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Questions for Obama and McCain By: Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, August 26, 2008


As the Democratic National Convention proceeds this week and the Republicans are gearing up for their own party, we are still not hearing the candidates being asked genuinely tough and illuminating questions about what they would do about jihad terrorism. And so I offer here, as a public service, a series of questions for interviewers and debate moderators to ask of the candidates. Will anyone have the good sense and chutzpah to ask Obama, McCain, Biden, or the Republican Vice Presidential nominee these questions?

1. What would you do to deal with the national security aspect of immigration? With plans afoot to bring large groups of Iraqis, including Iraqi Muslims, into the United States, what kind of screening will you implement to try to ensure that we are not importing jihad terrorists into the country? Will you reevaluate immigration levels from Muslim countries based on recognition of the fact that there is no reliable way to distinguish a peaceful Muslim from a jihadist sympathizer or potential jihadist?

2. Forty percent of the foreign jihadists fighting against American troops in Iraq come from a putative ally of the United States, Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is also one of the world’s leading bankrollers of terror. A Treasury Department official who tracks terror financing, Stuart Levey, recently remarked: “If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia.” What will you do as President to work toward ending the absurd situation we find ourselves in today, of helping to finance by means of oil revenue our own destruction by means of jihad terrorism? What steps would you take to put our relationship with Saudi Arabia on a more realistic footing than it is on today?

3. The Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies have adopted guidelines forbidding U.S. government analysts and spokesmen from speaking about jihad or Islam in connection with Islamic jihad terrorism. Given that the terrorists themselves consistently use the language of classic Islamic jihad theology to explain their actions and make recruits among peaceful Muslims, doesn’t this policy create the risk that we will not understand our enemy’s motives and goals, and not be able to combat them as effectively as we otherwise could? And wouldn’t that be true even if the jihadist use of Islamic texts and teachings were, from an Islamic standpoint, improper and incorrect?

Also, there is evidence that this policy was adopted on the recommendation of Islamic scholars who are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is engaged, in its own words, in “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

Is this not reason enough in itself to reevaluate these new guidelines, if not to scrap them altogether?

4. Terrorism expert Stephen Emerson has called Hesham Islam, a top aide to the deputy secretary of defense, Gordon England, “an Islamist with a pro-Muslim Brotherhood bent who has brought in groups to the Pentagon who have been unindicted co-conspirators.”

If that is true, it raises serious questions about the extent of jihadist infiltration within the highest levels of our defense apparatus.

If you are elected President, what will you do to root out possible Muslim Brotherhood operatives and other jihadist sympathizers from sensitive government positions? What kind of screening will you institute for Muslim military and intelligence officials in order to try to ensure their loyalty to the United States and their rejection of the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism?

5. Last week, a torture chamber was discovered in a mosque in Baghdad. This revelation follows a large number of other incidents in which jihadists used mosques to plot terrorist attacks and to recruit. As President, would you favor the monitoring of mosques in the United States in order to ensure that there is no terrorist activity and no seditious, Islamic supremacist activity going on in them? What other steps would you take? Would you call upon the Muslim community in America to institute comprehensive and transparent programs in mosques and Islamic schools, teaching against the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism, and extolling the virtues of American pluralism, democracy, and the non-establishment of a state religion?

If not, why not?


Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.



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