Find the ‘Countering Violent Extremism Summit’ at the Intersection of Islamists and Leftists

Salam al-Marayati (MPAC)

Salam al-Marayati (MPAC)

National Review, by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY February 19, 2015:

You may understandably think of it as an ISIS jobs fair, but the ongoing confab in Washington is officially known as President Obama’s “summit” on “Countering Violent Extremism.” That being the case, many Americans seem surprised at the appearance of Salam al-Marayati, leader of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). After all, the White House is having a public hissy fit over the upcoming speech to Congress by Obama’s bête noire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. An odd time, one might think, for the POTUS to be so chummy with a Muslim activist best know for theorizing, right after the 9/11 attacks, that “we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list.”

But National Review readers will not be surprised. Marayati and MPAC figured in my 2010 book on the Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. operations – The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America (“grand jihad” and “sabotage” are lifted verbatim from an internal Brotherhood memo that describes the Islamists’ objective to infiltrate and destroy our country). And three years ago, I profiled Marayati and MPAC in this NRO column.

There is a reason why Obama’s summit is striking all the wrong chords with the public: strangely sympathetic to Islamist sensibilities and grievances at the very time when rampaging jihadists, while quoting Islamic scripture, are barbarically slaughtering their enemies and conducting a pogrom against Christians (there being no Jews left to mass-murder in Syria, Iraq and Libya).

The reason is that the summit serves exactly the same purpose as is served by MPAC and Marayati: It is the nexus between Islamists and Leftists.

For the Left, radical Islamic terrorism cannot be called “radical Islamic terrorism”; it must be called “violent extremism,” to avoid offending the Left’s Islamist allies. Still, while the labeling of terrorism may be problematic, the fact of terrorism is an opportunity – a crisis that, like all crises, can be used to advance the “social justice” agenda.

Just have a look at President Obama’s op-ed in the Los Angeles Times this week. ISIS and al-Qaeda are on the march, so what does the president suppose this is the occasion for? “Our focus [in the “summit on countering violent extremism”] will be on empowering local communities.”

The public is worried about our national security because, after six years of Obama, jihadists have more safe-haven than ever to plot and train for attacks against America, Israel and Western Europe. Obama, however, sees the situation as grist for a large-scale exercise in community-organizing: A summit that gathers “governments, civil society groups, and community leaders from more than 60 nations” to address “the anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them no chance of improving their lives.” By the president’s lights, what causes terrorism is not sharia supremacist ideology, something that is not to be discussed. Instead, “anger” over “legitimate grievances” — that always turn out to be the same grievances the Left grieves over – makes young Muslims vulnerable to “exploitation” by al Qaeda and ISIS.

For their part, Islamists share the Left’s affinity for muscular government that suffocates individual liberty. They are also anxious to gull Westerners into seeing their grievances as driven by wayward American policies rather than sharia principles. That makes an alliance with the Left a good fit – notwithstanding important differences on such matters as abortion and the rights of women and homosexuals (differences that allies can set aside when defeating a common opponent is the higher objective).

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Muslim Leader Who Called Israel a ‘Suspect’ After 9/11 Meets with Biden at White House

Vice President Joe Biden at the White House's Countering Violent Extremism summit / AP

Vice President Joe Biden at the White House’s Countering Violent Extremism summit / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Feb. 18, 2015:

A controversial U.S. Muslim leader who has been highly critical of Israel and said that the Jewish state should be on the “suspect list” in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks participated on Tuesday in a White House summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) that featured Vice President Joe Biden.

Salam Al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), tweeted out a photo of himself at the White House with Biden and bragged, “We joined VP @JoeBiden for a discussion at the @WhiteHouse #CVESummit which kicked off today.”

Al-Marayati has been viewed as a controversial figure due to past statements characterized by his critics as anti-Israel and soft on terrorism.

The White House CVE Summit, a three-day forum focused on countering radical extremism, comes in the wake of multiple anti-Semitic attacks across the globe and pressure for an increased military campaign against the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) released a detailed fact sheet that contained scores of controversial statements attributed to al-Marayati.

One of his more controversial proclamations came in the wake of 9/11, when al-Marayati pointed a finger at Israel.

“If we’re going to look at suspects [for 9/11], we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what’s happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies,” he said in a radio interview shortly after the attacks in 2001, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Al-Marayati also caused controversy in 2012, when he was selected by the Obama administration to represent the United States government at a human rights conference sponsored by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Despite his past rhetoric, the State Department defended the selection of al-Marayati when contacted by the Free Beacon at the time.

Al-Marayati also has accused Israel of using the Holocaust to justify its security measures against the Palestinians.

“We’re against Holocaust denial, but we’re also against people who exploit that as a way of shoving this kind of war propaganda and dehumanization of the Arab peoples and the Muslim peoples as if they have to pay the price for what Nazi Germany did to the Jews back in the 20th century,” he said in a 2006 radio interview cited by the IPT in its fact sheet.

Following the deadly 2001 attack on a pizza shop in Jerusalem that killed 15 Israelis and wounded many others, al-Marayati’s MPAC group released a statement claiming that the act of terrorism was “the expected bitter result of the reckless policy of Israeli assassination that did not spare children and political figures.”

In 2012, he accused the United States of doing “dirty work” on Israel’s behalf, according to IPT.

“The other point here, which is very important historically, the United States has done a lot of dirty work that has served the interests of Israel,” al-Marayati said during a debate on the Russian-government controlled RT. “It destroyed Iraq. It supported the destruction and crippling of Egypt. It has crippled the Gulf.

“And now, it is looking to Iran as the next target for crippling and destroying,” he continued. “I think this is madness. Who is driving our foreign policy? President Obama or Prime Minister Netanyahu?”

He also has described attacks by the U.S.-designated terror group Hezbollah as a form of legitimate resistance.

“If the Lebanese people are resisting Israeli intransigence on Lebanese soil, then that is the right of resistance and they have the right to target Israeli soldiers in this conflict,” al-Marayati said during a 1999 interview on PBS. “That is not terrorism. That is a legitimate resistance.”

“That could be called liberation movement [sic], that could be called anything, but it’s not terrorism,” he added.

