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2004 January 16 Friday
Illegal Alien Charged With Hezbollah Fund Raising In Dearborn

Lebanese citizen Mahmoud Youssef Kourani has been charged by federal prosecutors in Michigan of fund-raising for the Hezbollah terrorist group of Lebanon. Kourani used a corrupt Mexican official and Mexican smugglers as a path into the United States illegally.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Kourani bribed a Mexican consular official in Beirut to get a visa to travel to Mexico. Kourani and a traveling companion then paid another man in Mexico to be smuggled across the southern U.S. border on Feb. 4, 2001, the government said.

The Dearborn Michigan Arab population provided a productive fund-raising environment for Kourani.

he continued his "substantial" fund-raising for Hezbollah after taking up residence in Dearborn, Michigan, which is home to a large Arab community.

...

Kourani took steps to conceal his beliefs — not attending mosque or observing religious rituals and shaving his beard — while he was in the United States, the government said.

In order to raise funds note that you have to find people who are willing to donate. Note that Kourani didn't have to go to Arab oil sheikdoms to raise funds. He was able to do so in Michigan.

Kourani's brother is a high ranking figure in Hezbollah.

Federal prosecutors said Kourani conspired with his brother, who they said is Hezbollah's chief of military security for southern Lebanon.

Elias Mohamad Akhdar also raised money for Hezbollah in Dearborn.

Another Dearborn man with reported ties to Hezbollah was sentenced last week to five years, 10 months in prison without the possibility of parole.

Elias Mohamad Akhdar, 31, pleaded guilty in July to a charge of conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Rising anti-Jewish sentiments in Europe are being fed by Muslim immigration which is working directly by bringing in people who have a great deal of animosity, resentment, and even outright hatred of Jews. But that immigration has another pernicious effect by causing politicians to attempt to cater to the rising Mulsim population groups by muting any views that these groups may find offensive. This gives a green light to natives with anti-Jewish sentiments to be more open about them. The trends in Europe are being mirrored to a lesser degree in the US due to Hispanic immigration. But substantial Muslim immigration into the US would make anti-Jewish sentiments in the US far less tractable to rational persuasion. The United States would become much more dangerous for Jews with a greater risk of being attacked and murdered if the number of devout Muslims increased substantially.

The same phenomenom is at work in the United States even though the numbers of Muslims here are far less. Neoconservative David Frum, severe (and I think unfair) critic of paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians (see Ilana Mercer on Frum here as well), admits that Bush took positions on immigration in 2000 designed to appeal to the Muslim swing voters in Florida with rather unfortunate results.

Here now is where the story gets painful for us Bush Republicans. Not only were the al-Arians not avoided by the Bush White House - they were actively courted. Candidate Bush allowed himself to be photographed with the al-Arian family while campaigning in Florida. Candidate Bush denounced the immigration laws that detained - and ultimately deported - Mazen al-Najjar. In May 2001, Sami al-Arian was invited into the White House complex for a political briefing for Muslim-American leaders. The next month his son, Abdullah, who was then an intern in the office of Congressman David Bonior, joined a delegation of Muslim leaders at a meeting with John DiIulio, head of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. After the group entered the complex, a red flag belatedly popped up over the al-Arian name, and the Secret Service ordered him out of the complex. The entire delegation marched out with young al-Arian - and soon afterward, President Bush personally apologized to the young man and ordered the deputy director of the Secret Service to apologize as well.

This happened in the larger context of influential Republican operative Grover Norquist's much criticised outreach and connections to radical Muslim groups in the United States. What is astounding about this folly is that as Steve Sailer has shown Norquist and Bush are attempting to appeal to a mere 0.1 to 0.2 percentage of the electorate. It is easy to sit in judgement of Jacques Chirac and other French politicans faced with the presence of 5 or 6 million Muslims in France. But imagine what trouble would be caused if the number of Muslims grew in America to the point where both Democratic and Republican politicians and their foolish advisors were pursuing them for a whole percentage point of the vote. The enormous resulting harm to the national interest would be hard to calculate. Bush faces a problem with the Arab-American voters in 2004 that may well be influencing his immigration policy choices even today. See this article from the Jewish publication Forward: Arab-American Anger Over War in Iraq Could Weaken Bush in 2004. Bush has to be wondering what trade-offs he should make on the larger national interest in order to appeal to that 0.1 or 0.2 percent of the electorate. The rest of us should be worried.

