Foreign policy folly
U.S. grants visas to dangerous anti-American jihadists
by Tarek Fatah
How did an Egyptian politician who makes no secret of his links to a jihadi terrorist outfit, outlawed by America, get a visa to visit the USA? How did a Pakistani politician who has made a career of bashing the U.S. be allowed to fundraise inside America?
A U.S. magazine revealed on June 21 that Hani Nour Eldin, a member of the Gamaa Islamiya was granted a visa by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to join a group of Egyptian legislators.
Apparently, no one in the State Department knew of the man’s links to the terrorist outfit, even though Eldin openly admits to belonging to the group. A State Department spokesman said, “We have no information suggesting that he or anyone else in the delegation is a member of the Egyptian Islamic Group.”
Anyone with access to an internet search engine would have unearthed the links between Eldin and the banned group, whose spiritual leader is Omar Abdel-Rahman — also known as the “Blind Sheik” — who is serving a life sentence in a U.S prison for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre.
While the Obama Administration maintained the Egyptian delegation was in the U.S. to seek ways of future cooperation between the two countries, it was revealed Eldin met with Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough and asked him for the transfer the “Blind Sheik” Abdel-Rahman to an Egyptian prison.
By U.S. law, Eldin should have been denied a visa to enter the country.
Two weeks later, President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt echoed the call of his fellow Islamist comrade-in-arms when he too called on the U.S. to release the terrorist “Blind Sheik,” referring to the mass murderer as a ‘political prisoner.’
Andrew McCarthy, who was the lead prosecutor at the Abdel-Rahmans 1995 terrorism trial, says the Obama Administration is sending the wrong signals to the Islamic world. He wrote:
“The Obama administration recently issued a visa to, and hosted in Washington, a member of the Blind Sheikh’s Islamic Group. This was done despite the GI’s formal designation as a foreign terrorist organization … and despite the fact that the GI signed al-Qaida’s 1998 declaration of war against the United States. With President Obama sending these signals, it is no surprise that Egypt’s new Islamist president-elect would seek to capitalize on them.”
It is not just in Egypt that the U.S. is playing footsie with anti-American politicians by indulging them with deference and giving them visas to visit the United States.
The U.S. ambassador in Islamabad, Cameron Munter, has facilitated trips to the U.S. by some of Pakistan’s most vile anti-American politicians.
Imran Khan, who one American journal has described as “leading the anti-U.S. charge in Pakistan,” was granted a visa by Munter to visit America for a July 4 fundraiser for the cricketing Khan’s provocative and incendiary campaign against Canadian, American and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
After a few congressmen and media started asking questions, the event and Khan’s visit were hurriedly cancelled at the last moment.
Another anti-American Pakistani politician, Shaikh Rashid, was luckier. A former minister better known for his hostility to the U.S., Rashid too was granted a visa by Munter, knowing Rashid was going to America to raise funds for his anti-American tirades. Fortunately, on arrival at Houston airport, security officials detained Rashid. He was eventually released after being detained for five hours.
Has America lost its way or have American Islamists weaved their way inside the U.S. State Department? History will be a better judge.