This transcript was typed from a recording of the program. ABC cannot guarantee its complete accuracy because of the possibility of mishearing and occasional difficulty in identifying speakers.
Stephen Crittenden: Welcome to The Religion Report. The plight of Christian minorities in the Islamic Middle East is one of the 20th century tragedies to which we pay least attention. From the Copts in Egypt, to the Maronites, the Melkites in Lebanon, Orthodox and Chaldeans, the Christian population of the Middle East is a fraction of what it was, and more vulnerable than ever. Nowhere is the situation worse at the moment than in Iraq. And few groups are more vulnerable than the ancient Assyrian Christian community. In fact, this week the Italian journalist Sandro Magister, has warned of the end of Christianity in Iraq. In early May in a heavily Christian suburb of Baghdad, a Sunni extremist group began broadcasting a fatwah over the loudspeakers of the neighbourhood mosque: the Assyrian Christian community had to convert to Islam or leave, or die. Their Muslim neighbours were to seize their property. The men were told they had to pay the gizyathe protection money Jews and Christians traditionally had to pay to their Muslim overlordsand families were told they could only stay if they married one of their daughters to a Muslim.
More than 300 Assyrian families have fled, mostly to the north into the Kurdish region of Iraq where they are not welcome either They are sleeping in cemeteries, they have no food, more than 30 of their churches have been bombed, their children are being kidnapped and murdered.
Rosie Malek-Yonan is an Assyrian-American. She is a successful film and television actor who has appeared in many popular shows including Dynasty, Seinfeld, E.R. and Chicago Hope. Her novel, The Crimson Field, is a fictionalised account of the little-known Assyrian genocide that took place at the hands of the Ottoman Turks during World War One at the same time that the better-known Armenian genocide was taking place. She recently directed a documentary film on the same subject. And last year she was invited to give testimony before the US Congress about the plight of Assyrian Christians in Iraq. Rosie Malek-Yonan spoke to me from her home in California.
Rosie Malek-Yonan: The Assyrian people are the indigenous people actually of Mesopotamia, before it even was Iraq. All of that area was Mesopotamia and is the original homeland of the Assyrians. They date back to over 6,000 years and were always concentrated in that region.
Stephen Crittenden: And Christianity was accepted by Assyrians, well virtually in apostolic times, right at the very, very beginning?
Rosie Malek-Yonan: Right. Assyrians were actually the first nation to accept Christianity as an entire nation, not just individuals, but the entire nation, and we built the first church of the east.
Stephen Crittenden: And what about language? Aramaic for church, but what language does a typical Assyrian family in Baghdad speak at home?
Rosie Malek-Yonan: Well the language that we typically speak is the modern Assyrian, which comes from the ancient Aramaic, which is the language of Christ. The church liturgy still uses the ancient language, and we grew up learning it, and understanding it and knowing it, but it's not typically used at home. At home we generally will speak the more modern Assyrian dialect.
Stephen Crittenden: Now in early May, a fatwah was issued by a militant Sunni group in Baghdad, calling on the Christians in a particular suburb of Baghdad called Dora, to convert to Islam or die.
Rosie Malek-Yonan: Yes. Actually as we are speaking, I'm getting bombarded with emails, and one of them is a plea to help the Assyrians of Iraq. The women in particularI'll just read you a little bit of this emailsays the Virgin Mary put on a hijab (hijab is the covering) so why not all Christian women dress the same? They are asking all women to dress in that fashion.
Stephen Crittenden: I understand there's a lot of kidnapping and murdering of particularly of young kids?
Rosie Malek-Yonan: Absolutely. Our children are being murdered, they're being kidnapped for ransom, even when the ransom is paid they're still killed. Priests are being beheaded, nuns are being killed, and not just a beheading, they behead them, they cut also arms and legs, they hack them off and they return them in that manner. Little children, their heads are bashed with concrete blocks. This has been going on since the beginning of the Iraq War. This is isn't just an isolated incident here or there, this is an ongoing genocide.
Moral equivalency by the numbers is probably not something you'll ever prove beyond a shadow of a doubt while strolling the halls of higher education, but you'll find plenty of chatter suggesting someone has. Of course that depends on which moral equivalency facts one is arguing. Before some PC apologist arrives to spit and spew forth the self-serving statistics of child and spousal abuse already a scourge on this land's sense of fairness and social achievement, we need to be reminded that this nation as a whole diligently enforces laws against the aggressive behaviors described below by Dr. Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, a rare feminist voice who possesses the strength of character to speak out despite this trend of Western feminists who seem to have turned a blind eye, a deaf ear, and a mute tongue in sorry service to its own body politik, in ignoringfor the sake of other political considerationsthose physical and sexual abuses often culturally accepted and even encouraged by those populations whose recent immigration to not only the United States, but in the case of Muslims, most European countries. These violent abuses of women and children are already taking their toll on the native populations of certain Scandanavian countries, if not the entire West. We must be prepared to deal with these issues, although certainly, solutions will not come easily.
Importing Violence: The Danger of Immigration from Violent Cultures By Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, Ph.D.
Over the past several years, the U.S. has seen a large influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal, from countries whose values are opposed to the rights guaranteed by the U.S. constitution. Specifically, there are large numbers of immigrants coming from countries that are misogynistic. These societies accord women little to no rights, and the idea of violence committed by men against women and children is not unusual.
First, take the concept of ‘rapto.’ This comes from Mexico where in some areas, it is socially acceptable for a man of any age to abduct a female of any age as long as long as he intends to marry her. That is right. Men can kidnap and rape females. This is acceptable in Oaxaca where the government continues to view rapto as a minor crime. One legislator even referred to this horrid violation as “romantic.” Lest anyone believe such garbage, note that 24 year old Mexican immigrant Eliseo Nunez snatched a 12 year old girl and took her to Mexico to fulfill his erotic desires. Isn’t that romantic?
The fact is that South American male attitudes toward females are often archaic and misogynistic. Thus it is not surprising that the U.S. is seeing more attacks against women and little girls committed by these immigrants. In August 2005, illegal immigrant José Ramirez from El Salvador was charged with the violent attack of a 15-year-old girl who refused to respond when he whistled at her (Roh, 2005). Perhaps such primitive behavior stems from the homeland culture. El Salvador and Guatemala have had a string of unsolved brutal murders where young females have been abducted and cut apart. Authorities have found body parts, including heads scattered around. In one instance, two female heads were deposited right in front of a local police station, blood still oozing from the severed heads (Miles, 2003). Gangs are suspected in these crimes because murdering people is often part of their initiation.