Al-Marayati’s group, MPAC, has been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for spreading blood libels about Israel harvesting the organs of Palestinians, according to past statements.

Spokesmen for the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) did not immediately respond to requests for comment on al-Marayati and why he was included in the CVE Summit.

“Al-Marayati’s presence at the Countering Violent Extremism Summit tells us everything we need to know about the failure of the Obama Administration to devise an effective counter-terrorism strategy,” said Kyle Shideler, director of The Threat Information Office (TIO) at the Center for Security Policy “Here’s a man who just days after 9/11 said we ought to be investigating whether the attack was carried out by Israel, and has a history of apologizing for terror.”

“If this is the kind of outreach partner that President Obama believes cities nationwide should be seeking out, then we’re better off not doing outreach at all, and returning to good old fashion police and intelligence work,” Shideler said.

When contacted for comment about MPAC’s participation in the summit, al-Marayati dismissed his critics and said they are harping on statements from more than a decade ago.

“That was 15 years ago,” he said by email. “Our [MPAC’s] track record is strong on anti terrorism. I work with local Jewish leaders including Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It’s time to move on and work together to counter ISIS.”

Al-Marayati and MPAC were asked to participate in the summit due to its work with a CVE initiative called Safe Spaces, “which has been lauded by local law enforcement in LA,” he said.

“LAPD first told me and asked that I attend because of the local work in LA,” he said. “I’m also working on preventing young people from becoming foreign fighters on a task force with the Homeland Security Advisory Council.”

Other al-Marayati critics, such as Patrick Poole, a national security reporter and terrorism expert, said that his presence at the summit “speaks to how much of a farce” it is.

“This is exactly why he [al-Marayati] was thrown off the Gore Terrorism Commission back in the late 1990s,” Poole said. “It speaks to how much a farce this White House summit is that in the face of an escalating global jihadist threat they rehabilitate a character like Marayati.”

White House Summit Features Muslim Leader with Record of Defending Terror Groups

Reuters

Reuters

Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Feb. 17, 2015:

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) posted a picture on Twitter confirming that its President, Salam Al-Marayati, is in attendance at the White House’s Countering Violent Extremism Summit, which kicked off on Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.10.13 PM

Al-Marayati has a long record when it comes to defending terrorists and jihadist organizations. He is also a 9/11 truther.

After The September 11 attacks against the World Trade Center, he  publicly encouraged officials to look at the government of Israel as a prime suspect.

Al-Marayati has said in the past that Hezbollah, the Lebanese jihadist organization that has been designated a terrorist group by the United States, is a “legitimate resistance” movement.

Former House Minority leader Richard Gephardt was forced to withdraw his nomination of Al-Marayati to the National Commission on Terrorism after finding information that “he, his colleagues, and organizations have made [statements] in support and defense of terrorist acts and groups.”

Al-Marayati endorsed the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel in an op-ed for the Huffington Post on January 30. The BDS movement, which seeks the destruction of Israel, has been described by its critics as fiercely anti-Semitic.

MPAC, which was established in 1998 by close affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood, has a history rife with extremist proclamations.

In an MPAC-sponsored March 2009 protest to “Defend al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Quds,” participants could be heard chanting slogans that can be interpreted as encouraging Palestinians to wipe out Israel’s Jewish population. demonstrators chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

In 2003, MPAC wrote a policy paper that called for the removal of Gaza Muslim Brotherhood terror group Hamas, Iran-proxy Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from the U.S. list of state designated terror groups.

In a 1998 speech at the National Press Club, an MPAC senior official described Hezbollah as a group that fights for “American values.”

The news of Al-Marayati’s appearance comes as the White House has refused to publicly release the names of attendees at its Countering Violent Extremism Summit, which is set to take place from Tuesday to Thursday.

MPAC’s Safe Spaces: the Trojan Horse Continues

safe-spaces-launch
By 
culturaljihad:

Safe spaces are needed so that government informants and extremist recruiters are prevented from violating the sanctity of the mosque.
– Salam Al-Marayati, president of the MPAC

Frank Gaffney recently wrote Unsafe Spaces: Islamist Mosques,  highlighting what he described as the contempt Islamists have for the United States and the roles many American mosques have for Islamist jihadists.   Coming on the 1st year anniversary of the  Boston Bombing, Mr. Gaffney’s article notes the roll out of the Safe Spaces Initiative“,  a program being pushed by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The campaign/program’s premise: in order to keep America safe, the Muslim community needs to take a proactive approach to identify and intervene “individuals who may be susceptible to violent extremism.”    At first glance, this seems, well … almost patriotic.

The about page of the program’s website continues with this highlight:

MPAC’s Safe Spaces Initiative seeks to help communities create spiritual safe spaces for open dialogue and debate while also providing physical safe spaces by helping mosque and community leaders deal with any misguided individuals.

… and the actual motivation behind the “Safe Spaces” reference begins to come into focus –  to create “safe spaces for open dialogue and debate“. In other words, locations where Muslims can discuss matters without fear of being monitored by law enforcement, no matter the subject matter.  As confirmation, here’s an excerpt from an article written by Salam Al-Marayati, president of the MPAC:

Safe spaces are created for everyone entering our mosques to be able to have difficult conversations. People need to feel comfortable discussing politics or persecution of Muslims in places such as Palestine or Kashmir or drone attacks that harm the innocent in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Safe spaces are needed so that government informants and extremist recruiters are prevented from violating the sanctity of the mosque. In essence, we want to enhance both a spiritual safety and public safety.

