Recent News from ACT! for America

Thursday, 01 Mar 2012 11:38 AM

By Henry J. Reske and Ashley Martella

President Barack Obama’s apology for U.S. troops’ burning Afghan prisoners’ copies of the Quran leaves service members wondering “who’s got their back,” because the prisoners used the books to endanger Americans, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra tells Newsmax.TV.

Hoekstra, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Michigan, was referring to Obama’s apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai in an attempt to quell violence that broke out in Afghanistan after the burnings last week. The apology “clearly makes the U.S. look weak,” Hoekstra said.

Prisoners held at the U.S.-run Bagram airbase actually were putting U.S. troops in peril by defacing the Qurans and sending each other messages. The Islamic holy books were burned during a cleanup detail.

“That message has been totally lost,” Hoekstra said in the exclusive Newsmax.TV interview. “This administration has been losing the messaging battle on this issue consistently and now to go back and apologize, it’s outrageous. We have to support our troops. We have to point out what happened here. American troops are dying as a result of what happened to the Qurans. It’s because America looks weak, it looks vulnerable, we have provided an opportunity.”

The Quran burnings prompted demonstrations in Afghanistan and Pakistan that killed and injured several American troops and protesters.

“I don’t see President Karzai or anybody in the Taliban or al-Qaida apologizing to the United States because United States troops have been injured or that they have died because of what has happened as a result of this. America needs to be strong. We need to be resolute. This president makes us look weak and vulnerable. Our enemies are smiling. Our soldiers are wondering who’s got their back. This president’s made a mistake by moving forward and apologizing. This is war. This is war.”

In his bid to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Hoekstra holds substantial leads over fellow Republicans seeking the nomination in an Aug. 7 primary. Although polls show Hoekstra that trails the incumbent by double digits, he maintains that the race is closer.
“Actually, the last polls that have come out don’t give a real clear indication,” he said. “There have been other polls . . . [and] internal polling that show the race much closer than that. It’s a single-digit race.”

The bruising presidential primary in Michigan between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum has taken a toll on the Republican brand, Hoekstra said.

“Because of the negative campaigning that’s been going on in the Republican side of the ballot, all of us as Republicans have suffered,” he said. “Once we start talking about President Obama’s record, the record of the Democratic-controlled Senate, the record of Debbie Stabenow on jobs, on energy prices, gas prices, deficit, debt, Obamacare, and all of those types of things, we’re going to see the polls come back and we’re going to see a real tightening of the presidential poll numbers in Michigan and the Senate race.”

A Hoekstra ad run during the Super Bowl featured a Chinese woman on a bicycle speaking in broken English and portraying Stabenow as strengthening the Chinese economy at the expense of the United States. The ad received widespread criticism but when asked whether he stands by the message, Hoekstra said: “Absolutely.”

“When the U.S. is $15 trillion in debt, when we have deficit spending of over $1.3 trillion per year, and when China holds some of that debt, it weakens us,” he said. “It weakens our economy, it empowers China and our other competitors on a global basis, and it gives us very little leverage to correct the inequities and the unfair trade practices.”

Hoekstra argued that Stabenow’s programs and “priorities, her agenda, and her lack of success on the budget committee weakens America.”

Hoekstra, who w as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee before launching an unsuccessful run for governor of Michigan in 2010, said Israeli comments about not giving the United States a heads up if it decides to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities were motivated partly to provide cover.

“Part of that is Israel just saying that so that the U.S. won’t be held accountable,” he said. “I hope that in private the Israelis have a very close cooperation with us. That’s how it always used to be. We used to have great relationship, militarily and from an intelligence standpoint, with the Israelis. Hopefully, that’s continuing and this is only a public posture.

“If, in reality, the Israelis believe that they can’t work with the United States on such a critical decision and give us a head up, and if America and Israeli relations have deteriorated to such a point that Israel would move forward with an attack on Iran without consulting, conferring, and collaborating with the United States, that would be a terrible place for U.S. and Israeli relationships to have deteriorated to.”

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Read more on Hoekstra to Newsmax: Obama's Quran Apology Erodes Troops' Confidence
The Office of Congressman Jeff Duncan
March 1, 2012

Washington, DC—South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan’s bipartisan legislation concerning the Iranian government’s activities in the Western Hemisphere cleared a major hurdle Thursday when it passed through the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade. The legislation, which currently has 63 cosponsors will now move to the full Committee on Foreign Affairs for further consideration.

“The support of the subcommittee shows that Congress recognizes the seriousness of the threat that Iran poses to Americans here at home and to our allies in the Western Hemisphere,” said Duncan.

“The U.S. has vital political, economic, and security interests in this hemisphere, and Iran’s penetration into the region represents a threat to the U.S. as well as to the rest of the neighborhood.  We’ve seen evidence of Iranian activity through Hezbollah in countries throughout the hemisphere, including Mexico, Canada, and within the U.S.”

