Boston Herald | Monday, October 3, 2011 | Op-Ed |

America is not at war with Islam. But, make no mistake about it, large segments of Islam are at war with America.

The arrest last Wednesday of an Ashland man, Rezwan Ferdaus, for attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda is the latest reminder of this sobering fact.

Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen and graduate of Northeastern, was plotting to blow up the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. The reason? His commitment to Islamic jihad. “Americans,” he is reported to have said, are “the enemies of Allah.”

Shockingly, many on the political left view these events through the prism of psychiatry — describing them as singular schemes by disturbed wannabes. Apologists reflexively attack any attempt to understand homegrown radicalism — such as the congressional hearings on Radicalization in the American Muslim Community led by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) — as a modern day witch-hunt.

In a stunning article entitled, “The Myth of Homegrown Islamic Terrorism,” TIMEMagazine argues that we should turn our collective outrage away from Islamic extremism and focus, instead, on the “shortcomings of America’s mental-health system.”

But it is not just journo-activists who insist on obscuring the threat from Islamic jihad. Indeed, the Obama administration has long referred to acts of terrorism as “man-caused disasters” and otherwise minimized terrorist plots as the deplorable acts of a marginalized few.

If the threat weren’t so serious, this Orwellian twist of logic would be rather comical. Unfortunately, however, support for Islamic jihad is more widespread (and dangerous) than the liberals care to acknowledge.

According to the Mapping Sharia Project of the Center for Security Policy, the vast majority of American mosques preach hatred of the West. Around 85 percent distribute literature that promotes religious violence; more than half have sponsored talks by guest imams who advocate jihad against the United States.

Of course, many Muslims practice their faith at home and rarely attend mosques. But the deliberate effort by a significant number of imams to radicalize Americans bears fruit in the actions of people like Rezwan Ferdaus.

Other examples abound:

Tarek Mehanna — the Sudbury man, desperate to join forces with al-Qaeda, who is charged with plotting to attack civilians at a local shopping mall;

Betim Kaziu — Brooklyn born child of Yugoslav immigrants who traveled to Egypt to take up arms against U.S. troops;

John Walker Lindh — a native Californian who converted to Islam and then traveled to Afghanistan to fight against U.S. troops;

Daniel Patrick Boyd — an American Muslim convert who organized a jihadist terrorist cell in, of all places, North Carolina;

— Nidal Malik Hasan — the army psychiatrist and perpetrator of the Fort Hood massacre;

Anwar al-Awlaki (killed last week in Yemen by U.S. drones) — a U.S.-born Islamic militant who became the ideological leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Pennisula.

These men are not crazy; they are evil. And they are not alone.

Between Sept. 11, 2001 and the end of 2009, the U.S. government reported 46 incidents (involving more than 125 people) of “domestic radicalization and recruitment to jihadist terrorism.”

About one-quarter of these documented plots were linked to major international terrorist organizations. All were motivated by Islamic fervor. That many of them failed or were foiled does not make them any less serious.

As former terrorism prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy has written, “To deny an obvious nexus between the mainstream Islam of the mosques, the violent jihadism of the terrorists, and the stealth jihadism of Islamist organizations is to remain willfully blind.”

Before 9/11, the terrorist-as-madman paradigm was simply naïve. Rezwan Ferdaus reminds us that, in a post-9/11 world, it’s a suicide pact.

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