Columbia law student Ernest Jedrzejewski compares the presentation to a Christian tent revival. "All we needed was a light from above and someone to suddenly get over an incurable illness," he says.
After the speakers left the stage, Khalifah approached Saleem and challenged statements that he considered offensive and inaccurate. Saleem claims that Khalifah went even further, addressing a death threat to him in Arabic: "You are an enemy of Islam and you must die." Police questioned Khalifah but didn't charge him. "All the allegations were proved to be unsubstantiated, and I was free to go," Khalifah says. But it didn't end there.
Once the contentious presentation made national headlines, the self-proclaimed ex-terrorists put out a press release about Khalifah's supposed death threat and the "smear campaign" orchestrated against them by Muslim groups and the "liberal media." The three have also vehemently denied accusations by journalists and Muslim groups that they are "stooges of the Christian right," saying that they were explaining their personal experiences in the jihadist underground, not proselytizing. "We are terrorism experts coming in to talk about terrorism. . . . Christianity worked for us, but that was not the theme of the speech," Shoebat tells the Voice. "It's racist to say a Christian is not allowed to be an expert on terrorism."
The most obvious question, of course, is why, if their stories are true, haven't these three self-proclaimed terrorists, who have been traveling the country for years admitting to numerous killings and other terrorist acts, not been deported or jailed. Well, apparently, even our government's terrorist hunters don't believe these guys. According to a New York Times article about the trio's appearance at the Air Force Academy, "A spokesman for the F.B.I. said there were no warrants for their arrest."
But wait, it gets worse. Shoebat and his ex-terrorist buddies aren't the only anti-Muslim fear-mongerers who have been brought in to speak to the military and various government agencies. There's also Brigitte Gabriel, founder of the ACT! for America and author of B ecause They Hate. In 2007, Gabriel, who has also spoken to other government agencies, delivered a lecture at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) as part of the JFSC's Islam elective for American military and national security personnel.
During the question and answer segment of the lecture, Gabriel made her opinion of Muslims very clear. In answer to the question, "Should we resist Muslims who want to seek political office in this nation?," Gabriel replied:
"Absolutely. If a Muslim who has -- who is -- a practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah, who abides by Islam, who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day -- this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America."
As part of her answer to this same question, Gabriel also asserted that a Muslim's oath of office is meaningless, giving the following reason:
"A Muslim is allowed to lie under any situation to make Islam, or for the benefit of Islam in the long run. A Muslim sworn to office can lay his hand on the Koran and say 'I swear that I'm telling the truth and nothing but the truth,' fully knowing that he is lying because the same Koran that he is swearing on justifies his lying in order to advance the cause of Islam. What is worrisome about that is when we are faced with war and a Muslim political official in office has to make a decision either in the interest of the United States, which is considered infidel according to the teachings of Islam, and our Constitution is uncompatible [sic] with Islam -- not compatible -- that Muslim in office will always have his loyalty to Islam."
Both Shoebat and Gabriel appeared in Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West -- the politically useful anti-Muslim pseudo-documentary distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers a few months before the 2008 election. But even more disturbing than this film being used to scare voters into voting a certain way, Gregory Ross, the film's co-writer and director, stated in an interview that this film was also being used by the U.S. Navy. According to Ross, who is also Communications Director for Clarion Fund, the organization that produced the film and funded the DVD newspaper insert scheme, "I know that the U.S. Department of the Navy uses the film and that it has also been shown on Capitol Hill on many occasions in order to education politicians."
While the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has made much progress with the military, including getting Brigitte Gabriel disinvited from speaking at the Air Force Academy, Islamophobes and frauds like Walid Shoebat continue to regularly speak to other government agencies, as will apparently be exposed on CNN tonight.
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