9/11/2017: Trump, Pence, Mattis, Sessions Fail to Name ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’

AP/Susan Walsh

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Sept. 11, 2017:

NEW YORK — On the sixteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist attacks, President Donald Trump did not once mention the terms “radical Islam” or “Islamic terrorism” during a commemoration ceremony at the Pentagon.

Those phrases were also not mentioned in speeches today by other Trump administration senior officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Instead of naming the enemy, Trump seemingly went out of his way to use other descriptors in his speech, including “terrorists who attacked us,” “barbaric forces of evil and destruction,” “horrible, horrible enemies,” “enemies of all civilized people,” and “enemies like we’ve never seen before.”

Similarly, Pence, speaking at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, referred to the scourge as “evil terrorists” and “global terrorism.” Pence did mention “the barbarians known as ISIS,” calling the global jihadist group by its acronym instead of the Islamic State.

Mattis, addressing the same Pentagon memorial as Trump, outwardly minimized the Islamic motivations of the terrorists by calling them “maniacs disguised in false religious garb.” He referred to “attackers perpetrating murder” on that fateful day, not even using the words “terrorist” or “terrorism.”

Sessions perhaps came closest to prescribing a religious ideology, calling out “extremists” who “seek to impose their speech codes, their religion, their theocracy.”

“For these extremists, it’s more than religion; it’s ideology,” he stated. “We have no choice but to defend against it.”

But Sessions did not mention a specific religion and did not expound upon which ideology the terrorists maintain.

When speaking of common threads among terrorists, Sessions also failed to mention the one major thread of Islam when he stated:

While the threats we face are diverse and evolving, terrorist ideologies have one thing in common: their disregard for the dignity of human life and they share an obsession with forcing everyone into their twisted ideology. And the terrorists know they can’t persuade people using reason, so they use coercion and intimidation. They seek acquiescence and inaction.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke released a brief statement that referred to the 9/11 radical Islamic jihadist perpetrators as “terrorists.”

Trump’s reluctance to name the actual enemy contrasts with speeches he gave in the past, including during the 2016 presidential campaign, in which he repeatedly utilized the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

“America was under attack,” stated Trump at Monday’s Pentagon memorial, a passive tone that did not specify who the attackers were.

“Today, our entire nation grieves with you and with every family of those 2,977 innocent souls who were murdered by terrorists 16 years ago,” he stated.

“The terrorists who attacked us thought they could incite fear and weaken our spirit. But America cannot be intimidated, and those who try will soon join the long list of vanquished enemies who dared to test our mettle.”

Trump went on to use various other terms to describe the enemy:

In the years after September 11, more than five million young men and women have joined the ranks of our great military to defend our country against barbaric forces of evil and destruction. American forces are relentlessly pursuing and destroying the enemies of all civilized people, ensuring — and these are horrible, horrible enemies, enemies like we’ve never seen before — but we’re ensuring they never again have a safe haven to launch attacks against our country. We are making plain to these savage killers that there is no dark corner beyond our reach, no sanctuary beyond our grasp, and nowhere to hide anywhere on this very large earth.

So here at this memorial, with hearts both sad and determined, we honor every hero who keeps us safe and free, and we pledge to work together, to fight together, and to overcome together every enemy and obstacle that’s ever in our path.

Pence did quote a previous statement from Trump about terrorists’ “radical ideology” but, like the other administration officials speaking, did not say what that ideology was:

But under the leadership of President Donald Trump, as our commander-in-chief, our armed forces have ISIS on the run in Iraq and Syria, and we will not rest or relent until we hunt down and destroy them at their source. Some four weeks ago, President Trump expressed the full commitment of the United States to, in his words, “destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them.

The uniform lack of the mention of radical Islamic terrorism from the administration Monday comes after previous reports that H.R. McMaster, Trump’s embattled national security adviser, has petitioned against using the phrase.

In February, CNN cited a source inside a National Security Council meeting quoting McMaster as saying that use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is unhelpful in working with allies to fight terrorism.

In May, McMaster spoke on ABC’s This Week about whether Trump would use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” in a speech that the president was about to give in Saudi Arabia. “The president will call it whatever he wants to call it,” McMaster said. “But I think it’s important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that [extremists] are not religious people. And, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war.”

This reporter previously exposed numerous instances of McMaster’s minimizing the Islamic motivations of radical Muslim terrorists.

Breitbart News unearthed a 2014 speech on the Middle East in which McMaster claimed that Islamic terrorist organizations are “really un-Islamic” and are “really irreligious organizations” who cloak themselves in the “false legitimacy of Islam.”

Delivering the keynote address at last April’s Norwich University ROTC Centennial Symposium, McMaster criticized “modern day barbarians like Daesh and al-Qaeda who cynically use a perverted interpretation of religion to perpetuate ignorance, incite hatred, and commit the most heinous crimes against innocents.”

Breitbart News also reported that McMaster endorsed and touted a book that frames jihad as a largely peaceful “means to struggle or exert effort,” such as waking up early in the morning to recite prayers. It argues that groups like al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have hijacked the concept of jihad to wage warfare using such tactics as suicide bombings.

That same book calls Hamas an “Islamist political group” while failing to categorize the deadly organization as a terrorist group and refers to al-Qaeda attacks and anti-Israel terrorism as “resistance.”

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio. Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

H.R. McMaster-Endorsed Book Calls Jihad Peaceful, Al-Qaida Terrorism ‘Resistance’

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Aug. 18, 2017:

TEL AVIV — A book on terrorism endorsed and touted by H.R. McMaster, the embattled White House National Security Adviser, calls Hamas an “Islamist political group” while failing to categorize the deadly organization as a terrorist group, and refers to al-Qaida attacks and anti-Israel terrorism as “resistance.”

The work frames jihad as largely peaceful “means to struggle or exert effort,” such as waking up early in the morning to recite prayers. It argues that groups like al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations have hijacked the concept of jihad to wage warfare using such tactics as suicide bombings.

