Kurdish media has dropped a bit of a bombshell, revealing in an interview with US Muslim Brotherhood leader Nihad Awad that Awad was working together with Jamal Khashoggi’s on the late Khashoggi’s “Islamic Democracy” promotion project. This cooperation suggests that Khashoggi was closer to the US Muslim Brotherhood and to Hamas activists than previously known. According a report by the Kurdish news portal RUDAW:
“He loves his country so much,” said Nihad Awad, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a friend of 25 years. Awad recalled his final meeting with Khashoggi in Washington. “We met at Panera Bread, we had breakfast together, and we have a big project we were working on together – DAWN – which is Democracy for the Arab World Now. And we were just working on details and he said I’m going to Istanbul for a visit.” “We shook hands as many times we did hoping that we would meet again and just carry on with our work.” Awad said the US government has a responsibility to get to the bottom of what happened. “He admired America and that’s why he’s here because he believes that this is the biggest and most important democracy in the world,” Awad told Rudaw. “The United States government has a huge responsibility of providing protection for Jamal Khashoggi because he sought an asylum and was granted an asylum. He is a resident of Virginia in the United States. He is a journalist for one of the biggest newspapers in the world.”
Nihad Awad, a leader of the US Muslim Brotherhood group known as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and also a Virginia resident, was present during an infamous 1993 meeting held in Philadelphia by senior leaders of Hamas, the Holy Land Foundation, and the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). The Holy Land Foundation was convicted on charges of providing financial support for Hamas and the IAP is generally considered to have represented the Hamas infrastructure in the U.S. A widely reported FBI memo based on wiretaps of the meeting indicated that its purpose was “to develop a strategy to defeat the Israeli/Palestinian peace accord, and to continue and improve their [HAMAS] fund-raising and political activities in the United States.” Mr. Nihad was an employee of the IAP at the time of the meeting. Mr. Awad had been asked about his attendance at the meeting during a civil lawsuit and said the didn’t think that he had but that he didn’t remember. The next summer, he was videotaped stating ‘I am in support of the HAMAS movement’ during a seminar at Miami”s Barry University.
CAIR itself was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the US. Hamas infrastructure at that time. Documents discovered in the course of the the terrorism trial of the Holy Land Foundation confirmed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood and that CAIR itself is part of the US. Muslim Brotherhood. In 2008, the then Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood acknowledged a relationship between the Egyptian Brotherhood and CAIR. In 2009, a US federal judge ruled “The Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.” CAIR and its leaders have had a long history of defending individuals accused of terrorism by the US. government, often labeling such prosecutions a “war on Islam”, and have also been associated with Islamic fundamentalism and antisemitism. The organization is led by Nihad Awad, its longstanding Executive Director and one of the three original founders.
Given the Hamas background of both Awad and CAIR, it is important to note that Azzam Tamimi, described only as a friend of Khashoggi, was the source cited for the claim in a Washington Post report that the DAWN project was “expected to reach out to journalists and lobby for change, representing both Islamists and liberals.” In fact, Azzam Tamimi is another long-standing Hamas activist and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK. According to the Post report:
The project was expected to reach out to journalists and lobby for change, representing both Islamists and liberals, said another friend, Azzam Tamimi, a prominent Palestinian-British activist and TV presenter. Tamimi had planned to interview Khashoggi about the project on his show on Thursday, airing from Istanbul. Instead, the show was held with an empty chair with Khashoggi’s picture on it as guests discussed the case. “Democracy is currently being slaughtered everywhere. He wanted to alert Western public opinion to the dangers of remaining silent in the face of the assassination of democracy,” Tamimi told the AP. “The Muslim Brothers and Islamists were the biggest victims of the foiled Arab spring.”
It should be no surprise that Jamal Khashoggi would be friends and colleagues with Hamas activists given that he appeared to have been a passionate supporter of Hamas, a centerpiece of Global Muslim Brotherhood activity, as evidenced by his July 2014 piece in which he praised “The distinguished combat performance of its [Hamas] men and the huge network of tunnels that extends for miles under Gaza and the borders with Israel and Egypt were used brilliantly to inflict unprecedented losses on the enemy.” The Post report also cites Khaled Saffuri, described as another friend of Khashoggi:
Khashoggi had incorporated his democracy advocacy group, DAWN, in January in Delaware, said Khaled Saffuri, another friend. The group was still in the planning stages, and Khashoggi was working on it quietly, likely concerned it could cause trouble for associates, including activists in the Gulf, Saffuri said.
