London Attacker Known to Police, Allegedly Appeared on TV Jihad Show, Linked to Anjem Choudary

Channel 4

Breitbart, by Liam Deacon, June 5, 2017:

One of the London Bridge attackers was allegedly a well-known Islamist, who appeared on Britain’s Channel 4 TV station, was reported to police, and can be linked to the network around notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

According to numerous reports, the suspected London Bridge terrorist appeared in a Channel 4 documentary last year, which also featured the “new Jihadi John” alleged Islamic State executioner Abu Rumaysah, hate preacher Mohammed Shamsuddin (also know as Abu Saalihah), and infamous social media radical Abu Haleema.

Twelve people, including four women in niqabs and men in Islamic robes, were arrested in Barking yesterday after raids at a flat believed to be the home of one of the attackers. A 55-year-old man has been released without charge.

Suspected terrorist “Abz” unfurls the black flag of Islamic State during the 2016 Channel 4 film on UK radicals (Credit: Channel 4)

The 27-year-old suspected terrorist is known as “Abz” in the film. According to The Times, one of the suspects was born in Pakistan, grew up in Britain, and has been named by relatives as one of three men who rampaged through the capital this Saturday.

He is thought to be the attacker who wore an Arsenal shirt and was later pictured dying on the street with a fake suicide belt strapped to him.

According to an associate, interview anonymously on the BBC’s Asian Network, he was reported to the anti-terror hotline numerous times. It was also claimed that, two years earlier, police were warned that the suspect was trying to radicalise children in a local park.

Police have asked the press not to fully identify the terrorists at this stage, but say they know who they are and will release their names “as soon as operationally possible”.

One of the attackers, wearing an Arsenal football shirt and fake suicide vest, lying in the street after being shot by police (Credit: Instagram/fried_chicken)

Anjem Choudary (centre) pictured alongside Abu Haleema (far right) protesting for the release of hate preacher Omar Bakri Muhammad on the 27th of February 2015 (Credit: Rachel Megawhat / Breitbart London)

Mohammed Shamsuddin, who “Abz” is filmed alongside in the Channel 4 documentary, was an associate of notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who founded the now-banned terror group al-Muhajiroun.

Mr. Choudary has been linked to numerous murderous terrorists, including Michael Adebolajo, one of the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, and the 7/7 London bombers, and was convicted last year of supporting Islamic State.

Abu Haleema and suspected Islamic State executioner Abu Rumaysah were also associates of Mr. Choudary, and both appear in the same film “Abz”.

In the Channel 4 program, the suspected London attacker is shown in a scene when the group of radicals, led by Mohammed Shamsuddin, pray in a central London park and unfurl a black flag which is identified as that of the Islamic State.

Suspected London Bridge attacker ‘Abz’ (third from left) prays in Central London behind an Islamic State flag led by hate preacher Mohammed Shamsuddin (Credit: Channel 4)

The group mock the police when they are questioned and tread a delicate line throughout the film, appearing to praise Islamic State, a banned group, but not openly backing them.

Islamic State has now claimed the London Bridge attack.

At one point near the Channel 4 film, Mohammed Shamsuddin laughs and smiles as he watches Islamic State execution videos. “The guy’s foaming at the mouth, wow!” he says. “And I’m eating, hahahaha.”

Abu Haleema, who has associated with Islamic State recruiters, says: “for the record, I don’t support the Islamic State”, when challenged, before bursting out into a fit or laughter. “Just for the record so I don’t get nicked [arrested]”, he adds.

Also see:

Vox Voxplains Radical Islam As No Threat To Americans Or The West

Photo U.S. Department of Defense / Public Domain

The Federalist, by  Megan G. Oprea, May 12, 2017:

Will Wilkinson at Vox wants to warn us about the strange men influencing President Trump’s White House and pushing for the Muslim ban. But instead of settling for a reasonable critique of their beliefs—and there is certainly much to criticize—he opts for a full-throated insistence that there are no reasonable arguments to be made that radical Islam poses any threat to the United States or Western civilization.

Wilkinson begins by attacking the idea that there’s going to be an all-out war with Islam. Here, he focuses on Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart executive and Trump’s advisor, who has said, “We’re in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam.” I won’t defend Bannon’s views, because I don’t agree with many, but I will point out the confused assertions Wilkinson makes, showing his limited knowledge not only of Islam but of international affairs.

Wilkinson compares the military budgets and economic strengths of the United States and its NATO allies with those of the nine top-spending Muslim-majority countries, pointing out that the West has the obvious advantage. He’s right that radical Islam can’t really pose a threat to the United States or its NATO allies in military capacity to conduct traditional warfare. Then again, no one is really arguing that point.

Wilkinson goes on to dismiss Iran as a threat by simply saying it “spends less on its military than Canada.” Never mind the danger Iran poses throughout the Middle East, most specifically to our ally Israel, and the questionable status of its nuclear program. He also argues that Pakistan, the only Muslim nuclear power, is of no concern because we’re allies.

