American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us

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9780743233248: American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us

The United States government is actively monitoring terrorist cells affiliated with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in eleven cities, from Florida to Boston to Denver to Houston. But al Qaeda is hardly our only threat. Hamas, formed in 1987, was run by top Palestinian officials in America from its earliest days, and has tentacles in Texas, California, New Jersey, Virginia, and Illinois. The University of South Florida was infiltrated by the infamous organization known as Palestinian Islamic Jihad -- one of its faculty members even left the country to take that group's top leadership role after his predecessor was assassinated. Hizballah has been tied to cells in North Carolina and Michigan, from which it drew funds and attempted to procure military equipment. In short, September 11, 2001, was hardly an isolated or unpredictable event. The United States has become home to hundreds and probably thousands of terrorists, and it has become a central node in their international networks. Steven Emerson, hailed as "the nation's leading expert on Islamist terrorism," has been working full-time since 1993 to track the spread of terrorist networks to our shores, even at great personal risk. In 1995, not long after the release of his PBS documentary "Jihad in America," he was informed by federal officials that a South African Islamist death squad had been dispatched after him, and told that he should leave his home immediately. Since then he has not maintained a home address, though he has continued to write and testify under his own name. With the help of a staff of researchers he has followed the terrorists' monetary sources, monitored their attacks and plans, exposed their ties to charitable foundations, and assisted a variety of government agencies in the battle against them. He has obtained videotaped evidence of terrorist training camps and conferences, and tracked the international connections of American operatives to over a dozen organizations. In American Jihad Emerson reveals the full story that only he knows. This is a frightening and crucial book for anyone who needs to understand the threat within our borders.

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Review:

Some have said that the events of September 11 took every American by surprise. That's not true. There were Cassandras among us warning about the dangers of Islamic terrorism--and one of their leaders was Steven Emerson, who must be ranked among the most fearless reporters in the world. As a self-made expert on Islamic terrorism, he has invited the hatred of violent murderers. (At least one group has marked him for assassination; he was offered enrollment in the federal witness protection program, but refused). For more than 10 years, Emerson has soldiered on, studying groups that operate in the United States for the express purpose of funding and managing deadly organizations. American Jihad summarizes what he has learned, and it isn't comforting. Emerson shows how the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has grown an extensive network in the United States, how the group Islamic Jihad set up shop at the University of South Florida, and how an Islamic center in Tucson helped recruit two of Osama bin Laden's top deputies. He also provides circumstantial evidence that bin Laden himself once applied for an American visa--"even the possibility is tantalizing, and chilling," he concludes. He urges Americans to fight back, but worries that time is short: "We are still vulnerable." This is an important book, and a sobering one. --John Miller

About the Author:

Steven Emerson is Executive Director of The Investigative Project, the largest intelligence and data-gathering center in the world on militant Islamic activities. He is also an award-winning investigative journalist who specializes in Islamic terrorism. His 1994 documentary, "Jihad in America," won the George Polk Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Investigative Reporters and Editors' Award for best national investigation into criminal activity. His previous books include The Fall of Pan Am 103, co-authored with Brian Duffy (1990), and Terrorist: The Inside Story of the Highest-Ranking Iraqi Terrorist Ever to Defect to the West, co-authored with Cristina del Sesto (1991). His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Republic. From 1986 to 1990 he was the national security correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, and from 1990 to 1993 he worked for CNN, until leaving to work on his documentary.

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