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After the Mosque: Jihad on the Home Front
Posted By Frontpagemag.com On December 7, 2010 @ 12:43 am In FrontPage | 18 Comments
Editor’s note: Below is a distinguished panel discussing the Jihad in the United States at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend held recently (Nov 18-21) at Palm Beach.
Moderator: I’m Frank Gaffney. I run the Center for Security Policy. And this is — thank you. This is actually the high point of my year, getting to be here at Restoration Weekend, as I’m sure it is for most of you. Partly because of the caliber of the people up here and partly because of the caliber of the people out there, and the opportunity to interact and actually, literally, to restore each other, it is just so important. And I appreciate beyond words those of you who are making that possible.
I’m going to say a few words about the topic and then introduce our presenters. And then we’re going to move quickly, I hope, through their remarks, so that we have at least a little bit of time for Q&A. My other protest is there isn’t nearly enough time for Q&A to do justice, especially when we’ve got four panelists. But there’s a lot to cover. So let’s get on with it.
I want to introduce a book that has just been published. It’ll be on sale tonight. I commend it to you strongly. It is entitled “Sharia — The Threat to America.” It is the product of a group that we sponsored at the Center for Security Policy. We’ve called it the Team B2, a reference to an earlier exercise in competitive analysis, as it was called, brought to us by the first Team B.
It was a second opinion that was solicited from a group of people who were very skeptical about the idea of dealing with a totalitarian ideology expressly determined to destroy us for what was then known as detente. Other terms that have been used to describe the process is “appeasement,” “engagement.” But détente was the topic of the day.
And this second opinion proved to be vastly more accurate and importantly was taken up by Ronald Reagan and used as an authoritative basis for challenging then President Jerry Ford in 1976; subsequently Jimmy Carter in 1980, and then, of course, taking on and defeating the Soviet Union in the days that followed.
This study, I hope, by Team B2 will be at least as useful, as influential, as decisive, as was the first. Because once again, we face a totalitarian ideology that is committed to our destruction. Once again, we have a government that thinks the right way to deal with it is through — well, they don’t call it détente, but they do call it engagement. I would call it appeasement, or submission.
And what we’re going to talk about today is the dangers associated with, first of all, not understanding that we are confronting such a foe; not being cognizant that in addition to the violent kind of jihad, they are at least as assiduous and as adept as the waging of terrorism, through what Robert Spencer, our first speaker, has called the “stealth jihad.”
And what we’ve talked about at length in this book, and what I hope we’ll at least touch on here, is the successes that particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, doing business in this country under the names of dozens of other organizations — like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR; the Islamic Society of North America, ISNA; the North American Islamic Trust, NAIT; the Muslim Students Association, MSA; the Muslim American Society — well, you get the idea.
In other words, actually, we know from a Muslim Brotherhood strategic plan — which is helpfully reproduced in its entirety as an appendix in this book — that every single Muslim American organization of any prominence at all in this country today is a Muslim Brotherhood front. And it has in common with the other fronts the mission that is described in this document — to destroy Western civilization from within, by its own miserable hand — that of the [brothers]. That, in short, is what we’re up against. And the longer we persist in thinking it’s not, the longer we indulge in the idea that somehow we can mitigate whatever risk there is by simply giving them what they want, the greater our peril becomes.
We’re going to have several folks, who’ve thought and written and been active on these topics for some time, address them and develop them, I hope briefly, in the minutes to follow.
We’re going to start with Robert Spencer. You have bios for all these people, at least short ones. So I’m not going to repeat them, except to say — Robert is a national treasure. His Jihad Watch is an indispensable resource for monitoring the sorts of things that we’re talking about today and that I know you’re all concerned about. His latest book — I think it’s the latest book, “Stealth Jihad” — not the latest book, I can’t keep up. One of his latest books, “Stealth Jihad,” is really an extraordinary prism through which to view all this, and I commend it to you.
We’ll then hear from S.E. Cupp, who will be talking a bit about the experience of a New Yorker in connection with all of this. S.E. is a columnist with the New York Daily News. She’s also the author of “Losing Our Religion.” And we’ll get a sense from her as to what it means when we fail to understand the nature and threat of jihad and act against it.
Mark Thiessen will come next. He is well known to all of you, I think, from his service to our country on Capitol Hill and in various executive branch functions including as a speechwriter for George W. Bush. He is the author of “Courting Disaster,” a tremendously insightful assessment of how we got to where we are today, specifically with respect to the inadequacies of the way we’ve been doing intelligence and interrogations of some of these terrorists, especially under the Obama Administration.
And finally, Karen Lugo — who is the Orange County Chapter president of the highly esteemed Federalist Society and a professor at Chapman College, Chapman University School of Law — will be sort of the cleanup batter, talking a bit about how we wage war against these guys with the greatest effect.
So with that, we will open the floor up to Robert Spencer.
Part 2 of video: Click Here.
Robert Spencer: Thank you very much. I appreciate the over-generous introduction, and especially actually the mention of the book “Stealth Jihad.” Because when I wrote “Stealth Jihad” in 2008 — two books since then, if you’re in the market — but anyway, “Stealth Jihad” is subtitled, “How Radical Islam is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs.” And it’s about what Frank was just outlining here briefly — that there is a concerted effort by Muslim Brotherhood front organizations in the United States to bring elements of Islamic law into the United States — Sharia — into the United States; and to enforce the principle that where Islamic law and American law conflict, it’s American law that has to give way — and that, in other words, we face a cultural, societal, political, civilizational challenge that is much larger than just the threat — that is also of course very real — that something could blow up in another major terror attack.