“With tensions building between Iran and the United States, we have a responsibility to take steps now to guard against the very real threats that Iran could pose to Americans on U.S. soil.  This bill is a necessary first step to redoubling efforts to better understand the extent of Iranian activity in our neighborhood.  I believe the U.S. needs to do a better job of engaging with our friends in the region, developing broader cooperation on threats posed to the entire hemisphere, protecting American interests in the region, and securing our borders to ensure Iranian operatives cannot enter our country. It’s been thoroughly documented that Iran has extensive ties to one of the most ‘technically capable’ terrorist networks in the world. It is vital that we start identifying potential threats to the homeland now, so we can be prepared to confront any dangers we may face in the future.”

By Mike Levine
Published February 17, 2012

Authorities have arrested a man allegedly on his way to the U.S. Capitol for what he thought would be a suicide attack on one of the nation's most symbolic landmarks, Fox News has learned exclusively. 

The man, in his 30s and of Moroccan descent, was nabbed following a lengthy investigation by the FBI, initiated after he expressed interest in conducting an attack. It's unclear how the FBI learned of his aspirations.  

The man thought undercover FBI agents assisting him in his plot were associates of Al Qaeda

When he was arrested Friday in Washington, he was carrying with him a vest supposedly packed with explosives, but the material inside was not actually dangerous, Fox News was told. 

A short time earlier, he had been praying at a mosque in the Washington area. His destination was Capitol Hill

The public was never in danger, as he had been under constant surveillance for some time, officials said. 

In a statement that did not get into the details of the alleged plot, the U.S. Capitol Police said the suspect was "closely and carefully monitored." Capitol Police confirmed the suspect was arrested on Friday. 

"At no time was the public or congressional community in any danger," the department said. 

A senior source involved with law enforcement at the Capitol also told Fox News the investigation was "all very controlled." The source said the U.S. Capitol Police was involved with the FBI and other agencies in tracking the suspect "not more than a year."

An arrest usually indicates charges have been filed in some form, but it's unclear when or how charges would have been filed in this case. It's also unclear if the suspect will be appearing in court Friday. In similar past cases, suspects have made their initial court appearance within hours of their arrest. 

Sites in Washington have long been a target for terrorists, especially self-radicalized extremists caught in FBI stings. 

In September, a Massachusetts man was arrested for allegedly plotting to fly bomb-laden model planes into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. FBI agents claiming to be associates of Al Qaeda provided 26-year-old Rezwan Ferdaus with what he thought was explosive material for the remote-controlled planes. 

Nearly a year earlier, a Virginia man was arrested for trying to help Al Qaeda plan multiple bombings against Washington's Metrorail system. For months, 34-year-old Farooque Ahmed of Ashburn, Va., had been meeting and discussing "jihad" with individuals he thought were affiliated with Al Qaeda, but in fact he was meeting with FBI agents. 

In the past year alone, at least 20 people have been arrested in the United States on terrorism-related charges, according to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. 

"Most of the arrests" have involved "lone wolves," radicalized online and able to use the Internet to build bombs, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate committee last month. 

At the time of Ahmed's arrest in October 2010, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil MacBride, said the case showcases "our ability to find those seeking to harm U.S. citizens and neutralize them before they can act."

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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Published February 15, 2012

A Colorado high school student says he quit the school choir after an Islamic song containing the lyric "there is no truth except Allah" made it into the repertoire.

James Harper, a senior at Grand Junction High School in Grand Junction, put his objection to singing "Zikr," a song written by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, in an email to Mesa County School District 51 officials. When the school stood by choir director Marcia Wieland's selection, Harper said, he quit.

"I don’t want to come across as a bigot or a racist, but I really don’t feel it is appropriate for students in a public high school to be singing an Islamic worship song,” Harper told KREX-TV. "This is worshipping another God, and even worshipping another prophet ... I think there would be a lot of outrage if we made a Muslim choir say Jesus Christ is the only truth."

But district spokesman Jeff Kirtland defended the decision to include the song.

"Choral music is often devoted to religious themes. ... This is not a case where the school is endorsing or promoting any particular religion or other non-educational agenda. The song was chosen because its rhythms and other qualities would provide an opportunity to exhibit the musical talent and skills of the group in competition, not because of its religious message or lyrics," Kirtland told in an email while noting that the choir "is a voluntary, after-school activity."

"Students are not required to participate, and receive no academic credit for doing so," he said.


At an upcoming concert, the choir is scheduled to sing an Irish folk song and an Christian song titled "Prayer of the Children," in addition to the song by Rahman.

"The teacher consulted with students and asked each of them to review an online performance of the selection with their parents before making the decision to perform the piece," Kirtland said, and members who object to the religious content of musical selections aren't required to sing them.

Rahman, who has sold hundreds of millions of records and is well-known in his homeland, has said the song is not intended for a worship ceremony. He told in a written statement that the song, composed for the move "Bose, the Forgotten Hero," is about "self-healing and spirituality."

"It is unfortunate that the student in Colorado misinterpreted the intention of the song," Rahman said. "I have long celebrated the commonalities of humanity and try to share and receive things in this way. While I respect his decision for opting out, this incident is an example of why we need further cultural education through music.”

The song is written in Urdu, but one verse translates to "There is no truth except Allah" and "Allah is the only eternal and immortal." Although the choir sang the original version, Wieland distributed translated lyrics.

Grand Junction High School Principal Jon Bilbo referred questions to Kirtland.'s Joshua Rhett Miller contributed to this story.

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