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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > John Brennan's "Al Quds" NYU Address - Providing Aid And Comfort To The Islamists

John Brennan's "Al Quds" NYU Address - Providing Aid And Comfort To The Islamists

January 10, 2013

In Wake of Uproar, White House Pulls Main Brennan Video Links

(Click on link below for video)


May 25, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - On February 13 at New York University, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John Brennan, delivered a 34 minute address.

Brennan's remarks were made at an event entitled, "A Dialogue on our National Security" which was sponsored by the Islamic Center at NYU and the school's Islamic Law Student's Association. [see, White House website, Brennan Speaks at NYU]

Brennan was introduced by Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA]1, an Islamist organization named as an unindicted co-conspirator in America's largest terror funding trial, U.S. vs. Holy Land Foundation [HLF]. The trial, which resulted in the conviction of all of the defendants on a total of 108 charges, proved that HLF funneled over $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.2

"Prosecutors applied the label of 'unindicted co-conspirator' to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, and the North American Islamic Trust in connection with a trial planned in Texas next month for five officials of a defunct charity, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development." [source, New York Sun, June 4, 2007, Islamic Groups Named in Hamas Funding Case]

Brennan, acknowledging Mattson, thanked her "...for your leadership as an academic whose research continues the rich tradition of Islamic scholarship, and as the president of the Islamic Society of North America, where you have been a voice for the tolerance and diversity which defines Islam."

The Assistant to the President then launched into his prepared text, selected passages of which appear below:

[approximately 5:40 into the speech]

"...And as part of that experience, to learn about the goodness and beauty of Islam....I came to see Islam not as it is often misrepresented, but for what it is...a faith of peace and tolerance and great diversity...[breaks into spoken Arabic]

[approximately 7:30 into the speech]

"...But I did spend time as an undergraduate at the American University in Cairo in the 1970s. And time spent with classmates from Egypt, from Jordan, from Palestine, and around the world who taught me that whatever our differences of nationality or race or religion or language, there are certain aspirations that we all share. To get an education. To provide for our families. To practice our faith freely. To live in peace and security. And during a 25-year career in government, I was privileged to serve in positions across the Middle East...as a political officer with the State Department and as a CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, I saw how our Saudi partners fulfilled their duty as custodians of the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina. I marveled at the majesty of the Hajj and the devotion of those who fulfilled their duty as Muslims by making that privilege [he corrects himself] that pilgrimage. And in all my travels, the city I have come to love most is Al Quds...Jerusalem, where three great faiths come together..."

Overall, the speech emphasized the worst elements of "State Department speak," especially reflective of an overly accommodative Arabist mindset. The choice of words [referring to Israel's capital city of Jerusalem by its Muslim name, as well as delivering part of the speech in Arabic] tone [extraordinarily deferential to Muslim sensibilities, which always seem to be set on a hair-trigger] and political effect [another slap in the face to the concept of Israel as a Jewish state] all telegraph the unmistakable message from team Obama that the term "America's ally, Israel," is fading into distant memory, driven by a delusional sense of reality which pervades 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Regarding the controversy surrounding the ultimate status of Jerusalem, upon which Brennan's Al Quds/Jerusalem reference turns, Dr. Daniel Pipes writes:

"...This parallelism of Mecca and Jerusalem offers the basis of a solution, as Sheikh Palazzi wisely writes:

'...separation in directions of prayer is a mean to decrease possible rivalries in management of Holy Places. For those who receive from Allah the gift of equilibrium and the attitude to reconciliation, it should not be difficult to conclude that, as no one is willing to deny Muslims a complete sovereignty over Mecca, from an Islamic point of view - notwithstanding opposite, groundless propagandistic claims - there is not any sound theological reason to deny an equal right of Jews over Jerusalem.'" [source, Dr. Daniel Pipes, September 2001, The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem]

In a sure sign that this matter has become a sensitive subject for the administration, sometime during the morning of May 21, Brennan's NYU video links were removed. The Q & A portion of the event remains available on the Obama website...however it can only be accessed if one already knows its location. [see, Brennan Q & A at NYU]

