President Bill Clinton sent a handwritten note to the chairman of a D.C.-area mosque where 9/11 hijackers worshiped.
The note was released Friday by the Clinton presidential library along with other documents from his time in office, the Daily Caller reports. Marked “THE PRESIDENT HAS SEEN 3-10-00,” the note reads: “I’m interested in all these suggestions. Let’s follow up,” noting it would be good to have support from Muslims.
Written to chairman of the board of Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, the mosque counted some dangerous figures among its worshipers and leadership. Its imam from 1995 to 1999 (before Clinton wrote the note) was Mohammed Al Hanooti, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing by a U.S. attorney.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism wrote of a report obtained in 2010 from TECS, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection database, that the mosque was “operating as a front for Hamas operatives in the U.S.” Two September 11 hijackers were also found to have briefly worshipped at the mosque, which was visited by FBI agents following the attack.
Anwar Al-Awlaki, who served as the mosque’s leader from January 2001 to April 2002, was named a senior al-Qaeda recruiter by the U.S. government. Officials claimed he preached to three 9/11 hijackers who visited the Falls Church mosque and was linked to the Fort Hood Shooter. When he was killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen in 2011, President Barack Obama called his death “a major blow to Al-Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate.”
An Islamic studies teacher and camp counselor at the mosque, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, is currently serving life in prison after a 2005 conviction of providing material support to al-Qaeda and conspiring to assassinate Bush.
Al-Hanooti defended himself in the wake of the FBI investigation of his mosque—particularly after his brother was killed in the strife of his native Baghdad in March 2007.
"I love America," he told the Washington Post at the time. "I always say to Muslims in my speeches that 70 percent of the laws in America are in compliance with Islam, and that they should Americanize everything in their life except things that are not in compliance with their faith."