Robert Spencer: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us
Anti-jihad warrior warns of the dangers we face when truth becomes forbidden knowledge.
Editor’s note: Below are the video and transcript to Robert Spencer’s address at the Freedom Center’s 2014 Texas Weekend. The event took place May 2nd-4th at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.
ROBERT SPENCER: Thank you very much. Thanks for coming.
This book, The Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In, is necessary because the truth about the war we’re in is so completely obscured these days, such that we’re in a very strange situation.
We are, in this room right now, the children and heirs of the greatest civilization the world has ever known. The Judeo-Christian West has given the world its notions of human rights, freedom of speech, the dignity of all human beings and so on, the concepts of the importance of human rights that are held universally around the world by all cultures, except one.
And so that culture that rejects those understandings of human rights is aggressive, violent, intolerant and more confidently advancing than it has in centuries at this point. And yet we know our ideas are better, what we say is the truth, and that we stand for better principles.
So why is it that the West is, at this point, so confused and, indeed, retreating before the advance of Islamic Jihad, and not only Islamic Jihad, but Islamic supremacism, the spread of concepts of Islamic law into the West and the undermining of the foundations of the civilization that has made the West great? Why is this happening?
In the first place, the answer comes, of course, from the great philosopher, Walt Kelly, the cartoonist who wrote the cartoon, Pogo, which some of you may be old enough to remember, where we said, We have met the enemy and he is us.
Islamic Jihadis would not have been able to bomb the Boston Marathon or to shoot 13 Americans dead at Fort Hood or to shoot two U.S. military men outside a recruitment center in Little Rock, Arkansas, or mount so many of the foiled Jihad plots that we have seen over the last few years were it not for us, were it not for the loss of our societal self-confidence and cultural self-confidence and the blanketing denial and willful ignorance that manifest our response to the Jihad threat in general, even among the people who seem to be taking a strong stance.
Couple of examples. You may have heard a few days ago that Subway, the restaurant chain, in the United Kingdom, in Great Britain, 200 Subway restaurants are no longer going to serve anything with pork in it – no ham, no bacon on your sub – and they will only serve halal meat.
Now, they said that they were doing this in response to overwhelming demand from their – and I quote – multicultural customers, but if you think about that a minute, what if you want ham on your sub. Well, you can’t go to Subway anymore, at least those 200 Subways in Great Britain. In other words, it was not a concession to multicultural customers. It was not multiculturalism that was served by the decision. It was monoculturalism. It was a single culture. If you are a Muslim or if you are willing to obey and adhere to Islamic food laws, then you can go to Subway in Britain. Otherwise, you’re out of luck. You gotta go somewhere else.
Now, this might seem to be a trivial example, but the fact is that there are still not all that many Muslims in Britain to warrant 200 restaurants of a chain being dedicated solely to their preferences, but they have so much power and influence in Britain now that what Subway did is no doubt just the first of many such decisions by other restaurant chains and represents, in truth, the wave of the future, as is evidenced by a much more ominous example that also happened just a few days ago.
There is a politician in Britain named Paul Weston, who I have had the pleasure of meeting, and he is a fine man who stands for the principles of Western civilization. And he heads up a new political party in Britain called Liberty GB.
And he was speaking, he was giving a speech last week, and in the speech he quoted Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill has said, as you may know, some very critical things about Islam, and he said that Islam is in a human being what hydrophobia is in a dog. And he decried the oppression of women under Islamic law. And he said other things that Muslims have found offensive, although what he said in terms of the oppression of women and the other factual statements that he made were entirely correct.
Paul Weston was quoting Churchill, whereupon a woman in the crowd exclaimed, “This is disgusting,” called the police. The police came quickly, arrested Weston, and he is facing trial and could be jailed for two years for the crime of quoting Winston Churchill.
Now, this shows exactly how much Great Britain and how much the West has changed since the time of Churchill. And what it manifests is a sense that the British authorities have that to speak the truth about Islam, to challenge Islamic Jihad, to say frankly that there’s something wrong with Islamic law in its institutionalized oppression of women, in its institutionalized oppression of non-Muslims and its denial of freedom of speech, that is, according to the British authorities, racial and religious harassment and thus to be prosecuted.
