When Supremacism Uses a Religious Disguise – Islamism On the March (Part One of Two)
March 18, 2009
Prior to World War II, what if Adolf Hitler had tried to infiltrate the United States, not with a series of German "Bund" organizations, but with a series of groups claiming that they were "religious" organizations? What if American federal, state, and local government organizations then engaged with such groups, gave them respectability, and even offered government support for their propaganda mission for fear of offending such "religious" organizations? During the 1960s, what if the American federal government feared to act against the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacist organizations, and white supremacist segregation laws for fear of offending their "religious" beliefs?
Far-fetched? In fact, supremacist ideologies using the disguise of "religion" is one of the most serious propaganda threats to our human rights of equality and liberty today.
All Americans are entitled to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.
But we must recognize that supremacist organizations have been leveraging these freedoms to gain institutional support within America by disguising their supremacist goals with "religious" identities. If we support the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty, our citizens and our government agencies should denounce supremacist organizations that promote hate, inequality, and even violence, regardless of their use of such "religious" disguises. The solution to unmasking such disguises is to honestly ask if such organizations support equality and liberty.
By looking at threats to our liberties from a human rights perspective, we can see threat patterns and avenues for public action in struggles with supremacist ideologies - past and present - whether we are dealing with Islamic supremacism, racial supremacism, Aryan Nazi supremacism, or other supremacist ideologies. We need to remember that our response must be a consistent responsibility to equality and liberty in defiance of such supremacism, no matter how it is disguised.
The Growing Islamic Supremacist Threat to Virginia The Northern Virginia suburb of Washington DC has been growing as an Islamic supremacist haven. Amidst the many hard-working Virginians who serve our nation's defense, civilian federal government, homeland security, and commercial businesses, Islamic supremacist groups, organizations, and institutions have quietly expanded and gained members. Northern Virginia has been home to a wide series of Islamic supremacist groups and leaders that have resisted investigations and challenge by the government and concerned citizens. For years, Northern Virginia has long been a target of a network of Islamic supremacist organizations.
These have included:
-- Dar Al Hijra Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia – Freedom House has reported that Dar Al Hijra has had publications that spread hate, demanding that Islamic nations be given nuclear weapons "to face Israel and India," (p. 46), and demanding segregation of the sexes (p. 64). Dar Al Hijra's previous imam, Anwar al-Aulaqi, has been suspected of links to Al-Qaeda's 9/11 jihadists, and has been described as an "inspiration" to terrorists, suspected in "plotting attacks against America," reported as praising Palestinian suicide bombers, and posting an essay on "Why Muslims Love Death." Dar Al Hijra's subsequent imam, Sheikh Shaker Elsayed, has also been reported praising Palestinian suicide bombers, stating that "Jihad is a must for everyone, a child, a lady and a man." Per Dal Al Hijra's web site, this supporter of Jihad continues to preach to Muslims in Northern Virginia.
-- Dar Al-Arqam Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia – also known as the "Center for Islamic Information and Education" was a place where Ali al-Timimi frequently lectured. Ali al-Timimi was convicted "on charges that he encouraged followers to join the Taliban and fight U.S. troops." It was also a focal point for the "Virginia Jihad Network" that trained to support the Islamic supremacist Lashkar-e-Taiba group – the same Lashkar-e-Taiba suspected in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks and that is suspected of designsfor attacks on the United States. According to the FBI, "eight individuals from Dar Al-Arqam ... either obtained jihad training from Lashkar-e-Taiba or otherwise associated with the group in Pakistan, another from Dar Al-Arqam who joined Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia in 2003, two specially designated global terrorists, and an individual suspected of being an aide to Abu Musab al Zarqawi and affiliated with Al-Qaeda of Iraq." Al-Timimi and Al-Arqam have also been linked to terror groups in the United Kingdom.
-- Muslim World League in Falls Church, Virginia - reported in 2005 that "U.S. agencies have been investigating the Muslim World League for years because of suspicions that it knowingly or unknowingly provided funds to Osama bin Laden."
This history should make Northern Virginia government officials and citizenry rightly concerned about the growth of Islamic supremacism in their area. The Washington Times has reported that those individuals in Falls Church, Virginia that have exercised their freedom of religion and have converted from Islam to Christianity live in fear.
But while federal government individuals are willing to challenge those Islamic supremacists in Northern Virginia who have clearly been documented in committing a crime (like any other citizen would be), there remains little willingness to challenge the anti-equality, anti-liberty ideology of Islamic supremacism itself, or even acknowledge that the ideology of Islamic supremacism exists.
So it should not be surprising that supermarkets in Northern Virginia sell pro-Jihad magazines, as Dave Gabautz hasresearched and found at the Halaco supermarket in Falls Church, Virginia that calls for: -- "It is, in short, time to identify the enemy and declare the Jihad." -- "He who equips a fighter in the way of Allah, or looks after a fighters family at home is as good as one who fought" -- "Priests in their churches, unlike recluse worshipping monks, should, of course be killed without any exception. Nuns along with Monks, deserve killing even more" -- "Not taking the Jews and Christians as friends, not following their deen, not submitting to bid'a, neither its holidays (National Days, etc), nor in habits, not entering their places of worship, nor participating in their festivals-all this is vital in the prelude to the attack of a new Jihad." -- "Strike at the time least expected. It follows that one should also strike at the place not expected. By extension, in light of the current situation, one may strike at several centres all at the same time, thus causing havoc in the enemy and in their response".
