Is the Muslim Brotherhood Still a Threat Today?
(Cynthia Farahat, February 13, 2020)
About the speaker
Cynthia Farahat is a Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a founder of the Egyptian Liberal party, which was the first secular classical liberal political party in the history of modern Egypt.
She co-authored Desecration of a Heavenly Religion, which analyzed and criticized Egypt’s blasphemy law. The book was officially banned in Egypt by al-Azhar University in Cairo in 2008. Cynthia’s work on countering Islamic terrorism has lead Lebanon’s intelligence officials to officially bar her from entering the country. She also received hundreds of death threats from Islamists and was placed on an al-Qaeda affiliated hit list. Recently she has briefed over 120 Congressional offices on the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood by discussing her personal story as well as her research, from a cache of thousands of previously undisclosed documents, into the nature of the Brotherhood.
In 2011, the abduction of her brother, the assassination of her friend, and numerous threats to her life prompted her to flee to the United States where she was granted political asylum. She is currently writing a book on the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in transnational terrorism.
Robert R. Reilly:
I am happy to welcome Cynthia Farahat, who is a Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a founder of the Egyptian Liberal party, the first secular classical liberal political party in the history of modern Egypt. She co-authored Desecration of a Heavenly Religion, which analyzed and criticized Egypt’s blasphemy law. This is something about which she is to be congratulated as the book was officially banned by none other than Al-Azhar University, that center of regression in the Arab world.
Also her work on countering Islamic terrorism lead Lebanese intelligence officials to bar her from entering that country. As a result of her work she has received multiple death threats [and she] made the al-Qaeda death list. Unfortunately, in Egypt her brother was abducted, a friend was assassinated, and other threats on her life lead her to flee to the United States where she was given political asylum.
She is currently writing a book on the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in transnational terrorism. She has written multiple articles in both English and Arabic for National Review, Middle East Quarterly, and other publications. Tonight, she will speak on the subject, “Is the Muslim Brotherhood Still a Threat Today?” Welcome, Cynthia.
Thank you so much for having me and thank you for the wonderful introduction, Robert. It is usually better than the introductions that I used to receive in Egypt. Once, during a debate with a Muslim Brotherhood operative, I was introduced as “the firewood of Hell, Cynthia Farahat.” So this is pretty flattering. They are not very good at talking to women. It is not their strongest attribute.
Today’s talk is particularly special to me because I have had a year off from my work because I was dealing with the Big C. I am doing so much better now. To the Muslim Brotherhood, to my stalkers who are watching this, I do not want you to enjoy it or celebrate it because in 2006 I vowed during the discussion with the Muslim Brotherhood Member of Parliament and leaders of Salih that I will continue to fight them as long as I live and from beyond the grave. So it is actually going to be worse if I die. I have a network set up and everything is there.
Muslim Brotherhood vs Muslims
First, I would like to point out a clear distinction between Muslims and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood has always strived to hijack representation of Muslims and speak on behalf of Muslims. The truth is that the vast majority of my allies and the strongest and fiercest against this terrorist group are Muslims. My biggest supporters, my biggest fans, are Muslims. That is a clear distinction.
The title of the talk today, “Is the Muslim Brotherhood Still a Threat,” is intended to demonstrate how dire the situation is because if academia and the media were doing their jobs, we would know the correct answer to the question, but unfortunately, this is not the case and the problem goes beyond that. It is not just a problem of inaccurate information. The American people are targets of misinformation and disinformation.
For instance, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper incredibly described the organization as “largely secular” while Islamist apologist John Esposito of Georgetown University claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated movements and parties have been a force for democratization and stability in the Middle East. Esposito calls the incubator of modern terrorism and its affiliated groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda ‘forces for democratization and stability’ in the Middle East and this is the person who is teaching your children and your future leaders about Islamic terrorism and the Middle East.
Before I get into the discussion about it, I would like to point out that there is going to be a lot of historic background and we absolutely need to discuss history when we discuss the Middle East and Islamic terrorism. It is impossible to understand it out of its historic context. A doctor does not treat a symptom or diagnose an ailment without taking into account the patient’s medical history. It is just as critical also to be able to analyze and predict the course of Sunni Islamic terrorism, such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
First, history protects from repeating the same mistakes and it also helps us identify behavioral patterns, trends, and tendencies of these groups and their agents to preemptively try to stop them. Second, it is a fact that Islamists believe that it is a religious-cultist duty to reincarnate and regurgitate almost everything in early Islamic history from the wardrobe, from the facial hair, the eating habits, and of course, the early wars and jihad.
