Terrorists Among Us: Jihad in America (1994)
PBS Frontline, with Steve Emerson
Terrorists Among Us: Jihad in America is a documentary film by counter-terrorism expert Steven Emerson. It first aired in the United States in 1994 on the PBS series Frontline. The film has won numerous awards for journalism, including the George Polk Award.
According to Emerson, the impetus for the film came in 1992, when he happened to come across a conference of Arab youths in Oklahoma City. After gaining entrance by pretending to be Muslim, Emerson said that he found tables of pro-terrorism literature from groups such as Hamas and heard speeches calling for death to Americans.
The film features hidden camera footage of men publicly raising money for terrorism in U.S. hotel conference rooms. The men are often speaking in Arabic. Emerson also identifies Sami Al-Arian as the primary supporter of Islamic jihad in the United States. He said that Al-Arian was an Islamic extremist, and headed the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the U.S. In 2006, Al-Arian pleaded guilty to aiding the PIJ, a terrorist organization, and was sentenced to 57 months in prison.
After the film's release, American Muslim groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations accused Emerson of mischaracterizing speeches and taking innocuous language and activities out of context to make them appear more menacing.
In 1995, U.S. representatives Bill McCollum of Florida and Gary Ackerman of New York distributed the documentary to every member of the House of Representatives, accompanied by a letter urging them to watch the film before the House began debating anti-terrorism legislation that summer. The move was decried by Arab American and Muslim leaders for linking terrorism to Arabs and Muslims.
Attention to Emerson and his work were renewed following the September 11, 2001 attacks by terrorists on the United States; later in 2001, Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey credited Emerson's film with helping to pass a recent anti-terrorism bill in the House. Emerson has also given briefings to both chambers of Congress and to the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Terrorists Among Us: Jihad In America Jihad in America, a PBS documentary first aired nationwide in 1994, was produced by investigative reporter Steven Emerson after the first bombing of the World Trade Towers in 1993. The documentary was recently updated following terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.
In making this groundbreaking documentary, Emerson was the first American journalist to document in chilling video the militant Islamic support networks and terrorist groups secretly operating on American soil. Counter-terrorism officials from the National Security Council, Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have acknowledged that Emerson's documentary demonstrated that he had more reliable and accurate information about the secret terrorist networks on American soil than the US Government . Emerson was successful in infiltrating key conferences and rallies with hidden cameras in an effort to track down the people responsible for supporting and abetting terrorist activities on U.S. soil. At these events, and on this film, these extremists state their chilling intentions in their own words.
The film, then and now, has brought the attention of the U.S. government authorities to the network of Islamic extremists in the United States that promote a culture of hatred, arrange for training in bomb-making and target practice, raise funds for militant groups in the Middle East, and in some cases, support terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. The film tracks down and shows interviews with a network of Islamic extremists in New York, Boston, New Jersey, Texas, California, Florida and Kansas, detailing their hatred and violent intentions against all Americans, including Christians, moderate Muslims and Jews in the United States.
Emerson emphasizes throughout the one-hour documentary that the majority of Muslims in the United States do not support terrorist activities. He also says that Islam, as a faith, condemns such acts of terrorism. Emerson also notes, that the Islamic extremists who promote and carry out Jihad, are as a great a threat to moderate Muslims as they are to Christians, Jews and all American citizens.
The video is an educational call to action for the American public, to provide U.S. law enforcement authorities with the tools they need to deal with this real threat to the American way of life. By educating the public, the film suggests that effective preventative measures can then be taken. Suggestions by counter-terrorism experts throughout the video help us understand the scope of the threat and what needs to be done to protect U.S. citizens, while at the same time preserving civil liberties.
Description: Information the CIA and FBI never told the public is revealed and why the FBI is restricted in what it may lawfully do.
The New York Times called the film, "A wake-up call that Middle Eastern terrorism is a very real threat to the United States."
* The film tracks down a network of Islamic Extremists among us in New York, Boston, New Jersey, Texas, California, Oregon, Florida and Kansas, detailing their hatred and violent intentions against Christians, moderate Muslims and Jews in the United States.
* Listen to Islamic radicals, telling their followers to carry out Jihad on U.S. soil.
* See the fund raising structure in America that supports terrorists and the legitimization of radical Islamic groups, hiding behind "charitable" fronts.
* The video is an educational call to action for the American public, to provide U.S. law enforcement authorities with the tools they need to deal with this real threat to the American way of life.