by Robert Spencer
Abdel Hameed Shehadeh wanted to join the U.S. Army so that he could turn and kill American soldiers. Instead, he has exposed a jihad network of impressive proportions that, if his assertions are true, should end the rush toward politically correct self-deception in the way law enforcement officials approach the problem of jihad terrorism in the United States.
The criminal complaint against him says that he “and several other individuals” were being charged “in connection with a plot to travel overseas and wage violent jihad against the United States and other coalition military forces.” Shehadeh had planned to wage this jihad from within the U.S. military: in 2008, he went to a recruiting station in Times Square and attempted to join the Army, so that he could, according to law enforcement officials, get training that he could use “to fight beside fellow Muslims against their enemies, including United States military forces.”
But things didn’t work out that way. Shehadeh got caught, and quickly began cooperating with authorities. He gave FBI agents a lengthy interview that fills a 22-page report that his lawyers are now trying to deep-six: although Shehadeh gave the interview in an attempt to get a better deal for himself, he quickly started worrying about “how much I incriminated myself,” and so now wants the report suppressed.
Those he named no doubt also want his report suppressed. According to the New York Daily News, Shehadeh was “a fount of information.” Among the jihad plotters he mentions in the report are “Brooklyn teachers of the Islamic orthodoxy Salafism” and Muslims who “delivered pro-jihadist speeches at mosques or ranted in online chat rooms.”
Salafism is a form of hardline Islam that calls for the imposition of Islamic law in its fullness, including stonings, beheadings, amputations, and warfare against unbelievers. Salafis just made a strong showing in Egypt’s elections. But in the U.S., the Islamic establishment insists that all Muslims happily accept constitutional freedoms and pluralism, and that anyone who suggests otherwise is a venomous “Islamophobe.” If Shehadeh’s claims are true, however, Salafism is being preached in Brooklyn, and pro-jihad sermons are being preached in mosques in the New York area – and the Islamic establishment claims about the Muslim community in the U.S. are false.
Shehadeh’s claims are really not all that surprising, even though they go against the view of the government, the mainstream media and Islamic spokesmen in America. In 1998, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi leader, visited 114 mosques in the United States. Then he gave testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999, and asserted that 80% of American mosques taught the “extremist ideology.”
Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom’s 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project’s 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule.
Shehadeh also named as jihad plotters “a livery cab driver, an Ethiopian Muslim in the U.S. Army and a College of Staten Island student who attended a fund-raiser at Brooklyn College for a terrorist.” He even identified “a reputed member of the terror group Hamas who lives in Syracuse.” Then there was the “homeless husband-and-wife — she comes from a wealthy family and he drives a luxury BMW sedan — who watched a beheading video with Shehadeh.”
Shehadeh says that in 2008 he went to “a lecture at the Brooklyn Islamic Center in 2008 with someone named ‘Omar’ and a second man who peddled pro-jihad T-shirts. ‘Almost everything [Omar] and his friend . . . talked about was jihad.’”
The range of occupations and situations in life of the jihadis Shehaheh claims to have come into contact with suggests that jihadist sentiments are far more widespread among Muslims in the United States than most analysts have been willing to acknowledge. Even conservative anti-jihadists make it their primary concern to tell comforting fictions about Islamic texts and teachings, and to insist on the necessity of refraining from telling the whole truth about the jihad and Islamic supremacism in order to support moderate Muslims, who in reality are so few in number as to be almost wholly ineffective against the jihadists.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has brought to its logical culmination a policy of ignoring and downplaying the beliefs, motives and goals of America’s jihadist enemies that began during the Bush administration. After a series of “exposés” in leftist media journals about alleged “Islamophobia” (i.e. truthful and accurate analysis of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism) in terror training materials used in the FBI and other agencies, aghast Obama administration officials promised to scrub training materials of anything that connected Islam with Islamic jihad terrorism, and to reeducate agents who had been exposed to such materials.
Now the revelations from Abdel Hameed Shehadeh suggest that this was just the opposite of what should have been done. Law enforcement officials should have deepened their study of Islam’s jihad doctrine, and stepped up surveillance of mosques and Islamic centers.
So will the report of his interview, if it is not suppressed and is proven correct, end the rush toward the adoption of politically correct fictions by government and law enforcement officials – fictions that hamper our ability to understand, and hence to defeat, our jihadist enemy?
Of course not.
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