The book, reviewed in full by this reporter, was authored by U.S. military officer Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, and is titled Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat.

McMaster provided a glowing blurb for the book jacket, referring to Aboul-Enein’s book as “an excellent starting point” for understanding terrorist ideology. McMaster also promotedthe book in ARMOR, the journal of the U.S. Army’s Armor Branch, published at Fort Benning, Georgia, where McMaster served as commanding general at the Ft. Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence.

McMaster wrote in his blurb for the book: “Militant Islamist Ideology deserves a wide readership among all those concerned with the problem of transnational terrorism, their ideology, and our efforts to combat those organizations that pose a serious threat to current and future generations of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”

In the blurb, McMaster revealed his own views on terrorism, claiming that “terrorist organizations use a narrow and irreligious ideology to recruit undereducated and disenfranchised people to their cause.”

The book may offer a primer into critical national security views held by McMaster, who has claimed that Islamic terrorist organizations are “really un-Islamic” and are “really irreligious organizations” who cloak themselves in the “false legitimacy of Islam.”

In numerous public comments on terrorism, McMaster has seemed to minimize the central religious motivations of radical Islamic terrorist groups who are waging a religious war against Western civilization. McMaster’s comments represent views of Islamic terrorism that are diametrically opposed to those espoused by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly utilized the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Aboul-Enein is listed as a senior adviser and analyst at the Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism at the Defense Intelligence Agency, a position that he also held under the Obama administration. He is an officer in the Navy Medical Service Corps and Middle East Foreign Officer, and an adjunct military professor and chair of Islamic studies at the National Defense University.

Besides endorsing Militant Islamist Ideology, McMaster also wrote a forward for another Aboul-Enein book, this one titled, Iraq in Turmoil: Historical Perspectives of Dr. Ali al-Wardi, From the Ottoman Empire to King Feisal.

Hamas an ‘Islamist Political Group’

Throughout the McMaster-endorsed Militant Islamist Ideology book, Aboul-Enein struggles to properly categorize Hamas; but at no point does he call Gaza’s murderous Islamist rulers a terrorist organization.

Hamas is a terrorist group responsible for scores of deadly suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians. Hamas’s official charter calls for the obliteration of the Jewish state, and proclaims that there is “no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.” Hamas leaders routinely demand the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews.

Yet Aboul-Enein struggles to properly classify Hamas. At one point, Aboul-Enein differentiates between “militant Islamists” and Hamas, grouping the latter among “Islamist political groups.”

In the book’s introduction, he writes:

Militant Islamists alienate not only the United States but even Islamist political groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. It is time for a more nuanced definition of the threat.

At another point, the author calls Hamas an “Islamist” group. He writes (page 131): “For instance, Zawahiri condemns Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas for participating in the electoral process.”

Despite its clear terrorist activities, Aboul-Enein suggests (page 2) that Hamas does not “fit into a neat category.” He asks an open question about whether Hamas “is an Islamist or Militant Islamist group,” but he does not provide an answer.

He writes (page 3):

There are also Islamists who do not fit into a neat category, such as the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. On one hand, Hamas provides social services, won 44 percent of the electorate in 2006, and is the government of the Palestinian territories. On the other hand, it has failed to compromise effectively with other Palestinian rejectionist and secular groups to form a governing coalition, and it has failed to provide social services for a wider Palestinian populace. In addition, it has conducted suicide operations directed against Israeli civilians – though it has not widened its campaign beyond targeting Israel. Further, al-Qaida senior leaders have viciously attacked Hamas for participating in electoral politics. The question for Americans is whether Hamas is an Islamist or Militant Islamist group.

Aboul-Enein fails to note that the U.S. government already answered that so-called question, designating Hamas as a foreign terrorist group.

In another section of the book, Aboul-Enein defines (page 193) Hamas as straddling “the Islamist and Militant Islamist divide, using its proficiency in suicide-bomber operations to strike at Israeli targets, yet it is currently in government.” He also writes (page 215) that Hamas “is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist militant organization and political party.”

Al-Qaida, Palestinian ‘Resistance’

In the book, Aboul-Enein refers to the deadly terrorism of al-Qaida in Iraq as “resistance.” Besides its worldwide mayhem, Al-Qaida has been responsible for countless terrorist attacks across Iraq that have targeted civilians, U.S. troops and Iraqi government institutions.

Aboul-Enein relates a struggle between the goals of al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) and those of the Islamic Army of Iraq (IAI) in terms of “resistance” locally versus a global fight against the West.

Aboul-Enein writes (page 101):

In post-Saddam Iraq, among the Sunni insurgency there are other stressors that undermine al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), such as the tensions between the Islamic Army of Iraq (IAI) and al-Qaida in Iraq. The IAI struggles with AQI over the concept of this fight being for Iraq’s Sunnis and not a wider pan-Islamist struggle; the IAI has narrower objectives than AQI. It is a tension between Jihad as muqawama (resistance) and Jihad for a wider pan-Islamist objective.

He refers to support for “resistance” against the U.S. presence in Iraq. He does so when documenting the rise of Muslim Brotherhood political parties and public criticism of an al-Qaida hotel bombing in 2005 in Amman, Jordan.

He writes (page 46):

This has split the Muslim Brotherhood, as there is deep hostility toward the U.S. presence in Iraq, support for muqawama (resistance) and for the Muslim Brotherhood concept of wasatiyah (moderation), and recognition of the need for grassroots representation of the Ahl-al-Sunnah (formal term for Sunni Muslims).

Aboul-Enein also categorizes deadly terrorist raids on Jewish settlements in the 1930s as “resistance,” even though those operations targeted and killed civilians.

He states: (page 138)

No study of Militant Islamist ideologues and the cleavages between Militant Islamist and Islamist groups can be complete without delving into the life, actions, theories, and legacy of Abdullah Azzam. Militant Islamist operatives take the nom de guerre“Abu Azzam” in his honor. A witness to increased Jewish immigration into Palestine in World War II, Azzam was reared on the stories of resistance by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade, which led guerrilla raids against the British and then Jewish settlers.

