13 Republicans Challenge Pentagon on Their “Moderate” Islam Program

While others might not want to say it, I will. The Pentagon’s whitewashing of the Islamic factor in the Fort Hood shooting, was just pathetic, and their policy that some form “moderate” Islam is coming to the rescue is a failure. It is the same policy that the UK is pursuing, and it does not work there either. Thankfully over a dozen Republicans are challenging the Pentagon, and their relationship with their so called “moderate” Muslim advisors. This article shows us just how little research the Pentagon has actually done on their own on Islam. They just want to be blindly spoon fed, what “moderate” Muslims are feeding them. It is time for them to grab the bull by the horns, do their own research, and recognize what enemy is. That enemy is Islam itself.

U.S. torn over whether some Islamists offer insight or pose threat

Sunday, February 7, 2010
By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News
After the worst military base massacre in U.S. history, officials acknowledged that they failed to “connect the dots” – the shooter had been corresponding with an imam tied to al-Qaeda and had condemned the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a war against Islam.

But Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan wasn’t the only one working on a Texas Army base the day of the shooting who had links to radical Islamists.

At Fort Bliss, an experienced military trainer was teaching soldiers about his Muslim faith. He, too, had denounced government counterterrorism efforts, and public records show he and some of his closest associates had ties to terrorism suspects.

But when The Dallas Morning News first inquired about the instructor, Louay Safi, military officials praised him. Only later did they say that Safi had been suspended from working on military bases pending a continuing criminal inquiry.

The Safi affair reveals the deep divisions within the U.S. government over how to combat terrorism and over what constitutes moderate Islam.

Some believe insight into Islamist thinking can be gained only by engaging a wide range of people in North America’s close-knit Muslim community, where leaders may well have ties to extremists – ties that do not necessarily signal alliances or support. Others argue that engagement should be limited or shunned to avoid legitimizing radicals or embarrassing the government.

Safi is a senior official of the Islamic Society of North America, the country’s largest Muslim organization. ISNA has been consulted for years by Washington and is described as a partner in the fight against terrorism. In addition to serving as ISNA’s communications director, Safi runs its program certifying Muslim chaplains for work in the U.S. military and prison system. He publicly denounces terrorism and advocates peace.

Safi was also named by government prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in one terrorism case in 2005. His last two employers were implicated in other government terrorism investigations while he worked for them. He was never charged, nor included among the targets of those investigations.

But Safi has called the widespread raids on Muslim organizations after 9/11 “a campaign against Islam” – a term that 9/11 Commission director Philip Zelikow says is part of “the jihadi narrative.”

Safi has also complained that Muslims are treated differently from Christians and Jews when they do wrong. They are unfairly identified by and questioned about their religion, he says, treatment that can lead to isolation and aggression.

“The extremist ideology responsible for violent outbursts is often rooted in the systematic demonization of marginalized groups,” Safi said in an Internet posting after the Fort Hood shooting.

Some view Safi’s rhetoric as incendiary.

Zuhdi Jasser is a Navy veteran who founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and has spoken publicly about the dangers of politicizing Islam. He said Safi’s “separatist mindset of the world against Muslims” is the “mindset that created Hasan.”

Safi would not answer most questions from The News. But in a brief interview, he said the legal assaults on him and his associates even as Washington sought their advice represented the government’s divided approach to Islam.

“There are those who are prejudiced and would like to deny Muslims their rightful place in this country,” Safi said, “and there are people who are more open-minded. It’s as simple as that.”

Safi’s case, however, is anything but simple. It illustrates not only the divisions in dealing with Islam but also the difficulty in knowing which dots to connect.

“You have a schizophrenic government and a schizophrenic institution,” Zelikow said, referring to ISNA. “The schizophrenia cuts right into how the government views the whole Fort Hood affair. We don’t know whether to treat him [Hasan] as part of an international conspiracy or as a lone wolf who happened to have gotten solace from a radical imam.”

Lectures suspended

Safi, a 54-year-old native of Syria, is a military subcontractor who has lectured on Islam for the Army since 2005. His relationship with the Pentagon began a year earlier, when he became ISNA’s leadership development director, providing Muslim chaplains the religious endorsement they need to work in the military and prison system.

