Democratic President Bill Clinton sent a handwritten note offering to work together with the chairman of a mosque that counted 9/11 hijackers as worshippers, senior al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki as an imam, and an al-Qaeda conspirator and would-be George W. Bush assassin as a teacher and camp counselor.
Clinton sent a handwritten note on official stationery in March 2000 to the chairman of the board of the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, in response to a letter from the chairman. Clinton’s note was released as part of a document dump Friday by the Clinton presidential library.
The note was marked “THE PRESIDENT HAS SEEN 3-10-00.”
“I’m interested in all these suggestions. Let’s follow up,” Clinton said in the note, in which he also said that it would be good to have support from Muslims. Clinton signed the note “Bill.”
The Dar Al-Hjrah Mosque was visited by FBI agents after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks after it was discovered that two 9/11 hijackers had worshipped at the mosque.
The mosque’s imam from 1995 to 1999, prior to Clinton’s note, was Mohammed Al Hanooti, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing by a U.S. attorney. Al Hanooti defended an acquaintance that was deported and indicted for arranging financial support for the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
The mosque’s imam from January 2001 to April 2002 was Anwar Al-Awlaki, a senior al-Qaeda recruiter linked to a handful of high-profile terrorists. U.S. officials stated that Al-Awlaki preached to three of the 9/11 hijackers while he was imam of the Falls Church mosque, and was also linked to the Fort Hood shooter. Al-Awlaki left the United States for Yemen in 2002 and was killed in a September 2011 drone strike commanded by the CIA.
“The death of Awlaki is a major blow to Al-Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate. He took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans … and he repeatedly called on individuals in the United States and around the globe to kill innocent men, women and children to advance a murderous agenda. [The strike] is further proof that Al-Qaeda and its affiliates will find no safe haven anywhere in the world,” President Barack Obama said upon the al-Qaeda member’s death.
Former Muslim Brotherhood member and Muslim American Society co-founder Sheikh Mohammed Adam El-Sheikh served as imam between 2003 and 2005.
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, an Islamic studies teacher and camp counselor at Dar Al-Hijrah, was charged with plotting with al-Qaeda members to assassinate George W. Bush. The mosque’s director of outreach since 2002, Johari Abdul-Malik, defended his mosque’s teacher and said, “The feeling I get here on a daily basis must be what it was like to be a member of Martin Luther King Jr.‘s church following the case of Rosa Parks.”
Abu Ali was convicted in 2005 for providing material support to al-Qaeda and for conspiring to assassinate Bush. He was sentenced to life in prison.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism in 2010 obtained a report from TECS, a database operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, stating that the mosque was “operating as a front for Hamas operatives in the U.S.”