One last exclusive excerpt from my new book, The Brotherhood: America's Next Great Enemy as we head into the weekend (see previous excerpts here and here).
The below excerpt is from Chapter 7, which is titled "Amerikhwan: Terrorists in Suits."
Read on and discover how a leading global Muslim Brotherhood operative was able to set up shop in the American heartland.
Al-Quds Market was the type of traditional Middle Eastern grocery found throughout the West Bank and Gaza, but with an added touch: the store’s entire exterior was painted in the red, black, green, and white colors of the Palestinian flag. From the outside, needless to say, it looked like a no-go zone for a non-Muslim supporter of Israel.
That instinct was confirmed once I walked through the front door and glanced above the meat counter, where a large Palestinian flag featur- ing the Dome of the Rock—one similar to those flown at rallies for Hamas—greeted me.
Such a brazen display was to be expected in the terror hotbeds of Jenin or Gaza City. But I was in Hilliard, Ohio, thousands of miles from the seething cauldron of the Palestinian territories and a world away from the unbridled radicalism of the Muslim Middle East. Or so I thought.
I had come to Hilliard, a sleepy suburb of Columbus nestled in the American heartland, at the invitation of my friend, counterterrorism consultant and Hilliard native Patrick Poole. He had recently returned to his hometown after ten years away and was shocked by what he found.
“After a decade away, to come back and see all the changes Hilliard had gone through and then to find out that we had essentially become a center of jihad, one of the hottest centers of jihad in the country, was just mind blowing,” he told me as I interviewed him at the local VFW Post.
At the center of this budding network, Poole explained, was an Egyptian native and leading global Muslim Brotherhood operative named Salah Sultan. When I arrived in October 2007, Sultan—hailed by local media and Islamic organizations as a pillar of the Columbus- area Muslim community—had already left his upscale single home in Hilliard behind and returned to the Middle East. His request for U.S. citizenship was soon rejected and he was denied reentry into the country, thanks, in part, to his undisguised support of Hamas during various trips abroad.
In 2006, for instance, Sultan appeared at a rally for the terror group in Turkey. One year later, he participated alongside top Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in an event in Qatar honoring Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Sultan is a longtime protégé and confidante of al-Qaradawi and has appeared with him at numerous events over the past several years. This is the same Yusuf al-Qaradawi, of course, who has advocated for suicide bombings against Israeli women and children and U.S. troops alike.
Sultan’s chumminess with al-Qaradawi didn’t seem to faze the Mus- lim community back in Hilliard. If anything, it likely only enhanced his stature. During his time in town, Sultan was the religious director at the local Islamic school, Sunrise Academy, and was also the resident scholar of the newly built Noor Islamic Cultural Center—a sprawling mega- mosque with Brotherhood connections located in the heart of quiet little Hilliard. Heck, he may have even been a regular at Al-Quds Market.
Basically, Sultan had become entrenched in the Hilliard Muslim com- munity and even beyond, thanks to his role in local interfaith events. So when Poole returned to town and blew the lid off his popular new neigh- bor’s terror connections in a series of online exposés, the local mainstream media pounced. The Columbus Dispatch, in particular, seemed deter- mined to discredit Poole’s meticulously researched pieces as the ravings of a Muslim-hating bigot. One Dispatch piece accused him of making “hostile assertions”—simply for stating the verifiable facts about Salah Sultan’s support for global terror. Hilliard’s Muslim community dutifully piled on, defending their brother Sultan as a peaceful scholar and castigat- ing Poole as a fear-mongering Islamophobe.
Thankfully, Poole has since been vindicated many times over for his revelations about Sultan. And it didn’t take very long. Shortly after the Columbus Dispatch published its piece portraying Poole as a right-wing extremist, Sultan appeared on Egyptian television and said of 9/11: “The entire thing was of a large scale and was planned within the U.S., in order to enable the U.S. to control and terrorize the entire world.”
Of course, the Columbus Dispatch conveniently chose not to report that maniacal little outburst. But Sultan was just getting warmed up. After leaving the United States, he ended up in Bahrain, where he hosted a television show that was eventually shut down by the Bahraini govern- ment for its radical message. A 2007 Los Angeles Times article warned about the rise of “extremist” groups, particularly the Muslim Brother- hood, within Bahrain and identified Sultan by name as a “controversial Sunni figure” that was making trouble in the country.
Unfortunately, being removed from the airwaves in Bahrain didn’t slow down Sultan’s budding career as a multi-media mujahideen:
--In an interview with the official Muslim Brotherhood website following the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Sultan claimed that Jews assassinated President Kennedy and advocated that America become an Islamic theocracy.5 In a December 2008 appearance on Egypt’s Al-Nas TV, Sultan warned of the imminent destruction of the United States and promoted not only a notorious Islamic hadith calling for the extermination of the Jews by Muslims, but also the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
--During a March 2010 interview on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV, Sultan invoked the blood libel claiming that Jews kidnap and murder non-Jews and use the blood to make Passover matzos.
--In yet another event broadcast on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV, Sultan led a crowd in shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” cheering forest fires in northern Israel that claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis in December 2010.
--In an article published on the official Muslim Brotherhood website shortly after the death of Osama bin Laden, Sultan lauded the al-Qaeda butcher as a warrior who had “raised the banner of jihad for the sake of Allah” and had served a noble cause while at the same time questioning whether the arch-terrorist was really behind 9/11. He added that U.S. “terrorism” was greater than bin Laden’s.
--In 2011, Sultan appeared on Al-Jazeera openly calling for the murder of any Israeli citizen who enters Egypt— “tourist or not.”
And there you have it: the esteemed Islamic scholar, Salah Sultan—pride and joy of the Columbus, Ohio-area Muslim community and darling of the local Columbus media—in all his malevolent, America-hating, Jew-baiting glory. Around the time of my visit to Hilliard, Sultan agreed over email to conduct a phone interview with me, but later canceled. Clearly, he had much more important Brotherhood business to which he had to attend.
He’s now come full circle and is working for the government of Mohammed Morsi as Egypt’s Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs. It was a logical next step: Sultan was often seen by Morsi’s side while actively endorsing the latter’s campaign for president of Egypt in 2012. He also led a Muslim Brotherhood rally and gave a fiery speech in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during a live June 21, 2012, broad- cast on Al-Jazeera, a few days before Morsi’s election victory.
No word on whether Hilliard’s very own Al-Quds Market catered the event.