When I wrote the book, there was very little, if any, awareness of this issue at all, and of this aspect of the jihad problem in general. John McCain and Barack Obama were fighting a Presidential campaign, and they both spoke — actually, very seldom at all — but sometimes they would speak about terrorism, and the threat of another terror attack in the US. But they never spoke — and neither did any other politician anywhere — about the stealth jihad, about the Sharia imperative in the United States.
Now, two years later, all that has completely changed. And the title of this panel is “After the Mosque — the Jihad in the US.” I assume that that means the Ground Zero mosque. And if it doesn’t, it does now. Because the Ground Zero mosque is the single issue that has brought into the public awareness the stealth jihad in the US.
And what we had in that was — look, in a certain sense, we lost the battle. The mosque is going to be built. There’s no legal hurdle to it, there’s no politician against it. All of the media, all of the New York political elites — they’re all for it. There’s nothing stopping it.
Now, of course, nobody knows the future. It’s not built yet. It’s not over till it’s over. But right now, there’s nothing in the way. However, in winning that victory, as always, the Islamic supremacist groups in the United States — the ones that Frank named and many others that are allied with them — suffered a defeat. They always overreach. And every time they win, they lose.
And so, let me explain to you for a moment how it is that they lost. Now, all over the country, people are waking up and protesting mosques. Sometimes they’re doing it in ways that are wrongheaded. And actually, my colleague in protesting the Ground Zero mosque, Pamela Geller, and I developed a guide for fighting against mosque initiatives. And I think that that’s something that we are going to be working on also in the future to try to focus some of these protests. Because a lot of them are off the track. But just the fact that they exist is a positive sign.
The Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was presented, the Ground Zero mosque imam, as a great moderate and as a leader of an initiative that was designed to sew goodwill and harmony after 9/11, and to reverse, in his own words, what happened on 9/11. And yet, the more we found out about him, it came out — one after the other — more and more revelations that he was pro-Sharia, that he had openly agitated for Sharia.
He openly agitated for Sharia in his book. He called for restrictions on the freedom of speech. He refused to denounce Hamas as a terrorist group. He has ties to a foundation that funded Osama bin Laden. He has ties to a group that was responsible for the jihad flotilla against Israel that was sent from Turkey. And so all these things came out.
Also, his fanatical and absolutely adamantine immovability about this issue was in itself revealing — that he was all about harmony and reconciliation, building bridges, peace and understanding; and yet, Donald Trump came and offered him something like twice the market value for the building — he wouldn’t move. The Russian — the leader of the Russian Chess Federation came and offered him some exorbitant amount for the building — he wouldn’t move.
He was appealed to by the Archbishop of New York and by other leading authorities in the area to move, out of harmony and goodwill and building bridges and understanding, and everything he was supposed to be about, and he wouldn’t.
And in that was revealed the stealth jihad agenda — that it is intransigent, uncompromising. It is always pushing for concessions on our part and never willing to give a thing on their part, while adopting a pose of let’s build bridges and have cooperation and interfaith harmony and understanding, but we’re the only ones that always have to be on the giving side. And now people are becoming aware of that.
And so, all these things are working to the good. If that mosque goes up, it will be a monument to the victory that the jihadis achieved on 9/11, and people are aware of that. And if that mosque goes up, it will be a monument to how even the moderate Muslims won’t budge an inch to have any kind of cooperation or real harmony with non-Muslims in American society. But they are, as I said at the beginning, pushing the agenda that Islamic law always trumps American law, and that the Americans are always the ones who have to give way.
And so we have these mosques now, and these protests, all around the country. And there was one in Tennessee. And you know, their hearts are in the right place, and I don’t mean to criticize them. But when they said that Islam is not a religion and challenged the building of the mosque on that basis, it was a strategy to fight the stealth jihad that is understandable. And certainly they’re correct in a sense — Islam is a religion, but it is more than a religion; it is a political and social system, and an intransigent and supremacist one that must dominate and not be dominated, and must always have a superior position in any society. Every society that has brought Muslims in has brought Sharia in. Sharia comes with Muslims. They’re not separable.
And so, these things being the case, I understand where they were coming from, but we have to fight smarter. And now that awareness is being raised, we need to hit on what Frank was adumbrating earlier — that all these groups are Muslim Brotherhood groups. And probably, the local mosque going up is being built by a group that has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, is a Muslim Brotherhood front.
And so the first thing is to go after that and say, You are bringing in an organization that is dedicated, in its own words, to eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house. And you’re bringing it into your neighborhood.
And you know, we did that at the Staten Island mosque initiative. Pamela Geller and I went to a hearing of the people who were building the mosque. And the Muslim American Society was there. The Muslim American Society is the leading Muslim Brotherhood group in the US.
