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Senior US Department of Homeland Official Holds Counterterrorism Webinar For US Muslim Brotherhood Group

October 5th, 2021 13:02

On the eve of the 20th anniver­sary of 9/11, John D. Cohen, head of the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis, held a vir­tu­al pre­sen­ta­tion for mem­bers of the Mus­lim Pub­lic Affairs Coun­cil (MPAC). Accord­ing to the MPAC website:

Sep­tem­ber 10, 2021 In light of the 20th anniver­sary of 9/11, join us for an inti­mate con­ver­sa­tion with John D. Cohen, the head of the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis, to reflect on our nation­al secu­ri­ty and coun­tert­er­ror­ism approach over the past two decades.

Read the post here.

Cohen is a senior coun­tert­er­ror­ism offi­cial at the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty and cur­rent­ly leads the Department’s Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis, charged with gath­er­ing intel­li­gence about poten­tial US secu­ri­ty threats and alert­ing state, local, trib­al, and ter­ri­to­r­i­al gov­ern­ments, as well as the pri­vate sec­tor. In 2016, Cohen appeared to min­i­mize the role of Islamist ide­ol­o­gy in ter­ror attacks, telling POLITICO:

What we are find­ing now is that would-be ter­ror­ists don’t sim­ply reside in Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties, and they don’t always come from a Mus­lim back­ground,” says Cohen. “We’re find­ing it’s trou­bled peo­ple drawn to the life mean­ing that comes from being asso­ci­at­ed with a cause. Their under­stand­ing of Islam is scarce.”

Dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, Cohen said that the pub­lic described acts of ter­ror­ism, e.g., direct­ed against Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties, dif­fer­ent­ly when the per­pe­tra­tor was a white suprema­cist vs. when the action was car­ried out by an Arab-Amer­i­can, imply­ing only the lat­ter would be called a ter­ror­ist attack. Cohen was joined by long-time MPAC Pres­i­dent Salam Al-Maray­ati, a for­mer mem­ber of the Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of the Cal­i­for­nia Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and who has served as a Clin­ton del­e­gate at the 1996 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­ven­tion. Al-Maray­ati has a his­to­ry of defend­ing extrem­ist groups and, in a talk radio show on 11 Sep­tem­ber 2001, sug­gest­ed that Israel might have been behind the attacks.

The MPAC was estab­lished orig­i­nal­ly in 1986 as the Polit­i­cal Action Com­mit­tee of the Islam­ic Cen­ter of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, whose lead­ers had back­grounds sug­gest­ing they were asso­ci­at­ed with the Egypt­ian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. Over the years, MPAC has mor­phed into a non-prof­it social wel­fare orga­ni­za­tion, describ­ing its objec­tives as a “pub­lic ser­vice agency work­ing for the civ­il rights of Amer­i­can Mus­lims, for the inte­gra­tion of Islam into Amer­i­can plu­ral­ism, and for a pos­i­tive, con­struc­tive rela­tion­ship between Amer­i­can Mus­lims and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives.” MPAC has repeat­ed­ly opposed coun­tert­er­ror­ism efforts pro­posed or car­ried out by the US gov­ern­ment, often sug­gest­ing that they were tar­get­ing peo­ple based on race and reli­gion. MPAC has also defend­ed and/or jus­ti­fied vio­lence car­ried out by Islam­ic groups. Nev­er­the­less, MPAC has devel­oped exten­sive rela­tion­ships with US gov­ern­ment agen­cies, includ­ing meet­ings with the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and the FBI.

For more on MPAC Pres­i­dent Salam Al-Maray­ati, go here.