Did President Obama’s Violent Extremism Conference Fail?
by Jerry Gordon (March 2015)
President Obama at Countering Islamic Extremism Conference
Prelude to a Conference
A three-day Conference “Countering Violent Extremism” was held from February 17 to 19, 2015 sponsored by the Administration with venues at both the White House and State Department. The genesis for the Conference was a White House Report issued December 1, 2011, Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States. That report was developed in the wake of the May 2, 2011 assassination by the US Navy Seal Team Six of Al Qaeda mastermind, Osama Bin Laden. The Administration’s contention was that “core Al Qaeda” had been decimated and was “on the run.” That became a 2012 Presidential re-election campaign theme. The theme of the Conference came from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advisory panel reports on homegrown violent extremism. It identified possible forms of domestic “violent extremism” including right wing extremists, KKK, Aryan nation members and even returning veterans. Following the President’s inauguration in 2009, the Justice Department civil rights division and DHS reached out to American Muslim representatives, bolstering an Administration effort to promote Muslim civil rights including sensitivity training and redaction of Islamic Jihad doctrine from both military, national law enforcement and homeland security training and reference materials.
The emphasis on countering radicalization in the domestic Muslim communities was through community outreach and granting membership on Department of Justice, Homeland Security and FBI state and local Joint task forces. Those efforts fostered development of several pilot projects in selected cities with significant Muslim minorities. Among them were the Twin Cities of Minneapolis St. Paul, New York, Boston and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Muslim civil rights groups and public law organizations brought actions in federal courts seeking to overturn community policing programs engaged in monitoring mosques and local imams. There is evidence of recruitment for Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Shabaab, starting in 2007 that had made inroads in the burgeoning Somali émigré communities in the US. Several dozen youths enlisted to fight and die in Somalia. A number of returning veterans and recruiters were prosecuted in federal courts, most notably in Minneapolis.
In 2009 we had the June 1st attack by Muslim convert Carlos Bledsoe from Memphis aka Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who killed Army Private Andy Long and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula at a Little Rock Army Recruiting Center. Bledsoe had been trained by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula headed by the late American born Sheik Anwar Awlaki. Then on November 5, 2009, Maj. Nidal Hassan jumped up on a table at a Fort Hood, Texas deployment center and blazed away with two hand guns killing 13 soldiers, injuring 31 while yelling Allahu Akbar – God is great. Both incidents were deemed by the Justice Department and the military as “workplace accidents.” However, in 2014 the US Army awarded purple hearts for those injured and killed in both attacks. Bledsoe was convicted in July 2011 in Arkansas for murder sentenced to life imprisonment. After more than five years of delays, a military tribunal will hear charges against Maj. Hasan perhaps in the spring of 2015.
Following the President’s re-election in 2012 several developments occurred to upend the 2011 counterterrorism doctrine. Among those was the rising importance of a web of Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen, North Africa, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria and Iraq. The eruption of the Arab Spring in December 2010 in Tunisia, followed by popular uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Syria in 2011 masked the rise of more troubling Salafist terrorist groups that adhered to a fundamentalist apocalyptic doctrine of Jihad. The overthrow and ouster of autocrats Muammar Qaddafi in Libya and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and outbreak of a civil war in Syria seeking the ouster of President Bashar Assad created a power vacuum. That resulted in the rapid emergence of both AQ and more extremist Salafist militias. The Administration’s failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement in 2011 with the former regime of Premier Maliki in Iraq, fostered a deepening sectarian divide among dominant Shia, minority Sunni and Kurds.
In April 2013, the spectacular Boston Marathon bombing suddenly brought back the issue of home grown terrorism. This time arising from the Chechen refugee émigré community with accusations that the massacre that killed three and injured more than 200 may have been fostered by radical mosques. The lack of commitment by the Administration to contend with the roiling civil war in Syria created the opening for the metamorphosis of Al Qaeda in Iraq. It was headed by a former US prisoner in Iraq, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi who inherited the leadership of the savage Salafist group. AQI was created by Al Qaeda operative Jordanian Abu Musab Al Zawakiri. AQI entered the civil war fray in Syria. A military cadre composed of former Ba’athists officers under the late Saddam Hussein formed the core of its burgeoning Salafist military force. Thus, enabling blitzkrieg victories in Syria and Iraq and the capture of key towns in Anbar province in Western Iraq. That set the stage for the debacle of the summer of 2014 and creation of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant, originally ISIL. The nadir was the rout of Iraqi national forces and capture of Mosul in June 2014 with billions in war booty, gold, and oil fields in both Syria and Iraq. Al Baghdadi rose to a rostrum in a mosque in Raqaa, Syria and declared an Islamic State (IS) ruled under the strict adherence to barbaric Islamic Tawhid doctrine.
