Archive for the ‘Countering violent extremism’ category

A Welcome Resignation at DHS

July 31, 2017

A Welcome Resignation at DHS, Power Line,  Paul Mirengoff, July 31, 2017

(Please see also, Break out the champagne: State Department officials quitting over “complete and utter disdain for our expertise.” Another pro-Islam official,  the Director of Countering Violent Extremism, leaves the Department of Homeland Security. — DM)

Selim’s resignation is evidence of a clear and welcome break by the Trump administration from Obama-era policy on countering radical Islam

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I try to write about both the good and the bad of the Trump administration, as I see things.Here’s an important addition to the good column:

George Selim, a prominent Obama administration holdover known for engaging fringe Islamic radicals, has resigned from the Department of Homeland Security. Selim left his post as director of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). . . .

A DHS source familiar with the situation. . .explained that Selim often clashed with Trump administration officials who sought to do away with the past president’s policies. Senior officials effectively quashed Selim’s efforts to maneuver Obama White House policies and strategies into the new administration, leaving a frustrated Selim with resignation as his only option.

I wrote about CVE here, describing it as a slush fund for CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, Jordan Schachtel of Conservative Review notes that Selim admitted to hosting hundreds of meetings with officials from the CAIR, an Islamic advocacy group that federal prosecutors have labeled as a Muslim Brotherhood front group that was created to achieve the ends of Hamas (a U.S.-designated terrorist organization).

The premise of CVE is that the best way to fight violent extremists is with “non violent extremist” Salafi clergy who have the most influence on them. As Daniel Greenfield has said:

What it really comes down to is paying Muslims to argue with other Muslims on social media. And hope that the Muslims we’re paying to do the arguing are the good kind of extremists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and not the bad kind of extremists, like ISIS. Even though they’re both vicious killers.

Greenfield added:

CVE not only doesn’t fight terrorism, it perpetuates the whole reason for it by outsourcing our interaction with domestic Muslims to the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s a big part of how we got a terrorism problem in the first place. CVE’s promoters have convinced us that the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is by partnering with Islamic terrorists.

In reality, the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is not to “parse different flavors of Islam,” as Greenfield put it, but to distinguish between those citizens whose allegiance we have and those whose allegiance we do not have. However, to quote Greenfield again, CVE “rejects the idea that Muslims should be expected to show their allegiance [to the United States] and instead demands that the United States show its allegiance to them.” It thus “inverts the balance of citizenship and invests the United States in an unspoken religious debate.”

One of the consequences of this approach was the watering down the FBI’s counterterrorism training materials, including the elimination of valuable information that would help agents identify terrorists. According to Patrick Poole, this “purge” contributed to clues being missed by the FBI in major terrorism cases, including last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon

Thus, Selim’s resignation is evidence of a clear and welcome break by the Trump administration from Obama-era policy on countering radical Islam.

Feds Spends Millions on Failed Program to Combat Extremism in America

July 28, 2017

Feds Spends Millions on Failed Program to Combat Extremism in America, Washington Free Beacon, , July 28, 2017

Members of a Federal Bureau of Investigation SWAT team are seen during an FBI field training exercise / Getty Images

“The time has come to definitely have a more direct approach,” said Raheel Raza, president of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, which seeks to counter extremist ideologies. “Fluff stuff and interfaith dialogue hasn’t really led to much deradicalization. There needs to be specific policies put in place that tackle the ideology.”

Raza also called on Congress to formally designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization due to its efforts to foment radical ideologies.

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The U.S. government has spent millions in taxpayer dollars on programs to combat violent extremism, despite the absence of evidence these programs have prevented the growth of terrorists in the United States, according to Congress, which criticized the FBI and Department of Homeland Security for enacting policy preventing its authorities from referencing “Islam” and “Islamic terrorism.”

The FBI and DHS are still providing upwards of $10 million dollars to fund a slew of community organizations committed to countering the rise of homegrown terrorism. Nevertheless there is little evidence these programs have had an impact, and in some cases, the money has been awarded to “partisan” organizations that have ties to the anti-Israel movement and radical groups such as Black Lives Matter, according to Congress.

The matter sparked a heated debate Thursday between congressional officials on the House National Security Subcommittee and senior law enforcement officials in the Trump administration.

Lawmakers accused DHS and the FBI of relying on Obama-era policies that downplay Islamic terrorism, despite clear guidance from the Trump administration that it does not support this approach.

Law enforcement anti-extremism training manuals—which were codified under an Obama-era program known as Countering Violent Extremism, or CVE—continue to ban the use of such terms as “Islamic extremism.”

While government reports have concluded that these programs are a failure, federal agencies continue to rely on them, sparking concern in Congress amid an uptick in domestic terrorism cases.

The FBI continues to have active terrorism investigations in all 50 states and at least 128 individuals have been charged in the last three years of attempting to aid ISIS.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), chair of the subcommittee on national security, verbally sparred with officials from DHS and FBI, who continue to maintain that these CVE programs have been a success.

“Radical Islamic extremism is the primary driver of this problem and deserves the federal government’s immediate attention,” DeSantis said during the hearing.

“Currently, [DHS] still follows the Obama-era policies related to CVE,” DeSantis added. “The guidance developed during the Obama administration specifically limits any intelligence or law enforcement investigative activity through CVE.”

“The government manuals, they will not mention radical Islam, they don’t use anything associated with the word Islam,” he said.

“By leaving this information on the table, CVE efforts are potentially missing opportunities to identify and disrupt terrorist plots,” DeSantis said. “Obama era guidance also fails to properly identify the threat of radical Islamic ideology.”

The Obama-era guidance on the matter, which is still being used, “does not even mention radical Islamic terrorism at all,” DeSantis said.

Grants totaling some $10 million for community organizations that are part of the CVE effort are still being awarded to groups with “questionable agendas,” DeSantis said, noting instances in which grants were given to partisan organizations and those with stated anti-Israel agendas.

DHS has declined to share information on these grant recipients with Congress and also has refused multiple requests from these lawmakers for a briefing on the situation, DeSantis disclosed.

Experts who testified alongside officials from DHS and the FBI also described the CVE programs as a failure.

“The time has come to definitely have a more direct approach,” said Raheel Raza, president of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, which seeks to counter extremist ideologies. “Fluff stuff and interfaith dialogue hasn’t really led to much deradicalization. There needs to be specific policies put in place that tackle the ideology.”

Raza also called on Congress to formally designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization due to its efforts to foment radical ideologies.

Raza pointed to polls showing that 27 percent of Muslims support the execution of non-believers, while around 26 percent of young American Muslims believe that suicide bombing against non-Muslims can be justified.

DHS Denies Grant to Islamic Radicalization Enabler MPAC

June 24, 2017

DHS Denies Grant to Islamic Radicalization Enabler MPAC. Investigative Project on Terrorism, John Rossomando, June 23, 2017

(One down and a bunch more to go. Does anybody CAIR care? — DM)


The Department of Homeland Security has ruled that the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) will not receive the $393,800 Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) grant approved by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on Jan. 13, days before Johnson left office.

