Newsletter #15 – How Truthful is the Information?

Muslims living in Tennessee have demanded an elevated status in state politics and Governor Haslam’s administration has provided it.  Just this past November, Commissioner Bill Gibbons (Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security), sent letters congratulating the members of the TN American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) and welcoming their partnership with his Department.

To this end, the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security (TDHS) sponsored at least two trainings for law enforcement and safety personnel to which the AMAC was invited to participate with a presentation.

An interesting side note – on November 17, 2011, just 10 days after Commissioner Gibbons sent his “Al-salaam alaikum” letter to the AMAC members, ISNA (Islamic Society of North America)a specifically named Muslim Brotherhood organization, held its second “Family of Abraham” event in Nashville.  Given the associations of different AMAC members to different Muslim Brotherhood entities, the intent and content of the AMAC presentation as discussed below, begins to make more sense.

Inquiries by an investigative journalist regarding AMAC presenters at the publicly funded February 2012 counterterrorism training were turned away.

But things like this don’t stay secret for very long.  A recording of the AMAC presentation has been transcribed.

Mr. Daoud Abudiab, Co-Chair of the AMAC was the main speaker on behalf of his organization.  (see Newsletter #14). Mr. Abudiab’s bottom line message to the law enforcement folks in attendance was that if you want to know anything about Islam you need to ask a Muslim.  Ergo, the AMAC members will tell law enforcement all they need to know about Islam.

But is knowing about the religion of Islam even pertinent for counterterrorism training?  Would it perhaps be more relevant for the attendees to have learned about the Muslim Brotherhood presence in Tennessee?  Would learning about the use of Sharia law in our courts be more instructive?  Would understanding that Islamic cultural defenses are not  compatible with either American Constitutional freedoms or state laws?

Mr. Abudiab sidestepped the central role of Koranic doctrine in dictating what Muslims do and don’t believe, and how it drives their demand in every aspect of life for accommodations by public and private entities – no matter the cost or negative impact on anyone or anything else.  Nor is the slow and incremental encroachment and chipping away at our freedoms taken into account.  The message, sometimes sublte, sometimes not, is that a self-perceived supremacist ideology must dominate.

Mr. Abudiab did not explain why for example, his religion forbids saying the Pledge of Allegiance or the status of man-made law relative to Koranic doctrine. 

Instead, Mr. Abudiab suggested to his audience that despite the Koran’s dictates, American Muslims are different.  He suggested that they have more latitude and are merely “guided” by the Koran rather than being commanded to follow its dictates.  Were this actually true, then “demands” for accommodations should be relegated to “requests without consequences” if denied.

Mr. Abudiab’s position stands in stark contrast to his colleague, Awadh Binhazim with whom he made a presentation just last year in Williamson County.  Binhazim, in an Olive Tree Education presentation stated unequivocally that “[t]he idea that you can separate Islam to become an individual experience to everyone, that Islam is a private matter, and that it cannot be a state matter, and a community matter – that is not the teachings of Islam.”

Mr. Abudiab told his audience in February that , “I think all of us in this room agree we are talking about honesty, integrity, freedom, liberty.  We are talking about how Americans in Nashville came together after the flood to lend their hands to one another to pull through.  We are talking about to deputy sheriffs stopping and helping my daughter and son with the flat tire.  We are talking about the family that …everyone in the neighborhood brings food

We are talking about opportunity….So many raise the question is Islam compatible with American ideals?

And the answer from our point of view is a resounding yes.”

Did the AMAC actually provide any information that would help law enforcement and safety personnel in executing their functions?  It seems instead, that the AMAC communicated to attendees that Muslims in Tennessee are being given preferential treatment by Governor Haslam’s administration above any other religious or political group, a message validated by the AMAC’s very public relationship with the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security.

Training or propaganda – you decide.

Newsletter #12 – Tennessee Imam Goes to Texas and Gets Booted

TCPJ Newsletter #12 – May 18, 2012

Awadh Binhazim cont’d

It was documented last year that Binhazim’s organization, Olive Tree Education, promoted online writings by Anwar Al Awlaki, who was a top propagandist and recruiter for al-Qaeda.  An American born radical imam living in Yemen, Awlaki consistently urged Muslims world-wide to commit jihad against Americans and the West.  The U.S. government considered him a grave enough threat to U.S. security that he  was on the “kill or capture” list. He was killed in a drone strike in 2011.

Other jihadists in the U.S. such as the Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan, were discovered to have communicated directly with Awlaki, and Carlos Bledsoe the Little Rock Army recruiting station shooter is reported to have had Awlaki’s literature in his possession.

