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October 21, 1964 |
|Nationality||Lebanese and American|
|Other names||Nour Semaan
(alternative nom de plume)
|Occupation||Author, activist, journalist|
|Website||American Congress for Truth, ACT! for America|
Brigitte Gabriel (Arabic:بريجيت غابرييل)(a.k.a. Nour Semaan, Brigitte Tudor), born October 21, 1964, is a conservative American journalist, author, political lecturer, anti-Islamic extremism activist, and founder of two non-profit political organizations, the American Congress For Truth and ACT! for America. She has given hundreds of lectures and frequently speaks at American conservative organizations such as The Heritage Foundation, Christians United for Israel, Evangelicals, and Jewish groups.
Her sometimes controversial statements include that Islam keeps countries backward, and that it teaches terrorism. She is viewed by some as an activist who gives voice to "what many in America are thinking, but afraid to say out loud, for fear of being labeled a racist, bigot, Islamophobic, or intolerant."
- 1 Personal account of early life
- 2 Education
- 3 Career
- 4 Viewpoints
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Personal account of early life
Brigitte Gabriel was born in the Marjeyoun District of Lebanon to a Maronite Christian couple, a first and only child after over twenty years of marriage. She recalls that during the Lebanese Civil War, Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base near her family's house and destroyed her home. Gabriel, who was ten years old at the time, was injured by shrapnel in the attack. She says that she and her parents were forced to live underground in all that remained, an 8-by-10-foot (2.4 by 3.0 m) bomb shelter for seven years, with only a small kerosene heater, no sanitary systems, no electricity or running water, and little food. She says she had to crawl in a roadside ditch to a spring for water to evade Muslim snipers.
According to Gabriel, at one point in the spring of 1978, a bomb explosion caused her and her parents to become trapped in the shelter for two days. They were eventually rescued by three Christian militia fighters, one of whom befriended Gabriel but was later killed by a land mine.
Gabriel wrote that in 1978 a stranger warned her family of an impending attack by the Islamic militias on all Christians. She says that her life was saved when the Israeli army invaded Lebanon in Operation Litani. Later, when her mother was seriously injured and taken to an Israeli hospital, Gabriel was surprised by the humanity shown by the Israelis, in contrast to the constant propaganda against the Jews she saw as a child. She says of the experience:
I was amazed that the Israelis were providing medical treatment to Palestinian and Muslim gunmen...These Palestinians and Muslims were sworn, mortal enemies, dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of Jews. Yet, Israeli doctors and nurses worked feverishly to save their lives. Each patient was treated solely according to the nature of his or her injury. The doctor treated my mother before he treated an Israeli soldier lying next to her because her injury was more severe than his. The Israelis did not see religion, political affiliation, or nationality. They saw only people in need, and they helped.
Opinion editor Michael Young of NOW Lebanon and Franklin Lamb of Al-Ahram Weekly claimed that Gabriel over-simplifies the conflict in South Lebanon as a Muslim war against the Christians. Lamb alleged that she lived relatively normally during the Lebanese Civil War; Young, by contrast, described Gabriel's account of her experiences as "overdone" and described her persona and campaign as a "con act."
Using the pseudonym Nour Semaan, Gabriel was a news anchor for World News, an Arabic-language evening news broadcast of Middle East Television, a Marjayoun-based station run by the now defunct SLA and funded by Israel. Broadcast in Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, Gabriel covered the Israeli withdrawal from central Lebanon, the Israeli Security Zone (occupied South Lebanon), and the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza. She moved to Israel before immigrating in 1989 to the United States.
According to the Center for International Policy (CIP), Gabriel, "has made a post-9/11 career out of roundly denouncing Islam, decrying 'political correctness,' and promoting the concept of an existential clash of cultures". States the CIP, "Her pro-Israel, anti-Islam spiel, coupled with her compelling personal history, has made her a popular speaker, writer, and general expert. She appears sometimes as a commentator on television news and radio programs, often speaking out for the rights of Muslim women."
Because They Hate
In her first book, Gabriel discusses her experiences as a Maronite Christian living in Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War in the 1970s. She describes the story of her family and her childhood, hiding in a bomb shelter. She details her opinions that her country's inherent multicultural acceptance of all faiths and cultures including the then dominant Lebanese Christian phalangists, led to Lebanon's ruin by the continuous attacks from indigenous Muslims, other Christian groups and migrant Palestinians.
