U.S. Socialists Back Islamist-Linked Muslim Candidates In Michigan Primaries

Despite these candidates’ less than stellar polling results, there’s reason for concern that efforts to legitimize Islamist politicians will continue.

The Federalist, by Kyle Shideler, August 13, 2018:

The Michigan Democratic primaries on Wednesday proved a mixed bag for Muslim candidates who were endorsed by a mixture of Islamist organizations and members of left-most elements of progressive politics. Yet despite the less than stellar polling results, there’s reason for concern that efforts to legitimize Islamist politicians will continue.

Abdul El-Sayed, a dark-horse gubernatorial candidate who has been compared favorably to former President Barack Obama, surged in the last few days of the campaign, following endorsements from Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Socialist and Democrat Party nominee for New York’s 14th Congressional District, and from former Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. But El-Sayed couldn’t pull out a win against more traditional Democratic candidate Gretchen Whitmer.

Also supported by Ocasio-Cortez, Fayrouz Saad placed fourth out of the five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Michigan’s 11th District. The one outlier was a Democratic primary victory for Rashida Tlaib in Michigan’s 13th district. Tlaib faces no Republican challenger in the general election, virtually guaranteeing she will serve as the first Muslim American woman in Congress.

The three candidates were the beneficiaries of campaign stops by Ocasio-Cortez, who attended a “Muslim Vote Matters” rally organized by Muslim political organizations Emgage and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan chapter on July 31. Comparisons between Ocasio-Cortez and El-Sayed, Saad, and Tlaib were a repeated theme in media coverage.

Ocasio-Cortez was accompanied by Linda Sarsour, a New York-based Islamist activist and Democratic Socialists of America Party member, who painted the potential election of three Muslim candidates as a blow to the Trump administration, which she said has fascist policies.

“There are people that are saying no way, there is no way that a state like Michigan will elect the first Muslim governor in these United States of America. There are people saying there is no way that they are going to send two Muslim women to Congress,” Sarsour told the audience at the rally. “I believe that Michigan is going to sweep the nation. You are going to inspire people who are hurting, whose hearts are broken based on the fascist policies of this administration.”

In the past Sarsour has drawn ire from both sides of the political spectrum after she called for a “jihad” against President Trump. She also faced criticism in The New York Times for her role leading the “Women’s March,” because she has a documented history of anti-Israel statements.

The ties between the organizations named as supporting the rally, and their ties to the Muslim candidates lauded there, are substantial. Emgage was originally co-founded by CAIR alum and Florida lawyer Khurrim Wahid, under the name EmergeUSA. EmergeUSA got its political start raising campaign funds for former Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, a long time CAIR favorite. Even before then, Wahid has a history of associating with Islamists.

Wahid served as a consultant in the case of convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad organizer Sami Al-Arian, according to an interview with Wahhid published by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Wahid was once reportedly placed on a terrorism watchlist.

Emgage’s Michigan chapter is led by Nada Al-Hanooti, who was field coordinator for Tlaib’s 2012 Michigan state House campaign. Al-Hanooti comes from a family of active Islamists. She is the daughter of former CAIR-Michigan executive director Muthanna Al-Hanooti, who was sentenced to a year in prison after being convicted of sanctions violations amid accusations of serving as an agent of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Muthanna’s father, the late Mohammad Al-Hanooti, was an early co-founder of multiple Islamist organizations, and was suspected by the FBI of providing more than $6 millionto the terrorist group Hamas.

Candidate Saad served as board chair of Emgage-Michigan. Tlaib received an award from CAIR Michigan, appeared at a CAIR-MI protestand headlined a CAIR Los Angeles fundraiser. El-Sayed’s father-in-law’s relationship with CAIR-Michigan became a source of tension during the campaign, when a Republican challenger highlighted it, together with CAIR’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorist organization Hamas—documented by the U.S. government in the Holy Land Foundation Trial.

It’s not particularly surprising Ocasio-Cortez found common electoral cause with candidates who share common views on issues like U.S. relations with Israel. Ocasio-Cortez struggled in a recent interview after saying Israel “occupied” Palestine, and drew attention for condemning the death of 60 Palestinian protesters in recent border riots, the majority of whom were Hamas activists, according to the terror group, not innocent civilians.

Last year at their annual convention, Democratic Socialists of America chanted the Israel-eliminationist slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which is commonly heard at pro-Hamas rallies. They also passed a motion endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

In addition to shared views on Israel, Islamists and the Democratic Socialists share a common challenge in seeking to mainstream their issues and rhetoric. The less-than-impressive outcome of the recent primaries—Politico Magazine titled its article discussing El-Sayed’s loss “Down Goes Socialism”—may warm the hearts both of establishment Democrats and Republicans alike.

