As a nation, we recently commemorated the seventh anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, one of the most horrific attacks against the United States in our nation’s history. It was a day of national mourning with memorial services, moments of silence and special events for the victims’ families as every New Yorker and folks all across the country touched by that fateful day shared recollections, stories and tears.
That morning, I shared an emotional moment with a co-worker who had just come from an early morning church memorial service where the names of the local victims were solemnly commemorated. One of the victims of the tragedy was a dear friend, FDNY Firefighter Michael Elferis, a fallen hero who rushed into the burning buildings to save the lives of trapped victims. My co-worker’s husband, who worked for Con Edison, spent three weeks as a first responder at Ground Zero fit testing respirators. We vowed to each other never to forget the memories of the fallen and the war that radical Islamic terrorists declared against our country.
Sadly, after the day of mourning on Sept. 11, 2008, the tragic episode has continued to fade into the recesses of our memories. Many feel content to pay lip service and move on, as if awakening from a long troubling nightmare. Hordes of liberal cheerleaders have altogether denied its significance, applauding Michael Moore as he snickered, “there is no terrorist threat.” Tin foil hat scholars, crackpot professors and pseudo-scientists called 9/11 Truthers have fashioned bizarre conspiracy theories that the federal government orchestrated and covered up the attacks in order to justify Middle East wars, defense industry appropriations, and to exercise greater state control. Spreading through the Internet, the classroom, and capitalizing on the growing resentment against the federal government, these theories have trickled down to the American public of whom over 30% suspect that the federal government was involved, according to a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll.
But worst of all, many scoundrels have capitalized on the growing national amnesia and have been protecting, defending and even recruiting convicted terrorists for teaching positions on American college campuses, and rushing to support their legal defense as the sacrificial lambs of the wicked American Empire with its penchant for Islamophobia. Many of these intellectual scoundrels are prominent professors and union officials of the City University of New York (CUNY) campuses. The main offenders are the CUNY professors and faculty union officers who sit on the executive boards of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) and University Faculty Senate (UFS). Ironically many CUNY students, faculty, their friends and relatives perished on 9/11.
No one has been more vocal in exposing this scandal than the irrepressible Dr. Sharad Karkhanis, who has been fraught with a $2 million lawsuit to silence his online muckraking publication The Patriot Returns. But Dr Karkhanis will not be silenced - not by death threats, censorship, or lawsuits, all of which he has endured as a Professor of Political Science at Kingsborough Community College and now Professor Emeritus and editor of The Patriot Returns, which for the past 16 years has been the one lone gadfly in the ointment of the radical CUNY elites who seized control of the PSC faculty union in 2000. Since then they have been more active in pursuing global revolution to tear down our country rather than advancing the welfare of the union membership.
Championing various anti-American and anti-Israel groups, convicted criminals, terrorists and far left extremists has become the main preoccupation of the PSC leadership and union officer Prof. Susan O’Malley who filed the defamation lawsuit to silence Karkhanis and shut down The Patriot Returns which has been indispensable in exposing their malfeasance. The PSC donated $5000 from union coffers to support the legal defense of imprisoned Marxist terrorist Lori Berenson, donated union dues to convicted former South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, passed a resolution sympathizing with Hugo Chavez, presented the "Friend of CUNY" award to radical anti-Israel extremist Michael Letwin, who is allied with the radical group New York City Labor Against the War, virulent anti-Israel groups Labor for Palestine and Al-Awda, just to name a few of the far leftwing groups which the PSC supports and helped to organize. The Patriot Returns also blew the whistle on O’Malley, a member of the PSC executive committee, and former chair of the UFS, for pleading to secure CUNY teaching positions for convicted terrorist conspirator Mohammad Yousry and Weather Underground terrorist Susan Rosenberg. For this Karkhanis is being sued for $2 million.
Now, Susan O’Malley, CUNY professors, and social justice activists all across America are in protest mode once again, remonstrating against the detainment and rallying for the freedom of former CUNY Brooklyn College student Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was arrested in Great Britain and extradited to the United States for providing material support to al Qaeda. Karkhanis will not be silent about this one. Neither should anyone else who is concerned about the grave threat to our national security that is being incubated in academia. Karkhanis states in the latest issue of The Patriot Returns: “Like any accused criminal, Hashmi is innocent unless proven guilty. But for the (PSC), Hashmi's case--like Yousry's and Berenson's and Rosenberg's and Al-Arian's and Letwin's before it--seems to be another opportunity to demonstrate their extremist credentials…. Will the New Caucus-dominated Delegate Assembly be passing a resolution of support for Hashmi? Will PSC monies be sent to Hashmi's defense fund (as was done with Al-Arian and Berenson)?”
