- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2003

The Muslim Public Affairs Council is organizing a campaign to complain to the White House about David A. Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union and Frank J. Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, who have criticized access to President Bush by groups they regard as radical Islamists.
The Muslim council posted this call for action on its Internet site, together with praise for Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who has worked with Islamic groups in behalf of the Republican Party.
Mr. Norquist has accused Mr. Gaffney of "racism" and religious bigotry, but he said he has had nothing to do with the criticism of Mr. Keene and Mr. Gaffney by the Muslim council, which he described as a "Democrat" group with which he has little contact.
The National Journal reported that Mr. Norquist once arranged a meeting between the Muslim Public Affairs Council, other Muslim groups and George W. Bush, when he was a candidate for president. Mr. Norquist said he didn't do that.
Several national security experts have expressed concern about the support they say the Muslim council extended to Hamas and other organizations that the Bush administration has designated as terrorist groups. Salam Al-Marayati, the executive director of the Muslim council, said his organization has condemned Hamas and other organizations that support Palestinian suicide bombers.
"We are the only Muslim organization that has an official counter-terrorism policy position paper, and we accept no money from foreign groups," Mr. Al-Marayati said.
Mr. Gaffney, a critic of radical Muslim groups, said that the Muslim council and the Council on American Islamic Relations "have done nothing to help the nation fight the war on terror." Mr. Keene, once a vice presidential aide to the late Spiro T. Agnew, has long had a behind-the-scenes relationship with top officials in Republican administrations, including Vice President Richard B. Cheney.
Mr. Gaffney, who was an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, maintains ties with the Bush administration. Douglas J. Feith, a former chairman of his Center for Security Policy, is an undersecretary of defense for policy. Twenty-three members of Mr. Gaffney's advisory council hold top positions in the Bush administration.
Mr. Keene and the American Conservative Union have on occasion worked with liberal organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, to oppose Bush administration anti-terrorism measures that they argue infringe on the civil liberties of Americans.


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