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The Questions Nobody Wants to Ask About ‘Moderate Islam’

Jazz and Islam, Part 6: The Tragedy of Tarik Shah

by
Robert Spencer

Bio

March 22, 2013 - 7:00 am

Tarik Shah is a formidable jazz bassist who has recorded with a number of luminaries, including Pharoah Sanders and Abbey Lincoln. He is also prisoner number 53145-054 at the medium security Federal Correction Institution in Petersburg, Virginia, where he is serving a fifteen-year sentence for plotting to provide combat training to al-Qaeda jihadists. His sad and tragic case points up again lingering questions about Islamic moderation that have never been answered.

In 2004, Shah made the acquaintance of a man he thought was an al-Qaeda member, but who was actually an FBI informant. Shah, a martial arts expert as well as a jazzman, offered to help train jihadis. He made no mistake of his intentions, asking the informant:

You really want to learn how to rip somebody’s throat out? I’m talking about damage to the inside so they drown on their own blood. You give them internal bleeding. It fills their lungs with blood.

Nor did Shah make any secret of his allegiance. Tapes that the FBI informant made of his conversations with Shah show the bassist full of complaints. He disliked having to pay “taxes to infidels.” He was angry with the United States for toppling the Taliban, the “only Islamic government of Afghanistan.” He claimed that non-Muslim Westerners “have been killing Muslims on a consistent basis for almost 200 years. They have been at war with us, which means we are at war with them.”

He even boasted that he could use his bass’s end pin to kill: “All I’ve got to do is, pop, flick it like, boom, move out the way. Flip, pop, pop, right in the middle of your head.” And, chillingly: “I could be joking and cutting their throats in the next second. It’s a strategy.” Shah swore an oath to al-Qaeda:

God’s pledge is upon me and so is his covenant to commit myself to the orders of the guardians of the agreement, for the misfortune and for the prosperity. And to be a loyalist to the path of jihad, and to my brothers, until God’s word is exalted. And to be protective of the secrecy of the oath and to the directives of Al Qaeda.

When he was arrested, many of his friends and supporters in the jazz world assumed his innocence and the guilt of law enforcement officials in framing or entrapping him – which is not surprising. But then Shah pleaded guilty of conspiring to aid al-Qaeda.

It’s doubtful that anyone in his professional circle saw this coming. They either assumed that Shah was a “moderate” or, given the stultifying and reflexive cultural Leftism that blankets all fields of the arts these days, shared his anti-Americanism. These kinds of assumptions are extremely common in post-9/11 America. Not long after 9/11, none other than Anwar al-Awlaki was hailed in the New York Times as one of “a new generation of Muslim leader capable of merging East and West.” In 2002 he even led Muslim prayers on Capitol Hill, with noted “civil rights activists” Nihad Awad and Ibrahim Hooper of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations in the crowd.

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Then there was Maher “Mike” Hawash of Portland, Oregon. A well-regarded Intel executive who made $360,000 a year began around the year 2000 to become more religious, growing his beard long, rejecting the nickname “Mike,” and attending the supremacist Islamic Center of Portland. Ultimately he served a seven-year prison term for conspiring to aid the Taliban.

The most prominent example of this phenomenon in America is Abdurrahman Alamoudi of the American Muslim Council, who was the nation’s most prominent and influential Muslim (and a close friend of Grover Norquist) in the 1990s. Alamoudi, who met with Presidents Clinton and Bush, is now in prison for acting as a financial courier for al-Qaeda.

All these men were universally regarded as moderate Muslims before their actions proved otherwise. Does this mean that every Muslim who is simply living life, working a job, and taking care of the family is secretly a jihadist? Of course not. The problem, however, is that there is no way to determine the dispositions of anyone else’s heart. Many Muslims may become more religious in times of personal crisis, and in an effort to cleanse their souls and please Allah begin to pay attention they never paid before to the texts and teachings of Islam that mandate warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers. Some may have been jihad-minded all along, but waited for the right time to act.