Besides the war booty, the IS created a sophisticated appeal that it was the original messenger of Islam as decreed by Mohammed and chronicled in the Qur’anic canon. That message in several languages recruited tens of thousands of young foreign fighters attracted by the message that was what Islam represented. Through sophisticated use of social media, on-line videos and webzines in several languages, the IS brought in thousands of young impressionable Muslims from the across the global Muslim Ummah. IS forces conquered a great swath of Syria and Iraq, nearly equivalent to an area the size of Great Britain. It captured dozens of Western journalists, humanitarian workers, some of whom they released for huge ransoms, others were graphically beheaded. The grisly sight of Americans, British, Christians, Jews, Muslims, ancient religious minorities being crucified, slaughtered and enslaved in Syria and Iraq came to a head in mid-August 2014. The American public clamored that something had to be done to stop ISIS when a video was released depicting the beheadings of American photo journalist James Foley and American Israeli Steven Sotloff.
On the eve of the 13th Anniversary of 9/11 in a nationally televised address, President Obama announced an unlimited air campaign s to “degrade and destroy IS or ISIL.” Then in quick succession we had attacks by Muslim extremists in Ottawa, New York, Oklahoma City and Sydney in late 2014. In January and February 2015 in Paris and Copenhagen 19 persons including journalists and cartoonists were killed by domestic Muslim terrorists inspired by IS. After an international gathering in Paris, on January 11, 2015 at which there was no senior US representation, President Obama dust off his December 2011 “violent extremism” plan announcing the Conference in mid-February 2015.
President Obama: We are not at War with Islam… but is Radical Islam at war with us?
On Wednesday, February 18, 2014 at a White House Summit, President Obama presented his views on countering “violent extremism.” He suggested that Islamic terrorists misappropriate Islamic doctrine, exploit disaffected youths in communities across the US and globally throughout the Ummah – the community of Muslim believers. He suggested that youths prone to radicalization outside the US may be victimized by poverty, without job opportunities and oppressed by corrupt regimes. Countering violent extremism he suggests is a multi-pronged approach involving economic programs, political reform and community involvement to halt radicalization. His focus in the US was on creating community partnerships and pilot projects in several American cities, endeavoring to integrate Muslims in America, preserving and protecting their civil rights under our constitution against untoward surveillance. The President gathered Muslim and other religious clerics from the US and abroad, community leaders, law enforcement, homeland security officials, and high tech entrepreneurs seeking means of stopping radicalization of youths. These youths are attracted by the “successes” of the Islamic State blasted around the world via the internet, tens of thousands of tweets, high production videos and on-line webzines in a number of languages including English.
Watch this C-Span video excerpt of the President’s remarks at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism:
Nowhere in his remarks did the President explain what the Islamic doctrine is that has attracted tens of thousands of foreign fighters, Americans among them, to be recruited to the cause of this self-styled Caliphate, the Islamic State (IS). What he has called ISIL, the Islam State in the Levant (ISIL) is a reference to the broad geographic area that stretches from the eastern Mediterranean coast to the Persian Gulf. Those “successes” include videos of the savagery perpetrated against the hated kuffars, meaning infidels, including Christians, Jews, ancient religious minorities and apostate Muslims. Those videos show barbaric beheadings, burnings, crucifixions, mass shootings and enslavement. The President mentioned recent incidents in Paris, Copenhagen, Ottawa and Sydney of attacks on victims without naming the victims; leftists, free thinkers, Christians and Jews. Neither did he identify the perpetrators. However, he used the unfortunate murder of three Muslims in North Carolina by an alleged atheist insinuating that it may have been a hate crime equivalent to antisemitism. Interestingly, 60 percent of FBI hate crimes reported involve antisemitic acts, such as vandalism spray painted on garage doors in Madison, Wisconsin last weekend. Less than 12 percent of such FBI reports involve hate crimes against Muslims. Coincidentally, the ADL, which the White House invited to the Summit, released a report, Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2014, identifying American Muslims involved in perpetrating violent hate crimes and others arrested in the process of leaving to join IS.