Yes, Lots of Muslims Support Hostile and Radical Policies

Finally, he acknowledges that “this is an exceedingly silly exercise. It shows only that even if the entire Muslim world were hostile to the United States, and unified in that hostility, it would not pose much of a threat. But how many radical anti-US Muslims are there? Not many. Again, the vast majority of the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims live in countries with which the US is friendly.”

He’s right that it’s a silly exercise. One of the reasons it’s silly is because he conflates the official position of a Muslim country’s government toward the United States with the number of “radical anti-US Muslims” in that country. Wilkinson apparently thinks that because Pakistan is officially a U.S. ally, its population must not adhere to a fundamentally anti-liberal interpretation of Islam, and the number of Pakistanis who do have those beliefs must be inconsequential.

In fact, vast numbers of Pakistanis inside and outside their government do have radical beliefs about Islam, which certainly made a difference in sheltering Osama bin Laden for ten years.

Wilkinson can barely bring himself to acknowledge that “Muslims in countries in which Islam is already recognized as the official religion do tend to support the integration of sharia into their countries’ legal codes.” In the Pew study he cites, this “tendency” is overwhelming in the largest Muslim-majority countries. He can’t come to terms with this because he doesn’t understand that in most of the Muslim world, although certainly not all, the integration of government and religion isn’t radical. It’s simply what Islam calls for, because Islam is a fundamentally political religion.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative interpretations of Islam that reject that notion. There certainly are, especially among Muslims living in the West. But they aren’t even close to the majority in the Muslim world.

So why should we care whether Muslims outside the West want Sharia law or ascribe to fundamentalist views if it’s not an “existential threat,” as Wilkinson points out? We should care when it involves human rights, like equality for women and the LGBT community, or when it threatens our allies, like Israel, or promotes instability in a region, like in Syria and Iraq, or when it means sheltering terrorists who are plotting attacks against America. We should care, for example, when Jakarta’s Christian governor is imprisoned for insulting the Quran.

All Who Notice Radical Islam Are Not Steve Bannon

Wilkinson sets up a straw-man argument in which Bannon supposedly represents anyone who argues that there are real and threatening trends in the Muslim world that could not only affect Western liberal values but threaten the growth of peace, equality, and democracy around the world. Since Bannon is such an easy target, and has many oversized, sometimes hysterical, opinions about Islam, it’s easy to knock him down.

Although Wilkinson does acknowledge the existence of al-Qaeda and ISIS, he argues that “from the perspective of empirically grounded risk assessment, this barely ranks as a minor threat to American or Western life and limb. The threat to European or American civilization is zilch.” Again, another handy conflation, this time between the risk of a wholesale military defeat and the wearing away at the Western values of freedom, democracy, and the separation of church and state.

Here, Wilkinson shifts gear to attack the proposition that there’s a threat from “stealth jihad,” what he calls an intellectual “retreat” for those bested by his arguments against the all-out war theory.

A key assumption of stealth jihad propaganda is that something like ISIS’s fundamentalist vision of Islam — the medieval elements, the torture, the beheadings, the obsession with building a caliphate — is indeed the genuine article. On this view, Islam is essentially committed to the imposition of religious law, or sharia, on believers and nonbelievers alike.

In their heart of hearts, therefore, all Muslims are committed to replacing secular political authority with Islamic religious law. This makes Islam an inherently seditious doctrine impossible to square with loyalty to a secular liberal-democratic regime.

First, most of the people who are worried about stealth jihad are not concerned that we are going to begin seeing torture and beheadings in the West. As for the concept of building a caliphate and the implementation of Islamic law, as noted earlier Wilkinson is apparently unaware of some very basic concepts within Islam, not to mention beliefs held by the majority of Muslims around the world. But let’s just look at Muslims in the West.

There Is Good Data on Western Muslims, Lots of It Scary

Wilkinson claims that “There’s no good data on Muslim support for the incorporation of sharia into the official law of Western liberal democracies, because it’s irrelevant. Muslims are very small minorities throughout Europe and North America.” Offering only the example of German Muslims of Turkish descent as proof of how un-radical Muslims living in Western countries are, he points out that only 12 percent of Turks want to replace German law with Islamic law.

What he fails to note is that young Muslims in Western countries tend to hold far more radical views than the older generation does. A BBC poll from 2007 found that 36 percent of Muslims in the United Kingdom aged 16 to 24 think Muslims should be killed if they convert to another religion. Seventy-four percent think women should wear a veil. Eighty percent of young Turks in the Netherlands don’t think it’s wrong to commit jihad against a non-believer.

If there is no problem with integration, and if so few Muslims in the West believe in sharia, jihad, or any other number of fundamentalist values, then why is it that after the Bataclan massacre in Paris, it took police months to find the prime suspect because he was being hidden and sheltered in the largely Muslim Molenbeek neighborhood in Belgium?

Wilkinson thinks it’s crazy to believe that Muslims “seek to replace secular, democratic government with sharia,” but he’s willing to grant it to make the point that, even so, there are so few Muslims in the West that it doesn’t matter. “The means by which such tiny minorities could assert control in strong states dominated by other religions and robust liberal norms remains utterly mysterious.” Yet we’ve seen both here in the United States and in Europe the extent to which the Left bends over backward to accommodate Muslim communities and push back against any criticism of them whatsoever.