Now, the question will become, as Paul Weston faces trial, is truth a defense? And that’s an open question. If Paul Weston can show that what he was saying or what he was quoting from Churchill is factually accurate, he ought to be let off, right? One would think, but things aren’t so easy anymore.
The Grand Mufti and Sheikh ul-Islam of the Caucasus, Allahshukur Pashazadeh, he complained recently that in the West there are some people who even try to identify Islam with terrorism, and he was indignant about this.
Now, of course, it doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to know that the people who are identifying Islam with terrorism are not people like me or Paul Weston. They are Islamic Jihadis, who ascribe their actions to Jihad and Islam on a routine basis.
This is not only happening just in England either. In the United States, after many, many delays, the 9⁄11 Memorial and Museum is about to open in New York, and some people were invited last week to go in and see the exhibits as they had been prepared. In the course of this, they watched a video that is available – going to be available at the museum in which the highjackers’ attachments to al-Qaeda are explained, and what al-Qaeda is is explained.
There were some local Muslim leaders who saw that video and were enraged, and they said, “You cannot have this video here.” It’s Islamophobic. This video gives the impression that there’s some connection between Islam and terrorism. This video gives the impression that the highjackers were Islamic Jihadis. (Laughter.)
And the museum immediately took the words “Islamic terrorists” off its website. Right now, they’re holding firm about the video, but considering that the museum board is made up entirely of New York liberals, I don’t think they’re going to hold out very long.
But the fact is that what we have is essentially a war on the truth, a war on free speech. If you read the – There is a letter, actually, that the 9⁄11 plotters, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other plotters, who are still being held and their trial is held up in miles of red tape, they wrote in 2009, when their trial was just supposed to be beginning, a response, called, The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations. The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations. That is the nine charges that they face for masterminding the 9⁄11 attack.
And in that they wrote – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the others wrote, Many thanks to God for His kind gesture in choosing us to perform the act of Jihad – that is, the 9⁄11 attacks – for His cause and to defend Islam and Muslims. Therefore, killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks are all considered to be a great, legitimate duty in our religion. These actions are our offerings to God.
And yet these Muslim leaders say that if you have a video about how they were in al-Qaeda it will link Islam with terrorism. Obviously, they linked Islam with terrorism. Obviously, they were the ones who said this.
But the Grand Mufti of the Caucasus is not the only Islamic leader or non-Muslim leader, for that matter, who pretends that it is spokesmen like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and me in the United States and others who I work with in the United States who are actually pretending that this connection between Islam and terrorism is actual, when, really, it’s only incidental, that it’s as if these people just happened to be Muslims and for entirely other reasons they took down the towers, which is belied by their own words.
Now, all this would just be more idiocy and silliness were it not for the fact that the United States Government adopted this as its official policy, and that happened on October 19, 2011.
On October 19, 2011, 57 Muslim and allied organizations wrote a letter to John Brennan, who was then the Homeland Security advisor, and, now, of course, is the head of the CIA, and in it they demanded that counter-terror trainers, including me – and they named me specifically, and a few others – because I had been training FBI members in – FBI and military in the nature and magnitude of this threat, teaching them about Islam and Jihad. Obviously, you can’t defeat an enemy that you don’t understand.
Anyway, they wrote to Brennan and they said, You gotta get rid of Spencer and these other people, and you have to cleanse all counter-terror training materials of any mention of Islam and Jihad in connection with terrorism. And they pointed to things like a PowerPoint presentation that said that people might be on the path to become home-grown Islamic extremists if they are wearing traditional Muslim attire, growing facial hair, frequently attending mosque, traveling to a Muslim country and have increased activity in a pro-Muslim social group or political cause.
Now, those things are manifestly true. It is true that virtually all Jihad terrorists in the United States and elsewhere, before they start plotting their terrorist activity, start to wear traditional Muslim attire, grow facial hair, frequently attend mosque, travel to a Muslim country and increase activity in a pro-Muslim social group. This is true of many secular and ostensibly moderate Muslims, notably Mike Hawash out in Portland.
