- The Washington Times - Friday, May 19, 2000

On Tuesday, May 9, the U.S. embassy in Jordan restored the visa to Ishaq Farhan, a leader of the Jordanian fundamentalist Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Based on his acts and incitement to terrorism, Mr. Farhan was placed on the State Department's Terrorist Watch List late last year. That meant his visa, which was granted in 1998, was revoked and he was prohibited from entering the United States.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) prevented his entry into the United States when he landed at Kennedy Airport in New York on May 3 as he was preparing to attend a conference of the American Muslims for Jerusalem in Santa Clara, Calif., a conference that last year included speakers calling for the killing of Jews and who described the West as the leader of a cabal against the Muslim nation. Apparently, he had not been notified earlier in Jordan that his visa had been revoked.

As soon as he arrived back in Jordan, the U.S. ambassador to Jordan, William Burns, called Mr. Farhan to "express his concern" and "promised to try to find out what happened and what can be done about it." On May 9, Mr. Burns telephoned Mr. Farhan to "inform him that the State Department has completed its review of the visa issue, and determined that he is eligible for a U.S. visa." Furthermore, the U.S. Embassy in Jordan apologized to Mr. Farhan. This past week in conversations with U.S. congressmen, the ambassador called Mr. Farhan "a moderate we can work with."

What is troubling is that Mr. Farhan and his party have openly called for terrorist attacks against the United States and the West, championed Hamas and Hezbollah, facilitated a threat of terrorist violence against the United States, called for Muslims to "confront" the United States, which was deemed an "enemy," issued incendiary exhortations to carry out violent terrorist attacks on all Israelis and Jews, and took part in indoctrinating Hamas terrorists in the United States.

Despite all of this, it is ironic that Mr. Farhan was called a moderate by the U.S. Embassy in Jordan, a description repeated by the New York Times in its coverage of the controversy.

Mr. Farhan served as the president of the Second Annual Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem held in Amman, Jordan, in October 1999, which issued the following statement: "Support for the valiant resistance in Lebanon [Hezbollah] and Palestine [Hamas] against the Zionist enemy. Appeal to the Arab and Muslim masses to show even more compassion for the forces of the resistance in their capacity as the vanguard of the Umma [the Islamic nation] in its resistance to the Zionist project." (From Al-Sabeel, Oct. 25, 1999, as translated from the original Arabic text.) A year earlier, the Jordan Times (Sept. 9, 1998) quoted Mr. Farhan as stating, "The resistance of the enemy [Israel] is a right and legitimate jihad [holy war]."

On Nov. 10, 1996, the American embassy in Amman received a fax threatening terrorist actions against American targets worldwide if Hamas leader Mousa Marzook were extradited to Israel from the United States. The fax had been sent on Mr. Farhan's fax machine from his IAF headquarters. The State Department, in its internal notations, in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, noted that, "the Arabic fax bears the Islamic Action Front name." The threat stated: "We demand that you immediately release Dr. Musa Abu Marzook and urge you not to hand him over to the Zionist enemy. We warn you that if you do not release Dr. Musa Abu Marzook, and if you hand him over to the Jews, we will turn the ground upside down over your heads in Amman, Jerusalem and the rest of the Arab countries and you will lament your dead just as we did to you in Lebanon in 1982 when we destroyed the Marine House with a booby-trapped car, and there are plenty of cars in our country. You also still remember the oil tanker with which we blew up your soldiers in Saudi Arabia."

Mr. Farhan has a long record in participating in militant Islamic conferences in the United States, including those of the pro-terrorist Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), identified as a "front for Hamas" by Oliver Revell, a former top FBI official. Mr. Farhan played a key role in the recruitment of young Hamas terrorist trainees at the IAP convention in 1989 held in Kansas City. Nasser Hidmi, a Palestinian youth, later arrested in Israel in 1992 for attempting to detonate a bomb, admitted the role of the Hamas military wing in the United States and the role of Islamic conferences in the United States for the training of Hamas activists/terrorists in his statement to the Israeli authorities: "At the conference at Kansas City, Muhammad Salah gathered about 20 young men including myself, for a secret meeting of the activists of Hamas in a meeting hall at one of the hotels. This was done in order that they will take part in activities that will support and strengthen the Intifadah within the framework of Hamas. Among those that lectured to us was Ishaq Farhan who is a member of the Jordanian Parliament."

The real story on Mr. Farhan should have been why he was granted visas for the past 10 years in the first place. In a recent speech Secretary of State Madeleine Albright declared that the United States would never be a party to the politics of hate. On other occasions, the secretary of state has repeatedly declared that the war on terrorism would never be compromised and that the United States would do its utmost to rid the United States of the financial infrastructure that abets terrorism. Nice strong words. But when it came to decisive action, the United States proved once again that terrorism pays. That the Clinton administration has politicized the "Terrorist Watch List" is a scandal that calls for congressional inquiry.

Steven Emerson is author of books on the Middle East and executive producer of the PBS film "Jihad in America."

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