What was President Obama doing last week in the face of the unrelenting wave of jihadist-inspired terrorist attacks, the latest of which occurred in Copenhagen and on the bloodied Mediterranean shore of Libya while Obama played golf in California? He was holding a politically correct summit conference on “countering violent extremism,” a three-day community circles talkfest that began on February 18.
Vice President Joe Biden kicked off the conference. National Security Advisor Susan Rice is delivering the closing address. In between these bookends are sessions discussing community-based ways to prevent violent extremism from taking root, including presentations on pilot programs in three cities where law enforcement officials are purportedly developing partnerships with Muslim community leaders — Boston, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. According to President Obama, “community leaders from Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Boston will highlight innovative partnerships in their cities that are helping empower communities to protect their loved ones from extremist ideologies.”
A question that immediately arises is who are these partnerships with? The very same Islamist organizations that are part of the problem in the first place? Does Obama have in mind as potential partners organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the jihadist movement that the Obama administration has assiduously courted since the early days of its first term?
When, for example, the conference planners decided to invite the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) to participate in the three-city pilot program presentations, represented by its executive director Nicole Mossalam, did they consider the fact that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, attended a mosque in Cambridge run by the Islamic Society of Boston? Were they aware of an e-mail from ISB, sent to congregants shortly after the bombing, urging them to contact ISB and the ACLU first before speaking with the FBI?
Did they know that one of ISB’s former prominent trustees wrote a letter to the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram Al-Arabi shortly after 9/11 expressing his “absolute confidence that over the next few years, Islam will spread in America and in the entire world Allah willing, much more quickly than it has spread in the past”? (As quoted by Middle East Media Research Institute, November 18, 2001.) Were they aware of a lawsuit brought by ISB to discourage unfavorable reporting about the organization in the media, which ISB then dropped? More importantly, would any of this have made a difference in view of the Obama administration’s zeal to placate Islamists and avoid any possible slight that might offend them?
President Obama, the nation’s community-organizer-in-chief, spoke twice during his summit conference. His first address on February 18th was to a meeting of state and local officials, private industry representatives, and members of civil society, focused on domestic actions at the community level to deal with violent extremism. For the umpteenth time, he intoned that “we are not at war with Islam, we are at war with those who have perverted Islam.” And, evidencing his continued denial of reality, he claimed that “we all know there is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist.”
On February 19th the president was addressing a ministerial level meeting focusing on an array of international multi-stakeholder actions that can be taken to counter violent extremism. Attendees included over 60 countries’ representatives, as well as the High Representative and Vice President of the European Union, the UN Secretary General, and senior officials from regional organizations and other multinational bodies, as well as representatives from the private sector and from civil society.
President Obama’s second speech was followed by a panel that focuses, according to a senior administration official, on “economic opportunities to include expanding professional training for youth, as well as how the private sector can be engaged in a wealth of activities related to countering and preventing violent extremism.”
Indeed, the three-day conference was full of panel discussions, only one of which appeared to be devoted specifically to a discussion of what a senior administration official described as “strategic communications, social media.” It is part of a session whose subject is “weakening the legitimacy and the resonance of the brand of violent extremism.” The particular “brand of violent extremism” that is the most brutal, terrifying and widespread – Islamic jihad – is the elephant in the room that will not be acknowledged.
The final panel on the last day of the summit reprised the community theme, devoted to a discussion of “secure and resilient communities” including “community-police relations and community-security force relations as a critical element of prevention.”
Overall, according to the White House, the summit was intended to build upon the strategy paper the White House released in August of 2011, entitled “Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.” That paper featured “community-based problem solving as an effective model of organizing communities and government to counter violent extremism in the homeland.”
Said one senior administration official in describing the community-based model at the heart of the summit’s agenda: “It is, at its core, a bottom-up approach. It puts communities with civic leaders, with religious authorities, with community power brokers, teachers, health providers, et cetera, in the driver’s seat.”
Consider for a moment whether the horrors that occurred just last weekend alone are adequately described by the label “violent extremism,” or whether they could have been prevented by “community-based problem solving.” Two people were slain in Denmark – one attending a freedom of speech seminar and the other outside a Jewish synagogue. In Nigeria, a female suicide bomber took the lives of ten people and wounded thirty. ISIS released a video showing twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians being beheaded in Libya. Following the beheadings, an ISIS leader declared: “And we will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him.”
Using the banal phrase “violent extremism” to describe such barbaric acts serves only to relieve the perpetrators of guilt for the genocide and crimes against humanity they committed. It also shears the evil acts off from their common ideological source. The mission of President Obama’s summit is not to devise what should be a global strategy to counter the evil of the global jihad movement. For such a strategy one would have to look at the kind of detailed plan laid out by the Center for Security Policy. The Obama summit’s mission instead is to provide community leaders with ideas and tools to reach the most susceptible in their communities who feel alienated from the communities in which they live. The objective is to marshal community resources, with the help of the federal government, to persuade such disaffected individuals, often youths who may have already committed lesser crimes, to turn away from the lure of extreme violence as an outlet for expressing their frustrations.
(To be Continued Next Week)
Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.