Meanwhile, in a 1999 PBS interview, Marayati portrayed Hezbollah attacks as “legitimate resistance” — a position that dovetailed perfectly with the sentiments of MPAC’s founders. In fact, in a position paper published around the same time, MPAC minimized Hezbollah’s murder of 241 U.S. military personnel in the 1983 terrorist suicide bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon: “This attack, for all the pain it caused, was not in a strict sense a terrorist operation. It was a military operation, producing no civilian casualties — exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington’s enemies.”
Nevertheless, Marayati and his wife, Laila al-Marayati (founder of the “Muslim Women’s League”), remained Clinton favorites. Mrs. Marayati served on the Clinton State Department’s advisory committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and was tapped by Hillary Clinton to join the then–first lady’s delegation to the Fourth World Conference on Women. The Marayatis, moreover, helped Mrs. Clinton organize the original White House Iftaar dinner in 1996. The event, marking the end of Ramadan, has since become an annual gala to which invitations are coveted by bipartisan Beltway luminaries. In 2009, at the first Iftaar dinner held by the Obama White House, which is more unabashedly Leftist than its Clintonian predecessor, Salam al-Marayati was called on to close the program. “Ramadan,” he told the revelers, “is a time of preparation to work for social justice.”
Marayati, of course, showed no hesitation in accusing Israel of complicity in 9/11, the worst war crime ever committed on American soil, despite the absence of a shred of evidence. Yet MPAC is reliably found screaming “McCarthyism,” in harmony with the radical Left, over our government’s counterterrorism measures. It has been this one-trick pony’s script for a quarter-century.
Typical is former MPAC “political director” Mahdi Bray’s speech at the leftist ANSWER Coalition’s “Pro-Palestinian Rally” in 2002: “They are using the guise of terrorism as a front to extort money from our coffers, to increase the military buildup . . . and they’re going around and they’re actually pimping the tragedy of 9/11.” It should come as no surprise, then, that MPAC now allies with the likes of Congressman Keith Ellison, a hard-left ideologue popular among Islamic supremacists, in pooh-poohing well-documented concerns about Islamist influence on government officials — concerns raised at a time when the Obama administration is palpably tying U.S. policy to the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda, notwithstanding the Brotherhood’s unabashed hostility to America and the West.
MPAC manages the dual roles of “leading Islamist” and “government’s favorite Muslims” because it has mastered the Brotherhood’s Janus face: It condemns “terrorism” before non-Muslim audiences, but neglects to explain that it does not consider “resistance” against those who “persecute Muslims” to be “terrorism.” It also works feverishly to defend actual terrorists and their financiers, ensuring that discerning Islamists know exactly where MPAC stands.
For example, while Marayati was out defending Hezbollah and pointing the accusatory 9/11 finger at Israel, MPAC hired Edina Lekovic to be its “communications director.” For years, Ms. Lekovic had been affiliated with al-Talib (“the Student”), a Muslim Students Association newspaper at UCLA. As I’ve noted before, the Muslim Students Association is the first building block in Muslim Brotherhood’s American infrastructure. During Lekovic’s affiliation, al-Talib published, to take just one example, a “Spirit of the Jihad” issue in July 1999 — less than a year after al-Qaeda bombed the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In it, al-Talib exhorted Muslims to “defend our brother” Osama bin Laden, who was praised as a “great Mujahid” and “a freedom fighter who has forsaken wealth and power to fight in Allah’s cause and speak out against oppressors.”