Islamist Chickens Roosting in America's Backyard
In the very real war on terror, a nosy squabble over "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here" clouds a simple truth: namely, that "they" are here already. Indeed, Islamists are busy constructing a wing of jihad in America's backyard.
A potential audience of one million Arab-speaking cable subscribers of Time Warner in the greater New York area can feast on the Arabic Channel known as TAC to choose a menu that includes:
- A daily dose of Islamic jurisprudence from a sheik -- most often Egyptian Amr Khaled, who wears a suit instead of a robe, advocating "peaceful jihad." He opines on how it is the duty of Arab-Americans to become first, second, and always members of the Muslim ummah. The softness of his jihad-chic demeanor belies its exclusionary message: segregation of Arab-American Muslims from fellow Americans.
- TAC also serves a nightly diet of Syrian TV News, direct from Damascus with Syria's view of the world. In this diatribe of analysis and disinformation, Iraq is an American butchery, the Zionist regime of Israel is destined for obliteration, and Syria is the greatest gift to the "Arab cause."
- For entertainment there is a sprinkling of pseudo-historic soap operas about the old Muslim empire of Europe. In Ramadan, the month-long fasting period, this proselytizing is revved up to new levels of intensity, removing footage of belly dancing and other "infidel" joys from the steady fare of old Egyptian movies.
On its website, TAC says it is now 14 years old and serves the "Greater New York City Metropolitan area, including Jersey City, Bergen County, NJ, and Mt. Vernon, NY."
The unanswered questions are who is funding it, what keeps it going, and what is TAC's mission description. What is clear is its unmistakable Islamist revolutionary footprint.
A similar Trojan vehicle once quietly thriving in America until shut down by presidential order in 2001 was the infamous Holy Land Foundation, recently prosecuted without success by the American government.
In the failed trial of its handlers, the U.S. District Court in Dallas charged the foundation chapters with collecting $57 million for radical Islamic causes and using the money for direct or indirect donations to terrorist organizations, including Hamas. A new trial is pending. Already known, however, are the group's ties to Islamist donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE and its cozy relations with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a front for the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood movement in the U.S.
Very much part of the same "process" was the famed Khalil Gibran School of Brooklyn, NY, a saga in which a militant Islamist public school system principal disguised a project for a madrassa entity funded with public funds under the guise of multiculturalism and teaching Arabic. It was stopped by a coalition of concerned New Yorkers, but a much bigger project by Saudi Arabia to fund Islamic Saudi academies since 1984 has been thriving in Virginia and elsewhere in Europe.
The common task is to instill the notion among Arab-Americans or European immigrant communities of Muslim countries that they are not part of secular multicultural societies. Targeted Americans are instructed on how to trim their layered diversified Arab heritage to a common denominator -- one veiled enveloping Islam.
For those American Muslims who do not understand Arabic, there is the new Al-Jazeera in English, whose somewhat slick broadcasters hammer the notion of a flawed, unjust, decadent America and West.
American law enforcement is getting pretty good at spotting violent transmutations that may result from this ideological brainwashing, but has no tools, nor a body of laws, to stop or intercept the implantation process. Nor are there any identifiable, or standout, "moderates" -- especially among successful Muslim professionals -- to reverse the trend.
Yaroslav Trofimov of the Wall Street Journal, who authored Faith at War and the impressive Siege of Mecca, traveling widely in the Muslim world noted: "Often, those with the most bloodthirsty ideas were the well-to-do and the privileged who have had some experience with the West, not the downtrodden and ignorant masses." Remember that privileged millionaire engineer and highly educated fellow Osama bin Laden or his equally elitist number two Ayman al-Zawahri, a doctor, physician, lecturer, and surgeon?
Youssef M. Ibrahim, a freelance writer and risk consultant, is a former New York Times Mideast correspondent and Energy Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Author is reachable at [email protected]