Here is a transcript of the panel discussion at Restoration Weekend on February 24. The topic was “The War on Terror — Are We Winning?” I spoke along with Daniel Pipes, Phyllis Chesler, and Steve Emerson. From FrontPage Magazine:
This panel discussion took place as part of “Restoration Weekend,” on February 24, 2006, at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix — The Editors.
Lt. General Thomas McInerney: We”ve got four panelists here. I”m going to give very light introductions. I want to say a few things about the intelligence summit and we”ll go in. They”ll devote their times, about 5-10 minutes, because we really want to thrust it back to you so we have strong audience participation. They”ll speak from sitting down. They”ll have a mike.
We”ve got Daniel Pipes, whom all of you know. Simply said, Daniel’s the foremost Middle East expert. Robert Spencer, who’s the director of the Jihad Watch. Phyllis Chesler. Phyllis has got 13 books. Robert only has 5. Finally, Steve Emerson, whom Bill O”Reilly always calls on when he wants to have an answer on the jihad.
Clearly their concerns are with what’s going on in Iraq today and yesterday and that will certainly update whether we are winning. I can only say, when I was over there in mid-December, I had two questions and they are (1) Was it worth it? and (2) Are we winning? I came back with a resounding yes, but we”ll listen to the speakers because we”re talking about the overall global war on terror.
Let me say something quickly about the intelligence summit this weekend at Crystal City, that I think is very important. Paul Biali was there and a few others. The important thing regarding the Saddam tapes: they had 12 hours, from 1992 to 2000. Bill Tierney, who was the translator and was also an UNSCOM inspector over there, did the translations. Obviously we read the excerpts of what the translations were because it wouldn’t have made any difference if I listened to Saddam Hussein, it wouldn’t have stuck. But we read the transcripts that he put up.
My good friend Wes Clark””or, as Rush Limbaugh calls him, “Ashley Wilkes,” said that Iran is really more important than Iraq and that we should have focused on Iran. Again, Ashley got it wrong and here’s why: because Saddam did have nuclear weapons. He was still developing nuclear weapons. He had chemical and biological weapons. In his own words. In a discussion with Saddam, Tariq Aziz said to him, “We could put nuclear weapons or biological in the United States, have them detonated by proxies and there wouldn’t be any fingerprints,” because, as he said, “we couldn’t get by with an explosion.” So I found it extremely interesting that he felt that they could get by with a biological attack because of the Fort Dietrich efforts that the U.S. are doing.
They also discussed how their deception against UNSCOM was so successful, because they knew which sites the UN inspectors were going to before they got there. From this, I”m going to make a supposition, which is mine only, a personal opinion. I now believe that the anthrax attack on Capitol Hill was probably carried out by Iraq. The FBI hasn’t found anybody else and I do believe that probably Iraq was as good a possibility as any because of the high degree of purity of that anthrax.
The WMD was moved out by the Russians. Primakov went there in December, but he had a colonel general there, a former airborne commander, who led the Spetsnaz team in combination with GRU and they went down there and moved the WMDs into Syria during the October to December 2002 timeframe. Three locations in Syria and one into the Baca Valley. This was exposed by a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, Jack Straw. A Ukrainian chief of intelligence who has very close ties with the Russians, who exposed that in a meeting with MI6 in London, Jim Clapper, who’s the head of the National Geospace Intelligence Agency, former chief of DIA, Retired Air Force three star.
So that was the fourth source I had heard it from. But I had heard it from three other sources that they”d moved the WMD out. I never saw any evidence that Saddam did have WMD except that it just disappeared. It must impress you that the Iraqi survey group found zero evidence of WMD. Now if they found parts around, it would say, okay, you know, they have destroyed something. But when you find zero, that is a clean indication that it was very thoroughly done.
The finally thing that came out of this regards the Russians, who since the Cold War have been brilliant in maskirovka, or deception. Once the Iraqi survey group didn’t find WMD, which they already knew, then they carefully weaved into the capitals in Europe and in UN, “See? there was no WMD.” And that stuck.