The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades is currently the namesake of Hamas’s so-called military wing. Aboul-Enein was referring to deadly attacks carried out by the original Brigade, founded around 1930 by Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, a Syrian Muslim cleric who popularized the concept of jihad against Jews during the British civil administration of Palestine.

“Islamist” vs. “Militant Islamist”

The core of Aboul-Enein’s endeavor, and one that may help to elucidate McMaster’s views, is to differentiate between what he terms “Islamist” and “Militant Islamist,” and to show that “militant Islamists” present a distorted, dishonest view of Islam. The thesis might clarify McMaster’s aversion to using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

In seeking to differentiate between “Islam,” “Islamist,” and “Militant Islamist,” Aboul-Enein comes up with the following basic definitions:

  • Islam is “the religious faith of Muslims, involving (as defined in Merriam-Webster’s) belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet.”
  • He defines Islamist as “a group or individual advocating Islam as a political as well as a religious system. Chief Islamist objectives include implementing sharia (Islamic) law as the basis of all statutory issues and living as did the earliest adherents to Islam. Many Islamists also assert that implementation of sharia law requires the elimination of all non-Islamic influences in social, political, economic, and military spheres of life.”
  • Militant Islamists, Aboul-Enein claims, consist of a “group or individual advocating Islamist ideological goals, principally by violent means. Militant Islamists call for the strictest possible interpretation of both the Qur’an (Muslim book of divine revelation) and the hadith (the Prophet Muhammad’s actions and deeds). This narrow interpretation opposes the beliefs of Muslims and non-Muslims alike; Militant Islamists stand against Western democracies, Middle Eastern institutions of government, and Islamist political parties that participate nonviolently in elections.”

Defining Jihad

Aboul-Enein frames jihad as a largely peaceful “means to struggle or exert effort,” a term that has been hijacked by “militant Islamists” to wage extremist warfare.

Aboul-Enein posits, for example, that jihad “can be as simple as struggling to get up in the early morning to say your dawn prayers or struggling to learn and improve yourself spiritually or intellectually. It also can mean struggling in the path of God, which does not necessarily mean engaging in warfare but might be making time to teach Islam to children or providing financial support for an Islamic project.”

Jihad, in other words, is a struggle to fulfill one’s obligations to Allah, according to the author.

Islamists, he states, define jihad as a “means to expend every effort fighting against the disbelievers.” However, Aboul-Enein attempts to cloak this violent struggle in the shroud of morality.

He writes (page 34): “Islamists delineate who can fight and when; unlike Militant Islamists, they generally set rules and limits for engaging in fighting in the name of God. … It makes Jihad obligatory upon all Muslims only if the enemy has entered Muslim lands and if the imam calls for Jihad.”

Some Islamists, he relates, “prescribe a protocol of warfare in which a noble Muslim warrior should be free of arrogance and conceit,” and espouse “etiquette” such as “warnings not to kill noncombatant women and children.”

Aboul-Enein describes the seemingly legitimate, moderate jihad as different from the jihadist views advocated by “militant Islamists,” who “use women, children, and the mentally infirm as suicide bombers, who reduce Jihad to fighting or supporting the fighting through financial means, and who make Jihad incumbent upon all Muslims, with no distinction between communal and individual responsibility.”

Islam experts, meanwhile, have pointed out that mainstream Islamic scripture advocates a violent jihad to spread Islam worldwide.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, wrote at Foreign Policy magazine that “anyone seeking support for armed jihad in the name of Allah will find ample support in the passages in the Quran and Hadith that relate to Mohammed’s Medina period.”

Ali pointed to Q4:95 which states, “Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home).” Q8:60 instructs Muslims “to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know.” Q9:29 explicitly tells Muslims: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

Writes Ali:

Mainstream Islamic jurisprudence continues to maintain that the so-called “sword verses” (9:5 and 9:29) have “abrogated, canceled, and replaced” those verses in the Quran that call for “tolerance, compassion, and peace.”

There lies the duality within Islam. It’s possible to claim, following Mohammed’s example in Mecca, that Islam is a religion of peace. But it’s also possible to claim, as the Islamic State does, that a revelation was sent to Mohammed commanding Muslims to wage jihad until every human being on the planet accepts Islam or a state of subservience, on the basis of his legacy in Medina.

The key question is not whether Islam is a religion of peace, but rather, whether Muslims follow the Mohammed of Medina, regardless of whether they are Sunni or Shiite.

Writing for the Hoover Institute, Shmuel Bar, who served as a senior research fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, assertedthat “few orthodox Islamic scholars would deny” that beliefs “commonly viewed as typical of radical Islamic ideology” are “deeply rooted in Orthodox Islam.”

McMaster’s Troubling Views

McMaster, meanwhile, has espoused controversial views on the topics discussed in Aboul-Enein’s book.

On Monday, Breitbart News unearthed a 2014 speech on the Middle East in which McMaster claimed that Islamic terrorist organizations are “really un-Islamic” and are “really irreligious organizations” who cloak themselves in the “false legitimacy of Islam.”

McMaster, who serves in a critical national security position, seems to be minimizing the central religious motivations of radical Islamic terrorist groups who are waging a religious war against Western civilization.

He has made such remarks in the past. Delivering the keynote address at last April’s Norwich University ROTC Centennial Symposium, McMaster criticized “modern day barbarians like Daeshand Al-Qaeda who cynically use a perverted interpretation of religion to perpetuate ignorance, incite hatred, and commit the most heinous crimes against innocents.”

In February, CNN cited a source inside a National Security Council meeting quoting McMaster as saying that use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is unhelpful in working with allies to fight terrorism.

In May, McMaster spoke on ABC’s This Week about whether Trump would use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” in a speech that the president was about to give in Saudi Arabia.

“The president will call it whatever he wants to call it,” McMaster said. “But I think it’s important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that [extremists] are not religious people. And, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war.”

