why? Because they're the stronger party. Israel is the mightiest army in the region and the 4th strongest army in the world. Who are they picking on? The defenseless, helpless, Palestinian people in the Gaza strip, how ridiculous is that? They always choose violence because they are the stronger party, thinking that through their strength, through their might, through their weapons, they're gonna get their way."

Hamas, he said, had moderated:

"Hamas which had been historically staying away from politics, and using violence and other means, decided for the first time in 13 years, after the Oslo agreements to join the political process. So here they are, they're moderating themselves they're finally thinking let's give this politics a try. And they come out the winners."[16]

Hamas has not moderated in its charter, which still contains rabid anti-Semitism in calling for Israel's destruction and rejecting any negotiated peace.[17] Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005.[18] The new Hamas "moderation" resulted in thousands of indiscriminate rocket launches at Israeli cities.[19]

On the assassination of Hamas co-founder and spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin

CAIR issued a press release titled "CAIR Condemns Israeli Assassination of Religious Leader." CAIR-Florida reprinted this press release on its website listing Bedier as the contact.[20]

The release stated:

"We condemn this violation of international law as an act of state terrorism by Ariel Sharon's out-of-control government. Israel's extra-judicial killing of an Islamic religious leader can only serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence throughout the region. The international community must now take concrete steps to help protect the Palestinian people against such wanton Israeli violence."[21]

Defending Terror Supporters

On Sami Al-Arian

Al-Arian was indicted for conspiracy to provide material support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Prosecutors alleged Al-Arian, then a University of South Florida professor, was on the PIJ governing board and played a critical role in keeping the organization from disintegrating in 1994.[22] Following the arrest, Bedier told the Christian Science Monitor that the case merely was "an effective tool to silence anti-Israeli views in the country." [23]

In December 2005, Al-Arian was acquitted on eight counts against him, while jurors deadlocked on nine other charges, including the material support count.[24] In April 2006, Al-Arian pled guilty to conspiring to provide goods and services to the Jihad.[25]

As part of the plea agreement, Al-Arian admitted that he "performed services for the PIJ in 1995 and thereafter" and that he was "aware that the PIJ achieved its objectives by, among other means, acts of violence."[26]

After the plea deal was announced, but before details were released, Bedier mischaracterized the plea agreement. Contradicting the assertion of Al-Arian's attorney that Al-Arian had in fact pled guilty to terrorism-related charges, in an interview with the Tampa Tribune:

Al-Arian "stayed true to his convictions – he stayed true he wasn't going to plead to those issues…There is no conspiracy to support terrorism."[27]

On Ahmed Mohamed, who later pled guilty to providing material support for terrorists

When University of South Florida students Ahmed Mohamed and Youssef Megahed were stopped by police in South Carolina in August of 2007, police found in their possession materials to make a pipe bomb. They also noticed Megahed hastily close a laptop that had been open on his lap.[28] Bedier, CAIR-Tampa's spokesman at the time, defended the two students excusing them as nothing more than "naive kids." Bedier added that he believed the materials were only leftover fireworks that Megahed had kept in his trunk since July and emphasized that he thought "if they didn't do anything wrong they need to be released."[29]

"Most people will tell you if these were some good old boys from South Carolina traveling through the highway of that county and getting pulled over and having some fireworks, I doubt that it would make news around the world," Bedier said.[30]

"No acts of terrorism are alleged; that is not even an issue."[31]

In fact, Mohamed entered a guilty plea in June 2008 to one count of providing material support to terrorists. On his laptop, investigators found videos of bombing attacks on U.S. military vehicles and a 12-minute video produced by Mohamed in which he detonated a remote control bomb. On the video, he said a remote controlled explosion allows someone to "preserve his life" rather than carrying out a suicide bombing. [32]

On his web blog, Bedier minimized the plea, saying "Mohamed chose to cut a plea to one count of material support, which carries of a maximum of 15 years in prison, rather than risk spending the REMAINDER OF HIS LIFE behind bars if convicted."[33]

Megahed has pleaded not guilty to charges he illegally transported explosives. His trial is scheduled for later this month.

