The interfaith allies of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) think the American people can’t handle the truth about the jihadist motivation behind 9/11. They condescendingly infer that Americans are so inclined towards anti-Muslim bigotry that the terms “Islamist” and “jihad” must not be heard at the 9/11 Museum.
The 9/11 Museum, opening May 21, includes a seven-minute video titled The Rise of Al-Qaeda hosted by veteran news anchor Brian Williams. The tape refers to the Al-Qaeda terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks as “Islamists” who believed they were pursuing a jihad against the United States. These are two terms that American Islamists have tried to delete from the American lexicon or at least whitewash them to the point they become meaningless.
CAIR, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and five other Arab groups have issued a joint statement demanding the removal of the video. Both have Muslim Brotherhood origins and a history of pro-Islamist activism. They are joined by the Interfaith Center of New York and New York Disaster Interfaith Services who have their own separate joint statement.
Islamists like CAIR draw other Muslims and non-Muslims to their side with the argument that these terms promote “Islamophobia,” as if Americans are so uneducated and prejudiced that they’ll automatically assume that all Muslims are Al-Qaeda sympathizers. Even if that were true, the 9/11 Museum goes to great lengths to debunk anti-Muslim stereotypes.
The museum spokesman said there are two exhibits that clearly show that Al-Qaeda is a “far fringe of Islam.” The New York Times reports that the Museum has photos of Muslims mourning after the attacks, stories about Muslims who died in the attacks and testimony from Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim congressman in U.S. history.
The museum’s executives had Princeton University Professor Bernard Haykel approve the script before making it a part of the site. He stands by the decision to approve the film because there is simply no honest way to explain the motivations of Al-Qaeda without mentioning jihad.
“The critics who are going to say, ‘Let’s not talk about it as an Islamic or Islamist movement,’ could end up not telling the story at all, or diluting it so much that you wonder where Al-Qaeda comes from,” he told the Times.
He’s right. CAIR and its allies are essentially saying that Americans can’t handle the truth, so they shouldn’t know it.
The current leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, used to lead a terrorist group named Egyptian Islamic Jihad (that splintered from the Muslim Brotherhood) until it was absorbed into Al-Qaeda.
In Osama Bin Laden’s first television interview in 1997, he said, “We declared a jihad—a holy war—on the United States government because it is unjust and tyrannical.”
“The acme of this religion is jihad. The [Muslim] nation has had a strong conviction that there is no way to obtain faithful strength but by returning to jihad,” Bin Laden explained.
About a month after the 9/11 attacks, Bin Laden gave an interview where he said, “This is a duty of all Muslims. The jihad is a duty for everyone, not just for the Afghans.” His overall stated reason is that “America is against the establishment of any Islamic government.”
“…[W]e will continue our jihad. We will incite the [Muslim] nation for jihad until we meet God and get his blessing. Any country that supports the Jews can only blame itself…I tell Muslims to believe in the victory of God and in jihad against the infidels of the world. The killing of Jews and Americans is one of the greatest duties.”
One of the chief reasons that CAIR is waging war against words like “jihad” and “Islamist” is because the group doesn’t want its ideology to be discussed and it certainly doesn’t want Americans to know that it and Al-Qaeda share the same overall Islamist ideology. Their disagreements are only about target selection, rhetoric and tactics.
The Justice Department says that CAIR is an “entity” of the Muslim Brotherhood, the most powerful Islamist movement in the world. CAIR was born out of a secret Brotherhood meeting in 1993 in Philadelphia, which was attended by two CAIR founders including its current Executive Director.
The speakers at the meeting discussed forming a new group to influence the media and public opinion about their Islamist cause. One speaker said, “Forming the public opinion or coming up with a policy to influence …the way the Americans deal with the Islamists, for instance. I believe that should be the goals of this stage.”
CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad agreed, saying the “goal is becoming open to the media in the U.S. and the Western society to ease the intensity of the campaign and to explain the legality of the opposition led by the Islamists.”
And that’s exactly what CAIR is doing. The Interfaith Center of New York’s choice of allies shows it doesn’t understand jihad or the Islamist ideology, making it an attractive messenger for the media-savvy CAIR
The Interfaith Center of New York does not appear to realize who it is working with. On April 20, 2013, the New York chapter of CAIR honored the Interfaith Center of New York with its “Partners in Justice Award.” It was accepted by Reverend Chloe Breyer, who is now a leading critic of the 9/11 Museum.
CAIR-NY’s leadership has a history of extremism including anti-American rhetoric, inflammatory sentiment towards law enforcement, support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and advocating the destruction of Israel. The CAIR-NY official who gave Rev. Breyer the award, Zead Ramadan, would not condemn Hamas in 2011 and has appeared on Iranian state television to make America sound like an oppressor of Muslims.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of “Ground Zero Mosque” fame is a Vice Chairman of the Interfaith Center of New York. One of its listed "Friends and Partners" is a group by the name of the Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood. The group denies having any affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood overseas or domestic Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups, but admits that its official motto is the exact same one as the Muslim Brotherhood:
Another article on the Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood’s website discusses jihad—a term apparently they are allowed to say but the 9/11 Museum isn’t. It states that one of the forms of jihad is “physical jihad” that is “combat waged in defense of Muslims against oppression and transgression by the enemies of Allah…”
Another article says the War on Terror is part of a covert conspiracy led by “closet white supremacist, zenophobic, Satanically-inspired individuals [who] advocate a proper, state-sponsored terrorism, in defense of the ‘American Dream,’ while other people are living the ‘American nightmare.’”
The leading voices against the 9/11 Museum’s use of the words “Islamist” and “jihad” are Islamists themselves or their allies. CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper says that “generations of visitors” will be taught by the 9/11 Museum. He’s right, and that’s why the 9/11 Museum cannot sacrifice truth for pro-Islamist political correctness.
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.