by Daniel Pipes
Translations of this item:
The news last week that two Muslim military personnel, James Yee and Ahmad al-Halabi, had been arrested on suspicion of aiding Al-Qaeda prisoners at Guantánamo Bay (with another three Muslim servicemen under watch) seemed to prompt much surprise. It should not have.
It has been obvious for months that Islamists who despise America have penetrated U.S. prisons, law enforcement, and armed forces. In February, a milestone Wall Street Journal article established that imams who consider Osama bin Laden "a hero of Allah" dominate the Islamic chaplaincy in the New York state prison system.
In March, I documented the case of FBI Special Agent Gamal Abdel-Hafiz: His superiors not only overlooked this immigrant's pattern of pro-Islamist behavior, they promoted him.
And at least six prior cases of Islamist servicemen have come to light:
The Akbar incident prompted Deanne Stillman of Slate magazine to conclude that Islamists "may be infiltrating the military in order to undermine it."
That infiltration also has a mundane quality; take the example of Nabil Elibiary: An Islamist who protests the "defaming" of bin Laden and defends polygamy, he also led the holiday prayer service at an Air Force base early this year.
Executive-branch insistence on "terrorism" being the enemy, rather than militant Islam, permits this Islamist penetration.
And it continues. The Defense Department responded last week to the chaplain's arrest by defending its hiring practices. Only under external pressure, notably from Sens. Chuck Schumer and Jon Kyl, did it agree to reassess them. Even then, the Pentagon insisted on reviewing the appointments of all 2,800 military chaplains - rather than the 12 Muslims among them.
Political correctness run amok! Which Christian or Jewish chaplains would be accused (as the Washington Times has reported of their Muslim colleague Yee) of "sedition aiding the enemy, spying, espionage and failure to obey a general order"? By pretending not to see that the enemy emerges from one source, the authorities dilute their focus, render their review nearly meaningless and endanger security.
The U.S. government needs to use common sense and focus on militant Islam. It should consider such steps as:
Ironically, the Defense Department finds it easier to kill Islamists in Afghanistan than to exclude them from its own ranks. But only if the latter is carried out can Americans be confident their government is fully protecting them.
Feb. 12, 2004 update: For newer examples of this pattern, see my weblog entry, "More Pentagon Jihadis."
Aug. 12, 2008 update: On the related subject of Islamists in the U.S. security services, see my article, "The West's Islamist Infiltrators," which builds on a longer weblog entry, "Islamists Penetrate Western Security."
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