In 2000-2001, he was known – He was very popular in his community. He was a big community activist. I mean, I’m talking about in the general community in Portland. A secular, moderate Muslim, he was an executive at Intel, the corporation, had a $360,000 a year salary, wrote some technical books that are still available at Amazon, at least last time I looked, and a pillar of the community.
Then, he started to wear traditional Muslim attire, grew his facial hair, started to attend mosque frequently, and, ultimately, he was found to be recruiting people to go join up with the Taliban and al-Qaeda and fight against American troops in Afghanistan.
So, in other words, the presentation was entirely true and reasonable, but it was adduced, without any evidence, as a sign that the government was teaching Islamophobia to FBI and military personnel, and that that had to stop because it was breeding hate and victimizing innocent Muslims and so on.
John Brennan immediately complied. He wrote a letter back to Farhana Khera, who was the author of the letter in question on behalf of the 57 organizations. Farhana Khera is the head of a Muslim lawyers association called Muslim Advocates.
And he wrote back to Khera, and the letter was on White House stationary, as if to emphasize, we take this seriously at the very highest levels. And he told her that they would take care of this immediately. Not only would all counter-terror training materials be scrubbed of any mention of Islam and Jihad, but any agent of the FBI or any other agency who had been trained by Spencer or by any of these other horrible Islamophobes or who had read this material that they objected to would be reeducated.
How pleased Chairman Mao would have been.
Right around that time, and not coincidentally, the Russians told the FBI that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was later to become the Boston Marathon Jihad bomber, was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer – that was their words, a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer – who had tried to join underground groups in Dagestan. Dagestan is in the Caucasus in southern Russia. It is a hotbed of al-Qaeda activity. The only underground groups in Dagestan are Jihad terror groups. So they were essentially telling the FBI in 2011 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an Islamic Jihad terrorist.
The FBI made a perfunctory investigation and decided that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was no threat, but consider the political culture of the FBI at the time that they received this information from the Russians. In the FBI, at that time, it was forbidden, it was just becoming forbidden to speak honestly about Islam and Jihad in connection with terrorism. So either the agent who received this material – agent or agents who received this material from the Russians, they either were part of the new regime and thought, Well, he’s a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer. How nice, or, they had been trained previously and they knew that material about Islam and Jihad, especially material referring to Muslims affecting Muslim dress, going to mosque frequently, wearing the long beard and so on, that that was no sign of radicalization, and that it was wrong and Islamophobic to think otherwise.
Whether they bought all that or not, they knew that it was not possible in the current political culture prevailing in the FBI to do anything serious about that, and so they didn’t.
The only time that any investigation or anything close to an investigation was actually made touching on Tamerlan Tsarnaev was when the FBI visited the Islamic Society of Boston, which is a mosque that was founded by Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is now in prison for funding al-Qaeda, and he was a close friend, by the way, of Republican strategist Grover Norquist.
Abdurahman Alamoudi founded the Islamic Society of Boston. It was attended not only by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but by Tarek Mehanna, who is now doing 17 years in prison for aiding al-Qaeda, and by Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving 86 years in prison for trying to murder American soldiers in the name of Islam and Jihad.
The FBI went to that mosque, but they did not actually go to the mosque to investigate. They went to the mosque for outreach in order to reassure the Muslim community in Boston that their law-enforcement efforts were not Islamophobic and hateful and would not be targeting innocent Muslims. And, of course, innocent Muslims should not be targeted, but the question is should the FBI have concentrated solely on outreach in such an obvious hotbed of Jihad terror as the Islamic Society of Boston?
The Boston Globe loves the Islamic Society of Boston, and the local imam there is named Suhaib Webb, William Webb, until he converted to Islam. And Suhaib Webb has been the subject of several adoring pieces in the Boston Globe tauting his moderation.
You can also go on YouTube and see a video of Suhaib Webb where he says that secularism is a ridiculous ideology and the only way society should be ordered is by the law of Allah; that is, by Islamic law, which mandates discrimination against women, the discrimination against non-Muslims, the denial of the freedom of speech and so on, and is, in other words, inimical to constitutional values and freedoms in numerous ways. But he’s a moderate.
