Soros Money, Muslim Advocates Leader, Helped Weaken Homeland Security Policies

osfby John Rossomando
IPT News
October 7, 2016

A Muslim legal group, girded with $1.8 million in grant money from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF), has helped influence major policy changes in the war on terror, including the Department of Homeland Security’s screening of individuals with suspected terror ties and the FBI’s training program for its agents working in counterterrorism.

Internal records, made public by the hacking group DC Leaks, show OSF spent $40 million between 2008 and 2010 on programs aimed at weakening U.S. counterterrorism policy.

Muslim Advocates’ Executive Director Farhana Khera played a key role in shaping the foundations’ spending. Khera co-authored a 2007 memo that “informed” the foundations’ U.S. Programs Board’s decision to create the National Security and Human Rights Campaign (NSHRC), a Sept. 14, 2010 OSF document discussing the program’s reauthorization, shows.

The NSHRC’s goals included:

  • Closing Guantanamo Bay, eliminating torture and methods such as the extraordinary rendition of prisoners, and ending the use of secret prisons;
  • Ending warrantless and “unchecked” surveillance;
  • Ensuring that anti-terrorism laws and law enforcement activities do not target freedom of speech, association or religious expression;
  • Reducing ethnic and religious profiling of people of Muslim, Arab or South Asian extraction;
  • Decreasing secrecy and increasing oversight of executive actions, and expose U.S. government or private individuals who abuse or violate the law.

Some of these policies, such as closing Guantanamo and ending enhanced interrogation techniques, already were also advocated by Obama administration. OSFclaimed its work laid the groundwork for implementing those policies. The Edward Snowden leaks cast light on the depth of the government’s warrantless surveillance activity. The other goals are more difficult to assess.

Muslim Advocates was founded in 2005 as an offshoot of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers. It often criticizes U.S. counterterrorism strategies that use sting operations and informants as discriminatory.

Papers released by the anonymous hacker group DC Leaks show that OSF budgeted $21 million for the NSHRC from 2008-2010. OSF spent an additional $1.5 million in 2010. The NSHRC also received a matching $20 million contribution from Atlantic Philanthropies, a private foundation established in 1982 by Irish-American Chuck Feeney billionaire businessman.

OSF made 105 grants totaling $20,052, 784 to 63 organizations under the NSHRC program. An Investigative Project on Terrorism tally shows Muslim Advocates received at least $1.84 million in OSF grants between 2008 and 2015.

A funders’ roundtable created by OSF in 2008 helped coordinate the grant making among several left-leaning foundations, ” in order to “dismantle the flawed ‘war on terror’ paradigm on which national security policy is now based.” At least “two dozen” foundations participated in the roundtable’s strategy sessions as of the end of 2008.

Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, called the Soros foundations’ $40 million program both hypocritical and ironic. He noted that the 2011 OSF-funded Center for American Progress report “Fear, Inc.” complained that seven conservative foundations donated $42.6 million to so-called “Islamophobia think tanks between 2001 and 2009.” The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other major Islamist groups routinely use the $42.6 million funding number to portray their opponents as being pawns of dark forces.

“It’s amazing that one foundation donated an amount that CAIR and [Muslim] Advocates say is the huge sum of money that funds the entire anti-jihad campaign,” Jasser said. “… That wasn’t from one foundation. That was an addition of [the money given to] everybody that they threw under the bus.”

By contrast, OSF and Atlantic Philanthropies spent $41.5 million in just three years. OSF dedicated another $26 million to the NSHRC program from 2011-2014.

OSF additionally funded a study by the New America Foundation equating the terror threat posed right-wing extremists with al-Qaida. An Oct. 17, 2011 memo discussing NSHRC grants notes that New America received $250,000, partly to write two reports. The first aimed at creating a “‘safe space’ in which Muslims in America feel free to hold controversial political dialogues, organize without fear of unwarranted government surveillance.” The second aimed to “correct mistaken public beliefs that Al-Qaeda’s brand of terrorism is unique to Islam and that most terrorists are Muslim.”

The paper promised “to show how adherents of each extremist ideology use different language to justify very similar political means and goals. By demonstrating parallels among militant groups, this paper will aim to separate politically focused terrorism from the religion of Islam.”

Arguments from this report continue to help frame how Democrats and their allies talk about the jihadist threat. New America’s statistics and arguments recently came up in a House hearing about the threat from homegrown Islamic terrorists.

“According to the New America Foundation, there have been more incidents of right-wing extremist attacks in the United States than violent jihadist attacks since 9/11. I’m not minimizing jihadist attacks. In that light, can you explain what your office plans to do with respect to domestic right-wing extremism?” Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., asked Department of Homeland Security Office of Community Partnerships Director George Selim during a House subcommittee hearing last month.

New America’s effort to conflate right-wing extremists with al-Qaida glossed over a major difference – namely al-Qaida’s reliance on mass casualty attacks and suicide bombings.

New America’s latest data shows that jihadists have killed more people since 9/11 than right-wing extremists.

“What you’ve uncovered is the fact … that the Soros foundation works to obfuscate on national security,” Jasser said. “Muslim Advocates clearly is a prime example of the sickness in Washington related to dealing with the central reforms necessary to make within the House of Islam.

“You’ll see that the Soros foundation is spending money on organizations that deny the very principles they are defenders of, which are feminism, gay rights, individual rights. Muslim Advocates’ entire bandwidth is spent on attacking the government and blocking any efforts at counterterrorism.”

Muslim Advocates also opposes discussion on reform within the Muslim community and supports those who have theocratic tendencies, Jasser said.

“You have evidence here that the Soros foundation is part and parcel of the reason for the suffocation of moderation voices – reformist voices – in Islam,” Jasser said. “Muslim Advocates really ought to change their name to Islamist Advocates, and what the Soros foundation really is doing is just advocating for Islamists.”

OSF also contributed $150,000 in 2011 and $185,000 in 2012 to a donor advised fund run by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. It used this money to pay Hattaway Communications, a consulting firm run by former Hillary Clinton adviser Doug Hattaway, to develop a messaging strategy for Muslim Advocates and similar organizations. Hattaway’s message strategy painted Muslims as victims of American national security policies.

Khera used Hattaway’s strategy to paint the New York Police Department’s mosque surveillance strategy as “discriminatory.”

OSF funded groups, including Muslim Advocates, the ACLU, and the Center for Constitutional Rights, filed lawsuits challenging the NYPD’s surveillance program as unconstitutional. Police Commissioner William Bratton ended the policy in 2014.”Their only ‘crime’ is that they are Muslim in America,” Khera wrote in a June 6, 2012 op-ed posted on

The NYPD monitored almost all aspects of Muslim life ranging from mosques and student associations, to halal butcher shops and restaurants to private citizens.  A federal district court dismissed the suit, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals revived it in October 2015. New York settled the lawsuit in January, placing the NYPD under supervision of an independent observer appointed by City Hall.

Downplaying Radicalization and the Jihadist Threat

OSF accused conservative opponents of “borrowing liberally from Joe McCarthy’s guilt by association tactics.” It complained in a Sept. 14, 2010 memo to its U.S. Programs Board that the “homegrown terrorism narrative” resulted in “discriminatory” targeting of Muslims by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI.

Khera often expresses similar sentiments. She accused the FBI of engaging in “entrapment operations” to target “innocent” Muslims after former Attorney General Eric Holder called sting operations an “essential law enforcement tool in uncovering and preventing terror attacks.”

Khera likewise characterized law enforcement training materials discussing the Islamic extremist ideology as “bigoted, false, and inflammatory” in her June 28 testimony before a Senate Judiciary  Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights, Federal Courts.

She and her organization played a central role in late 2011 when Muslim groups called on the Obama administration to purge FBI training materials that they deemed offensive. FBI counterterrorism training materials about Islam contained “woefully misinformed statements about Islam and bigoted stereotypes about Muslims,” she complained in a Sept. 15, 2011 letter. She objected to describing zakat – the almsgiving tax mandate on all Muslims – as a “funding mechanism for combat.”

Yet numerous Muslim commentators describe zakat as a funding mechanism for jihad. A footnote for Surah 9:60 found in “The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an,” says that zakat can be used to help “those who are struggling and striving in Allah’s Cause by teaching or fighting or in duties assigned to them by the righteous Imam, who are thus unable to earn their ordinary living.”

The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America issued a 2011 fatwa saying zakat could be used to “support legitimate Jihad activities.”

Following Khera’s letter, then-White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan announced a review of “CVE-related instruction across all levels of government.” This review resulted in a purge of 700 pages of material from 300 presentations. This included PowerPoints and articles describing jihad as “holy war” and portraying the Muslim Brotherhood as group bent on world domination.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s bylaws describe these ultimate ambitions and imply the need for violence: “The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing an Islamic state.”

Khera’s influence with the Obama administration

Khera enjoys close connections with the Obama White House. Visitor logs show that Khera went to the White House at least 11 times.

Khera played a central role persuading the Obama administration to purge Department of Homeland Security records related to individuals and groups with terror ties, former Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) Agent Phil Haney told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

His superiors ordered him to “modify” 820 CPB TECS records about the Muslim Brotherhood network in America, Haney said. Irrefutable evidence from the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Hamas financing trial proved that many of these groups and individuals assisted Hamas, Haney said.

The HLF trial substantiated deep connections between American Islamist groups such as the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a Hamas-support network created by the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.

A 2009 OSF funding document claims credit for helping persuade then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to order a review of border screening procedures. It also reveals that Muslim Advocates worked with “DHS staff to develop a revised border policy.”

The Muslim Advocates’ report recommended the “review and reform of … [Customs and Border Patrol policies and practices that target Muslim, Arab and South Asian Americans for their First Amendment protected activities, beliefs and associations; and … law enforcement and intelligence activities that impose disparate impacts on Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities.” It also asked DHS to prevent CPB agents from probing about political beliefs, religious practices, and contributions to “lawful” charitable organizations.

Muslim Advocates claimed a pivotal role in getting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to reverse a new 2010 policy enhancing the screening on travelers from 14 countries, many of them predominately Muslim. The rule was proposed in the wake of the attempt by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up a Detroit-bound plane weeks earlier.

Muslim Advocates and several OSF grantees met with Napolitano and other top DHS officials, and the policy was canceled three months later. Muslim Advocates claimedthat the Obama administration “made special mention” of its role in reversing the TSA policy.

“This broke into the open with the great purge of 2011 and 2012,” Haney said, recalling Brennan’s letter to Khera announcing that materials she complained about would be removed.

The purge accompanied a practice of meeting with Islamist groups as community partners, Haney said.

