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.

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.

Half of Prominent Jihadis Tied to “Non-Violent” Islamism, New Study Shows

by IPT News  •  Apr 30, 2017

Half of the prominent jihadists profiled in a new study by The Centre on Religion & Geopolitics had ties to supposedly non-violent Islamists prior to joining terrorist organizations.

The study’s authors – Mubaraz Ahmed, Milo Comerford, and Emman El-Badawy – explore pathways to militancy among 100 prominent figures within the wider Salafi-Jihadi movement. The individuals examined derive from the Middle East and Africa, across multiple generations. Some of the findings suggest that membership or ties to non-violent Islamist organizations can be associated with an individual’s trajectory towards violence and terrorism.

51 percent of the terrorists under study were previously connected to Islamist groups that claim to be non-violent, including “bodies that are not necessarily political activist organizations but form a functioning arm of existing Islamist groups, such as youth wings, student associations, and other societies.” Since membership in Islamist groups is often secretive and sometimes prohibited in various Middle Eastern countries, the authors acknowledge that the proportion of jihadists with Islamist affiliations are likely higher.

Some of the case studies explored in the report include Djamel Zitouni, the leader of the Armed Islamic Group who was previously a member of an Islamist organization that supposedly eschewed violence – the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). Senior Al-Qaeda leaders, including Abdullah Azzam and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, were involved with or direct members of the Muslim Brotherhood before turning to violent jihad.

One in four of the jihadists examined had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood or its affiliated groups.

Another interesting finding shows that 65 percent of the sample had been imprisoned at some point throughout their lives, some of whom served time before engaging in violent jihad. There has been growing concern for years about Islamist radicalization of potential terrorist recruits in prisons worldwide.

The study shows that personal networks are critical in the formation and development of the global Salafi-jihadi movement.

“Our data links the leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS today to the forefathers of the movement through people they met in prison, at university, and on the battlefield,” write the authors.

Purportedly non-violent Islamist groups not only serve as potential incubators for radicalization and violence – they also continue to engage in violent incitement, encouraging others to carry out terrorist attacks.

For example, on Wednesday, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member, ‘Izz Al-Din Dwedar, called for an “intifada” targeting Egyptian embassies around the world, in a Facebook post translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

In protest of death sentences handed to members of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Dwedar suggested for violent action on May 3.

Egyptians abroad should “protest [outside] Egyptian embassies and lay siege to them, and steadily escalate [their actions], up to and including raiding the embassies in some countries, disrupting their work and occupying them if possible, in order to raises awareness to our cause,” wrote Dwedar.

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.

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Should the Muslim Brotherhood Debate Include Another Rogue Islamist Party?

by Abha Shankar
IPT News
April 7, 2017

A leading Islamist party recently demanded punishment for bloggers who “insult” Islam and condemned the execution of the murderer of a prominent politician who spoke up against his country’s rigid blasphemy laws. The Islamist party also blamed the U.S.-led war on terror for the rise in global jihadism and the destruction of Islamic civilization.

For those of you wondering, the Islamist party in question is not the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen, or Muslim Brotherhood (MB), whose designation as a terrorist organization is currently a hot topic of debate in Washington. Rather, it is the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), a South Asian Sunni revivalist movement that has an active network in North America and the West.

The Islamist movement often defends terrorists and rationalizes attacks against Western targets, in addition to working to advance a rigid interpretation of Islam in the U.S. and other secularly-governed nations. The debate over political action against Islamist parties, therefore, does not stop with the Muslim Brotherhood.

JI’s recent blasphemy push provides an example of that thinking in action.

In a press release, Sirajul Haq, the leader of JI’s Pakistan affiliate, condemned the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, who had killed former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, a fierce opponent of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Haq also called on Pakistan’s political leadership “not to link terrorism with Islam…to please colonial powers,” and alleged “that the enemy was trying to destroy the Islamic civilization and values and to promote its obscener [sic] and nude culture.”

Haq had earlier described Qadri’s hanging as the “darkest moment in the country’s history” and said that by executing him, the Pakistani government “had proved itself a slave of US President Obama and not a slave of the Holy Prophet.” He added that “the government had executed one Mumtaz Qadri but now every youth and [sic] grown up in the country would turn into Mumtaz Qadri.”

JI’s Ideological Similarities with the MB

The JI was founded in 1941 in Lahore, Pakistan (then part of British India) by Islamist scholar Maulana Syed Abdul Ala Maududi. Maududi is a leading pioneer of Islamic revivalism in South Asia who was inspired by the Brotherhood ideology. Maududi also had a profound influence on Sayyid Qutb, a leading Muslim Brotherhood ideologue who has been described as the “father of modern Islamist fundamentalism.” Qutb is believed to have also inspired al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Soon after the Arab Spring protests led to the ouster of the Hosni Mubarak regime in Egypt, top Brotherhood and JI leaders met in Cairo to “strengthen the relations between the Islamic movements in different countries ” and “promote Islam.”

JI’s primary objective in Pakistan “is to implement Sharia” and “make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state” based on the “model of the state of Madina,” the multi-religious Islamic state established by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the 7th century.

Although the MB has a deeper foundation and wider network in North America, the front groups of the JI—Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and its charitable arm ICNA Relief—also have an active and long-term presence.

ICNA and ICNA Relief collaborate extensively with MB front groups in the U.S. and Canada. For example, ICNA annually partners with the Muslim American Society (MAS) to host its national conventions that feature radical speakers who advocate jihad and call for the elimination of Israel. MAS was created in 1993 as the Brotherhood’s arm in the U.S.

Both ICNA and ICNA Relief are listed as members of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an umbrella group featuring several groups tied to the American Muslim Brotherhood. It was launched in March 2014 to lobby Congress to enforce an Islamist agenda on U.S. counterterrorism efforts, as well as on issues concerning American Muslims and the larger Muslim ummah (community).