According to the fundamentalist Sunni Orthodox Hanbali school of jurisprudence, which is adhered to by the Muslim Brotherhood and the vast majority if not all Sunni terrorist groups, it is a mandatory religious obligation to engage in what they call dawah ul-jihad, which is the permanence of jihad. This is why the Muslim Brotherhood is religiously obligated to engage in terrorism, which they have unleashed on the world for a century.
The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood is Hassan al-Banna. From an early age, he was only twelve years old in 1918, and he started to engage in antisocial, criminal behavior. While studying at an Islamic madrassah, he founded a group called the Vice Prevention. This lovely group used to write threatening letters and death threats to Muslims who were not religious enough, to women who wore makeup and Western clothes. At one point little pyromaniac Hassan al-Banna set Christian properties on fire. Just a lovely young man, and it only escalated and got worse from this point.
His father was a very religious man and he indoctrinated him and his children in the Hanbali Orthodox school of jurisprudence. He engaged in a lot of activism until he founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 in Ismailia in northeast Egypt.
Now, this is fun, okay? During the early founding of the organization, Brotherhood leaders were intrigued by the secret Shia theology known as Al Bataniya, which means inner esoteric or hidden theology. This theology was adopted by the Ḥashashiyan, the assassins, the murderous medieval Shia Ismaili cult in the late 11th century. According to the Brotherhood co-founder Ali al Mashawi, the assassins were the biggest influence on the formation of the group. The Muslim Brotherhood was indeed a project to revive the assassins. This is what we are dealing with today.
The word assassins is from the medieval Latin assassinus from Arabic Ḥashashin, so it should not be a surprise that in 1936, Hassan al-Banna and his group decided to found what they called the “Secret Apparatus” or the “Special Apparatus,” and this group was mainly concerned with terrorism and clandestine activities.
Interestingly, the terror apparatus soon became an ally of Adolph Hitler, and Hitler’s regime was among the donors that funded Hassan al-Banna. Banna repaid the favor by glorifying Hitler. In 1938, there was an article that Banna wrote in a Muslim newspaper called al-Nazir where he said that Hajj Muhammad Hitler converted to Islam. Shortly after, the Muslim Brotherhood went out, chanting in the streets, “Allah hiye, Allah, hiye, al-Hajj Muhammad Hitler gaye,” which means ‘God is alive, God is alive, Hajj Muhammad Hitler is coming’.
I would like to make a side-note here because before Hajj Muhammad Hitler, there was another Western Hajj as well. In 1898, forty years prior to Hajj Hitler, the Kaiser Wilhelm II gave a speech in Damascus at the tomb of Saladin, proclaiming himself a friend of Islam, and a decade later he was known as Hajj Wilhelm. One-hundred and eleven years later, in 2009, there was another individual who was known in the Arabic blogosphere as Hajj Barack Obama after he gave a similar speech at Cairo University in 2009. It shows you how history is just repeating itself.
The Muslim Brotherhood Secret Apparatus of course perpetrated horrific crimes and attacks in Egypt. A few of them are in 1946, they bombed eight police stations in Cairo. They also did the same thing – the same apparatus, which is still functional, by the way – did the same thing in 2012 and 2013; they burned numerous police stations, including horrific torture of several police officers, and it was so gruesome that they even forced them to drink acid.
In 1947, the Brotherhood’s Secret Apparatus assassinated Judge Ahmed Khazinder Bey, and in 2015, the same Apparatus assassinated the Prosecutor General of Egypt, Hisham Barakat. In 1945, they perpetrated a wave of bombings such as the 1945 bombing of the British Club in Egypt. In recent decades, they perpetrated countless bombing attacks, including the bombing of a Cancer Center in Cairo in 2019. In 1948, the Brotherhood bombed several Jewish homes in Cairo and many Jewish-owned businesses and cinemas, and in 2012 and in 2013, they burned over seventy churches in Egypt. And some American experts will tell you that the Secret Apparatus does not exist, it is a thing of the past.
The wave of terror that the early operatives of this Apparatus perpetrated on Egypt resulted in the 1949 assassination of Hassan al-Banna. The next stage was focused on infiltration activity and subversive activities of the Apparatus, which is still ongoing until today across the world, including in the United States of America. The Secret Apparatus was able to infiltrate a group of officers from the Egyptian military.