But irrespective of their immediate electoral fortunes, outreach by the democratic socialist wing of the Democratic Party risks legitimizing Islamist candidates, not just in this election cycle but in the future. American Muslims deserve every opportunity to participate in the American political landscape, without being treated as a singular voting bloc that can be delivered by Islamist organizations all too willing to insinuate they alone speak for the Muslim American voter.

Judging the electoral future of Islamists in the United States from a handful of national-level candidates is bound to prove misleading. Ultimately, understanding the prospects of Islamists achieving political influence in America requires understanding how they mobilize at the local level. While Islamists may seek political power through the democratic process, and in alliance with other constituencies, the core of their ideology remains profoundly anti-democratic.

Kyle Shideler is the director of the Counter-Islamist Grid (CIG), which identifies, documents, and exposes Islamist networks operating in local communities.

Daniel Pipes Discusses Islamism’s War On The West

CSP, by Savvy Street, July 3, 2018:

Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes (DP) sat down with Savvy Street’s Vijay Kolhatar (VK) for an engaging Q&A containing some of Pipes’s key insights into the phenomenon of Islamism. The original post can be found at Savvy Street.

VK: Does Islam’s canon foment terrorism?

DP: I’ve stopped using the word terrorism, finding it meaningless because no two people agree on its definition. So, let me re-ask your question: Does Islam’s canon foment jihadi violence? Yes. Islam is premised on (1) the superiority of Islam, (2) the need to spread its message, and (3) the legitimacy of force to do so. These fundamentals of faith have been apparent from Muhammad’s time to the present, though not everywhere and not at all times.

VK: Is a gay-friendly, women-friendly, Islam possible?

DP: Of course. Every faith evolves. Centuries ago, who could have imagined homosexual and female Christian bishops? Looking at Islam’s present tells us little about its future.

VK: How big is the intrusion of Islamism into the U.N.? What are the consequences of such intrusion?

DP: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has 56 member-states (plus “Palestine”), 47 of which have a majority Muslim population. This is roughly a quarter of the United Nations membership and in the amoral game of give-and-take that lies behind most votes, that bloc can get nearly the entire 193 governments to back it or at least abstain on issues it cares about. Take the vote against moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem: 9 in favor, 128 against, 35 abstentions, and 21 not present. It also permits the forwarding of Islamist initiatives, such as U.N. General Assembly Resolution 16/18 adopted to prevent criticism of Muslims or Islam. This influence led to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres amazingly stating that “One of the things that fuel terrorism is the expression in some parts of the world of Islamophobic feelings and Islamophobic policies and Islamophobic hate speeches.”

VK: How significant is the risk of Sharia law intrusions into Western legal systems?

DP: This process has already begun. For instance, polygamy has made rapid progress as a legitimate life-style option. While laws banning female genital mutilation are on the books, famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz has offered his services for a doctor to be tried for conducting FGM surgeries. Fashion houses have taken up hijabs and even jilbabs. Mosques manage to ban alcohol within a wide perimeter. First-cousin marriages proliferate, with attendant genetic problems. Interest-free banks grow.

VK: Do Islamists fund major political parties in the West? What is the impact of such actions?

DP: My organization, the Middle East Forum, has focused on precisely that question in the United States in its Islamist Money in Politics Project. The thousands of entries here, dating back to 1979, reveal many patterns. For example, 90 percent of Islamist donations go to Democratic candidates. Obviously, the goal of these donations is to make Islamism acceptable. The liberal-left being more sympathetic to this goal, it receives the bulk of the donations. And it’s worked. Rare are the liberal-left voices anymore that stand up to Islamism.

VK: How can the West best deal with the threat of jihadi violence?

DP: By addressing the core ideas behind the resort to violence, such as: living by a medieval code, the superiority of Islam and Muslims to other faiths and believers, the validity of force and coercion to spread the faith, and the notion of God giving specific orders.

VK: What’s the best way for the West to avoid seeping Islamization: open debate on Islam’s canon calling for reform, exposing Islamist political donations, encouraging apostasy within Islam, immigration policies designed to uncover Islamists, or all these and more?

DP: I’d stay away from encouraging Muslims to leave Islam, but the other ideas are all good. However, there’s a more fundamental priority, which is to convince the liberal-left that Islamism presents a threat. So long as this huge segment of Western populations largely remains blind to the Islamist threat, the measures you propose have limited utility.

VK: Is there something intrinsic to Islam that the Western mainstream media wishes to hide?

