On Friday, Dennis Prager had an interesting show. For a full one hour segment of the show, Dennis Prager interviewed Daveed Gartenstine-Ross, a former Islamist who is now is now a full-time counterterrorism consultant.
Daveed also talked briefly about his book, My Year Inside Radical Islam: A Memoir.
In a nutshell, according to Human Events book service and Dennis Prager's interview with Daveed:
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross was a spiritual seeker. Raised by Jewish-born hippie-era parents in liberal Ashland, Oregon, he longed to find a religion that would ground his social consciousness in spiritual ideals. When at college in the late nineties, he met a charismatic Muslim student who seemed to have what he was looking for.
Gartenstein-Ross converted to Islam, and began eagerly to learn the details of Islamic belief and practice. He didn't have any inkling of what was to come, as at that point he was convinced that "the true Islam was moderate." But at the moment of his conversion he began a descent into the bizarre world of the Islamic jihadist subculture in America - a descent he recounts in chilling detail in My Year Inside Radical Islam.
After college, Gartenstein-Ross went to work for the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, a charity which - it soon became to clear to him - was dedicated to furthering the aims of the global jihad by funding terrorists abroad while spreading the jihad ideology at home. To his growing disquiet, he quickly began to chafe against the many rules and restrictions that Islamic law imposes upon Muslims - including the forbidding of music and the requirement that men wear beards - and to question the Islamic restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But at the same time, he began to discover that the version of Islam taught by jihadist extremists tallied with what he was reading in the Qur'an and Islamic tradition.
Instead of putting his mind at ease about the path he had taken, this realization made him all the more uneasy - and led him to resume his spiritual search with renewed vigor. He left al-Haramain and, ultimately, Islam itself. His theological and historical investigations led him to the realization that Christianity was in fact the true faith, and he became a Christian around the time his former employer was charged by the U.S. government as being a source of funds for terrorist organizations. Gartenstein-Ross, by this time a lawyer at a prominent firm, volunteered to be questioned by the FBI. They already knew who he was.
My Year Inside Radical Islam is a harrowing story of how easily good intentions can be distorted and a decent man can be led away from its principles. It is also an instructive guide to the seductive attractiveness of the jihad movement, and to how quickly and easily a well-intentioned soul can find himself involved in groups that are dedicated to the destruction of the United States and Western civilization.
Among the revelations of Daveed Gartenstein-Ross' amazing journey:
- The fundamental difference between how religion is viewed in the West and how it is seen in the Islamic world
- How Gartenstein-Ross's Muslim colleagues at al-Haramain disguised their financial support for terror groups so as to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities
- The significance of the fact that there is no separation between mosque and state in Islam
- How the mainstream media rushed to defend al-Haramain and Gartenstein-Ross's former colleagues from terror charges, printing what Gartenstein-Ross knew to be ridiculous distortions and half-truths - including calling al-Haramain America's "natural partner in the war on terror"
- The ease with which some of Gartenstein-Ross's Muslim friends trafficked in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories
- How the Muslims around Gartenstein-Ross defended the Taliban and wrote off the Afghan regime's murderous brutality as "Western media hype"
- The key role that social pressure plays in enforcing Islamic morality and custom
- The enlightening reason why women from the Muslim world make better wives than American Muslim women - according to one of Gartenstein-Ross's Muslim friends
- The disagreements within Gartenstein-Ross's Muslim circle as to how orthodox Sunni Muslims should regard members of Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam
- Does jihad properly refer only to defensive warfare against an unjust regime? How Gartenstein-Ross came to the conclusion that this was not the Koran's view
- Why seemingly trivial matters such as the length of Gartenstein-Ross's beard became matters of contention among his Muslim peers
- The chief obstacle that most Americans encounter when they try to understand the jihadist mindset
- The Saudi Chief Justice who convinced Gartenstein-Ross while he was a Muslim that Muslims have a duty to fight unbelievers, not just an option to do so
- Discoveries that helped propel Gartenstein-Ross out of Islam: yes, Islam does sanction polygamy (and yes, Muslims do practice it in the United States), mandate the death penalty for apostasy, and more
- How Gartenstein-Ross determined that Christianity was true, and the Muslim claims about it hollow
- How Gartenstein-Ross's Muslim friends reacted to 9/11
- "You should not go to law school. If you go to law school, you will have to say that the Constitution is good" - and other advice Gartenstein-Ross received from Muslim mentors in the U.S.
- How Americans must awaken to the seductive pull of the ideology that is today our nation's deadliest foe
We have gone back and forth about Muslims, Islam, Muhammad, and Radicalized Islam. Some have a rather jaded view of radicalized Islam, some are naive, some are apologetic and appeasers, and some are totally against Mohammedanism.
With the latest incident that happened in Mumbai, and the revelations reported by Fox News, Report: Mumbai Terror Attack Aimed to Kill 5,000 People, we have a lot more to learn. The free world needs to fully understand the process of Islamism and how radicalization takes place with some who originally enter with peaceful intentions such as John Phillip Walker Lindh and Adam Gahdan. At the end of the day, are all Muhammadans the same?
We need to think outside the box, folks. Those who want to wish it away, the Elephant in the room will remain there.