A serial rapist from Honduras was recently convicted in New Jersey. Ricardo Cepates is an illegal immigrant who was convicted on 26 counts of kidnapping, rape, and robbery. Another illegal immigrant, who should have been deported in 2000, savagely stabbed Carly Snyder to death. Fredil Rodriquez hailed from Honduras and apparently brought his hatred of women with him (Hirsch, June 15, 2005).
Perhaps the most grotesque and gruesome crime is the rape and murder of a nun by yet another migrant worker from South America. It is amazing that this story received so little attention when imaginary crimes against illegal immigrants are portrayed on television shows in order to gain sympathy for these criminals (i.e. a T.V. show airing an episode where a Minutemen volunteer hurts an illegal immigrant). Thirty three year old Maximiliano Esparza raped and sodomized two nuns and used their rosary beads to control them during the attack. The Sisters were beaten, raped, sodomized, and finally, Esparza used her own rosary beads to strangle Sister Helen Lynn Chaska to death. Esparza had needed lodging and checked into the Klamath Falls Gospel Mission in Oregon. This Spanish-speaking migrant had spent his evening getting drunk at a local strip club and encountered the nuns as they were walking and saying prayers. Of note, Esparza had a history of criminal behavior and had served a three-year sentence in a California prison. He had been deported one time, and shockingly, U.S. Border Patrol let him go after detaining him a few months prior to the rape/murder. It doesn’t get more vile and disgusting than this.
And yet, there are more such gruesome crimes. Saul Dos Reis is a Brazilian national who found 13 year old Christina Long in an internet chat room. Long was in what she believed to be the safety of her Danbury Connecticut home. Feeling the typical teenaged desires for freedom, Long was drawn in by the twenty something Reis, and agreed to meet him. The Brazilian had sex with her, strangled her, and dumped her lifeless body, like so much worthless trash.
The carnage has continued year after year. Walter Alexander Sorto was an illegal alien and Salvadorian national. Maybe he was one of those wonderful people who break our immigration laws to fill jobs at wages no U.S. citizen can afford to take. Or perhaps, he was not. Like so many others, 25 year old Sorto is a sex killer. In 2003, he snatched, raped, and slaughtered two women in Houston. Most disturbing is the fact that he had been known to police for his prior offenses which included robbery. He was on probation for his robbery when he butchered the women (Hayes, 2004).
If you are not yet disgusted, you will be. Not only are criminal immigrants coming from cultures that are misogynistic, but they are changing U.S. culture in response to their sickness. Many illegal aliens join violent gangs, which take over neighborhoods and terrorize innocent citizens. These gangs are highly organized with tentacles spread through several countries. The mantra of the deadly MS13 gang is: blood in, blood out. And the chilling effects of the illegal aliens participation in these gangs are very far reaching. For example, on December 19, 2002, Victor Cruz, Jose Hernandez, Armando Juvenal, and Carlos Rodriguez were involved with the drawn out gang rape of an unsuspecting 42-year-old New York woman. These illegal aliens were well known to police for their prior crimes of assault, attempted robbery, drug offenses, and illegal gun possession. No deportation followed their lesser offenses because of the sanctuary policy.
However, woman-hating cultures are not confined to South America. The Middle East is full of misogynists andfor reasons that many consider sinisterthey are migrating to democratic countries. Why migrate to a country whose norms and beliefs are completely opposed to their lifestyle? The reason is that they hope to change these democratic societies. Instead of adopting and assimilating into countries they choose to migrate, they often cluster together in neighborhoods and bring their hate filled belief systems with them. When examining the lives of Muslims all over the world, it is plain that women do not fair well in Islam. In fact, here is a simple quote from volume 1, book 6, number 301:
Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion.”
In other countries to which Muslims have immigrated, there have been atrocious violent crimes committed against women. Germany is seeing the “smiley.” Don’t know what a smiley is? A smiley is a cut from the side of the mouth to the ear. It is supposed to serve as a warning to Muslim girls to make them wear a veil. For those who don’t, the smiley is the punishment of the day.
And other countries are learning about the dangers of importing some Muslims. Rape is acceptable in the Sunna and in the Koran. In Copenhagen, an Islamic mufti said that women who do not wear headscarves are "asking for rape.” Likewise, in Australia, a visiting Pakistani committed rape and said his victims had no right to refuse him because they were not covering themselves with headscarves. But it doesn’t end there. In 2004 in London, visiting Egyptian professor Sheik Yusaf al-Qaradawi said rape victims should be punished if they were dressed provocatively when assaulted!
Human rights activist Simon Deng has reported that he witnessed women being raped and tortured by Muslim men. In Sudan, Khartoum’s soldiers are routinely sent out to decimate villages, and in doing so, rape women who are not Muslim. Women who are found are asked whether they are Christian or Muslim. If Christian, the women are gang raped and then have their breasts sliced off.
And let us not forget the repulsive practice of honor killings. Honor killings are done in order to restore honor to a family that believes a female has shamed them. There is nothing in the Koran that speaks to killing women because they disgrace the family. But many Muslims interpret another wonderful little tenet in Islam to allow it. The Koran does allow men to beat their wives, which is atrocious. But it is used to justify the sickening honor killings where women are victims of rape! The United Nations Population Fund has found some disturbing statistics. Worldwide, there are up to 5,000 such killings each year.
Not all Muslims are bad. Many live in peace. However, there are so many atrocious acts committed in the name of Islam. Current day, Islamic extremists act like psychopathic sex predators and mass murderers. Raping women is a matter of personal choice. There is no deity ordaining the sexual assault of anyone. But even Islamic leaders outright state that rape is expected when women look good. That is what is so disturbing; that women are deemed responsible for rape if they don’t cover themselves up. This is wrong.
