By Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch
Human Rights Watch issued a report Monday claiming that “far from protecting Americans, including American Muslims, from the threat of terrorism…in some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act.” This is blisteringly ridiculous, but is already getting (predictably enough) wide play in the mainstream media, as it appears to confirm Leftist fantasies of predatory, rapacious law enforcement officials preying upon innocent, law-abiding Muslims in accord with official but sub rosa policies of “Islamophobia.”
What would it take for you to commit an act of jihad mass murder? Could an FBI agent convince you by any combination of love or money to do such a thing? “In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act.” Ridiculous. A law-abiding individual cannot be coaxed to commit jihad mass murder. One would have to be already sympathetic to the cause, and at very least eager to act. These jihadis in every case were given numerous opportunities to say no and opt out of the jihad plot. They did not. Thus they, not the FBI, bear responsibility for their actions.
Consider this also: I myself oppose jihad terror and Islamic supremacism. Leftists and Islamic supremacists constantly propagate the lie that this means that I, and others like me, hate Muslims and want to see them harmed. Accordingly, every now and again I get an email from a Leftist or Islamic supremacist who thinks he is cleverer than he is, inviting me to applaud, support, or join him in doing harm to Muslims. I turn these messages over to the FBI and that is the end of the matter, because in reality I stand for the equality of rights of all people before the law, and do not support any vigilante action or harming of any innocent Muslim (or any innocent person). I am, in other words, not able to be entrapped. Why are so many Muslims, by contrast, susceptible to the blandishments of these FBI agents who are supposedly cajoling them to commit jihad violence?
Nonetheless, the general denial of the reality of Islamic jihad in the U.S. increasingly takes the form of a claim that jihad plotters were victims of FBI entrapment. Some Muslim spokesmen in the U.S. have for years before this new Human Rights Watch report claimed that there is no significant jihad against the U.S. at all – just the FBI fabricating plots and victimizing young Muslims. It’s all the fault, you see, of an “Islamophobic” political culture, and an intelligence agency bent on justifying its counterterror budget by finding some terrorists.
At least one FBI informant has contributed significantly to these impressions. Craig Monteilh, who spent a year as a convert to Islam named Farouk al-Aziz, infiltrating mosques in southern California for the FBI. Monteilh, who has now repudiated his earlier actions and brought suit against the FBI, asserts: “The way the FBI conducts their operations, it is all about entrapment … I know the game, I know the dynamics of it. It’s such a joke, a real joke. There is no real hunt. It’s fixed.” He thinks the FBI should apologize for operations like the ones in which he played a part, but, he says, “they don’t have the humility to admit a mistake.”
The primary purpose of this infiltration, complains the OC Weekly, was to “create and facilitate fake terrorist plots.” Martin Stolar, an attorney for a Muslim who was accused of plotting a jihad attack at the Herald Square subway station in New York City, is adamant: “The problem with the cases we’re talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents. They’re creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror.”
The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reacted strongly to the revelations about Monteilh and other mosque informants: “Law-abiding Muslims at mainstream mosques and Islamic centers are being incited and entrapped by former criminals with questionable characters….The American Muslim community has never waivered [sic] from its commitment to keeping America safe, nor has it hesitated from cooperating with various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, in ensuring the security of all US citizens.”
Monteilh and other infiltrators and informants may indeed have been overzealous, even unethical. If so, they themselves deserve to be prosecuted. But the fundamental problem with the entrapment claim is that these alleged victims of entrapment agreed to participate in plots involving the mass murder of infidels. Peter Ahearn, a retired FBI special agent, explains: “If you’re doing a sting right, you’re offering the target multiple chances to back out. Real people don’t say, ‘Yeah, let’s go bomb that place.’ Real people call the cops.”
That’s the rub. While FBI infiltration programs may here or there have been abused, like all human endeavors, if someone agrees to set off a bomb in the cause of jihad at the behest of an FBI undercover agent, there is no guarantee that he wouldn’t agree to set one off if prompted by a genuine jihadist. The Leftist journalists and Islamic advocates who have decried what they see as FBI entrapment have never explained, or even attempted to explain, why it is that there are people willing and even eager to commit acts of violence in the name of Islam who allow themselves to be ensnared in these plots.
