Archive for the ‘Virginia’ category

Fox in the Hen House: Allowing Terrorists to Re-enter Prisons

June 29, 2017

Fox in the Hen House: Allowing Terrorists to Re-enter Prisons, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Patrick Dunleavy , June 28, 2017

Allowing a fox into the hen house does irreparable harm to all. Allowing a terrorist back into prison will only do the same.

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Recent articles by the IPT and other news organizations have addressed the growing concerns regarding the upcoming release of over a hundred inmates convicted of terrorism related crimes. Experts have spoken on the lack of a bona fide strategy that will address the unique security issues presented when a terrorist is released. The need for post release specialized supervision programs is clear.

The one idea that should not be on the table is to allow them to re-enter prisons to speak with inmates as a religious volunteer. Yet this is exactly what has happened in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) for the last two years.

Edwin Lorenzo Lemmons, also known as Asad al Salaam, is an employee of the Muslim Chaplain Services of Virginia. He is licensed in the state as an Islamic clergyman authorized to perform marriages and other religious ceremonies. He has been issued a statewide pass to enter any VADOC facility and speak with inmates. He is currently teaching a class in Arabic for inmates. He is also an ex-offender. While that in itself is not unusual, many ex-offenders, in a desire to give back and help others in similar situations, have successfully done so. This particular ex-offender, Edwin Lorenzo Lemmons, (FBI # 939113RA3), is quite unique.

Lemmons’ criminal history began in a small rural community in upstate New York. His parents had sent him there from Chicago in hopes of protecting him from the scourge of gang violence and drugs. His first arrest occurred when he was a teenager, and for the next two years he amassed charges ranging from DUI to Burglary, Assault, and finally, Robbery. The last charge resulted in his being sentenced to a term of 2-4 years in a New York State prison. Upon his entrance to a Reception and Classification facility in April of 1996, he declared his religion as Christian. A few months later, after meeting with several inmates of Middle Eastern descent, one, a former Colonel in the Yemeni army and the other, a member of Hamas, Mr. Lemmons informed his counselor that he was changing his religious affiliation to Islam. Following that development, he began to attend Arabic classes taught by another inmate in the Cayuga Correctional Facility. The inmate teacher’s name was Abdel Nasser Zaben.

Abdel Zaben, a Palestinian, was born in Jordan in 1969. He illegally entered the United States in 1990, arrested by the NYPD in 1993 for Kidnapping and Robbery, and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Zaben was also the target of an investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force who had received confidential information that he had sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden and was recruiting disenfranchised inmates to his group for training and to fight in the Jihad. At the time he first met with Edwin Lemmons, Zaben worked as a clerk for the prison’s Islamic Chaplain . For the next two years he tutored Lemmons in both Arabic and the Koran. When the time for Lemmons’ release from prison drew near, inmate Zaben provided him with names and contact information of individuals in the Middle East who would assist Lemmons in his travel and studies.

Following his release, in the fall of 1998, Lemmons had his parole supervision transferred to Florida, and enrolled in the Islamic Center of Gainesville. In March 2000, Lemmons made his first trip overseas to the Middle East. Upon his return from Jordan through New York’s JFK Airport and then on to Gainesville, Florida, he approached the president of the Islamic center and asked about fighting in the jihad overseas. The then-president, Mohamed Bahmaid, in an interview with members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, stated that he tried to discourage Lemmons from any future overseas travel. Lemmons did not heed his advice. Four months later Lemmons made another trip overseas, this time to Egypt. He stayed for three months and while there, according to a reliable source who knew both Lemmons and Zaben, he received “underground tactical training.”

Later, while under surveillance by the JTTF, Lemmons was observed at a firing range in Melbourne, Florida with two other individuals, firing AK 47’s and SKS assault rifles. They were practicing tactical maneuvers known as “cover & concealment.” In addition, authorities received credible information from a reliable source that described Lemmons as someone with extremist Islamic views similar to that of the Taliban. Lemmons himself admitted to extremist views in a recorded conversation with inmate Abdel Zaben. The majority of Lemmon’s conversations with Zaben were in Arabic and required the use of government translators. The translators often remarked as to the skill and scholarly approach to the language that Lemmons had acquired. That development caused concern with investigators in June 2003 when monitoring a conversation between Lemmons and Zaben. Lemmons kept saying over and over to Zaben that he needed to learn how to say “Big Truck” in Arabic. He was fluent in Arabic and knew precisely how to say those words. Why was he repeating the phrase, “Big Truck”? Investigators believed this was a coded message about a possible future attack that Lemmons was to be involved with.

