Archive for the ‘Dept. of Homeland Security’ category

Homeland Security Uncovers Massive Immigration Failures

October 9, 2017

Homeland Security Uncovers Massive Immigration Failures, Front Page MagazineMichael Cutler, October 9, 2017

The immigration system lacks meaningful integrity while the Damoclean Sword of terrorism hangs above our heads each and every day.  Every year thousands of innocent victims lose their lives to criminal aliens, yet the immigration anarchists and their allies in the media castigate anyone who would dare suggest that the United States must act to secure its borders and enforce its immigration laws, branding them xenophobes, racists and haters.

Suicide is not an act of compassion.  All of the failing and dysfunctional elements of the immigration system must be repaired as swiftly as possible — not as a prerequisite for any additional action, but simply as ends unto themselves.  The potential for massive losses of life should provide the clear imperative for getting the job done- for once and for all.

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President Trump has been rightfully demanding that aliens who are citizens of countries that have an involvement with terrorism must undergo “extreme vetting.”

This is certainly an important and commonsense requirement. However, the computer systems used by both Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) inside the United States are unable to provide CBP inspectors at ports of entry the data they need to prevent transnational criminals and international terrorists from entering the country. Nor can these systems provide the vital information and records to USCIS adjudications officers that would allow them to prevent aliens present in the United States from improperly acquiring immigration benefits such as political asylum, lawful immigrant status and even United States citizenship.

Simply stated, today — more than 16 years after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 — the effective vetting of any alien seeking entry into the United States or for any alien seeking immigration benefits has been elusive goals.

The September 28, 2017 Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General’s (DHS OIG) report, “CBP’s IT Systems and Infrastructure Did Not Fully Support Border Security Operations,” noted:

CBP’s IT systems and infrastructure did not fully support its border security objective of preventing the entry of inadmissible aliens to the country. The slow performance of a critical pre-screening system greatly reduced Office of Field Operations officers’ ability to identify any passengers who may represent concerns, including national security threats. Further, incoming passenger screening at U.S. international airports was hampered by frequent system outages that created passenger delays and public safety risks. The outages required that CBP officers rely on backup systems that weakened the screening process, leading to officers potentially being unable to identify travelers that may be attempting to enter the United States with harmful intent.

On September 25, 2017, a report was published by DHS OIG on the distressing issue of individuals with multiple identities in US fingerprint enrollment records receiving immigration benefits. This disastrous situation has profound national security and public safety implications. Yet the report stated in part:

As of April 24, 2017, 9,389 aliens USCIS identified as having multiple identities had received an immigration benefit. When taking into account the most current immigration benefit these aliens received, we determined that naturalization, permanent residence, work authorization, and temporary protected status represent the greatest number of benefits, accounting for 8,447 or 90 percent of the 9,389 cases. Benefits approved by USCIS for the other 10 percent of cases, but not discussed in this report, include applications for asylum and travel documents. According to USCIS, receiving a deportation order or having used another identity does not necessarily render an individual ineligible for immigration benefits.

That last sentence should give us all serious cause for pause.

Apparently the “get to yes” philosophy of the Obama administration still permeates management at USCIS where adjudications officers were ordered to do whatever they had to do in order to approve virtually all applications for various immigration benefits.

We will, a bit later on, take a look back at how the Obama administration dismantled a program that sought to uncover immigration fraud and imbue the immigration benefits program with integrity.

But let’s first consider some additional facts.

The official report 9/11 and  Terrorist Travel was issued well over a decade ago and focused specifically on the ability of the terrorists to travel around the world, enter the United States and ultimately embed themselves in the U.S. as they went about their deadly preparations to carry out an attack.

The report noted:

Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud. For example, Yousef and Ajaj concocted bogus political asylum stories when they arrived in the United States. Mahmoud Abouhalima, involved in both the World Trade Center and landmarks plots, received temporary residence under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAW) program, after falsely claiming that he picked beans in Florida.” Mohammed Salameh, who rented the truck used in the bombing, overstayed his tourist visa. He then applied for permanent residency under the agricultural workers program, but was rejected. Eyad Mahmoud Ismail, who drove the van containing the bomb, took English-language classes at Wichita State University in Kansas on a student visa; after he dropped out, he remained in the United States out of status.