To further understand the impetus behind the campaign, we just need to look at the agendas of the supporters.  The Safe Spaces website includes several videos, the first of which is titled, “Online Radicalization: Myths and Realities” (2013) featuring:

  • Rabia Chaudry – Founder of the Safe Nation Collaborative, a training program for law enforcement and American Muslim communities. Former president of Muslim Coalition of Connecticut (MCCT) and former CAIR spokesperson.  She also has written in defense of CAIR.
  • Mohamed Elibiary – Founder of Lone Star Intelligence, LLC and listed as a Senior Fellow with the Homeland Security Advisory Council.  He was named in a PJ Media story by Patrick Poole for leaking sensitive intelligence reports to the media to push an islamaphobia story to the media.  The Dallas Morning News reported that in a letter, Elibiary defended the very anti-American and early Muslim Brotherhood leader/Islamic theorist Sayyid Qutb, stating: “I’d recommend everyone read Qutb, but read him with an eye to improving America not just to be jealous with malice in our hearts.”
  • Imam Suhaib Webb – currently with the Boston Islamic Society, Webb has very strong ties with the Muslim American Society (MAS)
  • Rashad Hussein – appointed U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation by President Obama, he has past ties with a number of MB organizations and called the  prosecution of terrorist financier Sami Al-Arian as being politically motivated.  He was one of six people named in a December 22, 2012 Egyptian magazine article that were Muslim Brotherhood operatives who enjoy strong influence over U.S. policy.  The article also named Mohammed Elibiary.

The second video, “Injustice Cannot Defeat Injustice” (2010) features appearances by:

  • Imam Suhaib Webb – see first video
  • Dr. Maher Hathout – founder and director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and co-founded the Islamic Center of Southern California.  His public statements have included support for Hezbollah terrorist acts.   He is also reported to be a member of the  Islamic Shura Council of Southern California (ISCSC), a part of the US Muslim Brotherhood.  This 2010 video shows CA Law Enforcement officials giving tribute to the ISCSC
  • Ihsan Bagby – A professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, he is also General Secretary of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA).  Bagby is a member of several U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the Fiqh Council of North America, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).  In March of this year, the The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch (GMBDW) reported that these groups of US Muslim organizations, will be part of formation of the newUS Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO).
  • Iman Mohamed Magid – President of the Islamic Society of North America, and Executive Director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS).  He was appointed in 2011 by President Obama to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Violent Extremism Working Group.  According to a 2012 PJ Media article by Patrick Poole, “Mohamed Magid is the Obama administration’s go-to guy for Muslim outreach and advise on international affairs and counterterrorism. ”  Magid was also instrumental in having DHS erase from the  “Countering Violent Extremism” curriculum, any suggestion that Muslim terrorism drew its inspiration from the laws and doctrines of Islam.
  • Iman Zaid Shakirs- A frequent speaker at CAIR,ISNA and MSA events.  According to a report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Shakirs, “… defends terrorist groups such as Hizballah and hopes for a day in which America is a Muslim country ruled by Islamic law” and he suggests that Zionists and the FBI were behind the 1993 Trade Center bombings.
  • Jamal Badawi – as noted by the GMBDW, Badawi is the leader in many of the most important Global Muslim Brotherhood organizations.  A  founding member of the Muslim American Society (MAS),  a 2004 Chicago Tribune story identified MAS as the Brotherhood’s U.S. organization.

*in watching this video, take note of the focus of Muslim “victimization”, especially after the 41 min mark.

The author of the “Safe Spaces Tool Kit” is Alejandro J. Beutel – the lead face in MPAC’s organized effort to move U.S. law enforcement towards a community oriented policing model that effectively allows the Muslim community to control the direction taken.   Mr. Beutel was a critic of theNYPD surveillance program that targeted New York City area mosques – the program was stopped this month.

In addition to working with MPAC, Mr. Beutel’s work history includes the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) and he was a junior fellow with the Minaret of Freedom Institute.  ISPU is basically a Muslim special interest group.  According to the GMBDW, “The Minaret of Freedom Institute [is] a lesser known group tied to the U.S Brotherhood and whose leadership includes Omar Altalib, likely a relative of Hisham Altalib, one of the original leaders of IIIT and the SAAR Foundation“.

In April 2010, MPAC published an expanded version of a preliminary November 2009 report,  Building Bridges to Strengthen America: Forging an Effective Counterterrorism Enterprise between Muslim Americans & Law Enforcement.   The author was Alejandro J. Beutel and the MPAC website describes it as:

“… outline a “blueprint” for how Muslim American communities – from a Muslim American perspective – can be an asset to national security. At the same time, this report also provides practical recommendations for law enforcement to uphold civil liberties while maintaining their effectiveness.”

In November 2010, Marylin Stern published a report analyzing  “Building Bridges” and MPAC’s related efforts,calling them a “Trojan horse” with a goal to negatively influence U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies operations.  Her report reads:

Like the Trojan horse of ancient Troy, MPAC provides cover for jihadists by obscuring the subversive agenda of Islamists like Maher Hathout, Salam al-Marayati, ISNA and CAIR. Upon closer examination, research supports the thesis that contrary to MPAC’s claim to uphold civil liberties, MPAC has exhibited a consistent hostility towards U.S. law enforcement to undermine effective counterterrorism initiatives by placing themselves between the Muslim community and law enforcement. Examples in this research paper have been supported by objective documentation, historical facts, and quotations from original sources to support the following:

1. MPAC’s deceptive propaganda as a civil liberties organization is a facade to subvert U.S. law enforcement in order to further the global Muslim Brotherhood goals to destroy the West from within.

2. MPAC is waging an influence operation to infiltrate and subvert U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies as evidenced by their self-designation as the only voice for the Muslim community.

3. Law enforcement needs to be better educated and informed of the historical philosophy, tactics and strategies of the Muslim Brotherhood in America in order to establish benchmarks identifying and marginalizing front group operations. MPAC’s report, Building Bridges to Strengthen America, Forging an Effective Counterterrorism Enterprise between Muslim Americans & Law Enforcement, does not support MPAC’s claim to be a “trusted resource for decision makers in government, media and policy institutions.” Law enforcement should carry out due diligence before “going a bridge too far.”

Now four years later,  The Safe Spaces initiative expands on MPAC’s “Building Bridges” adding several dangerous concepts:

  • A system where the mosque/Muslim community makes the determination of  threat levels and when law enforcement is allowed to be involved.
  • Establishing a Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the local community for special handling of Muslims (report page 75)
  • Providing for an area that is off-limits to law enforcement unless the Muslim community grants permission (report page 47)
  • Introducing the term “Takfirism” as the politically correct replacement for “violent jihad”, “Islamic terrorism”, etc. (report page 106)

 A year ago we made mention in “Boston Bombing: cue smoke and mirrors” that Muslim special interest groups would be using the Boston attack to their benefit, pointing out how following the 9/11/2001 attacks,  “Muslim activists earned influential positions on advisory boards at Justice and other government agencies promoting “sensitivity” based initiatives that gutted many anti-terror programs.

