Editor’s note: Below is a distinguished panel discussing the Jihad in the United States at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend held recently (Nov 18-21) at Palm Beach.
Moderator: I’m Frank Gaffney. I run the Center for Security Policy. And this is — thank you. This is actually the high point of my year, getting to be here at Restoration Weekend, as I’m sure it is for most of you. Partly because of the caliber of the people up here and partly because of the caliber of the people out there, and the opportunity to interact and actually, literally, to restore each other, it is just so important. And I appreciate beyond words those of you who are making that possible.
I’m going to say a few words about the topic and then introduce our presenters. And then we’re going to move quickly, I hope, through their remarks, so that we have at least a little bit of time for Q&A. My other protest is there isn’t nearly enough time for Q&A to do justice, especially when we’ve got four panelists. But there’s a lot to cover. So let’s get on with it.
I want to introduce a book that has just been published. It’ll be on sale tonight. I commend it to you strongly. It is entitled “Sharia — The Threat to America.” It is the product of a group that we sponsored at the Center for Security Policy. We’ve called it the Team B2, a reference to an earlier exercise in competitive analysis, as it was called, brought to us by the first Team B.
It was a second opinion that was solicited from a group of people who were very skeptical about the idea of dealing with a totalitarian ideology expressly determined to destroy us for what was then known as detente. Other terms that have been used to describe the process is “appeasement,” “engagement.” But détente was the topic of the day.
And this second opinion proved to be vastly more accurate and importantly was taken up by Ronald Reagan and used as an authoritative basis for challenging then President Jerry Ford in 1976; subsequently Jimmy Carter in 1980, and then, of course, taking on and defeating the Soviet Union in the days that followed.
This study, I hope, by Team B2 will be at least as useful, as influential, as decisive, as was the first. Because once again, we face a totalitarian ideology that is committed to our destruction. Once again, we have a government that thinks the right way to deal with it is through — well, they don’t call it détente, but they do call it engagement. I would call it appeasement, or submission.
And what we’re going to talk about today is the dangers associated with, first of all, not understanding that we are confronting such a foe; not being cognizant that in addition to the violent kind of jihad, they are at least as assiduous and as adept as the waging of terrorism, through what Robert Spencer, our first speaker, has called the “stealth jihad.”
And what we’ve talked about at length in this book, and what I hope we’ll at least touch on here, is the successes that particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, doing business in this country under the names of dozens of other organizations — like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR; the Islamic Society of North America, ISNA; the North American Islamic Trust, NAIT; the Muslim Students Association, MSA; the Muslim American Society — well, you get the idea.
In other words, actually, we know from a Muslim Brotherhood strategic plan — which is helpfully reproduced in its entirety as an appendix in this book — that every single Muslim American organization of any prominence at all in this country today is a Muslim Brotherhood front. And it has in common with the other fronts the mission that is described in this document — to destroy Western civilization from within, by its own miserable hand — that of the [brothers]. That, in short, is what we’re up against. And the longer we persist in thinking it’s not, the longer we indulge in the idea that somehow we can mitigate whatever risk there is by simply giving them what they want, the greater our peril becomes.
We’re going to have several folks, who’ve thought and written and been active on these topics for some time, address them and develop them, I hope briefly, in the minutes to follow.
We’re going to start with Robert Spencer. You have bios for all these people, at least short ones. So I’m not going to repeat them, except to say — Robert is a national treasure. His Jihad Watch is an indispensable resource for monitoring the sorts of things that we’re talking about today and that I know you’re all concerned about. His latest book — I think it’s the latest book, “Stealth Jihad” — not the latest book, I can’t keep up. One of his latest books, “Stealth Jihad,” is really an extraordinary prism through which to view all this, and I commend it to you.
We’ll then hear from S.E. Cupp, who will be talking a bit about the experience of a New Yorker in connection with all of this. S.E. is a columnist with the New York Daily News. She’s also the author of “Losing Our Religion.” And we’ll get a sense from her as to what it means when we fail to understand the nature and threat of jihad and act against it.
