EXCLUSIVE: Huma Abedin Email Attacked Jewish Group Photo of Richard Pollock RICHA

Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin (Reuters photo)

Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin (Reuters photo)

Daily Caller, by Richard Pollack, October, 5, 2016:

Huma Abedin, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s closest aide, urged former President Bill Clinton in 2009 to reject a speaking invitation before the American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC), asking his assistant in an email, do “u really want to consider sending him into that crowd?”

Abedin’s comment about “that crowd” has sparked anger and consternation among Jewish and non-Jewish leaders who consider it hostile to Jews and to the State of Israel. Her comments are raising uncomfortable questions about Abedin’s past and her family’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Appalling” is how Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, described the email, adding that it, “shows hostility toward Jews and Israel in light of the fact that ‘that crowd’ gives huge ovations to White House speakers.”

Klein pointed to the Abedin family’s ties to a radical Islamic group, saying, “it makes me think about the allegations about her parents and other family members who were associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes called Abedin’s comment “disdainful” of AIPAC. He also noted her past association with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Abedin’s disdainful comment about AIPAC as ‘that crowd’ could derive from her Muslim or her leftist identity – or both,” Pipes told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Andrew McCarthy, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who led the prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and others for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, told TheDCNF Abedin’s background raised security concerns.

“During Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, some of us pointed out that Abedin’s background raised concerns about Islamist sympathies and unfitness for a security clearance that gave her access to top-secret intelligence,” McCarthy said.

Abedin was raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by fundamentalist Muslim parents who ran the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. The journal was published by Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, which was founded by her father Syed Abedin. Abedin remained on the masthead as an editor of the journal for 12 years until she entered the Department of State with Clinton in 2009.

Critics noted her father’s main benefactor was Abdullah Omar Naseef, secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL). The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Rabita Trust, a subsidiary of the MWL, as a terrorist entity. Osama bin Laden credited MWL as a funding source after the 9/11 attacks.

Abedin has kept her personal political views to herself. Accusations of anti-Semitism were blunted by her marriage to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is Jewish. That marriage is ending after Weiner was caught multiple times sexting online, most recently while sitting next to his son.

The issue of AIPAC’s interest in Bill Clinton’s attendance was raised in two sets of emails, all dated Sept. 10, 2009.

The State Department released them Sept. 21, 2016, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the conservative advocacy group Citizens United.

The AIPAC issue was raised by Doug Band, who was Bill Clinton’s White House “body man.” Band now boasts on his corporate web site that he was “the key architect of Clinton’s post-Presidency” and created and built the Clinton Global Initiative that critics link to corrupt “pay to play” deals with overseas corporations, wealthy individuals and foreign governments.

Band also was recently credited with securing access of Clinton Foundation donors to Hillary Clinton. Band is now the chairman of Teneo, a company that has been dubbed “Clinton, Inc.” Abedin was senior adviser to Teneo while she was serving as deputy chief of staff for Hillary Clinton.

Abedin’s special status allowing her to draw paychecks from the government and Teneo is being investigated by Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

In a Sept. 10, 2009, email, Band told Cheryl Mills and Abedin that Bill Clinton was reluctant to attend the AIPAC Jewish forum, stating, “Aipac begging for wjc to come speak at conference.  He doesn’t think he should unless you all do.”

Mills, Hillary’s chief of staff, told Band the final decision was up to Hillary Clinton and she would touch base with her. As Mills sought that answer, Abedin comments, “U really want to consider sending him into that crowd?”

An apparently impatient Band pointedly asked, “Go or not go?”

Abedin finally responds: “No go to aipac.”

It’s unclear from the email exchange why they wanted to skip the AIPAC meeting. Bill Clinton twice addressed AIPAC in the 1990s as president. Hillary Clinton spoke before AIPAC in 2010 after her husband was asked to address the group.

Bill Clinton attended the funeral for Israeli leader Shimon Peres last week, but in years past, Bill Clinton has expressed more sympathy for the Palestinians than Israelis.

“I will never forget what it taught me about your suffering, your history of dispossession and dispersal, but also about your resilience and courage,” he said in an open letter to the Palestinian people on Jan. 19, 2001, the day he left the White House.

He also released a statement to the Israelis. Here, however, he counseled “compromise” rather than empathy: “Compromise is often difficult and always painful. But the people and leaders of the region must understand that to seek a peace without compromise is not to seek peace at all.”

A spokesman for AIPAC declined to address the email. The Clinton campaign did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

Why did feds grant immunity to Hillary’s ‘highly improper’ aide?

Cheryl Mills and Hillary Clinton Photo: AP; Reuters

Cheryl Mills and Hillary Clinton Photo: AP; Reuters

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, Sept. 24, 2016:

If anyone would know Hillary consigliere Cheryl Mills’ reputation for obstructing investigations, it’s FBI Director James Comey. He complained about her lack of cooperation while probing Clinton scandals in the 1990s. Yet he agreed to give Mills immunity from prosecution in his probe of Hillary’s illegal e-mails as secretary of state, where Mills was chief of staff.

As a Whitewater investigator for the Senate in the mid-1990s, Comey sought information from Mills; but wouldn’t you know, the then-deputy White House counsel claimed a burglar stole her notes.

Comey concluded that Hillary Clinton ordered Mills to block investigators. The obstruction, the Senate committee found, included the “destruction of documents” and other “highly improper . . . misconduct.”

Two years later, Mills was in the middle of another Hillary scandal, involving the then-first lady’s integration of White House and Democratic National Committee computer databases.

This time the House subpoenaed information from Mills, who not only withheld the documents but, a government committee said, “lied under oath” — prompting staff lawyers to send a criminal referral to the Justice Department demanding prosecutors charge Mills with obstruction of justice and perjury.

In 2000, a Commerce Department official testified that Mills ordered her to “withhold” from investigators e-mails and other documents exposing yet another scandal involving the first lady — the selling of seats on foreign trade junkets for campaign cash.

At the same time, a federal judge suggested Mills helped orchestrate a cover-up that blamed a technical “glitch” in the White House archiving system that conveniently resulted in the loss of 1.8 million e-mails under subpoena in the Monica Lewinsky, Filegate and other scandal investigations.

Fast-forward to Hillary’s tenure as secretary. In October 2012, Mills sorted through key Benghazi documents and decided which to withhold from a review board. She also leaned on witnesses. Deputy ambassador to Libya Gregory Hicks testified before Congress in 2013 that Mills told him in an angry phone call to stop cooperating with investigators.

The FBI chief was fully aware of Mills’ M.O. when he launched his investigation. Yet even after discovering she was in the middle of everything improper, if not illegal, he treated her with kid gloves.

Comey knew it was Mills who had Hillary’s e-mails moved off her private unsecured server and onto laptops, where she decided which ones were government-related and OK for public release and which were “personal.” He knew it was Mills who shredded the e-mails that were printed out and who had the rest of the 31,000 e-mails deleted, and then had the laptops bleached clean.

And he knew it was Mills who told the Denver tech who maintained the server to stop retaining her e-mails and to delete Hillary’s archived e-mails, all of which the tech dutifully performed after Congress subpoenaed them and ordered them preserved.

Even so, Comey agreed to grant Mills immunity in exchange for her cooperation in the investigation. He also agreed to ground rules that left some lines of inquiry off-limits. When agents in April tried to pin her down on the procedures she used to search for Hillary’s e-mails under order, she and her lawyer stormed out of the room. So much for Comey’s cooperative witness.

Mills claimed such information was protected under “attorney-client privilege,” which is ridiculous. Mills was chief of staff for Hillary, not her lawyer, at the time Hillary was bypassing government security and squirreling away state secrets in her basement.

And even though Mills deleted the records after she left State and was supposedly acting as Hillary’s attorney then, privilege does not apply when a client seeks advice on how to commit a crime and the crime is committed.

Yet Comey’s agents abided by her claim and never pursued the line of questioning again. In effect, they gave her a pass on the whole question of the criminal obstruction behind which she looks to be the mastermind. And then, three months later, they let her sit in on Hillary’s interview even though Hillary was represented by attorney David Kendall!

Mills should be dragged before Congress to publicly answer questions the FBI refused to ask her. But she would just lie with impunity like she did in her past testimony involving other Hillary scandals.

Rather, it would be more productive to grill Comey under the klieg lights. Why did he give a key suspect who orchestrated the destruction of government records immunity as a witness? Why didn’t he demand prosecutors convene a grand jury to question Mills under oath? Was he pressured by the attorney general?

Sweating Mills could have cracked the case wide open. No one would have ever let H.R. Haldeman get away with editing the Nixon tapes. Why would the FBI director let Hillary’s chief of staff get away with deleting her e-mails?

Paul Sperry is author of “The Great American Bank Robbery,” which exposes the role of race-based Clinton housing policies in the mortgage bust.

Also see:

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Chelsea Bomber Is ‘A Man Who Has Taken Sides in a War,’ Not ‘Just Another Criminal’

Fox News/Screengrab

Fox News/Screengrab

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 23, 2016:

Breitbart News National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, addressed the idea of treating Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami as an enemy combatant, rather than a criminal, in a Fox News appearance.

“I think it’s very compelling to make an argument that this isn’t just another criminal,” Gorka told host Neil Cavuto. “This isn’t a member of the Mafia, this isn’t a bank robber. This is a man who has taken sides in a war, and he is on the side of an enemy entity – in this case, the Islamic State, the new caliphate, run by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

“If you look at World War II, we did not treat enemy agents captured on U.S. soil as just common criminals,” he pointed out. “In fact, they were treated as enemy combatants, and if they were U.S. citizens, the treason statutes applied. So if you believe we’re at war, Neil, then there’s a very compelling case to be made that you don’t treat this guy just like a common criminal.”

Cavuto noted that Rahami apparently will be treated as a criminal, with defenders of the practice arguing that other terrorists have been handled through the criminal courts successfully.