Now, if the FBI had dared or had known to take the – what they had gotten from the Russians seriously – And then they complained, of course, that the Russians didn’t tell them enough and that they went back to the Russians and the Russians wouldn’t give them more information. What more did they need? They had enough already. And since when has it become the responsibility of Russia to do our intelligence and law-enforcement work for us?
If they had acted upon it properly, the Boston Marathon bombing would never have happened.
Same thing with Fort Hood. Nidal Malik Hasan, Army Major, murdered 13 Americans at Fort Hood in November 2009, shouting, Allahu-akbar, after he passed out Korans that morning and told a neighbor he was going to do a great work for God. It was very clearly an Islamic Jihad attack.
Of course, probably most of you know that it was classified by the Obama administration as workplace violence. But there’s something else also. I have in the book his performance evaluations from his superiors, and he was given glowing recommendations all the way up the line. Every time he came up for a performance evaluation they said, This is a great officer, who could teach a lot to American soldiers about Islam. And he sure did, but not in the way they expected.
What happened was he got these performance evaluations at the same time when his superiors knew that he was in touch with Anwar Al-Awlaki, in contact – regular contact with Anwar Al-Awlaki, the Jihad terror leader, and when he had already terrified his coworkers on several occasions by his open talk of Jihad violence, such that many of them expressed the fear that he would himself one day turn violent.
Now, why, knowing all this, did they give him these positive recommendations? It’s very easy to see why. Imagine if they hadn’t. Imagine if they had said, This guy’s nuts. Imagine if they had said, This guy keeps going around talking about Jihad war against the infidels, and he means us. This guy is in touch with Anwar Al-Awlaki who masterminds Jihad terror attacks against Americans. What would have happened?
I’ll tell you what would have happened. You probably already know what would have happened. You would have turned on CNN that night and there would have been a big expose, Islamophobia in the Military. A decent American Muslim Army Major vilified simply for practicing his Islamic faith. New York Times exposes. Council on American-Islamic Relations would have had a field day.
And the careers of his superiors would have been ruined. They would have been ruined for daring to report a Muslim soldier. We want Muslim soldiers, remember? We have to have them to show that we are not at war with Islam and that this is not about religion at all. Remember that the Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, said, right after the Fort Hood massacre that it would be even worse than the massacre itself if our diversity in the military suffered.
And so 13 people are dead at Fort Hood because we refused to tell the truth and refused to face the reality of the war that we’re in. Both of those attacks, Boston and Fort Hood, could have been prevented.
And there is much more of this kind of thing. Just yesterday, a man in Seattle named Musab Mohamed Masmari – I think he’s a Muslim – he pled guilty to an arson attack at a Seattle nightclub on New Year’s Eve, and that was how it was reported. As a matter of fact, the report that I saw just before I came here a little while ago was – It didn’t even give his first name. It just said, Masmari Pleads Guilty. And in the whole story it called him Masmari, no Musab, no Mohamed, especially.
But what exactly was Musab Mohamed Masmari doing? The nightclub in question was actually a gay nightclub, and he was there on New Year’s Eve. He took a can of gasoline and he poured it all the way up and down the stairway, the only stairway leading out of the club, and then he set it on fire. There were 750 people in the club at the time, and he wanted to kill them all, obviously, because he was concentrating his arson on the place where – the only way they could get out.
Not only that, but it came to light after his attack that he had said that homosexuals should be exterminated, which is, of course, in line with Islam’s death penalty for homosexuals. Musab Mohamed Masmari, in other words, was the first exponent of violent, vigilante Shari’ah enforcement in the United States.
Violent, vigilante Shari’ah enforcement is something that we see in many other countries, especially in Muslim countries, where, in many cases, where countries are Islamizing – such as Turkey, Egypt, Syria and so on – where there – Iraq – where there had been relatively secular regimes followed by Shari’ah states or large armed groups that want to create a Shari’ah state. Women who don’t cover their heads are brutalized, sometimes even killed and alcohol shops, liquor stores are shot up and burned and so on.
Even in London last year there was a group calling itself the Muslim Patrol that went around, and people carrying alcohol, they would tell them to get rid of it. They would tell women to cover their heads, and they would threaten them if they didn’t.
