Posted tagged ‘Islamist vetting’

The Real Roots of Islamic Terrorism

October 5, 2017

The Real Roots of Islamic Terrorism, Gatestone InstituteKhadija Khan, October 5, 2017

Last month, an Islamic preacher was caught red-handed in Britain preaching for ISIS and jihad, and inciting youths to commit violence against non-Muslims. To everyone’s purported astonishment, he was not delivering his lectures on websites. He was delivering sermons live in a public-charity mosque — funded by taxpayers — in Stoke-on-Trent.

France and Britain remain in the constant grip of Islamist terror, yet their governments, despite having laws prohibiting “hate speech”, have so far failed to address the influence that preachers of violence and hatred have with local Muslims.

Blaming terror recruitment only on the internet is just an invented story, like the one that every suicide bomber or those who committed acts of terror in the name of Islam were lone wolves who merely took “inspiration” from terror outfits such as al-Qaeda or ISIS.

Governments in Britain and other countries in the grip of terror posed by Islamists have probably also been using the “online” excuse to shake off any charges of reckless endangerment or criminal neglect that they have might have committed by allowing these extremists to flourish in West.

The terrorists involved in the Parsons Green Underground attack and other incidents, as in Barcelona, were found to have ties with local mosques or seminaries, yet the administrations of these places have refused to take any responsibility, and stated that they are not accountable for the acts of their members.

 

Another terrorist attacks France and slaughters two innocent women at the Marseille train station. The terrorist was reportedly chanting the Arabic verses.

Within 24 hours, another terror attack took place in Edmonton, Canada outside a football stadium, when a man with a knife left five people injured. An ISIS flag was reportedly found in suspect’s car.

The strike in a country known for going extra miles to take in immigrants from the war-torn Middle East exposes the fact that these terrorists are enemies not only of human rights but often if the very people trying to help them.

No soft gesture, however, will deter extremist Muslims unless the whole world submits to their version of Islam.

Pictured: Saint-Charles train station in Marseille, France, where an Islamist terrorist murdered two women on October 1, 2017. (Image source: ignis/Wikimedia Commons)

Western governments might nevertheless once again choose to ignore the existence of religious schools and mosques that serve as radicalization and recruitment centers for extremist Muslims across the West.

The authorities in Europe seem to have been doing very little to clamp down on the recruitment of mainly Muslim youths by terrorists. Many apologists seem to have been trying to confuse people by saying that the internet is root cause of the Islamic extremism and terrorism problem, and authorities have been blaming the websites of terror outfits. Websites do not vote.

France and Britain remain in the constant grip of Islamist terror, yet their governments, despite having laws prohibiting “hate speech”, have so far failed to address the influence that preachers of violence and hatred have with local Muslims.

Last month, an Islamic preacher was caught red-handed in Britain preaching for ISIS and jihad, and inciting youths to commit violence against non-Muslims.

To everyone’s professed astonishment, he was not delivering his lectures on websites or communicating with the gullible youths through online “chats”. He was delivering sermons live in a public-charity mosque — funded by taxpayers — in Stoke-on-Trent.

Governments in Britain and other countries in the grip of terror posed by Islamists have probably also been using the “online” excuse to shake off any charges of reckless endangerment or criminal neglect that they have might have committed by allowing these extremists to flourish in West.

The authorities seem deliberately to be ignoring the compelling presence of hardline madrassahs, mosques and faith-schools that might well be involved in clear instances of preaching violence and hate.

Blaming terror recruitment only on the internet is just an invented story, like the one that every suicide bomber or those who committed acts of terror in the name of Islam, whether in Paris, London or Berlin, are lone wolves who merely took “inspiration” from terror outfits such as al-Qaeda or ISIS.

It is laughable to claim that a “lone wolf” has committed a terror attack, especially when the terror outfits such as ISIS immediately take responsibility for them.

The London Bridge attack left Prime Minister Theresa May stating “enough is enough” and sounding finally determined to tackle terrorism a bit.

But the slogan merely ended up on the back-burner as the terror spree continued — as do the hardline seminaries and recruiters that then led to the Parsons Green Underground attack.

The terrorists involved in that and other attacks, as in Barcelona, were found to have ties with local mosques or seminaries, yet the administrations of these places have refused to take any responsibility, and state that they are not accountable for the acts of their members.

Westminster terror attacker Khalid Masood was serving as a public contact person for the website of the Luton Islamic Center Mosque just a week before he rammed a car into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge and went on to kill a police officer.

Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, who murdered 22 people, including children, regularly attended Didsbury Mosque, which was also known to have home to many other al-Qaeda and ISIS recruits. The mosque was also known for having ties with al-Qaeda-linked jihadists such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

The perpetrators of the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attacks — Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouance and Youssef Zaghba — were believed to be associated with the outlawed Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, co-founded by the convicted hate preacher Anjem Choudary. Khuram Butt was even seen brandishing an Islamic State flag in Regent’s Park in a Channel 4 documentary.

The Berlin Christmas Market terrorist, Anis Amri, was also reportedly radicalized by a local mosque. One of the preachers of the Mosque, Abu Walaa, is these days on trial with four others in Germany for serving as an ISIS recruiter.