Under the title “Immigration Benefits” the following paragraph on page 98 of the same report states that

[t]errorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.

These multiple serious failures of the immigration system today are hardly new.

Roughly one year ago a disturbing DHS/OIG Report prompted me to write an article about Weaponized Immigration. I focused on the fact that 858 aliens who had been ordered deported were improperly granted United States citizenship through the process of naturalization due to the fact hat their fingerprints were not on file because they were not properly uploaded when INS, the predecessor agency to DHS, digitized these fingerprints.

As bad as that was, that report went on to state:

Later, ICE identified missing fingerprint records for about 315,000 aliens who had final deportation orders or who were criminals or fugitives, but it has not yet reviewed about 148,000 aliens’ files to try to retrieve and digitize the old fingerprint cards.

The report noted that in 2010 a program known as “Operation Janus” was created to identify aliens who may have committed immigration fraud, yet the report documented that in the final months of the Obama administration, inexplicably, the Operation Janus working group was disbanded, stymieing efforts to identify aliens who had committed naturalization fraud and thereby seriously undermining national security.

While it was in operation, the working group of Operation Janus identified wrongly naturalized aliens who had been able to parlay their U.S. citizenship into sensitive jobs at airports and seaports and at least one of these individuals became a law enforcement officer.  Consequently, appropriate actions were taken to denaturalize some of these individuals and seek criminal prosecutions, although only a small percentage of these aliens were dealt with effectively.

What was even more disconcerting was that some of these aliens were citizens of “Special Interest Countries,” that is to say, countries that are associated with possible terrorist links.

Nevertheless, consider how many politicians from both political parties are determined to provide lawful status to unknown tens of millions of illegal aliens whose true identities are unknown and unknowable. These politicians all know that the immigration bureaucracy is unable to effectively deal with its current workload. Any massive legalization program would cause this already failing system to implode.

We must also consider how many cities and states have declared themselves to be “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens who entered the United States surreptitiously or who may have lost their lawful status because of the serious crimes that they committed.  These jurisdictions have become magnets for foreign criminals and terrorists and undermine national security and public safety.

The immigration system lacks meaningful integrity while the Damoclean Sword of terrorism hangs above our heads each and every day.  Every year thousands of innocent victims lose their lives to criminal aliens, yet the immigration anarchists and their allies in the media castigate anyone who would dare suggest that the United States must act to secure its borders and enforce its immigration laws, branding them xenophobes, racists and haters.

Suicide is not an act of compassion.  All of the failing and dysfunctional elements of the immigration system must be repaired as swiftly as possible — not as a prerequisite for any additional action, but simply as ends unto themselves.  The potential for massive losses of life should provide the clear imperative for getting the job done- for once and for all.

CAIR Condemns Chief of Staff Kelly

August 2, 2017

CAIR Condemns Chief of Staff Kelly, Clarion ProjectRyan Mauro, August 2, 2017

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (Photo: MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images) Images)

The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization identified by the Justice Department as a Muslim Brotherhood front, condemned new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly for his “Islamaphobic ideology.”

Kelly previously led the Department of Homeland Security for the Trump Administration. During his time as secretary, the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties thanked CAIR’s Florida chapter in a letter that the author claimed was written at the request of General Kelly.

As we stated in our July 30 article, it is very possible Kelly did not actually ask for the letter to CAIR to be written and it was just a normal procedure meant to flatter the recipients. Nonetheless, the letter still shows DHS’ embrace of CAIR was not ended during Kelly’s six-month tenure and is worth bringing to your attention.

CAIR’s New York branch responded to his promotion to Chief of Staff this way:

Kelly successfully led U.S. forces in Iraq in fighting Islamist and Baathist extremists to protect American national security. In pursuit of that objective, his forces suffered death, injury and trauma to protect and fight alongside Iraqi Muslims. His own son sacrificed his life in Afghanistan in 2010 doing the same for Afghan Muslims. Kelly’s eulogy four days after his son’s death is a must-read.

