Cliff May

It is a fact -- not an opinion -- that al-Qaeda and similar groups are waging what they call a jihad against America, Israel and the West. Also beyond dispute: These groups are not equal opportunity employers. They target Muslims for incitement and recruitment -- not least American Muslims. So it is very odd that the Congressional hearings on this critical issue, which begin today, are causing so much controversy, including demonstrations on the streets of New York and charges that the hearings are a “show trial” and a “McCarthyite witch hunt.”

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, did not call these hearings because he thinks most Muslims are terrorists. He called these hearings because he would not be doing his job if he failed to investigate the means by which some Muslims -- and some mosques -- are being radicalized. “I strongly believe that there is a concerted effort by al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda affiliates to recruit young Muslims living legally in this country,” King told National Review Online.

What King has not said but, I hope, knows: It is not only al-Qaeda and its affiliates that promote jihad. The Muslim Brotherhood does, too. That, also, is a fact, not an opinion. Thomas Joscelyn, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (the policy institute I head) has been doing research on the Brotherhood and notes that its creed, nearly a century old, states this plainly:

Allah is our goal. The Prophet is our leader. The Quran is our constitution. Jihad is our way. Death in the service of Allah is the loftiest of our wishes. Allah is great, Allah is great.

Despite that, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, last month told Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood is “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al- Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”

Soon after, Jamie Smith, a spokesman for the director, issued a “clarification.” Clapper, he said, “is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization." The implication, of course, was that his other characterizations of the Brotherhood are correct.

Eight days later, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual guide, left Qatar where he had lived since 1961, in recent years preaching Islamic fire and brimstone to some 60 million al-Jazeera viewers around the world. Arriving in his native Egypt, the 84-year-old cleric went directly to Tahrir Square where hundreds of thousands turned out to hear and cheer him.

Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.