 

 

Unsafe Places: Islamist Mosques

mosque-American-flag-ReutersBreitbart, by FRANK J. GAFFNEY, JR.

The contempt that America’s enemies have for the United States these days is palpable. The most obvious current example is Vladimir Putin’s disdain for President Obama, whom he regards as little more than a speed-bump on the road to his conquest of Ukraine and perhaps other nations in what the Kremlin calls Russia’s “near-abroad.”

Not content with snatching Crimea and preparing reprises elsewhere, Putin has a jet buzz one of our ships in the Black Sea for ninety minutes then launches a new multiple-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile. By contrast, Team Obama is busily dismantling what’s left of our navy and strategic forces.

Then there’s the back of the hand treatment China showed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel when, during his recent visit to the People’s Republic, the Pentagon chief had the temerity to lecture his hosts about how to behave internationally. They took him to see their just-refurbished aircraft carrier and unveiled a new fighter aircraft to operate from it. The best Hagel could do was announce that the U.S. was going to respond to Beijing’s increasing belligerence in the region by sending there a grand total of two more anti-missile destroyers–by 2017.

A more subtle, but no less in-your-face kind of contempt has just been served up by Muslim Brotherhood operatives and other Islamists in this country.

To mark the occasion of the first anniversary of two of their fellow jihadists’ murderous attack at the Boston Marathon, the leaders of several Brotherhood fronts have launched something called the “Safe Spaces Initiative.” They evidently think we are so stupid, or at least now so submissive, that they can try to put mosques off-limits to law enforcement. This is all the more astounding since we know that the perpetrators of the terrorism of a year ago used the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge to become versed in the ways of the supremacist Islamist doctrine known as shariah and the jihad it commands.

A chief proponent of this Safe Spaces gambit is Salam al-Marayati, the president of an Islamist influence operation out of California with extensive access to the Obama administration, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). In an opinion piece posted by altmuslim blog on March 28, al-Marayati actually makes plain the true purpose of his Safe Spaces Initiative.

Notwithstanding the portrayal of this proposal as a means of preventing radicalization in mosques, in the words of al-Marayati: “Safe spaces are needed so that government informants and extremist recruiters are prevented from violating the sanctity of the mosque. In essence, we want to enhance both a spiritual safety and public safety.” (Emphasis added.)

Unfortunately, the latest announcement by William Bratton–the former police commissioner recently re-appointed by New York’s new, Islamist-friendly mayor, Bill de Blasio–would sure seem to justify the Brothers’ low regard for us. As the New York Timesreported today “The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods….Plainclothes detectives looked for ‘hot spots’ of radicalization that might give the police an early warning about terrorist plots.”

The Times quoted the NYPD’s chief spokesman, Stephen Davis, who made clear the completeness of the department’s submission to the Islamists who style themselves as the “leaders” and “representatives” of all Muslim Americans: “‘Understanding certain local demographics can be a useful factor when assessing the threat information that comes into New York City virtually on a daily basis,” Mr. Davis said. “In the future, we will gather that information, if necessary, through direct contact between the police precincts and the representatives of the communities they serve.”

I discussed the folly of making mosques surveillance-free zones in an interview on Secure Freedom Radio this evening with former federal prosecutor and best-selling author Andrew C. McCarthy. Here’s part of our conversation (for the entire podcast, click here):

FRANK GAFFNEY: The Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who’s a Muslim Brother fellow-traveller jihadist type, has a rather poetic turn of phrase for it. He says, “The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks, and the faithful our army.” And, Andy, this gives rise to a concern that I’m sure you share about an initiative that some of these Muslim Brotherhood types, notably Mohamed Magid, the president of the largest Muslim Brotherhood front in the United States, the Islamic Society of North America–and, oh, by the way, a frequent visitor at the Obama White House and prominent source of counsel to him and others in his Administration–

ANDY MCCARTHY: And another unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation.

FG: Indeed. These guys have cooked up something called the “Safe Spaces Initiative.” I wonder what you make of that idea, particularly as it seems their purpose is to, as one of them put it, “keep government informants…from violating the sanctity of the mosque.”

AM: Yeah, well, you know, it’s unfortunate that with this particular Justice Department and this Administration they’re probably pushing on an open door.

FG: It’s probably a wired game, let’s be honest. These guys have almost certainly got this rigged with the Justice Department.

AM: But the amazing thing is for all of Obama and Eric Holder’s caterwauling about, you know, how we’ve proved again and again that the civilian justice system is the best way to prosecute terrorism cases–well, why don’t they ever check into what was proved in those prosecutions that they like to tout around? Because if they open the transcripts…what they would find is that mosques were used as recruitment centers, they were used for conspiratorial conversations and agreements, they were used to house weapons, they were used to transfer weapons, and they really were used to light a fire under people who might have been fence-sitters but who were powerfully influenced by some of the imams, particularly the guy who I prosecuted in the 1990s, the Blind Sheikh.

It was in the mosques that [Omar Abdel-Rahman] did most of the damage that he did to the United States. So this is not something we speculate about, Frank. This is something that’s actually been proved in court, and proved again and again and again. So, if you’re going to say that a mosque needs to be a safe space, then what you’re really saying is we’ve taken willful blindness, which was a problem, and we’ve now codified it, so it’s not just willful blindness; it’s just mulish, absolute refusal to come to terms with what we’re up against.

FG: Yeah. And to speak to the other subject of your trilogy there, it is a formula for more of the grand jihad, not less. It is a certainty that you will find more Tsarnaev boys being recruited, or being trained, or being armed, or in other ways being enabled. It simply is mindboggling, Andy, and I think the American people couldn’t comprehend what’s going on here, or believe it if told it.

We can’t afford more of the sort of willful blindness that will give rise to more unsafe mosques and other places, and more jihad.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. formerly acted as an Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan.  He is President of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for Breitbart News Network and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio. 

