Saturday, January 19, 2008

FBI and Islamists

FBI and Islamists? Outrageous? I'll let you in on a secret - The Israeli Mossad had a man inside the Syrian government. He was hanged unfortunately. It's called "humint."
Does it occur to Emerson that this is a way of understanding and infiltrating organizations, as well as a way to win hearts and minds?
FBI's Latest Outreach Outrage
by Steven Emerson
IPT News Service
November 7, 2007

Much has been written about the U.S. government's current bout of schizophrenia in its outreach to the American Muslim community, specifically related to the Department of Justice. While federal prosecutors in Dallas have labeled several Islamist organizations as unindicted co-conspirators – describing them as front groups for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood - in the terrorist financing trial against the Holy Land for Relief and Development (HLF), the FBI is meeting with the very same groups to hold outreach events and the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ is setting up booths at their conferences. 

As wrongheaded and shortsighted as these policies are, they do not hold a candle to a recent outreach event held by the FBI's Detroit field office at the end of last month. As reported in the Detroit Free Press (see: Detroit's FBI chief: Violence extremism cuts across religions), two top FBI officials from that office "spoke to about 50 Muslims inside the Islamic Organization of North America, or Tanzeem-e-Islami." The Free Press described the organization as merely "a Sunni mosque with a primarily Pakistani congregation" and tells us that the meeting was nothing more than "part of an effort by the FBI to reach out to Muslims and other communities."

While outreach to the Muslim community remains an important endeavor, officials at the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have become far less discerning in determining who the gatekeepers and spokesmen for the American Muslim community should be.

Take this recent meeting with Tanzeem-e-Islami, a group founded in Pakistan in 1975 and headed by a man named Dr. Israr Ahmad. The FBI might be unaware, but Ahmad is often credited with initiating the vicious rumor, spread throughout the Muslim world, that Israel was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. On the heels of the attacks, he sent faxes to various U.S. mosques and Islamic centers, stating:

The secret Israeli service Musad [sic] orchestrated these terrorist attacks ... [which] are a vital link in the chain of events that the Jews are undertaking to fulfill their dream of world domination.

It turns out that Dr. Ahmad is a rather prolific writer on such topics, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories permeate his writing. Canada's National Post reported in 2006 that, according to Ahmad:

Islam's renaissance will begin in Pakistan … because the Arab world is living under subjugation. Only the Pakistan region "has the potential for standing up against the nefarious designs of the global power-brokers and to resist the rising tides of the Jewish/Zionist hegemony."

And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Ahmad's opinions about Jews. Also reported in the National Post:

Another of his books repeats the Jewish conspiracy theories popular among neo-Nazis, claiming that Jews have "a deeply ingrained tendency to conspire and to maneuver things surreptitiously for their own gain."

The Jews exert a "wicked web of control and exploitation" through their ownership of banks, insurance companies and stock exchanges, he claims.

He compares Jews to parasites, calls the Holocaust "Divine punishment" and foresees the "total extermination" of Jews at the hands of Muslims.

Ahmad lives in Pakistan and didn't attend the meeting. But what's the best that can be said about the FBI, whose officials meet with members of a group founded by such a hate-filled man?

Ahmad's views are not limited to anti-Jewish rhetoric. He's also a leading advocate of Islamic supremacy and the revival of the Caliphate. A simple trip to the Islamic Organization of North America's website would have led the FBI to articles calling for this. Some of the links are now defunct (perhaps due to bad press from the National Post), but their content can be judged clearly by their titles. According to the National Post, the Tanzeem-e-Islami's "goal is to establish the system of social justice of the Caliphate [Islamic state] firstly in Pakistan and then in the whole world," and that Ahmad's "ideal state" would include the following three principles:

"(1) Sovereignty belongs to Almighty Allah alone; (2) No legislation can be done at any level that is totally or partially repugnant to Koran and Sunnah, and; (3) Full citizenship of the state is for the Muslims only."

And Dr. Ahmad is not shy about his objective. An official bio states:

For the last forty years or so, Dr. Israr Ahmad has been actively engaged not only in reviving the Qur'an-centered Islamic perennial philosophy and world-view but also reforming the society in a practical way with the ultimate objective of establishing a true Islamic State, or the System of Khilafah.

And Tanzeem extremism is not an abstract threat. There are real time examples on North American soil. Just last month, the New York Times reported on an Islamic extremist in North Carolina, 21-year old Samir Khan, in an article titled, "An Internet Jihad Aims at U.S. Viewers." As reported in the Times, before hooking up with Tanzeem, Khan:

[m]irrored his teenage peers, from their slang to their baggy pants, until August 2001 when, at age 15, he said, he attended a weeklong summer camp at a mosque in Queens, which was sponsored by a fundamentalist but nonviolent group now known as the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA).

"They were teaching things about religion and brotherhood that captivated me," Mr. Khan said. He said he went back to school knowing "what I wanted to do with my life: be a firm Muslim, a strong Muslim, a practicing Muslim."