There is a dire need to hold government officials — and the preachers and administrators of these mosques — accountable, and to demand that they take action against extremists who target these breeding grounds, or face criminal prosecution. The policy of avoiding the problem by keeping one’s eyes shut only enlarges it and sacrifices freedom on the altar of terror.

Khadija Khan is a Pakistani journalist and commentator, currently based in Germany.

Threat Assessment in the Domestic War

April 26, 2017

Threat Assessment in the Domestic War, Understanding the Threat, April 24, 2017

(Please see also, PC Pentagon Caves to CAIR, Agrees to ‘Review Anti-Terror Training Program. –DM)

Our federal intelligence and law enforcement officials have little understanding of the jihadi movement, key players, intent, modus operandi, and Islamic doctrine (sharia) driving the movement.  The lack of basic knowledge of this information is staggering.  Local and state officials have relied on DHS and the FBI for their understanding of the threat which is why there is little understanding at the local level as well.

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

An objective review of the activities of the Islamic Movement in the United States, the response from US law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and the actions of local, state and federal leaders reveals the U.S. is closer to losing the war domestically than at any point in time since 9/11/2001.

Enemy Forces

The leading Muslim Brotherhood organization in the United States and the “mother ship” of their jihadi Movement – the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) – hosted their second annual “Advocacy Day” on Capitol Hill on April 18, 2017 continuing it’s overwhelming information operation against the U.S. perpetrating the lie that Islam is here to peacefully coexist with our Constitutional Republic.  This hostile effort continues to produce elected officials willing to help promote the enemy’s agenda instead of doing their legal duty of identifying enemies and defending the Constitution against them.

The Diyanet Center of America, a massive Islamic Center/Mosque complex in Maryland, operates as a base for the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood’s operations with the support of local and state officials there.  The Turkish MB’s influence in the US rivals the Palestinian MB’s (Hamas) presence here.

The Diyanet Turkish Islamic Center of America in Maryland

The Turkish MB is continuing its info op on state legislators by paying for trips to Turkey to show the lawmakers it is a moderate” nation.  Groups like “The Holy Dove Foundation” and the “Turquoise Foundation” propagate this dangerous operation.

The most prominent Islamic organizations in the United States are a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s network whose stated objective is to wage “civilization jihad” to establish an Islamic state under sharia (Islamic law).  Many of these organizations currently work with the U.S. government, including the USCMO, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MFLA), Muslim Advocates, Muslim Students Association (MSA), Hamas (doing business as CAIR), and many others.  The Muslim Brotherhood’s logistics and support network here is significant and they have penetrated all national agencies, have a broad plan and activities inside key U.S. infrastructure nodes, and control the U.S. national security decision-making process as it relates to Islamic jihad.

Anti-American hate groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and much of the media provide direct and aggressive support for these jihadi (“terrorist”) organizations.  Much of the media has demonstrated no interest in doing investigative journalism on these matters, and simply regurgitates whatever information the suit-wearing jihadi groups give them.

Preparations for War:  The USCMO is over-seeing the national coalescing of Islamic forces from individual mosques through regional councils to the USCMO leadership.  The USCMO is solidifying communications and logistics coordination as well as assisting in preparations for confrontation.  Mosques/Islamic Centers are organizing for armed confrontation with law enforcement, shoring up physical defenses where they see likely confrontation and increasing their pre-attack surveillances of churches and other targets.

Funding:  Nearly 16 years after 9/11, the U.S. government still views the government of Saudi Arabia as an ally in the war, despite the fact it has been implicated time and again in funding the global jihad against the West and, specifically, the United States.  Massive funding for Hamas and Hizbollah – both of which have a heavy presence in the U.S. – comes from Iran, and intelligence officials now believe the leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri, is being shielded by the Pakistani government in Karachi.  Pakistan is another U.S. “ally.”

Our leaders still believe they can use “moderate” muslim leaders to help America find it’s way to victory – a foolish and increasingly dangerous path.

“Friendly” Forces

The impact of the enemy’s information campaign (propaganda) is significant.  The recent jihadi incident in Sioux Falls, South Dakota sums up this entire war.

A sharia adherent jihadi – Ehab Jaber – went to a Christian event, filmed it live on Facebook, brandished weapons on video saying the crowd should be “terrified” and posted a number of other videos clearly indicating he had intent and desire to do harm to those who conflict with Islam.  Law enforcement officials and prosecutors refused to take any action and even publicly said the perpetrator broke no laws.  According to one state legislator, the Attorney General of South Dakota refused to push for a prosecution in this matter.

When massive public pressure came after the story gained international prominence last week, a SWAT team from Siuox Falls arrested Jaber last Friday (April 21).  The South Dakota Attorney General is now taking credit for this effort.

Updates on the Sioux Falls story can be followed HERE.

Our federal intelligence and law enforcement officials have little understanding of the jihadi movement, key players, intent, modus operandi, and Islamic doctrine (sharia) driving the movement.  The lack of basic knowledge of this information is staggering.  Local and state officials have relied on DHS and the FBI for their understanding of the threat which is why there is little understanding at the local level as well.