Among them was the future president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who gave the pledge of allegiance to Hassan al-Banna on the Qur’an. He soon joined the Secret Apparatus and formed his own unit called Dubbāṭ al-Ikhwān, the Brotherhood Officers. They kept operating until 1950. After all of the terrorism, Egypt basically hated the Muslim Brotherhood, so he decided to change the name of the unit to the Free Officers instead of the Brotherhood Officers. And two years later, he perpetrated the 1952 Socialist Islamic military coup on Egypt, which turned it from one of the freest and tolerant countries in the Middle East at the time to what we see today.
But something else happened after Nasser took power in 1952. Although he came out of the Brotherhood, there were some disagreements and issues, and he asked the Muslim Brotherhood to dismantle the Secret Apparatus. They were not very keen on doing so. Hassan al-Banna’s successor, Hassan al-Hudaybi, decided to perform taqiyyah, dissimulation, and said that they had indeed dismantled the Secret Apparatus.
At the same time they were plotting to assassinate Nasser. They formed a terrorist group in 1965 called Tanzeem Khamsasitin, which is the Organization of 65. They attempted to kill Gammel Abdel Nasser the same year, which, of course, resulted in the execution of the Brotherhood’s foremost ideologue, Sayyid Qutb, in 1966 with two other leaders.
Hudaybi’s taqiyyah to deny the existence of the Secret Apparatus became a strategy that the Muslim Brotherhood is still practicing today, and not only that, they started to franchise terror under different banners. For instance, the International Apparatus was led by Banna’s son-in-law, Said Ramadan, who moved to Geneva in 1958, where he established the International Apparatus under the guidance of the Secret Apparatus leader Mustapha Mashour, who later became General Guide. And by the way, Said Ramadan is the father of Islamist agitator Tarek Ramadan.
In the 1960s and early ’70s, the Brotherhood formed several groups under different banners. The first of these groups was Jama’at al Muslimeen, commonly known as the Tafik wal Hijra, which is ‘excommunication and immigration’, which was formed by leaders of the Secret Apparatus. They also founded al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya or GI, which was responsible for the October 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and one of Sadat’s assassins was Abbud al-Zumar, who was an officer in Egyptian military intelligence. Again, the infiltration.
The International Apparatus was not fully operative until the mid-1980s when the head of the Secret Apparatus Mustapha Mashour settled in Germany in 1986 where he re-established the Apparatus under the guidance of GI leader Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the Blind Sheikh. And he ordered Omar Abdel-Rahman to relocate to the United States. Omar Abdel-Rahman was also Osama bin Laden’s mentor, and in my personal opinion, he is the most important terror theologian of the century.
You might wonder how an international terrorist like Rahman was allowed to enter and live in the United States. Rahman was issued a tourist visa to visit the United States by the Consulate of the United States Embassy in Khartoum in Sudan despite his name being on the list of U.S. State Department Terrorist Watch List. Rahman was allowed to enter the United States in July 1990. The State Department then revoked his tourist visa on 17 November of the same year. Despite this, in 1991, he obtained a green card from Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) office in Newark, New Jersey. There is a serious problem in Newark, New Jersey, by the way. You will see later it is the stuff of nightmares.
In 1992, the U.S. government revoked his green card, but it only allowed him to apply for asylum afterwards. And then, of course, during that time he was allowed to roam the United States freely. [He] declared fatwas and stated that it was lawful to rob banks and kill Jews in the U.S. His sermons condemned Americans as “descendants of apes and pigs who have been feeding from the dining tables of Zionists, Communists, and Colonialists,” these are his words.
He also urged Muslim Americans to cut the transportation of their countries, tear it apart, destroy the economy, burn their companies, eliminate their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their planes, kill them on sea, air, or land. Rahman was still allowed to preach in three mosques in New York City, and his devout followers included a person who was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and in October 1995 he was convicted of seditious conspiracy, solicitation to murder Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to attack U.S. military installations, and conspiracy to conduct bombings. In 1996, he was sentenced to life in solitary confinement without parole until he died in 2017.