DP: Yes. The mainstream media, and the Establishment in general (what I call the 6Ps – police, politicians, press, priests, professors and prosecutors) pretend that the Sharia, a medieval law code that calls on Muslims to engage in actions deeply at odds with modern ways, does not exist. This leads them to the inane conclusion that living according to the Sharia is in opposition to Islam. The most spectacular instance of this is the absurd debate on the question whether jihad is Islamic, akin to asking whether the pope is Catholic. And in that discussion, the most extravagant statement was by former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who said of the Charlie Hebdoattackers, “They’re about as Muslim as I am.”

VK: Are you familiar with the case of Tommy Robinson (U.K.)? Do you have a view on it?

DP: I spent much of a day with Tommy in December 2017 as he took me around his hometown of Luton. He is knowledgeable, draws a distinction between Islam and Islamism, and is a leader. Toffs should get over their class bias against him and the authorities must treat him fairly. I hope the outrageous treatment he suffered on May 25 – being arrested, denied a lawyer, tried, sentenced, and dispatched to prison, all within a few hours – serves as a wake-up call to the British public.

VK: What should be the U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia?

DP: Had you asked me this before 2015, I would have answered, keep a distance, bargain hard, root out the evil influence. Since the coming to power of King Salman and his all-powerful son Muhammad, however, I answer differently: Focus on helping Muhammad’s radical reforms succeed.

VK: What’s your view on the Iran nuclear deal?

DP: A scandalous attempt by the six participating governments to defer the problem of Iranian nuclear weapons for about a decade – to when current office holders will presumably no longer be in charge. It is an obnoxious farce.

VK: Did President Assad gas his own citizens or was that brought about by Islamic militant groups to foster an ousting of Assad?

DP: The Syrian regime has more than once gassed its subject population, full stop. More generally, however repugnant the Islamist groups, the regime has carried out the great majority of killings in Syria, both before and after the civil war began in 2011. It is a monstrosity.

VK: Thank you for your time, and for speaking truth to power. We wish you the best in your endeavors.

IPT Exclusive: PR Firm Tied to CAIR Linked to Sliming of Maajid Nawaz

by John Rossomando
IPT News
June 20, 2018

It’s always been curious why Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim, wound up in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) controversial journalist’s guide listing “anti-Muslim extremists.” Nawaz is a former extremist who founded the U.K-based Quilliam Foundation, a think tank that counters Islamic radicalism.

The answer may have been hiding in plain sight.

The report, which was removed from the SPLC’s website in April, noted that it was compiled with input from ReThink Media, the Center for New Community and MediaMatters. Now that collaboration has cost the SPLC nearly $3.4 million in a legal settlement and that included multiple apologies to Nawaz.

“Since we published the Field Guide, we have taken the time to do more research and have consulted with human rights advocates we respect. We’ve found that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a video statement.

SPLC attacked Nawaz in the guide for saying there was little difference dividing non-violent jihadists from the violent ones ideologically, except that “they disagree only on tactics.” Islamists share a common desire to build a global caliphate, but the non-violent ones tend to seek that change through the ballot.

In accepting the SPLC’s apology, Nawaz asked it to oppose all forms of extremism and join Quilliam in fighting Islamic extremism.

“This should be an instructive moment for all of us. Too much, and for too long, the left – many on the left – have been trying to shut down any debate or critique or criticism around Islam, especially by Muslims within Muslim communities,” Nawaz said.

ReThink’s contributions to the discredited guide are unknown. Neither ReThink nor the SPLC responded to requests for comment for this story.

When the guide was written, ReThink Media employed a former leader with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) who has a history of radicalism. And since then, ReThink hired Corey Saylor, CAIR’s former national legislative affairs director.

CAIR and Nawaz hold diametrically opposing viewpoints on a number of key issues. While CAIR has tried to minimize the threat of Islamic radicalization, and its officials routinely accuse law enforcement of setting up innocent Muslims, Nawaz presents his own life story as an example of its lure.

In addition, Nawaz advocates for reform within Islam. CAIR has largely ignored the Muslim Reform Movement, a fledgling group of North American Muslims who aspire to spur “an Islamic renewal [which] must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states, as well as an Islamic caliphate.”

And Nawaz does not hate Israel, publicly condemning Hamas and Hizballah, something CAIR officials seem to avoid at all costs, often angrily.

Nawaz also offers the public a different image of a Western Muslim, in contrast to CAIR’s mostly conservative Sunni leadership.

If that didn’t contribute to Nawaz’s smearing, CAIR likely was not upset to see him included in the SPLC report. CAIR’s Florida chapter still has a copy of the report posted on its website even though the SPLC has taken it down, apologized for its content and agreed to pay Nawaz and Quilliam nearly $3.4 million

ReThink’s CAIR Connection

Zainab Chaudary is a former civil rights coordinator for CAIR’s New Jersey chapter who was part of ReThink Media’s Security and Rights Collaborative in 2016 when Nawaz was added to the SPLC’s list. Chaudary’s LinkedIn profile says she consults with the SPLC and MediaMatters in her role as a ReThink senior media associate.