The DHS released its list of grant recipients on Friday. MPAC is not on it. The change came after “DHS utilized its discretion to consider other factors and information when reviewing applicants,” a spokeswoman said in an email to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “The Department considered whether applicants for CVE awards would partner with law enforcement, had a strong basis of prior experience in countering violent extremism, had a history of prior efforts to implement prevention programs targeting violent extremism, and were viable to continue after the end of the award period. These additional priorities were applied to the existing pool of applicants. Top scoring applications that were consistent with these priorities remained as awardees, while others did not.”

In a statement, MPAC acknowledged that working with law enforcement isn’t a priority: “Our position on this issue has consistently centered on community-led initiatives that improve mental health resources, access to counseling, and a host of other social services without the involvement or spectre of law enforcement.”

Still, it disputed the loss of the grant, saying it would consider “all legal options…”

“The exclusion of groups like MPAC point to a DHS that is ineffective in coordinating with communities and unconstitutional in its treatment of a religious minority,” the statement said. “MPAC will continue challenging the trajectory of the Trump administration’s efforts in this space by advocating for a holistic approach that empowers rather than sidelines communities, focuses on all forms of violent threats, and fosters a climate of trust over fear.”

MPAC pledged to use the money for targeted interventions under its Safe Spaces program for people at risk for radicalization. Created in 2014, Safe Spaces aims to improve relations between Muslim institutions and law enforcement.

MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati introduced the program as an alternative to law enforcement agencies using informants to infiltrate mosques. The roll out meeting included Johnson, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., and other Muslim community groups including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Al-Marayati vehemently objects to anything that involves mosques or informants in terror investigations.

“Counter-terrorism and counter-violence should be defined by us,” he said at 2005 Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) conference in Dallas. “We should define how an effective counter-terrorism policy should be pursued in this country. So, No. 1, we reject any effort, notion, and suggestion that Muslims should start spying on one another. Everywhere I go either somebody tells me that officials have met with them publicly or they tell me that they know who those folks are that are representing law enforcement. So we know they have communicated one way or the other with the Muslim community.

“The question is how do you deal with it in a healthy, open, transparent manner? That is why we are saying have them come in community forums, in open-dialogues, so they come through the front door and you prevent them having to come from the back door,” Al-Marayati said.

Government agencies preferred CVE programs, especially during the Obama administration. But there’s no way to measure whether they work, a Government Accountability Office report issued in April said. The GAO “was not able to determine if the United States is better off today than it was in 2011 as a result” of CVE programs.”

The House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Management offered similar criticism during a hearing last September. The committee has “no way of gauging whether CVE efforts have been successful – or harmful – or if money is being spent wisely,” said U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.

MPAC may have won the grant simply because it is “the most organized group,” said Heritage Foundation counterterrorism scholar Robin Simcox. But that “is going down the wrong path. Often this means giving it to some very, very divisive voices who will play into the Islamist narrative; they will play off grievances. They will encourage a feeling of segregation and otherness, and we are promoting other problems for the future.”

MPAC promotes a narrative that Muslims are victimized by a hostile non-Muslim society, Simcox said. That message helps breed terrorists.

“I think it creates an environment where these radical ideas are in the ether, and it’s no surprise to me that somebody then [would] take that final step into violence,” Simcox said.

Research backs up Simcox’s assertion.

Grievances “framed around victimhood against Western foreign policy and military intervention” are among “a kaleidoscope of factors” in fueling extremism, Swedish jihad researcher Magnus Ranstorp has found.

MPAC’s recent messaging has emphasized threats to Muslim Americans’ freedom and security, including promoting a conspiracy theory that internment camps could be revived for them. In February, MPAC posted an image of Star Trek actor George Takei, on its homepage, with the heading “Stand Up for Muslims in the U.S.” The image linked to a petition in which Takei described his experience during World War II: “When I was just 5, my family was rounded up at gunpoint from our home in Los Angeles into an internment camp. We were prisoners in our own country, held within barbed wire compounds, armed guards pointing guns down on us.”

“A Trump spokesperson recently stated the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II “sets a precedent” for Trump to do the same today,” Takei wrote. [Emphasis original]

But that spokesman, former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie, had no role in the Trump transition and only spoke for himself. No one in the administration has endorsed such a scheme.

But Takei’s statement, which MPAC embraced, claimed that “Trump continues to stand by his plans to establish a Muslim registry and ban immigrants from ‘certain’ Muslim countries from the U.S. It starts with a registry, with restrictions, with irrationally ascribed guilt, and with fear. But we never know where it might lead.”

Takei didn’t start the internment analogy. “Challenging patriotis (sic) of AmMuslims is un-American – what happened to Japanese Americans-loyalty test, confiscating their wealth #CruzHearing,” Al-Marayati wrote a year ago, in a Twitter post he later deleted.

Promoting the internment conspiracy theory destroys the credibility of “soft Islamist” organizations like MPAC that don’t engage in terrorist acts themselves, yet validate the jihadist narratives, Simcox said.

Al-Marayati has long promoted the narrative that the U.S. is waging “war on Islam,” one of the most potent terrorist recruitment tropes.

He called U.S. counterterrorism policies a “war on Islam” in a 2009 interview with Al-Watan Al-Arabi. Al-Marayati also engaged in “war on Islam” rhetoric when he chided U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz a year ago for using the term “radical Islam” during a hearing about the Obama administration’s avoidance of using the phrase “So @SenCruz, do you want to have a war with Islam rather than a war on terrorists?” he wrote in a tweet he later deleted.

MPAC Whitewashes Jihad

Al-Marayati appeared on C-Span in 2014, and balked when asked why Muslims weren’t speaking up against jihadism: “Well I think we’ll call this violent extremism. And one thing we have to be clear about, we should not be countering jihad,” Al-Marayati said. “Jihad to the violent extremists means holy war. But jihad in classical Islam means ‘struggle.’ So let us at least not use religious terminology in fighting groups like ISIS. It just plays into their hands. They want this to be a war on Islam, a war on religion.

“We should be at war on criminal behavior, war against terrorism.”

Al-Marayati again rejected the connection between jihad and violence during a Jan. 25 debate with American Islamic Forum for Democracy founder and President Zuhdi Jasser. Jihad is not holy war, he said, but a struggle against oneself.

“We must allow the Muslims to reclaim their faith and not let Islam be defined by the extremist distortions of Islam,” Al-Marayati said.

Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna disagreed, writing that jihad only had to do with fighting and argued that purely spiritual jihad was spurious. MPAC co-founder Maher Hathout described himself as an al-Banna disciple.

“Many Muslims today mistakenly believe that fighting the enemy is jihad asghar (a lesser jihad) and that fighting one’s ego is jihad akbar (a greater jihad),” al-Banna wrote in his tract On Jihad. “This narration is used by some to lessen the importance of fighting, to discourage any preparation for combat, and to deter any offering of jihad in Allah’s way. This narration is not a saheeh (sound) tradition.”

