Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #656 The Obama File, Part III: Badjacketing Obama, Part 2, The Headscarf Incident

MP3: 30-Minute Segment

Introduction: Continuing exploration of the linking of Barack Obama with Islamism and (potentially) terrorism, this broadcast highlights the role played in the “headscarf incident” by Muslim Brotherhood elements in the United States. (When Obama campaign aides asked Muslim women wearing headscarves to remove themselves from viewing by TV cameras at a campaign event, the resulting brouhaha helped discredit Obama in the eyes of many–some Muslims saw this as demeaning to them and some right-wingers saw his [Obama’s] eloquent apology as kowtowing to the wishes of Islamists.) The program begins by reviewing the ongoing, successful effort by the fascist Muslim Brotherhood in establishing political fronts in the United States, which are then successfully and deceptively marketed by the media and Brotherhood PR flacks as “civil rights” organizations–moderate in scope and character. The two women involved in the incident were both associates of the Muslim Students’ Association, a Muslim Brotherhood front organization in the U.S. One of them–Hebba Aref–was in charge of Dawa (propagation of the Faith) while an executive with the MSA’s University of Michigan/Dearborn chapter. That chapter was dominated at the time by Islamic reactionaries closely associated with Hizb ut Tahrir al-Islami, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate that works with the neo-Nazi NPD in the Federal Republic of Germany. MSA women at the time were required to wear the headscarves. Of paramount importance in this context is the fact that the MSA members of U. of M.’s Dearborn chapter used violence to attempt to impose their political will on fellow students. Another member of the group that precipitated this incident–one Brandon Edward Miller–is linked to the milieu of New Bridge Strategies, a business venture of Mississippi GOP governor Haley Barbour that subcontracts in Iraq with businesses connected to Muslim Brotherhood kingpin (and former Third Reich spy) Youssef Nada. It is critical in this regard to remember the profound links between the GOP operative Grover Norquist, the Bush administration, Karl Rove, Bush aide Talat Othman and the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand, and the slumlord milieu linked to Barack Obama on the other. It is also vital to remember that both the Brotherhood and the GOP are profoundly connected to the Underground Reich. Listeners and readers who find this broadcast useful and/or interesting are strongly encouraged to digest FTRs 654 and 655, antecedent to this program.

Program Highlights Include: The work of Shimaa Abdelfadeel (participant in the incident) on behalf of Sami al-Arian; review of Sami al-Arian’s links to George W. Bush; review of Sami al-Arian’s links to the targets of the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids–neutralized through the efforts of Bush associate Talat Othman; review of Hizb ut Tahrir’s operational relationship with the German neo-Nazi NPD; the apparent involvement of Hebba Aref’s brother Sharif with the MSA; the participation of Sharif Aref with the headscarf incident; review of the links between the milieu of the Bank al-Taqwa, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Students’ Association.

1. Beginning with discussion of the fascist Muslim Brotherhood, the program notes that the Brotherhood has demonstrated great skill at establishing political fronts in the United States, which are then successfully and deceptively marketed by the media and Brotherhood PR flacks as “civil rights” organizations–moderate in scope and character.

“Certain journalists from respected media outlets – most recently Mary Beth Sheridan of the Washington Post – continue to display a certain naiveté in reporting stories on extremist organizations who falsely profess to be mainstream moderates. Merely parroting their words without examination creates articles that are void of fact and nuance. Perhaps it is well intentioned, as it is very appealing to take organizations such as the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) at their word. We want to believe that there are authoritative organizations out there to deflect and ultimately defeat radicalism. However, in an August 8 article titled “Educating Against Extremism; Muslims Reach Out to Youths Who Could Be Susceptible to Radicalism,” Sheridan neglected to mention that MAS is intimately and publicly connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, a secretive society dedicated to the establishment of Islamic rule, who recently issued a public appeal for support of the forces fighting the coalition in Iraq. Unfortunately, Sheridan’s omissions are part of a larger problem of journalists who have wittingly or unwittingly become defacto public relations representatives for extremist Islamist groups. Taking their press releases at face value, journalists have helped effectively to cover up the larger, serious issue of the growing secret network of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US. . . .”