In the speech, Trump eventually urged Muslim-majority countries to take the lead in “combating radicalization,” and referred to “Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

Shia and Sunni Islamic terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and the Islamic State each openly espouse Islamic motivations, repeatedly cite the Quran, and claim they are fighting a religious war. Some of the Sunni groups are violent offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to create a global Islamic caliphate.

Besides his drive to define terrorist groups as “irreligious,” Breitbart News further unearthed a speech following Israel’s defensive 2014 war against the Hamas terrorist group in which McMaster sidestepped a question about whether the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted itself in an ethical manner, instead providing what McMaster admitted was a “non-answer.”

The IDF is known to go to extreme lengths to operate ethically and protect civilians when fighting Palestinian jihadists who use civilians as human shields, launch rocket attacks from civilian zones and house their terrorist infrastructures in densely populated civilian areas.

Earlier this month, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest pro-Israel group in the country, released an analysis of McMaster’s policies and reported views, concluding that he should be reassigned outside the NSC after it found that McMaster may be undermining Trump’s stated national security agenda.

The analysis states:

We find it hard to understand how someone who clearly has animus toward Israel, who supports the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, who opposes calling out radical Islamist terrorists, who fires Trump loyalists and supporters of Israel and opponents of Iran, who hires those opposed to President Trump’s policies especially on Israel and Iran, who refused to acknowledge that the Western Wall is in Israel, who opposes Israeli counterterrorism measures, and who shuts down joint U.S. counterterrorism programs that are of enormous value to U.S. security, can faithfully serve President Trump as top national security advisor. President Trump made it crystal clear, both before and since his election, that supporting Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance, abrogating or at least vigorously enforcing the Iran deal while calling out and sanctioning Iran’s violations, confronting radical Islamist terrorism, and draining the Washington swamp were key, distinguishing policies of his administration.

The ZOA’s analysis cited Breitbart News articles from this reporter on McMaster’s background.

Last week, Breitbart News reported that McMaster served at a UK-based think tank financed by a controversial, George Soros-funded group identified by the Obama White House as central in helping to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the public and news media.

From September 2006 to February 2017, McMaster was listed as a member of International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), where he served as consulting senior fellow. The IISS describes itself as a “world-leading authority on global security, political risk and military conflict.”

Breitbart also reported that IISS is bankrolled by multinational corporate firms doing billions of dollars of business in Iran.

And IISS quietly took in about $32.5 million in funding from Bahrain, a country whose constitution explicitly enshrines Sharia Islamic law as its governing doctrine, Breitbart News documented.

The funding from Bahrain, a repressive regime with a dismal human rights track record but also an important regional U.S. ally, reportedly amounted to one quarter of the think tank’s total income.

A significant portion of the Bahraini funding reportedly pays for the think tank’s annual conference in Bahrain, the Mamana Dialogue. The original agreement between IISS and Bahrain to finance the conference contained a clause calling for the memorandum of understanding to remain confidential, according to the document, which was leaked by a watchdog and published by the Guardian newspaper last year.

As a member of IISS, McMaster participated in the Sixth Mamana Dialogue summit in Bahrain from December 11 to December 13, 2009, Breitbart News found. He is listed in IISS literature as being part of the Mamana Dialogue’s four-person panel that year on “military transformation, intelligence and security cooperation.”

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

This article was written with additional research  by Joshua Klein.

EXCLUSIVE – Terrorism Expert: H.R. McMaster is Endangering U.S. National Security

AP/Susan Walsh

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Aug. 16, 2017:

TEL AVIV — H.R. McMaster, the embattled National Security Adviser to President Trump, is threatening U.S. national security by refusing to recognize radical Islamic terrorism, a top terrorism expert told Breitbart News.

“The refusal to utter or condemn by name radical Islamic terrorism only helps makes the battle against Islamic terrorism impossible to win,” stated Steven Emerson, executive director of the respected Investigative Project on Terrorism. “If you cannot identify the problem, you cannot beat it.”

McMaster’s refusal to “condemn radical Islamic terrorism by name is a threat to our national security,” Emerson posited.

Emerson was responding to a 2014 speech on the Middle East, unearthed yesterday by Breitbart News, in which McMaster claimed that Islamic terrorist organizations are “really un-Islamic” and are “really irreligious organizations” who cloak themselves in the “false legitimacy of Islam.”

McMaster’s comments represent views of Islamic terrorism that are diametrically opposed to those espoused by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly utilized the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

McMaster, who serves in a critical national security position, seems to be minimizing the central religious motivations of radical Islamic terrorist groups who are waging a religious war against Western civilization. Indeed, in his speech, McMaster urged the audience to focus on the “human factors” that he says drive conflict while downplaying any religious motivation.

The comments in the 2014 video are not the only time McMaster has seemingly denied the Islamic motivations of America’s terrorist enemies. In February, CNN cited a source inside a National Security Council meeting quoting McMaster as saying that use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is unhelpful in working with allies to fight terrorism.

In May, McMaster spoke on ABC’s This Week about whether Trump would use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” in a speech that the president was about to give in Saudi Arabia. “The president will call it whatever he wants to call it,” McMaster said. “But I think it’s important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that [extremists] are not religious people. And, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war.”

Emerson compared McMaster’s views on terrorism to those officially espoused for eight years by the Obama administration, which refused to attribute radical Islamic motivations to terrorism, instead referring to the phenomenon as “violent extremism.”

Stated Emerson:

Nearly the entire liberal/left wing media spectrum have been continuously condemning President Trump for not condemning by name the ultra-white nationalist groups who came out for battle on Saturday in Charlottesville instead of condemning the generalized categories of “hate and bigotry.”  In fact, we also criticized that hesitation to name the neo-Nazi  coalition, but at least the President  condemned them by name on Monday.

But by the scurrilous standards of McMaster and the 8 years of the Obama Administration, a generalized statement against “violent extremism” should have been enough for the events on Saturday. But of course, that meaningless euphemism invoked by Obama, to the murderous applause of a compliant media, meant absolutely nothing. And in fact, only emboldened the quest for power by radical Islamic front groups over truly moderate Islamic reform groups and leaders. That McMaster is pursuing the same refusal to condemn radical Islamic terrorism by name is a threat to our national security.