In addition to the purge of training material, documents related to people and groups with terrorism ties such as Canadian Muslim Brotherhood leader Jamal Badawi and the Pakistan-based Tablighi Jamaat movement also disappeared from CPB records. (Tablighi Jamaat often serves as a de facto recruiting conduit for groups such as al-Qaida and the Taliban.)

Investigators might have had a better chance of thwarting the San Bernardino and the June Orlando shootings had those Tablighi Jamaat records remained available, Haney said, because the shooters’ respective mosques appeared in the deleted 2012 Tablighi Jamaat case report.

The Obama administration’s “absolute refusal to acknowledge that individuals who are affiliated with networks operating here in the United States, and their deliberate deletion of any evidentiary pieces of information in the system, has made us blind and handcuffed,” Haney said. “The proof of it is San Bernardino and Orlando.

“They obliterated the entire [Tablighi Jamaat] case as if it never existed.”

Haney’s claims have met with some skepticism. Haney stands by his claims and says critics “made a lot of factual errors.”

Still, Muslim Advocates’ success reversing the TSA policy was among the accomplishments showing that it “has proved itself to be an effective advocate on the national stage,” an April 25, 2011 OSF document said. It recommended renewing a $440,000 grant to “support the core operating costs of Muslim Advocates.”

In doing so, the Soros-funded OSF weakened U.S. national security and potentially left it vulnerable to the jihadi attacks we have been seeing in the homeland since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Obama Eid Celebration Again Empowers Islamists Over Reformers

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

IPT NewsJuly 21, 2016

The White House held a celebration Thursday afternoon to honor Eid al Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. While no guest list has been made public, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has learned that it includes a number of Islamist activists who have espoused views in direct contrast with American policy.

Among them were several officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a former official who remains close to the organization. In contrast, Muslim Americans who believe CAIR and other Islamist groups are not representative of the community’s diverse viewpoints were not invited.

The White House declined to comment to the IPT or release a complete list of invitees.

The inclusion of so many CAIR officials shows that the United States government has wildly different views about the organization.

FBI policy since 2008 prohibits engagement with CAIR, which touts itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group” and the country’s “largest Muslim civil liberties organization.”

But the FBI cut off CAIR’s access after its agents uncovered CAIR’s darker history.Internal documents and eyewitness accounts prove that CAIR was born into a network of Muslim Brotherhood-created support groups in the United States. Each branch of that network, known as the “Palestine Committee,” shared a mission of boosting the Islamist movement in general and Hamas in particular.

Until it determines “whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,” a senior official explained in writing in 2009. [Emphasis added]

Here’s what federal prosecutors privy to the same evidence wrote in 2007:

CAIR has tried to ignore or minimize these statements. But it has never acknowledged the connections to the Hamas support network or ever tried to claim that it has evolved since then and no longer pursues its original secret agenda. It has had only one executive director in its history, and he was listed in a roster of the network’s members (see No. 25, Nihad Awad).

Despite this wealth of evidence, Thursday’s Eid celebration shows that the message to CAIR is a little different at the Obama White House: Come on in!

At least four CAIR officials were invited. Among them, a man who called the 2008 war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza a “genocide” and who likens the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to ISIS, and a man who accuses the FBI of setting up innocent Muslims and of cold-blooded murder.

In addition, Ahmed Bedier, a former CAIR official in Florida who continued to raise money for the organization as recently as 2014, posted links to videos from the event on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

Honoring a holiday celebrated by several million Americans is fine. But the Obama administration’s insistence on inviting – thereby empowering – radical Islamist voices like the CAIR officials included Thursday overlooks the work and conclusions of its own career agents and prosecutors.

Once again, the White House guest list omits any members of the fledgling Muslim Reform Movement. That movement, representing more diverse opinions and arguably a more representative face of American Muslims, published a declaration that should be embraced by people of all stripes. It is worth reading in its entirety, but its preamble says they are fighting for “a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam” and clearly rejects “interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam.”

In addition to explaining what they reject, the reformists articulate what they stand for. “We are for secular governance, democracy and liberty. We are against political movements in the name of religion. We separate mosque and state. We are loyal to the nations in which we live.”

Someone needs to explain why that message can’t get a seat at the table.

“The saddest thing is not only the complete monopoly and dominance of American Islamist groups in the [White House] Eid celebration invitation,” Reform Movement member Zuhdi Jasser told the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “… but imagine how insulting it is that the [White House] also includes representatives of all the ‘petro-Islam’ and [Organization of Islamic Cooperation]’s ‘neo-caliphate’ tyrannies from Embassy Row. So the nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Pakistan who imprison, torture, and assassinate Muslim reformers like us are honored and invited down the red carpet along with their choir of American Islamist lobbyists (as Asra Nomani calls them: the #HonorBrigade) and yet genuine, honest free-thinking American Muslim reformers are completely ignored and blackballed. This has been the SOP for the Obama administration for now over 7 years. Their ‘Muslim’ related policies are dominated by the Islamist mafia at home and abroad. The Obama administration and their friends on the Left claim to be about diversity yet when it comes to diversity it’s all about racial and ethnic diversity and no ideological diversity within the House of Islam.”

The ideology two CAIR officials brought to the White House is inherently hostile toward U.S. policy.

In addition to comparing the IDF to ISIS, CAIR Los Angeles Executive Director Hussam Ayloush repeatedly accused Israel of committing genocide and a holocaust against Palestinians in Gaza. These accusations seem to redefine what constitutes a genocide or holocaust, since Gaza’s population is increasing steadily.

Ayloush also reacts similarly to most CAIR officials when asked about Hamas, the beneficiary of support from the American “Palestine Committee” to which CAIR was born. He refuses to acknowledge Hamas as a terrorist organization and quickly grows angrily defensive.

Hasan Shibly, Ayloush’s Florida counterpart, returns to the White House for at least the second time since December, when he was included in a discussion on religious discrimination. Like Bedier, he posted video from the event on his Facebook page Thursday afternoon, also showing Ayloush with him.

In the video, Shibly says the White House event triggered debate, since U.S. military strikes in Syria killed civilians. Ayloush, Shibly said, planned to deliver a letter “about the atrocities in Syria” to Obama. “Right now U.S. drone strikes – they’re the biggest creators of terrorism in the Middle East,” Shibly said.

That, presumably, means Shibly thinks drone strikes create more terrorism than ISIS.

Shibly said he and his colleagues also planned to criticize “consistent abuse by the FBI” and Customs and Border Protection “against the American Muslim community,” saying Muslim activists are harassed and accusing the FBI of “brainwash[ing] mentally disturbed youth to plan terrorist plots so they can justify the continued surveillance of the community.”

The White House embrace comes despite the fact that Shibly is helping a family sue the FBI, for allegedly shooting a Muslim without cause. Agents shot and killed Ibragim Todashev, a “skilled mixed-martial arts fighter,” after hours of questioning in 2013 tied to an unsolved triple murder. Todashev also was a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. After reportedly acknowledging some involvement in the murder case, agents say Todashev attacked.

CAIR asked for independent investigations. But after two reviews found no wrongdoing, Shibly refused to accept the outcome. He also accused FBI agents of shooting a Detroit imam in 2010 after he had been “tied and bound.” Separate independent investigations and an actual video of the shooting showed this was not remotely true, but Shibly repeated the smear anyway.

He also defended a terror suspect who was arrested after loading what he thought was a bomb into his car. Sami Osmakac repeatedly expressed interest in violent jihad and dreamed of carrying out a “second 9/11.”

“I want to do something,” he said. “Something terrifying.” Before his arrest, he made a martyrdom video in which he called his attack “payback for Sheikh Osama Bin Laden.”

Still, Shibly cast Osmakac as a man who posed no threat to the public and blamed the FBI for setting him up.

He gets the White House invitation – again, at least his second – but Jasser and his fellow reformists are shut out. The imprimatur that accompanies an audience with the president of the United States can be used for tremendous good. It can raise new voices to prominence, and it can stimulate much-needed debate. The Reform Movement declaration, for example, specifically emphasizes the rights of women to equal treatment.

Instead, President Obama and his staffers continue to tip the scales to favor the most monolithic, pro-Islamist voices and protect the monopoly they enjoy on public debate.

It is beyond shameful.

Also see:

CAIR Chief’s Reflexive Terror Denial Stands Apart

Nihad-AwadIPT News, July 15, 2016

Before the bodies of all the victims had been removed from the streets of Nice, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad insisted that religion had nothing to do with the terrorist attack that killed at least 84 people.

A French resident of Tunisian descent rammed a truck into a crowd of revelers gathered to watch fireworks commemorating Bastille Day. The truck traveled as much as two kilometers, leaving twisted bodies in its wake.

French President Francois Hollande described the “undeniable terrorist nature” of the attack, which was further established by the presence of guns and explosives inside the killer’s truck.

“All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism,” Hollande said. “Our vigilance must be relentless.”

To Awad, this was reckless and inflammatory.

“French President #Hollande is pouring oil on the fire by describing the #Nice crime as Islamic terrorism and subjects France’s Muslims to danger,” Awadwrote, in Arabic, on Twitter. “What is Islamic about this crime?”

Plenty of analysts have shown exactly how terrorist groups like ISIS are deeply rootedin Islamic theology. As IPT Shillman Senior Fellow Pete Hoekstra noted, Islamist terrorists have been calling for such attacks for years, and al-Qaida specifically suggested this kind of attack in 2010, using a mock Ford-150 ad: “With the right tools and a little effort, the truck can be turned into a killing machine from a Wes Craven horror film,” an article in al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine said.

That seems to be a pretty good description for what happened in Nice.

ISIS spokesman Abū Muhammad al Adnānī ash Shāmī made a similar suggestion in a2014 statement: “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war … kill him in any manner or way however it may be … 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.” [Emphasis added]

Awad’s denial does nothing to discredit these ideas or the Islamic theology underpinning them. In another tweet, he claimed such talk was “blaming all Muslims for the heinous #Nicemurders.#Don‘tCallTerroristsJihadists.”

Compare Awad’s reaction with other Muslim voices. He doesn’t win points for courage.

Writing in the Telegraph, former Islamist Maajid Nawaz begged Muslims and non-Muslims alike to stop pushing the counter-productive “nothing to do with Islam” message. “Your good intentions towards us Muslims are only making the problem worse,” he wrote.

Terrorist groups like ISIS successfully recruit new members in part because “we have allowed hardline Islamism to permeate our communities and mobilise the vulnerable,” Nawaz wrote. “To stop it we have to make it less attractive, and that is a long-term struggle, similar to those against racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism.”

