A panel of national security experts who worked under Republican and Democratic presidents is urging the Obama administration to abandon its stance that Islam is not linked to terrorism, arguing that radical Muslims are using Islamic law to subvert the United States.
In a report set for release today, the panel states that “it is vital to the national security of the United States, and to Western civilization at large, that we do what we can to empower Islam’s authentic moderates and reformers.”
The study group, sponsored by the conservative-oriented Center for Security Policy, says in its report that proponents of advancing Islamic law mark the “crucial fault line” in Islam’s internal divisions separating truly moderate Muslims, like the late Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, from the large portion of the world’s 1 billion Muslims who advocate imposing what they call Shariah law throughout the world.
Mr. Wahid, who died in December, is a widely respected Muslim visionary who promoted pluralism in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest population of Muslims.
According to the report, proponents of Shariah are “Muslim supremacists” waging “civilization jihad” along with the Islamist terrorists engaged in violent jihad, like al Qaeda.
The 19-member study group was led by retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence in the George W. Bush administration, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Harry E. Soyster, Defense Intelligence Agency director from 1988 to 1991.
Included in the team of former defense, law enforcement and intelligence officials were Clinton administration CIA Director R. James Woolsey and Andrew C. McCarthy, former assistant U.S. attorney in New York, a career counterterrorism prosecutor during the Clinton administration.
Frank Gaffney, director of the Center for Security Policy, said the Obama administration’s policy is based on an incorrect assumption. The Team B report seeks to expose flaws in anti-terror programs, including the policy of not referring to al Qaeda and similar groups as “Islamist” to avoid offending Muslims, he said.
“What if it turns out that some of the people the Obama administration has been embracing are actually promoting the same totalitarian ideology and seditious agenda as al Qaeda, only they’re doing it from White House Iftar dinners?” said Mr. Gaffney, referring to the daily meal eaten by Muslims to break their fast during Ramadan.
The group of experts was modeled after the official CIA Team B, whose 1976 contrary analysis said U.S. intelligence assessments had underestimated Soviet nuclear forces. That Team B report led to the military buildup under the Reagan administration.
John Brennan, deputy White House national security adviser for counterterrorism, told The Washington Times in June that he disagrees that “there is an Islamic dimension to terrorism.”
The administration’s policy of not using the word Islam and its derivatives to describe today’s fundamentalist terrorists is aimed at “not according these individuals any religious legitimacy,” he said.
A White House spokesman could not be reached for comment on the report or the administration’s policy on political Islam.
Mr. Gaffney said the report concludes that U.S. government programs aimed at reaching out to Muslim groups that promote Shariah law “is not political correctness, it’s submission.”
The administration’s failure to understand the Islamist nature of the terrorist threat is “inviting more violent jihad against this country,” Mr. Gaffney said.