In her new book, Woke Army: The Red-Green Alliance That is Destroying America's Freedom, former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani exposes the "Woke Army" – an unholy alliance of radical Islamists and far left activists who are leveraging identity politics and racial conflict to subvert American democracy and castigate Israel.
The diabolical agenda of this well-funded ideological nexus is revealed in the creation of a disinformation website. The goal of this hidden network of keyboard warriors hiding behind fake identities is clear: To discredit Muslim reformers and critics of radical Islam, and frame Muslims as perpetual victims.
"LoonWatch.com was born on April Fool's Day 2009. At precisely 20:33:38, someone used the pseudonym 'Zuhair Thomas' to register the new website with GoDaddy, an internet service provider based in Arizona," writes Nomani. "What 'Zuhair' created was a platform for anonymous character assassins, who used the names of little-known fish species — 'Emperor', 'Garibaldi', 'Danios', 'Darter' — to conceal their identities. Their targets were so-called 'loons': anyone who spoke out against Islamic extremism, or in favour of Muslim reform."
The masterminds behind this "stealthy network of anonymous cyber hitmen" were leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), including its Chicago office director Ahmed Rehab and staffer Muhammad Tauseef Akbar.
CAIR, says Nomani, masquerades as "a civil rights group dedicated solely to protecting the rights of Muslim Americans."
"At its core, this [CAIR] network is anti-Semitic and has contempt for secular American values," Nomani adds. "It supports a dangerous worldview that Islam ought to be at the center of politics, setting laws, public policy, and regulatory rules."
America's influential Islamist network has also embedded itself into the country's class and race war "to racialize any criticism of Islam or Muslims as 'Islamophobia' and press their grievances." Nomani describes the emergence of an "Honor Brigade" in the wake of the 2005 Danish cartoon controversy.
The controversy provided Islamists "the grievance they needed to win sympathy with their 'woke' allies," she writes. Muslim world leaders led by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) "decided in late 2005 to leverage allegations of 'Islamophobia' to push an attack on the West and defense of 'true Islam.'" In fact, the OIC – "the mini-United Nations for Muslim countries" – helped in "creating a brigade to protect the honor of Islam, the perfect foil to deflect criticism of the controversial ideas and growing influence of Islamist governments and movements."
The Woke Army is anti-capitalist, anti-American, and seeks Israel's destruction. Its adherents espouse ideas of "critical race theory" – a form of Cultural Marxism that pushes dogmatic propaganda: "racism, not freedom, is America's bedrock; white people are oppressors and black people are oppressed; meritocracy is white supremacy."
"This network has waged a relentless and often vicious character assassination campaign against Muslim reformers and others with similar viewpoints," writes Nomani. "Their goal: to discredit and silence those who have the gall to question their narrative that all the ails of our society can be reduced to 'racism,' or in the case of Muslims, 'Islamophobia.'"
"Their tactics," she adds, "are the tactics of bullies and authoritarians, not democrats."
The "Honor Brigade" secured a victory in 2008 with the publication of a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) guide, "Words that Work and Words that Don't: A Guide for Counterterrorism Communication."
"Avoid labeling everything 'Muslim,'" the guide instructed. Terms like "Islamism" and "Islamist" were made taboo. CAIR publicized the victory by posting a United Press International article about the NCTC guidance on its website.
Islamist appeasement during the Obama years continued to empower the "Honor Brigade."
"Illiberal Muslims," according to Nomani, "had enjoyed an incredible influence during eight years of the Obama administration, in a strategic, orchestrated campaign, impacting national security policy from issues of surveillance to the silencing of any discussion on the Islam in Islamic extremism, acting like an Honor Brigade, defending perceived offenses against the dignity of Muslims as 'Islamophobia.'"
Nomani describes Honor Brigade attempts to smear witnesses in a 2011 congressional hearing on Islamic radicalization. Islamists cast the hearings as a McCarthyite witch hunt targeting all Muslims.
"CAIR Chicago's Ahmed Rehab used his 'Emperor' cover to publish an attack on the witnesses immediately on LoonWatch," writes Nomani. "Rehab attacked [Zuhdi] Jasser, [Abdirizak] Bihi, and [Melvin] Bledsoe as 'non-experts' who were bereft of any credentials or expertise in the field of radicalization, terrorism, or extremism."
Jasser and Bihi are Muslims "who had been working tirelessly in the trenches to defeat Islamic extremism in U.S. communities." Bledsoe's son Abdulhakim Muhammad – formerly known as Carlos Bledsoe – was sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for shooting two soldiers outside an Army recruiting center in Arkansas, killing one.
After the hearings, an anonymous Facebook page appeared calling Jasser "a Clown and an Uncle Tom Muslim." Subsequent posts called Jasser "a lapdog," "shameless," "one of many fools," and "a well-behaved pet."
Nomani also describes Islamists use of "intersectional" politics by tying Israel to the 2014 killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Mo., and coining the slogan, "From Ferguson to Palestine."
Hungarian American billionaire George Soros' Open Society Foundations and the Proteus Fund are main Woke Army funders, Nomani writes. She describes the center of U.S. Islamists' political and financial power as "500 Grove Street," the home to the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a private Virginia think tank long suspected of serving as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.
The "alphabet soup of organizations that had grown out of the work of the Muslim Brothers at 500 Grove Street" includes "ICNA Council for Social Justice, American Muslims for Palestine, CAIR, Muslim American Society-PACE, Muslim Ummah of North America, Muslim American Society-DC, ICNA Virginia Islamic Center, and Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center (where the 9/11 hijackers and Anwar al-Awlaki had prayed)."
The influence of the "Muslim Brothers" continues to grow. In some cases, it is the children of Islamists taking their political agenda to new heights.
Abrar Omeish, "an important daughter of the Muslim Brothers," was elected in 2019 to the Fairfax County School Board. At an AMP fundraiser that year, she promised to make school curriculum "friendly to the cause of Palestine."
Abrar Omeish's father, Esam Omeish, is described as "part of the rise of the Muslim Brothers in America."
In 2007, Omeish was forced to resign from Virginia's Commission of Immigration after an Investigative Project on Terrorism video from 2000 showed him praising "our brothers and sisters in Philistine [Palestine]" for knowing "that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land."
Nomani details an incident from a 2019 ICNA convention in Washington, D.C., featuring Laila Al-Arian, daughter of Sami Al-Arian. Sami Al-Arian was a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's governing board, and agreed to be deported as part of his guilty plea for conspiring to aid the PIJ. He was deported to Turkey in 2015.
Laila was talking about Muslim prisoners, a euphemism for convicted Islamist terrorists. It was a mostly empty hall, and upon seeing Nomani sitting "quietly, listening," she pointed to Nomani calling her an "Islamophobe." Al-Arian's husband, Jonathan Brown, "stood in front of me, leaning across the row of chairs in front of me, hurling his finger at me and shouting, "Leave! Leave! Leave!" (I didn't.)," recounts Nomani.
Nomani's courageous expose is an important breakthrough in exposing the duplicitous machinations of the "Muslim Brothers" in America. It's an inspiration to those who fear for American democracy and freedom the world over to suit up and enter the trenches to defeat the "Woke Army."
Abha Shankar is the IPT research director.
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