We are losing the war on terror and that war will be lost without even firing a gun or exploding a bomb - although there may be more of both even in the U.S. For proof of that, I urge you to read Robert Spencer's new book, The Silent Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs.
I rarely devote more than one column to one book. But Mr. Spencer's book is such urgent reading that I have already done two columns on his book (Tuesday and Wednesday of this week now on The Bulletin's Web site at thebulletin.us), and this will be the third.
Mr. Spencer's book is one of the most important in of recent years, as he has a sound diagnosis of the problem of terrorism and the stealth jihad and a sound prescription to solve it. Here is the way he makes his case for our falling victim to terrorism without terror: "For many people, the title [of Mr. Spencer's book] itself will be nonsensical - it is tantamount to saying, "How the terrorists are winning without terrorism."
Most Americans regard the terror threat as one that necessarily involves guns and bombs, and anti-terror efforts as consisting solely in finding terrorists cells and foiling their plans to blow up buildings and kill Americans."
Mr. Spencer shows how the jihadists and the advocates of terrorism are advancing their cause without guns or bombs and are doing so effectively in America. The Muslims have discovered, according to Mr. Spencer, they can subjugate America to sharia (Muslim law) without bombs and guns, and that low-key approach is actually more effective as it puts us to sleep. The strategy to win the war against America is simply less terrorism and more stealth jihad. The jihadists are not only winning the war, but they are also doing so while putting us to sleep. That's why we have to wake up. That's what Mr. Spencer's book will do if read, and that's what I'm now trying to do with this column.
America and Americans wake up or all is lost or will soon be lost. If you read Mr. Spencer's book, you will wake up and sleep with nightmares. To understand what is happening here look to Europe. The great Mark Steyn in his book, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, said Europe is essentially lost already to a Muslim takeover and we are starting down the same path to the extinction of America, as we know it. Consider just one small bit of evidence: There are some neighborhoods in major cities in Europe where the national authorities have virtually surrendered control to sharia and the Muslims.
So I'm not speculating. I'm not talking academic theory and pundit pontificating. I'm talking about the collapse of Europe here and now, the loss of its Judeo-Christian foundation, and the takeover by sharia and the Muslims. And I'm talking about something that is well underway here in America.
To give you some idea of the dimensions of the silent jihad, I'm going to focus on what Mr. Spencer calls, "Readin', Writin' and Subjugatin' the Infidel: The Stealth Jihad in American Schools." We're not only being brainwashed into acceptance of the Muslim takeover by our mainstream media and by our colleges and universities, but the stealth jihad has even penetrated into our K-12 (kindergarten to 12th grade) schools. Even our youngest children are being brainwashed and taken down the wrong path.
Here's Mr. Spencer's take on this subject in one sentence: "With the mandate of 'tolerance' robbing many educators of their ability to evaluate non-Western cultures critically, teachers are highly susceptible to an organized campaign by U.S.-based Islamic organizations and their primary benefactor, Saudi Arabia, to present a view of Islam that whitewashes its violent history and intolerant religious imperatives."
That misrepresentation is now the order of the day in our K-12 schools. What's worse is what goes on in Islamic academies right in the heart of America: "Meanwhile, in America's Islamic academies, teaching materials, some direct from Saudi Arabia, instill unequivocal hatred toward non-Muslims and a deep suspicion of Western culture."
You'd never know that the jihadists are speaking out of both sides of their mouth: In our schools they stand for peace and tolerance; in their schools, in the Islamic academies, even those in the U.S., they preach hatred toward non-Muslims and question our culture and our values. And we slumber on, not even aware of what is happening to our country. While America sleeps, we are on the path toward destruction.
Consider how the textbooks used by these young children have been subjected to Islamization. A study released in June 2008 by the American Textbook Council, an independent national research organization that evaluates the quality of textbooks, issued a damning report. It found that 10 of the most widely used textbooks in middle schools and high schools "present an incomplete and confected view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security." Mr. Spencer writes, "The report found that the books present highly tendentious constructions as undisputed truth, making common cause with West-hating multi-culturists to bowdlerize the presentation of Islam, denigrate or downplay Christianity and Western civilization, and transform many public school textbooks into proselytizing tracts."
And even more incredibly, this situation has continued to get worse, not better, since 9/11.
In one widely used book in California, seventh graders are told, "Muslims should fulfill jihad with heart, tongue and hand. Muslims use the heart in their struggle to resist evil. The tongue may convince others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research. Hands may perform good works and correct wrongs." It gives no hint that jihad is often viewed as involving, in whole or in part, warfare against unbelievers.
There are some exceptions but most of the textbooks refuse to discuss the violent component of Islam. A typical text defines jihad as a struggle "to do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil" or as "effort in God's service."
Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., shows how this brainwashing produces dangerous effects, as he explained on the floor of the House of Representatives:
"In a textbook called Across the Centuries, which is used for seventh grade history ... the book defines the word jihad as, 'To do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil.' So now this is what children are taught the word jihad means. When this child watches a program on television and this word [jihad] is used, and it is a word used in conjunction with someone who has just blown himself or herself up, and a lot of other innocent human beings around them, this kid is supposed to think that is what somebody is doing in order to resist temptation and overcome evil.