That is why on September 6, 2003, members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Lemmons in the Orlando airport as he returned from yet another trip to the Middle East. He was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. But this was no ordinary gun case. This was the result of a joint investigation dubbed “Operation Hades” which included investigators from my Office, the NYPD, the NYSP, and the JTTF. The goal of the investigation was to determine the level of Islamic radicalization in the prison system both here and abroad and also to identify and neutralize any radicalizing influences.

Lemmons was only one of the many radicals we uncovered.

As a result of his plea arrangement, he received a sentence of twenty seven months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was released from prison on May 12, 2006. He continued to have contact with Abdel Zaben and other individuals in the Middle East whom he met during his travels. He has never recanted his extremist views.

The question arises as to why the Muslim Chaplains Services of Virginia would hire someone holding such extremist views. Perhaps they were unaware of Lemmons’ background, or perhaps they share the same beliefs as Mr. Lemmons. The MCSVA is a non-profit organization incorporated in 2003 whose stated mission is “to serve incarcerated individuals, ex-offenders, and their families.” To accomplish that goal, MCSVA has received funding from various organizations including the Islamic Relief (IRUSA), an organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Its former global affiliate and current partner organization Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) was banned from operating in Israel on allegations the charity funneled funds to Hamas. Later the same year, the United Arab Emirates declared IRW to be a terrorist group.

One of the MCSVA board members, Sa’ad El-Amin, pled guilty to Tax Fraud and sentenced to 37 months in a federal prison. Adding to this, MCSVA is now employing an individual who was radicalized in prison and has spoken of fighting and dying for jihad, namely Edwin Lorenzo Lemmons, also known as Asad al Salaam

Allowing an individual with such radical Islamic views to meet, teach, and influence a particularly vulnerable group of society, incarcerated men and women, is in direct opposition to the FBI’s Correctional Intelligence Initiative which seeks to detect, deter, and disrupt the level of violent extremism and radicalization in correctional institutions. It specifically speaks of preventing un-vetted religious clergy and volunteers with extremist views from any interaction with inmates. The DOJ Inspector General’s Office has also spoken of this security concern. That inmates could be radicalized while incarcerated and then carry out terrorist attacks after release is a very real concern both here and in abroad.

It seems incredulous to me that, in light of the recent terrorist attacks in the UK and other European countries, carried out in part by individuals radicalized in prison, someone with Mr. Lemmons’ background would be allowed to reenter a prison, let alone teach inmates.

When notified of Lemmons’ well documented criminal activity since his release from a New York State prison, Melissa Welch, the Operations Support Manager for VADOC, whose office oversees religious volunteers, stated that the approval to allow Mr. Lemmons to visit and teach inmates in Virginia was granted by her predecessor in 2015. She went on to say that the agency is in the process of reviewing how Edwin Lemmons slipped through the cracks and what action VADOC will need to take to correct the security error.

Three crucial steps will be necessary to effectively neutralize this egregious security breach. First, Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke should immediately suspend Mr. Lemmons’ authorization to enter any correctional facility. Second, an audit/investigation into how religious volunteers are vetted should be conducted, and changes made, to prevent individuals with prior convictions for terror related crimes to gain access to any correctional facility. And thirdly, a list of the names of all the inmates, both in custody or released, who attended any classes or services conducted by Mr. Lemmons should be forwarded to the National Joint Terrorism Task Force that has oversight for the Correctional Intelligence Initiative Program.

Failing to implement these steps will only increase the level of radicalizing influences in the U.S. prison system.

Allowing a fox into the hen house does irreparable harm to all. Allowing a terrorist back into prison will only do the same.

IPT Senior Fellow Patrick Dunleavy is the former Deputy Inspector General for New York State Department of Corrections and author of The Fertile Soil of Jihad. He currently teaches a class on terrorism for the United States Military Special Operations School.

Alien Invasion: Thousands of Foreigners Registered To Vote (and Voting) in Virginia

May 30, 2017

Alien Invasion: Thousands of Foreigners Registered To Vote (and Voting) in Virginia, PJ Media, J. Christian Adams, May 30, 2017

In the age of Obama, politics prevented voter fraud prosecutions. Obama’s Justice Department didn’t prosecute alien registration and voting because their governing philosophy opposed it. The Justice Department ignored the information gift-wrapped by local election officials.

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Some inside the Beltway are in a froth about foreign influence in our elections.