Musab Mohamed Masmari was the first time that that happened in the United States, but not, by any means, the last. The problem, however, is that in the news reports about him there was no mention of any of this motivation. There was no mention that he said homosexuals should be exterminated. There was no mention that he was a Muslim or that the attack had anything to do with any other attack in the United States, when, actually, it was a manifestation – it was yet another attack from an adherent of the same ideology that caused the Fort Hood massacre, the Boston Marathon bombing, 9⁄11, the Little Rock shooting and so many others.
This denial at the top of government law enforcement and media is obviously self -defeating to the point of being suicidal, and if it continues, then, it’s obvious what’s going to happen. In Europe there are already enclaves, whole cities – Malmo in Sweden, the Molenbeek District of Antwerp and some areas of London already, as well as Paris – where non-Muslims venture at their own peril. In Malmo, even the police and firefighters don’t dare to go into the city, and Islamic law prevails in those areas. The secular law has no sway.
The governments of those countries are either, at some point, going to have to crack down and say, There is one law for this land and you’re going to obey it, and then there will be civil conflict, or, they will let these areas grow, as they will certainly grow with unrestricted immigration, and then they will be increasingly aggressive and increasingly assertive over the non-Muslim population, and there will be civil conflict. In other words, there’s really no escaping it now for Europe, but I think that there is still a chance for the United States, but only if there is a drastic change in the political culture.
I mentioned Grover Norquist in passing earlier, and it is important to note that Grover Norquist, as the head of Americans for Tax Reform, is probably the single most powerful power broker in the Republican Party, and you can’t really run for national office as a Republican without his benediction. And, yet, he did take money from Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was also financing al-Qaeda, and he does have numerous ties to groups with links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and he has stymied the Republicans from forming any kind of effective or coherent alternative to the Democrats’ wholesale capitulation to this multiculturalist fiction and to Islamic supremacist groups.
As a result, there really isn’t any effective opposition in the United States today. There is no party, there are very few politicians – Congressman Gohmert being a notable exception and a few others – that even stand up and defend and articulate the reality of what we’re facing. And too long, people who support the Republicans have allowed this to continue, perhaps because they themselves did not understand or grasp the nature and magnitude of the threat that we face.
The most significant aspect of it is the war on free speech, because if we cannot speak out about it, then we cannot do anything about it to defend ourselves. Obviously, the freedom of speech was put into the Constitution as the fundamental bulwark against tyranny. If we can’t speak out against the tyrant, he can do whatever he wants. And, of course, Barak Obama said, The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.
It’s useful to remember, in connection with that sentence, that slander, in Islamic law, refers not to lying about somebody, but speaking truths about them that they don’t want known. That’s the definition of slander in Islamic law. So when Barack Obama says, “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam,” he means, if you speak unwelcome truths, such as the link between Islam and terrorism, which is obvious from the Jihadis words and not from those of Islamophobes, then the future does not belong to you. And I think that may be so the way things are going.
Right after the Benghazi Jihad attack, which, of course, we all now know was a Jihad attack by al-Qaeda, probably with weapons that the Obama administration had supplied to al-Qaeda to topple Qaddafi, right after the attack, it was known in the White House and the State Department that it was a Jihad attack, and there were emails that have now just come to light – you’ve probably seen them – that show that they deliberately chose to blame this Mohammed video that nobody had ever seen or cared about.
Now, the implications of that are enormous because in choosing to blame the Mohammed video and saying the future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam, the Obama administration was essentially saying the problem is our First Amendment. The problem is the freedom of speech. The problem is if we just keep saying these things that they don’t like us to say, they’ll keep bombing us. If we shut up and obey Islamic blasphemy laws, then everything will be okay.
And Hillary Clinton told the father of Tyrone Woods, a Navy Seal who was killed along with Ambassador Stevens, We’re going to have that filmmaker arrested and prosecuted. And she did. They found that he was a sort of a shady character, which is completely irrelevant, actually, to this video and what happened to him, but he did – he was out on probation, and one of the conditions of his probation was that he not go on the Internet. And so they figured, Well, this video is up on YouTube. He must have gone on the internet to upload it. Therefore, he went back to jail.