“The Muslim Brotherhood: What Do They Really Want To Teach American Muslim Youth?” By Andrew Cochran; Counterterrorism Blog”; 9/10/2005.

2. During the campaign, Obama was attacked by an aide’s removal of two Muslim women wearing headscarves. Deemed visible in the scheduled TV appearance, the aide felt that their visible appearance on stage might play into the “Obama is a closet Muslim” canard (discussed at length in FTR #655).

“Sen. Barack Obama has personally apologized to two Muslim women who were kept from sitting behind the podium during his rally in Detroit because they wore Muslim head scarves.

Hebba Aref and Shimaa Abdelfadeel said in a joint e-mail statement Thursday that they are grateful and ready to move forward after each receiving calls from the senator with apologies.

In his own statement, Obama said he reached out to the women Thursday to express his deepest apologies.

‘The actions of these volunteers were unacceptable and in no way reflect any policy of my campaign,’ he said in the statement. ‘I take deepest offense to and will continue to fight against discrimination against people of any religious group or background.’

On Monday, the women attended a rally in Detroit, where volunteers separately said that they could not sit in the area behind the stage because they were wearing hijabs. The special seating area is visible during video and photographs of the event.

‘This incident was unfortunate and extremely disappointing,’ they wrote. ‘Senator Obama has called us each to personally convey his deepest apologies and acknowledge that this was inexcusable. We both immensely appreciate the senator’s phone call and his commitment to remedy this issue.’ . . .”

“Obama Aplogizes to Muslims Kept from Rally” by Katie Fretland; Chicago Tribune; 6/19/2008.

3. Before examining the background of the Muslim women in involved in the incident, let’s look at the media reaction–like this column by former George H.W. Bush PR man Michael Smerconish:

“Doctors and campaign advance men share an inviolate rule: Do no harm.

It’s a mantra I learned 25 years ago when I began doing advance work for George H.W. Bush, which entailed working with the Secret Service to scout out the vice president’s appearances and produce a minute-by-minute itinerary. At first, I was assigned to the less-glamorous destinations (Butler, Pa). Later, some of the assignments were plums (Brussels). . . In other words, misinformation is being spread that Obama is a Muslim who was sworn into office with his hand on a Koran. And, presumably, the volunteers thought they’d be fueling Internet rumors about the candidate’s religion if they allowed the women to sit right behind him.

That misinformation has found an audience broad enough to warrant concern. Polling by the Pew Research Center indicates that one in 10 registered voters believes Obama is secretly a Muslim. And that 10 percent continues to flummox his campaign.

Even the vehicle the campaign rolled out this month to fight what it considers untrue charges (fightthesmears.com) has stirred commotion. Some Muslims wonder why the campaign considers being called a Muslim a ‘smear.’

Rep. Keith Ellison, an actual Muslim, says fellow Muslims haven’t been ‘fully engaged’ in Obama’s message of inclusion, and says he was recently asked not to speak in a mosque on Obama’s behalf.

Obviously the campaign volunteers erred when they denied the women their promised seats. They violated the first rule of advance: they did harm, and it was both predictable and avoidable. . . .”

“Michael Smerconish: Obama Slips Starting to Show” by Michael Smerconish; Philadelphia Daily News; 6/26/2008.

4. The political activities of the women involved with the incident are important. Hebba Aref belonged to the Muslim Students Association chapter at the University of Michigan at Dearborn. She was involved with “Dawah”–the propagation of the faith.

2002-2003 Executive Board
President Nasir Grewal
Vice President Linda Mroueh
Budget Rizwan Sheikh
Education Razi Jafri
Dawah Hebba Aref” [Italics are mine–D.E.]

Website for the University of Michigan at Dearborn Muslim Students Association.