And so, I got up and asked a question — you know, you’re Muslim Brotherhood. That’s the Muslim American Society, that’s amply documented. So are you interested in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within? And do you think that Hamas and Hezbollah are doing wonderful work, like the Imam Mahdi Bray said, when he spoke in 2000? And he’s the leader of the Muslim American Society. And then the guy gave this windy non-answer that thoroughly exposed the thing. And I’m not saying that we singlehandedly brought down the initiative, but it woke people up. And there is no mosque going up on that place in Staten Island.
So I will stop there, Frank. It’s 10 minutes exactly. Every victory that they have won is a defeat. The awareness of the stealth jihad is greater than ever. And if we continue now to fight in a smart and careful strategic way, we can defeat them and roll this back.
Thanks very much.
Moderator: You get a sense of the intractability of Robert Spencer’s opposition from this little exchange. We were tracking actually pretty closely. Thank you so much, Robert. And now S.E. Cupp.
S.E. Cupp: Hi. Thanks for having me. I’m honored to be on this panel. I will confess, I have to jet right after this. And you won’t believe me if I tell you why. But the reason is tomorrow is opening day for deer hunting in New York, and I cannot miss it. My 12 gauge would be really sad. But no, I’m thrilled to be here, wish I could stay longer.
I want to talk about being a New Yorker. And not just today, but for 10 years, which means you can do the math. I was there on 9/11, and we all — all New Yorkers have their stories to tell. And I won’t go into mine. It’s personal and, you know, still very emotional. It’s an emotional experience. New Yorkers don’t need reminding every year to never forget. Because we don’t. And frankly, I live blocks from Ground Zero. I’m reminded every single day, when I walk by that site.
And it’s still a very raw experience. And I don’t think you have to be a New Yorker to appreciate how intense and tragic and monumental that experience was. I don’t think that I feel it any more than you people do. But there is a personal relationship with that spot in New York that we have to experience every day.
And when I wrote about the mosque going up, I was arguing against a media that framed the debate incorrectly, totally inaccurately. For the media, the debate was about rights. And actually, no one I know that was talking about the mosque had any issue with the right of someone to put it there. That was rote. That was understood. The debate actually was about sensitivity and good common sense, which is a debate no one in the media really ever wants to have. Because that would require discussing morality, which is — what is that? The media has no clue. So there’s no way to talk about morals.
But it’s weird to me — and this is what I wrote about — that this is such a new phenomenon. Because if you remember after Columbine, for example, there was a big to-do over the NRA coming to Littleton, I think just 10 days after Columbine, to hold their annual conference, convention. And a lot of people were, I think, rightfully upset by that. They said it’s too soon, it’s too close. You had people on the left, people in the media, and the families, saying, Please don’t do this now. Not here, not right now.
And the NRA held their convention anyway, but it was scaled down. That was an issue of common sense and sensitivity. If we could have that debate then, I’m not sure why we can’t have this debate now. Why can’t we talk about — and I’m an NRA card-carrying member. But I think that the families were right to make that request, to make that plea. It wasn’t on the grounds of you don’t have the right to do it. They did, and they did it. It was about common sense and sensitivity.
And I think the mosque issue is very much the same. It’s an issue of common sense and sensitivity. And as a New Yorker who lives just blocks from there, I can tell you that I think it’s insensitive. I know that’s not a glamorous kind of debate to have — sensitivity, morality — not very sexy, I know. But I don’t know why we can’t have it.
Getting back to the media — if you recall, right after the Ford Hood massacre, the media framed that debate inaccurately as well. I remember, I was going on one of the news shows that day, that night. And I was in the green room with some leftish pundits, who said, “Now, let’s not rush to conclusions here. He might have just been a disgruntled employee.” Right, that’s why he went in shouting “Allahu Akbar!” Because he was just a disgruntled employee.
You heard the same kind of rationalization from Mike Bloomberg after the Times Square bombing. He said, “Well, he could just be some guy who’s angry about healthcare.” Right. Like he’s a Tea Partier. Right.
The debates are framed badly not just by the Left, not just by the Obama Administration, not just by Eric Holder. Thanks for the Galani ruling, by the way. Awesome. Two hundred eighty-four acquittals. Great.
But it’s framed badly by the media. So I went on, you know, the news that night talking about Fort Hood. And I said, “I don’t think we have to dance around this at all. Take your kid gloves off, and let’s have the actual conversation.” If we can’t name the enemy or talk about who the enemy is, in a very grownup way without our gloves on, then this is only going to get worse. And it’s actually going to get dangerous.
I mean, when our Secretary of Homeland Security won’t even say the word “Islamic extremism,” and it’s stripped out of our security documents, that’s a huge problem. And it’s a problem that the media is exacerbating. And they’re doing it in this mosque issue, they did it after Fort Hood, they do it after every sort of terrorist incident. They go overtime, work overtime, to frame this any way but the way that it actually is.
And it’s a double standard that if you — you know, if you’re Christian you recognize immediately. Because the media has absolutely zero problems going after Christians and Christian extremists. You know, fanatical, right-wing fundamentalists. No problems.
So it’s a debate that needs to be reframed. And I think there are a lot of well-meaning people on the right and a lot of well-meaning people in the media who are working hard on reframing this debate. But we have to call a spade a spade. We have to use our language correctly, and hold people accountable. And every time someone calls a terrorist attack a manmade disaster, you know, we have to hold them accountable. And we have to do it, you know, strongly and with a lot of fight behind it. Because they’re — frankly, they’re winning.