Whenever the topic of women’s rights in the Muslim world is brought up, there’s always a backlash from the Left, which prefers its multiculturalism to its feminism. Or take the Rotherham sex abuse scandal, in which city officials didn’t pursue evidence of a child sex ring because the perpetrators were of Pakistani origin and they were afraid of being accused of Islamophobia. Or the fact that whenever there’s a terrorist attack in the West perpetrated by a Muslim, there’s a stampede to insist it has nothing to do with Islam, despite the avowal of the attacker himself.

These efforts are significantly supported by Islamist organizations in the United States like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has taken upon itself to be the spokesman for American Muslims, pushing out more moderate voices, and which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, a terrorist organization. It would seem, contra Wilkinson, that fundamentalist interpretations of Islam do, indeed, have a strong influence in the West, despite being a small minority.

The Truth Is, the Muslim World Is Largely Illiberal

Unlike Wilkinson, I am not interested in making radical and absolutist claims. I don’t think we’re at war with Islam; I don’t think we’re about to see beheadings codified into law; and I don’t anticipate an imminent global battle between Western countries and Muslim countries.

I do, however, think that the Muslim world, while home to many kind and charitable people, is also largely illiberal—and that in itself is a problem that we should care about. The majority of Muslims in the West, especially in the United States, tend to be a self-selecting group of people open to moderate interpretations of Islam, which is one reason they have settled in the West to begin with.

But they are not all like that, and their voice is not as weak as Wilkinson would have us believe. What is most worrisome is the increasing de facto censorship of any criticism of Islam, even in its most extremist manifestations. That, not roving bands of machete-wielding mujahedeen, is what threatens Western civilization and liberal values.

Wilkinson concludes with an obtuse declaration that “In the real world…the idea that anything at all about the West could be threatened by ‘stealth jihad’ is either an expression of studied ignorance or a form of malicious religious intolerance.” His reductive argument would have been infinitely stronger had he understood the issue not as black and white, as a choice between believing the armies of Islam are marching on the West or denying there’s any reason for concern.

But Wilkinson made no real effort to persuade, which is why he’ll fail to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with him. Then again, maybe his purpose was not to persuade, but merely to signal his own virtue.

Megan G. Oprea is editor of the foreign policy newsletter INBOUND. She holds a PhD in French linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. You can follow her on Twitter here.

Open Letter to National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ is Accurate and ‘Helpful’

Gatestone Institute, by A. Z. Mohamed, April 25, 2017:

  • In other words, as al-Kalbani has confirmed — and contrary to what McMaster has been telling his staff and his commander-in-chief, President Trump — Muslim terrorists are Islamic, and the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is apt, accurate and extremely “helpful.”

During his first “all hands” staff meeting on February 23, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, called terrorism “un-Islamic” and the term “radical Islamic terrorism” not helpful.

Prior to the meeting, retired U.S. Army Col. Peter Mansoor told Fox News that McMaster, with whom he served in Iraq during the 2007 surge of American troops, “absolutely does not view Islam as the enemy… and will present a degree of pushback against the theories being propounded in the White House that this is a clash of civilizations and needs to be treated as such.”

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s National Security Adviser. (Image source: Center for Strategic and International Studies)

Let us put McMaster’s premise — which is antithetical not only to that of his predecessor, Michael Flynn, but to Trump himself and many of his senior advisers — to the test.

Less than three years ago, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh — a grandchild of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th-century founder of the Saudi school of Islam called Wahhabism — said, in an August 19, 2014 statement, that Islamic State (ISIS), and al-Qaeda, are Islam’s “enemy number one.”

This would be a good sign, if not for the fact that four days earlier, Sheikh Adil al-Kalbani, a former imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and a Salafi (a strict sect of Sunni Islam advocating a return to the early Islam of the Quran), tweeted: “ISIS is a true product of Salafism and we must deal with it with full transparency.”

Later that month, al-Kalbani published two pieces in the Saudi government-aligned daily Al Riyadh — on August 24 and 31 — criticizing elements “in the Salafi stream for appropriating the truth and Islam and for permitting the killing of their opponents, and… clerics and society that dared not come out against them.”

This was a bold assertion on the part of al-Kalbani: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is based on Wahhabism, a form of Salafism embraced by the monarchy.

In January 2016, al-Kalbani gave an interview to the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based network, MBC, in which he acknowledged with regret, “We follow the same thought [as ISIS], but apply it in a refined way.” He added that ISIS “draws its ideas from what is written in our own books, from our own principles.” (Author’s emphasis)

McMaster should have been listening.

In the BBC World Service podcast “The Inquiry” (December 2015) — on a program called “Is Saudi Arabia to blame for IS?” — Professor Bernard Haykel, director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia at Princeton University, said: “The Islamic State’s religious genealogy comes from ‘Jihadi Salafism,’ a theological current that is very old in Islam that is quite literalist.” Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s well-known short books, he added, “are used by ISIS today.”