A Solution

UTT’s experience is that none of the law enforcement professionals, military, and intelligence analysts UTT trains have ever heard the information laid out in UTT’s 3-day “Understanding and Investigating the Jihadi Network” program, yet all of them state the information is “critical” to protecting their communities.

The enemy situation represents an insurgency in the United States.  Doctrinally, the response must be a counter-insurgency strategy.  In a counter-insurgency, the focus of effort is at the local level.  This is why the strategy for victory must be local police and citizens who understand the threat and have the courage to engage and defeat it.

This requires police be trained to understand and investigate the threat, and citizens be given the knowledge to support their police in aggressively taking care of the enemy in their communities.

UTT remains the only organization in America providing the training to do this and provide law enforcement with the tools they need to proactively find jihadis (“terrorists”), map out the jihadi network, and develop aggressive and innovative counter-strategies at the local and state level.

Citizens must move to get the attention of their sheriffs and pastors and organize to defend their communities.

Dr. Jasser shares his thoughts on the revised travel ban on Risk & Reward 03.06.2017

March 10, 2017

Dr. Jasser shares his thoughts on the revised travel ban on Risk & Reward 03.06.2017, Fox News via YouTube

10 Points You Won’t Hear About Trump’s Revised Travel Restrictions

March 7, 2017

10 Points You Won’t Hear About Trump’s Revised Travel Restrictions, Clarion ProjectRYAN MAURO, March 7, 2017

(Please see also, Unsatisfied Critics of Trump Immigration Order: This is ‘Muslim Ban 2.0’ for a catalog of the groups opposing the new executive order and the alleged bases for their opposition. The text of the executive order is available here.– DM)

Syrian refugees arrive in the U.S. after spending five years in a refugee camp in Turkey (Illustrative Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Trump has issued an executive order modifying his controversial travel restrictions which have been incorrectly derided as a “Muslim ban.”

Of course, despite major changes, groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are still calling it a “Muslim ban” and are committed to retaining the issue’s divisiveness so they can endlessly bash Trump as a bigot and raise their own profile in the process.

“This executive order, like the last order, is at its core a Muslim ban, which is discriminatory and unconstitutional,” said the executive-director of CAIR, Nihad Awad, who nonetheless touted the revisions as a “partial victory.”

Below are 10 points about the revised executive order that you’re unlikely to hear from media outlets and politically-driven organizations who have are dependent upon continued controversy:

 

1. As previously, it is not a “Muslim ban.” 

As explained by Clarion Project advisory board member and leader of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow in this video (see below), the restrictions are based on an intersection of geography and security risks. They are limited to 6 of 50 Muslim-majority countries and impact non-Muslims as well. And, just as before, the restrictions are a pause rather than a ban.

The order is for between 90 to 120 days, depending on whether the person is a visitor or a refugee. As we’ll discuss, the exceptions are so wide that even describing this order as a “pause” is a bit of an overstatement.

 

2. Iraq is removed from the list, bringing the list of impacted countries down to 5.

Including Iraq (and especially the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan) was a mistake from the beginning. That is now fixed. The executive order implies that this change is due to the fact that the Iraqi government agreed to improved intelligence-gathering and security measures.

Those conversations with the Iraqis obviously took place after the initial executive order, which shows the Trump Administration can be influenced by constructive criticism.

 

3. The executive order justifies the inclusion of the other five countries.

The order explains why the president chose these five countries, which is a scaling back of Trump’s campaign pledge to ban immigration from all terror-prone countries (which in itself is a scaling back of his initial pledge to ban all Muslim immigration).

Iran, Syria and Sudan are designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism and  the former two are explicit enemies of the U.S. Libya and Yemen are failed states with inadequate counter-terrorism abilities and so much chaos that the U.S. doesn’t even have operating embassies in these locations. Somalia is similarly unstable and contains a major Al-Qaeda foothold. In addition, the Somali community in the U.S. is known for its high rate of radicalism.

 

4. The five countries were chosen based on the Obama Administration’s determination.

The executive order explains that these five countries were selected based on the Obama Administration considering them to be “countries of particular concern” that could not participate in the visa waiver program.

It was the Obama Administration that stated that persons coming to the U.S. from these countries pose a greater security risk than those from other countries. Everyone who argues that there’s no reason to treat these countries as unique risks is arguing with Trump and Obama. Where were the condemnations of President Obama’s “Islamophobia” for identifying these Muslim-majority countries as posing a special danger?

 

5. Three hundred refugees are currently under FBI investigation.

 It is true that refugees undergo a lengthy screening process, unlike typical visa applicants. Opponents of the travel restrictions point to how only a small percentage of refugees have been convicted of terrorism-related offenses. The Senate Judiciary Committee said only about 40 had been convicted, representing about 7 percent of the total of 580 since the 9/11 attacks.

The executive order points out that 300 people who were admitted into the U.S. as refugees are now under FBI counter-terrorism investigations; a much higher number than the previous figures used for gauging the risk.

However, in fairness, a Department of Homeland Security report says most refugees who become terrorists are radicalized years after arriving in the U.S., so we don’t know if this figure necessarily proves there’s a major gap in the refugee vetting process. We also don’t know how many of the 300 refugees are from the five affected countries.