Lastly, I am not as sanguine as Robert is about this mosque going up. I think, actually, there’s a number of lawsuits that I’m aware of that are sort of just waiting to be filed. And I think if we can keep this debate going, and we can call a spade a spade, then I think we have a chance of defeating it down there. I really do.
And we have to keep fighting. I know it’s not the main topic in the news right now. But we have to make it a constant topic. It’s going to be up to all of us.
Anyway, thanks for having me. And you know, happy hunting, if you guys are going.
Moderator: Mark Thiessen.
Mark Thiessen: Thank you. Thank you very much.
To understand the danger we face from the jihad in the heartland, I think you have to look back to the period right after September 11th. So I want to take you back there for a moment.
I want to start by asking a question — how many remember where you were on September 11, 2001? Everyone. I want you to think back to that time. I want you to think back to the shock we all felt that the terrorists had penetrated our defenses and wreaked such destruction in our midst. And all of us were wondering back then, who were these people? What were they planning next?
If I had told you then that we would go almost a decade without getting hit again, on September 12th, 2001, how many of you would’ve believed me? Yeah. The truth is we all thought that 9/11 was the first of many.
I was in the Pentagon on 9/11. And one of the things I remember was that the alarms in the building never went off. We all just felt the shock of the attack. And the walls shuddered, and the smoke filled the hallways, and we all walked out on our own and looked back at the broken and burning building. But the alarms did go off, repeatedly, after 9/11, when we had false reports coming in of planes that were headed our way. And each time, we would go outside onto the River Terrace and look back up at the sky, waiting for the next attack. And it never came. Why is that?
There are only two possibilities — either the terrorists lost interest in hitting us, or we uncovered their plans and stopped them from doing it again. And I think you know the answer.
In those early days after 9/11, unbeknownst to us, there were two terrorist networks that were planning to attack — follow-on attacks — the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed network that had planned the 9/11 attacks, and the Hambali network, which was a network of Southeast Asian terrorists that KSM had recruited to fly an airplane into the Library Tower in Los Angeles, because he thought we’d be profiling for Arab men. He was wrong.
And they in fact had a series of plots planned. They were going to repeat the destruction of 9/11 in Europe, flying airplanes into downtown London. They had sent an operative to the United States who was captured on our soil, who was going to blow up high-rise apartments in a major American city — the city’s location is still classified.
They were going to replicate the East Africa Embassy bombings, blowing up our consulate and western residences in Karachi. They were going to blow our marine camp in Djibouti in an attack that could’ve been reminiscent of the 1983 marine barracks bombings in Beirut.
There was an al-Qaeda cell that was out there developing anthrax — three individuals that we didn’t know about that were developing anthrax for attacks in the United States. And there was the plot that I mentioned to carry out the second wave by blowing up the tallest building on the West Coast.
We did not know any of this. Any of it.
It was only after, in 2002, when we started capturing and interrogating senior al-Qaeda terrorists that we started uncovering their plans. We captured Abu Zubaydah. Then he led us to Ramzi Binalshibh, then he led us to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. And eventually, using the information that we got from these people, we dismantled both of those networks, wrapped up almost every one of the individuals who was involved, and then stopped those attacks from happening.
Now, why is this important now, when we’re talking about jihad from the heartland? Fast-forward now to 2009. Barack Obama comes into office and eliminates the CIA interrogation program. He goes to the CIA a few days afterwards and says to them, I know that we’re going to have to fight this war on terror with one hand tied behind our back, but that’s okay. That is a stunning admission from the President of the United States.
So we’re fighting this war with one hand tied behind our back, and we are not getting the information we need to uncover the plots that these — it’s been a generation since — it’s been a decade since Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his cohorts were captured and brought into custody. What are we missing?
Just as we were blind after 9/11, we are increasingly blind to the threats that are posed to our country. We — the fact is that since the generation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a new generation of al-Qaeda leaders has risen up and is planning attacks on this country. And they are led substantially by American citizens. There are three terror networks right now that are threatening us — the al-Qaeda Central, the al-Qaeda in Yemen, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al-Qaeda in East Africa — all of them led largely by American citizens.
Consider what happened in the last couple of years. 2009, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula emerges. We don’t know about it. We don’t know, by the Obama Administration’s own admission, that this terror network had developed the intent or capability of striking us in the homeland. Yet they almost blew up a plane over Detroit less than 11 months ago.
The spiritual leader of this network, a man who inspired this attack and also the Fort Hood attacks, is an American citizen — Anwar al-Awlaki. In fact, they’ve penetrated our defenses twice now. Just a few weeks ago in Yemen, they got package bombs onto a plane.
What are we doing about it? Well, President Obama has at least ordered Predators to Yemen, we just learned recently in the press, to take out these leaders, including the American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, which — the ACLU is filing a lawsuit saying that’s illegal.
But those drones have not been used. Why not? Well, according to the Washington Post, “The United States has deployed Predator drones to hunt for al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen for the first time in years but has not fired missiles from the unmanned aircraft because it lacks solid intelligence on the insurgents’ whereabouts, US officials said.”