It should be noted that Khaled Saffuri has his own history of ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood, including interestingly at one time working for Abdurahman Alamoudi, sentenced in 2004 to a 23-year prison term for illegal dealings with Libya that included his involvement in a complex plot to kill the then leader of Saudi Arabia.
Jamal Khashoggi had other close relationships with the US Muslim Brotherhood. Another self-described Islamic Democracy group is the US-based Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) where Khashoggi gave the keynote address in April 2018 and where he reportedly:
….applauded the efforts made by organizations like CSID in advocating for democracy and freedom of speech and helping save the Middle East from drowning in dark ages of dictatorship.
Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) was founded in 1998 in what appears to have been a cooperative effort among the US Muslim Brotherhood, the US State Department and Georgetown University academic Dr. John Esposito who served during the 1990’s as a State Department “foreign affairs analyst” and who has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations. From its inception, CSID has argued that the U.S. government should support Islamist movements in foreign countries and has received financial support from the U.S. State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy and the United States Institute of Peace.
Interesting also is Khashoggi’s attendance at Indiana State University confirmed in a local media report which says he was an undergraduate student at Indiana State from 1977-1982, and was awarded a degree in business administration on May 7, 1983. According to a report by the GMBDW author, at the same time Khashoggi was attending university in Indiana, the state was the hub of the newly developing complex of organizations that would become the US Muslim Brotherhood. For example, the report notes a key meeting held in early 1977 described as follows:
As the Muslim Student Association (MSA) reached its mid-teens it began preparing for an expanded role in the service of Islam. It called an historic meeting of a cross-section of Islamic workers, in Plainfield, Indiana, in early 1397/1977. This meeting set up a task force to recommend a new organizational structure to respond to the increasing challenges and responsibilities emerging in the growing North American Muslim communities. The task force concluded that the new environment would be best served by establishing a broader umbrella organization called “ISNA.”
ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America, emerged out of the early US Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure and documents discovered in the course of the the terrorism trial of the Holy Land Foundation confirmed that the organization was part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. ISNA was named as a Holy Land unindicted co-conspirator as a result of what the US Justice Department called the organization’s “intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case.” Although not confirmed, it would seem more than possible that a Muslim student active in Indiana would have been interacting with the complex of US Brotherhood organizations rapidly developing at that time. Khashoggi is also known to have close relations with Saudi businessman Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal who appointed him to run the ill-fated Al Arab television station in Bahrain in 2015. As frequently reported by the GMBDW, Prince Talal is known to have made donations to both the ISNA and to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), also part of the US Muslim Brotherhood and discussed above.
The Washington Post has recently leveled a charge of “smear” at anybody who raises the question of Jamal Khashoggi and extremism, regardless of the quality of the evidence offered:
His columns belie the despicable propaganda, spread by Saudi trolls and some U.S. conservatives, that Mr. Khashoggi was himself an Islamist extremist. Though he joined the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth, believing it was the best vehicle for reform in the Arab world, he later came to the conviction that “democracy and freedom were the Arabs’ best hope of purging the corruption and misrule he despised,” as The Post’s David Ignatius put it.
In this climate, the GMBDW wishes to reiterate that none of the above should be in anyway be taken or used as support for the death of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul. We offer this evidence in the context of our continuing coverage of all relevant developments in the Global Muslim Brotherhood and as a corrective to the generalized failure of the US media to cover the topic in a serious sense. We hope that serious analysts can make use of the above in order to further understand the developments in this story and their relationship to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
According to a BBC report, Saudi Arabia has blamed the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on a “rogue operation”, giving a new account of an act that sparked a global outcry. The report says that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News “the murder” had been a “tremendous mistake” and denied the powerful crown prince had ordered it. Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.