Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Detroit-based organization Focus on American and Arab Interests and Relations (FAAIR) was founded by two Iraqi expatriates, Mohammed Alomari and Muthana al-Hanooti, “to promote fair policies and a better understanding of the issues pertaining to the Arab World.” (Hanooti was also a DC lobbyist for the Iraqi Islamic Party, the head of headed a Michigan-based Muslim nonprofit group called Life for Relief and Development, and an official of both CAIR-Michigan and a group called Focus on American and Arab Interests and Relations.) FAAIR has joined forces with a handful of anti-war groups to take the U.S. to task for its policies in Iraq.
Before co-founding FAAIR and becoming a spokesman for Iraqi nationals in the U.S., Alomari wrote a book titled The Secrecy of Evil: The Qabala and Its Followers, which denounced Jews and their alleged scheme to create a New World Order. Today he charges that the U.S. and Israel “organized” the 9/11 attacks.
Prior to the 2003 Iraq War, FAAIR’s website featured an essay by Alomari entitled “Twelve Years of Siege on Iraq,” which depicted the U.S. — because of its role in leading the UN economic sanctions against Iraq — as the cause of that nation’s social and economic troubles. (Alomari expanded upon this theme in his book The Blockade and Destruction of Iraq: Crimes Against Humanity.) He argued that America’s justifications for going to war against the “besieged nation” of Iraq were very weak. “Unfortunately,” he wrote, “… none of these arguments [justifications] stand on any basis of fact or legality. Iraq never had any ties or links whatsoever with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks or with Al-Qaeda group. In fact, Iraq actually offered to help the U.S. in tracking down the culprits behind the 9-11 terrorist attacks.” Charging that the United States deceptively used “old regurgitated and unsubstantiated rhetoric claiming that Iraq somehow poses a threat to the world,” FAAIR has called the Iraq War not only illegal but also “a crime against humanity.” The organization blames America’s invasion of Iraq on anti-Arab “extremists” and “pro-Israeli fanatics” in the Bush administration.
FAAIR has aligned itself with a number of organizations that share its hatred for Israel and the United States. These allies include: (a) Campaign of Conscience for the Iraqi People (CCIP), which was formed jointly by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Fellowship of Reconciliation; (b) Iraq Action Coalition, an organization founded in 1993 by Rania Masri, a Media Director for Al-Awda (Palestine Right of Return Coalition) and a Board Member of Peace Action Network; (c) United For Peace and Justice, an anti-war coalition led by Leslie Cagan, a longtime committed socialist who aligns her politics with those of Fidel Castro‘s Communist Cuba; and (d) Peace Action Network, which demands that America “end its shameful status as arms merchant to the world.”
FAAIR’s lobbying efforts are directed mainly by Muthana al-Hanooti, the former Public Relations Director for the Islamic Relief Association (IRA), a militant Islamic group which, according to terrorism expert Steven Emerson, is a money-laundering front operation for Hamas and al-Qaeda.
FAAIR co-founder Hanooti played a key role in a major scandal in September 2002. At that time, U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott and fellow congressmen David Bonior and Mike Thompson were preparing to travel to Baghdad, to see firsthand the suffering that the UN sanctions were inflicting on Iraqi children. Bert Sacks, an activist with Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of Iraq, initially told McDermott that his group would help pay for the trip. Shortly before they were scheduled to depart for Badgdad, however, Sacks unexpectedly received a phone call from Al-Hanooti, who described himself as “a concerned Iraqi-American citizen” who wanted to financially “help the congressmen go” to Iraq. Sacks gladly accepted Hanooti’s offer.
It was later learned, however, that Hanooti was acting as an agent of Saddam’s intelligence agency, which gave Hanooti and his Life for Relief and Development $34,000 to fund the lawmakers’ trip in its entirety. Al-Hanooti’s task in this scheme was to use unwitting and credulous American politicians—in this case McDermott, Bonior and Thompson—as propaganda tools to undermine the UN sanctions against Iraq. Specifically, he took them on tours where they could see how the UN sanctions were harming Iraqi children—confident that the lawmakers would subsequently denounce the sanctions and the Bush administration to the American people. In exchange for his efforts, Al-Hanooti received vouchers for 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil from Saddam’s government.