Obviously, these two segments of study respondents are not necessarily in conflict with one another, but rather overlap rather neatly, making a total of 86 per cent of American Muslim leaders whose Islamic faith is based on the authoritative texts of Islam and who furthermore believe them relevant to life in the 21st century.
The study also measured markers of community cohesion such as weekly mosque attendance and attendance at Eid holy day prayers, finding a spike in the numbers of American Muslims who reported fulfilling these obligations. Interestingly, this Muslim Brotherhood study seems to correlate well with the results of a summer, 2011, empirical study published by the Middle East Quarterly, entitled “Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques.”
Conducted by Mordechai Kedar (an assistant professor in the department of Arabic and Middle East studies and a research associate with the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, both at Bar Ilan University in Israel) and David Yerushalmi (general counsel for The Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and director of policy studies at the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in Potomac, MD), the study sought to correlate high levels of shariah adherence and overall commitment to Islamic community cohesion.
Kedar and Yerushalmi collected empirical indicators of observable measures of religious devotion linked to shariah adherence in U.S. mosques and sought to correlate those with the presence of violence-positive materials at those same mosques.
Their study also sought to ascertain whether a correlation exists between the presence of violence-positive materials at a mosque and the promotion of the jihad doctrine by mosque leaders.
The findings did support a statistically significant correlation between violent literature on the mosque premises and the incidence of shariah-adherent behaviors among the worshippers. Disturbingly, mosques that contained materials tending towards violence, and whose imams recommended their study, demonstrated the best attendance overall while those with no such materials were most sparsely attended.
Viewing these two studies side by side, then, some unsettling conclusions may be drawn. First, mosque construction and mosque attendance in the U.S. are both up significantly over the last decade. At the same time, the majority of the leadership of those mosques remains shariah-adherent and convinced of the relevance of Islamic law to modern life in America.
The Kedar-Yerushalmi study adds context to these findings with some disturbing results of its own, documenting more than 80% of all American mosques with texts on the premises that advocate violent jihad either strongly or moderately as an important Muslim duty.
Given that it is precisely the authoritative texts of ShariahIslam (Qur’an, Sunnah and Sharia) that are most likely to advocate jihad to conquer infidels; mandate doctrinal inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims, men and women, slave and free; and support the shariah death penalty for adultery, apostasy, homosexuality and slander/blasphemy, the exploding number of mosques across America and people in them who believe in such things must give pause to any paying attention to the convergent findings in these two studies.
There’s another study out in February, 2012, about “Muslim-American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11” by Charles Kurzman from the Department of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It purports to show that plots and arrests of Muslim American jihadis dropped in the period from 2009-2011, contrary to the fears of relieved U.S. government officials.
As Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, noted in a March 6, 2012 op-ed piece in the Jewish World Review entitled, “In Defense of a Targeted City’s Jihad Prevention,” though, even Kurzman acknowledges that the total number of U.S. Muslims engaged in the full range of terror-related activity amounts to hundreds more than merely those charged in violent plots or attacks. Financing and other support activities are also a legitimate form of jihad and including those figures in the overall analysis of U.S. Muslims engaged in activity intended to replace the Constitution with Islamic law yields a much more accurate picture of the shariah threat to America.
Each of these studies adds valuable understanding about what the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” called “civilization jihad” to eliminate and destroy “the western civilization from within.”
Violent, kinetic terrorism is not the only means by which the forces of shari’a-adherent Islam target American society for conquest. It is only the most visible, intended by the horror of its visibility to condition infidels to so fear what is yet to come that submission to Islam seems the lesser of the evils confronting them.
We know that mosques have been described by the authorities of Islam as the headquarters of the “Islamic State” and “the starting point to the expansion of Islam and the Islamic conquests.” Ibn Taimiyah wrote that the mosque is a place where “matters of politics were dealt with, troops and platoons were deployed” and “the war booties are divided.”
Even Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan famously quoted an Islamic poem about the role of the mosque in Islamic expansion: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers…”
In the final analysis, the rapid expansion of Islamic mosques across the U.S. carries with it ramifications that merit further inquiry, the kind that the New York City Police Department has been so successful at conducting these last 10 plus years since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
From the so-called “Blind Sheikh” at the Al Farooq mosque in Brooklyn to Anwar al-Awlaki and the Dar al-Hijra mosque near the nation’s Capitol, U.S. law enforcement officers have seen mosques fulfill the central role in the recruitment, training and “radicalization” of Muslims in America.
It’s not just about “countering violent extremism” once an attack takes place or a plot is discovered: Successful law enforcement means identifying and countering the incubators of Islamic jihadist ideology before violence ever has a chance to explode across the headlines.
The incubators where Islamic doctrine, law and scriptures are taught and nurtured through the milestones of progressive revelation are the mosques. Mosque studies such as the ones cited here, even ones produced by the Muslim Brotherhood, provide valuable insight into the scope of the shari’a challenge.
Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at the Clarion Fund and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterroris. Lopez began her career as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).