Unusual Answer from Panelist Receives Standing Ovation at Benghazi Coalition Meeting
An American University law student asked a question, the answer to which brought down the house at the Benghazi Accountability Coalition hosted by the Heritage Foundation yesterday.
Saba Ahmed, who introduced herself as a law student from American University, asked: "I know that we portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there [are] 1.8 billion Muslims followers of Islam. We have 8 million plus Muslim Americans in this country, and I don't see them represented here [on the Benghazi panel.]
"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 we ever end this thing if we don't address it ideologically?" Ahmed asked. She was wearing a hijab, the head covering of traditional Muslims.
"What I find so amazing, is that since the beginning of this panel - we are here about the Benghazi attack on our people - not one person mentioned Muslims, or [said] we are here against Islam. We are here because four Americans died and what our government is doing," said Brigitte Gabriel, founder of Act! for America, an anti-terror grassroots organization, in a very strongly-worded response to the student.
"We are not here to bash Muslims. You were the one who brought up the issue about 'most Muslims' - not us. But 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 15-25% according to all intelligence services around the world.
"That leaves 75% of [Muslims being] peaceful people. But when you look at 15-25% of the world's Muslim population, you're looking at 180 million to 300 million people dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization. That is as big as the United States," said Gabriel.
"So why should we worry about the radical 15-25%? Because it is the radicals that kill. Because it is the radicals that behead and massacre," Gabriel said.
"When you look throughout history, at the lessons of history, most Germans were peaceful. Yet the Nazis drove the agenda. And as a result, 60 million people died, almost 40 million in concentration camps. 6 million were Jews. The peaceful majority were irrelevant," Gabriel said.
"When you look at Russia, most Russians were peaceful as well. But 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 people too. Yet, Japan was able to butcher its way across Southeast Asia, killing 12 million people, mostly killed by bayonets and shovels. The peaceful majority were irrelevant," Gabriel said.
"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 to its knees, destroy the World Trade Center, attack the Pentagon and kill almost 3000 Americans that day," Gabriel said.
"So for all our power of reason, and for all us talking about moderate and peaceful Muslims, I'm glad you're here. But where are the others speaking out?" Gabriel asked. The people in attendance began to applaud.
"And since you are the only Muslim representative here, you took the limelight instead of speaking about why our government - I assume you're an American [Ahmed responded yes.] As an American citizen, you sat in this room, and instead of asking a question about the four Americans that died [in Benghazi] and what our government is doing to correct the problem, you stood there to make a point about peaceful, moderate Muslims," said Gabriel.
"I wish you had brought ten with you so we could talk about how to hold our government responsible," Gabriel continued.
"It is time we take political correctness and throw it in the garbage where it belongs," Gabriel said, to a standing ovation and cheers from the crowd, over 150 strong.
"As a peaceful American Muslim, I'd like to think I'm not that irrelevant," the student responded. "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," Ahmed rejoined.
"I think everyone agrees that it can't be won by just the military," talk radio host Chris Plante responded. "Can you tell me the head of the Muslim peace movement?"
"I guess it's me right now," the student said sheepishly.
The question Ahmed asked, which Gabriel, a Christian who emigrated from Lebanon, answered rhetorically, deserves a serious answer: how can an ideological war be won if its ideological roots are not addressed?
This is a point that Tony Blair has been making repeatedly in recent days. "If [intervention] is that hard, why not stay out of it all, the current default position of the West?" Tony Blair wrote over the weekend.
"The answer is because the outcome of this long transition impacts us profoundly. At its simplest, the jihadist groups are never going to leave us alone. 9/11 happened for a reason. That reason and the ideology behind it have not disappeared."