San Bernardino and Radical Islam in America

Much interesting information: 
The republican presidential debate, coming just days after the terrorist act in San Bernardino as it did, was supposed to focus on national security and it did so if ISIS was indeed the real security threat to this country and the inability or unwillingness of the Obama Administration to deal with it the real issue. That the latter is true is increasingly obvious, but that does not at all prove that the former is also true.

To demonstrate the palpable sense of the strategic irrelevance to the candidates' focus on an outside terrorist group to the exclusion of the radical Islamist threat at home, let's conduct a thought experiment. 

Imagine for a moment that a top notch investigative reporter from Mars was given 24 hours to come up with what motivated the San Bernardino terrorists to do what they did on Dec. 2. Imagine further that he/she had never heard of ISIS, but was intimately familiar with radical Islam in America, which, of course, does not exist according to the president of the United States, former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, the director of the CIA and assorted democratic worthies.

Here is what the putative Martian would have had to work with upon disembarking on Planet Earth, hours after the shooting stopped. The male perpetrator of the terrorist act, Syed Rizwan Farook, had worshipped for years at a mosque in San Bernardino called Darul Uloom (also spelled Dar Al-Uloom) and at another mosque with the same name in Riverside. He/she would have also found out that an Islamic organization called Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) had scheduled a press conference just hours after the carnage. Seemingly not much to go on, but more than enough for the experienced investigator to put two and two together.

To start with Darul Uloom, this is the name of a set of mosques and Islamic Centers to be found throughout the country named after Darul Uloom Deoband, a Muslim school in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh state, India. Since 1857, this prominent Muslim institution has preached a violent Islamic doctrine known as Deobandism, widely considered a close cousin to the Saudi Wahhabism. The influence of Deobandism grew rapidly after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the establishment of thousands of extremist Deobandi madrasas with Saudi money, first in the Northwest Provinces, and then throughout Pakistan . What they taught the mostly illiterate children of poor families and Afghan refugees from 7 to 15 years of age, was hatred and learning the Quran by heart (hafiz) in Arabic, a language few of them understood.

That's how Deobandism gradually became and remains the motivating ideology of the Taliban to this day. In the meantime, coddled and protected politically by the two powerful Pakistani Deobandi political parties (Jamiat i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema i- Islami), dozens of terrorist organizations apart from the Taliban itself and Al Qaeda, such as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar -e-Taiba, Lashkar -e-Janghvi, Sipah-e- Sahaba, Jaish-e-Mohammed etc, to name just the larger ones, sprung up and began wreaking jihadist mayhem. Between 2001 and 2011 at least 35,000 Pakistanis fell victim to terrorism. Moreover, the Pakistani government now admits that most of the terror groups were "deliberately created and nurtured by past governments." Their victims included Christians, but most were other Muslims, such as the syncretic Barelvis, Sufis, Ahmadies, Ismailies and especially the Shiites, whom the Deobandies view as infidels.

Terrorism aside, the Deobandies began infiltrating the West by exporting their poisonous creed through the largest door-to-door proselytizing organization in the world with millions of adherents called Tablighi Jamaat. They also started setting up religio-political organizations on the model of the Deoband seminary like the Darul Uloom Muslim centers and mosques mentioned above.

In the United States, their first organization called Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) was set-up as early as 1968 as an offshoot of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and chartered in 1971. It was founded originally to serve Muslims from the subcontinent with Urdu as its official language and it adhered closely to the teachings of Abul Ala Maududi, a patron saint of radical Islamism and founder of Jamiat- i- Islami, the extremist Pakistani organizations, whose Bangladeshi branch organized genocidal pogroms against Bengali Muslims in the 1971 war with Pakistan.

It pretends to be a grassroots Muslim organization, but a look at its literature and bylaws reveals an organization dedicated to the establishment of the worldwide Muslim state (caliphate) and imposing sharia law by means of jihad. News sources have revealed that the male perpetrator's mother, Rafia Farook, was an active member of ICNA. ICNA also holds its yearly conferences in conjunction with the Muslim American Society (MAS), a Muslim Brotherhood organization, which was recently declared terrorist by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Which brings us to CAIR, which is the next stop on our Martian's investigation route and the second American Islamic organization to be declared terrorist by the UAE. So who is CAIR and why did they call a press conference with a relative of terrorist Syed Farook in attendance just hours after the shooting stopped?

If you believe CAIR's own propaganda, it is "America's largest Muslim civil liberties organization," a claim that many in the media and government uncritically accept at face value. In reality, CAIR is a direct descendent of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), an organization founded specifically for the purpose of funding and advancing the cause of the designated Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization, Hamas, in the United States. Not surprisingly, one of IAP's key founders, funders and board members was another designated terrorist and current Hamas bigwig, Mousa Abu Marzook, until he was deported from the U.S. Renaming IAP to CAIR in late 1994, while retaining the same leadership, was a simple matter of expedience, since a federal court had found IAP liable for $156 million in damages in connection with the terrorist murder of an American teenager in Israel.

