Monday, April 23, 2007
Mapping Sharia in America
American Muslims and democracy
Mike Ghouse, April 23, 2007
Please read through the following piece in the Conservative Voice. We need to prepare a response, and I request the members of World Muslim Congress to respond to this as succintly as possible.
11:00 AM - letter sent to the conservative voice. http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/24553.html
Should Americans fear that if Muslims grew in significant numbers, they may resort to imposing their Sharia laws on to others? I am sure there are few out there who would dream about it, just as the neo-cons, the hard core fundamentalists in every faith and a variety of lobbies would like to get their way.
Is the fear propagated by Dave Gaubatz legitimate? The author fails to mention the sentiments of majority of Americans, be it Christian, Jews, Hindus, all others and Muslims. The overwhelming Majority of Muslims prefer democracy, a pluralistic democracy. They would rather live in a free society, where they can live their life without coercion or deferential compulsion including practicing their faith in peace.
They cherish the American values, and there is plethora of writings by American Muslims feeling proud to relate the values of Islam with the values enshrined in our constitution; the values of liberty, justice and equal opportunity. No American Muslim would want to live in an Islamic nation per se, as they exist without freedom and democratic values.
Muslims are frustrated with our support for oppressive regimes; we are constantly supporting ruthless monarchies and dictators on one hand and talking about democracy on the other. Americans of all hues including Muslims would like to see that our values of democracy and free enterprise take root in those nations, and smoothly become democracies, where the individual liberty is valued. Our economic interests ought to be in their growth, as our future consumers of services and not customers of weapons.
It is an educational process that we must plan and strive to accomplish. We could be smart and invest 1/4th of monies we blew in Iraq on this program. Our investments would produce a greater yield and peaceful societies.
Islam bashing is on rise, opinions are being manufactured and the predators are multiplying to cash in on the trend.
Muslim Americans rather subscribe to the Democratic values and want nothing but democracy for governance whether they are a majority or a minority. As Muslims, we are committed to a world of co-existence and believe what is good for Muslims has got to be good for all, for it to survive and sustain.
Please respond as a comment at this link: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/04/mapping-sharia-in-america.html
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since 1980.
Mapping Shari'a in America
by Dave Gaubatz
April 22, 2007 01:00 PM EST
Mapping Shari’a in America, a project undertaken by the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE).
The question has been asked of me, Why is it necessary to map Shari’a in America?
Implicitly this question is really two questions. Why would anyone need to map out all of the mosques and Islamic day schools in the US and assuming that this was a worthwhile project, why would a private non-profit organization such as SANE undertake this and not the FBI or some other division of the Homeland Security Administration?
The answer to the first question is based upon what I know to be true from my almost two decades working for the US Air Force (Office of Special Investigations) and the federal government (non-military) special agent specializing in intelligence and counter-terrorism, especially the Islamic variety. My professional career has required me to learn Arabic and to spend many years in the Middle East, developing human intelligence to learn who, what, where, and how the terrorists want to kill Americans and destroy our nation.
The first thing I learned was that the political ideology of winning over the West and the world for an Islamic Caliphate is NOT specific to some extremist group of Muslims. This is mainstream Islam and Shari’a. Historical, traditional and authoritative Islamic law mandates every Muslim to work to that end through personal development (or internalized Jihad), and outreach (or dawa), and external Jihad or war.
It is certainly true that not all Muslims are faithful to their full calling, but any Shari’a faithful Muslim, meaning any Muslim who accepts Islamic law as authoritative (even if he himself does not live up to its standards) strives for or at least dreams of the day when his country and the world will live under the mandates of Islamic law.
This Islamic calling can be accomplished through techniques ranging from gentle persuasion, propaganda and public relations, intellectual disputation, moral authority, implied threats, actual threats, political power, and violence. The goal remains the same: all of the non-Islamic world, and indeed all of the Islamic world, must submit to Shari’a. A Muslim who refuses to do so will be killed. That is the legal judgment in every major school of Islamic law. A non-Muslim, assuming he is not a pagan (typically a Christian or Jew) might be given the opportunity to live in a subservient status in an Islamic society and pay a special head tax to prove his submission. But this option is left to the Caliph or ruler at the time. Historically, even pagans (such as Hindus) have been given this option but the different schools of Islamic jurisprudence differ on the appropriateness of this dispensation.