Civilization Jihad Operation
Similar failures happened that allowed the nineteen terrorists come to this country and ultimately perpetrate 9/11. The International Apparatus’ though most critical mission was the founding of Al Qaeda. But it is not only the violent jihad, they also have another critical mission, which is to subvert and infiltrate and destroy American and Western institutions from within, such as the media or education systems or academia. You name it, they are there.
They call this process amalayah jihadiyah hadarayah, which means ‘civilization jihad operation’. This term dates to a 1991 document titled Explanatory Memorandum, drafted in a meeting that outlined the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategic goals for North America, and it was entered into evidence in the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2008. That was the largest terror financing trial in the history of America.
In 2009, five Muslim Brotherhood leaders were charged with providing material support to Hamas and the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch and a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in the United States. It is also important to mention that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was an un-indicted co-conspirator in this case. And in 2017, for their wonderful work, they were rewarded with a $100,000 DHS grant from taxpayers’ money.
If that is not enough, the Muslim Brotherhood also founded Al Qaeda. In the early 1980s, Maktab al-Khadamat, which is MaK, the Service Bureau, also known as the Service Bureau Arab Jihadists flocked to Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight the Soviet occupation, and the Brotherhood was busy recruiting jihadists through the service of MaK offices throughout the Middle East.
In 1984, Brotherhood operative Abdullah Azzam established the MaK office in Jordan, and Azzam’s later position in the Brotherhood’s International Apparatus helped establish what the Brotherhood called the ‘Global Jihad Movement’ and earned him the alias ‘the father of global jihad’. Osama bin Laden was Azzam’s student in Saudi Arabia. In 1985, Azzam, bin Laden, and Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of Takfir wal Hijra, founded the MaK office in Pakistan, which later officially evolved to become Al Qaeda.
Meanwhile, the Amman MaK office was busy recruiting mass-murderers, psychopaths, serial killers, and terrorists. Among them was Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the man who decapitated Nick Berg in 2004 on video. He was the one who started the gruesome trend of video decapitation. He was recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood, the ‘force of modernization and democratization’.
The Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS
Of course, after Zarqawi was killed in 2006, his group morphed into the Islamic State or ISIS. But this is not the only Muslim Brotherhood connection to ISIS, of course. In a 2014 interview reported in Al Arabiya, the Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual Guide Yusuf al Qaradawi admitted that the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was indeed a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. And, of course, several Muslim Brotherhood leaders publicly announced their support for ISIS, including the Qatar-based Sheikh Wagdi Ghoneim, who is famous in Egypt for his TV episode where he was teaching children how to adequately decapitate an infidel.
After bin Laden’s death al Zawahiri argued that bin Laden’s affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood was severed in 1980 due to differences over the anti-Soviet Afghanistan campaign, but this claim was discounted by Tharwat Kherbawy, the highest ranking Muslim Brotherhood leader to ever defect from the organization. And Al-Kherbawy put out evidence that indeed, bin Laden remained a member of the Muslim Brotherhood until the day he died.
After Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi was ousted from power in 2013, Zarwahri issued a videotape statement on his behalf where he criticized Egyptian Salafist jihadis for not formally joining the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party to help it uphold Shari’a law, another direct connection between the Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.
Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood Secret Apparatus remains intact, and in 1995, they founded a new terrorist group called the 95 Brigade, which played a critical role in the January 2011 riots that lead to the downfall of Hosni Mubarak.
A Political Party or a Jihadi Group?
In a series of interviews with Al Jazeera, Osama Yassin, a former minister in Morsi’s cabinet, revealed that members of the Brigade – and I quote – “engaged in the abduction, beating, and torture of ‘thugs’ and threw Molotov cocktails on their opponents.” That is a ‘force of democratization’?
According to the Brotherhood’s own standards and internal bylaws, there are ten, solid, unchangeable thawabit, which are precepts, in the organization’s bai’a, which is the Islamic oath of allegiance process. The fourth of these precepts is violent jihad and martyrdom, according to their documents, and it states that it is an obligation of every individual Muslim, as well as the collective obligation of their organization to engage in jihad and martyrdom.
Unfortunately, many American specialists are agents of the Muslim Brotherhood or receive foreign funding from the Brotherhood or are otherwise useful idiots or oblivious to these facts, actively engaged in a disinformation campaign against the American people. And one example is a Brookings Institute article turned the meaning of the “fourth precept” of the Brotherhood’s bylaws on its head, stating that it stipulated that “during the process of establishing democracy and relative political freedom, the Muslim Brotherhood is committed to abide by the rules of democracy and its institutions.”