Now these tapes have come out. Remember, this is just a small part. They”ve only gone through 4% of the over two million documents that we”ve captured. Now that these tapes have come out, the mainstream media cannot say there were no WMD. Because, if there were in fact WMD in Iraq, for the liberals, the Left, it would mean that going to Iraq was the right thing to do.
What I”m saying is, it was the right thing to do, whether or not the mainstream media will ever acknowledge it. It was the right thing to do because Saddam was a key leader in dealing with terrorism and an enabler. I don’t believe anybody should apologize for that.
Now I”m going to turn it over to Daniel. Daniel, go ahead and tell us, “Are we winning?”
Daniel Pipes: In brief, no. I think it’s a wonderful question, however, because it goes to the heart of our situation. Before explaining why I answer as I do, I’d like to give you some background about the nature of warfare and how it’s changed.
Traditional warfare, that is to say, pre-1945 warfare, was easy to assess because one looked at such factors as control of land, the state of the arsenal, the state of the economy, military personnel and the like. One could put flags, one could put numbers. It was, in large part, an objective assessment. Today, instead, we find that since 1945, in particular, I”m thinking of the French war in Algeria, our war in Vietnam, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Israeli war against the Palestinians, warfare is lopsided, to the extent that looking at such factors as land, economy, and arsenal are meaningless.
Instead, one has to look at more subjective factors, such as the understanding on the part of the population of the war, the morale, the solidarity. In short, instead of hardware as it used to be, it’s now software. In particular, this means that allegiances are now in play. It used to be assumed that the people of this country were loyal to their leadership and people of the enemy country were loyal to its leadership.
Now that is no longer the case. If one thinks back three years ago to the skirmishing before the war in Iraq began, there were some ten million Europeans agitating against the war, in effect, objectively speaking, on the side of Saddam Hussein. And, to the contrary, it was a war goal of ours that we would work to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis. So the key now in many ways is allegiance. Whose side are you on? And, from that point of view, we have to assess, I believe, how the current war is going. And it’s not going very well. It’s not going very well in two regards: one Muslim, one Western, these being the two main parties to the war.
Among Muslims, I hardly need point out, there is a very widespread feeling of solidarity. The few voices standing up for us are isolated, are weak, whether it be the Iraqi elections, the Palestinian elections, the Egyptian elections; one finds time after time that those people who think like we do, do very poorly. Survey poll after survey poll reinforces this understanding.
Secondly among Westerners, while there was, in particular after 9/11, a sense of solidarity, you may remember the slogan “United we stand,” that has long ago dissipated and we are in an intramural kind of argument that is far more intense than it was before.
What do we need to do to changes those allegiances, those outlooks?
Well, for Muslims, it means showing them that radical Islam is a failure. To show them, as we showed the adherents of fascism, in the 1940s, whether they were Italian, German or Japanese, that fascism was a failure. Or as we showed Communists in the 1980s, whether in China, Russia or elsewhere, that Communism was a failure. In like fashion, we need to show Islamists that radical Islam is a failure. At the same time, we need to help non-Islamist Muslims develop an alternate paradigm, a version of Islam that is not radicalized and not hostile towards us.
Towards Westerners, what does one do with the severe divisions in our society? The roughly half/half division, where half of us believe, as do presumably most people in this room, that we are in a life-and-death struggle, and half believe that, well, the problem we face is comparable to gambling and prostitution, it’s something that we can manage. I don’t quite know how we deal with that. There’s only one way we can and that is by exploiting the tragedies that have befallen us and will befall us as educational episodes from which they can learn.
So, to return to the question, in the Muslim world, one finds opinion solidly against us. In the Western world, one finds opinion very much divided. This, I believe, is the problem and not the actual battlefield, not body counts, not financial flows, not weapon developments. It is morale, it is solidarity. It is understanding that is key and unfortunately we”re not doing well in that regard.
