Think Again: Islamophobia as an offensive weapon

Concern for Muslim sensitivities prevents government officials from acknowledging the obvious.

Islamic Jihad Militants launch rocket  in Gaza 521 (photo credit: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Islamic Jihad Militants launch rocket in Gaza 521
(photo credit: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for the dismissal of New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and the appointment of an outside inspector-general to run the police force. CAIR and other so-called “mainstream” Muslim groups have a long-standing grievance with Kelly and the NYPD arising from a 2007 NYPD Intelligence Report entitled “Radicalization in the West: the Homegrown Threat” and the NYPD’s ongoing surveillance of radical Islamic organizations, including mosques.
But the immediate club being used to hammer Kelly is his participation in a documentary entitled The Third Jihad. The New York Times has devoted numerous news stories and two editorials to The Third Jihad, which is described as “anti-Islam” and “a dark film on US Muslims” whose producers seek to advance a pro- Israel agenda.
The Times coverage failed to mention the long roster of authorities interviewed for the film, including the director of the CIA under president Bill Clinton, James Woolsey, the first secretary of Homeland Security, Gov. Tom Ridge, and a host of former US government intelligence officials. The title The Third Jihad was provided by the most eminent living historian of Islam, Professor Bernard Lewis.
I wrote a long feature article on The Third Jihad when it first appeared two years ago, and interviewed producer Raphael Shore and narrator Dr. Zuhdi Jasser at length. So I have taken more than a passing in interest in the controversy.
Far from being an attack on Islam, the opening lines of the film state clearly: “This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are radical.” Jasser, a devout Muslim of Syrian descent and a former US Navy lieutenant commander, is the founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
He distinguishes between Islam as a private faith and Islam as a political doctrine mandating the worldwide imposition of Shari’a law.
So far, Kelly and his boss, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have tried to get past the immediate controversy through now familiar public penance rituals expressing regrets.
It has been left to others, most notably Woolsey and Ridge, to make the substantive case for the NYPD’s anti-terrorist policies. In an op-ed in The New York Daily News (and rejected by the Times), the two argue that the NYPD’s undercover terror prevention program, including intelligence-gathering within the Muslim community, has been one of the prime tools allowing the NYPD to foil several credible threats that have arisen from within the community. And given that even one successful terror attack in New York City could claims tens of thousands of lives, the NYPD cannot afford to decrease its intelligence-gathering activities.
THE TIMES omitted any discussion of the thesis of The Third Jihad. Jasser holds up a 15-page document at the beginning of the film, which we eventually learn is a Muslim Brotherhood manifesto for “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within,” through use of front groups, mosques and Islamic centers. The document was uncovered by the FBI in the course of its investigation leading up to the government’s successful prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation terrorist funding case.
Terrorism, intones Jasser, is only one tactic toward the Islamists’ goal of imposing Shari’a across the globe – a goal shared by many groups who are not themselves involved in terrorist activity. CAIR, which is specifically mentioned in the document, is one such group. CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, and the FBI broke off all relations with the group at the time.
Abdul Rahman Alamoudi, the founder of the American Muslim Council, who was invited to speak at an ecumenical service in the National Cathedral after 9/11, is another so-called “moderate” Muslim. He is shown in The Third Jihad boasting, “Either we do it now or we do it in a hundred years, but this country will become a Muslim country.”
The current controversy could itself be a chapter in The Third Jihad, which discusses the manner in which Islamist front groups constantly raise the specter of Islamophobia to suppress discussion of radical Islam.
And it works. Paul Berman writes in The Flight of the Individuals about how Western intellectuals have been induced to remain silent on such awkward matters as the historical link between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Nazis, and the Nazi inspiration for present-day Islamists.
Concern for Muslim sensitivities prevents government officials from acknowledging the obvious. After uncovering a plot to blow up the Canadian parliament and behead the prime minister, a police spokesman described the plotters as being drawn from a wide cross-section of society, while neglecting to mention that all were Muslim. Similarly, those plotting to blow up 10 commercial aircraft over the Atlantic were described only as British nationals of southeastern Asian descent.
