May 15, 2013 | 78 comments
November 12, 2012 | 126 comments
August 15, 2012 | 57 comments
April 26, 2012 | 44 comments
April 9, 2012 | 36 comments
Islamism as such might as well not exist — except inside his Administration.
In the final presidential debate on October 22, President Barack Obama spoke briefly about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on U.S. officials and personnel in Benghazi. He outlined why the U.S. had gone into Libya before the attack. He outlined the answers he is still seeking following the attack. But he did not say why this terrorist attack had occurred or why the U.S. had been ill-prepared to meet it in what is, after all, a volatile city alive with militias recently freed from dictatorial rule. Nor did he tell us why his Administration strenuously avoided calling it a terrorist attack for two weeks, preferring instead to speak of a spontaneous assault in the course of a demonstration of Muslims offended by an anti-Muhammad video.
Mitt Romney did not pursue the subject, so we got no closer to the heart of the matter, yet the implication of this apologetic gloss of the first two weeks is obvious: Ambassador Chris Stevens was not murdered by Islamists who hate America and its allies and mean to attack us again; he was the victim of the local reaction to one of the products of American freedom of speech. Once the attack was acknowledged as the handiwork of terrorists, however, followers of al Qaeda, virtually the only officially acknowledged extremists, were cited as the perpetrators. And here lies the problem: the Obama Administration will not acknowledge that an extreme and violent segment of the Muslim world ranging far beyond the confines of al Qaeda is at war with us. To do so would have required him to explain why the U.S. had been empowering Islamists, including in Libya, some of whom may have been responsible for leaking information that enabled the terrorists to locate and kill the Americans.
Just why and how has this refusal to name the Islamist enemy come to characterize the four years of Obama’s presidency? Because President Obama agrees with the view that Islamists as a force in world affairs are not be shunned and that wisdom dictates coming to terms with those among them who are hot engaged in active hostilities at this moment. The idea is defective, because common to all Islamists is Muslim supremacism and the undeviating pursuit to subvert the non-Islamic world.
Yet, since Barack Obama took office, Islamist antagonists, other than those involved in active hostilities like al Qaeda and the Taliban, whose hostility cannot be denied or ignored, have gone unnamed. Presidential statements on the anniversaries of the 1983 killing of 242 U.S. servicemen in Lebanon by Hizballah or the 1979 seizure by Islamist students of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, to name two examples, failed to even mention the perpetrators of these acts, as it had become U.S. policy to propitiate both parties.
Indeed, the Obama Administration has refused to associate terrorists attacking America with Islam. Administration officials have spent four years speaking of particular terrorists at home and abroad as isolated “extremists,” even when Islamist terrorist connections (for example, between Fort Hood sniper Nidal Hassan and the American-born al Qaeda in Yemen leader, Anwar al-Awlaki, who advised him) were readily traceable.
In a May 2010 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney-General Eric Holder only grudgingly and hypothetically conceded that radical Islam could be the inspiration for some individuals involved in recent acts of terrorism, before immediately asserting that such people were acting on a “version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of it.” Similarly, in March 2011, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough told a Muslim audience that extremists in their midst “falsely claim to be fighting in the name of Islam.” When Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, held hearings on homegrown radical Islam the same month, the Administration publicly opposed it.
The Administration has also expressly disavowed the use of terms like “Islamism,” “radical Islam,” and “jihad.” In May 2009, John O. Brennan, Obama’s Chief National Security Adviser for Counterterrorism, contended that use of such terms “would lend credence” to the notion “that the United States is somehow at war against Islam.… Nor do we describe our enemy as jihadists or Islamists because jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself or one’s community.” Such refurbishment of the term ‘jihad’ — war waged against non-believers to extend and secure the dominion of Islam, is a religious duty which, according to authoritative Muslim sources, may at least at times be waged against civilians on the opposing side — at once sanitizes it and precludes its use. Nor has it been explained how ignoring the ideology animating the terrorists somehow renders America at peace with those jihadists who regard themselves at war with the U.S.