Now to the Why? The question should be answered by just taking a look at your neighborhood mosque or Islamic day school. Because this country does not “discriminate” in its immigration policy, we now have several millions of Muslims in this country (the exact number is disputed but we can safely say it is at least 3 million and others suggest it might be as high as 6 million). Take a look at these statistics from a US government open source web site:
>Mosques in the United States: 1,209
>American Muslims associated with a mosque: 2 million
>Increase in number of mosques since 1994: 25 %
>Proportion of mosques founded since 1980: 62 %
>Average number of Muslims associated with each mosque in the United States: 1,625
>U.S. mosque participants who are converts: 30 %
>American Muslims who "strongly agree" that they should participate in American institutions and the political process: 70 %
>U.S. mosques attended by a single ethnic group: 7 %
>U.S. mosques that have some Asian, African-American, and Arab members: nearly 90 %
>Ethnic origins of regular participants in U.S. mosques:
South Asian (Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Afghani) = 33 %
African-America = 30 %
Arab = 25 %
Sub-Saharan African = 3.4 %
European (Bosnian, Tartar, Kosovar, etc.) = 2.1 %
White American = 1.6 %
Southeast Asian ( Malaysian, Indonesian, Filipino) = 1.3 %
Caribbean = 1.2 %
Turkish = 1.1 %
Iranian = 0.7 %
Hispanic/Latino = 0.6 %
>U.S. mosques that feel they strictly follow the Koran and Sunnah: > 90 %
>U.S. mosques that feel the Koran should be interpreted with consideration of its purposes and modern circumstances: 71 %
>U.S. mosques that provide some assistance to the needy: nearly 70 %
>U.S. mosques with a full-time school: > 20 %
Given the almost universal respect Muslims give to Shari’a (even if they fail to live up to its standards), it should be apparent we have a real problem in this country. What makes matters worse, is that one of the most radical and virulently violent sects of Islam, the Salafists or more derogatorily referred to as Wahhabi’ists (named after the sect’s founder as if to suggest his approach was an innovation and that he was not appropriately submissive to Allah, Mohammed and the traditions which developed subsequently), principally situated in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, are financing and providing the leadership for the vast majority of the mosques and Islamic day schools in the US.
As a result, we have a well-developed and highly reticulated network of quite militant religious Muslim leaders directing a reservoir of “moderate” Muslims who can be energized almost at will. This is especially true among the young, restless, Muslim men who scorn their parents’ effort to be accepted by the American establishment and their Christianized ways (i.e., tolerance of pluralism; Sunday off work rather than Friday; socializing with non-Muslims, as just a small sampling of their list of grievances). Once these young rebellious Muslim youth learn of a vibrant, virulent, and masculine Muslim approach to the modern, self-indulging Western world, which most certainly favors a Judeo-Christian world view, this ready-reservoir of young combatants is any military recruiter’s dream.
To understand this organized effort to militarize US Muslims, permit me to quote US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), not something I would normally do; but, on this subject he was quite accurate. I quote from Schumer’s section of the US Senate’s web site:
US Senator Charles Schumer discussed the role that top officials in the Saudi government, including Interior Minister Prince Naif , play in spreading militant Wahhabism in the United States and throughout the Middle East. Schumer detailed how prominent members of the Saudi royal family have set up charities that funnel money to mosques and madrassah schools that advance Wahhabi teachings. In the United States alone, Saud Arabia boasts of supporting over 18 mosques and schools, including the Islamic Center in Washington. The following is Schumer's statement:
On the eve of the second anniversary of the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, I think it is terribly important that we take stock of our efforts to root out terrorism. These hearings can play an important part in that process and I expect that after today we will have a better understanding of how the extremist ideology held by the 9-11 hijackers was spawned and where it has taken hold today.
