Connecting the Dots
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas suicide bomber of the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, was not an “isolated extremist” as President Obama said in his first comment on the subject. Abdulmutallab may have been mentally disturbed and a social misfit like the Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 members of the U.S. military. However both Muslim terrorists had some very important things in common. Both had connections to a well-financed, Muslim jihadist network, al-Qaeda. But more importantly both were dedicated to the violent Islamist, jihadist ideology of eventually uniting the world under Islamic law, “Sharia”. A basic slogan of these jihadists is “Death to America, the Great Satan”. In Arabic that is “al-Mut ila Amreeka, Shaytani Atheem”. In the Farsi of Iran it is “Marg bar Amreekaw, Shaytani Bazorg”. Abdulmutallab and the Fort Hood shooter, as well as other less-notable, American terrorists in 2009, were Muslim jihadists trying to kill as many Americans as possible, strike terror into our hearts and disrupt our basic systems. While America is one object of jihadist hatred, all open, multi-religious, multi-ethnic and politically diverse societies in which women have significant roles and power, are also targets.
War on Al-Qaeda ?
Upon further information concerning Abdulmuttallab’s connections to al-Qaeda in Yemen, in his second address on the subject President Obama announced that the U.S. is at “war with al-Qaeda”. It had come to light that both Abdulmutallab and Hasan had advice and mentoring from an al-Qaeda leader in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki.
Al-Awlaki was born April 22, 1971 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His family returned to Yemen where he resided from age 4 until he was 20. He returned to the U.S. in 1991, received a B.S. degree from Colorado State Univ. in ’94 and later an M.A. in Education from San Diego State University. Al-Awlaki served as an Imam (religious leader) in a mosque in Fort Collins Colorado and then of the Masjid ar-Ribat mosque in San Diego from 1996-2000. He was also Vice President for the Charitable Society for Social Welfare (CSSW) there, a group which FBI agents and federal prosecutors have described as a “front organization to funnel money to terrorists,” and one being used to support Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
According to FBI witnesses, al-Awlaki’s sermons were attended by three of the 9/11 hijackers, as well as by the accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan. From late 2008 until mid-2009, US intelligence intercepted at least 18 emails between Hasan and al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki praised Hasan’s actions on his website. A number of sources also reported contacts between al-Awlaki and Abdulmutallab, the “Christmas Bomber” suspect mentioned above. Recent media reports say that, according to Abdulmutallab, al-Awlaki was one of his trainers and his recruiter.
An American Preacher ?
While he was in San Diego, witnesses told the FBI that al-Awlaki had a close relationship (spiritual advisor) with two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar. Authorities say the two hijackers regularly attended the mosque al-Awlaki led in San Diego, and that al-Awlaki had many closed-door meetings with them. (Did al-Awlaki know about 9/11 in advance?) In early 2001, he began serving as Imam at the Dar-al-Hijrah mosque in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, and was also the Muslim Chaplain at George Washington University. Shortly after this, his sermons were attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers and by Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. Under the increasing pressure of FBI investigations, he left the US for Yemen in early 2002. With the al-Qaeda connection now established, President Obama announced that we are at war with al-Qaeda. But is al-Qaeda the extent of our problem? How was al-Awlaki (not to mention many other Islamist, anti-American, hate-preachers) acceptable as a religious leader in prominent mosques in America?
War on Islamist Terrorism
In the last issue of our newsletter, “Understanding Militancy and Islam”, the lead article was entitled Homeland Insecurity. It was published prior to the attempted Christmas bombing of the plane which finally landed in Detroit with the bomber, Abdulmutallab, under control. That issue focused attention on the failure of the Homeland Security Director, Janet Napolitano, to show concern for the possibility that Muslim, jihadist terrorists represented a threat to the U.S. It called attention to Director Napolitano’s, April 2009, directive to law enforcement officials around the country concerning “homegrown terrorism”, that they should be on their guard against returning war veterans who might turn out to be more Timothy Mc Veighs (the Oklahoma City bomber), and various dissenting political groups, such as right-to-life and “tea-party” demonstrators. She had failed to mention the most obvious candidates, jihadists or Muslim fanatics of any kind, in spite of their history of world-wide terrorism for the last 30 years.
The article also faulted previous administrations for gravitating toward the similar, politically correct tendency to avoid any mention of the religion of the perpetrators or their religious justifications for their acts of intentional mass-murder of civilians and destruction of infra-structure. This lack of confidence in and attempted control of American public opinion in these matters, by government and many media institutions, is a grave disservice to our public, especially the millions of good American Muslims fitting into and enhancing our society. We are not distinguishing between normal Muslims and “Islamists”.
Phoenix physician, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, is a devout Muslim born of Syrian immigrant, Muslim parents, raised in the U.S., who served in the U.S. Navy. His web site, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, describes people he calls “Islamists” and the danger they present for America and the world in general. In a CNN interview just after the Christmas-bomber incident, he was asked what his estimate would be of the number of jihadists in the world Muslim population. He quickly estimated that to be 3%. If we put the total Muslim population at 1.3 billion, the jihadists ready to commit mass murder and die for their cause would be 39 million in his opinion.
More startling was Dr. Jasser’s estimation of the number of dangerous Muslims, other than jihadists, who are working quietly on behalf of “political Islam” to bring back the rule of Islamic law (Sharia) over the whole world. This number he puts at a much higher percentage. These individuals and groups he describes with the term “Islamists”. In America, these “Islamists” do not accept the legitimacy of our many religions and philosophies of life nor our constitution. They consider it their duty to establish “Sharia” law and the state religion of Islam. But do our media and government understand the differences between normal American Muslims and Islamists, whether jihadists or political Islamists? American leaders apparently have little or no idea and rarely discuss the subject openly.In an article in the Arizona Republic for Jan. 9, 2010, Dr. Jasser wrote, “The crux of our mission is that the ideology of political Islam (Islamism) is the root cause of extremism that threatens Americans’ security as well as the faith of American Muslims”. The political correctness of our media and government leaders are inhibiting the open discussion of these important analyses of our present crisis.