Adding to the Administration’s philological ingenuities, terrorist attacks themselves have been rechristened by the Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, “man-caused disasters” and military campaigns against their perpetrators “in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the globe” relabeled by the Defense Department “overseas contingency operations.”
The problem is not a matter of mere nomenclature but goes to heart of analysis and policy formulation. Homeland Security’s Domestic Extremism Lexicon, produced in March 2009, listed Christian and Jewish extremism, but not Islamic extremism, jihad or anything related to these; in fact, the word “Islamic” appeared only twice in it, both times in the context of discussing “non-Islamic extremism.” The February 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report was similarly silent on the subject.
In October 2011, Deputy Attorney-General James Cole announced that the recall of all training materials used for the law enforcement and national security agencies in order to eliminate all references to Islam, following objections from two Muslim Brotherhood fronts, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). MPAC president Salam al-Marayati — of whom more later — had threatened a cut-off of cooperation between American Muslims and the FBI and demanded a “clear and unequivocal apology to the Muslim American community” by the Justice Department as well as the creation of an inter-agency task force to prepare new manuals.
The Obama Administration has not only dissociated Islam from the terrorist assaults of Islamists and refurbished the English language and the Muslim glossary to foreclose on the possibility of drawing any connection between the two, but it has also courted local Islamists. At the August 2011 White House iftar dinner, marking the ending of Ramadan, Obama invited several Islamists, including MPAC’s Haris Tarin, ISNA’s Mohamed Magid, and Muslim Advocates’ Awais Sufi (though it tactfully omitted to mention any of these in a selected list of invitees that it publicized). In contrast, Muslim moderates, like the 25 pro-liberty American Muslim groups and individuals affiliated to the American Islamic Leadership Coalition, failed to score a single invitation.
Obama also appointed, or sought to appoint, Islamists and their apologists to sensitive posts with a bearing on Muslim affairs. Within weeks of entering Oval Office, Obama nominated Chas. W. Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman had been outspoken in his beliefs that Israel is a vicious oppressor and the preeminent cause of U.S. unpopularity in the Muslim world, that Palestinian terrorism is “resistance” and that America has shown Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that calls in its Charter for the world-wide murder of Jews, “unreasoning hostility.” Freeman, whose close ties with tyrannies like China and Saudi Arabia created controversy that obliged him to withdraw, suffered a similar fate to Obama’s Muslim outreach coordinator during the 2008 presidential campaign, Mazan Asbahi, who stepped down following revelations that he had once sat on the board of advisors of a Muslim Brotherhood-founded organization along with Jamal Said, a Chicago imam in a mosque that supports Hamas, a proscribed terrorist group.
But if these appointments proved abortive, many others have not. In February 2010, Obama appointed Rashad Hussain, a former Justice Department official and White House deputy counsel, as the second U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC — since renamed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation). George W. Bush had appointed the first such envoy, Sada Cumber, in the last year of his administration on the basis that the OIC is an “important organization” with “a constructive role to play in the world.” Important as it may be, the OIC has played a rather different role, one that advances Islamist goals of subverting Western democracies by its attacks on freedom of speech and the press, its efforts to privilege Islam over other faiths and to prevent the adoption of UN definition of terrorism that encompasses jihadist groups. Obama’s policy of engagement meant that reviewing the advisability of such an appointment never arose. To the contrary, the White House regarded the appointment as one that would “deepen and expand the partnerships that the United States has pursued with Muslims around the world.”
So who is Rashad Hussein? One who is on record as denouncing the prosecution of a Florida professor, Sami Al-Arian, who was eventually found to have been illegally funding the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a “politically motivated persecution.” Also, in a 2007 article, Hussein claimed that restrictions placed on non-immigrant visitors from countries that have produced Islamist terror threats are “racist.”
Another such appointee is Dalia Mogahed, now adviser in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, who has been a promoter-apologist of Islamist groups like CAIR and ISNA, which have been found to be tied to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Mogahed, who is also the executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, has claimed that “misinformation” campaigns have tried to “disenfranchise” these groups, both of which in fact have employed officials subsequently indicted for funneling money to foreign terrorists.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?