So almost a year after al-Qaeda almost blew up a plane in our midst, [and] weeks after they said they put package bombs onto a plane in Yemen that, according to the British intelligence, was supposed to be exploded over the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, we don’t know where al-Awlaki is, where his training camps are, where the terrorists are hiding and what they’re planning. That’s just one al-Qaeda network that threatens us.
We also face an emerging threat from East Africa. The Somali-based terror network Al-Shabaab, a couple of years ago, merged with al-Qaeda. Their leaders pledge loyalty to Osama bin Laden and pledge to carry out suicide bombings in martyrdom attacks across the world.
Al-Shabaab’s military commander is an American citizen, Omar Hammami, who grew up in Alabama. And you look him up YouTube, you can see his videos, pledging fealty to Osama bin Laden and pledging to carry out attacks on the American homeland.
Where do they have their sites? Here. Al-Shabaab is recruiting Americans. Earlier this year, a 20-year-old Northern Virginia man, Zachary Adam Chesser, was convicted of attempting to travel to Somalia to become a foreign fighter for Al-Shabaab. They have in fact recruited more than 20 American citizens of Somali descent — and he’s not Somali; he’s a Jewish kid from Oakton, Virginia — to be suicide bombers. You don’t need an American passport to conduct terrorist attacks in Africa. They’re looking at us here at home. You’d think the Obama Administration would want to learn more about these guys.
Earlier this year, Washington Post reported on the front page that we had located the leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa, a fellow named Saleh Ali Nabhan, who was a senior leader of al-Qaeda and also Al-Shabaab and had organized the merger. Great opportunity to capture a terrorist and find out why they’ve recruited 20 Americans to come here and kill us, right?
So the military goes to Barack Obama and says, You have three options. You can kill him with a Predator drone. We know where he is. We can kill him with a Predator drone, we can send a helicopter team of Special Operations forces to capture him alive and bring him in, or we can send those same people to kill him and repel down and get the DNA. And Obama said kill him. And they got the DNA. He did it with the helicopters. We could’ve captured him but chose not to.
Think of the intelligence that was lost with that decision. If Al-Shabaab hits the United States of America, you can trace it back to that decision not to get the leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa and interrogate him for the information he could’ve had.
Al-Qaeda Central — the people who brought down the towers and almost knocked down the building where I worked. They have one of the most capable external operations commanders since Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a fellow named Adnan el-Shukrijumah.
He was — in 2002, when they were interrogating CIA officials — I mean, when they were interrogating al-Qaeda leaders, they asked them who would be the next KSM. And all of them said Adnan Shukrijumah. They had a global manhunt for him; he wasn’t captured. He’s smart, he’s capable, and he has now emerged as the new KSM. He’s an American citizen who lived in this country for 15 years and is intimately familiar with how to get in and out of this country, and how we live and how we work.
I mean, think about that. The man who occupies the position that KSM held when he launched the 9/11 attacks is an American citizen. And we know nothing about what they’re doing.
So in closing, let me just say this. The 10th anniversary of September 11th, 2001 is approaching. We don’t know what they have planned, and we have no insight. Because we’re not capturing and interrogating senior terrorist leaders anymore.
But we can guess — think back to what they planned for the fifth anniversary of September 11th, 2001 — a plot to blow up seven planes leaving from London’s Heathrow Airport for New York, Washington, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto and San Francisco. Fifteen hundred people aboard. If they had blown up then over the Atlantic, 1,500 dead. If they had blown up over the Eastern Seaboard or over the cities, could’ve been tens of thousands killed if they had hit American cities.
And they almost carried that out. According to our intelligence community, they were weeks away from carrying out that attack. That was only four years ago. Four years. We have an American-led al-Qaeda threat to this country. And we don’t have the insight to know what they’re planning.
These should be wakeup calls. Christmas Day — wakeup call. Times Square — wakeup call. Yemen package bomb threat — wakeup call. Have we woken up? We’re in grave danger.
Moderator: And now Karen Lugo.
Karen Lugo: First, I would love to say that it is a thrill to be participating with this very distinguished panel. We do miss Andrew McCarthy, who is otherwise engaged — something to do with NRO and a boat. But I do highly commend to you his column of yesterday about the Galani verdict. It’s up on New York Times Legal Blog.
Also, Mark Thiessen’s book, “Courting Disaster” — now that the UN is digging around, messing around with the idea of prosecution and torture, again, dredging up all of that — the only way to understand this and really engage in the public debate is to read Mark Thiessen’s book.
Also, as far as the Federalist Society, there was mention made that I’m Orange County chapter president. I would normally be in Washington, D.C. right now because it is the time of our annual convention. But I wanted you to know that last night, the keynote address was given by Justice Scalia. And the tickets sold out over a week ago. And that means that there are thousands and thousands of very great attorneys and judges involved in studying the same kinds of issues that we are all weekend, at the same time we’re here.
I am here to say that there should, at the very least, be a Molly Norris day. But the fact that we have all — thank you. Some do remember her. The fact that we have all but forgotten her shows she is now indeed a ghost.
An American cartoonist who inspired many thousands around the world to participate in an “Everybody Draw Mohammed” day has lost her identity, her job and her friends. The FBI would not stand up for her and told her to run and go ghost. Her colleagues in the media did not give a second thought to standing up for her, and the American people seemed not to even notice. Yet, in the final analysis, we lost more than she did. Life as she knew it is over. But the freedoms as we have known them were dealt a body blow that day.
