It’s always a happy day when would-be censors fail to silence voices they don’t agree with, and it’s particularly satisfying when the losers are a well-known crowd of politically correct anti-1st Amendment vigilantes. The losers in this case are the hyperactive folks over at CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and their intended victim is “Reza Kahlili,” the former member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps who for some years worked inside that murderous organization on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency. He’s well known to PJ Media readers, having posted here on many occasions, and his book, A Time to Betray, is a must-read for anyone who wants to get an accurate picture of life inside the Islamic Republic’s praetorian guards.
Reza is inevitably controversial, as you would expect. Some even doubt that he was really a CIA agent inside the IRGC (I was able to get confirmation of his bona fides, as was David Ignatius of the Washington Post), and CAIR got very annoyed with him, above all when he wrote that American mosques are being used to recruit and organize terrorists, in preparation for potential attacks inside the United States. And they were openly furious when he described his conversion from Islam to Christianity, saying that the “unimaginable” Islamic practices he witnessed in Iran “misrepresented Islam,” leading him to search for a faith that better presented his vision of the Almighty.
Worse yet, from CAIR’s standpoint, was that Reza was employed by the American government to lecture its intelligence specialists on Iran at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy in Maryland. CAIR demanded he be fired. The head of CAIR wrote directly to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to make the request, as reported in a press release from the organization.
It didn’t work.
Late on Wednesday, the Pentagon bluntly said:
“We can confirm that Mr. Reza Kahlili, who has specialized counterintelligence expertise, occasionally lectures at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA). … His experiences provide valuable insight to trainees, and he keeps his personal religious beliefs out of the classroom. He does not lecture on or about Islam or any religious treatise, and his personal beliefs are his own.”
It’s an unusually clear statement, and well-warranted. If you read the CAIR press release linked above, I think it’s clear that Reza’s conversion was a prime cause of CAIR’s campaign, and it’s good to see the Defense Department slap it down. Freedom of religion (funny how that 1st Amendment keeps showing up) includes the freedom to change your religion if you so choose.
So our analysts will continue to benefit from the unique knowledge of Reza Kahlili. One for the good guys! But there’s still a lot of work to do, especially regarding CAIR. That organization was an unindicted co-conspirator in the trials (the verdict was upheld on appeal) of the Holy Land Foundation, which illegally raised money in the U.S. for the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. And although CAIR spokespersons angrily deny any connection to Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood–both of which are openly anti-American–the Justice Department thinks otherwise. So if we’re going to worry about people brainwashing Americans, CAIR and its followers might be worth some attention.
Congratulations to Reza, and kudos to Secretary Panetta. We could benefit from more such firmness and clarity.