ICNA’s educational programs feature staunch Islamist ideologues, and Maududi’s books have been promoted on the website of ICNA’s youth division, “Young Muslims.”

After trying him in absentia, a Bangladeshi war crimes tribunal sentenced to death ICNA’s former vice president and leader of its New York chapter Ashrafuzzman Khan on charges connected to the kidnapping and murder of several intellectuals during the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. The tribunal claimed Khan was the “chief executor” of the killing squad, Al-Badr, a militant offshoot of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Following accusations of alleged war crimes against Khan, ICNA scrubbed the names of executive board members, including Khan, from its web page.

Khan still is believed to be in New York. But others convicted by the tribunal have been executed, drawing criticism from ICNA as a “shameful act of judicial killing which is part of the ongoing brutal persecution of political opponents” in Bangladesh.

The Muslim Brotherhood also condemned the executions and called on the global community to “reject and condemn these unjust and unfair trials that violate all international norms and conventions….”

The Brotherhood’s website described JI leader Mir Quasem, who was executed in September after being convicted of running the lethal Al-Badr militia, as an “icon of freedom and resistance against tyranny.”

Quasem’s “martyrdom” was compared to that of MB ideologue Sayyid Qutb in 1966: “When the Egyptian regime executed Sayyid Qutb in 1966, they thought they killed his ideas and ideology; but—as tyrants do in every era and place—they unintentionally immortalized him, inadvertently spread his ideas, and unwittingly introduced the people to his call—his ideology.”

JI Leaders Featured As Speakers at ICNA Events

Yusuf Islahi, a leader of JI’s Indian affiliate (JI Hind), is scheduled to speak at the upcoming MAS-ICNA convention in Baltimore. Islahi, a chief patron of ICNA’s dawah or proselytizing project, WhyIslam, has spoken at past MAS-ICNA conferences. In a 2009 interview, Islahi criticized the Western interest-based economic system: “A society where interest is accepted and becomes widespread is disliked to such an extent that both Allah and His Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, are at war with them.”

At a 2001 JI Hind event hosted in the Indian city of Aligarh, Islahi reportedly blamed Jews for the 9/11 attacks, which he described as a fitting response to American arrogance: “[T]he September 11 event is a well-planned conspiracy to defame Islam. Muslims are being blamed for it without any evidence. Everyone knows who is the real culprit, Jews …. The United States has unjustly and arrogantly ruled the world for too long. Allah has destroyed that arrogance on September 11. God willing, this will also inaugurate the age of Islam the world over.”

ICNA’s invitations to JI leaders to speak at its events goes back a long way. Former JI leader Qazi Hussein Ahmed, for example, was a featured speaker at ICNA’s 1999 convention in Baltimore. In an interview the same year with ICNA’s newsmagazine Message International, Ahmad spoke about the role Islamist movements such as the JI and MB play in creating an Islamic state: “The Islamic movements through out [sic] the world under the guidance of Maulana Syed Abdul A’la Maudoodi (r) and Shaheed Hasan al-Banna (r) and many other prominent Muslim leaders and scholars and Mujahideen have adopted the same attitude and the same process which was evolved by the Prophet of Allah. Call the people towards Allah and to train and purify them, organize them into Jama’ah and work for the service of mankind. In this process we will create an Islamic society, an Islamic government and an Islamic state.”

The late Ghulam Azam, a former leader of JI’s Bangladesh chapter, also spoke at the 1999 convention. Azam was sentenced to 90 years in prison for committing war crimes during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence. Hamas leader Sheikh Muhammad Siyam also was part of the 1999 convention.

JI’s Support for Terror

JI affiliates in Bangladesh and Pakistan criticize the United States, openly voice support for terrorist groups and praise their leaders. For example, people like Osama bin Laden never die, former JI Pakistan leader Syed Munawar Hasan said in a 2014 video. They continue to live in the people’s hearts people and give voice to their people, he said. Hasan described Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud’s killing of in a U.S. drone strike as “martyrdom.” He called the U.S. an enemy of Pakistan: “America was our enemy yesterday, it is so today, and tomorrow too it will not refrain from enmity against us.”

The JI has provided an ideological platform and recruiting base for terrorist groups in South Asia. One example is the Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HuM), a Kashmiri jihadist group that emerged in 1989 as JI’s militant wing.

The U.S. designated HuM as a foreign terrorist organization in 2004. In a recent video, HuM commander Zakir Rashid Bhat noted that the Kashmiri people’s struggle for independence was “nationalistic” and was “haraam” (“not permissible”) in Islam. “Nationalism and democracy are not permissible in Islam,” he said. HuM has been behind several terrorist attacks in Kashmir. In 2013, HuM claimed responsibility for an attack on an Indian police camp in Kashmir that killed five security personnel.

JI’s former student wing in India, the Student Islamic Movement of India or SIMI has been implicated in some of the deadliest terror attacks in the country. The group has been banned in India and is alleged to have links to terrorist groups such as the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

Nurul Islam Marzan, one of the masterminds behind the July terror attack on a Dhaka café that killed 17 foreigners, helped lead a group with alleged ties to the banned Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and was active in JI’s student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS) at Chittagong University. Suspects in the 2013 murder of blogger and activist Ahmed Rajib Haider reportedly acted on orders from an ICS leader.

The Jamaat-e-Islami global network’s support for a totalitarian Islamist ideology provides an environment conducive to the radicalization of future terrorists. The Islamist movement’s active presence in the U.S. and the West, its defense of terrorists, condemnation of U.S. foreign policy, justification of terror attacks against the U.S. and its allies, and rejection of Western democratic values and ideals make it relevant in the debate about designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. The Islamist threat is not isolated to one source.