ReThink Media, a self-described “part PR firm, part advocacy organization,” acts as a “communications hub” to help organizations on the left hone their messages. It also is linked to a funding consortium created by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) to combat anti-Muslim sentiment and undo many of the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism policies. Combating “Islamophobia” was a key objective for OSF’s board between 2015 and 2018, records show.

Chaudary served as an editor-in-chief of a Rutgers University Muslim student newsletter called Nasihah. Following the 9/11 attacks, Nasihah ran a column defending the Taliban’s decision not to hand over Osama bin Laden.

“I don’t blame the Taliban at all for keeping Osama because, as they say, no proof has been presented against him,” wrote Arif Hussain. “If America is so sure that he is involved, what’s stopping them from coming out with the proof?? Or is it that there is no proof against him?? It seems that Osama has become a scapegoat for every terrorist action anywhere in the world. They just want to get rid of him, regardless of whether he is responsible or not.”

The U.S. military released a video in December 2001 – at least a month before this was published – showing bin Laden discussing his advanced knowledge of the attacks and his expectations for damage.

A letter to the editor in the same issue said that even though a “proper Islamic state” capable of declaring “jihad against the evildoers” didn’t exist, Muslims should protect themselves against “evil oppressors” and prepare for the “ultimate battle that Islam must fight.”

Also during Chaudary’s time as editor-in-chief, Nasihah described Kashmiri jihadists as “mujahideen” and ran a communiqué by Hamas’ Palestinian Information Center.

More recently, Chaudary complained that the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program unfairly targeted Muslims.

“How do you quantify what causes someone to become radicalized? And how do you separate that out from normal teenage behavior? So these kids are finding themselves under scrutiny where they can’t speak out. They can’t be politically active or engaged or activists even because they’re under suspicion of being radicalized,” Chaudary saidin a September 2016 Huffington Post interview.

She also called for the end of CVE programs in 2016, saying there wasn’t a single common profile for terrorists, and “we can’t deal through the lens of law enforcement.”

In addition to working with SPLC, Chaudary served on a 2015 panel that advised CAIR and the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender for its report Confronting Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States. That report targeted the Investigative Project on Terrorism among others.

ReThink Media deepened its CAIR connection in December, when it added Saylor as managing director of the firm’s Security and Rights Collaborative. Saylor appeared last month at a “Challenging Islamophobia” conference sponsored by CAIR’s Minnesota chapter. There, he complained that the Justice Department and other federal agencies are more likely to issue a press release about “an incident” when a perpetrator is perceived to be Muslim.

It’s not clear on what Saylor based this claim. But the Justice Department issued two press releases about white supremacist activities that same week. One announced a guilty plea by a white supremacist who threatened two U.S. senators. A second release announced the arrest of 57 white supremacist gang members for conspiring to commit kidnapping and drug trafficking. A month earlier, the DOJ touted the convictionof three white Kansas men who plotted to blow up an apartment complex with predominantly Somali Muslim tenants. Officials credited “a confidential source … for thwarting the attack and saving the lives of innocent victims.”

Like Chaudary, Saylor vigorously opposes CVE programs. In the United Kingdom, Nawaz advised former Prime Minister David Cameron on combating violent extremism. Quilliam Executive Director Haras Rafiq testified in February before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Terrorism, Non-Proliferation, and Trade Subcommittee about the role of women in CVE.

Saylor also has criticized FBI surveillance. FBI recruitment of informants in the Muslim community “impedes First Amendment-protected conversation,” he told the Indypendent, a progressive New York outlet, last year. “So people are afraid to have an innocent conversation about politics, because they might say something wrong.”

CVE outreach programs make American Muslims worry that government friendliness toward them is a ploy, he said in 2013. “That’s because too often in the past you’ve had this hand reached out in friendship while the other is behind their back with handcuffs in it.”

Saylor won’t condemn Islamist terrorist organizations by name, other than ISIS or al-Qaida.

Pressed to condemn Hamas and Hizballah by name in a 2008 Fox News interview, Saylor would only say “CAIR condemns terrorist acts, whoever commits them, wherever they commit them, whenever they commit them.” He also minimized the significance of a Muslim Brotherhood-created Hamas-support network in the United States called the Palestine Committee. It merely was “a group that existed in the early 1990s that seemed to have strengthening pro-Palestinian work at its core,” he said. Internal committee records seized by the FBI told a dramatically different story. The Palestine Committee, of which CAIR was a member, was created to help Hamas “with what it needs of media, money, men and all of that.”