He could have been speaking directly to Awad when he added, “please stop denying the nature of jihadism. Please stop ignoring the narratives which drive these attacks. Instead of aiding extremists who insist Islam today is perfect, perhaps you should aid us beleaguered reformist Muslims who are attempting to address this crisis within Islam against all the odds.”

Nawaz also called out the hypocrisy of critics who don’t think images of the carnage in Nice should be shown.

Speaking on Fox News Channel, American Islamic Forum for Democracy President Zuhdi Jasser explained that “intoxicant of theocratic Islam, the sharia state” must be confronted for the terror to wane. That starts by “looking at the schools of thought of jihadism, Wahabism and Salafism. And the fact that most Americans don’t even know what those terms are is a crime.”

Unable to argue on the merits, Awad and his CAIR colleagues tend to dismiss Jasseras a sellout and simply ignore reformist voices like Nawaz’s.

But even Hamza Yusuf, founder and president of Berkeley’s Zaytunah College, an Islamic institution, acknowledges there is an Islamic root for the recent wave of terrorism. In an essay he titled “The Plague Within” – which he posted after terror attacks in Orlando, Baghdad, Bangladesh and elsewhere that were carried out during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – Yusuf likened radical interpretations of Islam to “brain-eating amoebas.”

Citing another cleric, Yusuf said the plague is “the bitter harvest of teachings that have emanated from pulpits throughout the Arabian Peninsula, teachings that have permeated all corners of the world, teachings that focus on hatred, exclusivity, provincialism, and xenophobia. These teachings anathematize any Muslim who does not share their simple-minded, literalist, anti-metaphysical, primitive, and impoverished form of Islam, and they reject the immense body of Islamic scholarship from the luminaries of our tradition.”

While Yusuf still seems to balk at the phrase “Islamic radicalization,” he still called for action from scholars and others to counter the ideology driving the terrorism: “What we do not need are more voices that veil the problem with empty, hollow, and vacuous arguments that this militancy has little to do with religion; it has everything to do with religion: misguided, fanatical, ideological, and politicized religion. It is the religion of resentment, envy, powerlessness, and nihilism.” [Emphasis added]

Yusuf has spoken at CAIR fundraisers, and the organization spotlighted a message of his just last year.

These are but a few examples of Muslims who are trying to wage a battle of ideas within Islam in hopes of discrediting the ideology that fuels shooting massacres in Orlando and Paris, bombing massacres in Turkey, Belgium Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and now a vehicle massacre in Nice.

With the possible exception of Maajid Nawaz, none of them has the profile and bully pulpit Awad and his organization enjoy. Reporters quote them all the time and television news airs their views almost every day.

The message so far – don’t talk about religion when religious zealots kill – is a wasted opportunity of immeasurable proportions.

CAIR’s ‘Islamophobia’ List Is a ‘Hit List,’ Say Critics



Breitbart, by Neil Munro, June 23, 2016:

Americans are being marked for murder whenever their names appear on the annual list of so-called “Islamophobes” posted by the jihad-linked Council on American Islamic Relations, say two Americans on CAIR’s 2016 enemies list. 

“This is a hit list,” said Nonie Darwish, a former Egyptian Muslim, now living in America. CAIR “should be held legally responsible for inciting violence against us,” she said, after citing several Muslims and non-Muslims who have been personally targeted by Muslims sharing CAIR’s Islamic ideology.

“They want to shut us up by putting us in a position of fear,” said Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which is pushing for modernization of Islam in the United States. “Not only does their list put our lives at risk, but it is full of false information [and] they’ve never called us.”

At least two of the people cited in the report have been targeted for murder by jihadis. Pam Geller, who is described by the new report as “Islamophobe Pamela Geller,” has survived two plots attempts because the Muslim attackers were successfully killed by police. Similarly, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex-Muslim and a former legislator in Holland, has a security detail to protect her from attacks. 

CAIR’s report “is certainly intended to be [incitement],” said David Yerushalmi, a lawyer at the American Freedom Law Center. “But it is not [punishable] incitement under First Amendment principles,” partly because judges requires an “imminent” threat to justify a charge of incitement, he said.

CAIR’s new report is titled “Confronting Fear“, and it was slated for publication June 14. But on June 12, the release was delayed six days because a Muslim murdered 49 Americans in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The report lists a series of domestic enemies of Islam, its portrays them as mentally ill phobics, and also conflates occasional attacks and vandalism against Muslim people and buildings with various forms of democratic criticism of Islam. For example, comedian Bill Maher is on the list.

The group defines “Islamophobia” as “a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure.”

The problem, say Jasser and Darwish, is that CAIR’s message will reach people who believe that opponents of Islam deserve death. In fact, Pam Geller, a favorite hate-figure at the CAIR, has been the subject of at least two jihad plots. Two gunmen were killed by thefirst attack in May 2015. A second man, who carrying a knife, was killed by FBI officers in Boston in June 2015.

Other critics, such as Robert Spencer, who runs, has received myriad death threats from believers in Islam.

Islam’s politicized ‘sharia law’ endorses the murder of Islam’s critics and of ex-Muslims — repeatedly, endlessly, forcefully — and its recommendations are deemed divine commandments by numerous killers and would-be killers.

For example, the Koran — which observant Muslims say is a list of verbatim commands from their deity, Allah — tells Muslims to “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah [penalty tax] willingly while they are humbled.”

Islamic scriptures say that Islam’s reputed founder, Muhammad, personally ordered or supported the death of many enemies, including at 10 critics and poets, who were the pre-modern equivalent of modern journalist and writers — such as the machine-gunned cartoonists at the Paris-based Charlie Hebdo magazine. Traditionalist or orthodox Muslims says Muhammad is a perfect model of behavior and should be emulated by Muslims.

Because of this theological hostility to criticism, “I cannot go to any Islamic majority country — I would be killed on the street, and the killer would be called a hero,” said Darwish.

CAIR is extending those threats into the United States, she said. “The culture of Al Capone is the culture of Islam — when you put up a list of Islamic foes, this is a hit list,” she said.

In Western democracies, where law and religion both condemn violence, people can criticize and be criticized without the intimidating fear of violence, she said. With CAIR’s enemies list, “the difference is that you have a whole Islamic theology behind, the sharia law that [CAIR] support[s], that condemns people to death if they dissent,” she said.

If a journalist [criticizes] Republicans or Democrats, he does not have a whole legal system to condemn him to death. What makes CAIR different is that they support a legal system, they support HAMAS, they support the Muslim Brotherhood, and just by their affiliation and support of sharia law, the show they agree to the death penalty for apostates and blasphemers, and … by making a list for their sharia lovers and supporters, they are making it easy for their followers to find the blasphemers and apostates.

U.S. court documents and news reports show that at least five of CAIR’s people — either board members, employees or former employees — have been jailed or repatriated forvarious financial and terror-related offenses.

Breitbart has also published evidence highlighted by critics showing that CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a Texas-based criminal effort to deliver $12 million to the Jew-hating HAMAS jihad group, that CAIR was founded with $490,000 from HAMAS, and that the FBI bans top-level meetings with CAIR officials. “The FBI policy restricting a formal relationship with CAIR remains … [but] does not preclude communication regarding investigative activity or allegations of civil rights violations,” said an Oct. 2015 email from FBI spokesman Christopher Allen.

The United Arab Emirates has included CAIR on its list of Muslim Brotherhood groups. CAIR has posted its defense here.

For Jasser, CAIR’s hate list is also a threat to the many members of his pro-modernity Islamic coalition who don’t want to be linked to anti-Islamic activists. “We are a modern [classic] liberal islam that believes in universal declaration of human rights [and] we reject theocratic islam,” he told Breitbart. “Our brand is about loving Islam and loving America,” he said.

“Our board members are devout Muslims, our families go to the mosque, we are celebrating Ramadan now, and for us to described under ‘Islamophobia’ … is the greatest smear I can think off… and that’s the intention,” Jasser said.

“There’s no doubt that CAIR is all about monopolizing the voice of Islam [in the United States], and the way they prevent any debates is the term ‘Islamophobia’ … they want to prevent any criticism of Islam,” he said. It “is their way of making a blasphemer’s list — they use it as a way to shame anyone who would question the need for reform,” he said.

But CAIR is safe from a lawsuit or criminal charges unless there’s testimony from a whistleblower or an email showing CAIR officials linking their claims with hopes that someone else launches a violent attack, said Yerushalmi.

Racketeering lawsuits likely won’t work either, he said, because the court has restricted their use to criminal gangs and drug-sellers, he said. “I don’t think you get a RICO case unless an individual or a group of individuals who were physically [harmed] or their business were harmed ….[and] where you can show CAIR’s fingerprints,” he said.

CAIR’s press aide, Ibrahim Hooper declined to comment. 

CAIR’s list of “Islamophobic” actions include many normal examples of civic criticism of Islam’s doctrines. For example, the report slams comedian Bill Maher, saying ;

Maher acts as the liberal counterpart to Fox News when it comes to broadbrush attacks on Islam. While discussing Boko Haram’s kidnapping of a large number of female students in 2014, Maher asserted, “There’s no mention here of connecting this to the religion, which is always what I am seeking to do because I think that’s the elephant in the room. And that in the religion at large, women are seen as property, second-class at best, often property.”

CAIR Hilarity: We Welcome “Significant, Healthy Debates” Among Muslims

hypocrisyIPT News
June 23, 2016

He might have been trying to be ironic. But Corey Saylor seemed to be playing it straight Monday when he claimed that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wants “more empowered voices”in the future to “let the public at large see more of us talking about the full spectrum of views that exist within the Muslim community.”

We could hear the spit-take all the way from Arizona. That’s the home of Zuhdi Jasser, who founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) and the Muslim Reform Movement. Both groups embrace a “separation of mosque and state” and stand against the Islamist victimization agenda pushed by CAIR.

For that, CAIR repeatedly has called Jasser names in attempts to discredit and silence him. It tried to block his appointment to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2012 and tried unsuccessfully to have him ousted two years later.

Saylor’s comments about embracing debate came during a news conference to unveil CAIR’s latest report on groups it says are pushing “Islamophobia” in the United States, along with their funders. The report includes the AIFD among organizations “whose primary reason for existence is to promote prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims.”

While simultaneously calling for more empowered Muslim voices, CAIR accuses Jasser, a Muslim, of promoting hatred and prejudice against his faith because he disagrees with CAIR politically. For example, following terrorist attacks like the slaughter at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, or last November’s multi-pronged attacks in Paris, Jasser will talk about the radical Islamist ideology that drives the violence. CAIR, on the other hand, insists it has nothing to do with religion.