5. The other woman in question, Shimaa Abdelfadeel, was also a member of the MSA at the University of Michigan, where she worked on behalf of Sami al-Arian, the North American head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group. Note that al-Arian (whom Mr. Emory refers to as “Sammy the Aryan”) was an ardent supporter of George W. Bush during the 2000 campaign. It was the investigation into Sammy the Aryan that led to the Operation Green Quest raids of March 20, 2002. Those raids exposed the link between the GOP and Bush administration elements involved with the slumlord milieu of which Obama is a part.

“LSA Senior Shimaa Abdelfadeel is mailing something other than fruitcakes this holiday season.

Abdelfadeel, political chair of the University’s Muslim Students’ Association, has collected about 20 letters of support to send to Sami Al-Arian, an outspoken pro-Palestinian activist and former engineering professor at the University of South Florida.

Federal authorities jailed Al-Arian in 2003 on charges that he supported a cell of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group linked to the deaths of Israelis in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Currently, Al-Arian is in a Florida jail. . . .”

“Students Support Embattled Prof” by Kelly Fraser; The Michigan Daily; 12/12/2005.

6. Of paramount importance in analysis of the headscarf incident is the fact that the MSA–to which both Hebba Aref and Shimaa Abdelfadeel belonged–is a Muslim Brotherhood front organization! Note that Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi is the spiritual advisor to the Bank al-Taqwa, tied directly to al Qaeda, as well as the GOP/Norquist/Rove/Talat Othman milieu exposed by the investigation into “Sammy the Aryan”!

” . . . A U.S. official familiar with federal investigations of former Brotherhood members said some developed ‘a disciplined strategy, specific goals’ to act on their plan to convert Americans, starting with U.S. military personnel, prison inmates and black people.

Many Brotherhood leaders advocate patience in promoting their goals. In a 1995 speech to an Islamic conference in Ohio, a top Brotherhood official, Youssef Qaradawi, said victory will come through dawah — Islamic renewal and outreach — according to a transcript provided by the Investigative Project, a Washington terrorism research group. “Conquest through dawah, that is what we hope for,” said Qaradawi, an influential Qatari imam who pens some of the religious edicts justifying Hamas suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. ‘We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America, not through the sword but through dawah,’ said the imam, who has condemned the Sept. 11 attacks but is now barred from the United States.

In his speech, Qaradawi said the dawah would work through Islamic groups set up by Brotherhood supporters in this country. He praised supporters who were jailed by Arab governments in 1950s and then came to the United States to ‘fight the seculars and the Westernized’ by founding this country’s leading Islamic groups. . . .”

“In Search of Friends Among the Foes” by John Mintz and Douglas Farah; The Washington Post; 9/11/2004.

7. Even more important for our analysis of the headscarf incident is the fact that the MSA branch at U. of Michigan/Dearborn was largely controlled by violent, fascistic Muslims, who attacked and brutalized MSA members who opposed their agenda. Note that the following incident took place in 2004. Hebba Aref was in charge of Dawah in 2002-2003. Note what was considered the norm at the MSA’s branch at U. of M. at Dearborn.

“Farhan Latif always knew it was only a matter of time before the slow-burning anger would erupt. His conservative Muslim enemies had made their intentions clear to him. They had sent threatening e-mails and left menacing messages on his cell phone. In their eyes, Farhan’s ideas were criminal. The Western world might call him a moderate Muslim, but his foes thought he was an apostate, luring young Muslims away from the faith.

The day Farhan feared came in September 2004. As he was about to enter his modern apartment in Dearborn, about one mile from his university, three young men jumped him and pushed him to the ground. They beat and kicked him without saying a word. Farhan recognied one of his attackers–the guy did not bother to hide his face under a mask. ‘Why are you doing this?’ Farhan cried, trying to shield his face from their blows.

The attackers did not reply. Within minutes, they got back into their car and tried to run Farhan over before they sped away. He managed to avoid the oncoming wheels by rolling away just in time.