Jasser sees a dichotomy between Al-Marayati’s public rejection of violent jihad and his group’s embrace of Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood-linked cleric Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi. MPAC hosted Ghannouchi at a 2011 dinner, and Al-Marayati flew to Paris in 2013 to attend a conference with Ghannouchi. The sheikh is a member of the International Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau.

Back in 1990, Ghannouchi spoke at a conference in Tehran, Iran where he called for the “destruction of the Jews” and invoked Ayatollah Khamenei’s “call to jihad” against America, “the Great Satan.” Ghannouchi aspired to wage “worldwide jihad,” a 1991 State Department cable said. Ghannouchi still favors violent jihad, 5 endorsing the Palestinian knife jihad against Israelis in 2015.

“The central problem with MPAC … is the schizophrenia with which they deal with American issues versus how they deal with global issues,” Jasser said. “The Islamists assume Americans are not very smart, so they are going to listen to their apologetics about jihad and then not connect it to what happens when the Ghannouchis of the world get into power.”

MPAC leaders have made their own pro-terrorist and anti-Israeli statements.

Al-Marayati didn’t seem to have a problem with Hizballah calling its terror campaign against Israel “jihad” in a November 1999 interview with PBS’s Jim Lehrer.

“If the Lebanese people are resisting Israeli intransigence on Lebanese soil, then that is the right of resistance and they have the right to target Israeli soldiers in this conflict. That is not terrorism. That is a legitimate resistance. That could be called liberation movement, that could be called anything, but it’s not terrorism,” Al-Marayati said.

Similarly, MPAC Public Affairs Consultant Edina Lekovic served as managing editor of Al-Talib, the defunct newspaper of UCLA’s Muslim Student Association, when it published an editorial saying Osama bin Laden was not a terrorist in its July 1999 issue.

“When we hear someone refer to the great Mujahid (someone who struggles in Allah’s cause) Osama bin Laden a ‘terrorist,’ we should defend our brother and refer to him as a freedom fighter; someone who has forsaken wealth and power to fight in Allah’s cause and speak out against oppressors,” the unsigned editorial said.

MPAC Defends Al-Qaida and Hamas Financiers

Another hit against MPAC’s credibility is its history of apologism for terrorist financiers.

Just after 9/11, Al-Marayati painted Muslims as victims after the federal government shut down the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) on suspicion it provided material support to al-Qaida. Its leader, Enaam Arnaout, had close ties with Osama Bin Laden, court documents show.

He had similar reactions after Treasury Department asset freezes in December 2001 targeted the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), which illegally routed charity money to Hamas, and the Global Relief Foundation, which provided assistance to Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaida.

“Selective justice is injustice – it does not help us in the war on terror and continues to project the image that the U.S. is anti-Islam,” Al-Marayati wrote in July 2002 press release posted on MPAC’s website defending all three charities.

Closing these terror-linked charities could send the message to Muslims abroad that America is intolerant of religious minorities, Al-Marayati said that October in a New York Times op-ed.

When the Treasury Department shut down the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA) in 2004, saying it “provided direct financial support for” Osama bin Laden, Al-Marayati described it as “a bit disturbing that the announcement of shutting down another charity… [took] place just before the month of Ramadan in the peak of the election season.”

Arnaout pleaded guilty to violating the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and acknowledged that his group hid the fact it used a portion of its donations to fund terrorists overseas.

HLF’s leaders were convicted of providing material support to Hamas in 2008.

MPAC’s magazine, The Minaret, cast these charity closures in an anti-Semitic light in a political cartoon it published in its March 2002 issue. It shows President George W. Bush doing the bidding of Israel and the Anti-Defamation League knocking down a building with a foundation labeled “Islamic Foundations (Holy Land, Global Relief, etc.” The top of the building being knocked down says, “Relief for Muslim Orphans” and “Support for U.S. Muslim Free Speech.”

This was not an isolated incident. A January 2000 Minaret cartoon showed “The West” apologizing for the Holocaust and handing over money to an old woman holding a cane with the label “Jewish holocaust.” At the same time, an Arab wearing a keffiyeh labeled “Palestine” says, “Ahem ‘scuse me” followed by a person with a crutch and bandaged foot labeled “Indian genocide” and a black person emblazoned with “African slavery.”

During the 2006 Israeli war with Hizballah in Lebanon Al-Marayati similarly diminished the Holocaust.

“And as far as the Holocaust is concerned, we’ve come out very clearly saying that the Holocaust is the worst genocide, war crime, in the 20th century. We’re against Holocaust denial, but we’re also against people who exploit that as a way of shoving this kind of war propaganda and dehumanization of the Arab peoples and the Muslim peoples as if they have to pay the price for what Nazi Germany did to the Jews back in the 20th century,” Al-Marayati said in an interview.

“MPAC’s default position is that the government is on a witch hunt against Muslims, and that any identification of organizations or non-profits doing quote end quote humanitarian work must be anti-Muslim if they are identified as a terror group,” Jasser said. “And if they are found to support terror, they say they are not the rule; they are the exception.”

MPAC’s statements and actions suggest that DHS’s decision to rescind Johnson’s decision to award the CVE grant was the right thing to do.

MEF Sues DHS for Hiding Information on Its Funding of Islamists

May 1, 2017

MEF Sues DHS for Hiding Information on Its Funding of Islamists, Middle East Forum, May 1, 2017

(Is the “deep state” again the problem? The Department of Justice should confess judgment and agree to the release of all pertinent records following a diligent but prompt search. — DM) 

In July 2016 then-DHS Secretary Jeh C. Johnson assured lawmakers that CVE grant applicants would be carefully vetted.

“The CVE program should be canceled altogether,” said Sam Westrop, director of MEF’s Islamist Watch project. “And guidelines should be put in place to make sure that extremist groups like MPAC never receive taxpayer money to counter extremism.”

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Philadelphia – May 1, 2017 – The Middle East Forum has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to secure the release of documents related to the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) grant program.

The grant program, which began last year, is intended to assist “efforts at the community level to counter violent extremist recruitment and radicalization to violence,” but MEF was concerned about U.S. Islamist groups – themselves radicals – receiving CVE funds. Indeed, grant recipients have included the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), an organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and a long history of sanitizing Islamist terrorism.

On January 10, MEF filed a detailed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with DHS seeking documents about the selection criteria and specific decisions in awarding CVE grants. The request indicated that the documents are mostly located at the DHS Office for Community Partnerships (OCP), headed by George Selim.

Having failed to receive even a response to its request within the 20-day period mandated by law, MEF contacted DHS. Finally, on March 23, DHS FOIA officer Ebony Livingston informed us that the request had been routed to the Federal Emergency Management System (FEMA), which found no pertinent records.

On April 26, MEF filed a lawsuit alleging that DHS violated the law by not only failing to produce the documents, but failing even to conduct a search for the documents.

The complaint, prepared by attorney Matt Hardin, a specialist in FOIA litigation, seeks injunctive relief compelling DHS “to search for and produce all records in its possession responsive to plaintiff’s FOIA request.”