Indeed, until ISIS began producing its own textbooks in 2014, the terrorist organization relied on official Saudi ones.

In addition, many fatwas (Islamic legal decrees) issued by senior Saudi clerics are markedly similar to those issued by ISIS and other terrorist organizations. As recently as February 2017, in fact — in a lesson aired on Saudi regime-aligned Ahwaz TV — Sheikh Ayman Al-Anqari cited various hadiths (a collection of the Prophet Mohamed’s sayings) supporting his fatwa that “coexistence in the sense of freedom of religion… is null and void.” He also advocated offensive jihad and death as a punishment for apostates.

It should be noted that Al-Anqari is a professor in the Aqidah (Islamic Faith) and Current Doctrines department in the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh.

In other words, as al-Kalbani has confirmed — and contrary to what McMaster has been telling his staff and his commander-in-chief, President Trump — Muslim terrorists are Islamic, and the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is apt, accurate and extremely “helpful.”

A. Z. Mohamed is a Muslim born and raised in the Middle East.

***

 

Farahat: U.S. Should Designate Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Organization; Egyptian Government ‘Not Strong Enough’ to Combat Its Ideology

KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty

Breitbart, by John Hayward, April 4, 2017:

Egyptian author and political analyst Cynthia Farahat, an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum and founder of the Liberal Egyptian party, joined SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Tuesday’s Breitbart News Daily to discuss Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’svisit to the White House.

“President Sisi is the most moderate Muslim leader to rule Egypt since the 1952 coup d’etat,” Farahat said. “He’s certainly very moderate. I don’t think he believes in theocratic forms of Islam. I think he has a very classic liberal-style narrative when it comes to understanding Islam itself.”

“But he’s still not strong enough to combat these ideologies within his country,” she added.

“On a positive note, the Muslim Brotherhood are extremely unpopular inside Egypt as a political group,” she reported. “I would say they’re the most hated group of individuals inside the country.”

Kassam found that an extraordinary declaration, given that the Muslim Brotherhood was voted into power and running the Egyptian government just a few years ago.

“It’s a little debated how they got in there to begin with,” Farahat replied wryly. “I have a serious problem believing that the Supreme Council of Armed Forces that was overseeing the elections and engaged in killing Christians on TV channels would uphold a free and fair election. If you don’t respect their lives, you don’t respect their votes.”

Farahat clarified that her assessment of Sisi’s weakness against Islamist forces in Egypt was really a judgment of the government’s overall weakness.

“The only power the Islamists have right now is in controlling Al-Azhar University in Cairo, which is basically the most important Islamic university,” she explained. “They’re the experts on Islamic jurisprudence in Sunni Islam around the world. That’s where the problem is. I would have liked to see President Trump asking el-Sisi to investigate Al-Azhar University.”

She quoted from an investigative report about what the university’s 300,000 students are being taught: “Any Muslim can kill an apostate and eat him, as well as kill infidel warriors. Even if they are young or female, they can also be eaten because they are not granted any protection.”

“High school students learn this!” she exclaimed. “That’s just one example. There are other examples where they say to preserve oneself from the evil of an infidel, any Muslim can gouge their eyes out or mutilate their hands and legs or even sever one arm and one leg.”

“I have a problem with these teachings,” Farahat said. “When Sisi claims that he wants to fight radical Islam, how about investigate what is happening in Al-Azhar? To be honest, he has called upon them numerous times to reform. But someone who goes as far as legitimizing cannibalism will not reform himself. These people need to be investigated for terrorism, specifically that they have a long history in it.”

She said the Muslim Brotherhood has taken “a severe knock” in Egypt since it was deposed by the Sisi government.

“By the way, the Muslim Brotherhood, they say that they were popular. They were never really popular,” she noted. “When you look at their history, they have been operating inside Egypt from the 1920s. Before the so-called Arab Spring, they didn’t even have a million members in a country of 90 million people. The estimates were from 600,000 to 800,000 members of the Brotherhood.”

“They are very unpopular right now. They are so unpopular that if you have the Muslim Brotherhood beard, which is a very short beard with a sign of prayer on the forehead, they’re not allowed to walk in certain areas inside of Egypt, in Alexandria,” she said.

“So they have taken a severe beating. They’re very unpopular. The United States has to designate them as a terrorist organization. I’m currently writing a book just on the terrorism within the Muslim Brotherhood. They were involved in establishing the vast majority of Sunni terrorist groups around the world today. From al-Qaeda to Islamic State to al-Jamaa al-Islamiya – you name it – you can trace it back to the Muslim Brotherhood,” Farahat said.

She estimated that her book on the Muslim Brotherhood should be finished in about six months.

“It will address issues that I talked about in my most recent article for Middle East Quarterly, so you’re welcome to check this out. It has a lot of the evidence of their involvement in terrorism,” Farahat said.

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

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Former Labour Foreign Minister: UK Can’t Defeat Terror Without Understanding Religion

CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty

Breitbart, by Liam Deacon, March 24, 2017:

A former Labour Party foreign minister has implied the government of Tony Blair was wrong to ignore the religious roots of Islamist terror, urging authorities to ‘take on’ the ideology to defeat terror.

