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Why call those who fight for ISIS “Americans”?

Why call those who fight for ISIS “Americans”?

Maybe it’s time to stop.

It’s really just common sense: “Americans” who leave this country to fight for ISIS, or any other country or entity or group who is our enemy, should no longer be referred to as “Americans” by the press.

I know; fat chance.

Also, the laws governing the involuntary revocation of citizenship should be scrutinized to see whether they apply. If not, they could be expanded by the legislature to explicitly include fighting for designated foreign terrorist entities such as ISIS.

And this isn’t just true of Somali-Americans or whatever hyphenated-Americans might be guilty of this behavior. It’s true of people like John Walker Lindh, one of the first “American” jihadis. Remember him?

Four years ago, Joe Lieberman proposed an expansion of the current law in order to make sure it included those who fight as jihadis abroad. Back then Lieberman said, “I’m now putting together legislation [so that] any individual American citizen who is found to be involved in a foreign terrorist organization, as defined by the Department of State, would be deprived of their citizenship rights.” The case has only grown stronger in the intervening years.

Lieberman didn’t succeed back then, but the relevant statute is here. These portions seem especially apropos:

(a) A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality—

(1) obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application or upon an application filed by a duly authorized agent, after having attained the age of eighteen years; or

(2) taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after having attained the age of eighteen years; or

(3) entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if

(A) such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States, or…

(7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The statute also says that the presumption that such actions were entered into voluntarily can be rebutted. The law appears to have originated in the 1950s.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]

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Comments

PersonFromPorlock | August 30, 2014 at 10:29 am

But if they’re not Americans, how can they be charged with treason? They are, as a matter of flat fact, Americans, albeit very bad ones.

Muslims prove over and over again that they are loyal only to Islam, and to nothing else. Explaining why Muslims can never be trusted, and can never be considered loyal Americans, British, French, Italian, Australian, and so forth. They represent an enemy living among us.

Here in America, as elsewhere, they are out for colonization and conquest. They cannot be considered Americans because of their adoption of Islam. Sharia (total government) and American constitutional principles (government contained/controlled by the people, and limited in scope (at least it’s supposa be!)) couldn’t be farther apart.

There is no such concept as a Muslim American.

At best and at most they can only be described as “Muslims who live in the geographical area know commonly as North America.”

Khomeini was remarkably forthright and consistent in his calls for jihad to subjugate the infidel. Consider this 1942 statement: “Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under Allah’s law (Sharia). … Islam says: “Kill [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter their armies.” Islam says: “Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors (jihadists)!” There are hundreds of other Koranic psalms and hadiths (sayings of the prophet) urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim. … Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless.”

Khomeini reiterated these views upon assuming power in 1979: “The great prophet of Islam [Big Mo himself, -ed.] carried in one hand the Koran and in the other a sword; the sword for crushing the traitors and the Koran for guidance. … Islam is a religion of blood for the infidels but a religion of guidance for other people. … We shall export our revolution to the whole world. Until the cry “There is no God but God” resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle.”

Two of Khomeini’s points bear repeating,
~ “Those who know nothing of Islam [we’re looking at you George Bush] pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless.”
~ “The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors [jihadists]!”

    Ragspierre in reply to pfg. | August 30, 2014 at 10:59 am

    “There is no such concept as a Muslim American.”

    Well, terrible grammar aside, I know several personally. They aren’t “concepts” but human beings.

    And quoting Khomeini or any of his ilk as your authority on Islam is like quoting Calypso Louie Farrakhan as the authoritative voice for all African Americans.

    It is stupid.

      JerryB in reply to Ragspierre. | August 30, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Yes, there are Americans who hold to an apparently benign version of Islam. But the virulent form is alive and well here, too. We have a societal dilemma. Our Constitution forbids the gov’t from defining acceptable religions. But we have the right and duty to prosecute those who plan the overthrow of the country.

      It used to be that Communists were prohibited from gov’t and military, and their activities were monitored. As well as putting commies back on the watchlist, we need to put jihadi there, too. Frankly, I’d advocate a prohibition on the building of any mosques. But this might be declared unconstitutional. What is the right policy?