Aside: while digging for information to make this post I came across the debates between various factions on the right about immigration that touch on whether paleoconservatives are all racists (I think this is an unfair smear) and whether criticism of neoconservatives has anti-Jewish motivations. The best take-down of the latter argument I came across is a recent post by Joshua Micha Marshall on neoconservatives as an ideological group.

Let’s be clear on what’s going on here.

Pressure groups exist in politics. The loose association of people generally termed 'neoconservative' use the term to describe themselves. And while no group is monolithic in its thinking, they generally think of themselves as a group and act in that fashion. We can get into a discussion at some other point about the fine points of intellectual history and note that intellectual or ideological movements are as much social constructs tethered to specific institutions as they are coherent and consistent textbook philosophies which remain the same over time. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The point is that this is an ideological group in American politics. The people who are a part of it see it as such, as do its critics and opponents. And yet many now want to use blanket criticisms of anti-Semitism to stigmatize and ward off any and all criticism.

It’s almost like a thuggishly rhetorical assertion of intellectual property rights. Neoconservatives can use the term and talk about their movement as a movement. But it’s off-limits for opponents --- sort of like how trademark holder Nike can use the phrase “Just Do It” but if Reebok tried, Nike would sue.

Not only is this dishonest. It's a conscious cheapening of the charge of anti-Semitism that should be roundly and vociferously criticized.

See also my previous post Irving Kristol Is An Ideologue.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 January 16 02:09 PM  Immigration Terrorism


Comments
Michael said at January 16, 2004 5:43 PM:

One of the ironies of the current situation is that the group most supportive of jews and Israel are white,southern christians,a group jews have never cared for and who,in the future,will be less able to promote and defend the interests of jews and Israel as mass immigration,strongly promoted by neo-cons,erodes their political influence.
During the Trent Lott affair,jewish neo-cons(among many others)were among the loudest demanding his head and the libertarian/neo-con WSJ more or less demanded the Republicans purge just those white,southern christians they are now begging to support Bush and the party.

Randall Parker said at January 16, 2004 6:29 PM:

Michael, I totally agree with you on this.

TM Lutas said at January 19, 2004 10:59 AM:

Trent Lott had a severe case of foot in mouth disease and it is a credit to the Republican party that they demoted him from leadership. His ineffective style and verbal gaffes piled on each other and the whole Strom Thurmond mess was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

What didn't get covered, and what I'd be very interested in, is an understanding of what, exactly, this guy was saying he was fundraising for. If he was avoiding the mosque and shaved his facial hair, what it hints about Detroit arabs is that they got taken for suckers. That's not very good but it's easily curable by finding more appropriate figures to funnel funds into the region. A primer on how to be an effective force for change as a diaspora would probably move things along and reduce the ability of Hezbollah and other terrorist groups to get funds out of the US diaspora.

I've been in a church that got suckered into supporting somebody that they shouldn't have. It wasn't terrorism and it was only one visit, but believe me, it's a lesson that was taken to heart and wasn't ever repeated. We have a right as americans to insist that our arab community exercise care in who they support back home but it should be the same care that all of us with emotional ties to other countries should exercise. Arabs should be given as hard a time for this as irish-americans should be given a hard time for passing the hat for the Sinn Fein/IRA two headed monster. Perspective and even handedness is the key.

Michael said at January 20, 2004 8:12 AM:

TM Lutas,
I belive you missed my point.The neo-cons,being basicly Eastern Establishment,upscale,secular,post-modern,share the Establishments disdain of everything that is different from themselves,they are "conservatives" who prefer NPR and the NYT and despise the traditional values of the party base."South" is merely shorthand for that.Lott was and remains a none-too-bright hack,the WSJ simply used him as an excuse to demand a purge of those they look down on as socially inferior and emabarrasing to them at cocktail parties.The neo-cons emerged from the left and have carried a Marxist mentality,they veiw everything as an abstraction,"The People",(leftists find exposure to the working class disillisioning),or "Capitalism",(which most of them are happily engaged in themselvs) or "The Ruling Class",(never admiting they are that very "class"),etc.
The neo-cons have "Democratic Capitalism",their version of the social utopia that will solve all the worlds problems or "The Propisition Nation",reducing the country to a mere theoretical concept rather than a social,cultural reality.They simply are not "conservative" in any traditionally understood meaning of the word.They share the same vanities and values and bigotries as the the trendy left Bohemian-Bourgeoisie.Jonah Golberg's statement of explicit contempt for whites and his belief the country is an abstract construction that can and should be molded to suit his personal tastes is not contraversial among either trendy left Bo-Bo's OR "rightwing" neo-cons.


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