DEFENSE FORUM FOUNDATION
SHARIAH: WILL WE LET IT DESTROY AMERICA?
DEFENSE FORUM FOUNDATION
FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT,
CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY
FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2010
Federal News Service
SUZANNE SCHOLTE: Well, if I could have everybody’s attention, we’re going to get started. I’m Suzanne Scholte, president of the Defense Forum Foundation. I want to welcome you to our forum, today. We are very pleased to have a speaker with us who’s one of our more popular ones, over the years. But before I introduce our speaker, I do want to acknowledge some of the members of our board of directors that are here.
Our vice chairman of the Defense Forum Foundation Ty McCoy is right over here, and Dr. Fred Ikle of our board of directors, and then, from our staff, Henry Song and Soo Kim, our intern. Thank you all for being here. I know that there’s a lot going on the Hill today, and as you know, we usually do these forums on Fridays at noon because that’s the only time you guys can eat lunch outside of your offices because the members are usually on a plane going back to their districts.
But because of the debate on health care, the members of Congress are here, so I know it’s much more difficult for the staff members to be able to get away from their offices. But I appreciate you all coming to our forum today. It’s great, as I mentioned, to have our speaker, Frank Gaffney, back with us. He’s the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, which is known both nationally and internationally, for timely, informed and penetrating analysis on national security issues.
Since the last time he spoke at the forum, he’s also taken on his own radio talk show, and now hosting “Secure Freedom Radio,” which is a nationally syndicated program heard throughout the country on weeknights. Frank’s also a prolific writer, and I’m sure many of you have seen his articles in major newspapers – both op-eds and articles. And he’s also the major author of the book “War Footing: Ten Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World.”
He began his career on Capitol Hill, and just a few years ago – (chuckles) – with the late Sen. Scoop Jackson, and then worked for the Senate Armed Services Committee before he served under President Reagan in the Department of Defense as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy.
He’s received numerous awards for his work, and I just want to mention and cite a few of those – first of all, the Defense Department’s Distinguished Public Service Award, the U.S. Business and Industry’s Council’s Defender of the National Interest Award, the Navy League of the United States Alfred Thayer Mahan Literary Achievement Award and the Zionist Organization of America’s Louis Brandeis Award. It’s a great honor to have Frank with us, and as always, to talk about a controversial subject that’s not getting enough attention. Thank you, Frank. (Applause.)
FRANK GAFFNEY: Good afternoon. I appreciate very much everybody taking a little time away from the March Madness that is afflicting this town, and I don’t mean the basketball sort. It is clearly the case that a lot of people are focused intensively on another kind of highly competitive exercise underway, and I appreciate those of you who could break away to join us to hear a little bit about another kind of madness, I think it’s fair to say – a program that we, as Americans, have not yet really properly understood, let alone come to grips with.
And part of the extent of the lack of understanding is manifest in our inability, even, to figure out what to call it. I, myself, among many others, have used a variety of different descriptors to talk about what is fundamentally an ideological program – one that has a clear grounding and some very ominous implications. And yet, we’re struggling to find a way to identify it, to help people understand it, as I say, and of course, come to grips with it.
Some of the terms that have been used in the past, and by some today, include political Islam, fundamentalist Islam, radical Islam, extremist Islam. Islamo-fascism was one that I think, when I was last with you, Suzanne, I was using myself. And all of them fall short, in I think one particularly important respect. And that is, to the extent that they all use, in one form or another, the root word “Islam,” they almost immediately suggest to people who consider themselves to be Muslims, that they are all part of the problem.
They typically become defensive. Worst case, they become part of the problem, driven into the arms of the people who authentically embrace this ideology. So let me start by suggesting to you a term that I think is both more accurate as a descriptor of this phenomenon, and one that does not have – at least in theory – does not have that particular problem – collateral damage, if you will, unintentionally complicating our relationships with what are, I think, conservatively, hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world who do not, themselves, practice their faith in accordance with this ideological program, let alone seek to impose it on the rest of us, as do those who adhere to the program.
So let me offer this as a starting point: I think the best way to describe the ideology that constitutes, today, the most serious totalitarian threat to freedom in the world is the term that its adherents use themselves – Shariah. By that term, they mean not simply Shariah law, which is the way it is often discussed, particularly by non-Muslims. To be sure, there are many aspects of it that involve law, but it actually is much more comprehensive, in terms of its character, and certainly, its application.
It governs every aspect of life, from how an individual prays, how often they pray, in which direction they pray, what they wash before they pray, what they don’t wash, what they say when they pray, up to how they interact with family members, particularly their wives, their daughters, how they interface with their neighbors, their business associates, all the way up to how – literally, how the world is to be governed.
And according to Shariah, how the world is to be governed is, under a global theocracy – a program that most Muslims, which are of the Sunni sect, call the Caliphate. And to the extent that Shariah not only sets that as the goal, but dictates that it is the obligation of all adherent Muslims to bring it about – how? Through jihad – we come to where this particular ideology constitutes a mortal threat to those of us in the West, including those of us here in the United States.