Also reacting to McMaster’s statements on terrorism, Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, told Breitbart News yesterday that he believes McMaster is endangering U.S. national security by seeming to scrub Islam as a motivating factor.

Stated Gaffney, “It is no small irony that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster – a man who wrote a book entitled Dereliction of Duty about malfeasant political interference in the U.S. military’s conduct of a war – is now perpetrating the greatest reprise of such dereliction since Vietnam with his insistence that the wellspring for jihadist terror is not authoritative Islam and its supremacist Sharia doctrine. President Trump must treat such incompetence as a firing offense.”

Shia and Sunni Islamic terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and the Islamic State each openly espouse Islamic motivations, repeatedly cite the Quran, and claim they are fighting a religious war.  Some of the Sunni groups are violent offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to create a global Islamic caliphate.

Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaida, infamously cited Quranic scripture and was heavily influenced by Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, ideologue and Islamic theorist Sayyid Qutb, considered the Brotherhood’s intellectual godfather.  Writing in the New York Times magazine in 2003, author Paul Berman dissected the Quranic origins of Qutb’s book Milestones – utilized by bin Laden as a sort of religious guidebook – as being drawn from Qutb’s massive commentary on the Quran titled, In the Shade of the Qur’an.

Hamas’s original charter repeatedly cites the Quran and other mainstream Islamic texts.  In March, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza, claimed that “removing the Jews from the land they occupied in 1948 is an immutable principle because it appears in the Book of Allah.”  Zahar was referring to the entire State of Israel.

While there are legitimate arguments about how much these terrorist groups in some cases may utilize an extremist interpretation of Islam, McMaster is clearly downplaying the transparent religious motivations of America’s terrorist enemies.

McMaster’s views on Islamic terrorism are the latest controversy to engulf the Trump administration official.

Last week, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest pro-Israel group in the country, released an analysis of McMaster’s policies and reported views, concluding that he should be reassigned outside the NSC after it found that McMaster may be undermining Trump’s stated national security agenda.

The analysis states:

We find it hard to understand how someone who clearly has animus toward Israel, who supports the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, who opposes calling out radical Islamist terrorists, who fires Trump loyalists and supporters of Israel and opponents of Iran, who hires those opposed to President Trump’s policies especially on Israel and Iran, who refused to acknowledge that the Western Wall is in Israel, who opposes Israeli counterterrorism measures, and who shuts down joint U.S. counterterrorism programs that are of enormous value to U.S. security, can faithfully serve President Trump as top national security advisor. President Trump made it crystal clear, both before and since his election, that supporting Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance, abrogating or at least vigorously enforcing the Iran deal while calling out and sanctioning Iran’s violations, confronting radical Islamist terrorism, and draining the Washington swamp were key, distinguishing policies of his administration.
The ZOA’s analysis cited Breitbart News articles from this reporter on McMaster’s background.
Last week, Breitbart News reported that McMaster served at a UK-based think tank financed by a controversial, George Soros-funded group identified by the Obama White House as central in helping to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the public and news media. 
From September 2006 to February 2017, McMaster was listed as a member of International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), where he served as consulting senior fellow. The IISS describes itself as a “world-leading authority on global security, political risk and military conflict.” The group was also financed directly by Soros’s Open Society Foundations.
Breitbart also reported that IISS is bankrolled by multinational corporate firms doing billions of dollars in business in Iran.
And IISS quietly took in about $32.5 million in funding from Bahrain, a country whose constitution explicitly enshrines Sharia Islamic law as its governing doctrine, Breitbart News documented.
The funding from Bahrain, a repressive regime with a dismal human rights track record but also an important regional U.S. ally, reportedly amounted to one quarter of the think tank’s total income.
Also see:

No, Efforts To Designate The Muslim Brotherhood Aren’t Abandoned

A diverse range of voices favors Washington putting the squeeze on the Muslim Brotherhood, despite debates about to how to move forward effectively.

The Federalist, by Kyle Shideler, May 15, 2017:

If we are to believe media reports, the Trump administration has all but abandoned efforts to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. While Brookings scholar Shadi Hamid trumpeted that “American experts who study the Muslim Brotherhood unanimously oppose their designation,” a wide range of opinion on the Islamist group remains, both inside and outside the Beltway.

In fact, a diverse range of voices favors Washington puting the squeeze on the Muslim Brotherhood, even if there are debates about to how to move forward in the most effective manner. Former Ambassador Dennis Ross, co-author of a leading work on the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, the terrorist group Hamas, recently wrote a stinging article targeting the tiny gulf state of Qatar for its role in financing the group. Ross notes,

Few countries have done more to promote the Muslim Brotherhood, including its Palestinian offshoot Hamas, than Qatar. The actions of the Muslim Brotherhood may vary from country to country, but it rationalizes attacks against American forces and interests, rejects the very concept of peace with Israel, and promotes religious intolerance.

Just so. While Ross doesn’t explicitly call for designating the group as a terrorist organization, he does poke holes in the view—prevalent during the Obama administration—that the Brotherhood represents a bulwark against Islamic terrorism rather than a network of support for it. That flawed approach has been the basis for much of the immense bureaucratic opposition from both the Central Intelligence Agency and State Department to designating the Brotherhood.

We’re Already Halfway There

Soon after Trump’s victory late last year, State Department and CIA memos opposing designation were leaked to sympathetic media, and fed into a fierce public relations campaign the Brotherhood funded abroad. An echo chamber of validators amplified these efforts, using self-proclaimed Islamist and counterterror experts whose think tanks receive lavish funding from Gulf States like Qatar.