Kim Howells, who oversaw the work of MI5 and MI6 during the Blair and Brown years, said Islamist violence is distinct from other forms of terror and Western values such as democracy must be defended.

“I was part of a Government that said: ‘Well, we don’t do God.’ But you can’t afford not to do God on this one, I think,” he told Wales Online.

“These people aren’t motivated – not on the most part, anyway – by money or some kind of nationalism. It’s different from the IRA. These people are prepared to kill themselves and they do it because they think it’s a shortcut to paradise…

“Unless people have enough courage to take that on and try and convince young people that the Caliphate is not a better way of running society than a democracy they are going to be lured to these organisations.”

Whilst some say Islamic terror is largely driven by grievances such as “Islamophobia”, “alienation”, and Western foreign policy, Mr. Howells argues it is necessary to appreciate the importance of theological turmoil going on within Islam.

“These guys are not just trying to kill unbelievers and Christians and so on. Their main enemy is another form of Islam,” he said, referring to the violent schism between Sunni and Shia Islam.

People hold up placards during a candlelit vigil at Trafalgar Square on March 23, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty)

Many other nations and ethnic groups have been affected by foreign interventions and discrimination, yet the vast majority of recent terror attacks have occurred in countries afflicted by Islamist insurgencies.

According to the Global Terrorism Database, in 2015, “69% of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Yemen)”.

Terrorists returning from these conflict zones present a real challenge to the UK.

Between 700 and 1,500 Brits have travelled to join Islamic State terrorists, and Mr. Howell said former jihadists should be a “real worry” for the security of the nation.

“There’s going to be a significant proportion of those people who are determined to carry on the fight here. They’ve been trained in how to use guns and how to construct bombs,” he said.

“They are going to have to be watched very carefully. But just to watch one person takes a large number of people and a lot of money.

“How on earth you keep tabs on 400 or 500 people at any given time as well as those who never went to Syria but you judge are posing a threat is not easy.”

A Muslim Woman’s Fight Against Radical Islam

farhana-qaziby Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
February 23, 2017

If one were to find a single question that defines the geo-politics of our age, it might well be the question Farhana Qazi has been asking herself for almost 20 years: why do so many Muslims kill in the name of their religion?

If she has not found all the answers, Qazi has done much to facilitate our understanding of the issues, primarily as they relate to Muslim women and the rise in women extremists. A Muslim herself, she has worked largely behind the scenes: at the Counter-Terrorism Center in Washington, D.C.; at the Rand Corporation think tank; as an instructor on terrorism for the U.S. military; and as an author. Her work has taken her back to her native Pakistan, where she has immersed herself in the lives of Muslim extremist women, met with the mothers of suicide bombers, come to know women who have endured imprisonment, and shared stories with women who, in her words, “have tried to break the barriers of patriarchy and patrilineal traditions.”

Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Qazi came to America with her mother at the age of 1, joining her father who was already working in Tennessee. Soon after, the family moved to Austin, Texas, which Qazi considers her hometown. Her work since then, both in the service of her country and as a beacon for moderate Muslims seeking to reconcile their beliefs with the violent extremism facing the world, has received lavish praise and numerous awards. She is now working on a book that examines why Muslims turn violent, and the ways in which recent political events contribute to violent extremism.

She told us her story in a recent interview, and shared her crucial insights on radical Islam, women terrorists, and where we stand now in the face of the radical Islamist threat.

Abigail R. Esman: Why did your family move to the U.S., and how old were you at the time?

Farhana Qazi: My father came to the U.S. because it was his dream since he was a child. He admired Western values and later, he worked with American clients when he was a young accountant in Lahore, Pakistan. He came to the U.S. (to the rolling hills of Tennessee to pursue an MBA), and thanks to Al Gore, my father was allowed to stay in this country to work after his student visa expired. Gore wrote a letter on my father’s behalf. I was a year old when I moved here with my mother. I barely remember my birth city, Lahore – the cultural nerve of Pakistan. I lived in a small town in Tenn. before moving to the capital city of Austin, Texas, my childhood home.

ARE: How important was religion to you growing up?

FQ: My parents were born Muslim but their practice was liberal, almost secular. My father is an intellectual and philosopher who admires all religions; he values the Ten Commandments that came from Moses. He idolizes the principles of Buddhism and he believes in the Christian concept of charity. My father has raised me to be a “humanist” rather than a Muslim. I embraced Sunni Islam later in life

ARE: Many women in Pakistan face oppression, forced marriage, and family violence. How do you explain the freedom you have had in your life?