When looking for signs of what these types of presentations encourage, opposite of White House claims of interfaith understanding and Muslim accommodation, we only have to note the second question posed at the event:

Q: [approximately 2:50 into this part of the event] "My name is Omar Shahin, am the public relations director for Islamic Relief and Chairman North American Imam Federation. First I would like to thank you for your comments about Islamic Relief. We as the Muslims community [pauses] I'll be honest as always, like always and be direct to the point. We in the Muslim community live in this country and we love this country. Actually this country love on us. Muslims community, like any other community came to this country to enjoy justice and freedom and we feel that after September 11 we are not enjoying these great values anymore. Also we feel that there is big lack of a trust between Muslims community and our government. My question is if there is anything being done by our government to rebuild this trust?"

In answering Shahin's query, Brennan - referring to the actions taken in the wake of the largest terrorist attack in the history of the United States - stated, "they were excessive...this is going to be tough...because, let's face it a lot of people will have very ignorant feelings and will have prejudices and discriminations that we have to erode..."

He continues, "I was very concerned after the attack in Ft. Hood as well as the December 25th attack that all of a sudden there were people who went back into this fearful position that lashed out without thinking about what was reasonable and what was appropriate..."

It's important to highlight the questioner, self-identified as Omar Shahin3, Chairman of the North American Imams Federation [NAIF].

A November 22, 2006 New York Times article stated:

"Six Muslim religious leaders were taken off a US Airways flight in Minneapolis on Monday evening and detained for several hours after some passengers and crew members complained of behavior they deemed suspicious, including prayers at the gate...The six men detained, all imams, had attended a Minneapolis conference of the North American Imams Federation. They were handcuffed by the police and led off the flight, bound for Phoenix, after reports from passengers and crew members of unsettling" behavior...One of the six, Omar Ahmad Shahin of Phoenix, said he had been questioned for less than a half-hour. 'This is the humiliation," said Dr. Shahin, 45. 'They found nothing. They found we had a good relation with everybody.'" [source, 6 Imams Removed From Flight for Behavior Deemed Suspicious]

The case became known as that of the "Flying Imams." It represented what might be seen as an effort by radical Islamic leaders to provoke what could then be claimed as an over response by airport security officials, for the sole purpose of instigating a lawsuit.

Though, the imams were merely questioned at the airport and then released, aided by Islamist groups including the Council on American Islamic Relation [CAIR]4, legal action was filed. The case was eventually settled out of court, with an undisclosed amount going to the imams.

This outcome can't help but make American airport security officials even more cautious in dealing with threatening actions taken by passengers who fit a Middle Eastern profile. As a result, the effect could very well be to minimize the range of actions that can be taken in the face of even extreme provocation.

Another important aspect of this case is that the passengers on the flight were initially named as defendants. Though they were eventually removed, the precedent making point was made.

At the time, Debra Saunders observed, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Last month, the imams filed a lawsuit against US Airways, the airport and unnamed passengers who complained to airline personnel about the imams' behavior. The suit charges that these John Doe passengers "may have made false reports against plaintiffs solely with the intent to discriminate against them on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity and national origin."

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., promptly introduced an amendment to a measure to protect passengers, lest this lawsuit chill the flying public's willingness to report suspicious behavior. King's amendment has passed through the House." [source, Real Clear Politics, April 8, 2007, Not the Flying Imams]

In analyzing this NYU event, it's hard to escape the impression that after a year and a half of administration contortions intended to friendly-up with the Muslim world, the effort has come to naught. After Cairo, the president's numerous apology tours and even despite Mr. Brennan's speech, during which American citizens were labeled as - ignorant, prejudiced and discriminatory - attitudes remain polarized against the West.

Instead of giving at least some deference to these efforts, many self-proclaimed Muslim leaders devote themselves instead to stoking the mythology of Muslim victimhood to pressure the United States into further Shari'a compliance.