MAS Islamist Hugs for Hatred and Terror

farrBy Joe Kaufman:

It’s said that you wouldn’t want to wish serious illness on your worst enemy. Well, in December 2010, such an illness did indeed come to one of America’s worst enemies, Muslim extremist Mahdi Bray. Bray, then-Executive Director of the MAS Freedom Foundation, the former activist arm of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood front, the Muslim American Society, suffered what was described as a “massive stroke.” Now, three years later, he is back doing what he does best, embracing hatemongers and getting involved in the pro-terror cause.

Johari Abdul-Malik is the Outreach Director of Falls Church, Virginia’s Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center. He was brought in to head the mosque, after his predecessor, Anwar al-Awlaki, left the United States to become al-Qaeda’s leader in Yemen. Since Abdul-Malik has been employed by al-Hijrah, he has supported and/or defended a number of convicted terrorists, including one that plotted to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah; one that plotted to assassinate President George W. Bush; and one who instructed his followers to wage war on the United States.

Abdul-Malik has a YouTube page, where he actively uploads videos. On September 25, he uploaded a 28-second one featuring himself and the Executive Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Salam al-Marayati. Marayati, who is close to the Obama White House, is a defender of Hezbollah and has previously suggested that Israel be named a suspect in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

However, the main event of Abdul-Malik’s video short was Mahdi Bray and Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI), hugging and professing their love for one another.

Farrakhan is known for his inflammatory rhetoric against whites, Jews and homosexuals. He has called whites “potential humans [who] haven’t evolved yet.” He has referred to Jews as “satanic” and “wicked.” And he has called gays “degenerate.” Farrakhan’s group currently publishes a number of anti-Semitic books and DVDs for sale on its website, including such titles as ‘And the Jews Planned’ and ‘Jews Selling Blacks.’

The scene from the video is not the first time Bray has embraced such a vile individual as Farrakhan. In March 2009, a photo of Ahmed Yassin, the former spiritual leader and founder of Hamas who was killed in an Israeli airstrike, was uploaded to Bray’s personal web page found on what used to be a MAS Freedom website. [The MAS Freedom organization was shut down shortly after Bray’s stroke.]

The Muslim American Society was founded in 1992 by associates from the Muslim Brotherhood, including Mohammed Mahdi Akef, who would later become the international head of the Brotherhood. Given the radical roots of the organization, it stands to reason that Bray would cling to such extremism – as he did last month, when he attended an event sponsored by a group advocating for the restoration of the regime of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi in Egypt. Morsi was taken from power by the Egyptian Military, which has since outlawed the Brotherhood, designating the Islamist group a terrorist organization.

As reported by Steve Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), also attending was ex-USF professor Sami al-Arian, who previously had been sentenced to prison for his role as a North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and is currently under a separate indictment for criminal contempt in another terrorism case.

Read more at Front Page

 

 

MPAC Denounces Extremism Yet Sponsors Extremist Event

MPAC al-Maryati

The Muslim Public Affairs Council’s “Declaration Against Extremism” belies its actions, which are more important.

By Ryan Mauro:

On Friday, the Muslim Public Affairs Council issued a Declaration Against Extremism. Only six days prior, MPAC announced it was “proud to be a cosponsor” of an Islamist conference in California run by a group with a background filled with the type of extremism MPAC purports to stand against.

MPAC is a group with Muslim Brotherhood origins and a long historyof advancing the Islamist cause. It changed its tone in recent years, but the same leadership is in place. At its 12th annual conference, MPAC founder and Senior Advisor Maher Hathout said, “We don’t want to enforce Sharia anywhere” and that Sharia’s penal code is unsuitable for today’s world.

MPAC also stood out as the only major group with a Brotherhood background to support the revolution that toppled Egyptian President Morsi over the summer. The other major Muslim-American groups with Brotherhood links were silent or rallied for Morsi.

“We rejoice and celebrate the victory of the Egyptian people against the exploitation of religion to suppress the masses and rob them of their God-given freedom and dignity,” MPAC’s July 3 statement reads.

Its new “Declaration Against Extremism” is another step that makes today’s MPAC seem different than the MPAC of the past. Unfortunately, the hope that MPAC has evolved in a positive direction is undermined by its proud cosponsoring of the inaugural conference of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP).

The theme of the AMP event is “A Movement United” and it took place on December 7 at the South Coast Chinese Cultural Center. The movement that AMP is a part of is undeniably Islamist.

Shortly before the MPAC-sponsored event, AMP held a large conference on Thanksgiving Weekend in Illinois. The speaker roster consisted largely of vocal Islamists, including supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. This was not new for AMP: Last year’s conference had at least 13 Islamist speakers.

The December 7 event was also sponsored by the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. Another sponsor was the Muslim American Society, which federal prosecutors say was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”

Read more at Clarion Project

 

Interfaith Event Teaches That U.S. Is ‘Aiding’ Oppression

mpacBy Ryan Mauro:

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) returned to All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California on May 5 to address the topic of radicalization in the wake of the Boston bombings. The church leader said there is a “crisis” of “Islamophobia” in America. MPAC denounced violence but said terrorism is a response to the U.S. “aiding and abetting oppression” at the behest of the military-industrial complex.

At the May 5 event, church leader Rev. Ed Bacon said that he “literally had my life changed and my thinking changed because of these two leaders,” referring to MPAC leaders Maher Hathout and Salam al-Marayati. He went so far as to say that the Islamic Center of Southern California, where Hathout is a spokesman and Muslim Brotherhood texts are used, is “my mosque.”

At the event, both MPAC leaders denounced terrorism and said Muslims must provide a counter-narrative to the violent themes that radicalize. Hathout said that too many Muslims are “soft” in confronting the radical ideas and have a “gang” mentality where they automatically side with other Muslims against non-Muslims.

However, Hathout said America is run by an elite minority beholden to lobbyists. He said that American democracy is threatened by “Islamophobia”  driven by supremacists who believe “the other” doesn’t deserve equal rights.

Al-Marayati rightly pointed out that there is an ideological struggle and reform in Islamic teaching is needed, but attributed the conflict to anger over the aggression of America and its allies.