 

6. There is a 10-day advance notice.

The previous executive order went into effect immediately, catching airlines and governments off-guard. This one goes into effect in 10 days, giving time for preparation.

 

7. The new executive order explicitly does not apply to current visa and green card holders.

Permanent residents and current visa-holders are not affected this time. The original executive order’s unclear language has been fixed.

 

8. Syrian refugees are no longer singled out.

The original executive order suspended refugee admission for 120 days but singled out Syrian refugees for indefinite exclusion “until such time” that the government determines that they can be safely admitted. The singling out was unnecessary, as that’s the same standard for allowing refugees from other places, but the original language emphasized that Trump was delivering on a campaign promise to reject Syrian refugees.

That language is no longer. A refugee of Syrian nationality is not viewed as inherently more objectionable than a refugee of another nationality.

 

9. There are very wide exceptions.

This executive order uses clearer language to allow for major exceptions even within the 120-day refugee pause and the 90-day pause on visitors from the five countries.

Far from a wholesale treatment, it emphasizes that each applicant will be handled on a “case-by-case basis” in case they qualify for a waiver. There are waivers for when the applicant’s entry into the U.S. is in our “national interest” or rejection of the person would cause them “undue hardship.”

The order gives various examples of what qualifies as “undue hardship,” for example people who have worked in the U.S. and are seeking re-entry; those coming to reside with a family member; those with a significant network of contacts in the U.S.; those with business or professional obligations here; children; those in need of medical attention; those previously or currently employed by the U.S. government, and other situations where rejection would cause an “undue hardship.”

These are the reasons most people from these countries are coming to the U.S. How many other situations are left where a waiver isn’t suitable?

Of course, some biased critics aren’t paying attention to these very important facts. Right after the executive order was released, Grace Meng of Human Rights Watch was uncritically quoted in an article on Politico as saying that the new executive order is “going to harm people fleeing gender-based violence” like women trying to escape rapists.

Actually, such women would obviously qualify for the “undue hardship” exception. But readers of that article wouldn’t know that because Politico unquestionably posted her quote.

 

10. The type of vetting that is being proposed is in alignment with the Founding Fathers’ opinions on immigration.

Joshua Charles, an expert on the Founding Fathers, collected some of the founders’ most insightful quotes on immigration in an article he wrote in January. They explained the U.S. is more than a piece of land with opportunities for wealth. Rather, it is a country held together by foundational beliefs that are unique and not inherently understood and embraced by all persons upon birth.

The executive orders emphasize improving the overall vetting process to screen for hostile ideologies. It’s not just about discovering covert terrorists and criminals; it’s about separating those who support the U.S.’ secular-democratic values from those views are incompatible with that, such as (but not limited to) Islamist extremists.

Opponents of Trump and this policy have a choice to make: They can emphasize (or lie about) the parts they continue to disagree with, elongating a cycle of divisiveness, or they pair their criticism with positive reinforcement that acknowledges the improvements that have been made.

Decreasing the sound of the alarm is not in the best interest of hyper-partisan commentators or Islamist activists like CAIR who are enjoying the limelight and seeking increased donations, but it is in the best interest of the country.

Dr. Jasser joins Bob Harden discussing the need for reform within Islam 02.20.2017

February 21, 2017

Dr. Jasser joins Bob Harden discussing the need for reform within Islam 02.20.2017, AIFD via YouTube

Draft Two – New Immigration Order Could Come This Week – Nigel Farage – Fox & Friends

February 13, 2017

Draft Two – New Immigration Order Could Come This Week – Nigel Farage – Fox & Friends via YouTube, February 12, 2017

 

Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting

January 31, 2017

Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting, Middle East Forum, Daniel Pipes, January 28, 2017(?)

(Please see also, A Muslim Reformer Speaks Out About His Battle Against Islamism And PC. — DM)

On January 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to implement his proposed “extreme vetting” of those applying for entry visas into the United States. This article by Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes, who has written extensively on the practicality and enforceability of screening for Islamists, is an advance release from the forthcoming Spring 2017 issue of Middle East Quarterly.

3570Smoking Them Out (1906), Charles M. Russell.

Donald Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 27 establishing radically new procedures to deal with foreigners who apply to enter the United States.

Building on his earlier notion of “extreme vetting,” the order explains that

to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

This passage raises several questions of translating extreme vetting in practice: How does one distinguish foreigners who “do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles” from those who do? How do government officials figure out “those who would place violent ideologies over American law”? More specifically, given that the new procedures almost exclusively concern the fear of allowing more Islamists into the country, how does one identify them?

I shall argue these are doable tasks and the executive order provides the basis to achieve them. At the same time, they are expensive and time-consuming, demanding great skill. Keeping out Islamists can be done, but not easily.

The Challenge

By Islamists (as opposed to moderate Muslims), I mean those approximately 10-15 percent of Muslims who seek to apply Islamic law (the Shari’a) in its entirety. They want to implement a medieval code that calls (among much else) for restricting women, subjugating non-Muslims, violent jihad, and establishing a caliphate to rule the world.

For many non-Muslims, the rise of Islamism over the past forty years has made Islam synonymous with extremism, turmoil, aggression, and violence. But Islamists, not all Muslims, are the problem; they, not all Muslims, must urgently be excluded from the United States and other Western countries. Not just that, but anti-Islamist Muslims are the key to ending the Islamist surge, as they alone can offer a humane and modern alternative to Islamist obscurantism.

