Two Perham exchange students are kicked out of church

Perham, MN (WDAY TV) — Two exchange students attending school in Perham, Minnesota say they were kicked out of a church there when they questioned a nationally known speaker who says “Islam equals terrorism.”

The boys were kicked out of the Assembly of God church in Perham during a question answer period following a speech by Walid Shoebat. Shoebat says he is a former terrorist, and claims to be an anti-terrorism expert. He now calls Islam the devil and tours the country speaking to churches and schools – even collecting fees from Homeland Security.

CNN has exposed Shoebat, calling him a fraud. Today, the DC based Council on American-Islamic Relations contacted WDAY and said it is calling for a meeting with Assembly of God church leaders in Perham. hopes of strengthening interfaith relations and promoting understanding.

The two teenagers are Muslim, and attended the event featuring Walid Shoebat, a Muslim turned Christian.

 

Lawmakers divided on post-9/11 program that collected info on Americans, not terrorists

WASHINGTON — Stinging criticism from Congress about a counterterrorism effort that improperly collected information about innocent Americans is turning up the heat on the Obama administration to justify the program’s continued existence and putting lawmakers who championed it on the defensive.

The administration strongly disagrees with the report’s findings, and leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee are distancing themselves from the report. The review criticized the multibillion-dollar network of “fusion centers” as ineffective in fighting terrorism and risky to civil liberties.

The intelligence reports reviewed by the subcommittee were produced by officials in the Homeland Security Department’s Intelligence and Analysis division, which was created after the Sept. 11 attacks with the hope of connecting the dots to prevent the next terrorist strike. This division has never lived up to what Congress initially hoped for.

Though fusion centers receive money from the federal government, they are operated independently. A federal law co-sponsored by Lieberman and Collins authorized that centers cover criminal or terrorist activity.

Five years later, Senate investigators found, terrorism is often a secondary focus.

The report is as much an indictment of Congress as it is the Homeland Security Department.

One of the report’s recommendations is that the department needs to do a better job of tracking how its money is spent; that’s a recommendation with which both Collins and Lieberman agree.

Despite that, Congress is unlikely to pull the plug because the program means politically important money for state and local governments, and Homeland Security officials are adamant that the money is well spent.

Walsh: Muslims “trying to kill Americans”

Exclusive: U.S. Rep Joe Walsh tells a town hall meeting that radical Islam has infiltrated the Chicago suburbs

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh went on another anti-Islam tirade Wednesday, calling for an end to “political correctness” in dealing with the “radical strain of Islam” he described as an imminent danger to America.

“It’s a real threat,” Walsh said at a town hall meeting in Elk Grove Village, Ill.  “And it’s a threat that is much more at home now than it was right after 9/11.”

“It’s here,” he continued, referring to “radical Islam” in the suburbs of Chicago. “It’s in Elk Grove, it’s in Addison, it’s in Elgin. It’s here.”

The remarks — captured on tape — came in response to an Egyptian-American audience member who said Muslims are taking over America and charged the freshman congressman to take a more aggressive stance against the religion.

The Tea Party Republican, who serves on the Homeland Security Committee, has been known for his incendiary remarks since winning his House seat in 2010. He set off a media firestorm last month when he appeared to question the heroism of his opponent, Democrat Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war vet who lost both her legs in combat.

GOP Rep. King defends hearings on Muslim radicalization, terrorism ties

WASHINGTON — House lawmakers split along party lines at a hearing Wednesday (June 20) meant to gauge Muslim responses to earlier hearings on the “radicalization” of American Muslims.

Testimony by four witnesses was overshadowed by Republicans who defended the four prior hearings and Democrats who questioned whether they were misguided or actually harmful to Muslim Americans.

Short on new data but long on rhetoric, lawmakers argued both sides of the same statistics and relied heavily on anecdotes.

“The overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans are outstanding Americans, yet the reality is that the Islamist terror threat comes from the community,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Meanwhile, the ranking Democratic member, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said he hoped the hearings did not increase hate crimes or religious profiling, and worried that America’s image abroad is of a nation at war with Islam.

GOP Rep. Peter King on Wednesday defended hearings on the so-called radicalization of American Muslims and how that potentially leads to terrorism – amid continued arguments about the need and appropriateness of such hearings.

The meeting was the fifth such for the House Committee on Homeland Security — led by the New York congressman and created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Muslim-American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11

Muslim-American Terrorism Down in 2011

 

Twenty Muslim-Americans were indicted for violent terrorist plots in 2011, down from 26

the year before, bringing the total since 9/11 to 193, or just under 20 per year (see Figure

1). This number is not negligible – small numbers of Muslim-Americans continue to

radicalize each year and plot violence.  However, the rate of radicalization is far less

than many feared in the aftermath of 9/11. In early 2003, for example, Robert Mueller,

director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told Congress that “FBI investigations have

revealed militant Islamics [sic] in the US. We strongly suspect that several hundred of these

extremists are linked to al-Qaeda.”1 Fortunately, we have not seen violence on this

scale.  The scale of homegrown Muslim-American terrorism in 2011 does not appear to have

corroborated the warnings issued by government officials early in the year. In March 2011, Mueller testified to Congress that this threat had become even more complex and difficult to combat, as “we are seeing an increase in the sources of terrorism, a wider array of terrorist targets, and an evolution in terrorist tactics and means of communication.”2 Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, echoed Mueller’s concern in her 2011 “State

of America’s Homeland Security Address”: “the terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly in the last ten years –and continues to evolve – so that, in some ways, the threat facing us is at its most heightened state since those attacks.”3 Congressman Peter King, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security in the U.S. House of Representatives, held four earings

in 2011 to alert Americans to the “the extent of Muslim-American radicalization by al-Qaeda

in their communities today and how terrible it is, the impact it has on families, how extensive

it is, and also that the main victims of this are Muslim-Americans themselves.”4

Oakton High grad guilty in terror case is cited in report on future of Islamist extremism

