Stakelbeck has also been willing to delve deeply into the taboo subject of the widespread extremism of the American Muslim community, and even on the impact such extremism has on American Muslims who dissent from it. Just one day after Anwar al-Awlaki issued a fatwa calling for the killing of millions of Americans, Stakelbeck found that –just a few miles from the White House — the largest Islamic store in the Washington, D.C., area featured a prominent display of Awlaki’s CDs and DVDs, along with other racist hate materials and books defending Islamic terrorism. When he interviewed the store’s owner (who quickly removed the Awlaki display), he was told that the materials were for sale because “they were very good sellers.” Indeed.
He has been willing to ask prominent U.S. Muslim leaders hard questions about their support for Islamic radicalism. His report last October exposed a Pennsylvania professor and Islamic leader who spoke at a rally denouncing Jews and encouraging the destruction of Israel. Needless to say, the professor — and officials from his university –refused to talk when asked for an interview.
Stakelbeck traveled to Dearborn, Michigan, and interviewed supposed “interfaith” leader Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi, who regularly consults with the Detroit FBI leadership. The imam quickly got tongue-tied after being asked about his open support for terrorist groups and the photographs on his own website that showed him with former Iranian dictator Ayatollah Khomeini and with leaders of Hezbollah.
Erick Stakelbeck’s reporting is a refreshing alternative to the drive-by coverage given to homegrown terrorism. When a large cell of would-be jihadists was busted in North Carolina in 2009, after all the networks had given their two-minute superficial coverage of the story and left the area, Stakelbeck continued to report with interviews of those who knew the suspects and provided new details about the case. When Tulsa, Oklahoma, resident Jamal Miftah was expelled and banned from his mosque for writing an editorial in the local newspaper attacking al-Qaeda, it was Erick Stakelbeck who was there to interview Miftah — not CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, or MSNBC. And while the media was huffing and puffing about opposition to the Ground Zero mosque last summer, Stakelbeck looked into the possible foreign funding sources for the wave of mega-mosque building occurring all over the country (he dedicates a chapter in his book to the topic).
These and other incidents from Stakelbeck’s reporting are covered in his book, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in learning more on the topic. It will certainly challenge many of the things you’ve heard from the establishment media and from our own government officials charged with addressing the homegrown terror threat. (Anyone remember Director of National Intelligence James Clapper telling Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “largely secular organization”?) There’s a reason why ten years after 9/11 we’re still flying blind in the War on Terror, and Stakelbeck explores those reasons.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work directly with Erick Stakelbeck on several stories going all the way back to 2007. He investigated the largest known al-Qaeda cell operating in Columbus, Ohio, and the role of an internationally known extremist preacher and Hamas cleric, Salah Sultan, associated with that cell who only lived a mile from my own home in Hilliard, Ohio. I am honored to not only know Erick Stakelbeck as a colleague and sometime collaborator, but also as a friend.
Notwithstanding any personal bias on my part, the reason you need to read his new book, The Terrorist Next Door, is because he is one of the few reporters out there willing to pursue and report a story no matter how ugly and politically incorrect the truth he uncovers. While our government and its allies in the establishment media assure us that the problem of homegrown Islamic terrorism is impossible to diagnose – unless, of course, they blame “Islamophobia” — Erick Stakelbeck’s ongoing reporting shows the problem is much simpler than our political and media elites will ever admit. And the warning he issues about the threat is one that every American needs to hear.