Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor and New York Times bestselling author who put the Blind Sheik behind bars in the first World Trade Center bombing. He is the author of Willful Blindness and, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.
FP: Hi Andy, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.
You are carefully following the controversy over Huma Abedin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, and her ties to Islamic supremacism. Give us an update on your findings. Walid Shoebat has discovered something quit startling lately, yes?
McCarthy: Thanks, Jamie, it’s a pleasure to be back.
You’re right, Walid Shoebat – who has done essential research in this area – did indeed come up with an eye-opening discovery. He has detailed it here, and I wrote about it here. It is an Arabic document that outlines the Saudi government’s efforts to propagate the Kingdom’s fundamentalist version of Islam and sharia (Islam’s legal system and framework for society). The document is called The Efforts of the Servant of the Two Holy Places, King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, to Support the Muslim Minorities. Walid has described it as a “manifesto.”
It bears on the present controversy because Huma Abedin served for a dozen years as the assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, publication of which was the main business of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs. Both the institute and the journal were founded by Abdullah Omar Naseef, a wealthy and influential Saudi academic who became a financier of the al Qaeda terror network as well as the secretary-general of Muslim World League – one of the most significant joint ventures of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi government in terms of spreading Islamic supremacist ideology. Naseef recruited Huma Abedin’s parents to run the journal when it started in the late seventies, and it has been an Abedin family venture since that time, with Naseef remaining closely involved.
FP: Why “Muslim Minority Affairs”?
McCarthy: Well, that’s really the salience of Walid’s latest find. From the Saudi and Brotherhood perspective, “Muslim Minority Affairs” is not merely a title for an institute or a journal. It is a strategy and a jurisprudence of building the global Islamist movement by integrating into the West, resisting assimilation, establishing enclaves of Islamic supremacism, and pressuring host governments both to accommodate what become growing Muslim demands and to indulge the rule of sharia in these enclaves – which sets a precedent that facilitates the gradual incorporation of sharia elements in the law and culture of the host country.
This design, of course, has to be considered in context with what else we know about the Muslim Brotherhood. It has been brazen about its intention to “conquer America” and “conquer Europe” by dawa – the aggressive form of proselytism that pressures non-Muslim societies to adopt sharia incrementally. And in the Brotherhood’s private communications, as I explain in The Grand Jihad, it has described its work in America as a “grand jihad” or a “civilization jihad” to “eliminate and destroy Western civilization from within” by “sabotage.”
As I outlined in a speech at the National Press Club about two weeks ago, the overarching Saudi/Brotherhood design, coupled with Naseef’s key involvement and the substance of what one reads in the journal (a subject on which Andrew Bostom has done important work), underscores that the direct link between Ms. Abedin and Naseef is very troubling. Indeed, the intimate connection of the Abedin family with Naseef, their ties to such other Brotherhood luminaries as Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, and the connections not only to the Brotherhood but to organizations that have been formally designated as facilitators of terrorism, powerfully demonstrates that the five conservative members of the House of Representatives were absolutely right to raise concerns about Islamist influence in our government.
FP: So one would think that a lot of people owe Michelle Bachmann an apology, including the media. Where is the apology?
McCarthy: Congresswoman Bachmann knows Washington well enough not to be holding her breath waiting for an apology. What is really stunning and demoralizing to me, though, is that only five members of Congress – five out of 535 if you count both chambers – have had the conscientiousness and courage to stand up and be counted on this. We have an obvious national security problem, and it goes way beyond Huma Abedin. We not only have several people with significant Islamist ties being consulted by our government on foreign and domestic policy, including counterterrorism policy. We are simultaneously seeing American policy shift dramatically in a direction that favors the Muslim Brotherhood, an avowed, incorrigible enemy of America and the West. Yet, we can’t even get one percent of our elected federal representatives to raise an eyebrow? I’ll tell you what. I speak to a lot of people around the country, and a lot more than one percent of them are worried about what’s happening.
FP: Share with us a bit about Huma’s involvement with the MSA and what that signifies.
McCarthy: Yes, that’s disturbing, too. In 1997, Ms. Abedin was on the executive board of the Muslim Students Association at George Washington University in Washington – while she was an intern at the Clinton White House and while she was an assistant editor at Naseef’s journal. The Muslim Students Association is the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s infrastructure – an infrastructure that the Brotherhood has quite intentionally constructed for the purpose of executing the “Muslim Minority Affairs” strategy of giving like-minded Muslims the space and fortitude to resist assimilation and demand accommodation. As I explained in The Grand Jihad, this strategy is also aptly described as “voluntary apartheid,” and one of its most influential proponents is Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s chief sharia jurist.
The Brotherhood started the MSA in the early sixties and there are now hundreds of chapters at colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada. Of course, thousands of students have been involved in these organizations. Many of them join for innocuous social reasons – to make friends with people of similar cultural background, etc. You have to be careful about over-generalizing: not everyone who is or ever has been part of a MSA chapter harbors sympathies for the Brotherhood and its ideology. Indeed, some MSA chapters – especially the ones that are not formally connected to the national organization (I should perhaps say the “continental” organization, since Canada is included) – reflect the debates about reform that are extraordinarily important and very much a part of Islam in the West.
