ISIS’s Stay-at-Home Radicals

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News,  
December 9, 2014

1101Across Europe and America, governments and intelligence officials are struggling to address the problem of Western Muslims who join the jihad in Syria – and then come back home again. But in the process, they may be missing the bigger threat: the ones who never left.

Counterterrorism experts agree that the danger posed by returning jihadists is significant: already radicalized before they joined groups like the Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), they are now well-trained in the practice of terrorist warfare. Unlike most Westerners, they have overcome any discomfort they may have previously felt about killing or confronting death. Chances are, they’ve already done it.

And their numbers are increasing: already an estimated 3,000 westerners have made the move to join the Islamic State and similar terrorist groups. Hence many countries, including the Netherlands and England, have determined to revoke the passports of any Syrian fighter known to carry dual nationality (many second-generation Turkish and Moroccan immigrants carry passports from their family’s land of origin. Similar bills have also been proposed in the U.S., such as one put forward by U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. The UK has also considered confiscating the passports of all British citizens who join the jihad, but such measures have been rejected on the basis of concerns about leaving individuals stateless.

But now some experts – and returning jihadists – say ISIS “sleeper cells” are already embedded in the West. So-called “Jihadi Hunter” Dimitri Bontinck told the UK’s Mail Online last month that “influential sources” had informed him of such cells, and warned that they were “preparing to unleash their war on Europe.” And an ISIS defector reportedly told a Scandinavian broadcaster of similar sleeper cells in Sweden which were, he said, “awaiting orders.”

The presence of these cells should not come as much of a surprise. More surprising is that Europe’s intelligence agencies hadn’t spotted them earlier. In part, this could be blamed on the intense focus on dealing with returnees, a problem that has left some intelligence and law enforcement agencies stretched thin: in June, for instance, Dutch intelligence agency AIVD admitted it “could no longer keep up” with the jihadists in the Netherlands. By October they were forced to bring in police teams to assist, especially in following the 40 or so jihadists who had returned. (An estimated 130 Dutch, including both returnees and those killed, have joined the Syrian fight.)

But if the AIVD and other intelligence agencies can barely follow the ones they know, this leaves countless other radicalized Muslims in Europe easy prey for Islamic State recruiters, who have already turned Europe’s efforts to block returnees to their advantage. With videos online and with extraordinary social media prowess, IS agents are increasingly encouraging Western supporters to work from home: spread the word, motivate others to make the trip (known as “making Hijrah”), or prepare to attack the infidel on Western soil.

And attack they have, as in the beheading of Fusilier Lee Rigby on a London street in 2013, the killing of a Canadian soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, in Ottawa on Oct. 22, and the hatchet attack on NYPD officers in Queens, N.Y. only two days later. Other assaults have been thwarted, such as the alleged plot by three British men who, prosecutors say, were inspired by ISIS calls for attacks on unbelievers. The men were arrested Nov. 6 in London on charges of planning to behead civilians.

But ISIS’s propaganda has been successful in other ways. Recruiting for jihad is on the rise in the Netherlands, according to a recent AIVD report, which further notes that “the number of Dutch jihadists traveling to Syria to join the conflict there has increased substantially since late 2012.” And overall support for the terrorist group is growing even faster – as thousands made clear during pro-ISIS demonstrations last summer. “Several thousand” people in the Netherlands alone support IS, the AIVD claims, while another recent Dutch report concluded that nearly 90 percent of Dutch Turkish youth considered IS members “heroes.” (That latter report has since come under fire, but its researchers stand by their findings.)

In Germany, ISIS support has grown so threatening that in September, the government passed a law to ban it outright. That legislation includes “a ban on activities that support the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, including any displays of its black flag, as part of an effort to suppress the extremist group’s propaganda and recruitment work among Germans,” the New York Times reported. On Dec. 5, officials used the law to close a Bremen mosque; sermons there allegedly encouraged young Muslims to make Hijrah – to migrate – and join in the jihad.

In France, where an estimated 700 people have made Hijrah – the highest number in Europe – an ICM poll conducted last summer for Russian news agency Rosslya Segodnya found that one in six people support ISIS. Among those aged 18-24 – the age of most of the country’s Muslim population –27 percent indicated a “positive opinion” of the terrorist group.

These are not just mathematical figures. They represent people: tens of thousands of young men and women. In fact, the Guardian observes, an analysis by Italian academics of more than 2 million Arabic-language posts online found that “support for Islamic State among Arabic-speaking social media users in Belgium, Britain, France and the US is greater than in the militant group’s heartlands of Syria and Iraq.”

Why?