As he rested in the hospital, nursing a swollen head, several cracked ribs and a broken arm, Farhan was depressed more than shocked over the beating. it was one thing to endure the daily blows from the non-Muslims who criticized Islam. But now he was in a battle with his fellow believers. ‘I fight against everything people say against my religion every day, on television, on the radio, everywhere,’ Farhan remarked, reflecting on the incident later. ‘I was not so much scared when this happened but sad that fellow Muslims would do this.’

Months before the attack, in the spring of 2004, Farhan was elected president of the Muslim Students’ Association at the Univesity of Michigan’s Dearborn campus. In a short time, he revolutionized the association, making it more attractive to a majority of Muslim students on campus–many of whom had refused to join when the conservatives were in charge. [Italics are mine–DE].

Farhan and the new leaders decided there would no longer be radical imams unleashing hate speech at Friday prayers. All lecturers would be required to follow certain rules. They lifted the ban that prevented women without headscarves from joining the association. [Italics are mine–DE].

All Muslims would be welcome, no matter their political ideas or their sect–minority Shiites, often scorned for their separate ways and different approach to the faith, were just as acceptable as the Sunni student majority. . . . None of this sat well with members of Dearborn’s Muslims’ Students’ association who were either radical Salafis or affiliated with the Hizb ut Tahrir al-Islami–the Party of Islamic Liberation.

The movement (Hizb ut Tahrir al-Islami)–a clandestine, radical Sunni Islamic group that is banned in several countries around the world–advocates the replacement of individual Muslim governments with single caliphate governed under a strict reading of the sharia. The students who are members of Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami share a common creed that calls for strict adherence to the Koran and the rejection of applying human reason and logic when interpreting the Islamic holy texts.

Before Farhan had arrived on the campus, radical students had turned the Muslim Students’ Association into a virtual training camp for conservative ideologues. Under the influence and guidance of an Imam at a Dearborn mosque, the students believed their fellow Muslims were straying dangerously from the faith. In their eyes, being a dedicated Muslim meant that men should work to pressure the U.S. government to change its policies in the Islamic world, Muslim women should wear headscarves and Muslims should have little to do with Jews and Christians. [Italics are mine–DE.] . . .”

“The Future of the Faith” by Geneive Abdo; The Globalist; 6/13/2008.

9. As seen above, the MSA chapter to which Hebba Aref belonged was strongly associated with Hizb ut-Tahrir.


10. Hizb ut-Tahrir works with  the German NDP, the top German neo-Nazi party. Achmed Huber of the al-Taqwa milieu also works with the NPD.

“Hizb ut-Tahrir, which was founded by a Palestinian in 1953, came to the attention of the German government in the wake of the attacks on New York City and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001. Several of the hijackers and other figures in that plot belonged to radical Islamic groups in Hamburg. It is not clear if members of Hizb ut-Tahrir are linked to Al Qaeda, but its Web site calls on its members to fight against the United States because of what it calls America’s ‘crusade’ against Muslims. Last October, the group staged a demonstration at the Technical University of Berlin at which anti-American speeches were made. In what would seem to be an odd coalition, the group maintains at least some ties with a right-wing German fringe group, the National Democratic Party, some of whose members attended the Berlin rally. The common ground between the two groups would seem to be a hatred of Jews.”

(“German Police Raid an Islamic Militant Group” by Richard Bernstein; The New York Times; 4/11/2003; p. 1.)

Description for FTR #408.

11. According to this cached article, Hebba Aref’s brother Sharif Aref (also involved in the headscarf incident) was also in the MSA at U. of Michigan at Dearborn.

12. In addition to Sharif Aref, a lawyer named Brandon Edward Miller was involved in the event.

” . . . That incident began when the volunteer asked Aref’s friend Ali Koussan and two other friends, Aref’s brother Sharif and another young lawyer, Brandon Edward Miller, whether they would like to sit behind the stage. The three young men said they would, but mentioned they were with friends. . . .”

“Muslims Barred from Photo at Obama Event” by Ben Smith (Politico.com); USA Today; 6/18/2008.

