Clay Bennett, the Chair of the ownership group which owns the Oklahoma City (OKC) Thunder, was a student at Cairo University during the early 1980s. At that time he was introduced into the community by his father’s business associate (real estate has been at the core of the family business), Tendei El-Furlough, who had been helping to steer Mideast money to the Oklahoma real estate investment group.
Even though membership was illegal at the time, El-Furlough was a senior representative of the Muslim Brotherhood, and over the family dinner table Bennett and another Oklahoma exchange student, Brook “Boots” Hall, Jr., who would later serve as an executive in his family business, the Fred Jones Companies, Inc., would hear tales of the Caliphate and how such a political arrangement would help the plight of those in the country where Bennett was living, and across the Arab world.
(Hall’s presence in the country was related to the family’s, and El-Furlough’s, multi-decade association with Braniff Airways)
In the dark days of the late 1990s and the early 2000s, it was very difficult to be a part of the Brotherhood, and as Mubarak’s Government clamped down on any potential political opposition, Bennett’s friend El-Furlough, along with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as Hari Al-Paratestes, began to reach out to see if a safe place could be found where the Muslim Brotherhood leadership could escape, lay low for some length of time, and then either return to Egypt when things were more hospitable, or begin the creation of the Caliphate from a new, safer, location.
Bennett and Hall were interested, but he knew it would take several years before his plan could come to fruition.
They knew if they were going to create such a haven in Oklahoma that there would have to be some presence in the State that would serve as a focal point for creating cultural change, and they later determined that a sports team could be such a vehicle.
This was most likely going to be a professional basketball team, and as it happens the NBA has been looking to expand their international presence. Conversations were held with Commissioner David Stern, and he was induced to consider making a deal that might lead to the Muslim Brotherhood moving to Oklahoma-and the NBA expanding to several cities in the oil-rich Middle East.
The OKC ownership group first attempted contacts with the Charlotte Hornets, with whom a relationship was established. After two seasons, it was determined that the team was unwilling to be controlled by the OKC ownership group, and the relationship was terminated. (There are rumors that the Charlotte ownership group and numerous players threatened to “spill the beans” regarding the “cultural change” element of the deal, and that payments were made to keep them quiet; this has not been fully confirmed.)
Stern next suggested a team from a “liberal” city: Seattle.
Contacts were made, a deal was struck, and certain Seattle players were “brought in” on the deal with certain cash payments and ownership rights. The new team is known as the “OKC Thunder”.
Bennett began using the team as a “vehicle for change” from the very beginning. For example, before each game, a member of he clergy comes to the floor and leads a prayer; plans are afoot to have more Islamic Imams leading those prayers as this year ends and next year begins.
The changes in the team rosters also reflect the new cultural focus: gone are players like Wally Szczerbiak, Eddie Gill, and Ronald Dupree. Now the Thunder sports players such as Thabo El-Sefolosha, Nenad Al-Krstic, and there are persistent rumors that they’re trying to acquire Lewis Al-Rashad (his birth name) from the Washington Wizards. Serge Ibaka, of course, is the only Chechen in the NBA, and he was brought on board fairly easily.
The Fred Jones Museum (where “Boots” Hall is a Board member) is assisting in the process of “acculturating” Oklahoma residents with their “Mediterranea” exhibit, which will run on the Sooner campus from March to May of 2011, just as the Thunder begins rolling out their Islamic pre-game prayers.
The exhibit will highlight how American artists such as Max Kuehne, William Stanley Haseltine, and Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow were influenced by “the legacy of the Greco-Roman past and the influence of Christianity and Islam”, to quote the exhibit’s website.
More than four dozen similar events have been organized during the next few months throughout the State in an effort to prepare the way for a bill to be introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature in early 2012 that would allow the use of Shari’a law for disputes between Islamic persons; this is one of the preconditions for Muslim Brotherhood leaders to be able to move to the State.
Efforts have been made to “smooth the way” with Oklahoma’s new Governor, Mary Fallin; one example was the group’s substantial donation to the Governor-elect’s transition/inauguration committee, augmented by other donations from groups with energy interests, including The Williams Companies and Devon Energy. Avalon Staffing, the private prison operator who would like to operate in Egypt one day, is also associated with the group and donated $26,000 to the committee.
All of this-the purchase of the team, arranging the change in prayers, the NBA expansion to the Middle East, the Headquarters-in-exile of the Caliphate itself-was put at risk when Rex Duncan came to the table with his State Question (SQ) 755, which will, to quote Duncan directly “constitute a pre-emptive strike against Shari’a law coming to Oklahoma.”
The Question (officially known as the “Oklahoma International Law Amendment”), which would, if passed, become an Amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution, passed in November of 2010, with a 70%-30% “yes” vote.
Despite the efforts of Duncan and others across the State, the Bennett/Hall “Muslim Brotherhood Alliance” group was able to quickly obtain a court order barring enforcement of the law; that order remains in effect today.
As a result, the effort to bring Shari’a law to Oklahoma is again moving forward, unless Duncan and his allies can again stop the process and save the Sooner State from this previously undisclosed international plot.
Sources in Egypt indicate that the Brotherhood is anxious for the new legal code to be adopted as quickly as possible, just in case President Mubarak begins a sudden crackdown and plans and people associated with the Caliphate have to be brought out of the country.
FNS was unable to obtain a comment by press time from any of the involved parties; we are continuing to seek any available statement from press sources.