“When a superpower is aiding and abetting oppression and there are grievances, and people react in a violent way, they [Americans] look at the violence and they say it is not time to deal with the grievances,” he said.

He claimed that there is a “cottage industry” of anti-Muslim activists that is part of a “larger machine,” including the military-industrial complex and special interests. These conspirators “want more contracts for more weapons to countries that only use these weapons against their own people or against civilians.”

MPAC held its last annual conference at this church, where Reverend Ed Bacon denounced “evangelical Zionism” as an evil on par with slavery. The church and MPAC held a press conference to declare their critics “right-wing extremists” who are “hateful.”

The critics noted that MPAC was founded by Muslim Brotherhood ideologues, including Senior Adviser Maher Hathout’s brother who was a “close disciple” of the group’s founder, Hassan al-Banna. Maher Hathout says he remains “very proud” of his time in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, but emphasizes it was 60 years ago. His brother said they came to the U.S. to spread the “Islamic Movement” of al-Banna.

After coming to America, one or both of the Hathout brothers was connected to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, as a 1989 document shows. MPAC has maintained a close alliance with U.S. Brotherhood entities ever since. In 1997, Maher Hathout promoted Hassan al-Banna as one of the “reformists,” along with other Islamists like Rachid al-Ghannouchi, who MPAC still hosts. In 1998 and 1999, he and al-Marayati legitimized Hezbollah’s attacks on Israeli soldiers.

In 2000, Hathout said a “general intifada” would overthrow Arab governments guilty of “treason” for not confronting the “butchers” of Israel. Around this time, MPAC started becoming more conscious of the language it was using. Hathout said he regretted the “harshness of my remarks” when they received negative attention, but not the message. Tellingly, a radical named Mahdi Bray continued to serve as MPAC’s Political Director.

Read more at Front Page

Egyptian Press Confirms Washington Infiltrated By Islamists

540899_470071789716759_1017041386_nBy Paul Sperry, Investor’s Business Daily

The radical Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t just threaten Israel and Mideast peace. According to the Egyptian press, several of its operatives have infiltrated the U.S. government and are influencing policy here.

The respected Egyptian magazine Rose al-Youssef has identified at least six Brotherhood-tied agents of influence who have worked into positions inside the Obama administration.

The weekly publication, founded in 1925, said the operatives have turned the White House “from a position hostile to Islamic groups and organizations in the world to the largest and most important supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood,” an Egyptian-based jihadist movement that supports Hamas and al-Qaida.

President Obama backed the Brotherhood’s takeover of Egypt and has courted its front groups in America. Secret Service records show their representatives making hundreds of visits to the White House since 2009.

“The Brotherhood in America is committed to destroying the West from within,” former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy told IBD, citing secret documents unearthed by the FBI after 9/11. “It has spent half a century building a considerable infrastructure here,” largely with Saudi funding.

“Unfortunately,” he added, “our government has done much to empower the Brotherhood’s American network under the guise of ‘Islamic outreach.'”

The lengthy Rose al-Youssef article, translated from Arabic by the Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism, is largely unsourced.

But ex-FBI agents who have investigated the Brotherhood’s influence operations inside the U.S. confirm some of those named in the story have come under scrutiny. They include:

•  Mohamed Elibiary, a Homeland Security adviser who came under congressional fire for improperly accessing a federal database. The Egyptian magazine says he’s helped shape the administration’s counterterror strategy, including censoring FBI training materials dealing with jihad.

It also alleges he helped draft Obama’s remarks calling for former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave power. Mubarak had banned the Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

  Rashad Hussain, former White House lawyer and now Obama’s special envoy to the Muslim world. Hussain, who has defended convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian and other U.S. Brotherhood leaders, helped draft Obama’s conciliatory speech in Cairo, where he invited banned Brotherhood leaders.

•  Arif Alikhan, former assistant Homeland Security secretary for policy development and now a distinguished visiting professor of homeland security and counterterrorism at the National Defense University. As a Los Angeles city official, Alikhan worked with the Brotherhood-tied Muslim Public Affairs Council to derail police efforts to monitor radical mosques.

•  Imam Mohamed Magid, another Homeland Security adviser, who heads the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA, a Brotherhood front named by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal plot to raise millions for Hamas.

imagesCAC3TJLDLongtime ISNA board member Sayyid Syeed is captured in a new documentary, “The Grand Deception,” saying to fellow American Muslims: “Our job is to change the Constitution of America.”

Brotherhood agents posing as “moderate” Muslim leaders — such as now-jailed al-Qaida fundraiser Abdurahman Alamoudi — have successfully infiltrated previous administrations. But law enforcement officials say Brotherhood infiltration is more extensive and alarming under Obama.

“The level of penetration in the last three administrations is deep,” former FBI special agent John Guandolo said. “For this president, it even goes back to his campaign with Muslim Brotherhood folks working with him then.”

Equally alarming, he says, the group also has placed several operatives and sympathizers within the U.S. military, further threatening national security. Guandolo says the government has ID’d hundreds of Brotherhood and Hamas fronts inside the U.S. but has shut down only a few due to political pressures.

“The Muslim Brotherhood controls about 500 organizations that are overt NGOs,” he said. “That means they’re running thousands of covert organizations we don’t know about and nobody’s monitoring.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, has called for an investigation of the network and its influence on the federal government, particularly related to its support for the new Cairo regime.

Egyptian Magazine: Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrates Obama Administration

imagesCAB3TRO7IPT: by John Rossomando  •  Jan 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

An Egyptian magazine claims that six American Islamist activists who work with the Obama administration are Muslim Brotherhood operatives who enjoy strong influence over U.S. policy.

Exposed Islamist Group Scrambles

Picture-32 By Ryan Mauro

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) held a press conference on December 6 about “right-wing extremists” in response to my article originally published here criticizing the All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena for hosting its convention. MPAC founder and senior adviser Maher Hathout admitted to having been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but said the relationship ended when he moved to the U.S. and he is on the side of the Egyptian opposition to Mohammed Morsi.

The press conference’s speakers relentlessly bashed the raising of legitimate concerns about MPAC as “Islamophobia,” hate-mongering and bigotry. The Center for American Progress report “Fear Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” was made available for attendees. Rector Ed Bacon said the church received dozens of hate-filled emails, resulting in sympathetic media coverage.