13. At Harvard Law School, Miller was close to Glenn T. Ware.

” . . . This year, Brandon will be writing a case study on the UN’s Oil for Food Investigation in Washington DC under the direction of HLS alumnus Glenn T. Ware, Managing Director of Diligence LLC, an intelligence gathering and risk management firm, and Professor Philip Heymann. . . .”


14. Miller’s law school mentor–Glenn T. Ware managing director of Diligence, LLC.  associated with New Bridge Strategies.

” . . .The combined World Bank/UN staff acquired by Diligence is lead by their new Managing Director Glenn T. Ware. . . .”

“Former World Bank, U.N. Oil-for-Food Lead Investigation Teams to Join Diligence LLC; pressemeldinger.no.

15. Diligence, LLC is closely associated with New Bridge Strategies, the operation of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

“Diligence LLC was formed by past members of the CIA and Britain’s MI5 Intelligence Services. They have included experts in international law, journalism and intelligence services from post-Cold War which enables them to vet all sorts of future investment projects while providing security advice. More than half of their around 100 employees are former members of an intelligence service.[1] They are related to New Bridge Strategies, sharing addresses and many of the same board members.

“Diligence first set up in Baghdad in July 2003. They started by providing payroll protection and delivery, personnel and facilities security, due diligence on potential Iraqi business ventures, training and management of personal security forces, and intelligence briefs.

“The success of the business led to the development of the subsidiary, Diligence Middle East, LLC, a partnership with the American company New Bridge Strategies and the Al-Mal Investment Company, a Kuwaiti company chaired by Mohammed Al-Sagar, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Kuwaiti parliament.[2] The new partnership provides clients with a range of services through out the Middle East and especially in Iraq [3]. . . .”


16. Haley Barbour’s Iraqi operations utilized some of the al-Taqwa business interests as subcontractors.

“One reason the Bush Administration gave for going to war in Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s alleged ties to terrorists. So it is ironic that one of the partners in a big Iraqi firm being used US contractors in Iraq is also a founding partner in an organization that’s been identified as helping fund al Qaeda. So far, however, neither the government nor the contractors have shown much concern. Sadoon Al-Bunnia is one of three principals in one of Iraq’s oldest companies, the Al-Bunnia Trading Company. The Iraqi firm has become a major subcontractor for US firms working under US government contracts in Iraq. But, as documents obtained by The Nation from the Lugano office of the Swiss Federal Commercial Registry show, Sadoon al-Bunnia is also a founding partner of a Swiss-registered firm called the Malaysian Swiss Gulf and African Chamber (MIGA), which the US government and the United Nations Security Council have designated as funders of Al Qaeda. MIGA is one of fourteen businesses controlled by Ahmed Idris Nasreddin and Youssef M. Nada. Then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill said in an August 29, 2002, news release that businesses in the Nasreddin-Nada network ‘appeared to be providing a clandestine line of credit to a close associate of Usama bin Laden and as of late September 2001, Usama bin Laden and his Al Qaida organization received financial assistance from Youssef M. Nada. . . Another firm with close ties to the White House that’s angling to help clients win Iraq contracts, GOP lobbyist Haley Barbour’s New Bridge Strategies, proudly announces on its website that its local partner in a consortium bidding on a contract is ‘led by the Al-Bunnia family, who are a leading commercial group in Iraq with over 80 years experience in Iraq.’ [Italics are mine–DE.] . . .”

(“Strange Bedfellows [The AIQ/Al-Bunnia/Bechtel Links]” by Laura Rozen; The Nation; 11/10/2003.)

Description for FTR #433.

17. Exemplifying the right-wing smearing of Obama is an article from the Free Republic web site, commenting on the headscarf incident.

“Obama Bows to Muslim Demands” by Austin Hill; freerepublic.com; 6/22/2008.


One comment for “FTR #656 The Obama File, Part III: Badjacketing Obama, Part 2, The Headscarf Incident”

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