“It’s a question of perspective: do you think we are at war?” Gorka maintained. “I think we are. I think we are now in the 16th year – we just had the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and we are in the longest war America has ever waged, since 1776.”

“This isn’t just a bunch of random criminals. They’re not people making profit. These aren’t psychos. This isn’t Jeffrey Dahmer. These are jihadis who wish to destroy America and Western civilization. As such, i think they should be treated as enemy combatants, and not enjoy the rights and privileges that Americans enjoy, who are citizens of this nation, and don’t wish to destroy this nation.”

Cavuto asked Gorka if he thought Rahami had help, “maybe a lot of help.”

“Oh, my gosh. This is a man who, I’ve read the contents of the journal, this man was not just a consumer, he was a propagator of jihadi narrative,” Gorka responded, referring to the notebook taken from Rahami after his capture.

“Not only did his father turn him in, or try to turn him in, he made blatantly anti-American statements in public. He made blatantly homophobic statements. And then what does he do? He travels to South Asia and he visits Quetta. Quetta is the hotbed of jihadism,” he said.


Andrew McCarthy, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of N.Y., discusses calls for Ahmad Khan Rahami to be treated as Enemy Combatant

Fifteen Years After 9/11, Blindness to the Islamist Threat Is Official Policy

FILE - Sept. 13, 2001 an American flag flies over the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center buildings in New York. (AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)

FILE – Sept. 13, 2001 an American flag flies over the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center buildings in New York. (AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)

Prohibiting mention of Islam in connection with jihadist violence won’t prevent future atrocities.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy — September 10, 2016

If there is a theme to this 15th annual observance — the word “anniversary” just seems so wrong — of the most lethal enemy attack ever carried out on American soil, it is erasure.

At least that’s what they’re being told in Owego, N.Y. There, a Muslim activist group is demanding that the town’s 9/11 memorial be erased. Not all of it; just the word “Islamic.”

Carved into the memorial — the point of which is to signify that which we must never forget — is the factual assertion that, on September 11, 2001, “nineteen Islamic terrorists” carried out coordinated suicide-hijacking attacks against the United States.

The Islamic Organization of the Southern Tier has decided that the monument is dangerous because it “could encourage hatred toward Muslims.” Fifteen years on, we are supposed to believe that the danger we face is not an enduring global threat fueled by an ideology drawn directly from Islamic scripture; the danger lies in speaking honestly about the threat.

It has taken less than two years to go from Je suis Charlie — the fleeting show of solidarity in support of Western free-speech principles after Islamic terrorists mass-murdered cartoonists at the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo — to Je suis Kerry. That’s a show of solidarity in support of our ineffable secretary of state who, when not steering aid, comfort, and goo-gobs of cash to the jihadist regime in Tehran, is telling the international media that maybe terrorism would go away if they’d just stop talking about it.

Erasure: It is Willful Blindness 2.0, specially fit for the age of Obama.

When I wrote my “Memoir of the Jihad,” willful blindness was an ingrained conscious avoidance of the abundant evidence of the threat posed by Islamic supremacism — the ideological commitment to coerce acceptance of sharia law, by force if necessary. It was a head-in-the-sand approach to easily accessible proof that the threat is rooted in Muslim scripture and a mainstream interpretation of Islam that stretches back over a millennium.

We’re way beyond that. Now, it is compelled blindness, a tireless campaign to erase the abundant evidence, to make it inaccessible. Alas, apologists of the See No Islam school cannot seem to make the jihadist carnage go away. But they work feverishly to make sure you can’t see what causes it. Or, if you do get a glimpse — because the carnage and its animating ideology are inextricably linked, and because jihadists are actually quite anxious to tell us why they do what they do — the apologists warn that you’ll keep your mouth shut if you know what’s good for you.

Or, as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it while working to create an unconstitutional legal restriction against criticism of Islam, she and her Islamist government partners will “use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel they have the support to do what we abhor.”

She wasn’t kidding. Mentions of “Islam” in connection with terrorism? Erased — in favor of “workplace violence,” “man-caused disasters,” and “overseas contingencies.”

Investigations of prominent Islamist organizations proved in a terrorism-financing prosecution to affiliate with the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian jihadist branch, Hamas? Erased.

Written materials on Islamic supremacism and classical sharia principles prepared for the training of military, intelligence, and law-enforcement agents? Erased — after all, any kind of “extremism” can cause violence.

Instructors expert in jihadist ideology formerly retained to lecture national-security personnel? Erased.

Terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay? Erased . . . at least from Gitmo.

Aren’t we afraid they’ll go back to the jihad? Well, why worry about “jihad.” According to former White House counterterrorism czar (and current CIA director) John Brennan, jihad is a “holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam” that means “to purify oneself or one’s community.” It has nothing to do with violence, and thus violence has nothing to do with Islam. Nothing more to see.

In fact, you know what else has been erased? Al-Qaeda.

First President Obama and his minions tried to miniaturize it. There is no real global terror network united by an overarching ideology rooted in the Koran; the words, deeds, and traditions of the prophet Muhammad; and sharia fundamentalism. Instead, there are independent franchises, outposts, and wannabes — to say nothing of the jayvee team — that are actually motivated by parochial political and territorial concerns, not ideology, and certainly not any ideology tied to Islam.

But, of course, it’s hard to miniaturize something that continues to kill, as al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists did on another September 11, this one in 2012 in Benghazi. Just as Obama was on the campaign homestretch, proclaiming al-Qaeda’s defeat and “decimation,” jihadists killed a United States ambassador and three other Americans.

It turned out that al-Qaeda hadn’t been erased after all. Just any talk about it.

If questions come up about the Benghazi attack, just talk about that YouTube video.

If questions come up about the Muslim militias fighting tyrannical regimes in Libya and Syria, just talk about “the rebels.” No need to mention that they are teeming with al-Qaeda cells fighting for the different tyranny of sharia.

And there’s absolutely no need to acknowledge that we’re supporting them — at least indirectly.

Fifteen years after 9/11, al-Qaeda has revived. Its breakaway faction, the Islamic State (formerly, al-Qaeda in Iraq) is our current obsession — and there are some understandable reasons for that, since the Islamic State controls major swaths of territory in the Middle East and projects terror into the West. But al-Qaeda is resurgent and as much a threat to America as it was in the late Nineties.

After 9/11, the American people seemed resolved to defeat jihadist terror. Today, the United States government is a major financial benefactor of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism — a regime that regards our country as its mortal enemy. Iran has a longstanding practice of abetting al-Qaeda. The Obama administration now has a practice of supplying Iran with plane loads of untraceable cash.

A threat can be repelled only by seeing it for what it is, understanding what it wants to accomplish, and exhibiting the will to deny it, however long that takes. Erasure is not a strategy. Fifteen years ago, we seemed to know that.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.


Andrew McCarthy testified at the recent Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on “Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts to Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism.”

He provided the transcript of his statement at PJ Media. Here is a clip:

See more on that hearing here.

Send Lawyers, BleachBit, and Money


National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Sept. 7, 2016:

Imagine a mafia don who wants to have some evidence destroyed, maybe even have a witness “disappear.” Does he have a sit-down with his trusted capos, who will then give the job to a reliable button-man? Not if he’s taken the Clinton Family course in advanced criminology — known around the campus as “(C).” If the don is a graduate, he knows the new way to get away with murder is to have all your orders communicated by your lawyers.

At the Washington Examiner Wednesday, Byron York had a very interesting report about the destruction of thousands of Clinton e-mails after Congress had issued a subpoenafor them. (Obstruction of a congressional investigation is a felony under federal law.) The report is based on the FBI’s heavily redacted summary report of its Clinton e-mails investigation.

The e-mails were destroyed by a technician at Platte River Network (PRN), which had been retained by Clinton to handle her server. The tech is clearly a man (referred to as “he” several times), but his name is redacted from the FBI report. Evidence strongly suggests that this PRN technician initially lied to the FBI, then changed his story and clammed up about any instructions he might have been given.

A bit of background: In December 2014, Cheryl Mills instructed the PRN tech to implement a change in Clinton’s e-mail-retention policy: Any e-mails older than 60 days (translation: any remaining e-mails from Clinton’s time as secretary of state) were to be purged from the server. Purging in this context did not just mean deletion, it meantdestruction: The Clinton team was using the BleachBit program to ensure that the purged e-mails could never be retrieved or reassembled. This was a conscious scorched-earth operation, headed up by Mills, the Clinton Family’s Tom Hayden — longtime consigliere and Clinton’s chief-of-staff at the State Department.

But there’s a Fredo in every good crime story, right? In this case, it is the PRN tech, who apparently did not follow instructions. According to his original story to the FBI, about three months went by when, out of the blue, in what he described as an “Oh sh**!” moment, he remembered that he had forgotten to purge the e-mails. So . . . he of course took it on himself to do it.

You’ll be shocked to learn, though, that that’s not quite how it happened.

Read more

Also see:

Developing an Effective Counter Radicalization Strategy

1796by Scott Newark
Special to IPT News

August 29, 2016

Western governments appear to have finally accepted the reality that a new front on the Islamist war has opened up and it’s in our own backyards. It is all too easy for al-Qaida, or ISIS, or whatever new Islamist group, to publish propaganda to incite radicalized or radically prone young Muslims living in the West, and to hand them chillingly accurate information to “build bombs in your mother’s kitchen.”

These young recruits are being recruited to kill soldiers, police and civilians in their own countries rather than attempting to travel to join the Islamist slaughter abroad. And while there has been some success in suppressing the capabilities of international Islamist networks and in military action against the ISIS “caliphate,” domestic terrorist attacks throughout the West show that the threat has not gone away or even been diminished. And that means our approach must also evolve.

We must acknowledge that this threat comes from people and groups who have an unyielding belief that their version of Islam calls for the submission of the world to its dictates, and that killing those who oppose or resist this is not only permissible but obligatory..

