Maintaining a high level of vigilance against a patient, stateless and often invisible enemy hiding behind a religion isn't easy, especially in politically correct Washington. One tireless watchdog is Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., who has founded the House Anti-Terrorism/Jihad Caucus to educate fellow lawmakers and Americans about militant Islam's long-term threat.
The diminutive yet feisty Myrick, a former Charlotte mayor and now deputy Republican whip, sat down with IBD to discuss the zeitgeist inside official Washington concerning the war on Islamic terror.
IBD: What persuaded you to start the Anti-Terrorism/Jihad Caucus, and what do you hope to accomplish?
Myrick: I decided to start the caucus out of a deep frustration, because President Bush does not talk to the American people about the long-term threat of radical Islamofascism infiltration in America. Since 9/11, I've tried to get the president and several members of his administration to talk to the American people about the dangerous enemy that we're facing. I took them all the materials I could find about what we did during World War II that were used to unite the American people. Everyone I spoke to said, "We do not want to frighten the American people."
I waited for someone else to start to educate the people, however, it did not seem to be happening. At that point, I sought to become educated on the matter. What I have learned is quite disturbing. I decided that if members of Congress were informed, they would have an opportunity to educate people in their districts. So I started the caucus and brought in three other co-chairs -- Bud Cramer (D-Ala.), Kay Granger (RTexas) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.).
We hope to start a dialogue with America. Until, and unless, we understand what we are fighting, we have no chance. We must inform the people, since it is evident they will have to protect their national sovereignty, because the government is not doing it.
IBD: How many members are in the caucus? Myrick: We have 118 members -- both Democrats and Republicans. The threat we face from radical Islamofascists is not a partisan issue. This is a matter that affects all Americans, regardless of political, social, economic or any other affiliations.
IBD: Should Americans be concerned about recently declassified documents detailing a secret plot by Islamist groups in this country, tied to the dangerous Muslim Brotherhood, to take over America from within, to Islamize our society?
Myrick: Americans must be concerned -- alarmed. That is what I am referring to when I say that the administration has not explained who we are fighting and (where we are fighting them). "We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" is not the whole story. It is amazing that we actually have the enemy's playbook, yet for some reason we don't want to seriously confront the threat we are facing.
The radical Islamofascists have told us how they intend to infiltrate all areas of our society and use the freedoms that are guaranteed under our Constitution to eventually Islamize our country, eliminate our Constitution and enact Shariah law. I know that it sounds a bit fanatical, but it's true.
In 1998, Osama bin Laden declared war on the U.S. What did we do? Nothing. Then he attacked again and again around the world before finally striking inside the U.S. Yet, rather than confront the threat head on and declare war on radical Islamofascists, we seek to placate the threat at home by saying radicals have hijacked Islam.
IBD: Are there any Muslim groups with which federal or other government officials -- as well as businesses and nonprofits -- should think twice about doing outreach or interfaith activities?
Myrick: I know of some Muslim nongovernmental organizations that are doing good things, such as the Islamic Supreme Council of America, the American Islamic Congress and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
However, groups such as Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and others have a proven record of senior officials being indicted and either imprisoned or deported from the U.S. Just to name a few: Ghassan Elashi, a founding board member of CAIR, is serving 80 months in prison; Randall "Ismail" Royer, the communications director for CAIR, is serving 20 years in prison; and Bassam Khafagi, the director of CAIR's community relations, has been arrested and deported.
There was a lot of evidence presented at the recent Holy Land Foundation trial, which exposed CAIR, ISNA and others as front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood.
IBD: What about Congress -- does it have a formal vetting process for screening radical Muslims? Those invited to pray or speak at the Capitol, or who may try to otherwise visit or use Capitol facilities?
Myrick: To my knowledge, there is not a formal vetting process. Members of Congress invite religious leaders to pray. Back in the 1990s, Siraj Wahhaj became the first Muslim chaplain to give the opening prayer to Congress. Siraj Wahhaj was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
There is a policy that members of Congress can reserve rooms for speakers, events, etc., within the Capitol complex, and there is not much oversight as to who can be present at such events. Remember, these are public buildings, paid for by American taxpayers. It is the people's house.