        Ragspierre in reply to JerryB. | August 30, 2014 at 12:18 pm

        First, I’d say that stepping up to the issue is a good idea. It isn’t a simply “on/off” switch problem, either. There are jihadist elements in the American Muslim community. They need to be publicly called what they are…enemies of the American way of life…and dealt with accordingly. That is no more a matter of religious persecution than would be calling out a gonzo Christian militia. We cannot continue doing what we’ve been doing…and what England has done. We can’t let the radicals browbeat us and hide behind our respect for rights and the Muslims who are not radical. SCREW THAT…as I am fond of saying.

        Second, being consistent with our own Constitution is a good thing. Forbidding the building of mosques would be blatantly unconstitutional. It also wouldn’t do any good. Nobody needs to attend mosque to become a radicalized jihadist. All you need is the internet.

        Third, we need to take WAR to the enemy…anywhere they are found. Here, that means conducting good, careful intelligence. This is essential AND it is tricky. We don’t want our government doing things that impinge on rights we want for ourselves, right? But that still leaves LOTS of good work that can be done. On foreign soil, there is just no way to fight except effectively, and that means forces on the ground, killing the enemy with all the means we have, no holds barred. They fight dirty, and they understand how squeamish Americans have become. We need to leave that crap behind. We kill the enemy. We don’t read them their rights.

        Now, of course, a lot of that is oversimplified. But as first principles go, it is a good start.

          Exiliado in reply to Ragspierre. | August 30, 2014 at 12:40 pm

          There has been debate about whether going to Iraq and/or Afghanistan was a mistake. I understand the debate, but this is how I always saw it:

          I don’t care if it was a mistake or not. In fact, I don’t think it was a mistake.
          We were fighting the enemy on their turf. Our soldiers were risking their lives over there, so that we could continue living ours in peace here. For that, they deserve respect and honor; respect and honor that is denied to them by the media and the government. (VA, anyone?)

          Now Obama’s actions have opened the door to our enemies.
          We fear that they’ll bring the war to American soil. And their war is dirty. They don’t fight in the open. They don’t identify as enemies, but they blend. They use our freedoms to wait in hiding, and then strike when they can cause the most damage.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | August 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm

          I agree. I always saw Iraq as two wars. The first was quick, brilliant, and very successful, with few causalities on either side.

          The second was slow, dirty, and protracted, but also very successful, IMNHO. We pulled jihadists from all over the world, and killed them in droves.

          Now, it looks as though we are returning to continue the work.

          David R. Graham in reply to Ragspierre. | August 31, 2014 at 6:32 pm

          Rags, do you work for CAIR?

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | August 31, 2014 at 7:03 pm

          Dave, do you sell your bung-hole on the street?

          If you have a RATIONAL disagreement with what I said in my three-point post, above, post it.

          Otherwise, you can STFU.

        Observer in reply to JerryB. | August 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm

        I read a story today about some Muslims living in Ireland who were attacked in their home, apparently for no reason other than that they were Muslim. According to the article:

        “The home invasion came after remarks from Belfast based Pastor James McConnell, who said in a sermon ‘The God we worship and serve this evening is not Allah. The Muslim god-Allah-is a heathen deity. Allah is a cruel deity. Allah is a demon deity.’ He later added that Islam is ‘a doctrine spawned in hell.’”

        I don’t know if Islam was spawned in hell or not (I tend to doubt it), and I’m certainly not making excuses for the people who invaded the Muslims’ home in Ireland and physically attacked them. But the pastor had a point about the difference between Muslims and non-Muslims.

        The undeniable fact is that Muslims — even the so-called “moderate” Muslims — believe in a deity that is very, very different than the one most westerners believe in. The Muslim god, according to those who claim to know the Koran, approves of lying and killing, and in the case of infidels (i.e. non-Muslims) even requires and rewards such behaviors.

        Given that, how exactly are we western “infidels” supposed to peacefully co-exist alongside Muslims? Their oaths to us don’t mean anything. I once did witness prep with a Bosnian refugee who was about to testify in a civil lawsuit. I was explaining to him that he would be required to take an oath to tell the truth before he testified in court, and that he would need to be truthful in his answers to the questions he was asked. He smiled and said “that’s no problem, just tell me what you need me to say and whatever it is I’ll say it. I don’t have to honor an oath made to infidels because I am Muslim.”

        We have millions of Muslim immigrants coming to live in the U.S. (and other western nations), and many of them eventually even raise their hands and take an oath of citizenship. But how can we trust those oaths when the people taking them believe that their religion does not require them to honor the promises they’ve made to us? One of the founders of our nation once noted that the U.S. constitution would only work for a moral people. He meant, presumably, people who genuinely believed in the sanctity of the social compact they’d made and who would do their best to honor their commitment to it. But Muslims don’t believe in it, and what’s worse, they believe they are morally justified in falsely swearing their allegiance to it.

        A lot of people, including Barack Obama, seem to want to just stick their heads in the sand and pretend these issues don’t exist. Even George W. Bush insisted on calling Islam a “religion of peace,” despite the fact that it sanctions, and even rewards, killing in some circumstances.

        We need to confront these issues, honestly and openly. We should have done it long ago, before we changed our immigration laws and allowed millions of Muslims to immigrate here. I’m not suggesting that we insult Muslim beliefs the way the Belfast preacher did, but we should at least have enough courage to admit that serious, substantial, and possibly irreconcilable differences exist between Islam and modern western societies, and we need to acknowledge those differences (hopefully in a civil and constructive way) and figure out how we’re going to deal with them — before it’s too late.

          Ragspierre in reply to Observer. | August 30, 2014 at 12:43 pm

          My Hindu clients would not meet with the approval of Fr. McConnell, either. They not only worship a “deity that is very, very different than Westerners worship”, they worship a whole panoply of them!

          I have clients and friends who are Druids and Wiccans, too. Houston is a funny place!

          Some of my Muslim clients are MUCH more honest than some of my Baptist clients. If they give their word, you can take it to the bank…literally. A lot depends on the culture of their country of origin. Some of my Egyptian clients will tell you that you cannot trust a Palestinian…ever. In my experience, they have a point.

          Just as with Christians or Jews, people are not their religion…or the religion they were born into. In my experience, the more any “Christian” declaims their faith, the more I grab my wallet and edge toward the door.

          Ragspierre in reply to Observer. | August 30, 2014 at 12:50 pm

          Oh, and not more than a generation or two ago, the same questions were raised about “papists” who would certainly put their allegiance to Rome above all.

          Remember?

          And Jews, LDS, many Christians and lots of other religions have the equal of “infidel” as part of their basic doctrine. Theocentrism is not unique to Muslims.

          JerryB in reply to Observer. | August 30, 2014 at 1:42 pm

          Rags: As a papist, I can assure you that there’s no doctrine advocating overthrow of the gov’t, and plenty of theologians who’ve argued against it. Also, lying is prohibited. Of course, that doesn’t mean that individual Catholics will behave accordingly.

          It comes down to doctrine and practices. We can’t tolerate jihadi who advocate violence, and I know you agree. As for Hindus, don’t they have a practice back in India of taking old folks to the river, celebrating their life, and then leaving them there to die? We can’t tolerate that, either. But we do tolerate, actually protect, those who do the equivalent to unborn babies. Bottom line is, there is a prevalent flawed way of thinking in America that I’m afraid will inhibit us from protecting this country until it’s too late.

TrooperJohnSmith | August 30, 2014 at 10:41 am

Who knows? They may one day return to America and become college professors and lecturers. One may even have a seat on some NGO and meet an aspiring, young community activist, and….

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | August 30, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    It takes a Chicago-sized, or Honolulu-sized Community to Raise a National Idiot – all the way to DC.

    Snark Snark.

As long as they are still American citizens they get to vote. Any guesses which party they would tend to support in their electoral cho

I find #7 chilling. The constitution provides that we should overthrow the government if we must… that little law right there would allow them to end the citizenship and rights of anyone that attempts such a task…

    Ragspierre in reply to TB. | August 30, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Yeeeeeup. It could be read to include a peaceful campaign of civil disobedience, too.

    It would need to be MUCH more tightly drafted to prevent abuse.

Cognitive dissonance. My Muslim religion has problems that need fixing. At a point the writer of this piece — and everyone else who is confused — will have to face reality.

There has not been one single year since Mohammed first marched into Medina and started slaughtering people in which some or another Muslim group in this world was not engaged in murdering “infidels” and “apostates” in the name of Islam.

A religion is not what you want to pretend that it was “supposed to be”. A “religion” is what and how it is and always has been practiced, as well as the ideas and outcomes it spawns.

Islam is not merely — or even primarily — a “religion”. It is a socio-economic-political ideology. And it’s not fixable, any more than there could be “moderate communism” or a “moderate” belief in an absolute divine right monarch. People need to get this.

    Ragspierre in reply to janitor. | August 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    So. What’s your plan, stan?

    What do you propose?

      janitor in reply to Ragspierre. | August 30, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      I’ll have to think about it. For starters, education. What should we do with regard to organizations that advocate for the violent overthrow of a government. What about funding and tax exempt status. How about not letting debate be shut down because ooh yikes a person is not permitted to say anything about another’s “religion”, that’s bigot, etc.

Hmmm…

I guess if Israel can accommodate its Muslim citizens…and they certainly DO…the U.S. is strong enough to do likewise.

We need to set and enforce standards, just as they do. That doesn’t seem to be beyond us, IMNHO.

    randian in reply to Ragspierre. | August 30, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    “I guess if Israel can accommodate its Muslim citizens…and they certainly DO…the U.S. is strong enough to do likewise.”

    Strong? No, that would be stupid. “Citizen” implies loyalty, and a pious Muslim cannot be loyal to anything but Islam. Islam demands the destruction of all non-Muslim polities and their replacement with the rule of Islam by any means necessary. The history of Islamic subjugation of India shows the most foul means are quite acceptable.

    This is especially relevant to Israel. How can you trust any “citizen” whose holy book deems you (a Jew) the equivalent of feces and the descendant of pigs, instructs believers that every plant and stone will some day call to the Muslims and say “there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him”, and counsels lying (such as when they claim loyalty to Israel) when doing so furthers the advance of Islam?

    Israel also, for example, strips citizenship of Members of the Knesset who actively plot against the state of Israel, and get antsy when current members sneak off to Qatar, hide the sponsor of their trip, and meet with the former MK whose citizenship was revoked for such activities.

    I read about such a case what, a week and a half ago? The names escape me; I’m a long, long way from the Middle East. I’m just saying that they regard citizenship as an esteemed privilege when the US seems to spare no effort to degrade the value of citizenship on a monthly and sometimes even daily basis.

      Milhouse in reply to JBourque. | September 1, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Israel has no constitution, and thus no protection for citizenship. The Knesset can strip someone’s citizenship just as it can strip any other right from a person. (There are “basic laws” that the courts treat as quasi-constitutional, but the Knesset made them and can change them.) The USA has a constitution, which says citizenship is not a privilege, to be granted or taken away, it’s an inherent right, and nobody can mess with it, ever.

    janitor in reply to Ragspierre. | August 30, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Israel and the U.S. are not comparable, including inter alia, with regard to the constitutional status of religion.

Another reason to close the border.

It seems quite reasonable to extent the stripping of citizenship rules to include people who join jihadi fighting groups. Such people make it clear that they value the imposition of political Islam over any other legal system including ours. This leaves American Muslims who do NOT join jihadi groups on an equal status with Hindus, LDS, Sikhs, Buddhists, and so on here.

    randian in reply to tarheelkate. | August 30, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    You say that as if “political Islam” and “Islam” were distinct things. Besides, just because a Muslim doesn’t join a jihad group doesn’t mean they don’t support the goals of jihad. Plenty of Palestinians aren’t members of Hamas, but they nevertheless support Hamas with money (much of which is foolishly supplied by the US and Europe) and propaganda. Saudi Arabian sheikhs support the advance of Islam with hundreds of millions in oil money, but they do not fight themselves. Indeed, one of the permitted ends of zakat (islamic “charity”, though such charity must only be given to other Muslims) is funding jihad. It would be very, very interesting to inspect the finances of US mosques.

      tarheelkate in reply to randian. | August 30, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      There are Muslims in the US attempting to reconcile their submission to Islam with their American citizenship. I don’t see how we can deport all Muslims or subject them all to inquisitions. Financial support for designated terrorist groups is already illegal and can be prosecuted. I do agree that all mosques need to take responsibility to see that they reject radical funds and radical teaching materials. The solution to the Islamic problem lies really with Muslims.

      Meanwhile, telling these men that if they choose to go to Syria or Iraq or Gaza to fight with the jihad they won’t be welcome to come back is a reasonable first step.

    Milhouse in reply to tarheelkate. | September 1, 2014 at 9:04 am

    There are no “stripping of citizenship rules”, thus it is not reasonable to “extent” them. The entire premise of this discussion is neo-neocon’s sheer ignorance.

“There are Muslims in the US attempting to reconcile their submission to Islam with their American citizenship.”

We wouldn’t even be having this conversation were the subject the KKK. Would you say it’s ok to be a card-carrying member of the KKK so long as you aren’t actually hanging blacks and Jews? Why give Muslims a pass? They deserve censure as surely as somebody proclaiming to be a KKK member does.

You simply cannot trust any Muslim who says they have no animus towards their infidel rulers, because their holy book teaches them to lie when put to the question, and their highest example of how a good Muslim should behave, Muhammad, was a mass murderer, rapist, and pedophile. A Muslim is no different than somebody who claims to be a devotee of Charles Manson. Actually, they’re worse, because Manson didn’t cloak his beliefs in the mantle of the divine.

“Financial support for designated terrorist groups is already illegal and can be prosecuted.”

The problem is nobody is investigating mosque finances in the US. Too un-PC. I guarantee a bunch of them conduct money laundering operations, either to send money overseas to fund jihad there or as sinks for overseas jihad cash looking for a home here.

“I do agree that all mosques need to take responsibility to see that they reject radical funds and radical teaching materials.”

The term “radical” is meaningless in reference to Islam. Slaughtering infidels until they submit to the rule of Islam, and if you can’t do that bide your time while being the enemy within, is orthodox Islam, not radical.

    Milhouse in reply to randian. | September 1, 2014 at 9:05 am

    We wouldn’t even be having this conversation were the subject the KKK. Would you say it’s ok to be a card-carrying member of the KKK so long as you aren’t actually hanging blacks and Jews?

    Um, yes. Ever heard of the first amendment? Look it up some time, you might be surprised.

David R. Graham | August 31, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Concur, they are TWANLOCs, at best. No doubt most of them really never were OCs, just inhabiting here.

David R. Graham | August 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm

As the PM of Turkey, a Muslim Brotherhood guy, says, Islam is one. There are not two kinds, one peaceful and one belligerent. Islam is belligerent. Furthermore, it is not a religion, it is a total way of life, a complete social/political order. Or, disorder. And in either case, totalist. It does not brook difference from itself. The places in the ME where there is religious and political diversity — increasingly rare — inside a titularly Moslem government, that government is secular. Where it is Moslem — Sharia, etc. — there is neither religious nor political diversity of any consequence and any little there is (Iran) is persecuted. Throw in Moslem Brotherhood and Salafists and Islam’s totalism is vividly apparent.

No rags, you may argue to preserve/appease your clients, but your argument is horsefeathers when checked against reality. So much so I wonder if you work for CAIR. And how can you do much representation as you so hang on these comment boards? No need to reply.

Also, the laws governing the involuntary revocation of citizenship should be scrutinized to see whether they apply. If not, they could be expanded by the legislature to explicitly include fighting for designated foreign terrorist entities such as ISIS.

Um, there are no such laws. The statute you refer to is blatantly unconstitutional, and was struck down nearly 50 years ago. The fourteenth amendment explicitly says that anyone who is born in the USA, or properly naturalized, is a citizen. No legislature can change that, no matter what the person has done. The only way to involuntarily revoke someone’s citizenship is to prove that they weren’t born in the USA, and weren’t lawfully naturalized, i.e. they were never a citizen in the first place.

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