Gabriel comments that "anyone who voices his or her opinion contrary to 'politically correct think' is immediately tagged a 'racist' or 'bigot' and that this has resulted in a 'social paranoia which discourages free thought and expression.'" Moreover, she states that societies and cultures must be held accountable for their actions and that "by not judging others ... we have helped create the monsters we are dealing with today."
The book made The New York Times hardcover best seller list. The introduction of the 2008 edition of Because They Hate claimed that the book was put on the reading list at the FBI Academy and that it was assigned as mandatory reading for United States Navy SEALs heading to the Middle East.
They Must Be Stopped
|“||We, as infidels in the eyes of our enemy, need to understand the danger we face: A totalitarian ideology – whether its origin is mainstream or marginal – threatens to enslave, dominate, and murder us in order to realize its vision for global conquest.||”|
|— They Must Be Stopped|
The jacket cover of her book They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It states the following:
- Fundamentalist Islam is a religion rooted in seventh-century teachings that are fundamentally opposed to democracy and equality
- Radical Islamists are utterly contemptuous of all "infidels" (non-Muslims) and regard them as enemies worthy of death
- Madrasas in America are increasing in number, and they are just one part of a growing radical Islamic army on U.S. soil
- Radical Islam exploits the U.S. legal system and America's protection of religion to spread its hatred for Western values
- America must organize a unified voice that says "enough" to political correctness, and demands that government officials and elected representatives do whatever is necessary to protect us
|Part of a series on|
|Criticism of religion|
|By religious figure|
Opinions on Islam
Gabriel is critical of Islam, attributing it to "the degraded state of Arab societies" and stating that Arab Muslims are "lagging behind" because of social and religious values. She considers "Islamic terrorists" simply as devout followers of Islam, following an example set by Muhammad's behavior. According to Laurie Goodstein, as published in The New York Times, she portrays Islam as "thoroughly bent on destruction and domination".
|“||It is not politically correct to say that our Western societies are better than the Muslim Arab societies, but we are, we have been, and we always will be.||”|
|— Because They Hate|
Stephen Lee, a publicist at St. Martin's Press for Gabriel's second book, has called her views "extreme", and Deborah Solomon of The New York Times Magazine, who interviewed Gabriel in August 2008, described her as a "radical Islamophobe". According to Clark Hoyt from The New York Times, over 250 people wrote in to protest that label in the days that followed.
In a symposium held in January 2009 titled "Homegrown Jihadis" by FrontPage Magazine, she stated Islam "promotes intolerance and violence", and that "Moderate Muslims must organize and engage those enlightened, educated and westernized Muslims in the community to begin a dialogue to discuss the possibility of reform in Islam just as Christianity and Judaism have been reformed."
According to Gabriel, since Radical Islam views the destruction of Israel alongside the United States as "a parallel strategic objective", she therefore sees the survival of Israel as being of paramount importance as a vanguard of Western culture and as "the only Western-style nation in the Middle East, one that Arabs despise, feel threatened by, and vow to destroy."
In a Texas speech in March 2011, she told the audience that, “radicals who wish to harm America ... have infiltrated ... the C.I.A., at the F.B.I., at the Pentagon, at the State Department. They are being radicalized in radical mosques in our cities and communities within the United States.”
Opinions on the U.S.
Gabriel is critical of Americans who "find all sorts of things wrong with America", who "badmouth and put down our culture, government, and country", while having "never experienced life in an oppressive culture or under an oppressive leadership such as is found in the Middle East." She believes that Americans should "acknowledge that our Western culture is better than others."
In viewing America as "a powerful and great nation" possessing "superior culture and values", Gabriel sees the entitlements that American Western culture has bestowed through "the Judeo-Christian value system" and the ideals of the Founding Fathers, who "worked to establish rights for the individual, rights that did not exist under other forms of government at that time."
Gabriel views the Arab–Israeli conflict as being "intractable because the Arab world refuses to accept the right of a Jewish state to exist." This animosity, having once been rooted in Pan-Arabism has evolved, according to Gabriel, into the more sinister spectre of "radical Islamic supremacism" which now appears to seek "bigger game in the West." She cites examples such as the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the rise of Hamas as bringing to the forefront radical Islamic ideologies that are rooted in "religious hatred, humiliation, and resentment" of Israel and the West.
Gabriel believes this can be seen in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict where, in her view, Palestinian nationalism has largely been replaced by "holy obligation" motivating adherents to commit "terrorist murder." She states that the legitimization of Palestinian suicide attacks within Israel has now evolved to where, "Islamists believe that they may commit mass murder anywhere in the world to advance their holy cause." As a result, she believes the world now suffers "from a plague of Islamic terrorism... authored and perfected by the Palestinians."
