One of the most astounding facts of modern times is that we are in a war with radical Islam, but don’t seem to know it. We’re in their gunsights; they are out to destroy us; they proclaim their intent as clearly as Hitler did in Mein Kampf and other documents. Yet we slumber on, in a relaxed mode, oblivious to the obvious, and without reaction as a noose is placed around our neck.
What may seem exotic and far off, what seems an issue only for faraway lands, what seems to be virtually harmless as we relax protected by oceans on either shore is in fact a threat here and now, ready to explode at any time, and repeat or even magnify what happened on 9/11.
As I was reading up on the terrorist organization Hamas, it occurred to me that it would be a useful exercise to show how such an organization, which might seem so remote to our lives, is already stretching its terrorist tentacles throughout our land, along with many other terrorist organizations.
Yesterday, I focused on Islamic organizations that represent themselves as "moderate," but are in fact part of the silent jihad and terror network. See "Government, FBI, Media Years Behind Understanding Radical Islam," (Feb. 4) on The Bulletin’s Web site at:thebulletin.us
Consider a few facts on Hamas, which go beyond the fact that the U.S. and most of the West have long branded it as a terrorist organization:
• Hamas may be planning terrorist operations in the U.S. In a classic on radical Islam by Steven Emerson, Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S., the threat posed by Hamas is documented. Mr. Emerson writes, "Evidence collected since 9/11 suggests that the group may try to conduct terrorist operations against targets in the United States." And Hamas has also participated in some unsuccessful terrorist attacks on the homeland.
• What’s more, Hamas may be working with other terrorist groups to plan terrorist attacks in the U.S. Mr. Emerson writes that evidence collected since 9/11 indicates Hamas "may be collaborating with other terrorist organizations in gathering intelligence for U.S.-based attacks."
When it comes to killing Americans, all these terrorist groups seem to be willing to put their differences aside and work together to spill our blood.
• As early as 1989, Hamas was setting up charitable and political organizations in the U.S., and by the late 1990s these fund-raising ef forts on behalf of Hamas were paying huge dividends. As my column yesterday showed, terrorist front organizations have managed to fool a long list of prominent politicians, the FBI and other government agencies.
• Hamas sets up organizations that it tries to disguise as innocuous by using titles and claimed purposes that involve only education, research, charity and the like.
• In these Trojan horse operations, Hamas goes out of its way to hide the connection between it and what amounts to subsidiaries and puppets of Hamas.
• These Hamas terrorist fronts go far beyond just fund raising and terrorism. For example, they are also into domestic lobbying, propaganda, and pressure group organization.
• This goes on all over the U.S. and has a close connection with Philadelphia. One of the important meetings in the Hamas organizing efforts was held at the Philadelphia Marriott.
With that overview, it might be useful to take a closer look at Hamas and its American connections.
On Sept. 14, 1993, FBI electronic surveillance captured details of planning leading up to a meeting at the Philadelphia Marriott to bolster Hamas’s fund raising and political activity in the U.S. and to thwart the attempt at peace in the Israeli-Arab conflict set out in the Oslo accords. That meeting took place as planned on Oct. 1 and 2, 1993. Among those present were representatives of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a group later indicted and convicted of raising money for terrorists.
At the meeting, the participants spent much effort hiding their connections with Hamas. They referred to it as Samah, which is Hamas spelled backward. Their main concern was to determine how these U.S. organizations could support Hamas. They wanted to extend help in every possible way such as those involving financing, propagandizing, and political action on behalf of Hamas.
One participant stressed that to be effective, the attendees "had to behave as an American organization — and take care of the people and not a particular population. Our relations had to be good with everyone … but we can give the Islamists 100,000 [dollars] and 5,000 to the others." A participant also stressed that they should avoid revealing Hamas’s true agenda.
The participants also stressed the need for domestic lobbying and deeper engagement with the American Muslim community. The participants wanted more political activity by the community so it could bring pressure to bear on Congress and the decision makers in America.
In summary, the participants planned a full court press on every front on behalf of Hamas.
Hamas has already taken aim at Americans and American interests. Although most of its terrorism has occurred in the Middle East, that terrorism has already claimed more than a dozen American victims overseas.
It has not yet carried out a successful attack in the U.S., but its operatives did participate in the foiled 1993 New York City landmark bombing plot. According to an FBI affidavit, members of Hamas were among conspirators plotting the bombing of landmarks, tunnels, and the FBI building. In addition, the FBI believes Hamas now has the capability to carry out terrorist hits in the U.S. Two arrests involve suspected Hamas operatives thought to be plotting terror attacks in the U.S.