February 18th coincided with Ash Wednesday in the Christian calendar signifying the onset of the 40 days of Lent. The ashes of burned palm fronds daubed on the foreheads of professing Christians as an emblem of penitence reflects the biblical injunction about the fragility of life as stated in Genesis: 3:19: “For dust you are and to dust you shall return.” Notice of recent atrocities committed against Christians by IS was reflected in remarks by Pope Francis in Rome and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. Pope Francis remarked about the by masked IS followers on the shores of Libya beheading of 21 Coptic Christians communicating a message to all Nations of the Cross that conquest of Rome could follow, “they are Christians, the blood of our brothers and sisters cries out.” Following the slaughter of Christians in Libya, the barbaric burning alive of 45 Kurdish captives held in cages was perpetrated by IS in Iraq.
Just prior to the mid-February White House Summit, The Atlantic Magazine published an article by Graeme Wood, What ISIS Really Wants which stated:
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
Russian historian at Connecticut Central State University, Professor Jay Bergman, wrote, “I read it. Superb. The [President] should read it. But of course…he won’t.”
According to Wood, IS bases all of its power and authority on a strict adherence to a Salafi literal interpretation of Islam and Sharia law, with almost a total focus on the doctrine of Tawhid. Tawhid calls for strict adherence to the laws of Allah as revealed by the Prophet Mohammed. Further that all man-made laws and systems must be rejected. IS considers, any Muslim who doesn’t adhere to the doctrine of Tawhid, an infidel, including “core Al Qaeda” and other Salafists who object to IS public displays of savagery.
Wood reveals the Tawhid doctrine of IS citing spokesman Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani and Western experts like Professor Bernard Heykal at Princeton. Wood interviewed proponents of these same Salafist Jihadist views exemplified by “prophetic methodology” of the exemplar Mohammed, Allah’s messenger. Among leading Salafists in the West interviewed by Wood is Sheik Anjem Choudary in the UK, a subject of monitoring by Mi-5 for his radical views. Wood’s interview with Australian radical Muslim preacher and IS recruiter Musa Cerantonio, reveals the apocalyptic end time vision espoused by Salafists. Wood explains how IS is faithful to foundational Islam anchored in Sharia and Islamic legal rulings, frequently citing them to justify its feats of savage barbarity. He also notes how the leaders of the Islamic State, considers the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and even other Salafists as takfir, apostates, subject to the death penalty.
One illustration Wood cites is the IS justification for enslavement of infidel women as sex slave war booty like the Yazidis captured in Sinjar in northern Iraq. The Yazidis are an ancient Kurdish religious minority scattered throughout the Near East with a concentration in Iraq and Syria. They had incorporated elements of Muslim beliefs into its primordial Zoroastrianism. See below what The Tennessee Task Force on National and Homeland Security Council (TTFNHSC) uncovered – a bill of sale of Yazid/Christian women sex slaves auctioned as war booty following their capture at Sinjar, Iraq:
“Price List–Sale of Booty. We have been informed that the market for sale of women had been witnessing a reduction in price which affects the needs for the Islamic State and the funding for the Mujahideen. For this, the commerce department had decided to set a fixed price regarding the sale of women. Therefore, all auctioneers are to abide by this and anyone who breaks the rules will be executed.”
PRICE (in Dinar) MERCHANDISE
IQD 50,000 ($42.17) age 40-50/Yezidi/Christian
IQD 75,000 ($63.26) age 30-40/Yezidi/Christian
IQD 100,000 ($84.35) age 20-30/Yezidi/Christian
IQD 150,000 ($126.52) age 10-20/Yezidi/Christian
IQD 200,000 ($168.69) age 1-9/Yezidi/Christian
Limit to 3 Sex Slaves with exception to foreign sales to Turks, Syrians and Gulf states.”