A public statement of concern has already been published and signed by 500 faculty members, over 100 of whom are from CUNY. The statement was written as part of a “Free Fahad” campaign initiated by Hashmi’s former teachers, Corey Robin and Jeanne Theoharis, both associate professors of political science at CUNY’s Brooklyn College campus. Susan O’Malley has signed her name to the statement as well as many others from the PSC and UFS including two CUNY Chairs, two Senators, one Provost and a Dean.
According to their statement: the prosecution's case against Hashmi, an activist within the Muslim community, threatens the First Amendment rights of others. While Hashmi's political and religious beliefs, speech, and associations are constitutionally protected, the government may attempt to use them as evidence of his criminal intent. This could have a chilling effect on the First Amendment rights of others, particularly in activist and Muslim communities.
To ex-flower children who still carry the radical baggage of police state paranoia, any law enforcement action would appear as a threat to one’s First Amendment rights. But why I must ask, would Susan O’Malley be so concerned about indicted prisoner, Syed Fahad Hashmi’s First Amendment rights, when she recently filed a $2 million defamation lawsuit to stop a poor retired professor from expressing his constitutionally protected political and religious beliefs? O’Malley offered an answer in an interview with the New York Sun admitting that her lawsuit is very, very silly. But for a more serious answer to this question, we must look at Hashmi's constitutionally protected “political and religious beliefs, speech, and associations” that the government has the obligation “to use them as evidence of his criminal intent.” Our government has the duty to protect its citizens from the consequences of dangerous ideologies that spawn terrorists in our midst who intend to do us harm. Islamic jihadists are being indoctrinated and radicalized on campus, and those too busy pursuing Marxist agendas to see what’s staring them in the face should wake up and stop their charade at once.
Syed Hashmi was born in Pakistan grew up in Queens, NY and attended Brooklyn College earning a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2003. He was arrested June 2006 in London at Heathrow Airport with a large sum of money where he was headed for Pakistan. He was extradited to United States in May 2007 and is now in solitary confinement at Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan awaiting trial. According to the indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, he was charged with providing and conspiring to send money, material support and military gear including night-vision goggles to associated al Qaeda fighters in South Waziristan, Pakistan to use against United States forces in Afghanistan. The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 50 years. Due to a violent outburst attacking arresting officers at Heathrow Airport, and shouting that he hoped they would be killed, bail was denied at a hearing and he was placed under secure lockdown. In a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office FBI Assistant Director Mark Mershon said: "If we are engaged in a war against terror -- and we most certainly are –then Syed Hashmi aided the enemy by supplying military gear to al Qaeda. The JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) is committed to eradicating terrorism anywhere in the world, from the streets of New York to the hills of Afghanistan. In a global community, terrorism anywhere is a threat to people everywhere."
According to Michael Sheehan, a terrorism expert and NBC News analyst, law enforcement authorities work day and night keeping such dangerous people under surveillance for years until enough evidence is found to bring charges against them. He said: "Hashmi was a jihadi. He was interested in fighting jihad in Pakistan. He had connections to serious terrorists in the U.K. He was an American citizen, a very troublesome character, and we're glad that he's been picked up." Hashmi was also suspected of playing a role in the thwarted fertilizer bomb plot targeting prominent buildings in London, which would have killed potentially hundreds of people.
Although this is an indictment and not yet a conviction, the facts and circumstances presented in this case warrant cause for grave concern about what is happening on our college campuses. Muslim young men and women are susceptible to radicalization under our very noses on campus, while professors and authorities out of touch with the real world are facilitating and promoting the entire process. According to the NYPD intelligence report (2007), Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat, Hashmi became radicalized while he was a student at Brooklyn College. Those who knew him described him as a quiet, bright, and caring young man who was passionate about Islam but not overzealous. However, Hashmi as well as many young Muslims in New York City struggling with their identity, often fall victim to extremist Islamic ideologies. In the late 1990’s he was a member of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), but dissatisfied with their passive message, he became susceptible to destructive radical organizations. That’s when he started attending meetings of the New York branch of al-Muhajiroun, a purveyor of violent jihadist ideology, and then a total transformation took place. After Sept 11, 2001, Hashmi invited a speaker from al-Muhajiroun to Brooklyn College, and soon he became a top recruiter and senior figure in the organization.
Al-Muhajiroun is a London based group founded by Syrian Militant Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed that serves as an incubator of radicals for the global terror network. His organization, which praised the terrorist attacks on 9/11, radicalized the five London fertilizer bomb plotters. The fanatical message of jihad of Sheikh Bakri and his network of lieutenants dispatched to campuses and mosques around the world, is irresistible to young moderate Muslims, indoctrinated and transformed into violent and angry radicals, which was the story of the London fertilizer bombers. Abu Hamza, the hook-handed cleric now in prison for inciting murder, Mohammed Siddique Khan, leader of the July 7th London bombings, shoe bomber Richard Reid, suicide bombers, some of whom ended up committing massacres in Israeli, and many more were radicalized by al-Muhajiroun. Now exiled from Britain, Bakri recently made headlines when he issued a death threat to Paul McCartney, saying that he would be enemy of every Muslim and the target of suicide bombers if he comes to Israel to perform.