Equally, while the Islamist ideology may prey on and exploit persons with mental illness, they are yelling Allahu Ahkbar and not “Sigmund Freud” when they detonate the suicide bombs or murder innocent civilians with knives, guns or trucks. The extremist religious motivation is the key to understanding their actions and in developing a strategy to help prevent the radicalization that leads to it.

Second, this “religious” motivation must be acknowledged by our official entities and the larger Muslim community within Western societies who want nothing to do with it and who reject its goals. For them, Islam may be a religion of peace that forbids killing of innocent civilians, but for others, their version of Islam commands it. There are clearly different conclusions being reached, but the good guys and the bad guys are reading from the same book, and acknowledging this fact is essential if we’re going to be successful. Candor, however uncomfortable, is a better long-term strategy than forcing security and law enforcement agencies to twist themselves into pretzels at each new incident to avoid offending anyone.

It is also critical to recognize that the domestic terrorist pool is comprised of people who, through different processes, have been indoctrinated into the Islamist extremist ideology that includes committing murderous acts of terrorism. This must be the starting point of the counter-radicalization strategy. Simply focusing on “de-radicalizing” extremists does nothing to stop someone from heading down that path in the first place. Similarly, limiting intervention to those espousing extremist beliefs and violent intentions assumes an ability to foretell actions that is simply unrealistic. While not all Islamic extremists are terrorists, all Islamist terrorists ascribe to the extremist version of Islam. It only makes sense to start where the terrorism motivation originates.

We also must acknowledge that the Islamist strategy includes establishing a “global Caliphate.” This vision is not limited to the overt savagery wrought on Muslims and non-Muslims alike, but also includes the murky Islamist political efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood and its spidery network of seemingly benign organizations. Their intent, in their own words, is “destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” One other quote worth keeping in mind is the official motto of the Muslim Brotherhood which says it all:

“God is our goal, Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle [jihad] is our way, and death in the service of God is the loftiest of our wishes.”

Lest there be anyone who still doubts the existence and clear purpose of this long-term strategy, let me suggest you read the materials in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing case or the compelling 2011 book, The Grand Jihad by former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.

It is also important to understand that for the Muslim Brotherhood network of groups, “war is deception.” Lying to the kuffar (non-believers) is fully authorized by the Quran through the doctrine known as taqiyya.

Domestic Islamist inspired terrorism incidents in the West (and elsewhere) are getting worse. What’s more, there is clear evidence that significant numbers of their Western citizens have travelled to the Middle East to pursue murderous Islamist jihad, and increasing numbers of them are finding ways to return “home.”

While some cases have involved people who received training abroad, most of these cases involve radicalization that took place in Western societies including Canada and the United States. That’s a chilling reality that must be acknowledged including determining how it took place and who was involved. That hard truth was summed up by a parent of one of the young Toronto 18 would-be terrorists when he warned, “They’re stealing our kids.” It’s time we started focusing on who “they” are.

While there has been significant work done on analyzing the general psychological profile of persons vulnerable to such radicalization, very few concrete measures have been taken to identify and then proactively target the means by which such radicalization occurs.

What follows, therefore, are specific action item suggestions to confront and defeat this newest security threat.

Counter-radicalization actions

1/ Ensure there is a clear and official awareness of the threat of extremist Islamism and domestic radicalization, and an understanding of the supportive Muslim Brotherhood’s long-term goals.

2/ Identify all Muslim Brotherhood links in Islamic groups including mosques and Islamic learning centers.

3/ Identify all Wahabbi/Saudi/Salafist linked funding of mosques and learning centers and Islamic organizations with a consideration of prohibiting it.

This issue has already been the subject of some media reporting and given the charitable or non-profit status of such organizations, the required information should be available. What’s required is personified by the mission statement of the Investigative Project on Terrorism: Investigate, Analyze, Expose.

4/ Improve “community outreach” efforts

Outreach to the Islamic community is a critical component of preventing radicalization, but it must be conducted on an informed basis so that the people included are not pursuing a contrary agenda. Authorities engaging in outreach activities must conduct sufficient background analysis to ensure that liaisons are established with persons genuinely seeking to prevent Islamist radicalization rather than with self-appointed “leaders” of the community whose views (public and private) are not representative of the communities they claim to represent. The goal is to both detect and assist people at risk of radicalization (and their families) and to help rehabilitate people who have been radicalized.

5/ Promote integration and identify segregation efforts

Successful integration into Western multicultural society is likely the best protection against radicalization, and thus efforts to promote it should be recognized and supported. Conversely, deliberate efforts by mosques, learning centers or Islamic organizations to promote segregation of Muslims away from the larger community should be recognized as cause for concern.

6/ Use existing legal tools

Use existing hate speech laws, which prohibit promoting hatred against groups based on religion, gender or other defined factors, for unlawful conduct that is part of Islamist radicalization. Also, use the full spectrum of civil regulatory tools to try to prevent publicly regulated facilities from being used to promote radicalization or activities which are contrary to defined Western societal values. This strategy of “using all the tools in the toolbox” will be controversial but will also likely expose such anti-social practices to the light of day, which is a good thing.

7/ Amend Immigration and Citizenship Legislation

These statutes could be amended to modernize inadmissibility or acquired citizenship revocation criteria to people who actively advocate or promote cultural, religious or racial intolerance, gender inequality or the elimination of any of secular democracy, individual liberty or the rule of secular law. It’s time we recognize that we do have a “culture” and it’s worth protecting and preserving.

8/ Proactive cyber efforts against recruitment/radicalization sites

Self-radicalization, aided by jihadi websites, is a reality facing intelligence and law enforcement personnel. While monitoring such sites is obviously a useful tactic, at some point the harm in allowing the glorification and recruitment outweighs the benefit of monitoring this activity. Deploying a proactive offensive cyber attack strategy to melt down the bad guys’ cyber and social media capabilities is worth considering.

9./ Protect children from radicalized parents

Children living in Western societies should receive the full benefit of our laws that are explicitly designed to protect them from harm, including anti-social indoctrination or abuse from their parents in the name of extremist Islam. This could provide refuge for victims of “honor violence,” like the murdered Aqsa Parvez and the Shafia sisters in Canada. These kids deserved better and we should ensure that such abuse does not continue because of a politically correct aversion to confronting the truth.

Western countries face an unprecedented threat to domestic security through the radicalization of persons to a nihilistic Islamist ideology, where death is a preferred tactic to discussion. These suggestions will legitimately generate controversy precisely because they go to the core of the threat, which is violence predicated on religious beliefs. It is clearly a difficult challenge, but one that must be undertaken with truth and candor as our guides.

This article is an update of the author’s previous columns for Front Line Security magazine and the Macdonald Laurier Institute.

Scott Newark is a former Alberta Crown Prosecutor who has also served as Executive Officer of the Canadian Police Association, Vice Chair of the Ontario Office for Victims of Crime, Director of Operations to the Washington D.C.-based Investigative Project on Terrorism and as a Security Policy Advisor to the Governments of Ontario and Canada

Meet Aleppo’s ‘Moderate,’ ‘Secular’ ‘Rebels’: Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood


Let’s support moderate Muslims. But that means figuring out which ones are the real deal.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Aug. 19, 2016:

As the invaluable David Pryce-Jones notes, Syria’s second-most important city, Aleppo, is the locus of heavy combat, pitting Russia and Iran, the forces propping up theBashar Assad, against anti-regime fighters, also known as the “rebels.” David refers to reports that, as he summarizes them, “secular rebels appear to have liberated most of [Aleppo], maybe all of it.” Meanwhile, the estimable Charles Krauthammer observes that Russia is operating out of an air base in Iran (probably yet another violation of Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with the mullahs). And who does Charles say Vladimir Putin’s air force is targeting? “It’s hitting a lot of the moderate rebels . . . in Aleppo.”

I have been arguing for years (and as recently as last weekend) that there are simply not enough moderate, secular rebels in Syria to overthrow the regime, much less to defeat both Assad and ISIS simultaneously. Suggestions to the contrary are wishful thinking. More important, such suggestions are counterproductive: The illusion of a vibrant secular, pro-Western opposition in Syria is the basis for urging that America throw its weight behind the “rebels,” on the theory that we would be undermining radical Islam.

In truth, we’d simply be empowering one set of anti-American Islamists against another.

At The Long War Journal, Tom Joscelyn, who for my money does the best job in America of analyzing the factions involved in the global jihad, takes a careful look at who is fighting against Assad in Syria. To what should be no one’s surprise — but will apparently be very surprising to many — the bulk of the opposition consists of Islamists.

As Tom explains, two coalitions are spearheading the campaign that has enjoyed recent success against the regime in Aleppo. The first is headed up by al-Qaeda and goes by the name Jaysh al-Fath (Army of Conquest). The al-Qaeda franchise in Syria, until recently known as al-Nusrah, has rebranded itself as Jabhat Fath al-Sham (JFS). It has a close alliance with a group called Ahrar al-Sham (Ahrar), which includes many al-Qaeda veterans and (as Tom notes) models itself after the Taliban (al-Qaeda’s close ally in Afghanistan). JFS and Ahrar run the Jaysh al-Fath coalition, which includes sundry other jihadist militias long affiliated with the al-Qaeda terror network.

Al-Qaeda is well aware of the West’s myopic focus on ISIS (the Islamic State — the al-Qaeda splinter group that began as al-Qaeda in Iraq). This myopia has the U.S. government and much of the commentariat turning a blind eye to other anti-American Islamists, even absurdly labeling them “moderates,” as long as they are not part of ISIS. The leaders of al-Qaeda realize that a great deal of financial and materiel support is to be had in the “moderate rebel” business but that the al-Qaeda brand could be problematic in maintaining the façade. So they have encouraged their franchises to obscure and soft-peddle their al-Qaeda connections — particularly by not brandishing “al-Qaeda” in their names.

It’s working.

