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Tuesday, March 29, 2011     GET REAL

Past ties between Gadhafi, Farrakhan, Obama, U.S. Muslim groups raising questions

WASHINGTON — As President Barack Obama sought Monday to explain to the nation the U.S. military action in Libya which he authorized, past associations between Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and U.S. Muslim organizations, some of which have been linked to Obama, are attracting attention.

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Thus far mainstream political and media figures are not making an issue of those associations, but longtime observers of the Washington political scene are taking note.

In 2009, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) asked the Libyan ruler for what was estimated to be tens of millions of dollars to distribute one million copies of the Koran to Americans, particularly government officials.

"We hope for your noble generosity in taking this project under your wing, so you will be in the vanguard, as we have come to expect of you," CAIR executive director Nihad Awad told Gadhafi in a meeting in New York. "God willing, you will as you have promised us, be the first to take the lead in this project."


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The meeting was said to have been one of several between leading American Muslims and Gadhafi. They included leaders of the Nation of Islam, with which Barack Obama was associated in the 1990s, specifically in assisting with the organization of the 1995 Million Man March.

The head of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, has attacked Obama for U.S. participation in the NATO assault on Libya.

On March 21, Awad acknowledged that CAIR solicited Gadhafi. But the American Muslim director said the Libyan ruler did not respond.

"We never received a penny from his group, from his government," Awad said.

Awad as well as two colleagues, CAIR chairman Larry Shaw and spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, met Gadhafi during his visit to the United Nations in September 2009. The three Americans called Gadhafi "the world Islamic popular leader" and then asked for Libyan funds to launch the Muslim Peace Foundation. One goal of the foundation was to distribute one million Korans throughout the United States in an effort to bolster the image of Islam.

Until 2007, Americans were prohibited from receiving money from Libya, which was on the State Department's list of terrorist sponsors. CAIR also sent a delegation to Saudi Arabia to solicit $50 million for the group.

"We want to assure you that Muslims in America are your brothers and supporters," Shaw, a southern state representative, was quoted as telling Gadhafi. "They share with you your interests and aspirations."

A minister and attorney has asserted that Farrakhan was a major influence on both Obama and the black community. E. W. Jackson, bishop of the Exodus Faith Ministries, cited Obama's role as organizer and "enthusiastic supporter" of the Nation of Islam leader during the so-called "Million Man March" in Washington in 1995.

"Obama clearly has Muslim sensibilities," Jackson, who does not claim a personal friendship with Obama, said. "He sees the world and Israel from a Muslim perspective. His construct of 'The Muslim World' is unique in modern diplomacy. It is said that only The Muslim Brotherhood and other radical elements of the religion use that concept. It is a call to unify Muslims around the world."

In 2004, Abdul Rahman Al Amoudi, founder of several American Muslim groups, was sentenced to 23 years for receiving money from Gadhafi as part of a plot to kill Saudi King Abdullah. During the 1990s, Al Amoudi served as an Islamic adviser to then-President Bill Clinton.



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