Last week, media reports surfaced that the FBI quietly decided last summer to sever its ties to CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. One week prior, Ingrid Mattson, president of ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America, delivered a prayer at the National Prayer Service, one of the events associated with the inauguration of President Obama. In other words, while it appears the FBI has finally learned a valuable lesson, it just as clearly appears that President Obama hasn't.
For years the FBI has conferred legitimacy on CAIR, meeting with its leaders and asking for its advice on relations with the Muslim community. The FBI has even utilized CAIR to give sensitivity training to its agents on topics such as Islam and understanding Muslims.
The FBI maintained its relationship with CAIR in spite of the fact that it had ample evidence that CAIR had ties to terrorist organizations such as Hamas.
The most notable is the evidence that led the Justice Department to list CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial, which culminated in 108 guilty verdicts. During the second Holy Land Foundation trial, FBI agent Lara Burns testified that CAIR is a front organization for the spread of the militant Islamist ideology. With CAIR officials unwilling to address FBI questions raised by the Holy Land Foundation investigation, the FBI finally said enough.
For years, there has been enough "smoke" around CAIR to assume there must be a real "fire." That it took so long for the FBI leadership to acknowledge they were dealing with an organization whose agenda was far more sinister than "Muslim community relations" is a testimony to how so many in government appear willing to place concerns about image above our national interests.
But to its credit, the FBI leadership at long last has said "enough is enough."
Let's hope that Congress is going to take the same position now. We at ACT! for America, has responded to this revelation by initiating a grassroots lobbying effort calling on Members of Congress to not meet with CAIR knowing that CAIR was launching a lobbying blitz on Capital Hill this week. For the sake of our national security Congress should take the same position that the FBI has.
Why then, is President Obama treading down the same well-worn path the FBI did? He's embracing Ingrid Mattson, and by extension ISNA, the same way the FBI embraced CAIR.
Like CAIR, ISNA was an unindicted co-conspirator in the aforementioned Holy Land Foundation trial. It is difficult to imagine the Obama Administration calling upon a professed Christian or Jew to deliver a prayer if those individuals were leaders of organizations that the Justice Department had designated "unindicted co-conspirators."
But there is much, much more the FBI and other government agencies know about ISNA. ISNA's co-founder, Sami Al-Arian, is a convicted terrorist. Declassified documents link ISNA to the Muslim Brotherhood, the radical organization that is responsible for the Muslim Brotherhood Project, a document outlining how Islam can destroy the West from within. Al-Arian has admitted he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood during the same year he helped co-found ISNA.
The Obama Administration certainly must be aware of this. Will it learn the same lesson the FBI did, before it's too late?
The early indications are not promising. What appears to be driving the Obama agenda is a greater concern about rehabilitating our image in the Muslim world than about protecting us from Islamists who would infiltrate, subvert and harm our nation.
How else to explain Obama's executive order requiring that interrogation tactics used on suspected terrorists comply with the Army Field Manual? These tactics preclude making threats, making promises, and even the use of "good cop/bad cop," an interrogation technique used by American law enforcement officials on our own citizens. This won't improve our image overseas – but it will certainly make us less safe from terrorism.
Obama's concern about our "image," about outreach to the Muslim world, is the same motivation that led the FBI leadership to ignore all the warning signs that CAIR's agenda was not merely "community relations." It's the same motivation that has led Great Britain to appease and accommodate demand after demand issued by militant Muslims. Has Great Britain's strategy worked? Hardly. For instance, polls reveal that the children of Muslim immigrants to Great Britain are more radical than their parents, more willing to support terrorism, and more supportive of the imposition of Shariah Islamic law.
It is understandable to be concerned that our foreign policy is not misunderstood. However, there's a homespun definition of insanity that states "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." For the sake of our security and our liberties, let's hope President Obama wakes up to this reality before it's too late.
Brigitte Gabriel is the author of the NYT best seller, They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It. She is the President of ACT! for America.org.