To their credit, the Wall Street Journal’s editors concede that “the Army of Conquest coalition . . . includes al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.” Yet this is still an understatement, just as the Journal’s follow-up observation — that this al-Qaeda affiliate “fights alongside more moderate and secular forces” — overstates the case. In reality, al-Qaeda is the Army of Conquest; and the forces they are fighting alongside are a different coalition — and one whose moderation and secularity are exaggerated.

As Tom Joscelyn elaborates, the other coalition in Aleppo is known as Fatah Halab (“Aleppo Conquest”). To be sure, it has some secular, moderate elements; but it also features deep Islamist ties.

The “secular, moderate” veneer is built on the fiction, heavily promoted in the U.S. from the first stages of the uprising, that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is a gaggle of secular factions seeking to replace Assad with a Western-style democracy. In reality, the FSA has long been coopted by the Muslim Brotherhood — as has the Syrian National Council, which was set up early on to pose as the overarching framework of the opposition.

As I have pointed out any number of times over the past several years, enthusiasts for American intervention in the civil wars of Muslim-majority countries bend over backward to avoid mentioning the Muslim Brotherhood. They say “moderate” and “rebel,” hoping no one will try to pin them down about who these “moderate rebels” are. But way too many of them are members of the international sharia-supremacist organization whose motto remains: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!”

The Brotherhood has been designated a terrorist organization in recent years by Egypt (which ousted a government led by the Brotherhood), and by its former allies, the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (See Daniel Pipes’s 2014 piece in National Review on how perceptions of the Brotherhood have changed.) In the U.S., legislation to designate the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization has been proposed by Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and was approved by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year. Nevertheless, it remains progressive Beltway wisdom that the Brotherhood is better thought of as a moderate Islamist organization — even a “firewall against violent extremism,” as Marc Lynch of George Washington University put it in a Washington Post opinion piece in March.

But the Brotherhood, which has a history of violence and boasts as its Palestinian branch the Hamas terrorist organization, is hardly opposed to “violent extremism” (the Washington euphemism for “jihadist terror”). It is true that its methods differ from those of al-Qaeda and ISIS. For the Brothers, jihad has its place but is just one form of aggression in a broad arsenal that includes political activism, vexatious lawsuits, media propaganda, etc. Nevertheless, the Brothers’ objective is exactly the same as that of the more brutal jihadist networks: the imposition of the totalitarian sharia system of governance. And given the geography of the conflict in Syria, it is worth emphasizing that the Brothers have no more coveted short-term objective than the destruction of Israel.

Just as the al-Qaeda affiliates pretend to be “moderates” by stressing their opposition to ISIS, the Brotherhood affiliates pose as “secularists” — with no small amount of help from the Obama administration — by stressing their differentiation from al-Qaeda. This pose is also helped along by the fact that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has taken to mocking the Brotherhood as overly cozy with secular regimes and insufficiently zealous for transition to sharia. (See Tom Joscelyn’s report, here.) Consistent with this strategy, the Fatah Halab coalition in Aleppo made a point of claiming that al-Qaeda groups would be excluded. But this, again, is mainly a feint to project the illusion of secular moderation, which triggers Western and other support. In reality, as Tom documents, key Fatah Halab constituents have been working with al-Qaeda affiliates all along.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not to belittle the magnitude of the Russia–Iran alliance. Not only is Putin leveraging his increasingly close relations with the mullahs to project power; Tehran reportedly has dispatched hundreds (perhaps thousands) more fighters to bolster Assad’s forces in Aleppo (to say nothing of the 80,000 to 100,000 militia fighters whom Iran controls in Iraq). My point is that we need a strategy that recognizes all of our enemies for what they are, not one that imagines enemies into potential allies for no better reason than that other enemies seem worse.

I am far from an isolationist, but I strenuously opposed foolish interventions. I am not unsympathetic to the cause of supporting secularists and moderate Muslims — meaningnon-Islamists. But that means figuring out which ones are the real deal. We should be analyzing “rebels” in the exacting way Tom Joscelyn does, so that we can grasp what realistically can be accomplished. In Syria, that may be no more than creating safe space for refugees, promoting pro-Western groups, attacking jihadist hubs, and awaiting an American president who understands that both Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood are our enemies, not our prospective “regional partners.”

Until then, the lesson of Libya ought to teach us that it is no advancement of American interests if al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood win in Aleppo, even if that means that Assad, Iran, and Russia lose.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

ISIS is a Footnote: The Real Threat is Sharia and Islamic Supremacism

CJ-white-logo (1)CounterJihad, by Shireen Qudosi · @ShireenQudosi | June 29, 2016

The battle against radical Islam isn’t an ‘over there’ fight confined to the wastebin landscape of some forgotten town. It’s a ubiquitous problem that takes place on American soil in two forms. The first is through direct jihadi attacks as we most recently saw in Orlando; the second takes the form of political warfare.

Yesterday, the battle of ideas took place on the floor of a Senate hearing spearheaded by Senator Ted Cruz. The “Willful Blindness” hearing, attended by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, Philip Haney, and Andrew McCarthy among others, offered testimony to better understandbarriers to combating radical Islam.

Other witnesses included soft-Islamist Farhana Khera, President and Executive Director ofMuslim Advocates, who refused to admit that jihad or radicalization had absolutelyanything to do with radical Islam. In fact, Senator Cruz’s attempt to engage Khera in dialogue yielded a minimum of 6 instances of denial within five minutes, with Khera defaulting to a regressive left narrative that the conversation is somehow empowering ISIS.

National security consultant Chris Gaubatz debunks the myth of an all-powerful and seeing ISIS:

“The global Islamic movement is made of terrorist groups and nation states; all seeking to impose sharia.”

ISIS is a footnote at best, not the bogeyman that Islamists try to threaten free speech with. The real threat is sharia and a mindset of Islamic supremacism.

Testimony was also provided by Michael German, a fellow of the Brennan Center for Justice and a former FBI Special Agent. German sees radical Islam as a problem but not in the context we would assume is logical based on the facts and common sense. In the same line of thinking as Khera, German denounces a theological association with violent acts of terror under a political doctrine.

German’s reasoning fails. He is neither expert in nor a student of Islamic theology. Had he an objective mind and trained scholar in both academic and traditional Islam, he would see that Islam has become a highly political system that forms and orchestrates national movement. The version of radical Islam adopted by terror groups is not that different than the version of Islam adopted by Islamic states – and to go further – the version of Islam that Islamists identify with. All versions ultimately hold Islam as supreme, paving the way for what is an undeniable theological supremacy. In other words, Islamic supremacy. And that understanding of Islam is adopted by billions of adherents.

In the same vein of thought as Islamists, German believes “radical Islam” is used to smear a faith group. He further argues “collective national security [is not achieved] by undermining security of others.” For German, “Ideas cannot be killed and ideologies cannot be destroyed.” He points to Nazi ideology that while defeated, was not destroyed.

However, radical Islamic ideology can be challenged and destroyed…from within. A growing movement in partnership with allies is already underway by Muslim reformers. Reformers are the new wave of Muslim scholars appearing nearly a millennia after the original Muslim free thinkers, the Mu’tazilites. The waves of movement in Islamic critical thought from the time of the Prophet, through his passing, and till today, shows that Islam is not the monolith German and Khera try to depict.

Andrew McCarthy, a former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney, understands Islam has seen a struggle to define itself from its earliest days. As McCarthy points out, Muslims “have not settled the question what is an authentic Islam.”

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a top North American Muslim Reformer, sees Muslim reformers “as the most essential head of spear in the battle against Islamic theocracy.” The largest collective of Muslim Reformers are presently in the United States.

“Ideas of freedom can happen in the laboratory of America,” adds Dr. Jasser. The West offers Muslim voices for humanity a level of freedom that is unmatched in any other part of the world, making Western Muslim reformers critical in this battle against radical Islam — particularly because truthful conversations on faith are painted as persecution, courtesy of the regressive left.

For McCarthy, the focus needs to shift to the supremacist interpretation of Islam that is fundamentally at odds with Western values. A clash of civilizations between Islam and the West is not a case of multiculturalism where room can be made for both. Islamic supremacism in its nature allows for only one ideology: its own.

So while German underscores that radical Islam is not a problem – that it is a misnomer – McCarthy points to history which shows us something entirely different. He summarizes that a struggle in Islam has been “ongoing for fourteen centuries supported by centuries of scholarship,” adding that “Islam is less a religion than a political radicalization with a religious veneer.”

McCarthy doesn’t see this as something the U.S. can fix, but it is something that we need to understand and not obscure – particularly because as Chris Gaubatz added, “We can kill every member of Al-Qaeda tomorrow, but it won’t end.”

Zuhdi Jasser added that America has “a sophisticated whack-a-mole system” of combatting terrorism. These are key assessment recognizing that ultimately we need to target the ideology and develop a system that moves beyond a fear of might trigger ISIS – a running theme for both Khera and German.

Khera along with German were both supported by Senator Dick Durbin who brought up a failed ongoing argument that needs to die: Westboro and the KKK are no more Christian than ISIS is Islamic. A cheap, tired trick, it shows a fundamental lack of knowledge about both Islam and Christianity.

Westboro and KKK are not acting in the footsteps of Jesus. However, ISIS is in many ways following the post-Medina violent warring behavior of its prophet, Muhammad. If we’re to see whether something is Islamic or Christian, we need to look at the verses and the leadership. Christianity did not have a violent Jesus and the teachings of Christ himself do not advocate violence. On the other hand, Islam has a violent version of Muhamad, which however justified in whatever context, is still violent and includes violent rhetoric that justified jihadi and supremacist agendas.

Germans builds on the back and forth highlighting Nazi Germany was defeated in part by criminalizing the ideology, something he feels can’t be done with Islam because the ideology can’t be scrubbed. I would argue we’ve already scrubbed so much: over 900 instances of references to jihad and Islam from official documents in what is a systematic purge of intelligence in a critical war.