This is exactly the question Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb –a Muslim of Moroccan origin – is asking. Despite his own hard stance against Islamic radicalization, the number of youths in Rotterdam suspected of radicalizing has increased by 50 percent over the past year. While attending the trial of one suspected jihadist, Dutch daily AD reports, Aboutaleb wondered aloud “why such youths, well-educated and full of promise commit themselves to the jihad.”

“The question is,” he is quoted as saying, “who are the people who go? Why do they make this step? Because they feel discriminated? Because they’re unemployed? Rejected by society? I don’t get that. Doubtless, that would maybe push someone over the edge, but there have to be other arguments that play a role.”

Ultimately, these are the questions everyone should be asking – intelligence and law enforcement agencies most of all. Because as the number of Western jihadists rises, and the support for ISIS grows, one thing is becoming clear: that until we have the answers to the basic queries, nothing else we do will matter.

IPT Exclusive: Qatar’s Insidious Influence on the Brookings Institution

by Steven Emerson, John Rossomando and Dave Yonkman
IPT News
October 28, 2014

brookings dohaPart 1 of a 4-part series.

The Brookings Institution bills itself as “the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tank in the world,” but should it be?

Brookings’ long-term relationship with the Qatari government – a notorious supporter of terror in the Middle East – casts a dark cloud over such a lofty claim to credibility.

A September New York Times exposé revealed Qatar’s status as the single largest foreign donor to the Brookings Institution. Qatar gave Brookings $14.8 million in 2013, $100,000 in 2012 and $2.9 million in 2011. In 2002, Qatar started subsidizing the Brookings outreach program to the Muslim World which has continues today. Between 2002 and 2010, Brookings never disclosed the annual amount of funds provided by the Government of Qatar.

Sources of funding should not automatically discredit an organization, but critical facts and claims about Brookings should be examined in light of them, starting with a harsh indictment by a former scholar.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism has reviewed the proceedings of 12 annual conferences co-sponsored by Brookings and the government of Qatar comprising more than 125 speeches, interviews, lectures and symposia; a dozen Brookings-based programs that were linked to the Qatari financed outreach to the Muslim world; and analyzed 27 papers sponsored and issued by the Brookings Institution and scholars based in Washington and at the Brookings Doha Center since 2002. Our review, which will be detailed in a four-part series beginning with this story, finds an organization that routinely hosts Islamists who justify terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and American troops, who advocate blasphemy laws which would criminalize criticism of Islam, and which never scrutinizes or criticizes the government of Qatar, its largest benefactor.

“[T]there was a no-go zone when it came to criticizing the Qatari government,” Saleem Ali, who served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar in 2009, toldthe New York Times.

“If a member of Congress is using the Brookings reports, they should be aware — they are not getting the full story. They may not be getting a false story, but they are not getting the full story.” Ali noted that he had been told during his job interview that taking positions critical of the Qatari government in papers would not be allowed, a claim Brookings vigorously denies.

“Our scholars, in Doha and elsewhere, have a long record of objective, independent analysis of regional affairs, including critical analysis of the policies of Qatar and other governments in the region,” Brookings President Strobe Talbott said in response to theTimes story.

Unfortunately for Talbott, Qatar’s own Ministry of Foreign Affairs openly acknowledges that the partnership gives Qatar exactly what it wants: a public-relations outlet that projects “the bright image of Qatar in the international media, especially the American ones,” a statement announcing a 2012 memorandum of understanding with Brookings said.

Indeed, their close collaboration stretches back more than a decade.

After Islamist terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pa. on September 11, 2001, the Brookings Institution looked to Qatar to answer the question, “Why do they hate us?”

Former Qatari emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani answered Brookings’ call in 2002, providing the think tank with the necessary seed money and resources to initiate its engagement with the Islamic world.

The alliance culminated with the 2002 Doha Conference on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, co-sponsored by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and Qatar. Qatar underwrote the conference’s cost.

Ambassador Martin Indyk, who headed the Saban Center at the time, and other Brookings leaders noted their desire to “build strong bridges of friendship” and avoid a “clash of civilizations.”

Indyk took a leave of absence from Brookings in 2013 and the first half of 2014 to serve as President Obama’s envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Indykplaced excessive blame on Israel for their failure.

At an April 2013 Brookings forum in Washington, Indyk mentioned that he and Qatar’s al-Thani had remained friends for “two decades.” This relationship dates to when Indykserved as special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council.

Indyk noted that he approached the sheik after the 9/11 attacks, informing him that Brookings planned to launch a project focused on American engagement with the Islamic world.

