Monday, May 16, 2005

Flash: Newseek has apologized. The magazine’s editor says he is sorry for printing a possibly “mistaken” article that accused U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo of throwing copies of the Koran into prisoners’ toilets. Evidently, Newsweek particularly regrets the murderous anti-American rioting the erroneous report set off in various parts of the Muslim world.

Ironic though it may seem, we might just owe Newsweek a debt of gratitude for its shoddy reportage. After all, it provided a wake-up call to see how quickly and how skillfully our enemies seized upon evidence of American purported hostility to Islam to advance their own agenda.

But who exactly is the enemy and what is their agenda? The instigators of the riots in Afghanistan and Pakistan and their counterparts elsewhere are adherents more to a political ideology — some call it Islamism, others Islamofascism — than to a faith. Using organizational and coercive tactics taken right out of the Bolsheviks’ playbook, this Islamist minority seeks first to dominate the Muslim faith’s non-Islamist majority, then the rest of us.

For the Islamofascists, material like the fallacious Newsweek report is a godsend. They portray it as proof positive of undifferentiated Western hostility toward all Muslims.

Armed with such evidence, the Islamists then strive to persuade their heretofore peaceable and tolerant co-religionists there is no choice but to subscribe to the most virulently intolerant interpretations of the Koran — and to join in a divinely ordered violent struggle (jihad) to subjugate “infidel” nations and peoples.

The implications of the Islamofascists’ concerted, highly disciplined and organized and well-financed efforts are ominous. Unfortunately, this is true not only for places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Islamists have held sway for some time. Or in Saudi Arabia, the financial and ideological wellspring of modern Islamofascism. Islamism is on the march in such disparate places as Western Europe, Bosnia, Indonesia, Latin America and Africa.

Worse yet, Islamofascists are also increasingly a force to be reckoned with in the United States, as well. A chilling new book by noted author and investigative reporter Paul Sperry makes clear that the Islamists are well advanced in their efforts to bring jihad to a country near you.

In “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington,” Mr. Sperry describes in well-documented detail the inroads being made by mostly Saudi-funded Islamist operations in the United States. Many of these operations are headquartered in what he calls the “Wahhabi corridor” — communities in Northern Virginia within a few miles of the nation’s seat of government. Evidence of their progress to date includes:

• The takeover of non-Islamist mosques throughout the United States. Typically, this is accomplished by way of mortgages provided on favorable terms by Saudi financial institutions. Along with the financing come Wahhabi clerics, textbooks and other materials and the transformation of religious schools into Saudi-style madrassas.

• Islamist recruitment in U.S. prisons. Mr. Sperry describes how Sister Susan VanBaalen, who administers the federal prison ministries, has naively allowed problematic organizations tied to Saudi Arabia to proselytize in unsupervised meetings with inmates.

• Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military have been selected, trained and certified by Saudi-funded organizations founded by one of this country’s most prominent and best-connected Islamists, Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is now in federal prison after pleading guilty to plotting terrorist acts.

• Islamist inroads are also being made into the student populations of hundreds of colleges and universities across the United States by chapters of the Saudi-bankrolled Muslim Student Association.

Mr. Sperry’s most alarming insights, however, concern the success of Islamist organizations in penetrating and influencing key government agencies. He documents how the FBI has employed translators of suspect loyalties without adequate background checks. He details how political correctness has replaced common sense as federal agencies like the Pentagon, State Department, law enforcement, the intelligence services and even the White House have “reached out” to groups known to be sympathetic — if not actually tied — to Islamist terrorism.

In some cases, such outreach legitimatized the Islamists in question. For example, Sami al-Arian, an erstwhile professor at South Florida University, is defending himself against some 40 federal charges of involvement in terrorist financing and activities on the grounds he was included in numerous meetings with senior government officials, including President Bush.

At the very least, these meetings have facilitated political influence operations aimed at obscuring the distinctions between non-Islamist Muslims and the Islamofascists. Mr. Sperry suggests they have also made possible the placement of individuals who may be affiliated with the latter in key posts inside the U.S. government.

Mr. Sperry’s “Infiltration” comes when more and more Americans are recognizing the danger to our security, society and way of life posed by Islamofascists. They see TV dramas like Fox’s “24” in which the enemy lives and works among us, even as they plot our destruction. They hear that, by some estimates, as many as 70,000 people described as “other than Mexicans” — many believed to be from Middle Eastern nations — slipped illegally last year across our inadequately secured borders.

Thanks to Newsweek’s explosive gaffe, we now have further reason to recognize the need to isolate and destroy our Islamofascist foes — even as we seek to reach out to and empower truly non-Islamist Muslims. The latter hold the key to defeating our mutual enemy and, thereby, to avoiding the potentially apocalyptic “clash of civilizations” sought by that enemy.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times.

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