Rather than welcoming “the full spectrum of views,” as Saylor claimed, CAIR wants to “marginalize debate,” Jasser said in an interview. “They simply want to continue their sense that Islam has a PR problem, and it’s not a reform issue, that it needs to happen in the separation of mosque and state. The Islamists don’t ever want to recognize they are Islamists or that they do try to collectivize our community into a political movement. Because once they did that, they’d have to recognize that there are diverse voices that reject Islamism and their Islamist platform.”

It happened to him again last week. Jasser spoke in Birmingham, Ala., about curbing Islamist extremism and the terrorism done in its name. “No, it’s not all Islam that’s the problem, but there’s a problem in the house of Islam that needs to be addressed,” Jasser said.

A local television station turned to CAIR and a local mosque for reaction. “They said he’s a part of the problem and is only spreading Islamophobia,” the story said.

CAIR’s report, done in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender, also includes the Investigative Project on Terrorism among 33 “inner core” organizations that, like AIFD, exist to gin up hatred of Muslims and Islam. IPT “claims to investigate the activities and finances of radical terrorist groups, but makes all of Islam culpable,” the report said.

No supporting evidence is provided.

It is a false claim. In fact, IPT frequently cites Muslims who oppose Islamism, ranging from liberal UK reformist Maajid Nawaz to Jasser, an American Navy veteran and physician. But we also have exposed many of CAIR’s skeletons and emphasized its roots in a Hamas-support network in the United States created by the Muslim Brotherhood. We also frequently showcase radicalism exhibited by CAIR officials.

Saylor’s statement about embracing debate echoes a recommendation in CAIR’s formal report: “Empowering a diverse range of legitimate voices to persuasively contribute, particularly in the news media, to the views of Islam and American Muslims within public dialogue.” [Emphasis added.]

CAIR, the statement implies, reserves the right to tell the public which voices qualify as “legitimate.” CAIR’s stated objective, therefore, is at odds with its own definition of how debate can occur.

Saylor’s full statement further exposes the shallow nature of the claim CAIR wants “more empowered voices.”

“Our major holiday, Eid, is a topic of significant debate,” he said Monday. “When is it going to happen – because it’s based on a moon cycle? So if we can have these kind of healthy debates we want all of those voices to be trained and go out and speak to the public at large.”

First, debate is limited to “simple practices of certain dietary requirements, or prayer or calendar issues,” Jasser said. “None of the diversity that they’re talking about is related to core issues of universal human rights.”

Second, CAIR must ensure those engaged in debate are “trained” to participate.

“That’s the hypocrisy,” Jasser said.

When CAIR officials speak of diversity, Jasser said, they’re referring to ethnic/national background. Muslim Americans come from all over the world, from the Middle East and Asia.

“Islam is an idea. It’s not a race,” he said, so true diversity includes different views about the faith and its application in modern life.

“When it comes to intellectual diversity, they’re completely missing in action,” Jasser said.

CAIR equates criticism of scholars or certain Islamist dogma with hate, he said. “They, with self-righteous indignation, refuse to accept the fact that somebody can love the community and love their faith and still be very critical of what is normatively felt to be Islamic law. That is un-American. Imagine somebody telling some of them that they are not good Americans because they disagree with this policy or that policy.”

CAIR largely has ignored the Muslim Reform Movement and has not commented on the specific principles its members enumerated.

The Muslim Reform Movement issued a public Declaration of its principles. Among them:

We support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by United Nations member states in 1948.

We reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam. Facing the threat of terrorism, intolerance, and social injustice in the name of Islam, we have reflected on how we can transform our communities based on three principles: peace, human rights and secular governance.

We are for secular governance, democracy and liberty. We are against political movements in the name of religion. We separate mosque and state. We are loyal to the nations in which we live. We reject the idea of the Islamic state. There is no need for an Islamic caliphate. We oppose institutionalized sharia. Sharia is manmade.

To be true to its own call, CAIR needs to embrace these ideals or publicly explain why it will not. That might lead to an outcome Saylor said with a straight face that he wants – “More empowered voices” and “significant, healthy debates going on among ourselves every year, every day.”

Now that would be a news conference worth watching.

CAIR Offers Terror Sympathizers and Misleading Rhetoric to Condemn Orlando Tragedy

1616IPT NewsJune 14, 2016:

In the wake of Sunday morning’s devastating and monumental Islamist terrorist attack that killed 49 men and women at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) convened a news conference to condemn the bloodshed.

It posted excerpts, presumably the parts CAIR most wants people to see, on YouTube.

It marks yet another missed opportunity for American Islamists to engage fellow Muslims in a debate about their faith’s more incendiary commands. Instead, CAIR and the other assembled speakers spent more time telling non-Muslims what to think. Several speakers also seemingly contradicted one other regarding Islam’s view of homosexuality.

“Homophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia are interconnected systems of oppression. And we cannot dismantle one without dismantling the others…,” said CAIR co-founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Saif Inam of the Muslim Public Affairs Council was more impassioned.
“To the LGBTQ community, let me be very clear. The American Muslim community stands with you. We are your allies” who “stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”

Two other speakers, Naeem Baig of the Islamic Circle of North America, and Abu Nahidian of Virginia’s Manassas Mosque, referenced Islam’s prohibition on homosexuality, though they said that it did not justify violence against gay people.

“Our issue here is not about the LGBT community. It is totally un-Islamic to do such a ghastly act, and not to mention the level of aggression and violence that followed,” Baig said, quickly pivoting to his concern that the slaughter at the Pulse nightclub reflects poorly upon Muslims: “It brings total chaos in society and Muslims now would have to undeservedly carry this crime on their heads.”

Nahidian compared gays and lesbians to drunks and people who consume pork. Islam prohibits many activities, he said, but “that does not mean that we have to go ahead and attack every bar because we are against drinking, every supposedly, grocery store because we are against the porks and eating that. Go ahead and attack all kind of areas that it is against our religion. No. We have to live with the people and we have to dialogue only and talk. We are not allowed to take arms against anyone.”

Terrorist Omar Mateen’s father echoed the message in a statement early Monday. “God will punish those involved in homosexuality,” he said, adding it is “not an issue that humans should deal with.”

Nahidian, meanwhile, stands out as an odd representative for an event aimed at enhancing the image of Muslims in America. He maintained close ties with Iran, and during a 2010 anti-Israel rally in Washington’s Dupont Circle, he insisted the 9/11 attacks were “not done by Muslims. It is done by the plot of the Zionists in order to justify to occupy the land of the Muslims such as Afghanistan, such as Iraq, such as Pakistan, now moving on to the rest of the areas. They plot and they scheme and no doubt God is plotting and scheming against them too.”

Another speaker included at the CAIR event, Kristin Szremski, represents the vehemently anti-Israel group American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). Several AMP officials and speakers have direct ties to a U.S-based Hamas support network, the Investigative Project on Terrorism first reported last year. Internal records reveal that CAIR was part of that network, known as the Palestine Committee, and Awad waslisted as among its members.

1615Szremski also is a prominent and vocal advocate for Rasmieh Odeh, the Palestinian woman convicted in a 1969 terrorist attack in Jerusalem that killed two college students. Odeh and an accomplice have publicly discussed their roles in the attack.

Meanwhile none of the speakers mentioned that attacks targeting gay people – often by throwing them off the tops of buildings – are frightfully common in areas controlled by ISIS, the group to which Mateen pledged allegiance during his slaughter.

Awad said ISIS claims to speak for Islam, but “the 1.7 billion [Muslims in the world] are united in rejecting their extremism and their interpretation and their acts and senseless violence.”

The evidence says otherwise.

In 2014, the Washington Post listed 10 countries where homosexuality can lead to the death penalty. They are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Nigeria, Mauritania and the United Arab Emirates. In some of those states, any sex outside of marriage is prohibited.

After the Orlando attack, political scientist Ian Bremmer noted the overwhelming majorities in Muslim countries which exhibit intolerance toward gay people. In addition, more than half of British Muslims surveyed earlier this year said homosexuality should be outlawed.

It was widely reported before CAIR’s news conference that in April, a mosque near Orlando hosted an Iranian-born cleric who was on videotape saying, “Death is the sentence” for homosexuality. If it was mentioned during the news conference, CAIR cut it out of the video it posted on YouTube.

In 2008, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) flagged the condemnations of Abd Al-Qader Shiba Al-Hamad, a Saudi scholar in Medina, who called homosexuality “a great corruption” and a “heinous crime.” He then recounts the various punishments discussed in the Quran and among the followers of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. They range from “merely killing them or burning them” to beheading to climbing the highest mountain and rolling “them down the mountain until they are killed.”

There was no recognition during CAIR’s news conference that prominent imams espouse such violent rhetoric toward gay people. Instead, two people invoked the Quranic passage that states, “Whoever saves a life, it’s as if they have saved the life of all of humanity. And if you take a life, it’s as if you have taken the life of all of humanity.”

They stopped short of the next verse, which commands, “the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land.”

Similarly, Rizwan Jaka, a national board member for the Islamic Society of North America, noted the Quran’s instruction that “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion.” But no one tried to tell impressionable Muslims, like Mateen, why that is more relevant today than the verse that tells them to “kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.”

It isn’t that difficult. The American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, whose founder Zuhdi Jasser has been attacked by CAIR, issued a statement expressing its sorrow over the Orlando attack and committing during the holy month of Ramadan to “triple down on acknowledging the deep reforms necessary and the responsibility of every Muslim in countering the ideologies that inspire these Islamist savages … Make no mistake. We are again horrifically reminded that our nation and the free world are in a long war that has been declared upon us by global militant Islamists and their Salafi-Jihadi ideology.

“Understanding this ideology demands that we finally move beyond the false ‘lone wolf’ and ‘violent extremism’ narrative and counter the enemy’s ideology of Islamism and its jihadism.”

After terrorist attacks like Orlando, San Bernardino, and too many others, CAIR’s message focuses on non-Muslims and their thoughts on Islam. Perhaps they would better serve the public by encouraging Muslims to relay to other Muslims why the theological underpinnings that drive the bloodshed are wrong. When other Muslims try to do so, they too often are derided as sellouts.

It’s Not ‘Islamophobic’ to Protest a Pro-Hamas Speaker


National Review, by M. Zuhdi Jasser, April 6, 2016:

This past Good Friday, the Islamic Society of Wichita, Kan., invited a self-declared Hamas supporter, Sheikh Monzer Taleb, as a special guest for its fundraising event. Sheikh Taleb is a notorious figure in the Muslim community, bringing controversy — and hate — wherever he goes. That is, until Representative Mike Pompeo caught wind of the plans and took a stand, calling on the Islamic Society to cancel the event, to the ire of the group and some in the community.