“And he said immediately, ‘I will support it, but you have to do the conference in Doha.’ And I said, ‘Doha, well that sounds like an interesting idea,'” Indyk said at the 2013 forum. “Three years into that, he suddenly then told me we want to have a Brookings in Doha. And I said, ‘Well, okay, we’ll have a Brookings in Doha, too,’ and we ended up with the Brookings Doha Center” (BDC), in 2008.”

Brookings’ Qatar-based scholars see their host country with rosy spectacles, ignoring the emirate’s numerous terror ties.

Read more

Spinning a Terrorist Into a Victim – Part 1: Who is Rasmieh Odeh?

Rasmieh-Odeh-APjpg

IPT News
October 27, 2014

Note: Part 1 includes our previously released 2-minute prologue/trailer.

Starting Nov. 4, federal prosecutors in Detroit present their case against a Palestinian woman who slipped through the cracks. Rasmieh Odeh, 67, has been in the United States since at least 1995.

To her advocates, she’s a peaceful community activist living in Chicago and an asset to her community.

Yet, she has a bloody, dark side that she has kept hidden all these years.

Odeh is a convicted terrorist who spent 10 years in an Israeli prison. She led a 1969 bombing that killed two college students in a Jerusalem supermarket. Odeh confessed. She says that confession only came after she was tortured. She was sentenced to life in prison, but was released unexpectedly as part of a prisoner exchange in 1979.

Her torture claim has never been substantiated—even by the United Nations, to which she reported the alleged torture after her release—and she has yet to deny her involvement in the murders or even her ultimate imprisonment.

Odeh could have discussed the particulars of her situation when she applied for her visa and citizenship—how her sentence was even commuted—if she felt her alleged torture merited special consideration. Instead, she simply told U.S. authorities she had a spotless record.

Prosecutors say that constitutes immigration fraud. A terrorist conviction for an attack causing two deaths is something immigration officials would want to consider before granting an immigrant a visa or welcoming her into American citizenship.

Still, her supporters have launched an aggressive campaign aimed at getting the fraud charges dropped. Odeh, they say, is the real victim here. They claim this case is really about a government conspiracy to attack Palestinian advocates in America.

The campaign is led by Odeh’s colleagues from the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), but has attracted support from the Council on American-Islamic Relations(CAIR), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, and even a group of 124 feminist academics.

In the video above, the first installment of a five-part Investigative Project on Terrorism video series on Odeh’s case and the campaign to thwart it, we provide an overview of the case and a look at Rasmieh Odeh and those supporting her.

New installments will be released each day this week. Tomorrow we examine the 1969 Jerusalem bombing Odeh helped orchestrate and learn more about her victims.

Obama Forbids FBI to Use Religion in Identifying Terror Threats, as ISIS Recruits Openly in U.S. Mosques

American Thinker, By Karin McQuillan:

Steven Emerson

Steven Emerson

AT had a chance to catch up with Steven Emerson, head of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, and hear his assessment of the ISIS threat here on American soil. Emerson runs the country’s top data center on Islamic terror groups in the United States, working like a man possessed, and accomplishing the work of thousands on sheer guts and determination to protect our country.

Wherever the bad guys have been caught and prosecuted successfully, you will find Emerson working quietly behind the scenes as an invaluable ally of the FBI and Homeland Security. Because he accepts no money from the government, Emerson has been free of the diktats of the Obama administration that have forbidden the FBI to train their sights on Muslim terrorists. (That means The Investigative Project needs your help to continue its work.)

In the words of U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra, Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence:

The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical to our nation’s security. There is no other non-governmental group that has better intelligence or data on the threat to the United States and our allies. Making do with a bare bones budget, the IPT is a national treasure whose influence and achievements are unparalleled.

It is not an exaggeration to say that because of Democrat political correctness hamstringing our FBI agents, they could not combat the Islamists in our midst without Steven Emerson. Oliver “Buck” Revell, former head of FBI Investigations and Counter-Terrorism, said as much in these words: “The Investigative Project has been one of the most important sources of accurate and timely information on the real goals and objectives of the wide spread and powerful Islamist movement.”

The FBI turns to Emerson to find out what is happening. So does AT. This is what Emerson told us:

Isis is Al Qaeda 3.0. They are already in the United States and the only reason there has not been a terror attack is that they have not decided to do it yet.

The chief danger Steven Emerson sees is that there are three to four hundred ISIS killers in Syria and Iraq with American passports, who can return whenever they want, and the Obama administration is blocking the FBI from monitoring them in mosques. As Emerson told Judge Jeannine Pirro on Fox News:

The FBI has been handcuffed in terms of investigating religious extremists in mosques, as a result of guidelines put out by the attorney general earlier this year. And so therefore, there is… a definite problem now in investigating those militants in the United States who are either recruiting for ISIS or have returned from Syria or Iraq having fought for ISIS, and are ready to carry out freelance or directed terrorist attacks on behalf of ISIS against the United States…

the Department of Justice [which] put out guidelines that restricted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies from using religious factors in identifying threats, national security threats to the United States in the homeland.