He is one of seven lecturers in the Army’s Islamic education program, overseen by the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Much of the work is contracted out to Huntsville, Ala.-based Camber Corp., the privately held firm that hired Safi.

The training on Islam is part of a broader military educational program for which Camber is paid about $17.7 million annually, Navy Commander Brenda Malone said. Camber spokeswoman Rivka Tadjer declined to comment, citing instruction from the military.

One lecturer not affiliated with Camber who has worked alongside Safi is Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and a staunch ally of Israel.

Safi’s presentations stick to religious theory and do little to prepare deploying soldiers for how extremists exploit Islam, said Rubin, an Iran expert who also lectures at the naval school. “There’s an element of excusing rather than explaining,” Rubin told The News.

Military officials would not identify the five other trainers. They said federal privacy law forbids naming the subcontractors without their consent, which they did not give.

One trainer who has previously identified himself publicly is Yahya Hendi, a chaplain at the National Naval Medical Center near Washington. He serves with Safi on ISNA’s chaplaincy board and sits on the ISNA-affiliated Fiqh Council of North America, which issues Islamic legal decrees. He did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.

Investigators came across Safi at least 15 years ago during a government investigation into terrorism financing. Later, after he began working at ISNA, the group was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the prosecution of Richardson-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. It was the government’s largest terrorism financing case and ended in 2008 with convictions against senior Holy Land leaders.

Yet U.S. military leaders seemed unconcerned when first questioned about Safi.

“He has not been the subject of any indictment,” Fort Hood spokesman Tyler Broadway told The News in a Dec. 9 e-mail. “His presentations have always [met] the high standards expected.”

In January, military officials told the newspaper that Safi was under investigation and that his lectures had been suspended. The investigation, begun by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, was recently referred to the Army, said Ed Buice, an NCIS spokesman. He would not elaborate, but other military officials said the inquiry began after a Dec. 3 complaint about ISNA. The complaint came in as Safi concluded three days of lectures at Fort Hood, which is still traumatized by the Nov. 5 massacre.

Thirteen members of Congress, all conservative Republicans, wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Dec. 17 asking him to halt military base lectures by anyone affiliated with ISNA. Gates did not respond, said Rep. Sue Myrick of North Carolina.

Myrick, who founded the congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, co-signed a similar letter during the Bush administration, asking the Justice Department not to co-sponsor an ISNA event. There was no response then, either.

“We never get an explanation for the strategy,” she said. “They just ignore us.”

Even counterterrorism experts differ on what the government’s strategy should be and how much nuance is necessary for success.

Paul Pillar, a retired CIA expert on terrorism and the Middle East, said The News’ findings illustrate “how hard it is to come up with some person or organization that is Muslim in North America that does not have some kind of associations or links that when we looked into them we’d say, ‘Oops, that gives us pause.’ ”

Not everyone with such associations is “unsavory,” Pillar stressed. He said he was unfamiliar with Safi and ISNA.

Christopher Hamilton, a former FBI counterterrorism expert who oversaw intelligence-gathering on Palestinian and state-sponsored terrorism matters, advocates limited engagement.

“You can’t not have contact with them,” he said of ISNA, but “keep them at arm’s length.” Do not involve them in military and law-enforcement training, he added.

The Pentagon has acknowledged that not enough attention was paid to the warning signs evidenced by Hasan’s rhetoric and connections before the shooting. Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, is accused of murdering 13 people and is awaiting a military trial.

“It is clear that as a department we have not done enough to adapt to the evolving internal security threat,” the defense secretary said Jan. 15 in presenting an investigative report on the Fort Hood violence.

The report did not examine policies concerning contractors, but its authors said, “We strongly recommend that they be addressed in a future review.” They also warned that military standards for those who certify chaplains may be too lax and allow “improper influence by individuals with a propensity toward violence.”

Defense officials would not say whether the recommendation and warning related to Safi and ISNA. They were not named in the “Lessons from Fort Hood” report.

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23 comments for “13 Republicans Challenge Pentagon on Their “Moderate” Islam Program

  1. February 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Talk about STUCK ON STUPID! The ISNA is a Muslim Brotherhood front group and that orgainization IS A terrorist organization.

    Our Pentagon and politicians are just pathetic.