In addition to its work on the discredited SPLC report, ReThink Media compiled lists of go-to sources on Muslim issues for journalists looking for reaction quotes. Many of those recommended have radical views. A list assembled after President Trump announced his travel ban, for example, lists Chaudary as the ReThink Media contact person. It also created an online initiative called 8.5Million.org that lists many of the same people featured on the travel-ban source list as points of contact for reporters.

“You’re a reporter on deadline. You need a quote or a source quickly, and he or she needs to be responsive, media-savvy, and an expert. You don’t have time to cultivate new relationships or start from square one. Who do you call?” 8.5 Million.org asks.

Well, you might call CAIR San Francisco Bay Area Executive Director Zahra Billoo, whose picture appears on 8.5 Million.org’s landing page. She publicly thankedReThink Media’s staff for visiting her at CAIR’s office, noting she baked cupcakes for them. Billoo admiresSPLC-designated hate group leader Louis Farrakhan, compares the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with ISIS, and openly apologizes for Hamas.

“Blaming Hamas for firing rockets at [Apartheid] Israel is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist. #FreePalestine v @KathlynGadd,” Billoo tweeted in November 2014.

Another recommended source on ReThink Media’s 8.5 Million.com list is CAIR Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly. He falsely accused the FBI of shooting a Detroit imam after he had been “tied and bound.”

His animus against the FBI also extends to sting operations aimed at nabbing potential jihadists before they can strike. He defended Sami Osmakac, who was convicted after a 2014 sting operation showed him trying to carry out a “second 9/11” in Tampa. “I’m concerned that the government’s tactics turned him into a greater threat than he could have been on his own,” Shibly said.

Farhana Khera from the legal group Muslim Advocates also appears on the 8.7 million.com site and on the travel ban contact list. She played a central role in convincing the Open Society Foundations to approve creating a program aimed at rolling back Bush-era U.S. national security programs, documents leaked by Russian intelligence-linked hackers calling themselves DC Leaks showed. OSF and its funding partners contributed more than $40 million to the grant program over the past decade.

Khera successfully convinced the Obama administration to expunge law-enforcement training materials she deemed as offensive to Muslims. She and Muslim Advocates also succeeded in getting the New York Police Department to end its mosque surveillance program in 2014 in conjunction with other OSF funded groups.

A 2007 memo Khera co-authored led to the creation the National Security and Human Rights Campaign (NSHRC). It became a collaborative effort funded by OSF, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Proteus Fund.

ReThink Media is inextricably tied to the NSHRC. Its founder and director Lynn Fahselt has served as senior adviser of the NSHRC’s “Security & Rights Communications Collaborative” since 2008. Fahselt lobbied OSF’s board to create “an online communications ‘hub'” on behalf of ReThink Media in May 2008. ReThink Media suggested that this “hub” coordinate messaging and provide media training for groups under the NSHRC’s umbrella.

In a world increasingly hostile to Muslims, “nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups need to be equipped with coordinated messages that will resonate with a broad public, a 2011 OSF document says.

It notes that ReThink Media specifically helped huddle and coordinate messaging with these advocacy groups before and after U.S. Rep. Peter King’s 2011 congressional hearings on Islamic radicalization.

Considering Nawaz’s belief in the reality of Muslim radicalization, his defense of Israel and discussion of the need for reform within Islam, avowed opponents like Chaudary or Saylor could have an ax to grind with him.

Working with ReThink Media and Chaudary may have cost SPLC dearly. It should ask itself whether treating CAIR or ReThink Media as credible partners or advisers was worth it.

MEF Launches The “Counter-Islamism Grid”

Middle East Forum, June  7, 2018:

PHILADELPHIA – June 7, 2018 – The Middle East Forum is taking the fight against Islamism to the local level, with the launch of its Counter-Islamism Grid (CIG) to be headed by Kyle Shideler.

As the saying goes, ‘all news is local.’ But in the local context, Islamists prosper in obscurity. To meet this challenge, CIG will coordinate research, writing and activism by a network of researcher-activist associates across North America, to oppose Islamist ideas, individuals and organizations. The project will be spun-off as a separate entity in the future.

Kyle Shideler will begin as Director of CIG on July 2. Mr. Shideler specializes on Islamist groups operating in the United States, having spent over a decade researching and writing on their history, doctrine, and impact. He has briefed senior U.S. Government personnel, Members of Congress, and law enforcement on this topic, as well as testified before the Canadian House of Commons.

Mr. Shideler has written for The Federalist, The Hill, FoxNews.com, the Claremont Review of Books, and contributed to Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network (Palgrave, 2011).

Mr. Shideler previously worked at the Center for Security Policy, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, and StandWithUs. He is a graduate of Boston University and was a Lincoln Fellow with the Claremont Institute.

