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.
The report calls for a campaign against radical Islamists following the model used against communist ideology and activities during the Cold War, including infiltrating foreign-supported jihad groups by the FBI and other aggressive security measures.
"Today, the United States faces what is, if anything, an even more insidious ideological threat: the totalitarian socio-political doctrine that Islam calls Shariah," the report says.
"Though it certainly has spiritual elements, it would be a mistake to think of Shariah as a 'religious' code in the Western sense because it seeks to regulate all manner of behavior in the secular sphere — economic, social, military, legal and political."
The Team B report calls for developing a counterstrategy to Islamist ideology, but notes that understanding the nature of the enemy is a critical first step.
"That cannot be done by following the failed strategy of fictionalizing the state of Islam in the vain hope that reality will, at some point, catch up to the benign fable," the report says. "Empowering the condign elements of Islam requires a candid assessment, which acknowledges the strength of Shariah — just as defeat of 20th century totalitarian ideologies required an acknowledgment of, and respect for, their malevolent capabilities."
The Shariah system is "totalitarian" and incompatible with the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of democratic lawmaking, freedom of conscience, individual liberty and freedom of expression, including the right to analyze and criticize Shariah law, the report states.
The report cites the 1991 document from the Muslim Brotherhood in North America describing a covert process of Islamic "settlement" in the United States. The plan is to carry out a "grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated," the document stated.
The Egyptian-origin Muslim Brotherhood is the most important entity promoting Islamic supremacism, the report says.
Republican and Democratic administrations failed to understand the ideological nature of the terrorist enemy, the report says, including its ultimate goal of reinstating a totalitarian Islamic caliphate with Shariah imposed globally.
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Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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