2003 January 12 Sunday
Terrorist Sympathizers and Illegal Aliens

These 1000 identified Bin Laden sympathizers in America are certainly only a subset of those who are in the United States.

The FBI has identified as many as 1,000 Osama bin Laden sympathizers living in 30 cities in the United States, Justice Department sources told ABCNEWS.

The FBI's surveillance capabilities are quite limited. They have to get wiretap authority to be able to listen to phone conversations and they need to find information to point them in the direction of any particular suspect. Smart terrorists will use encrypted e-mail messages on the internet and so phone is not a guaranteed way to track their communications anyhow. There are too many people for the FBI to watch in order to be able to identify more than a small fraction of Al Qaeda sympathizers. Plus, they have the additional bottleneck of not having enough people to listen in on foreign language conversations. Therefore their 1000 known sympathizers surely only scratches the surface.

The best reports I've seen about what Muslims in America say when they think they are talking to other Muslims come from Rod Dreher. Dreher knows Arab Christians who are mistaken for Muslims by Muslims in America. He's reported a number of times what these Arab Christians hear. As Rod Dreher has reported, Arab Muslims in America are widely sympathetic to Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.

On the afternoon of September 11, I ran into an immigrant Arab Christian friend on a street in our neighborhood that is home to a number of Muslim-owned businesses. "Listen," he told me. "If you ask these Muslims in these shops what they think of the attack, they will tell you itís horrible. But thatís not whatís in their hearts. Iím telling you what I know."

After a prayer service for the dead at our Maronite church (which lost six parishioners in the calamity), I talked to some young Arab immigrants about their fears of anti-Arab pogroms. One of the young men had just been deported from our great ally, Saudi Arabia, because he had been discovered praying to Jesus in a private house. These people argued that Americans shouldnít stereotype Muslims. They said that they were friends with many good Muslims here.

"Tell me," I asked them, "do these Muslims donate money to the terrorist cause?" All admitted that yes, many of their friends do.

I had been taking notes, and one of the group asked me not to use their last names. They were afraid of being physically harmed if their pro-American views became known in their predominantly Muslim neighborhood.

There are neighborhoods in America where being pro-American is bad for your health. Think about that.

More from Dreher's Arab Christian friends in New York:

American Muslims understandably feel pressured now to show the non-Muslim majority that they are no threat, and well-meaning dolts like Oprah are key to this effort. Watching Oprah's "Islam 101" program, I thought of the Lebanese Catholics at my church, who stopped me after a prayer service for the World Trade Center dead to talk, on the record, about the anti-Arab persecution they feared coming.

They all said they knew plenty of Muslims here in New York who were peace-loving people, and that it would be wrong to think ill of them. I asked these Arab Christians if these Muslims supported terrorist organizations, monetarily or otherwise. Every one of them said yes, sheepishly. After the interview was over, the group asked me not to use their last names. They were afraid of being physically attacked by Muslims in their neighborhoods this, for standing up for America in print.

"That's amazing," I said to them. "You are all Christians living in the United States of America, yet you are afraid to have your names attached to patriotic statements, out of fear that your Muslim neighbors, the same people you are defending to me, will attack you. What does that say about the reality of Islam in America?"

They did not answer me, because they had no answer. Think about that next time you're told that Islam is a religion of peace. There's more to the story than what Oprah is telling you.

Dreher reports further on what Muslims in New York say when they think they are talking to fellow Muslims:

As it happens, I ran into a Lebanese Christian friend on the way to work today, and he was depressed by the latest news. He said to me, "America doesn't know who her real friends are. If it weren't for the state of Israel, the Muslims would cut every Christian throat in the Middle East." He talked about how right here in New York, he is constantly hearing Muslim merchants and taxi drivers talking in Arabic about what an evil place America is, what a fine thing 9/11 was, and how much more America must be made to suffer, etc.. "American people have no idea what they're facing," he lamented.

That such people are allowed to immigrate to America is the height of folly.

Why don't our academic intellectuals recognise the threat? Dreher relays the views of Dhimmitude historian Bat Ye'or

DHIMMITUDE IN AMERICA: [Rod Dreher] I went to hear historian Bat Ye'or speak today. She's on a short tour of the U.S., speaking about jihad and dhimmitude, which is the oppressive, second-class state under which Jews and Christians conquered by Islamic forces are forced to live. Bat Ye'or, who has been addressing groups on American college campuses, said she was so stunned by what she'd observed at universities that she decided to alter her remarks. "We are facing today a jihad against America," she said, because "America is a fortress of Judeo-Christian values, which Europe is no more." The jihadis intend to Islamize the West, but they are not only doing it by violent means. She said that they are doing so by splitting America from Europe, and by using multiculturalism and Western notions of tolerance to immobilize resistance to its demands. In Bat Ye'or's view, universities and naive Jewish and Christian religious leaders are carrying water for Islamists, as is the political Left ("The leftists were educated with hate of America and rejection of Judeo-Christian values," she said, and this perversely leads them to view Islamofascism uncritically). "We have to understand the cultural war we're in," Bat Ye'or said. "The war is not only a terrorist war, but a cultural war on our values and on our integrity."

Some Muslims in America are naturalized. Others were born here either to Muslim parents or they converted. Still others are here under various visas, work permits, or with various forms of permanent resident status. But then there are the illegals. You might expect that at least the illegals could be rounded up and deported. You might expect that in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001 where some of the attackers were illegal aliens that the Immigration and Naturalization Service would be all cranked up to deport illegals. Marisa Taylor has written a great article for the San Diego Union-Tribune on illegal immigrants and INS activities to round them up. If you expected a hypervigilant INS you would be wrong.

About 6,000 fugitives are thought to be in San Diego County. But between October 2001 and the end of September 2002, only 68 were located. Fifty-one of them walked into INS offices and surrendered voluntarily. Officers found the other 17.

