An unusual thing happened at the beginning of the Three Ex-terrorists speaking event at UC Irvine last Wednesday: they asked the audience to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
Over 1,300 people stood up from the UC Irvine campus, the surrounding community and local law enforcement who showed up to hear former terrorists Walid Shoebat, Kamal Saleem and Zak Anani speak at the Orange County, California campus.
Local law enforcement had advised they expected a protest outside the event by the Muslim Students Association (MSU) -- the promoters had to pay $8,000 for security -- but only 25 protestors showed up outside, mostly MSU students, who gave up their protest and went inside the event—after the pledge of allegiance.
And there was complete calm. Unlike when Middle East expert Daniel Pipes spoke at UC Irvine and was nosily and violently interrupted by the MSU, a disclaimer before this event that intentional disruptions would lead to prosecution under existing legal statutes as was done before the same event at UC Davis and Stanford, not one person hooted or hollered during the entire evening that went into overtime.
One explanation for this peacefulness was explained to me by one of the promoters:
“The message these three ex-terrorists bring to the students is so powerful and cuts through the propaganda of those who support terrorist aims and goals that the MSU was simply afraid to confront it, head on. This is the purpose of these events at our colleges.”
Kamal Saleem spoke first and repeated his contention that America is still asleep after 9/11. A terrorist since the age of 7 who went on several missions for the PLO, smuggling explosives in the Golan Heights hidden under the bellies of sheep he herded into Israel as part of his “mission,” Saleem told the audience he had been active on US campuses later in life when as an adult he came to America with the purpose of spreading jihad among Muslim students across America and to recruit new members to the fold. An auto accident that almost killed him turned him around due to the kindness of people in this country who helped him—the same people he was told to wage jihad against.
Saleem explained how he began to appreciate America and Americans and that the goals of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups were not the noble causes his family and society instilled in him to believe when he was growing up. He explained how he was instructed by kin and religious leaders with one voice of killing infidels, Jews and Christians, and how he was kissed on the forehead by Yasser Arafat at a terrorist training camp. “This was my childhood,” he explained, “We understood we lived to die. We learned from childhood America and Israel must be destroyed.”
Saleem also spoke of the treatment of women in the Middle East, and told of the plight of his sister, who when beaten by her husband, was told by their father she must submit to such things because she “belongs” to her husband. Discussing the rape of women in Darfur and elsewhere in Africa by Muslim extremists, Saleem told about a non-Muslim woman who was raped by one jihadi who then kept track of her gestation to make sure the child she conceived from the rape would be a Muslim. He cautioned the audience that “There are over 45 assault camps in America training to carry out Allah’s will,” and explained how “Wahhabi lobbyists” that are funded by Saudi Arabia are promoting jihad in America.
Next up came Zak Anani who explained he was descended from a long line of Muslim imams and other Islamic religious leaders so he was well versed in the Koran. He, too, was instilled with the idea of jihad from age three and by age 13 was part of an Islamic terrorists gang in Lebanon where he tacked up 223 kills by the time he left the movement at age 17. He explained how his family and the Koran taught him that “You are the best nation ever, and that the People of the Book, the Jews and Christians are perverted” and how “God has cursed them.” He explained how he converted to Christianity and how by just converting his religion he had endured over a period of 18 years 20 attempts to take his life, both in Lebanon and even in America and Canada. He admonished the audience, “They say that Islam is a ‘peaceful’ religion and quoted from the Koran Chapter 9, surah 5 that calls for Muslims to “ambush the infidels” and promotes a culture of death.
Anani finally left Islam because he said he was brought up to love death in the name of jihad more than life. He continued, “We want life [in America] for us and our children, not death” and explained how he changed so his daughter and her other siblings would have a chance in life. Because of this, he said, he felt he had to rise up and speak out by witnessing to others.
Walid Shoebat then spoke about Western misperceptions of the roots of terrorism. He explained how in speaking abroad, from Chile to Mexico to the UK, he was told terrorism is the result of poverty and bemoaned the equivalency of the West with acts of aggression based on concepts of jihad that ignore historical and social realities in the Middle East. He explained how what the world is experiencing today is the old Islamic Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire, trying once again to rise to world dominance. He cautioned that the West is not recognizing the threat to its own civilization as news agencies like Reuters declare Hamas “a viable organization,” and explained how Al Qaeda was founded by Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian from Jenin.
“Al Qaeda is the same as Hamas,” he warned. He then gave the audience, mostly college students, a history lesson of Arab Muslim alliances with the Nazis during World War II. He criticized college professors who do not teach their students the true history of the Middle East which promotes false notions about why America is under attack.
Shoebat knows his stuff. His historical information about the PLO was dead on. And he differentiated for the students that part of the PLO terrorism mechanism is made up of Christian Arabs of the PFLP. He praised Israel for building 35 universities for the Palestinians and how a family member told him that life in the West Bank under Israeli occupation was the golden age he wished he could return to and how life under the Palestinian Authority was hell. When asked by Walid if his family member preferred there not be a Palestinian state, he replied absolutely not. When asked why not, the family member replied, “We don’t want the Jews lording over us.”
Shoebat then explained how the root of the Israeli Palestinian conflict is not about land, but in fact about Jew hatred. “I hate terrorism, he said, I will speak against it all of my life” and questioned why the West found it acceptable that while Israel allows 1.2 Muslim Arabs to live as equal citizens in Israel, the West accepts the Palestinian idea that a Palestinian state must be Jew free. Citing Arab media polls, he explained how western leaders keep speaking about “moderate Islam” when in fact such polls show the majority of the Islamic world in favor of violent attacks on the West in the name of jihad and cautioned against a precipitous US withdrawal from Iraq. He then warned about the Muslim Students Union on 150 campuses in America, financed and led by Saudi Arabia that he considers a subversive jihadist movement that wants to indoctrinate the next generations of young Americans and urged the audience to resist its influence in America. He admonished the audience to “Never give in” and stand for appeasement in place of pro-actively fighting jihad in America.
The audience was clearly moved and impressed by all the speakers, since it gave them a standing ovation for several minutes as the evening concluded.