Kristine Withers claims to have been assaulted by the Islamic Thinkers' Society, a group she says is likely tied to Al-Muhajiroun, which is a radical Islamic group that is believed to have worked with Al-Qaeda. The following is our conversation about ongoing threats to her from the group, and charges that have been brought against her by the group.
Ryan Mauro: First of all, Kristine, what got you involved in looking at the activities of these Islamic protesters you are warning about?
Kristine Withers: I noticed a group of Muslim men, demonstrating against the War on Terror and advocating the pro-fundamentalist Islam view, about 6 months after 9/11/01. I could not help notice them because they were demonstrating a block from me, which is also a busy commercial area for the Islamic-Hindu merchants, in an area I frequent because of the stores and transportation (to get to the subway). They had signs showing the 9/11 tragedy and were handing out brochures advocating fundamentalist Islamic. Upon research, based upon their literature, I found out they were connected with the Al-Muhajiroun group. At that time their brochure contained web links to that fundamentalist websites. I notified the NYPD anti terrorist taskforce, and this group disappeared.
Then around late May of 2003 I noticed the same people were out demonstrating again in the same area. They also knew who I was. I again notified the NYPD, and was told they had a permit. I went to my councilmen, and was ignored. Little by little their space grew with more and more signs, Television and stereo equipment. The crowds around them started to grow. I observed them to gain more information, but that let to verbal sparring with them. I admit it was a bad tactic, but I was genuinely offended that the people that were declaring war against my country, and western civilization, were there to recruit potential terrorist.
RM: Can you describe how you've been threatened and in your view, treated unfairly?
KW: My friend and I were walking our dogs, when we heard some loud voices. As we walked the voices became clearer, then we saw the a group of Islamic men demonstration. They had a loud amplifiers, they were about 3 feet tall, that was blaring out something in Arabic. The reason this caught my attention was because the week before, when I spoke to my State Senator, he informed me that they were not permitted to have sound equipment. I gave my dogs to my friend so she could take them home. I crossed the street to call the police, then I went over to the group, to inform them that I believed they were overstepping their permit, because of the sound system and because they were on both sides of the street. As I crossed to them, I observed their placards on the street (typical al-Muhajiroun stuff : US the real terrorist, oppose the war on terror, God hates the US because they have Homosexuals, restoration of the Caliphate, pictures of Abu Gharab, 9/11 pictures saying it was justified, etc..) Anyway I knocked down one of the signs, (the unaltered abu Gharab pictures, which showed naked people), next thing I know I was engaged in a verbal yelling match with them, they started threatening me and knocked me down. During this period (approx.. 20 mins before the police arrived) I turned down the rest of the signs, and held off a growing angry crowd of mad Muslims. They were telling me how wicked America and I was. A
member of the group was also telling me, "we will kill you", and "next time we will get all of NYC". A man punched me in the face, knocking of my glasses. These were not just a group of individuals. These people (that started the demonstration) were men in their 20's who were radicalized, mostly from the Mid-East, who were controlled by one elder man. They had great discipline that you would not see in just a mob. They were also videotaping this whole incident, with the elder man shouting "film this, it will get us more recruits." Any way the police came finally. After a few minutes finding out about the incident, they took me away alone. This even after I informed them that I was assaulted, a fact which was verified by a few witnesses. When I asked the officer why they did not bring the people who assaulted me in, I was told that "since 9/11 we have to bend over backwards for them."
Since that incident I have had other run-ins with them, been assaulted and threatened, but each time the police take me away.
RM: What group was behind the protests and what leads you to suspect them of being tied to radical Islamists?
KW: The group calls itself the The Islamic Thinkers Society. They fly the Al-Muhajiroun, and use Al-Muhajiroun tracts.
RM: And what is so significant about their ties to Al-Muhajiroun?
