One Month After 9/11, Campbell Was Honored By Controversial Muslim Group

One month after the September 11 attacks, Tom Campbell accepted a lifetime achievement award from a Muslim group at a conference in which speakers cited poverty and U.S. policy toward Israel as the “root causes” of terrorism.

And in 2000, Campbell, who as now, was running for U.S. Senate in California, raised $35,000 from Muslim groups “grateful for his efforts to cut aid to Israel,” according to a newspaper account at the time.

The American Muslim Alliance held its annual conference in San Jose California on October 14, 2001, and an article from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, recounted: “In light of Sept. 11â€_ the convention’s focus shifted to urging that the U.S. government re-evaluate its foreign policy–specifically its positions on Israel and Iraq.”

According to the account:

American Muslim leaders have urged the Bush administration to address the root cause of terrorism and re-evaluate its foreign policy in the Muslim world in order to eradicate terrorism….

The U.S. needs to address poverty, illiteracy and other problems in the Muslim world. Speaker after speaker agreed that bombing Afghanistan, supporting a violent Israeli state and placing sanctions on Iraq is no way to end terrorism.

“Killing Osama bin Laden will not be enough,” said AMA vice-chairman Dr. Shabbir Sardar. “Unless we have a fair foreign policy the Osama bin Ladens will keep coming. Our foreign policy has been way too one-sided.”

The account says that Dr. Agha Saeed, leader of the AMA, presented Campbell with a lifetime achievement award. Saeed had already been a controversial figure at this time. In her 2000 Senate campaign, Hillary Clinton returned money raised by the group.

Here‘s the New York Times report from October 2000:

Mrs. Clinton said she was offended by remarks attributed to members of the organization, the American Muslim Alliance. The group’s president (Saeed) has been quoted as defending a United Nations resolution that he said allowed for the use of armed force by Palestinians against Israel, while other members have been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks.

During the conference at which he presented Campbell with an award, Agha Saeed declared, “an Osama bin Laden arises where there is poverty and other social ills.”

Back during his 2000 campaign for Senate, according to a Forward article from the time (registration required), the group also helped raise money for Campbell.

More from the Forward:

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Mercy-Giving, the American Muslim Political Coordinating Council and the American Muslim Alliance of New York request the honor of your presence at the Support Tom Campbell for Senate Fund-Raising Dinner…. Requested Donation $250 per person,” said an invitation to the event. The invitation praised Mr. Campbell’s votes to cut aid to Israel and weaken anti-terrorism legislation. It also stressed his support for a Palestinian-Arab state and opposition to sanctions on Iraq.

So, in 2000, Campbell was raising money from Muslim groups on the basis of his votes against Israel and his views on foreign policy, and now he’s claiming those same positions are being misrepresented. Meanwhile, a month after Sept. 11, he was willing to accept an award from a group that was pushing the view that the root causes of the attacks were poverty in the Muslim world as well as U.S. support for Israel. Either Campbell was misrepresenting himself then, or he’s misrepresenting himself now. It can’t be both.