A Look Back at 2009
Threats to America Increase;
ACT! for America’s Accomplishments
By Brigitte Gabriel, President
Guy Rodgers, Executive Director
On January 1, 2009, few people in the establishment press or politics were predicting that 2009 would be a year where the threat of radical Islam to America would force itself front and center in the public consciousness.
But as the year progressed, and we watched the messages and actions coming from the Obama administration, we began predicting that these messages and actions would embolden our enemies, not placate them.
We warned repeatedly that a message of apology, accommodation and appeasement would not have the effect President Obama hoped for, but would in fact produce the opposite effect of increased Islamist militancy and an increase in the threat.
And that is precisely what has happened.
It is tempting to feel discouraged when we see where things are headed. So here is our exhortation to you—TAKE HEART!! In spite of the fact that during most of 2009 issues like the economy, jobs and health care dominated politics and the news, we in ACT! for America can look back with pride to a year of great growth and accomplishment.
•Our number of members increased by over 60%, to nearly 80,000.
•Our number of chapters increased by 60%, to 350.
•We became the only national security organization committed to combating the threat of radical Islam to have a full-time lobbyist representing us in Washington. This was a major achievement that helped us in many ways, including:
•ACT! for America helped craft H.R. 1343, “First Responders Fighting Terrorism Act,” to protect first responders from defamation lawsuits. The bill was introduced by Rep. Sue Myrick, Co-chair of the House Anti-Terrorism Caucus, who had this to say about ACT! for America:
“ACT! for America is just the kind of ally we need in Congress…Thanks to Brigitte Gabriel and ACT! for America, our country has a greater chance of winning the battle against the rising tide of radical Islamists.”
•A barrage of phone calls and emails from ACT! for America members helped win passage of the Kyl/Lieberman amendment in the Senate, which denies taxpayer funding to any company doing business with Iran’s energy sector.
•We conducted our first legislative briefing in Washington, a highly successful event during which a dozen members of the House and Senate addressed ACT! for America members about issues relating to radical Islam and terrorism. ACT! members then visited their Members of Congress to discuss our concerns and seek their support.
•ACT! for America grassroots pressure on House Armed Services Committee members to stop cuts in missile defense funding resulted in the committee spending an unprecedented amount of time debating the issue—with two members of the committee changing their vote to agreeing with the ACT! for America position.
•ACT! for America’s visibility on Capitol Hill has increased significantly over the past eight months—as has awareness of our legislative agenda and issues of concern. ACT! for America conducted numerous briefings with Members of Congress and staffs on issues ranging from terrorism to shariah finance. These “behind the scenes” briefings will reap great dividends as more and more Members of Congress and staffs come to understand the nature and reality of the threat against us.
We hear repeatedly from Members of Congress that what we are doing and how we are building a grassroots citizen action network is VITAL to ultimately defeating the threat of radical Islam.
•ACT! for America launched the “Stop Shariah Now” project. This included a grassroots lobbying effort and a comprehensive website (www.actforamerica.org/stopshariahnow). Sample legislation dealing with the threat of shariah finance is now being considered by local elected officials across the country, and we have been assured by some of these officials that such legislation will pass this year.
Should this happen, to our knowledge this will be the first time legislation addressing the threat of shariah finance will have passed a governing body in the U.S.
•We launched a national petition calling for a government investigation of CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) as a first step in a campaign to draw attention to CAIR’s checkered past and ties to the terrorist organization Hamas. By year’s end the petition had garnered over 38,000 names, more than any petition ever launched by ACT! for America.
•Local chapters reported many successes to us. One chapter hosted a screening of the documentary “The Third Jihad” and drew over 300 people. Several chapters are having monthly meetings drawing 100 or more people. One chapter successfully stopped an effort to have the last day of Ramadan declared that city’s “Humanitarian Day.” Another organized a town hall meeting to protest the transfer of Guantanamo enemy combatants to American soil.
•ACT! for America joined forces with dozens of other organizations in a coalition effort to stop passage of a UN resolution that calls on nations to criminalize the “defamation” of religions, specifically Islam. Although the resolution passed, the vote was much closer than the previous year. In 2008 it passed by a 33 vote margin, 86 to 53, whereas last year the vote was much closer as it passed by only 19 votes, 80 to 61. This is progress!
•We conducted six “Citizen in Action” training conferences, two of which we broadcast on the web. We trained over 700 activists at these conferences.
The tide is turning. Polls show America’s concerns about national security and Islamic terrorism are rising dramatically. This is reflected in the number of candidates for Congress who are aware of and discussing the threat of radical Islam, which is already far greater than we saw in 2008.
I (Brigitte) have not seen this level of awareness and concern since the days following 9/11. In 2010, more and more Americans will be seeking information, answers, and action. We are positioned to provide the answers and action they seek—and you helped make that possible.
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