“Currently, counter-Islamist organizations focus on national and international networks,” notes Mr. Shideler. “CIG will be the eyes and ears on the neighborhood level, from Lewiston, Maine, to Jersey City to Minneapolis to Lodi, California.”

“Islamism is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution,” He continued. “The two cannot co-exist on equal footing. Lawful Islamists utilize legitimate tactics but to negate the existing order. We seek to research, expose, and oppose this threat.”

The Forum will soon post job openings for researcher-activists in locales across North America.


The Middle East Forum promotes American interests in the Middle East and protects the West from Middle Eastern threats.

For immediate release
For more information, contact:
Gregg Roman, Director
Roman@MEForum.org

***

For a stellar example of Kyle Shideler’s work see this article he co-authored with Dave Reaboi on December 9, 2016 at the Claremont Institute:

H.R. McMaster Endorsed Book That Advocates Quran-Kissing Apology Ceremonies

AP/Alex Brandon

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Aug. 20, 2017:

TEL AVIV — A book on terrorism endorsed and touted by H.R. McMaster, the embattled White House National Security Adviser, calls on the U.S. military to respond to any “desecrations” of the Quran by service members with an apology ceremony, and advocates kissing a new copy of the Quran before presenting the Islamic text to the local Muslim public.

The book’s author further demanded that any American soldier who “desecrates” the Quran be ejected from the foreign country of deployment, relieved of duty and turned over to a military judge for “punishment.”

“Desecration” of the Quran, according to the McMaster-endorsed book, includes such acts as “letting the Quran fall to the ground during a search, or more blatant instances.”

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 promoted the 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.”

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.

Quran ‘Desecration’

In the book, Aboul-Enein warned that “incidents of desecrating the Quran, such as letting the Quran fall to the ground during a search, or more blatant instances, allow our adversary to capitalize on outrage and to score points in the arena of public opinion.”

Any such “desecration” of the Quran, the author wrote, “would be considered an offense not only by Militant Islamists but by Islamists and wider Muslim community as well.”

Aboul-Enein recommended that “desecrations” of the Quran should be “quickly acknowledged, with unconditional apologies and reassurances to the public that the accused do not represent the United States or its military, that they have been ejected from the country and referred to their service’s judge advocate general for punishment.”

Besides ejecting the service member from the country of deployment and turning the soldier over to a judge for “punishment,” Aboul-Enein pointed to a May 2008 incident in which a U.S. Army sniper reportedly used the Quran for target practice. He upheld the response by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond, commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, as forming, in Aboul-Enein’s opinion, the minimal official U.S. military reaction to such desecrations.

The response included an “apology ceremony” at which a U.S. official kissed a copy of the Quran before presenting the text to the local community as a “humble gift.”

Aboul-Enein writes that Hammond took the following steps, “which in my opinion formed the basis by which American officials and Iraqi tribal leaders fighting al-Qaida can at least alleviate the emotionalism of such an event”:

  • Hammond held “an apology ceremony, not a press conference, and he issued this statement, flanked by Iraqi Sunni leaders of the Radwaniyah District, where the incident had happened: ‘I come before you here seeking your forgiveness, in the most humble manner I look in your eyes today, and I say please forgive me and my soldiers.’”
  • A U.S. official “kissed a new copy of the Quran and ceremoniously presented it to the tribal leaders.”
  • Hammond read the following letter from the shooter: “I sincerely hope that my actions have not diminished the partnership that our two nations have developed together. … My actions were shortsighted, very reckless and irresponsible, but in my heart [the actions] were not malicious.”
  • The offending sniper was “relieved of duty and reassigned.”
  • Hammond himself commented, “The actions of one soldier were nothing more than criminal behavior. … I’ve come to this land to protect you, to support you—not to harm you—and the behavior of this soldier was nothing short of wrong and unacceptable.”

The section on Quran “desecration” is not the only controversial part of the book. Breitbart News reported last week that Aboul-Enein’s book also 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 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-Qaida and other terrorist organizations have hijacked the concept of jihad to wage war using such tactics as suicide bombings.

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 Quran (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.

Read more

UTT Throwback Thursday: Are You Still Listening to the Imam?

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, June 15, 2017:

Monday’s UTT article entitled “The Path to Victory Begins with Knowing the Threat” made one important point:  the threat America faces from the Global Islamic Movement has EVERYTHING to do with Islam.

One more time:  it is a capital crime in Islam (sharia) for a muslim to teach another muslim anything about Islam that is incorrect AND it is obligatory for a muslim to lie to non-muslims when the goal is obligatory – like advancing Islam.

Which means to understand Islam, a person must study the authoritative books of sharia muslims teach each other when non-muslims are not around.  That is what UTT does.

