Obama's Muslim Outreach, Kareem Shora And The Department Of Homeland Security
November 30, 2009
Obama's Muslim Outreach, Kareem Shora And The Department Of Homeland Security
By WILLIAM MAYER and BEILA RABINOWITZ
November 30, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - The ADC [Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee] was founded in 1980 by James Zogby [brother of pollster John Zogby, within whose organization - Zogby International - he serves as Senior Analyst] and former U.S. Senator James Abourezk [D-SD].
At its outset the organization was understood as being dedicated to representing the interests of all Arab American citizens, a demographic which surprisingly for some, is more heavily Christian than Muslim, though that gap appears to be shrinking.
"The majority of Arab Americans are Christian..." [source, PBS, Caught in the Crossfire, http://www.pbs.org/itvs/caughtinthecrossfire/arab_americans.html]
Steadily over the years though, the group has strayed from its original roots, transitioning more towards advocacy of radical Palestinian politics and Muslim apologetics.
According to Discover the Networks, some of the ADC's past leaders have made extreme statements regarding Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group created by the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah, Iran's proxy army.
"In 1994, then-ADC President Hamzi Moghrabi said, "I will not call [Hamas] a terrorist organization. I mean, I know many people in Hamas. They are very respectable … I don't believe Hamas, as an organization, is a violent organization." Two years later, his successor, Hala Maksoud, defended Hamas' partner in Mideastern terrorism, Hezbollah. "I find it shocking," Maksoud said, "that [one] would include Hezbollah in … [an] inventory of Middle East 'terrorist' groups." In 2000, new ADC President Hussein Ibish characterized Hezbollah as "a disciplined and responsible liberation force." James Abourezk called Hamas and Hezbollah "resistance fighters." [source, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6173 ]
According to this same source the, "ADC formerly ran ads in its publication ADC Times for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development."
In 2008 the Holy Land Foundation and all five of the defendants were convicted of funneling at least $12 million to Hamas. [source, Dallas Morning News, Holy Land Foundation defendants guilty on all counts, http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/112508dnmetholylandverdicts.1e5022504.html ]. This case - U.S. vs. Holy Land Foundation, et al. - remains the largest successful prosecution of the terrorist funding network in American history.
In addition to this controversial history, the ADC has authored numerous studies claiming that since 9/11 the Muslim community has suffered a "backlash," resulting in a litany of discriminatory practices, many allegedly at the hands of the federal government. The allegations are serious, including but not limited to "public discrimination," violations of basic civil liberties, "discriminatory immigration policies," "secret detentions," police and FBI "misconduct," etc. [see, Report on Hate Crimes and Discrimination Against Arab Americans, http://www.adc.org/PDF/hcr02.pdf ]
The polemics derived from this manner of outlook share a number of attributes:
1. They ignore the fact that aside from the nearly 3,000 civilian victims of the September 11 attack, that American society and really all of Western civilization were at the same time being targeted. For a fuller development of the politico-religious justification for such actions and the extent to which they represent a far-reaching cultural indictment of the West, refer to any of al-Qaeda's numerous declarations of war, issued in the form of Islamic fatwas, or religious findings. [see, bin-Laden's 1996 document here, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/terrorism/international/fatwa_1996.html and the 1998 document here, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/terrorism/international/fatwa_1998.html ]
It is important to note that in recent years, the FBI has reported relatively few incidents of documented "hate crimes" committed against American Muslims, establishing the basis for these authors 2008 piece, http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=cairid=10.27.08.htm , CAIR Slapped Down Again - FBI "Hate Crime" Data Proves Islamophobia Almost Entirely Nonexistent]
"The total number of "hate crimes" committed in 2007 was 7,624. Of that number the following statistics were compiled on crimes whose origin was determined to be based on religious bigotry:
The FBI's unintentional debunking of what has become a primary weapon in the stealth jihadi's arsenal, lends credibility to the contention that ADC's methodology is agendized, junk research knitted from the same stuff which has now become standard boilerplate among domestic Islamist organizations, which take advantage of America's numerous freedoms in a cynical and subversive effort to incrementally advance their [Shari'a compliant] ideology into the public sphere.
This calculus is purely political, creating the false impression that a significant amount of discrimination exists, which allows the organization to then step into the breach, mightily aided by our widespread societal obeisance to the twin doctrines of diversity and multiculturalism.
So positioned, these single issue proselytizers are given wide entrée into institutions when in less confused times, they might be shown the door.
