War on Terror

Fox News: Terrorists Attending Congressional Prayer Meetings

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A Fox News investigation has revealed a disturbing list of terrorists who have attended a weekly prayer session on Capitol Hill since the 9/11 attacks, including an Al Qaeda leader, the head of a designated terror organization and a confessed jihadist-in-training.

The report said:

The Congressional Muslim Staff Association (CMSA) has held weekly Friday Jummah prayers for more than a decade, and guest preachers are often invited to lead the service. The group held prayers informally for about eight years before gaining official status in 2006 under the sponsorship of Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., one of two Muslims currently serving in Congress. The second Muslim congressman, Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., joined as co-sponsor after he was elected in 2008.

Among those who have reportedly attended prayer services:

-- Anwar al-Awlaki, the Al Qaeda cleric believed to be hiding in Yemen and the lone American on the U.S. government’s capture or kill list. 

-- Randall “Ismail” Royer, a former communications associate for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who confessed in 2004 to receiving jihadist training in Pakistan. He is serving a 20-year prison term.

— Anwar Hajjaj, former president of Taibah International Aid Association, which was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and U.N. in 2004.

“There is a pattern of seriously bad actors not just being involved with, but leading this organization,” said Patrick Poole, an anti-terrorism consultant to law enforcement and the U.S. military who has written about CMSA for the conservative blog Pajamas Media. “There really needs to be some kind of investigation into who else CMSA is or has been bringing onto the Hill.”

Ibrahim Ramey, human and civil rights director at Muslim American Society Freedom, a national Muslim advocacy group, defended the CMSA prayer meetings and invite list. 

"I do know that Sheikh Awlaki has declared war on America and American civilian targets and that he would not be welcome to participate in any CMSA program on Capitol Hill," Ramey said. 

"He has made very clear statements about killing innocents, but he had been up until years ago, he had been a fairly respected member of the Northern Virginia Muslim community, where he would be now would not be compatible with the work we're doing at CMSA."