I cannot read that with a straight face. I do not know what to say. I am speechless. How do you turn jihad and martyrdom to a commitment to the rules of democracy? I am not a native English speaker, but I do not think that this is the correct translation. Thus, you should not be surprised after all this when I tell you that Muslim Brotherhood operatives directly involved with ISIS and Al Qaeda engage in lobbying the United States Congress.
Islamists With Ties To Terror Lobby Congress
For the past four years, Islamists with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups have gone to Capitol Hill to lobby members of Congress on what they call National Muslim Advocacy Day. It is an annual event organized by CAIR, the un-indicted co-conspirator CAIR, and the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, USCMO. According to the Muslim Advocacy Day website, almost 400 participants visit congressional offices. This year advoacy day is scheduled to take place on March 30 and 31.
I published a detailed report about this atrocity in the Middle East Forum and it has irrefutible evidence, mostly pictures, and I urge you to check it out. You will be shocked by the information you read in there, but for now I am just going to give you a few examples, the wonderful individuals involved in this event. These people mostly reside in New Jersey and New York City.
The first of those is the Secretary General of the USCMO, Oussama Jammal. Jammal is also the Director of the Muslim American Society (MAS) Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, MAS-PACE, a division of the Muslim American Society (MAS), which has been identified in court testimony as a front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood. Jammal is also Vice President of the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, and in 2003, Jammal raised $50,000 at the Mosque Foundation prayer service for terrorist operative Sami al-Arian, the then-North American representative of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In 2012, under Jammal’s leadership, the Mosque Foundation hosted an official delegation of al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya, the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the delegation included GI officials who were in direct communication with Hamas and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
But it gets worse.
The Mosque Foundation also invited Jordanian Islamist Anjem Qourshah to give sermons at its mosque. Qourshah was imprisoned in Jordan in 2016 for promoting jihadist propaganda. In his lectures, Qourshah has defended ISIS members as “decent men.”
The second interesting character – who lobbies Congress – is Mazen Mokhtar. He is a USCMO board member, the executive director of the Muslim American Society (MAS), and an organizer of Muslim Advocacy Day. In August 2004, the U.S. government accused Mazen Mokhtar of fundraising for al-Qaeda. Mokhtar allegedly operated a mirror website for al-Qaeda’s www.azzam.com, which solicited funds and recruited for the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Chechen terror groups. Mokhtar’s site was used as a backup for Azzam.com when it was shut down after 9/11. The website was also affiliated with a Chechen terror group – the Islamic Army of the Caucasus, and its field commander, Shamil Basayev, who masterminded the Beslan school massacre in Russia, during which 334 people—including 186 children—were slaughtered. He was basically Al Qaeda and bin Laden’s webmaster.
Mokhtar was arrested in 2007 and charged with tax fraud, which investigators hoped to use as an entry point for further terrorism charges. But in 2008, the then-US Attorney Chris Christie inexplicably dropped the charges without explanation. Today, Mokhtar continues to raise funds for Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA)—an organization accused of links to Hamas. And if you read my report, you are going to see a lovely selfie of Mokhtar with Senator Cory Booker.
It just gets worse.
The third interesting character is a Yemeni-American man called Yahya Almontaser, who is a self-proclaimed member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He is an activist affiliated with a Brotherhood group called Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFAJ). And on his Facebook page, I saw that Almontaser spent several years regularly corresponding with a man called Mohamed Sayed Taha. Mohamed Sayed Taha is a self-proclaimed ISIS terrorist, that is how he identified on his Facebook page.
He is currently incarcerated in a military prison in Egypt for trying to bomb the Police Academy in Cairo. Taha referred to Almontaser, who lobbies Congress, as “ustadhi”, which means “my mentor” or “my teacher” in Arabic. Almontaser, in my opinion, was most probably his recruiter. He is still in prison in what is called “Qadiat Da’ish al-Kubra” (the Big ISIS Case) in Egypt, but it still gets worse.
Ahmed Abdel-Basit Mohamed
In 2017, a Washington-based organization called Alliance for Egyptian Americans brought an Egyptian convicted terrorist, a New Jersey-resident, and Muslim Brotherhood operative called Ahmed Abdel-Basit Mohamed, who is also known as Basit, to meet members of Congress. If you go to his Facebook page, you see pictures with the late Senator McCain. Basit is a Physics teacher in a rising star academy in New Jersey. He is teaching American children.