“We filed a detailed FOIA request, specifying the documents we were looking for and where they likely were,” said MEF Director Gregg Roman. “DHS not only failed to produce the documents, it failed even to conduct a search and closed our case without bothering to tell us. This is not just unacceptable but illegal.”

The case has been assigned to Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. It bears noting that Judge Lamberth previously handled FOIA litigation concerning former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“The CVE program should be canceled altogether,” said Sam Westrop, director of MEF’s Islamist Watch project. “And guidelines should be put in place to make sure that extremist groups like MPAC never receive taxpayer money to counter extremism.”


The Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, is dedicated to defining American interests in the Middle East and protecting America from Islamist threats. It achieves its goals through intellectual, activist, and philanthropic efforts.

Karim Cheurfi: From the Cauldron of Prison to the Streets of Paris

April 25, 2017

Karim Cheurfi: From the Cauldron of Prison to the Streets of Paris, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Patrick Dunleavy, April 24, 2017

Despite an acknowledged problem with insufficient training, groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) seek to censor any mention of Islamic radicalization from American law enforcement and military training.

In 2004, the FBI’s official definition of radicalization was “the process of attracting and possibly converting inmates to radical Islam.” They since have been pressured to change the term to “violent extremism.”

Removing warning labels from canisters containing caustic material does not render the substance inside harmless. It only increases the risk of a deadly incident. Toxic waste spills are often the result of carelessness.

Here in the United States, it is imperative that the Justice Department and the FBI revise the Correctional Intelligence Initiative Program to include the proper vetting of clergy and a post release component to track people who were radicalized or previously incarcerated for terrorist crimes. The initiative started in 2003 with a mission to “detect, deter, and disrupt efforts by terrorist and extremist groups to radicalize or recruit within all federal, state, territorial, tribal and local prison populations.”

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The initial reports regarding Islamic terrorist Karim Cheurfi, the man responsible for the latest attack that killed French police officer Xavier Jugele and wounded several others, contained the all-too-familiar phrase – “known to authorities.”

What actually was known? Cheurfi had a predisposition for violence, animosity toward authority – he had tried to kill police officers twice before – and a sense of alienation. They also knew that he had spent a significant period of his life in a place that some authorities called a radicalizing cauldron, the French prison system. Inside those prisons, a small group of Islamic terrorists was effectively radicalizing other inmates who came in as petty criminals with no religious leanings, said Pascal Mailhos, past director of France’s domestic intelligence agency.

Mailhos’ warning proved prophetic as French prisons spawned terrorists like Mohammed Merah, who in 2012 murdered police officers and Jewish school children in Toulouse, and Amedy Coulibaly, who killed a police trainee before storming the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket and killing four hostages. Charlie Hebdo attacker Said Kouachi, like Karim Cheurfi, came out of the joint radicalized and ready to kill law enforcement, military personnel and innocent civilians in the name of Allah.

This problem is not unique to France. Former inmates who turned to the violent path of jihad plotted or carried out terrorist attacks in the United States, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom.

For some, particularly for those who have spent time in prison, the radicalization process from conversion to violence is more accelerated. “Some individuals, particularly those who convert in prison, may be attracted directly to jihadi violence…for this group, jihad represents a convenient outlet for (their) aggressive behavior,” the Central Intelligence Agency said in a report, “Homegrown Jihad – Pathway to Terrorism.”

When you combine the ingredients of violent aggressive behavior, animosity toward authority, incarceration, and radical Islamic ideology, you will almost certainly produce a deadly toxin. French prosecutor Francois Molins insisted that Cheurfi showed no signs of radicalization prior to the attack. Missing the signs could be the result of bad eyesight or, a lack of training. “We don’t have anyone trained for anti-radicalization,” said David Dulondel, the head of the union representing officers at France’s Fleury-Merogis maximum security prison. “We can’t say whether someone is in the process of radicalizing or not.”

Despite an acknowledged problem with insufficient training, groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) seek to censor any mention of Islamic radicalization from American law enforcement and military training.

In 2004, the FBI’s official definition of radicalization was “the process of attracting and possibly converting inmates to radical Islam.” They since have been pressured to change the term to “violent extremism.”

Removing warning labels from canisters containing caustic material does not render the substance inside harmless. It only increases the risk of a deadly incident. Toxic waste spills are often the result of carelessness.

Prison radicalization should not be treated this way. We must put the tools in place to monitor and control this threat. Others have done it. Following last month’s Westminster Bridge attack by Khalid Masood, British authorities announced the formation of a task force that will combine intelligence, law enforcement, corrections and probation personnel to look at literature, clergy, and other influences available in prisons. The task force will also closely monitor recently released inmates for changes in behavior or association with known radical mosques or people. France, which has suffered its share of jihadi violence carried out by ex-inmates, had to admit that its program to address prison radicalization had been an utter failure. Yet it has not made any significant changes.

Here in the United States, it is imperative that the Justice Department and the FBI revise the Correctional Intelligence Initiative Program to include the proper vetting of clergy and a post release component to track people who were radicalized or previously incarcerated for terrorist crimes. The initiative started in 2003 with a mission to “detect, deter, and disrupt efforts by terrorist and extremist groups to radicalize or recruit within all federal, state, territorial, tribal and local prison populations.”

Failure to effectively address the ongoing threat is not an acceptable option. At some point there will be a price to pay.

Defeating radical Islam

February 20, 2017

Defeating radical Islam, Washington Times, Daniel Pipes and Christopher C. Hull, February 19, 2017

cutislamistsIllustration on plans to defeat radical Islam by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Who is the enemy? It’s been over 15 years since Sept. 11, 2001, and this fundamental question still rattles around. Prominent answers have included evildoers, violent extremists, terrorists, Muslims, and Islamists.

As an example of how not to answer this question, the Obama administration convened a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group in 2010 and included participants who turned up such gems as: “Jihad as holy war is a European invention,” the caliphate’s return is “inevitable,” Shariah (Islamic law) is “misunderstood,” and “Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms because terrorism is not Islamic by definition.” The result? The group produced propaganda helpful to the (unnamed) enemy.

In contrast, then-candidate Donald Trump gave a robust speech in August 2016 on how he, as president, would “Make America Safe Again.” In it, he pledged that “one of my first acts as president will be to establish a commission on radical Islam.” Note: he said radical Islam, not some euphemism like violent extremism.

The goal of that commission, he said, “will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.” The commission “will include reformist voices in the Muslim community” with the goal to “develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners.”

On Feb. 2, Reuters reported that, consistent with the August statement, the Trump administration “wants to revamp and rename” the Obama administration’s old CVE effort to focus solely on Islamism. Symbolic of this change, the name Countering Violent Extremism will be changed to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” (or a near equivalent).

