A former career operations officer with the CIA warned that moderation is “not the norm” in the Muslim world, while the Jewish organization that hosted her insisted that peaceful dialogue between Jews and Muslims is still possible.
“When people in other bona fide religions follow their doctrines they become better people — Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Jews,” said Claire Lopez, speaking April 30 at the annual President’s Circle program of the Central NJ chapter of the American Jewish Committee. “When Muslims follow their doctrine, they become jihadists.”
“Prayerful Muslims,” she added, speaking at the Princeton home of Rysia de Ravel, “either don’t know this or choose to ignore it as they live out their lives.”
After Lopez spoke, however, AJC NJ regional director John Rosen told the gathering that the AJC believes there are moderate Muslims with whom to dialogue.
“Islam is a relatively new religion, and that may be why there are these extreme elements,” he said. “Perhaps we at the AJC can work with Muslims to help them in the maturation process. We believe there are moderates in any religion. Yes, there are some extremists, but we believe there are Muslims we can talk to.”
He later told NJJN that AJC invited Lopez because of her expertise on terrorism, an important topic in the aftermath of the recent Boston Marathon bombing, but was unaware of the exact content of her talk. He said there were parts with which AJC did not necessarily agree.
Lopez is senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy and the Clarion Fund and vice president of the Intelligence Summit. She was named a member last year of the Congressional Task Force on National and Homeland Security, which is studying the threat posed by a natural or manmade electromagnetic pulse.
Despite the rise of radical Islam, Lopez claimed, the U.S. government agencies are unprepared and unwilling to confront the threat it poses.
She said the roots of failed policies go back decades, predicting this “conceptual failure” would eventually have dire consequences.
Already, Lopez said, 80 percent of the mosques in the United States either support from the pulpit or offer literature that endorses extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Her claim was apparently a reference to a charge made by a California-based sheikh in 1999, and repeated more recently by Rep. Peter King (R-NY). Critics say no independent study has confirmed the 80 percent figure.
Muslim holy texts, including the Koran and the Hadith, and sayings or acts ascribed to the Prophet Mohammed — all of which Lopez said she has read — are filled with contempt for Western ideals of individual freedom and “replete with Jew hatred.”
Plans seized by federal authorities during the investigation of the Holy Land Foundation — whose founders received life sentences in 2009 for funneling $12 million to Hamas — reveal a 100-year plan to “dominate the West” and implement Sharia, or Muslim law, said Lopez.
The documents also outline how to achieve this goal by “stealth,” Lopez said, including through interfaith dialogue.
Yet, since 2007 during the administration of George W. Bush, government agencies have been actively “purging” documents and training manuals of language that might be perceived as anti-Islamic — including the word “jihad” — leaving personnel ill-prepared to handle extremism.
Moreover, Lopez claimed, in his 2009 speech in Cairo, President Barack Obama “probably gave the green light” to events occurring over the next two years when he said the United States would not stand in their way if opponents overthrew corrupt governments, allowing the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist groups to take over.