…we’re seeing ISIS recruiting biophysicists, engineers, social media types, people who have expertise in really carrying out sophisticated terrorist attacks coming back to the United States.

there’s one recruiter that [had been]… picked up [in the past], well identified, in Bloomington, Minnesota at the Al Farooq Mosque. There are recruiters going around the country in other mosques, where they identify potential volunteers. They test them out to see if they’re willing to die on behalf of martyrdom of the cause for Allah. Then they give them cash, they provide money for their families in case they die. They give them tickets to go to Turkey. Turkey has allowed them, hundreds, to go through to Syria, then to Iraq. And we [the U.S.] count Turkey as one of our top allies. We haven’t put [many of] them on the terrorism watch list, which we should. So there’s a major disconnect, Judge, here between what we should be doing to protect the homeland and protect American citizens.

Question for our Congress: Obama will do nothing to revoke the passports of American ISIS maniacs. What are you doing about it?

 

CAIR’s Identity Crisis: Defending Civil Rights or the Palestinian (Hamas) Struggle?

cair exposedIPT News
August 11, 2014

During the 1990s, the Muslim Brotherhood created a support network in the United States to help Hamas politically and financially. It was called the Palestine Committee. According to documents seized by the FBI by some of the committee’s members, that committee included some prominent Muslim American political activists, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – perhaps the most influential Muslim American political group.

As the war between Israel and Hamas raged in Gaza during the past month, legacy members of the Palestine Committee – the Hamas support network – found themselves back in the fight for public hearts and minds, as this Investigative Project on Terrorism special report shows.

 

Click on the following links to see the documents shown in the video tying CAIR to the Palestine Committee:

  • “The object of the conspiracy was to support Hamas.” This comes from a prosecution response to CAIR’s brief trying to be removed from a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Hamas-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.
  • 1994 Palestine Committee meeting agenda featuring CAIR as a Palestine Committee entity.
  • Internal Memo, “Islamic Action for Palestine,” about helping Hamas politically and financially. It was seized by the FBI among a trove of Palestine Committee records.
  • Transcripts from a 1993 Palestine Committee in Philadelphia secretly recorded by the FBI:

1. “We checked with the brothers and they said, ‘Let’s be the ones to say that we are a political entity…”

2. War is deception.

  • Palestine Committee phone list including Nihad Awad and Basman Elashi.
  • 2009 FBI letter explaining why it no longer engages in outreach communication with CAIR.
  • 2006 DOJ press release announcing Basman Elashi’s conviction for illegal business transactions with a terrorist.
  • Rasmieh Odeh indictment for naturalization fraud.

New York Times Censors Ad Decrying Islamist Censorship

by Steven Emerson
IPT News
June 5, 2014

Note: This article originally was published by the Daily Caller.

The New York Times has become complicit in a stealth jihad against free speech in the United States undertaken by Islamists and their sympathizers who masquerade as “civil rights” groups.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) recently bought a full-page advocacy adin the print edition of the Times. It discussed extensively the need for the media and government to directly address the reality that many acts of terrorism are rooted in radical Islam — as articulated by the terrorists themselves — and that Islamist groups attempt to deflect attention from radical Islam’s role.

A similar yet more concise version of the ad was scheduled to run on the NYT website the following day. However, something happened from one day to the next that caused the Times to demand that the IPT change the language immediately, or it would pull the ad.

Asked about the new demand, the Times replied: “In addition to being inundated with customer complaints. [sic] I have been asked for the immediate change by the publisher.”

The NYT ordered us to insert the word “radical” before the term “Islamist groups,” so that it read, “Stop the radical Islamist groups from undermining America’s security, liberty and free speech.”

An “Islamist” is not simply an individual who privately observes Islam as his faith. An Islamist is an individual who blurs the ideological lines between personal religion and the nation state — a boundary upheld as one of America’s founding principles and sustained in the First Amendment — to foster a governmental system that relies upon the supremacy of Islam.

“Islamic,” on the other hand, is an adjective that describes an idea or element derived from or inspired by Islam. Islamists promote an Islamic agenda, though some do it more subtly than others.

Groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are Islamist, hiding behind their Muslim faith and a veneer of “civil rights” as they seek to mainstream an agenda that elevates Islam above other faiths. Their agenda subjugates democracy and supports overseas terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and various individuals such as Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef Qaradawi, who inspires suicide attacks and other forms of violence.