It was stunning when early in 2006 Muslims were up in arms over a cartoon, which depicted the prophet Muhammed in an unflattering light. Denmark upheld the cartoon as a form of free speech, and even though it was simply a political cartoon, Muslims around the world burned flags, stormed embassies, and called for censorship. It is one thing to be upset over satire; it is another to react violently to it. That is an issue, which those who practice Islam must face. Islam cannot control its outer fringes, and that is the problem. Importing such a culture of violence and hate can do nothing but ruin a free country. What will happen when radical Muslims or even Muslims sympathetic to radicals, clash with Western women who have no intentions of ever wearing veils?
The list goes on and on. Those who come to the United States must be forced to abide by human decency standards and the laws. And those who come to this country must do so legally. Illegal aliens are criminals and must be treated as such. If not, why should any U.S. citizen follow any existing laws? There must be a unification in this country, not a division. Citizens must be unified for a secure border and a consistent standard for behaviors that will not be tolerated, not even under the guise of religion. Women have worked very hard for progress in the U.S. Those who come to this country must understand that women are not second-class citizens, and violence against them will not be tolerated. Ever.
Citizen Morganstern. The tipster responsible for helping authorities thwart a possible terrorist attack on a U.S. military base said Tuesday he experienced a "moral dilemma" over whether to report what he had seen. Isn't this what the left in this country have been trying to achieve for a couple of generations now, creating moral dilemmas where none should exist.
The very fact that this young man was beseiged by doubts about the morality of ratting out "people of color" despite what he was seeing on those tapes, says something very sad and highly disturbing about how powerful a whip the label "racism" has become in silencing people who should be speaking up. Can anyone doubt that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people all across America who would have remained silent in this situation, for fear of being accused of being "judgemental", "racist", or being guilty of some other "phobia?" Many people can be grateful that this young man had the strength of mind and moral fortitude to buck the "new and improved" PC morality, and make the right moral decision when it counted.
Brian Morgenstern, a 26-year-old clerk at a Circuit City in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, was given the 8 mm tape January 31, 2006, by two men, whom he described as "normal people." They asked him to convert it to DVD format.
Authorities said the tape showed 10 young men shooting at a practice range and shouting in Arabic, "Allahu Akbar", or all we all know by now, "God is great." Morgenstern said the video showed the men with hand guns and rifles that appeared to be "fully automatic weapons."
"I saw some stuff on the film that was disturbing and it kind of gained my attention that way," he told CNN's "American Morning." adding "I started paying more attention to it."
The tape's contents worried him. "I thought about whether or not it should be reported. I actually waited that night and weighed out my decisions, and I went home and talked to my family about it." The next day, Morgenstern returned to work and told his manager about the tape and his decision to alert the police. He described Circuit City as being "very supportive" regarding the situation.
Americans must remain vigilant. Political correctness will not fall in a day, so we must remain vigilant. There is this bit of reporting to consider. Is it true? Is it false, urbam myth or worse? Does it matter when there are mountains of evidence every day from around the globe of the nature of this Islamic surge no one in power wishes to address?
In 2000, Mohammed Atta was "in the belly of the beast" he intended to slay: the Federal Building in Houston, applying for an agricultural loan. Finance the attack on the Great Satan with the Great Satan's money! How smart! During the conversation with a woman loan officer, he told her that he admires Osama bin Laden.
Then he pointed at the large, panoramic photograph on the wall of the White House and the US Capitol and asked her how would she liked it if all that was blown up. He also asked her how would she like to have her throat cut. Through it all, she kept repeating as if in a trance: "Well, we are very happy to have you here in the United States, and the best of luck to you in your endeavors". Her only concern apparently was not to run afoul of the political correctness rules in dealing with this "middle-eastern gentleman".
As a Canadian columnist later put it: "She was in a sensitivity coma". In his e-mail to fellow jihadis those days, Atta kept repeating: "The enemy is stupid". Stupid indeed. This is the same government that sent approved visas to dead 9/11 hijackers 6 months AFTER 9/11 to the day, along with a cheery letter ("Dear Mr. Atta, welcome to the United States ... ").
The following article is a reprint from one of the world’s foremost experts on terrorism and Islamic jihad, Steve Emerson.
IN DECEMBER 1992 I was a staff reporter for CNN, covering what I consider one of the worst stories imaginablea press conference for pool reporters. In this case the conference was given by Lawrence Walsh, the former special prosecutor for the Iran-contra affair, who was issuing a statement in reaction to then-President George Bush’s pardon of former secretary of state Caspar Weinberger. It was the kind of situation where more than a dozen reporters ask the same question over and over, then go back and write the same story. In short, I was bored. In Oklahoma City, I found myself with nothing to do on Christmas Day. As I walked around looking for a place to eat, I passed a large group of men dressed in traditional Middle Eastern clothing.
These men had congregated outside of the Oklahoma City Convention Center. I realized there was some kind of convention going on. Drawn to the scene, I wandered inside and found a bazaar of vendors hawking all kinds of radical material. There were books preaching Islamic “Jihad,” books calling for the extermination of Jews and Christians, even coloring books instructing children on subjects such as “How to Kill the Infidel.” It was a meeting of the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA), an umbrella group that included many smaller groups. When I asked admittance to the main meeting hall, I was told that as a non-Muslim I couldn’t enter. But I found my way into a group of “recent converts” where I was befriended by a man who sponsored my admission. I ended up sitting through the entire program. It was a shocking experience. Given simultaneous translation by a jihadist next to me, I was horrified to witness a long procession of speakers, including the head of Hamas, Khalid Misha’al, taking turns preaching violence and urging the assembly to use jihad against the Jews and the West.
At times spontaneous shouts of “Kill the Jews” and “Destroy the West” could be distinctly heard. I had heard such declamatory speakers many times in the Middle East, but it was astonishing to hear it all being preached here in a Middle American capital such as Oklahoma City. I had some contacts in the FBI at this point and called one to see if he knew that all of this was going on. He said he didn’t. Even if the FBI had been cognizant, however, there wouldn’t have been much they could do about it, owing to the FBI’s mandate to surveil criminal activity and not simply hateful rhetoric.
Just how far behind the FBI had fallen in keeping abreast of these potentially dangerous subversive groups became clear a year later when I attended a five-day Muslim conference in Detroit in December 1993. This annual gathering featured speakers and representatives from some of the world’s most militant fundamentalist organizations, including Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and many others. After five days of listening to speakers urging Muslims to wage jihad, I was startled to hear that a senior FBI agent from the Detroit office would be making an unscheduled appearance on the program. Sure enough, the official showed up. After making some perfunctory remarks about civil rights, the official asked for questions from the visibly hostile audience. A series of scornful responses followed, including that of one audience member who asked, tongue in cheek, if the agent could give the group any advice on “shipping weapons” overseas to their friends. The FBI official said matter-of-factly that he hoped any such efforts would be done in conformance with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms guidelines.