To make the most of this historic opportunity, the Middle East Forum has crafted a comprehensive plan for a White House Commission on Radical Islam for the administration to use. Here’s a summary of how we see the commission working and having an impact:

Structure. To be successful, all its members must be selected by the president. Too many commissions have included contrasting ideologies and agendas, grinding out sausagelike self-conflicting reports that displease the administration and end up discarded. Also, learning from the struggles of the Tower Commission, which lacked sufficient powers, and the precedent of the Three Mile Island Commission, which actually had them, the commission needs the power to subpoena documents, compel testimony and grant immunity.

Personnel. The commission should include a mix of experts on political violence and radical Islam, as well as elected officials, representatives of law enforcement, the military, the intelligence and diplomatic communities, technology specialists, Muslim reformers (as the president insisted), and victims of radical Islam. It should also include liaisons to those who ultimately will implement the commission’s recommendations: secretaries of the departments of state, defense, and homeland security, the attorney general, and the CIA director.

Mandate. The commission should expand on President Trump’s commitment to explain the core convictions of Islamists (i.e., the full and severe application of Shariah) to expose their networks, and develop new protocols for law enforcement. In addition, it should examine where Islamists get their resources and how these can be cut off; figure out how to deny them use of the internet; offer changes to immigration practices; and assess how political correctness impedes an honest appraisal of radical Islam.

Implementation. For the commission’s work to be relevant, it must coordinate with federal agencies to gather data and craft recommendations, draft executive orders and legislation, provide supporting documents, prepare requests for proposals, outline memos to state and local governments, recommend personnel, and work out budgets. Finally, the commission should be prepared that its reports may be used as evidence in criminal proceedings, such as was the case several times in the past (e.g., the Warren, Rogers, and Tower commissions).

The overall goal of the White House Commission on Radical Islam should be to bring the American people together around a common understanding of the enemy’s nature, how that enemy can be defeated, and specifics to accomplish this objective.

Perhaps this will start the long-delayed process of winning a war that has already gone on far too long. The United States has all the economic and military advantages; it lacks only a policy and a strategy, which the new administration, relying on a first-rate commission, can finally supply.

Four Muslim Groups Reject US Counter-Terror Funding

February 13, 2017

Four Muslim Groups Reject US Counter-Terror Funding, Clarion ProjectRyan Mauro, February 13, 2017

(Good! Now perhaps some of the funding will go to anti-Islamist groups, likely to use the money to discourage rather than to encourage radicalization. — DM)

minnesota-four-hpFour Minnesota youth from the Somali community who were convicted of terrorism-related offenses.

The good news is that there are plenty of non-profits, including Muslim ones with an unequivocal stand against Islamism that deserve the grant money. These organizations generally lack financial support from which to build a network, provide services, etc.

If certain Muslim nonprofits choose to put politics and ego above fighting extremism, then there are plenty of other options for these grants. 

***********************************

In a revealing trend, four nonprofits groups involved with the Muslim-American community have rejected federal funding for countering violent extremism. For these groups, their image — as well as making a political point – is a higher priority than fighting radical Islam and helping their communities.

The four Muslim groups had been privileged to receive Homeland Security grants to support their efforts to “counter violent extremism,” a generic and politically-correct term that the Obama Administration used to avoid verbiage related to Islam.

Now, these groups are willing to sacrifice that funding and cut their programs just to stick it to President Trump. Their form of protest is not to use their voices, but to try to show how bad President Trump is by increasing the suffering and danger for their constituents and country more broadly.

An organization for Somali youth in Minnesota named Ka Joog is rejecting $500,000 that was supposed to promote education, prevent radicalization, drug use and other harmful activities. Whether you agree with the premise that radicalization is caused by those problems or not, the fact is that Ka Joog chose to deny help to Somali youth in need.

Apparently unaware of how ridiculous his sentence sounded, executive director Mohamed Farah said the decision was made because President Trump is “promoting a cancerous ideology.” Yes, he actually said he’d decline an opportunity to fight the cancerous ideology of radical Islam because he is offended by the so-called “cancerous ideology” of President Trump.

One local Somali activist with a record of standing against radical Islam, Omar Jamal, said he disagrees with President Trump but “the community desperately needs the money” and it’s better to work with the government as best you can, regardless of politics.

A group in Michigan, Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities, won’t take $500,000 because it believes President Trump’s counter-extremism programs involve spying on Muslims. The group provided no evidence that accepting the money would actually require them to do that.

The organization’s programs involve public health, human services, youth development and education. They will suffer because of a hypothetical requirement that hasn’t happened yet or even been proposed by the Trump Administration.

The third group to join in, Unity Productions Foundation of Virginia, was offered $400,000 to develop films featuring Islamic scholars condemning terrorism and Muslim-Americans contributing to society.

Muslim-American leadership regularly complains that Islamic condemnations of terrorism do not get adequate attention and the public doesn’t seeing how Muslim-Americans are a positive part of the country.

This group was given a whopping $400,000 to do just that—but instead, it is responding to President Trump’s alleged anti-Muslim sentiment by rejecting money from his administration to combat anti-Muslim sentiment.

That makes absolutely no sense.

The Bayan Claremont Islamic school in California is the latest to join the trend, turning down $800,000 that was to be given to “improve interreligious cooperation, civic engagement and social justice.” About $250,000 of that would have been transferred to a dozen other nonprofits doing work for the Muslim-American community.

The school’s faculty includes some controversial Islamic leaders accused of spreading radicalism and ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The staff includes Imam Suhaib Webb, Omid Safi and Ihsan Bagby.

Its president, Jihad Turk, said it was partially a response to reported plans by the Trump Administration to rename the Countering Violent Extremism programs to a title identifying radical Islam as the focus.

Keep in mind, Trump’s controversial plans—the travel pause (derided as a “Muslim ban”) designed to identify threats of radical Islam—don’t alter these services. These policies do not stop these groups from combating extremism on their own or from providing charity to those in need. You don’t have to agree with your president to help others and work to protect your country to the best of your ability.

By this logic, schools that dislike Education Secretary Betsy DeVos should punish their students by turning away federal funding.

Another element is at play here: Pressure from Islamists and their allies.

Fox News reports that two of the nonprofits “said they were rejecting grants they had already been awarded under the program because of concerns that it could damage their credibility or come with uncomfortable strings attached.”

Such attacks can make the Trump Administration lose Muslim partners, enabling Islamists to rally the community together like a single political party under their helm. An added bonus is that any danger and controversy that arises from the severed relationships can be blamed on Trump’s policies that these Muslim groups sabotaged.

The good news is that there are plenty of non-profits, including Muslim ones with an unequivocal stand against Islamism that deserve the grant money. These organizations generally lack financial support from which to build a network, provide services, etc.

If certain Muslim nonprofits choose to put politics and ego above fighting extremism, then there are plenty of other options for these grants.

Robert Spencer: Democrat Leaders Protest Trump’s Determination to Fight Jihad

February 7, 2017

Robert Spencer: Democrat Leaders Protest Trump’s Determination to Fight Jihad, Jihad Watch

Spurious moral equivalence employed in order to divert attention from the real threat. My latest at The Geller Report:

trump6

It was reported Friday that “a trio of House Democrats say President Trump is making a mistake pushing for counter-extremism efforts to focus only on radical Islam….Friday’s letter was signed Democratic Reps. Bennie Thompson (Md.), Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and John Conyers (Mich.).”