Because on the one hand, of course, a theocratic form of government is not consistent with the Constitution of the United States or the freedoms that it enshrines, or the government that it prescribes. There is absolutely no way the two can coexist under a Constitution that explicitly describes itself as the supreme law of the land, because those who believe Shariah must be the supreme law of the land won’t accept the superiority of the Constitution, and frankly are, as I say, obliged by their faith, by the ideological program of Shariah, to supplant that government with one of their preference – the Islamic Caliphate, if you will.
So jihad is the way that the Caliphate – the triumph of Islam, the forced submission of all others to Islam – is to be accomplished. And of course, since 9/11 particularly, all of us have, to one degree or another, appreciated the character of jihad as a violent, terror-inflicting exercise. But interestingly enough, as much of a menace as that is – and we’ve seen many thousands of people here and elsewhere killed in the name of jihad – there is another element to this that is at least, I believe, as insidious and worrying.
Shariah recognizes that, where one cannot practically engage in violent jihad – maybe you, yourself, aren’t capable of it, or are unwilling to kill yourself – you nonetheless have an obligation to pursue jihad through other means – either through financial support to those who are willing to engage in the violent sort of warfare or through more stealthy techniques – civilizational jihad, they call it.
And to the extent that we have seen, most especially in Europe, but increasingly in the United States, in recent years, increasing symptoms of that kind of stealth jihad, I suggest to you the problem is both more acute and far more comprehensive than even many who are experts in national security, let alone the public at large, appreciate.
Let me give you a couple of examples of how the stealth jihad is manifesting itself, not just abroad, but here. Some of these are, I’m sure, familiar to you, at least at some level, and some of them may be news to you. But trust me on this: This is a very, very small sample of a much larger category – much larger problem.
I think when I was last here, Suzanne, I talked a little bit about one of these manifestations of stealth jihad – something called Shariah-compliant finance. Now, the first clue that there’s something wrong with this is the first word. One of the reasons why I want to focus your attention on Shariah as a problem is, when you hear people say what they’re doing is promoting, through financial or other means, Shariah, it’s a red flag.
Now, sadly, especially since September, 2008, when our economy and that of much of the rest of the world began to suffer acute difficulties, the importance of recycling petrodollars, many of which found their way into the treasuries and sovereign wealth funds of those who espouse and seek to impose on everybody else Shariah, has meant that the financial sector of the United States is now – and other Western capitals – is now embracing the idea of Shariah-compliant finance.
What is it? Well, people in the business will tell you, it’s really nothing more than a kind of socially responsible investing program – essentially the same thing as what Methodists or Baptists or Lutherans or Catholics or Jews have. Why shouldn’t Muslims have their investment program that conforms to their, sort of, religious principles? In that vein, we’re told, it means that you eschew interest – either the charging or the earning of it – charging or paying of it, rather. Of course, you’re not supposed to invest in activities that involve pork or gambling or tobacco or alcohol or Western defense. It’s okay to invest in Islamic defense, but not Western defense.
But at the end of the day, what really defines Shariah-compliant financial activities from those that are not Shariah-compliant is that somebody – some authority, some Shariah scholar who sits on advisory board – tells the investing body – the financial house, whatever – that’s compliant. That’s “halal,” as they say – kosher – or that’s “haram” – not pure. And if it’s deemed, by that advisor, to be halal, it’s a go.
Now, why is that important? That’s important because that Shariah advisor is one of the pre-eminent promoters of Shariah in the world. So think about it. In every one of these Western financial institutions where Shariah finance is now being practiced, we have, seated at approximately board level, people who espouse the program that, as I’ve just indicated to you, requires the destruction of our country, or our government, of our Constitution, of our freedoms.
I’m in the company of one of my friends and personal heroes, and former bosses, who is instrumental in waging and winning the Cold War – Dr. Freddy Clay. It is a great privilege to have you here, sir. I would submit to you that, when we were in the Pentagon, if Wall Street had, in comparable positions to those Shariah advisors today, agents of the KGB, that Cold War would not have worked out as it did, despite President Reagan’s efforts. And I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen, this war against this totalitarian ideology similarly will not come out right if the capital and credit flows of this economy are at least substantially influenced by, if not actually controlled by, proponents of Shariah.
To give you a personal sense of the implications of all of this, a colleague of mine, David Yerushelmi, our general counsel at the Center for Security Policy, is, right now, involved in a lawsuit against the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board in which he is challenging our ownership of AIG on the grounds that AIG, being the largest purveyor of Shariah-compliant insurance products in the world, violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States – the separation of church and state.
Because we can’t be owning a company that’s promoting a religion. And I don’t mean – if you go to the Web site – I don’t mean just promoting Shariah-compliant insurance products; I’m talking about promoting Shariah, albeit in a somewhat homogenized, dumbed-down way. My point is this: That is a symptom of the stealth jihad.
In fact, don’t take my word for it: One of the pre-eminent Shariah advisors in the financial industry that is, by the way, today worth somewhere between $800 billion and $1 trillion under investment – one of the pre-eminent Shariah advisors is a fellow by the name of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Perhaps you’ve seen him on Al-Jazeera, where he has a weekly television program, which he uses as an information operation against Americans, against Westerners, against Jews, against Israelis, even against innocent women and children, where he thinks they should be blown up in the interest of advancing Shariah.