What, then, is to be done? All of this points up to a glaring absence: even now eleven years after 9/11, and even after numerous jihad plots in the United States, Muslim organizations still have no program designed to teach young Muslims the error of the jihadist view of Islam. They have nothing in place to disabuse Muslims like Tarik Shah of what they insist is a misunderstanding of Islam. They’ve never announced that supporters of the al-Qaeda view of Islam, which they profess to reject, will be expelled from mosques.

This is revealing, especially in light of the fact that major Muslim organizations in the U.S. such as Hamas-linked CAIR have advised Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement: while the media and government officials generally assume their moderation, they’re behaving as anything but moderate and doing all they can to obstruct efforts to fight back against their violent coreligionists.

It would be just as foolish to assume that every Muslim in America is a jihad terrorist as it would be to assume that every one is a moderate. But law enforcement officials need to require much more transparency and honesty from Muslim groups in the U.S. – or there will be many more Tarik Shahs.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Q: What's the difference between a radical Muslim and a Moderate
Muslim?

A: The radical Muslims want to kill us and the moderate Muslims want
the radical Muslims to kill us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you Mr. Spencer for your tireless efforts as one of our nations watchmen. The most troublesome aspect of this Muslim invasion of the U.S.A. is that known jihadists (members of the MB) are serving in this current administration as advisers; and are scattered through the highest levels of our governments most trusted national security facilities - Pentagon anyone? Where else could the "trusted status" gift come from?? Saudi money? Maybe. I'm so sick and tired of our government's collusion with and protection of, a death cult masquerading as a benevolent western religion. Obama just bypassed the Senate in approving the U.N./ OIC small arms treaty - another step in circumventing the Constitution by the "death by 1000 cuts" MO. And on it goes. Internationalists, Leftists and Islam are now joined in their jihad against America .... ... and who's behind the Neo Nazi movement in Europe - Islam. Muslims in Berlin sell Nazi trinkets on the street for goodness sake.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Muslim organizations still have no program designed to teach young Muslims the error of the jihadist view of Islam."

That's because there are no Muslim organizations that believe that the jihadist view of Islam is in error.

When are we in the West going to accept that it is not the Muslims obligation to change to suit us. It is OUR obligation to defend OUR way of life. It is up to us to show the Muslims that ALL of Islam is in error.

There is always someone trying to point to certain Muslims that do not support jihad or sharia and then saying: "see not all Muslims are radical!" But what they are showing us is that Muslims can live with non Muslims only when they don't act like Muslims.

Those who are looking for the emergence of some sort of Moderate Islam are trying to harvest figs from thornbushes. It will never happen.

Mohamed was jihad, Mohamed lived jihad; does anyone seriously believe that those who will kill over a cartoon of their "prophet" will expunge the prophet's teachings from their religion for the purpose of making infidels like them?

The Muslims have told us that it is "us or them". When are we going to take them at their word and join the battle and proclaim that goal to be ours as well?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (25)
All Comments   (25)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Doesn't sound as if theres really any difference from whats been talked about above.It isn't good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Liz
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is no such thing as a Moderate Muslim, this is a completely false assumption. Read the Koran as it is written. There is no wiggle room, the writing is specific. Either you are a Muslim and obey the Koran or you are an apostate and you will be murdered by your own society, period.
You cannot pick and choose, Shariah does not allow this action nor does the words in the Koran.
Now we can debate all kinds of things about Mohammad but we cannot debate what is written that Mohammad supposedly said, that has all been committed to paper so there is no debate. And the Koran is the law of all Muslims and if a Muslim is acting in a manner contrary to the Koran then you can be assured that they are in fact lying to your face to convince you that they are sincere in some act that you interpret as MODERATE. This lying to your face is allowed by the Koran and in fact it is the duty of a Muslim in order to protect himself from detection while they attempt to destroy the enemies of Islam in the faith of Allah.....'
Our government has over a hundred Muslims within our government being paid with taxpayer money while they work to subvert and destroy our government from within..... This is also covered in the Koran......
The first command in WAR is "KNOW YOUR ENEMY"!! AND WE ARE AT WAR, LIKE IT OR NOT....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Is that right? Where are you getting your information please? IF you really read the Qur'an you would know that your statement is false, as false as it gets. You also think you know Shariah? Sigh... well... your comment is wrong, but that's what happens when you listen to what Spencer says about Islam. He's in it for the money.. but he really knows nothing. He has this screwy view of it, and he twists what he reads in the Qur'an to fit his theories... but they are wrong, and so is he.

