Dating back to ancient Greek times, a form of military punishment involved the condemned passing between two rows of fellow soldiers who pummeled him with sticks and switches as he walked through. Although a sword-bearing soldier in front of and facing the condemned ensured he did not run through, the punishment was known as “running the gauntlet.”
No sooner had President Donald Trump made a second attempt to implement a travel ban to protect, as his oath of office dictates, American citizens, then those harboring contrary interests filed a lawsuit to make him, again, run a judicial gauntlet.
What is frustrating is to see who is doing the pummeling.
This time the lawsuit emanated in Hawaii. The plaintiff is Dr. Ismail Elshikh – imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii.
Elshikh is a member of the North American Imam Federation (NAIF) – an organization heavy with radical Islamic connections. Terrorism expert Kyle Shideler tells us Elshikh’s ties to NAIF should not be taken lightly.
Shideler airs a valid concern, saying, “Given NAIF’s history it should come as no surprise that the end goal of this lawsuit is, ultimately, weakening American counter-terrorism or immigration security efforts. That a member of an organization whose leaders have included a convicted war criminal, an individual who defended donating money to a Hamas linked charity, and an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism bombing wants to tell the American people who they can admit for immigration should say a lot about why such an executive order is needed in the first place.”
Elshikh runs a Muslim Brotherhood mosque – the largest in Hawaii – title to which is held by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). While such Islamic organizations endeavor to hide their relationship to radical Islamic groups through the use of various names and front companies, NAIT was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2007 financing case of the terrorist group Hamas. Documents in that case also revealed links to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Trump is considering designating as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
It should be noted the Brotherhood has declared, in its own words, what its strategy is to destroy America. In a once-secret document, before inadvertently being discovered in a warranted search of the home of a Brotherhood member living in Virginia, the strategy is to wage “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Interestingly, in an effort after the trial to rid itself of the co-conspirator label, NAIT never denied its affiliation with Hamas and the Brotherhood, instead arguing the evidence involved 1990s-era documents and neither NAIT nor the Brotherhood now supported terrorism. However, a declaration of war against America in 2010 by the Muslim Brotherhood’s leader suggests otherwise.
Also involved in the pummeling of Trump is U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson, who ruled in favor of the plaintiff. Watson is a law school classmate of Barack Obama who, as president, nominated him for the judgeship.
Apparently, 48 hours before Watson issued his decision, Obama made an unannounced trip to Hawaii and may have met with his classmate. Whether a meeting occurred or not, the trip was inappropriately timed.
It is interesting that Watson reached his decision to block a travel ban that made no mention of any religion, in part, due to Trump’s campaign rhetoric to ban Muslims. Watson rationalizes that, although it is silent on religion, the ban seeks to fulfill Trump’s campaign promise against Islam.
While Watson chooses to give Trump’s earlier campaign rhetoric the weight of current intent, he does not consider giving weight to the Muslim Brotherhood’s earlier declared strategic intent or to the teachings of the Quran. As stated, they both promote “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions” – a clear and present danger to all Americans.
Lost in the controversy surrounding the ban’s constitutionality is the sub-issue whether Iraq’s elimination from the countries listed should increase or decrease our national security concerns.
One need consider the primary reason Shiite-majority Iran and Shiite-majority Iraq fought an eight year war (1980-1988) was because the latter was ruled by a Sunni – Saddam Hussein. With the dictator dead, the two countries’ Shiite sectarian roots provided a natural ideological bond.
Two developments never possible under Saddam evidencing this bond today are: 1) numerous posters and billboards of Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appearing throughout Iraq; and 2) Iranian military forces, once denied entry into Iraq, now roam freely there.
Thus, the removal of Iraq from the travel ban list still allows indirect access for Iran due to the two nations’ close bond. This is particularly worrisome as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander recently boasted, with a population of 2 million Iranians in the U.S., he already has access to a secret guerrilla army ready to strike. Of course, Judge Watson has chosen to ignore this declared Muslim threat.
Normally, running the gauntlet was only done once, with the transgressor then allowed to continue on with a clean slate. It is clear no such courtesy is to be extended to Trump in his efforts to keep us safe.
Sherlock Holmes would be disappointed with Judge Watson’s decision – for it should be elementary that it undermines our national security.