“Kudos to All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena and MPAC for the promotional savvy to exploit a handful of negative emails into a major media story showcasing their supposed victimhood,” said Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which sponsored the original article. His organization was the only one directly attacked in the press conference.

Maher Hathout said that he is “very proud” of his work with the Muslim Brotherhood “student movement” against the Nazis and British, but never dealt with any organization outside the U.S. since coming to the country about 40 years ago. In our debate the day prior, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati repeatedly slammed mentions of a Brotherhood connection to his group as “lies” rooted in hatred. When I challenged MPAC to take an active stand against the Brotherhood, Al-Marayati said it was a “ridiculous suggestion” and “it’s not worth our time.”

Hathout said that he is against the anti-democratic “trend” in Egypt and is on the side of the opposition.  He still took a soft view of the Brotherhood, saying its “work is changing” and its critics “freeze a point in history and think this is the whole story.”

MPAC was created to advance the Brotherhood ideology. The late Hassan Hathout, former MPAC President and Maher’s brother, said that they came to the U.S. to start the “Islamic Movement” inspired by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood. He described himself as a “close disciple” of al-Banna. A 1989 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Financial Committee document talks about working with someone named Hathout “in the field,” demonstrating that the Brotherhood had ties to at least one of the Hathout brothers after they arrived. MPAC has long collaborated with known U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities, as identified in the Brotherhood’s own documents, FBI investigators and the federal government during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation.

The privately expressed views of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood match the publicly expressed views of Hassan Hathout. A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood document says, “its work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” In 1997, Hathout said the U.S. needs the “Islamic Movement” because “If you look objectively you will see that this current civilization harbors in its body the seeds of its own destruction.”

Maher Hathout says he did not continue working with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood after he came to the U.S., but the Brotherhood is more than a political party. It is a movement based on Islamist ideology. In 1997, he praised Hassan al-Banna and two other Brotherhood-allied Islamists, Rashid Ghannouchi and Hasan al-Turabi, as “reformists.” Remember that when MPAC boasts that it is a voice of “reform.” Ghannouchi spoke at an MPAC event in 2011. Hathout is the spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California, which still suggests Brotherhood texts on Islamic law on its website.

A 2004 investigation into the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood by the Chicago Tribune makes this point. An official with the Muslim American Society admitted that it was created by the Muslim Brotherhood, but explained that it “went way beyond that point of conception.” It is not administrated by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood but it follows its teachings. “We are not your typical Ikhwan [Brotherhood],” he explained.

This Islamist influence is apparent in MPAC’s history. In 1998, Maher Hathout said of Hezbollah: “I disagree with them on other issues, but on the issue of fighting to liberate their land and attacking only armed forces, this is legitimate, that is an American value — freedom and liberty.” In 1999, Salam al-Marayati said Hezbollah engages in “legitimate resistance.”

Read more at Front Page

Muslim Public Affairs Council Debates RadicalIslam.org

MPAC's President Salam Al-Marayati (l) and RadicalIslam.org's Natioanl Security Analyst Rayn Mauro

MPAC’s President Salam Al-Marayati (l) and RadicalIslam.org’s Natioanl Security Analyst Rayn Mauro

by: Ryan Mauro

Yesterday, RadicalIslam.org National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro debated the President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Salam Al-Marayati on Airtalk about his article on the group’s holding of its convention inside the All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena, C.A. MPAC is also holding a press conference about the “right wing extremists” criticizing the church.

The press release failed to address a single fact in the article. In his discussion with Mauro, Al-Marayati repeatedly accused Mauro and RadicalIslam.org of lying, bigotry and hatred without offering a substantive rebuttal to the facts we presented.

Al-Marayati denied that the MPAC is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and said it does not accept foreign money “even though foreign groups offered it to us.” He also claimed that he is not seeking to convert anyone to Islam because “we have more than enough Muslims.”

You can listen to the debate by clicking here.

When Mauro challenged MPAC to unequivocally condemn and stand against the Muslim Brotherhood as a way of improving the image of the Muslim-American community, Al-Marayati called it a “ridiculous suggestion.”  He said, “You want us to get into a political fight with these [Islamist] groups, it’s not worth our time…We are speaking to the masses.”

While MPAC is quick to condemn its opponents as “right-wing extremists,” its website does not condemn the Muslim Brotherhood as hundreds of thousands of Egyptians protest against it. Al-Marayati made a number of demonstrably false and misleading statements about MPAC on the radio show:

Claim: “[MPAC Founder Maher Hathout] has never said and I challenge anyone to come up with a statement or anything in any meeting or gathering that we are for the Muslim Brotherhood. It has never been stated.”

Maher Hathout, who Al-Marayati calls “the father of the Muslim-American identity,” has praised Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna as a “reformer.” He is a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California, which he and his brother founded and MPAC originated in. The mosque recommends a book on Sharia Law titled Fiqh us-Sunnah by Sayyid Saabiq, a Muslim Brotherhood member working under the guidance of Al-Banna. It also recommends a book by senior Brotherhood cleric Shiekh Yousef Al-Qaradawi.

Hassan Hathout, former MPAC President and Maher’s brother, describes himself as a “close disciple of the late Hassan Al-Banna of Egypt” in their 1989 book. He says that Al-Banna is “the person who most influenced my life” and “centuries might roll over before a similar personality is produced.”

Before coming to the U.S., the Hathout brothers were arrested in Egypt, which banned the Muslim Brotherhood. Hassan Hathout strongly suggested that it was their involvement with the group that led to their detainment, saying, “Long after Hassan Al-Banna, when Egypt had been through the Revolution and the new Regime, but Islam was always considered an enemy. We were persecuted; we were in jail, including my brother and myself.”

The two came to the U.S. in the years following Maher’s release from an Egyptian prison in 1968. Hassan said they sought to start the “Islamic Movement” in the U.S., which is the term that the Brotherhood uses to describe its work and that of fellow Islamists. He explained in 1997, “America needs Islam. If you look objectively you will see that this current civilization harbors in its body the seeds of its own destruction.”