FQ: I am blessed to be an American Muslim woman. My father often tells me he came to the U.S. for me; because I am a girl from a middle-class family in Pakistan who would not have had the same opportunities in life had I lived in a country with patriarchal norms, age-old customs, and traditions, most of which deny girls and women their basic rights in Islam. Culture trumps religion in Pakistan. But it’s not true in America, where I can practice faith openly or privately. Because I am free in America, I chose a male-dominated field – in the 1990s, counter-terrorism work was dominated and dictated by men mostly. Often, I was the only female speaker at international conferences and addressed why Muslims kill in the name of my religion. Now, there are more women in the CT field, but at the time, I was not only female, American, but also Muslim – the combination of the three made me stand alone, which is a blessing in disguise. I welcome the opportunity (and attention) for speaking on a subject that I understood. And that’s how my father raised me: to be a bridge between the East and the West. To learn from both worlds, both cultures and to close the gap of misunderstanding.

ARE: Was having that freedom part of what has guided you in your work?

FQ: Yes, my unique cultural and linguistic background made me marketable for the intelligence community. There were no female Muslims in the Counter-Terrorism Center. I believe I was hired to help the Center understand the extremists’ narrative, rhetoric, and recruitment patterns. Later, upon leaving the Center, I joined the RAND Corp as a policy analyst-researcher and traveled to the Muslim world to engage local communities. Because I understand both cultures, I have been able to speak to women who might have not been accessible to other American men or women. When I trained the U.S. forces as a senior instructor, I received the highest honor – the 21st Century Leader Award from The National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) in 2012 for my service as an American Muslim woman – when I was presented with the award, I was told that because I knew how to serve the U.S. government as a woman and Muslim is the reason why I was chosen for the award.

ARE: You in fact began working in the area of counterterrorism and issues surrounding the lives of Muslim women very early in your career. What motivated this?

FQ: My mother is a war hero to me. She joined the Pakistani Army when she was barely 20 years old to fight for Kashmir. In the 1960s, Pakistan was at war with India for the second time to fight for the valley of Kashmir. My mama, barely five feet tall and a petite frame, volunteered for the Army and trained at Qaddafi stadium in Lahore, holding a British .303 rifle which was taller than she was. She often told me, “I wanted to prove to my country that women can fight, too.” She was raised in a country at a time when women and girls had few career choices and were often bound by familial responsibilities. But not my mother, who dreamed of being a politician had she not married my father and then settled in the U.S.

ARE: Mostly, you’ve focused your work on women.

FQ: I’d say my work focuses on understanding radical Islam and the divisions in the Muslim world today – a broken mass of billions blinded by age-old customs, traditions, and patriarchal norms steeped in ancient cultures. I’m trying to understand the way that Islam has been destroyed by splinter groups, religious fanatics, and hardline conservatives, issuing fatwas that oppose women’s rights. I’ve come to learn has that while terrorists claim to empower women, the reality is that women are cannon fodder or a ‘riding wave of terrorists’ success.’ In the end, women don’t matter, which begs the question: why do they join?

ARE: Then for many years you worked at Rand. What did you do there?

FQ: Research on Al Qaeda networks and the female suicide trend that began to capture headlines in the conflict in Iraq. I was the first to predict that there would be a series of bombings by women – I wrote my first op-ed on the subject in The Baltimore Sun, predicting more attacks. Women were an anomaly so no one paid attention, until females strapped on the bomb. And then a Newsweek piece caught the attention of multi-national forces in Iraq and the U.S. embassy. Suddenly, we began to pay attention to a trend that would continue to this day, though I have been saying this for the past 17 years: women are deadly, too.

ARE: And the Counter-Terrorism Center.

FQ: I was the first American Muslim girl to be hired. I was 25 years old.

ARE: How serious is the problem of Muslim women extremists right now? Is it a threat that is growing?

FQ: This is an ongoing threat that is shielded by men. We don’t hear of attacks by women because it is unreported. For example, I know from my U.S. military contacts that there were a number of Afghan women strapping on the bomb and I am writing about this in a chapter for my next book on female terrorists, but that phenomenon was not reported. Because we don’t hear of it in the news doesn’t mean it’s not happening. The real concern is women who support extremist men – women have done this since the Afghan jihad. Women write in jihadi magazines. Women raise their children to be terrorists. And women stand by their radical men. This is nothing new.

ARE: Are Muslim women in the West generally more or less likely to radicalize than their counterparts in the Islamic world?

FQ: Western women have different challenges; the main concern for a Muslim girl or woman in the West has to do with identity. Often, girls who join ISIS are trapped between two opposing cultures and societies – the life at home and their life outside the home (at school, for example).

One of my chapters in my new book is called “The Denver Girls” – I remember visiting with the community that was affected by the three East African girls who boarded a plane to join ISIS but were brought back home (the father of one of the girls reported his daughter missing). A Sudanese woman I interviewed told me that ISIS empowers our girls, and I can see why. Because many Muslim girls living in the West are still bound by cultural (read controlled) rules and have little freedom outside of their home environment; they aren’t allowed to ‘hang out’ with Western friends and these girls certainly don’t have the same opportunities as their brothers or male cousins. In these cases, girls look for alternatives, which terrorism provides.

Further, I believe the teachings of Islam (which I live by: peace, compassion and mercy) are not preached or taught at home. When Muslims have spiritual pride and believe that God’s love is only for the select few, then this teaching restricts children in many ways: they are unable to cope in a Western society and compelled to stay within their own communities, which makes girls more vulnerable to extremist recruitment and makes them feel they do not belong.

