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Miami Jihad? What Miami Jihad? By: Aaron Hanscom
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Planning to murder innocent Americans in the name of radical Islam doesn’t necessarily make one a Muslim terrorist. At least that was the opinion expressed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) after last month’s arrests of seven black men in Miami for plotting to blow up the Sears Tower and the FBI headquarters in Miami.

“Given that the reported beliefs of this bizarre group have nothing to do with Islam, we ask members of the media to refrain from calling them Muslims,” read a statement from Ahmed Bedier, Director of CAIR Florida chapter.


In fact, the men arrested were members of the “Seas of David” religious group, an Islamic sect that follows the tenets of the Moorish Science Temple of America. According to The Daily Telegraph, the Moorish Temple believes that all black people are born as Muslims and descended from the Moors. The Nation of Islam evolved from the Moorish Temple, which was founded in 1913 by Noble Drew Ali. Ali worked as a circus magician before becoming a self-proclaimed prophet and one of the first people to introduce Islam to African-Americans. A member of the “Seas of David” told CNN after the arrests that, “We study Allah and the worship of the regular Bible.”


This isn’t the first time that the Moorish Science Temple of America has run afoul of authorities. In the 1950s, the FBI investigated the Moorish Temple for disseminating anti-American propaganda. Though inconclusive, the investigations into Moorish Science resulted in a comprehensive FBI file of more than 3,000 pages. An al-Qaeda linked follower of Moorish Science, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, was convicted in 1995 for involvement in a terrorist plot against New York tunnels and landmarks.


While CAIR was busy denying any connection between the suspects and Islam, the father of the alleged ringleader attested to his son’s increased interest in the religion. Narcisse Batiste, a Christian preacher, said that his son ignored his appeals to remain a Christian. Instead, Narseal Batiste’s belief in Islam led him to study the Quran.


CAIR, a supposedly moderate Muslim civil-rights group, has a history of making apologies for radical Islam. After the September 11 attacks, CAIR representatives often refused to blame Osama bin Laden because it would “simplify the situation.” CAIR even looks out for Islamic radicals on television. Kiefer Sutherland, who plays a counterterrorism agent on the series “24,” had to read a disclaimer before an episode that noted its terrorists were Muslims in order to appease CAIR, which felt that the show could “cast a shadow of suspicion over ordinary American Muslims and could increase Islamophobic stereotyping and bias." CAIR would have more success in that department if its own member weren’t supporters of terrorism themselves. Ghassan Elashi, the founder of the Texas chapter of CAIR, was convicted of supporting Hamas in 2005.

Since the rights of wrongly accused Islamic radicals like bin Laden and Elashi are the main concern of CAIR, the group believes that anti-terrorism measures should be discarded. To that end, CAIR joined with the American Muslim Council and the American Muslim alliance in February 2003 in forming a coalition to repeal and amend the Patriot Act. Criticizing American policies, not the terrorists these policies are designed to stop, is what animates CAIR.


CAIR attempts to hide this hostility toward the very country it operates in by trying to convince Americans that acts of Islamic terror aren’t what they appear to be. And, with the help of the American media, it very often succeeds. The murder spree of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Malvo is a case in point.


To this day, most Americans wrongly assume that there hasn’t been another domestic terrorist attack since 9/11. When the Beltway snipers were arrested in 2002, the media quickly offered up every motive imaginable except for jihad. The Los Angeles Times opined that it might have been Muhammad’s “stormy relationship” with his family, a need to “exert control” over others, or a “stark realization” of loss and regret that led him to murder 10 people. This was in spite of the fact that very early on a friend quoted Muhammad as saying the 9/11 attacks “should have happened a long time ago.”


CNN initially referred to the Muslim convert Muhammad by his old name, John Allen Williams. At the same time, CAIR attempted to minimize the effect Islam had on the murderers. Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the national headquarters, said, “There is no indication that this case is related to Islam or Muslims.” Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper assured the public that the murders were the actions of “deranged individuals” who acted for their own purposes.


The facts tell quite a different story. Malvo’s jailhouse drawings clearly depict the shooting spree as an act of jihad. “JIHAD” was written on a self-portrait of Malvo with a rifle in hand. Accompanying another portrait of Malvo and Muhammad were the words “We will kill them all. Jihad.” The caption of a drawing of a plane approaching the burning twin towers read: “JIHAD ISLAM UNITE RISE!”


In Muhammad’s trial, Malvo testified that his father-figure told him that “we’re going to terrorize the nation.” The sniper shootings were to last for 30 days, followed by a bombing campaign targeting schools, children’s hospitals and school buses.


Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper wrote at the time of the arrests of Muhammad and Malvo that “an awful lot of conservatives really, really wanted the snipers to be terrorists. But they were wrong. I’ll say that because they never will.” The truth is that Muslim groups and the mainstream media really wanted the snipers not to be thought of as terrorists. So much so that they were willing to obfuscate the truth.


The European Union (EU) was recently responsible for a similar modification of reality. The phrase “Islamic terrorism” was banned from the EU lexicon for public communication on terrorism and Islam. “Certainly ‘Islamic terrorism’ is something we will not use ... we talk about ‘terrorists who abusively invoke Islam,’” an EU official explained. The definition of jihad was also altered. For the sake of Muslims’ delicate sensibilities, in Europe the word now refers to a “spiritual struggle,” not a holy war. The same EU official explained, “Jihad means something for you and me, it means something else for a Muslim. Jihad is a perfectly positive concept of trying to fight evil within yourself.”


It appears that the EU would like people to believe that Theo Van Gogh’s murderer, Mohammed Bouyeri, was exorcising personal demons when he brutally killed the Dutch filmmaker. The fact that he saw himself as an “instrument of God” and wanted to die a “martyr” is of little significance to the appeasing bureaucrats in Brussels. It is little wonder most Europeans are still in the dark about the Islamic terrorist threat that faces them.


America’s success in the War on Terror depends on a public awareness of the motivations of those trying to murder non-Muslims. Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales used the facts of the case to put the Miami arrests in their proper context. He said that the “home-grown terrorists” were “inspired by a violent jihadist message.” The indictment against the seven men said that they pledged loyalty to al Qaeda and planned to “wage war” against the U.S. government and build an Islamic army. 

CAIR's disinformation campaign about the Miami arrests is just a function of a larger agenda to downplay the dangers of radical Islam. By enlisting the help of a compliant media, true acts of jihad can be disguised as criminal acts that have nothing to do with Islam.

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Aaron Hanscom is a freelance writer in Los Angeles.

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