I mention Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi because he has actually said – he, one of the prime movers behind Shariah-compliant finance – it is, quote, “financial jihad,” unquote – jihad with money. So are we under any illusion that this is a problem? Well, I hope not. But you’d be amazed how many bankers and investment companies are looking the other way. Indeed, our own government had, down at the Treasury Department in November of 2008, a seminar for the policy community where they brought in 60 or so senior government officials to impress upon them, in the words of two Shariah finance promoters at Harvard University, “Islamic Finance 101.”
And interestingly enough – I mean, this was really a kicker – the guy who convened this meeting, you may have heard of. His name is Neel Kashkari. Neel Kashkari was, at the time, an assistant secretary in the Treasury Department. But more importantly, he was the guy who controlled the $700 billion TARP slush fund.
And as a result, he was in a position to determine which banks, and other investment institutions, got federal money at a difficult time, and which didn’t. Now, do you think that maybe some of those guys in the financial sector took away from this pep rally for Shariah finance, in the Treasury Department headquarters, the idea that their government wants them to go this way? To begin to do business with Shariah finance? I submit to you they did.
So there is an example – a concrete, troubling example of the stealth jihad and its penetration of our society. I can give you a bunch of others. Let me just give you two more. You’re all familiar, of course, with the violent kind of jihad that went down in November at Fort Hood. A man – a major in the United States Army who had exposed his colleagues to his Shariah-adherent views prior to killing 13 of those folks down there, something he is obliged to do, by the way, as a faithful Muslim – giving warning of jihad, giving the opportunity for those targeted to make one of two other choices – besides being killed, convert or submit – well, he went down, shot them up.
And shortly thereafter, the United States brought into Fort Hood, as a trainer for sensitivity training, of those who hadn’t been killed, a fellow by the name of Louay Safi. Louay Safi is one of the most prominent Muslim Brotherhood operatives in America today, associated with the – I think it’s called the leadership project – something like that – of the Islamic Society of North America. We know Louay Safi is a moderate because he has publicly declared that, as
long as people who leave Islam – that is to say, apostates – don’t go public with their apostasy, they don’t have to be killed. But if they say anything about it publicly, they do.
Now, that passes for moderation, folks, in the Shariah community. Or it passes for stealth jihad, that such an individual is being given access to our military personnel in the aftermath of one of their own having killed a bunch of them. Let me conclude this little litany with another example that I am especially concerned about. It’s not an accident, as I started out my remarks suggesting, that we can’t properly talk about this – that we can’t even properly characterize it, most of us – this ideological program, this agenda of our enemies.
It is, in fact, the case that our enemies have been beavering away for quite some time at trying to prevent this kind of conversation, trying to prevent us from understanding what they’re about – the nature of the threat. This has taken the most prominent form in an initiative that was begun, I think, back in 1999, by an entity many of us haven’t heard of, called the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC. The OIC is something you ought to watch, because it is now the most powerful bloc within the United Nations. It’s made up of 57 nations and some wannabe nations, like Palestine. And they are all adherent to and promoting of the Shariah program.
And, as I say, one of their principal agenda items, going back for over a decade, has been the adoption, by the United Nations, and thereafter, by member states, of, in the case of the U.N. resolution, in the case of member states’ legislation, that not only prohibits, but criminalizes speech of the kind I’ve been engaging in for the past 15 minutes, which is characterized by those who adhere to Shariah as blasphemy. No matter how true what I say is, if it gives offense to them, if it’s not helpful to the faith, it is considered blasphemy – slander.
And it must be prohibited. It must be penalized. It is, in fact, a capital offense. But they’ve been seeking to get this suppression of free speech legitimated by the United Nations for years, and until last year, the government of the United States consistently opposed this manifest violation of our First Amendment. I’m sorry to tell you that, last year, under President Obama, the United States government cosponsored that resolution in the U.N. Human Rights Council – one of the great oxymorons of all time.
And it is now an obligation, if you subscribe to this U.N. business – an obligation of the United States government to pursue, pursuant to the resolution it cosponsored with Egypt, on behalf of the OIC, a set of – what shall we call them – hate speech laws that would proscribe, as I say, not only this kind of conversation, but basically any kind of conversation that might give offense to Muslims.
I offer these three examples – and they were nothing more than just illustrative examples of a longer litany that we could talk about, if you like – but three examples of a stealthy kind of jihad against our freedoms, against our Constitution, against our government, that is surprisingly far advanced – not just in the Netherlands, where Geert Wilders is being prosecuted on the basis of hate speech laws, to the obscene point where he’s not allowed to provide, by way of defense, proof that he’s been factually accurate in what he’s said.
It doesn’t matter. It’s given offense. And he faces several years in prison. There’s the natty problem that he may become the next prime minister of the Netherlands, but nevermind. He’s being prosecuted by his government today. But it’s not just in the Netherlands, or just in Germany or France or Britain or Italy, or any number of other places overseas; it’s here. And because it’s stealthy, much of it, and because it is going unaddressed, it is making steady progress.