Thompson, Engel and Conyers wrote: “Such a move is wrongheaded insofar as persons who commit acts of violent extremism are inspired by diverse political, religious and philosophical beliefs, and are not limited to any single population or region.”

In reality, there have been over 30,000 murderous jihad terror attacks worldwide since 9/11. What other political, religious and philosophical beliefs have been responsible for any comparable number? A widely publicized study purporting to show that “right-wing extremists” have killed more people in the U.S. than Islamic jihadis, and thus pose a greater threat, has been debunked on many grounds.

These representatives also wrote: “Changing the name to ‘Countering Islamic Extremism’ or ‘Countering Radical Islamic Extremism’ would have damaging effects to our national security by feeding into the propaganda created by terrorist groups and child domestic and international diplomatic relations. Additionally, it could further alienate and create distrust with the Muslim-American communities when the program depends on close cooperation with law enforcement.”

Islamic jihadis routinely cite the texts and teachings of Islam to justify their actions and make recruits among peaceful Muslims. The idea that Muslims who reject jihad terror will be enraged if the U.S. government takes note of this is absurd. If they reject jihad terror, they won’t embrace it because officials are saying things they don’t like; in fact, if they really reject it, they should welcome and cooperate with efforts to identify its causes and eradicate them. These Congressmen are recommending that we curtail our speech to avoid criticizing Islam, which is a Sharia blasphemy provision that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been trying to foist upon the U.S. by means of “hate speech” laws for years. That the statements of Thompson, Engel and Conyers are simply today’s conventional wisdom is one indication of how successful these efforts have been.

Critics of President Trump’s plan have complained: “The program, ‘Countering Violent Extremism,’ or CVE, would be changed to ‘Countering Islamic Extremism’ or ‘Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,’ the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.”

Indeed, but the white supremacist threat has been wildly exaggerated by Soros-funded groups (which exaggerations have been pushed by Soros-funded media) that downplay and deny the jihad threat. Reuters’ equivalence here also ignores the fact that the jihad is an international movement set on destroying the U.S. and found on every continent; white supremacism is not.

What Trump is really doing here is reversing Obama’s bow to Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups in scrubbing counter-terror training materials of all mention of Islam and jihad. On October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates delivered a letter to John Brennan, who was then the assistant to the president on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism. The letter was signed by the leaders of virtually all significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” Khera complained specifically about me, noting that my books could be found in “the FBI’s library at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia”; that a reading list accompanying a slide presentation by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit recommended my book The Truth About Muhammad; that in July 2010 I “presented a two-hour seminar on ‘the belief system of Islamic jihadists’ to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Tidewater, Virginia”; and that I also “presented a similar lecture to the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which is co-hosted by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.”

These were supposed to be terrible materials because I was supposedly bigoted and hateful. However, many of the examples Khera adduced of “bigoted and distorted materials” involved statements that were simply accurate. The only distortion was Khera’s representation of them.

For instance, Khera stated:

A 2006 FBI intelligence report stating that individuals who convert to Islam are on the path to becoming “Homegrown Islamic Extremists,” if they exhibit any of the following behavior:

“Wearing traditional Muslim attire”

“Growing facial hair”

“Frequent attendance at a mosque or a prayer group”

“Travel to a Muslim country”

“Increased activity in a pro-Muslim social group or political cause”

The FBI intelligence report Khera purported to be describing didn’t actually say that. Rather, it included these behaviors among a list of fourteen indicators that could “identify an individual going through the radicalization process.” Other indicators included:

“Travel without obvious source of funds”

“Suspicious purchases of bomb making paraphernalia or weapons”

“Large transfer of funds, from or to overseas”

“Formation of operational cells”

Khera had selectively quoted the list to give the impression that the FBI was teaching that devout observance of Islam led inevitably and in every case to “extremism.”

Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups signing the letter demanded that the task force, among other actions:

“Purge all federal government training materials of biased materials.”

“Implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training.”

They wished to ensure that all law enforcement officials ever learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn — and Brennan was amenable to that. He took Khera’s complaints as his marching orders.

In a November 3, 2011, letter to Khera that — significantly — was written on White House stationery, Brennan accepted Khera’s criticisms without a murmur of protest and assured her of his readiness to comply. He detailed specific actions being undertaken, including “collecting all training materials that contain cultural or religious content, including information related to Islam or Muslims.” In reality, this material wouldn’t just be “collected”; it would be purged of anything that Farhana Khera and others like her found offensive. Honest, accurate discussion of how Islamic jihadists use Islamic teachings to justify violence would no longer be allowed.

The alacrity with which Brennan complied was unfortunate on many levels. Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were purged. Brennan was complying with demands from quarters that could hardly be considered authentically moderate.

This Obama policy of the U.S. government ensured that numerous jihadists simply could not be identified as risks. The Obama administration was bound, as a matter of policy, to ignore what in saner times would be taken as warning signs. Now we can hope that Trump will reverse all that. Indeed, it is our only hope of defeating this scourge.

To Fix Counterterrorism, End Obama’s ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Strategy

February 6, 2017

To Fix Counterterrorism, End Obama’s ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Strategy, PJ MediaAndrew C. McCarthy, February 5, 2017

(Please see also, Trump Seeks to End Obama’s ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Scam. — DM)

grief

Last June, the jihadist terrorist Omar Mateen opened fire at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and wounding several other revelers. It quickly became clear that Mateen was yet another “known wolf” – the term popularized by my friend and colleague Patrick Poole to describe the frequent phenomenon of terrorists who manage to plot and strike against the West notwithstanding that their patent radicalism has put them on the radar screen of law-enforcement and intelligence agents.

I have long argued that the cause of this phenomenon is the restrictions on common sense placed on our agents by political correctness, which essentially blind them to the well-known but rarely acknowledged progression from Islamic scripture to sharia-supremacist ideology (what we call “radical Islam”), to enclaves populated by adherents and sympathizers of this ideology, and inevitably to jihadist terror. This iteration of political correctness has been the backbone of Obama administration counterterrorism strategy, known as “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE). Shortly after the Orlando attack, I delivered a speech at the Westminster Institute – entitled, “Defenseless in the Face of Our Enemies” – in which I addressed CVE. The new Trump administration is in the process of formulating its own counterterrorism strategy. Below, for what it may be worth, is the portion of my speech that addressed CVE:

Of the nearly 36,000 people who work for the FBI, fewer than 14,000 are investigative agents. National security is a crucial part of the Bureau’s portfolio, but the FBI is statutorily the lead investigative agency in virtually every category of criminal offense in federal law. At most, there are a couple thousand agents assigned full-time to counterterrorism. Those numbers are multiplied somewhat by joint federal-state efforts — the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in several metropolitan areas across the nation. Even so, because the Bureau is an intelligence agency as well as a law-enforcement agency, there are over a thousand terrorism investigations ongoing at any one time. The FBI director indicates that there is activity that must be monitored in all 50 states. Unless there are flashing neon signs of imminent attack, the small number of investigators can only spend so much time on any one suspect.