If America's leaders continue to tack in this direction, might we find the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism delivering future addresses on his knees, head bowed, jizya5 in hand?

That such hard feelings persist - put on prominent display during Brennan's act of supplication - despite being surrounded by radicals, speaking Arabic for effect to an American university audience accompanied by the ludicrous representation made by a non-Muslim [which verged on a recruiting - da'wa -pitch] that essentially characterized Islam as the religion of peace, truth, justice and the American way - does not surprise anyone familiar with Islamism.

The demands of radical Muslims can never be met, not with money, deeds or words. They can neither be placated nor can they be bought off; their version of peace consists of submission, towards which this administration edges ever closer.


1. For a further discussion of the relationship between the Islamic Society of North America and Egypt's terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, one of whose projects was the creation of Hamas, please refer to the Chicago Tribune's pivotal and revealing expose A Rare Look at the Secretive Muslim Brotherhood, page 4 of which is excerpted below:

"By 1990, U.S. Brotherhood members had made headway..backed financially by the...Saudi Arabian government, which shared some of the Brotherhood's fundamentalist goals...[Ahmed]...Elkadi himself helped create several noted Islamic organizations...The Islamic Society of North America, the umbrella group for the Muslim Youth of North America and the Muslim Students Association, says Brotherhood members helped form those groups but that their overall influence has been limited...[these groups]...printed Islamic books, many of which were distributed at mosques and on college campuses...Sayyid Qutb's "In the Shade of the Koran" and "Milestones," which urge jihad, martyrdom and the creation of Islamic states. Scholars came to view his writings as manifestos for Islamic militants..."

2. Partial transcript from Federal Judge Hands Down Sentences in Holy Land Foundation Case

"Today, in federal court in Dallas, U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis sentenced the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and five of its leaders following their convictions by a federal jury in November 2008 on charges of providing material support to Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization, announced acting U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. All defendants are presently in federal custody.

'Today's sentences mark the culmination of many years of painstaking investigative and prosecutorial work at the federal, state and local levels. All those involved in this landmark case deserve our thanks," said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. "These sentences should serve as a strong warning to anyone who knowingly provides financial support to terrorists under the guise of humanitarian relief.'

HLF was incorporated by Shukri Abu Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain, and Ghassan Elashi. Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh worked as fund raisers. Together, with others, they provided material support to the Hamas movement."

3. According to a Wikipedia bio, Imam Shahin is also a Shari'a attorney, licensed to practice in Jordan. [source, Omar Shahin, Wikipedia]

In a May 24, 2010 article published in the Arizona Republic Ariz. Muslim leaders face increased FBI scrutiny imam Shahin is quoted as placing compliance with Shari'a over any requirement to follow "western law," or by inference the laws of the United States, should it clash with Shari'a.

"'A muslim must try his best to abide by the rulings of Sharia whenever possible as much as he can. He should not allow himself to be liable to those western laws that contradict the clear-cut Islamic rulings,' Shahin wrote."

4. CAIR was also one of the American Islamist organizations named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Prosecution.

5. The jizya is the head tax, historically assessed by Muslim victors on conquered populations, a concrete measure of their subjugation. It had to be offered in a submissive manner, with head bowed and was often accompanied by the requirement of wearing tokens as identifiers of religious affiliation.

See, by way of reference Qur'an, Surah 9:29:

"...fight against those who - despite having been vouchsafed revelation [aforetime] - do not [truly] believe either in God or the Last Day, and do not consider forbidden that which God has forbidden, and do not follow the religion of truth, [which God has enjoined upon them], till they [agree to] pay the exemption tax with a willing hand, after having been humbled [in war]." [source, The Message of the Qur'an, The Full Account Of The Revealed Arabic Text Accompanied By Parallel Transliteration, translated by Muhammad Asad. This is the Qur'an which the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR] has distributed for free]

2010 PipeLineNews.org LLC, William Mayer. All rights reserved.


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