To give you a sense of how seriously it’s going unaddressed, I mentioned the Fort Hood massacre. You probably all are aware of the fact that in, I believe it was, December, the former secretary of the Army, Togo West, and the former chief of naval operations, Vern Clark, produced an independent review of what happened at Fort Hood in which they studied the fellow, who’s business card read “soldier of Allah,” whose briefing to his colleagues at Walter Reed was all about how it was the obligation of faithful Muslims to kill infidels who were going to try to kill Muslims, and whose words upon killing 13 of his colleagues were “allahu akbar,” the cry of a martyr engaged in jihad.
In 86 pages of this independent review, as you may know, the following words were never used once: Islam, Shariah, Muslim, Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic terror. Even violent extremism, which is the approved euphemism of our government didn’t make it into the report. I kind of thought, you know, it’s like the guy needed a root canal or something. He was in physical pain, and that’s all there was to it. Well, this wasn’t a one-off example.
I believe the Quadrennial Defense Review of the Department of Defense – major product, as Fred knows, having been through some of these exercises – a major product of thousands – tens of thousands of man-hours of our government’s most serious and important national security bureaucrats and decision-makers – also didn’t use those words. The Department of Homeland Security quadrennial review, I’m told, didn’t use those words, either.
So we’ve got a problem, is, I guess, my bottom-line point to you all. We’ve got a problem with a deadly serious ideological program that is, let me re-emphasize, what authoritative Islam is promoting. You will be told – you may even want to believe – that what I have described is actually just the craziness, the extremism of some radicals, who are hijacking the religion. It is indisputably the case that what I have described for you is actually rooted in the authoritative texts and institutions and teachings and traditions and interpretations of the faith.
And I emphasize, it doesn’t mean that everybody who is a Muslim practices it this way, or even knows that, that’s all true. Some of whom will tell you it’s not true may simply not know. And then there are others, such as one who was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” last night – a fellow down in South Carolina – professor – who blithely assured us that terror is something that will send you straight to hell. I believe he’s engaged in a tradition as old as Islam itself called taqiyya – lying for the faith.
And so you’ve got to try to figure out, are you talking, when you hear from people that none of this is a problem, to people who simply don’t know any better? I think that’s true of many Muslims, particularly in the Far East, who have no tradition of Shariah, who don’t want to treat their women or each other the way it requires. But I think in many cases, unfortunately, it is
also true that people know and they’re simply dissembling, or just lying to us. So this makes matters much more complicated, and why I have taken as much time as I have to, sort of, drill down on all this.
Let me just leave you with a couple of thoughts about what we have to do about it, and then, if there are questions, I’d be happy to take them. The first thing we have to do about it – about the problem posed by Shariah and its adherents, is recognize it, is understand it for what it is, is address it as the same kind of toxic, totalitarian, brutally repressive and ultimately seditious ideology that communism has long been understood to be.
Secondly, having properly understood what it is, we need to empower our people – our government, first and foremost, but our people as well – to understand that there are things that we can do to counteract it. Specifically, by recognizing that what we’re dealing with here is not, as a practical matter, religion, but a political program. We’re tolerant people. We give people who practice the most bizarre of religious beliefs wide latitude to do so.
But where it is seditious, where it is seeking to impose a new form of law on us, instead of our Constitution, that is impermissible. And we need to recognize it and act on it as such. In fact, bottom line, I think that keeping America Shariah-free has to be a prime focus for all of us who care about our country – not just some national security-minded folks, but all of us.
Because you can absolutely take this, if you will, to the Shariah-compliant bank: What we decide to do about this, or alternatively, fail to do about this, will affect both the quality and, maybe even the very fact, of the lives of our children and our grandchildren. And I, for one, am determined not to have my children inherit a country governed by Shariah, in which they will not be equal, in which they will not enjoy the freedoms we take for granted, and which, in fact, especially given their old man, they may not be alive.
So we need your help with this, and I appreciate, so much, Suzanna and Ty, Fred, the opportunity to talk to you about this – as hopefully an agenda item of the Defense Forum Foundation and all those of you who work for people on the Hill, and frankly for all of us in this country. Because if we don’t get this right, I think we’ll never be able to live with ourselves, as much as what we’ll be inflicting upon those who come after. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Are there any questions? Ty?
Q: Yeah, in terms of – is it going to take a lot of – (inaudible, off mike) – groups that are – (inaudible). Has anyone in the Congress, or maybe it has to start in the state legislatures, tried to sponsor a bill that would say, the United States will not tolerate and not impose – follow this U.N. resolution and will not allow this banks and finance companies to invest and engage in Shariah-compliant – (inaudible)? Is there any hope of beginning to prescribe a role in that way and – (inaudible)?
MR. GAFFNEY: Yeah, I don’t know if you could hear the question. It’s a good one. It’s, are we starting to see any interest in or action on the kind of Shariah-free agenda that I talked about at, either, the federal level here in the Congress, or at the state level? We’ve begun to see some efforts, Ty. Let me give you the most, probably, obvious example is something called Rachel’s Law, named for Rachel Ehrenfeld, who is an author who was sued in a British
court by a Saudi billionaire whom she had properly noted, using public sources, had been implicated in terrorism financing.