Let’s stack that record up against CAIR’s.

CAIR officials questioned whether to honor fallen American servicemen and women on Memorial Day, enraging pro-American Muslims in the process without losing their positions.

CAIR regularly attacks the anti-Islamist Muslims who would do the most to debunk the supposed “Islamophobia” CAIR purports to rail against.

CAIR was designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim Brotherhood front that was discovered to be financing Hamas. The Justice Department said the Holy Land Foundation and CAIR are branches of the Muslim Brotherhood’s secret Palestine Committee overseeing covert aid to Hamas.

CAIR’s New York chapter is an especially radical part of the organization. Its officials have supported Hamas’ acts of terrorism, spread anti-American propaganda on Iranian regime-controlled TV, rooted for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and engaged in anti-police bigotry.

When it comes to patriotism, integrity and doing dangerous work to protect the free world (and, in the process, protecting Muslims in the Middle East), CAIR can’t hold a candle to General Kelly.

DHS John Kelly Defunds, Disinvites Islamic Groups Favored By Barack Obama

June 25, 2017

DHS John Kelly Defunds, Disinvites Islamic Groups Favored By Barack Obama, BreitbartNeil Munro, June 25, 2017

(Please see also DHS Denies Grant to Islamic Radicalization Enabler MPAC. Several more Islamist organizations defunded. — DM)

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Administration officials have eliminated 2016 plans to fund Islamic groups allied to former President Barack Obama, and declined to schedule a 2017 Islamic ‘Iftar’ dinner where those groups were able to show their political influence to the ambassadors of wealthy Islamic countries.

The turnaround was made public on Friday when the Department of Homeland Security announced a revised list of the organizations which are getting DHS funds to help prevent young Muslims from becoming jihadis. The new list replaced an Obama list announced January 13, 2017, and it dropped a $800,000 grant for an Islamic seminary in Los Angeles, and a $393,000 grant for a linked organization, the Muslim Public Affairs Council Foundation.

The foundation is a spin-off of the D.C.-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, whose leaders were frequent advisors to Obama and his deputies, where they lobbied for a national strategy of letting semi-segregated Islamic political communities and groups — but not the FBI — play the leading role in combating Islamic terrorism.

Kelly explained his new pro-integration strategy in a June 22 event held in Congress, where he acknowledged that Islamic terrorists are acting for sincere religious reasons, saying:

They are out there doing what they think is their religion and think [it is] what they are supposed to be doing … What I’ve elected to do is take what little money I have in this regard and give it to what I consider to be the time-proven things — law enforcement from an outreach point of view and communities developing relationships … so that there’s an open line of communication so they know if they see this [advocacy or preparation for violence] happening in the home or they see it happening — that is to say, the move towards radicalism — or they see it happening in the churches or mosques, they know to call someone before that person typically crosses the line.

The departments June 23 statement emphasized that funding will be given to groups that cooperate with law enforcement:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will award 26 grants — totaling $10 million for two years of programming — to organizations that will work to improve the security of our communities and prevent terrorism. Grantees were selected in part because of their potential to support law enforcement and other frontline defenders, to demonstrate programmatic effectiveness, and to use taxpayer resources efficiently to create independently sustainable programs. Grants were approved for local law enforcement agencies, state and local government agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations.

Kelly’s new funding list eliminated grants to several additional organizations, including $400,000 for Life After Hate Inc., $499,998 for the Somali-focused Ka Joog organization in Minneapolis, $40,000 for the Muslim American Leadership Alliance, and $396,585 for Unity Productions Foundation, whose lawyer in Mazen Asbahi.

In turn, Kelly shifted the money to the Global Peace Foundation in New Jersey, and to Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Minneapolis, and the Heartland Democracy Center in Minneapolis, where many local Somalis have preserved strong ties to Islamic armed groups in their homeland.