Let’s go further still and get to the actual problem: the ideology. We need to do the same to political and violent doctrines in Islam, while supporting alternate voices found in reformers who are well on their way by outrightly challenging the theology or through grassroots efforts calling for modernized adaptations.

Also see:

Senate Hearing: While Feds Scrubbed References To Islam, Terrorists Escaped Notice


A Tuesday Senate hearing Sen. Ted Cruz chaired discussed the ‘willful blindness’ of Democrats’ approach to combatting Islamist terrorism.

The Federalist, by M.G. Oprea, June 29, 2016:

On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz chaired an investigative hearing to determine whether law enforcement agencies are deemphasizing radical Islam while investigating terrorism in the United States. Its purpose, according to Cruz’s website, was to “investigate how the federal government has not only refused to appropriately identify the specific threat of radical Islam, but has sought to undermine the people and information who have sought to highlight the threat.”

Provocatively titled “Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts to Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism,” the hearing comes just weeks after Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people in an Orlando night club and injured dozens more. In his opening remarks, Cruz said, “the consequence of the willful blindness of a policy, that is a matter of administration policy, that refuses to acknowledge the threat, means over and over again this administration has allowed the threats to go forward.”

In the weeks following the ISIS-inspired terrorist attack, Democratic leaders and media elites once again tried to blame the attacks on everything under the sun other than Islamic radicalism. White Christians, Republicans, gun laws, and anti-gay bigotry are for liberals the worst culprits.

But it’s not just the mainstream media and the far-left selling this bill of goods. Incredibly, this rhetoric has been coming from our government. President Obama made a public statement in the days after the Orlando attack doubling down on his commitment not to speak about Islam when addressing any terrorist attacks, even when they are manifestly inspired or encouraged by ISIS or other Islamist ideology.

Denying Reality Gets People Killed

Last week, the FBI released a heavily redacted transcript of Mateen’s 911 call, in which he pledged his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The FBI had scrubbed references to ISIS and changed his use of “Allah” to “God,” as though it were a translation rather than a transcript. Most damning of all, however, was the revelation that the FBI was aware of Mateen’s presence, had interviewed him three times in the past few years, and knew he belonged to the same mosque as Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American suicide bomber in Syria.

Of course, this latest foray into delusion vis-à-vis the relationship between terrorism and Salafist interpretations of Islam, or what Andrew McCarthy referred to in the hearing as “Sharia supremacism,” is preceded by a long history of the Obama administration’s systemic denial of this relationship. We saw similar reactions on the Left and in our government after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, a few weeks after which Obama held a summit on “violent extremism,” as though one can be violently extreme about nothing in particular. There were similar reactions after San Bernardino, Paris, and Brussels.

The hearing Tuesday was meant to shine a spotlight on what can only be described as a systematic and willful blindness to the reality that Islamist ideology is closely linked to terrorism and radicalization. This blindness is a natural consequence of the Obama administration’s reckless national-security policy of “countering violent extremism,” or CVE. McCarthy describes the CVE as “delusionally forbid[ing] the conclusion that radical Islamic ideology has any causative effect on terrorist plotting.”

Among those who testified was Philip Haney, a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security, now turned whistleblower. He described ongoing retaliation while working at DHS for investigations he ran that put the dots together for international Islamist groups that also worked within the United States. Haney was ordered by his superiors to redact the use of Islamic terms in 876 documents, something for which none of the Democrats at the hearing expressed even the slightest bit of concern. He surmises that had his work been allowed to continue, DHS very well could have been alerted to the San Bernardino shooters.

As Long As We Keep Saying It, It Will Be True

In the hearing, Cruz repeatedly brought up Nidal Hassan, the Fort Hood shooter, who was known to have visited radical Islamic websites and been in email contact with a radical cleric. This is important because Hassan’s terrorist attack was one of the earliest occurrences of the Obama administration’s insistence that there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism, because the White House fundamentally rejects the notion that Islam inspires violence. The military officially labeled the Fort Hood shooting “workplace violence,” despite what Hassan himself claims it was.

Another major point raised in Tuesday’s hearing was the scrubbing of terms like “Islam” and “jihad” in DHS training materials over the past several years. This was compared with the 9/11 Commission report, where Islam-related words showed up more than 100 times. Notably, one of the panelists, Farhana Khera, is president of Muslim Advocates, the organization that requested in writing that these training materials be “purged” of these “bigoted” terms.

Not surprisingly, Khera spent much of her time testifying in the exact kind of doublespeak that the hearing was there to discuss. She said dangerous political rhetoric regarding Islam is teaching Americans to fear and hate their Muslim neighbors, despite other panelists arguing that Islam is not a monolithic religion and that there are multiple interpretations, including violent ones, and that these, not the peaceful ones, ought to be condemned. But Khera wasn’t listening. She said she was disturbed by what the other panelists said, calling it “garbage.”

La La La, I’m Not Listening

Panelists like Chris Gaubitz, a national security consultant at Understanding the Threat Consulting Firm, pointed out that we could kill every member of ISIS and al-Qaeda, but without addressing the spread of sharia doctrine, Islamist terrorism won’t end. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, urged an honest conversation about Islamist terrorism, arguing that by refusing to talk about it we are infantilizing Muslims by supposing they are too fragile to hear a frank discussion about Islam. According to him, “to say that Islam has no problems is just as problematic as saying Islam and Muslims are the problem”

Several Democratic senators tried to make analogies to the KKK and Christianity, arguing that just like we don’t call white-supremacist groups “radical Christians” neither should we call individuals and groups who perpetrate terrorist acts in the name of Islam “radical Muslims.” Meanwhile, Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, spent much of his time discussing how the focus on Islamic terrorism in the last 15 years has blinded us to the serious problems in our country with radical right-wing terrorists.

During the Senate hearing, Turkey’s Ataturk airport was attacked by suicide bombers, killing dozens, and al-Qaeda released a special edition of their English-language publication Inspire Guide urging lone-wolf attackers to target the “Anglo-Saxon community” so their acts won’t be misinterpreted as “hate crimes” but rather what they really are: religiously motivated terrorist attacks. How painfully ironic that Islamist terrorists are so flummoxed by the liberal West’s insistence on ignoring their motivations that they had to make an official statement to clarify things.

In the end, the hearing appeared an effort in futility. It seemed as though half the room lives in an alternate reality. But only one of those realities is real. And only one of them will win out in the end.

M. G. Oprea is a writer based in Austin, Texas. She holds a PhD in French linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. You can follow her on Twitter here.


Also see:

Connecting dots between two of the two biggest terror attacks on U.S. soil


National Review, by Andrew McCarthy, June 14, 2016:

According to Fox News, Omar Mateen, the jihadist who carried out the mass-murder attack at a gay nightclub in Florida this weekend, was a student of Marcus Robertson, an Orlando-based radical Muslim who once served as a bodyguard to Omar Abdel Rahman — the notorious “Blind Sheikh” whom I prosecuted for terrorism crimes in the early to mid 1990s.

Robertson, a former U.S. marine with a serious criminal record, is now 47. That means he was in his early twenties when the Blind Sheikh lived in the New York metropolitan area. It was a commonplace in those days for the Sheikh to travel with an entourage, including bodyguards from various groups (e.g., his fellow native Egyptians, Palestinians associated with Hamas, Sudanese Muslims who lived in New Jersey, and — often in Brooklyn, where he frequented the Farooq and Taqua mosques — African-American Muslims, most of them converts to Islam).

In the spring of 1993, members of the Blind Sheikh’s cell were plotting to follow up the February 26 World Trade Center bombing with simultaneous bombings of several New York City landmarks (including the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, the U.N.’s headquarters, and the FBI’s lower-Manhattan field office). The jihadists planning the landmarks attacks turned to a man named Clement Hampton-el for help obtaining detonators. In a conversation recorded by an FBI informant, Hampton-el explained that it had recently become harder for him to get detonators because his sources had recently been arrested by the FBI in Pennsylvania. He described these sources as members of a gang that robbed banks and post offices —activities ordinarily illegal under Islamic law but that, according to the Blind Sheikh, were permissible as long as a chunk of the proceeds went to support jihad. Before the FBI shut the gang down, Hampton-el said they had been able to supply “C-4s, M-16s, AKs, detonators, bulletproof vests — they had everything.”

In the recorded conversation, Hampton-el recounted being a longtime friend of the father-in-law of one of the arrested men. Because of that, he contributed money for the man’s defense. But to his great annoyance, Hampton-el learned that the arrested man had cooperated with the FBI and “talked on everybody.”

At our trial, Hampton-el testified in his own defense, implausibly claiming that he had “made up” the story about the gang. But when we cross-examined him, he admitted to being a longtime friend of a man named Suliman el-Hadi, who just happened to have a son-in-law named Marcus Robertson. In a remarkable coincidence, Robertson just happened to have been arrested by the FBI in Pennsylvania, to have pled guilty to a series of bank and post-office robberies, and to have gotten sentencing leniency because he cooperated with the government. Grudgingly, Hampton-el conceded that he just might know Marcus Robertson personally, might have had some meetings with him, and might even have seen him in the company of the Blind Sheikh at the Farooq mosque.

Small world. Well, Fox News reports that in 1991, Marcus Robertson joined with other Muslims who were former security guards in a robbery gang they dubbed “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.” According to a private investigator in Florida, the group committed armed robberies of more than ten banks, private homes, and post offices; shot three police officers; and attacked one cop after he was injured by a homemade pipe bomb. It is alleged that Robertson — Ali Baba — donated more than $300,000 of the robbery proceeds to mosques he attended. Fox says prosecutors also claim Robertson has committed murders in addition to using pipe bombs, C-4, and other explosives. Nevertheless, he has never been convicted of those things and was given extraordinary leniency in the robbery case, serving just four years in prison.