So it is no small matter that Awadh Binhazim was promoting Awlaki.

Binhazim also chose to partner with Imam Abdulhakim Mohamed, another Yemeni cleric who served as the Imam at the Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN) from 1999 until 2007. Mohamed was also the Imam at the ICN when Carlos Bledsoe changed his name to of all things – Abdulhakim Muhammed presumably because of his relationship with the imam.

Imam Abdulhakim Mohamed came to Nashville from the radical Brooklyn Al Farooq mosque where he served from 1996 until coming to Nashville in 1999.  The Brooklyn mosque had a documented history of raising money for terrorists and is the same mosque attended by the “blind sheik” who was convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

After Nashville, Imam Mohamed turned up in Texas for a very short stint as the imam at the Masjid Al-Hedayah in Ft. Worth, Texas.  Sometime shortly before arriving there he and Awadh Binhazim rejoined their efforts and launched “Muslimnama” (  Imam Mohamed’s controversial and troubled past caught up with him last year in Texas.

It seems the Board of the Al-Hedayah Islamic School became concerned about the Imam’s past connections, his current partners in Muslimnama and his actions since arriving in Texas.  A blog written by someone inside the Al-Hedayah school has raised questions about Imam Mohamed and his association with Awadh Binhazim who both have a “controversial past”, directing anyone to look at both the ICN and the Al Farooq mosque.

They further question whether the Imam and his committee are seeking a “hostile takeover of Al-Hedayah” almost reminiscent of the Bridgeview Mosque story (see,,0,3486861.story).   The blog piece also discloses that last year he “disappeared to Yemen for over 4 months” and has delivered khutbas (sermons or talks) that “have many times upset the community? Has he not attacked jews and christians and constantly berating women as though they are second class citizens?”

Newsletter #11 – More AMAC Profiles

Muslims living in Tennessee have demanded an elevated status in state politics and Governor Haslam’s administration has provided it.  The most recent as discussed in earlier newsletters, has been the partnership created by Commissioner Gibbons’ Tennessee Office of Homeland Security, and the AMAC.

Some members of the AMAC have been discussed in previous newsletters – it is continued here:

Daoud Abudiab, Kamel Daouk, and Rasheed Fakhruddin, are all AMAC members, but they also share another, perhaps more troubling connection – they are individually linked to Awadh Binhazim.

Awadh Binhazim has been a central figure in Tennessee’s Muslim community.  He is aggressive in Islamic dawa (prosletizing), promoting Shariah as an immutable and politically dominant way of life, and freely associates with Muslim Brotherhood organizations.

Prior to relocating to Nashville, Binhazim was working in Texas.  A January 9, 1997 article in the Austin Statesman newspaper identified him as the president of the Austin chapter of the Hamas affiliate, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).  In 2008, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas.  In 2011, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld CAIR’s status as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Approximately two years after settling in Nashville, Binhazim started the Olive Tree Education organization, a propaganda arm of the Islamic movement that provided lectures and classes at Vanderbilt, Tennessee State University, to local civic groups and law enforcement.  Sometime after the “Losing Our Sons” video became public, and Binhazim was exposed, the Olive Tree Education website was taken down.

A November 11, 2002 University Wire article and a March 19, 2003 AP article identified Binhazim as a spokesman and “public relations director” for the Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN).  The imam during this time was Abdulhakim ali Mohamed – he will be covered in a separate newsletter.  Binhazim was also on the Shura Board of the ICN for many years (the shura board is a consultative body which implements Sharia law).

In 2006, Binhazim was part of a panel at the Vanderbilt First Amendment Center discussing the “Mohammed cartoons”.  At that time he was identified as an adjunct professor of Islam at the Vanderbilt Divinity School. Binhazim was quoted as stating, “Islam is not something to ridicule” and furthermore “all Muslims” view the publication of the cartoons as a “provocation.”  It was reported that he openly supported suppressing speech and that Muslims “do not share the value of free speech as it is recognized here”; a statement consistent with Islamic blasphemy laws and current actions by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Islamic organizations in the U.S. and Europe, to criminalize speech that Muslims find offensive.

A May 19, 2011 article about a Vanderbilt Muslim Student Association (MSA) program identified Binhazim as the volunteer Muslim chaplain at Vanderbilt.  Binhazim confirmed during the program’s Q&A that Islamic law mandates capital punishment for homosexuality.  This was widely reported and the video posted on youtube.” When he was asked whether he accepted or rejected the Islamic punishment for homosexuality, Binhazim also confirmed, that “as a Muslim he does not have a choice of whether to accept or reject what Islam teaches.”