Mark Thiessen will come next. He is well known to all of you, I think, from his service to our country on Capitol Hill and in various executive branch functions including as a speechwriter for George W. Bush. He is the author of “Courting Disaster,” a tremendously insightful assessment of how we got to where we are today, specifically with respect to the inadequacies of the way we’ve been doing intelligence and interrogations of some of these terrorists, especially under the Obama Administration.
And finally, Karen Lugo — who is the Orange County Chapter president of the highly esteemed Federalist Society and a professor at Chapman College, Chapman University School of Law — will be sort of the cleanup batter, talking a bit about how we wage war against these guys with the greatest effect.
So with that, we will open the floor up to Robert Spencer.
Part 2 of video: Click Here.
Robert Spencer: Thank you very much. I appreciate the over-generous introduction, and especially actually the mention of the book “Stealth Jihad.” Because when I wrote “Stealth Jihad” in 2008 — two books since then, if you’re in the market — but anyway, “Stealth Jihad” is subtitled, “How Radical Islam is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs.” And it’s about what Frank was just outlining here briefly — that there is a concerted effort by Muslim Brotherhood front organizations in the United States to bring elements of Islamic law into the United States — Sharia — into the United States; and to enforce the principle that where Islamic law and American law conflict, it’s American law that has to give way — and that, in other words, we face a cultural, societal, political, civilizational challenge that is much larger than just the threat — that is also of course very real — that something could blow up in another major terror attack.
When I wrote the book, there was very little, if any, awareness of this issue at all, and of this aspect of the jihad problem in general. John McCain and Barack Obama were fighting a Presidential campaign, and they both spoke — actually, very seldom at all — but sometimes they would speak about terrorism, and the threat of another terror attack in the US. But they never spoke — and neither did any other politician anywhere — about the stealth jihad, about the Sharia imperative in the United States.
Now, two years later, all that has completely changed. And the title of this panel is “After the Mosque — the Jihad in the US.” I assume that that means the Ground Zero mosque. And if it doesn’t, it does now. Because the Ground Zero mosque is the single issue that has brought into the public awareness the stealth jihad in the US.
And what we had in that was — look, in a certain sense, we lost the battle. The mosque is going to be built. There’s no legal hurdle to it, there’s no politician against it. All of the media, all of the New York political elites — they’re all for it. There’s nothing stopping it.
Now, of course, nobody knows the future. It’s not built yet. It’s not over till it’s over. But right now, there’s nothing in the way. However, in winning that victory, as always, the Islamic supremacist groups in the United States — the ones that Frank named and many others that are allied with them — suffered a defeat. They always overreach. And every time they win, they lose.
And so, let me explain to you for a moment how it is that they lost. Now, all over the country, people are waking up and protesting mosques. Sometimes they’re doing it in ways that are wrongheaded. And actually, my colleague in protesting the Ground Zero mosque, Pamela Geller, and I developed a guide for fighting against mosque initiatives. And I think that that’s something that we are going to be working on also in the future to try to focus some of these protests. Because a lot of them are off the track. But just the fact that they exist is a positive sign.
The Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was presented, the Ground Zero mosque imam, as a great moderate and as a leader of an initiative that was designed to sew goodwill and harmony after 9/11, and to reverse, in his own words, what happened on 9/11. And yet, the more we found out about him, it came out — one after the other — more and more revelations that he was pro-Sharia, that he had openly agitated for Sharia.
He openly agitated for Sharia in his book. He called for restrictions on the freedom of speech. He refused to denounce Hamas as a terrorist group. He has ties to a foundation that funded Osama bin Laden. He has ties to a group that was responsible for the jihad flotilla against Israel that was sent from Turkey. And so all these things came out.
Also, his fanatical and absolutely adamantine immovability about this issue was in itself revealing — that he was all about harmony and reconciliation, building bridges, peace and understanding; and yet, Donald Trump came and offered him something like twice the market value for the building — he wouldn’t move. The Russian — the leader of the Russian Chess Federation came and offered him some exorbitant amount for the building — he wouldn’t move.