Identifying Islamists is no easy matter, however, as no simple litmus test exists. Clothing can be misleading, as some women wearing hijabs are anti-Islamists, while practicing Muslims can be Zionists; nor does one’s occupation indicate much, as some high-tech engineers are violent Islamists. Likewise, beards, teetotalism, five-times-a-day prayers, and polygyny do not tell about a Muslim’s political outlook. To make matters more confusing, Islamists often dissimulate and pretend to be moderates, while some believers change their views over time.

3567In 2001, the Pentagon invited Anwar al-Awlaki to lunch. In 2011, it killed him by a drone strike.

Finally, shades of gray further confuse the issue. As noted by Robert Satloff of The Washington Institute, a 2007 book from the Gallup press, Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, based on a poll of over 50,000 Muslims in 10 countries, found that 7 percent of Muslims deem the 9/11 attacks “completely justified,” 13.5 percent consider the attacks completely or “largely justified,” and 36.6 percent consider the attacks completely, largely, or “somewhat justified.” Which of these groups does one define as Islamist and which not?

Faced with these intellectual challenges, American bureaucrats are unsurprisingly incompetent, as I demonstrate in a long blog titled “The U.S. Government’s Poor Record on Islamists.” Islamists have fooled the White House, the departments of Defense, Justice, State, and Treasury, the Congress, many law enforcement agencies and a plethora of municipalities. A few examples:

  • The Pentagon in 2001 invited Anwar al-Awlaki, the American Islamist it later executed with a drone-launched missile, to lunch.
  • In 2002, FBI spokesman Bill Carter described the American Muslim Council (AMC) as “the most mainstream Muslim group in the United States” – just two years before the bureau arrested the AMC’s founder and head, Abdurahman Alamoudi, on terrorism-related charges. Alamoudi has now served about half his 23-year prison sentence.
  • George W. Bush appointed stealth Islamist Khaled Abou El Fadl in 2003 to, of all things, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
  • The White House included staff in 2015 from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in its consultations, despite CAIR’s initial funding by a designated terrorist group, the frequent arrest or deportation of its employees on terrorism charges, a history of deception, and the goal of one of its leaders to make Islam the only accepted religion in America.

Fake-moderates have fooled even me, despite all the attention I devote to this topic. In 2000, I praised a book by Tariq Ramadan; four years later, I argued for his exclusion from the United States. In 2003, I condemned a Republican operative named Kamal Nawash; two years later, I endorsed him. Did they evolve or did my understanding of them change? More than a decade later, I am still unsure.

Uniform Screening Standards

Returning to immigration, this state of confusion points to the need for learning much more about would-be visitors and immigrants. Fortunately, Trump’s executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” signed on Jan. 27, 2017, requires just this. It calls for “Uniform Screening Standards” with the goal of preventing individuals from entering the United States “on a fraudulent basis with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission.” The order requires that the uniform screening standard and procedure include such elements as (bolding is mine):

  1. In-person interviews;
  2. A database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants;
  3. Amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent;
  4. A mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be;
  5. A process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest; and
  6. A mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.

Elements 1, 3, 5, and 6 permit and demand the procedure outlined in the following analysis. It contains two main components, in-depth research and intensive interviews.

Research

When a person applies for a security clearance, the background checks should involve finding out about his family, friends, associations, employment, memberships, and activities. Agents must probe these for questionable statements, relationships, and actions, as well as anomalies and gaps. When they find something dubious, they must look further into it, always with an eye for trouble. Is access to government secrets more important than access to the country? The immigration process should start with an inquiry into the prospective immigrant and, just as with security clearances, the border services should look for problems.

3572Most everyone with strong views at some point vents them on social media.

Also, as with security clearance, this process should have a political dimension: Does the person in question have an outlook consistent with that of the Constitution? Not long ago, only public figures such as intellectuals, activists, and religious figures put their views on the record; but now, thanks to the Internet and its open invitation to everyone to comment in writing or on video in a permanent, public manner, and especially to social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), most everyone with strong views at some point vents them. Such data provides valuably unfiltered views on many critical topics, such as Islam, non-Muslims, women, and violence as a tactic. (Exploiting this resource may seem self-evident but U.S. immigration authorities do not do so, thereby imposing a self-restraint roughly equivalent to the Belgian police choosing not to conduct raids between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.)

In the case of virulent, overt, outspoken jihadis, this research usually suffices to provide evidence to exclude them. Even some non-violent Islamists proudly announce their immoderation. But many Islamists adopt a milder and subtler tone, their goal being to appear moderate so they can enter the country and then impose Shari’a through lawful means. As suggested by some of the examples above, such as Abou El Fadl or CAIR, research often proves inadequate in these instances because cautious Islamists hide their goals and glibly dissimulate. Which brings us to entrance interviews.

