In April of 2000, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) – the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan – launched a website to provide information about Islam to non-Muslims, appropriately called Why Islam? (WI). Since then, the website has been used, instead, to propagate support for overseas terrorist groups and to spread violent hatred against non-Muslims. One of the individuals that has been involved in both is currently located in Iraq. However, he is no Iraqi. He is an American and a member of the United States Army. The following exposes this individual, in hopes that a potential threat will be averted.
Dawah is the Arabic term for outreach (with the intent to convert non-Muslims to Islam). WI is ICNA’s program for just such outreach. For it, ICNA created a toll-free helpline and built an interactive website. One of the main functions of the website is a forum, where group members get together on-line to discuss numerous subjects regarding Islam and current events. Many times these discussions result in praise for terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and extreme hateful statements aimed at non-Muslims, particularly members of the Jewish faith. This occurs from not only WI members, but from forum leaders, as well.
One of the forum members goes by the screen name “Deep Thought.” While he stated that he joined to “learn about Islam,” it didn’t take long for Mr. Thought (DT) to become a party to the hate fest. In March of 2006, less than a month after he signed up, he took aim at Jews, whites and Christians, saying that the reason for U.S. support for Israel was due to the fact that “Jews in America have money,” that he is “very cautious of white people,” and that “Christians are hypocrites” for thinking that beheadings by Muslims are any different than capital punishment in the U.S. He stated, “Personally I think I would rather a quick chop to the head then the electric chair.”
In time, the rhetoric would become much worse, leading towards his support of terrorist organizations, a violent obsession with Jews and Israel, and repeated assaults on President Bush.
Concerning Hamas, Hezbollah and Chechen militants, DT stated:
- “I cant believe Christians and Israel supporters condemn groups like Hamas and Hezbollah!!... Far in between I tell u brothers and sisters in Islam.... We will prevail... Allahu Akbar.” (August 9, 2006)
- “You choose to believe it because in your mind HAMAS CAN DO NO RIGHT... The article fits your perception of them.... as terroist.... I on the other hand see them as freedom fighters... FREE PALESTINE!!!!!!!” (May 1, 2006)
- “You mention Chechen rebels and Hezbollah... Unfair of you to call them terroist unless you know THEIR story... Believe me their cause is a worthy one.” (November 10, 2006)
- “I consider them [Hamas] freedom fighters... G-d bless them.” (May 5, 2006)
About Jews, DT wrote:
- “I would tell you face to face how I feel about you israel supporting ‘jews’... Likewise, If a Jew attacks me or my muslim brothers.....GAME OVER.” (July 20, 2006)
- “I have never personally met a Jew but if he is anything like you.. I'm gonna put my combat boots in his jew a**.” (July 20, 2006)
- “As if there is not enough of Pro-jewish/ christian crusader groups in the United States! Hell, the whole government for that matter.. Tell me that they are not!! I dare u, this is an argument or ‘debate’ that you CAN NOT win.” (August 9, 2006)
- “Jews own the American media.” (August 27, 2006)
Regarding President George W. Bush, DT stated:
- “Its all about money and strategic airfields to overun other countries we deem as a threat, or a threat to that international law biding ‘stat’ we call Israel... I say again... Bush has blood on his hands.” (June 8, 2006)
- “He wouldnt dare [bomb Iran] Bro... dont worry.... I would leave the Army if he did... I rather spend time in prison or [be] called a traitor to the U..S then to have a leader like Bush nuke someone.” (April 9, 2006)
- “Bush is an absolute idiot.... 2008 couldnt come sooner.” (April 21, 2006)
- “Bush created terroiSm in Iraq.. Before he invaded there were no terroist... jUST LIKE jEWS CREATED HAMAS.” (November 12, 2006)
DT associating himself with Palestinian violence:
- “I would kill if I was a Palestinian.” (July 14, 2006)