Yet I’ll wager they won’t say a word about real foreign influence in elections — even when actual evidence exists.

A new report released today documents that in Virginia alone, 5,556 voter registrations were cancelled because of citizenship defects. Many of those cancelled had gotten on the voter rolls despite saying on their voter registration form that they were an alien and not eligible to vote.

Voter history records also show that many thousands of ballots were cast by registrants removed for citizenship defects.

Only Americans should be electing American leaders, but that isn’t happening.

Even worse, the report documents the extensive efforts by state and local election officials to conceal the extent of noncitizen registration and voting.

These efforts include internal emails which revealed an intent to alter public records to hide the full extent of noncitizen cancellations.

The report, entitled Alien Invasion II: The Sequel to the Discovery and Cover Up of Non-Citizen Registration and Voting in Virginia, notes that the 5,556 removed for citizenship defects in Virginia are only the tip of the iceberg. These 5,556 were only caught by accident after each told a state agency of his or her alien status after previously registering to vote. Had they never provided an inconsistent answer to citizenship status, they never would have been detected.

The report released by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, of which I am president, can be accessed here.

PILF originally asked in 2016 for election records demonstrating registrants removed from the voter rolls for citizenship defects. Under federal law, all list maintenance records are subject to public inspection. You would have thought election officials would be transparent and keen to comply with federal disclosure laws.

You would be wrong: it took three separate federal lawsuits — against Alexandria City, Manassas City, and Chesterfield County — filed by PILF to finally obtain the information.

Along the way, other election officials in internal email discussions obtained by PILF contemplated altering list maintenance records to conceal the extent of cancellations for citizenship status.

For example, Arlington County General Registrar Linda Lindberg, in an email obtained by PILF, contemplated providing an altered and shorter list of registrants removed for citizenship problems. Her email stated:

This group [PILF] has and will interpret the fact that there may be voting credit on the cancelled record as “illegal aliens” registering and voting, despite the voter having subsequently affirmed his citizenship. …  I am going to delete or otherwise notate these names from my report, either by deleting the rows from the Excel version or marking them on the report.

Lindberg specifically contemplated hiding the full report of non-citizen cancellations from PILF and then producing an abbreviated list that excluded anyone on the list who subsequently cast a ballot regardless of the timing of any naturalization process.

Arlington registrar Linda Lindberg

Federal law requires list maintenance records to be public, and does not entertain alteration of those records prior to release or the production of derivative records that conceal original removal data.

Some officials claim that the list of those cancelled for non-citizenship eventually affirmed citizenship or may have been citizens in the first place. Even that excuse — that the government was cancelling valid voters for citizenship defects — illustrates the mess that American voter rolls are in regarding aliens.

Without robust citizenship verification procedures at the front end, downstream failures occur in election administration. States like Virginia, which utilize no means to verify citizenship at registration, find themselves cancelling valid registrations occasionally if Lindberg’s story is to be believed.

Neither cancelling valid citizens nor registering aliens is good government.

Yet the PILF report demonstrates that hundreds of foreigners ended up on Virginia voter rolls even after telling Virginia election officials they were aliens on their voter registration form.

Consider Jiling Xiao. Xiao registered to vote during Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for president. Indeed, the report notes that 2008 was the year with the highest rate of alien voting in Virginia. Xiao plainly marked “NO” to the question “Are you a citizen of the United States of America?”, yet was registered to vote. Such is the flimsy check used to prevent alien voting:

Jiling Xiao registration form obtained by PILF

Or take Yun Ok Bae. Bae plainly answered “NO” to the citizenship checkbox question on the federal form, but was still registered to vote — and remained on the rolls for four years:

Yun Bae registration form obtained by PILF

Juan Mones Cazon was registered to vote in Charlottesville despite marking “NO” to the citizenship question. Cazon also marked his form that he wished to serve as an election official.

Juan Mones Cazon registration form obtained by PILF

PILF obtained 700 pages of similar examples.

All can be accessed by law enforcement personnel at this link. 

As day follows night, the people most obsessed with Russian influence in American elections will excuse away the behavior uncovered in the PILF report. Here are some voter fraud axioms:

— The more in a froth you are about Russia and Trump, the less you care about alien registration and voting.

— The more you believe foreigners in Russia handed Trump the White House, the less you worry about foreigners like Xio, Bae, Cazon, and thousands of others participating in our election system.

Yet the law takes a different approach. (Remember that quaint institution — the law?) The PILF report documents election felonies piled on top of felonies.