And if we condemn jihad against the United States, then we are condemning someone who is just simply trying to overcome evil. This is what we tell our children?"
Yes, that's what they are telling the youngest and most impressionable among us. And it is much worse than that. Mr. Spencer goes on to document in exquisite and excruciating detail the extent to which these young minds are being twisted by the stealth jihad. For example, from reading these textbooks you get the impression that Islam was spread through peaceful missionary activity and voluntary conversion.
One text explains, "There was much blending of cultures under Muslim rule. Over time, many peoples in Muslim-ruled territories converted to Islam. They were attracted by Islam's message of equality and hope for salvation."
They ignore altogether the state of the non-Muslims that were conquered, forced to convert, and subjugated into dhimmitude (second-class citizenship in a Muslim society).
Here's the way one historian, friendly to the Muslims, admitted that all was not equality and tolerance in these subjugated and conquered lands: "Christians and Jews [in Spain] were required to pay a special tax - no Muslim paid taxes - and to observe a number of restrictive regulations. Christians and Jews were prohibited from attempting to proselytize Muslims, from building new places of worship, from displaying crosses or ringing bells. In sum, they were forbidden most public displays of their religious rituals."
When the students reading these texts learn of the Muslim society, they are only told there is no distinction between "religious beliefs and daily life," and that Islam "helps Muslims live by the teachings of the Qur'an." They are told nothing of stonings and amputations and the subjugation non-Muslims to a humiliating and destructive second-class citizenship.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the way our young children are being brainwashed in our schools is that the texts portray Islam as good and Christianity as bad. The Textbook Council, in its study cited previously in this column, notes, "While seventh-grade textbooks describe Islam in glowing language, they portray Christianity in harsh light. Students encounter a startling contrast. Islam is featured as a model of interfaith tolerance; Christians wage wars of aggression and kill Jews. Islam provides models of harmony and civilization. Anti-Semitism, the Inquisition, and wars of religion bespot the Christian record."
According to the Textbook Council, these texts transform Muslims attacking and killing Christians and taking their land into simply "building" an empire. But Christian attempts to restore those lands are called "violent attacks" or "massacres."
How did this anti-American, pro-terrorist, pro-silent jihad propaganda get into all these textbooks? It all gets back to Saudi Arabia money pouring in to influence textbook writers and those who select textbooks for schools. In my column on Wednesday (available on The Bulletin Web site at thebulletin.us), we saw how Saudi money buys up influence in academic departments and universities such as Harvard, Georgetown and many others. The same thing happens on the K-12 level. If Harvard so quickly sells out, can other educational institutions be far behind?
Mr. Spencer describes what happens as follows: "The smoking gun is not hard to find. The American Textbook Council report notes that 'Islamic organizations, willing to sow misinformation, are active in curriculum politics. These activists are eager to expunge any critical thought about Islam from textbooks and all public discourse. They are succeeding, assisted by partisan scholars and associations."
The details of how successful these Islamic organizations are in influencing the content and selection of textbooks will make you sick and will make you wonder about other basic aspects of our educational system. For example, the Islamic organizations got one of the dominant publishers, Houghton Miflin, to remove the word "jihad" from all of its social studies textbooks.
The Council on Islamic Education (CIE) is also succeeding in giving American children a healthy dose of self-hatred. A CIE Board member said, "American children need to know that genocide was part of the birth of the nation...The Holocaust began at home."
This flavor of thinking is successfully promoted by the CIE and others. They can be so effective not only because of Saudi money and influence, but also because they associate and ally themselves with academics and journalist who, in the words of a 2003 Middle East Quarterly report, "take an antagonistic view of the U.S. and Western civilization."
Yes, we are losing the war for the hearts and minds of the world and we are even losing the hearts and minds of our little children. We are losing that war because we are not really fighting it.
Mr.Spencer goes on and on showing how the stealth jihad has produced textbooks for our children that teach the opposite of the truth, put America in the worst possible light, and put our enemies in the best possible light. Mr. Spencer, in concluding a devastating chapter on the education of these young children concludes:
"Can our schools, particularly those that are publicly funded) be allowed to teach doctrines that flatly contradict the spirit and letter of the Constitution, as sharia does? Should publicly funded schools inculcate notions such as the idea that students must work to remove all obstacles to the spread and dominance of Islam and sharia?
"Such questions cannot continue to be ignore or treated cavalierly. They should be discussed, rationally, by an informed citizenry that already sufficiently familiarized themselves with the actual texts and tenets of Islam, not the soothing distortions of the stealth jihadists. Mere guesswork, and the comforting idea that 'all religions are good and want the same thing,' are simply no longer adequate, if they ever were."
You may ask what can I do. Read Mr. Spencer's book, and perhaps others that he has previously written, and you'll know what to do. Read Mark Steyn's America Alone and you'll know what to do. Read Melanie Phillips' Londonistan and Bruce Bawer's While Europe Slept and you'll know what to do. Just get the facts, and you'll know what to do. Or continue your slumber and both America and its people will perish.
Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at email@example.com.