As the spotlight moves away from the Fort Hood massacre, one of America's most openly radical Islamist organizations has taken to the murderer's defense. As-Sabiqun, a Washington D.C.-based organization with branches in four other major American cities, released a flyer labeling shooter Nidal Malik Hasan as "victimized" and the "target of psychological warfare." The handout also defended convicted terrorists and suspects.
As-Sabiqun has repeatedly predicted the demise of the United States and dreams of "the Islamic State of North America no later than 2050." It has openly declared support for terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah, and even claimed it funded anti-American militants. With concerns growing over radical Islamist propaganda in the United States, As-Sabiqun is one of the leading organizations building a bridge between international Islamism and its developing American counterpart.
As-Sabiqun is headquartered in Washington D.C., but has branches in Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and Philadelphia. Its leader, Imam Abdul Alim Musa, is well-known in Islamist circles for spreading anti-American propaganda and militancy. Last weekend, Musa addressed the annual conference of the Muslim Students Association – Persian Speaking group, a Shia branch of the national Muslim Students Association primarily for Shia Muslims. There, Musa saluted the Iranian Revolution as the "greatest epic in modern, even ancient history" and urged the students to have patience as the United States collapsed:
"Well I'm telling you, it's very simple. I think you got the message now. We're in a big war brothers and sisters. This is as big as it gets for the United States. We are just like it is during the 60s and 70s. So if you're gonna be Muslim, buckle down and be a tough one because in the final analysis the U.S. is finished."
Musa was applauded following his conclusion, in which he honored the survival of the Iranian Revolution and its student supporters in the United States:
"Your survival has made you stronger and better and better in management and organization than anybody else, just by your survival. Remember, a revolutionary do [sic] not have to win any war. They only have to survive, even if you lose 90 percent of your people. You have to understand revolutionary warfare. If you lose 90 percent of your wealth and people and you still moving around and mobile, you can come back. That's the rules of revolutionary warfare – to survive. I'm trying to tell you – the war is already won. [Musa laughs.] They just have to fall over."
This is not the first time this year that Musa has preached hate and militancy to an American Muslim student organization. In a February 19th speech to the MSA at Berkeley, Musa explained how he funneled money to African jihadists with the intention of conquering the United States:
"So we have seen movements, because although we was in (UI word) in the first stage, and the next stage we were using criminal wealth to help our brothers, you know our brothers in Algeria and in Africa, they had fought the United States government, they was in exile. They knew about a revolution, but they didn't know nothing about money. Well, since I was a criminal, I knew all about making money. So all the criminal money that I made I would take it to the brothers and say – OK, you guys, buy me some weapons, you'll go back, we'll take over the United States. That was the dream that we had. You got to dream big. Ain't no sense in dreaming small, right? Live your dreams."
Musa has traveled abroad to support Islamist movements worldwide. The As-Sabiqun website indicates that Musa traveled abroad several times to Iran. During a 1996 conference in South Africa, he stated:
"And this religion Islam will dominate all other religions whether the Americans, whether the British, whether the French, whether the Russians, whether the Japanese, whether all of them get together in one solid group to fight Islam. It don't make no difference. In the final analysis, Allah (swt) said that his religion—Islam—will rise to the forefront, will be elevated to the role of leadership in this world, whether they all like it or not."
That same year, Musa called for an Islamic state in London during a conference there that featured a wide assortment of radicals, including representatives of FIS [Islamic Salvation Front], Hizbullah and Hamas.
As-Sabiqun's website describes how, "During a rally in July 1999, Imam Musa displayed a cashier's check made out to 'Hamas, Palestine,' to protest the 1996 U.S. law which declared Hamas a terrorist organization." On a February 18 2007 broadcast of Fox News, Musa stated, "I know Hamas. They are nice people. Very nice people." Musa has repeatedly cheered Hizbullah's "victory" over Israel and has saluted suicide bombers, saying:
"When they go out and strike at the heart of Zionism. They are not suicide bombers they are heroes they are she-roes, isn't that right? That's a part of our deen, that's a part of our religion, let's not become weak boned and apologetic..."
Musa has also fueled the flames of international hatred against the United States. In an appearance last month on Iran's government-controlled Press TV, Musa pitted America against Islam:
"Islamophobia to us right now, coming out of 9-1-1 (9/11), is something that the [American] government and the Israelis did in the U.S. to justify a global attack on Islam … the perception management now by the media, gives the media and gives the military justification to invade our countries, to stop us in airports, to exclude us from society."
The extremism expressed by As-Sabiqun and Musa might easily be passed off as the bizarre ranting of a radical cleric and his hateful organization. However, as the Fort Hood massacre, the FBI shooting of Luqman Abdullah and other recent investigations show, fiery rhetoric can lead to violent plotting. The lesson of Fort Hood is not to ignore open self-radicalization, but to heed those who openly preach our destruction from within.