by Connie Hair
A top Republican congressman is demanding that the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) explain why it is leasing office space from a Northern Virginia Islamic center that has ties to a leading terrorist recruiter, even as a HUMAN EVENTS investigation reveals that the center itself is owned by a radical Muslim group.
Terrorism expert Steve Emerson broke the story two weeks ago that the GSA was shelling out $23,000 a month to rent office space for the Census Bureau in an Alexandria, Va., building owned by the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, a mosque with ties to Anwar al Awlaki, a leading Islamic terrorist recruiter.
Awlaki — an American citizen currently believed to be hiding in Yemen — is the Dar al-Hijrah mosque’s former imam. He is linked to several 9/11 terrorists, the Christmas Day underwear bomber, the Fort Hood shooter and the failed Times Square bomber. In a new al Qaeda video released Sunday, Awlaki is advocating attacks on American soil against civilians.
An examination of Fairfax County, Va., property records by HUMAN EVENTS reveals the main Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center located at 3159 Row Street in Falls Church, Va., is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an entity formed by the Muslim Brotherhood and an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror funding trial.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to GSA Administrator Martha Johnson asking for documentation about the lease.
“In addition to other controversies, Dar al Hijrah has been publicly linked by investigators to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and Fort Hood,” Issa wrote. “Because GSA committed the United States government to make monthly rent payments to an entity with links to individual terrorists and terrorist organizations, I am specifically concerned that it appears there are insufficient procedures in place to vet potential contract partners.”
Issa asked the GSA to “identify any individuals at the General Services Administration, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Homeland Security or the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the U.S. Department of Commerce, or any other federal agency including the Executive Office of the President, who had any role in leasing office space from Dar al-Hijrah, including but not limited to identifying the leased office space, vetting the potential landlord, and meeting with Dar al-Hijrah officials.”
The Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center’s Constitution posted on its website specifies that the “Islamic Center shall be affiliated with” NAIT and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and that they have had on their board of directors “The Current Secretary General of [ISNA]” and “The Current General Manager of [NAIT].”
Both NAIT and ISNA were named as unindicted co-conspirators (pdf-Page 8) in the United States v. the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), the largest terrorist funding trial in U.S. history.
In 2008, both NAIT and ISNA petitioned the courts to be removed as unindicted co-conspirators but were strongly rebuked. The Justice Department responded to their petition saying, “during last year’s trial, numerous exhibits were entered into evidence establishing both ISNA’s and NAIT’s intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case. Accordingly, there is no possible basis for petitioner’s ‘expungement’ from the government’s list of co-conspirators and joint venturers.” In the filing, DOJ explicitly stated that “the evidence introduced at trial… established that ISNA and NAIT were among those organizations created by the U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood.” (You can find a complete listing of the documents from U.S. v HLF on the U.S. Courts website here or on the NEFA Foundation website which includes document location and guidance narrative.)
The Muslim Brotherhood has been identified by federal officials as a “threat organization” with numerous front groups and an anti-U.S. ideology.
Evidence submitted at the Holy Land Foundation trial included a Muslim Brotherhood document, “An Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group,” that states the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s objective in America is to overthrow the U.S. Constitution.
A legal brief analyzing the document for the Pentagon’s Joint Staff concluded “outreach strategies must be adjusted in the face of credible information that seeming Islamic humanitarian or professional non-governmental organizations may be part of the global jihad with potential for being part of the terrorist or insurgent support system.”
Commenting on this brief, Army Lt. Col. Joseph C. Myers, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s South America division, writes, “This assessment makes the point that the Muslim Brotherhood should be considered a threat organization and the affiliated U.S. domestic Muslim NGOs and associations identified in the strategy document should likewise be considered part of the Muslim Brotherhood network, that these are ‘front’ functional organizations operating as links and nodes of the overall network.”
Fairfax County property records indicate that Dar al Hijrah purchased the 40,000-square-foot Alexandria, Va., office building for $5.8 million on May 23, 2008. The GSA lease did not go into effect until November 2008. The U.S. Census Bureau officially opened its office in the Dar al Hijrah building in February 2009.
Specifically, Issa asks the GSA to respond to the following questions:
1. Was GSA aware of records or information linking Dar al-Hijrah to terrorist activities or organizations when it entered into a lease agreement with the Islamic Center?
2. Does GSA coordinate the Excluded Parties List with databases such as the Traveler Enforcement Compliance System (TECS) and other databases maintained by DHS to prevent contracts with entities linked to terrorism and other criminal behavior?
3. What vetting procedures did GSA use to conduct due diligence on the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center prior to entering into a lease agreement with the Islamic Center?
4. Do GSA contracting officials use the Traveler Enforcement Compliance System (TECS) as part of the vetting process?
5. Did GSA request a Federal Protective Service background check of Dar al-Hijrah prior to entering into a lease agreement with the Islamic Center?
6. Identify any individuals at the General Services Administration, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Homeland Security or the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the U.S. Department of Commerce, or any other federal agency including the Executive Office of the President, who had any role in leasing office space from Dar al-Hijrah, including but not limited to identifying the leased office space, vetting the potential landlord, and meeting with Dar al-Hijrah officials.
7. Provide a timeline of events detailing how GSA came to contractually bind the United States Government to pay rent to Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center. The timeline should include, but not be limited to, the dates of any due diligence efforts, the dates of meetings with Dar al-Hijrah officials, and the dates of signing of any agreements related to the lease.
Excellent questions given NAIT is believed to hold title to more than 300 mosques in America.