Beginning with the Revolutionary War when British agents and sympathizers attempted to derail independence, there have been people who have tried to infiltrate the United States for the purpose of undermining and destroying it. In modern times, communism and fascism have sent agents among us, but we discovered their plans and defeated them here and abroad.
Now comes what may be the greatest threat: radical Islam, whose "agents" may have established a base more solid and more dangerous than anything we've encountered before. The good news is they speak openly of their intentions. The bad news is that many of us are not taking them seriously.
Last week at the beginning of the London trial of radical imam Abu Hamza al-Masri, evidence was presented detailing how he encouraged his followers at the Finsbury Park mosque to kill non-Muslims.
In lectures, recordings and writings, the imam said Adolf Hitler had been sent into the world to punish the Jews. Repeatedly, said the prosecutor, Abu Hamza told his followers they must fight for Allah and such fighting involves a religious mandate to murder Jews, kuffars (nonbelievers in Islam) and "apostates," such as leaders of Arab nations like Egypt. Abu Hamza has pleaded innocent to all 15 charges, including nine counts of solicitation of murder, four counts of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior intended to incite racial hatred and two counts related to the possession of offensive sound recordings and possession of a copy of the Encyclopedia of the Afghani Jihad.
The talks and written materials are not only about war. Abu Hamza also delivers diatribes about Britain's licensing laws, the use of additives in food, adultery, the role of women and the "evils" of democracy.
Abu Hamza repeatedly defines "jihad" as an avenue for establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, which would be governed by the most radical interpretation of Sharian religious law.
Prosecutors introduced as evidence a 10-volume "blueprint for terrorism" they say was discovered in Abu Hamza's house. Among the targets for "causing disturbance but not loss of life" are Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. Chapter headings include "The need to study the principles of war," and "The duty of assassination and kidnap." Other subheadings offer advice on reconnaissance, infiltration, ambush and how to manufacture explosive devices, open locks and train assassins. One section details plans to hit buildings with large populations, including museums, ports and archaeological sites and to attack VIPs. David Perry, prosecuting counsel, told the court, "This is a manual, a blueprint for terrorism."
Perry said the document's "execution section" recommends that Islamic agents be sent to any country intended as a target at least 10 years before jihad begins. This was the profile of terrorists depicted in last season's "24" series on Fox. In this fictional story, terrorist cells were established in a middle-class American neighborhood where they remained dormant and appeared peaceful until a signal was given to conduct mayhem.
On one tape, Abu Hamza discusses the killing of tourists in Egypt in November 1997, describing them as satanic. He says the tourist industry should be "Islamicised" and added that while children should not be deliberately killed, their killing is permitted if they are in the target area. Suicide bombings are "martyrdom," he says. They are permitted "if the only way to hurt the enemies of Islam is by taking your own life."
Among the many problems with this twisted religiosity is that the West does not know how many share it. Instead, political leaders repeat the bromide that Islam is a "peaceful religion" and radicals are trying to hijack it. Are we being infiltrated by people who, on the outside, pretend to be peaceful and tolerant, but inside wish to undermine and overthrow our government?
One clue may be found on a Canadian Muslim Web page. In a discussion on Muslim population statistics, which includes a chart projecting that the world Muslim population will outgrow the Christian population by 2025, it is noted that Islam is growing nearly 3 percent per year, faster than the total growth in world population. While the ratio of older to younger people is weighted to the older in the West, the reverse is true among Muslims. In what some might consider an ominous conclusion, the Canadian-Islamic Web page states, "An aging population tends to be introspective and sluggish, whereas a young population is more likely to be vibrant and energetic. This may or may not bode well for many countries and that will depend on whether their political structure is fragile or not."
We have been warned.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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