In 2007, Virginia Governor Kaine appointed former Muslim American Society (MAS) president Esam Omeish to a Virginia state commission on immigration. This is the same Muslim American Society founded by the "Jihad is our way" Muslim Brotherhood. Not surprisingly, there were online videos available shortly thereafter of Omeish calling for "the jihad way," which prompted his resignation. But two years later, we have a different story. Now this same jihad-supporting Esam Omeish is running for office for the 35th district of the Virginia House of Delegates, portraying himself as the all-American immigrant success story. Esam Omeish is meeting with voters at public libraries to discuss issues... but conveniently ignoring his background with the MB-founded MAS or his support for Jihad - asking voters to "meet and greet with Esam Omeish, and talk to Esam about the issues most important to you." How about equality and liberty? How about defying Islamic supremacism?
In Fairfax County, Virginia, the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) has had a long and disreputable history, reported by the Washington Post as an institution whose "indoctrination begins in a first-grade text and is reinforced and expanded each year, culminating in a 12th-grade text instructing students that their religious obligation includes waging jihad against the infidel to 'spread the faith.'"
This is the same Islamic Saudi Academy whose textbooks taught jihad to children, attacked all other religions, and told its children "As cited in Ibn Abbas: The apes are Jews, the people of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christians, the infidels of the communion of Jesus." This is what the Islamic Saudi Academy books previously read AFTERthe hate and intolerance was removed from them.
As the Associated Press has recently reported: "In December 2001, two former ISA students, Mohammed El-Yacoubi and Mohammed Osman Idris, were denied entry into Israel when authorities there found El-Yacoubi carrying what the FBI believed was a suicide note linked to a planned martyrdom operation in Israel. In 2005, a former ISA valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was convicted in federal court of joining al-Qaida while attending college in Saudi Arabia and plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush. Last year, the school's then-director, Abdalla al-Shabnan, was convicted of failing to report a suspected case of child sex abuse. Last year also was when the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom released a report saying the school's textbooks contained several troubling passages, including one saying it is permissible for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam and another saying 'the Jews conspired against Islam and its people.'"
During this time, the Fairfax County Government has leased the Islamic Saudi Academy facility to spread such hate and incite such violence. As the Mount Vernon Gazette has reported, "The school building at 8333 Richmond Highway, is leased from Fairfax County. That lease recently came up for renewal and was renewed for one year with an option for two one year extensions on a motion from Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland, in whose district the school is located." Would the Fairfax County government have offered such leases to racial supremacist organizations? But when supremacism wears a "religious" disguise, there is no willingness to ask this question by local officials.
On March 12, 2009, the Islamic Saudi Academy is now claiming (once again) that it has now truly removed all of the hate and intolerance from its textbooks. However, AP reports that Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington Director Ali "Al-Ahmed, whose group monitors politics and education in the Gulf, said the revised texts now being used at ISA make some small improvements in tone. But he said it's clear from the books that the core ideology behind them – a puritanical strain of Islam known as Wahhabism that is dominant within Saudi Arabia – remains intact. 'It shows they have no intention of real reform,' al-Ahmed said."
The timing is not likely to be a surprise, since on Wednesday, March 18th, the Fairfax County Planning Commission will be considering a "special exception" to zoning laws to allow a further expansion of the Islamic Saudi Academy. The Fairfax County government will be holding this meeting at 8:15 PM at the Board Auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035. Activist groups are encouraging local citizens to attend and speak out. I will be speaking as will others, who are opposed to the growth of Islamic supremacism intolerance, as represented by the history of the Islamic Saudi Academy's teaching in Fairfax County.
This expansion of intolerant Islamic supremacism is not unique to Washington D.C.'s suburb of Northern Virginia. In Michigan, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, California, and states around the country, new beachheads of Islamic supremacism are developing. Many in Virginia and around the nation are not yet willing to act in the face of growing such havens for intolerance and Islamic supremacism. But lessons can be learned from dealing with other supremacist ideologies on the vital necessity to confront supremacist groups in communities and states, before they develop a stranglehold of fear and intolerance in an area.
Those struggling with the growing institutionalization and development of facilities to promote Islamic supremacism in Virginia and around the United States feel that they are dealing with a unique challenge. And in important ways, they are correct. The large-scale tolerance of Islamic supremacism disguised as "religious" freedom is unparalleled. But in other ways, we have seen this challenge before in defending human rights. Nazis and white supremacists have been using this tactic long before 9/11 to gain respectability, influence, and acceptance. Like Islamic supremacists, they remain a threat to equality and liberty. Like Islamic supremacists, those responsible for equality and liberty must defy their ideology and those who would appease them.
Our freedom of religion ensures that individuals will not be unfairly discriminated against because of their beliefs. Such freedoms are designed to ensure equal rights. But these equal rights are simply that – rights of equality, not superiority. With such equal rights come the equal responsibilities to be accountable for intolerance, promotion of hate, and incitement of violence, like any other citizen.
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