Born in Eritrea, Abdurahman Alamoudi immigrated to the United States in 1979 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1996. In 1981 he founded the Islamic Society of Boston. From 1985 to 1990, he served as executive assistant to the president of the SAAR Foundation in northern Virginia.
In 1990 Alamoudi founded the American Muslim Council. The following year, he established the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council (AMAFVAC), whose purpose was to “certify Muslim chaplains hired by the military.”
During the 1992 presidential election cycle, Alamoudi courted both the Democratic and Republican parties. When Bill Clinton emerged victorious, Alamoudi increased his donations to Democrats. He went on to serve the Clinton administration as an Islamic-affairs adviser and a State Department “goodwill ambassador” to Muslim nations.
In 1993 the Defense Department certified Alamoudi’s AMAFVAC as one of two organizations–along with the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences–authorized to approve and endorse Muslim chaplains. Among the chaplains endorsed by Alamoudi’s group was James Yee, who eventually would be arrested in 2003 on suspicion of espionage.
In March 1993 Alamoudi disparaged the federal government for the “flimsy” evidence it had used as a basis for arresting Mohammed Salameh, a suspect in the World Trade Center bombing of February 26. Samameh was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
In 1995 Alamoudi helped President Clinton and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) develop a presidential guideline entitled “Religious Expression in Public School,” which established a legal justification upon which the ACLU could file lawsuits restricting Christmas celebrations and removing Nativity scenes from public schools.
Alamoudi made numerous controversial statements during the 1990s and early 2000s, including these:
As President Clinton’s second term drew to a close in the late Nineties, Alamoudi sought to ensure that his own access and influence at senior levels of the U.S. government would continue even if a Republican were to capture the White House in 2000. To cover that possibility, Alamoudi provided some $20,000 in seed money (in checks drawn on a Saudi bank account) to help conservative activist Grover Norquist establish an organization called the Islamic Free Market Institute in the late 1990s.
In 2000, Alamoudi illegally began making regular trips to Libya, where he met with government officials to discuss strategies by which they could create “headaches” for Saudi Arabia.
In June 2001, Alamoudi was a guest speaker at a Northern Virginia conference where senior Islamic militants from throughout the Middle East were gathered. Many of the speakers denounced the “Zionist entity that aims to destroy the Muslim ummah [community].”
That same month, Alamoudi attended a briefing on President Bush’s faith-based initiative, and the White House invited him to the post-9/11 prayer service on September 14th at the National Cathedral in Washington.
In September 2003, British customs officials arrested Alamoudi at Heathrow Airport as he was returning from Libya with $340,000 in cash given to him by President Muammar Qadhafi to finance a plot involving two U.K.-based al Qaeda operatives intending to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince (later King) Abdullah.
Alamoudi was subsequently extradited to the United States. In October 2003, he was arrested at Dulles Airport on charges of having illegally accepted $10,700 from the Libyan mission to the United Nations.
With Alamoudi in custody, federal authorities released a transcript of a telephone conversation in which he had: lamented that no Americans had died during al Qaeda’s 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya; recommended that more operations be conducted like the 1994 Hezbollah bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people died; and clearly articulated his objective of turning America into a Muslim nation.
Alamoudi was indicted not only for his illegal dealings with Libya, but also for tax evasion and immigration fraud. He ultimately pled guilty to, and was convicted of, being a senior al Qaeda financier who had funneled at least $1 million into the coffers of that terrorist organization. He also acknowledged that he had pocketed almost $1 million for himself in the process. In October 2004, Alamoudi was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison.
During the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) trial of 2007, which examined evidence of HLF’s fundraising on behalf of Hamas, the U.S. government released a list of approximately 300 of HLF’s “unindicted co-conspirators” and “joint venturers.” Alamoudi was named in that list.
In addition to the affiliations listed above, Alamoudi has also been, at various times, a board member of American Muslims for Jerusalem; the head of the American Task Force for Bosnia; a board member of the Council for the National Interest Foundation; a director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); a founding trustee of the Fiqh Council of North America; a board member of Interfaith Impact for Justice and Peace; a regional representative for the Islamic Society of North America; a board member of Mercy International; president of the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada; a board member of the Somali Relief Fund; secretary of the Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated Success Foundation; and director of the Talibah International Aid Association.
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