    Thank goodness that at least some are waking up. I am ashamed of the rest of the Republicans STUCK ON STUPID! And for the Democrats and Independents – they are just STUPID and mostly Islam's useful idiots.

    • February 9, 2010 at 6:58 am

      I have not seen a the list, if I do I will post it here.

      I cannot even post today as the WordPress software is having issues.

  2. Duane Harbeson
    February 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Our military leaders are as blind as the Obama administration…..

  3. Anil Sarkar
    February 9, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    There is no god but Allah and anybody who does not accept Allah must be converted and on refusal be killed. And that is Islam. So Islam has taken over much of our world and by Islam, no Muslim can rest until the whole world becomes the kingdom of Allah. There is no point in discussing about Islam any further. But the Jews, brainwashed with their "Promised Land" by their god, created Israel ILLEGALLY AND IMMORALLY by driving the Muslim Palestinians from their homes and brought in 9/11, terrorism and Fort Hood incident. To stop Islam and to save the world from Islam, have the guts to make Israel accept the suggestions I gave to PM Netanyahu. Those are the only ones which can bring peace and bring the Palestinians to our side. And then the Americans, ruled by the Jews should follow my advice to Contain Islam and save the world. But nobody DARES to even utter the name of Israel. There was no Muslim terrorism before Isreal was createde.
    Dr. Anil K. Sarkar. MD
    Feb 9, 2010

    • February 10, 2010 at 12:27 am

      Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220:
      Narrated Abu Huraira:

      Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them).

      http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagemen

    • February 10, 2010 at 12:27 am

      Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220:
      Narrated Abu Huraira:

      Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them).

      http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagemen

    • February 10, 2010 at 12:23 am

      I see, everything is the fault of the Jews. Mohammad himself was a terrorist, and the Barbary Coast Wars happened long before Israel was created. Also ask the Coptics, or the Hindus if there was no Muslim terrorism before Isreal was created. Your arguement is very weak.

      Islam calls for Muslims to fight and kill Jews to reach judgement day. Which means that there will not be peace, no matter what Israel does. The situation is not about land, it is about Islam.

      Book 041, Number 6985:

      Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.

    • Robert
      April 9, 2010 at 12:18 am

      We, Jews and Christians are willing to die for YHVH. And that is faith based on the promise of resurrection. The God of Israel has protected them against armies far larger and more powerful than Islam. He has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty. Peace will come through Jesus the Christ, a Jewish man, and no other way. Not by might and not by power but by My Spirit says the Lord. The Word of YHVH reigns supreme standing on truth without threats and violence. I fear from your writing that you have become a servant of evil, not good. Repent! Repent! The handwriting is on the wall. The fate of you and yours is everlasting damnation. This is a spiritual battle, being fought in the physical realm. Wake Up! You are an M.D. Aren't you aware that the world was not built on the things we can see, feel and hear. It was created by the unseen. May you come to your senses.

      • Tosha
        May 8, 2013 at 9:32 am

        Robert, are we to wait until God saves us. Does he not live within our spirits? Do we not have the duty to stand for what we believe? The message is greatly missed. If we as a people do nothing, we will fall under the Sharia Law. Simple. Get a backbone. Stand for freedom.

  4. February 27, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    This may appear to be a partisan comment, but all religions are not created equal. Islam is hostile towards Christians and Jews precisely because Islam’s modus operandi for expanding its follower base is the use of force. Global domination, not global evangelization is the goal of Islam. The word “Islam” means “submission”. What this means to a radical Muslim, is not submission to a God of love and peace, rather a submission by the followers of Islam to the doctrine of violence taught in certain segments of the Koran. This is precisely why the state of Israel is the object of Islam’s venom in the Middle East. Israel is well armed in a defensive sense and is a Jewish state ie a bulwark of non-Islamic religion in a primarily Islamic region. Likewise the US which is historically Christian due to the freedom of religion guaranteed by the US constitution, is well armed and well defended. What irks radical Muslims the most is that both the US and Israel act pre-emptively against military threats of Islamic origin, and this is characterized as aggression when it comes to recruiting young Muslims for jihad. However, in order to maintain military supremacy and global “peace”, the US and its allies have very few options. Creating an “alliance” with a religio-political regime which prefers to dominate by force rather than to allow freedom of religion and democratic rights within areas under its control, is not a viable option if the US and its allies wish to maintain and spread freedom and democracy in the world. Might I suggest that the best strategy for peace might be to use US military power to guarantee peace-loving religions of any flavor, be they Buddhist, Christian, moderate Islam, or whatever, the freedom to evangelize, but not to dominate, in all countries of the Middle East. This is likely to create tension in areas where radical Muslims currently operate, but if these radical elements are kept on the back foot, that might just allow the majority of the population who desire peace and religious freedom, to take control and assert their democratic rights. The only way this is likely to happen in Islamic countries, is if the so-called moderate Muslims step up to the plate and validate their moderate status by implementing democracy and religious freedom in Islamic countries. Not an easy ask, but I am sure that is possible if they emphasise those parts of the Koran, and these do exist, that promote peaceful coexistence with non-Islamic people in Islamic countries.

