This article reports on a seminar given by a controversial filmmaker and author of books on Islamic terrorism in America, together with a North Carolina congresswoman. Some consider the views presented to be unsubstantiated and alarmist; others think they should be taken seriously. We at American Diplomacy take no position on their merits, but present them in the spirit of airing material that is occasionally outside the mainstream. We remind readers that we are non-partisan and strive for balance, and we would welcome comments or article submissions with opposing viewpoints.
Marshalling a remarkable amount of evidence to describe the Islamic terrorist threat within the United States, noted author and terrorism expert Steven Emerson and U.S. Congresswoman Sue Myrick conducted a seminar recently in Raleigh, North Carolina, titled "Combating Global Terrorism." This article reports on the major points discussed at the seminar and identifies some of the criticism leveled against Emerson over the years.
Emerson opened with an historical parallel. Noting methods eerily similar to those of communist cells and front groups during the 1930s and 1940s, Emerson says today's radical Islamic groups are entrenching their members and sympathizers in many critical areas of American society. Local sheriff departments, municipal police forces, city councils, schools, the Justice Department, the FBI, the military, and most other public agencies are unwittingly allowing their ranks to be penetrated by Muslims whose loyalties at best may be mixed and at worst could be fundamentally hostile to U.S. values and interests.
Despite extensive domestic and international counter-terrorism measures, Emerson believes these militant Islamic organizations have gathered considerable strength in the United States during the last decade. In the name of Islam, and under the guise of humanitarian and religious purposes, these groups have embarked on a path of radicalization and violence within our borders.
- Emerson provided a handout showing the terrorist network in America. Over 20 states were identified with ties to known international Islamic terrorist groups, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda. Charlotte, North Carolina, was identified with Hezbollah activity, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was shown to be in Raleigh.
Three Kinds of Terrorists Are Here Different types of jihadists operate in America according to Emerson. One kind is the al-Qaeda type of jihadists who believe in violently attacking the United States from within. They can be directed by al-Qaeda itself or they may only be inspired by militant Islamic rhetoric. Recent examples of these direct terrorist attacks are the foiled plots against Fort Dix, New Jersey, and JFK International Airport.
A second type of jihadists uses the United States as a place to raise support for terrorist groups overseas. Their activities include fund raising, recruiting, proselytizing, and training. An example is the Holy Land Foundation, which is tied to Hamas. It was on trial in Dallas, Texas, recently in the largest terrorist financing trial in U.S. history.
The third kind Emerson calls "Cultural Jihadists." This category contains those Muslims living here who believe the United States is an evil country. They accept the "tone" that 9/11 was legitimate, and they believe suicide bombings to kill Americans are justified. These beliefs are based on their radical understanding of Islam. These are not the ones carrying out attacks, but they "provide the greenhouse that produces the terrorists."
Cultural Jihadists believe Muslims will eventually take over the United States. They teach that this will happen through the process of "Dawa," which is the...