IBD: During WWII, Uncle Sam plastered public places with propaganda posters of the enemy, commissioning artists to paint frightening impressions. The campaign rallied the American people against a common enemy. Yet in this war, the U.S. government hasn't even issued a wanted poster of Osama bin Laden. Why do you think that is?
Myrick: For one, we are too politically correct today. "We don't want to frighten the American people."
IBD: We often hear that Islam is a "religion of peace" and "tolerance," and that jihadists have "hijacked" or "perverted" a "great religion." Is this accurate, that nothing in Islam promotes or condones violent jihad against infidels? Or does such rhetoric simply play into the Islamists' hands in their attempts to sugarcoat the threat, and confuse Americans?
Myrick: There are definitely passages in the Quran that promote or condone violent jihad. However, you can also find passages in the Bible which promote violence. I think that the president is failing the American people by sugarcoating the problem we are facing and only making things worse for the future.
We should explore every means of encouraging moderate Muslims to speak out against the radicals. There are many who want to, and do -- such as Sheikh (Muhammad Hisham) Kabbani (of the Islamic Supreme Council of America) and Zainab al-Suwaij (of the American Islamic Congress) and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser (of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy). But they do not get the media attention.
IBD: Many Islamists are well-spoken, and seem skilled at manipulating not only our media but our laws. If they can use our constitutional freedoms against us to block due scrutiny, what chance do we have of marginalizing them?
Myrick: Over the last 25 years, there has been a concerted effort on the part of radical Islamists to infiltrate our major institutions in America. They have done that by funding professors' projects in our colleges and universities. Then, they influence what is taught by making the program dependent on their yearly donations. Several classes have graduated and are now in the media, the judicial system, teaching in our schools and colleges, various branches of our government, even in our military. They are masterful at manipulating minds to fit their purposes.
IBD: How can they be exposed?
Myrick: We need to shed the veil of political correctness that shields government officials from speaking out against them. Until we do that, we do not have a chance of marginalizing them. As soon as someone broaches the idea that the Quran has violent passages, they get shot down as Islamophobes and racists.
Rather than debate these points, groups like CAIR seek to silence the debate. The American people deserve to see and hear the debate, but most people in positions of influence are afraid to say anything.
IBD: Jihad watchers have warned about "Shariah creep" in schools and local governments. We see Shariah being practiced in some parts of Europe; could it happen here?
Myrick: I believe Shariah could easily be practiced here. If a local community becomes infiltrated by extremists who run the town or village operations, then it could easily be implemented in this country. Unchallenged, it will happen.
IBD: The FBI director says the bureau can find no evidence of sleeper cells inside the U.S. How confident are you that the 9/11 cells were the last?
Myrick: From the information that I have heard reported publicly, there are sleeper cells inside the U.S. . . . Hezbollah sleeper cells, al-Qaida sleeper cells, maybe others.
IBD: How worried are you about "virtual jihad" -- the use of al Qaida-inspired Web sites to motivate homegrown terrorists?
Myrick: I'm very worried about it, but again, we have certain freedoms in this country. We have a lot of freedom to express ourselves, more than in any other country in the world. People go pretty far in the statements they use to criticize the U.S. That's legal, as well it should be.
But the risk of motivating Americans to engage in jihad through the Web is a very serious problem that our Congress and administration should address immediately. We face an ironic dilemma in that our freedom could very well cost us our freedoms.IBD: Christian prison chaplains warn that Muslim chaplains are converting inmates to Islam by the cellblock. Are the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Prisons doing enough to monitor this situation?
Myrick: They are aware of it and are supposedly monitoring it. Also, I have read that Abdurahman Alamoudi, founder of the American Muslim Council, placed Muslim chaplains throughout our military. He is now in jail on charges of terrorism. The chaplains, to my knowledge, are still in their current positions. Go figure.
By Paul Sperry
Investors Business Daily