The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) is reporting that two extremist groups in the U.S., Revolution Muslim and the Islamic Thinkers Society, are becoming “increasingly operational” and are violently carrying out their faith. Today’s non-violent Islamic extremists are often tomorrow’s terrorists. Groups seeking to replace democracy with Sharia-based governance are using our freedoms to create the Islamist swamp from which terrorists emerge.
“U.S. counter terror agencies have traditionally paid little attention to those groups, presumably because they represent a safe and legal outlet for the frustrations of young, aspiring Jihadists,” the IPT explains.
Captain Dean T. Olson, author of Perfect Enemy: The Law Enforcement Manual of Islamist Terrorism told FrontPage that the activities of these groups are within the law as long as they don’t overtly help a terrorist group or lie to the authorities when questioned.
“It is not illegal in America to think about or even agitate for jihadi violence or imposition of Sharia, by peaceful means or otherwise,” Olson said.
On October 26, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh was arrested in Hawaii for trying to join the Taliban in Pakistan. Shehadeh had openly supported Al-Qaeda on his websites that were also used to promote Revolution Muslim. Several friends of the website have been arrested on terrorism-related charges. In June, one of the group’s own website writers, Zachary Chesser, was arrested after repeatedly trying to join al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia. He has pled guilty.
This is the same writer that threatened the lives of the creators of South Park after they depicted Mohammed on their animated comedy show. Revolution Muslim reacted by posting their photos and saying their lives are now in danger. The website denied calling for their murder, but the post included addresses at which Muslims could “pay them a visit” and audio from Anwar al-Awlaki preaching that those who defame Mohammed should be killed. Comedy Central reacted with appeasement and censored the episode from showing Mohammed, an act surely seen by the extremists as a vindication of their methods.
Revolution Muslim also recently praised a Muslim woman who stabbed a British parliamentarian that supported the war in Iraq, saying they hoped it would “inspire Muslims to raise the knife of jihad.” Unsurprisingly, she was a reader of their website. The writers provided a list of the British politicians who voted for the war, gave suggestions on how to locate them, and even linked to a website where knives can be bought.
The Islamic Thinkers Society is just as guilty of fomenting violence. The group’s website says that their “struggle is always [through] intellectual & political non-violent means,” but their condemnation of terrorism only applies to actions against Muslims they support. The site includes a fatwa forbidding Muslims from voting because only Allah can legislate. In 2006, the group received attention when it reacted to a bombing in Tel Aviv by holding an anti-Israel protest that included proclamations that “with our blood and with our lives we will liberate al-Aqsa [Jerusalem]” and “the real Holocaust is on its way.”
The organization has been ideologically tied to al-Muhajiroun, a group tied to Al-Qaeda that has been banned in the United Kingdom. The Islamic Thinkers Society has condemned the arrests of the terrorist group’s leaders and has helped radicalize people like Bryant Neil Vinas, an American arrested in Pakistan in 2008 after joining Al-Qaeda.
Not all domestic groups employ the bold and aggressive strategy of the Islamic Thinkers Society and Revolution Muslim. Groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas, have had vicious public disputes with these organizations over their differences in approach. The secret ruling of a judge confirming the government’s tying of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America and North American Islamic Trust to the Brotherhood shows that this is a dispute within the Islamist house and cannot be mistaken for a struggle between moderates and extremists. CAIR’s suggestion that Revolution Muslim is a false flag set up to “smear Islam” underscores their common narrative that a war on Islam is being waged.
Another group to watch is Hizb ut-Tahrir. Like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb ut-Tahrir has condemned the 9⁄11 attacks and has been ridiculed by Al-Qaeda. This does not mean that the group isn’t a “conveyor belt for terrorists,” as some experts describe them. The group held a conference with 500 to 600 people in 2009 called “The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam.” The group supports violent jihad overseas and openly calls for the imposition of Sharia law when circumstances permit, as in Indonesia. This systematic approach is only different from Revolution Muslim and the Islamic Thinkers Society in style and not in intent.
A declassified Canadian intelligence assessment warns against ignoring groups like these. The report warns that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir are working to create a “parallel society” that acts as an incubator for extremism. In the U.S., groups like As-Sabiqun and the Muslims of the Americas are working hard to create Muslim enclaves, with the latter group going so far as to offer paramilitary training for some of its members. All of these groups and all of their tactics are components of the radicalization process.
“Our failure to address the radicalization process has allowed such groups to recruit a growing number of disaffected Western Muslims. The growing universe of radicalized Muslims inevitably yields a corresponding increase in those willing to be active participants in Jihadi activities,” Captain Dean T. Olson told FrontPage.
He said that the approach of the U.S. towards these groups stands in sharp contrast to the U.K., which has passed a law that forbids “direct or indirect encouragement” of terrorism under the 2006 Terrorism Act. The Racial and Religious Hatred Act also forbids religious incitement.
“Such laws are unlikely to be passed in America, but they have led to a dramatic curtailment of such incitement in the U.K. by firebrand imams who previously endorsed terrorist acts with a strong intention to incite people to commit further atrocities,” Olson said.
The promotion of radical Islam is a stepping stone towards one’s own martyrdom for the cause. We should not be surprised when sympathizers and members of groups like Revolution Muslim and the Islamic Thinkers Society step up to the plate to carry out the commands they preach. Our freedoms cannot be allowed to be used as a weapon against us.
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