State Department Grants Member Of Egyptian Terror Group Visa To Visit Washington
It was supposed to be a routine meeting for Egyptian legislators in Washington, an opportunity for senior Obama administration officials to meet with new members of Egypt’s parliament and exchange ideas on the future of relations between the two countries.
Instead, the visit this week looks like it’s turning into a political fiasco. Included in the delegation of Egyptian lawmakers was Hani Nour Eldin, who, in addition to being a newly elected member of parliament, is a member of the Gamaa Islamiya, or the Egyptian Islamic Group—a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. The group was banned under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and is now a recognized Islamist political party. Its spiritual leader, Omar Abdel Rahman—also known as the ‘blind sheik’—was convicted in 1995 of plotting attacks on New York City landmarks and transportation centers, and is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina federal prison.
Eldin, according to his Facebook page, was born in 1968 and resides in Suez, near the canal that unites the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. He was arrested in 1993 on terrorism charges after members of Gamaa Islamiya got into a shoot out with Egyptian security officials at a mosque. He has proclaimed his innocence in the shooting and says he was arrested because of his political activism against Mubarak.
In an interview, Eldin confirmed he is a member of Gamaa Islamiya. By U.S. law, that means he would be denied a visa to enter the country. Nonetheless, he says, he got a visa from the State Department. A State Department spokesman said, ‘We have no information suggesting that he or anyone else in the delegation is a member of the Egyptian Islamic Group.’
Eldin said in the interview that he is not a terrorist. ‘I have taken the American visa from the embassy as a member of the parliament representing a political party that has been elected and is a legitimate party,’ he said.” Read more.
Obama Administration Admits Egyptian from Designated Terrorist Group for Washington D.C. Tour – “Observers in Washington D.C. expressed surprise at the apparent mistake by the Obama administration. For example, Samuel Tadros, an Egypt native and researcher at the Hudson Institute, said ‘It would have taken the State Department five seconds to Google his name in Arabic and realize he is a member of a designated terrorist organization.’ During his tour of the U.S. capital, Eldin also visited the Wilson Center, a think tank that specializes in foreign policy issues. A State Department spokesman said the delegation was ‘invited to Washington by the Wilson Center. I refer you to the Wilson Center for any additional information on their visit.’ However, a Wilson Center spokesman said that the delegation was actually chosen by the State Department. ‘We can’t speak to the background of Eldin,’ said Drew Sample the media relations coordinator for the Wilson Center. ‘The Wilson Center was one of the places on the delegation’s Washington visit. We did not invite these people, the State Department arranged the visit.’” Read more.
Flashback: Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya nominated Hani Nour Eldin for constituent assembly – “The ultraconservative Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya has announced its nominations, from parliamentarians, political wing and public figures, for the constituent assembly tasked with drafting Egypt’s new constitution. From their political wing (Building and Development Party), Al-Gamaa nominated Hani Nour Al-Din, Mohamed Al-Sughyar, Abdel Akher Hamad, Usama Hafez and Nagy Derbalah, reported the Middle East News Agency…” Read more.