Monday, March 7, 2011

Jihad at the University of Central Florida

by Robert Spencer

Last week the Muslim Student Association (MSA) of the University of Central Florida invited the Imam Siraj Wahhaj to give an address on campus – funded by UCF’s Student Government Association. It was an invitation that raised no eyebrows: after all, Siraj Wahhaj is one of the most sought-after speakers on the Muslim circuit, and has addressed audiences all over the country. In 1991, he even became the first Muslim to give an invocation to the U.S. Congress. After 9/11, his renown as a moderate Muslim grew when he declared: “I now feel responsible to preach, actually to go on a jihad against extremism.” But with Siraj Wahhaj, as with so many other Muslim leaders in the U.S., things are not always as moderate as they seem.

When Siraj Wahhaj spoke at UCF, he was asked whether he would condemn Hamas and Al-Qaeda. Instead of answering directly, Wahhaj launched into a lengthy complaint against his having been designated a “potential unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. With obvious annoyance in his voice, Wahhaj complained that that designation essentially meant nothing; an audience member drew sympathetic laughter when she asserted that it meant that Wahhaj was “innocent.” Wahhaj did not explain to his UCF audience that he earned the designation by sponsoring talks in the early 1990s by the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, in mosques in New York City and New Jersey; Rahman was later convicted for conspiring to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993.

Apparently no one pressed Wahhaj about whether he condemned the jihad terror groups. Apparently also no one in the UCF audience asked Wahhaj how his view of Islam differed from that of Omar Abdel Rahman; however, if anyone had actually done so, probably Wahhaj would have supplied yet another windy non-answer, generating a great deal of righteous indignation from the Muslims in the crowd but little to nothing in the way of actual information.

Siraj Wahhaj’s contacts with the Blind Sheikh are not the only blots on his reputation as a “moderate.” He has warned that the United States will fall unless it “accepts the Islamic agenda.” He has also asserted that “if only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”

So why was such a man giving a student government-funded address at the University of Central Florida last week? And why was he ever invited to give an invocation to Congress? The fact that someone who would like to see the Constitution replaced has led a prayer for those sworn to uphold it is just a symptom of a larger, ongoing problem: the government and media are avid to find moderate Muslims — and as their desperation has increased, their standards have lowered. Meanwhile, American academia is so in thrall to multiculturalism that it is likely that few, if any, students or faculty at the University of Central Florida knew about Wahhaj’s Islamic supremacist statements and ties, or would have cared if they had known: to raise a protest against such a speaker would have been “Islamophobic,” violating every rule of the anti-American, anti-Western ethos that prevails on campuses today.

Nor does anyone at the University of Central Florida apparently know or care that the sponsoring group that brought Wahhaj in to speak on campus is also suspect. The Muslim Student Association was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that is dedicated in its own words, according to a captured internal document, to a “kind of grand Jihad” in the United States – one that involves “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” In the same document, the MSA is listed as a Brotherhood organization.

One might reasonably expect that a student group founded by members of the Ku Klux Klan would meet an icy reception from university officials on any campus in the United States today, and rightly so; but a Muslim Brotherhood organization on campus doesn’t seem to trouble anyone.

Siraj Wahhaj’s appearance at the University of Central Florida is just one of many such appearances by Islamic supremacists at mosques and Muslim student groups all over the country. That such a speaker with such a history would continue to be so popular among Muslims in America is telling; but is anyone paying attention?

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Robert Spencer

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