The NYT’s directive to add the word “radical” is a seemingly minor, nuanced change. But here’s why it matters: IPT’s ads hold Islamist groups like CAIR accountable for refusing to acknowledge what many terrorists themselves acknowledge — that their acts of violence were motivated by Islamic text.

That the publisher saw fit to order changes at such a late stage — after the ads had already been approved, purchased by the IPT, and were running on nytimes.com — and that the demands for change escalated so quickly is unusual.

We have to wonder who exactly exerted what kind of pressure.

We can only conclude that the same Islamist forces that the IPT devoted its full-page ad to discussing were at work again — abetted by media sympathizers — in this case, the publisher of the newspaper of record.

CAIR would probably have preferred that the Times shut down the digital ad altogether — as part of its longer-term campaign to paint the IPT as anti-Islam and Islamophobic, while portraying itself as moderate. In a letter to the Times about IPT’s ad, CAIR said, “[IPT’s] new ad takes up this defamatory theme by bizarrely attacking the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, for rightly stating that ‘Islam is not the problem; extremism and violent extremism is the problem’ when it comes to terrorist attacks.”

The IPT never said Islam is the problem in its ads. IPT suggested that radical Islam is a problem, and that CAIR — and other Islamists like them — are a problem, for their unwillingness to call out other members of their own faith who use Islam to justify their atrocities. IPT’s print ad specifically lauded those Muslim voices who criticize Islamists. Our digital ad used the word “Islamists” rather than Muslims on purpose.

The very attempt to discuss the role of radical Islam in motivating terrorists spawned a campaign to shut the debate down.

America is not at war with Muslims or Islam. The U.S. remains a welcoming and tolerant nation – one in which Muslims are freer and more secure to practice their faith than anywhere else in the world.

The censorship of free speech by Islamist groups and their media apologists continues to prevent America from addressing the core threat of radical Islam. Recognizing reality is not an attack on Islam or Muslims. Those who say otherwise are the ones of whom we — and, particularly, those in the media such as the NYT — should be wary.

Steven Emerson is the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Guardian Copy Editor Brags About Joining Islamist Censorship Campaign

Investigative Project on Terrorism Posts Full Page NYT Ad on Radical Islamist Censorship

shariah_protest_APBreitbart, by FRANCES MARTEL:

The Investigative Project on Terrorism, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit research center dedicated to exposing the threat of violent extremist terror around the world, is launching a full-page advertisement in The New York Times warning against censorship by radical Islamist groups.

The ad, titled “Still here. Still free. But for how long?”, commemorates the opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum and warns that “the threat from radical Islamist terrorists who killed thousands of innocent Americans on Sept. 11, 2001 is as real today as it was then, if not more so.” One major threat to the stability and freedom of the West, the ad warns, is the repeated attempts to censor those who wish to target radical Islam, and a campaign, according to the IPT, to eliminate the word “Islam” from discussions of radical Islamist terror.

“Islamist groups, masquerading as ‘civil rights’ groups, have embarked on a bullying campaign to censor the word ‘Islam’ when discussing Islamic terrorism,” the ad states, “And the media plays a key role in this deception by legitimizing these radical Islamic groups and not exposing them.”

According to IPT Executive Director and Founder Steven Emerson, the ad is meant to target both the alleged radicals attempting to censor Americans and the American officials that have tolerated the initiative. “Perhaps most chilling” about the censorship, Emerson notes in a statement, “is that the U.S. government and civic institutions at the highest levels are capitulating to their aggressive censorship campaign.”

Read the full ad hereOn its website, the IPT notes that the ad is a “call to action” to accurately target terrorist threats and combat the dangers of radical Islam, both internationally and on American soil. The ad is running in conjunction with the posting of a White House petition demanding an end to the Obama-era “policy of censoring free speech in discussing radical Islam,” as well as a campaign to involve the American people in the fight against terrorism by calling for contact with Congressional representatives demanding transparency in discussing the threats facing the United States from fundamentalists.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism regularly contributes to coverage of radical Islam at Breitbart News. Read their coverage here.

The New York Times: Making the world safe for terrorism

Blockbuster Interview With Steven Emerson on the Glazov Gang

download (21)Front Page:

Steven Emerson recounts his career as a journalist from its beginnings in 1978 through the beginning of his focus on radical Islamic groups in the US after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The accumulation of massive amounts of data which resulted from research for his first documentary “Jihad in America”  led to the creation of the Investigative Project on Terrorism in 1995. His organization has become the world’s largest archival data center on radical Islam. As an investigative agency, Emerson says, “We are not a think tank, we are a “do tank”.

