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'Muslims attending Capitol Hill prayer sessions have terrorist links'

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'Muslims attending Capitol Hill prayer sessions have terrorist links'

2010-11-12 08:19:31 GMT+7 (ICT)

WASHINGTON D.C. (BNO NEWS) -- An investigation on Thursday revealed that some Muslims who attend weekly prayer sessions on Capitol Hill since the 2001 terrorist attacks have ties with terrorist groups, Fox News reported.

Among those controversial figures are an Al-Qaeda leader, the head of a designated terror organization and a confessed jihadist-in-training. The individuals have attended weekly Friday Jummah prayers for over a decade.

The prayers are held by the Congressional Muslim Staff Association (CMSA) and often invites guest preachers to lead the service. The group was operating in an informal manner until it was granted official status in 2006 under the sponsorship of Rep. Keith Ellison, one of the two Muslims currently in the U.S. Congress.

Rep. Andre Carson, the other Muslim Congressman, joined as co-sponsor of the group after he was elected in 2008. The CMSA does not keep a record of the people invited to lead the service. However, the investigation was able to determine some of the individuals who attended over the last decade.

Among those identified are Anwar al-Awlaki, a notorious Al-Qaeda cleric who is believed to be hiding in Yemen; Randall Royer, a former jihadist who is serving a 20-year term; Anwar Hajjaj, former president of the terrorist organization Taibah International Aid Association; Esam Omeish, former leader of the Muslim American Society; Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council; Nihad Awad, CAIR executive director; Tariq Ramadan, a donor to terror groups; Johari Abdul Malik; and Abdulaziz Othman Al-Twaijri, head of a division of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

"The U.S. Capitol ought to be one of the most transparent and public bodies, yet they get some public criticism about who they're bringing in and they pull down their website," said Patrick Poole, an anti-terrorism consultant to law enforcement.

Many of the individuals listed have already had problems with U.S. law enforcement agencies. Al-Awlaki was caught on footage leading a prayer service on Capitol Hill alongside Royer, who was sentenced to jail for helping jihadists from Virginia to access a terrorist Pakistani training camp.

Awad, the executive director of CAIR, was also seen in the footage. Awad previously attended a Hamas meeting in 1993 in Philadelphia which was wiretapped by the FBI. Last year, the FBI severed ties with CAIR due to evidence of the group's ties to networks supporting Hamas.

There are many staff organizations on Capitol Hill, such as the Black Caucus and the Golf Association, but only a few official religious ones. All organizations are overseen by the Committee on House Administration.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2010-11-12

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