Wahhabism is known throughout the Muslim world for its puritanical and severe approach to the teachings of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. It preaches violence against non-believers or infidels and serves as the religious basis for Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda.
Experts agree that Saudi Arabia is the epicenter of Wahhabist belief and its extremist teachings. Unfortunately, there is mounting evidence that Saudi sponsored groups are trying to hijack mainstream Islam here in the United States – in mosques, in schools, and even in prisons and the military – and replace it with Wahhabism.
As we will hear today, in the 1960s and 1970s, the Saudi royal family made a deal with the devil, offering to sponsor the teachings of Wahhabist clerics in exchange for their support of the Royal Family’s rule.
Wahhabi teachings include examples of Allah cursing Jews and Christians and turning some of them into apes and pigs; and warnings that Muslims must consider non-Muslims or infidels their enemy.
One of the terms of the dirty deal between the Saudi Royal Family and its Wahhabi partners has been the export of Wahhabist belief as part of Saudi foreign policy. Prominent members of the Saudi royal family – including Prince Naif, Saudi Arabia’s Interior Minister and anti-terror czar – have set up charities that funnel money to Wahhabi madrassah schools throughout the Middle East and Pakistan, making these areas hotbeds of anti-American sentiment and extremism.
Naif is a particularly bad seed. He’s made comments insisting that Zionists were responsible for 9-11 and claimed that Saudis citizens could not have been involved in the attack, even after the Saudi government admitted that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi.
He also oversees the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Al Quds Intifadah, which, like Saddam Hussein, has provided families of terrorists with millions of dollars through specially designated bank accounts. It seems impossible to expect cooperation in the War on Terror from someone who sponsors extremist and hateful religious belief and encourages terrorist actions. After the bombing of the Khobar Towers in 1998 that killed 19 Americans, it was Naif who single-handedly prevented the trial of 13 Saudis indicted for the crime.
Even as I speak, he appears to be up to his old tricks as reports indicate that Saudi officials have for months denied American agents access to a Saudi with knowledge of extensive plans to release poison gas into the New York City subway system.
It boggles my mind that on the eve of the second anniversary of September 11th, we cannot access someone who may have knowledge of a new 9-11 in the making, all because of the intimate relationship Saudi bigwigs have with extremist Wahhabi clerics.
That’s why I wrote to the Saudi Arabian ambassador Prince Bandar in July calling for Naif’s dismissal. Sadly, I was rudely dismissed. Earlier this week, I wrote to Secretary Powell asking him to make Naif’s removal part of US policy toward Saudi Arabia. I eagerly await the Secretary’s response. There are indications that Prince Sultan, the Saudi Defense Minister, may also be involved in activities similar to Naif since he has also set up charities that send money abroad for apparently humanitarian purposes.
And the money we are talking about here is not small potatoes. According to the Saudi Arabian Information Resource, between 1975 and 1987, Saudi Arabia sent $48 billion overseas in development aid, second only to the United States.
While all of this is terribly alarming – and no doubt contributed to the events of 9-11 – the most disturbing news is that Wahhabism – backed by truckloads of Saudi oil money – is now making inroads here in the United States. Saudi Arabia boasts of directly supporting over 18 mosques and schools across the country, including Islamic Centers in Washington and New York.
Experts who we heard from at the previous hearing suggest the real number is much higher, reaching into the hundreds, as intermediary organizations like the Saudi-sponsored World Assembly of Muslim Youth, provide financial support to American mosques and schools. In exchange, they demand that these mosques and schools toe the Wahhabi line. Saudi textbooks that preach violence against infidels can be found in some American Muslim schools.
And that’s not all. Grass roots political organizations that claim to act as the official voice of the American Muslim community here in Washington are also major recipients of Saudi money.
The Council on American Islamic Relations – perhaps the most famous of these groups – reportedly received financial support from Saudi-funded organizations to build its $3.5 million headquarters here in Washington.
This may explain why in April 2001, the Council released a survey saying that 69% of Muslims in America say it is “absolutely fundamental” or “very important” to have Wahhabi teachings at their mosques.
