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The threat of militant Islam on US college campuses

2 Ex-terrorists featured at University of Colorado: a big success


By —— Bio and Archives--May 16, 2008

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An unusual thing happened on April 29th at the University of Colorado.

A decidedly pro-U.S. and pro-Israel event took place on Ward Churchill’s old stomping grounds at the Boulder, Colorado campus as former PLO terrorists Walid Shoebat and Kamel Saleem spoke as guests of the College Republicans to an enthusiastic sold out crowd—without interruption—about the threat of militant Islam on US college campuses. The crowd of 1,100 ticket holders was so large that two hundred people had to be turned away at the door for lack of seating.

“I’m just worried the event will be disrupted like our others,” Jack Roldan, vice-chair of the CU College Republicans, told me just days before the event. “When John Ashcroft was our guest, the radicals  and MSA carried on so much during his speech nobody could hear him. The same thing happened when we invited Madeleine Albright. Not only was the interference by leftist Palestinian students and the Muslim Students Association, but also from off campus groups like The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. Meanwhile, when Hanan Ashwari came, they attended and cheered every word she said.”
 
The 2 ex-terrorists event marked a watershed moment in getting the message out that jihad being promoted on US college campuses and can be checked if only some minor efforts are made by those seeking to present the truth in cooperation with college administrators and campus law enforcement.
 
I was attached to the event by the Walid Shoebat Foundation to organize in advance attendance and to head off any problems with the MSA on the Boulder campus. This event, titled “Why We Want to Kill You,” after Shoebat’s latest book, introduced attendees to the terrorist backgrounds of Shoebat and Saleem, both of whom were once assigned by the Muslim Brotherhood to promote militant Islam and jihad within the United States during their younger years and who had been actively involved with terrorism through the PLO in the Middle East in their youth. Shoebat explained to a rapt audience about how he had been assigned to Loop College in Chicago and worked from a basement with a militant imam to promote jihad in America. Saleem told the audience how he went on his first terrorist mission for al Fatah while less than ten years old and later as an adult who was assigned by the  Muslim Brotherhood to spread jihad within the US, particularly on college campuses.
 
The event, like previous events, had many obstacles to overcome just the week before. Posters about the event that were authorized by the campus administration were torn down almost as fast as they went up or covered with posters from an Islam Awareness Week presented by the MSA on campus that same week. The distribution of free advance tickets, available at the Student Union also had problems; when people came by to get them they were at first told the event  had already been sold out and was inaccessible or that persons without student ID could not obtain them. It was never made clear if this was intentional or an error on the part of staff. The campus police demanded double the police officers for security resulting in an additional $5,000 expense for the College Republicans that was ultimately met.
 
But the worst vilification in advance of the event came from the local press. The local newspapers in Boulder picked up on the MSA’s attempts to discredit not with facts but by innuendo Shoebat and Saleem before they even spoke. All press accounts described the two men as “self-proclaimed” terrorists and “charlatans.”

The MSA in one breath would declare both men as terrorists that should be arrested if they were really ex-terrorists, then proclaim its support for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizballah. Both Shoebat and Saleem were accused of being frauds out to make money and the press cited as their source comments from Ibrahim Hooper, the head of CAIR that has had several of its leaders already indicted and prosecuted for aiding terrorist movements like Hamas. Some intelligence gathered before the event revealed the MSA planned to drown out the speakers by screaming “Allahu Akhbar” during the event. But once the campus police were alerted about this and advised to warn the MSA not to do so, the plan fell apart. As an added precaution, every seat at the event had a disclaimer listing the state law about disrupting a lawful meeting and the legal penalties involved with a warning that intentional disruptions would lead to prosecution. There was no repetition of near riots and heckling as has occurred atUC Irvine, UC Berkeley and other campuses in the past.
 
Only days before, some MSA students approached the College Republicans’ table in the student union  where tickets were also being distributed  to declare they found the event “offensive.”  These students spoke of “Israeli state terrorism” in the same breath they claimed to oppose terrorism, but also acknowledged their support for Hamas. At the same time, when I asked how many of the MSA students had read the Hamas charter, none had. One 18 year-old, who identified himself as Vice President of the campus MSA, whose family came from Iran, said that Iran does not persecute Jews, that Ahmadinajhad never said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map, and was misquoted by all the news agencies of the world. He claimed that all exhortations to jihad and calls to kill Jews were mistranslations (apparently only he knew how to translate the Koran). The next day at the question and answer period after Shoebat and Saleem spoke, he announced that if the US went to war against Iran, he would go fight for Iran that he referred to as “my country,” despite his growing up in and attending college right here in America.
 
It was to ideas like these that both ex-terrorists addressed as a need for people in America to understand that worldwide jihad is being promoted as much in the colleges of America as it is overseas through the Muslim Students Association and its affiliated groups. Kamel Saleem pointed to the US flag on stage and said, “I don’t advocate against all Muslim people. There are many good Muslims,” he continued, “But I want to see Muslim-Americans running with the US flag saying they support America against America’s enemies,.” emphasizing the epiphany he had since starting out with the Muslim Brotherhood.
                                   
Accused by another MSA student of staging the event to make money or sell books, Walid Shoebat replied, “I’ll gladly open the urged people to    become aware of this and fight it. Despite the clarity of his message, one student, a former President of  the MSA at the University of Colorado tried to shout over him, “What’s your message? What’s your message?”  as if he had spent the last two hours in a vacuum.
 
“My message,” said Shoebat, “is for you to shut up!” at which point the entire audience rose to their feet in a standing ovation. The MSA members remained seated, but it was clear the rest of the Boulder, Colorado crowd did enthusiastically get the message.
 
And this time they got the point with no interruptions. Not one heckler had to be removed that evening to the astonishment of the local TV news  that had seen previous lectures on the University of Colorado campus always disrupted This also showed how simple precautions by the promoters and the University can easily bring civil discussion back to any campus in the face of the normal bullying tactics of the likes of the MSA and similar radical groups.



Lee Kaplan -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Lee Kaplan is an investigative journalist. He is also a regular columnist for Front Page Magazine, the Israel National News.

Older articles by Lee Kaplan

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