The funding cut-off came one day before the final day of the 2017 Ramadan season. In prior years, Obama invited Muslim ambassadors and U.S.-based Muslim allies to share a fast-breaking “Iftar dinner” at the White House. At Obama’s final 2016 Iftar, the attendees chanted “Four More Years!”

Trump’s officials did not explain why President Donald Trump choose to not hold an annual Iftar dinner this year.

One likely reason is that many Arab Muslim countries are bitterly divided against each other. For example, Saudi Arabia is threatening the neighboring countries of Quater, is waging war in neighboring Yemen, and is in a cold war with Iraq and Iran. Those divides between Islamic countries created a diplomatic headache for officials trying to decide cost costs and benefits of inviting the ambassador from each country for the Iftar dinner.

A second likely reason is that officials did not want to invite some of the Islamic advocates who worked with Obama’s deputies. For examples, the invitees to Obama’s Iftar dinners included the president of MPAC, Salam Al-Marayati, whose grant was cut June 23.

Another frequent Obama guest was Mohamed Magid, a Sudanese cleric who heads the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in Northern Virginia. Magid is a former president of the Islamic Society of North America and was invited to shape anti-terrorism policy at the FBI and DHS. Both Al-Marayati and Magid have pushed so many Islamist claims that Obama’s deputies even tried to conceal their presence at the 2011 Iftar dinner.

During his eight years in office, Obama never invited Islamic reformers, such as Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a pro-Western Muslim group, to his Iftar dinners.

In response to Kelly’s shut-out from the grants, MPAC issued a protest in which it frankly admitted that it seeks to exclude the FBI from Islamic societies in the United States, such as mosques and affiliated community centers, or neighborhoods with a large Islamic population:

The notification letter we received today explained that upon further review, MPAC was excluded [from the grants] because we did not meet the criteria of working with law enforcement to counter violent extremism. This is true. 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 [MPAC’s emphasis] the involvement or spectre of law enforcement.

While we have developed working relationships with law enforcement agencies in the past to improve officer training and the reporting of hate crimes, we have never conflated this work with community responses to issues of vulnerability and alienation. To do so would fundamentally compromise our ability to provide safe and nurturing spaces. Our grant application embodied those core principles, and its ultimate rejection by the Trump administration clearly demonstrates a dramatic and worrying change in approach…

The Trump Administration’s mishandling of the grant process underscores two fundamental flaws in its CVE [Countering VIolent Extremism] policy: it focuses on criminal investigations in a non-criminal space ….  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. 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. We are considering all legal options in light of these changes.

The MPAC strategy of excluding law-enforcement from Muslim civic groups reflects a broader effort by Islamic advocates to create and expand segregated Islamic neighborhoods throughout the United States, each of which is to be ruled by Islamic laws, in partial cooperation with federal and state law enforcement.

In 2005, for example, just four years after the 9/11 atrocity by 19 militant Islamists, Al-Maryati called for excluding law-enforcement from still-small Muslim communities. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, he told a meeting of the Islamic Society of North America that:

Counter-terrorism and counter-violence should be defined by us … 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.

MPAC also has close ties to another defunded group, the “Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School,” an Islamic seminary whose president is named Jihad Turk. In February, the group announced it would decline funding from Trump’s DHS, although Obama’s DHS planned to award it $800,000.

This award was based on a proposal submitted in the summer of 2016 by Bayan Claremont, operating as a division of the Claremont School of Theology (CST), for a two-year project entitled “Flourishing Communities.” This project sought to elevate the capacity of non-profits and community organizations working to improve interreligious cooperation, civic engagement, and social justice. We will continue to pursue these goals with the support of our community and those who stand with us in solidarity.

The self-policing strategy favored by Al-Marayati and others was partly embraced in the Obama administration”s “Countering Violent Extremism” policy.

The policy refused to identify Islamic doctrines as the cause of Islamic attacks, and also tried to treat Islamic attacks as generic “violent extremism,” and also similar to violence by small-government groups, by ‘Nazi’ National Socialists, or by anti-abortion advocates. “Any approach that would single them [Islamic beleivers] out or target [Islamic adherents] for discrimination is not only wrong and un-American, but it would also be counter-productive because it would reduce the strength—the antibodies we have to resist terrorism,” Obama claimed in March 2016.

