Flying Imams

Terror and homeland security adviser Brennan meets the Flying Imam

The ‘Flying Imams‘ did not act very average on November 20, 2006. Their behaviors too closely fit the profile of those who had slaughtered thirty-three crew members and hundreds of passengers aboard four flights, including eight children. Commercial airline pilots are paid to not ignore safety warning signals and captains can no longer just open their cockpit doors and go investigate. Three years ago, two weeks after concern over the behaviors of six Muslim imams forced U.S. Airway Flight 300 to return to the gate, 9/11 family member Debra Burlingame wrote of the terror on that tarmac in the Wall Street Journal. In part, she wrote:

Allahu Akbar” was just the opening act. After boarding, they did not take their assigned seats but dispersed to seats in the first row of first class, in the midcabin exit rows and in the rear — the exact configuration of the 9/11 execution teams. The head of the group, seated closest to the cockpit, and two others asked for a seatbelt extension, kept on board for obese people. A heavy metal buckle at the end of a long strap, it can easily be used as a lethal weapon. The three men rolled them up and placed them on the floor under their seats. And lest this entire incident be written off as simple cultural ignorance, a frightened Arabic-speaking passenger pulled aside a crew member and translated the imams’ suspicious conversations, which included angry denunciations of Americans, furious grumblings about U.S. foreign policy, Osama Bin Laden and “killing Saddam.”

The Flying Imam speaking to John Brennan this past Saturday did not act the same way as he did aboard Flight 300:

Michelle Malkin calls out Brennan for his pandering. He did not know Shahin from Adam but he should have known better:

Instead of countering the narrative, exposing Shahin’s true intentions, and vigorously defending America’s homeland security apparatus, Brennan dutifully genuflected to the gods of political correctness. President Obama, he told the militant 9/11 inside-jobber and jihad white-washer, is “determined to put America on a strong course.”

No, not a “strong course” that includes national security profiling of Islamic radicals pretending they care about our country’s best interests. By “strong course,” Brennan assured Shahin, he meant a course towards assuaging the civil rights groups who have objected to every security program at airports, borders, train stations, and visa offices for the past nine years.

Brennan told Shahin that the post-9/11 response of the Bush administration was a “reaction some people might say was over the top in some areas” (insert indignant grievance-monger nodding and mmm-hmm-ing here) and that “in an overabundance of caution [we] implemented a number of security measures and activities that upon reflection now we look back after the heat of the battle has died down a bit we say they were excessive, okay.”

Omar Shahin wants to know what the government can do for those he claimed to speak for, every Muslim in America. He has also stated that 1,200 Muslims died in the 9/11 attacks so perhaps he misspoke. Actions speak louder than words and the Islamic Center he headed on September 11, 2001 has a history:

When it comes to the November 1999 incident, any mention of CAIR’s involvement or defense of the Saudi students has been scrubbed from the organization’s website. It’s no wonder, as the 9/11 Commission Report (page 521, footnote 60) explains that the FBI now considers the incident as a “dry run” for the 9/11 hijackings. And the two men involved? As the 9/11 Commission Report explains, Hamdan al-Shalawi was in Afghanistan in November 2000 training at an Al-Qaeda camp to launch “Khobar Tower”-type attacks against the US in Saudi Arabia, and Mohammad Al-Qadhaieen was arrested in June 2003 as a material witness in the 9/11 attacks. Both men were friends of Al-Qaeda recruiter, Zakaria Mustapha Soubra, who drove them to the airport that day in Qadhaieen’s car. Another friend of Shalawi is Ghassan al-Sharbi, another Al-Qaeda operative that would later be captured in Pakistan with high-level Al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida.

There is a connection between these two incidents, as the leader of the six “Flying Imams” this past November is none other than Omar Shahin, the former imam of the Islamic Center of Tucson, where the two Saudi students from the November 1999 incident attended. Counterterrorism expert Rita Katz told the Washington Post in September 2002 that the mosque served as “basically the first cell of Al-Qaeda in the United States; that is where it all started”. (Len Sherman’s Arizona Monthly November 2004 article, “Al Qaeda among Us”, provides greater detail about the connections between the Saudi pair involved in the November 1999 event and the Al-Qaeda cell that operated in Tucson and Phoenix.)


The connections between Al Qaeda and the ICT include Wael Hamza Jalaidan, a former ICT president, believed to be an Al Qaeda founder, and Hani Hanjour, who attended the mosque while a student at the University of Arizona and who later flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon on 9/11. Wadih El-Hage, a personal assistant to terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden, was active with the ICT in the late 1980’s where he is alleged to have established an Al Qaeda support network, according to the FBI. In 2001, El Hage was convicted by a federal judge in New York of planning the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Islamic Center in Tucson has connections to al Qaeda. A former ICT member is doing life for the 1998 al Qaeda’s attacks upon our embassies. Former ICT member Hani Hanjour saw 5 children 11-years old and younger aboard the plane he was on, hijacked it, and flew it into the Pentagon.

Prejudice may be reality to the person perceiving it yet the 2,976 murdered by Muslims on 9/11 were really real.

If Imam Omar Shahin did not wish to be perceived to be a terrorist, he should not have acted on November 20, 2006 similarly to 19 Muslims who mass-murdered. Mr. Shahin ought to stop acting now like a living martyr, claiming to have been mistreated when he brought it upon himself by his own actions, and suing the very people he scared the hell out of.

John Brennan is obviously not good at assessing “victim” situations and then giving broad advice to strangers.

I’d offer that perhaps he ought to concentrate on advising President Obama on counter-terrorism and rapidly moving programs, like the High-Value Interrogation Group, to a decision point and signature. But then, I would only be advising him to do what he already knows.