The New York Times trumpets this MPAC video as a rebuttal of Islamic “militants,” although it is long on vague generalities but (surprise, surprise) short on Qur’anic specifics, which are the only thing, could they be produced, that might actually induce an Islamic supremacist or jihadist to reconsider his position.
And that’s the best that can be said about it. Among the Islamic leaders it features is Suhaib Webb of the Muslim American Society. The Muslim American Society is the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. The Muslim Brotherhood’s own website carries the Chicago Tribune expose from 2004 that identifies the MAS as the Brotherhood’s arm in the U.S.
“In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation’s major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members.” — Chicago Tribune, 2004, via the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language website, Ikhwanweb.
The Muslim Brothers “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” — Mohamed Akram, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” May 22, 1991, Government Exhibit 003-0085, U.S. vs. HLF, et al. P. 7 (21).
After Webb comes Maher Hathout, who trots out another familiar dodge, complaining about people quoting the Qur’an without knowing the Arabic or the context, as if “slay the pagans wherever you find them” (9:5) somehow becomes “establish religious dialogue” in the Arabic or “in context.” If so many Muslims weren’t murdering people in explicit obedience to verses like this one from the Qur’an, Hathout might have a case here; but they are, and he doesn’t. Hathout also, according to Steve Emerson, “has called Israel a nation of butchers and accused the United States of state terrorism; he has justified the actions of Hizbollah and defended terrorist financiers.” See also here. According to Discover the Networks, Hathout “has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and espouses the radical brand of Islam known as Wahhabism.”
Ihsan Bagby follows Hathout, and says unequivocally: “we cannot kill innocent people.” He does not, of course, define who is innocent, thus leaving the door open for jihadists like Anjem Chaudary and others who say that no non-Muslim is innocent. Bagby himself once said this about Muslims in America: “Ultimately we can never be full citizens of this country, because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”
Mohamad Magid comes next. He is the Imam and Executive Director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia. In 2004 Ben Johnson reported this in FrontPage: “The chairman of ADAMS is Ahmad Totonji, an Iraqi-born citizen of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a key target of Operation Green Quest. Totonji was also named as a defendant in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed by more than 600 relatives of people who died in the 9/11 attacks. He acted as a co-founder and officer of the Saudi-founded/Saudi-funded (and now defunct) SAAR Trust. Additionally, he served as Vice President of the Safa Group and the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT). Officials have linked the non-profit IIIT to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.” The IIIT is also linked with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Then comes Zaid Shakir, former Muslim chaplain at Yale University. He has said, according to Daniel Pipes, that “Muslims cannot accept the legitimacy of the existing American order, since it ‘is against the orders and ordainments of Allah.’ ‘[T]he orientation of the Quran,’ he adds, ‘pushes us in the exact opposite direction.'”
Others in the video include Jamal Badawi (who owes me a million dollars), an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas terror funding case.
Hamza Yusuf also appears. He has made many antisemitic and anti-American statements, and most famously said two days before 9/11: “This country [America] unfortunately has a great, a great tribulation coming to it. And much of it is already here, yet people are too to illiterate to read the writing on the wall.”
And finally there is Yassir Qadhi, anointed by Ground Zero mega-mosque Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as a “Muslim leader of tomorrow, who has said: “Hitler never intended to destroy the Jews… The Hoax of the Holocaust — I advise you to read this book, you’ll want to write this down — The Hoax of the Holocaust, a very good book. All of this is false propaganda…” (Thanks to Kamala.)
These are the spokesmen that the New York Times thinks are “rebutting” the “militants.” Pardon me if I decline the Kool-Aid.
“American Muslims Make Video to Rebut Militants,” by Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times, July 31 (thanks to all who sent this in):
A recent spate of arrests of Muslims accused of terrorism in the United States has revealed that many of them were radicalized by militant preaching they found on the Internet.
Imam Mohamed Magid says in the video that injustice can be addressed without “taking innocent people’s lives.”
Now nine influential American Muslim scholars have come together in a YouTube video to repudiate the militants’ message. The nine represent a diversity of theological schools within Islam, and several of them have large followings among American Muslim youths.
The video is one indication that American Muslim leaders are increasingly engaging the war of ideas being waged within Islam.
“We need to shepherd our own flock and to say that, theologically, these things are unacceptable,” said Imam Suhaib Webb, the educational director for the Muslim American Society, a grass-roots group in Santa Clara, Calif., who is among the nine in the video. “The Prophet Muhammad, when on the battlefield, saw that amongst the enemy there were innocent women and children killed, and he was openly angry. He is prohibiting us from killing the innocent. It is very clear.”
Mr. Webb said in an interview on Friday that as a white convert from Oklahoma, he had become deeply alarmed in the past year at the number of converts who had been arrested on charges of planning or carrying out violence in the name of Islam….
Ihsan Bagby, an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky, who is also in the video, said, “We’re hoping that that loner out there who, because of internal turmoil, starts listening to the wrong people, that this message also filters into his ear.”
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, director of the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said of the video: “It can be a powerful outlet. It is the kind of thing that, formatwise, is matching what’s being done by the jihadist groups.”
He said that some of the scholars in the video were politically controversial but had credibility among many Muslims because they were not seen as “sell-outs.”
“Some would argue that they might be more effective than those perceived as more establishment figures,” said Mr. Gartenstein-Ross, the author of “My Year Inside Radical Islam.”…
“Politically controversial”? No kidding, really? This kind of analysis is on the level of saying that Osama bin Laden is a “polarizing” figure, but “more effective” than establishment types.
Edina Lekovic, director of policy and programming for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the advocacy group that produced the video, said they intentionally chose scholars who represent a diversity of theological streams.
“We didn’t want to just target the liberals or the conservatives or ultraconservatives,” Ms. Lekovic said. “The point was to show that no matter where you stand on the religious spectrum, we all have a shared belief and shared outrage by the events that are taking place.”
She said the only criticism the council had received was that there were no female scholars in the video — a fact she attributed to scheduling problems. She said the council expected to make another video that would include women. The group is also preparing another version, without the music, for Muslims who consider music haram, or forbidden….
That’s funny. I thought it was only “Islamophobes” who thought that any Muslims considered music forbidden.
Anyway, Edina Lekovic is the MPAC flack whom Steve Emerson caught lying on national television, denying she was editor of a Muslim student publication that praised Osama bin Laden as a great mujahid. Emerson produced copies of the rag showing Lekovic’s name on the masthead as editor on the very same page on which the praise for Osama appeared.
Score another for the keen analysts at the New York Times.