Therefore, it is unprofessional for U.S. political leaders, intelligence professionals, pastors, and our military leaders to use “Islamic scholars/experts or Imams” to tell them about Islam.

Yet, for years America’s leaders have used Al Qaeda operatives like Abdurahman Alamoudi and IMAM Anwar al Awlaki or Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas operatives like Nihad Awad, IMAM Mohamed Magid, Sayeed Syed, Muzammil Siddiqi, Salam al Marayati, and others to tell them about Islam.  This is one of the main reasons our leaders lack an understanding of the true nature of the threats we face.

Two glaring examples reared their heads this week just in time for this article to be published.

First, Dr. Qanta Ahmed is a jihadist in a pant-suit who is an expert in verbal oragami.  In UTT’s recent videos, Qanta Ahmed discusses the difference between “Islamism” – the violent ideology according to her – and “Islam” – the peaceful religion that has nothing to do with Islamism.  In military-speak we call this an “Information Operation.”  For the layman, its called a LIE with the purpose of keeping you from understanding the threat until its too late.  See the UTT videos HERE and HERE.  As always, the media is a willing accomplice.

This week Qanta Ahmed has now separated “sharia” from “sharia law.”  In this incredibly obvious propaganda effort, Fox News swallows and regurgitates this nonsense.  See UTT’s video HERE.

The second example comes to us from evangelical minister James White who publicly states he learned everything he knows about Islam from Muslim Brother Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, leader of the Memphis (TN) Islamic Center.  The New York Times calls Qadhi  “one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam.”  By “conservative” they must mean “jihadi-like.”

Qadhi is a sharia scholar and works inside the Muslim Brotherhood’s Movement calling for the implementation of sharia and an Islamic state here in America.

Specifically, Qadhi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).  Qadhi is also the Dean of Academic Affairs and an instructor at the al Maghrib Institute, which has produced a large number of jihadis over the years including Tarek Mehanna, Ramy Zam Zam – the leader of the “Virginia 5,” Daniel Maldonado, Nuradin Abdi (founder of the Al Maghrib’s Ohio Chapter), and others.

Yasir Qadhi has been the keynote speaker at numerous prominent Muslim Brotherhood organizations (eg ICNA), works closely with terrorist organizations like Hamas and its leaders and has a long track record of publicly defending known terrorists such as:  convicted terrorist leader Sami al Aria, convicted terrorist Ali al-Timimi, American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh, convicted Al Qaeda terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, Tarek Mehanna, and others.

Yasir Qadhi was a trustee at the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas’ Islamic Society of Boston founded by Al Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi.  This is the same ISB which nurtured the Boston Marathon bombers.

Yet, James White publicly stands with Qadhi and lashes out at anyone who brings these facts to light.  It appears Mr. White has not read MB doctrine…

“The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah (gross ignorance/unbelief) is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.” [Milestones, Sayyid Qutb]

UTT continues to encourage all readers to know, digest, and understand that there is no “version” of Islam which does not mandate war against non-muslims (jihad) until the entire world is under Islamic rule.

There is no such thing as “radical Islamic extremism” nor is there a difference between “sharia” and “sharia law.”

All of this is a crafted campaign meant to buy time and keep people from focusing on the threat we face – Islam.

No, the Problem in London Is Not ‘Islamist Extremism’

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street, June 4, 2017. (Reuters photo: Kevin Coombs)

Islamists want to impose sharia law on the West — which means all Islamists are ‘extremists.’

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, June 5, 2017:

The Western schizophrenia about radical Islam is on full display in Britain, in the aftermath of the latest jihadist atrocity, the third in just the past three months.

Three terrorists rammed a van into a crowd on London Bridge and then went on a stabbing rampage, brutally assaulting pedestrians while braying that each blow was struck “for Allah.” A duly outraged Theresa May donned her prime-minister hat to announce that her government is “leading international efforts to take on and defeat the ideology of Islamist extremism around the world.” She also slipped on her amateur-imam cap, adjusted her rose-tinted glasses, and proclaimed that “Islamist extremism” is an ideology

that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism. It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy, and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam.

And what right-thinking Western politico’s post-mass-murder speech would be complete without May’s insistence that this ideology is — all together now! — “a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.”

Sigh.

What does Theresa May know about Islam such that she can decide what is a perversion of it? Precious little, I’d wager. Otherwise, she’d not babble on about “Islamist extremism,” a term right out of the Department of Redundancy Department.

If you are an Islamist in the West, you are, by definition, an extremist. An Islamist is a Muslim who believes Islam requires the imposition of sharia, Islam’s ancient, totalitarian societal system and legal code.

“Islamist” is a term we in the West use in the hope that, because there are Muslims who are tolerant, pro-Western people, it must not be inevitable that Islam itself — or at least some interpretations of Islam — will breed the fundamentalist, literalist, supremacist construction of Islam.