And now Khan is a leading jihadi webmaster. And Dr. Ahmad would be proud of Khan, as Ahmad himself came to the United States to spread his radical version of Islam, speaking at a conference sponsored by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in 1995 – the same group that's listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF Hamas fundraising trial, and whose 2007 convention in Illinois included a booth sponsored by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

At the 1995 conference, Ahmad reportedly told the audience, "The process of the revival of Islam in different parts of the world is real. A final showdown between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world, which has been captured by the Jews, would soon take place. The Gulf War was just a rehearsal for the coming conflict." Ahmad said that all Muslims, including those in the room and the rest of the American Muslim community, should be ready for just such a battle.

Tanzeem-e-Islami member and student of Ahmad, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, was the "prayer leader" at the Al-Rahman Islamic Center and alleged spiritual leader of a 17-member cell that purchased three tons of ammonium nitrate to bomb several targets in Ontario including the parliament building in Ottawa, and the CN Tower and Canadian Security and Intelligence Service offices in Toronto. The arrests of Abdul Jamal and his followers were a part of a series of raids in Europe and North America – that began in Bosnia with the arrest of a two-man cell charged in a plot to attack the British embassy in Sarajevo – all connected to a worldwide Internet terrorism network with links to al Qaeda in Iraq, among other terrorist elements.

Tanzeem-e-Islami members have also partnered with the Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Muslim American Society (MAS), whose President was forced to resign in September from his appointment on the Virginia's Commission of Immigration, when his radical speeches were posted on the Internet. The groups issued a joint press release in 2004 discussing their "unity of purpose." As further evidence of their cooperation, recently, both groups became members of an outfit calling itself the Northern California Islamic Council.

Exacerbating this abject ignorance of some FBI officials are the remarks by Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena to Tanzeem-e-Islami members describing the dangers of extremists in every religion. According to the Free Press, Arena told the assembled audience, "There are plenty of people out there in my faith, the Christian faith, who use these extremist views to support their thoughts on racial superiority, be it the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis, Aryan Nation, all these people, these groups...they're all based on a religious view." So aside from providing an Islamic supremacist sect with more ammunition to justify its own anti-Western views, what exactly is Arena hoping to accomplish with his meeting?

Ironically, Agent Arena could not have been more oblivious to the nature of the group he was addressing. The same story states, "Arena said after the meeting that in `every religion, you have individuals who try to hijack the faith...the Muslim faith, the Jewish faith, the Christian faith.'" In case the examples of Ahmad's hatred and Islamic supremacy listed above are not enough to convince Agent Arena just who the hijackers in this scenario are, here are some more of Dr. Ahmad's religious stylings:

In an article titled, "Why Israel Is Unacceptable," Ahmad refers to Israel as a disease, asserting:

Pakistan was born nine months earlier than Israel. In my opinion this was not a coincidence. For, in accordance with a saying of the Prophet (SAW) - "Allah (SWT) has not created a disease without creating its cure" - Pakistan was created as an "antidote" to the state of Israel and will face up Israel in the final confrontation of Truth and falsehood.

And he engages in more of his trademark, virulent anti-Semitism, writing:

It is a historical fact that Jews have always exploited their friends and allies to their own advantage.

Dr. Ahmad delves further into Nazi rhetoric, informing his readers that:

[t]he Jews have exploited the Protestants to accomplish most of their ill-conceived objectives, such as: the promotion of secularism and the establishment of interest-based banking system. The banking system was used as a bait to clutch the whole of Christian world into the jaws of interest-based lending and, thus, into perpetual debt.

And, unsurprisingly, he views the Arab-Israeli conflict through a, some may say, "hijacked" religious lens:

We need to understand that the conflict over Palestine is not between the Arabs and Israel, instead, it is between Muslims and Jews.

Lest FBI officials claim that the members of Tanzeem-e-Islami should not be held responsible for the hate-filled rantings of its leader, a Tanzeem-e-Islami publication calling for the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate titled, "Why Tanzeem-e-Islami ?" (published in Flushing NY in 1997), has a page for a signed "Oath of Allegiance For Joining Tanzeem-e-Islami" which includes a "pledge to Dr. Israr Ahmad, Ameer of Tanzeem-e-Islami."

It seems obvious that many government officials are hardly discerning when it comes to decisions regarding Muslim outreach and partnership programs. After all, headquarters-directed FBI outreach policies, of which this incident is symptomatic, require routine meetings and cooperation with members of Muslim Brotherhood front groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and ISNA. Even so, the Detroit field office's meeting with a Tanzeem-e-Islami chapter stands out as highly dubious, given its founders' unapologetic brand of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.

Meeting with organizations such as the Islamic Organization of North America accrues no benefits to the FBI and only serves to empower extremists such as Ahmad in his quest to spread his puritanical, hateful, and intolerant ideology. These FBI outreach policies imposed by headquarters are undermining our national security by reaching out to radicals in our midst.

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