The ABC's of Radical Islam
by Steven Emerson
February 27, 2008
On its website Tuesday, ABC News posted a story titled, "Common Misunderstandings About Muslims," which did its level best to carry water for the radical Islamist, and jihadist, movement in America, going so far as to cite America's most notorious radical front group, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as the source to define the concept of "jihad."
Take this incredibly problematic passage:
Misconception: Islam promotes violence and terrorism.
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, prominent Muslims, Islamic organizations and Islamic scholars have repeatedly denounced the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and terrorism in general. One letter sent to President George W. Bush was signed by leaders from nine American-Muslim organizations, which together represent most of the seven million Muslims in the United States.
Jihad is a term that is often misunderstood and associated with violent radical militants. However, according to Muslim advocates, the word jihad means to "strive, struggle and exert effort." It is a central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle by military forces in the battlefield for self-defense or fighting against tyranny or oppression (source: the Council on American-Islamic Relations).
CAIR, in all its public events, and in frequent quotes to the media and contacts with the government, has tried to push the line that the word "jihad" does not mean holy war; it only means a "peaceful, internal struggle."
On the State Department list of proscribed terrorist groups, a full four organizations use the word "Jihad" in their title. Is the Islamic Jihad struggling peacefully when it blows up a bus or a café? Are they using that word to distort CAIR's vision of Islam? Or do they simply not understand Arabic? Has CAIR requested that they alter their names so as not to foment this "misconception?"
The "official" CAIR-line about jihad is not always spouted by the other Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the United States. In fact, one of the leaders of the Muslim Students' Association (MSA), regional President Amir Mertaban, gave a speech in April 2007 where he said the opposite:
So you never compromise on your faith. You be confident in every aspect of life. In every aspect of Islam you are confident. Four wives? Yes men are allowed to have four wives within this context. Jihad? Yes Jihad! Jihad is the tightest thing in Islam. Don't compromise on these little things. Be proud of it. Why? Because Islam is a perfect religion. If you sit here and you start saying, 'Jihad is only an internal this and that,' you are compromising on your faith. (emphasis added)
The reality is, this two-step is nothing new. To Westerners and non-Muslims, they say that the "jihad" is always and only peaceful. But when talking to each other, as Mr. Mertaban was kind enough to demonstrate, the truth comes out.
ABC then parrots the CAIR line that there are 7 million Muslims in the United States. Where did that number come from? In 2001, CAIR commissioned a survey, which fraudulently claimed, "Estimates of a total Muslim population of 6-7 million in America seem reasonable in light of the figure of 2 million Muslims who associate with a mosque." ABC, and other gullible members of the media, have uncritically swallowed and regurgitated this figure.
But as is always the case with CAIR, the reality is much, much different. Last year, the Pew Center for Research conducted its own poll on American Muslims in May 2007, which stated, "The total Muslim American population is estimated at 2.35 million, based on data from this survey and available Census Bureau data on immigrants' nativity and nationality." That's a huge difference. If CAIR can't even be trusted on the most basic of figures, why trust any of their other numbers? And how can anyone trust ABC if they cite a Hamas-front group as a source rather than the Pew Center?
The ABC story was linked to a Primetime broadcast in which an actor posed as a bakery shop worker who berated a Muslim customer wearing a hijab with intense bigotry. The stunt was a test to see how other customers would react. A majority did nothing. But it is worth noting that of those who did react, 13 spoke in defense of the young woman, with some even walking out of the store in disgust, while six praised the bigoted baker.
The issue is not the sociological experiment, but the network's sanitizing and parroting of a radical Islamist organization's misleading statements. In the past year, the U.S. Justice Department tabbed CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas funding case; described it as "affiliated with Hamas' in a related filing; and, in December asserted "CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists."
Only ABC can explain why it ignored these facts in buying into propaganda from a Hamas front group.
As for network's line about the Muslim organizations signing a letter against terrorism and sending it to President Bush, some of these groups, CAIR especially, have a long history of issuing abstract "anti-terrorism" statements that are laughable on their face, making no efforts to condemn any terrorist groups by name, let alone withdrawing their past and frequent apologia for designated terrorist groups such as Hizballah and Hamas.
In 2005, CAIR and other organizations, under the auspices of the Fiqh Council of North America, issued an alleged "anti-terrorism fatwa." What I wrote about that instance back then still holds up:
This morning a group of American Islamic leaders held a press conference to announce a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, against terrorism and extremism. An organization called the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) issued the fatwa, and the Council on American - Islamic Relations (CAIR) organized the press conference, stating that several major U.S. Muslim groups endorsed the fatwa.
In fact, the fatwa is bogus. Nowhere does it condemn the Islamic extremism ideology that has spawned Islamic terrorism. It does not renounce nor even acknowledge the existence of an Islamic jihadist culture that has permeated mosques and young Muslims around the world. It does not renounce Jihad let alone admit that it has been used to justify Islamic terrorist acts. It does not condemn by name any Islamic group or leader. In short, it is a fake fatwa designed merely to deceive the American public into believing that these groups are moderate. In fact, officials of both organizations have been directly linked to and associated with Islamic terrorist groups and Islamic extremist organizations. One of them is an unindicted co-conspirator in a current terrorist case; another previous member was a financier to Al-Qaeda.
It's also worth noting that none of the endorsing organizations have issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden as an apostate. In some cases, they have even doubted his responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. In addition, the fatwa was issued only in English, showing that it was a public relations effort for an American audience and not one aimed at Muslim extremists.
And for a comprehensive look into the links of the Fiqh council fatwa signatories to terrorist and extremist groups, please click here.
It's fine to point out prejudice. But tapping into an organization that clearly is trying to deceive the American people about its origins and ultimate agenda is inexcusable for a news organization.