Using Britain’s very lax libel laws, he was able to bring suit against her. She was not able to defend herself in a British court because of the expenses involved. He won a default judgment and, from that point forward, you know, she was at risk of imprisonment, if she went to the United Kingdom, or having her assets seized, perhaps. And in several states, now – I believe it’s up to five – Rachel’s Law has been adopted, which basically says you cannot enforce any judgments in a state against a citizen or resident of that state on the basis of this kind of – what’s been called “libel tourism.”
There’s been some talk about doing that at the federal level. I don’t think it’s been finished here, yet, but I could be wrong about that. And there have been several other pieces of legislation that, sort of, address pieces of it. I mentioned, by the way – and it’s worth being aware of this – this business about these two Harvard University professors teaching this
“Islamic Finance 101” course at the Treasury Department. Well, these guys are, for all intents and purposes, if not actually literally, paid employees of a fellow by the name of Al-Waleed bin Talal. He is another Saudi billionaire who has been using his money for stealth jihad.
Al-Waleed bin Talal has put, I believe it’s $20 million in the Georgetown University Middle East studies program, run by John Esposito. He’s put $20 million in the Harvard University program, where these fellows run – both the Middle East studies program and the Islamic finance project of the law school – and I think he’s got money elsewhere. Well, several states have begun acting on legislation that, at the least, requires transparency about those kinds of foreign contributions to these academic centers.
There is, actually, I think, a federal law on the books, but it’s widely ignored, that says if you receive something over $100,000, you’re supposed to say who it comes from, if it’s a foreign national. It doesn’t needless to say, stop the problem – and again, going back to our Cold War days, Fred, I just want to think, if we were fighting the Cold War against a determined adversary whose ideological program then – totalitarian in kind, ruthless, seditious, but communist – if that adversary had running the academic institutions of higher learning for, say, our foreign service – at Georgetown – or Harvard University’s government program – and they were all KGB folks, I mean, what would we expect?
You know, there was a – Fred knows very well – the National Defense Education Act, I believe, in the 1950s – I think it was right after Sputnik; maybe it was ’60 – was all about creating academic centers that would teach people how to fight communism. Well, if we turned them over to the communists, for god’s sake, would that have worked out? Well, we’re doing it now, or we’re allowing it to be done.
And by the way, Al-Waleed bin Talal is not only interested in manipulating the minds of our student bodies; he’s just bought the second-largest share of a company called News Corp. And the man who owns the largest share is now deeply invested in his company, called Kingdom Holdings. And that company, of course, is the parent company of FOX News. And in a meeting
in, I think it was Dubai, a couple of years ago, after there were those riots – the first set of riots outside of Paris – and FOX News began, naturally, covering the story.
Well, Al-Waleed bin Talal told this gaggle of his countrymen and others brought to Dubai for the purposes of talking about Arabs and the media – he said that, you know, when he saw, on the chyron down at the bottom of the screen, “Muslim riots,” he told this audience, he said, I called Rupert Murdoch and I said, Rupert, those are not Muslim riots. And he told the audience he was gratified that, within a half-hour, they become “youth riots.”
And he said, my brothers, you need to do as I have done. You need to buy the Western media. So think about that as another step in a stealth jihad, shaping – FOX News – shaping what we can understand as happening around us. So I mention all this, Ty, just by way of saying that this requires a redoubled effort.
What is happening is the first shoots, but I think in part, it’s a lot to expect much to happen unless we are, in fact, clear that there is a problem here, and the character of it. And I think once that’s possible – once that’s made available, things will move rather more smartly. But we need help on this, to be honest with you. Anybody else? Let me take one more here.
Q: Frank, I know that there’s been a movement in some Western European capitals to recognize, what I guess I would characterize as Shariah enclaves within their communities. And I’m wondering if you can elaborate on whether that is not only a threat to the sovereignty, but whether Shariah and a Western, secular judicial system can co-exist?
MR. GAFFNEY: Great question. Could everybody hear it? Basically, we’ve seen Western societies accommodating themselves to enclaves that practice Shariah within their polities. Is that a problem? Can they coexist? Well, those Muslim – excuse me – “youth riots” that I was just talking about emanated from such enclaves in France. In fact, today, there are, I think, the last count I saw was something on the order of 750 areas that the French call – (in French) – which is to say, “sensitive urban zones,” better known to the rest of us as no-go zones, because the authorities of the country – the government, police – fear to go in there.
And indeed, they are practicing Shariah, and they are running their affairs as, essentially, separate entities. And can they coexist? Well, I mean, they’re coexisting in the sense that the French government is tolerating this. But you know, the inevitable progression of these things, especially with the birth rates and continuing mass immigration of people who are, by and large, either adherent to Shariah or become, you know, part of that community when they get into those countries, you’re going to see those enclaves expanding, and it will become more and more impossible for the government to ignore it.
