The hysterics over Thursday’s hearings on Islamic radicalization by the House Homeland Security Committee has reached epic proportions. Islamic groups have likened the hearings to a new era of McCarthyism; James Zogby of the Arab American Institute wrote in an editorial in a Pakistani newspaper that the hearings were going to result in increased radicalization and that Islamophobia was a bigger threat than al-Qaeda; and at a rally against the hearings in New York City this past weekend Elaine Brower of the Movement for a Democratic Society claimed that Muslims would be murdered as a result of these hearings.
They have even gone as far as attacking one Muslim leader who has agreed to appear, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, an authentic moderate and American patriot who was given the full Media Slanders treatment last week.
So what has the self-appointed representatives of the Muslim community so up in arms? Are Muslims really in danger from Congress asking questions about widespread radicalization inside the Muslim community? Or are these histrionics a continued attempt to silence the growing majority of Americans who are seeing the glaring discrepancies between the rhetoric of the leading Islamic organizations and the reality of a growing homegrown terror threat? Evidence seems clear that it’s the latter.
This feigned outrage exposes their hypocrisy. Where were the cries of Islamophobia from these same groups last March when a House Intelligence subcommittee held similar hearings on radicalization? There were none, because the House Democrats who then controlled the committee ensured that extremists and the useful idiots endorsed by Muslim Brotherhood front groups were allowed to speak. In fact, one of the speakers, Omar Alomari, community engagement officer from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, was fired two months after the hearing for lying about his prior employment with a foreign government during his background investigation.
This time around, looking at the witness list for this week’s hearings, all of the speakers save one (the father of the Little Rock killer, Carlos Bledsoe) have already testified before Congress (two, Keith Ellison and Frank Wolf, are members of Congress). So what is really going on? I suggest there are at least five reasons why Islamic groups and their leftist allies are opposed to the hearings this week.
1) These hearings challenge the Muslim Brotherhood’s political monopoly
Since the 1993 World Trade Center bombings a select group of Muslim organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), have enjoyed a monopoly on political access to Congress and the White House.
But in recent years, legal actions by the FBI and federal prosecutors have revealed the extent that these organizations are controlled by the international Muslim Brotherhood and have an agenda to wage a “civilizational jihad” intending to “destroy Western civilization from within.” An FBI agent even testified during the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial that CAIR is a front for the terrorist group Hamas. As a result of that evidence, the FBI severed ties with CAIR, but they still continue to work with MPAC, ISNA, and other terrorist front groups.
In response to these disclosures, members of Congress have begun to notice and ask questions about the government’s continued association with these Muslim groups and leaders, which poses a direct threat to their political power.
2) Their narrative is at war with reality
CAIR, MPAC, and the other usual suspects repeatedly claim a rise in hate crimes against Muslims, pointing to an increase atmosphere of “Islamophobia.” They blame congressional hearings, opposition to the Ground Zero mosque, counterterrorism training for law enforcement, or Glenn Beck (whatever their particular boogeyman is that day). But data from the FBI show that hate crimes directed at Muslims have been on a sharp decline since 9/11 and are extremely rare — a painfully inconvenient truth.
But you wouldn’t gather that by statements made by Islamic leaders, who repeatedly claim that the U.S. is engaged in a “war against Islam.” And where did they pick up that handy little talking point? Osama bin Laden.
3) Their agenda is increasingly in visible conflict with American values
The offended Islamic groups increasingly ask for special protections and preferences from the government and the public generally that strike at the heart the First Amendment’s protections against establishing religion. Many of these groups have followed their Wahhabi patrons in calling for thecriminalization of “defamation of religion,” namely Islam, and seek to undermine the First Amendment right to free speech. Additionally, violent practices justified by Islamic law, such as wife-beating (Surah 4:34), have been cited in criminal cases to excuse such behavior. In one recent New Jersey case, a judge accepted one Muslim man’s explanation that a sexual assault on his wife was justified under Islamic law because she was required to submit (that verdict was overturned on appeal).
The result has been legislative efforts in a number of states to prohibit the use of Islamic law in American courts to exclude violent behavior, such as the anti-shariah state constitutional amendment last November in Oklahoma, which was approved by 70 percent of voters in that election. At least a dozen more states are considering such legislation.
4) Their faux “de-radicalization” efforts are increasingly irrelevant
As we saw in the terror cases of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali and the Pakistan 5 (among many others), it isn’t the marginal figures in the Muslim community that have decided to engage in terrorist acts, but the best and the brightest. Abu Ali, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his role in an al-Qaeda plot to assassinate President Bush, was the valedictorian of his Islamic high school and a youth leader in his local mosque. Minneapolis resident Shirwa Ahmed, who became the first known American toconduct a suicide bombing, came from an upper middle class family and had attended college. If these individuals have proven impervious to “de-radicalization” efforts of these Islamic groups, why should we continue to listen to them at all?
One disturbing element has been the use of known extremists by the government as “de-radicalization experts.” Two examples I’ve already reported on. Yasir “Hoax of the Holocaust” Qadhi, who admitted to being on the terror watch list, was called upon by the National Counterterrorism Center to speak at one of their conferences on the topic of “de-radicalization.” Qadhi didn’t do so well, since would-be underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attended several two-week programs sponsored by Qadhi’s organization, AlMaghrib Institute. Another “expert” regularly called upon by government agencies is Mohamed Elibiary, who, among other things, spoke at a Dec. 2004 conference honoring Ayatollah Khomeini, has publicly praised terrorist leaders, and threatened a reporter for the Dallas Morning Newswho exposed his extremism.
Which brings me to my final point.
5) These Islamic groups ARE the radicalization problem
It has long been obvious that the Islamic groups and leaders screaming the loudest about the upcoming congressional hearings are not part of the solution of Islamic radicalization, but part of the problem.
Just last week here at Pajamas Media I reported on one of the largest mosques in America, Dar al-Hijrah in the Washington, D.C., area, which has been a virtual terrorist factory. Another prominent Islamic group, the Muslim Students Association (MSA), has been cited in a NYPD radicalization report as a “radicalization incubator,” and in an article published last August I recounted nearly a dozen and a half MSA leaders (not members, but elected leaders of the group) who have been convicted or are currently facing trial on terror charges.
One of the witnesses testifying this week in the radicalization hearings is Rep. Keith Ellison, the first ever Muslim elected to Congress. But his colleagues on the House Homeland Security Committee might want to ask why he allowed the Muslim American Society, which has been cited in court documents by the Department of Justice as “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America,” to fund his hajj trip to Saudi Arabia in 2008. MAS has frequently been criticized for indoctrinating its members in violent jihadist ideology. At least one MAS member, their former national spokesman Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer, took that ideology seriously and trained in terror camps in Pakistan before 9/11. He is currently serving a20-year federal prison sentence as part of a jihadist network that intended to launch attacks against American troops.
In conclusion, the most charitable explanation is that these Islamic groups have a pathetic record on combating Islamic radicalism. But the evidence overwhelmingly leads to the conclusion that the Islamic groups so vocally opposed to the congressional hearings are the source of the radicalization problem, not its solution. While their rhetoric claims that they are opposing a “new McCarthyism,” an “anti-Islamic witch hunt,” and/or “a rising tide of Islamophobia,” their opposition is really driven by self-preservation in the face of leading members of Congress and an American public that are no longer willing to buy their excuses and justifications for Islamic extremism.
Patrick Poole is a regular contributor to Pajamas Media, and an anti-terrorism consultant to law enforcement and the military.