CNN to Air Report on Taxpayer Funded Fake Former Terrorist
Chris Rodda printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 06:09:14 PM EST
Tonight on CNN, Anderson Cooper will be doing "a special investigative report about a self-proclaimed former Islamic terrorist who is making good money from American taxpayers with a story that just doesn't add up."

This self-proclaimed terrorist, Walid Shoebat, was one third of a traveling anti-Muslim sideshow called the "3 ex-Terrorists," and is now a very popular solo act on the Islamophobic fear-mongering speaking circuit. The other two members of Shoebat's trio were Zachariah Anani, and Kamal Saleem.

In between his many tax-payer funded speaking engagements, Shoebat is a popular speaker at events such as Tim LaHaye's Pre-Trib (Pre-Tribulation) Research Center conferences and John Hagee's Christians United for Israel (CUFI) events. Anani is a Lebanese-born Canadian citizen who claims to have killed 223 people while a Muslim terrorist. Saleem, under his real name, Khodor Shami, worked for Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network for sixteen years, was hired by James Dobson's Focus on the Family in 2003, and founded Koome Ministries in 2006 to "expose the true agenda of [Muslims] who would deceive our nation and the free nations of the world."

As the research director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), I first became aware of Shoebat, Anani, and Saleem back in early 2008, when they were invited to speak at the U.S. Air Force Academy's 50th Annual Academy Assembly, on the topic "Dismantling Terrorism: Developing Actionable Solutions for Today's Plague of Violence," for a fee of $13,000.

After demands by the MRFF for equal time to counter the anti-Muslim screed of the Shoebat and his fellow self-proclaimed ex-terrorists turned evangelical Christians, the Air Force Academy eventually allowed MRFF founder and president, and Academy graduate, Mikey Weinstein, MRFF Advisory Board member and Islam expert Reza Aslan, and MRFF Board member and former Ambassador Joe Wilson to speak to (deprogram) the cadets.

As Reza Aslan wrote on Anderson Cooper's blog when all this was going on back in 2008, the claims of the three ex-terrorists about their exploits as Muslim terrorists have long been questioned by academics and terrorism experts who have found a plethora of unlikelihoods and outright impossibilities in their stories. Here are a few highlights:

According to Tom Quiggin, Canada's only court-qualified expert on global jihadism, and a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police intelligence and national security expert, "Mr. Anani's not an individual who rates the slightest degree of credibility, based on the stories that he has told."

Among other things, Quiggin points to Anani's claim of killing hundreds of people after joining his first militant group in Lebanon at age 13. Anani, now forty-nine, would have been 13 in 1970. However, the fighting in Lebanon did not begin in earnest until 1975, and religious-based terrorism was practically unheard of there until after 1979. According to Anani, he left Lebanon for Egypt to attend Al-Azhar University at age 18, three years earlier.

Professor Douglas Howard teaches the history of the modern Middle East at Calvin College in Michigan, where Kamal Saleem spoke last November. He was shocked to hear Saleem claim that a member of his family was the "the Grand Wazir of Islam."

"Wazir is a variation of vizier," Professor Howard explained. "The Grand Vizier was a political role in the Ottoman empire. No Muslim would ever claim that in connection with the role of mufti, which is a scholar of Islamic texts. It's like someone saying they were the governor of Christianity."

Professor Howard described the talk at Calvin College as "a tent meeting revival sermon sponsored by academic organizations."

The Village Voice also reported on the Air Force Academy Assembly, which was co-sponsored by the American Assembly, a policy forum affiliated with Columbia University. Here's what some of the eighteen New York students who attended the Assembly had to say about Shoebat and his fellow ex-terrorists:

[Omar] Khalifah, who is from Jordan, says he was shocked and offended by the proselytizing he saw. "We left our study for one week to try to find solutions, not to listen to a person who is speaking as a preacher, as if he is in a church," Khalifah says. ...

... Khalifah and other New Yorkers say they were initially annoyed at the trio's alarmist rhetoric, including claims that jihadist ideology is being taught in 90 percent of American mosques, and the characterization of Islam as an inherently violent religion. But they were truly offended by Shoebat's announcement that converting Muslims to Christianity was a good way to defeat terrorism.

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 Because 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.




Display:
Many people don't know much about the Christianity they claim to profess, let alone Islam, so charlatans like Shoebat, Saleem and Gabriel can pocket our tax dollars and sell counter hate. The dominionists in the military want to promote such nonsense, as do the Tea Partiers. Amarillo's Tea Party had Brigitte Gabriel speak there several months ago.

by khughes1963 on Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 07:37:30 PM EST
I mean, sure it is their fault that they've been so easily led astray by a fake news org. and talk-radio to the point of willful ignorance, but the fact remains that not one of those entities have divulged the obvious dishonesty of Shoebat and cohorts, because it fits into their worldview so nicely, especially rightwing gov't people who almost must have known by now about the charlatans, yet continued to allow them to present themselves as knowledgeable or experts in radical Islamic terrorism.

Are they still giving speeches/lectures to police depts. and other security groups? That would be unconscionable after all the facts about Shoebat et. al. that have been uncovered by now.



by trog69 on Thu Jul 14, 2011 at 01:52:50 PM EST
Parent



WWW Talk To Action


Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (18 comments)
Religious Freedom is Not Just for Christian Conservatives
Religious freedom is one of the central issues of our time. Arguably, it a central issue in any time, and every time, at least......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Dallas and its Historic Connection to the Religious Right
There has been a recent rash of demonstrations outside of the famous First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.  The current pastor appears to be......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Fr. Frank Pavone Claims the 2016 Coughie Award!
Yes, folks it's time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. As always, the competition was fierce. But this year, the gold......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
Christmas Broadcasting Traditions
It is time to once again note the preposterous-but-malevolent claims that there is a War on Christmas. The annual revival of this repulsive anti-Semitic......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Steve Bannon: Alt-Right Anti-Catholic or Political Opportunist?
In March 2016 Trump campaign strategist and CEO Steve Bannon made a comment that could be construed as being blatantly anti-Catholic. He accused the......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
How The Election of Trump Made My Life Easier
I might be one of a select few who didn't vote for Donald but would have to say Trump's election made my life easier...I......
By wilkyjr (10 comments)
The Bakke Plot To "Infiltrate" Secular Institutions
Back in 2012-2014 I did a lot of writing and research on The Gathering, the yearly meeting of elite evangelical right philanthropists who collectively......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
The Term "Alt-Right" is All Right
There is a misguided effort underway to not use the term "alt-right."  The effort, currently led by the Center for American Progress, claims that......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Getting the Low Down on Dominionism
A refresher on dominionism will probably come in handy over the next little while. -- FC I am pleased to report that the task......
By Frederick Clarkson (10 comments)
The New Kochs: Anthology of DeVos Support, Funding of School Privatization and Religious Right
This post from 2-14 will be a helpful resource in the days ahead. -- FC Mother Jones' January/February issue includes an article titled "Meet......
By Rachel Tabachnick (1 comment)
Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech
This post about the long term strategy for privatizing the public schools takes on fresh importance in light of the nomination of Betsy DeVos......
By Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
Did God Engineer Trump's Win?
Political analysts have postulated a number of theories to explain the victory of Donald J. Trump in the presidential election: Hillary Clinton failed to......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
Some thoughts for a Sunday post-election reflection:
Emancipation, Reconstruction, Redemption, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow The struggles of the Civil Rights Movement took us two steps forward Now the "Second......
By Chip Berlet (0 comments)

"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (0 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (1 comment)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (11 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.