And indeed, this is interestingly enough – speaking of FOX News – last week I think it was – last week, Glenn Beck, who many of us admire and follow, called this Geert Wilders that I was telling you about – the Dutch parliamentarian now being prosecuted – he called him a fascist. And shortly thereafter, my friend Charles Krauthammer called him extreme, dangerous and wrong. And Bill Kristol topped it off by calling him a demagogue – all on FOX News interestingly.
And I wrote a column this week in the Washington Times in which I said, this guy is an anti-fascist. This guy is trying to prevent a truly fascistic ideology from being imposed on his country. He is the antithesis of this. But here are some of the things that he’s calling for in the hopes of saving what’s left of the Netherlands. He says, you know, the mass immigration of people who want to live under Shariah into his country has to stop. You can’t continue to bring them in without having more and more of the population especially in a democracy where they vote, voting in Shariah.
Now, that’s not a problem that we have here just yet because obviously the size of the Muslim population is trivial. It’s more trivial, I should say, than what most of the Muslim Brotherhood organizations claim it to be, which is something on the order of 7 million I think was the last I heard. It’s probably closer to two, two-and-a-half, 3 million. But whatever it is, it’s a tiny fraction of a 300-million-person population.
But in the Netherlands, in France, in Germany, in Britain, that percentage of the population is nontrivial, growing and increasingly able to express itself as the kingmaker in parliamentary systems. The deciding factor between whether one bloc or another can form a winning coalition. So it’s a huge problem that by and large most of these societies – with the notable exception of Geert Wilders and people like him – are still reluctant to acknowledge.
But I will tell you this, you know, going to Ty’s point – Geert Wilders got this attack from my friends at Fox last week because his party was very successful in recent local elections in two of Holland’s largest cities. And that further reinforces what polls have suggested which is that he may well be the next prime minister of the country. So that is evidence I think that people in the country are resonating to his message that we’ve got no more mosques – you know, enough already. No more migration. And the like. Ty.
Q: Frank, have you considered because of where things stand now and the need for explaining Shariah – the next communism or whatever to at least fortify, pinpoint the fact that it’s an alien autocratic ideology masked in religion – to getting three, five, 10 and 20 groups – Center for Security Policy, this group, that group, Defense Forum Foundation – and having an actual conference somewhere in Washington, getting some profile, getting press conference afterward, having a couple of day session, making it an annual event in order to continue to do some, you know, really spotlight it and get the word out. I mean, it seems almost like it’s going to be required here.
MR. GAFFNEY: Yeah. The question is, have we thought about doing some sort of conference that brings people together to talk about this, focus attention on it. There actually are a bunch of these conferences that have been going on. I don’t know that there’s one quite like what you’ve described here, Ty, and it’s needed.
One thing that we’ve done or are in the process of doing, I should say – and this, Fred, you will be able to relate to particularly – and you too, Ty, as a matter of fact, I shouldn’t ignore the contribution you made to the Cold War coming out as it did.
At a particularly important moment in time, in the mid-1970s, when the government of the United States was run by people who believed that we’d lost the Cold War – at least in the
person of Henry Kissinger – and that the best we could do was to see if we could come up with some kind of modus vivendi – seek terms, in other words – and it came to be called not engagement – of course, that’s what we call it now – but détente.
And there were a number of people who – like my old boss Scoop Jackson – took a very dim view of this idea. And they challenged it and they hectored the government about it and they insistently argued that, in fact, if you looked at the classified information, it would make it clear that the Soviets were not at all interested in coexistence. They were interested in our destruction and they were working steadily to that end.
So interestingly enough – and Fred, you may remember the details of how this came about better than I – but interestingly enough a fellow by the name of George Herbert Walker Bush, who was then the director of central intelligence, brought a number of these people in to the CIA and gave them that kind of access, allowed them to actually go to school on what the Soviets were up to based upon the best evidence that we had.
And they produced something that came to be called the “Team B” report – Team A being the government, Team B being the south side group. And the Team B report provided a second opinion that was dramatically different than the Team A’s assessment. And it turned out it was much more accurate and that it was used by – a fellow by the name of Ronald Reagan as part of his campaign against – explicitly – against Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford and détente in 1976. And he narrowly missed replacing them on the Republican platform.
But he used that same sort of documentation, that authoritative assessment and its recommendations as his agenda for challenging Jimmy Carter four years later. Ultimately defeated him and used it then as the basis for the takedown strategy that Fred and Ty and others helped President Reagan implement.
So we’ve suggested that a similar kind of second opinion is needed to deal with what Team A is getting wrong about today’s totalitarian ideological threat. To date, we have not heard from Leon Panetta. I guess he’s too busy running those predators into al-Qaida headquarters, which is great.
But we’re doing it independently. And we’re going to see what we can do to come up with a similar kind of authoritative document, which could then become hopefully a vehicle for that kind of conference and, more importantly, equipping people like those up here with an alternative that is both rooted in the facts – not the way we’d like it to be, not the taqiyya, but in the facts, which, by the way, all open source. I mean, you don’t need classified information here. They couldn’t be more explicit – the Shariah types – about what they’re trying to do.
But we want to be able to give people this kind of documented, authoritative assessment that will enable them to do hopefully what Scoop Jackson and Ronald Reagan did a generation or so ago. And that would be a great subject for a conference, so it’s a good idea. Thank you. I think you were first here and then I’ll come back to you, sir. Go ahead.