The Wood Atlantic article on IS has touched a nerve of the Muslim Brotherhood front group leaders in America like Nihad Awad of CAIR and fellow travelers on the Left. Note these excerpts from The Progress Magazine: What The Atlantic Gets Dangerously Wrong About ISIS And Islam:
The article is deeply researched, and makes observations about the core religious ideas driving ISIS — namely, a dark, bloodthirsty theology that revolves around an apocalyptic narrative in which ISIS’s black-clad soldiers believe they are playing a pivotal role.
Despite this, Wood’s article has encountered staunch criticism and derision from many Muslims and academics who study Islam. After the article was posted online, Islamic studies Facebook pages and listserves were reportedly awash with comments from intellectuals blasting the article as, among other things, “quite shocking.” The core issue, they say, is that Wood appears to have fallen prey to an inaccurate trope all too common in many Western circles: that ISIS is an inevitable product of Islam, mainly because the Qur’an and other Islamic texts contain passages that support its horrific acts.
In his article, Wood acknowledged that most Muslims don’t support ISIS, as the sheer number of Muslim groups who have disavowed the terrorist organization or declared it un-Islamic is overwhelming. Yet he repeatedly hints that non-literal Islamic arguments against the terrorist group are useless because justifications for violence are present in texts Muslims hold sacred.
“…simply denouncing the Islamic State as un-Islamic can be counterproductive, especially if those who hear the message have read the holy texts and seen the endorsement of many of the caliphate’s practices written plainly within them.” Wood writes. “Muslims can say that slavery is not legitimate now, and that crucifixion is wrong at this historical juncture. Many say precisely this. But they cannot condemn slavery or crucifixion outright without contradicting the Koran and the example of the Prophet.”
Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, expressed a similar sentiment in an interview with Raw Story on Tuesday. He argued that in addition to Wood’s piece being “full of factual mistakes,” its de facto endorsement of literalistic Qur’anic interpretations amounts to an advertisement for ISIS’s horrific theology.
“Scholars who study Islam, authorities of Islamic jurisprudence, are telling ISIS that they are wrong, and Mr. Wood knows more than what they do, and he’s saying that ISIS is Islamic?” Awad said. “I don’t think Mr. Wood has the background or the scholarship to make that dangerous statement, that historically inaccurate statement. In a way, I think, he is unintentionally promoting ISIS and doing public relations for ISIS.”
Awad also noted that Wood used “jihad” and “terrorism” interchangeably, which implicitly endorses ISIS’s argument that their savage practices (terrorism) are a spiritually justified religious duty (jihad). In addition, there is a major issue with Wood’s offhand reference to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as “the first caliph in generations”: although a caliphate can be established by force, a caliph, by definition, implies the majority support of Muslims (which ISIS does not have) and caliphates are historically respectful of other religious traditions (which ISIS certainly is not).
Wood’s piece extensively quotes Bernard Haykel, a Princeton scholar the journalist relies on heavily throughout the article, who says Muslim leaders who condemn ISIS as un-Islamic are typically “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion.” This stands in stark contrast to the bold statements from respected Muslim scholars all over the globe challenging ISIS’s Islamic claims.
“The majority of [Muslims] do not subscribe to [ISIS’s] view of their religion. But they do subscribe to the idea of emulating the Prophet Muhammad, upholding the text, and upholding the tradition, but come up with very different end points about what that looks like.”
“It’s not like these Muslims are ‘kind-of Muslims.’ They’re Muslims who are committed to the prophetic example in the texts and the Qur’an.”
These criticisms from leftist allies of CAIR leader Awad fail when you look at specific examples of what Wood was addressing in his article on IS. A Tennessee National and Homeland Council Brief No. 2015-0B151 notes that the seventh Issue of IS publication Dabiq has an article, “The Extinction of the Grayzone” charging several Muslims with being, takfir, apostates, for criticism of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Among them is a self-styled Salafist, Imam Yasir Qadhi, head of the Memphis Islamic Center in Tennessee. IS suggests that his by actions, Qadhi has abandoned his faith and calls for killing him and his mosques to be rejected. The TTFNHSC brief notes this about Qadhi:
Imam Yasir Qadhi is a Salafi Muslim who is on record calling for strict adherence to the Islamic doctrine of Tawhid, which demands the rejection of any form of man-made government. In a 2009 video, Qadhi described the concept of Tawhid and states that Christians and Jews are “filthy and impure,” and that, in Jihad, their lives and property are legal for Muslims to take. Qadhi’s description of the doctrine of Tawhid is the same interpretation espoused by Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri.