Now I don’t believe that these figures reflect the true feeling of the American Muslim community because the extremist Wahhabi ideology is violent, exclusionary and intolerant. It denigrates not only Christianity and Judaism, but also Shia and moderate Sunni Islam. Yet the leaders of these extremist organizations are smart and have public relations savvy. They know how to promote their cause and are willing to do what is needed to get backing from Saudi oil money.
To make matters worse, prominent members of the Council’s current leadership – people who were invited to the hearings today but declined to testify – also have intimate connections with Hamas – a group that receives substantial funding from Saudi Arabia and subscribes to Wahhabist teachings. I wish they had taken us up on our invitation so that they could explain themselves.
Other Muslim community groups in the United States – the Islamic Society of North America, the Graduate School for Islamic Social Sciences and the American Muslim Foundation to name a few – also receive money from Saudi sources and exhibit Wahhabi influence. The Graduate School and the American Muslim Foundation are both currently under investigation by the US government for terrorist financing
As I noted during the previous hearings we held, this is why it is so disturbing that these groups – and only these groups – are used by the US military and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to help select imams to minister in their ranks. These groups, with their Wahhabist tenets, clearly do not represent mainstream Islam, a system of belief that is peaceful and preaches respect and tolerance of other religions. But there should be no doubt that these organizations are on a mission to claim the American Muslim community as their own.
Official Washington can do much to counteract this movement by recognizing American Islamic groups that do not take Saudi money and which do not endorse Wahhabist teachings. These are the people who should be invited to White House prayer breakfasts instead of those who have publicly praised suicide martyrdom.
The Bush Administration can also help by striking at the source of these organizations’ support: Saudi oil money. Secretary Powell and others must make it clear to the Saudi Royal Family that if it does not end its dirty deal with the extremist Wahhabi clerics, it will ends its relationship with the United States.
I pray they act before it’s too late.
So we see that unless someone investigates each and every one of the mosques and Islamic day schools in the US to determine what brand of Islamic law each one follows and how committed the organization, its leaders and followers are to Shari’a and Jihad, we will be effectively participating in our own destruction because we have accepted the Politically Correct notion that those of us in the West are not capable of or permitted to distinguish between good religious teachings and religious teachings which are in fact a disguise for a murderous and quite dangerous hegemonic political ideology.
And that brings me to the second part of the question, Why? Why must SANE, a private, not-for-profit organization take on the Herculean task of training a team of former intelligence and counter-terrorism professionals for the specific purpose of mapping and creating a Shari’a Index (from 1 – 10: 1 = rejects Islamic law; 10 = preaches [even if only in Arabic, Urdu, or Farsi] openly violence and promotes Jihad) for every US mosque and Islamic day school in the US?
The simple answer is that the US government won’t and no one else has the skill set or the resources we do. And, no one is as motivated as the SANE team. Each one of us have lived and worked in Islamic environments either as intelligence officers for the US military or as international legal and strategic policy experts. We know what we are up against.
The US government won’t because Political Correctness and rules and regulations prohibit “profiling” Arabs or Muslims even when you are looking for Islamic Jihadists. The FBI could no more penetrate the Islamic world than Jerry Falwell. Our team consists of, and will be further augmented by, Arabic, Urdu, and Farsi speaking private citizens, former professionals who know what to look for and how to assess it.
But the real answer to Why is the fact that in this country, our government and its myriad of agencies and bureaucracies have determined that a priori Islam itself is NOT the evil ideology it in fact is; rather, it has been hijacked by a few bad souls.
So I must confess that I deleted one paragraph from Senator Schumer’s remarks above. That deletion, pure and unadulterated PC, is why even though Schumer sees the Wahhabi threat, he won’t and cannot do anything meaningful to stop it:
Before I start my statement, however, I want to make one point crystal clear: mainstream Islam is a peaceful religion that deserves the respect of all Americans. It has a proud history and many of the people who follow its beliefs here in the United States are hardworking, patriotic citizens.