- “It seems everyone is against us... We are being killed off by the thousands and we get crap for fighting back... No one sees what Israel does.. They only see the things muslims do in Response to what Israel does are to stop them from taking homes of Palestinains... They want Palestine to accept and and just lie down to oppression... Yeah, just lay down while Israel kicks them in the face.” (July 29, 2006)
- “If it were me brother Fazz, I would fight until they kill me... It would be inhumane on every able bodied Palestinian man to NOT resist the Israeli Army... Sometimes you have to fight for something greater than yourself.” (July 14, 2006)
- “[F]or Palestinians to allow Israel to murder their people would be the biggest crime that the Palestinians can commit in my book.” (June 18, 2006)
Concerning Israel’s existence, DT said:
- “I dont just blame Zionist.. I blame ALL who had a hand in creating a Israeli state in a region dominated by Palestinains... People wonder why there are groups like HAMAS around?? Give me a break..... There is no way anyone on this forum can morally justify the creation of Israel.” (May 5, 2006)
- “Also, no one said that you are a racist if you dont believe in fighting Zionism to the death.. But then again, whats the problem with killing racism?” (August 30, 2006)
- “So what if there is a UN charter stated than Israel has a right to exist... Screw the UN resolutions.” (July 15, 2006)
- “‘Palestinians need to recognize the right of Israel to exist on its ancestral land. Israel is willing to start toward the two-state solution, but it can't be expected to negotiate if Israelis will remain targets of violence.’ What a load of crap.” (August 9, 2006)
He described an Israeli warship that suffered a July 2006 attack by Hezbollah as a “legitimate military target,” and he even called the United States an “enemy” for being allied with Israel, stating, “Wouldnt you dislike America too....? I have said it before... My enemies friend is my enemy.” Certainly the quotes are disturbing, but what is even more so is the source from which the quotes came from.
Who is Deep Thought? According to his WI profile, his “real name” is Lawrence, and his birthday is January 10, 1985. [Although, in March of 2006, he declared his age was 23.] He has posted that his hometown is Louisiana, that his wife’s name is Adrienne and that she is Christian, that he has four children, and that his mother died sometime in 2006. We find from his posts that he embraced Islam via the forum, proclaiming “Thank G-D I am a muslim,” and “took an oath of allegiance to Islam” around August of 2006, which he proudly displayed with his user icon stating, “my religion, ISLAM.” In at least one post, he signed his name as “Bilal,” which is a common Muslim name.
What’s most interesting, though, is that, within DT’s profile, under the section “occupation,” he put “military.”
Unless he created an elaborate fantasy world, it turns out that DT is a soldier in the United States Army. He has made a number of posts discussing this aspect of his life, including that he enlisted when he was 17 years old. He wrote that he created the screen name Deep Thought, because “I always find my self ‘zoning out’ thinking of life, family, being a soldier.” In fact, if we are to believe what he says in his posts, he is currently serving in Iraq.
In May of 2006, DT posted on the WI forum that he was stationed in South Korea. He wrote, “I am a soldier in South Korea... My job is to protect south korea from Kim Jong Il... I am 30 miles from the DMZ.” In November of 2006, he stated, “I have had cnversations with many muslims during my tour of duty in South Korea... Trust me... They hate our policy and our greedy government.”
On July 17, 2007, DT wrote, “[A]s u know I am a American soldier.. I will be in Baghdad in 45 Days.” On September 27, 2007, he posted, “I am actually in Kuwait for now.. I will be in Iraq in a couple of days.”
DT’s statements, regarding him going to Iraq, caused a riff in the WI forum. People that he considered his friends turned on him, even to the point where at least one said he wanted to cause DT bodily harm for even thinking about going. M.A.R.W.A.N is a moderator for WI. About DT going to Iraq, he stated, “I support you 100%. And since I'm far away, my support comes in the form of advice. If we were really good friends and trusted each other, my support would come in the form of breaking your limbs, including your trigger finger, before you made took regretable and unreversible actions.”