Robert Spencer: I would agree with Daniel that we”re not winning the War on Terror and one of the primary reasons why that is so, is that the whole thing has been misconceived from the beginning.
The whole idea of a war on terror is a war on a tactic, not on an opponent. Terror is not something that was invented by Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001. It has been used by various different armies and various different groups throughout history. It does nothing to indicate who exactly is using the terror and for what means. It was not until several years after 9/11 that the President actually explained this in greater detail and told us, a few months ago, that we are fighting against a unified global movement that wants to institute Shari” a law, Islamic law, over a unified Islamic state, stretching from Spain to Indonesia. Of course, he could have added the Americas, since the Islamists have made it abundantly clear that their goal is global.
But we have been focused so much on the means by which they are pursuing the struggle””that is, terror””that we have lost sight of their goals. We cannot possibly defeat an enemy that we are unwilling to name and unwilling to come to grips with what exactly they are trying to do and how they are trying to do it.
Now, the primary example of this, I think the most stinging example of this, is right here in our country. The President has said correctly that the Islamists, the jihadists, want to establish an Islamic state. They first want to reassert Islamic law in the Muslim world, where it is only fully enforced today in Saudi Arabia and Iran, and then carry it out by means of jihad warfare to the rest of the world.
Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American/Islamic Relations, is on record saying that he would like to see the United States become an Islamic state sometime in the future, which is exactly the same goal as Osama bin Laden. But Hooper insists that he will pursue this goal, and he’s doing so very well, very skillfully, by peaceful means. And because he has insisted that he is doing it by peaceful means and because that it is in fact the case, he has been classified as a “moderate” Muslim spokesman and given that kind of appellation in the major media and even in law enforcement. Of course, the Council on American/Islamic relations has even had access to the White House.
Now this is the most ridiculous sign of mistaking of means for goals. Hooper is not planting any bombs anywhere or blowing up any buildings with airplanes, therefore, he’s a moderate. When actually he himself has said that he wants to see exactly the same kind of world that Osama bin Laden wants to see. No one in official Washington, no one in any policymaking areas, has acknowledged this or has acknowledged the fact that it’s not only Hooper and Osama bin Laden who have nurtured those same goals, same ideas, same hopes, but they are also held by a very large number of Muslims in the United States, Muslims in Europe, and Muslims around the world. Not a tiny minority of extremists, but, as Dr. Pipes points out, the fact that they win elections all the time, the fact that the Muslim world is so unified against us, is an indication that this is mainstream thought within the Islamic world today. It is mainstream in the United States. It is mainstream elsewhere.
The only difference is one of tactics. Because we are not recognizing that, we are not able to guard against it and we are losing. Every day brings new confirmation of this. For example, immediately after the Golden Mosque was blown up, George Bush and Tony Blair both assured the world that they would give money to the Shiites to help rebuild it forthwith. Who is behind the Iraqi Shiites? Iran. What is Iran trying to do? In effect, by helping to rebuild the Golden Mosque, we are aiding the Iranian war effort that is intent on destroying us.
But this comes from this fundamental unwillingness or inability to come to grips with the larger goals of the jihadists. The Shiites have been enthusiastic about democracy in Iraq because they know that holding a majority there will be able to come to power there by means of the ballot and then to institute an Islamic state after the manner of Iran.
But people are content just to say, “Because they”re voting, everything’s all right.” And they don’t recognize that this ideology is what is always going to win any voting, in Iran and elsewhere, as it did in the Palestinian Authority. The rage and the global riots about the cartoons. What is the goal? What are they trying to accomplish by appearing to act so irrationally about these cartoons in a Danish newspaper?
The goal has become clear with some actions in Norway and elsewhere in Europe, where there are already calls to institute blasphemy laws according to the model of Islamic Shari”a in European states and to limit the freedom of speech that was born in the European context so as to prevent this kind of insult to Islam and to the prophet.
Now, what was the goal of Osama bin Laden? To institute Islamic law. What does Islamic law say? That non-Muslims are forbidden, on pain of death, to insult Allah or the prophet. So the push for blasphemy laws in Europe, which is very likely to go through in Norway and probably some other countries as well, is a first step towards instituting Islamic Shari”a law there, in other words, to implementing Osama bin Laden’s goal.