ARE: What are some of the major reasons you’ve found that explain the phenomenon of female Muslim terrorists?

FQ: No two Muslim female terrorists are alike. And while the motives will vary, I do believe that patterns don’t lie. Contextual clues are important indicators for violence, and by context, this would include a girl’s home (private) and public life; her exposure to violence or trauma or abuse; her access to violent messaging online and the time she spends reading and engaging with violent individuals in the digital space; a personal tragedy (did she lose someone to violence?); and much more. I’ve learned that there is no “aha” moment or trigger point but a sequence of triggers and “aha” moments that lead to the path of violence.

ARE: Based on your expertise, what do you think of Trump’s “Muslim ban” or travel ban?

FQ: The travel ban may have the adverse effect. I believe in protecting our country from external threats. What worries me is that the threat is already here. If we look back at attacks or attempted attacks over the past decade, radical Muslims have been living in our midst. [Orlando shooter] Omar Mateen, [San Bernardino killers] Syed and Tashfeen Farook, [Chattanooga shooter] Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, [Fort Hood shooter] Nidal M. Hassan, and more. Many of these terrorists were not from the countries listed in the travel ban. What we need is greater civic involvement and community policing.

ARE: Have you experienced threats of any kind in relation to your work?

FQ: I have been warned to change careers and not talk about Muslim terrorists. But to do that would be to ignore the realities of our time. As a devout Muslim woman, who still believes in Islam’s core message of peace, I have to acknowledge that there are Muslims who kill in the name of Islam, manipulating the faith for political or personal reasons. And these individuals, male or female, need to be stopped and countered by Muslims, too.

ARE: In the now-infamous words of Mitch McConnell, “she persisted.” Why do you persist?

FQ: My father taught me the word “persistence’ when I was a young girl in Texas. He often said, “every challenge is an opportunity,” which made the word “persist’ a positive term in my mind. To persist is to succeed and to succeed is to make a difference. I live by the maxim: lead a life of service – and the only way to do that is to persist.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands. Follow her at @radicalstates.

Gorka: Left Cares About Alinsky Tactics and Political ‘Triangulation’ More Than Safety of Americans

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, February 13, 2017:

Deputy Assistant to the President Dr. Sebastian Gorka, formerly National Security editor for Breitbart News, addressed the controversy over National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s pre-inauguration phone calls to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Monday’s Breitbart News Daily.

“I can’t comment on what was said, or what wasn’t said, on those telephone calls even though the good general himself says that he can’t remember all the details,” Gorka said. “All I can tell you is my personal experience. I spent several months working very closely with General Flynn and the transition team, in his National Security Council transition team. He’s a man you would trust with your life. He’s a great patriot, man of honor, worn the cloth of the Republic.

“The bottom line is, he shook things up in the DIA, and there are a lot of people who want to take revenge on him. Names I’m not going to list across the airwaves right now, but people who do a little bit of research can work out. The Establishment doesn’t like General Flynn, and for me, that’s a good thing,” he told SiriusXM host Alex Marlow.

Marlow proposed that Flynn was but the latest target of the Left’s “pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it” strategy, as defined by Saul Alinsky in Rules for Radicals.

“You’re absolutely correct,” Gorka said. “Whether it’s Steve Bannon, whether it’s Stephen Miller, whether it was Monica Crowley, or whether it’s General Flynn now. Important point for the listeners, and this is what has to be grasped: it’s never about the issues. It’s not about Russia, it’s not about the safety of Americans, it’s not about preventing attacks like Paris or Nice happening in America. It’s the triangulation. We have to isolate and take down the individuals, separate them from their community, pillory them, and then just make their position untenable. It’s classic Alinsky, and I’m sorry, they’re just picking on the wrong guy, because this guy is as hard as nails.”

[CJR: I feel very bad about Monica Crowley. She deserves her reputation back. Read this – Rising to Monica Crowley’s defense ]

Turning to President Donald Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Gorka said “the message that has to be taken home by everybody – our allies, our partners, and our competitors and our potential enemies – is that our relationship with Japan is back on track.

“Do you remember the ‘Asia pivot’ that wasn’t a pivot, that ended in China intimidating all her neighbors, building fake atolls with military installations on top of them? That age is over. Whether it’s sending a message to put Iran on notice, or whether it’s rekindling one of our closest ties in the region with Japan, this is a new age for America in foreign policy.”

Gorka said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the White House would cover the “obvious issues,” such as “what can we do, as the outside potential interlocutor, to bring stability, to bring some kind of lasting peace to the region?”

“As part of that, it’s going to have to be a discussion of settlements, what is the status of settlements,” he said. “On top of that, one of the things that we are very keen on is to represent an understanding to the world that Israel isn’t alone. It’s not the threat to Israel from local terrorists. It’s the same thing as Orlando, as the attacks in New York, in Boston. There is this, what I like to call the global jihadi movement, and Israel is as much on the frontline – if not more – than any other country. So we want to bring that international recognition that Israel isn’t just our strongest partner in the region, it’s also really on the frontline of the war against the global jihadists.”