Political correctness skews analysis. Dr. Walid Phares, formerly of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, laments in The Third Jihad that policymakers treat every issue as discrete and independent while failing to connect the dots. President Obama’s anti-terrorism advisor John Brennan, for instance, rejects any discussion of worldwide jihad. He speaks only of the battle against al-Qaida and its affiliates, while failing to recognize that al-Qaida is but one of many Muslim Brotherhood offshoots that share a command ideology, not a single command structure.
The 2010 National Security document pointedly omits any reference to radical Islam and speaks instead only of “violent extremists.”
The 80-page government report on the Fort Hood massacre laughably made no mention of the religious beliefs of Dr. Nidal Malik Hassan, who murdered 13 while shouting “Allahu Akhbar.” It concluded that “religious fundamentalism alone is not a risk factor.”
In congressional testimony, Attorney-General Eric Holder repeatedly refused to acknowledge any connection between the Islamic religious beliefs of the Fort Hood assassin, the Times Square Bomber, and the Christmas airplane bomber.
THE THIRD JIHAD details numerous ways in which America is being softened up for Islamic advance. In his interview, Kelly states that 18% of the prisoners in the New York State prison system convert to Islam while in prison. Prison chaplains receive little screening.
One Muslim former chaplain is filmed telling prisoners, “Brothers, be prepared to die, be prepared to kill. [T]his is history, this is the Koran, nobody can deny it... Read it in... the Koran... When you fight, you strike terror into the heart of the disbeliever.”
At least 30 compounds associated with Jamaat ul Fuqra, a radical Pakistani organization, mostly populated by converts to Islam while in prison, dot the American landscape. In a video obviously not made for public consumption, we watch practice in ambush tactics and bomb-making in one such compound.
Perhaps most chilling is the penetration of the American educational system from the top down. The Saudis have provided $20 million apiece to Georgetown University and Harvard. Many of the Saudi gifts to prestigious universities are styled as promoting Islamic-Christian understanding, which is ironic given that churches are banned in Saudi Arabia and even the possession of a Christian Bible is forbidden.
Saudi money funds many American mosques. According to a 2005 report of the Center for Religious Freedom, “Wahhabism [an extreme form of Islamic fundamentalism and the official religion of Saudi Arabia] is dominant in many American mosques.” Much of the official Saudi-supplied literature could be considered hate speech. A Saudi-sponsored Islamic academy in Virginia, for instance, used textbooks that promote violence against Christians, Shi’ite Muslims, and Jews.
Even more frightening is what is happening in American schools. Daniel Pipes told me three years ago, “Among [the Islamists’ techniques] is manipulation of textbooks at both the high school and college level. They play on the politically correct impulse to say nothing negative about non-Western cultures to achieve an air-brushed picture of Islam.” Last October, Tony Pagliuso, a parent in upscale Newton, Massachusetts, complained that the following statement in a text called The Arab World Notebook was pure propaganda: “Over the past four decades, women have been active in the Palestinian resistance movement. Several hundred have been imprisoned, tortured and killed by Israeli occupation forces since the latest uprising, ‘intifada,’ in the Israeli occupied territories.”
The school principal replied to Pagliuso’s complaint, “Next year we are planning to teach material that will be even more inflammatory to your sensibilities.” And the classroom teacher noted proudly that the Notebook had been supplied by the Outreach Workshop of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard. The Outreach Center, which is recognized as a National Resource Center by the US Department of Education, trains high school teachers on Middle East issues and provides free materials. Both the center and the outreach program are heavily funded by the Saudis. The outreach program is headed by Paul Beran, a prominent supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
Among other whoppers in the Notebook was this one: “There is no basis in Islam for the subjugation of women or their relegation to a secondary role.” Textbooks dealing with Islam regularly cite Islamic doctrine as if it were factual, omitting such qualifiers as “Muslims believe.” Schools bend over backwards to show Islam in a favorable light, often spending two weeks of a world religions unit on Islam and a day each on Christianity and Judaism.
Fortunately, we do not have to follow The New York Times‘s politically correct evasion of the issues raised by The Third Jihad. The documentary can be accessed for free at
The writer is director of Jewish Media Resources, has written a regular column in The Jerusalem Post Magazine since 1997, and is the author of eight biographies of modern Jewish leaders.