Of course, that time can be maximized, or wasted, depending on whether investigators know what they’re looking for . . . and whether they are permitted to look for it.

Clearly, the FBI spent a lot of time on Mateen. It sent confidential informants to interact with him, conducted physical surveillance, covertly monitored some of his phone calls, and interviewed him face-to-face three separate times. It concluded that his bark was bad, but his bite was non-existent. Honoring guidelines imposed on terrorism investigations, the FBI closed its case. That is, in addition to concluding that no charges should be filed, the Bureau further decided that additional monitoring of Mateen was not warranted.

In retrospect, this seems reckless. But the FBI is not incompetent, far from it. The agency knew Mateen was worth a heavy investigative investment. The problem is that the FBI answers to the Washington political class. The bipartisan Beltway has long ruled that advocacy of radical Islam is protected by the Constitution. It has long instructed its investigators, preposterously, that seditious beliefs and agitation are immune, not just from prosecution, but even from mere inquiry.

What passes for Obama’s national-security strategy, known as “Countering Violent Extremism,” exacerbates this problem. CVE delusionally forbids the conclusion that radical Islamic ideology has any causative effect on terrorist plotting. The FBI is in the impossible position of trying to conduct investigations that follow the facts wherever they lead, while fearing that such investigations — by illuminating the logical progression from Islamic scripture to sharia supremacism to jihadist terror — will enrage its political masters.

Understand: Nothing in the Constitution mandates this suicidal betrayal of national security. It flows from Washington’s lunatic concoction of an imaginary Islam — a belief system the sole tenets of which are peace and anti-terrorism. President Obama and the counsel he keeps (many of whom are connected to insidious Islamist organizations tied to the Muslim Brotherhood) insist this “anti-terrorist” “Religion of Peace” is the only viable interpretation of Islam. We are not just to believe, we are pressured to endorse, the fantasy that sharia supremacism is a “false Islam.” Its palpable mainstream status in the Middle East and elsewhere is not to be spoken of.

The FBI is bound by guidelines promulgated by the Justice Department, most of which have been in place since the administration of President George W. Bush. They impose a caveat on every investigation:

These Guidelines do not authorize investigating or collecting or maintaining information on United States persons solely for the purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment or the lawful exercise of other rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

On its face, this admonition should not be problematic. It instructs that agents may not investigate for the sole purpose of monitoring activities protected by federal law. Consequently, if agents have other legitimate purposes for investigating — such as preventing terrorist attacks or probing terrorism conspiracies — the Justice Department guidance is no bar to conducting an investigation in which a mosque or a protest rally may foreseeably come under scrutiny.

Political dissent and the exercise of religion are protected by the First Amendment. But this is a protection against being prosecuted merely for one’s words or religious observance. It is not a shield against investigation for criminal activities that are motivated by religious or political belief.

Not only may one be investigated and prosecuted for criminal offenses that are motivated by one’s beliefs or speech; it has long been the law that evidence of one’s beliefs and speech, which is often highly relevant to proving criminal intent, may be admitted in a prosecution for such offenses.

Simply stated, if you are a Muslim who believes sharia law must be imposed on society, and you tell people that Allah commands the commission of violent jihad to impose sharia, that belief and statement are admissible evidence if you are charged with bombing or terrorism conspiracy crimes. You are not being prosecuted for what you believe or what you said; you are being prosecuted for the crimes. The beliefs and statements are evidence of your state of mind — just as they are in all kinds of criminal cases beyond terrorism.

That being the case, there is nothing inherently wrong with, much less constitutionally offensive about, the concept that radical religious or political beliefs should trigger investigations. That is especially the case if those beliefs are conveyed by aggressive language, or by association with other radicals or mosques known to endorse jihadism.

Here’s an important principle we must get right: It cannot be that evidence an investigator may use to prove guilt of terrorism offenses is somehow insulated from an investigator’s suspicions about potential terrorism offenses. The goal of counterterrorism is supposed to be the prevention of jihadist attacks, not the hope that there may be a living terrorist or two still around to be indicted and tried only after Americans have been murdered.

In law enforcement, however, what matters most is not what the law allows investigators to do. It is what the investigators’ superiors allow them to do.

That brings us to “Countering Violent Extremism.” In essence, CVE holds that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, or even with Islamist ideology that reviles the United States. President Obama has conclusively proclaimed: “Muslim American communities have categorically condemned terrorism” — end of discussion . . . as if that were an incontestable proposition or one that told the whole story.

Thus, the administration narrative continues, the real threat to our security is not Muslim terrorist plots against us but our provocation of Muslims. By the Obama administration’s lights, our national-defense measures following the 9/11 attacks have conveyed the misimpression that America is at war with Islam.

Remember, we’re in Fantasy Land, so we’re not supposed to pause at this point to ask: What, then, prompted the 9/11 attacks in the first place? What prompted the increasingly audacious series of attacks from the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center to the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole — all during those sensitive, Islamophilic Clinton years when, we’re to believe, jihadists didn’t think America was “at war with Islam”?

Instead of asking such impertinent questions, we are simply to accept the president’s say-so that the key to our security is to “partner” with the leadership in Muslim communities — much of which just happens to be tied to or heavily influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a major 2007–08 prosecution (the Holy Land Foundation case), the Justice Department proved that the Brotherhood financed the Hamas terrorist organization to the tune of millions of dollars. That same Muslim Brotherhood is the main subject of my 2010 book, The Grand Jihad. The title is lifted from an internal Brotherhood memo seized by the FBI and presented at the Holy Land trial — a memo in which Brotherhood honchos stationed in the United States explained that their mission here is a “grand jihad” to “eliminate and destroy Western Civilization from within” — by “sabotage.”

Under CVE, we are to let our Islamist “partners” train the police, and let them be our eyes and ears in Muslim communities. Because we all share the same interests, you see, we should rest assured that these Islamist leaders will alert us if there is any cause for concern.

Makes perfect sense, right?

If it is possible, the practice of CVE is even more of a national-security disaster than the theory. This is probably best documented by my friend Stephen Coughlin in a recent and essential book: Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad.

Apart from being an exceptional lawyer, Steve is a trained military intelligence officer who has studied our enemies’ threat doctrine, Islamic supremacism. Again, to be precise, it may be best to call it “sharia supremacism” because it reflects the classic sharia-based Islam that is mainstream in the Middle East. Catastrophic Failure is about how the United States government has systematically stifled the study of this doctrine since before 9/11. CVE is the paragon illustration of how the Obama administration has exacerbated this catastrophic failure — a failure that I have branded “willful blindness” since first encountering it as a prosecutor two decades ago.

