From The Investigative Project on Terrorism
Rep. Sherman, Emerson, Ponder State Department Reforms
July 31, 2008
The State Department has collaborated with many radical Islamist organizations and individuals in its attempts to engage in outreach to the American Muslim community at large, Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) Executive Director Steven Emerson told a congressional panel Thursday. Many of the individuals in charge of these organizations, and the organizations themselves, have been convicted, indicted, or designated as unindicted co-conspirators in terrorism cases throughout the United States.
(For detailed examples, see Emerson's complete written testimony here.)
Emerson's appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade came despite the protests of some of the same Islamist organizations. Emerson urged Congress to review the State Department's interaction with these organizations in its attempts to reach out to the Muslim community.
Emerson outlined some of the more troubling aspects of participation with these groups: namely their ties to terrorist entities and promotion of radical Islamic ideology. A number of groups that the State Department has cooperated with have links to entities such as Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hizballah - which are designated as terrorist organizations by the United States government. The groups partnering with the State Department help to support an ideology that focuses on eliminating secular Western powers and promoting their stringent ideas of Sharia law, or law as governed by Islamic text.
In response to the protests [from various Moslem groups], Congressman Sherman issued a press release in which he stated, "This hearing will go on. We need to make sure that the State Department is not giving U.S. tax dollars to those on the other side in the war on terrorism." He added "The Muslim Public Affairs Council should apologize for the statements of its executive director on September 11, 2001."
MPAC, ISNA and a constellation of other radical groups and individuals have been supported by the State Department. Perhaps Thursday's testimony will signal a turning point, seeing the State Department implement stricter guidelines to avoid past mistakes and embarrassments, which have damaged America's national security.
"I think one of the greatest fears of people in the United States is somebody may call you a racist...they may call you an Islamophobe," he said in the hearing. "And what we've seen with some of these organizations is their message is clear: ‘Give us money or we'll call you an Islamophobe'...that's what they say to the State Department. What they say to us in Congress is ‘Don't question the fact that we're getting money or we'll call you an Islamophobe.'"
Regular IBA readers might not find much new in the report, but it does serve as a good review. Whether or not Congress and the State Department will take appropriate action remains to be seen. I'm not holding my breath.
Labels: Always On Watch, IPT, Steven Emerson, terrorist infiltration