And yet, the major media and the commentators on this have rarely, if ever, connected the cartoon controversy, although it was something that was decided by the organization of the Islamic conference, 56 Muslim states and the Palestinian Authority, in Mecca in December. It was decided that they were going to stir this up in order to counter the democracy project in Iraq.
Nonetheless, there has been virtually no connection of this with the global jihad agenda, although the connection is clear.
If we wish to win the War on Terror or to begin to turn this around, then there has to be an acknowledgement by Washington and by the European states that we are fighting a jihad. That we are defending ourselves against a jihad effort that is attempting to not just sow undifferentiated mayhem or knock down some of our buildings, but to institute Islamic states in the West. And that they are willing to do violence for that end. Of course, that’s fanciful in Washington. It is by no means fanciful in Western Europe that they could attain this goal and that they could attain this goal in the next few decades in some of the Western European states.
If officials in these states and in Washington were able and willing to identify the enemy properly, as being those who are pursuing this jihad agenda, then our foreign policy could be adjusted accordingly. Obviously there should be no more aid to groups that are in the hip pocket of Iran. In a broader sense, there should be no more aid to states that support the jihad, that allow the jihad ideology and the ideology of the subjugation of Jews and Christians, of atheists, of other non-Muslims as second-class citizens in the Islamic state. Any state that teaches these things should get no penny of American aid. That goes for Egypt, that goes for Pakistan, that goes for so many states that are now on the American foreign aid bankroll.
If we identified the enemy properly, they would get nothing until they acted aggressively to stop the spread of these teachings and to end the institutionalized oppression of non-Muslims in their societies. This is even aside from the Manhattan project that needs to be initiated in order to free us from dependency on oil so that it cannot be used as a means to manipulate American foreign policy any longer. But that step, as well as all the others, cannot be taken until the problem is identified correctly and our unwillingness or inability to identify the problem correctly is currently hamstringing us to such a degree that all the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan could come to naught and the problem could grow exponentially worse in the coming years.
Phyllis Chesler: I”m afraid I agree with my two copanelists thus far, that it’s not the War on Terror, it’s combating an ideology of hatred, of extreme hatred that is our enemy. The hot war is the culture war, the war of ideologies, and this will decide whether Western Civilization lives or dies. This is a war that we have not begun to fight. It’s a war that Stalinists actually launched against the West beginning with Israel, 50-70 years ago, give or take and that now is flourishing, not just through the United Nations and international human rights organizations, but on the Western campuses in both Europe and North America.
As everyone knows, I was once held captive in Afghanistan and it forged the kind of human rights activist and feminist and intellectual that I am. I can talk about it if anybody wants to hear, the lessons to be learned from direct experience of living under Shari”a law.
I want to focus for a moment on the Western university system, which has been thoroughly Palestinianized. It began in earnest in the 1960s and 1970s where initially very ground-breaking views about racial and gender inequality became increasingly influenced by Marxist views against capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and organized religion. It gradually came to constitute what is now known as the “post-colonial” and “post-modern” academy. Race replaced both class and gender as primary concerns and, over time, even feminists became more obsessed with the occupation of Palestine than with the worldwide occupation of women’s bodies. Sad, but true.
By the late 1990s, Palestinians, not Tibetans or Kurds or Bosnians or Rwandans, came to be viewed as the symbolic victims of the world, by those academics who considered themselves anti-racists, ant-violence, and anti-misogynist. These, by the way, are our fifth columnists. These are the people who have turned generation upon generation of Westerners against the West and against Western ideals. And, in a very Orwellian world of doublespeak and groupthink, Palestinians became the new black South Africans and Israel became the new white Afrikaner apartheid regime.
