The United States is not engaged in the war of ideas
By Frank Salvato
The United States and governments of the West must use every means available to combat Islamofascist aggression and expansion, both here in the West and in the Middle East. One of the most critical aspects in the war against Islamofascism is the war of ideas. This aspect represents the battle between the Wahhabi, Salafist and radical factions of the Sunni and Shi'ite sects of Islam and the ideology of inalienable rights as embraced by Western Civilization.
If we in the West are to neutralize the aggressive Islamofascist threat to our way of life we must engage in the war of ideas; we must engage in a campaign of disseminating accurate and honest information about the Western culture to those who least understand our way of life, circumventing those who spread propaganda.
There are several avenues exploited by Islamofascists in the proliferation of the extremist ideology, chief among them is the madrasah. Although the literal translation of madrasah is "school," for our purposes we will focus on the madrasahs that engage in the teaching of the Islamic religious dogma.
A typical madrasah usually offers two courses of study: a hifz course (the memorization of the Quran) and an 'alim course leading the candidate to become an accepted scholar in the community. A regular curriculum includes courses in Arabic, Quranic interpretation (Tafsir), Islamic law (Shariah), recorded sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad (Hadith), logic (Mantiq), and Muslim history.
In a great many madrasahs throughout the world – most notably Pakistan, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia – the teachings have a militant and agenda-driven bent and include ideological and political indoctrination, a constituent of which is promulgating hatred against the West and Western Civilization.
Another avenue for indoctrination and the dissemination of radical thought are mosques, both throughout the Middle East and in the West. Although traditionally a place of worship for those of the Islamic faith, mosques have become the centralizing entity for local Islamic communities.
In the 1980s, the Saudi Arabian government began to finance the construction of mosques in countries around the world. An estimated $45 billion has been spent by the Saudis to finance the building and operational costs of mosques and Islamic schools in foreign countries, including in North America.
Through the funding of mosques and their operations Saudi Arabia is able to export their Wahhabi, or Salifist ideology. In mosques financed by the Saudis it is not unusual to find that the presiding cleric and doctrine have been vetted by the Muslim Brotherhood.
One mosque used to radicalize and indoctrinate members into jihadi organizations is the al Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn, New York. This mosque helped to funnel millions of dollars to al Qaeda and was a frequent place of worship for many radicalized Muslims including those who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 and several of the hijackers that eventually brought down the World Trade Center in 2001.
In the war of ideas, perhaps the most effective method used by radical Islamists and jihadi organizations to disseminate their propaganda and ideology is the media, both in the Middle East in the form of al Jazeera, al Manar and al Arabia and to a lesser extent in the West through the agendized mainstream media.
To see some of the extremist propaganda disseminated by Middle Eastern news agencies and corporations one need only to logon to MEMRI.org. This organization is dedicated to translating the media publications and broadcasts of the Middle East into English. Some of the writings and programs illustrate the blatant indoctrination techniques used – especially with Arab children – by those dedicated to spreading hatred of the West and the United States in particular.
In the United States, the mainstream media has become so agendized that the practice of editorializing news items has become common place, so much so that the practice is being taught in our schools of journalism.
Recent Pew Research Center studies have proven time and time again that mainstream media in the West – and in the United States in particular – are so politically and ideologically slanted that a clear and untainted reporting of the news is almost impossible to attain.
Further, Internet information aggregators, such as Google and Yahoo!, have been manipulating search results and search result placements. In China, for example, Google and Yahoo! censor search results to exclude non government friendly websites promoting democracy and Western ideology.
Recently, Google has been disqualifying news and commentary websites critical of radical Islam from their Google News aggregator. Although this is a blatant manipulation of unfettered access to accurate, substantiated information on one of the most critical topics of our times, because they are not a government entity, because they are from the private sector, they are not bound by the First Amendment political free speech constitutional mandate.
Possible legal action on behalf of those being censored by Google is currently being considered by the Thomas Moore Law Center.
Finally, but certainly not because of their lack of potency, are the so-called Islamic civil rights organizations here in the United States.
One such organization is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial currently underway in Dallas, Texas, and is directly affiliated with the Hamas terrorist organization. CAIR is actively engaged in a propaganda campaign aimed at pacifying the concerns of our government, its law enforcement agencies and the American people.
One of the main allegations against CAIR is that it attempts to suppress criticism of Islamic terrorism and intolerance through accusations of racism and anti-Muslim bias. CAIR is aggressively waging a campaign of what is being termed "litigation jihad" against anyone and everyone who dares to question the motives of those affiliated with radical Islamist activity or Islamofascist organizations. A primary source for their legal abilities comes in the form of financial aid from the Saudi government.
CAIR Chairman Emeritus, Omaer Ahmad, once said, "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant, that the Koran should be the highest authority in America, and that Islam should be the only accepted religion on Earth."
But the most startling revelation concerning our struggle against aggressive Islamofascism is that the United States is not engaged in the war of ideas. There hasn't been one initiative or program developed to engage the ideological forces of radical Islam. Our enemy in the global war against radical Islam stands unopposed on the ideological battlefield.
Recently, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) queried senior US intelligence and security officials on what was being done by our government to counter the radical jihadist ideology both domestically and internationally.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III responded that the FBI has no counter-ideology response other than its "outreach" to Muslim-American communities so they "understand the FBI." This "outreach program" explains the inner-workings of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and little else.
Asked if the FBI had a responsibility to wage a war of ideas, Mueller responded, "You put that where I would say no, that it would not be our responsibility, for any religion, to engage in the war of ideas."
The FBI's responsibility, he said, is "to explain that once one goes over the line and it becomes not a war of ideas but a criminal offense, this is what you can expect, and to elicit the support of those in whatever religious community to assist us in assuring that those who cross that line are appropriately investigated and convicted."
Retired Vice Admiral Scott Redd, head of the National Counterterrorism Center who has a strategic operational role in countering terrorism, said one of the "four pillars" of the US war strategy is the "war of ideas," but he noted that there is no "home office" for that effort in the United States.
Retired Vice Admiral Mike McConnell, Director of National Intelligence, said the intelligence community does not engage in any battle of ideas against domestically located terrorists or their support nexus unless there is a foreign connection.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said nothing is being done domestically to battle Islamist extremist ideas. The DHS Incident Management Team, he said, is focused on civil rights or civil liberties — not fighting terrorists' ideology.
In summary, the United States of America is not engaged in the war of ideas in any way, shape or form anywhere in the world including on our own soil. In contrast, the enemy is fully engaged and succeeding in their mission.
Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. His organization, Basics Project, is partnered in producing the first-ever national symposium series on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.