Sheikh Taleb has proudly sung as part of a pro-Hamas group that calls for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people, even declaring on video: “I am from Hamas.” His other extremist ties are also significant and damning: In the 2008 terrorism-financing case against the Holy Land Foundation, Taleb was named an “unindicted co-conspirator” for his deep association with Hamas. The case resulted in guilty verdicts on all 108 counts against leaders of the Foundation.

All Americans have a duty to speak out, like Pompeo did, for if we stay silent, we give Islamists a pass to suffocate critical thinking inside Muslim communities. There is nothing more American, more pro-Islam, and more pro-Muslim than taking a stand against the extremist and anti-Semitic hate spewed by Islamist individuals like Sheikh Taleb. In fact, this tough love is what every Muslim community needs to pursue on its own, long before their elected representative have to intervene.

Marginalizing and exposing the ideas of Sheikh Taleb and others like him is crucial if we are to effectively counter Islamist ideology and radicalization. This is the sort of reform work the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) encourages. Before Islamic terrorists become hell-bent on using violence, extremist Islamist ideologues radicalize them. Islamist movements such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood reject the liberal secular democratic order and seek an Islamic state with sharia law, filled with ugly anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.

This debate is not about silencing speech, but rather about exposing and defeating extremist Islamist ideas. From San Bernardino to Brussels, radical Islamism will never be defeated unless Muslims and non-Muslims alike expose it, confront it, and marginalize it, much as Mike Pompeo did in Wichita last month.

It seems obvious that Sheikh Taleb’s Hamas sympathies and connections would make any American Muslim organization hesitant to have anything to do with him, much less invite him as a special guest to an event. Particularly in today’s climate, one would think that the Islamic Society of Wichita would want to stay as far away as possible from Taleb. Better yet, one would hope they would protest his appearances at mosques around the country in order to truly convey their dedication to reforming the hateful ideas that radicalize Muslims in our communities.

Instead, the Islamic Society of Wichita was stubborn in its invitation, cancelling the event only when Pompeo expressed serious concern and community pressure mounted. Now, rather than admitting its mistake, the Islamic Society of Wichita has the temerity to play the victim, blaming Kansans for their “Islamophobia.” The Islamic Society is attempting to dodge responsibility and avoid the repercussions of its terrible and even dangerous decision. But the facts remain the same: The Islamic Society invited and was planning to fête a man who has supported Hamas not only in word but also in deed, by raising funds for the terrorist group. In this case, the Islamic Society of Wichita can blame only itself for increased tensions in the community.

The event featuring Sheikh Taleb was canceled, yet it is critical for Kansans and all Americans, both Muslims and non-Muslims, to take a long, hard look at some of the key instigators and ideologies of extremist sentiment: the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the other Hamas-sympathizing, Muslim Brotherhood–tied individuals and groups passing themselves off as mainstream.

— M. Zuhdi Jasser is the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and the co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. He is a former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander and the author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam.

Deconstructing Nathan Lean’s “Islamophobia Industry”

nathan lean
by Andrew E. Harrod
Special to IPT News
April 4, 2016

“Islamophobia…is sort of like the ocean. It is working, it is churning, it is ebbing, it is flowing, even when we are asleep. There are larger systems of power and structures of power in place,” warns Georgetown University researcher Nathan Lean. Such conspiracy-mongering typifies the thesis of his book, The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims, of an inherently innocuous Islam slandered by the American military-industrial complex and Zionist Jews.

Lean is a perfect fit for his employer, the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). Amid ACMCU’s exclusion of opposing views, Lean rails against a vague “Islamophobia” as “discrimination against Muslims” but never defines what remains acceptable “[r]ational criticism of Islam or Muslims.”

Lean’s “Islamophobia” radar is especially sensitive when Muslims are the voices raising concern. He castigates former radical Maajid Nawaz, as a tool of bigoted neoconservatives. He has also called former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani an “anti-Muslim hate enabler” and ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali someone “dangerously close to advocating genocide.”

Lean’s oceanographic observations occurred during a discussion of Islam and American military conflicts Feb. 23 at Washington, D.C.’s Rumi Forum, an entity in the empire of the shadowy Turkish Islamist Fethullah Gülen. “Islamophobia has really long been connected to American foreign policy and America’s military engagement with Muslim enemies real or perceived,” he said. “America’s first military engagement as a newly formed republic was with a Muslim enemy,” the Barbary Pirates, and “narratives emerge from the Barbary Wars about Muslims and Islam…very similar to a lot of kinds of things we hear today.”

At both the Rumi Forum and  a subsequent March 10 presentation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill, Lean elaborated on a “foreign enemy domestic, threat phenomenon.” At St. Marks he presented “Islamophobia” as “necessary to soften military intervention” in terms of gaining American public support, and stated that “since 1980 we’ve invaded, bombed or occupied 14 Muslim majority countries.” He thereby ignores Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams writing as diplomats in London in a March 28, 1786, letter (available in the National Archives) of a Barbary representative justifying piracy of American ships with jihad.

Lean’s presentation emphasized the “influence of fervently Zionist groups and individuals” in pushing Islamophobia, an accusation “very controversial and provocative in many quarters…really taboo.”

“Israel,” he said, “relies on Western Islamophobist pretenses” that “some lives are more important than others.” This serves in “leaving the occupying state’s colonization untouched” along with Israel’s “historical crimes committed against the Palestinians, such as ethnic cleansing, collective punishment and apartheid.”

Lean accused groups like the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of portraying Muslims as “even subhuman,” saying it “uses its annual gab fest to stoke anti-Muslim narratives.” Lean’s discussion of the “Islamophobia”-funding Shillman Foundation prompted one St. Mark’s listener to note that the foundation’s founder, Robert Shillman, “is a huge donor to Northeastern University,” her alma mater. There Shillman Hall, with its Shillman statue, along with a Raytheon amphitheater, symbolizes “bombs and Zionist donors,” apparently for her two equivalent evils. The “pernicious feature” of such “Islamophobic Zionist, hateful donors” is “totally normalized on campus,” she said. Lean told her she was “right on the money.”

By contrast, Lean trivialized Islamic terrorism and other human rights violations as resulting from individual misdeeds, not theological doctrine, implying that all religious groups have equal problems with miscreants. “We can certainly talk about violent Muslims, no one should have a problem with that, because there are violent Muslims, there are violent Christians, there are violent Jews, there are others,” he said. Criticizing a government emphasis on Islamic extremists, he mentioned “white guys that look like me that come from the South that go into movie theaters with automatic weapons and blow away 40 people.”

Lean rejects terms like “radical Islam,” saying it “reinforces the idea that there is something inherently violent about Islam.” Words like sharia have “been usurped by people that would want to advance some form of prejudice against Muslims,” he said. Similarly, he tells audiences that jihad primarily represents a “pious struggle to do good,” contrary to the all-too violent understanding of this term by former jihadists and the Palestinian Authority, to say nothing of Hamas or the Islamic State.

Lean similarly rejects the term “moderate Muslims” and asks “who decides what the good Muslims are…and what the bad Muslims are? What are their criteria?” That is ironic considering Lean’s attacks on Nawaz, Nomani and other Muslims who advocate for reform.

He has no problem dismissing Muslim physician Zuhdi Jasser as an “anti-Muslim activist” because he opposes Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood with their theocratic agenda. He even refused to answer Nomani’s question at the Rumi Forum and answered with insults when she challenged Lean’s personal attacks against those he believes unjustly attack Muslims.

Like Nomani, “there are an awful lot of people on the left side of the political spectrum that are very problematic when it comes to Islamophobia,” Lean said at St. Marks.  “Bill Maher said a lot of things that I like, and I enjoy laughing at his show, but quite frankly I haven’t been able to watch it recently,” he said of the comedian’s questioning of Islamic doctrine.  “He’s such a virulently anti-Muslim fellow.”

Yet now and then even Lean cannot ignore reality of legitimate doubts with respect to Islam. A questioner described her anxiety about seeing a Muslim woman on the D.C. Metro completely covered by a niqab except for her eyes. “I don’t think that you are prejudiced for having those feelings,” he responded. “We live in the society where we for the most part expect to interact with one another on a face to face level.”

Lean’s “Islamophobia” sophistry may please his radical friends but has little relation to a world with far more serious concerns about Islam than veil-impaired facial contact. “Islamophobia” hardly influenced, for example, America’s 1991 liberation of Kuwait, 1980s arming of Afghans against the Soviets, 1990s rescue of Balkan Muslims from Serbian genocide, and various 21st century overthrows of dictatorship. Lean’s thesis also offers no explanation for “Islamophobia” in Europe, where countries have far less military involvement than the United States, including neutral countries like Switzerland, noted for its minaret ban. Lean’s alternative imputation of “Islamophobia” to Zionists raises old prejudicial stereotypes of often wealthy Jews conniving to suborn others, as seen in the 2007 book The Israel Lobby and Charles Lindbergh’s isolationist speeches.

Lean’s catch-all accusation of “Islamophobia” simply limits vital public debates over Islam in academia and beyond. Yet the Islamic State’s genocide against Christians, documented in a report released the very day of Lean’s St. Mark’s appearance, shows that jihadist threats are hardly a Jewish invention and appropriate for minimization.

Following last month’s terror attacks in Brussels, Lean’s initial statement lamented anticipated media coverage. He said nothing about the attack or the terrorists’ motivation. Even as ISIS’ statement claimed credit for the attack made repeated references to God supposedly enabling it, the charlatan Lean remains preoccupied with “Islamophobia.”

Andrew E. Harrod is a freelance researcher and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School.

Obama’s Dubious Mosque Choice

Mehmet Kaman / Anadolu Agency/AFP

Mehmet Kaman / Anadolu Agency/AFP

IPT News
February 2, 2016

1345Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB) Wednesday, his first visit to a U.S. mosque since becoming president.

ISB leaders have amassed a record of support for radical Islamic causes over the years, including endorsing the Chechen jihad and Palestinian suicide bombings. Its former imam was active in a charity later linked to terror financing including Hamas, the Taliban, and for providing “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to Osama bin Laden.

More recently, a resident scholar described homosexuality as a threat to societal health, in stark contrast to the president’s views on the issue.

It’s safe to assume the White House vetted the ISB and found it an acceptable venue for a presidential appearance despite this history. And that is not surprising. The Obama administration has repeatedly embraced contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, repeatedly meeting with its officials during and after the Arab Spring while ignoringsecular democracy advocates. It praised the early tenure of Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi when he briefly served as Egypt’s president. The administration also helped a Brotherhood delegation skip routine screening by U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon landing in America.