Although we have clear warnings of Europe to heed, we are blowing by every single one of the same signposts that Europe failed to recognize And each seemingly insignificant and incremental concession represents a hard-won milestone to the Muslims. Now that most Western European countries have Muslim populations nearing 10 percent — and the people show very little moral courage to resist, while politicians are captive to the financial aid and organizational clout that this demographic represents — it will take many more Geert Wilders to turn the tide.
Americans vow that we will not go down the same path of Islamic accommodation and appeasement because we claim that foundational speech rights that run in our DNA and in the parts of our hearts that beat for personal liberty, we will find the way to make a critical difference. With Muslims representing less than one percent of our population, it would seem that we still have a chance. Then why are we failing every opportunity to push back against Sharia creeping into our schools, our courts, our government and our communities?
In fact, I have a little note here, and it says, “Just ask Margaret.” I won’t embarrass her. In fact, she might even be in the other room. But as I was walking in today, I heard somebody say, “I lived in Dearborn.” And I immediately turned and said, “Why did you leave Dearborn?” But understanding that’s what happened in Dearborn, and how it happened — and as she said, “We woke up one morning, and they were there.”
Well, now Dearborn, as she was telling me and confirming what I’ve read, there are calls, multiple calls to prayer broadcast from the mosques. But one telling little thing that would really rile a lot of us women — you walk into the JCPenney store, and the “push” and “pull” signs are printed now in Arabic. So, welcome to Dearborn.
So there are three reasons why I think we are not even scoring yet in this war against Islamism. One, we don’t have a clear objective. What is our goal? I have a 5,000-person Facebook fan group, and we launch a lot of these interesting discussions. To open this thread on Facebook, basically, I get a bottom-line response of “we need to ban Islam.”
In patiently explaining that we cannot and should not ban Islam, I have been called names, many names. And I have been de-friended and un-friended and whatever it is in that parlance you get done when you’ve really angered people. These people steamroll right past Supreme Court prohibitions against assessing the validity of one’s beliefs and our own religious exercise provisions that protect even misguided and antisocial belief.
What we must do is stake out a space for Muslim worship that is shaped by the rights enjoyed by all religions in the United States. But, that said, we must then draw a very, very hard line against Sharia in our communities. And we must monitor, which we are not doing, the advance and the spread of this agenda.
This is always seen in little demands and concessions that are not afforded to any other group. And they don’t seem like a big deal when giving them to Muslims. This is the first flashing sign that a Sharia agenda is rolling out. And yet, we are ineffectively railing at Islam in general and doing nothing concrete to stop the incremental advance of Sharia. We will know that we have reached the ability to fight a winning war against Islam when the importance of resisting Sharia is commonly understood as vital to our communities and is a popular cause.
I just brought [Guy Miliere], who’s a professor of the philosophy of law in Paris, France, over for a speaking tour. One thing he said as he opened every presentation was, “Words matter.” And they’re changing what words mean and changing the way the discussion is had.
I don’t know if you watched Fox News this morning — they had Salvatore Giunta — the recent recipient of the Medal of Honor. In being interviewed, he said, “And there we were, against the coalition enemies.” Wasn’t it Taliban? I mean, this is where we’re not even paying attention to the way that the debate has been reshaped.
So — I’m going to move very quickly — we are suited up against a general war against Islam, but we are not armed to fight the tactical battles in our own back yards. We don’t know how to fight, considering the enemy’s willingness to use our decency and liberal civil liberties against us.
I’m going to go real quickly through a list here of just basically California issues that are being presented in our own communities. And people are trying to fight them but not looking at the effective ways to do this. There should be no preferential treatment for Muslims. In most city — or, sorry, state constitutions, there is a provision for religious freedom and free worship. But it says “no preferential treatment” in most states. It is usually a harder — it’s a more strict enforcement, gives us better language to enforce this, than the federal court interpretations or Constitution.
So for example, we have a mosque that’s preventing asking for higher minarets than the Baptist church in the town. Everybody’s getting up to a microphone, they’re flooding the hearings with hundreds of people that are all angry, they all want time at the mic. They don’t understand, yes, city council can say only three minutes. City council can ask for a certain number of speakers, those speakers need to be organized, focused; and they need to be talking about the things that can be done. The symbolic idea of having minarets that are higher than the church steeple in a town — look at Europe — this is a very significant thing to the Muslim community.
So these are the battles we can win. But instead, the newspaper reports come out and make it sound like a bunch of fringe, angry, crazy people showed up, and nothing was accomplished.
Another — there are permits that limit density and impact. We need to be monitoring for compliance. I just won a legal battle with a legal team. And thank goodness, [we’re] pro bono. And a small public interest group, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, came in and helped. We won against City of San Diego. Millions of dollars of litigation effort went into it.
But in the middle of our investigation of this area, in getting a permit for a Christian church, we realized there’s a mosque that is meeting there and not permitted. And we bring it up to the city, and the city — one, does not want to know; and two, did not care to know. Didn’t do anything about the fact a mosque was meeting once a week, putting up temporary signs, meeting. And so this is the kind of thing going on right under our noses. And nobody was saying anything within that community.
