Our local Arzona Republic and the national mainstream media widely reported March 8 about the March 7, 2007 arrest here in Phoenix, Arizona, of Hassan Abujihaad, formerly Paul Hall, “for taking part in a conspiracy to kill military personnel by supplying terror suspects with information about American ship movements in the Middle East six years ago.” He was charged with “supporting terrorism with intent to kill U.S. citizens and transmitting classified information to unauthorized people.” Abujihaad, a Muslim convert, and Phoenix resident who joined the U.S. Navy in 1998 attained the rank of second class petty officer prior to his discharge in 2002.
It is my sincere hope as an American, a former U.S. Naval Officer, and a devout Muslim that, if he is convicted, he suffers the most severe punishment prescribed by law. If proven true, these actions are clearly treason by any other name and he deserves the death penalty.
Abujihaad’s name first surfaced in an August 14, 2004 story in the LA Times which connected him to court documents in the arrest of Babar Ahmed. At the time of Ahmed’s arrest in Britain in August 2004, Ahmed and his co-conspirator, Syed Tallha Ahsan, of Azzam Publications were charged with “leading a terrorist support cell.” The Azzam Publications website was the conduit for intelligence information used for terrorism against American interests. Ahmed was found to be in possession of documents containing highly classified information detailing the movements of ships associated with the U.S.S. Constellation carrier group which had participated in our military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ahmed, apparently through information provided to him directly by Abujihaad a few months before 9-11, was aware of the exact time that the carrier group would pass through the Straits of Hormuz indicating times in which the ships would be highly vulnerable to attack from a small ship with rocket-propelled grenades.
Hassan Abujihaad was a signalman aboard the U.S.S. Benfold from 2000-2001. The USS Benfold (DDG 65) is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer and was part of the U.S.S. Constellation carrier group. The 2004 LA Times story notes that one of Abujihaad’s email messages had “praised the deadly October 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole by terrorists in Yemen.” Ahmed is a cousin of Al Qaeda member Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan also arrested in August 2004 in Pakistan in August 2004.
Of additional interest to the story here in Phoenix is that this accused traitor’s public relations defense campaign was taken up by the local Arizona chapter of the national Islamist organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) when the story initially broke in August 2004. The CAIR-AZ executive director at the time, Deedra Abboud, jumped at the opportunity to act as spokeswoman for the accused Abujihaad, who now stands arrested for providing aid and comfort to our enemies.
Abujihaad, a US Postal Service employee in 2004, was reported by Abboud to be, “scared he might get picked up for something he can’t imagine being a part of.” Abboud, who is now the executive director of the local Arizona chapter of the Islamist Muslim American Society made numerous comments to the media echoing Abujihaad’s denials of his connection to the classified information found in Babar Ahmed’s possession in 2004. Abboud remarked to the LA Times that Abujihaad had been a “target of surveillance” and that “he does not feel that he made any anti-American statements… perhaps he may have disagreed with some policies.” These comments are quite bizarre in light of the recently publicized sickening and treasonous communications from Abujihaad while on the ship. Now a federal court in Connecticut will decide if he is a traitor or the victim the local CAIR-AZ chapter believed he was in 2004.
If convicted of the charges, he stands to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison. Anything short of the death penalty for his treason is not quite enough from our nation founded and made secure by the rule of law and our inviolable citizenship oath.
Why is it so difficult for our Justice Department to appropriately identify individuals like Hassan Abujihaad or John Walker Lindh as exactly what they are---traitors--- guilty of treason against the United States in this time of war?
Regardless of the possible legal obstacles to charging a U.S. citizen with treason, at the minimum, the language of our discourse in this time of war must be clear that his actions were treason and he is a traitor. Hassan Abujihaad, if found guilty, will have been exposed to have been working with our enemies trying to murder our sons and daughters in uniform fighting to defend our nation. He deserves the same punishment as Al Qaeda—the death penalty.
We are a nation at war, not with a tactic, but with a political movement, Islamism, whose militant arm is waging armed conflict against our interests at home and abroad. Hassan Abujihaad should be widely publicly repudiated by the entire American Muslim community for being a traitor if convicted. He would have not only knowingly violated his citizenship oath and his oath to the U.S. Navy, but also to the moral fiber of his faith of Islam which commands a Muslim to “never give false oath or he will have no place in the Hereafter.” (Qur’an 3:77). I pray that he pay for his crimes.