On Stoning Women

Bedier appeared on a public television panel to criticize the documentary "Islam vs. Islamists," which aired in August 2007. In discussing a scene in which a woman is stoned as punishment, he incorrectly argues that the practice no longer exists and is never government sanctioned.

Bedier: Now, obviously the images we saw there, we don't know the circumstances of who is being stoned, how long ago these images were. But if you just look at the religious text itself, when it comes to adultery, the punishment is on both men and women. That's number 1. The second thing is, in order to convict someone on adultery, you have to have four eyewitnesses – who witnessed the actual intercourse happening. So you have to be like a porn star to get convicted. And they didn't indicate that. So it's almost impossible to prove [unintelligible] and let me tell you the punishment for whoever accuses a man or a woman of adultery and does not have four witnesses, they get 70 lashes. That's the punishment.

Host Rob Lorei: But is this the kind of punishment that the four of you would sanction? Would you sanction stoning? Would you sanction lashing?

Bedier: It's definitely not government sanctioned …that punishment is not carried out these days. You never hear about it.[34]

By questioning the circumstances, Bedier implies there are conditions under which stoning is acceptable.

In fact, an Iranian woman was reported stoned to death a month earlier.[35] Amnesty International routinely monitors nations that sentence people to punishments of stoning. In October 2005, the human rights group issued a statement expressing its horror that Iran continues to pass sentences of stoning "despite having announced a moratorium on such executions."[36]

On his approach to political action:

" … [L]obbying and advocacy is like sales. You wanna sell a product you have to sell it. Nobody is going to come buy your product just because you have it if nobody knows about it … AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and some of these other groups that are raising money to advocate for their position, their pro-Israel position, are having to spend millions and millions of dollars to be able to sell a shady product. They're selling a lemon, they're selling the worst product in the world. A product that creates more violence, a product that creates more insecurity, a product that doesn't create any type of peace, a losing product that is going downhill that you have to pump more and more money into it in order to save it, but that's what they're selling, and that's why every year they have to raise more and more money to convince and fool more and more people of the shady product."[37]

[Emphasis added throughout]

——————————————————————————–

[1] "Tampa CAIR director steps down to start new project," St. Petersburg Times, May 19, 2008, http://blogs.tampabay.com/breakingnews/2008/05/tampa-cair-dire.html.

[2] "Tampa CAIR director steps down to start new project," St. Petersburg Times, May 19, 2008, http://blogs.tampabay.com/breakingnews/2008/05/tampa-cair-dire.html.

[3] Articles of Incorporation, United Voices for America, Florida Secretary of State, May 8, 2008.

[4] United Voices for America, http://www.unitedvoices.com/.

[5] Ahmed Bedier appearance on Fox News, December 2005, posted to Youtube by Bedier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUQ8FzfE9z4 (last accessed March 2, 2009).

[6] Ahmed Bedier and Samar Jarrah, True Talk, WMNF 88.5 FM, Tampa, January 23, 2009.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Debate, Ahmed Bedier and Ben Cohen, WMNF 88.5 FM, Tampa, January 7, 2009.

[9] Ibid.

[10]"Gazans Tell How Hamas Used Them As Human Shields: Among others, an ambulance driver said that during Operation Cast Lead Hamas operatives used ambulances to leave battle sites, a tactic familiar from the past," Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center, January 28, 2009.

[11] Ahmed Bedier and Samar Jarrah, True Talk, WMNF 88.5 FM, Tampa, January 16, 2009.

[12] Tampa CAIR Press Conference, Tampa Federal Courthouse, Tampa, Florida, May 27, 2004

[13] "Your Turn with Kathy Fountain," WTVT Fox, Tampa, December 8, 2005.