He was appealed to by the Archbishop of New York and by other leading authorities in the area to move, out of harmony and goodwill and building bridges and understanding, and everything he was supposed to be about, and he wouldn’t.
And in that was revealed the stealth jihad agenda — that it is intransigent, uncompromising. It is always pushing for concessions on our part and never willing to give a thing on their part, while adopting a pose of let’s build bridges and have cooperation and interfaith harmony and understanding, but we’re the only ones that always have to be on the giving side. And now people are becoming aware of that.
And so, all these things are working to the good. If that mosque goes up, it will be a monument to the victory that the jihadis achieved on 9/11, and people are aware of that. And if that mosque goes up, it will be a monument to how even the moderate Muslims won’t budge an inch to have any kind of cooperation or real harmony with non-Muslims in American society. But they are, as I said at the beginning, pushing the agenda that Islamic law always trumps American law, and that the Americans are always the ones who have to give way.
And so we have these mosques now, and these protests, all around the country. And there was one in Tennessee. And you know, their hearts are in the right place, and I don’t mean to criticize them. But when they said that Islam is not a religion and challenged the building of the mosque on that basis, it was a strategy to fight the stealth jihad that is understandable. And certainly they’re correct in a sense — Islam is a religion, but it is more than a religion; it is a political and social system, and an intransigent and supremacist one that must dominate and not be dominated, and must always have a superior position in any society. Every society that has brought Muslims in has brought Sharia in. Sharia comes with Muslims. They’re not separable.
And so, these things being the case, I understand where they were coming from, but we have to fight smarter. And now that awareness is being raised, we need to hit on what Frank was adumbrating earlier — that all these groups are Muslim Brotherhood groups. And probably, the local mosque going up is being built by a group that has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, is a Muslim Brotherhood front.
And so the first thing is to go after that and say, You are bringing in an organization that is dedicated, in its own words, to eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house. And you’re bringing it into your neighborhood.
And you know, we did that at the Staten Island mosque initiative. Pamela Geller and I went to a hearing of the people who were building the mosque. And the Muslim American Society was there. The Muslim American Society is the leading Muslim Brotherhood group in the US.
And so, I got up and asked a question — you know, you’re Muslim Brotherhood. That’s the Muslim American Society, that’s amply documented. So are you interested in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within? And do you think that Hamas and Hezbollah are doing wonderful work, like the Imam Mahdi Bray said, when he spoke in 2000? And he’s the leader of the Muslim American Society. And then the guy gave this windy non-answer that thoroughly exposed the thing. And I’m not saying that we singlehandedly brought down the initiative, but it woke people up. And there is no mosque going up on that place in Staten Island.
So I will stop there, Frank. It’s 10 minutes exactly. Every victory that they have won is a defeat. The awareness of the stealth jihad is greater than ever. And if we continue now to fight in a smart and careful strategic way, we can defeat them and roll this back.
Thanks very much.
Moderator: You get a sense of the intractability of Robert Spencer’s opposition from this little exchange. We were tracking actually pretty closely. Thank you so much, Robert. And now S.E. Cupp.
S.E. Cupp: Hi. Thanks for having me. I’m honored to be on this panel. I will confess, I have to jet right after this. And you won’t believe me if I tell you why. But the reason is tomorrow is opening day for deer hunting in New York, and I cannot miss it. My 12 gauge would be really sad. But no, I’m thrilled to be here, wish I could stay longer.
I want to talk about being a New Yorker. And not just today, but for 10 years, which means you can do the math. I was there on 9/11, and we all — all New Yorkers have their stories to tell. And I won’t go into mine. It’s personal and, you know, still very emotional. It’s an emotional experience. New Yorkers don’t need reminding every year to never forget. Because we don’t. And frankly, I live blocks from Ground Zero. I’m reminded every single day, when I walk by that site.
And it’s still a very raw experience. And I don’t think you have to be a New Yorker to appreciate how intense and tragic and monumental that experience was. I don’t think that I feel it any more than you people do. But there is a personal relationship with that spot in New York that we have to experience every day.
