By James Zumwalt
As we face the most dangerous time in our history, there is something President Obama refuses to say about the threat confronting us.
So, too, does the person he selected to head the federal agency charged with responsibility for protecting our homeland—as does the person he selected as his national security adviser on counter-terrorism. The person he selected as our chief law-enforcement officer remains the most adamant about not saying it.
Meanwhile, a person with indisputable credentials as to the cause of Mideast terrorism and the threat it poses to our way of life risks his to tell America what our leaders will not.
Obama made clear in issuing his national security guidelines earlier this year that no reference was to be made to “Islam.” Although Islamic extremists use their religion as a vehicle for perpetrating violence upon non-Muslims and Muslims alike, forcing their fundamentalist beliefs upon all, Islam was not to be cited as a cause of such violence.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano strictly abides by this. Going even further, she opts not to use the word “terrorism” in describing the actions of Islamic extremists, instead calling such acts “man-caused” disasters so as to move away “from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.” (Such language is confusing, arguably lumping acts of terrorism in with non-terrorist acts, such as BP’s current “man-caused” disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.)
In May, John Brennan, Obama’s chief national security adviser for counter-terrorism, advised “describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie propagated by al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism, that the United States is somehow at war with Islam… Nor do we describe our enemy as jihadists or Islamists because jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself of one’s community.”
Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, was pressed during a House Judiciary Committee hearing following the successful Fort Hood attack and the failed Christmas day and Times Square bombing attempts on whether “radical Islam” could have been a motivator for these actions. No matter how many times the question was asked of him, Holder refused to give a direct response—refusing even to say the word “Islam” or any derivation thereof.
Obama and those whom he selected to confront the terrorist threat refuse to call it what it truly is. In an effort not to offend moderate Muslims or to provide al Qaeda with fodder for claiming the U.S. is at war with Islam, the Obama Administration steers clear of linking terrorism and Islam.
This policy defies logic as, globally, more than 15,000 terrorist jihad (i.e., linked to Islam) attacks have been committed by Muslims since 9/11. The leader of a Somali Islamist insurgent group that conducted the recent terrorist attacks in Uganda that killed 74 World Cup viewers, including an American, took responsibility claiming, “We will carry out attacks against our enemy wherever they are… No one will deter us from performing our Islamic duty.” The linkage between Islam and terrorism cannot be made more clear.
No one is better positioned to understand the true nature of the current threat to the West than Masab Hassan Yousef. Masab’s father, Sheik Hassan Yousef, was a founder of Hamas—the Palestinian Islamic resistance organization that now governs Gaza. Labeled a terrorist group by the U.S., Hamas for years encouraged suicide bombing attacks against Israel—although more recently has limited its violence to rocket and mortar attacks.
The sheik, now in an Israeli prison, is allegedly a more moderate voice among the Hamas leadership, preferring negotiation to violence. But, despite his influence, Hamas today is better known for the latter, with such violence directed not only against Israel but also against its own Muslim brothers of the opposition Fatah party.
A member of Hamas himself, Masab became uncomfortable with its violent charter.
Only 19, he decided in 1997 to risk his life, becoming a spy for Israel. He served in this capacity for a decade, providing Israel with intelligence that enabled it to prevent numerous suicide bombings and other forms of violence from being successfully carried out.
Once Masab went public with his spy role in an effort to educate the West about the threat, his father disowned him. He became a marked man—not only for betraying Hamas but for converting from Islam to Christianity. Living in the U.S., incredibly Masab found himself targeted for deportation by the Department of Homeland Security for his links to Hamas. He applied for asylum, for which he was deemed eligible by an immigration court last month, pending a routine background check.
Masab intends to continue speaking out on the terrorist threat. According to him, this involves educating Americans on the main cause of Mideast terrorism. While the Obama Administration remains in denial on the cause, he unhesitatingly says it is “Islam.”
“The problem in Islam is very clear if we look at the personality of the God of Islam,” explains Masab. “You will understand it is not the religion of peace… they believe in a God that gives them the authority to kill people in the name of liberation and resistance. But they are misunderstanding… They are deceived because they think they have the right to kill innocent people or kill anyone.” Accordingly, Masab condemns the whole of Islam—not simply the extremists’ interpretation of it.
It was this violent mindset, perpetrated by Islam, which caused the Arab states to declare war against Israel on May 15, 1948—the day after it was established as a state. This mindset was underscored earlier in Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1942 speech entitled, “Islam Is Not a Religion of Pacifists.” The ayatollah specifically states that Islam says, “Kill (non-believers)…People cannot be made obedient (to Islam) except with the sword…Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those (who say so) are witless.”
The lack of education on the part of the American public as to the cause of terrorism, particularly among the media, became evident earlier this month. Upon the death of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah—a leader of the Muslim extremist group Hezbollah in Lebanon, also designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government—Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior editor of Mideast Affairs, mourned his loss. In her post over his passing, she lamented he was “one of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.”
Fadlallah’s hatred for the U.S. and Israel is well documented—often praising acts of violence perpetrated upon either. It is sad the loss of thousands of U.S. service personnel fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan failed to generate similar emotions by Nasr. Although Nasr’s comment resulted in her leaving CNN, it underscores a basic naïveté within the media about the threat and from where it emanates.
Interestingly, Obama recently nominated someone—with views contrary to his on terrorism’s cause—to assume new responsibilities in the fight against it. In his 2006 counter-insurgency manual, Afghanistan’s new top commander Gen. David Petraeus clearly links extremism to Islam. But, as Petraeus’s presence on the counter-insurgency team for several years has yet to generate an Obama “awakening” as to terrorism’s Islamic linkage, it is doubtful one is pending.
Should his asylum request be ultimately granted, Masab Yousef believes he has an obligation to his country of residence, explaining, “I want to help increase the security awareness of the American public.” He is already doing a much better job of this than is the Obama Administration.