A similar situation apparently exists in San Francisco where the Union-Tribune was able to obtain some numbers before the INS clamped down on information. Of 18,576 fugitives targeted for capture, only about 185 have been found since May.

"Everyone assumes after 9/11 that we're looking after the security of this country," one of the San Diego officers said. "The truth is nothing has changed."

Go read the full previous article. The scope of the problem is staggering. The INS San Diego district had 350 illegals to round up who came from countries which Al Qaeda terrorist come from and they have caught only 18. Nationally the rate at which the INS rounds up illegals from Muslim countries is not fast enough to decrease their numbers. Also, keep in mind that most of the numbers the INS supplies are for illegals they know about. Given that the INS is trying to deport 300,000 total while there are at least 7 million illegals in the United States it seems likely that while the INS is trying to round up 6000 from Muslim countries that is just a small fraction of the number of people from Muslim countries who are here illegally.

Note that INS doesn't want the public to know how its various field offices are doing in rounding up illegals. When the Union-Tribune started calling around for information its likely that higher-ups in the INS heard about it and ordered field offices to stop answering the reporter's questions. The American government doesn't want the public to know how ineffectual it is in trying to enforce immigration law and in reducing the threat of terrorism.

An INS spokesman defends the idea that terrorists will voluntarily register their whereabouts with authorities.

Arcaute said those arrested had violated immigration laws or were wanted by law-enforcement officials.

He rejected arguments by critics that terrorists would not voluntarily register with federal authorities. "Let me just remind you that the people who committed the terrible acts on 9/11 were registered," he said, referring to the fact that many of the hijackers had student visas.

Arcaute seems to be ignoring the fact that some of the 9/11 hijackers had overstayed their visas and were therefore illegals.

Several of the hijackers (the four or five pilots) had been in the United States for extended periods, although none was a legal permanent resident. Some had received more than one temporary visa, most of which were currently valid on September 11, but at least three of them had fallen out of status and were, therefore, in the United States illegally.

There are indications that the identity of at least some of the hijackers may have been assumed based on stolen identity documents. Given the fact that all of them died in the terrorist attack, their true identities and their nationalities may never be verified.

The skyjackers had obtained U.S. identification that was used for boarding flights in the form of Florida, Virginia and New Jersey driverís licenses/ID cards. One of the terrorists, Mohamed Atta, was detained in Florida for driving without a license, but subsequently obtained one. Thirteen of the terrorists had Florida driverís licenses or ID cards, seven had Virginia driverís licenses and two had New Jersey driverís licenses.

In the probe of the attack, numerous other people with potential connections to the hijackings have been detained for immigration violations.

Suppose the US government seriously wanted to remove the threat posed by hostile Muslims on American soil. Just what would be required? All known illegals would have to be tracked down and deported. But that really only solves a small part of the problem. The identify of most illegals isn't even known. When only 300,000 out of 7 million illegals are known well enough to have deportation orders against them the low rate of rounding up people for deportation looks even more absurdly inadequate. But the illegals are only part of the problem. There are also visitors and permanent resident aliens who are hostiles. Plus, there are even US citizen Muslim hostiles. Since the latter are most difficult to deport (in theory US citizenship can be revoked if it was granted under false pretenses so its not entirely impossible) or monitor the least the government could do would be to stop granting citizenship to Muslims who apply for it. Of course, that sort of action is quite beyond the pale of American poltiical discourse. We are supposed to believe the fiction that Islam in a religion of peace in this happy multicultural world.

All of this does not bode well for the future safety of American cities. The US government can't watch all possible hostiles. The number of federal agents needed to do that would be multiples more than the number of federal law enforcement agents that are working today. While the US government is watching only a fraction of the hostiles it only takes a small mumber of hostiles to cause enormous damage. A small group in possession of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons could cause tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of deaths.

It is clear now that the events of September 11, 2001 were not sufficiently transformative in the way that the events of December 7, 1941 were. People have only partially awakened to the threat. The nation is unlikely to take steps on the scale that the threat warrants until the first WMD terrorist attack on US soil has taken place. Those of us who see the threat can only go on record stating its scope and the needed response and then wait for enough of the rest of the country to come around and see it as well.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 January 12 01:21 PM  Immigration Terrorism


Comments
razib said at January 12, 2003 10:14 PM:

i was raised muslim-i can't disagree though i want to...muslims fully accept dissimulation-not being truthful to unbelievers if it supports the faith.

Randall Parker said at January 12, 2003 11:23 PM:

Razib,

I decided to go on record with my views on this subject before the first mushroom cloud since 1945 kills people (though the first really big - ie in the hundreds of thousands or up - terrorist kill might be done by bioweapons). I want my conscience to be clear that I warned what should be done.

I've gotten to be friends with some excellent atheistic Iranians (and some Iranian Jews for that matter). I'd happily let in the atheists from Muslim countries. A good friend of mine married such a guy. But my take on it is that since a small fraction of a population can cause enormous harm we can't afford to let in populations that will have a significiant minority that has so much hostility that is ideologically based. Technological advances make doing so too dangerous.

This problem looks set to get steadily worse as technologies advance. Read my recent FuturePundit post on the subject.

John Galvin said at June 3, 2005 8:35 PM:

Now they have on surveillance tape that show terrorist coming into the United States right along with the illegal aliens. Employers love illegal aliens so wuch that they do not care if terrorist are coming in at the same time the illegal aliens are coming into the Country.

John Galvin said at June 3, 2005 8:35 PM:

Now they have on surveillance tape that show terrorist coming into the United States right along with the illegal aliens. Employers love illegal aliens so wuch that they do not care if terrorist are coming in at the same time the illegal aliens are coming into the Country.


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