But he was really a political prisoner and a prisoner of the freedom of speech. It was obvious there are far more serious probation violators walking around. Probably we could find some – Well, not here in Dallas, but out in Los Angeles they’re crawling with them.
And so why this guy? Because it is becoming illegal to speak the truth about the Jihad threat. That has to be a cornerstone of a new and articulate response to Barak Obama. And if we do not find politicians and elected officials who will stand for this swiftly, then the enemy who is us will win and freedom will lose.
Thanks very much. (Applause.)
So we have time for some questions, comments, death fatwas, whatever. (Laughter.)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Start here with [Pat].
Q: Thank you. About six months ago, I watched Representative Michael McCaul give a presentation at the Heritage Foundation. During the Q&A, he said that we would win the war on terror by winning the ideological battle by appealing to moderate Muslims that our ideology is better. Can you comment?
ROBERT SPENCER: That would be nice, but nobody’s doing that. We have never done that. We have never said, Our ideology is better. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States Government sponsored and oversaw the installation of Shari’ah constitutions that enshrined Islamic law as the highest law of the land. That is not standing for our values. That’s betraying our values. Our values are equality of rights for all people, the equality of dignity of all human beings, which means that women have rights in the society and are not to be treated as chattel.
We have a tradition of open political discourse and the freedom of speech. Although it is under far more grave attack than most people realize, we still have the long tradition of it. Islam does not. In Islam it is against the law, it is a death-penalty offense to criticize Islam or Mohammed. The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.
And the thing is we put those constitutions there. If we had been standing for our values, the situation would have been very different.
I do believe that Congressman McCaul is correct that if there were a United States that were standing up and saying, Well, anyone who loves the freedom of speech, who loves a free society, who loves equal rights for all people before the law, who loves the idea of making a decision in conscience about what you believe is true and not being killed for it, we stand for that, then many Muslims would support us. But we’ve never stood for that.
Q: Could you comment on the Tartars in the Crimea?
ROBERT SPENCER: Well –
Q: How that complicates the whole Russian –
ROBERT SPENCER: It’s very complicated, and it does complicate it to a tremendous degree because the Ukrainian Government has been encouraging the Jihadis in the Caucuses because they know that the Jihadis in the Caucuses will hit the Russians. And so it becomes a very complicated situation. It’s not so easy as to say, Well, there’s the big, bad imperialist, Putin, and the plucky, independent Ukrainians. I would love to be able to say that because the idea of the Soviet Union reuniting and oppressing those peoples anew is repulsive.
At the same time, there really aren’t any good actors in this battle, as is so often the case. Just like as with Assad and his opponents in Syria.
Q: (Inaudible) in Crimea?
ROBERT SPENCER: Um-hum. Yes.
ROBERT SPENCER: Yes. Precisely.
ROBERT SPENCER: How might it evolve? I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball on that, but I think that you’re going to see far more Jihad activity in that area, because the Ukrainians are, no doubt, going to continue to try to exploit these groups to strike at the Russians. And so that could enflame that whole region, really. I don’t see that as beyond the realm of possibility at all.
Q: Hi. There is a mosque in my neighborhood, and after doing some digging, found that it is owned by NAIT, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. I also did a little bit more digging and found some literature from Mustapha [Monsur], which, of course, said that it’s the obligation of every woman and man to turn this nation into a caliphate.
So I guess my question is do we have to wait until somebody does an act of Jihad before something is done or can something be done before that?
ROBERT SPENCER: This is the great question. The North American Islamic Trust, in the first place, is NAIT, and they own 80 percent of the mosques in the United States, and they all teach this kind of thing.
There have been four separate, independent surveys done since 1999 of the mosques in the United States, and all found, independently of one another, that 80 percent of the mosques were teaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity, ultimately, to replace the Constitution with Shari’ah law. So Monsur is not singular in this.
Now, the problem is is that there is a law – And I’m no lawyer and no politician, but I know that there is a law on the books which outlaws plotting or calling for, advocating the violent overthrow of the United States Government.
I think that there need to be political and legal scholars, at this point, who can examine the possibility of a law that could outlaw the non-violent overthrow of the U.S. Government and any kind of action against constitutional values and principles.