And when I wrote about the mosque going up, I was arguing against a media that framed the debate incorrectly, totally inaccurately. For the media, the debate was about rights. And actually, no one I know that was talking about the mosque had any issue with the right of someone to put it there. That was rote. That was understood. The debate actually was about sensitivity and good common sense, which is a debate no one in the media really ever wants to have. Because that would require discussing morality, which is — what is that? The media has no clue. So there’s no way to talk about morals.
But it’s weird to me — and this is what I wrote about — that this is such a new phenomenon. Because if you remember after Columbine, for example, there was a big to-do over the NRA coming to Littleton, I think just 10 days after Columbine, to hold their annual conference, convention. And a lot of people were, I think, rightfully upset by that. They said it’s too soon, it’s too close. You had people on the left, people in the media, and the families, saying, Please don’t do this now. Not here, not right now.
And the NRA held their convention anyway, but it was scaled down. That was an issue of common sense and sensitivity. If we could have that debate then, I’m not sure why we can’t have this debate now. Why can’t we talk about — and I’m an NRA card-carrying member. But I think that the families were right to make that request, to make that plea. It wasn’t on the grounds of you don’t have the right to do it. They did, and they did it. It was about common sense and sensitivity.
And I think the mosque issue is very much the same. It’s an issue of common sense and sensitivity. And as a New Yorker who lives just blocks from there, I can tell you that I think it’s insensitive. I know that’s not a glamorous kind of debate to have — sensitivity, morality — not very sexy, I know. But I don’t know why we can’t have it.
Getting back to the media — if you recall, right after the Ford Hood massacre, the media framed that debate inaccurately as well. I remember, I was going on one of the news shows that day, that night. And I was in the green room with some leftish pundits, who said, “Now, let’s not rush to conclusions here. He might have just been a disgruntled employee.” Right, that’s why he went in shouting “Allahu Akbar!” Because he was just a disgruntled employee.
You heard the same kind of rationalization from Mike Bloomberg after the Times Square bombing. He said, “Well, he could just be some guy who’s angry about healthcare.” Right. Like he’s a Tea Partier. Right.
The debates are framed badly not just by the Left, not just by the Obama Administration, not just by Eric Holder. Thanks for the Galani ruling, by the way. Awesome. Two hundred eighty-four acquittals. Great.
But it’s framed badly by the media. So I went on, you know, the news that night talking about Fort Hood. And I said, “I don’t think we have to dance around this at all. Take your kid gloves off, and let’s have the actual conversation.” If we can’t name the enemy or talk about who the enemy is, in a very grownup way without our gloves on, then this is only going to get worse. And it’s actually going to get dangerous.
I mean, when our Secretary of Homeland Security won’t even say the word “Islamic extremism,” and it’s stripped out of our security documents, that’s a huge problem. And it’s a problem that the media is exacerbating. And they’re doing it in this mosque issue, they did it after Fort Hood, they do it after every sort of terrorist incident. They go overtime, work overtime, to frame this any way but the way that it actually is.
And it’s a double standard that if you — you know, if you’re Christian you recognize immediately. Because the media has absolutely zero problems going after Christians and Christian extremists. You know, fanatical, right-wing fundamentalists. No problems.
So it’s a debate that needs to be reframed. And I think there are a lot of well-meaning people on the right and a lot of well-meaning people in the media who are working hard on reframing this debate. But we have to call a spade a spade. We have to use our language correctly, and hold people accountable. And every time someone calls a terrorist attack a manmade disaster, you know, we have to hold them accountable. And we have to do it, you know, strongly and with a lot of fight behind it. Because they’re — frankly, they’re winning.
Lastly, I am not as sanguine as Robert is about this mosque going up. I think, actually, there’s a number of lawsuits that I’m aware of that are sort of just waiting to be filed. And I think if we can keep this debate going, and we can call a spade a spade, then I think we have a chance of defeating it down there. I really do.
And we have to keep fighting. I know it’s not the main topic in the news right now. But we have to make it a constant topic. It’s going to be up to all of us.
Anyway, thanks for having me. And you know, happy hunting, if you guys are going.
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