 

In this second video Emerson talks about CAIR and much more. He does not mince words and there are some explosive comments like “Eric Holder is a hit man and a thug and corrupt…and should be indicted. Information on his corruption will be coming out in the next few months and it will be pretty shocking”

 

You can follow Steve Emerson on twitter @TheIPT where he engages members of CAIR and others, lately using CAIR’s #LegislatingFear to rain on their parade.

 

Judge Ends Imam’s Lawsuit Triggered by IPT Report

IPT News,
June 25, 2013:

Steve Emerson: I stand by my film

‘The Grand Deception’ was well-researched, using sources that included faithful Muslims and the FBI. Instead of addressing facts, CAIR chose to attack me personally.

by Steven Emerson
Orange County Register
February 16, 2013

Beware of ‘Pallywood’ Magic

IPT News:

Video: Christie Says “Bigots” Attacking Him on Radical Islam

by RYAN MAURO

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, often described as a “rock star” in the Republican Party, has finally addressed the criticism of his courtship of Islamists. On July 24, Christie held an Iftar dinner at the Governor’s Mansion, attended by Imam Mohammad Qatanani, a Hamas-linked cleric whose deportation is sought by the Department of Homeland Security. Christie reiterated his support for Qatanani and made the case to his Muslim audience that he is their ally by ridiculing the “bigots” attacking him.

Christie opens by talking about the attacks on “our relationship” (between him and, as he would characterize it, the Muslim community of N.J.) that show a “gaze of intolerance that’s going around our country that is disturbing.” You can watch the entire speech on YouTube.

Ramadan Iftar at Governor Christie’s Mansion 7/24/2012:

He mocked his critics, saying “You’ll all be fascinated to learn that in many publications around the country, I’m called an Islamist.” No one ever said he is an Islamist himself and only a handful of writers have covered the controversy, including myself,, the Investigative Project on TerrorismDr. Daniel PipesRobert Spencer and my fellow N.J. resident, Andrew McCarthy.

Christie blatantly accused us of having anti-Muslim motivations.

“These are the kind of red herrings that people put up who are bigots, who want to judge people based upon their religious beliefs, want to judge people with a broad brush,” he said.

He stood by his support for Imam Qatanani, pointing out that he was in attendance and “I’m glad to have you here.” He called him a “friend” that “has attempted to be a force for good in his community.”

To prove to his audience that he is their ally against “Islamophobia,” though he didn’t use that exact word, he cited the controversies surrounding three of his actions: His support for Qatanani, his nomination of Sohail Mohammed as a Superior Court Judge and how he stood against the NYPD’s intelligence-gathering operations in his state. Let’s address these cases one-by-one.

Imam Mohammad Qatanani

The story begins in 1993. The Israelis detained Qatanani for three months because they believed he was working with the Hamas terrorist group, partially because his brother-in-law was a Hamas leader in the West Bank. He told the Israelis that he had been a member of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood but left in 1991 because of time constraints, not over any ideological split. He admitted to being a member of Hamas as part of a plea bargain and was released.

Qatanani came to N.J. in 1994 to serve as an imam for the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC) in Paterson. The mosque was founded in 1989 by Mohammed el-Mezain, who later was convicted of being a Hamas fundraiser. It was in this mosque that el-Mezain boasted of having raised nearly $2 million in the U.S. for Hamas. Qatanani served alongside el-Mezain, even sharing the same address, until el-Mezain handed the reigns over to him.

Another extremist ICPC official was Esam Omeish, who once was the chairman of the board. He is the former president of the Muslim American Society, a Muslim Brotherhood front. Omeish calls the Brotherhood “moderate” and has expressed admiration for the founder of Hamas and Palestinians who believe “that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land.”

ICPC had Abdelhaleem Ashqar as a guest speaker, who was accused of being involved with Hamas and was later convicted for refusing to testify about the terrorist group’s fundraising. Another guest speaker at ICPC is Hamas-supporter Imam Reda Shata. When he was the leader of Brooklyn’s Islamic Center of Bay Ridge, he had El-Mezain as a guest speaker. The NYPD put Shata under surveillance as a “Tier One Person of Interest.”

In 1999, Qatanani applied for a green card and did not disclose his conviction by the Israelis as a member of Hamas. The Department of Homeland Security began seeking his deportation in July 2006. A 2008 court filing by the DHS accuses him of “material misrepresentation” and “engaging in unauthorized employment…by allowing an out-of-status alien to reside with him.” It also states that he “has engaged in terrorist activity.” Qatanani sent thousands of dollars to the West Bank and the DHS described his explanation that it was easier than a wire transfer to be “highly dubious.”