But history and empirical fact make absolutely clear that mainstream Islam is the evil we face and the enemies are the majority of Muslims around the world who pledge allegiance to Shari’a, even if they observe it in the breach.
This statement by Schumer is not unlike the statement we find in EVERY public statement by every government law enforcement and counter-terrorism agency. Thus, when an FBI deputy director of counter-terrorism came to testify before Congress on the very real and organized effort by Jihadists to convert young Black convicts in our jails and prisons, he began his statement as follows:
Before I begin, I would like to emphasize that Islam itself is not the problem but rather how Islam is used by violent extremists to inspire and justify their actions. Additionally, the FBI does not investigate individuals for their religious beliefs. Rather, we investigate the activities of individuals who want to do harm to the citizens and interests of United States and those of our allies abroad. The FBI fully recognizes and is committed to protecting prisoners' civil liberties, including religious rights. These activities have led us to believe that prisons continue to present opportunities for the proselytizing of both Sunni and Shia forms of radical Islam. (Emphasis added.)
But what can this possibly mean? Is it based upon visiting mosques around the world? In America? I have done both and when I read and hear what is preached in Arabic it is no different than what I heard when I was stationed in Saudi Arabia and later, during the early days of the war, in Iraq. Are there “good” Muslims? Of course but they are simply dwarfed, overshadowed, intimidated and silenced by the faithful ones.
Moreover, in the Islamic day schools beginning to sprout up across America as adjuncts of the mosques, the young Muslim children are being taught the basics of Jihad – how to hate the infidel as a swine and monkey, if not the devil incarnate, from the earliest of ages.
That is why we have begun this Mapping Shari’a in America: Knowing the Enemy! project.
And when we’re done, we will produce an interactive digital map where you can click on any region, focus in on any state, then on any city or neighborhood, and find out which mosques and Islamic day schools are operating near your home or near a nuclear power plant or major water supply and see what they are preaching and how. You will learn who is leading their Qur’an studies and which imam and school of jurisprudence (or fiqh) they follow. We will then index that for you so you can understand the threat level.
We will produce a specialize version for law enforcement but the main purpose is for Americans. Not unlike a parent’s desire to know if a convicted pedophile has moved in next door, we deserve to know if our neighborhood has become the cover for Muslim faithful Jihadists. The American People are their own best defense.
And, while we don’t explicitly condone or promote citizen militias, we do condone and promote a fully informed and politically active citizenry. If we will not be the eyes and ears for law enforcement, they have already proven they will turn a PC-blinded eye and ear to the noble religion of peace. We will not.
It is our plan to update this work at least every year so that the networked cells operating out of these mosques and day schools will know someone is tracking them.
Finally, it is important to note that our task is not redundant of the excellent work begun by Steven Emerson and Rachel Ehrenfeld. In many respects, these two pioneering, innovative, courageous and diligent investigators have set the standard for citizen awareness of Islamic Jihad in America. Mr. Emerson has compiled a world-class data base on known terrorists and organizations. Ms. Ehrenfeld has carefully documented their financial networks and how to get at them. Both Ehrenfeld and Emerson are national security assets.
But our work addresses the problem of Jihad in America differently. We don’t want to track known Jihadists and their financial networks. These enemies of America are known and because they have already acted in some way against the US or its interests, the federal authorities are keeping tabs on them or actively pursuing criminal investigations.
Our task is prophylactic. We want to prevent the next criminal act before it even has time to fructify into a conspiracy of evil and deeds of violence and mayhem. We want to expose Islam in America for what it is at its source and the source of Islam has always been its mosques and educational institutions. Without the network of theological and Shari’a-focused instruction, Islam is lost. Our goal is to inform ourselves, the American People, what it means to be a faithful Muslim in America at any given mosque or Islamic day school in the country. It will be up to all of us as Americans to use this information to turn things around. Immigration reform; profiling; criminalizing the teaching or preaching of Shari’a as an overt act of criminal conspiracy.
Look for my periodic reports from the field at http://www.mappingsharia.us as our project progresses.
Target Publication Date of our final work proudct: June 2008 (with intermediate publications as the investigation and analysis continues).