Federal law 52 U.S.C. Section 20511 makes it a felony to submit a false voter registration form. Federal law 18 U.S.C. Section 1015 makes it a crime to make a false statement to register to vote. Federal law 18 U.S.C. Section 611 makes it illegal for foreigners to cast a ballot. Virginia law also criminalizes the casting of an illegal ballot.

So you may think there should have been hundreds, or even thousands, of voter fraud prosecutions in Virginia in the last few years. Again, you’d be wrong.

And it’s not for a lack of information. Federal and state prosecutors were made aware of the problem of alien registration and voting by the Fairfax County electoral board years ago. Hans von Spakovsky, who served on that board, told me the information “disappeared into the equivalent of a cosmic black hole.” Not a single alien voter fraudster was prosecuted — even those who cast ballots.

Voter fraud deniers use this absence of prosecutions to argue that voter fraud doesn’t exist. The referrals by Fairfax election officials provide an excellent example of how the lack of prosecution is meaningless data for determining the extend of voter fraud.

The PILF report documents over 7,000 ballots were cast by those cancelled for citizenship defects.

In the age of Obama, politics prevented voter fraud prosecutions. Obama’s Justice Department didn’t prosecute alien registration and voting because their governing philosophy opposed it. The Justice Department ignored the information gift-wrapped by local election officials.

For good measure, Democrats in Virginia launched a successful campaign against von Spakovsky to get him removed from the Fairfax County electoral board. There was no question that the data the board provided was valid. The real issue is that the question was even raised.

If you ask questions and collect empirical data about voter fraud, you must be extinguished.

It explains why Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed multiple bills that would have addressed the problems found in the PILF report, including using jury recusal forms filled out by aliens to see if the same recused juror is also registered to vote.

The PILF report catalogs the bills vetoed by McAuliffe.

Ignorance and denial is the preferred approach of voter fraud deniers, with ridicule toward those who ask the questions tossed in for good measure.

In another American age, when government records revealed that crimes were committed by the hundreds or thousands, that foreigners were registering to vote, that thousands of citizenship defects were caught on the voter rolls, everyone would have cared. Democrats would have joined Republicans in seeking solutions. But these days, our political discourse is corrupted by the same lack of intellectual honesty and factual curiosity that Solzhenitsyn described to his bunkmate: they don’t care what you have to say, they don’t care about the truth. They only care about destroying you.

Let’s see what happens. Will there be any intellectual curiosity, any effort to expound on what we now know about defects in at least one state’s election administration?

Or will we hear, yet again, the tired propaganda about “voter suppression” and the “myth of voter fraud?”

Maybe, just maybe, those tasked with enforcing the law at the United States Department of Justice and county prosecutors will ignore the nonsense and click the links — where hundreds of pages of real evidence can be found.

Three New Charges of Vote Fraud Filed in Florida and Virginia

October 29, 2016

Three New Charges of Vote Fraud Filed in Florida and Virginia, BreitbartWarner Todd Huston, October 28, 2016

votefraudster

Authorities in two states have filed vote fraud charges against three separate suspects, just 11 days before the November election, reports say.

Two women in Florida, and a suspect in Virginia, face vote fraud charges of tampering with ballots and voter registration.

In the case in Virginia, a man faces four felony charges for voter registration fraud, according to Washington D.C.’s NBC affiliate.

Vafalay Massaquoi, an African American male, stands accused of fraudulently registering voters when he worked for the Democrat-affiliated New Virginia Majority advocacy group.

Massaquoi filed the fake voter registrations with the Alexandria office but authorities caught the fraud and canceled the registrations before they could be used. Massaquoi was extradited from the Philadelphia area where she had moved earlier this year and is currently being held without bond in Alexandria.

In the Sunshine State, two separate suspects were charged with voter fraud, one of whom is a 74-year-old white woman from Westchester, FL.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle charged the elderly Gladys Coego with filling out votes for a mayoral candidate while working as an official counter of absentee ballots. Coego admitted to her actions when asked and was charged with two felony counts of marking another person’s ballot, according to Reuters.

In a second Florida case, authorities charged Tomika Curgil, a 33-year-old African-American woman from Liberty City, with filling out voter registration information for five voters without their consent and submitting 17 more registrations for fictitious people, ABC News 10 reported.

Authorities said Curgil was working for a group working to legalize marijuana called People United for Medical Marijuana.

Investigators alleged that despite never venturing out from her home on her “work day” for the voter registration drive, Curgil nonetheless handed in the stack of registrations.

Curgil was charged with five counts of submitting false voter registration information.

