Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Islam Is More Ideology Than Religion, F.B.I. Analyst Says in Video

The video is dull — seminar room, dim lights, PowerPoint — but its message from an F.B.I. counterterrorism analyst is provocative: fighting Al Qaeda and other extremist groups is a “waste” compared to the broader threat posed by Islam itself.

The lecturer, William Gawthrop, is an F.B.I. counterterrorism analyst and a professor at American Military University who has written academic articles on the connection between Islam and terrorism.
Wired magazine’s national security blog, Danger Room, obtained the video of the June presentation to a New York City chapter of Infragard, a partnership between the F.B.I. and private business to protect critical infrastructure from attack.

During the presentation, Mr. Gawthrop advocates trying to undermine Islam at its foundation as a way of combating terrorism, drawing an analogy to the fictional weapon of mass destruction at the center of the Star Wars films:
If you remember Star Wars, that ventilation shaft that goes down to into the depths of the Death Star, they shot a torpedo down there. That’s a critical vulnerability.
Video of Mr. Gawthrop’s presentation comes a week after the publication by the same blog of training materials from a similar lecture in April titled “Strategic Themes and Drivers in Islamic Law” that described the prophet Muhammad as a “cult leader” and linked the Islamic faith to violence. As my colleague Erica Goode reported, the F.B.I. responded that the training material did not represent the views of the F.B.I. and that the material was presented only once. The video posted on Tuesday appeared to contradict that statement.

After Mr. Gawthrop first gave the presentation in his capacity as a representative of the F.B.I., the bureau told him to stop, said Christopher Allen, an F.B.I. spokesman. When the F.B.I. learned in August that he had continued to deliver the lecture on his own behalf, it told him to stop completely.
In the video, Mr. Gawthrop presents PowerPoint slides that outline his ideas about Islam, which he describes bluntly at the beginning as being less a religion than a political ideology. “We are not going to be discussing Islam as a religion,” he says. “We are going to be discussing that component of Islam which is non-religious. That component comprises about 83 percent of the religion. Islam is only about 17 percent religious.”

“The other 83 percent discusses the relationship between the Islamic and the non-Islamic world,” he asserts.
Copies of the training materials, some of which were presented in the June lecture, were leaked to the Danger Room blog and published last week, including a chart that tracks the relative violence of Islam as compared to Christianity and Judaism.

According to the material, the Judeo-Christian faiths have been on a steady path toward greater and greater non-violence for thousands of years. Islam, on the other hand, has remained at about the same level of violence since its inception.

Those slides came from the April lecture, which Danger Room said was also presented by Mr. Gawthrop. Mr. Gawthrop did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
At the time, the F.B.I. said in a statement:
The training segment that is the subject of recent media reports does not reflect the views of the F.B.I. and is not consistent with the overall instruction provided to F.B.I. personnel. It was conducted six months ago, one time only, and was quickly discontinued because it was inconsistent with F.B.I. standards on this topic. It was delivered to an audience of 37 agents as part of F.B.I. career path training.
As of August 2011, the individual who delivered the presentation no longer provides training on behalf of the F.B.I. These corrective measures were made before recent media attention was given to this topic.
Mr. Gawthrop is still employed as a counterterrorism analyst, according to the bureau spokesman.
In 2006, before working for the F.B.I., Mr. Gawthrop said in an interview with the conservative site World Net Daily that “there is evidence to support the contention that sources of terrorism in Islam may reside within the strategic themes of Islam,” which he said included “the example of Muhammad, the Quran, the hadiths, Islamic law, the pillars of faith and jihad.”

The F.B.I. has previously come under fire for inviting talks and encouraging reading books on Islam that are hostile to the religion and for the use of a counterterrorism manual that described Islam as transforming a country’s culture “into seventh-century Arabian ways.”

Book reviews attributed to Mr. Gawthrop on Amazon’s Web site also appear to reveal his views. In one, he offered praise and five stars for a book on Islam, colonialism and the slave trade in Nigeria. “Critics of the Western experience with slavery may be surprised by the nature and extent with which Islam enslaved African Muslims and sold them to bondage,” he wrote.

In another approving review, he recommends a book titled “Slavery, Terrorism, and Islam” written by Peter Hammond, a Christian missionary in Africa.
At a time when Slavery is assessed as an American birth defect with the finger of political correctness pointing at Washington as a slave owner, Hammond reminds us that Muhammad, the founding father of Islam, was a slave owner, and that under Islamic stewardship, slavery became a highly developed, civilizational-level, industry that, over 14 centuries, drained Africa of an estimated 140 million people.
Another review bemoans the “current era of political correctness and academic appeasement” that has has tainted recent writing on Islam.


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