Steve Emerson, the author of American Jihad (Simon and Shuster, New York, 2002) was almost a lone voice before 9/11 in describing the presence of Islamic Jihadists inside the United States and was often derided for his attempts to warn his fellow citizens. More recently, he has received a dubious honor: Along with three other prominent commentators on terrorism (sadly not including the Mackenzie Institute – we can but hope for next time), Emerson was named in a 2006 al Qaeda communiqué, telling him to repent and convert or die.
What makes Emerson get into such trouble? Like Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch, Emerson does something terrible sneaky, underhanded, vile and low; he listens to what the Jihadis and the proponents of the Da’awa (the international ‘missionary’ movement of radical Islam) are saying to each other, and then he reports it. It is so hard for somebody to pose as a voice of sweetness and reason for the Council on American Islamic Relations or other front groups, when Emerson can quote their threats to Jews or diatribes on America. What makes Emerson’s work so disturbing is that he is listening to what these characters say inside the United States… where one would suppose that an immigrant Imam would at least be supportive of his new country.
Emerson’s book doesn’t grow stale with the passage of time (he wrote it in 2002). In fact, its message seems more urgent than ever.