Warnings of voter fraud have been a central issue in GOP nominee Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House by warning voters to be on the lookout for examples of a system that is “rigged” against him. Trump also recently noted that the media is part of the effort to work against his candidacy.

Judicial Watch Will Monitor Virginia Polls on Election Day

October 24, 2016

Judicial Watch Will Monitor Virginia Polls on Election Day, Judicial Watch, October 24, 2016

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today, as part of its ongoing Election Integrity Project, announced that Judicial Watch volunteer poll observers will monitor polling sites in Virginia on Election Day.

Judicial Watch poll monitors will be in Virginia in response to significant concerns about the integrity of the election process there:

  • 1,046 aliens, or residents who are not U.S. citizens, were on the voter rolls in 8 Virginia counties.  If that rate of non-citizen registration held in the rest of Virginia’s counties, that would mean that about 6,500 non-citizens are registered to vote in Virginia.
  • A September 2016 report by the Public Interest Legal Foundation and the Virginia Voter’s Alliance shows: “In the 8 jurisdictions that provided us with lists of aliens recently removed from their voter rolls, we discovered that 31 non-citizens had cast a total of 186 votes between 2005 and 2015.  The most alien votes were cast in 2012 followed by 2008, the year President Obama was elected to his first term.” There are 133 total Virginia voting jurisdictions, so the number in this report represents a mere fraction of the true total of illegal votes.
  • 19 deceased individuals recently re-registered to vote in Virginia.
  • In 2013, the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program (Crosscheck), which provides a lists of voters who are registered in more than one of the 26 states participating in the program, revealed that 57,923 Virginia voters were registered to vote in at least one other state.  Of course this number would be much higher if the Crosscheck program included every state – including New York, California, and Texas, the most populous states in the country.

Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project leader, Robert Popper, will train Virginia’s poll watchers. He is a former deputy chief of the Voting Section, in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and a veteran poll observer for the Department of Justice.

Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity project began in February 2012. Since that time Judicial Watch has put several state and county officials on notice when they are in violation of federal laws requiring them to clean up their voter rolls. Judicial Watch has also participated in lawsuits defending photo ID and other commonsense election integrity measures. Judicial Watch has also filed successful lawsuits in states like Ohio and Indiana that resulted in cleaner voter rolls and have achieved victories in the United States Supreme Court to stop race-based elections in Hawaii.  Judicial Watch has fought federal electoral laws that have the effect of making it easier for non-citizens to register to vote, and harder to remove them once they are registered.  And Judicial Watch has conducted election monitoring before, for example in New Hampshire in 2014.

“Judicial Watch will monitor voting places in Virginia to expose and deter any voter fraud,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Election Integrity Project Director Robert Popper added, “Judicial Watch election monitors will be neutral and silent observers at select polling places in Virginia.  We do not oppose or endorse candidates for public office. Our election monitoring in Virginia is wholly independent of any party or candidate.”

Recent polls show that voters are becoming “deeply skeptical” about election integrity. One poll found that 98 percent of people believe that voter fraud occurs: 74 percent believed that “some” or a “great deal” of voter fraud is going on, and 24 percent said hardly any. A poll in The Washington Post found that: “60% of Republicans believe illegal immigrants vote; 43% believe people vote using dead people’s names.”

Virginia residents interested in monitoring a local polling site on Election Day may respond by email to Eric Lee elee@judicialwatch.org

Why is Virginia a Haven for Would-be Jihadists?

July 18, 2016

Why is Virginia a Haven for Would-be Jihadists? Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, July 18, 2016

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What is it about Virginia?

Already this year, six men from the “Cavalier State” have been arrested on terror-related charges – two of them in July alone. Another man has joined the Islamic State in Syria. Two of those charged were stopped from making a similar trip.

These most recent arrests, one on July 3, the other on July 8, were based on charges of planning to provide material support to ISIS. Mohamed Bailor Jalloh, a former member of the National Guard who was arrested July 3, allegedly discussed planning an attack against U.S. military in the homeland inspired by fellow Virginian Nidal Hasan’s 2009 shooting at Fort Hood. According to court documents, Jalloh quit the Guard and later attempted to obtain funds and weapons for a domestic attack after being inspired by Anwar al Awlaki’s videos on YouTube.

Five days later, Virginia law enforcement arrested Haris Qamar, following an extended FBI sting operation. According to an FBI affidavit, Qamar made statements to an informant such as, “By-bye, DC, stupid a— kufar [infidels], kill ’em all,” and posted to his Twitter account a prayer for “strength to the mujahedeen to slaughter every single US military officer.”

