Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Countering Violent Extremism was one of the great counterterrorism frauds of the Obama era. Not only was CVE useless, but it was an excuse for building ties with assorted Muslim Brotherhood groups.
A week before President Trump’s inauguration, Jeh Johnson, Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Secretary, gave his allies one last gift with millions in CVE grants. The list of grantees included the Muslim American Leadership Alliance, Unity Productions Foundation and Ka Joog. Once Kelly took over at DHS, some were either removed or, like Ka Joog, claimed that they had opted out to protest the Muslim travel ban.
But when the final grantees were announced, two troubling organizations remained on the list: Peace Catalyst International and Masjid Muhammad.
Though it bills itself as the ‘Nation’s Mosque’, Masjid Muhammad was set up by the racist hate group known as the Nation of Islam which believed that white people were racially inferior. Lucius Bey Muhammad, who set it up, had said, “The black man is indeed the greatest. His genes are stronger! No white man can produce a baby darker than himself.”
Elijah Muhammad, whom the mosque’s site still praises, had allied with the American Nazi Party. He had preached that, “these enemies of Allah are known at the present as the white race”
While the branch of the movement represented by Masjid Muhammad has parted ways with Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, they still maintain a relationship. At the mosque’s 53rd anniversary, Farrakhan’s personal representative phoned in with remarks.
Should Countering Violent Extremism funding be going to a mosque set up by violent extremists and which still seems unable to end all connections with one of the nation’s worst racist hate groups?
But the case of Peace Catalyst International is in some ways more troubling than Masjid Muhammad.
Peace Catalyst International claims to “create safe spaces and foster authentic relationships between Christians and Muslims”. While PCI strongly emphasizes its Christian identity, its agenda largely seems to involve propagandizing for Islamists. Sometimes to an extremely disturbing degree.
PCI boss Rick Love wrote, “Some Pakistanis do hate us for these reasons: the war in Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses, decades-long support for oppressive regimes in the Muslim world, bias in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the killing of thousands of innocent Muslims described as ‘collateral damage’”.
PCI’s latest post is from Jennifer S. Bryson and it includes a call to Christians to engage in “sacrificial listening” to Muslims. Even if they’re ISIS supporters. Bryson heads the Zephyr Institute and its pet project, the Center for Islam and Religious Freedom. Also working at the Center for Islam is convicted Jihadist Ismail Royer. Bryson was formerly a member of the Board of Directors of PCI.
An earlier posting consists of PCI boss Rick Love interviewing Imam Taha Hassane who urges readers to understand “the roots of terrorism”. “When we drop drones on innocent people in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and kill innocent civilians, what do we expect these people to think about us?” Hassane says. Rick and the Imam then discuss how supporting Black Lives Matter is Sharia.
This isn’t opposing extremism. It’s making excuses for it while echoing its talking points. And that sums up much of what is already wrong with CVE.
Love had already signed a letter claiming that “support of the Black Lives Matter movement demonstrates the truth that the Word became flesh.”
Rick Love has been criticized before for his flirtation with Islamist groups. On his own site, Love insists that Jihad is inner struggle or defensive warfare, that Mohammed did not spread Islam through the sword and that, “Islamic law in practice, however, is mostly relegated to family status law.”
An article at Peace Catalyst International insists, “You do NOT need to be fearful about Sharia taking over America.”
“The US Constitution is upheld in courts. No Muslim organization has ever called for it to become subordinate to Sharia, and that’s not even something American Muslims want.”
This is the sort of distorted reality that could just as easily come from any Islamist organization.
“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran … should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth,” CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad had declared.
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” CAIR co-founder Ibrahm Hooper had admitted.
Peace Catalyst International ought to know as it collaborates with CAIR.
But there is another area that makes Peace Catalyst International’s CVE grant deeply troubling. On the same page where Love denies that Jihad is anything but personal or defensive, he also writes, “The issue of jihad for the sake of Palestine has gained lots of traction among many Muslims internationally.”
One of Peace Catalyst International’s “favorite peaceworkers” is Sami Awad whom the organization has worked with and promoted.
Awad is an anti-Israel BDS activist often praised for his non-violence. That non-violence is a pose. On his own blog, Sami Awad writes that a demonstration “is not a substitute for the armed struggle”.
He describes Islamic terrorism as, “The Palestinian armed resistance, labeled ‘terrorism’ by Israel.”
Awad also insists that, “The struggle to end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state does not gain or lose legitimacy if nonviolent means are preferred over violent means and vice versa.” Non-violence, like terrorism, is a tactic. It’s a means to achieve the same ends.
At one point, Awad even claimed that, “We’ve actually done training in non-violence for Hamas leaders.”
Rick Love’s own position isn’t subtle. In response to a question as to whether he prefers, Coexistence or Coresistance, he endorses “Coresistance”. That’s a euphemism for hostility to Israel over peacemaking. When an organization with “peace” in its time picks resistance over coexistence, it’s revealing.
It’s hard to see any of this as countering violent extremism. Instead it seems to be aiding it.