Other Muslim Salafists that IS deems violators of Tawhid cited in the same Dabiq article “include the spokesman of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the leading cleric of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and American Imam Hamza Yusuf.” An October issue of Dabiq even derogated “core” Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawihiri for his lack of adherence to the IS strict version of Tawhid, especially its public acts of savagery. The title of the IS publication, Dabiq, is taken from the site of the 16th Century battle that saw the conquest of Syria by Ottoman forces at the town of the same name located 44 kilometers from Aleppo.
The Irrelevance of the Administration Messaging: “Think Again Turn Away”
On Thursday, February 19, 2015, President Obama spoke in the State Department auditorium before an audience of representatives from 60 countries dealing with the threat of “violent extremism.” The White House and State Department have made it abundantly clear that they refuse to identify the perpetrators and the victims of the Paris Charlie Hebdo and Kosher Supermarket attacks, the attacks in Copenhagen, among them Jews, and the grisly beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by ISIS. The critics of this no-name policy suggest that if you cannot define the threat of radical Islam and its basis, Qur’anic doctrine and Sharia Islamic law,you cannot realistically develop a strategy for “degrading “and” defeating” the Islamic State.
Given atrocities in Libya and the subsequent attack by Egypt’s Air Force, the conflict with IS has expanded to include Sunni Muslim states and the broader Western world, given the attacks in France, Belgium and Denmark, as well as America, Britain and Canada. Thus the “violent extremism” conference focused on warning potential IS recruits of foreign fighters from across the globe to “Think Again, Turn Away.” That message is being refined by the State Department Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) set up under an executive order issued by President Obama in 2011. The CSCC has a daunting task. According to its website:
CSCC is comprised of three interactive components. The integrated analysis component leverages the Intelligence Community and other substantive experts to ensure CSCC communicators benefit from the best information and analysis available. The plans and operations component draws on this input to devise effective ways to counter the terrorist narrative. The Digital Outreach Team actively and openly engages in Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, and Somali to counter terrorist propaganda and misinformation about the United States across a wide variety of interactive digital environments that had previously been ceded to extremists.
As a New York Times (NYT) article on the conference pointed out the State Department CSCC coordinator, Ambassador Alberto Fernandez is leaving shortly after trying to lead the messaging effort across a broad spectrum of competing internal State, Homeland Security and intelligence echelons. This comment by former State Department counterterrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin sums up why Fernandez will retire in April, 2015. “After its first year or two, it was never taken seriously and got little support from higher-ups.”
The CSCC has endeavored to communicate that the IS Salafist jihadist slick presentations in videos, tweets and Face book pages corrupts the central message of Islam of “peace and justice” – that is only to adherents of the faith. In point of fact, the IS following in the way of Allah, Jihad.
How slick is the IS agit-propaganda spewed out on-line to the unwary recruit? One recent example is reflected in a new release translated by MEMRI, entreating recruits to come to Libya and join the gateway to the Conquest of Rome – a thought that should be unnerving to Pope Francis. The NYT CSCC article cited as examples of effective “messaging”:
One online image two years ago, for instance, showed photographs of three American men who traveled to Somalia and died there, including Omar Hammami, a young man from Alabama who became an infamous Islamist militant. The accompanying message reads, “They came for jihad but were murdered by Al Shabaab.”
Another image showed a young man weeping over a coffin. The message read, “How can slaughtering the innocent be the right path?”
Each of the online posts carried a warning: “Think again. Turn away.”
Last June, Islamic State supporters warned fighters to beware of the center’s Twitter account and not to interact with it.
The reality of the CSCC mission, is that Islam has been corrupted – to quote Egyptian President Al-Sisi – by the origin of IS, Al Qaeda, and originally, the Muslim Brotherhood. As late as January 2015, the State Department was caught in a conference with alleged Egyptian MB leaders. There were graphic messages on twitter set against the backdrop of the Seal of the State Department by one of the participants flashing the “rabbia” hand sign – a signal to support ousted President Morsi and hundreds of others currently being tried for sedition in Egypt. Last May, the State Department was embarrassed by a tweet it sent about the presence at a White House meeting on messaging with Sheik Bin Bayyah, a deputy to notorious MB preacher, Yusuf Al Qaradawi. Bin Bayyah had been there before along with another Egyptian legislator and member of a terrorist group in 2013.