And, as we reported in December, a White House meeting also aimed at standing by the Muslim-American community featured representatives of Islamist groups, including some with consistent records of opposing U.S. law enforcement counter-terrorism efforts.

ISB officials have worked closely with one of those groups, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In 2014, two ISB officials joined with CAIR in a news conference blasting Israeli military actions in Gaza. The conflict, known as Operation Protective Edge, started when Hamas operatives kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens and continued its incessant campaign of firing rockets with the hope of killing Israeli civilians.

Those rockets were fired from densely populated areas, including near schools andhouses of worship.

But Hamas’ murders and ongoing efforts to carry out more were never mentioned by the CAIR and ISB officials. Instead, they blamed Israel when raids aimed at rocket launchers and other Hamas targets inadvertently killed and injured civilians.

ISB President Muhammad Jameel recklessly invoked “genocide in the name of self-defense” and said that, “as an American I am ashamed to stand here.”

Abid Husain, the ISB’s general secretary, joined Jameel in calling for the U.S. to pressure Israel into opening Gaza’s borders, ending an embargo that was enacted to stop the flow of weapons and materials used to make them.

“The U.S. government must not remain silent about Israel’s indiscriminate assault and unjust use of force,” Husain said. “The right of a nation to defend itself does not extend to unrestrained aerial bombardments of civilian populations and must be condemned.

Far from genocide, which is the systematic elimination of a people, and from an indiscriminate attack, Israel campaign against Hamas “went to extraordinary lengths” to minimize civilian casualties, said Gen. Martin Dempsey, then-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Israel dropped leaflets and called residents of buildings targeted for bombing in hopes the residents would heed the warnings and seek safer locations.

After the conflict ended, Dempsey sent a team of senior officers to learn from Israeli military leaders to study the tactics in Gaza to minimize civilian casualties. “In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he said.

Another ISB official, resident scholar Yaseen Shaikh, sermonized against homosexuality as a mental disorder and “something which we despise.” The talk is dated May 2013, just weeks before he joined the ISB.

The Quran says “harm them” to those who engage in homosexuality, he said. “What does this mean? If it was not an aberrant act, if this was not a despised act, why would Allah … say, ‘Harm them’? Allah then says, ‘[Several Arabic words],’ ‘If they repent and they reform and they transform themselves and change, then let them be.”

As the Daily Caller reported, a past ISB imam worked with an Islamic charity latershuttered by the Treasury Department for supporting terrorists.

Mohamad Adam El Sheikh was a regional representative for the Islamic Africa Relief Agency (IARA) in Baltimore the same time that he was an ISB imam and director.


An archived ISB action alert says that the “Islamic Society of Baltimore was recently visited by an IARA representative who brought the attached pictures of atrocities committed by Russians against the Muslims in Chechnya.”

Although links to several pictures from the Chechen jihad are still available on ISB’s archived web page, the actual pictures are no longer accessible.

“Despite all of this, by the grace of Allah, the Mujahidin in Chechnya have been able to defend themselves and remains a formidable threat to heavily armed Russian Army. However, it is also our responsibility as Muslims all over the world to help them in their Jihad effort,” the action alert added.

The action alert further solicited donations “to help the Refugees and Mujahidin in their struggle.”

In 2004, El-Sheikh justified Palestinian suicide bombings, saying they are acceptable when “certain Muslims are to be cornered where they cannot defend themselves, except through these kinds of means, and their local religious leaders issued fatwas to permit that.”

Another page on the ISB’s archived “Official English Site” links to a feature on the “Jihad in Chechnya” on the Azzam Publications website. Azzam publications was an al Qaida-tied website that was “one of the most well-known supporters of jihad, or holy war, on the internet.” The site is replete with material promoting jihad and martyrdom operations and includes a photo and link to a biography of Osama bin Laden’s mentor,Abdullah Azzam.

Just after 9/11, the ISB hosted speakers who would become prominent advocates of jihad, including American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a 2011 U.S. drone strike. Awlaki’s online sermons remain some of the most watched, most effective terrorist recruiting material online.

A page from ISB’s archived website links to the homepage of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi. Qaradawi has issued fatwas or religious rulings in support of terrorism and described suicide operations as “heroic martyrdom operations.” In a 2004 fatwa, Qaradawi called abducting and killing Americans in Iraq is “a [religious] duty.”

At a 1995 conference held by the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) in Toledo, Ohio, Qaradawi called for the “conquest” of Europe and America through Dawa, or proselytizing. “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Dawa,” he said.

The ISB’s leaders have had connections with radical Islamists and espoused extreme viewpoints throughout its history. Like a lot of mosques, it continues to segregate men and women during prayer, something American-Islamic Forum for DemocracyPresident Zuhdi Jasser called “gender apartheid.”

During an appearance on Fox News Monday, Jasser said he was insulted by the president’s choice of the ISB. It continues an administration policy of working with Islamist groups and ignoring Muslims like him who stand against theocracy.

“It’s disgraceful that this is one of the mosques – or the mosque – that he’s picked to be the first visit,” he said. ISB’s website looks like “a covert operation. There’s no name on it. It basically has pictures of individuals, but no names.”

For an event that is expected to focus on tolerance, diversity and inclusion, Obama made a puzzling choice in the ISB. Its leaders sympathize with terrorists, hate homosexuals and treat women as less than equal.

Obama White House Turns To Islamists Who Demonize Terror Investigations

by John Rossomando
IPT News
December 28, 2015

Jihadist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris have Americans on edge. Yet part of the Obama White House’s response to the attacks has been to invite Islamist groups that routinely demonize the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies to the White House to discuss a religious discrimination. “If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away,” President Obama said in his speech following the San Bernardino attack.

But partnering with such organizations sends the wrong message to the American people, said Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AFID).

“I think it says a lot when the president uses those organizations that have an ACLU-type mentality. They should have a seat at the table. That’s fine,” Jasser said.  “But not to include groups, which have completely different focuses about counter-radicalization, counter-Islamism creates this monolithic megaphone for demonization of our government and demonization of America that ends up radicalizing our community.”

A White House spokesperson acknowledged to the Investigative Project on Terrorism that the Dec. 14 meeting on countering anti-Muslim animus included Hassan Shibly, executive director of Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida chapter. The same forum – attended by Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes – also included Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates; Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab-American Institute (AAI); Mohamed Magid, imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS); and Hoda Hawa, director of policy and advocacy with the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) among others.

The White House guests, or the organizations they represent, have long histories of criticizing counter-terror investigations. CAIR leads the pack. Its Philadelphia chapter is advertising a workshop, “The FBI and Entrapment in the Muslim Community,” which features a spider with an FBI badge on its back, spinning a web of entrapment around an image of a mosque. The workshop “provides the tools needed to prevent entrapment of community members to become terrorists in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Since 9/11, CAIR has repeatedly taken the side of defendants accused of financing or plotting attacks, calling their prosecutions a “witch hunt” against the Muslim community.  For example, CAIR denounced the prosecution of Sami Al-Arian, who turned out to be the secretary of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s governing board, as “politically motivated” and a result of the “Israelization of American policy and procedures.”

A year ago, CAIR similarly protested the incarceration of Aafia Siddiqui, aka “Lady Al Qaeda” – convicted in 2010 of trying to kill two FBI agents. The protest came after the Islamic State (ISIS) offered to spare the lives of executed American photojournalist James Foley and aid worker Kayla Mueller in exchange for Siddiqui’s release.

CAIR also denounced the December 2001 shutdown of the Holy Land Foundation for Hamas support, saying, “…there has been a shift from a war on terrorism to an attack on Islam.”

Demonizing law enforcement and spreading “the idea that America and Western societies [are] anti-Muslim – the whole Islamophobia mantra is part of the early steps of radicalization so that Muslims get separated out of society,” Jasser said. “These groups certainly aren’t on the violent end of the Islamist continuum, but if there’s a conveyer belt that goes towards radicalization then it certainly starts with this siege and separatist mentality.”

CAIR has used such inflammatory imagery and rhetoric for years, with its San Francisco chapter removing a poster urging Muslims to “Build a Wall of Resistance – Don’t Talk to the FBI” in 2011 after the IPT reported on it.

Later that year, a CAIR-New York official told a Muslim audience that FBI agents would break the law to force them to talk. That includes threats and “blackmail, seriously blackmail; that’s illegal,” Lamis Deek told the audience. “But they’ll do it.”

Jasser blames CAIR and others which spread similar rhetoric for the increased fear of Islam and Muslims in America since 9/11 because they refuse to discuss Islamic extremism and the role Muslims have in fixing the problem.

1324“This creates a climate where people don’t trust us to be part of the solution,” Jasser said. “People say that if you aren’t part of the solution then you are part of the problem, which creates more fear and distrust.”

Neither Jasser nor the AIFD, which advocates for “liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state,” were invited to the White House meeting. Also shut out were Jasser’s colleagues in the new Muslim Reform Movement, whose members “reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam” and stand “for secular governance, democracy and liberty. Every individual has the right to publicly express criticism of Islam. Ideas do not have rights. Human beings have rights.”

The White House did not reply to a request for comment about Jasser’s characterization of these groups; however, it previously said it engaged CAIR because of “their work on civil rights issues” despite the group’s Hamas ties.

Former FBI Associate Deputy Director Buck Revell also finds the White House’s choice of Muslim groups troubling.

“It’s a very confusing time and circumstance when you have the White House dealing with people who have fronted for the Muslim Brotherhood and are the spokespeople for Hamas in the United States and you bring them in for a conference at the White House and say they are supposed to speak for the Muslim community in America,” Revell said. “It’s unhelpful to have the White House essentially fronting for groups that want to make it harder to reach the jihadists in our society and in effect flush them out.”

Khera’s group Muslim Advocates has a pending lawsuit against the New York Police Department regarding its surveillance of mosques and other Islamic institutions using undercover police officers and informants.

“One of our key priorities at Muslim Advocates is ending racial and religious profiling by law enforcement,” Khera says in a YouTube video supporting the suit. “We’ve done work to combat profiling by the FBI, by Customs and Border Protection and now more recently we’ve had concerns about the way the New York Police Department – the nation’s largest police department – has been conducting itself.”

Like CAIR, Khera has called the FBI’s sting operations and informants against potential jihadists “entrapment operations” that rope in individuals who might otherwise never engage in terrorist activity.

CAIR’s Shibly also used the entrapment narrative in a June 2014 blog post in which he argued that the “FBI entrapment program targeting the Muslim community” was an example of tyranny. Many other CAIR representatives, such as Michigan director Dawud Walid, previously alleged the FBI has “recruited more so-called extremist Muslims than al-Qaida themselves.”

