Muslim Group Walks Out On White House

From Associated Press

A group of Muslim leaders walked out of a White House meeting Thursday, angered when a Secret Service officer ordered one of them out of the building. The Secret Service and a White House official later apologized.

The incident follows one last week in which Muslims became upset when Vice President Dick Cheney canceled a meeting with them.

About 15 minutes into Thursday's meeting with Rev. Mark Scott, an associate director at the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the uniformed officer escorted out Abdullah Alarian.

Alarian, a congressional intern, is the nephew of Mazen Al-Najjar, a Palestinian who was jailed in Florida for three years after the government alleged he used an Islamic think tank at the University of South Florida as a front for terrorism. He was released last December after a panel of judges and then-Atty. Gen. Janet Reno agreed there was no reason to detain him.

The group camped out for 90 minutes on the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, demanding an apology from President Bush. Scott apologized to the group before it left the White House, said administration spokesman Scott McClellan.

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