It may be a grave error to adopt this hope, especially since it has been elevated into seemingly incorrigible policy. Does the incontestable existence of moderate Muslim individuals necessarily translate into a coherent, viable doctrine of moderate Islam? Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to take just one very influential Muslim leader, says no: The West’s invocation of “moderate Islam” is “ugly,” he counters, because “Islam is Islam, and that’s it.” Erdogan is a close ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Islamist organization. If he’s right that there’s just one true Islam, rest assured that it’s not friendly to the West. Erdogan describes the Western call for Muslim migrants to assimilate in their new European societies as “a crime against humanity.”

Meanwhile, many students of Islam observe that its aggressiveness, intolerance of non-Muslims, and subjugation of women are indisputably rooted in Islamic scripture. Wherever there is Islam, they maintain, there will inevitably be Islamists; and when those Islamists reach a critical mass of population (which can be considerably less than 50 percent), there will inevitably be sharia activism.

They may be right. I don’t want them to be . . . but hope is not a national-security strategy — even if it has been the West’s national-security strategy for a quarter-century.

Obviously, there are gradations of extremism. Some Islamists are violent jihadists. Some support violent jihadists but eschew violence themselves. Some may reject violence (or at least say they do) and claim to seek sharia imposition only by peaceful persuasion. Some may lie about their intentions, pretending to oppose both violence and the imposition of sharia, or pretending that sharia is really moderate, peaceful, and perfectly compatible with Western notions of freedom, democracy, and human rights. But they all want sharia. If you are a Muslim who wants British law supplanted by Islamic law, that is not a moderate position, even if you’re not prepared to drive a van into a crowd of infidels over it. If that’s where you’re coming from, you are a Muslim extremist — an Islamist.

To speak of “Islamist extremists” is either gibberish or a form of political correctness designed to conceal a position one knows makes no sense but feels compelled to take anyway. Since I believe Prime Minister May is no dolt, I am betting on the latter: She is using “Islamist extremist” as code for “terrorist,” even though she knows, deep down, that this makes no sense — i.e., it is inconsistent with her correct insistence that the violence that aggrieves Britain is ideologically motivated.

Jihadist terrorists do not kill wantonly. They kill for a purpose: namely, to impose sharia. The ideology that motivates them does not endorse violence for its own sake. It reflects what Islam takes as the divine imperative that life be lived under the strictures of sharia. That is the ideology.

The problem that Mrs. May has is that it is an ideology shared by many Muslims who are not terrorists. Britain, like many in America, wants to embrace these Muslims as “moderates,” notwithstanding their hostility to Western society and law. May would prefer not to connect the dots that tell us these Muslims, even if not jihadists themselves, are pillars of the ideological support system in which jihadism thrives — they are, as some have aptly put it, the sea in which the jihadist sharks swim, and without which the sharks could not survive.

It is not merely al-Qaeda or the Islamic State that says Islam is incompatible with the Western understanding of human rights. In 1990, the 57 member-governments of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (now renamed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation) issued the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. These representatives of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims took this action precisely because Islam could not be content with the so-called Universal Declaration of Human Rights promulgated in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly. The latter is incompatible with the two key provisions of the Cairo Declaration: Articles 24, which states: “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah”; and Article 25, which adds: “The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.”

The Western understanding of freedom and democracy holds that people have a right to govern themselves. We draw a line between the secular and the sacred, rejecting the establishment of a state religion. To the contrary, as explained by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, perhaps the world’s most influential Sunni sharia scholar, “secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society,” because “the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari’ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions.” Qaradawi elaborated (in his book, How the Imported Solutions Disastrously Affected Our Ummah), “Islam is a comprehensive system of workship (Ibadah) and legislation (Shari’ah).” Thus: “The call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam. Its acceptance as a basis for rule in place of Shari’ah is downright apostasy.”

Lest we forget, apostasy from Islam is a capital offense in Islamic law. It is punished as such not just by terrorist organizations but by governments in Muslim-majority countries. In the Middle East, at least, sharia is not extremist Islam. It is Islam.

Pace Prime Minister May, it is not “Islamist extremism” that “claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam.” This is a conceit of leading Islamic scholars and governments. One need not agree with them or concede that theirs is the only interpretation of Islam. But one should grant that their interpretation is no perversion — and that they just might know a lot more about the subject than non-Muslim politicians in the West.

Mrs. May is half right. We are confronted by an ideology. But it is sharia supremacism, the belief that Islamic law must be imposed on society. To limit our attention to violent jihadists is to remain willfully blind to what inspires the jihadists. That is what has to be confronted, if we have the stomach for it.