Even the Leftist exposes decrying entrapment make it clear that the supposed victims of entrapment were eager to do violence against non-Muslims in the name of Islam. The initial Mother Jones piece about FBI informants, which author Trevor Aaronson later expanded into a book, The Terror Factory, opens with a convert to Islam, James Cromitie (who changed his name to Abdul Rahman upon his conversion to Islam), thundering that “the worst brother in the whole Islamic world is better than 10 billion Yahudi [Jews].”
And Rahman was ready to act upon his hatred. He told a man whom he thought was a member of an Islamic jihad group but who was actually an FBI informant that he wanted to “do something to America” and was planning to bomb a bridge. When told that bridges were undesirable targets because they were made of steel and were hard to destroy, Rahman responded: “Of course they’re made of steel. But the same way they can be put up, they can be brought down.” But ultimately they settled on a plot to bomb several New York synagogues and fire Stinger missiles at airplanes.
The trial judge believed that Rahman and his co-defendants had been entrapped: “The government made them terrorists. I am not proud of my government for what it did in this case.”
Would Rahman have embarked on this plot without the informant? That is arguable; however, it’s obvious that if the informant had never come into his life, Rahman would still not have been a loyal, law-abiding American citizen, free of the seething hatreds that Islamic jihadists and supremacists find exhorted and justified in the Qur’an. And so Appeals Court Judge Jon O. Newman referred to Rahman’s statements about wanting to bomb a police car, “hit the bridge” and “get a synagogue” in concluding: “From everything that Cromitie said, the jury was entitled to find that he had a pre-existing ‘design’ and hence a predisposition to inflict serious harm on interests of the United States, even though government officers afforded him the opportunity and the pseudo weapons for striking at specific targets.”
Likewise Quazi Mohammad Nafis, whom Aaronson profiles in a January 2013 follow-up piece. Nafis, he says, was “a 21-year-old student living in Queens, New York, when the US government helped turn him into a terrorist.”
But it couldn’t have been all that hard. Nafis, says Aaronson, told an FBI informant that “he wanted to wage jihad in the United States, that he enjoyed reading Al Qaeda propaganda, and that he admired ‘Sheikh O,’ or Osama bin Laden.” He later told another informant, whom he thought was an al-Qaeda member, that he was “ready for action,” and that “what I really mean is that I don’t want something that’s, like, small. I just want something big. Something very big. Very, very, very, very big, that will shake the whole country.”
He embarked upon a plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange, later changing the target to the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City. Eventually, he was arrested after trying to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb in front of the Federal Reserve Bank – which he wanted to do, he said, “for the Muslims,” to “make us one step closer to run the whole world.”
Charges of entrapment are silly for Nafis, Rahman or any Muslim caught in a jihad terror plot to try to pursue. For there is every indication that Nafis and Rahman were more than willing to do whatever was necessary to enable them to murder large numbers of Americans. Nafis himself said that he had come to the U.S. from Bangladesh to engage in jihad activity; his goal was to “destroy America.” Thus blowing up the Federal Reserve Bank was not something he had to be enticed into doing.
Nafis at one point told an FBI informant: “We are going to need a lot of TNT or dynamite.” Aaronson complains that Nafis didn’t know where to get explosives, and that the FBI was helping his plot go farther than it ever would have without the agency’s participation; how he can be certain that Nafis never would have figured out how to get explosives any other way is left unexplained.
Becoming an Orwellian surveillance state in order to protect Americans from terrorism would be a cure worse than the disease. Certainly all surveillance and infiltration programs have to be subject to strict oversight and close examination to ensure they do not transgress Constitutional bounds. Still, the increasingly common charges of entrapment should be seen for what they are: yet another attempt to divert attention from the ugly reality of Islamic jihad activity in the U.S. and around the world, and to place the responsibility for jihadist misdeeds upon non-Muslims – specifically the ones who are trying to thwart the jihadists’ plans.
After 9/11, we were assured again and again that the vast majority of Muslims in the U.S. and worldwide were peaceful, and sincerely condemned such violence perpetrated in the name of their religion. Yet over twelve years later, we still have yet to see a sincere and effective effort within mosques to expose and report those who hold to the beliefs that led to those attacks.
Instead, we get more finger-pointing. And that means we will also get more jihad.