Basit was sentenced to death in Egypt along with several others because he was implicated in several terrorist attacks. He was involved in one of the biggest – if not the biggest – terrorist attacks in Egypt where 506 people were murdered and maimed. Basit proudly gloated on his Facebook page about his role in this atrocity.
In April 2011, he was arrested by ICE, but, of course, Amnesty International intervened and defended him, and called the terrorist charges which he admitted to on Facebook ‘egregious and grossly unfair’. Prior to his arrest, by the way, he was offered a job at Hostos Community College in New Jersey. So you would have had a mass-murderer teaching your children. Once after his incarceration, an immigration judge granted him asylum in the United States and now he is teaching Physics to American children, and god knows what else. The example of Basit is similar to the Blind Sheikh, the nineteen terrorists in 9/11, and I assume so many more that we cannot just mention them all.
Now that we are all depressed, I will finish on a positive note.
A lot of people mock me when I say that there is a solution to deal with Islamist terrorism and I get a lot of ridicule for it, but we do not need to reinvent the wheel because like we have touched upon, the history of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, American history is filled with glorious, heroic successes that we need to not only be proud of, but use as a manual, and I am going to give you an example on how to destroy Islamist aggression from the history of the United States.
During the early shaping of the American spirit, America fought two wars for her sovereignty from Islamist aggression. The first war was in 1803, and this war was lost. It was not until the second war of 1815 that America’s victory granted her independence and safety from Islamist aggression until 1979.
Over two hundred years ago the U.S. made the first attempt to fight an overseas battle to protect its private citizens by building an international coalition against what historians call an unconventional foe of pirates and piracy. Yet these terms do not exist in Arabic and Arabic literature because Arabic literature describes them as Muslim militants and jihadists.
While America was still shaping her sovereignty, strategy, and foreign policy, President George Washington and President Addams both paid jizyah, which is infidel ransom tax to North African-Ottoman colonies, especially to the Bey of Algiers, which is currently Algeria and Tripoli in Libya, which is understandable because he had a lots on his hands, and given the international circumstances, it made sense at the time that they would follow the European foreign policy tradition at the time.
But as early as 1785, Congress followed the status quo of paying $80,000 in jizyah tax to the Ottomans. Thomas Jefferson and John Addams began the process of negotiating with the Algerians until while they were negotiating with the Algerians, they captured two American ships. A year later the ruler of Algiers held the crew of twenty-one people for ransom of nearly $60,000.
Jefferson wrote to Addams in July 11, 1786, saying that paying tribute would merely invite more demands. And when Jefferson became President in 1801, he refused to consent to Tripoli’s demand of an immediate payment of $225,000 and an annual payment of $25,000. The pasha of Tripoli then declared war on the United States, and on October 31, 1801, the U.S.S. Philadelphia Brigade ran aground on an uncharted reef near Tripoli Harbor, and after a failed attempt to refloat the ship, she was captured and the crew was imprisoned by Tripoli’s forces and they were enslaved by the pasha. The Philadelphia was refloated by her captors and displayed as a trophy.
But how do you think the heroic Founding Fathers dealt with that situation? Do you think maybe they asked what difference does it make? I do not think so because you are not speaking Arabic and the lovely ladies here are not in Burkhas, so that did not happen. The response was the United States retaliated by capturing a Tripoli ketch called Mastico and renamed her Intrepid. On the evening of February 16, 1804, in the guise of a ship in distress, Intrepid was sailed by 80 volunteers, most of them were marines under the leadership of my hero, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur. Decatur and his men audaciously stormed the shores of Tripoli and set ablaze The Philadelphia, denying its use to the corsairs and its display as a trophy.
In 1815, President Madison directed military forces where the U.S. defeated the Ottoman Empire. The war brought an end to the American practice of paying tribute or jizyah ransom to Islamist states and marked the beginning of the end of piracy or marine jihad, which has reigned and been rampant since the sixteenth century. Just like that, it was gone.
That is why we do not need to reinvent the wheel. We have heroic examples from American history on how exactly to fight against Islamist aggression, and in August 1816, President James Madison sent a letter to the Dey of Algiers and he said it is a settled policy of America that peace is better than war, war is better than tribute. The United States while it wishes war with no nation, it will buy peace with none. Thank you.