Politically correct Western academics and activists romanticized terrorists, beginning with Palestinians, but now including Osama bin Laden. Many Western intellectuals on the Left, including feminists, have told me to my face that 9/11 is cosmic blowback for all the crimes committed by the CIA, by America, in Guatemala. Some have insisted. So it’s a pathology, actually, and we”re really dealing, I believe, since the calls for boycott and divestment in Israel, since the anti-American rallies and teachings and conferences have not slowed down, even slightly, post-9/11, or post 3/11, or post 7-7. I then began to understand that we”re looking at a cult that passes for what we hoped was free and independent and diverse thinking in the West, among our intellectuals and public intelligentsia. This is a cult and the brainwashing that they have endured they are now visiting upon the next generations in the classrooms.
Here’s where I agree with David Horowitz: we no longer have an ideologically or intellectually diverse academy at all. That flows into the media, which once may have been liberal but which is now increasingly hard Left and therefore, by definition, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-American. And definitely anti-Israel.
In my opinion, these days, to be anti-Zionist is to be a racist and the new anti-Semitism is anti-Zionism. This is something that I wrote about in the new anti-Semitism three years ago. At that time, nobody was saying it. Now some more people are saying it. But that message, that understanding, has not carried the day.
The culture war is a very hot war. There are no prisoners taken. Here I don’t need a bodyguard. Here we”re safe to say this truth. But telling this kind of truth about Islam, about jihad, about terrorism as a tactic to subdue. Often Israel is attacked as the largest apartheid state. No, the largest practitioner of both religious and gender apartheid in the world is Islam. This needs to be taught on campuses. It needs to be said out loud. When I have tried to do so, I need bodyguards. I then also get branded, as we all have, as racists and neoconservatives, which is even worse than being called a racist. The crime du jour, the thought crime of the day is to be a neoconservative. It’s a real thought crime. Today, it’s equivalent to telling the truth. That’s what it is.
You might be sued if you tell the truth and you might be exiled. You certainly won’t get quoted and you might not get published in the usual places. I bless Front Page for that very reason because here we are telling the truth. The first weapon, by the way, in this culture war is the misuse of language so that you have mainstream and liberal newspapers who talk about insurgents, not terrorists. They describe killers as martyrs or as freedom fighters. They don’t say that the masterminds of jihad are serial killers and that these are crime scenes and that it should be analyzed in just this way. But it isn’t. These are well-educated, well-funded, evil men. They are not impoverished residents of refugee camps for whom our hearts must bleed.
Since our own intelligentsia is so corrupted and the scholarship is so shoddy and the ideology is so hard-hearted and doesn’t change as reality floods in upon us, what must be done? What must be done?
Well, anyone who has a large family fortune, don’t give it to the Western academies anymore. I think that the conservative think tanks need to be funded so that they accredit students and that these can become the universities of the future.
We have to rescue language. It has to bear some relationship to the truth and to morality. Not everything is relative. It is not all Roshoman. I am not a cultural relativist. We have to take back the campuses and that was one way of thinking about it. We have to keep reading and listening to my copanelists, who are on the front line, who are in the vanguard of this truth-telling without which we”re not going to win this war. Everything is a stake. We have to all be heroes. We have to stand up to evil as best we can, even if we can’t win a particular skirmish or trench warfare, we have to be standing and fighting, at least by telling the truth. If we fail this opportunity, we will betray everything that we believe in and stand for as a free people.
Steve Emerson: The question about whether we”re winning the war is an interesting question. One part is “who are “˜we”?” and the other is “what war?” I would say the bottom line is that it’s basically one step forward, two steps backward.
I was in Australia for the last week and a half. Before I left on Monday, there was a front page story in the Australian and the headline was “Prime Minister Hits at “˜Jihad Muslims.– I just want to read you two paragraphs: “John Howard has strongly criticized aspects of Muslim culture, warning that they pose an unprecedented challenge for Australia’s immigration program. “˜I do think there is this particular complication, because there is a fragment which is utterly antagonistic to our kind of society. You cannot find any equivalent in Italian or Greek or Lebanese or Chinese or Baltic immigration to Australia. There is no equivalent of raving on about jihad. But that is the problem.–
What wonderful plain talking and recognition that we would love to see, but do not see, from our own elected officials in the United States.
