Editor’s Note: Diane Schrader attended the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s West Coast retreat this past weekend and will be filing several reports on the various speakers and panels. This is the third; the second, Separation of Mosque and State, is here; the first here.
What’s the definition of a “moderate Muslim”? Writer Andrew McCarthy addressed that question at this past weekend’s David Horowitz Freedom Center retreat, during a panel on “Jihad on the Home Front.” Author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad, McCarthy brought a little levity to the issue with these tongue-in-cheek questions: Is it someone who is not actually currently in the process of blowing something up? Is it someone who has run out of ammunition?
The reason for his sarcasm is the inordinately generous view of certain Muslims as “moderate” by the mainstream media, which has been quick to categorize certain Muslims as moderate, for example, because they condemned 9/11. But some of the same individuals who condemned that attack have since called for fatwas to kill American soldiers in Iraq.
McCarthy fully recognizes that many American Muslims are indeed putting American concepts of liberty and free markets ahead of the politics of their faith. These are the people who can be well characterized as moderates – the kind of people who wish to separate the violent, jihadist, terrorist and sharia aspects of Islam from their day to day lives. (Whether or not what they then practice is truly Islam is a discussion for another time.) And McCarthy is quick to note that were it not for such moderate Muslims, the United States would have not had nearly the success it has enjoyed in tracking down and capturing Islamic terrorists, especially in our own country. However, McCarthy thinks it’s important to differentiate between what we might call true moderates, and those the media portrays as moderate – because that difference reveals the covert nature of so-called stealth jihad.
Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi is one who condemned 9/11 but has since called for attacks on American soldiers. Why the discrepancy? McCarthy says it’s because 9/11 actually was counterproductive to a more stealthy effort to infiltrate American society that had been in place for years already. (It certainly brought home the dangers of Islam; many of us were blissfully unaware up to that point.)
Jihad, according to McCarthy, exists to spread sharia to the world. By force is one method, but the West is too powerful for Islam to conquer at this point – unless it infiltrates and conquers from within. This, according to McCarthy, explains the otherwise puzzling collaboration between the hard Left and the Muslim Brotherhood. After all, on certain issues they do not see eye to eye (gay rights comes to mind). But as McCarthy points out, their commonalities are greater than their differences. They are both totalitarian, authoritarian, and cannot coexist with American-type freedoms. “Historically,” says McCarthy, “they have always collaborated.”
Berkeley law professor and former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo, another “jihad on the homefront” panelist, discussed the Obama administration’s incompetent policies regarding terrorists. (Read my colleague Donald Douglas’ detailed discussion of Yoo’s comments here.) Because of Obama’s emphasis on killing them instead of capturing them, American intelligence has suffered. And the administration’s insistence on treating terrorism like regular law enforcement cases has had severely deleterious effects.
For one thing, processing terror suspects (even those from Iraq or Afghanistan) through civilian trials exposes sensitive intelligence to the disclosure laws of open court. Perhaps even worse – soldiers who do capture suspected terrorists are expected to collect evidence that would stand up in court. As Yoo points out, this puts our soldiers at greatly increased risk because now they not only have to get their man, they have to go back and interview witnesses and collect material evidence. This, of course, is utter insanity. But the terrorists are only happy to use our own legal system against us.
Obama would do well to consider Yoo’s commonsense suggestions, which include keeping terrorists in military courts, restoring operational flexibility to soldiers instead of police duties, and morphing the FBI into a counterterrorism organization. (Other agencies certainly can take over chasing down bank robbers and white collar criminals.)
Yoo and McCarthy both articulated how jihad threatens America; recognizing this threat on the homefront is crucial. But as panelist Karen Lugo can sadly attest, our system is being hijacked and used against us.
Elaborating on the nature of so-called “civilizational jihad,” Lugo, a prominent law professor, told of coming face-to-face with the anti-free speech component of American Islamists. She helped organize a protest against militant, anti-American Muslims holding a fundraiser in Yorba Linda, California. The protest drew hundreds of well-behaved people, but a few misbehaved and made hateful statements that were immediately “weaponized,” as Lugo reports, by the radical group CAIR (Council for American Islamic Relations). CAIR worked with a local “human relations commission” to push for her termination as a law professor, and organized a campaign to crash her campus email account – although her university connections were in no way used as part of the protest. Lugo points out the “chilling” effect of so-called human rights commissions to discourage people from their Constitutional right to express political opinion. She also points out the irony that the commission was not the least interested in the Muslim “hate speech” that she was there to protest – commission members instead focused merely on attempting to intimidate those who would object to the radical Islamist statements. This is our system – being turned on its head.
Special note: Of utmost importance to patriotic activists – Karen Lugo escaped from this unfair dilemma primarily because she’d arranged to have two different people videotaping the event, which proved she was involved in no wrongdoing. Do not underestimate the power – protective power – of video!