Sheiken, Not Stirred

The Washington Post reports on:

Spreading Saudi Fundamentalism in U.S.
Network of Wahhabi Mosques, Schools, Web Sites Probed by FBI

“On Aug. 20, 2001, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, a man who would soon be named a minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques, arrived in the United States to meet with some of this country’s most influential fundamentalist Sunni Muslim leaders.

“His journey here was to include meetings and contacts with officials of several Saudi-sponsored charities that have since been accused of links to terrorist groups, including the Illinois-based Global Relief Foundation, which was shut down by U.S. authorities last year.

“He met with the creators of Islamic Web sites that U.S. authorities contend promote the views of radical Saudi clerics tied to Osama bin Laden.” …

“Backed by money from Saudi Arabia, Wahhabis have built or taken over hundreds of mosques in North America and opened branches of Saudi universities here for the training of imams as part of the effort to spread their beliefs, which are intolerant of Christianity, Judaism and even other strains of Islam.” …

“The Saudi government, through its embassy here, declined to discuss any aspect of the probe. Embassy officials agreed in August to forward a request for an interview to Hussayen, but provided no response.” …

“The most intriguing aspect of Hussayen’s journey may be entirely coincidental: his brief proximity in a hotel near Dulles International Airport to three of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers the night before they crashed Flight 77 into the Pentagon. On the night of Sept. 10, Hani Hanjour, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi checked into the same hotel, a Marriott Residence Inn.

“The FBI has examined hotel videotapes and interviewed employees, but has found no indication that Hussayen and the hijackers interacted, law enforcement sources said. After the attack, an FBI agent interviewed hotel guests, including Hussayen and his wife, but did not get very far.

“According to court testimony from FBI agent Gneckow earlier this year, the interview was cut short when Hussayen ‘feigned a seizure, prompting the agents to take him to a hospital, where the attending physicians found nothing wrong with him.’

“The agent recommended that Hussayen “should not be allowed to leave until a follow-up interview could occur,” Gneckow told the court. But ‘her recommendation, for whatever reason, was not complied with,’ he said.

“On Sept. 19, the day air travel resumed, Hussayen and his wife took off for Saudi Arabia.”

Is anyone in the European press doing this kind of investigative reporting on the Islamist networks that are still active in Europe? I haven’t seen anything in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, but there’s obviously lots of the German press that I don’t get to. France? UK? Nordics?

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About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

3 thoughts on “Sheiken, Not Stirred

  1. I happens regularly that Muslim organizations are investiated by both the press and the intelligence organizations in Denmark, but so far no clear terrorist links have been proven, though the press have a tendency to forget the “innocent until otherwise proven part”.

  2. The French hebdo L’Express has certainly done Islamicist under the bed shock horrors, but I tend to read the Nouvel Obs.

  3. The Spiegel in germany wrote something about Islamic organizations last week. Also groups like “Milli goeruesz” (sp?) appear in our reports of the “Federal office for the Protection of the Constitution” (Bundesamt fuer Verfassungsschutz).
    Latest after Kaplan and his “Gottesstaat” german authorities are watching Islamistic groups really, really close.

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