Let me just go into the specifics of where we are in the war on terrorism. This past week was an interesting week. There was the announcement on Sunday of the shutting down of Kind Hearts Charity. That’s a nonprofit militant Islamic charity whose assets were frozen in Toledo, Ohio because of the suspicion that it was funneling money to Hamas. Three days, an announcement that three jihadis in Toledo were arrested for plotting to carry out jihad against American troops in Iraq and they were actually going to set up training camps in the United States.
There’s currently a trial in Lodi, California, where there are jihadists who have admitted or at least been confronted with evidence that they planned to carry out terrorists attacks in the United States. There’s another trial in upstate New York of Muslim radicals who are acquiring weapons. The other day, there was a front page story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal about a major terrorist suspect who was arrested a former University of Memphis student who actually had plotted to carry out a series of terrorist attacks. He had in his possessions uniforms from pilots, GPS systems, and planned possibly to actually hijack a plane.
So these are indications that the FBI, together with the Department of Justice, Treasury, are doing a good job in the field, in terms of interdicting or recognizing an actual terrorist threat.
At the same time, however, the failure to recognize the larger jihadist culture gnaws at the very success of these initiatives. For example, yesterday or two days ago, the L.A. Times had an article, really more of a press release, announcing the Muslim-American Homeland Security Congress, which is an initiative designed to spread the notion that Muslims in the United States are thoroughly coordinating their actions with law enforcement on the war on terrorism.
The only problem was that the participants from the Muslim side included CAIR, MPAC and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, groups that have all lobbied on behalf of Islamic terrorists or who had officials connected to terrorism, or had organizational demonstrations in support of jihadists around the United States who have been arrested, or, most commonly, have portrayed the war against terrorism as a war on Islam. The same type of portrayal that Osama bin Laden has been using in his rhetoric.
More troubling was the fact that there were public officials associated with this, including Sheriff Lee Baca from Los Angeles, Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, as well as Congresswoman Jane Harmon.
The interesting thing is, one of the people interviewed, Shakeel Syed, head of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, complained that law enforcement had tried to deport two innocent imams. One of those imams was Wagdy Ghoneim. We have tapes of him calling at least a dozen times in the United States for suicide bombings. The head of this organization, who contends that this man has been unfairly deported, is in bed with the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, the Sheriff of Los Angeles, and several other U.S. officials.
Other items that are on the politically damaging list in terms of where we”re stepping backwards. Karen Hughes has been running around the world conducting outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood. It started off in the United States last September, where she ran to Chicago to go meet with the Islamic Society of North America, which is a de facto arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the Muslim Student Association, which is even more radical in terms of their promotion of jihadist views. She has also run off to Egypt, where she’s met with Sheik Tantawi, head of al-Azar University. She portrayed Sheik Tantawi as a wonderful man of tolerance, even though he has issued fatwas calling for suicide bombings against Jews and against Americans.
FBI headquarters in Washington have conducted outreach programs with CAIR and with other radical Islamic groups that were involved in this major initiative. I differentiate between FBI headquarters and the FBI field. But FBI headquarters was involved in this major initiative to fund a group that was cosponsored by George Soros in terms of conducting outreach to Islamic groups whose basic message was, “There’s not a problem with Islamic extremism. There’s only a problem with Islamophobia.” The FBI was going to pour in more than $6 million into this program. The program was nixed. However there’s still a possibility that the program can be revived.
Criticism by the media or U.S. government officials of treatment of radical Islamic groups continues to beset us. The State Department since 9/11 has brought in dozens and dozens of Islamic clerics and Islamic officials as part of an outreach program to visit the United States. Interestingly enough, at least 15-20 of these clerics have been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood or the Jamad Islamia or other radical Islamic groups. In addition, organizations who are meeting with them in the United States at the behest of the U.S. government are mostly radical and some have actually supported bin Laden.