Now, how this – What form exactly this would take and how various pitfalls and minefields would be avoided, I’m no lawyer or a politician, but I think that that sedition law that exists about the violent overthrow of the U.S. Government being illegal – although it’s hardly enforced today anyway – would be a pathway that might show us how to proceed in that manner.
CONGRESSMAN GOHMERT: Thank you. I’m intrigued by the notion that all it’ll take is an ideological win of moderate Muslims over the radical Islamists. You and I know that in Afghanistan, the moderate Muslim Northern Alliance defeated the radical Islamists with our air cover, a few hundred of our embedded special ops. But, Robert, you know the history even better than I do, can you think of any time in world history when radical Islamists were defeated or overcome by winning an ideological battle using moderate Muslims?
Well, I don’t know, was that an ideological win in Vienna when they were stopped? I’m trying to remember.
ROBERT SPENCER: (Laughter.)
CONGRESSMAN GOHMERT: But, anyway, can you think of a time ever – Maybe the Barbary Pirates, maybe that was an ideological win, but can you think of a time when radical Islam was ever defeated by winning an ideological battle with moderate Muslims, unless they were winning the ideological battle with weapons and killing their enemies? Can you think of a time?
ROBERT SPENCER: No, Congressman, you’re absolutely right. There has never been a case where an ideological battle against Islamic Jihadis has ever been won. And the whole thing actually comes down to what one defines as a moderate Muslim, and the United States Government, of course, thinks that if a Muslim is not strapping on a bomb vest, then he’s a moderate.
But as far as reality goes, one of the great difficulties of fighting this conflict is that people use this term, throw around the term moderate Muslim without defining what it is. Most people assume that by moderate Muslim they mean a Muslim who rejects the idea that Muslims should wage war against unbelievers and subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law.
Actually, that is a core tenant of Islam that is taught in the Koran and taught in the Hadith and taught by all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence. The Muslims who would actually explicitly reject that in principle you could probably count on one hand. Juhdi Jasser and then who? That’s it.
Moderate Muslims, on the other hand, might be people who are just ordinary people who might live in a secular culture and are not interested in waging Jihad. They want to just raise their families and have a life and have a job and take care of themselves, and that’s it. There are lots of those people.
But the question becomes then, which side will they side with if it came down to a conflict? And probably – There doesn’t seem to be any indication that they would not side with their more radical brethren in that case. There has never been a case where this was not done without a shooting war.
At the same time, there is a crisis within Islam, because Western ideas have permeated the Islamic world. They were much more current 100 years ago than they are now, much more prominent, but they still existed – I’ll wrap up – but, nonetheless, they still exist. And so I think – When I was talking about the ideological conflict in reference to Representative McCaul’s statements before, I was referring to the fact that we – I think we can and should appeal on the basis of notions of human rights that come from the West to Muslims who may not want Islamic law. But that’s not going to win the battle, not going to win the war, not at all.
Q: Okay. What can you tell us about green-on-blue killings in Afghanistan, the insider killings? Is there anything that could be done about that, any sort of profiling on infiltrators in the Afghan security force?
ROBERT SPENCER: No, the green-on-blue killings, the killings of our troops, our personnel by their ostensible allies, there’s nothing that can be done about them, except we should just get out of there.
The fact is that there is no way to distinguish between a peaceful Muslim, that is a Muslim who doesn’t want to kill us, and a Muslim who does. I didn’t use the term moderate Muslim because it is so fraught and likely to create confusion.
The fact is, though, that this is the fundamental problem, that the United States Government assumes that these people are all of good will and doesn’t make any attempt even to profile or discern or screen people who join the Afghan Police or the Afghan Army and so on. They don’t even try. And so then they get these attacks.
But the fact is if they did try, it wouldn’t work, and that’s one of the reasons why this misadventure in Afghanistan is so disastrously wrongheaded. There’s no objective. There’s no goal. There’s not even an enemy. Barak Obama has already told Karzai that he doesn’t think the Taliban is the enemy. And then I think, well, then why are our troops there serving as a shooting gallery for the Afghans? This is nothing short of treason.
Anyway, on that happy note, thanks very much. (Applause.)
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.