Earlier arrests this year – two in June and one in January – involved men planning to join the jihad in Syria, rather than waging domestic battles. In one case, Mohamad Jamal Khweis, who had already joined the Islamic State, surrendered to Kurdish forces in Iraq in an apparent effort to escape the hell of life in the new caliphate. Now awaiting sentencing in the United States, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Why does this keep happening in Virginia? What makes its young Muslims more susceptible to the radical messages from Awlaki and ISIS social media?

Virginia has proved to be an active center for radical Islamist activity over the years and has bred more than its share of terrorists since 9/11. It was at the Hamas-linked Dar al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, for instance, that terrorist icon Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American whom counter-terrorism officials say inspired hundreds of other Muslims to take arms in violent jihad, once served as imam. Among his disciples: Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan; Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, convicted in 2005 of collaborating with al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush; and several of the 9/11 hijackers.

And it was in Virginia that, in the still fragile and bewildered aftermath of 9/11, “Beltway snipers” John Allen Mohammed and Lee Boyd Malvo shot and killed more than 12 people, including an FBI analyst, in October 2002.

While internet and social media remain powerful weapons in the terrorist recruitment arsenal, personal connections remain the most potent tool. Honor student Ali Shukri Amin, charged with soliciting donations for ISIS, is also suspected of helping another Virginian, Reza Niknejad, travel to Syria.

While none of the recent cases implicate specific mosques, the influence of Dar al Hijrah and some of its imams appears to have been widespread.

To some extent, this could be thanks to its current imam, Shaker Elsayed. In 2002, hetold a conference hosted by the Muslim American Society and Islamic Circle for North America that deciding whether suicide bombers were martyrs was “an in house business” for Muslims.

In a dramatic speech available online since 2013, Elsayed rants against the West and calls for “the power of faith” and “the power of armament.” In the post-9/11 world, he observes, even world leaders have “bowed down” to the Western pressure. “We the Muslim masses should never bow down except to Allah!” he says, “and this will give us our dignity back.”

But other Virginia religious leaders have gone further. Ali al-Timimi, a cancer researcher, was the “spiritual leader” of a group of 11 men convicted of terrorism in 2003 and 2004, Al-Timimi is now serving a life sentence for recruiting Muslims to travel to Pakistan and train for holy war.

Shortly after 9/11, according to the New York Times’ coverage of his trial, al-Timimi invited a group of young Muslim men to dinner, where he told them they had a religious duty to fight with the Taliban against American forces. Prosecutors described that statement as “treason,” calling al-Timimi a “purveyor of hate and war.”

More than 10 years after his conviction, al-Timimi remains a figurehead among radical groups in Virginia and the Capitol district. The Peace and Justice Foundation, which defended al-Timimi and his followers, refers in online documents to a government conspiracy, while numerous web sites offer recordings of al-Timimi’s lectures. In addition, a Facebook page devoted to his appeal with more than 2,000 “likes,” has built a community in his support. (Followers even raised $12,000 for his mother’s medical care.)

The Saudi-sponsored Islamic Saudi Academy, which shut down abruptly last month,faced criticism for its textbooks that promote Wahhabism, an extreme version of Islam practiced by the Saudis. The textbooks contained passages “that extolled jihad and martyrdom, called for victory over one’s enemies, and said the killing of adulterers and apostates was ‘justified,'” the Washington Post reported. Those passages were found in school textbooks two years after U.S. officials, shocked by the texts in use in 2006, ordered they be revised. Pre-revision books included statements like, “It is said: the apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews. The swine are the unbelievers of Jesus’ table, the Christians.”

The school’s 1999 valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was convicted in 2005 for supporting al-Qaida and planning to assassinate the president. (Notably, he also taught Islamic Studies at Dar Al Hijrah.)

As Seamus Hughes of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University’s Center or Cyber & Homeland Security told Fox News, “Northern Virginia has a disproportionate number of people that are drawn to this.”

Ramy Zamzam is a poster child for this observation. He was among five young men who disappeared from their northern Virginia neighborhood in late 2009, only to be arrested by Pakistani authorities who caught them trying to cross into Afghanistan to join jihadists there.

“We are not terrorists,” he said outside a hearing. “We are jihadists, and jihad is not terrorism.”

Muslim groups expressed their horror over the incident and promised a program aimed at de-radicalization.

It’s not clear that any such plan ever emerged. If it did, it’s clearly not working.