The Muslim Brotherhood, unfortunately, is not recognized as a threat and this goes to the heart of the problem in terms of the War on Terrorism. We understand what terrorism is when somebody pulls a pin out of a hand grenade or is caught on a wire saying, “I”m gonna carry out an attack,” or is caught on video plotting to carry out an act of violence.
What we fail to understand, and what we are blind to, is the degree to which the soft jihadists””what I call the cultural jihadists, the ones who wrap themselves under the mantle of being the victims of human rights abuses””have figured out that grand deception works perfectly in the United States.
In 1993, there was a seminal meeting in Philadelphia of Hamas leaders in the United States, as well as from outside the United States. It was a meeting that the FBI actually had wired and it’s been declassified since then. What was most interesting at this meeting was the general complaint among Hamas officials that they couldn’t raise money in the United States very effectively because Hamas had a “bad reputation.” Wonder why? One them said, “What do we do? We need to create a new entity.” I’ll paraphrase what one of them said, “Well, I know what we”ll do. We”ll create a human rights group because Americans are suckers for human rights.” And in fact that’s exactly what they did. They created CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which was morphed out of the Hamas organization in the United States.
Unfortunately, when we think of the word “mainstream Islamic groups,” we automatically associate that word with “moderate.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Nine of the top ten “mainstream Islamic groups” are tethered to the Muslim Brotherhood””ideologically, spiritually, or actually financially.
That is the problem that we face in the War on Terrorism. It’s the inability to recognize the larger jihadist culture that doesn’t carry out attacks but rather pretends to operate under the laws of the United States, or contends that they are actual victims of human rights abuses, when in fact they”ve inverted the moral equation. They”re the perpetrators. I note very ironically that CAIR, MPAC and these other groups are very quick to condemn the United States when it comes to Abu Ghraib or any “human rights violations,” pointing out that this is a major problem, that they”re really concerned with U.S. image issues, which they then advertise around the world as a problem of massive U.S. violations of Islamic human rights. This by the way is not dissimilar from the message that Al Gore announced just recently.
The reality is that these same Islamic groups who know how to generalize when it comes to the United States or the West, can’t generalize when it comes to Islamic terrorism. Because when it comes to Islamic terrorism, they”re the first ones to claim, “Oh, it’s just a small minority.” Or “it’s just an aberration.” Or “there’s no support in the community.” Or “This is just an anecdotal piece of evidence.” But in fact, Islamic terrorism is far more representative of the jihadist mentality prevalent among Islamic organizations than any type of construction of an argument that somehow torture is part of U.S. policy. The reality is, the New York Times goes along with this, the L.A. Times goes along with this, this ruse, this deception, by portraying these groups as innocent.
Most recently there was a rally in New York against the cartoons by several thousand Muslims. While one of the people leading the rally was Seraj Warraj. The New York Times failed to include a very interesting fact: Mr. Seraj Warraj was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He was portrayed simply as a mainstream Islamic leader.
Another individual who was quoted in the New York Times was an official of the Islamic Circle of North America, again portrayed as a mainstream group. What they didn’t reveal is the Islamic Circle of North America is a Jamad Islamia group, which is on record as calling for jihad in the United States, to promote the notion of an Islamic world. ICNA also published something very recently saying that they are against suicide bombings, except when it comes to killing Israelis. This was a declaration that was actually put out in the Islamic conference about three weeks ago, showing the deception practiced by these groups and being able to maintain an image of being “moderate” and yet in fact harboring and espousing a secret agenda.
So all in all, we have I think a major problem in terms of recognizing the jihadist culture or what I call soft jihad or cultural jihadism, that is far more rampant, that has to be discredited, that has to be delegitimized. At the same time, while we need to genuinely empower authentic Islamic moderates who renounce jihad, who renounce Islamic terrorism, and who are not afraid, as we have seen with several genuine moderates, to admit the fact that Islamic extremism is rampant within the institutionalized hierarchy of the Islamic organizations in the United States.