Physically, Robertson is a very capable man. He served in the Marine Corps from 1986 until 1990, when he was reportedly discharged as a corporal, having been trained in marksmanship, scuba diving, counterterrorism, parachuting, surveillance tactics, communications equipment, infantry patrolling, and finance. Fox could not verify Robertson’s claims to have served in the Joint Special Operations Command, an elite counterterrorism unit.

Reportedly, his military training and involvement with both crime and terrorists convinced federal intelligence agencies that he might be a useful covert operative. This reflects a seamy side of national security, particularly in the field of foreign intelligence: The sort of people who can credibly pass for violent jihadists in order to infiltrate terror cells will often be former violent jihadists. Or, worse, they will be unreformed violent jihadists who pretend to work against the terrorists but are actually still with them. In any event, our agencies have to rely on a lot of bad people in order to learn what other bad people are plotting against us. They must constantly guard against being gamed.

In Robertson’s case, it is reported that he agreed to work for the government, gathering intelligence both overseas and in the United States. According to Fox, however, he was expelled from the covert informant program in early 2007 after attacking his CIA handler in Africa.

By 2008, he surfaced in Orlando, and became known by his Muslim name, Abu Taubah. The Investigative Project on Terrorism reported in 2012 that Robertson was the imam at the al-Ihsaan mosque (formerly, the Islamic Center of Orlando). He also ran an online Muslim education enterprise, known for years as the “Fundamental Islamic Knowledge Seminary” (FIKS) — although the name was recently changed to the “Timbuktu Seminary.” Robertson’s seminary has apparently been a springboard for lecturing gigs at universities in the United States and overseas.

Omar Mateen, the terrorist who killed 49 people and wounded over 50 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando over the weekend, had enrolled in Robertson’s seminary. At least one other student of Robertson’s has been convicted (along with Robertson) in a case that had terrorism implications. Robertson’s lectures are said to include a staple of sharia: the condemnation of homosexuals — whom Robertson refers to as “devil worshipers.”

The government suspects — with abundant reason, it appears — that Robertson’s prominence in the mosque, the online seminary, and the teaching circuit have given him ample opportunity to radicalize young Muslim men: not only indoctrinating them in sharia-supremacist ideology but also possibly providing them with paramilitary training.

For example, Robertson is alleged to have instructed one of his Orlando students, Jonathan Paul Jimenez, to file false tax returns for the purpose of obtaining funds that would pay for travel to Mauritania for jihadist training. Perhaps I should say additional jihadist training. Prosecutors, Fox reports, produced intercepted conversations showing that Robertson had trained Jimenez “in killing, suicide bombing, and identifying and murdering United States military personnel.”

Of course, if the government’s evidence had been as compelling as the Fox report makes it sound, one would figure that Robertson and Jimenez would have been charged with terrorism crimes. But the statements outlined in the Fox report appear to involve Jimenez talking about Robertson, not Robertson himself volunteering anything incriminating. Robertson’s computers also raised alarms when agents searched them and found documents about terrorist ideology from the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center, and military reports on psy-ops and interrogation. It is not illegal, however, to possess these items, notwithstanding their obvious usefulness to a trainer of terrorists.

In any event, it appears that Jimenez was charged only with false statements and conspiring to defraud the IRS. He was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.

Robertson was apparently charged with some kind of minor firearms offense in 2011 and pled guilty in January 2012. Two months later, the Justice Department charged him with the Jimenez tax-fraud conspiracy, for which he was found guilty in 2013. In neither case did the government charge him with terrorism crimes. Yet prosecutors tried to slide terrorism into the mix at sentencing. They urged that, in imposing sentence on Robertson for the gun and fraud counts, U.S. district judge Gregory Presnell should factor in that he had been involved in terrorism activities, “focused on training others to commit violent acts” overseas.

This is a too-cute-by-half strategy the government sometimes attempts: Get a dangerous defendant convicted on easy-to-prove, comparatively minor charges and then push the judge to give him a maximum sentence based on a “terrorism enhancement” — i.e., an allegation of terrorist activity of which the defendant has not been convicted. The strategy is legal because prosecutors are not technically asking that the defendant be sentenced on the uncharged terrorism crime; they seek a sentence at the top of the range prescribed for the minor crimes for which the defendant has been convicted. But there is no getting around that, were it not for the “unconvicted” terrorism conduct, the defendant would get a much lower sentence.

This rubs many judges (and probably a lot of Americans) the wrong way: Most of us believe that if prosecutors want to sentence someone for terrorism, they should indict and convict him for terrorism. That was plainly the feeling of Judge Presnell, who concluded that the Justice Department’s terrorism evidence against Robertson was weak. While not doubting the Justice Department’s insistence that Robertson is a bad guy, the judge rejected the ten-year terrorism enhancement and sentenced Robinson to time served (about four years) on June 26, 2015.

Judge Presnell and the prosecutors had every reason to believe that Robertson was a bad guy. Fox reports that while in custody:

Robertson was considered so dangerous, he was kept in shackles and assigned his own guards. Whenever he was transported to court, a seven-car caravan of armed federal marshals escorted him. He was initially moved into solitary confinement after prison authorities believed he was radicalizing up to 36 of his fellow prisoners.

Now, we know that Omar Mateen enrolled in Robertson’s online seminary. Is there more to the story than that? For now, we do not know. In investigating the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, the FBI will be chasing numerous leads. Some of these leads will center on the relationship between Mateen, an apparently trained terrorist, and Robertson, a former Blind Sheikh bodyguard whom the government has long suspected of training terrorists.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Killing Homosexuals Is Not ISIS Law, It Is Muslim Law


National Review, by Andrew McCarthy, June 12, 2016:

Various reports indicate that the death toll from the jihadist attack overnight at a popular gay club in Orlando may exceed 50 people, with more than 50 others wounded. The terrorist’s identity has been reported: He is Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American citizen and devout Muslim from Fort Pierce, Fla., the son of immigrants from Afghanistan.

The FBI has indicated that Mateen, who was killed in a shootout with police at about 5 a.m., was an Islamic extremist. Representative Peter King (R., N.Y.), who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, says the shooter was “trained in the use of weapons.” As we have noted here many times, military training is generally the key that separates competent terrorists from wannabes. But whether actual or would-be jihadists, these Muslims are motivated by Islamic supremacism, the belief that sharia, Islam’s ancient, totalitarian law, must be imposed on society.

Based on all this, there is abundant Washington and media speculation that the attack is “ISIS-inspired.” This is consistent with the bipartisan, government-approved inanitywe have been following for a quarter-century, what I often call the political class’s concoction of “An Islam of Their Very Own.” It goes something like this:

Islam is a religion of peace, period. End of discussion. “Violent extremist” outfits such as ISIS and al-Qaeda kill wantonly, with no real ideological motivation. ISIS and al-Qaeda are thus not Islamic, but actually anti-Islamic — and if they cite Islamic scripture to justify their atrocities, they are “hijacking” and “perverting” Islam. Because we must see these groups as “anti-Islam” rather than Islam, it is acceptable to call a mass-murder attack “terrorism” only if law-enforcement develops some plausible tie to these groups. Otherwise, if a Muslim is involved, stick with “workplace violence” and the like. Finally when an attack committed by a Muslim is too obviously terrorism to deny, call it “ISIS-inspired,” or “al-Qaeda-inspired,” or “Hamas political resistance,” etc. — but by all means do not, absolutely do not, ascribe it to Islam in any way shape or form.

This is idiocy. Will today’s event, the worst mass shooting in American history, help us see that?

We need to consider separately Islam and its sharia law.

RELATED: Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth — the Muslim World Is Overcome with Hate

There are various ways to interpret Islamic scripture in order to attempt to evolve it out of violence. This, of course, does not change the fact that supremacist, fundamentalist Islam is a legitimate, mainstream, virulently anti-Western interpretation of Islam; but it does at least mean that there can be other mainstream versions of Islam that reject violence and Islam’s politico-legal system.

Sharia, on the other hand, is basically set in stone. (Or should I say “stoning”?) Even most Islamic reformers acknowledge that it badly needs reform — not that it can bereinterpreted, but that it needs to be changed. Its provisions and especially its draconian punishments were largely fixed a millennium ago.

The mandate that homosexuals be killed is not from ISIS or al-Qaeda. It is from sharia — which draws on Muslim scripture.

As I’ve observed several times, an English version of the classic sharia manual Reliance of the Traveller has been endorsed by scholars of al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni Islamic learning since the tenth century; by the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a Muslim Brotherhood think tank that is influential in Washington; and by other influential Islamic governments and commentators. Here is its teaching on homosexuality, found in the chapter on “Enormities” — the most grave offenses:


Sec. p17.1: In more than one place in the Holy Koran, Allah recounts to us the story of Lot’s people, and how He destroyed them for their wicked practice. There is consensus among both Muslims and the followers of all other religions that sodomy is an enormity. It is even viler and uglier than adultery [AM: which is punished brutally, including by death].

Sec. p17.2: Allah Most High says: “Do you approach the males of humanity, leaving the wives Allah has created for you? But you are a people who transgress” (Koran 26:165-66).

Sec. p17.3: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

  1. “Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him.”
  2. “May Allah curse him who does what Lot’s people did.”
  3. “Lesbianism by women is adultery between them.”

As I noted many times, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi may be Sunni Islam’s most influential living sharia jurist. Here, as reported by the Middle East Forum, is Qaradawi’s teaching on homosexuality:

We must be aware that in regulating the sexual drive Islam has prohibited not only illicit sexual relations and all what leads to them, but also the sexual deviation known as homosexuality. This perverted act is a reversal of the natural order, a corruption of man’s sexuality, and a crime against the rights of females. (The same applies equally to the case of lesbianism.)

