Editor's note: On July 21, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) wrote to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority urging that the billboards be removed. The issue, he wrote, is not the religious content, but the role Siraj Wahhaj played in their development and placement. Read King's letter here.
E.D.: So the question Jamie's report raises is should we be concerned? Could a group really recruit a terrorist on our own turf? Joining me is now is counterterrorism analyst Steve Emerson, author of the book American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us. That is one of the greatest books to get a great perspective on summary issues we're facing. Steve, thanks for being back with me again.
STEVE EMERSON: Sure.
E.D. The Muslim organization says this is an ad being put out there, because people don't understand what true Islam is all about, and that now we are misunderstanding what their objective is. Do you think that's accurate?
EMERSON: No, I think that's absolutely false. The organization that publishing it is WhyIslam?, a subsidiary of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). Their main goal is to convert, recruit to convert as well as have people carry out missionary work for Islam. It's not to clear up misconceptions at all. It's only designed to basically convert. The problem is that the organization itself, Islamic Circle of North America, has hosted many conferences of which we have tapes an documents from that have called for violence, that have supported suicide bombings, that have disrespected the United States, Even Sirraj Wahhaj has come out on tapes we have heard saying the United States is garbage, and the United States doesn't have any respect and he would like Islam to reign supreme throughout the U.S.
E.D.: Let's show our audience a couple of things. First, First, a statement from the Islamic Circle of North America says anyone who looks at the ad objectively can see that it is not preaching anything. There is a lot of Islamaphobia out there. We provide people with a chance to speak with an actual Muslim who is informed. Now, you also talk about this Imam who is involved in it and this is a quote from one of his sermons and it is kind of eye-opening. Let's put this up. This is from Sirraj Wahhaj's sermon. He says "in his time, the so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing, and the only thing that will remain will be Islam." Are they trying to pull the wool over our eyes? Not, Muslims in general in America, but these organizations?
EMERSON: Yes, these organizations offshoots for the Muslim brotherhood. Its main mission is to spread Islam and make sure it is dominant in the world and convert as many people as possible. Ultimately, some of those people who converted do carry out acts of violence or extremism. There is no doubt about it.
E.D.: Can they really recruit an American hero on our turf, do you think?
EMERSON: They have done that already. The fact is that Sirraj Wahhaj, himself, a convert. He was recruited and then became an appendage to that list of coconspirators. It's clear that he himself demonstrates that people who get recruited to these groups can be parts of conspiracies. Now, the bottom line here is that the mother group itself is a radical group and the notion that Islamophobia is the only reason they are disseminating this propaganda is really a smoke screen. It is designed to recruit, expand their ranks and spread their Islamist interpretation of Islam, which is quite radical.
E.D.: Steve, always good to you have on with us.