Foreign Affairs

New Book Details Militant Islam in U.S.

Are you aware of the al Qaeda plot to assassinate President Bush that was uncovered in 2005? Did you know that jihad terrorists in the U.S. financed the 1993 World Trade Center bombing partially through the sale of counterfeit T-shirts? Did you know that a professor at the University of South Florida in the 1990s was one of the international leaders of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad and that he used his university activities as a cover while he raised money, gained recruits and disseminated propaganda for the jihad group? Had you heard that in May 2003, an American citizen living in Ohio pled guilty to conducting surveillance of the Brooklyn Bridge and other potential targets for al Qaeda?

These were not isolated incidents. In fact, they are just a few of the known activities of a huge jihad network that still operates in the United States, but of which few Americans are aware. That lack of awareness, however, is not because the information is unavailable: Steven Emerson’s “Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S.” tears the cover off this American jihad network. It is a comprehensive summation of what is known about the activities of al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other jihad groups within the United States. Although the tone of this book is sober and straightforward throughout, the cumulative effect is startling: The extent to which these jihad groups have penetrated American society is likely to come as a surprise even to relatively informed readers.

Emerson, who has been tracking jihad terror activity in the U.S. for years (he is the producer of the riveting 1994 episode of PBS’s “Frontline” titled “Terrorists Among Us—Jihad in America,” which is still essential viewing for all those concerned about the security of the United States), in his book lays out evidence that jihadists are pursuing their goal of Islamic supremacism in myriad ways in America today, including through “advocacy groups, an array of disingenuous charities and foundations, corporate financing networks, and the halls of academia.” He and the staffers of his Investigative Project on Terrorism explain how al Qaeda continues to operate on our soil even after 9/11, how its operational strategy has evolved since then, and the extent of its American network.

Unimpeded Terror Financing

But al Qaeda, of course, is not the only jihad organization operating on American soil today. Emerson explores the activities of many of them, including their actions within American mosques, their operations through charitable organizations and through the Internet and their involvement in money-laundering activities that allow terror financing to continue virtually unimpeded.

At the same time, he chronicles how American Muslim advocacy groups in Washington have worked to impede law enforcement endeavors against these operations at virtually every step—raising questions about their own larger goals. And of course, these advocacy groups have benefited from friends in high places.

“Homegrown plotters, sleeper cells, intolerant and hateful imams, and their domestic apologists,” Emerson explains, “all seek to undermine the foundations of this country through a variety of means: rhetoric, fund-raising, and violence. Intricate webs of interconnected groups and organizations have been established to pursue—and often to obfuscate—the zealots’ destructive objectives.”

It is disquieting reading, but in “Jihad Incorporated,” Steven Emerson has provided a useful summary of jihad activity in the United States at this time. We may only hope that law enforcement officials around the country are studying this book diligently, absorbing its lessons and devising strategies to head off the further growth of the jihad network in America.

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