A friend of mine sent my previous blog about ACT’s priority of not offending Muslims to Kelly Cook, the National Field Director of ACT for America, for his comment. Kelly responded to our Chapter Leader in the email below.
Give me a call regarding this issue. There are so many misunderstandings below [in previous blog gm] in G-----‘s piece. I’m sure he’s well meaning, but he needs to realize that we appreciate all who want to win this war. Usama Dakdok, however, issued us an ultimatum. That’s wrong and I called him on it. [Conflicting statements about the “ultimattum” were personally received from both parties. gm]
Please give me a call: 850-xxx-xxxx, Ext 2
G----- is welcome to join us if you would like.
As we grow into a million member network, those wanting to weigh in on strategy are welcome to do so. Believe me, we’ve chewed and digested this particular issue over and over again and we won’t be throwing brave moderate Muslims under the bus to line up with some misguided individual’s narrative of how all Muslims must be.
Whether those who detract from our positions do so or not is irrelevant, but I will always respect anyone trying to make a difference to win. We need to make this point in our chapters. 100% agreement is not required, but a mutual respect is. This will keep a healthy dynamic within your chapter, rather than one that could potentially split it.
National Field Director
Here is my emailed reply to Kelly:
Thank you for copying me on your email response to V----.
First, I need to commend V---- and her local Chapter to you. She is doing a fantastic job. You should know that the members of the Chapter she has formed are of one mind concerning Islam. We all share the same understanding of Islam as I summarized in my blog.
V---- has hosted numerous experts on Islam and the Middle East at our meetings. They’ve included a Christian raised in Egypt who translated the Qur’an, a former Muslim turned Christian from Pakistan who speaks to churches around the country, a homeland security consultant who trains with The Mossad of Israel, and a PhD from a local university who specializes in communicating the Islamic threat to whoever will listen, among others. All of these expert speakers, a decade of my own research, and the actions and statements of Muslims around the world have informed the understanding of Islam that I expressed in my “misguided” blog comments.
Our meetings are attended by Christians, Jews, and secularists. Local pastors often give the invocation at the start of our meetings – and amazingly, no one is offended. We have ongoing interaction with the many conservative groups in our area. And we are all united in our understanding of Islam. No one has been offended either by the frank and truthful speakers we’ve had or by my frank and truthful “blog.” You, on behalf of ACT, are the only one who has expressed that my blog contains “so many misunderstandings.” I hate to say it, but it is as though I got a reaction from Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf himself. That may sound offensive to you (or maybe not), but that is what I and many others perceive from ACT.
In that regard, it would be very helpful to me and others here if you would be so kind to elaborate on your statement that “there are so many misunderstandings…in Gerald’s piece.” Please explain the points of that blog that you take issue with and your reasons why. It is apparent from your emailed comments (e.g. “misguided individual’s narrative of how all Muslims must be”) that you did not read my comments very closely or that you, yourself, lack a clear understanding of the motives and methods of the Islamic leaders who are influencing you.
I thought I understood why ACT National is doing things the way you are doing them. I gave the organization the benefit of the doubt that your methods were designed to reach the politically motivated, influential, and naive people with your warning about “radical Islam.” I understood that you cannot reach them [by providing them gm] with the entire truth of Islam all at once. You believe the entire truth all at once may repel some from accepting any truth you have to impart.
You believe the distinction between “Islam” and “radical Islam” helps our cause. To the contrary, that is a half truth that leads people to believe that “non-radical” Islam is A OK. You give the distinct impression that non-radical Islam is indeed “a religion of peace” as George Bush notoriously and ignorantly declared the day after 9-11. That message most definitely HURTS our cause - that is, if you believe “our cause” is to reveal the “whole truth” of the Islamic threat. Note that in my blog I took care to distinguish between Islam and Muslim (which you may have missed) and the distinction between “radical”, “moderate”, and “apostate” Muslim.
But now, your most recent comments raise questions not just about your methods, but your understanding. I am not sure you understand Islam all that well. Indeed, it does appear that ACT National has staked out the “middle” position. And this “middle position” is not as you portray it: It is not between the “ignorant Islamophobic bigots” (as you infer of me) on one hand, and the “rabid pro-Islamic Jihadists” on the other.” No, not that at all. ACT’s position appears to be between those who promote “the whole truth of Islam” (which you reject) and the “Islamic radicals.” Your “middle ground” is indistinguishable from the message of Islamic apologists (who you defend). Here is what your position appears to be in a nutshell: “Islam = good” “Radical Islam = not good. Regretfully this is the equivalent to Nazi = good; radical Nazi = not good. Back in the day you would likely promote the idea that the majority who declared themselves “Nazi” were great folks and meant no one harm. It is only the “radicals” who are a problem. Islam’s history is 1,400 years longer and has a “god” motivating its followers to do the things you attribute only to the “radicals.”