Entrance Interviews

Assuming that lawful Islamists routinely hide their true views, an interview is needed before letting them enter the country. Of course, it is voluntary, for no one is forced to apply for immigration, but it also must be very thorough. It should be:

Recorded: With the explicit permission of the person being questioned (“You understand and accept that this interview is being recorded, right?”), the exchange should be visibly videotaped so the proceedings are unambiguously on the record. This makes available the interviewee’s words, tone, speech patterns, facial expressions, and body language for further study. Form as well as substance matters: does the interviewee smile, fidget, blink, make eye contact, repeat, sweat, tremble, tire, need frequent toilet breaks, or otherwise express himself in non-verbal ways?

Polygraph: Even if a lie detector machine does not, in fact, provide useful information, attaching the interviewee to it might induce greater truth-telling.

Under oath: Knowing that falsehoods will be punished, possibly with jail time, is a strong inducement to come clean.

Public: If the candidate knows that his answers to abstract questions (as opposed to personal ones about his life) will be made public, this reduces the chances of deception. For example, asked about belief for the full application of Islamic laws, an Islamist will be less likely to answer falsely in the negative if he knows that his reply will be available for others to watch.

3568Look for inconsistency by asking the same thing in different ways. An example: “May a woman show her face in public?” and “Is a male guardian responsible for making sure his women-folk don’t leave the house with faces uncovered?

Multiple: No single question can evince a reply that establishes an Islamist disposition; effective interviewing requires a battery of queries on many topics, from homosexuality to the caliphate. The answers need to be assessed in their totality.

Specific: Vague inquiries along the lines of “Is Islam a religion of peace?”, “Do you condemn terrorism?” “How do you respond to the murder of innocents,” depend too much on one’s definition of words such as peace, terrorism, and innocents to help determine a person’s outlook, and so should be avoided. Instead, questions must be focused and exact: “May Muslims convert out of Islam, whether to join another faith or to become atheists?” “Does a Muslim have the right to renounce Islam?”

Variety in phrasing: For the questions to ferret out the truth means looking for divergence and inconsistency by asking the same question with different words and variant emphases. A sampling: “May a woman show her face in public?” “What punishment do you favor for females who reveal their faces to men not related to them by family?” “Is it the responsibility of the male guardian to make sure his women-folk do not leave the house with faces uncovered?” “Should the government insist on women covering their faces?” “Is society better ordered when women cover their faces?” Any one of the questions can be asked in different ways and expanded with follows-up about the respondent’s line of reasoning or depth of feeling.

Repeated: Questions should be asked again and again over a period of weeks, months, and even longer. This is crucial: lies being much more difficult to remember than truths, the chances of a respondent changing his answers increases with both the volume of questions asked and the time lapse between questionings. Once inconsistencies occur, the questioner can zero in and explore their nature, extent, and import.

The Questions

Guidelines in place, what specific questions might extract useful information?

3574Zuhdi Jasser (L) with the author as teammates at a 2012 Intelligence Squared debate in New York City.

The following questions, offered as suggestions to build on, are those of this author but also derive from a number of analysts devoting years of thinking to the topic. Naser Khader, the-then Danish parliamentarian of Syrian Muslim origins, offered an early set of questions in 2002. A year later, this author published a list covering seven subject areas.

Others followed, including the liberal Egyptian Muslim Tarek Heggy, the liberal American Muslims Tashbih Sayyed and Zuhdi Jasser, the ex-Muslim who goes by “Sam Solomon,” a RAND Corporation group, and the analyst Robert Spencer. Of special interest are the queries posed by the German state of Baden-Württemberg dated September 2005 because it is an official document (intended for citizenship, not immigration, but with similar purposes).

Islamic doctrine:

1. May Muslims reinterpret the Koran in light of changes in modern times?

2. May Muslims convert out of Islam, either to join another faith or to be without religion?

3. May banks charge reasonable interest (say 3 percent over inflation) on money?

4. Is taqiya (dissimulation in the name of Islam) legitimate?

Islamic pluralism:

5. May Muslims pick and choose which Islamic regulations to abide by (e.g., drink alcohol but avoid pork)?

6. Is takfir (declaring a Muslim to be an infidel) acceptable?

7. [Asked of Sunnis only:] Are Sufis, Ibadis, and Shi’ites Muslims?

8. Are Muslims who disagree with your practice of Islam infidels (kuffar)?

The state and Islam:

9. What do you think of disestablishing religion, that is, separating mosque and state?

10. When Islamic customs conflict with secular laws (e.g., covering the face for female drivers’ license pictures), which gets priority?

11. Should the state compel prayer?

12. Should the state ban food consumption during Ramadan and penalize transgressors?

13. Should the state punish Muslims who eat pork, drink alcohol, and gamble?

14. Should the state punish adultery?

15. How about homosexuality?

16. Do you favor a mutawwa’ (religious police) as exist in Saudi Arabia?

17. Should the state enforce the criminal punishments of the Shari’a?

18. Should the state be lenient when someone is killed for the sake of family honor?

19. Should governments forbid Muslims from leaving Islam?

Marriage and divorce:

20. Does a husband have the right to hit his wife if she is disobedient?

21. Is it a good idea for men to shut their wives and daughters at home?

22. Do parents have the right to determine whom their children marry?

23. How would you react if a daughter married a non-Muslim man?

24. Is polygyny acceptable?

25. Should a husband have to get a first wife’s approval to marry a second wife? A third? A fourth?

26. Should a wife have equal rights with her husband to initiate a divorce?

27. In the case of divorce, does a wife have rights to child custody?

Female rights:

28. Should Muslim women have equal rights with men (for example, in inheritance shares or court testimony)?

29. Does a woman have the right to dress as she pleases, including showing her hair, arms and legs, so long as her genitalia and breasts are covered?