The spread of this depraved practice in a society disrupts its natural life pattern and makes those who practice it slaves to their lusts, depriving them of decent taste, decent morals, and a decent manner of living. The story of the people of Prophet Lut (Lot), peace be upon him, as narrated in the Koran should be sufficient for us. Prophet Lut’s people were addicted to this shameless depravity, abandoning natural, pure, lawful relations with women in the pursuit of this unnatural, foul, and illicit practice. That is why their Prophet Lut, peace be on him, told them, “What! Of all creatures, do you approach males and leave the spouses whom your Lord has created for you? Indeed, you are people transgressing (all limits)!” (Koran, 26: 165–166)

The strangest expression of these peoples’ perversity of nature, lack of guidance, depravity of morals, and aberration of taste was their attitude toward the guests of Prophet Lut, peace be upon him. [Here follows a digression on the story of Lot as related in the Koran. —Eds.]

Muslim jurists have held differing opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same as the punishment for fornication, or should both the active and passive participants be put to death? While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic society and to keep it clean of perverted elements.

Since the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, there has been no shortage of praise for Ayatollah Ali Sistani, whom the Bush administration frequently lauded as a “moderate” and a supporter of “democracy.” (We critics countered that Sistani is a fundamentalist sharia-supremacist who supported “democracy” — meaning popular vote — in a Muslim-majority society because that was the most direct, efficient way to impose sharia.) Sistani is as influential a Shiite sharia authority as there is. As I have previously recounted, when asked, “What is [Islam’s] judgment on sodomy and lesbianism?” Sistani replied: “Forbidden. Those involved in the act should be punished. In fact, sodomites should be killed in the worst manner possible.”

Yup, let it sink in: “killed in the worst manner possible.”

RELATED: Islamist Terror and Collective Guilt

The inspiration for Muslims to brutalize and mass murder gay people does not come from ISIS. It is deeply rooted in Islamic law, affirmed by many of Islam’s most renowned scholars. This is why, wherever sharia is the law, homosexuals are persecuted and killed. See, for instance, this 2014 Washington Post report listing ten Muslim countries where homosexuality may be punished by death (Yemen, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Iraq — notwithstanding its new, U.S.-supported constitution).

Note, again, that Omar Mateen is the American-born son of immigrants from Afghanistan, where homosexuality may also be punished by death — notwithstanding American nation-building efforts there for the last 15 years.

As I have argued before, while a categorical ban on Muslim immigration would be bad policy, our immigration law must distinguish between Islam the religion and Islamism, the sharia-supremacist political ideology, which tends to grow strong support wherever Muslims form a critical mass. There absolutely should be severe restrictions on immigration from countries, regions, and communities (e.g., in Europe) in which sharia standards are de jure or de facto imposed.

The problem with mass immigration from sharia enclaves is not merely that trained terrorists may infiltrate the immigrant population. It is that sharia-adherent, assimilation-resistant Muslims will form sharia enclaves in the U.S., as they have throughout Europe, where young Muslims will be “radicalized” under our noses in the years to come.

Today, we have gotten another glimpse of radicalization, which is not “homegrown” but rather fueled by a foreign, anti-American, anti-liberty ideology.

Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Brussels and Willful Blindness

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy — March 22, 2016:

Cruz Assembles an Unlikely Team of Foreign-Policy Rivals

CruzBloomberg View, by Eli Lake, March 17, 2016:

In a year when the Republican Party is breaking apart because of Donald Trump, the only man left with a chance to beat him is trying to build a big tent — by GOP standards — when it comes to foreign affairs.

On Thursday, Senator Ted Cruz is set to announce his campaign’s national security advisory team, and it includes many foreign-policy insurgents and a few more establishment types. The list includes conservatives who disagree on one of the most pressing issues facing the next president: defining and confronting radical Islam.

The first name on the advisory list that stands out is Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration Pentagon official who has emerged as a lightning rod in the Obama era, accused by the Southern Poverty Law Center of being one of the nation’s leading Islamophobes.

When Trump proposed a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration, he quoted from a 2015 survey of American Muslims commissioned by the think tank Gaffney founded, the Center for Security Policy. It concluded that a quarter of U.S. Muslims supported violent jihad against the U.S. This led to speculation in the Washington press that Gaffney was advising Trump.

But Gaffney is a Cruz man. In an interview, he said that he met Cruz when he was running for Senate in 2012, and that he has briefed him on the FBI’s investigation into a Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity known as the Holy Land Foundation and on how Sharia law is a threat to America. “I hope that some of that went into his decision to introduce legislation to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization,” Gaffney said.

Until this year, these views were considered radioactive by the Republican establishment. George W. Bush, after Sept. 11, famously appeared at a Washington mosque and declared that Islam was a religion of peace. Senator John McCain, when he was his party’s presidential nominee in 2008, famously rebuked a talk-radio host for calling his challenger “Barack Hussein Obama,” a dog whistle to the president’s Arabic middle name. In 2012, the campaign of Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, spurned Gaffney and other conservatives who warned that Sharia was a domestic threat.

This time around it’s a little different. As Cruz makes the case that he is the last, best chance to prevent Trump from winning his party’s nomination, his foreign-policy advisers include not only Gaffney, but also three others who work for Gaffney’s think tank: former CIA officers Fred Fleitz and Clare Lopez and former Army Special Forces Master Sergeant Jim Hanson. Also on the list is Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the first World Trade Center bombing. McCarthy has been outspoken in his view that adherents at least to political Islam are seeking to impose Sharia law in the U.S.

At the same time, Cruz’s team includes former officials who reject Gaffney’s broad view that any Muslim who believes in Sharia law by definition believes in a totalitarian and violent ideology at war with America.

“We’re at war with a coalition of radical Islamists and radical secularists. It’s not all one thing, nor is Islam all one thing,” Michael Ledeen, a former Reagan administration official and a Cruz campaign adviser, told me.

Jim Talent, a former Missouri Republican senator who was a key adviser to Romney in 2008 and 2012, is signed up for the Cruz team. So is Mary Habeck, a former staffer on George W. Bush’s national security council, who is an expert on jihadi organizations and has warned against demonizing the entire religion of Islam.

Another Cruz adviser, Elliott Abrams, helped craft Bush’s policy to empower moderate Muslims in the Middle East against radicals. He told me he feels much the same way as Habeck. “It’s now 15 years since 9/11, and I think it’s obvious that Muslim citizens in the U.S. and Muslim leaders abroad have an absolutely critical role to play in fighting jihadis and other Muslim extremists,” Abrams said. “This is partly a battle within Islam that they are going to have fight and win. Alienating these potential allies is the kind of foolish policy that the Obama administration has engaged in when it comes to Arab states that are our allies.”

Victoria Coates, who has been Cruz’s main adviser on national security since he came to the Senate, told me this tension on the policy team “is by design and not an accident.” She added: “Both Frank and Elliott are people I went out of my way to set up meetings with the Senator. He has met with both of them individually for years.”

Cruz threaded this needle between Gaffney and Abrams in his response to Trump’s call in December for a temporary ban on Muslims coming to the U.S. Cruz never criticized Trump’s position directly. (Marco Rubio did.) But he also didn’t endorse the position, instead introducing a bill to halt refugees from countries with a significant al Qaeda or Islamic State presence, with exceptions for asylum seekers fleeing genocide. “When Donald Trump talked about barring all Muslims from entering into the United States, Senator Cruz of course did not endorse that opinion, in part because he knows the law,” Abrams said.

Cruz also knows politics. He has not won over the Washington mandarins who came out early for Jeb Bush, like former CIA director Michael Hayden. But after Rubio dropped out of the race on Tuesday, Cruz made an appeal to his former rival’s supporters to join his campaign.

Cruz is hoping Republican leaders in Washington will embrace his candidacy now, even though he has railed against them since he came to the Senate. Cruz also knows that long-time supporters like him precisely because he so infuriates the Republican establishment.

His new team of national security advisers, in this respect, has something for everyone.

Huma Abedin and the Tangled Clinton Web

t-huma-abedin-anthony-weiner.sized-940x350xcPJ Media, by Andrew McCarthy, Feb. 12 2016:

Almost a month ago, Fox News reported that the FBI’s investigation of possible national security violations stemming from Hillary Clinton’s private email system had expanded to include a corruption angle, centered on the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and the possibility that Foundation donors received favorable government treatment during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

The Fox report prompted indignant denials from Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign that there had been any broadening of the probe. Yet, the government is not required to disclose the course of its investigation publicly, much less to its subjects. And now, there are additional indications that the government is indeed scrutinizing the cozy relations the State Department enjoyed during Secretary Hillary Clinton’s tenure with both the Clinton Foundation and a Clinton-connected consulting firm called Teneo.

Last autumn, according to the Washington Post, the State Department’s inspector general (IG) issued subpoenas to the Clinton Foundation. The IG’s office has authority to investigate wrongdoing at the Department, including criminal wrongdoing. Its conclusions may be referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution, and may also result in other forms of disciplinary action against government officials found to have committed misconduct. The subpoenas served on the Clinton Foundation reportedly focused on two areas of inquiry: (a) Clinton Foundation projects that may have required federal government approval during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state; and (b) Clinton Foundation records pertaining to the employment of Huma Abedin.

Ms. Abedin, a longtime Clinton confidante, served as Secretary Clinton’s deputy chief-of-staff at the State Department and is now vice chairwoman of Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign for the presidency.

For about a half-year toward the end of Abedin’s tenure at the State Department, which coincided with with Secretary Clinton’s own departure from the State Department in February 2013, Abedin was given a highly unusual and ethically dubious arrangement: She was permitted to work simultaneously for the State Department, Teneo, the Clinton Foundation, and even in a personal capacity for Mrs. Clinton – in order to manage the secretary’s transition back to the private sector (notwithstanding that Mrs. Clinton had a job waiting for her at the lavishly funded Clinton Foundation, from which she would oversee her 2016 campaign-in-waiting).

