Steven Emerson speaks truth to power:
Unless we are prepared to accept severe restrictions on free speech, legitimize terrorist groups, allow the introduction of Islamic law in the U.S., prohibit any criticism of Islam, and propose the destruction of Israel, nothing we do will satisfy the ‘grievances’ of the radical Islamic believers.
Emerson’s testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence:
Congress should require the lead agencies and departments in the Global War on Terrorism (most notably the FBI, CIA, and DHS) to fully and formally educate all counterterrorism personnel in the proclaimed Islamist ideology of al Qaeda the global Islamist movement. This ideology is easily accessible in Islamic religious texts and treatises such as Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones. This has not been instituted at any agency.
More than six years after 9/11, this is inexcusable.
Instead, U.S. actions have been counterproductive, empowering the Brotherhood at a time it could have challenged its ideology and the terrorist groups that it has spawned. Contact with government agencies effectively anoints the groups as gatekeepers to the Muslim-American community. This policy, which continues to this day despite the criminal connections of many of these organizations, can only end in disaster for the interest of the United States both domestically and abroad.
When considering this matter, it is important and instructive to consider the Danish cartoons controversy. With the exception of a handful of courageous news outlets, the American media refused to republish the cartoons, claiming that “respect for religious values” overrode the principle of free speech.
For everyone else, free speech, the bedrock of western civilization, was suddenly thrown out the window at the first sign that many in the Muslim world were offended and retaliatory violence was possible. The U.S. State Department denounced the publication of the cartoons as “unacceptable.”
This censorship and intimidation continues each day in a disturbingly growing volume. Critics of Islamism and extremism who have written books, spoken out, or published cartoons deemed “offensive” to Islam, have had their lives permanently changed â€“ facing death threats and being forced underground or behind the protection of 24-hour security details. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Dutch parliamentarian and a friend of Theo Van Gogh (the Dutch filmmaker murdered for producing a film deemed “offensive” to Islam) has been forced to live under 24-hour protection and in hiding in her homeland and in the United States where she stayed for a year. Geert Wilders, another Dutch parliamentarian, produced a short film called “Fitna” that included images of the Quran being burned and has called for the banning of the Quran. For this admittedly offensive to some, but protected, transgression, Mr. Wilders has had to live in hiding under protection around the clock. His film was blocked by various websites, although anti-Christian and anti-Semitic films can be seen on YouTube and thousands of other sites routed through servers in the United States and Europe.