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Muslims' Unheralded Messenger; Antiterrorism Group Founder Hopes To Rally a Crowd
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Terrorism; Attendance; Demonstrations & protests -- Washington DC; Muslims
Author: Oldenburg, Don
Date: May 13, 2005
Start Page: C.01
Section: STYLE

[Kamal Nawash]'s office is four blocks from the White House, and the lobby directory doesn't list the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism. No Kamal Nawash law office listed. No Nawash, period. "We don't put our name down there in case bin Laden comes looking for us," says Nawash, emitting an uneasy laugh that suggests this might be funny, if only it were. "You can't be too safe," he says, insisting he isn't really afraid, though his parents beg him to find a different job.

He's a visibly patriotic, mediagenic Muslim American. He says he made 300 TV and radio appearances last year, including on Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor," where he called on Muslims to reject extremism after the arrest of mosque leaders in Albany, N.Y., who allegedly agreed to launder money for use in terrorist acts. If a reporter needs a Muslim to say the United States has good reason to keep Yussef Islam, the former Cat Stevens, from entering the country, Nawash was and is available. When a Northern Virginia imam was convicted last month for inciting followers to train overseas for violent jihad, some Muslim leaders called it a witch hunt. Not Nawash, who announced he was pleased with the verdict.

He found it frustrating that while he wanted to address issues such as roads, traffic and taxes, many people wanted him to talk about Arab-U.S. issues. One Muslim PAC, called Platform for Active Civil Empowerment, was ready to make a contribution, and Nawash says they sent questionnaires to him and his opponent, State Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple. Nawash says the PAC asked Whipple the usual candidate questions, but asked him only one: "Do you pray five times a day?"

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