- - Sunday, April 10, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION

As we have seen from recent events in Paris, Brussels and all across the world, terrorism is not an obscure phenomenon that only affects the Middle East. And no longer can Americans ignore the threat of terrorism as primarily a European problem. Although attacks in the U.S. are less frequent, in part because of our distance from the region, leaders associated with terrorist groups are increasingly finding their way onto American soil.

Not only must we be concerned about terrorist cells hiding in communities around the United States, but we now also have to worry about domestic Muslim organizations, such as the Islamic Society of Wichita (ISW), providing an outlet for terrorist recruitment and incitement. These very groups that seek to cause us harm now have a place to spread their hateful rhetoric in the U.S.

Recently, ISW invited Sheikh Monzer Taleb, a man with a long record of fundraising and support for the designated terror group Hamas, to speak at the mosque on Good Friday. Hamas is effectively the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and advocates not only for the complete destruction of the Jewish state but calls the genocide of the Jews worldwide a Muslim duty.

Taleb is captured on a promotional videotape affirming his allegiance to Hamas, which murdered scores of innocents and has long been deemed a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government. As stated in a press release released by the office of Rep. Mike Pompeo, the Kansas Republican whose district includes ISW, Mr. Taleb was named a co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance case, in which millions of American dollars were funneled to Hamas.



What is most troubling about this Taleb situation is that the Islamic Society of Wichita apparently does not find his Hamas affiliation problematic. In fact, the ISW likely would not have canceled his appearance were it not for Mr. Pompeo’s vehement and vocal opposition.

At the core of our democratic society is free speech, an ideal that traces its origins all the way back to ancient Athens. It is disturbingly ironic that IWS has taken this perennial symbol of American freedom and twisted it into a pulpit for hatred and oppression. After all, free speech is nonexistent in a place like Gaza, where Mr. Taleb’s vaunted Hamas rules.

We cannot permit radical jihadis to utilize our most sacred values to support their perverse outlook. We should not welcome them into our country, and must deny them the microphone they seek to spread their hateful vitriol.

Proponents of this radical Islamist mindset view the West as a “kurrfars,” or infidels who aren’t worthy of life unless they submit themselves to Islamic law as subjugated “dhimmis.” We must use our freedom of speech to shed light upon and denounce this vulgar hatred.

We simply must not allow freedom of speech to be used against America to recruit new adherents to the warped ideology of terrorism. There is no easy way around this. We need to defend our constitutional right to speech — yes, even speech we find detestable. But we also must protect our nation and our people from the scourge of terrorism.

In Wichita, we see another case in which a line may have been crossed. Just as you cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater, terrorists should not have the right to exploit our democratic society for their macabre gain.

There is a great deal to be learned from what is happening in Europe today. In many ways their societies have been more open than ours for years, if not as welcoming to immigrants from Muslim lands.

Most Muslims in America may be good citizens who renounce violence. But organizations like ISW, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the now-defunct Holy Land Foundation have proven themselves terrorist sympathizers — at best. If we cannot find a way to cut off the radical indoctrination these organizations espouse, then we could be facing a bloody future that looks more and more like Europe in 2016.

Armstrong Williams is a national syndicated columnist and sole owner/manager of Howard Stirk Holdings, LLC TV.

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