It is no accident that these efforts take place during a period of time when similar, but more grandiose efforts are being made to criminalize what the Islamists define as "insulting Islam." The reference here being the quickening efforts on the part of the 57 members of the UN's Organization of Islamic States [OIS] to criminalize criticism of Islam [also an important principle of the Shari'a] which these nations seek to impose globally.
Typical of ADC's outlook is the following rambling and arguably bizarre tract, taken from one of the organization's studies, which either intentionally or in a clumsy back-handed manner demonstrates the very bigotry it pretends to decry:
"It can be no surprise that such attacks come also from similar quarters: extreme right-wing Christian preachers with an ultraconservative political agenda. The Falwells and Robertsons of today are the direct political and intellectual descendants of the Father Coughlins of the '20s and '30s. Given that the attack on Islam is, in its essence, also an attack mainly focusing on Arabs, a further parallel is obvious: that the focus of such rarified fear and loathing has shifted from one group of Semites to another, with all of the bizarre racial anxiety that it suggests. It has long been the case that the principal caricatures and negative stereotypes of the Hollywood Arab have been reminiscent of the main tropes of anti-Semitism. The two favorite Jewish stereotypes of traditional anti-Semites were the rapacious Jewish banker and the wild-eyed, bomb throwing Jewish revolutionary. These calumnies find their contemporary parallels in the allconsuming, but dirty and vulgar, oil sheikh (the favorite Hollywood stereotype of the Arab in the '60s and '70s), which is the updated version of the Jewish moneylender or banker, and the insane Islamic terrorist bomber, the contemporary version of the fanatical Jewish bombthrowing revolutionary. Indeed, in the first quarter of the 20th-century in the United States and some other Western countries, the words terrorist and Jewish were virtually synonymous (as well as the terms Bolshevik and anarchist, for that matter). The cultural climate confronting Arab Americans and American Muslims in the current moment can probably best be described as a sort of "anti-Semitism lite," an analogous, but as yet, less onerous set of challenges as those facing Jewish Americans in the first 30 or 40 years of the last century. The irony is that in addition to the intellectual, political and religious heirs of Henry Ford and Father Coughlin, the forces of extreme right-wing reaction and the paranoid and chauvinistic version of ultraconservative Christianity, the other set of leading voices in the movement to promote fear and hatred of Arabs and Islam are themselves Jewish. Motivated, no doubt, by a profound commitment to Zionism and a misguided sense that promoting anti-Arab bigotry in the United States will serve Israel's interests, several of the leading figures in the campaign of anti-Arab defamation are Jewish supporters of Israel. Commentators such as Daniel Pipes and Steven Emerson, who have made careers out of attacking the Arab-American and Muslim communities from a right wing pro-Israel perspective, found a greatly increased space for their promotion of bigotry in the post 9/11 environment..." [source, ADC, Report on Hate Crimes and Discrimination and Arab Americans, the Post 9// Backlash, http://www.adc.org/PDF/hcr02.pdf ]
One of those responsible for the above document, listed under the heading "Legal Section," was Kareem Shora, then a rising star with ADC [destined to become its Executive Director] to whom we will return a little later in this piece.
Driven by these motivations, ADC has become litigious, undertaking numerous lawsuits - often joining with the ACLU and similar organizations - to effect the type of "remedies" which might well blunt efforts being taken by federal authorities to adequately defend U.S. national security.
A few examples of this brand of legal activism, all of which are referenced at the ADC's website, should suffice.
A 2005 press release [see, ADC Joins ACLU in Lawsuit Asking for Information Release on Possible FBI JTTF Spying on Political and Religious Groups, http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2504 ] outlines actions taken by the group to hamper or prevent much needed intelligence gathering. The statement makes clear ADC's presumption that mosques should be off limits to any kind of scrutiny, despite the fact that Muslim houses of worship/masjids/Islamic centers have played major roles, not only in the United States but globally, serving as central meeting places for jihadists.
A partial text of the PR release follows:
"In December, 2004, citing evidence that the FBI and local police are illegally spying on political, environmental and faith-based groups, ADC joined the ACLU in filing multiple FOIA requests around the country to uncover possible FBI JTTF spying activities on political and religious groups. The requests sought information about the FBI's use of the JTTF and local police to engage in political surveillance. As part of the request, the organizations also requested expedited processing on the ground that the records sought pertained to '[a] matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government's integrity which affect public confidence..."
