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Wednesday, 20 December 2006 00:00

Frankly eye-opening

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Militant Islam in America by Marshall Frank. Fortis Books, 2006. 198 pages.

This morning (Dec. 9), I sat down to write my next review for this paper. Before writing, I often scout out several familiar Web sites while I think about what I want to say in the review.

At one site I read of another bombing in Iraq. At another site was an essay on the European failure to incorporate Muslims into society. At still another site I read of one David Shareef, a.k.a. Talib Abu Salam Ibn Shareef, who had planned to explode four hand grenades three days before Christmas in a Rockford, Illinois, shopping mall. Belatedly, the press reported that Shareef was both a Muslim and that he intended the explosion as one more political act against infidels.

Recently I reviewed in this paper Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept, the chronicle of how Islamic immigration into Western Europe, coupled with low native European birthrates and European passivity, is leading to the possibility of an Islamic Europe within the present century. Many commentators have even taken up the term “Eurabia” as a name for this phenomenon.

Which brings me to our book for review. Marshall Frank’s recent Militant Islam in America (Fortis Books, ISBN 0-9718709-0-X, $18.95) might serve as an American mirror to Bawer’s book. Frank contends that America is sleeping as well, that it resembles England in the 1930’s, when only a few lone voices spoke out against the rising fascist tide on the European continent, when most Englishmen preferred pacifism to preparation.

Other American writers have begun voicing their fears of militant Islam and its effects both abroad and in America. Perhaps the best known of these works is Militant Islam Reaches America, the detailed account by Daniel Pipes of the rise of Islam in America and the standing of terrorism here today.

Yet Marshall Frank, who is already familiar to some readers of the Smoky Mountain News as a fine columnist and novelist, has taken a different approach in Militant Islam in America. His book is aimed at a more general audience than many of the books on Islamic terrorism and militancy. He avoids long, necessarily tangled explanations regarding the history of al Qaeda or the dominance of Saudi Arabia in terrorist politics. Instead, he focuses his investigation — Frank spent 30 years in law enforcement — on the issues at hand: the jihad strategy of infiltration; the role of mosques in the growth of radical Islam in the United States; the expansion of Islamic study centers and schools, where radical indoctrination of students may well give rise to more terrorists; the manipulation of the American media by radical Muslim leaders, who have learned, like others before them, to play both the tolerance and the politically correct angles; the enormous growth of Islam in the American prison system, particularly among African-Americans; the propagandizing for Islam that takes place daily on college campuses and in American newspapers.

Even those who have already turned their attention to the growing Islamic threat within the territory of the United States may find here new subjects for consideration. His short chapter on Islamic proselytizing by some radical imams among, America’s convicts provides valuable information. Though many of us may remember Hasan Akbar, the American who killed two fellow soldiers and wounded 15 by throwing grenades into their tents shortly before the invasion of Iraq, few may realize the growing influence of Islam among our troops. Frank addresses that issue.

In recommending himself to a general audience, Frank makes it clear that he writes as an amateur in regard to Islam, that he is not an expert. Yet he is quick to point out that all Americans can — and should — learn more about militant Islam.

What knowledge I’ve acquired, any American can acquire. The information is out there for the seeking. It’s a matter of retrieving from the Internet, the library, book stores, lectures and then studying like one would study for a master’s thesis.

One fascinating aspect of Militant Islam in America, probably inadvertent, is the occasionally confused political positions taken by the author. He spends a chapter attacking Bush, his connections with the Saudis through the oil business, and his inept handling of the war on terrorism. He writes that “Ed Asner, Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore, and others ... are a deeply caring lot who use their notoriety trying to prevent the killings of Americans and Iraqis.” Yet nearly all the columnists whom Frank quotes and with whom he is in agreement are conservatives — Cal Thomas, Michele Malkin, Michael Savage, Suzanne Fields, and others.

There is a reason for this confusion. First, with the exception of his opinion on abortion, George Bush is not a conservative. He is a Republican. He has outspent Bill Clinton and has allowed runaway growth in the federal government. Bush and his neoconservative advisers — liberal Republicans and ex-Democrats — led America to war. The first protests against this war came not from the Left but from the Right, from magazines like Chronicles and Web sites like the libertarian antiwar.com. Moreover, we see ourselves mirrored in Marshall Frank in terms of our own political ideas and affiliations. What he is trying to do is to get past politics, to make it clear to all of us, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, that we are at war.

At the end of his book, Frank offers readers a list of proposals as to how we may fight this war. Though I don’t think we need a constitutional amendment restricting religious liberty, we need to make it clear to Muslims, and to any others who use a temple or church as a refuge for terrorism, that the consequences for such an act will be dire. Many of these ideas would allow America to take a fighting stance here at home. These solutions range from cutting out ties to Mid-East oil to declaring war on Islamic terrorism, from profiling terrorist suspects to halting immigration. The solutions Marshall Frank proposes are what it will take even to begin fighting back. These solutions require action and resolve, qualities not seen in most of our politicians.

Until we rouse ourselves, until we realize that we are in a fight quite literally to the death, we will continue to pay the price for our complacence.

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