“The terrorist of the future won’t carry guns and explosives and force his way into sensitive areas – unless he wants to make a show of it… Instead, he'll sit at a computer terminal and, with a few keystrokes, do more damage than he ever could with physical force.”
– Jerry Benson, Dean of the College of Integrated Science and Technology, James Madison University
The Government Security Conference (known in the trade as GOVSEC) will convene on July 23, 2003 with the goal of developing anti-terrorism strategies “for the government… by the government.” 5000 representatives from various federal, state and local government agencies will be attending, “sharing information related to homeland security.” Bill O’Reilly of Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor will be giving the July 24th keynote address. The meeting’s sponsors include the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice, and a little-known organization based in Virginia, at James Madison University (JMU), dubbed the Commonwealth Information Security Center.
JMU’s president, Linton H. Rose, was appointed by President Bush to serve on a 24-member National Infrastructure Advisory Committee, whose function is to “make recommendations regarding the security of the cyber and information systems of the United States national security and economic critical infrastructures.” Rose stated, “I am most grateful to have the opportunity to serve on a committee with some of the nation’s most important business, industrial and political leaders… This appointment is a direct result of the tremendous job that James Madison University and its outstanding faculty members are doing in the field of cyber security.” (JMU News, September 23, 2002)
The Commonwealth Information Security Center (CISC) is part of Linton Rose’s vision of a “tremendous job.”
The CISC was established in May 2001 – by the Governor of the state of Virginia – through a state grant of $9 million – with the goal to “help fight cyber-terror” and to “sponsor research and train business and government leaders in how to protect the nation’s computer networks against attack” (Washington Post, May 15, 2002). And yet a close look at the CISC suggests that it epitomizes the very threat it was designed to prevent.
Mohammed Eltoweissy is the CISC’s co-founder and principle investigator. He is also the co-author of an on-line pamphlet, entitled ‘Islam – Beliefs and Values,’ which is listed on the JMU web site as a course document (published through the Department of Integrated Science and Technology/ISAT). What is alarming about the publication is that, in the section entitled ‘For More Information,’ there is contained a list of seven web addresses linked to Islamic Extremism. What is even more alarming is that six out of the seven addresses are mysteriously hidden by Wingdings, a rarely used text font that replaces letters with pictures and symbols. The six hidden addresses include:
www.whyislam.org - a site run by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an organization “allied with the militant fundamentalist movement of Jamaat-e-Islamiya in Pakistan and Bangladesh” (Steven Emerson, ‘American Jihad’)
www.cair-net.org - the official site of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that represents “not the noble civilization of Islam, but an aggressive and radical strain similar to that which led to the suicide hijackings last September [11th]” (Daniel Pipes, “CAIR: Moderate Friends of Terror”)
www.iasv.org - the official site of the Islamic Association (Center) of Shenandoah Valley, whose contact is JMU professor Ehsan Ahmed. Ahmed edited a book published by the Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a non-profit group sponsored by the S.A.A.R. Foundation “whose offices were raided by U.S. federal agents in October 2002 because the foundation had moved funds to two offshore institutions… tied to al-Qaeda.” (Dore Gold, ‘Hatred’s Kingdom’)
www.isna.net - the official site of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that serves as “an umbrella group for hundreds of Islamic organizations in North America, some of which promote the Islamic fundamentalist doctrine of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad” (Steven Emerson, ‘American Jihad’)
www.icna.org - the official site of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); see above for info on ICNA
www.lariba.com - the official site of the Lariba Bank, an Islamic bank located in California, that’s Chairperson, Yahia Abdul-Rahman, was the Conference Co-Chairman of an ISNA event held in the year 2000 (Third Annual Symposium on Islamic Banking and Finance in America); see above for info on ISNA
The lone “non-Wingdinged” site on Eltoweissy’s pamphlet, www.islamway.com, is run by the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA). The IANA’s Vice Chairman, Rafil Dhafir, was arrested for laundering money to Iraq. Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a member of the IANA’s Technical Committee, was indicted for routing “thousands of dollars he received from overseas sources to the Michigan-based IANA, and provided computer expertise and website services to IANA” (Department of Justice, February 26, 2003). “In May 2001 – four months before the September 11 terrorist attacks – the IANA’s website featured justifications for ‘martyrdom operations,’ including crashing an airplane ‘on a crucial enemy target’” (Dore Gold, ‘Hatred’s Kingdom’)
In addition, on Eltoweissy’s ‘Community’ page located on the JMU CISC web site, he posts a list of radical and suspicious links, under the heading ‘I am a Muslim. I invite you to know me better,’ including one to his children’s school, Al-Huda. Al-Huda, located in College Park, Maryland, is connected to the fanatical Cairo Al-Azhar University via Al-Azhar’s accredited American Open University.