Nevertheless, it is simply a fact that, as a whole, the MSA is a bastion of the Brotherhood’s brand of Islamic supremacism and that, as night follows day, the MSA has an alarming track record of its alumni going on not only to Islamist activism but even to violent jihad. Patrick Poole’s account here is a real eye-opener. And he makes the important point that many of the MSA members who’ve gotten involved in jihadism had leadership positions in their chapters. That is, the more immersed a young Muslim becomes in this Brotherhood enterprise, the more likely it is that he or she will become a committed agent in terms of aggressively spreading Islamist ideology.
The GWU chapter in which Ms. Abedin served on the executive board has a history worth noting here. Its chaplain in 2001 was Anwar al-Awlaki, the now notorious al Qaeda figure who was, back then, ministering to some of the 9/11 hijackers.
Futhermore, at Walid Shoebat’s website, Ben Barrack has pointed out that Mohamed Omeish was also a chaplain at GWU’s MSA chapter. He headed the International Islamic Relief Organization, which has been tied to the funding of al Qaeda. Omeish’s brother, Esam, headed the Muslim American Society, which is the Muslim Brotherhood’s quasi-official branch in the United States. (The Brotherhood has many affiliated organizations in which members participate, but the MAS was actually formed to be the Brotherhood’s formal presence here – although many Brothers have been ambivalent about whether a formal presence was needed or desirable.)
The Omeish brothers were closely associated with Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was once regarded as Washington’s model Muslim moderate by many of the same bipartisan Beltway elites who’ve taken shots at Michele Bachmann and her four conservative colleagues. Of course, Alamoudi is now serving a lengthy jail sentence, and we’ve learned that he was a major financial backer of al Qaeda and Hamas. As Paul Sperry has recounted at Frontpage, it was Esam Omeish who brought Awlaki in to be the imam at the Dar al-Hijra mosque in Virginia (I’ve written about that mosque, in The Grand Jihad and in this column). Awlaki and Mohammed Omeish overlapped for a time as chaplains and advisers to the MSA chapter at GWU. And as Ben Barrack points out, citing this Fox News report, Secretary of State Clinton – with Ms. Abedin as one of her top advisers – somehow managed to invite Esam Omeish to participate in a conference call the State Department organized for the purpose of discussing relations between our government and the Muslim community. By then, as I recount in The Grand Jihad, Esam Omeish was a fairly notorious figure in Washington: He had had to resign from a Virginia immigration panel to which he’d been appointed by the state’s Democratic governor, Tim Kaine, because videos surfaced in which he had praised the Palestinians for resorting to “the jihad way” so that “Palestine” could be “liberated.”
On that score, it is worth noting that Esam Omeish, like many Islamists of the Brotherhood stripe, is also a hard Left political activist – again, see Paul Sperry’s article on Omeish, which begins with him speaking at a Cindy Sheehan antiwar rally. The alliance between Islamists and Leftists is one of the major themes of my aforementioned book, The Grand Jihad.
FP: Share with us what you know and think about the overall Brotherhood influence on our government and our society’s willful blindness about it.
McCarthy: I think our society is becoming increasingly less willfully blind about it, which is one of its major disconnects with Washington.
As far as the federal government is concerned, it is worth remembering why we have a legal concept known as “conscious avoidance” or “willful blindness” (the latter, as you’ve been kind enough to mention, is the title of my first book, a memoir of the Blind Sheikh investigation). When people irresponsibly put their head in the sand, when they go out of their way to avoid, or at least pretend to avoid, knowledge of facts that bear critically upon their actions, the law no longer accepts their claims of ignorance – they are held accountable. If someone you have every reason to know is involved in the drug business pays you to transport a package across town to someone else you have every reason to know is involved in the drug business, you don’t get off the hook by claiming, “Well, gee, I never looked inside the package, I didn’t know there was heroin in it.” That is the stage we are at with government officials.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates are being consulted on counterterrorism policy – to the point that our federal agencies are purging their training materials of references to Islam. The Obama administration recently issued a visa to a member of formally designated terrorist organization (the Blind Sheikh’s “Islamic Group” – Gama’at al-Islamia) and hosted him for talks at the White House about the future of Egypt – something that would be felony material support to terrorism if an ordinary American citizen did it. When the administration was called on it, the Homeland Security Secretary responded that we can expect more of the same in the future. The government is aligning with Brotherhood organizations across the region – in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. The administration has formed a “counterterrorism forum” with Turkey and other Islamist countries – excluding Israel (the world’s number one terrorism target) and essentially adopting the Muslim Brotherhood’s claims that terror attacks against Israel are not really “terrorism” (they are “resistance’ against an illegitimate “occupying” power). The administration is also colluding with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in an effort to impose unconstitutional restrictions on free speech that would make it difficult, if not legally impossible, to engage in frank discussions about the obvious nexus between Islamic supremacist ideology and sharia aggression (of both the violent and non-violent varieties).
The general public is much more agitated about the trajectory we are on than Washington is, and it expects the officials responsible to be held accountable. People are becoming informed, and once you’re informed, you have no tolerance for willful blindness.
FP: Andy McCarthy, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. And thank you for your brave fight for the defense of our nation and civilization.
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