Using public park — there’s a mosque that has an agreement in Southern California with the city to use a public park for overflow parking. Can you imagine a Christian church getting the same accommodation, or a synagogue? Not going to happen. This is something we should be calling the city on, and so far it’s not being done. Working on that now.
Praying on city sidewalks or city streets — if that’s not allowed for Christians and not allowed for anyone else, it is not allowed for Muslims. And ask the French — my friends are the ones going in there undercover, filming the streets. There are three new English videos up on YouTube this week where the Muslims in the Barbès district of France — or Paris are now taking additional streets. So once it starts — and that is what is so important about what Robert said — once it starts, it is so difficult to push back. We have to stop it before it starts.
Textbooks, school instruction — I’ve been very involved. Thank goodness for Dan Pipes’ organization, [Ere Ibrahim], who’s helping us with the historical data to begin to correct the textbooks. They’ve been at it 30 years; we’re just starting. It is a tough battle. But Texas, at least — and by only one vote, as I understand — Texas did win. So, much to do there.
I also — when it comes to public instruction — I was speaking a couple of weeks ago in Orange County, California. A mom said, “My daughter just came home tonight, was asked to memorize the seven pillars of Islam and do this role practice thing.” She went to the other parents in that classroom, and not one other parent would come with her to object. Of the group that was there that night, 12 people then — you know, in the larger community — went back to the school with her next day. But this is the kind of thing we must enforce — beginning to — one, pay attention; and two, show up and speak out.
Employment — Disneyland — you probably read the two lawsuits. But Disneyland caved. I mean, they said, Okay, not so important about our corporate culture if she’s in the back room and she’s dealing with vacation planning. But it is very important to Disney’s corporate culture. Because if we can’t defend Disney’s corporate culture, who can we defend? So again, there was a lot that could’ve been done there with public expression of outrage over Disneyland giving in on that one.
Defending speech — and I don’t even know where to start with this one. It is something that — all around us, we are seeing restrictions on speech. And we know, with what happened to Pastor Jones, that he wound up losing. He had insurance canceled, his mortgage accelerated. He was presented a bill for public protection from the police.
So major issues with people who have spoken out, and we have let them stand alone. And yes, in his case, it was about sensitivity. And maybe it’s something that shouldn’t have been said. But again, those of us who work in law and First Amendment issues — it is the speech that it most offensive that needs to be protected. Because when that starts to go, it is a matter of everything else. There is no way to draw the line.
With anti-Sharia resolutions and statutes, we can do much to begin to define what is Islam, what is religion, and what is political, sociological and, as Robert Spencer described, totalitarian. So we need to begin. And while we can’t put the full force of law behind a resolution — but city councils can begin to say, We will monitor this for foreign funding, for Saudi funding. You know, if this mosque is built, we want it built with local funds. And we also are going to monitor this for Sharia as far as any encroachments on or asking for any other benefits or special privileges.
And trust me — when you do appear before these city councils, you will be educating them on the Constitution. As people are beginning to be more aware of what is in the Constitution — even at the point of losing the case in San Diego, one of the planning board members turned to the press and said, Well, we were right all along. The court just didn’t get it.
So when it comes to even constitutional issues, these city council members are so used to having the power and not being challenged, and certainly not being challenged in a credible way. So it is very important for us to have our facts to know the law.
Finally, and number three — and I think this is important — and this may be challenging for some of you — I do think that we need to link arms with the reform. And I’m not saying moderate, and I’m not saying any other kind of Muslim other than the reform Zuhdi Jasser type Muslims.
I don’t know if you’re aware, but Zuhdi Jasser’s organization has now developed a Capitol Hill group that is fighting CAIR. There are only five of them. And Sue Myrick is helping to support this. He’s also on the university campuses, and he is trying to alert students to the fact that the MSA is not the only Muslim organization that can speak for them. He wants to support our Constitution and our founding principles.
And so if Muslims are ready to stand up — and I don’t think it’s deception when they are taking the fatwas and the threats. And so for people like that to get threats from those of us that are really trying to protect America from Sharia and from the Islamists in their own camp, it is so difficult for them.
So I think we should be watching for these people. And when we can form an alliance, I think we should be doing that.
Moderator: Well, I’ve been brutal about the time in the hopes of leaving a little bit for question-and-answer. I think you’ve heard a remarkable set of presentations about — starting with the stealth jihad, finishing with the stealth jihad, what we can do about it; as well as elements of the implications of the violent kind, and what we should be doing about that as well.
So with that, let’s open the floor. If you have questions, there are mics here. Please — gentleman right here on the end is easy to get to.
Q: As you said, that free speech is in America’s DNA. Is there a chance that we can reform Islam in America and make it still Islam, but freer, and just allow them to worship their way and not mess with anyone else? Is that possible?
Robert Spencer: Well, I think only Muslims can reform Islam. But we can require that Muslims obey American law in the United States. And there are precedents for actually outlawing tenets of religions when they were considered to be against the national interest. The most obvious example is the outlawing of polygamy, which was part of the Mormon Church, part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
And so, I don’t think that it is in the least out of the question or in contradiction with the First Amendment to say there are certain elements of Islam that Muslims in the United States are going to have to discard and are going to be outlawed in order to protect our freedoms and constitutional principles.