Obama’s deputies, including Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson, also gave a leading role to MPAC and its leaders, including Al-Maryati.

After Obama’s departure, MPAC hired one of Obama’s policy aides, Zaki Barzinji. According to MPAC, Barzinji was “Senior Associate Director of Public Engagement and President Obama’s Liaison to Muslim-Americans… he was responsible for significantly deepening engagement and representation of Muslim communities across the country.”

Obama hired other members of Islamic groups to serve at the DHS. For example, Kareem Shora was appointed to be the director of the Community Engagement Section at DHS, even though he had worked at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. In a 2010 speech, for example, Shora said “We were not attacked by a faith [on 9/11]. We were attacked by violent extremists who were hijacking a faith … I felt, as a Muslim American, that I was attacked twice on 9/11 … those people attacked my own religion. They warped what the religion is all about, and so it is actually a very serious issue for me personally.”

Shora also used his speech to boast of his continued advocacy for Islamic groups: “Three years ago I had my name on [AADC] lawsuits against DHS, now I’m here speaking on behalf of DHS. I haven’t changed – the same exact points I made against special registration [of Muslim migrants] in 2007,  I’m making internally in DHS in 2010.”

Shora’s LinkedIn page says he still holds the DHS job.

Shora’s hiring also shows how Obama sought to absorb immigrant Islamic believers into the Democrats’ “diversity coalition.”

However, Obama’s CVE strategy failed to win much support among the media-magnified Islamic advocates, religious leaders, and political groups, who wanted even greater self-segregation and autonomy from the nation’s laws, plus more U.S. pressure on Israel. The lack of support for law enforcement coincided with the violent emergence of long-planned attacks by Muslims in San Bernardino and at the Orlando nightclub.

The legitimacy and credibility of many groups that claim to speak for Muslims in America are unclear. Many immigrants and Americans who are born into Muslim families ignore the tenets of Islam, and also ignore the well-funded political groups that are described as their representatives by Democrats and the media.

A 2011 Pew report, for example, showed that 48 percent of Muslims in America said that Islamic political groups had not done enough to condemn Islamic terrorism — while only 34 percent say the groups have done as much as they should.

A 2011 survey by Gallup reported that only 5.5 percent of Muslims in America felt they were best represented by the Islamic Society of North America. That survey also reported that only 28 percent of Muslims in America thought the Islamic groups were sufficiently vocal against terrorism.

Moreover, U.S. government’s don’t delegate law-enforcement roles to groups that define themselves by ethnic affiliations or religious tenets, such as Italian men’s clubs or the Catholic Church. Instead, people deal with government through their elected local, state and federal legislators, and through judges, but not via panels of religious leaders and agency officials.

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.

Trump Admin Rescinds DAPA Amnesty Program

June 16, 2017

Trump Admin Rescinds DAPA Amnesty Program, Daily CallerPeter Hasson, June 15, 2017

The Trump administration has fulfilled another one of Donald Trump’s campaign promises by rescinding the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program implemented under Barack Obama that could have allowed as many as five million illegal aliens with children who are citizens or lawful permanent residents to remain in the country if they met certain criteria.

DAPA was blocked by the courts from implementation, which the Department of Homeland Security cited as a reason for rescinding the program. A DHS press released said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly signed a memorandum rescinding DAPA on Thursday because “there is no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy.” (RELATED: Texas AG Says Trump Has Done More To Stop Illegal Immigration Than Anyone In World History)

The program had been challenged by 26 states after Obama issued it in November 2014. The Supreme Court deadlocked when ruling on the constitutionality of the program in June 2016, splitting the vote 4-4 due to the empty seat at the time left by late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

One of Trump’s signature campaign promises was that he would rescind both DAPA and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program if elected president.

The DHS press release added, however, that the June 2012 Obama memorandum creating DACA will remain in effect. That program applies to certain illegal aliens in the U.S. who arrived as children and met specific criteria.

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. 

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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.

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….