Ordered Liberty readers will recall that Ms. Abedin has been the subject of controversy. Several years ago, five House conservatives asked State’s IG to investigate how Abedin managed to receive a security clearance despite extensive family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to an al Qaeda financier whose “charity” was designated a terrorist organization by the government. At the time, senior Republicans attacked the House conservatives, despite the fact that the latter were not alleging any wrongdoing on Abedin’s part – they were merel and sensibly questioning the propriety of the government’s granting a security clearance to someone on Abedin’s background. In light of new revelations in the Clinton email scandal, which place Abedin in the center of the mishandling of classified information through Mrs. Clinton’s homebrew server system, the concerns of the House conservatives seem prescient.

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The Problem with Islam Is Aggressive Scripture, Not Aggressive ‘Traditionalism’


National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy — January 16, 2016:

On the Corner this week, the eminent Jim Talent touted (with some reservations) an essay about “moderate Islam” by Cheryl Bernard. A Rand Institute researcher, she is also a novelist, a defender of war-ravaged cultures, and the wife of Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to post-Taliban (or is it pre-Taliban?) Afghanistan. With due respect to Dr. Bernard, who does much heroic work, I believe the essay highlights what is wrong with Western academic analysis of Islam.

The problem comes into focus in the very title of Senator Talent’s post, “Aggressive Traditionalism.” That is the attribute of Islamic societies that Dr. Bernard blames for the frustration of her high hopes for “moderate Islam.” In truth, however, the challenge Islam poses for moderation is not its tradition; it is Islamic doctrine — the scriptural support for traditional sharia and Islamic supremacist ideology.

I give Bernard credit. She is the unusual strategist who is willing to admit failure — in this instance, of the strategy of promoting “moderate Islam” as the antidote to “radical Islam.” But even this concession goes off the rails: She maintains that the strategy was somehow “basically sensible” despite being “off track in two critical ways.” The real problem, though, is not the two errors she identifies but the fatal flaw she fails to address: The happenstance that there are many moderate Muslims in the world does not imply the existence of a coherent “moderate Islam.” Try as she might, Bernard cannot surmount this doctrinal hurdle by blithely ignoring the centrality of doctrine to a belief system — without it, there is nothing to believe.

But let’s start with the two critical problems she does cite. The first is the matter of defining what a “moderate” is. Bernard concedes that she and other thinkers adopted a definition that was “too simplistic” — meaning, too broad. It made “violence and terrorism” the litmus test for “moderation.” This enabled what she labels “aggressive traditionalists” to masquerade as moderates.

Who are the “aggressive traditionalists”? Muslims who, though nonviolent themselves, “harbor attitudes of hostility and alienation” against non-Muslims. The failure to account for the challenge that “aggressive traditionalism” poses for moderation led to the second flaw Bernard admits: the undermining of “integration” — a reference to Muslim assimilation (or the lack thereof) in the West.

This is fine as far as it goes. In fact, Bernard is quite correct about the main challenge posed by hostile, alienated, integration-resistant Muslims: Even if they are personally nonviolent, the communities they create become “the breeding ground for extremism and the safe harbor for extremists.”

But “extremism” about what? This is the salient question, and it is one Bernard studiously ducks. The error is implicit from the very start of her essay (my italics):

Over the past decade, the prevailing thinking has been that radical Islam is most effectively countered by moderate Islam. The goal was to find religious leaders and scholars and community ‘influencers’ — to use the lingo of the counter-radicalization specialists — who could explain to their followers and to any misguided young people that Islam is a religion of peace, that the term jihad refers mainly to the individual’s personal struggle against temptation and for moral betterment, and that tolerance and interfaith cooperation should prevail.

Plainly, the “prevailing thinking” casually assumes “facts” not only unproven but highly dubious. Bernard takes it as a given not only that there is an easily identifiable “moderate Islam,” but also that this . . . what? . . . doctrine? . . . attitude? . . . is the most effective counter to “radical Islam.”

But what is moderate Islam? She doesn’t say. She maintains that there are countless moderate Muslims who, by her telling, embrace “Western values, modern life and integration.” In fact, she assumes there are so many such Muslims that they constitute the “mainstream” of Islam. Yet, that proposition is not necessarily true even in the West, where Muslims are a minority who might be expected to assimilate into the dominant, non-Muslim culture; and it most certainly is not true in the Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East.

Even worse is Bernard’s assertion — uncritical, and without a hint that there may be a counter-case — “that Islam is a religion of peace, [and] that the term jihad refers mainly to the individual’s personal struggle against temptation and for moral betterment.”

As is the wont of Islam’s Western apologists, Bernard is attempting to shield from examination what most needs examining. Her reliance on the potential of “moderate Islam” to quell “radical Islam” is entirely premised on the conceit that Islam is, in fact, moderate and peaceful. Her assumption that the vast majority of Muslims can be won over (indeed, have already been won over, she seems to say) to Western values is premised on the conceit that those values are universal and, hence, locatable in the core of Islam — such that “tolerance and interfaith cooperation should prevail” because Islam is all for them.

Islam, however, is not a religion of peace. It is a religion of conquest that was spread by the sword. Moreover, it is not only untrue that jihad refers “mainly” to the individual’s internal struggle to live morally; it is also untrue that the Islamic ideal of the moral life is indistinguishable from the Western conception.

To be clear, this is not to say that Islam could not conceivably become peaceful. Nor is it to say that jihad could not be reinterpreted such that a decisive majority of Muslims would accept that its actual primary meaning — namely, holy war to establish Islam’s dominance — has been superseded by the quest for personal betterment. To pull that off, though, will require a huge fight. It cannot be done by inhabiting an alternative universe where it has already been done.

That fight would be over doctrine, the stark omission in Bernard’s analysis. I do not think the omission is an oversight. Note her labeling of faux moderates as “aggressive traditionalists.” Citing “tradition” implies that the backwardness and anti-Western hostility she detects, to her great dismay, is a function of cultural inhibitions. But what she never tells you, and hopes you’ll never ask, is where Islamic culture and traditions come from.

Alas, they are direct consequences of Islamic scripture and sharia, the law derived from scripture. She can’t go there. She wants Islam to be moderate, but its scriptures won’t cooperate. She must rely on tradition and culture because traditions and cultures can and do evolve. Scripture, by contrast, does not — not in Islam as taught by over a millennium’s worth of scholars and accepted by untold millions of Muslims. Mainstream Islam holds that scripture is immutable. The Koran, the center of Islamic life, is deemed the “uncreated word of Allah,” eternal. (See, e.g., Sura 6:115: “The Word of thy Lord doth find its fulfillment in truth and justice: None can change His Words: For He is the one Who heareth and knoweth all.”)

Bernard must blame aggressive traditionalism because if the problem is aggressive doctrine rooted in aggressive scripture, then it’s not changing any time soon — or maybe ever. Moreover, she is not in a position to challenge doctrine and scripture without deeply offending the believers to whom she is appealing. They are taught that any departure from centuries-old scholarly consensus is blasphemy.

The story Dr. Bernard tells of Islamic intransigence in her own Northern Virginia neighborhood is instructive. A Muslim-American friend of hers is a social worker who finds jobs for Muslim immigrants. He lands openings for a group of Somali women in a hospital laundry service; but the women first tell him they must check with their imam, then they turn down the jobs because they will not be allowed to wear their hijabs. The social worker and Bernard are exasperated: Why don’t the women and their adviser grasp that because hijabs could get caught in the machinery and cause injury, there is a “pragmatic reason” for departing from the traditional Islamic norm?

Notice: Bernard never considers, or at least never acknowledges, that there is doctrinal support for every decision the Somalis make: The scriptures instruct Muslims to consult authorities knowledgeable in sharia before embarking on a questionable course of conduct; they instruct Muslim women to wear the veil (particularly in any setting where they will be exposed to men who are not their husbands or close relatives). And while pragmatism suggests to the rational Dr. Bernard and her moderate, Westernized social-worker friend an obvious exception to Islam’s usual clothing rule, mainstream Islam in the Middle East and Somalia admonishes that Western reliance on reason and pragmatism is a form of corruption, a pretext for ignoring religious duty.

Doctrine is the answer to virtually every immoderate instance of aggressive “traditionalism” Bernard complains about: the separation of men from women in the mosque, and the decidedly poorer accommodations (“often unacceptable and even insulting,” as Bernard describes them) to which women are consigned; the separation of the sexes in work and social settings; the instructions not to trust or befriend “unbelievers”; the admonitions to resist adopting Western habits and developing loyalty to Western institutions. There is scriptural support for every one of these injunctions.

From the fact that she has moderate, “modernized” Muslim friends, who do not comport themselves in such “traditional” fashion, Bernard extravagantly deduces that tradition is the problem. She never comes close to grappling with doctrine — i.e., the thing that most devout Muslims believe is what makes them Muslims. The closest she comes is the fleeting observation that her moderate social-worker friend “is a scholar [presumably of Islam] and a professor who emigrated from a conservative Muslim country.” The obvious suggestion is that if he is not troubled by the flouting of traditional Islamic mores, surely there must not be any credible scriptural objection. But if it is relevant that her friend is a scholar, is it not also relevant that there are thousands of other scholars — scholars who actually do Islamic jurisprudence rather than social work for a living — who would opine that sharia requires these traditional behaviors and that it is the social worker who is out of touch?

When Dr. Bernard’s husband, Ambassador Khalilzad, served in Kabul, he midwifed the new Afghan constitution that purported to safeguard Western notions of liberty while simultaneously installing Islam as the state religion and sharia as fundamental law. In short order, Afghanistan put former Muslims who had publicly renounced Islam on capital trial for apostasy. Dr. Khalilzad, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and other Western officials and intellectuals pronounced themselves duly shocked and appalled — notwithstanding that anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Islamic scripture knows that it calls for public apostates to be killed.

To great American embarrassment, the apostates had to be whisked out of the country lest the incompatibility of civil rights and sharia become even more painfully apparent. It is worth acknowledging, however, that what chased them out of Afghanistan was not aggressive traditionalism. It was Islamic doctrine, which simply is not moderate. Looked at doctrinally, the challenge for “moderate Islam” is . . . Islam.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.