As Coughlin demonstrates, CVE is no secret. For example, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties — which is every bit as radical as the infamous Civil Rights Division in the Obama Justice Department — has worked with the National Counterterrorism Center to develop government-agency training programs that “bring together best [CVE] practices.”

One product of this effort is a handy two-page instruction document of CVE “Do’s and Don’ts.” The “Don’ts” tell agents to avoid, among other things, “ventur[ing] too deep into the weeds of religious doctrine and history” or examining the “role of Islam in majority Muslim nations.” The guidance further admonishes:

Don’t use training that equates radical thought, religious expression, freedom to protest, or other constitutionally protected activity, with criminal activity. One can have radical thoughts/ideas, including disliking the U.S. government, without being violent; for example, trainers who equate the desire for Sharia law with criminal activity violate basic tenets of the First Amendment.

As we’ve already observed, this interpretation of the First Amendment is patent rubbish. Again, there is no free-speech protection against having one’s words examined for intelligence or investigative purposes. Free-expression principles protect Americans against laws that subject speech to penalty or prosecution — a protection, by the way, that the Obama administration seeks to deny to speech unflattering to Islam, under a UN resolution it jointly sponsored with several Islamic nations.

In sum, Obama’s CVE strategy expressly instructs our investigators to consider only violent or criminal conduct. They are told to ignore radical ideology, particularly if it has the patina of “religious expression.” They are directed to turn a deaf ear to anti-Americanism and the desire to impose sharia, which just happens to be the principal objective of all violent jihadists, and of the Obama administration’s oft-time consultants, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Our agents, furthermore, are cautioned to avoid doing anything that smacks of subjecting particular groups to heightened scrutiny. After all, that might imply that terrorism committed by Muslims has some connection to Islam — specifically, to the undeniable, unambiguous commands to violent jihad found in Muslim scripture.

Obviously, this CVE guidance is exactly what our investigators follow when they consciously avoid scrutinizing jihadist social-media postings by visa applicants from Muslim-majority countries — such as Tashfeen Malik. She was the Pakistani immigrant who joined her jihadist husband, Syed Farook, in carrying out last December’s mass-murder attack in San Bernardino (in which 14 people were killed and dozens wounded).

There is nothing secret about CVE. Willful blindness is right there in black and white.

Trump to recast Obama’s “Countering Violent Extremism” program to focus on the jihad threat

February 2, 2017

Trump to recast Obama’s “Countering Violent Extremism” program to focus on the jihad threat, Jihad Watch

“The program, ‘Countering Violent Extremism,’ or CVE, would be changed to ‘Countering Islamic Extremism’ or ‘Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,’ the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.”

Indeed, but the white supremacist threat has been wildly exaggerated by Soros-funded groups (which exaggerations have been pushed by Soros-funded media) that downplay and deny the jihad threat. Reuters’ equivalence here also ignores the fact that the jihad is an international movement set on destroying the U.S. and found on every continent; white supremacism is not.

What Trump is really doing here is reversing Obama’s bow to Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups in scrubbing counter-terror training materials of all mention of Islam and jihad. On October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates delivered a letter to John Brennan, who was then the assistant to the president on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism. The letter was signed by the leaders of virtually all significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” Khera complained specifically about me, noting that my books could be found in “the FBI’s library at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia”; that a reading list accompanying a slide presentation by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit recommended my book The Truth About Muhammad; that in July 2010 I “presented a two-hour seminar on ‘the belief system of Islamic jihadists’ to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Tidewater, Virginia”; and that I also “presented a similar lecture to the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which is co-hosted by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.”

These were supposed to be terrible materials because I was supposedly bigoted and hateful. However, many of the examples Khera adduced of “bigoted and distorted materials” involved statements that were simply accurate. The only distortion was Khera’s representation of them.

For instance, Khera stated:

A 2006 FBI intelligence report stating that individuals who convert to Islam are on the path to becoming “Homegrown Islamic Extremists,” if they exhibit any of the following behavior:

“Wearing traditional Muslim attire”

“Growing facial hair”

“Frequent attendance at a mosque or a prayer group”

“Travel to a Muslim country”

“Increased activity in a pro-Muslim social group or political cause”

The FBI intelligence report Khera purported to be describing didn’t actually say that. Rather, it included these behaviors among a list of fourteen indicators that could “identify an individual going through the radicalization process.” Other indicators included:

“Travel without obvious source of funds”

“Suspicious purchases of bomb making paraphernalia or weapons”

“Large transfer of funds, from or to overseas”

“Formation of operational cells”

Khera had selectively quoted the list to give the impression that the FBI was teaching that devout observance of Islam led inevitably and in every case to “extremism.”

Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups signing the letter demanded that the task force, among other actions:

“Purge all federal government training materials of biased materials.”

“Implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training.”

They wished to ensure that all law enforcement officials ever learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn — and Brennan was amenable to that. He took Khera’s complaints as his marching orders.

In a November 3, 2011, letter to Khera that — significantly — was written on White House stationery, Brennan accepted Khera’s criticisms without a murmur of protest and assured her of his readiness to comply. He detailed specific actions being undertaken, including “collecting all training materials that contain cultural or religious content, including information related to Islam or Muslims.” In reality, this material wouldn’t just be “collected”; it would be purged of anything that Farhana Khera and others like her found offensive. Honest, accurate discussion of how Islamic jihadists use Islamic teachings to justify violence would no longer be allowed.

The alacrity with which Brennan complied was unfortunate on many levels. Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were purged. Brennan was complying with demands from quarters that could hardly be considered authentically moderate.

This Obama policy of the U.S. government ensured that numerous jihadists simply could not be identified as risks. The Obama administration was bound, as a matter of policy, to ignore what in saner times would be taken as warning signs. Now we can hope that Trump will reverse all that.

djtcve

“Exclusive: Trump to focus counter-extremism program solely on Islam – sources,” by Julia Edwards Ainsley, Dustin Volz and Kristina Cooke, Reuters, February 2, 2017:

The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.

Such a change would reflect Trump’s election campaign rhetoric and criticism of former President Barack Obama for being weak in the fight against Islamic State and for refusing to use the phrase “radical Islam” in describing it. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks on civilians in several countries.

The CVE program aims to deter groups or potential lone attackers through community partnerships and educational programs or counter-messaging campaigns in cooperation with companies such as Google (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O).

Some proponents of the program fear that rebranding it could make it more difficult for the government to work with Muslims already hesitant to trust the new administration, particularly after Trump issued an executive order last Friday temporarily blocking travel to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Still, the CVE program, which focuses on U.S. residents and is separate from a military effort to fight extremism online, has been criticized even by some supporters as ineffective.

A source who has worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the program said Trump transition team members first met with a CVE task force in December and floated the idea of changing the name and focus.

In a meeting last Thursday attended by senior staff for DHS Secretary John Kelly, government employees were asked to defend why they chose certain community organizations as recipients of CVE program grants, said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.

Although CVE funding has been appropriated by Congress and the grant recipients were notified in the final days of the Obama administration, the money still may not go out the door, the source said, adding that Kelly is reviewing the matter….