KW: Al-Muhajiroun is a group which advocates the control of society based on the rule of a Universal Caliphate, and ruled by Islamic law, the shiara. As a member said "we do not seek to coexist with other religions in America, we seek to dominate them". They want to see Islamic rule imposed worldwide. In their propaganda they portray Islam as an ideology, and an alternative to Democracy. They advocate the advancement of their goal by violence and terrorism. One of their members were a part of the team that conducted the 9/11 attacks. They also advocate the self imposition of Shiara in neighborhoods where they are the majority. This makes for a danger, as happened in Jersey City last week. Where a family of Egyptian Christians were killed by Muslim hit man. Another reason that I find Al-Muhajiroun dangerous is their ability to recruit new adherents, especially among the youth whom they aim their recruitment at. They accomplish this by knowing how to manipulate the system, and take advantage of political correctness. This allows them to recruit openly, while they form a core of true believers in their closed meetings to be used for their Jihad.
RM: Can you explain the reaction of law enforcement to your information?
KW: I cannot explain the reaction of the police, which is what I would describe as apathy and fear. I cannot explain why they would allow a group, which has links to groups which killed fellow officers, to recruit and propagandize our enemies cause. The only logical reasons, in my opinion, would be one of three. First: fear of lawsuits. This precinct (the 115th) was almost sued by a group of Muslims, because they treated the Koran with disrespect when they arrested illegal vendors. Second: political correctness. In New York City, cultural relativism is almost a religion. Each immigrant group has a political base, that exerts pressure on the local politician. These politicians, with the aid of local media, pushes this political line, which affects the actions of the police. I would like to remind you that Queens is number one in Illegal, and legal immigrants in proportion to the general population. Three: Political and Police graft. The local politician, Helen Sears, is beholding to the large indo/Muslim merchants, who are represented by the Jackson Heights Merchants Association. Either way it must be seen as corruption or incompetence. This group has such a clear connection with terrorist groups that to allow them to recruit and operate is clearly collusion. This is especially surprising from the NYPD which experienced an attack by these people.
RM: Do you feel the police have enough evidence to really investigate the group?
KW: I believe that the police the police definitely have the right to investigate this group. This group is analogous to the Nazi's or Japanese recruiting fighters in NYC during WWII. This group calls, through its literature, for the overthrow of the government in favor of a Islamic state. They are trying to spread their Islamic Fundamentalist propaganda, as well as recruit members. They use the cover of religious tolerance to spread their political message.
Recently Shahawar Matin Siraj, 21, a native of Pakistan who lives in Jackson Heights in Queens was accused of plotting to blow up a subway station in NYC, and he was part of the group that was involved with my July 11th incident. Mohammed Junaid Babar was arrested last summer for being a sleeper agent with Al-Qaeda, has links with the Al-Muhajiroun network in Queens. He has admitted his intention to attack America. I do not know if he has direct links with the Islamic Scholars, but I would not doubt it. They are still out there on the weekends, in search of new converts.
RM: Can you tell us about the charges brought against you?
KW: I am charged with inciting a riot, destroying merchandise, resisting arrest, and public disturbance. I can understand the public disturbance, but the other charges are not correct. I was not trying to start a riot, I was trying to shame them away. The merchandise that is in question is their hate filled propaganda, and posters, which I knocked down, but did not destroy. I did not resist arrest, in fact I was just the opposite, I cooperated with the police. They are saying it is a "hate" crime on my part.
I know I will be ok with the authorities. My lawyer met with the DA prosecuting the case, she being in charge of "hate" crimes division in Queens county, NY. My lawyer pointed out the absurdity of trying to prosecute me on a hate crime done to a hate group. She agreed with the premise, but said, rather candidly, she was under pressure from the Islamic community and politicos. We all arrived at an agreement where as I will attend anger management classes, I believe 24 sessions, and a fine. This also includes an order to stay away from them, and a period of probation.
Ryan Mauro is a geopolitical analyst. He began working for Tactical Defense Concepts (www.tdconcepts.com), a maritime-associated security company in 2002. In 2003, Mr. Mauro joined the Northeast Intelligence Network (www.homelandsecurityus.com), which specializes in tracking and assessing terrorist threats. He has appeared on over 20 radio shows and had articles published in over a dozen publications. His book "Death to America: The Unreported Battle of Iraq" is scheduled to be published in the coming months. In addition to writing for the Global Politician, he publishes his own web site called World Threats. He may be reached at email@example.com