A man identified as "Esam Omesh" spoke just before Cindy Sheehan at last month's antiwar rally that Sheehan headlined in Washington.
Following chants of "Impeach Bush!" from shivering protesters, Omesh took the podium and exhorted "brothers and sisters" to condemn Bush for the deaths of "more than 650,000 Iraqi lives." He demanded the White House "pull our troops out of Iraq now" and "end the war today."
The speaker counted himself among the "great American patriots" who braved the cold to march on Washington and protest the war that day.
While there may have been legitimate voices there, this speaker decidedly was not one of them. Not because he's Muslim, but because he's an Islamist tied to an al-Qaida fund raiser and the spiritual adviser to the 9/11 hijackers.
Turns out it his real name is Esam S. Omeish, and he runs a nonprofit group in Washington called the Muslim American Society, which the FBI believes is the U.S. branch of the dangerous Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement that operates like the mafia. The secret Islamist society counts Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and blind sheik Omar Abdel Rahman among its members. Its motto: "The Quran is our constitution, the prophet is our guide; Death for the glory of Allah is our greatest ambition."
His office is right next door to the old office of one of Al-Qaida's top fund raisers in America, Abdurahman Alamoudi, before he was jailed a few years ago. And it's located in the same Alexandria, Va., business park as the former office of Osama bin Laden's nephew, before he hightailed it back to Saudi Arabia after 9/11.
"Omesh" is not the legal spelling of his name. He may spell it that way for the media, but that's not how it's listed in court documents I've examined. The correct spelling is Omeish with an "i." Perhaps he leaves it out to avoid links to his brother, Mohamed S. Omeish.
As I first reported in my book, "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington," Mohamed Omeish headed the U.S. branch of one of bin Laden's favorite Saudi charities, the International Islamic Relief Organization, which was raided after 9/11. Tax records I've obtained show Omeish shared an office with Alamoudi, the convicted al-Qaida-tied terrorist and godfather of the Muslim mafia in America. This is the same "moderate" Muslim leader who federal prosecutors caught on tape complaining bin Laden hadn't killed enough Americans.
It gets worse. Esam S. Omeish also sits on the board of the 9/11-tied mosque in Washington that helped the hijackers get licenses and housing, and whose imam prepared them for martyrdom operations in private closed-door sessions. Omeish personally hired the imam, Anwar Aulaqi, who fled the country on a Saudi jet about a year after 9/11 (the FBI now wants another crack at questioning him).
Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, which tax records show has received large donations from the Islamic Relief Organization, is a Muslim Brotherhood bastion. Another former imam and current prayer leader, for example, is an admitted Brotherhood member from the Sudan. The mosque's deed was signed by an Alamoudi crony who has admitted participating in the Brotherhood's "Ikhwan" movement in America.
Dar al-Hijrah is a turnstile for terrorists and terror suspects. A prayer leader, Sheikh Mohammed al-Hanooti, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the first World Trade Center bombing. Other dubious mosque members have included: Alamoudi, Abdullah bin Laden, Osama's nephew; Hamas leader and fugitive Mousa Abu Marzook and his partners Ismail Elbarasse and Abdelhaleem Ashqar, who was convicted of obstruction of justice in February; convicted Virginia Jihad Network leader Randall "Ismail" Royer, a former CAIR official; and Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, an al-Qaida operative recently convicted of plotting to assassinate President Bush.
Leaders of the mosque rallied around Ali, calling the trial a Zionist "witch hunt," even after it became obvious he was guilty.
What's more, the phone number to the mosque was found in the German apartment of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, roommate of 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta. Atta's deputy "emir" in the "raid" on America, Nawaf al-Hazmi, worshipped at Dar al-Hijrah, along with the pilot who crashed the plane into the Pentagon.
Back to mosque leader Esam Omeish, the "American patriot." Court records I've obtained show he put his home up for bond collateral in 2004 to help spring from jail a terrorist suspect who was caught allegedly casing the Chesapeake bridge for attack. His dubious pal Ismail Elbarasse is a founding member of Dar al-Hijrah.
Omeish's house is just down the road from the mosque in Falls Church, Va., and just a few blocks in the other direction from the Islamist business park in Alexandria. One of Omeish's neighbors on his cul-de-sac is the former bookkeeper for terror banker Soliman Biheiri. He started an Islamic investment bank that included Hamas leader Marzook and Abdullah bin Laden as major investors. Biheiri, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was recently convicted of lying about his connections to Marzook in an investigation into his terrorist ties.
It's one big happy Islamist family in Omeish's neck of the woods.
This is who is rallying opposition to the war. Omeish may claim to be an "American patriot," but even Cindy Sheehan should know better. The people she's consorting with would not have shed a tear had her son been beheaded in Iraq.
By Paul Sperry
Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.