White House officials met this month with Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, a deputy of radical Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who has been banned from entering the United States, reported the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
The June 13 meeting took place on the same day the Obama administration announced plans to arm Syria's rebel forces, the report noted.
IPT noted that al-Qaradawi, the founder of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), endorses Palestinian Authority Arab suicide bombers and supports Hamas in its fight against Israel. The report also said that bin Bayyah, like al-Qaradawi, also "refuses to label the acts of groups such as Hamas, Hizbullah or the Islamic Jihad as terrorism."
The White House reportedly sought the meeting with bin Bayyah, the IPT report declared.
According to IPT, in a post written in Arabic on his own website, bin Bayyah quoted National Security Council official Gayle Smith as saying, "We asked for this meeting to learn from you and we need to be looking for new mechanisms to communicate with you and the Association of Muslim Scholars.”
The post carried a picture appearing to show bin Bayyah at a table with U.S. officials in the White House
Other senior officials that bin Bayyah said were in attendance include Rashad Hussain, the U.S. special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; White House spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri; and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, according to IPT.
Bin Bayyah reportedly lobbied the White House to "take urgent action" to help Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad during the meeting.
In granting bin Bayyah a visa, noted IPT, White House officials ignored his radical statements as well as his close connection to Qaradawi. The IUMS's hostility toward Israel, and its support of terrorists, is well documented. Bin Bayyah falls comfortably in line with that view.
For example, in a 2011 statement on his website, he criticized the West for placing terrorist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others in the same category as Al-Qaeda:
"[P]lacing the Palestinian resistance, which defends internationally recognized rights, on an equal footing with intercontinental terrorist organizations (Al-Qaeda) is not based on any moral principle and would be detrimental to the cause of the fight against terrorism and mix the cards and raises questions to the world conscience and serves terrorists."
The IUMS welcomed Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh as a member in February 2012. The "Union will spare nothing in the service of the Palestinian people, praising the jihad of the Palestinian people with the leadership of the Hamas movement for resistance," Haniyeh's induction certificate said, according to IPT.
Qaradawi, who is a citizen of Qatar, in January of 2009 claimed that Hitler had put the Jews in their place and that the Holocaust was "divine punishment."
Earlier this month Qaradawi slammed the Hizbullah terrorist group as the “party of Satan” that seeks to “sow discord” among Muslims, because of its support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.