30. May Muslim women come and go or travel as they please?

31. Do Muslim women have a right to work outside the home or must the wali approve of this??

32. May Muslim women marry non-Muslim men?

33. Should males and females be separated in schools, at work, and socially?

34. Should certain professions be reserved for men or women only? If so, which ones?

35. Do you accept women occupying high governmental offices?

36. In an emergency, would you let yourself be treated by or operated on by a doctor of the opposite gender?

Sexual activity:

37. Does a husband have the right to force his wife to have sex?

38. Is female circumcision part of the Islamic religion?

39. Is stoning a justified punishment for adultery?

40. Do members of a family have the right to kill a woman if they believe she has dishonored them?

41. How would you respond to a child of yours who declares him- or herself a homosexual?

Schools:

42. Should your child learn the history of non-Muslims?

43. Should students be taught that Shari’a is a personal code or that governmental law must be based on it?

44. May your daughter take part in the sports activities, especially swimming lessons, offered by her school?

45. Would you permit your child to take part in school trips, including overnight ones?

46. What would you do if a daughter insisted on going to university?

Criticism of Muslims:

3575Denying the Islamic nature of ISIS reveals much about a Muslim.

47. Did Islam spread only through peaceful means?

48. Do you accept the legitimacy of scholarly inquiry into the origins of Islam, even if it casts doubt on the received history?

49. Do you accept that Muslims were responsible for the 9/11 attacks?

50. Is the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL/Daesh Islamic in nature?

Fighting Islamism:

51. Do you accept enhanced security measures to fight Islamism, even if this might mean extra scrutiny of yourself (for example, at airline security)?

52. When institutions credibly accused of funding jihad are shut down, is this a symptom of anti-Muslim bias?

53. Should Muslims living in the West cooperate with law enforcement?

54. Should they join the military?

55. Is the “war on terror” a war on Islam?

Non-Muslims (in general):

3573Praying at the Hindu Temple in Dubai, founded 1958.

56. Do all humans, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious beliefs, deserve equal rights?

57. Should non-Muslims enjoy completely equal civil rights with Muslims?

58. Do you accept the validity of other monotheistic religions?

59. Of polytheistic religions (such as Hinduism)?

60. Are Muslims superior to non-Muslims?

61. Should non-Muslims be subject to Islamic law?

62. Do Muslims have anything to learn from non-Muslims?

63. Can non-Muslims go to paradise?

64. Do you welcome non-Muslims to your house and go to their residences?

Non-Muslims (in Dar al-Islam):

65. May Muslims compel “Peoples of the Book” (i.e., Jews and Christians) to pay extra taxes?

66. May other monotheists build and operate institutions of their faith in Muslim-majority countries?

67. How about polytheists?

68. Should the Saudi government maintain the historic ban on non-Muslims in Mecca and Medina?

69. Should it allow churches to be built for Christian expatriates?

70. Should it stop requiring that all its subjects be Muslim?

Non-Muslims (in Dar al-Harb):

71. Should Muslims fight Jews and Christians until these “feel themselves subdued” (Koran 9:29).

72. Is the enslavement of non-Muslims acceptable?

73. Is it acceptable to arrest individuals who curse the prophet of Islam or burn the Koran?

74. If the state does not act against such deeds, may individual Muslims act?

75. Can one live a fully Muslim life in a country with a mostly non-Muslim government?

76. Should a Muslim accept a legitimate majority non-Muslim government and its laws or work to make Islam supreme?

77. Can a majority non-Muslim government unreservedly win your allegiance?

78. Should Muslims who burn churches or vandalize synagogues be punished?

79. Do you support jihad to spread Islam?

Violence:

80. Do you endorse corporal punishments (mutilation, dismemberment, crucifixion) of criminals?

81. Is beheading an acceptable form of punishment?

82. Is jihad, meaning warfare to expand Muslim rule, acceptable in today’s world?

83. What does it mean when Muslims yell “Allahu Akbar” as they attack?

84. Do you condemn violent organizations such as Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Shabaab, and the Taliban?

Western countries:

85. Are non-Islamic institutions immoral and decadent or can they be moral and virtuous?

86. Do you agree with studies that show non-Muslim countries such as New Zealand to be better living up to the ideals of Islam than Muslim-majority countries?

87. Is Western-style freedom an accomplishment or a form of moral corruption? Why?

88. Do you accept that Western countries are majority-Christian or do you seek to transform them into majority-Muslim countries?

89. Do you accept living in Western countries that are secular or do you seek to have Islamic law rule them?

90. What do you think of Shari’a-police patrolling Muslim-majority neighborhoods in Western countries to enforce Islamic morals?