That CAIR continued to support not only Hamas, but also the extensive radical Islamist networks in America in which it became a major player is beyond doubt. Much of this support is documented in extensive USG-provided documentation at the Holy Land terrorist financing trial, where CAIR was designated an unindicted co-conspirator and the FBI banned any cooperation with it. There is, further, extensive information of CAIR officials convicted and jailed for terrorism-related crimes.

So why the press conference? For CAIR, which had gotten away with bamboozling media and government countless times, this was simply another necessary, and in this case perhaps imperative, exercise in damage control. Imperative, because it is almost certain that CAIR's pointman, Hussam Ayloush, and his ilk knew who the perpetrators were, knew the family and just how radical they were. Otherwise, how were they able to get a close relative to attend the press conference, while refusing to say anything just hours after the incident. It has now also become known that the terrorists were quite popular in the Muslim community. A celebration of their Saudi marriage in the Riverside mosque in August 2014 was attended by 300 friends.

Predictably, this is not what we heard from CAIR. Instead, we were told that "as far as the family knew, there were no strong political or religious views either way," but Farook had been ‘teased' by colleagues for his beard, so ‘workplace rage' or ‘mental instability' were certainly possible and, besides, as Ayloush further asserted, American policy is at least partly to blame for fueling extremism. We further learned that Farook's mother lived upstairs and therefore couldn't possibly know that the apartment had been turned into an armory and a workshop for pipebombs. And, if that's not enough, Farook's terrorist wife Tafsheen had been "a typical housewife" of the "sweet innocent kind" who was "assimilating fine."

Whether CAIR's damage control did much good is to be doubted, but it did provide another valuable clue as to the radical Islamic background of CAIR to our Martian investigator. It came in the person of Muzammil Siddiqi, a key participant in the press conference.

For those that have studied the radical Islamist networks in America, Mr. Siddiqi is an old acquaintance. Educated at a Darul Uloom institution in India and the Wahhabi University of Medina in Saudi Arabia, Siddiqi has been a king pin in radical Islam in America for 40 years. He has held executive positions at the Saudi-controlled Muslim World League (MWL) some of whose subsidiaries were designated terrorist entities, the first Muslim Brotherhood organization in the United States, the Muslim Student Association (MSA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), which holds property title to most Wahhabi/Muslim Brotherhood mosques in the U.S. and has been president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the umbrella organization of virtually all radical Islamist groups in America, which not surprisingly was designated unindicted co-conspirator, along with CAIR, by the United States government in the Holy Land terrorist finance trial.

Throughout his decades-long tenure, Siddiqi has pretended to be in favor of "interfaith dialog", but his actions and speeches to Muslim audiences have invariably revealed a dyed-in-the-wool Islamist. He has thus advocated imposing "sharia in all areas" by means of jihad, praised suicide bombers, refused to acknowledge that 9/11 terrorists were Muslims and accused the United States of being a "partner in crime" of Israel.

In the CAIR press conference, he was introduced as the president of the Shura Council of Southern California, which, according to him, represented most mosques between Santa Barbara and San Diego. He did not have much to say about the terrorist act in San Bernardino itself, except to warn sternly the journalists present "not to implicate Islam."

What does then our Martian investigation teach us about the threat of radical Islam to the United States. First and foremost, that it has existed long before ISIS and such like terror groups appeared and will likely continue to exist long after they disappear. It is a fact that most of the Islamic establishment in this country, as exemplified by CAIR, ISNA, Darul Uloom and people like Muzammil Siddiqi, is in the hands of enemies of the United States and everything it stands for. If there is some hope it is to be found in the extremely low mosque attendance of the average American Muslim, estimated by some studies to be less than 10%. At the same time, radical Islam in America would not have reached its current explosive potential without active foreign assistance and finance from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. To expect that we can solve this problem without cutting this umbilical cord is wishful thinking. Last February, Riyadh held an international conference on how to defeat terrorism. The solution according to MWL, which was the organizer, was and is ‘sharia.'

Finally, for people like the republican presidential candidates to focus on ISIS, rather than the real Islamist enemy within, has the effect of excusing the Obama administration's misguided policies up to and including its dereliction of duty to protect the American people from enemies foreign and domestic.

Alex Alexiev is IASC's Senior Fellow for Eurasia Affairs. He has more than 35 years of analytical experience in U.S. national security as a senior analyst and project director with the Rand Corp's National Security Division, and several think tanks in Washington D.C. He has directed numerous research projects for the Department of Defense, Office of Net Assessment, U.S. Army Intelligence, USAF intelligence, DIA, CIA, and other U.S. Government agencies, and has testified before Congress numerous times. He is the author of several books and myriad monographs and articles on national security issues.

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