Q: Frank, you mentioned the meeting with Neel Kashkari at the Treasury Department. I was wondering if you could just go dig a little bit deeper and explain who was there, what it was all about and, you know, just more detail.
MR. GAFFNEY: Yeah. This was, as I said, a program for the government itself. So outsiders like me were not invited, needless to say. We did hold a press conference up the street shortly before it happened and raised Cain about it. But they saw fit, nonetheless, not to have us in the room. We do know what was said there. We got some reports on the briefings that were received.
And it was pretty much the standard, you know, as I say, cheering squad for this industry, principally advanced by these two professors up at Harvard. No honest depiction of what Shariah was. No, I think, evidence that in fact this is not a terribly efficient way to go about investing. It typically is more expensive to go through the rigmarole that’s involved in pretending in something that is not an interest-related activity. It all is interest-related for crying out loud.
But you got to through this sort of rigmarole and you got the Shariah advisors to say, oh yeah, no, that’s not interest. But that adds to the inefficiencies and the costs. But it was principally, as I understand it, an explanation about how this is a more ethical way to engage in finance than capitalism. It was a way to get those billions of petrodollars recycled. That it would show how, you know, diverse we are and sensitive and accommodating to people who are like Methodists and Baptists and so on. And you know, it was in short an unalloyed endorsement of the idea.
And again – I just want to emphasize this – if you think back to that time, Neel Kashkari was arguably one of the most powerful people in the world because the spigot that he controlled could be the difference between Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, you know, Bank of America – all kinds of institutions surviving or failing.
And I don’t think it was an accident that it was he who convened this meeting. I don’t think the message was lost on anybody in the financial sector. And in fact, in the aftermath of it, we saw a lot more of these kinds of transactions taking place in the Wall Street and U.S. financial sector than had happened theretofore. Yes, sir.
Q: First, a comment. The term, “Shariah compliant” seems so mild until you explain what’s behind Shariah. You could probably find a substitute word there that doesn’t seem too alarmist and doesn’t seem too mild, so people will get it.
To your comment about the QDR –
MR. GAFFNEY: Yeah. Financial jihad compliant, I guess is another way to put it, right? Yeah.
Q: Promoting. What it promotes.
MR. GAFFNEY: Promoting. That’s good.
Q: Or what it goes along with.
MR. GAFFNEY: Very good suggestion.
Q: To your comment on the QDR, the quadrennial homeland security review, obviously it’s also a diplomacy and development review for the first time starting. You know, the offensive terms that DOD uses with human terrain or the diplomatic community uses with public diplomacy are all geared towards trying to shape hearts and minds outside our borders.
And it’s obvious that people are doing that to us through cyber means, through violent means and through cultural means. What would you like to have seen in the QDR and since the QDDR is still under development, what should we be trying to promote in that document?
MR. GAFFNEY: Well, it’s a good question. I don’t know if it all was captured or not. Let me just characterize it as, I think, an excellent point about branding Shariah compliant finance as financial jihad promoting finance. It’s a terrific idea. And in lieu of the kind of obscuring terms that have been used by the government, what would I prefer to see in these various quadrennial and other reviews?
Look, I don’t know how to be more direct about it. I think the problem is Shariah. I believe the problem is described the enemy as Shariah. I mean, they don’t call it a problem. It’s their objective. And I would prefer to see us using that term.
And again, I would make it clear, at least at the outset and periodically through such reports as seems appropriate, that it’s not the same thing as the practice of Islam according to many Muslims. And we welcome the distinction between the tolerant, peaceable form of Islam that they’re practicing and the other.
But the trick is – and I have to be honest with you about this – I think if you try to shade it and suggest that there – well, there’s this kind of Shariah program and then there’s this other program and they’re equally authoritative, they’re equally valid in terms of the tenants of the faith itself – that’s wrong and it, again, is misleading.
Most especially with respect to the stealthy piece of all this, I think we have to be clear. It’s – you know, the old line about sunshine being the best antiseptic. I think that’s especially true when you’re dealing with folks like the Muslim Brotherhood. And I didn’t get into this very much, but let me just use, if I may, your question as an opportunity to address that in a little bit more – in more detail.
The Muslim Brotherhood is an organization that was founded in Egypt back in the ’50s. It was a violent organization. Under Hamas, which is its Palestinian arm, it is still a violent organization. But it has national franchises and those in the West have by and large taken the view that, as I said, violent jihad is not as practicable a way to achieve the destruction of Western societies and their replacement with the caliphate – national and ultimately international – as is the stealthy means.
So in Western societies, the Brotherhood has adopted this patina of a peaceable, nonviolent Shariah adherent group. But here’s the rub. Back in the late 1990s, I believe it was – maybe it was early 1990s – an astute police officer happened to notice that a woman in a burqa was outside her car taking pictures of the structural supports of the Bay Bridge. And he thought it was prudent to pick them up and find out why they were doing that. This is before 9/11, of course.