  5. Jazzanova
    March 1, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    quote "that enemy is islam itself." kudos, couldn't have said it better myself. i live in turkey and i'm the living proof for the citizens being tormented with "moderate islam to undermine the western style republic as a weapon against fundamentalism in the region" policy pursued by cia as part of the greater middle east project invented by the strategist graham fuller. yikes, we're the hell fed up down here, enough with that moderate bull already..

    • April 18, 2010 at 1:05 am

      Thanks Jazzanova,
      Things in Turkey are turning for the worse. That country is going to end up being a huge part of the problem.

      Good luck!

  6. April 18, 2010 at 12:31 am

    you talk about taking things into context yet you refuse to do the same when it comes to Islam, you always give the anti-Muslims the benefit of the doubt and Muslims are always guilty until proven without an inch of a doubt that they are innocent. If you still insist, okay fine, according to the bible then Moses was a mass murdering terrorists because there is no way one can take the killing of women and children just because they were gentiles, I mean why doesn't the biblical "god" do his own dirty work:

    Numbers 31:17-18 "Now kill all the boys [innocent kids]. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."

    • April 18, 2010 at 12:45 am

      Let me get right to the point here, save the out of context excuse.
      What I say about Islam, is supported by Al Azhar. When you know more about Islam than they do, get back to me.

      The Bible is made up of stories for those times, while Mohammad's actions are to be followed for all times.

  7. April 18, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Almost all the violence being committed now by muslim extremists are done for political not religious reasons especially because it is committed against fellow muslims, something Islam unequivocally condemns it ([4.93] And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah will send His wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement.)

    Moreover, if you believe that Islam inspires violence in muslims, even though the overwhelming majority of muslims in a Gallup data poll from 35 Muslim countries from North Africa to Southeast Asia CONDEMNED TERRORISM and even cited a verse from their Holy book the Koran to condemn terrorism:
    [5.32] For this reason did We prescribe to the children of Israel that whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men…

    If Jihad and killing non-muslims were also required of them as you and other muslim bashers believe, why don't they kill us collectively? In fact, why are they even joining non-muslims to fight against muslim extremists and dying for it?

    • April 18, 2010 at 2:52 am

      There are no arselifting extremists. Merely good arselifters. Bad arselifters (commonly referred to as moderates) do not follow the tenets of their satanic death cult to the letter.

      Good arselifters can kill bad arselifters because they are not viewed as arselifters since they don't adhere to the tenets.

  8. April 18, 2010 at 1:02 am

    That really does not matter, as Islam is a religion, and political ideology combined.

    The Islamic scriptures are a bunch of double-talk, that also says that Muslim can kill hyporcrites. Those not invovled in jihad, or that are too Western can easily be considered hypocrites. Also if Muslims want to kill each other, that is on them.

    066.009
    YUSUFALI: O Prophet! Strive hard against the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge (indeed).

  9. April 18, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Verse 5:32 does not condemn terrorism. It says that a Muslim can kill anyone for spreading" mischief", and, "mischief" can be anything that a Muslim says it is.

    Verse 8:12 condones terrorism.

    008.012
    YUSUFALI: Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them."

    As does 8:60

    008.060
    YUSUFALI: Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.

    Muslims do not have to kill all non-Muslims, they can let them live under Islamic rule, as 2nd class citizens.

    The USA and the coalition made a big mistake with this nation building idea. "Moderate" Muslims are not coming to the rescue.

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