AAI stops short of embracing the entrapment narrative but labels surveillance programs by the NYPD and other government agencies “unconstitutional, ineffective, and counterproductive.” New York’s Mayor Bill De Blasio disbanded the NYPD unit responsible for infiltrating the city’s mosques and Muslim gathering places looking for potential terrorists in April 2014 under pressure from Muslim groups.

Another group, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), which counts Magid as a member, published an article in 2008 written by Hatem al-Haj, a member of its fatwa committee, giving religious justification for not cooperating with authorities. Al-Haj wrote it was “impermissible” for Muslims to work with the FBI because of the “harm they inflict on Muslims.”

However, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), which formerly accused the FBI of entrapment, conceded in 2013 that informants can be useful detecting terror cells and keeping them off balance.

“To be fair, informants at times can be effective in counterterrorism investigations even against cellular structures. Because terrorist groups are concerned about their operational security, fear of informants can create and increase tensions within a terrorist cell. As a result, it may generate enough paranoia that a cell may abandon a planned operation,” MPAC said in its 2013 report “Building Bridges to Strengthen America.”

Looking for jihadis before they strike is a bit like looking for a “needle in a haystack,” so sting operations are useful in finding them before it’s too late, according to Revell.  He says such operations can be useful in preventing the next San Bernardino.

“If you don’t find them when they are talking jihad and you have to wait until they take an action then it’s too late to be able to prevent casualties and ensure that the public is safe,” Revell said. “There certainly is knowledge among those looking to do any type of jihadi activity that there is a force out there that is countering them and that they need to try to cover their activities to the greatest extent possible.”

In the past year, the Islamic State (ISIS) has published at least two documents instructing its jihadis how to evade being lured into stings by the FBI or other law-enforcement agencies.  The ISIS manual “Safety and Security guidelines of the Lone Wolf Mujahideen” devotes a chapter to evading FBI stings by testing the weapons they receive prior to using them in an attack.

Khera’s organization stood front and center in 2011 when Muslim groups called on the Obama administration to purge FBI training materials that they deemed offensive.  Shecomplained in a Sept. 15, 2011 letter that counterterrorism materials then being used to train FBI agents about Islam used “woefully misinformed statements about Islam and bigoted stereotypes about Muslims.” Such allegedly misinformed statements included characterizing zakat – the almsgiving tax mandate on all Muslims – as a “funding mechanism for combat” and that “Accommodation and compromise between [Islam and the West] are impermissible and fighting [for Muslims] is obligatory.”

Yet numerous Muslim commentators, including from the Herndon, Va.-based International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), describe zakat as a funding mechanism for jihad. A footnote for Surah 9:60 found in “The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an” published with editorial assistance from IIIT, says that zakat can be used among other things to help “(4) those who are struggling and striving in Allah’s Cause by teaching or fighting or in duties assigned to them by the righteous Imam, who are thus unable to earn their ordinary living.”

The AMJA issued a fatwa in August 2011 stating that zakat could be used to “support legitimate Jihad activities.”

Top Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi similarly states in his book, Fiqh of Jihad, that zakat may be spent to finance “the liberation of Muslim land from the domination of the unbelievers,” particularly against Israel and India in Kashmir.

Numerous Islamic charities have been cited or closed down in connection with terrorist financing since the September 11 attacks. Qaradawi’s actions back up his words. In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the Union of Good, a network of charities headed by Qaradawi, for Hamas fundraising. That same year a federal court jury convicted the founders of the Richardson, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF) for illegally financing Hamas.

“The government’s policy has inflicted considerable harm,” MPAC’s Salam al-Marayatiwrote in 2001 after federal authorities closed the Benevolence International Fund (BIF). “By effectively shutting down these charities, it has given Americans the false impression that American Muslims are supporting terrorists. It has also given the Muslim world a similarly false impression that America is intolerant of a religious minority.”

Representatives of MPAC, CAIR and Muslim Advocates each condemned the HLF prosecution or its subsequent verdict.

In the end, the White House’s decision to empower these groups sends a mixed message to the American people that it isn’t fully interested in rooting out the causes of jihadist terror and preventing future attacks.

#ExMuslimBecause Trend Stands Up To Extremists

1317by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
December 18, 2015

Is this the real Arab Spring?
Shortly after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Maryam Namazie, director of the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain(CEMB), created the hashtag “#ExMuslimBecause” on Twitter. The result was a firestorm, through which tens of thousands of ex-Muslims across the world declared their apostasy, many gathering courage from the brave and often poignant words of others.

But just as quickly as their courage spread, the words of these former Muslims were soundly condemned by many others who remain within the faith.  Tweeted someone calling himself @hammamovic, whose avatar shows a clean-shaven young man in a black T-shirt, “I’m Muslim, I’m not a terrorist, but you, the #exmuslims who left Islam, must be killed. You make Terrorism.”

His words speak directly to the impetus behind Namazie’s movement, and behind the founding of the CEMB, which, according to its website, was formed “in order to break the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam.”  That taboo is as powerful as it is perverse: For Muslims, leaving the faith is punishable by death.

Yet apparently, that risk of death is one many are prepared to take in order to continue with life on their own terms. And the number of such courageous ex-Muslims seems to be more than anyone anticipated. “By early Friday morning,” reported Ali A. Rizvi, an #exMuslim himself who wrote about the phenomenon for the Huffington Post, “#ExMuslimBecause was the UK’s top trending hashtag. We heard from secret LGBT Saudis; women who had been forced into marriages; closeted atheists in Egypt and Pakistan tweeting under pseudonyms young women disowned by their families in the US; and more.”

Among them were “@Yas” from Canada, who wrote: “#ExMuslimBecause my own mother told me I should be killed because I didn’t believe the same things she did”; “@SamSedaei, who tweeted: “#ExMuslimBecause I was told I was a Muslim. But then I learned that religion is not a gene and being born to believers doesn’t make you one”; and Rizvi himself, who posted, “#ExMuslimBecause No REAL God should need protection from bloggers and no REAL prophet should need protection from cartoons.” Other notable posts include @LibMuslim’s “#ExMuslimBecause misogyny, homophobia, stoning ppl to death and killing apostates don’t suddenly become ‘respectable’ when put in a holy book” and Heina Dababhoy‘s “#ExMuslimBecause I got tired of suppressing my compassion twds LGBT+ people in the name of a deity claiming to be most compassionate.” For her part, Maryam Namazie, who has been busy adding to the conversation, also observed, “#ExMuslimBecause my being unveiled is NOT the cause of earthquakes or other calamities.”

But many Western Muslims who share their views have refused to take part, insisting that one can be Muslim and still support liberal ideals. “I do think that a lot of the questions that are coming out of the #ExMuslimBecause are issues that Muslims need to take on – such as gender equality and gay rights,” says Ayesha Akhtar, a Bangladeshi-American artist and activist living in New York.  The phenomenon is “complicated,” she says, but adds, “I think that this hashtag and all the tweets, posts, stories that come out of it deserve a round of applause, especially from Muslims, who want religious freedom to dress and live according to their faith – because the right to religious freedom must correspond with the right to be free from any religious affiliation. In a truly liberal, tolerant society, one cannot be one without the other.”

Ibn Warraq, a particularly outspoken Muslim apostate and the author of Why I Am Not A Muslim, agrees, though he is skeptical that one can remain Muslim and still hold such secular, humanist viewpoints. The hashtag, he says, “will help those who think along similar lines. It will give them moral support, reassure them that they are not completely depraved, mad, or evil. They are not alone.”

In other words, while it may seem like a mere Twitter trend, it’s a trend that potentially has very real political punch. True, 25 years after the Salman Rushdie affair, Warraq observed via e-mail, “it is still impossible to avow one’s atheism in public. All the atheists in the Islamic world keep their atheism online. But I think that is beginning to change.”

This is of greater importance in the Muslim world than in the West where, for people like Akhtar, it is possible to consider oneself a practicing Muslim while maintaining Western ideas.  That ability, in fact, is allowing many Western Muslims to start trying to change the narrative – one that, until now, has largely been led by conservative Islamic organizations such as the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and by Muslim fundamentalists. Earlier this month, M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, established the Muslim Reform Movement in concert with 13 other practicing Muslims, including activist Asra Nomani and Farahnaz Ispahani, a former member of the Pakistani Parliament. The group published a nine-point “declaration,” confirming their shared belief in free speech, freedom of religion, equal rights and condemning violent jihad.

But such secular, contemporary viewpoints – let alone outright apostasy – would be impossible in an Islamic country, notes Warraq, who is also the founder of the Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society (an organization that ironically bears the acronym ISIS). While it works in the West, ultimately, he says, “There is no Islam a la carte.”

Yet even for Muslims in the West, there are risks. Some are excommunicated from their families. Others are attacked by Muslims in their communities, either physically, verbally, or emotionally. When Namazie spoke at Goldsmiths, University of London on Nov. 30 at the invitation of its Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society, for instance, the school’s Islamic Society (ISOC) repeatedly disrupted. Making matters worse, Goldsmiths’ LGBT and feminist societies  defended the Islamic Society’s actions.

Never mind that the ISOC supports the wearing of burqas and other garments that many claim oppress women. Never mind that Namazie, a woman, was bullied by (mostly male) Muslims in the audience. Never mind that the Islamic Society itself has invited speakers who defend jihadists, including Zara Faris, who frequently refers to events like 9/11 as “So-called ‘Muslim’ terrorist attacks.'” Never mind its support for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel. Never mind that the Society accused Namazie of depriving its members their right to free speech in their efforts to protest against her, but failed to see an assault on free speech in their own efforts to silence her.

Ironically, it is exactly Namazie’s movement, says Warraq, that puts the lie to the concept of “Islamophobia” in the first place. “The unwritten subtext of such a charge is, of course, that the person so accused is ignorant, racist, and bigoted,” he wrote in an e-mail. “But the existence of millions of Middle Easterners, and South Asians, who are now atheists refutes the claim that all those critical of Islam must be racists. Islam, in any case, is not a race. Second, the young Egyptians, Saudis, Iraqis and others who have firmly rejected Islam, have had experience of Islam from the inside; many of them have studied Islam to a very advanced level, and hence cannot be guilty of ignorance. And yes, they did read the Koran in the original Arabic.  They know the social consequences of imposing Islam on the general populace: lack of freedom, those freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and which we in the West take so much for granted. The charge of Islamophobia is an effective way of curtailing all rational discussions of Islam.”