Athman Bouguettaya is a Research Fellow at CISC and the Director of Virginia Tech’s E-Commerce and E-Government Research Lab. He has also made his home in the Computer Science Department at the University of Colorado. While he was at Colorado, he made some ‘extremely’ incriminating statements. They include:
“…we Algerians want to see our mind liberated from the French cultural pollution… I personally will work towards achieving this goal.”
“Afghanistan is… the property of all Muslims and especially of those that made Jihad… I for once (sic) have a lot of respect for my Afghani brothers that stood steadfast and made Jihad.”
“As for the junta in place in Algeria, whatever they do will not save them from the wrath of Allah and of the people. Their days are counted. There should be no secret to every Muslims (sic) that all Arab governments starting from the one in Saudi Arabia are all working against Islam.”
“There is actually a very good Islamic Bookstore (Dar Makkah) in Denver, Colorado.” [“IANA grew out of Dar Makkah, a dissolved Denver-based organization… Dar Makkah’s former director, Mohammed Al-Ahmari, now runs IANA.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 4, 2002)]
“The FIS is the only party that stood up to the injustice of the regime… they actually were praised for their enthusiasm in serving the people and working overtime to do so.” [“Hundreds of people have been killed this week alone in attacks… The attacks began after a general election in which the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) – a coalition of religious parties – held a huge lead, only to have it cancelled by the government.” (CNN Interactive, August 29, 1997)]
Abdulrahman Hijazi is the Technology Officer and the Lab Manager at CISC. He is also the Project Director for the CISC Web Team and the Project Director for the IIIA Web Team (a JMU companion group to the CISC). The logos for the two groups warrant scrutiny. The CISC logo’s letters bear a distinct Middle Eastern style, where the characters are shaped in a manner to spell out the Arabic name for Allah. The IIIA’s logo resembles that of an Islamic dome. Both logos are superimposed on an image of the state of Virginia.
Hijazi recently gave a lecture about a couple who split up because the husband went off to sacrifice himself for jihad, entitled ‘Are You as Committed as Suhaila?’ The text transcript of the speech is located on the ‘Jihaad’ section of the website, IslamicAwakening.com, called the “al Quaeda Users Guide,” as it is almost entirely dedicated to al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and bin Laden’s predecessor, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam. In the lecture, Hijazi stated:
“During these days, brothers and sisters, jihad was one of the good deeds that every Muslim was targeting... every Muslim was dreaming of doing jihad.”
“And he was watching the companions… as they were coming back and forth from the battlefield and listening to their news and how they are sacrificing their lives for the sake of Allah.”
“…he saw his wife, and told her about his intention to go for jihad, to go for fighting against the non-believers, and to spread the message of Allah.”
“Even though it was almost 3 months after marriage, but that hope of having the mercy of Allah… by one of the greatest good deeds, which is jihad, was more attractive to him than by being happy with his wife at home.”
“…he is doing it for the sake of Allah… and we have to sacrifice.”
In addition, Hijazi, who is the Faculty Executive Member of the JMU Muslim Student Association (MSA), was a featured speaker on the MSA’s ‘Jihad Panel,’ on the date of October 30, 2002. His speech was entitled, ‘The Islamic Peace System and Goals of Jihad.’ Six months later, the MSA presented Hijazzi with a certificate of appreciation for his “outstanding performance and steadfast dedication.”
On July 3, 2003, JMU President Linwood H. Rose, himself, received an honor – it was the Founder’s Medal, in recognition for “outstanding commitment to information assurance education.” What ‘sacrifices’ needed to be made, in order to be chosen for such an award?
Ray Semko, GOVSEC’s keynote speaker for July 23rd, has said that each of America’s enemies is like a wolf stalking prey: studying, gathering momentum and preparing to attack.” There is reason to believe that the CISC staff members are just such stalking wolves.
Sometimes things are hidden from view. Sometimes they are deliberately overlooked for personal, financial and/or political gain. What the CISC and JMU are hiding seems to be more than just what’s under the Wingdings.
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Citizens Against Hate and the co-founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of South Florida. You could visit Joe Kaufman’s interactive website, at joe4rep.com.
Beila Rabinowitz is an international journalist and translator.