A former British Muslim radical, Ed Husain described the radicalization process in detail, which began in a secondary school which was infiltrated by Islamist dogma. The students were indoctrinated by textbooks and curriculum replete with doctrine linking Islam and politics as one and the same, and portraying radical groups such as Muslim Brotherhood as legitimate. After this educational brainwashing process, when Husain was invited to a radical London mosque teeming with al-Muhajiroun followers, he was easily hooked on Bakri’s powerful message to turn Great Britain into an Islamic state with global jihad as its foreign policy.
Al-Muhajiroun networks spread to New York City campuses where Hashmi and many other restless youth were nurtured in Islamic extremist ideology and joined its global mission, some of whom ended up travelling to Pakistan for jihad camp training or staying home to plan domestic attacks. The organization officially disbanded in 2004 and broke up into splinter groups which carry on the same extremist ideology and operations. One of them that operates in New York City is the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS) of which Hashmi was also a known member. Its homepage leads with the “Free Fahad” campaign and a video featuring CUNY professor Corey Robin and an Imam pleading for Hashmi’s freedom. The new movement still went by the same name of al-Muhajiroun at an event at CUNY’s Queensborough Community College campus where the speaker railed "We reject the U.N., reject America, reject all law and order. Don't lobby Congress or protest because we don't recognize Congress! The only relationship you should have with America is to topple it!" This extremist group is perhaps best known for the virulent flag stomping and anti-Israel rallies including the 2006 demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate in Manhattan where they chanted "The mushroom cloud is on its way! The real Holocaust is on its way!" and "Israeli Zionists you shall pay! The wrath of Allah is on its way!"
Mohammed Junaid Babar, another former student from Queens, NY started aspiring to Islamic extremist ideology through the internet, dropped out of St. John’s University, became radicalized and joined al-Muhajiroun. After 9/11, he travelled to Pakistan to help fight against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Upon his return, he was arrested in New York in 2004 and plead guilty to five counts of providing and conspiracy to provide money and supplies to Al Qaeda terrorists, with a sentence of up to 70 years. He admitted to two separate attempts to kill General Pervez Musharraf, for which he would face the death penalty in Pakistan. In order to reduce his sentence, he became a cooperating witness and testified against his al-Muhajiroun accomplices, including the July 7th London transit system bombers, and was the star witness in Operation Crevice, which resulted in the arrest of five terrorists convicted of plotting to use fertilizer bombs to blow up buildings, shopping centers and synagogues in London. Potentially hundreds if not thousands of lives were spared thanks to Babar’s testimony. Babar will also testify as a witness against the jihadist activities of Syed Hashmi, who according to documentation of the case, brought Babar into al-Muhajiroun where he met the London fertilizer bomb plotters. When Hashmi moved to Britain, he used his apartment to store supplies, military gear and money that Babar shipped out to Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, al Qaeda’s chief of operations in Afghanistan.
In his testimonies Babar brought to light a textbook case of how typical young British Muslim men are indoctrinated in radical Islamic ideology and transformed into violent jihadists. Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, said “The fertilizer bomb trial has given us the smoking-gun evidence that groups like al-Muhajiroun have had an important part in radicalizing young British Muslims, and that this can create terrorists.” Al-Muhajiroun is not only active in Britain but according to Babar’s admissions at the trial, al-Muhajiroun had deployed an army of jihadists in the U.S. which was critical to the success of the fertilizer bomb plots and recruitment operations. Syed Hashmi was a key operative in the New York network of al-Muhajiroun.
We all should watch the Hashmi case with great interest. We should not only be interested in the outcome of the trial, but in the details that emerge, which will teach us important lessons. The phony righteous pleadings for the freedom of Syed Hashmi are all smoke and mirrors to distract us from domestic threats. Susan O’Malley and the CUNY officers and professors who spend the taxpayers money running amok in politics and rallying to the defense of every terrorist and extremist under the sun, must be stopped and sent home packing. The most important lesson is that future terrorist attacks on our country can be prevented. However, they cannot be prevented by the diligent efforts of law enforcement and Homeland Security alone. But as it is said, if we forget our history, especially our recent history of Sept. 11, we are bound to repeat it. We must never forget the most horrific attacks on our country and the war launched against freedom and democracy which today does not only involve overseas battles in the Middle East, but those right here on our college campuses.