In 2006 the ADC filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, [see, ADC Files Lawsuit Against Secretaries of State and Defense for Failure to Protect US Citizens in Lebanon, http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2865 ] that sought to prevent the state of Israel from defending itself against the ongoing rocket and other attacks perpetrated by Hezbollah, which operates out of a safe haven in Lebanon.
"Washington, DC July 24, 2006 Today, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld failed to fulfill their constitutional and professional obligations and protect US citizens in a crisis or time of war. In the lawsuit, ADC alleges that the defendants placed US citizens in peril by not taking all possible steps to secure the safety and well being of US citizens in Lebanon. Further, the lawsuit asks the Federal Court to issue an order compelling the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense to request a ceasefire and to stop any shipments of weapons or any other military support to Israel during the evacuation of all US citizens out of Lebanon."
In an undated ADC ""action alert" [see, Join ADC in Calling on US to Reciprocate Israeli Stance against US Citizens , http://capwiz.com/adc/issues/alert/?alertid=13977506 ] the group invokes an incomprehensible moral-relativism, seeking to punish Israel in its need to control access to the West Bank while the Jewish state remains under siege by Palestinian terrorists by demanding that the U.S. response should be to refuse to issue passports and entry visas to Israeli citizens seeking to gain access into America.
"In recent months, a new Israeli policy has been targeting US citizens and other foreign passport holders. US citizens crossing into the West Bank, many of whom may be of Arab descent, are given "PA Only" stamps on their passports which limit their travel. By doing this, Israel denies US citizens access to the vast majority of territory it controls in direct violation of Article II of the bilateral 1951 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation, a bilateral agreement with the United States, to allow for the free movement of citizens. The United States should act to protect the rights of its citizens and should respond accordingly to the Israeli policy that targets US citizens. The State Department has made it clear that it has already registered its complaint with the State of Israel over this policy. While the United States continues to uphold its end of the treaty; US citizens are limited in their travel by the State of Israel. The United States should not stand silent as Israel disenfranchises US citizens. If Israel failed to comply with US requests to terminate this policy, the United States should alter its policy reciprocally. The State Department can:
ADC's legal strategy, accompanied by the mounting of related action campaigns is crafted to force "ameliorative" [often punitive] actions, based upon the questionable proposition that Arab American and Muslim citizens have much to fear from their government, which is according to this reading, constantly acting in a discriminatory and harmful manner.
The organization justifies such actions upon the assertion that it is protecting Arab American's rights.
Though we previously cited the FBI's 2007 hate crime statistics, it is instructive to provide at this point some of the recently released data for 2008, which can be accessed in its entirety at the FBI website:
Category: Religion: 1,519 total
It's hard not to draw the conclusion based upon the FBI's most recent data that hate crimes against Muslims, rather than increasing - as the ADC seems to be alleging - are in reality decreasing.
When one considers that out of a total U.S. population of a little over 300,000,000, only 105 hate crimes were documented by our chief law enforcement agency, it's disingenuous to allege the widespread existence of Islamophobia in America; the hard facts don't support the charge.
Influence peddling, the name of the game
It seems clear from the foregoing that ADC's prime directive is to create and the bolster the impression that there exists widespread discrimination against its constituency with the ultimate goal being to create the conditions under which it, and similarly constituted groups, can leverage themselves into decision making positions within the governmental institutions [and influential NGOs] which determine the policies with which the ADC is concerned.
In what has to be seen as a victory along these lines, the ADC recently was the beneficiary of an action taken by the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] in which it appointed the ADC's former Executive Director, [the previously referred to] Kareem Shora, to an advisory board of the DHS called the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
That action took place at the beginning of last summer.
"Washington, DC, June 5, 2009, www.adc.org, The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is proud to announce that earlier today at a ceremony held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano swore-in ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC)." [source http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=3458 ]
Mr. Shora is no stranger to team Obama in that a year before joining DHS, he was publicly associated with his campaign, blogging at the then candidate Obama's "Organizing for America" website: www.barackobama.com.
