US President Barack Obama has made the contentious choice to seek US Senate confirmation for John Brennan to be the director of the CIA. Brennan, who had served as Obama’s deputy national security adviser for homeland security, is known for controversy. In 2008, Brennan withdrew his name for consideration for being CIA director because he was on record as supporting torture. The American Civil Liberties Union opposes his nomination for this reason. Yet, it is critical to note that Brennan has made some other statements as well in the past that would make any supporter of Israel and America feel uncomfortable.

Brennan has asserted that jihadists and Islamists are not enemies of America because “jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or ones community.” While it is true that there are nonviolent ways of engaging in jihad, to ignore the commonly practiced violent jihads reveals either ignorance or an attempt at deliberately confusing the issues at hand to serve his agenda. Such ignoble statements work to appease the radical Islamists, who would be thrilled if the western world ignored the implications of their aggressive jihad.

The facts indeed don’t support Brennan’s definition of jihad. According to Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, a medieval Muslim commentator on the Quran, there are four major categories of jihad, which include the struggle against the self, the struggle against evil, the struggle against non-believers (holy war) and the struggle against the hypocrites (Muslim apostates). Yet, while there are non-violent ways of waging jihad, it is critical to note that within the Muslim tradition they were usually supposed to supplement rather than replace violent jihad. To illustrate this point, Ayatollah Khomeini wrote a book on the greater jihad or non-violent ways of waging jihad, yet definitely was a supporter of aggressive jihad.

But as if that were not problematic enough, Brennan has referred to Jerusalem while speaking English as Al Quds. As Mortain A. Klein of the Zionist Organization of America stated, “These comments by John Brennan are as outrageous as they are deeply troubling. No one refers to Jerusalem in the English language as Al-Quds, unless they have a specific political, anti-Israel agenda – in this case, pandering to Israel’s enemies, who will draw comfort from the use of the term Al-Quds by a senior U.S. government official.”

Saudi woman who received 100 lashes for the crime of being raped.

Furthermore, Brennan mentioned during a speech his time in Cairo in the 1970’s, where he claimed that his former Jordanian, Egyptian and Palestinian classmates held common aspirations with him such as the “desire to practice our faith freely. In Saudi Arabia, I saw how our Saudi partners fulfilled their duty as custodians of the two holy mosques at Mecca and Medina.” He stated this despite the fact that it is illegal to own a Christian pocket Bible in Saudi Arabia, much less build a church or a synagogue. In fact, Saudi Arabia prohibits all non-Muslim worship and people who persist in practicing non-Muslim religions in Saudi Arabia can be arrested, imprisoned, flogged, and/or deported. Saudi Muslims who want to leave Islam can get the death penalty. Furthermore, Saudi women who are raped are frequently flogged for having premarital sex.

Yet, as if all of this were not bad enough, he told a group of Lebanese leaders who visited Washington, DC, “Hezbollah is a very interesting organization,” for it has evolved from being a “purely terrorist organization” to a militia and now to an organization that has members in the parliament. Brennan stated this despite the fact that the US government considers Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization and that up until the September 11 terrorist attacks, Hezbollah murdered more Americans than any other terrorist group. John Brennan’s comments and behavior do not reflect the values of freedom and democracy and he is not qualified for the role of Director of the CIA.

By Rachel Avraham

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