His false oath to his nation was subsequently followed by false denials to the media and the enlistment of the ready support of an American Islamist organization--- CAIR. CAIR-AZ ably provided him with what ended up being public cover with the endorsement of the support of its membership and name. In reality, as is seen here, CAIR is only a representative of their own members and their Islamist cause. Even now with Abujihaad’s arrest on March 7, don’t hold your breath for a retraction from CAIR or any public repudiations of their former client. I have not heard one yet. Where is the mainstream media’s questioning of their stance now on their former client?
Extremist Islamists like Abujihaad submit to the militant arm of the global political movement of Islamism (political Islam). Islamists exploit the faith of Islam to mount a political counter to the infiltration of American ideals of freedom and liberty into the Muslim consciousness. There is nothing Islamists fear more than the national pluralism and moral courage of a nation like America which stands for freedom, liberty, and equality of all under God with equal respect to all faiths.
It is despicable cases like Abujihaad’s which remind us of what is at stake in fighting the anti-liberty, anti-American, and, yes, anti-Islamic, theocratic scourge of Islamism. We need to empower anti-Islamist Muslims to identify and theologically target the insurgent ideology of Islamists. Only American Muslims can mount an effective public, ideological counter to Islamism which is true to our national oath of citizenship and will defeat the deep toxicity of the transnational movements of Islamism.
From the Muslim Brotherhood’s Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to Al Qaeda’s, Ayman Zawahiri, Islamists exploit the spiritual calling of the Muslim community in the name of their own radical politics. The global movement of Islamism in its many forms preys upon the weakness of some ignorant Muslims attracted to the opium of blind allegiance to a global political ummah (faith community) and its Islamist leadership.
It is time to understand where American Muslims stand on this movement. Do they subscribe to just a spiritual ummah which embodies the morals, values, and spirituality of a faith tradition from the God of Abraham? Or do they also subscribe to a political ummah which exploits the spiritual for its ultimate foreign and domestic policy goals against established nations in order to allow the establishment of states ruled by sharia law (Islamic law). The former is synergistic with American ideology while the latter is incompatible. The former is consistent with a purer personal Islam; the latter is a politically corrupted and coercive spiritual path of theocrats in their many forms.
Even the non-militant Islamists pose a threat to national sovereignty for they can act in the name of the global ummah. Witness the response of some Islamist Danish Muslims to the cartoons published by the private Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, to which they took offense. Rather than deal with their issues domestically, the Islamists took their complaints to the global ummah exacting economic punishment (boycott) upon the entire population of Denmark. Similarly, is there going to be a point in the future when Islamists like CAIR could take their protestations with American foreign policy to their foreign Islamists and their governments like the Wahhabis and ask that, for example, the Saudi monarchy exert paralyzing economic oil sanctions against our nation to protest a particular incident in the U.S.? Where is the line in freedom of speech and freedom to boycott when it extends from within our nation to a global political community?
Since Abujihaad’s arrest, there has been silence from CAIR, MAS and other American Islamist organizations. They instead spent their resources this month true to form focusing on daily protestations defending radicals like Sami Al-Arian who remains in jail refusing to testify in our courts. They never seem to be able to find any time to address cases of Islamist traitors like Abujihaad’s once their case for victimization falls vacant. This is especially true when their hands are dirtied by their 2004 defense of a man who now appears for all intents and purposes to be an American traitor pending trial.
Is there any wonder CAIR and other victimization-oriented Islamist organizations have little credibility in American polls? Is it any wonder that despite their ungodly funding resources, their mainstream media support, and government endorsements, their efforts still haven’t affected American attitudes toward Islam?
The actual reality behind the scenes is that the private American Muslim community has proven to be our greatest resource in finding and rooting out some of the enemies of America (i.e. Lackawanna 6). Now is the time to translate that from private to a public accountability where Muslims publicly weigh in against the scourge of militant Islamism and the ideological threat of political Islam. Islamism will continue to be a threat to national sovereignty as long as Muslims remain silent against its anti-American, and un-American goals.
Unless Muslims can clearly articulate a separation of our national political identity from the global political Islamist identity, these questions will continue to boil to the surface whenever we are faced with the rare and egregious, evil examples like Petty Officer Hassan Abujihaad.
In this American Muslim’s history book, if convicted, Hassan Abujihaad will go down as a traitor to his nation who should have received the full punishment for treason prescribed by law—the death penalty.