Yet designating the Brotherhood enjoys a base of broad support among Republicans, from conservatives like Sen. Ted Cruz to traditional centrists likes Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch, and even a handful of Democrats. Some foreign governments have also supported a designation, including the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Indeed, elements of the Muslim Brotherhood have already been designated. The effort began in 1993, when President Bill Clinton designated its Palestinian branch—better known as Hamas—as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Then, almost immediately following 9/11, U.S. counterterrorism efforts against the Muslim Brotherhood began in earnest. By the end of President Bush’s second term, numerous Brotherhood charities and organizations, both foreign and domestic, had been designated, and others criminally prosecuted for terrorism activity.

Additionally, a number of Brotherhood leaders were personally designated, including Yemeni Brotherhood leader Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani and one of the leaders of the International Muslim Brotherhood organization, Youssef Nada. Most of these designations took place without invoking the Brotherhood’s name, but they were still intentional blows to the group’s terror support network. While the Obama administration reversed some of these designations, others remain.

What the Trump Administration Should Do

Any effective policy to combat the Muslim Brotherhood would involve freeing the Treasury Department to once against begin designating and sanctioning the Muslim Brothers and their various front organizations and branches for terrorism finance and their other illegal activities.

This step can be taken as soon as key nominees are confirmed, a process that Democratic Senators have unfortunately slowed to a crawl. Just this week, Sen. Ron Wyden announced he would block the nomination of Sigal Mandelker to be undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.

In addition to Treasury enforcement action, knowledgeable federal law enforcement officers within the government recognize the nature and threat of the Muslim Brotherhood. These officers investigated Muslim Brotherhood-related cases during the Bush administration, and they understand the role the Muslim Brotherhood plays in terrorism and terror finance.

This includes agents who have dedicated nearly a lifetime of federal service to investigating the Brotherhood’s terror connections. Unfortunately, the Obama administration broke up the taskforce that won key counterterrorism convictions against Brotherhood leaders, meaning some of America’s best experts on the Muslim Brotherhood have been relegated to other tasks. Restoring this taskforce for federal law enforcement is a necessary step, and could be accomplished by the Trump Department of Justice with a modicum of effort.

Perhaps most importantly, the public debate around designating the Muslim Brotherhood deserves transparency. A tranche of Brotherhood documents federal law enforcement captured, while reportedly not classified, have not been made available to the general public. They should be released immediately.

Additionally, the nature of the U.S. government’s policy towards Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood over the past decade deserves clarification. Presidential Study Directive-11, which reportedly deals with U.S. policy towards Islamist movements in the Middle East, and its associated documents should be declassified and made available for examination. Former House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Pete Hokstra made this argument at a hearing in September last year.

As with the documents taken during the raid on Abbottabad when Osama bin Laden was killed, and the so-called “side deals” of the Iran deal, these documents also deserve to see light of day so a reasoned debate can begin over how the U.S. government should best respond to the threat the Muslim Brotherhood poses. These are all actions the Trump administration can begin immediately.

Finally, a role for Congress remains in this debate. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Cruz, legislation on designation remains before both the House and Senate. Hearings on the Muslim Brotherhood, its role in supporting terrorism, and U.S. policy towards the group are all not only appropriate, but well overdue as a companion to White House efforts.

It’s inaccurate to say no support exists for designating the Muslim Brotherhood, but it is fair to say the window for a successful effort is closing fast. If the Trump administration intends to keep this important part of their broader platform to make America safe again, they need to move swiftly.

Kyle Shideler is the director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy. Kyle has worked for several organizations involved with Middle East and terrorism policy since 2006. He is a contributing author to “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” and has written for numerous publications and briefed legislative aides, intelligence, and law enforcement officials and the general public on national security issues.

An Onslaught Of Islamic Terror Is Europe’s New Normal

Police secure the Champs Elysee Avenue after a shooting incident in Paris, France, April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Daily Caller, by Sam Westrop, April 24, 2017:

On Thursday, in an attack that has started to feel routine, Karim Cheurfi opened fire on French police on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, killing a police officer. Cheurfi then wounded two others before he was shot and killed. Police later found a note in which he expressed support for the Islamic State, which later declared him their “soldier.”

Following similar attacks in London, Stockholm, Paris, Nice, Berlin and Israel, Europe is waking up to the fact that these abrupt acts of murder — using knives, guns and cars — are the new norm.

Over the last five years, there has been a noticeable change in jihadist methods. During the 2000s, Al Qaeda and other violent Islamist groups were preoccupied with large explosions –terrorist acts that took months of planning, networks of contacts, sources of funding, and supplies of explosive material. The effects, when successful, produced enormous casualties and made for dramatic television. But these plots were also ripe for discovery by law enforcement: large money transfers were noticed, explosive materials were tracked, conspirators were surveilled and Muslim informants exposed whole Islamist cells.

On the other hand, acquiring a gun, picking up a knife, or simply getting into your car requires hardly any planning at all. Islamists have realized that ersatz terror may kill fewer people than showpiece terror, but its effects are just as terrifying and its success rate is far higher.

Islamist low-tech terrorism was first advocated seriously in 2010. Al-Qaeda in Yemen (led by the late American Islamist, Anwar Al-Awlaki) encouraged Muslims to get in their pick-up trucks, which they referred to as “Ultimate Mowing Machines,” and “mow down the enemies of Allah.”

Then, in 2014, ISIS called on Western Muslims to use vehicles, knives – anything to hand: “If you are not able to find an I.E.D. or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”

Cheurfi was born in France, and had a long criminal record. From 2001, he was imprisoned for 11 years after shooting at two police officers from a stolen car. He was not identified as a possible Islamist until December 2016, according to Le Monde, after police were warned that he was planning an attack. In February, he repeated the threats on a messaging app, and was questioned by police. Then, in March, he attempted to contact ISIS fighters in Syria. By that point, he had been included on a list of 16,000 Islamists the security services deemed potential violent extremists.

Europe faces an onslaught. France, in particular, has far more potential terrorists than security service resources to stop them. Along with more effective counter-terrorism work, the only possible long-term solution for Europe, is to actively stamp out all violent and non-violent Islamist influence, and back reformist Muslims instead.

