Editor’s note: Below is the video of the panel discussion “Obama and the Jihad,” featured at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2013 West Coast Retreat. The event was held February 22nd-24th at the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, California. A transcript of the discussion follows. Speakers: Andrew McCarthy, Robert Spencer and John Solomon
Jamie Glazov: We have a heroic truth-teller by the name of Michele Bachmann. And one of the names that she was concerned about was Mohamed Elibiary. An Egyptian magazine, by the way, just recently boasted that the Muslim Brotherhood is penetrating Washington. And one of the names they mentioned was Mohamed Elibiary.
Just want to tell a very quick story about this individual, and for us to let it swirl around in our head that this is a person that today’s in the Homeland — he’s on the Advisory Council in Homeland Security. Mohamed Elibiary in 2004 gave a speech at an evening dedicated to the Ayatollah Khomeini. It was a tribute to the grand Islamic visionary. This is in 2004. This is a mass murderer — the killing fields, Ayatollah Khomeini. Imagine one of us gives a speech at a conference praising Adolf Hitler or Stalin.
And Robert Spencer, our distinguished guest with us this evening, approached Mohamed Elibiary, if I am correct — right, Robert?
Robert Spencer: Yes.
Jamie Glazov: And he asked him — what were you doing there? And he said — oh, I was there, but I didn’t really know what it was about. But, you know, I was there anyway. And we are not investigating this.
Imagine that you end up at a conference praising Adolf Hitler, and you don’t know why you’re there. And then you’re there anyway, and your reaction is — oh, they’re praising Adolf Hitler here tonight. Well, I’m here anyway, might as well go ahead and make the speech. Because he did go ahead and make the speech.
This is one of the individuals in our government today. And what I’m thinking about is — do we have a right to ask some questions? Should there be an investigation?
Ladies and gentlemen, the future must not belong to the slanderers of the Prophet of Islam. In Islam, “slander” is also known and interpreted to be not even slander; it could be just saying something uncomfortable. It could be saying something that Muslims just don’t want to hear. And my response to that is — no, Mr. President, the future must belong to the truth-tellers.
And we have three of them with us this afternoon.
Andy McCarthy: For all the awful things there are to say about the Obama Administration — and there certainly isn’t time in a panel, in a weekend, in a lifetime, to catalogue all of those — a lot of what we’re seeing today is simply Obama exploiting an atmosphere that has been created over a course of more than 20 years.
I said 20 years — Jamie mentioned the Blind Sheikh prosecution — Tuesday will be the 20th anniversary, if you can call it that, of the World Trade Center bombing. And I thought that was pretty significant, because we just got through the testimony at the confirmation hearing of John Brennan. And Michele catalogued a lot of Brennan’s dubious background last night. But I think the most interesting thing I’ve come across about Brennan is his speech about jihad just a couple of years ago, and explaining his interpretation of the concept of jihad.
And the interesting thing about that is that here we are 20 years after the Trade Center bombing, 20 years of jihad in America, and we actually don’t even know what jihad is yet, even at an official level. And I think the interesting thing — if you go back to that trial and flash forward to today, a couple of interesting things stand out. One is the Blind Sheikh wanted his defense at the trial to be that we couldn’t hold him liable for green-lighting acts of terrorism, for issuing fatwas — or the Islamic edict, juristic edict, approving a course of conduct — any course of conduct, but in this instance, terrorist attacks.
Because in his view, he was simply performing under Sharia the customary traditional role of a jurist of his academic accomplishment, which meant that the members of the flock or the faithful would come to him, propose one course of conduct or another — you know, can I marry this person, can I blow up this building and, you know –
– everything in between. And it was the Sharia jurist’s job to say, you know, yes, that’s permissible or no, it’s not permissible.
So back in those days, we had a great — I thought, the greatest trial judge in the United States at the time, later the Attorney General of the United States, Michael Mukasey, who, after hearing arguments about it, would not allow that defense to be presented to the jury, on the common-sense principle that we are in the United States, and we follow American law in the United States. And it didn’t matter what Sharia said, or really — not just to single out Sharia — what any other religious code would say in terms of where religious law would collide with the civil law. Because there’s a lot of Supreme Court law that says that, you know, basically if you allow chaos like that, you have every person being a law unto himself. And that’s not an acceptable way to have a civil society. So that defense got bounced out pretty easily.
The reason I think that’s interesting is — flash forward almost 20 years, in my own home state of New Jersey. And we had a woman, a Muslim woman, who was married to a Muslim man who she was trying to divorce, who was serially raping and beating her. And she went into New Jersey state court to try to get a protective order. And the court refused to give her the protective order under circumstances where there was no doubt that the attacks and the sexual abuse was actually going on. But the court reasoned that he was simply following his religious principles, under which his own understanding of them was that she had no right to say no.
So think about that. We go from 20 years ago — where a Sharia defense basically gets laughed out of court on a very straightforward, confident idea of American law that we follow our own law in the United States, we don’t — Sharia’s not the law of the land — to a situation we have now where — not just in New Jersey; that case happened to be reversed on appeal — but in almost every state in the Union, we’ve had Sharia principles creeping into our law.
And the reason I think we’ve had them creeping into our law is what a lot of our distinguished speakers have discussed throughout the course of the day, and that is cultural confidence. We really lack it. And we’ve lacked it for 20 years. And the result of that is that the people who are now in charge of our government really have precedents that you could drive a truck through. And that’s pretty much what they’re doing.
I mean, what we’ve done for 20 years is basically suppress any discussion of our enemies’ ideology. I mean, I’ve said probably every bad thing that you can say about the idea of using the civilian courts as your main counterterrorism weapon, the idea of bringing our enemy combatants into court and awarding them all of the Bill of Rights protections.
Let me tell you the one really good thing about using civilian courts. And it’s one that I don’t think has been replicated by any other part of our government. And that is that juries won’t convict people unless you give them a rational explanation not only of what was done but why it was done.
So even though 20 years ago we were saying the same things that we’re saying today — you know, religion of peace, Islam has nothing to do with terrorism — back then, it wasn’t violent extremism, but the basic message of the government was we didn’t really have a national security problem so much as we had 20 knuckleheads in Jersey City who weren’t representative of Islam as a whole. And if we could just reign them in, all would be well. And they said that in the White House, they said it in the White House Pressroom, they said it on the steps of the courthouse, Janet Reno said it, everybody in the government said it.
The only place it didn’t get said was inside our courtroom. Inside the courtroom — because we had to prove to the jury not only what was done in the way of terrorist attacks but why it was done — we were actually able to prove why the terrorist acts were committed. And what we were able to show was that there was an unavoidable, undeniable nexus between Islamic doctrine — and I’m not going to try to parse at this point, you know, Islamism or Islamist, or — we’ve had that discussion again and again.
What I’m talking about is what’s undeniably in Islamic doctrine — the nexus between Islamic doctrine and terrorism committed by Muslims, and the mediating agent from one to the other, where people like the Blind Sheikh — who we wanted to paint as wanton killers but who, in fact, were authoritative figures in their own communities.
Go to Front Page for the rest of the transcript