Note: This article originally appeared March 24 in the Desert Sun.
Earlier this month, I spoke before the World Affairs Council of the Desert on the threat of radical Islam to the West.
My remarks focused on radical Islamic groups, which, posing as "civil rights" groups, try to suppress free speech and intimidate critics by calling them "Islamophobes" and, in some cases, actually threatening and killing such critics. I detailed the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent organization of terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and Hamas.
I described a secret infrastructure of Muslim Brotherhood groups in the United States who promote their radical agenda through a network of front groups that falsely claimed to be "moderate." The bottom line: Radical Islamic groups committed a grand deception by anointing themselves "civil rights" groups or "charities" when, in fact, they were secret political, financial or military fronts for terrorists.
An Islamic group's response
The response published March 18 in The Desert Sun by Hussam Ayloush of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) illustrates this deceit perfectly. Mr. Ayloush fails to mention that his group, CAIR, was created by Hamas supporters in 1994 following a secret meeting in Philadelphia that the FBI wiretapped. Exhibits in the Hamas fundraising trial of the Holy Land Foundation showed that CAIR's founders were part of the secret Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure that sought, in the MB's own words, to carry out a "civilization-jihadist process" and to implement a "grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within …"
Nor does Mr. Ayloush mention that the FBI labeled CAIR a "front" group for Hamas or that CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in that case. It ended last year with convictions on 108 counts tied to Hamas support. Disturbing evidence linking CAIR to Hamas prompted the FBI to cut off relations with CAIR.
Radical or moderate?
In my talk, I quoted radical Islamist leaders like Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood ideological leader, who said that "Islam will conquer the United States" and "reconquer Europe." Mr. Qaradawi has issued fatwas (religious decrees) calling for the killing of Jews and Americans. Yet CAIR repeatedly champions him as a leading "moderate" Islamic cleric.
That speaks volumes about CAIR's definition of "moderate."
Similarly, Mr. Ayloush and CAIR came to the defense of Sheik Wagdy Ghoneim, a radical Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader. During a CAIR co-sponsored rally at Brooklyn College in May 1998, Ghoneim led the audience in a song with the lyrics, "No to the Jews, descendants of the apes." He had made other speeches calling for violent jihad. Immigration violations prompted his arrest in November 2004. He was held without bond based on government "concerns that his past speeches and participation in fundraising activities could be supportive of terrorist organizations."
Mr. Ayloush argued Ghoneim was a victim of racial profiling: "(T)he whole Muslim community today is under a microscope of scrutiny. Committing a mistake that would invite a slap on the wrist for anyone else could lead to prison or deportation for a Muslim." More importantly, CAIR has condemned virtually every Islamic terrorist indictment and conviction in the last seven years as "racist" or as "political" inquisitions. And it refuses to label Hamas and Hizbollah as terrorists. At times, CAIR officials have justified the use of suicide bombings.
Hatemongering vs. extremism
Groups like CAIR deny the very existence of radical Islam and blame the problem on "hatemongers." I am sorry to tell Mr. Ayloush that the primary factor causing an image problem for Islam today is the existence of rampant Islamic terrorism and extremism. CAIR says that the term "Islamic terrorist" is racist and that terrorism has no religion. I wish it he could have convinced the 19 Muslim hijackers on Sept. 11 or the four U.K. Muslims who bombed a London subway in July 2005 or any of those responsible for more than 50,000 attacks carried in the name of Islam. All of these were Islamic terrorists motivated by their particular belief in Islam.
In characteristic projection, Mr. Ayloush accuses me of reciting Nazi-like rhetoric, while CAIR has repeatedly invited a neo-Nazi to be keynote speakers at CAIR conferences. CAIR invited neo-Nazi William Baker to be a major speaker at CAIR events. Baker was chairman of the "Populist Party" — founded by neo-Nazi Willis Carto in 1984, and organized its national convention that year. Carto, a founder of the American Nazi party, also started the Southern California-based Institute for Historical Review, a group whose central purpose was to deny the Holocaust before it was put out of business.
Finally, what does Ayloush say about Islam compared to other religions? At a fundraiser in Anaheim last July, Ayloush praised "Islam…. the true religion, the religion of Islam, so it may prevail over all ideologies, all man-made religions."
I want to thank Mr. Ayloush for writing his response. He proved the correctness of what I said on March 8.
Steven Emerson is the executive director of Investigative Project on Terrorism. He can be reached through his Web site at www.InvestigativeProject.org
To see the original Desert Sun article, click here.