To al-Qaeda, America is the root of all evil and must be attacked whenever and wherever possible, period. The Brotherhood and al-Azhar agree with al-Qaeda’s condemnation of America’s nature, but, being more sophisticated, they also recognize that the U.S. has an unparalleled capacity to inflict damage if provoked, and is a country where Islamists (the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliates, in particular) have been fabulously successful both at raising money for terrorists and pursuing the sharia agenda by cultivating naive politicians such as Ms. Hughes, who was hardly singular in the Bush administration in her eagerness to pander to Islamic authorities.
Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 strikes prompted the U.S. to attack and occupy Muslim countries, as well as to scrutinize and prosecute the Islamist fundraising network on which Hamas (a Muslim Brotherhood terror wing championed by al-Azhar) is dependent. To Qaradawi and al-Azhar, this made 9/11 counterproductive: a miscalculation, not a blasphemy against Islam.
On that score, it is worth bearing in mind that al-Azhar has certified Reliance of the Traveller, the classic manual of sharia. Among other gems, Reliance defines jihad as “to war against non-Muslims,” and collects Koranic verses to corroborate this interpretation (e.g., Suras 2:216 and 4:89, respectively, “Fighting is prescribed for you,” and “Slay them wherever you find them.”) The al-Azhar certification appears at the beginning of the manual, right after a similar certification from the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a Muslim Brotherhood think-tank, whose founders and leading members have been intimately connected to the Brotherhood’s promotion of Hamas, as well as to Sami al-Arian and Abdurrahman Alamoudi — both convicted promoters of terrorism.
Finally, the AP grouses that “police also kept tabs on seven of the area’s Muslim student associations.” This attempt to suggest sinister NYPD spying on youngsters for no better reason than that they happen to be Muslims is laughable. What Goldman doesn’t tell you (but what I do recount in The Grand Jihad) is that the Muslim Students Association is the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s American infrastructure.
The MSA began in the Midwest in 1963, and there are now about 600 chapters in colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada. Its raison d’etre is to steep students in Islamist ideology, providing a rich recruiting pool for the Brotherhood (many of whose alumni, it is worth noting, move seamlessly along to terrorist organizations). The MSA encourages mastery of the writings of Brotherhood theorists Hassan al-Banna (the Brotherhood’s founder) and Sayyid Qutb (the thinker most admired by al-Qaeda and the Blind Sheikh for demanding holy war against regimes that fail to govern in accordance with sharia). Eventually, the MSA was officially subsumed into the Brotherhood’s most important American satellite, the Islamic Society of North America. ISNA was cited as an unindicted coconspirator by the Justice Department in the 2007–08 Holy Land Foundation case because of its well-documented fund-raising activities on behalf of Hamas.
Goldman doesn’t tell you any of this. He just says the police “define” the MSA as “a university-based student group, with an Islamic focus, involved with religious and political activities.” Well, sure, if you consider Islamist ideology to be religion and the replacement of American law with sharia law to be politics. But once they are aware of its program, most people recognize the MSA as a gateway to radicalization and thus, potentially, to “violent extremism.” The problem would be if police were ignoring the MSA.
But that, of course, is not the Obama way. As I’ve noted in recent columns, the Islamist apologists on whom the Obama administration relied in crafting its strategy maintain that there is not enough evidence to figure out what radicalizes Muslim youth. This is a thinly veiled jab at the NYPD, which responsibly undertook to study radicalization in 2007. The Obama strategy is to “delink” law-enforcement efforts to prevent violence from such studies — i.e., to pretend Islamist ideology is not a problem and to avoid offending the Muslim community leaders with whom the administration is anxious to “partner.”
Both the AP and the Obama strategy would have New York City abandon the intelligence-based counterterrorism that has worked remarkably well. Police would instead delegate their information-gathering functions to their “partners,” Muslim community leaders, many of whom harbor Islamist sympathies. Of course, these community leaders frown on traditional police investigative techniques such as the use of informants and the interrogation of arrested suspects. That is, the police would forfeit their ability to reach out beyond Islamist organizations and imams to rank-and-file Muslims — patriotic Americans who would like to help police identify potential problems, but who need to do it quietly for fear of being ostracized as traitors. And because the Obama program anticipates that the community “partners” would train the police to be culturally sensitive, what little the cops will be allowed to observe would be seen through the prism of the community leaders’ worldview — which is to say, sloughed off as innocuous religious and political activity.
Over time, police would learn almost nothing about what happens in communities with a history of supporting Islamists and rationalizing terrorism. Concurrently, the community leaders with whom they “partner” would become more powerful, strengthening their hand to pursue a strategy of Islamizing their enclaves without interference from the state. As Europeans will tell you, that’s how a country sprouts no-go zones, where police no longer enforce the civil law and where the society loses its sovereignty. That’s how a city gets to be Malmo.
— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.