“It is certainly suspicious when a person who has been convicted of being a member of, and providing services, to Hamas, who has personal ties to a Hamas militant leader, and a Hamas fundraiser also sends undisclosed cash to the West Bank,” the filing states.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism translated some of his sermons between 2007 and 2009 that show the radicalism he preaches. Here are some highlights:

  • 2007: He prayed that Allah will help “our brothers and sisters in Philistine [Palestine] and Iraq and Chechnya” to “remove occupation and oppression.” The enemy “occupiers” are Israel, the U.S. and Russia.
  • June 2007: He teaches that Christians and Jews “will be swiftly punished” with “the hypocrites [who] are in the lower pits of hellfire.”
  • November 2007: He instructs Muslims not to talk bad about fellow Muslims, using Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi as an example. Qaradawi is the top Muslim Brotherhood cleric who vocally supports Hamas and suicide bombings.
  • January 2008: “You see now that you should do jihad or struggle, to change evil-doing…You know, I mention in so many times that jihad is greater than fighting. It is not only fighting. And you cannot just contain it in fighting.”
  • May 2009: He prays that Allah will release the imprisoned officials of the Holy Land Foundation, who were locked up for financing Hamas. He said that they were the victim of a “political judgment” and that the U.S. government is persecuting the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America by labeling them as “unindicted co-conspirators” in the trial.

 

Qatanani was booked as a speaker on June 24 at Dar al-Hijrah, an extremely radical mosque tied to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and frequented by Al-Qaeda operatives.

So, how did Christie, then U.S. Attorney, react to the DHS’ efforts to deport Qatanani?

He sent his Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles McKenna to testify as a character witness on his behalf. In September 2008, Christie went to the ICPC to praise Qatanani as a “man of great goodwill.”

After becoming Governor, Christie appointed McKenna as his director of the N.J. Office of Homeland Security, a post he held until February. In July 2008, the office McKenna would later lead actually produced a report about Hamas networks in the state that contradicted McKenna’s assessment of Qatanani. The imam’s name was the only one to be mentioned in it.

The day after Christie’s endorsement, the immigration judge ruled in favor of Qatanani, granting him permanent residency and dismissing Israel’s evidence against him. The Board of Immigration Appeals overturned it, deciding that the Israeli evidence was “properly authenticated and that there was no adequate basis for the immigration judge to give them ‘very low evidentiary weight.'”  The Israelis provided three documents: A letter from their liaison and the military court’s verdict and indictment. The DHS points out that Qatanani never said he was forced into confessing that he was a member of Hamas and admitted that he underwent a trial process in Israeli custody, proving that he knew he was convicted when he filed his green card.

The deportation hearing continues November 26 and Christie is standing by him.

Sohail Mohammed

In his Ramadan dinner speech, Christie boasted of nominating attorney Sohail Mohammed as a Superior Court Judge and blasted the “hysteria” surrounding his decision and “all the nonsense and all this business about Sharia Law.”

Mohammed was the General Counsel of the American Muslim Union, which has had at least five common officials with the Hamas-founded ICPC. The organization’s newsletter stated that “Zionist commandos orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks” and supports Neturei Karta, a pro-Hamas, pro-Ahmadinejad Jewish group dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The group also declined to participate in the 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror,” which condemned all terrorist groups, including Hamas.

Mohammed also spoke out against the prosecutions of Sami al-Arian, a convicted leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Holy Land Foundation. The evidence against them was enormous. He dismissed it and is now a Superior Court Judge, thanks to Christie.

When the controversy first broke, Christie reacted with: “This Sharia Law business is crap. It’s just crazy. And I’m tired of dealing with the crazies. I mean, you know, it’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background.”

In his speech on July 24, Christie said he had known Mohammed for years. What he didn’t say is how he knew him.

Mohammed was Qatanani’s attorney.

 
Read more: Family Security Matters

Ryan Mauro is Family Security Matters’ national security analyst. He is a fellow with RadicalIslam.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


Michael Coren interviews Steve Emerson on the Muslim Brotherhood and Stealth Jihad

By Steve Emerson, IPT:

MICHAEL COREN: Steve Emerson is one of North America’s most eminent and respected commentators. He is the author of six books and his television documentary, if you haven’t seen it, you have to, “Jihad in America” won the 1994 George Polk award for best TV documentary. Very early to have covered this sort of stuff. And top prize for the best investigative reporting from Investigative Reporters and Editors. He is also the executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism and he frequently testifies before Congressional committees and other related organizations. A great pleasure to welcome you back on the show. How are you?

