Steve Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, told TheDC that he was “shocked … at the discovery of this meeting.”
“It is simply outrageous and politically scandalous that Obama Administration officials would invite to the US and secretly meet with a known leader of a group which has issued proclamations and fatwas calling for the killing of Jews and Americans,” he said. “To legitimize such a radical Islamic leader and his militant Islamist group is the equivalent of recognizing Al Qaeda.”
Muslim reformer Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, lashed out to TheDC about the meeting.
“It is incredulous that while our American Islamic Leadership coalition, a diverse group of anti-Islamist Muslim organizations in North America on the front lines of defending liberty against global Islamism, cannot get a meeting with the White House, radical Islamist ideologues at the center of the global Islamist movement are welcomed into the White House and communicate readily with the President’s advisors,” Jasser said in an email.
“For a White house which peddles a counterterrorism strategy that cannot even identify the word Islamism or jihad in describing the threat to then meet with one of the world’s leading scholars who peddles jihadism and an extreme form of Shariah law for Islamist supremacism, this demonstrates a hypocrisy and tone-deafness at best and at worst a facilitation of America’s enemies in the war of ideas against Islamism,” he said.
John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, argued to TheDC that the White House was right to have met with Bin Bayyah.
“Bin Bayyah is … a prominent, informed, and influential scholar and that is why the White House meeting with him occurred as it should have,” Esposito said in an email. “Where relevant, the same occurs … with prominent Catholic, Protestant and Jewish religious leaders (as well as others). He is not Qaradawi, who was not a participant or the subject of this meeting.”
While Bin Bayyah is not Qaradawi — who is president of IUMS while Bin Bayyah serves as a vice president — he has praised the Holocaust-longing preacher in the past.
“[H]e is a mountain upon whose peak there is light,” Bin Bayyah has written of Qaradawi.
“In summary, indeed the Shaykh, the erudite scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, is one of the Imams of the Muslims in this age, and a Shaykh al-Islam in this time,” he added. “You may agree with him and be convinced of his argument and his proof, or you may differ with him and respect his opinion, because it is the opinion of a God-fearing scholar, that does not arise from ignorance, nor from caprice — and these two are conditions that are indispensible if a fatwa is to have its sanctity, and a word its value. These two conditions have been combined, in my reckoning, by this Imam.”