A longtime adviser and close confidant of President Bush funneled millions of dollars in U.S. government grants to radical Islamist organizations, many of whose leaders have been convicted or indicted in terrorism cases in the United States, respected terrorism expert Steven Emerson told Congress last week.
“When Ms. [Karen] Hughes was appointed as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, she set the tone to continue a disastrous policy of outreach with Islamist partners,” Emerson told the House International Relations Committee.
Among the recipients of the State Department grants actively championed by Hughes was Ahmed Younes, formerly an official with the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a group that has “publicly challenged the designation of Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations” and whose leaders “have made extreme statements defending terrorist organizations,” Emerson said.
Another beneficiary of Hughes’ outreach program to American Muslims was Aly Abuzaakouk, the executive director of the American Muslim Council (AMC) and a former director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIHT).
The North Virginia-based IIHT “is suspected of being a pivotal cog in the Muslim Brotherhood’s high command in America,” according to federal law enforcement records newly released to Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism under the Freedom of Information Act.
Many of the State Department grants championed by Hughes were conducted under the Citizen Exchange Program, but went to U.S.-based Islamist groups or their leaders to sponsor overseas speaking tours.
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