Random item surfing on Youtube a few nights back I came across a response by author and terrorism expert Brigitte Gabriel of ACT! For America to comments made by Muslim law student Saba Ahmed during a panel discussion in June 2014.
Saba Ahmed is the founder and head of the Republican Muslim Coalition, an organisation that advocates in Washington on behalf of Muslims for “pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-traditional family values, pro-defense, pro-trade, pro-business policies." Last year she appeared on a panel show wearing an American flag as a hijab, challenging Donald Trump’s views on closing mosques after the Paris attacks.
Brigitte Gabriel is a conservative American journalist, author, political lecturer, anti-Islamic extremism activist and founder of two non-profit political organizations, the American Congress For Truth and ACT! for America. Her sometimes controversial statements include that Islam keeps countries backward, and that it teaches terrorism. She has also been described as an activist who gives voice to "what many in America are thinking, but afraid to say out loud, for fear of being labeled a racist, bigot, Islamophobic, or intolerant."
In the panel discussion referred to above, Ms Ahmed made the observation that Muslim extremists are fighting a war based on ideology, querying whether an ideology can be fought with weapons. Ms Gabriel responded that radical Islam is evil, the peaceful majority doesn’t matter.
Ms Gabriel’s response was off topic - the question was how can an ideological war be won if its ideological roots are not addressed? - although the issue of the majority of Muslims being peaceful was hinted at by Ms Ahmed.
A transcript appears below.
The exchange has elicited comments both for and against each of Ms Ahmed and Ms Gabriel, with Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank describing it as “ugly taunting of a woman in the room who wore an Islamic head covering.”
The Youtube item can be viewed by clicking on the following link:
Assalam o alaikum, peace to you all. My name is Saba Ahmed; I’m a law student in American university. I am here to ask you a simple question. I know that we portrait Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there is 1.8-billion Muslim followers of Islam. We have 8-million plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don’t see them represented here, but my question is how can we fight an ideological war with weapons? How can we ever end this war? The jihadist ideology that you talk about, it’s an ideology. How can you ever win this thing if you don’t address it ideologically?
Great, question. I am so glad you’re here and I am so glad you brought that up, because it gives us an opportunity to answer. What I find so amazing is since the beginning of this panel, which we are here about Benghazi attack against our people. Not one person mentioned Muslims, we are here against Islam or we’re launching war against Muslims. We are you to discuss how four Americans died and what our government is doing. We were not here to bash Muslims; you were the one who brought up the issue about most Muslims and not us. And since you brought it up, allow me to elaborate with my answer.
There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world today. Of course, not all of them are radicals the majority of them are peaceful people. The radicals are estimated to be between 15% to 25% according to all intelligence services around the world. That leaves 75% of them peaceful people, but when you look at 15% to 25% of the world’s Muslim population; you’re looking at the 180-million to 300-million people dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization. That is as big of the United States. So why should we worry about their radical 15% to 25%, because it is the radicals that kill, because it is the radicals that behead and massacre.
When you look throughout history, when you look at all the lessons of history most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result 60-million people died, almost 14-million in concentration camps, 6-million were Jews. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
When you look at Russia most Russians were peaceful as well, yet the Russians were able to kill 20-million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. When you look at China for example most Chinese were peaceful as well, yet the Chinese were able to kill 70-million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
When you look at Japan prior to World War II most Japanese were peaceful as well, yet Japan was able to butcher its way across Southeast Asia killing 12-million people mostly killed with bayonet and shovels. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
On September 11th in the United States, we had 2.3-million Arab Muslims living in the United States. It took 19 hijackers 19 radicals to bring America down to its knees, destroy the World Trade Center, attack the Pentagon and kill almost 3,000 Americans that day. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
So for all our powers the reasons and us talking about moderate and peaceful Muslims, I’m glad you’re here, but where are the other speaking out and since you are the only Muslim representative.
Save your applause till the end. Thank you. Thank you.
And since you are the only Muslim representative in here, you took the limelight instead of speaking about why our government and I assume are you an American? You’re an American citizen. So and American citizen you sat in this room and instead of standing up and saying a question or asking something about our four Americans that died and what our government is doing to correct the problem, you stood there to make a point about peaceful moderate Muslims. I wish you brought 10 with you to question about what how we can hold our government responsible. It is time we take political correctness should be consigned to the garbage can where it belongs and it’s time to start calling a spade a spade.
As a peaceful American Muslim, I'd like to think I'm not that irrelevant. I'm deeply saddened about the lives that were lost in Libya and I hope we will find justice for their families.
But I don't think this war can ever be won by just the military.
I think everyone agrees that it can't be won by just the military. Can you tell me the head of the Muslim peace movement?
I guess it's me right now.
Some very valid comments from both Saba Ahmed and Brigitte Gabriel.