[14] Ahmed Bedier. "World's Response to Lebanon." FOX's Your Turn. June 20, 2006.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Debate, Ahmed Bedier and Ben Cohen, WMNF 88.5 FM, Tampa, January 7, 2009.

[17] The Hamas Charter reads: "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [endowment] consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. " available at http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm

[18] Jefferson Morley, "Israel Withdrawal from Gaza Explained," Washington Post, August 10, 2005.

[19] Steve Schippert, "Gaza Descends Under Hamas," ThreatsWatch.org, May 21, 2007, http://threatswatch.org/analysis/2007/05/gaza-descends-under-hamas/ (accessed March 6, 2009).

[20] "CAIR Condemns Israeli Assassination of Religious Leader," CAIR Press Release, March 22, 2004, http://www.cair-florida.org/ViewArticle.asp?Code=PR&ArticleID=192, accessed May 17, 2004.

[21] Ibid.

[22] USA v. Al-Arian, 8:03CR77, Indictment, (FLMD February 20, 2003).

[23] Warren Richey and Linda Feldmann, "Has Post 9/11 Dragnet Gone Too Far?" Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 12, 2003

[24] USA v. Al-Arian, 8:03CR77, Verdict (FLMD December 6, 2005).

[25] USA v. Al-Arian, 8:03CR77, Plea Agreement (FLMD April 14, 2006).

[26] Ibid., p. 11.

[27] Elaine Silvestrini, "Al-Arian To Be Deported," Tampa Tribune, April 15, 2006, http://www.tampatrib.com/MGB4QU3F1ME.html.

[28]Valerie Kalfrin, "2 USF Students Remain Jailed In S. Carolina," The Tampa Tribune, August 8, 2007, http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGBHGH8135F.html.

[29] Andy Paras,"2 held in explosives scare; Islamic leaders says men are college students on road trip," The Charleston Post and Courier, August 5, 2007, http://www.charleston.net/news/2007/aug/05/possible_

bomb_scare_shuts_down_goose_creek_highway/.

[30] Audrey Hudson, "High Bonds set in 'pipe bomb' case; Islamic support group contends car was only carrying fireworks," The Washington Times, August 8, 2007.

[31] Ibid.

[32] US v. Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, Plea Agreement, 8:07cr342, Middle District of Florida, June 13, 2008.

[33] "Bedier's Reaction to USF's Ahmed Mohamed Plea," http://ahmedbedier.blogspot.com/2008/06/bediers-reaction-to-usfs-ahmed-mohamed.html, June 13, 2008.

[34] Ahmed Bedier. "Islam vs. Islamists Panel," WEDU Television, Tampa, August 23, 2007.

[35] "Amnesty International outraged at reported stoning to death and fears for victim's co-accused," Amnesty International, July 9, 2007.

[36] "Iran: Death Sentences of juvenile offenders and stoning sentences continue to be passed," Amnesty International, October 20, 2005, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/063/2005/en/EBtxz_mXMUYJ (last accessed March 3, 2009).

[37] Ahmed Bedier, MAS Freedom Dallas and American Muslims for Palestine event Commemorating 60th Anniversary of Palestinian Catastrophe, Plano, Texas, June 29, 2008.

The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, or from any governmental agency or political or religious institutions. Therefore we are totally dependent on American donations for keeping our operations going. We are the only non profit counter-terrorist group in the country that is conducting primary and exhaustive investigations into the operations, modus operandi and funding of radical Islamist groups here and their ties abroad. We also work to identify genuine Islamic moderates who we provide venues to speak out. Would you consider increasing your gift if you are already a donor, becoming a new one if you have not given, or contributing any type of equity for which you will get a tax deduction and avoid capital gains? Again, we are totally dependent on you. Your support of The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical in winning a battle we cannot afford to lose. All donations are tax-deductible. Click here to donate online. The Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation is a recognized 501(c)3 organization.

———————————————————————————–

NWS Editors Note: For emeded links go to:

IPT News

March 6, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1006/questions-for-florida-lawmakers-to-ask-ex-cair

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply