Walid Shoebat travels around the US giving speeches to police departments, churches, and universities about terrorism. His qualifications? He says he was a terrorist for the PLO who helped firebomb a bank in Israel and spent time in an Israeli jail. This supposedly makes him an expert on terrorism.
The first question here is whether terrorists should be allowed to make money based on their former misdeeds. His speeches, books, and videos earned him more than half a million dollars in 2009 alone, some of it coming from state Homeland Security departments and other government sources.
But it gets worse, much worse.
Shoebat is virulently anti-Islam. At a recent speech to police and sheriff’s deputies he tells them “All Islamic organizations in America should be the No. 1 enemy. All of them.” He encourages ethnic and racial profiling, which is illegal. He tells people to be leery of Muslim doctors, engineers, students, and mosques. Speakers like Shoebat have raised concerns from the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Home Security Committee about “vitriolic diatribes” being delivered by “self-appointed counterterrorism experts” like Shoebat at these seminars.
But the worst part is that Shoebat appears to be a complete fraud. There is no record of the firebombing he claims to have taken part in. The Israeli jail has no record of his incarceration. He refers to counter-terrorism reports that don’t exist. He makes stupid claims, like saying there were 17 terrorists on 9/11 when there were 19, and talks about the TSA preventing 9/11 even though the TSA wasn’t created until after the attacks.
When charlatans can go around stirring up hatred and fear with lies and misinformation, to me that makes them terrorists. And in this case, the terrorists have won. Are we so desperate to believe that danger exists that we actually pay for it?