The President’s Conference on Violent Extremism is being stage managed by a skilled media expert, Richard Stengel, former Time Magazine managing editor, who was appointed in 2013 as Undersecretary Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Stengel will be assisted at the Conference by Ambassador Rashad Hussein, current Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and former Deputy White House Counsel with MB connections. There were Islamic extremists among the attendees at the Conference. Prominent among them was Salam Al- Marayati of MPACT who is a 9/11 truther who has never withdrawn his claims that Israel was behind the attack in lower Manhattan. He also suggested that American Revolutionary iconic figures like Patrick Henry were supporting Jihad with statements like “give me liberty or give me death.” Al-Marayati was on record supporting terror group Hezbollah and was denied nomination to a Clinton era National Commission on Terrorism. Breitbart News published a list of other extremists. Investigations by Charles Jacobs and Ilya Feoktistov of Americans for Peace and Justice of Conference attendees associated with the Islamic Society of Boston Mosque who thwarted the FBI investigation of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Stengel admits that countering the ISIS supremacy in messaging its appeal to young impressionable Muslim recruits is daunting. He was cited by the New York Times saying, “We’re getting beaten on volume, so the only way to compete is by aggregating, curating and amplifying existing content…. These guys [meaning IS] aren’t BuzzFeed; they’re not invincible in social media.”
Last fall, Stengel was interviewed by the Voice of America while in the midst of the propaganda war with IS:
VOA: What are some challenges in terms of dealing or confronting the ISIS propaganda machine?
Stengel: There are a lot of challenges. They are very sophisticated. They will stop at nothing, so to speak. They are not bound by the truth in any way. There are structural problems in the Middle East and the Arab world that can sometimes make Daesh’s ideology attractive, attractive to young men who don’t have jobs, who don’t see a great future for themselves, who have only heard a kind of misbegotten idea of Islam. So that is part of the challenge. What we’re trying to say, along with the coalition partners, is that Daesh is not the true face of Islam, it doesn’t represent what the prophet or the Koran stands for, and that the vision they’re creating of a caliphate is a false vision where none of the things they say are true are true.
Clearly, Stengel is toeing the White House line that IS is “misinterpreting’”Islam, even as some scholars believe it is reflecting the core doctrine of Salafist/Jihad.
USC Professor of Journalism and International Relations Phillip Seib in a CPD article suggested that countering ISIS messaging capability is in the wrong place at State’s CSCC. Rather it should be transferred to the CIA. He wrote:
A much more effective approach to combat their message would be a bare-knuckles operation: no disclaimers and a product that matches up better against the videos coming from Al Hayat, ISIL’s video production arm (the name stolen from the pan-Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat).
These videos should feature imams denouncing ISIL’s tactics and women urging their sisters not to be enticed by ISIL’s recruiting messages. They should include video testimony from disillusioned ISIL fighters who have returned home. And they should show the ravaged Muslim communities that have been attacked by ISIL. But few anti-ISIL speakers want to participate in a State Department-branded video. And even fewer jihadist recruits believe it. American credibility in the region remains low, and many Muslims are wary of a new round of U.S. involvement in their homelands.
Countering violent extremism as propounded by President Obama evaded his responsibility to identify the radical Islamic doctrine of IS. He engaged in the delusion that by campaigning for community organization, jobs and faith based programs we might prevent radicalization of Muslim youths. Instead he should listen to the wise counsel of former DIA chief, Army Gen. Michael Flynn, who in media interviews and testimony before the House Armed Services Committee called for a global war against IS. Flynn suggested the first cornerstone of a strategy to “degrade” and “defeat” IS is to define the ideology behind radical Islamic extremism. The fact that liberal publications like The Atlantic have exposed the barbarity of strict adherence to Tawhid in Islam clearly communicates that destroying IS through the exercise of American and allied military power should be the first order of business.
The President’s “violent extremism” Conference in Washington demonstrated that soft power is trumped by raw Islamic Jihad every time. That is embodied in failure to recognize the Qur’anic doctrine behind the rise of IS. To paraphrase the CSCC motto, “Think Again, Turn Away” from Taqiyya – lying for Allah.
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