I am going to be very careful in choosing my words in this column.
Nonetheless, I fully expect my words to be twisted, distorted, misrepresented and turned against me in the most vicious and vile ways.
I expect that because it has happened time and time again when I have broached the subject matter of today’s column.
Not only do I anticipate being misunderstood, smeared and accused of saying things I am not saying, I also expect to be threatened, harassed and intimidated. It comes with the territory. This is war. And Americans are just beginning to realize that they have been the targets of people who hate them and want to destroy them for a long time.
Let me begin by reminding you of a poll that was conducted and published by USA Today back in 1991. Muslim Arab-Americans were asked if they would fight for the U.S. in the war on Iraq. Fully 82 percent said no. More than half said they would not support any war on any Arab nation.
A more recent poll conducted in the Netherlands following the terrorist attacks on the U.S. showed that 5 percent of Dutch Muslims agreed with Osama bin Laden’s destruction of the World Trade Center and assault on the Pentagon. Another 60 percent said they “could understand” the attacks.
These are facts. And facts speak plainly. Now here’s the context in which I present these facts.
Bin Laden’s self-designated right-hand man is Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian implicated in the assassination of Anwar Sadat and a horrendous list of other terrorist crimes around the world since. His specialty was spectacular operations against United Nations forces and U.S.-led NATO forces in Bosnia.
In 1993, Zawahiri and bin Laden began setting up operations in Western Europe as a base for dramatic terrorist strikes in the United States.
According to Yossef Bodansky’s stunning 1999 book, “Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America,” part of this focus on the United States involved establishing a network to disseminate propaganda throughout the West, “particularly to the various Muslim communities the Islamicists most wanted to influence.”
In early 1995, Zawahiri made “an audacious, extremely clandestine visit to the United States to establish firsthand the strength and reliability of the local networks and Islamicist communities and confirm the suitability of various objectives for spectacular strikes already identified and recommended by the U.S.-based networks.”
Using one of his European-forged passports, Zawahiri established a forward base of operations in Santa Clara, Calif., according to Bodansky. Ali A. Mohamed, whose real name is Ali Abu-al-Saud Mustafa and Khalid al-Sayyid Ali Abu-al-Duhab, both Egyptian-American devotees of bin Laden, were the senior jihadist operatives in the U.S. who facilitated Zawahiri’s tour. Zawahiri even established residency in the U.S. for a period of time through their efforts. The three traveled all over the United States inspecting future targets.
“Zawahiri returned to Europe convinced that the United States could become a fertile ground for a series of spectacular terrorist operations – both acknowledged and deniable strikes – provided they were properly planned and professionally executed,” writes Bodansky.
The two Egyptian-Americans were not exceptional, notes Bodansky, but typical of the “high-quality assets the Islamicists could rely on in the United States.” Mustafa graduated from the Cairo military academy and rose to the rank of major. He then offered his services to the CIA in West Germany but was identified as a likely double agent. Nevertheless, this did not stop him from entering the United States in 1985, marrying an American woman and joining the U.S. Army, serving as a supply sergeant with the Special Forces. Later, he was indicted in connection with the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Dahab traveled all over the world on behalf of the terrorists, purchasing and setting up the satellite telephones used by bin Laden. He was arrested in 1998 while trying to escape Egypt for the U.S.
The point is these folks could not have operated for so long in America without a support system – one provided willingly by Islamicist supporters right here in the United States.
How vast is that network today? I hope it is not 5 percent, but if it is, consider the fact that estimates of the number of Muslims in the United States today is as high as 7 million. Do the math. That would translate to a potential fifth-column army of 350,000.
Special offer: Who is Osama bin Laden? Get the answer in Yossef Bodansky’s book “Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America.”