This section of DiscoverTheNetworks features profiles of Islamists who have secured positions of influence in federal, state, and local government. Some of these individuals were elected to their offices by the voting public; others were appointed by elected officials.
It is important to emphasize that the men and women profiled in this section are not included here merely because they are Muslims. Indeed, many Muslims in government positions perform their duties competently and in a manner that is consistent with America's national-security needs. As journalist Andrew C. McCarthy, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and author of The Grand Jihad, puts it:
“I don’t know how many Muslims work in the U.S. government, but I feel pretty safe saying there are thousands. As a federal prosecutor on terrorism cases, I had the privilege of working with several of them. These were patriotic American Muslims, and a number of Muslims who may not be Americans but who have embraced America and the West. Without them, we could not have infiltrated jihadist cells in New York and stopped terrorists from killing thousands of people. Without them, we could not have translated, understood and processed our evidence so it could be presented to a jury as a compelling narrative. Pro-American Muslims serve honorably in government, in our military, in our intelligence services, and in our major institutions.”
Such individuals are to be distinguished from Islamists, who, to varying degrees, support and/or whitewash the radical and supremacist agendas of Sharia Law and jihadism, be it of the violent or the stealth variety, and of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations.
A number of the Islamists featured in this section participate in events hosted and sponsored by organizations with ties to Islamic extremism, jihadism, and terrorism. They refuse to unambiguously condemn the actions and objectives of such entities as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood. And they are apt to ascribe Islamic terrorism not to any particular doctrines that are central to Islam itself, but rather, to objectionable Western “policies” that allegedly antagonize Muslims and constitute a veritable “war against Islam.”
In June 2012, five Republican lawmakers (most prominently, Rep. Michele Bachmann) sent letters to the inspectors general at the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State, asking that they investigate whether the Muslim Brotherhood was gaining undue influence over U.S. government officials. One letter, noting that Huma Abedin's position as a close aide to Hillary Clinton “affords her routine access to the secretary [of state] and to policymaking,” expressed concern over the fact that Abedin “has three family members—her late father, mother and her brother—connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.”
Few political figures of either major party were able to see, or were willing to acknowledge, the legitimacy of the concerns raised by Bachmann, et al. President Barack Obama, for one, defended Huma Abedin as “a good friend … who has worked tirelessly … in the White House, in the U.S. Senate, and most exhaustingly, at the State Department, where she has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi likewise dismissed the “baseless accusations” against Ms. Abedin. Similarly, prominent Republicans such as John McCain and John Boehner firmly disavowed the concerns articulated in the aforementioned letters.
This section of DiscoverTheNetworks was established to provide the pertinent facts about the influence on American policy of Muslims who argue that concerns over radical Islam's inroads constitute “Islamophobia” that leads inevitably to violations of civil rights; who have Islamist commitments of their own, or sympathies for others who hold such views; or who seek to advance the agendas of groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.