For example on June 18, 2008 Shora posted:
"I am hopeful that we will educate, inform, and ultimately make Senator Obama and other public servants terminate the shameful and discriminatory government policies that have plagued our nation since the horrific terrorist attacks in 2001; policies such as the National Security Entry Exit Registration Program (NSEERS), visa delays, background check delays, the various watchlists that have impacted our community's basic rights, the wirless spying on our telephone calls back to our family members and friends in the Arab World, and the periodic "voluntary" interviews and border scrutiny that we encounter each time we elect to visit our countries of heritage in the Arab World." [source, http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/kareemshora/gG5S39#extended ]
Considering the ideology of ADC, which Mr. Shora has apparently in no small part adopted, there have been serious questions raised, primarily in the alternative media, about the propriety of someone with his credentials serving in any capacity at the Department of Homeland Security.
However while the so-called blogosphere has shown ample consternation regarding Mr. Shora and the HSAC, the full import of Shora's potential impact has been missed.
During an effort by PipeLineNews.org to contact Mr. Shora last week we were informed that he was no longer connected with the HSAC. Further pursuing that matter it was learned that he has instead taken a career Civil Service position as a Senior Policy Advisor, for the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties with DHS, providing him with a far more visible and weightier platform from which to advance his agenda.
In a statement made to PipeLineNews.org clarifying the matter, Matthew Chandler, Spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said:
"Kareem Shora served on the HSAC from June 5 to October 25, 2009, at which time he resigned to accept a career civil service position at DHS for which he participated in full and open competition. He is currently employed as a Senior Policy Advisor for the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, entering on duty on October 26, 2009."
The process playing out here is not unique, most if not all of America's Islamist organizations - groups which are adherents to a politicized Islam - are to a greater or lesser extent using this same template to advance their perspective within the halls of power. It seems clear that once given policy level access, these players will use their positions to lobby against many of the defensive measures which were erected in the wake of 9/11. If allowed to proceed unchecked, this process has the potential of causing long-term, systemic damage to the agencies which we rely upon to provide America's front line of defense.
DHS, was created in 2002 as a response to the intelligence and other failures which in part made 9/11 more likely. The effort was part of a massive undertaking to address the federal government's previous lack of focus on the issue of domestic security. As such, it was the largest reorganization of the federal bureaucracy in over half a century.
What is distressing in assessing this matter is that DHS is either oblivious to what is going on or that the organization is locked into the minefield of multiculturalism and further constrained by team Obama's Alice In Wonderland approach to Muslim outreach.
This presents DHS with a difficult choice in today's environment:
1. It can do the bureaucratic equivalent of manning-up, perform its job by the book and refuse to compromise American security in deference to diversity based window dressing. This will guarantee that its leadership will be subjected to a firestorm of criticism, alleging bigotry and Islamophobia.
The Islamists are betting the house that these federal agencies - especially those such as DHS, which are led by unqualified political appointees such as Janet Napolitano, who is such a poor choice for a position of this responsibility that under her watch the Department released a, since roundly criticized, delusional "threat assessment" targeting military veterans returning home from overseas duty and the so-called Christian right - will take the easy way out, avoid public controversy, and let the proverbial chips - in this case U.S. security - fall where they may.
Below, from the above referenced DHS threat assessment:
"the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks...Antigovernment conspiracy theories and ""end times" prophecies could motivate extremist individuals and groups to stockpile food, ammunition, and weapons. These teachings also have been linked with the radicalization of domestic extremist individuals and groups in the past, such as violent Christian Identity organizations..." [source, Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis Assessment, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," p. 5, http://www.gordonunleashed.com/HSA%20-%20Rightwing%20Extremism%20-%2009%2004%2007.pdf ]
This is of course not a wise way to conduct policy. It represents - far worse than simply operating with a "pre 9/11 mentality" - a cowardly refusal to implement and rigorously enforce the most basic safeguards against having policy undermined and scrambled from within the organization.
As politicized and inadequate as the 9/11 Commission's recommendations in some respects were, they represented a warning that business as usual must change if the terrorist threat is going to be adequately met.
One of the Commission's key recommendations delineates a leadership role to DHS in threat assessment:
"Recommendation: The Department of Homeland Security and its oversight committees should regularly assess the types of threats the country faces to determine (a) the adequacy of the government's plans—and the progress against those plans—to protect America's critical infrastructure and (b) the readiness of the government to respond to the threats that the United States might face." [source, 911 Commission Report, p. 446]
We suggest that unless DHS, and other federal agencies charged with maintaining national security, recognize the internal contradiction represented by hiring individuals intent upon promoting a political agenda not at all consistent with the agency's mission, it will be impossible for the DHS to successfully carry out its weighty mandate, with the nation suffering as a result.