STEVEN EMERSON: Hard to answer that question. I have become a dysfunctional workaholic, working 14 hours a day, but that is normal in DC.  And the only problem is that I am reading emails until four in the morning and it gets me so stressed out that I don’t sleep till six. I’m fine, thanks.

COREN: I will take that as a, yeah, very well, thanks very much. I know because I’ve had some of the emails back from you in the middle of the night. I don’t know when you actually do sleep. Of course those who plot against us don’t sleep very much either. The real problem for me at least is not that the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups are organizing; it is that so few people in the west seem to understand it and are willing to stand up and fight back.

EMERSON: Well, it is not just willing. There is cognitive dissonance or witting collaboration. There are various motivations. They range from naiveté to our belief that if we don’t lie, others don’t lie. But the reality is that the Muslim Brotherhood is a fascist group and it is based on fascist principals founded in 1928. And even the presidential candidate Morsi, who just won; two hours before President Obama called him to congratulate him for transitioning to democracy, he stated in a speech in Cairo that the shariah will run Egypt from now on. The shariah implements second class codification for women, allows the beating of wives, allows the stoning of women, killing of apostates. And this obviously is going to cause major problems of persecution and even murder of Christians and other minorities in Egypt. Number two, in the United States and in Europe there is an equal problem, that the Muslim Brotherhood front groups, and there are many, and this was documented by the FBI in a raid in 2004 where they found a treasure trove of internal MB documents. There is a whole [Muslim Brotherhood ]structure in the United States and yet this Administration is dealing only with those [very same MB ] groups that believe that there is a “war against Islam”, that Israel should be destroyed, that  support [or rationalize] suicide bombings;  and [moreover, this Administration won’t]… don’t deal with the genuine moderate Muslims who are so courageous because they know they will get shot at when they stick their necks out of the foxhole.

COREN: The question is why because this is abundantly true. We know there are moderate Muslims, probably not as well organized, in fact certainly not as well organized, but they are crying out to be heard and they are being rejected, dismissed, by the very people that they want to help.

EMERSON: Well first of all you are right, they are not as well organized and the Saudi charities and the Islamic billion dollar charities in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf don’t go to American Muslims for Peace Now, they go to the Muslim Brotherhood groups. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood groups get the lion’s share of the Saudi moneys, of the Persian Gulf moneys and now they are so well endowed that they have a monopoly, not just in the Middle East, on the education system, on the media system, on the religious system but they have a monopoly here in the United States as well. And you are right. When there was just a hearing the other day by the House Committee on Homeland Security, Democrat after Democrat dissed and made outrageous insults against the three moderate Muslims who courageously testified and [who] admitted there is a problem within Islam that they want to correct; …that [stated is imperative]…  to admit that radical Islam does exist, it doesn’t mean that all Muslims are terrorists, but the [prohibition] of even uttering the term “radical Islam” is part of the edict issued by this administration.

COREN: For those out there who say well I know Muslims and they are nice people, we are not attacking Muslims. If we look at the Russian revolution, the Bolsheviks never represented more than maybe 10% at most of the population, but they controlled an entire empire eventually. The Muslim Brotherhood speaks for more than 10%. They are heavily organized, they have been working for generations now, they now have Egypt, they could well have Syria by the end of the year. This is very worrying.

EMERSON: They could have Syria, they could have Libya. Ultimately they could have Iraq. There is already a different variety [of radical Islam] that controls Iran. Look, there is another problem here. The Muslim Brotherhood is not a democratic system. We equate democracy with civil society so when we allowed elections in Gaza, they elected Hamas, a terrorist government. Democracy didn’t moderate them. The notion that we believe that direct elections and democracy are going to moderate the Muslim Brotherhood is absolutely insane. The reality is totally different. They are deceptive. They use deception. We [the Investigative Project on Terrorism] publish all the time, and so does MEMRI.org, all of their radical statements, but no one takes them seriously and then we buy into the naiveté. In the United States, the Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure has a monopoly on the Islamic communities. Most Muslims, I don’t believe, support the radical ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood, but the Muslim Brotherhood groups themselves control the leadership of the organizations. They have infiltrated, and I am not being conspiratorial, they have penetrated the media; they have penetrated law enforcement and I can document that. In fact, [if I may],  just a plug,  [we have] a new documentary coming out in September is called “Jihad in America: Grand Deception” and it is about the stealth Jihad. That means it is about the Jihad waged legally in terms of infiltrating what they [the Muslim Brotherhood in their own documents obtained by the FBI] call a “civilizational Jihad process.” That is a quote used from an internal MB document in the U.S.

COREN: Steve, we will have to have you back on the show. In fact, I promise we will have you back on the show. Thank you so very much indeed.

EMERSON: You’re very welcome.