Gorka said the White House was not so much “shifting policy” with its latest statements on Israeli settlements, but offering a “nuanced explication of what our policy is.”

“I’m not part of that team, but I’ve spoken to the people that are working that issue, and it’s a fine line,” he said. “What we have suggested is that when it comes to the settlements, you can build on what you’ve already got. So if you’ve got a building, and you want to go up another story, it’s fine. But going to new territories is not going to help anybody. So we’d like to see a little bit of a snapshot in time. Let’s not have any more territory taken as part of the settlements, so that we can get down to some serious negotiations right now.

“That’s a nuanced policy statement from the team, but I think it bears recognition as acting in good faith, so we can bring the partners to the table.”

Another imminent presidential meeting will involve Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, described by Marlow as “pretty much the anti-Trump” for being “a young man who is very photogenic,” raised in an atmosphere of deep left-wing politics for his entire life.

Gorka thought the two leaders might find common ground by acknowledging “there are issues that have to be dealt with in every country,” including “the tension with regard to the terrorist threat internally.”

“We may be from different political communities, but the bottom line, it’s our northerly neighbor. They share a lot of the same issues that we share, especially when it comes to national security,” he observed. “President Trump is the master of the deal, and he can negotiate with people who even have different political opinions. So let’s see what the day brings, but I think it will be a substantive meeting for both parties.”

Gorka said President Trump will soon decide how to proceed on his immigration executive order, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a judicial restraining order against it. He praised the analysis Breitbart News has offered on the decision.

“Let’s not talk about the fact that the Ninth Circuit Court has been reversed 82 times. That’s their batting average. What Breitbart has very, very rightly revealed is that of the seven nations on the list that came from the Obama administration, 72 nationals of those nations have been convicted of jihadi terrorist activity in America since September the 11th,” he said.

“This narrative, this politicized narrative that it’s Islamophobic, and it has nothing to do with terrorism, and nobody from those countries has ever committed terrorist acts in America is so totally and utterly fallacious that we need to reset the standard of the discussion. It’s about national security. Seventy-two people – think about that. That’s more than five times the number of hijackers that did September the 11th. So we are going to maintain our commitment to that executive order and those seven countries being on a temporary halt.”

Same interview:

Gorka: Radical Islam Has Grown ‘Much, Much Stronger’ Since 9/11

On Monday’s Breitbart News Daily, SiriusXM host Alex Marlow asked for Deputy Assistant to the President Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s assessment of radical Islam and its position in the world today, compared to its influence on the morning of September 11, 2001. “Is radical Islam stronger now as a movement, or has it been weakened since 9/11?” he asked.

“Superb question,” Gorka replied. “And the answer is unequivocally, without a doubt, much much stronger.”

“Just think about one metric. Let’s look at ISIS. ISIS, the Islamic State, has achieved that which no other jihadi group has been able to do in 90 years since the dissolution of the Caliphate by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924. He fired the caliph, he dissolved the Caliphate, when he created the secular republic of Turkey. For 90 years, the bad guys – al-Qaeda included – have tried to re-establish a theocratic Caliphate. ISIS didn’t talk about it. They did it,” he noted.

“They did it in 2014 from the pulpit of the Grand Mosque in Mosul,” he continued. “According to our own counterterrorism center – this is open source – ISIS has 18 operational affiliates around the world. Compare that to just three years ago, when they had seven. They are getting stronger.”

“This is why it’s very important to understand, we’re not at war with Islam, but there is a war inside Islam, for which version is going to win. And right now, it’s the wrong version,” he warned. “It’s the seventh-century atavistic bloodcurdling version that is represented by the Islamic State. The version that is portrayed by Jordan, by Egypt, by the Emiratis, that needs our support because we cannot see the Islamic State expand any more. That is why the president used the phrase, ‘We are going to eradicate the Islamic State.’”

Gorka said there were two important conclusions to draw from the foreign policy speech President Trump gave in Youngstown, Ohio, during the campaign, principles that continue to shape his policy outlook since the election.

“Number one, it’s very clear, he’s given the generals 30 days to come up with a war plan to defeat the Islamic State, as the epitome of the threat right now – destroy it in theater with our allies, with our partners,” he said. “But that’s the smaller part. We’re the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. We can do that relatively easily.”

“Long-term victory, if you read General Flynn’s book, you’ll see this explicitly laid out,” he continued, referring to The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is now national security adviser to President Trump’s. “Long-term victory comes when people don’t want to become jihadis anymore.”

He said this would require a longer and more difficult second-stage strategy to “delegitimize the narrative of jihad.”

“Just as Ronald Reagan undermined the narrative of the communists, we have to help our allies, the Sunnis of the region, make the totalitarian ideology of the jihadists look hollow and crumble in upon itself,” Gorka urged. “The larger part of our task is to have a very, very full-throated counter-propaganda campaign, which means the Islam of our allies against the Islam of groups like the Islamic State.”

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is the author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War and was national security editor for Breitbart News before joining the Trump administration.