Islamist damage control – Safe Spaces revisited

… a “Trojan horse” with a goal to negatively influence U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies operations. 

The threat posed by ISIS and recent news reports of Americans being recruited to join the jihad overseas has presented a major problem for Islamists in the United States – increased scrutiny of mosques.   Despite a successful campaign to hinder NYPD’s anti-terror efforts,  Muslim special interest groups, such as the Council on American–Islamic Relations CAIR and Muslim Public Affairs Council  (MPAC,)  are seeing ground lost as law enforcement and counter-terror agencies place their sights back on suspected mosques. 

Having American Muslims run off to be jihadis with a group that beheads  American journalists is a public relations nightmare for U.S. based Islamists.   The U.S. is the “cash cow” for Islamist fund raising – funds that frequently support terrorist activities in the Middle East.   Mosques in the U.S. are critical to the fund raising process.  They serve as venues to solicit donations, bases for regional collections, and locations for planning activities.   Undue attention is not always desirable.

This week,  MSNBC’s José Díaz-Balart interviewed Salam Al-Marayati, president of  MPAC regarding  “a nationwide intervention program to prevent young American Muslims from being radicalized and joining the fight overseas.”

The referenced program is MPAC’s Safe Spaces Initiative that was introduced in April 2014, mostly in response to the Boston Bombing in 2013.  Following a quick overview of Safe Spaces,  the discussion focused on ISIS/IS (Islamic State).

The interview can be viewed HERE

We previously reported on the Safe Spaces Initiative and noted that while being pushed as an intervention program, it’s real purpose is to provide a mechanism that insulates mosques and Islamic center’s from the scrutiny of  law enforcement and counter-terror agencies.  In an article earlier this year, Mr. Al-Marayati stated:

Safe spaces are created for everyone entering our mosques to be able to have difficult conversations. People need to feel comfortable discussing politics or persecution of Muslims in places such as Palestine or Kashmir or drone attacks that harm the innocent in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Safe spaces are needed so that government informants and extremist recruiters are prevented from violating the sanctity of the mosque. In essence, we want to enhance both a spiritual safety and public safety.

The Safe Spaces Initiative can be tied into a several front groups for the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) such as CAIR and the Muslim American Society (MAS).   The author of the “Safe Spaces Tool Kit” is Alejandro J. Beutel – the lead face in MPAC’s organized effort to move U.S. law enforcement towards a community oriented policing model that effectively allows the Muslim community to exercise considerable control and influence.  He was a junior fellow with the Minaret of Freedom Institute.   According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, “The Minaret of Freedom Institute [is] a lesser known group tied to the U.S Brotherhood and whose leadership includes Omar Altalib, likely a relative of Hisham Altalib, one of the original leaders of IIIT and the SAAR Foundation“.

In November 2010, researcher Marylin Stern criticized  MPAC’s special report “Building Bridges” and related efforts, calling them a “Trojan horse” with a goal to negatively influence U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies operations.  Stern notes:

Like the Trojan horse of ancient Troy, MPAC provides cover for jihadists by obscuring the subversive agenda of Islamists like Maher Hathout, Salam al-Marayati, ISNA and CAIR. Upon closer examination, research supports the thesis that contrary to MPAC’s claim to uphold civil liberties, MPAC has exhibited a consistent hostility towards U.S. law enforcement to undermine effective counter-terrorism initiatives by placing themselves between the Muslim community and law enforcement.

Following the 2013 Boston Bombing, we warned that efforts such as The Safe Spaces Initiative would be initiated to protect Islamist self-interest.   It’s inevitable there will be more reports of American jihadi’s tied to mosques and law enforcement/related agencies would be foolish to embrace the “we’ll let you know since we know best” programs and ideology being pushed by MPAC.

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