Peace Catalyst International doesn’t push back against Islamism. Instead it lies about it. It follows the usual leftist line that Islamic terrorism is the work of a tiny minority who ought to be disregarded. It denies the linkage between Islamic teachings and Islamic violence.
That is the standard CVE position. And there is no reason for it to be funded in the Trump era.
And DHS should really not be in the business of providing legitimacy to Peace Catalyst International’s anti-Israel activism, which includes supporting BDS activists.
But the problem with Countering Violent Extremism was always in the name. Not only is its name a deliberate effort to avoid using the “I word”, but the issue isn’t mere violence. And, as Sami Awad and Rick Love tragically show us, the solution isn’t to be found with tactical displays of non-violence.
The core issue isn’t violence. It’s Islamic supremacism. The violence is just a natural symptom.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist takeover in Egypt wasn’t accomplished through suicide bombings. The Brotherhood won an election. But once in power, it persecuted Christians. And before long, its followers had embarked on a series of attacks on churches.
Tactical non-violence combines virtue signaling with support for terrorists. It’s an abomination that should be disavowed by anyone who genuinely believes in non-violence as a principle, not a tactic.
The Islamic conquests were accompanied by clever tactics of divide and conquer. Muslim warlords pitted Christians against each other, promising one Christian denomination protection against another. The Islamists working to conquer the West are once again cleverly making inroads among their Christian and Jewish enemies. And any move to counter Islamism should oppose such groups, not fund them.
Published in FrontPage mag
Members of Students for Justice in Palestine speak at the “Palestine Without Borders” session at the 2018 United We Dream National Congress. Photo: Youth Empowerment Alliance.
A pro-Israel group on Thursday denounced an “antisemitic” session recently hosted by an immigrant youth organization, which compared Israel with Nazi Germany and equated the movement for Jewish self-determination with white supremacy and genocide.
69% of progressives are ashamed to be Americans, but 63% are proud of their political ideology instead. The majority don’t attend religious services, but 73% list politics as their preoccupation.
Numbers from one poll showed that, “religiously unaffiliated Democrats were more than twice as likely to have attended a rally within the past 12 months compared with their religious peers” and were “significantly more likely to have contacted an elected official or to have donated to a candidate or cause” or “bought or boycotted a product for political reasons or posted political opinions online”.
Campus Week: A guide for Jewish students and their elders
Anti-Zionism ghettoizes Jews from the rest of the justice movement, putting a wall around us that separates us from other marginalized people. It cannot be reconciled with any movement striving for inclusivity. It denies us access to solidarity-based movements which should be fighting for equality, for historically oppressed peoples. As American Jewish students return to campus, they should prepare to be challenged academically and intellectually, and should also prepare to challenge movements that don’t respect Zionism and their Jewish heritage.
The Jerusalem Post reviewed a video showing two speakers who called for the “liberation of all of Palestine 48” and “we must take a stand and boycott Israel. BDS.” The slogan to “liberate all of Palestine” reverts to the founding of the Jewish state in 1948 and is widely considered a euphemism to cleanse Israel of Jews.
The German Middle East expert Thomas von der Osten-Sacken wrote an article on the website of the Austrian-based think tank Mena-Watch, with the headline “Speaker at indivisible demonstration calls for Israel’s destruction.” The protest was called #unteilbar (indivisible) by its organizers.
From 1998 to 2008, 5.4 million Congolese died as a result of civil war. Most of the Congolese asylum seekers in Israel came during this period.
It is now the turn of hundreds of asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to be deported back to their country. The Foreign Ministry has implied that the conditions that justified collective protection to Congolese asylum seekers no longer prevail and that there is nothing to prevent them from returning home safely. The Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) has given them 90 days to leave the country.
With its decades-old track record of murder and mayhem, Hamas has already secured itself a place in the annals of infamy.
From bus bombings to underground terror tunnels to the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets and projectiles at Israeli towns and cities, the Islamic extremist group has repeatedly found new ways to sow widespread death and destruction.
Since Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the standard of living for the Palestinian people in Gaza has steadily declined, even though Israel gifted the Palestinians with thriving agricultural lands, productive greenhouses and beautiful beachfront communities.
Every once in a while, I come across a book that I can say changed the way I understand the world I live in. Raymond Ibrahim’s new book, Sword and Scimitar, altered the way I understand the development of our civilization – I mean the one that America inherited from Europe and made our own. It drove home to me how little I knew about the way Islam – in the form of attempted and often successful conquest – really changed the way our civilization evolved and the way it grew to understand itself.
American Thinker: “How War with Islam Shaped and Defined Us”
“In the Hadith, the Day of Judgment will never happen until you fight the Jews,” Hatem Bazian reportedly declared, “until the trees and stones will say, oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!”
That was in 1999.
Two years later, Bazian had co-founded Students for Justice in Palestine. Three years later, 79 members of his new SJP hate group were busted for disrupting a Holocaust Remembrance Day event.
Iran is a formidable enemy. A large country of more than 80 million people, endowed with energy riches, it has always been a regional power. Having an imperial past and revolutionary zeal (since the 1979 Iranian Revolution), Iran nourishes ambitions to rule over the Middle East and beyond. Furthermore, theologically there is no place in Iranian thinking for a Jewish state.