And particularly, the elements of Sharia that deny the freedom of speech — and, you know, the Imam Rauf is against the freedom of speech, and he’s a moderate, you know — deny the freedom of conscience, deny equality of rights to women — those things Muslims ought to be — we ought to be on record saying you can’t bring that here.
Moderator [Frank Gaffney]: Yeah. Can I just add that this is — I think one of the things that didn’t get mentioned in any of the remarks is that we have had a resolution, imperfect though it may have been, nonetheless endorsed by about 700,000 Oklahomans, saying they wanted their constitution amended to preclude the use of Sharia in their court systems.
Two other states did not get as much attention, but both in their state legislatures — and Adam Hasner, who addressed us last night, was instrumental in helping get this done — similar language that makes exactly the point that Robert has made. And that is that laws introduced from elsewhere that fundamentally contravene the Constitution of the United States and the laws promulgated under it is sedition. It’s not simply the practice of one’s faith in a way that is protected by the Constitution; it actually has to be prosecuted under the Constitution.
So this is an issue, and I would just add that to the list of items that Karen very helpfully mentioned we can be doing. There are some 15 other states that we know of now that are interested in enacting similar kind of legislation. There’s also been some interest expressed on Capitol Hill at doing it [at] the federal level. So watch the space, and put your shoulder to the wheel.
Karen, did you want to say something, quickly?
Karen Lugo: Real quickly — on the anti-Sharia law, the statute that became an amendment in Oklahoma — unfortunately will not likely withstand a legal challenge, although there are problems with the legal challenge as it is. But I think, Frank, you were involved with drafting a much better — and what would likely be, and hopefully in the future — these other attempts to establish the fact that Sharia counsels’ courts cannot be turned to.
Also, as far as the moderate Muslim — a test for these reform-minded Muslims — in fact, Zuhdi Jasser has also come out against the Ground Zero mosque — it may be that at some point we part ways with them. But at the point that they are sincere and ready to take the public stands, I do not know how they reconcile the issues with Islam. And Zuhdi Jasser claims that he’s contextualized a lot of this to, you know, another time. And whether that’s true or not, you know, I figure it’s none of my business. If they’re really willing to get out there and fight, I’m saying let’s make America a safe place for those Muslims that truly understand the difference between worship and a political totalitarian imposition of their laws on us.
Moderator: We have time, I’m told, for one more question. I apologize. I wish we had more time.
Q: This is for Mark Thiessen. In your opinion, why did our President give the order to kill, rather than capture, a jihadist? In your opinion?
Mark Thiessen: The question was why, in my opinion, did President Obama give the order to kill rather than capture the leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa?
I can give you the generous version and the less generous version. Let me start with generous. Generous version is that he believes in Predator strikes and thinks that we should be killing these people, and he doesn’t believe in the interrogation program. I’m trying.
The reality is — and I encourage everybody to go to the Washington Post story from earlier this year about this. It was the front page of the Washington Post. And it quoted military officials. The military actually advised to capture him rather than take him, and Obama overruled the military.
The reason is, according to the officials in that story, we don’t have anywhere to take them. Because Guantanamo is not taking any new inmates and because the CIA black sites have all been shut down. So we literally have nowhere to take somebody who’s been captured outside of Iraq and Afghanistan for interrogation. And two, we don’t have any techniques that we could use because he put them all out in the public domain. He has eliminated the CIA interrogation program, he’s revealed all the secrets of how we got KSM and these other people to speak.
And the truth is, right now, we have to follow the Army Field Manual for interrogating a terrorist. The Army Field Manual is the highest level of custodial interrogation policy there is in the world. That’s what we give for privileged POWs who follow the laws of war.
The Palm Beach Police Department has more aggressive techniques they can use against somebody who’s captured in a murder case in this city than we can against a captured terrorist. You cannot, for example — a district attorney here in Palm Beach could take a murder suspect and say, If you don’t give me the information I need to get your collaborators, I’m going to put a needle in your arm. I’m going to seek the death penalty. You can’t say that to a terrorist because it’s threatening. It’s against the Army Field Manual.
That’s what we’ve come to, and that’s why we’re in danger.
Frank Gaffney: Let me just conclude with one quick thought. What you have just heard — most especially in this anecdote from Mark, but really in much of the conduct that’s been described by the other panelists as well — I’m sorry to say, is perceived by the enemy as submission, the literal meaning of the word “Islam.” And under their doctrine of Sharia, when a foe that is about to be vanquished indicates submissive behavior, they must make them feel subdued. That means, they must go violent. They must use the terror.
So let me leave you with this thought — the so-called moderates, in “moderate” — moderates of the Muslim Brotherhood have now been enjoined by their supreme guide, just in the past month or so — the senior figure in their movement worldwide, out of Egypt — that it is time to go to war with the United States.
Now, if they act on it, the problem that Mark talked about, about Americans working for al-Qaeda, will pale into insignificance. Because the numbers of Muslim Brotherhood operatives who are not only American citizens but are here is in the thousands.
So we’re here today to ask you to take this message seriously, to take it to heart and to act upon it. We must, in all the ways that have been described here, keep America Sharia-free. We all have a role to play in doing it.
Thank you very much.
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