Goldsmiths notwithstanding, the response to #ExMuslimBecause suggests that Warraq may be right. If so, this would be an important step in the fight against Islamic extremism, because only if we can talk about the subject openly and frankly, debating the issue from all angles with the freedom that Western, enlightened culture holds as its core value, can we ever defeat those who would take that freedom from us.

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.

Glazov Gang: Choudary, Spencer and Jasser Battle It Out On “Jihad in Chattanooga.”

free-672x372By Jamie Glazov July 31, 2015:

This special episode of The Glazov Gang was joined by Anjem Choudary, a London Imam, Robert Spencer, the Director of, and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, the Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

The three guests came on the show to discuss “Jihad in Chattanooga.”

Don’t miss the fireworks:

The Lure of Fantasy Islam

CPAC – Conservative Political Action Conference discovers Islamic terrorism

J.D. Gordon speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

J.D. Gordon speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Religious Freedom Coalition, March 6th, 2015, by Andrew Harrod, PhD.

“Radical Islamic terrorism” is the “new existential threat” to free societies after Communism’s Cold War demise, declared political commentator Deroy Murdock on February 28 at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).  Murdock’s panel “America’s Security in the Age of Jihad” on CPAC’s center stage demonstrated that vitally important Islamic aggression and authoritarianism were finally receiving CPAC’s attention after past neglect and uninvited analysts.

The preceding noon panel “The Middle East:  The 30 Years War” packed a standing-room only crowd of about 80 into a conference room near the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center ballroom where Murdock spoke.  Among others in attendance was the ubiquitous Muslim grandstanding gadfly Saba Ahmed, whose participation drew afterwards obscene comments from individual audience members.  Moderating the panel, defense consultant Van Hipp critiqued its title by describing a “war that’s been going on for hundreds and hundreds of years” and involving issues that “need to be on the main stage,” as indicated by the large audience.  Hipp’s statement that “radical Islam is really the challenge of our time” foreshadowed Murdock, but Hipp criticized policymaker reticence in naming this threat as equivalent to “refusing to call Nazi fascism Nazi fascism” during World War II.

Making his CPAC debut, Middle East analyst Walid Phares discussed the “very specific ideology” of “jihadism,” something that is “not yoga,” although jihad in Islam can have nonviolent meanings.  He was “very firm” in claiming that jihadists seeking Islamic political rule with various means including violence were a minority among Muslims.  He cited the 33 million Egyptians whose June 30, 2013, protests helped bring down the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) government of Mohammed Morsi.  In his estimation a truly liberating Arab Spring “could have been possible” if President Barack Obama’s administration had supported “all sorts of peaceful people” in Arabian civil society.  Since Obama’s June 4, 2009, speech in Cairo, however, he has taken the “wrong side” in the MB.

Phares’ Powerpoint “Catastrophes in the Middle East” indicated jihadism’s growing global dangers.  He mocked how some American policymakers were “on a different planet.”  They believed in things like the nuclear nonproliferation agreement with Iran, “nothing but a maneuver” for nuclear weapons development “to gain time.”  Chastising Obama’s flawed historical understanding, Phares noted that the “Crusaders were in a confrontation with another empire,” not “Boy Scouts.”  Looking beyond the Middle East, he worried about Nigeria’s Boko Haram, the “ISIS of Africa,” and how Afghanistan unaided by foreign troops is “not going to be left to Social Democrats.”

Similarly debuting at CPAC, former CIA agent and international security analyst Clare Lopez agreed with Hipp that warfare with and among Muslims “goes a little farther back” than the panel title suggested.  She described modern jihadist behavior being “almost directly taken from the life of Muhammad,” Islam’s prophet and the “first jihadi.”  “Jihad rises again now,” she added, “because the West has fallen back” under an Obama who entered office with an “agenda already formed” for the United States “to be more on the level of Greece.”

Under this agenda, diminished American influence would concede the North Africa region to Sunni Muslims under MB influence and the Persian Gulf area to Shiite-majority Iran.  This strategy entailed abandoning dictators like Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi and Egypt’s Hosni Muburak.  They were “never going to be a choirboy” but had aided the West against Al Qaeda (AQ) and in keeping peace with Israel.  American acquiescence in Iran’s rise, meanwhile, could involve in the future nuclear weapons that are “not just for Israel,” but could strike the United States as well on Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Lopez focused on Iran’s Islamic Republic.  Since its 1979 creation, this “jihadist state” has sought “export of the revolution” as expressed by Quran 8:60 in the Iranian constitution’s preamble.  Among other things, nuclear weapons acquisition would help Iran “seize the leadership of the global jihad” from Islam’s Sunni majority. Yet Shiite Iran has also cooperated with Sunni groups like AQ, with which Iran and its Lebanese Shiite proxy militia Hezbollah have had a relationship involving training and logistics since a “jihadi jamboree” in 1990s Sudan.

Likewise, Iran currently aids its Shiite allies fighting against the Sunni Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  ISIS’ top target, Lopez however notes, are the Sunni “hypocrites” who rule Saudi Arabia.  The eastern provinces of this Iranian archrival are oil-rich and Shiite-populated, making them a tantalizing prize for an Iran that would be a secondary beneficiary to any ISIS attack on the Saudi kingdom.

Joining Murdock at CPAC’s central venue, former Department of Defense spokesman and career navy officer J.D. Gordon echoed Lopez.  The “radical Islamist threat is a two-headed” among both Sunnis and Shiites, he observed, but “Iran long term is the greatest threat.”  Gordon meanwhile noted a “de facto alliance” between the “international left and the Islamists” in areas such as an “anti-colonial movement” condemning Israel.  Such dangers were “not about jobs” he mocked while criticizing an Obama administration that had more to say about climate change than jihad in its Quadrennial Defense Reviews.

Army officer veteran and political analyst Pete Hegseth also dismissed such socioeconomic root cause analysis of Islamic violence.  “The age of jihad,” he analyzed, presents the “Nazism or Communism of our time” in a “particular interpretation of the Quran.”  “The only way to defeat an enemy like this is to put many, many, many of them into the ground.”  Yet Obama’s Iraq withdrawal showed that he “was more interested in ending wars than in ending them properly.”

Former army intelligence officer and military analyst Anthony Schaffer, also in his first CPAC appearance, emphasized “déjà vu all over again” feelings in discussing Islamic threats.  In his own career he had helped protect American troops in Germany during the Cold War against Libyan plots.  “Fighting Islamic jihadists,” he noted, “goes back to Jefferson” as the “shores of Tripoli” in the Marine Corps hymn recalls.  Obama’s current “refusal to define the Islamic threat” is dangerous and his “high school debate team in charge of national security” shows official “criminal neglect.”

Navy veteran and Muslim political activist Zuhdi Jasser also stressed clear definitions for freedom’s “battle…within Islam.”  “You have to name it to tame it” and describe explicitly political Islam or Islamism, political correctness notwithstanding.  Not just ISIS, but Islamic states plural and the “neo-caliphate” of the 57-member state (including “Palestine”) Organization of Islamic States form a multifaceted Islamist “continuum” in an “evil empire today.”  “We can only win this if we empower reform-minded Muslims” willing “to die for liberty,” yet Obama had supported an “Islamic mafia” of “Islamists ideologues” both domestically and abroad.  In contrast to voluminous Cold War government Communism studies, today’s government Islamist scholars can be counted “on one hand” and fear losing their jobs.

The presence of Jasser and other panelists at the center of CPAC indicated that Islamic issues will in the future receive the attention it deserves at America’s premier conservative gathering.  Conservatives, who pride themselves as national security experts, will not be AWOL concerning these various ongoing, increasingly important faith-based threats to freedom.  This welcome development could not come sooner, for a long, hard road leads to Murdock’s laudable goal for Islamism:  “Let’s throw it next to Communism on the ash-heap of history.”


While the “The Middle East: The 30 Years War” panel video has not been made available, (I wonder why?) here is the “America’s Security in the Age of Jihad” video:

President Obama: Jihadists Have No Legitimate Grievances

obama31CSP, by Fred Fleitz, February 20, 2015:

Did President Obama really say at the “countering violent extremism summit” yesterday and in his recent LA Times op-ed that jihadist terrorist groups are winning recruits by exploiting economic, political and historic grievances that are “sometimes accurate.”

Yes he did.

This incredible claim begs two questions.  What kind of legitimate grievances could possibly justify beheadings and burning people to death?  And what type of people are being motivated to join Jihadist groups because of such atrocities?

Mr. Obama’s statement reflects his continuing refusal to acknowledge that the global jihad movement is motivated by a unifying ideology: radical Islam and its doctrine of imposing shariah worldwide through violence.

It also is impossible to square President Obama’s claim that al-Qaeda and ISIS are attracting recruits for political and economic reasons with the fact that thousands from Western countries are buying plane tickets to fly to Turkey to join ISIS.  And let’s not forget that al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was not poor; he was the son of a Saudi billionaire.

Moreover, the president’s claims that ISIS and al-Qaeda jihadists are perverting or exploiting Islam are at odds with radical Islam’s long historical legacy and its basis in the Koran.

The president also is ignoring growing radicalism in mainstream Islamist theology.  Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, who heads the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, confirmed this last week at the Center for Security Policy’s Defeat Jihad Summit when he said that to combat ISIS and al-Qaeda, the United States must avoid aligning with Islamist organizations which may currently be non-violent but sympathize or endorse violent jihadist groups.

Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney said at the Defeat Jihad Summit that these groups are waging a “pre-violent’ campaign to advance a jihadist agenda in the West which the Muslim Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad.”  Click HERE to read a Center for Security Policy analysis of this issue, “Civilization Jihad: the Muslim Brotherhood’s Potent Weapon.”

Jasser also took issue with “countering violent extremism,” the term President Obama uses to describe America’s efforts to oppose al-Qaeda, ISIS and other radical groups.  Jasser said “Stop the nonsense of ‘CVE’.  We’re not countering violent extremism.  I can’t help you as a reform-minded Muslim with my book The Battle for the Soul of Islam if you say this is a battle for the soul of violent extremism.  That’s nonsense.”

In short, President Obama is dead wrong.  Jihadist terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS are recruiting followers by promoting the anti-Western, anti-modern ideology of radical Islam.  They are recruiting people who hate modern society, Western civilization and the United States.  These disgruntled and disturbed individuals are not going to be dissuaded by a new U.S. jobs program for youth in Muslim countries or President Obama making excuses for their decision to join terrorist groups that are the face of evil in the modern world.

French Premier Manuel Valls had it right when he said after the Paris shootings by French jihadists last month, “It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity.”

This is what President Obama needs to say about the threat posed by the global jihad movement.  Until the president stops denying this threat, he is signaling American weakness and lack of resolve which will allow this threat to continue to spread and grow.