Another FBI affidavit indicates that al-Qaida often enlists Hamas operatives to conduct surveillance. Hamas has also been involved in attacks on the American military in Iraq.
Another Hamas front is the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), serving as its propaganda organ. A federal magistrate found that if the IAP "has never outrightly cheered on Hamas terrorist activities, it has come awfully close." FBI counterterrorism official, Oliver Revell, called the IAP "a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for the Islamic movement."
The IAP also delivers the Hamas charter all over the America continents. Its publications also heap praise on terror attacks carried out by Hamas.
Hamas also has an elaborate array of organizations that do fund raising for it. One of the most important is the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), which claims to raise money for the needy in Gaza and the West Bank. However, evidence collected by federal authorities and Mr. Emerson’s Investigative Project finds that the HLF since its inception has been raising money for Hamas. The HLF established offices throughout the U.S., including in California, Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey. There are all kinds of relationships between HLF and Hamas.
Another Hamas charitable front is the Al Aqsa Educational Fund (AAEF). It claims to be a charity to raise money for charities located in Gaza and the West Bank. There is abundant evidence that it functions as a fund-raiser for Hamas terrorism.
There has been a lot of progress in shutting down the flow of money from Hamas-fronts to Hamas. For example, the HLF was shut down, a top Hamas operative helping set up the front organizations was deported, and some of those involved were indicted. However, Mr. Emerson says much work remains to be done.
He says it is still clear that Hamas may be considering attacks on American soil, may be helping such groups as al-Qaida with intelligence work for possible terrorist strikes, and that Hamas still issues threats against the U.S. and its activities in Iraq. So Mr. Emerson concludes any statements or movements by these individuals or groups regarding America "warrant the closest scrutiny."
This column focused on Hamas. But it is only one of the terrorist networks, which include Hezbollah, the Palestinian Jihad, the Pakistani Jihadist Network, and many others.
Mr. Emerson sees a continuing and serious threat from militant Islam and among other things that calls for an informed public. Mr. Emerson writes,
"Militant Islamism continues to present a grave threat to America and the world. Given that indisputable fact, it becomes vital for the American public to gain the greatest possible awareness of the face of the enemy. Clearly, the task of ferreting out and combating the ever-shifting terrorist threat falls primarily to our law enforcement agencies and intelligence community, who remain vigilant in that pursuit. But an informed and supportive citizenry is also a vital factor."
Mr. Emerson also stresses that al-Qaida may pose one of the most serious threats to American safety, but it is only one group among many: "Various groups that have waged jihad in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond have infiltrated our society. They have hatched plots from within our borders to execute attacks domestically and to raise funds for their terror campaigns abroad." We better not wait for another 9/11; we better wake up now.
Europe slumbered through a process during which it was transformed to what is now called Eurabia. The great scholar, Bat Ye’Or, in her book Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, describes that phenomenon: "In her forceful book, La Forza dela Ragione, Oriana Fallaci ponders the steady Islamization of Europe, noting, ‘it was all there for years and we didn’t see it.’ "
That might be said within years of the U.S. It was all there for years and we didn’t see it. We don’t have a lot of time to wake up, as we’ve seen Europe fall to Islamization, and we have started the same descent.
The first step in fighting the loss of America and our Western values and Judeo-Christian tradition is to get informed about what is going on. We haven’t faced the reality of a Islamic Jihadist threat to our survival, and Ms. Ye’or explains that in her book: "Constructive public debate has been hampered by profound ignorance of the jihad dynamic and by the tendency of Europe’s political elite to continue to appease jihadist driving forces.
"This book describes Europe’s evolution from a Judeo-Christian civilization, with important post-Enlightenment secular elements, into a post-Judeo-Christian civilization that is subservient to the ideology of jihad and the Islamic powers that propagate it."
So perhaps the first step in getting informed is to read some of the books cited in this column. I’d recommend for starters Robert Spencer’s classic volume Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs. For a broad historical sweep, you might then read Ms. Ye’or’s book, which shows how Europe was conquered by the stealth jihad. A book that focuses on the United Kingdom’s surrender to Islam is Melanie Philipps, Londonistan.
Another powerful volume is Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. And then there are the important books from Mr. Emerson, the latest of which is cited in this column, and from Daniel Pipes Militant Islam Reaches America. Finally, there is Bruce Bawer, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within.
After getting informed yourself, you have to wake up the media and the political class, which both seem to sleeping in the face of mortal danger to our way of life. And as the old song goes, it’s later than you think. But unlike the advice of that song, don’t enjoy yourself. Instead start fighting for your freedom and the survival of your country.
Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at email@example.com.