Over the past few decades, Europe’s radicalization problem has been severely exacerbated by the attitudes of government towards their Muslim communities. European state multiculturalism policy regards its citizens not as individuals, but as blocs — or communities — delineated by ethnicity, race and religion. In order to interact with these communities, governments need intermediaries to manage them. Among European Muslims, where there is no organized clergy, only the Islamists have had the wherewithal to proclaim themselves representatives of the dozens of different, fractious political and religious Islamic sects. To run the communities, governments have handed these Islamist leadership groups taxpayers’ money, political power, and influence over schools, hospitals, prisons, chaplaincy programs, among other things.

Consequently, an entire generation of European Muslims have grown up attending Islamist-run mosques, schools and community centres. Islamist politicians are elected to government offices, Muslim prisoners are placed in the care of Islamist chaplains, and Islamist charities move money to and from the Middle East – much of it partly subsidized by European taxpayers. In strictly secular France, its multiculturalism policy funds ethnic groups rather than religious ones. But because the clear majority of French Muslims are from North Africa, taxpayer subsidy of these communities ends up being claimed by the Islamists as well.

For Karim Cheurfi, radicalization was not necessarily the result of slick propaganda videos produced by Islamic State, or a particularly convincing contact on social media. His introduction to Islamism was offline – it occurred simply by virtue of the fact he was a European Muslim, surrounded and politically represented by a community under the thumb of Islamist ideologues.

For Europe to survive, the Islamists must be squashed. Funding must be cut off, both from Western governments and foreign Islamist regimes. Extremist mosques must be shut down, extremist foreign clerics should be deported, and moderate, anti-Islamist Muslims must be funded and supported. Most importantly, Western Europe must stop organizing its Muslim citizens into homogenous religious and ethnic blocs, ripe for radicalization.

Sam Westrop is the director of Islamist Watch at the Middle East Forum.

***

Gregg Roman: Trump Should Shift Focus from Fighting Obama’s ‘Violent Extremism’ to Fighting ‘Radical Islam’

Associated Press

Associated Press

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Feb. 27, 2017:

Gregg Roman, director of theMiddle East Forum, told SiriusXM host Alex Marlow ofBreitbart News Daily that he expects President Trump to proceed with his planned commission to study radical Islam.

Roman said the Middle East Forum has “drafted an off-the-shelf proposal to give President Trump whenever he thinks it’s time to begin this policy idea he spoke about back in August of last year, some really quick ways to get this moving forward.” The Middle East Forum report to which he referred is here.

“There was a working group that President Obama convened back in 2010 that was called the Countering Violent Extremism Working Group,” he recalled. “They came up with such quotes like, ‘Jihad as a holy war is a European invention,’ ‘The Caliphate’s return is inevitable,’ ‘Sharia is misunderstood,’ ‘Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms because terrorism is not Islamic by definition.’ There was a complete muddying of the waters as it relates to the intersection of Islamism as the political ideology that seeks to implement sharia across the West, and that of terrorism.”

“Now, the gem that was really great about Trump’s speech back in 2016, in August, was that he didn’t call this issue ‘violent extremism.’ What he called it was ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’” Roman continued, giving his own preferred definition of the term as “Islamist-inspired terrorism against Western targets.”

“The first thing he did, that I think any president would have to do, is define the problem that the White House would be trying to solve. So he did that. The second thing we would recommend to the president, as it’s written in the report, is to make sure that the structure of this commission should be much like that of what President Reagan put forward when he was trying to find ways in which to defeat the Soviet Union,” he recommended.

“The third thing is once we identify the structure of how this commission would look, we’d have to say who’s going to be on it. We urge the president to put representatives of law enforcement, the military, the intelligence community, diplomatic specialists, but also Muslims themselves, members of the Muslim reform movement and victims of Islamist terror,” he said.

“It’s not just inviting government representatives; it’s also inviting private citizens – those who might be able to reform Islam from within and those who have been victims of terror attacks emanating from Islamist terror groups like al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and so on and so forth,” he explained.

“The fourth thing about this commission is that it has to have a strong mandate. It can’t just be another organization, rather another quasi-organization, launched by the White House without any teeth. It should have the power to subpoena. It should have the power to call individuals not just to testify, but also to offer compelling evidence. And it should have the ability to recommend charges to the Justice Department for American groups that may be supporting Islamist activity in the United States,” he said. “It’s time to get the politics out of countering terrorism, and it’s time to really start sinking American law and teeth into this.”

“Lastly, the commission itself should implement its recommendations through legislation that the Congress would offer and also through executive orders that the president might put forward. It’s time to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. It’s no longer time to dance around the question like the Obama administration has done for the past eight years, prior to Trump being sworn in,” Roman concluded.

Marlow asked who Roman sees as allies on Capitol Hill in this endeavor and “who are the people who might be a force for preventing things like this from getting done.”

“Two of our allies that I really have to give words out to – I think there’s four of them that I would mention, but first Congressman Bill Johnson and also Ron de Santis are amazing on these issues,” Roman replied. “They’re working with us on another project, which is another recommendation for the administration called the Israel Victory Caucus, but they are two individuals that I think are at the forefront of combating radical Islamic terrorism.”

“The other two that I think you have on your show today are Keith Rothfus and Mike Kelly that are individuals that I’ve worked with when I was out in Pittsburgh in another function, before I came to the Forum, but they’re also at this,” he continued. “Especially Keith Rothfus’ work on terrorism finance. He’s doing it right now from an angle on how drugs affect the funding of terrorism, both here and also the criminal organizations behind it south of the border.”

“The individuals with the committees that are taking an interest in this, in the Senate you have the chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and also the chair of the Committee on Homeland Security in the House – McCaul in the House and Johnson in the Senate,” he said. “We sat down with their advisers and some of the subcommittee staff, the subcommittee staff directors,” said Roman. “It’s really important to understand that it’s not just the staff who are on board with defining the problem and trying to find a solution to it, but also many members of Congress are also interested in this. We had great meetings when we went down to the Hill last week, before the publication of the report.”

Marlow asked what Roman would like to see President Trump say to Congress on the topic of radical Islam during his upcoming address.

