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NYT on Jihad



   The New York Times
   February 3, 1995, p. A19


   [Column] On My Mind


   A. M. Rosenthal


   Jihad in America


   The Clinton Administration has come to two major
   conclusions about terrorism in America, and from America.


   The first is that the United States is becoming a
   national safe haven for terrorists from the Middle East:
   a combination bank, fund-raiser, militarist training
   ground, recruitment center, political academy and
   embarkation dock.


   Second conclusion: Do something. So one recent night,
   instructions from Washington went out to banks nationwide
   to freeze the funds of the various Hamas Hezbollah and
   Islamic Jihad units, and their clones, operating from the
   East Coast to Texas and California. Mr. Clinton did that
   by Presidential order.


   Now the Administration is asking Congress to pass new
   anti-terrorist legislation. It would enable the
   Government to trace funds to and from the
   terrorist-supporting groups, tighten the definition of
   terrorism, enlarge the powers of Federal attorneys to
   deal with it and make it illegal to plan or train for
   terrorism abroad as well as in the U.S.


   The draft legislation is called the Omnibus
   Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It was drawn up by the
   Department of Justice on Presidential order and will be
   introduced in Congress in a matter of days.


   For Americans who have been warning about terrorism
   operating in and out of America, the time to relax has
   hardly arrived. We will see how effective it is in ending
   the contribution to terrorism of American laws and
   American inattention.


   But the fact is that the Clinton Administration has begun
   to pay more attention to the growth of terrorist
   organizations here than its predecessors have. And in
   parts of the government intelligence machinery, the
   assessment of the danger of terrorism originating in
   America is strong enough to surprise even anti-terrorism
   alarm ringers like myself.


   In large part, the awakening can be credited to the
   terrorists themselves. Even for America, blowing up the
   World Trade Center was a little thick.


   But the next time you get all worked up about the
   dastardly press, do remember that in the matter of
   terrorism, as so many others, it was an American
   journalist whose skill, determination and risk-taking
   (physical and professional) helped shake government
   awake.


   On Nov. 21, 1994, PBS presented "Jihad in America." The
   documentary laid it all out on film -- the meetings in
   American cities where the cry of holy war went up against
   America, Christians, Jews and Muslims who would not
   surrender to fundamentalism; the training; the visits to
   American units by Middle Eastern leaders of Hamas and
   Islamic Jihad, and the fund-raising structure that
   supported terrorism.


   The executive producer was Steven Emerson, an
   investigator of terrorism who has turned out a strong
   body of work in film, books and print journalism. Among
   government officials I talked to, credit for Mr. Emerson
   was not only acknowledged but volunteered.


   Democracy often has a tough time defending itself because
   it has to operate step by step, inch by inch, under the
   law. Yes, of course, that is democracy's blessing and
   strength.


   But nothing says a democracy has to watch the bombers
   come racing in their trucks and pretend they are
   bicyclists out for a ride in the park. Laurie Mylroie,
   the U.S. expert on Iraq who wrote a fine best seller on
   Saddam Hussein with Judith Miller, has written another
   book, focusing on the question of an Iraqi role in the
   bombing. It deserves to be published wide and soon.


   The Emerson documentary brought protests from American
   Muslim groups. So will the new legislation. Immediately,
   non-Muslims nod sypathetically and think, well, it's
   understandable Muslims will be upset. I almost did
   myself. But why? Christians are not expected to complain
   about denunciation of Christian Fascists. Jews around the
   world led the protests of the massacre at the mosque in
   Hebron and Jews generally did not protest the President's
   freezing of funds of two extremist Jewish groups.


   The assumption that all Muslims must be angry at action
   against Muslim terrorists strengthens the killers. It
   demeans the intelligence of all Muslims. And, as for the
   hundreds of thousands of Muslim victims who died under
   Muslim state tyranny or Muslim state-supported terrorism,
   it spits on their graves.


   END