Last week’s terror attack by an Islamic jihadist on the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando was not actually Islamic terrorism, says a Muslim activist invited to serve on President Barack Obama’s homeland security advisory council.
The message from activist and advisor Laila Alawa came via a retweet of a tweet from the her business deputy.
The author of the original tweet is Saffiya Mohammed, the “Community Editor” at a website called TheTempest.co, which was founded by Alawa. The site describes itself as a “media and tech company created and run by diverse millennial women, for the world.”
Alawa is an invited member of a panel that provides advice to officials at the Department of Homeland Security about “countering violent extremism.”
That broad “CVE” term was picked to minimize the visibility of radical Islam in the United States by portraying jihad as mere “extremism” that is little different from occasional attacks by environmental activists, pro-lifers or small-goverment militias in a country of 320 million Americans.
Alawa’s tweeted insistence that the attack had no connection to Islam is contradicted by the Orlando jihadi’s repeated profession of Islamic inspirations, allegiances and intentions. According to a partial transcript released by the FBI, the jihadi called the 9-1-1 phone line during the shooting to announce his loyalties;
OM: In the name of [Allah] the Merciful, the beneficent [in Arabic]
OM: Praise be to [Allah], and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of [Arabic] [in Arabic]. I wanna let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.
OD: What’s your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State.
OD: Ok, What’s your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may [Allah] protect him [Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.
The Department of Justice initially censored the release, but later released the full text. However, Obama’s deputies inserted the Christian-associated term, “God,” in place of the killer’s reference to “Allah,” which is the Muslim deity.
But Alawa’s “no-Islam-here” tweet is a political match for Alawa’s fellow progressives, who are trying to shift the public focus towards gun control, and away from the critical issue of why the Obama administration failed to stop this domestic Islamic terrorist.
So far, Obama’s CVE strategy has tried to strike tacit political bargains with self-declared Islamic leaders in mostly Muslim communities. In exchange for political recognition for these groups, plus greater government aid and support and reduced FBI surveillance, the organizations are expected to help divert young men from jihad.
However, many Islamic groups and clannish Muslim communities have not met their side of the deal — to distance young men from Islamic jihad.
That failure has allowed young Muslims to murder Americans in Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino and now Orlando. In addition, numerous young Muslims — for example, among those in living in Minnesota — have joined jihadist forces overseas. In January, a list developed by two Senators counted 113 terrorism arrests of Muslims in America, including 14 who arrived as refugees.
In response, Obama and his deputies describe these jihadis as “lone wolves,” supposedly disconnected from the broader, peaceful Islamic faith.
But the failure of Obama’s CVE strategy was underlined June 14, in a Reuters survey which showed that the vast majority of jihadist plots include several people, not so-called “lone wolves”:
A Reuters review of the approximately 90 Islamic State court cases brought by the Department of Justice since 2014 found that three-quarters of those charged were alleged to be part of a group of anywhere from two to more than 10 co-conspirators who met in person to discuss their plans.
Even in those cases that did not involve in-person meetings, defendants were almost always in contact with other sympathizers, whether via text message, email or networking websites, according to court documents. Fewer than 10 cases involved someone accused of acting entirely alone.
The “lone wolf” image obscures the extent to which individuals become radicalized through personal association with like-minded people, in what might be termed “wolf dens,” experts on radicalization and counter-terrorism say.
“We focus so much on the online stuff that we’re missing that there’s a very human connection going on here,” said Karen Greenberg, who runs the Center on National Security at Fordham University in New York.
Also, very few people classified as “Muslims” in the United States view Obama’s non-violent Islamist allies as representative. For example, a 2011 survey by Gallup showed that only about 3 percent of Muslims in the United States say their interests are represented by the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, a D.C.-based group is often used by Obama’s White House for outreach to Islamist political groups in the United States.
Nonetheless, these Islamist groups have a very effective lobbying and media strategy — and so GOP leaders in the House have just passed a bill that would allow the White House to impose its CVE strategy on state and local police forces.
The decision by Obama’s deputies to appoint Alawa to the CVE advisory panel is also an example of the White House’s willingness to cooperate with non-violent radical Islamic activists in the United States.
Over the last few years, she has bitterly criticized critics of Islam, such as activist Pamela Geller, by declaring that anti-Islamic speech is not protected by her adopted country’s First Amendment.
She’s also tweeted an apparent endorsement of the 9/11 atrocity by her fellow-Muslims:
Alawa told us she didn’t mean that 9/11 had changed the world “for the [greater] good,” but that she meant the attack had changed the world “forever.”
Alawa did not respond to emails sent by Breitbart.
However, she has made clear that she is a political activist for Islam:
I grew up really strongly believing in my Muslim identity, my parents instilled those values in me … I put on my first [islamic] headscarf at 10 years old, my mum bet me I couldn’t do it and I wasn’t going to let her win, so I put it on, and after that it became an integral part of my identity …
The meaning has shifted over the years, most recently the majority reason why I wear it is a political statement to show that I can be a functioning member of society and a Muslim. I kind of like to rub it in people’s faces at times because they get aggravated.
As a person who is human and wants to be accepted I’ve thought about taking the headscarf off, but that’s a thought that leaves my head pretty quickly because I like to piss people off…
I know first hand just how difficult it is for refugees to be settled here in the United States, the amount of pain that they face knowing their fathers or husbands are being detained because of one issue or another
When you see how real it is, it’s a little bit more difficult to say they don’t deserve a place here. It’s been a fairly frustrating rollercoaster of emotions given the fact were a nation built on immigrants.
Since the Orlando attack, the repeated catastrophic failures of Obama’s CVE strategy has been largely ignored by GOP leaders and by the establishment media. Instead, the establishment media has echoed Obama’s focus on guns, gay rights and “hate.”
Their claim quickly rallied the Democrats’ base, which told Gallup that the Orlando attack was more about non-political “domestic gun violence” than about “Islamic terrorism. Sixty percent of Democrats described the jihad attack as “domestic gun violence,” while only 29 percent described it as terrorism, according to the Gallup poll taken June 14 and June 15.
In contrast, independents split evenly, 42 percent to 44 percent. Among GOP voters, 79 percent tagged the attack as Islamic terrorism, and only 16 percent said it was principally “domestic gun violence.”