The folks we interact with in our part of the nation are apparently more receptive to and somewhat more evolved in their understanding of the whole truth of Islam than either ACT National or the politicians your National organization is attempting to reach. Unfortunately, your chosen methods of reaching them dilute and confuse the truth. In the short run you may gain some influential supporters who “get it” regarding your narrow definition of “radical Islam.” That is picking the low hanging fruit – a no brainer. In the long run you will have accomplished NOTHING to educate the nation about the underlying threat of historic, orthodox Islam and the many forms it takes.
Shortly after sending this email, Kelly, our local Chapter leader, and I participated in a conference call. In that conversation, Kelly explained ACT’s purpose in distinguishing “radical Islam” from “Islam.” The reasons he gave were amazing to me. Here is my 2nd email back to him making my best attempt at summarizing my understanding of the reasons for ACT’s strategy.
Thank you for speaking on the phone with Vella and me. And for listening.
The “new thing” I learned from our conversation today about your preferred method of addressing the Islamic threat is this:
You see your strategy as keeping a hope for “a miracle” alive. You believe in the possibility of a miracle that the five ‘rebel’, “moderate” Muslims you referred to in our conversation will turn the tide of the teaching of thousands of Imams and Islamic leaders, a millennium of orthodox Islamic doctrine, and the Islamic-inspired culture of 100’s of millions, into a truly peace loving ideology compatible with and appreciative of western values. As funny as this sounds, I’m not laughing.
You further believe that in order to safeguard the possibility of that miracle coming true, you are willing to lead your followers to believe that the vast majority of Muslims don’t really understand or practice the Islamic “faith” (ideology). To keep the possibility of your miracle alive, you have adopted a further strategy of doing all in your power to not offend the vast majority of cultural Muslims with the truth of Islam – a twist on the apparently outmoded “the truth shall make you free” admonition of their competing faith. The truth about the Islamic ideology is sacrificed for two purposes: 1) So the “vast majority” of cultural Muslims will not be offended, and 2) So that ACT does not appear radical to those incapable of hearing the truth about Islam. Only those Muslims who show themselves to be “radical” are worthy of your critique. The Islamic ideology itself is off limits to anyone’s criticism, lest they be labeled “misguided.”
It is not news to me that many “moderate” Muslims appear to be cultural Muslims only. You seem to hold great stock in the so-called “moderate majority” being totally ignorant of Islamic ideology and thus totally benign. There are three problems with that view. 1) Experience has shown that there are many who were thought to be “moderate” by our government or media but had shown themselves to be anything but. 2) Experience with cultural identity demonstrates that it is highly likely that even Muslims who are not devout practitioners of Islam will follow their devout Muslim compatriots who adhere to the orthodox Islamic doctrine that is anything BUT benign. And 3) The widely practiced Islamic doctrine of deception to promote Islam in a foreign culture cloaks the true devoutness of untold numbers of Muslims.
One other oddity of the “don’t offend the cultural Muslim” strategy is this. If you believe that the great majority of people who call themselves “Muslim” are benign, why are you so hell-bent on withholding the truth about Islam from them so they won’t be offended? That makes absolutely no sense to me. And if we sincerely do not wish the few rebel, apostate Muslims to be “thrown under the bus”, we should do all we can to discourage them from identifying with the Islamic ideology altogether. That is a support-worthy strategy. Why pretend that “Islam” is A OK, when it isn’t?
Well, to sum up, I hope you also learned something from your conversation with us this afternoon – something to offset your belief that we only have “a misguided individual narrative” concerning “all Muslims.”
I continue to look forward to your point by point corrections of the “so many misunderstandings” contained in my blog.
ACT is counting on the highly improbable. Kelly is counting on a handful of US Muslims viewed as apostates by virtually the entire Muslim Ummah to transform Islam into something it never was and which is disparaged by virtually all Islamic scholars in the world today. He accedes to the strategy of making way for “a miracle” of world wide Islamic transformation by refusing to offend (with the truth of Islam) the overwhelming majority of Muslims (as he sees it) who are Muslim in name only or otherwise indifferent to the Islamic ideology.
Result: The truth of Islam is being denied to accommodate a wish for a miracle. That is indeed a risky strategy, akin to befriending Middle East Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the hope that they will change. That is “hope and change” dhimmi style.