National Anxiety Center June 24, 2002
There are some 2,000 mosques in the United States of America, and the estimates of how many Muslims ranges from 2.8 million, a reliable figure, to six million or more, the figure cited by Muslim organizations who want to be seen as having a population parity with America's Jewish population.
There are traitors and dedicated Jihadists living among us, bent on carrying out the worst attacks imaginable. For those who don't like "profiling," you can stop reading now.
Nearly eight in ten U.S. Muslims were born abroad. As of 2001, according to the American Muslim Council, no imams, leaders of prayer, in mosques around America, were American-born. The Council says that approximately two million Muslims are affiliated with a mosque. Many of the Muslims who came to the United States after the doors were opened in 1965 were fleeing governments like those in Egypt and Jordan, which had cracked down on the most radical militant Islamists in their midst.
Not a lot, but not a few, Americans who have converted to Islam have answered the call to Jihad. One of them, Aukai Collins, has written "My Jihad," published by The Lyons Press of Guilford, Connecticut, an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press.
For $22.95, it is an investment that will reveal the way an American can end up in Osama bin Laden's training camps, training to fight beside the Chechens in that breakaway Russian province. Collins eventually volunteered to assist the FBI's and CIA's counterterrorism efforts. He was not much impressed with the latter.
"Jihad is an established principle of Islam, and when Muslims are being attacked and killed, it is the duty of every adult male Muslim to go to their aid," says Collins, adding that, "Jihad is the highest act of faith in Islam. The prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that if a Muslim dies without making jihad, or at least having had the intention to make it, then he dies with a form of hypocrisy in his heart."
Though there are surely good, loyal Americans among Muslims born here or naturalized, there are just as surely those who represent the most serious internal enemy this nation has ever known.
Like the accused "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla, aka Abdullah al Muhajir, Collins came to Islam via the route of prison where he was invited to learn about Islam. This is a religion that appeals strongly to people who desperately want certitude in their lives. It has rigid rules of behavior that generate a feeling that one possesses a high level of morality as defined by the Koran.
Muslims take their religion more seriously than Christians and Jews. We differ in one other major way. Neither Christianity nor Judaism instructs its faithful to make war on other religions, killing infidels (non-believers). Islam does.
Neither Collins, Padilla, nor John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban," are all that unusual. Over the past twenty years American Jihadists have been leaving their homes in the inner city ghettos or the well-tended suburbs to take up the call.
According to a former FBI agent, anywhere between one and two thousand left America during the 1990s alone. From around 1994 on, federal agents monitored some forty to fifty Jihadists leaving each year from just two New York mosques!
Here in the US, however, there are somewhere between 200 and 300 Islamic schools teaching an estimated 30,000 Muslim students that the day of judgement can't come "until Muslims start attacking Jews." Unlike their Muslim counterparts, Christian and Jewish schools don't foster sedition, don't teach racial or religious hatred of others.
Right now, Americans are witnessing a national debate regarding the proper treatment of those American Jihadists who have been captured, such as Lindh and Padilla. Are they " military combatants" and therefore exempt from civil courts' jurisdiction? Are military tribunals the best way to deal with them? I suggest the latter is the proper place for judgment. We are going to see a virtual circus occur as Lindh and Padilla make their way through our civil system of justice.
Native-born or naturalized Jihadists do not see themselves as Americans first and Muslims second. For them, as is the case for all faithful Muslims, Islam is their nation.
It is argued that we are not at war with Islam, but with a fanatical fringe called Islamists. I suggest that, while we may not be at war with Islam, Islam is most certainly at war with us and there are close to three million Muslims living among us as our neighbors.
Alan Caruba is the author of "A Pocket Guide to Militant Islam," available from the Internet site of the National Anxiety Center.
Copyright 2002, Alan Caruba