The language mirrors that of an internal U.S. Muslim Brotherhood document from 1991 that describes “its work in America as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” The battle, the Brotherhood wrote in its private communications, was a “civilization jihad.” A 1989 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Financial Committee document discusses working with someone by the name of Hathout that is “in the field.”

Claim: “There’s never been any mention of the Muslim Brotherhood since the inception of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is mentioned in MPAC’s policy paper, Building Bridges to Strengthen America. It states that “Conservative groups like the Muslim Brotherhood pose long-term strategic threats to violent extremists by siphoning Muslims away from violent radicalism into peaceful political activism.”

The paper also depicts the Brotherhood as an effective counter to Al-Qaeda and cites an article titled, “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood.” The depiction of the Brotherhood is wholly positive.

MPAC’s former Political Director Mahdi Bray went to Egypt in 2007 to, in the words of an Egyptian news site, “express solidarity with Muslim Brotherhood detainees on trial before a military court and to call for an end to the crackdown on the Egyptian opposition.”

Claim: “We are the ones that are your hope in terms of reforming the Muslim world … [to] bring that moderate voice up.”

MPAC upholds Brotherhood-linked Islamists as “moderates” and “reformists,” putting this statement in a different light. As mentioned, it depicts the Brotherhood as a moderate group and Hassan Al-Banna as a reformist.

Read more at Radical Islam

Criticism Mounts Over State Envoy

BY: October 5, 2012 1:48 pm

Jewish leaders expressed outrage Friday over the State Department’s praise for, and defense of, a controversial Muslim leader who has defended terrorist groups and suggested that Israel may have been responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Salam al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was picked to represent the United States government at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) annual 10-day human rights conference, the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM).

Al-Marayati’s well-known anti-Israel bona fides prompted Jewish leaders and others to express outrage over the Obama administration’s selection.

“It is regrettable that someone with such distorted, conspiratorial views—even with a lackluster apology—is delegated by our government to represent our country abroad,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement to the Free Beacon.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, argued that the State Department is showing inconsistency by touting an individual who has defended the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas, both of which are designated by the U.S. as terrorist organizations.

“One would assume that individuals selected to represent the United States at an international human rights conclave would share our government’s longstanding policy that Hamas and Hezbollah are dangerous terrorist organizations,” Cooper told the Free Beacon. “But Mr. Salam al-Marayati and his organization are long-time advocates that these deadly terror groups be removed from the U.S. terrorist list.”

“With terrorism continuing to roil the Middle East,” Cooper added, “the question is why the U.S. State Department would say he is ‘highly credible’?”

Read more

See previous post: Anti-Israel Advocate Reps U.S. at Rights Conference

Daniel Pipes: MPAC Calls Me an “Expert on Islam”

MPAC’s Salam al-Marayati

Daniel Pipes:

Why thank you, Muslim Public Affairs Council, for this endorsement. It’s much appreciated, even if came in a 65-page pamphlet, Not Qualified: Exposing the Deception Behind America’s 25 Top Pseudo-Experts on Islam.

According to MPAC, a leading Islamist group based in Los Angeles, those 25 would be Andrew Bostom, William Boykin, Stephen Coughlin, Nonie Darwish, Steven Emerson, Brigitte Gabriel, Frank Gaffney, David Gaubatz, William Gawthrop, Pamela Geller, John Giduck, Sebastian Gorka, John Guandolo, Tawfik Hamid, David Horowitz, Raymond Ibrahim, Zuhdi Jasser, Andrew McCarthy, Walid Phares, Patrick Poole, Walid Shoebat, Robert Spencer, Erick Stakelback, David Yerushalmi … and me.

The gravamen of MPAC’s analysis is that members of this group overwhelmingly are not what it calls experts on Islam, where this term is defined as

[A]n individual who has formal academic qualifications in Islamic Studies from an accredited institute of higher education in the West or those institutes of higher education in Muslim-majority countries that rank among the world’s top 500 universities. In order to be classified as “expert”, as defined above, one’s credentials must also be publicly verifiable.

According to MPAC, “Of the 25 people examined, only 1 (4%) had the qualifications to be considered an ‘expert’ on Islam.” That 4% would be me. In another place, MPAC contradicts itself and allows that Raymond Ibrahim also has “the formal and verifiable academic credentials to be classified as an expert.” Even more contradictorily, as the pamphlet title implies, MPAC says I am a “pseudo-expert” expert on Islam.

My first question is, why does MPAC choose individuals who make no claim to expertise in Islam (such as John Giduck and David Horowitz), but exclude critics with academic credentials in Islamic studies, such as Fouad Ajami, David Cook, David Forte, Efraim Karsh, Martin Kramer, Bernard Lewis, Michael Rubin, Philip Salzman, and Kemal Silay?

My main objection is to the emphasis on credentials. The field of Middle East studies demonstrates only too-colorfully that possessing a PhD does not guarantee competence. Sadly, it’s almost the opposite.

It’s not where a person went to school in his twenties, the languages he knows, or his years living abroad that matters but the capabilities, knowledge, energy, and intelligence he subsequently displays. Speaking as someone who has the requisite degrees, languages, and years abroad, I despise this self-serving emphasis on academic pedigree which would exclude non-PhDs from commenting on things Muslim.

A number of individuals on the MPAC list of 24 have made real contributions. Take the example of Robert Spencer: he has a mere M.A. in religious studies, lacks fluency in Middle Eastern languages, and has not lived in a Muslim-majority country, to be sure, but he has developed a deep erudition on Islam demonstrated in his many books. Indeed, I challenge MPAC to put him toe-to-toe with any PhD’d expert on Islam of its choosing. I nominate that foremost credentialist, John Esposito, for the job.

(Amusingly, by insisting that only those with a degree in Islamic studies may comment on Islam and Muslims, MPAC has just fired its own staff. Its leader, Salam al-Marayati has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and a graduate degree in business administration. And yet MPAC mires itself in deep Islamic issues.)

Read more

Change in Tone or Tactic?

IPT News :

When Muslim mobs rioted in protest of the Danish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad in 2006, American Islamists were critical of the violence, but made a point of giving as much attention to their offense at the cartoons themselves.