Returning to Washington again, I asked FBI officials if they knew that their Detroit colleague had spoken at this radical gathering. They assured me it was impossible. After checking, however, they admitted within a few hours that their man had indeed been there, mistakenly thinking it was “some kind of Rotary Club.” I soon learned that the FBI could do little or nothing to monitor such groups. Congressional restrictions imposed following disclosure in the 1970s of abuses by law enforcement and intelligence agencies had long since prevented the FBI from performing “blanket surveillance.” Investigations could only be done on particular individuals and then only if these individuals appeared to be in the act of committing a crime. Regulations, as former FBI official Oliver Revell has stated, forbade them from compiling even “open source” informationarticles that appear in the newspaper, for instancewithout receiving prior permission to open up an “investigation.” Indeed, individual FBI investigators could be personally sued for engaging in surveillance activities that went beyond these guidelines. Several agents had been the targets of such lawsuits and most FBI agents had become extremely wary of straying outside the lines. Even more significant, the FBI was particularly hamstrung if these groups operated under the auspices of “religious,” “civic,” “civil rights,” or “charitable” groups. This has provided cover for recruiting and fundraising by jihad warriors in the United States.
What we discovered is that, indeed, international terrorist organizations of all sorts had set up shop here in America. They often took advantage of religious, civic, or charitable organizations. Usually this was more than enough to fool the public, the police, and especially naive leaders of religious or educational institutions, who were more than willing to encourage and sponsor these groups in the name of “multiculturalism” and “diversity.”
I was still working for CNN in 1993 when the first World Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26th. As the story unfolded it became obvious that the whole plot had been hatched among small terror cells in this country. I had heard an excess of explosive rhetoric in Oklahoma City and other places where I had investigated militant organizations. I was sure there must be some connection.
But I was faced with a difficult moral dilemma. I hadn’t started investigating anyone to any great degree. All I had at that point was a collection of books and pamphlets and promotional material by which these groups advertised themselves to a very select audience. I didn’t know whether it was all rhetoric or whether there was really substance to all this. I had a few videos showing that Hamas had definitely established itself in this country, but that was about it. Would I be risking my career by following up this story, in what might prove to be a wild goose chase?
I decided to take a proposal to Richard Carlson of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Already I was thinking in terms of a video. I’m a print journalist by background but here was a story that would be much easier to tell as a TV program. The most dramatic material I was collecting was already in video form anyway. The training and recruitment videos, the fiery speeches at mosques and conventionsit would be hard to convey the bloodcurdling nature of this material except by letting it speak for itself.
Carlson liked the idea and passed it up the line. Before long I was passed over to the Public Broadcasting System, the network subsidiary of CPB. I ended up dealing with Bob Coonrod and Ervin Duggan, who was then president of PBS. They were very enthusiastic but couldn’t generate much interest within the bureaucracy of PBS. Finally, Dugin took matters into his own hands and provided me with some research and development money.
And so in 1993 I left CNN to work full-time as an investigator of terrorist networks in the United States. I founded The Investigative Project, which has employed a shifting staff of from two to fifteen people. What we discovered is that, indeed, international terrorist organizations of all sorts had set up shop here in America. They often took advantage of religious, civic, or charitable organizations. Usually this was more than enough to fool the public, the police, and especially naive leaders of religious or educational institutions, who were more than willing to encourage and sponsor these groups in the name of “multiculturalism” and “diversity.” Meanwhile, U.S.-based terrorists have been able to use these organizations to ferry equipment to Middle Eastern terror groups, to offer financial support to the families of suicide bombers, to coordinate efforts with other terrorist networks around the world, and ultimately to plan and support terrorist acts in the United States.
The implication, of course, was that the violent backlash against Muslims—even a month before the film was to air—had already begun. (When police investigated the fire, they found that it had been set on a rug in an upstairs apartment—over an internal dispute.)
It took us a while to piece all this together. Going to conferences and collecting promotional material had its limits. We could attend mosque services, but much of them was in Arabic. Early on, I hooked up with a friend named Khalid Duran, and he began providing translation services for much of the written and video material. But it was slow going.
Then one day I found myself standing in a Yemeni grocery store in Brooklyn. I looked around and spotted dozens of copies of dusty videos that appeared to have something to do with commandos and rifles. I bought twenty different tapesmuch to the astonishment of the store owner. When I got them into Khalid’s hands we realized we were looking at paramilitary training videos for the leaders of Islamic militant groups. One of them was put out by an organization called the Islamic Association for Palestine, in Richardson, Texas. To our horror, it showed the actual torment and forced “confessions” of Palestinian “collaborators” moments before they were executed.
We followed up this material by traveling to Texas, Florida, and New York to try to arrange interviews with the leaders of these groups. For the most part they were not very cooperative. We got very little footage. Slowly, however, we were beginning to accumulate enough material to put together a documentary.
Part of the task, I realized, would be tracing some of these organizations to their origins in the Middle East and beyond. I started in Israel. I had learned by this time that the first calls for worldwide jihad had come from Abdullah Azzam, the Palestinian mullah who had set up a waystation in Peshawar, Pakistan for Muslim recruits who wanted to take part in the jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. One afternoon, riding around the West Bank in a taxicab, I was talking absentmindedly with my Palestinian driver when I mentioned Azzam. “Oh, his brother-in-law lives here just north of here,” the driver said. He gave me the name of the village of Jenin.
The next day I found another driver and headed for Jenin. All I had was Azzam’s name and the name of the village. When we got there and asked a few people, however, they quickly directed us to his house. Azzam was very gracious and immediately welcomed me in. He told me about his experience in Peshawar and about his brother-in-law. It was a strange encounter. At the time, Palestinian electricity was not very reliable and every ten minutes or so the lights would go out, plunging us into total darkness.
