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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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JW Sues Obama State Department for Information on Taxpayer-Financed “Religious Outreach Trips” for Ground Zero Mosque Imam

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today against the Obama State Department to obtain information on the government-sponsored trips taken by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. The Obama administration sent Rauf, the driving force behind the controversial Ground Zero Mosque, on a trip to the Middle East to “discuss Muslim life in America and religious tolerance.”

Judicial Watch seeks the following records through its FOIA request filed on August 16, 2010:

Any and all records concerning travel conducted by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. This includes but is not limited to:

a) Travel to the U.S. – Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar in February 2006
b) Travel to Bahrain, Morocco, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates in 2007
c) Travel to Egypt sponsored by the Bureau of International Information Programs in January 2010
d) Upcoming travel to Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates

The State Department acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s FOIA request on August 26, 2010. By law, the agency was required to respond to the request by September 24, 2010. However, to date, the State Department has failed to provide any records responsive to the request or demonstrate that records are exempt from production.

Over the years, Rauf has made a number of radical and controversial statements regarding Islamic extremism, particularly the terrorist attacks on 9/11. For example, during a 60 Minutes interview about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to CBS News, Rauf said: “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened. But the United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened…we have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.”

“The Obama administration can sugar-coat this any way they want, but Rauf is an extremist who blames America for the 9/11 attacks. And the last thing the Obama administration should be spending our money on is a ‘religious tolerance’ tour led by an apologist for Islamic terrorists. And, yes, it was a scandal to see that the Bush administration also subsidized trips for this radical,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The American people have a right to know the details surrounding this scandalous waste of taxpayer funds. Rather than getting transparency, we’ve been met by a stonewall from the ‘transparent’ Obama administration.”


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