“I think definitive plans beyond the drafting of the executive order on immigration and extreme vetting that came out in the first few days of his administration, what he plans to do,” Roman replied. “He gave a directive to Secretary of Defense Mattis to draft a plan to defeat ISIS within 30 days of him drafting the order. I think it’s time that that plan not necessarily be shared – because President Trump has indicated he doesn’t intend to share his battle plans, which he shouldn’t with the public – but general guidelines on how he intends on getting that done.”

“The second thing is I’d like to hear him offer a stripping of the Countering Violent Extremism program that the Department of Homeland Security put forward under President Obama and a firm commitment that he will not be giving federal dollars to Islamist groups like the Muslim Public Affairs Committee or the Council on American-Islamic Relations,” he continued. “We saw two subsidiaries of these groups, allies, get hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funding. I don’t think it’s a good idea to give Islamists money to solve Islamist-backed terrorism.”

“The third thing that I’d like to see is him offer a definitive mindset and blueprint for him introducing his committee and commission on radical Islam. Those three things I think would be good starting steps for him to announce on policy,” he said.

“But I don’t necessarily expect this is going to be the platform for which he will make this speech,” Roman added. “I understand it’s more on domestic policy, tax reform, his infrastructure spending plan, so I won’t be disappointed if he doesn’t announce it. But if he does, those are the three things I would look for.”

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

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Keith Ellison Risks Legitimizing Extremists

Keith Ellison (Getty Images)

Keith Ellison (Getty Images)

Daily Caller, by Sam Westrop, Feb. 23, 2017:

The Democratic National Committee recently banned a candidate from the chairmanship race, after he claimed that fellow-candidate Keith Ellison, a Muslim Congressman, was unfit to lead the party because of his religion’s opposition to homosexuality. There is no evidence that Ellison himself is anti-gay, and it was unfair to suggest as such. Ellison does have a history, however, of sharing platforms with some of the most extreme anti-gay preachers in America.

In April, Ellison is billed to speak at a conference organized by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim American Society (MAS). Ellison will be sharing the stage with an assortment of clerics known for their extremist rhetoric – including Siraj Wahhaj, who cites the death penalty for homosexuality, which he describes as a “disease,” and labels non-Muslims as “foul” and “corrupting.”

Under a Trump administration, some Democrats may feel particularly drawn to declaring solidarity with American Muslim communities. Islamist groups know this, and will seek to exploit the company of politicians who are keen to broadcast their anti-Trump credentials. Political patronage gives credence to the claim of Islamists to be community leaders – to be legitimate representatives of ordinary Muslims (who are given little say on the matter). It serves to distract attention away from their extremist ideas and links to terror. And it gives them an opportunity for influence that, as a minority group of extreme political operatives, they would otherwise never wield.

If all goes well in February’s DNC leadership elections, Representative Ellison could be addressing the ICNA-MAS conference in Baltimore as the newly-minted DNC chairman. For ICNA-MAS and its conference speakers, Ellison’s presence means the support of the liberal anti-Trump establishment. It means the whitewash of illiberal Islamism.

In December, Ellison withdrew from a similar conference, also organized by MAS and ICNA, after the Middle East Forum and its allies published research showing that almost half of the speakers had made comments advocating for jihad, promoting anti-Semitic and homophobic ideas, or praising terrorist groups such as Hamas. Several of those same extremist speakers are now also listed to speak at the conference in April.

Has Ellison agreed to attend the ICNA-MAS conference because the DNC election campaign will be over? Or perhaps it is simply because he is not aware some of the same extremists he distanced himself from in December will be again sharing his platform in April. In case Representative Ellison is simply uninformed, he should know a little more about at least one of his fellow speakers.

Siraj Wahhaj is a preacher with a long history of involvement in extremist causes. In 1995, the U.S. Attorney for New York named Wahhaj as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing. Wahhaj also served as a character witness for Omar Abdel Rahman, the notorious terrorist operative, whose group was responsible for the attack.

Newly-discovered sermons now reveal the full extent of Wahhaj’s extremist ideas. Wahhaj has advocated for jihad in America, and fundraised for the Benevolence International Foundation, a prominent front group for Al Qaeda, now banned. Elsewhere, he describes American society as “satanic”, supports “chopping off the hands” of thieves, advocates “death by stoning” for “adultery or fornication”, and labels non-Muslims as “dirty” and “corrupting.”

Wahhaj reserves quite a bit of his hatred for homosexuality. “The Prophet,” Wahhaj claims, “cursed the feminine man and the masculine women. …  Brothers and sisters, I don’t believe any of you are homosexual. This is a disease of this society.” Feminist movements, he adds, “are headed by lesbians.”

Although Wahhaj advises his audience not to “beat up homosexuals,” he nevertheless reminds them: “You know what the punishment is, if a man is found with another man? The Prophet Mohammad … said the one who does it and the one to whom it is done to: kill them both.

Wahhaj is not the only extremist advertised to speak in April. Others include Yusuf Islahi, who claims that Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks, as part of a conspiracy to defame Islam; and Yasir Qadhi, who incites hatred against Shia Muslims, and has described the Holocaust as “false propaganda.”

The hosting organizations have their own history of extremism. In 2014, MAS was designated by the United Arab Emirates as a terrorist organization. And ICNA is the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami, a violent South Asian Islamist group that carried out mass-killings of civilians during the 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh.

As a congressman, Keith Ellison is perhaps just another liberal politician being exploited by illiberal Islamist groups. But as a possible DNC chair, he would be lending the legitimacy of the Democratic Party to some of the most abhorrent Islamist clerics and activists in America today, and betraying the trust of moderate American Muslims.

Politicians who oppose the Trump administration must take care not be so anti-Trump that they ignore the danger of Islamism. If politicians across the spectrum are serious about tackling extremism, radicalization and terror, they must deny Islamists the liberal stamp of approval. Keith Ellison, whether as Chairman or Congressman, must withdraw from this conference.

Sam Westrop is a writer for Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum

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