It turned out that her husband was a suspicious character and he was the driver of the car. And when they made a house call, they found that he had a false basement in his home and in it, he had a whole treasure trove of documents of the Muslim Brotherhood, including a strategic plan that became an integral part of the successful – ultimately successful prosecution by the federal government of the Holy Land Foundation in Dallas in 2008.
And one of the documents was entered into evidence was the mission statement from this strategic plan of the Muslim Brotherhood, which said, in part, and I quote, “that the mission of the Muslim Brotherhood is a kind of grand jihad aimed at destroying Western civilization from within.”
It proceeded, helpfully, to list, I think, about 300 groups that were described as affiliated or friendly groups of the Brotherhood. And it was a who’s who of essentially every Muslim American organization in the country at the time, including the predecessor to the – and lineal predecessor I mean – to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which we hear about a lot up here, but almost the Islamic Society of North America, where Louay Safi hailed from and others.
One of the documents that was not introduced into evidence, interestingly, in the Holy Land Foundation trial was a document that showed that the Muslim Brothers’ plan was a five-phase plan for achieving the destruction of the United States from within. And I don’t remember all of the particulars, but it basically went from this sort of benign, peaceable program with a steady, covert capability being built up, leading up ultimately to the violent overthrow of the government.
And the fact that today, virtually all of the outreach – the so-called “outreach” to the Muslim American community performed by just about any government agency – certainly under the Obama administration and in a lot of states and localities as well. The L.A. County Sheriff being a particularly egregious example of this. Basically all of the outreach that is being done is with one Muslim Brotherhood front organization or another.
So think about that in terms of the stealth jihad. Talk about getting inside the decision-making circle. Talk about political influence operations. Unless and until we’re able to get clarity as to who these guys are, what the program is they’re trying to impose upon us and what the stakes are if they get away with it, we’re going to have a very hard time countering those folks who are inside the wire. And it’s made the worse, as I said earlier, by the Shariah finance, which lubricates all of this and folks who have now established relationships.
In fact, I have to just tell you that when President Obama announced the other day that a fellow by the name of Rashad Hussain was going to be his – his –special envoy to the
Organization of the Islamic Conference – that organization that I was telling you about that has the resolution imposing Shariah blasphemy laws. He said two really interesting things and two alarming things.
One, he said, this guy is going to be very well received by the Muslim community – excuse me, the Muslim world – he always calls it the Muslim world – because he is a hafiz of the Quran. I don’t know if you know what that means. A hafiz of the Quran is someone who has memorized every word of the document.
Now, there must be exceptions to this, I am sure. But as a general rule, I think it is the case that you are not a hafiz of the Quran unless you are a Shariah adherent Muslim. You just don’t go through all of that unless you’re with the program. And because you have gone through
all that, you are revered by those who are with the program. This is one of the great accomplishments of Islam.
And by the way, you can’t read every word of it without appreciating that it is – notwithstanding what you might have heard on NPR last night – it is all about the triumph of Islam through violent means where practicable.
In fact, if I may just make one more quick digression. One of the fascinating things about the way the Quran is written – not how it’s published, but how it’s written – is that it was done chronologically. It’s actually ordered by the length of the verses, the sura. But it was written chronologically. And there’s an entire science around the sequence in which the pieces of the Quran were written.
Well, the first pieces were written when Muhammad was in Mecca. And at the time, he was a poor, itinerant individual with no following, let alone any power. And all of the verses that Allah dictated to him during the Meccan period are about tolerance and peace and loving the people of the book and all the stuff that when you hear somebody talking about the Quran and they keep pointing to those religion of peace passages, it’s all in the Meccan period.
But then the back end of the book, chronologically, was dictated by Allah to Muhammad in Medina. And in Medina, Muhammad was somebody. He became a leader. He became a political force. He became a military accomplished warrior. And at that point, what Allah was talking to him about was about killing, including people of the book and infidels more generally. And about jihad.
Now, there was a problem, as you can appreciate, with squaring these two rather different set of directions from the same God. And thus was born Shariah. Shariah was an effort after Muhammad passed from the scene to try to square the circle. And those – if anybody’s still here from the Congress – those of you who work here know that one of the things that is a practice here in the Congress and that became a central pillar of Shariah is something called abrogation.
Abrogation simply means that what came after supplants what came before. So if you want to know what God actually wants Muslims to do according to Shariah, it is to do what he
told them to do last. And he actually says in the Quran, I’ve given you what need to know at the time and what I’ve replaced it with is better. That’s my paraphrase, but that’s basically it.
So what are the last two sura of the Quran? One deals with interfaith relations and the other deals with jihad. And those last two final passages from Allah are as virulent, are as intolerant, are as bloodthirsty as I think anything just about ever written. And that is the problem because that is the program.
So forgive me for that long exegesis, but I just wanted to share with you that to the extent that this is what we’re up against, we have got to be clear about it. We have got to equip our people with the knowledge that that’s what we’re up against and we’ve got to counter it as though our lives depend on it because indeed they do. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MS. SCHOLTE: Thank you, Frank. That was great. Our next forum will be April 18th and thank you all for attending this session. And we did make a transcript too and I know we’re going to have several – a couple of video recordings too, so thank you very much for being here.