Air Force grants equal time to critics of alleged ex-terroristsHERE is Mr. Shoebat's rebuttal to those challenging his "credentials." His web site is HERE.
February 28, 2008
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – The Air Force Academy has invited three speakers to give their vision of Islam after remarks made by three self-described former terrorists that some in the audience believed were condemnations of all Muslims.
Mikey Weinstein, head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, former U.S. ambassador to Niger Joe Wilson and Islamic expert Reza Aslan, a research associate at the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy, will speak to cadets April 9 at a forum on terrorism.
Academy officials invited the three amid criticism of the appearances of Walid Shoebat, Kamal Saleem and Zachariah Anani at a Feb. 6 forum on the topic, “Dismantling Terrorism.”
Although academy spokesman Johnny Whitaker said this was not in response to the criticism, he acknowledged that it occurred only after the complaints were made.
Academy officials insisted that Shoebat, Saleem and Anani, who claim to have abandoned terrorism after converting to Christianity, are genuine.
Maj. Brett Ashworth, academy spokesman, said the three had been checked out by Air Force intelligence. Ashcroft disputed reports that the three had pushed a Christian agenda during the February forum and had insisted in advance they would not be proselytizing on behalf of Christianity.
An Air Force task force also concluded there was no religious discrimination at the academy but noted some cadets and staff were insensitive. In February 2006, the Air Force adopted new guidelines cautioning top officers about promoting their religious views.
Shoebat has published an online autobiography describing his journey from membership in the Palestine Liberation Organization to Israeli sympathizer. Saleem says he also is a former member of the PLO, and Zak Anani describes himself as a former member of several Lebanese terrorist groups. The three appear together regularly.
The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations criticized the speakers, saying one of them, Shoebat, has said that “Islam is the devil.”
The only member of the three self-described former terrorists who could be reached this week defended his credibility. He said he could “not really” speak for the other two.
“I am who I am,” said Shoebat.
Asked if he gave up terrorism after converting to Christianity, Shoebat said, “Absolutely.”
His publicist, Keith Davies, said Shoebat never killed anyone but had once tried unsuccessfully tried to lynch an Israeli soldier. Davies said Shoebat tossed a bomb at an Israeli bank that injured no one, and that Shoebat was jailed by the Israelis but released because he is a U.S. citizen.
Davies also said Shoebat has been in hiding because of what he called threats from Arabs.
On March 14, 2008, Mr. Shoebat is the scheduled guest for The Gathering Storm Radio Show, which WC and I cohost. We will, of course, be addressing for a few minutes the recent "challenge" to Mr. Shoebat's identity and allow him on-air time to state his position on that matter and, for most of the hour, on material from his book Why We Want to Kill You: The Jihadist Mindset and How to Defeat It. An outstanding book, in my view, and recommended reading for all infidels here at IBA.