Azzam told me he had other relatives living in Chicago. When I got back to the United States, I called them up and arranged to visit one of Azzam’s nephews. Khalid came with me. We rendezvoused at a small Middle Eastern restaurant in Bridgeview, Illinois, a suburb southwest of Chicago. The nephew was very gracious. He was not aware that I was collecting information and I didn’t make any attempt to misrepresent myself. I simply said I was interested in his family and anxious to write about them. He told me about Hudaifah, one of Abdullah’s sons, and said he was trying to hold together his father’s organization in Peshawar.
Later he took Khalid and me to the Bridgeview Mosque, where Jamal Said was the imam. I could tell immediately that we were deep in the heart of Hamas territory. The walls of the vestibule were covered with Hamas posters and recruiting literature showing masked gunmen brandishing automatic weapons. It was all in Arabic, but you could see daggers plunged into Jewish hearts wrapped up in American flags. They even had a library filled with militant terrorist videos and books. Khalid was there to translate for me. The Friday service was a rather strange experience. Out of eight hundred people, I was the only one wearing a red ski jacket. When the service was over I approached the imam and asked him if he had known Abdullah Azzam. He was very defensive. “I never met with him” he said quickly and then dismissed me. Earlier that year, two Hamas operatives, congregants of the mosque, were arrested in Israel for transferring money from the United States to terrorists on the West Bank. One of these men, Mohammad Jarad, told the Israelis that he was sent on his mission by Jamal Said.
“Jihad in America” was broadcast on November 21, 1994. It showed in the 10:00 P.M. slot on a Thursday night. Militant Islamic groups began to protest even before the show was aired. Several weeks before the showing, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a press release that a mosque in Brooklyn had been set on fire. The sub-title: “PBS ‘Jihad in America’ documentary may prompt more hate crimes.” The implication, of course, was that the violent backlash against Muslimseven a month before the film was to airhad already begun. (When police investigated the fire, they found that it had been set on a rug in an upstairs apartmentover an internal dispute.)
“Jihad in America” pulled together a fair representation of the material we had collected. We showed Hamas operatives and militant mullahs preaching jihad and violence “with the gun” against Israel and America. We didn’t show the torture and confessions of Palestinian collaboratorsthat would have been too inflammatory. The documentary continuously stressed the fact that militant Islamists are only a minute percentage of the Muslim population. Nevertheless, the film was attacked, and I was called a “crusader,” a “racist,” and just about everything else. To say it was disconcerting would be an understatement. I never anticipated the degree to which these groups were going to try to deny what was going on. They claimed that I was making it all up and that I had fabricated the tapes. I was also amazed at how far some prominent mainstream newspapers would do the same, some running several highly skeptical and critical editorials. Other newspapers simply used the tried-and-true method of being “even-handed.” On the one hand, Steve Emerson says militant Islamic groups are bringing jihad to America. On the other hand, Islamic groups deny it.
Despite all the skepticism, the fights, and the controversy, “Jihad in America” won the prestigious George Polk Award. It was also named the “best investigative reporting in print, broadcast or book” by the Investigative Reporters and Editors Organization. It won the National Headliner Award and the Chris Award as well.
Suddenly thrust into the public eye, I encountered situations I had never dealt with before. One night I was taking a cab back to my apartment from Reagan National Airport in Washington. I glanced at the front seat and saw an Arabic-language newspaper. On the front page was my picture with a bull’s-eye superimposed on it. I realized my life was going to be very different from then on.
Once I found myself at a Muslim convention where a speaker started shouting, “Steven Emerson is the enemy of Islam! Are we going to let Steven Emerson tell us what to do?” “No,” the crowd roared in response. I sat there sweating. Thankfully, I had altered my appearance. Even so, I was exceptionally nervous. Fortunately, no one noticed me.
Over the years The Investigative Project’s acquisition of materials has become quite sophisticated. We subscribe to more than a hundred radical periodicals a month and acquire hundreds more documents from sources, conventions, rallies, and other venues. We sustain a rigorous effort to collect video and audiotapes of radical Islamic groups and leaders in action. We have translators working full-time, and often send Arabic-speaking representatives to conventions and other gatherings, since this is the only way to understand fully what is going on. We have logged more than 6,000 hours of video and audiotapes and our electronic library is probably the most comprehensive in the world. We have compiled a database of some thousands of individuals who are known or suspected terrorists, or direct supporters of terrorists, as well as dossiers on scores of militant groups.
The Investigative Project built on its own momentum. We became a collection point. People started calling up and asking, “What do you know?” or “Do you know this?” We received countless tips. Most of them turned out to be bogus, but a few were incredibly fruitful.
Then the death threats began. It started in South Africa. A public television station in that country announced it was going to show “Jihad in America.” Radical Islamic groups immediately went to court and tried to block it. Much to our satisfaction, a South African court ruled in our favor. The show ran, with a good deal of pre-publicity.
A short time later I got an urgent call from the U.S. law enforcement officials. I was working in my Washington apartment. They told me to get in a taxi and come downtown immediately, making sure no one was following me. They gave me an address in Foggy Bottom. When I got there it turned out to be the offices of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (BDS), an arm of the State Department that deals largely with terrorism.
FBI and BDS officials quickly briefed me. After “Jihad in America” aired in South Africa, a militant Muslim group had taken offense. They had dispatched a team to assassinate me. The State Department and FBI had only found out recently; as far as they knew, which unfortunately was not a lot, the assassins had already entered the country. It was even possible they already had me under surveillance. The problem was that the FBI simply had no idea whether or not the militants had entered the country.
“What would you like to do?” they asked me.
“What can I do?” I asked.
Well, there wasn’t too much. One thing that was out of the question was round-the-clock police protection. That was too expensive. I was only a private citizen and it wasn’t in anybody’s budget. They would send a team of officers out to my apartment to discuss the options.
The next day a whole team came to my Connecticut Avenue condominiumFBI officials, federal counterterrorism experts, detectives from both the District of Columbia and Metropolitan Police Departmentsthe latter being the guards of the Capitol area.
Here were the possibilities:
“You can stop what you’re doing, don’t write about it anymore, don’t say anything, don’t appear on television, and maybe after a while people will just forget about it.”
“We can see if the federal witness protection program can handle you. This will mean moving to a different city and assuming a new identity.”
“Maybe we can put you up in New York in a safe house for about a year. After that, you’re on your own.”
