Now that the Iowa caucus is out of the way, Barack Obama will be making some headlines for himself tomorrow as he heads to Baltimore, Maryland. At first glance you might suspect that he’s going there to poke his snoot into the Freddie Gray case, but that’s not the purpose of the visit. The President is making the first official visit of his presidency to a mosque.
President Obama will make the first visit during his presidency to a U.S. mosque, the White House announced Saturday, part of the administration’s push to promote religious tolerance at a time when rhetoric linking Islam with terrorism is growing.
On Wednesday, the president will visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore, a sprawling community center in the city’s western suburbs that serves thousands of people with a place of worship, a housing complex and schools, according to its website.
In an official White House statement, the administration indicated that the visit is intended to “celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life.” That sounds just swell, but the Oval Office team might have wanted to do a bit more vetting of this particular group before scheduling the trip. As the Daily Caller reports, these guys have some ties to less than friendly sources which go back a long way.
An imam who served at ISB for a total of 15 years has also been a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood network and has worked for an Islamic relief group that was designated as a terrorist organization by the Treasury Department in 2004. Mohammad Adam el-Sheikh, who served two stints as ISB’s imam, from 1983 to 1989 and from 1994 to 2003, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan in the 1970s. He also co-founded the Muslim American Society, a Falls Church, Va.-based group that is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.
While in Baltimore, el-Sheikh served as a regional director for the Islamic American Relief Agency. That group’s parent organization is the Islamic African Relief Agency, which the Treasury Department says provided funds to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
That’s just lovely. Fox News has more on the background, but if you had to make a choice between sending the President there for an official friendship tour visit or the FBI to track down where their money is going, one might think you’d pick the latter. Still, I suppose this is in keeping with the general White House theme of accepting immigrants and pretending that all the attacks around the world (and at home) are just the result of a few bad apples. At PJ Media, Rick Moran identified why this trip is such a clunker of an idea.
It should be noted that all of this disturbing information comes from the Justice Department and not Islamophobic bigots. In short, the president is ignoring the facts dug up by his own law enforcement agencies and will lend credibility to a mosque with obvious ties to groups dedicated to destroying Israel and killing Americans.
Why the Baltimore mosque? It’s not like there aren’t any mosques without ties to extremists in Washington or the nearby Virginia suburbs. The president has left himself wide open to criticism by visiting the ISB. Whatever statement he is trying to make with this visit will be lost in questions about his judgment.
If we were living in less interesting times I might agree with Rick’s last sentence, but we’re not. The “statement” the President wants to make will not be lost among conservatives because they knew all of this in advance and weren’t going to be buying the story line that the administration wants to push. As for everyone else, the media will almost certainly largely ignore the terrorist ties of the ISB and focus on how brave Barack Obama is to battle hatred or whatever the buzzword of the day happens to be. And the President has nothing to worry about to begin with. It’s not like he has to win another election and his base will be all onboard with blaming the NRA for any future terror attacks on American soil. He really has nothing to lose here and he props up the anti-GOP message for Hillary or Bernie as they move forward.
The original version of this article indicated that the Baltimore trip was scheduled for Tuesday the 2nd. It’s actually scheduled for Wednesday the 3rd.