The White House confirmed to Fox News what the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported two days ago — that the administration met with the deputy of a radical cleric who is barred from entering the United States, and whose organization supports Hamas.  Sheik Abdullah bin Bayyah served as vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, a group headed by Egyptian cleric Yusuf Qaradawi, who has urged Muslim nations to acquire nuclear weapons, demanded the death of American soldiers in Iraq, and defended Hitler.

So what did the White House want to discuss with bin Bayyah? Moderation:

A senior Obama administration official confirmed to Fox News that members of the National Security Council staff met with a controversial Muslim scholar, but stressed that they were focused on his recent efforts to counter the Al Qaeda narrative.

The official was responding to a report on Wednesday from The Investigative Project on Terrorism, which uncovered a statement on the website of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah claiming he met June 13 with Obama administration officials at the White House.

Bin Bayyah is vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, a group founded by Egyptian cleric Yusuf Qaradawi — a Muslim Brotherhood leader who has called for the death of Jews and Americans and himself is banned from visiting the U.S.

Bin Bayyah, for his part, has urged the U.N. to criminalize blasphemy. His group has spoken out in favor of Hamas and in 2009 issued a fatwa barring “all forms of normalization” with Israel.

The administration official confirmed Bin Bayyah met with Senior Director for Development and Democracy Gayle Smith and other members of the National Security Council staff. But the official said they were there to discuss poverty, global health efforts and Bin Bayyah’s own efforts to speak out against Al Qaeda.

Bin Bayyah did publicly reject in 2010 a fatwa used by AQ to justify its terrorism, saying that they had “erred in [their] interpretation and misapplied the revealed texts.” That didn’t make him terribly popular with the extremists, but as IPT points out, bin Bayyah has some history with fatwas, too.  His tenure at IUMS as a high-ranking official coincided with their own declaration in 2004 that fighting and killing American troops in Iraq was a “duty” for Muslims.

The cleric has tried to make himself more palatable with Westerners, with his public rejection of terrorism in 2010, and it has obviously worked.  The Gates Foundation has partnered with him on health initiatives, and he has been noted as one of the most influential Islamic clerics in the world — although that prompts the question as to why his public rejection of terrorism hasn’t had much influence on the practice of it by radical networks in North Africa.

The Boss Emeritus isn’t impressed with his change of position:

Someone associated with bin Bayyah deleted his website reference to the meeting, but the Internet is forever. The White House has now ‘fessed up to the confab. According to Fox News, a senior official spun the troubling event as a discussion about “poverty, global health efforts and bin Bayyah’s own efforts to speak out against al-Qaida.”

Bin Bayyah’s moderate Muslim costume shouldn’t fool anyone. This sharia thug, who has worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to boost his progressive-friendly cred, lobbied the United Nations to outlaw all mockery and criticism of Allah. He raised money to benefit the terror group Hamas. He is a top lieutenant of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi, who exhorts followers to kill every last Jew; sanctioned suicide bombings and the killing of our soldiers; expressed support for executing apostates and stoning gays; and declared that the “U.S. is an enemy of Islam that has already declared war on Islam under the disguise of war on terrorism and provides Israel with unlimited support.”

As jihad watchdogs have reported, the administration has rolled out the red carpet for dozens of Muslim Brotherhood officers, flacks and sympathizers. IPT noted last year: “White House visitor logs show that top U.S. policy-makers are soliciting and receiving advice from people who, at best, view the war on terrorism as an unchecked war on Muslims. These persons’ perspectives and preferred policies handcuff law enforcement and weaken our resolve when it comes to confronting terrorism.”

So why was bin Bayyah there?  Andrew McCarthy writes that he wants to press the Obama administration to robustly intervene in Syria on behalf of the rebels:

This marks a new low for the administration that, in brazen violation of U.S. counterterrorism law, previously invited a member of the Blind Shiekh’s terrorist organization for consultations at the White House.

Notably, bin Bayyah lobbied the administration to “take urgent action” to help the Syrian “rebels” (i.e., the factions opposing the Assad regime, which are dominated by Islamic supremacists and violent jihadists – more accurately described as the Syrian mujahideen than as “rebels”). As Emerson and Rossamondo observe, President Obama has since announced plans to arm the Syrian opposition.

If clerics with bin Bayyah’s resumé are pushing for US assistance to the rebels, shouldn’t that be a big warning flag about the nature of the rebellion?  That’s a lesson we could have used before doing the same thing in Libya.