I was amazed. For years I had thought of myself as an observer, taking note of events, writing down notes, making reports, storing information for future reference. Now I was an active participant in one of my stories, and I wasn’t sure that I liked it.
I told them none of this sounded very appealing. I would think it over. Meanwhile, I was given one prop. They presented me with a collapsible mirror that I could carry around with me and use every time I got into my car to check to make sure a car bomb had not been attached to the underside of the engine. As any rational person would do under the circumstances, I used it quite a bit.
After thinking it over for a day or so, I made up my mind. I wasn’t going to give up investigating. I wasn’t going to move to New York. I wasn’t going to assume a new identity. But I would have to move out of my apartment and live underground for a while. This was not an easy decision. I had bought my condominium six years beforethe first time I had owned my own home. I couldn’t buy anything new. It would take too long to sell the old one and I might have to be moving regularly anyway. I had to develop new habits. The D.C. Police Department parked a cruiser outside my house for fifteen hours a day while I was making arrangements. Even then I had to sleep somewhere else to be safe. I had about a week before I was on my own again.
The police taught me some techniques about living underground. Stay away from the windows. Vary your routine. The important thing is not to leave the house at the same time or take the same route to and from the office every day. When driving a car, make sure no one is following you. Do a quick U-turn every once in a while just to make sure. I did that many times.
“Be careful when you jog,” they said. That was a big problem. I love to jog. It’s my only opportunity to get outdoors and get my mind off things for a while. But jogging through Rock Creek Park at night promised maximum exposure. Now I had to develop a hundred different ways of leaving my apartment and winding through different streets in inconspicuous clothing in order to maintain my daily exercise. If I didn’t my healthand sanitywould probably collapse. It was trying and unnerving.
Along the way I had to decide whether this was all worth it. Did I really want to live this way? Couldn’t I just move on to another subject and be just as effective as an investigator and reporter? I weighed the idea for a long time. But there was a stubborn resistance in me. I didn’t like the idea of being intimidated. I’d be giving up an extremely good story. I honestly believed this was an important concern for everyone in the nation. I could see the momentum toward domestic terror building. I decided to go on.
One incident that severely affected the course of my reporting was the Oklahoma City bombing of April 1995. That ended up being an albatross around my neck. Less than six hours after the bombing I was asked on television whether I thought militant Islamic groups were involved. There was good reason for thinking they might be. The bombing, after all, was in Oklahoma City, where I had first encountered such militant groups in 1992. Several Hamas operatives were known to be living in the Oklahoma City area. At first federal law enforcement officials were suspicious themselves.
When asked on a news program, I responded that “federal law enforcement officials” were investigating the possibility that militant Islamic groups were involved. This was true. I also said that “this [was] done with the attempt to inflict as many casualties as possible” and that “this is not the same type of bomb that has been traditionally used by other terrorist groups in the United States other than the Islamic militant ones.” All this was interpreted as my saying point-blank that militant Muslim groups were involved.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the American Muslim Council (AMC), and other organizations immediately took offense. Then when Timothy McVeigh was arrested and it turned out domestic terrorists were responsible, Muslim groups claimed they were the real victims. “Surge in hate crimes against Muslims,” was the story on the front page of The New York Timesbased, I believe, entirely on unsubstantiated information fed to them by CAIR. The Boston Globe, The New York Times, ABC-TV, National Public Radioeven news outlets that had themselves originally reported that Muslims were among the suspects now took the position that I was the only one who had suggested this. I became persona non grata in many places, including at CBS, which had hired me less than twenty four hours after the bombing to be a consultant. They ended up blacklisting me for five years. Dan Rather contended, “It was Emerson who misled us.”
Still, the news media didn’t give up the story themselves. At one point Newsweek called up and said, “We’ll give you $10,000 to help write our cover story.” They were looking for a militant Muslim connection. “Save your money” I told them. “They didn’t do it.” As soon as the details of the McVeigh arrest emerged, it was obvious that he was responsible and had probably acted nearly alone. Up to that point I had suspected that Islamic radicals were involved. Now I realized I was wrong. I’ve never wavered from that since then, and I have refused to support the conspiracy theorists who insist that McVeigh himself was actually involved with Muslim groups. But to this day I regret my hasty comments.
Meanwhile, I continued to discover more information at the Investigative Project. People in law enforcement would regularly come to me with new data, records, and documents. The most disturbing were the calls I would get from federal law enforcement agents who had information and wanted to follow up, but were being prevented by their superiors who weren’t interested in these things. More and more, these disgruntled agents turned to us with information that they weren’t allowed to pursue themselves.
Our operations became more sophisticated and far-reaching. One of the unexplored mountains of evidence we inherited, for example, was the trial exhibits from the first World Trade Center bombing. Included were the records of thousands of phone calls made by the suspects to the Middle East and other parts of the world. We knew the individuals who were placing the calls, but we couldn’t tell who had received them. Yet it was obvious that this was the key to investigating how far the network of international terrorism had extended.
We divided the list of calls up country by country. Then, we engaged a number of Arabic speakers and started making cold calls. Every night at midnightwhen the tolls were low and it was daylight on the other side of the worldwe would begin dialing numbers in the Middle East. When someone picked up we would engage him in random, nondescript conversation. “How are you? How are things going? I’m calling from the U.S. Do you want to know what’s happening here?” One way or another we tried to get them to talk to us.
More than 49 out of 50 calls would be a dead end. The person answering would hang up or wouldn’t have any idea of what we were talking about. But that one in fifty proved to be a treasure trove of information. At one point we ended up talking to the son of blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the infamous Jersey City imam who plotted a day of terror for Manhattan. Another time we reached the spiritual leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Little by little it became obvious that all these groups were coordinating their effort in a worldwide network.
Then one day the phone rang, and we hit an absolute gold mine. The caller was a brave Sudanese who was a member of the Republican Brotherhood, a group opposed to Dr. Hassan al-Turabi’s fundamentalist regime in Sudan. He was now working as a plumber in Brooklyn. He was in the basement of a building and had just come across scores of boxes of old records that appeared to be the property of Alkhifa Refugee Center, also known as the Office of Services for the Mujahideen, the predecessor to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda international network. The records had apparently been moved there after the World Trade Center bombing from Alkhifa headquarters at the Al-Farooq Mosque on Atlantic Avenue. He wondered if we would be interested.