91. Would you like to see the U.S. Constitution (or its equivalents in other countries) replaced by the Koran?

This interview:

92. In an immigration interview like this, if deceiving the questioner helps Islam, would lying be justified?

93. Why should I trust that you have answered these questions truthfully?

Observations about the Interviews

Beyond helping to decide whom to allow into the country, these questions can also help in other contexts as well, for example in police interrogations or interviews for sensitive employment positions. (The list of Islamists who have penetrated Western security services is a long and painful one.)

3569Islamists are hardly the only ones who condemn Israel. Here Jewish Voice for Peace activists protest.

Note the absence of questions about highly charged current issues. That is because Islamist views overlap with non-Islamist outlooks; plenty of non-Islamists agree with Islamists on these topics. Although Leil Leibowitz in contrast sees Israel as “moderate Islam’s real litmus test,” Islamists are hardly the only ones who demand Israel’s elimination and accept Hamas and Hezbollah as legitimate political actors – or believe the Bush administration carried out the 9/11 attacks or hate the United States. Why introduce these ambiguous issues when so many Islam-specific questions (e.g., “Is the enslavement of non-Muslim acceptable?”) have the virtue of far greater clarity?

The interviewing protocol outlined above is extensive, asking many specific questions over a substantial period using different formulations, probing for truth and inconsistencies. It is not quick, easy, or cheap, but requires case officers knowledgeable about the persons being interviewed, the societies they come from, and the Islamic religion; they are somewhat like a police questioner who knows both the accused person and the crime. This is not a casual process. There are no shortcuts.

Criticisms

This procedure raises two criticisms: it is less reliable than Trump’s no-Muslim policy and it is too burdensome for governments to undertake. Both are readily disposed of.

Less reliable: The no-Muslim policy sounds simple to implement but figuring out who is Muslim is a problem in itself (are Ahmadis Muslims?). Further, with such a policy in place, what will stop Muslims from pretending to renounce their religion or to convert to another religion, notably Christianity? These actions would require the same in-depth research and intensive interviews as described above. If anything, because a convert can hide behind his ignorance of his alleged new religion, distinguishing a real convert to Christianity from a fake one is even more difficult than differentiating an Islamist from a moderate Muslim.

Too burdensome: True, the procedure is expensive, slow, and requires skilled practitioners. But this also has the benefit of slowing a process that many, myself included, consider out of control, with too many immigrants entering the country too quickly. Immigrants numbered 5 percent of the population in 1965, 14 percent in 2015, and are projected to make up 18 percent in 2065. This is far too large a number to assimilate into the values of the United States, especially when so many come from outside the West; the above mechanism offers a way to slow it down.

As for those who argue that this sort of inquiry and screening for visa purposes is unlawful; prior legislation for naturalization, for example, required that an applicant be “attached to the principles of the Constitution” and it was repeatedly found to be legal.

Finally, today’s moderate Muslim could become tomorrow’s raging Islamist; or his infant daughter might two decades later become a jihadi. While any immigrant can turn hostile, such changes happen far more often among born Muslims. There is no way to guarantee this from happening but extensive research and interrogations reduce the odds.

Conclusion

Truly to protect the country from Islamists requires a major commitment of talent, resources, and time. But, properly handled, these questions offer a mechanism to separate enemy from friend among Muslims. They also have the benefit of slowing down immigration. Even before Trump became president, if one is to believe CAIR, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) asked questions along the lines of those advocated here (What do you think of the USA? What are your views about jihad? See the appendix for a full listing). With Trump’s endorsement, let us hope this effective “no-Islamists” policy is on its way to becoming systematic.


Appendix

On January 18, 2017, just hours before Donald Trump became president of the United States, the Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed ten complaints with the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) for questioning Muslim citizens about their religious and political views. Among the questions allegedly asked were:

1. Are you a devout Muslim?

2. Are you Sunni or Shia?

3. What school of thought do you follow?

4. Which Muslim scholars do you follow?

5. What current Muslim scholars do you listen to?

6. Do you pray five times a day?

7. Why do you have a prayer mat in your luggage?

8. Why do you have a Qur’an in your luggage?

9. Have you visited Saudi Arabia?

10. Will you every visit Saudi or Israel?

11. What do you know about the Tableeghi-Jamat?

12. What do you think of the USA?

13. What are your views about Jihad?

14. What mosque do you attend?

15. Do any individuals in your mosque have any extreme/radical views?

16. Does your Imam express extremist views?

17. What are the views of other imams or other community members that give the Friday sermon at your mosque?

18. Do they have extremist views?

19. Have you ever delivered the Friday Prayer? What did you discuss with your community?

20. What are your views regarding [various terrorist organizations]?

21. What social media accounts do you use?

22. What is your Facebook account username?

23. What is your Twitter account username?

24. What is your Instagram account username?

25. What are the names and telephone numbers of parents, relatives, friends?

CAIR also claims a Canadian Muslim was asked by CBP the following questions and then denied entry:

1. Are you Sunni or Shia?

2. Do you think we should allow someone like you to enter our country?

3. How often do you pray?

4. Why did you shave your beard?

5. Which school of thought do you follow?

6. What do you think of America’s foreign policy towards the Muslim world?

7. What do you think of killing non-Muslims?

8. What do you think of [various terrorist groups]?

Finally, CAIR indicates that those questioned “were held between 2 to 8 hours by CBP.”