Brigitte Gabriel: A Voice Against Radical Islamic Terrorism
Her organization, ACT for America, provides a needed foundation for addressing the real threat.
When Brigitte Gabriel was only 10 years old, militant Islamic terrorists attacked her home in Southern Lebanon, destroying her home and seriously injuring her. For the next seven years, she lived with her family in a 10x12 foot bomb shelter as terrorists destroyed her beloved country. That horrific experience prepared her for a mission in life.
Ms. Gabriel now stands as a strong, clear voice against radical Islamic terrorism with her organization, ACT for America — the largest national security grassroots organization in the U.S., composed of more than 750,000 members and 1,000 chapters. She has written two New York Times best-selling books and appears regularly on Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC as a guest analyst. As one of the foremost terrorism experts in the world, Gabriel has addressed the United Nations, members of both the British Parliament and the U.S. Congress, the Pentagon, the Joint Forces Staff College, the U.S. Special Operations Command, the U.S. Asymmetric Warfare group, the FBI and others.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone agrees with her clear anti-terrorist message, mislabeling it as “hatred.” Specifically, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate-peddling organization itself, has labeled ACT for America a “hate group.” While true hatred means the emotion and actions of terror and murder, SPLC’s rubric for hatred includes some true hate groups (like the KKK) alongside groups with whom the SPLC simply disagrees (like the Family Research Council).
By confusing the concept of “disagreement” with “hatred,” the SPLC seeks to vilify those who support traditional marriage or raise awareness about America’s national security with respect to radical Islam. While radical Islamists seek to murder Christians, Jews and homosexuals — a hatred extending to whole groups of people that should qualify as a true hate group — only those communicating the truth about this ideology have been vilified as the “haters.”
Among their criticisms of Gabriel’s work, opponents consider her views as anti-Muslim, Islamophobic and racist. Yet Gabriel distinguishes between Sharia-adherent Muslims who model their lives after Mohammed’s example of rising to power through violence and murder and those who are not.
Gabriel also advocates for stopping Sharia law from being used in the U.S. court system because it allows for domestic violence (men can beat their wives), honor killings (murdering those who dishonor the family or convert to another religion) and supports female genital mutilation (the cutting of the clitoris of young girls). The reality of Sharia law and its implicit potential for human rights abuses can be difficult, even uncomfortable to fathom, but this unfortunate reality cannot be minimized or ignored.
Brigitte Gabriel’s experiences, in combination with reason and evidence, have uniquely qualified her to speak with clarity on the issue of radical Islamic terrorism. In recent years, there has been a popular (though not entirely accurate) stream of thought emphasizing experience (rather than reason and evidence) as the only qualifier for speakers. For example, only women can speak about women’s issues because they “know” how it feels. Only certain ethnicities are qualified to speak about race or only those affected by “gun violence” can speak about gun laws. By this rubric, Brigitte Gabriel, who was seriously injured by terrorists and lived in a bomb shelter for seven years, should be one of the most qualified to understand the real issues at stake with regard to radical Islamic terrorism. Yet her critics have hypocritically disqualified her experience because they disagree with its implications.
Many, if not most, of those critical of Brigette Gabriel’s work have never lived near, much less survived, multiple years of systemic terrorism. Those who live in a relatively quiet and peaceful country cannot fathom the difficulties, hardship, pain or raw horror of living in a war-torn country.
Gabriel’s treatment by critics is reminiscent of the character named Moshe the Beadle in Elie Wiesel’s Holocaust memoir, Night. In his book, Wiesel recounts how this poor man disappeared, experienced the horror of the Nazis, escaped and returned to his town to warn others. But rather than heed the warning, the people called him a radical and ostracized him as a lunatic.
Because the truth, the real truth, can be so overwhelming that people would rather vilify the messenger than accept the message. They prefer to take the battery out of the smoke alarm rather than put out the fire.
Brigitte Gabriel’s message, which speaks to the reality of radical Islamic terrorism, must not be wished away or ignored. She stands as a messenger with a difficult message and should be commended for her courage to speak. We, in turn, should have the wisdom to heed her warning.