A 22-year-old Oakton High School graduate who converted to Islam as a teen and pleaded guilty last year to terrorism-related charges, represents the future of online Islamist radicalization, according to a report to be released Monday by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

The report includes copies of four letters handwritten by Zachary Adam Chesser from prison and sent to committee staff, and coincides with his own apparent return to the Internet last week. A four-part screed signed by Chesser and posted online on Feb. 20 outlines some of the ways he says he was wronged by the U.S. justice system.

Chesser, whom the report describes as the son of a U.S. government contractor, is incarcerated in Marion, Ill. The facility is one of two high-security penitentiaries in the United States with “Special Communications Units” sometimes referred to as “Guantanamo North” because they contain a high percentage of Muslim prisoners convicted of terrorism-related charges.

A gifted student who was, according to the report, briefly a Buddhist, Chesser converted to Islam in high school after dating a Muslim girl. But his radicalization appears to have taken place almost completely over the Internet, where he found like-minded people after local Islamic leaders disagreed with his views.

NY Times OpEd: Uncle Sam Is No Imam

NY Times Oped:
TWO years ago, John O. Brennan, President Obama’s top adviser on counterterrorism, spoke to members of a Muslim student group in a packed auditorium at the law school where I teach, offering his audience the White House’s position about what jihad does and does not mean.

Later that year, on a panel with me in that same auditorium, a commentator, Haroon Moghul, drew attention to efforts by American officials to build global networks of “acceptable” Muslim leaders.

There are other examples like these around the country. The Ohio Department of Public Safety has produced and distributed literature that declares, “When extremists attack and kill in the name of jihad, mainstream Muslims consider such acts as a total deviation from the true religion of Islam.”

Homeland Security officials were signed up for a 2010 conference in which one topic was “Seeking a Counter-Reformation in Islam.” In 2004, an inspector general criticized the Bureau of Prisons because it failed to “examine the doctrinal beliefs of applicants for religious service positions to determine whether those beliefs are inconsistent with B.O.P. security policies.”

In each of these cases, counterterrorism has put officials on a collision course with Islamic thought and practice — and, perhaps more dangerously, with the Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits government action “respecting an establishment of religion.”

Homegrown Muslim Terrorism Plots Decreased Again In 2011

WASHINGTON — A new study of homegrown terrorism involving Muslim Americans suggests that the alarm bells set off by Republicans in Congress over sleeper cells of Islamic extremists may be much too loud.
Despite warnings of a potential wave of violent attacks hatched on U.S. soil, research by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security finds that the number of attacks committed by Muslim Americans has fallen for the second year in a row. According to the study, 20 Muslim Americans carried out or were arrested for violent terrorist crimes in 2011, down from 26 in 2010 and 49 in 2009.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the report said, 193 Muslim Americans have been arrested or convicted of violent terrorist acts. Last year was an average year for such offenses, the Durham, N.C.-based center said.

White House, NY lawmaker back NYPD after report undercover police eavesdropped on Muslims

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser and the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee are offering support for the New York Police Department after an Associated Press investigation revealed a secret police unit that monitored daily life inside Muslim communities.

Muslim civil liberties groups and a Brooklyn congresswoman have called on the Justice Department to investigate the NYPD for its Demographics Unit, which maintained a list of 28 countries that, along with “American Black Muslim,” were considered “ancestries of interest.” Nearly all were Muslim countries.
Undercover police officers known as “rakers” would then eavesdrop inside Muslim businesses and write daily reports as they kept an eye on mosques, religious schools and social clubs.

The NYPD has denied that the department has ever had anything called the Demographics Unit. Documents obtained by the AP describe the Demographics Unit in great detail, showing how the NYPD singled out minority neighborhoods for extra scrutiny.

The Demographics Unit and other NYPD intelligence programs were created in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as part of an unusual partnership with the police department and the CIA. The CIA dispatched a veteran officer, Lawrence Sanchez, to New York, where he guided and oversaw the programs.

Canadian Muslim artists talk about identity

The Globe and Mail – July 4, 2011
This article profiles three Canadian Muslim artists: Sabrina Jalees, a lesbian comic of Pakistani-Swiss heritage who grew up in Toronto; Yassin Alsalman, a Montreal rapper known as The Narcicyst who uses the aggressive language of hip hop to denounce the heavy hand of U.S. Homeland Security and the war in Iraq; Boonaa Mohammed, a spoken word poet of Ethiopian extraction who celebrates Islamic history in his artwork when he is not teaching at an Islamic school in Scarborough, Ont.
But people who want to blend in rarely become artists: Jalees, who points out she could pass for Portuguese, began making jokes about her Pakistani heritage because she wanted to confront people’s new discomfort with Muslims.
The artists disagree about how well this work is received in Canada and how much Canadian attitudes are shifting. Alsalman, for example, argues that racism is still very prevalent and that the image of Muslims is generally a negative one; others perceive a gradual change in attitudes since the panic of 2001, precisely because people have been forced to confront the prejudices expressed against Muslims, and add that the popular rebellions of the Arab spring have helped build a more positive and diverse image.