“We wouldn’t go and say, ‘There’s a problem with radical Christianity or radical Christian terrorism. We call the threat what it is. It’s the KKK. It’s those who are attacking women’s health clinics.” – Farhana Khera, June 28 2016
Hat Tip: BB
Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates was on the other side of the “purge” addressed by Cruz and Haney, as the author of a 2011 letter to the acting inspector general of the Justice Department.
Among the “woefully misinformed statements about Islam and bigoted stereotypes about Muslims” in FBI training was the assertion that there “may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox theology … [t]he strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”
Her letter urged an “immediate investigation” into the FBI’s “use of grossly inaccurate, inflammatory, and highly offensive counterterrorism training materials about Muslims and Islam used to train its agents and other law enforcement.”
Khera previously served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she worked for six years for Sen. Russell D. Feingold, D-Wis. According to a bio posted by the Islamic Society of North America, ISNA, while working with the Senate, she “focused substantially on the USA PATRIOT Act, racial and religious profiling, and other civil liberties issues raised by the government’s anti-terrorism policies since September 11th.”
Khera is listed as a featured speaker on the website of ISNA, which was one of the groups, along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, identified by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorist-financing case in U.S. history.
In her prepared testimony Tuesday, she said the “use of bigoted trainers and materials in the recent past is not only highly offensive, disparaging the faith of millions of Americans, but leads to biased policing that targets individuals and communities based on religion, rather than based upon evidence of wrongdoing.”
Cruz, referring to his chart showing the scrubbing of Islamic words from the government’s lexicon, asked Khera if it was her organization’s position that the 126 references to “jihad” in the 9/11 commission report were “offensive” or “bigoted.”
After not receiving an answer the first time, he posed the question again.
Khera stuttered before collecting her thoughts, saying “our concern is not just terminology, but it’s about what these materials are communicating.”
Cruz tried again: “So my understanding is you don’t think it’s bigoted to use jihad? I just want to understand your organization’s position, whether or not it is bigoted to use the word jihad.
“So, this is when I think it’s problematic,” Khera said, “I think it’s problematic when we have public officials – whether it’s members of Congress, members of the administration, who are going out and describing the problem as a problem of jihad or a problem of radical Islamic terrorism.
“That’s a problem, because it’s actually playing in to the propaganda aim of ISIS,” she said. “And it makes us less safe, because ISIS wants this to be a war against Islam, and by using religiously loaded terminology like jihad, we’re playing into their mindset.”
She said further that “it’s not only that, it’s just grossly inaccurate.”
“I think we need to call the threat what it is. It’s ISIS, it’s al-Qaida,” she said. “And it’s no different than the KKK or those who attack abortion clinics.
“We wouldn’t go and say, ‘There’s a problem with radical Christianity or radical Christian terrorism. We call the threat what it is. It’s the KKK. It’s those who are attacking women’s health clinics.”
Cruz noted that he had asked Khera twice whether or not her organization thought the 9/11 report was bigoted and said he would try to ask the question a different way.
Khera interrupted, saying she must have misunderstood the question. She said her problem is not necessarily with the use of the term jihad but with the way in which officials in general were talking about the threat.
“Well, if it wasn’t a concern, then why would it be purged from 126 down to zero, zero, zero, zero?” Cruz asked, referring to four documents issued under Obama.
“I cannot explain,” she said. “I cannot speak for the administration, these government agencies that did that, and what their thinking was in the development of those documents.”
Cruz interjected, pointing out the purging of the language was done “in response to a request from your organization in writing, calling for a ‘purge.’”
Khera said that what she and her organization asked for was a purging of “bigoted training materials.”
In his prepared statement, Jasser, who described himself as a “devout Muslim who loves my faith, and loves my nation,” rejected the view that using terms such as “radical Islam” plays into the hands of ISIS and al-Qaida.
“Wholesale denial of the truth by many in our government and political establishment has actually emboldened extremists on both sides of this debate: both radical Islamists and anti-Muslim fascists,” he said.
Jasser said that it’s from his perspective as a Muslim that he concludes the “deemphasis of ‘radical Islam’ is the greatest obstacle to both national harmony and national security.”
Jasser called for, among other things, a lifting of the ban on using Islamic terms and an investigation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other U.S.-based groups that promote a supremacist interpretation of Islam that seeks to impose Islamic law in the U.S and worldwide.