We immediately contacted the FBI in New York and Washington. To our utter amazement, they said they couldn’t do anything about it. The field agents were very interested but when they ran it up to their superiors, they were told it wouldn’t fly. We even smuggled out a few pages to pique their interest but the superiors would not budge. Then we got word that the documents were about to be moved or perhaps even destroyed in about five days.
So we decided to pull off our own covert operation. Our Sudanese contact went into the building at midnight to do his job carrying several large toolboxes. He then immediately emptied the toolboxes and filled them with documents. We met him at the rear of the building in a rented van. We grabbed the toolboxes, each containing about 4,000-5,000 documents, and raced off to a Kinko’s in Manhattan where we spent all night feverishly photocopying the material. Then we would race back to the building by 6:00 A.M. and return them to the plumber so he could put them back before the building owners showed up for work. We did this for three straight nights.
The papers contained financial records, address books, information about the fabrication of passports, and countless other materials showing the Alkhifa Refugee Center’s involvement in the worldwide jihad movement. When we returned to the building the fourth night, however, our contact didn’t show up. We waited and waited but by 7:00 AM we were very fearful that something had happened to him. We left and found out later that something had triggered the building owners’ suspicion and they had caught him. While we were waiting outside he was being questioned and threatened in the basement. He is a tough guy, however, and somehow got out of it. We ended up keeping the original records instead of copies. Altogether, we only retrieved about one-quarter of the information that was there, but it was great material. We got thousands of leads. Nonetheless, I still think it would have been much better had the FBI gone in.
Although I continue to live at an undisclosed location, I occasionally speak at universities and other public forums. The universities usually provide some form of security but there are never metal detectors. I’m always looking out for somebody who goes quickly into his jacket. One time at Ramapo Community College in New Jersey a group of Muslim protesters rushed the stage. For a brief moment I thought I was finished, but the police restored order. Another time I was speaking at Harvard Law School at a memorial for a twenty-year-old Brandeis University student, Alisa Flatow, who had been killed in Israel in a car bombing carried out by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The audience turned out to be 80 percent Muslim. No matter how many times I condemned the Jewish Defense League and Christian terrorists, they continued to bombard me with accusations that I was a racist and anti-Muslim. Up until that point I had thought militancy was a mind-set of impoverished and ill-educated people whose fervor was driven by their lack of opportunity in life. But this was an audience of privileged young peoplefuture doctors and lawyersand still they openly supported Hamas. This brought home to me that Islamic fundamentalism is a trans-class movement. Poverty and lack of opportunity have little or nothing to do with it. The real proof of militant Islam’s trans-class appeal can be seen in the support for the Islamic Fundamentalism among the unions representing doctors, lawyers, and scientists in Islamic countries and in the support for bin Laden in such wealthy countries as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait.
Even at my February, 24, 1998, testimony before a Congressional subcommittee on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing, I had a police escort to and from the hearing room. It was jarring to think that I needed police protection right in the halls of the Senate. Afterward the police escorted me to my car but that was the end of it. They said good-bye and left me on my own.
Less than a year ago, I participated in a seminar at a public agency in Washington where we spent time trying to imagine the worst possible terrorist calamity that could occur in the United States. Two basic scenarios were presented. One individual suggested that the Chinese would launch a nuclear attack using ballistic missiles. Everybody thought that scenario was the most likely. My suggestion was that we would be hit by a much lower-grade attack by Islamic fundamentalists on American soil. Moreover, I said, our response would be constrained because we would not want to offend the sensibilities of Islamic fundamentalist leaders and their groups. They were already establishing a demographic base in both the United States and Europe and would argue strenuously against any kind of effective response.
Unanimously, the other participants responded, “This could never happen.” First, they said, fundamentalists would never attack us here. Second, they knew that the U.S. would respond so horrifically if such an event did occur that we would wipe them off the face of the earth. Finally, they said, fundamentalists had no real motive to pull anything like this off.
These were very smart people, dedicated public servants. They had no axes to grind. They weren’t arguing the case for one group or another but were sincerely trying to evaluate America’s situation as far as international terrorism was concerned. Yet I walked out of that meeting and e-mailed a friend, “We’re doomed. It is beyond the official imagination of this government to conceive that we can be attacked. There is an underlying assumption that we are such good people that nobody would ever want to attack us here.” There was nothing venal in their attitude. It just meant our defenses were down. We were turning a blind eye toward the many possibilities for terrorist attack and the militants’ infrastructure already in place to help coordinate it. I wanted to grab those people by the lapels and shout, “Don’t you see how far this thing has gone already? Don’t you realize there are people in this country who hate America and everything it stands for and have absolutely no fear or compunction about doing something about it?”
Since September 11, 2001, everything has changedand yet nothing has changed. The only difference between February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001, is that there are 3,500-odd more people dead. We are still vulnerable. We have only a short time to prevent the next chapter from unfolding. This is the most important battle of our time. Today we still have a window of opportunity to prevent further devastation. But the window won’t be open for long.
TODAY, as I wheeled through southern Maryland, winding from Annapolis to Scotland Island and back to Washington with my wife in our Jeep Liberty Renegade, driving past so many American flags on display, some fresh and in full wave, others ragged and woefully ripe for its "dignified burning" which is in the officially proscribed act of retiring it, I realized once again that in my limited lifetime of fifty-one years, I have never personally known someone who has sacrificed his or her life in service to our nation, specifically in a military uniform.
I have never suffered the loss that so many in our nation and others have suffered in losing to an untimely death a dear relative or a close friend while performing active military service, partially because of an accident of birth, a time spanning from the Vietnam War, where I and my immediate generation and the one immediately preceding mine, were excepted by age or gender. While decendent from a family whose military tradition has waned since the American Civil War, the few family members and friends I have known who have indeed fought for American forces on foreign soil such as Iraq and Afghanistan have survived with honor. I am very proud of these men regardless of whether I appove or disappove of certain foreign policy choices of any administration. I feel inadequate to express my own gratitude to these living heroes and to those who did not make it back to their families intact, but I must. War is a wicked endeavor. But war often requires war to extinguish itself, just fire is often turned back with more fire.
