The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East has caused many Americans to reflect on that group's stated ambition to impose worldwide the totalitarian, supremacist Islamic doctrine known as Shariah. Particularly unsettling is evidence of the group's goal in America, namely of "destroying Western civilization from within," as documented in the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas in 2008.
For some prominent conservatives, however, such facts are not just inconvenient. They - and any who point them out - must be denied, ignored or suppressed.
The latest examples involve a pair of articles published in two of the right's most prominent online outlets: Townhall and National Review Online. The former recently distributed an essay by Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman. He was joined on June 13 by Matthew Schmitz in NRO. Both caricatured the "bogus" threat of "creeping Shariah" as a figment of the superheated imagination of its American opponents.
Mr. Schmitz went further, wrongly describing Shariah as "not one rigid legal system but rather an immensely varied set of legal, cultural and ethical understandings." In fact, Shariah as practiced by mainstream Islam is, indeed, one very rigid legal system that simply has been enforced to varying degrees around the Muslim world. Its Brotherhood adherents and others are aggressively seeking to impose conformity with all of its tenets in Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia and, in due course, here. Mr. Schmitz even went so far as to describe those determined to resist that last prospect as "anti-Muslim bigots" who are "undermin[ing] our national security."
Specifically, Mr. Chapman and Mr. Schmitz find fault with those of us supporting state-level legislation aimed at countering stealthy civilization jihad in U.S. courts. It is known as American Law for American Courts (ALAC) - a statute already enacted in four states and under consideration in many more. ALAC would prevent foreign laws, including but not limited to Shariah, from being used in court to deny constitutional rights. Incredibly, Mr. Chapman and Mr. Schmitz contend that such laws are a threat to religious freedom in this country.
Unfortunately, these pundits are not the only conservatives hostile to admonitions about Shariah's advent in America. As documented in a new Center for Security Policy online curriculum titled "The Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Enemy Within" (MuslimBrotherhoodinAmerica.com) some actually are enabling the Brotherhood's influence operations. This is done through sponsorship of its operatives, facilitation of their access to other conservatives, and promotion of their agendas.
Sadly, still other conservatives appear determined to remain willfully blind to such behavior. They have engaged in purges from some of the right's conclaves. They also have sought to suppress warnings and assiduously deny that the Brotherhood is "inside the wire."
The good news is that five leading members of Congress recently joined the ranks of those determined to expose the Muslim Brotherhood's influence operations and counter their effect on government policy and the danger they pose to our Constitution and freedoms. They are: Rep. Michele Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee and chairman of the House Tea Party Caucus; Rep. Louie Gohmert, vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security; Rep. Trent Franks, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution and a member of the House Armed Services Committee; Rep. Lynn A. Westmoreland, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee's oversight subcommittee; and Rep. Thomas J. Rooney, deputy majority whip and member of the House Armed Services Committee.
In a joint press release dated June 13, all of these influential legislators made clear their view that the Muslim Brotherhood represents a serious threat here in America. They expressed a determination to establish the nature and extent of the Brotherhood's "civilization jihad" inside the United States and to counter it.
To that end, the members of Congress last week drew on evidence presented in the Center for Security Policy's course to ask the inspectors general of the Departments of State, Judiciary, Defense and Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to investigate the extent and impact of Muslim Brotherhood penetration of their agencies. They requested that the IGs provide their findings within 90 days.
In addition, Rep. Frank R. Wolf, chairman of the House Appropriations state, commerce and justice subcommittee, is pressing the Department of Justice to ensure compliance with the FBI's stated policy of not dealing in noninvestigative contexts with one of the Muslim Brotherhood's most notorious fronts, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). This effort took on even greater urgency in light of the revelation earlier this month by a White House official that the administration had had "hundreds of meetings" with CAIR.
Conservatives and other Republicans face a time of choosing. Are they going to ignore the real and present danger posed by Shariah and its adherents, including the Muslim Brotherhood? Will they therefore be recorded by history as having enabled, whether directly or indirectly, such stealthy threats to our republic and its government society?
Or are prominent conservatives going to help our countrymen of all political stripes understand the challenge we face and lead in developing and executing strategies for defeating it?
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program "Secure Freedom Radio," heard in Washington weeknights at 9 on WRC 1260 a.m.
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