Peace
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Q: What's the difference between a radical Muslim and a Moderate
Muslim?

A: The radical Muslims want to kill us and the moderate Muslims want
the radical Muslims to kill us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
El zop...How many Muslims do you know? Don't tell me, let me guess. None. How do you get so far in life having never met a Muslim? You probably have and just didn't know it. I'm almost sure of that.

Muslims are not some alien creature that you would instantly recognize. They are ordinary people, like you. They come from all different races etc.

This joke is really stupid. And if I were you I would be embarrassed. It's a small minded joke, really. I could do the same thing with Christianity. But I won't, because I don't stoop to that level.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mslim = Jihdist and murderer. It is the foundation of Islam, the Moon Cult.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Islam can never be moderate. It would be like having moderate Nazism.

Muslims can be moderate but Islam can't, it's axiomatic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mojave, You are close but no cigar.
A Muslim is a pursuer of Islam.
A Islamist is a pursuer of Islam
There is no difference, they both want the same ending... Death to those who do not follow Allah.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hey you guys.. here you are making these crazy claims.. in front of a Muslim, me. I'm a grandma, I live in God's country on the west coast.. a rural area.. small town, I get along with everyone.. all of them are Christian, I am Muslim. My family - all Christians. I love them, they love me. Your theories are dead wrong, friend. You really ought to learn the truth. This hate mongering stuff will only cause more division - and that is something we do not need.

We can all get along.. and we have, and we will again -- if you haters will mind your own business and let those of us who do not hate -- keep building bridges. Because most Americans are not haters like you folks -- and as I said.. we Muslims get along perfectly well with Christians, and any other religion. We have no quarrel with anyone here in the US. We want to live our lives, raise our children, same as you.

I repeat - and we are. Until you haters get in the way. So please stop the hate, stop trying to create animosity between Muslims and others. We do not hate anyone... please all of you... open your eyes. If Muslims wanted to kill you all the way you seem to think - it would have been done years ago! No one wants this... we all want peace.

So if you have to hate and fear... please keep it to yourselves, alright? It's a pain when we have to try and clean up the messes you guys make.

Peace
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A radical Muslim is someone who wants to kill you. A "Moderate" Muslim is someone who wants someone else to kill you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The real issue is not what question to ask about "moderate Islam" but what one question to ask "Moderate Muslims".

"Why are you still a Muslim?" That's all that needs be asked.

It makes much more sense than asking "Would you please change your religion, which has no desire to change, because the way it is now scares us.? Please, pretty please?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you Mr. Spencer for your tireless efforts as one of our nations watchmen. The most troublesome aspect of this Muslim invasion of the U.S.A. is that known jihadists (members of the MB) are serving in this current administration as advisers; and are scattered through the highest levels of our governments most trusted national security facilities - Pentagon anyone? Where else could the "trusted status" gift come from?? Saudi money? Maybe. I'm so sick and tired of our government's collusion with and protection of, a death cult masquerading as a benevolent western religion. Obama just bypassed the Senate in approving the U.N./ OIC small arms treaty - another step in circumventing the Constitution by the "death by 1000 cuts" MO. And on it goes. Internationalists, Leftists and Islam are now joined in their jihad against America .... ... and who's behind the Neo Nazi movement in Europe - Islam. Muslims in Berlin sell Nazi trinkets on the street for goodness sake.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Fine, we'll let you have the C Y A when you say,

"Does this mean that every Muslim who is simply living life, working a job, and taking care of the family is secretly a jihadist? Of course not."

But not marginally intelligent person would bank on that, anymore. The comments on this board are pretty cogent and succinct. We no more believe in taking a chance on 'moderation.'
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Beg pardon. Should read, "...no marginally..." T
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
mulsims wish to die in the service of Alah...i say lets give them their wish...ALL OF THEM, every man, woman and child of islam lets send to hell...i mean allah
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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