Christina Nuckols writes in the Virginian-Pilot that Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and major-league Republican activist, has given up his venture into Muslim politics.
Critics also say his efforts to recruit Muslim voters to the Republican Party have led to dangerous alliances. The St. Petersburg Times reported last year that the Islamic Institute, an outreach group Norquist co-founded, received $35,000 in donations in 1999 from activist Abdurahman Alamoudi. Alamoudi was sentenced to 23 years in prison this year for his involvement in a plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.
Norquist no longer free-lances as a lobbyist and has refocused his attention on his first love: cutting taxes.
"Free-lancing as a lobbyist" hardly begins to capture the multitude of money-making activities Norquist has been engaged in over the decades, but if he is out of the Islam business, it is welcome news indeed, for Norquist has wrought substantial damage to his country and his party alike by his promotion of radical Islamic groups. In so doing, he has gone against the grain of mainstream conservatism, prompting much speculation about his motives. Frank Gaffney amply documented this concern in his exhaustive December 2003 study, "A Troubling Influence."
Should it turn out not to be true that Norquist has given up his Islamic venture – and there is reason to doubt this, given that Islamists continue to frequent his "Wednesday Meeting" and the Islamic Free Market Institute remains embedded within his own organization – I will be noting this in future updates to this weblog entry.
Comment: This might be the right moment to mention that, back in about 2000, I made Norquist an offer: If he would keep away from Islamic issues, I would stay clear away from taxation issues. Needless to say, he refused. (January 17, 2005)
Apr. 14, 2005 update: For a quite different sort of development, see my entry today, "Is Grover Norquist an Islamist?"
July 9, 2006 update: It's a headline those we anti-Islamist Norquist-watchers have been expecting for some time: "Powerful GOP Activist Sees His Influence Slip Over Abramoff Dealings," reads a p. 1 story by Jonathan Weisman in the Sunday Washington Post. The topic, of course, is Grover G. Norquist. In the aftermath of reports that he served as a cash conduit for disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, reads the article, "the irascible, combative activist is struggling to maintain his stature as some GOP lawmakers distance themselves and as enemies in the conservative movement seek to diminish his position." Among his many problems, we learn, is his fondness for Islamists:
Frank J. Gaffney Jr., the firebrand director of the Center for Security Policy, has developed an anti-Norquist presentation, complete with charts and graphs, that he has shopped around to other conservatives, saying it shows Norquist's ties to terrorist sympathizers. "This is the perfect moment to get the truth, because guys like Abramoff . . . have a powerful incentive to cooperate and get out the truth. At the very least, the questions should be asked," Gaffney said.
At issue is the Islamic Free Market Institute, which Norquist created in 1998 to steer Muslim voters to the GOP. To run the institute, Norquist tapped Khaled Saffuri, whose dealings with the American Muslim Council linked him to Abdurahman M. Alamoudi, a founder of the council, who pleaded guilty in 2004 to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from top Libyan officials and admitted participating in a Libyan plot to assassinate then-Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Aug. 23, 2010 update: He's back in the Islam business, again, prompted by the "Ground Zero Mosque" debate. Ryan Mauro has details at "The Ground Zero Mosque's Conservative Supporter." In brief:
Norquist is trying to convince Republicans that attacking [Faisal Abdul] Rauf's plan will cost them in the November elections, even though nearly 70 percent of Americans agree with them. He describes it as a "distraction" that will cause the party to lose support among non-Christians. … Yet again, Norquist has aligned himself with the Muslim Brotherhood network in the U.S. that is supporting Imam Rauf and accusing  his opponents of having "Islamophobia" and having an anti-Muslim bias.