To this end, I must repost the following essay by Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch:
Today is Memorial Day, and while Hugh grills the Jihad Watch burgers I thought I'd note that one of the reasons why the popular culture does not honor our fighting forces today or in general is that the politically correct mindset assumes that we have moved beyond all that. Conflicts don't ever need to be solved with wars, you see. All we need to do is understand each other a little better, show the opposition that we are really good fellows after all, win over a few hearts and minds, teach the children not to hate, and voila, all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well.
Unfortunately, in the real world, sometimes one may know someone else quite well, and see that he is a good fellow, and despite all the hand-holding and Kumbaya singing, still want to kill or subjugate for reasons of one's own, that don't proceed from the Kumbaya-singer's actions at all.
This is a point that all too many in Washington, at the highest levels, stubbornly refuse to grasp. It is axiomatic in the State Department, and in Europe, and at the UN, that all conflicts can be solved through negotiated concessions. This is so much a part of the air they all breathe that it would be unthinkable even to question it. No one would even think to ask, "What if we implement state-of-the-art hearts-and-minds initiatives, and conform to all their foreign policy and cultural demands, and they still hate us?" This cannot be. The non-Western man is just a reactor, not an actor. He has no imperatives of his own that might set him against us. He is, ultimately, at our mercy, and it is up to us and us alone to pacify him.
The unconscious paternalism of this is ironic, coming as it does from the most besotted of relativist multiculturalists, but in any case, the fact of Memorial Day, and the reality of those who died in this nation's conflicts, shows it all to be false. Sometimes there are disputes between peoples that can't be smoothed over by any amount of making nice. And then, if a nation does not have within it those who will fight and will die to defend it, it will perish.
Today those who believe we have moved beyond wars, beyond fighting, rule the day. Unfortunately, we face a foe who believes war and fighting is his religious duty. He will not be pacified. Our fight is not just military, although it has a military dimension, and a huge adjustment in our current foreign entanglements is needed to defend ourselves most effectively from this scourge. It is a matter of will. Of remembering that there is in Judeo-Christian civilization, and in all civilizations that are threatened by the jihadist imperative of Islamic supremacism, something worth fighting and dying for. Remembering that we are only here to fight this battle today because others fought and died throughout history for our nations, our people, and the principles for which we stand. Let us not just honor them today, but, each in our way, seek to emulate them.
By Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch:
Europe - NGOs have come a long, and very dismal way, since the dreams of Rene Cassin. They are filled as naturally with creatures of a certain worldview and bent as is the BBC World Service, or The Guardian. What is that worldview? That worldview consists of those who wish to criticize, in the main, what they see as the white, Western world, for not properly making their chief concern, and rescuing from their own misrulers often prompted by ideologies (such as Islam) that the members of those NGOs will never recognize as being the source of the misgovernment, the corruption and cruelty and waste that are such noticeable features of so much of what used to be called (thank god the phrase is falling out of fashion) the "Third World."
Nationalism for them is not acceptable if it is an impulse animating the residents of the advanced West. They are not allowed to take a special interest, have a special affection and tenderness for, their own countries, and histories. They are not allowed to worry about cultural continuity, and cultural continuity as being connected, possibly, to other kinds of continuity, including that of ethnic makeup. These are impermissible for that "white, Western world" even if perfectly permissible for everyone else (compare, for example, the policies toward immigration and immigrants in Japan, Korea, China, or the same policies toward non-Arabs, directed especially at black Africans, in Egypt, Libya, Chad, and Morocco).
The United States is not to remain a country. The United States is, rather, to be transformed, in the determined if unstated view of so many of the ideologues at NGOs, to be turned into, by slow degrees, into one great big...NGO.
The rest of the world is entitled to preserve itself. We, on the other hand, in North America and Western Europe and the outposts of the former British Empire, such as Australia and New Zealand, are required to give up whatever "local" patriotism, interest and pride in our national histories and cultures, and open ourselves permanently to the world.
Other countries can remain countries.
The United States, Canada, Australia, England, France, Italy, and the other countries of Western Europe, on the other hand, are not allowed to remain countries in that full sense. Their people are not allowed to maintain their own legal and political institutions and social arrangements, or render them less vulnerable to undermining from within by taking control of their own immigration policy. They are not allowed to fully defend themselves, and if they try...well, the NGOs will come down hard.
For those who now staff the NGOs have big plans for the West, big plans for Australia, Great Britain, Canada, and especially for the United States.
Yes, for the United States and other advanced "white, Western" countries (Japan doesn't count, nor South Korea, in this calculation) the futuree is clear.
They are to be transformed. They are to be stripped of that has given them their national identities, treated merely as geogrpahically identifiable places that should be permanently available to all those who wish to come, and those who wish to come will, in the main, be those from comparatively poor and often ill-governed neighbors (in the case of the United States, those neighbors include Mexico, Central America, and some but not all of the countries of South America), or from lands further away where the local despots, or locally-prevailing ideologies, explain the malgovernance -- but those who come from Muslim lands, places that are so unpleasnat and malfunctioning becuase of Islam unfortunately do not see things aright and "flee from Islam," and far from abandoning Islam (refugees from the Nazis or Communists hated Nazism, hated Communism), they bring it with them in their undeclared mental baggage, and unpack it right away.
According to the New Men who have infiltrated and taken over so many of the formerly respectable NGOs, la Lutte Continue, and the hostility they always felt toward their own Western world can now be plausibly, even respectably, channeled into their work at these NGOs, with their highly selective and tendentious indignation.
Their goal for the United States is clear.
The United States is not to remain a country. The United States is, rather, to be transformed, in the determined if unstated view of so many of the ideologues at NGOs, to be turned into, by slow degrees, into one great big...NGO.
From the grapevine, with a few added words for emphasis:
A man whose family was a part of the German aristocracy prior to World War II owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.
"Very few people were true Nazis, "he said," but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories."
We are told again and again by "experts" and "talking heads" that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.
Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.
It is the fanatics who march.
It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide.
It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave.
It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill..
It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque.
It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals.
The hard quantifiable fact is that the "peaceful majority" the "silent majority" is cowed and extraneous.
Communist Russia comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China's huge population, it was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel and bayonet. And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were "peace loving"? America's own history is certainly full of similar atrocities, executed by extremists, do-gooders, so-called rationalists, while others neither partook in the abominations, nor stopped them until it was too late for far too many. History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.
Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.