Islamway wrote to DT, “I'm sure that your intention are good but what you are going to do is completely wrong, and against Islam... there are at least 80 operation done daily by the Iraqi resistance against the amercian army .. are these people guilty for fighting the American? actually, according to ISLAM resisting the foreign invasion is not only recommended bur REQUIRED from anyone capable of it. And by fighting these people under the american flag you will be committing a grave sin.”
Ibn Abu Talib told DT, “[S]pare me the poignant drivel! you could have joined your brothers in Palestine, Chechnya or Kashmir. Instead, you want to go into Iraq and exacerbate the situation by joining the US army. Are you going to kill Mujahideen who solely target American soldiers?”
Another poster, Gothika, suggested to DT that he should not join his “infidel U.S. Army” and should, instead, “fight the Americans and get them out of Iraq! Once all the western infidels are gone, the sunni and shias will, Insha’Allah, engage in deliberations and restor peace in Iraq.”
Hearing these condemnations voiced from his once trusted colleagues shook Lawrence and caused him to question his newfound religion. However, that did not stop him from continuing to post on the forum – and from Iraq, yet.
On November 26, 2007, DT wrote, “Well, I have been in Iraq for 2 months now.. I have pretty much seen this entire country... I have takened some very nice pictures of Iraq which I will be posting on a later date.. I'll be sure to give a link to them when its complete.. Well, I hope all is well with EVERY member of this forum... I am sooo homesick and wish I was home now.... But, my life is here and now... In Iraq..... It feels good to finally have decent internet access.”
There are a number of problems with the abovementioned: 1. While he is wearing a United States military uniform, and while he is supposed to be fighting against terrorists in Iraq, Lawrence is writing on a forum that has many outspoken members that support terrorist groups (himself included) and that was founded by an organization, ICNA, that has been implicated in the financing of Hamas and Al-Qaeda; 2. The pictures and information he posts to WI may very well contain sensitive material that could put U.S. troops in harms way; and 3. Past statements of his show that Lawrence has a vehement distaste and disloyalty to the war in Iraq, to begin with.
In April of 2006, DT stated, “[The] federal government is a JOKE... After the lies of Iraq, I dont believe anything this administration says... 2 years left in the Army and I'M DONE.. I hate our foreign policy and its not worth dying for... 7 years of my life went to this country... I owe the American government NOTHING.” And in July of 2006, he said, “What the hell did Iraq had to do with 9/11... Iraq and 9/11 had NO TIES, NO WMD... The whole war is bull... period... I for one didnt join the Army to fight an unjust war... Bottom line... This war is garbage and we shouldnt be there.”
So why is he there?
On Sunday, March 23, 2003, Sgt. Asan Akbar, a soldier in the 326th Engineer Battalion of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division stationed in Iraq, rolled a grenade into each of three tents of his fellow sleeping officers and shot at least two of the soldiers as they fled the tents. The attack left one dead and 15 wounded. According to survivors, after Akbar, a convert to Islam, was apprehended, he shouted anti-American statements. [Ironically, Akbar’s Los Angeles mosque bears the same name as DT’s Muslim alias, Masjid Bilal Islamic Center.]
Is DT or Bilal in Iraq to help bring peace and stability to the area, or is he there, like Sgt. Akbar before him, for something entirely different? Or maybe, to him, the two things are one and the same.
“I am for peace.. I would die for any muslim.”
- Deep Thought, March 2, 2007
“‘The life of this world is no more than an illusion.’ Allah (swt) will be my final judge... If I am wrong in my actions I pray that he shows me mercy... Nevertheless, Allah (swt) knows best.”
- Deep Thought, September 1, 2007
“Allah (swt) will give us justice in this life or the next. Be patient brothers and sisters.. either way we will prevail over those who mistreat us.. I firmly believe this.... Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!”
- Deep Thought, August 9, 2006
A potential disaster should be averted. If anyone has any information regarding Deep Thought, a.k.a. Lawrence, a.k.a. Bilal, please contact the U.S. Army immediately. Or, if you wish, you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the information will be forwarded to the proper authorities.