Having worked with Kiwis for many, many years, and having followed events in En Zed for the last three decades, I was just as shocked and horrified as anyone about the horrific massacre of Muslims at Friday prayers at their mosques in Christchurch on March 15, 2019.
You can see my three contemporaneous articles here:
- Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud, needs to step back and look at Christchurch objectively
- Was Christchurch a lone gunman or a conspiracy?
- Turkish President Erdoğan says Christchurch was not an individual act but rather an organized part of a wider attack on Turkey
My immediate reaction was that this was an extreme anomaly. I had followed reports for years about New Zealanders traveling to the Middle East to participate in Islamic jihad. I was also aware that authorities had been concerned that terrorist groups were setting up shop and recruiting from within New Zealand.
At that time, I recollected a very detailed article from some years ago documenting this situation even as I watched Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern don the hijab, join the Islamic call to prayer and declare that her entire country stood in solidarity with the followers of Islam.
Since then the so-called Christchurch Call has been issued seeking world governments to impose censorship of anyone who speaks candidly and objectively about the threat of terrorism in the name of Islam. We here in the United States are fortunate that President Trump has seen through the thinly veiled imposition of censorship and refused to let our country be seduced.
You can read the entire article entitled “Preachers of Hate” by Ian Wishart. The online archive indicates a date of January 1, 1970, but the actual publication date was March 30, 2007. The article can also be read in the Australian Edition here.
After the Christchurch attack two months ago, the point I remembered most distinctly 12 years after first reading this article was that American Imam Siraj Wahhaj was one of the foreign Islamic Preachers of Hate who had visited New Zealand in years past and who had helped influence Muslims living in that South Pacific country.
His son of the same name has been tied to suspected terrorist training compounds in New Mexico and Alabama recently which were allegedly training potential school shooters. Whether the elder Imam Siraj Wahhaj is acknowledged as a mentor or not, his political philosophy most definitely represents that of new U.S. Congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Following is the excerpt from the NZ Investigate Magazine article of March 30, 2007. FIANZ is the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand.
Another Muslim scholar brought out to New Zealand in 2001 – just months before 9/11, was American convert Siraj Wahhaj, invited here by FIANZ. Wahhaj was once hailed as a “moderate” in the US, and became the first American Muslim to deliver the daily prayer in the US Congress, in 1991, as a recognition of his “moderate” views. But like Bilal Philips before him, Siraj Wahhaj was leading a double life: teacher’s pet moderate Muslim on the outside for the benefit of politicians and the media, die-hard radical extremist on the inside. Wikipedia records that Wahhaj was named by the US Department of Justice as another of several “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators in the attempt to blow up New York City monuments” including the World Trade Centre in 1993.
As Salon magazine reported on September 26, 2001, Wahhaj had a close relationship with an Islamic terrorist, the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdul Rahman, inviting him to speak at Wahhaj’s Brooklyn mosque and even testifying as a character witness for Rahman in court.
Wahhaj, who like Philips slipped into New Zealand without opposition by the SIS, police or border security, is also quoted in Salon as calling the original Gulf War 1 – against Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait – “one of the most diabolical plots ever in the annals of history”, and “part of a larger plan, to destroy the greatest challenge to the Western world, and that’s Islam.”
Comparing the fall of Soviet Russia to the current crisis in the West, Wahhaj warned America too will be crushed unless it “accepts the Islamic agenda”.
Journalist Daniel Pipes, in The Danger Within, details a 1992 address Wahhaj gave to an audience of New Jersey Muslims.
“If only Muslims were more clever politically, he told his New Jersey listeners, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate. ‘If we were united and strong, we’d elect our own Emir [leader] and give allegiance to him…Take my word, if 6-8 million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us’.”
So that was Siraj Wahhaj’s agenda just a year after reading the opening prayer in the same US parliament he was hoping to overthrow, and he is welcomed as an esteemed speaker by moderate Muslims in New Zealand.
The website MilitantIslamMonitor.org has compiled its own research on Wahhaj.
“There’s no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend”
“Wahhaj extolled the joys of martyrdom in this Jihad website entry, ‘No one who dies and goes to Paradise is going to want to come back to this world, except a Martyr, a person who gave their life for Islam, for Allah, they will want to come back to the earth and die ten more times in the way of Allah, because of the great gifts Allah has given them in Paradise’
“Wahhaj often writes and speaks on the subject of martyrdom in Islam. Some of his works are entitled: ‘Are you ready to die?’ ‘The blessing of Death’ ‘The easy way to Paradise – how to get there’.
“In addition to martyrdom Wahhaj is a proponent of polygamy and has produced many tapes on the subject.”
While the latter topic might fit Labour Party policy in New Zealand, it is doubtful Wahhaj’s commitment to military jihad would.
For his part, Wahhaj has told American media they’ve misunderstood him, that “Islam is a religion of peace”, and that he really is a moderate.
We here at NOQ Report highly recommend that authorities both in the United States and in New Zealand revisit these allegations that were documented a dozen years ago. Right now our friends in Aotearoa are understandably still in shock.
But we need to prevent anyone, particularly Wellington and other national capitals, from taking what happened in Christchurch out of context. It is also our urgent mission to ensure that warnings of a potential counterattack by a geographically-dispersed ISIS or other Islamic terrorist group in retribution are not censored.
To PM Ardern, I would say, take a deep breath and step back from the erroneous presumptions you have made in the aftermath of Christchurch. The seeds of discontent have already been sewn and the roots of an Islamic Insurgency already exist in your country’s soil.
Call in your intelligence community and consult with your counterparts in the United States and other allied countries. Back off from the Christchurch Call and all attempts to impose censorship.
If you were paying attention to what happened in Sri Lanka, if you are watching what is happening in Nigeria, if you focus your gaze beyond your own island nation, you will realize that Muslims are not always victims as they were at Christchurch.
Don’t let one horrific and unforgivable atrocity distort your view of reality and warp your perspective on what you must do in the future to keep Kiwis of every religion and ethnicity safe from harm.
I would enjoin our American government to move beyond some of our own political squabbles and consider how those who pose a threat to our own domestic security may also have their tentacles around our good friends in New Zealand and other close allies.
Agencies investigating the terror compounds in New Mexico and Alabama might want to put somebody on a plane or at least have a video conference with your counterparts in New Zealand. What were Siraj Wahhaj and other Islamic Preachers of Hate doing and with whom were they doing it as documented in the article from 2007?
We at NOQ Report will continue to do our utmost to put together pieces of the puzzle as they become available from open sources. Stay tuned for further developments.