Gabriel opposes anti-Semitism and views Israel as the vanguard in the world's fight against Islamic Terrorism, equating Israel's fight against Hamas and Hezbollah with the World's fight against the Islamic State (cf. keynote speak at the United Nations).
With regard to the two-state solution, Gabriel states: "Forcing Israel to accept a two-state solution is not going to work unless the Palestinians first are forced to clean up their act and eliminate hatred from their schoolbooks, teach tolerance to their people, and preach acceptance of Israel and the Jews as a neighbor."
Controversy at speaking engagements
When Gabriel was invited to speak as part of a lecture series organized by Duke University's Jewish community in October 2004, many in attendance were angered by her referring to Arabs as "barbarians." The Freeman Centre for Jewish Life at Duke University later apologized for her comments. Following her speech at women's campaign event for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa (JFO) in November 2008, many in attendance registered their protests, leading Mitchell Bellman, president and CEO of the JFO, to write a letter in which he acknowledged that Gabriel made, "unacceptable gross generalizations of Arabs and Muslims," distancing his organization from her views.
In 2007 at the Christians United for Israel annual conference, Gabriel delivered the following speech:
The difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arab world is the difference between civilization and barbarism. It's the difference between good and evil [applause].... this is what we're witnessing in the Arabic world, They have no soul, they are dead set on killing and destruction. And in the name of something they call "Allah" which is very different from the God we believe....[applause] because our God is the God of love.
This speech was subsequently criticised by journalist Bruce Wilson as being "hate speech" and stated that Brigitte Gabriel "paints a wide swath of humanity as subhuman", comparing her to Goebbel's Reich.
I was talking about how Palestinian mothers are encouraging their children to go out and blow themselves up to smithereens just to kill Christians and Jews. And it was in that context that I – that I contrasted the difference between Israel and the Arabic world, was the difference between democracy and barbarism.
She further added:
How easily journalists, or people and comments especially now with the Internet age, can take few words and either paste them together or edit them together to basically express their own point of view.
In June 2014, Gabriel sat on the panel at a symposium by The Benghazi Accountability Coalition and The Heritage Foundation. Sabah Ahmed, a woman in an Islamic head covering from the audience, asked: "How can we fight an ideological war with weapons? How can we end this war? How do you ever win this thing [defeating Jihad] if you don't address it ideologically?" Brigitte Gabriel answered repeatedly that in specific historic cases of large scale violence and terror against innocent populations "the peaceful majority were irrelevant" in terms of preventing atrocities. She remarked that the panel was about discussing accountability of the Benghazi incident and not about solutions to address the root of the problem. Gabriel addressed the inquirer directly with "you are making a point about peaceful moderate Muslims" and concluded:
It is time to throw political correctness in the garbage where it belongs.
- Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America, New York City, New York, United States: St. Martin's Press, 2006, ISBN 0-312-35837-7
- They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It, New York City, New York, United States: St. Martin's Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-312-38363-3
- Criticism of Islam
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali
- Nonie Darwish
- Pamela Geller
- Walid Phares
- Walid Shoebat
- Robert Spencer
- Wafa Sultan
- Laurie Goodstein (2011-03-07). "Drawing U.S. Crowds With Anti-Islam Message". The New York Times.
- "The dark angel Gabriel" (Commentary). NOW News. Mercury Media. 3 November 2011.
- Gabriel 2006, p. 9 "...my tenth birthday, October 21, 1974..."
- Gabriel 2006, p. 189 "It kills self-expression, self-improvement, and empowerment because the religion demands that Islam be the center of one's life and existence, and it dictates how you should be, how you should live."
- Gabriel 2006, p. 188 "[T]hey have an ingrained corruption that runs throughout their societies. They respect craftiness and deceit over honesty and virtue. They are consumed with hate for one another."
- Gabriel 2006, p. 202 "[Muhammad] was a warrior who preached violence and the slaughter of thousands in establishing and spreading Islam."
- Gabriel 2006, p. 203 "[T]he prophet Mohammed, a successful military leader who led his Muslim army against non-Muslims, is an inspiration to almost a billion people around the world."
- Gabriel 2006, p. 205 "Islamic terrorists [...] are really just very devout followers of Muhammad. They are following his example and doing exactly what the Koran teaches and their mullahs exhort them to do with a daily diet of righteous jihad."
- Gabriel 2006, p. 205
- Gabriel 2006, p. 4
- Gabriel 2006, p. 29
- Deena Yellin (2009-06-25). "An inside ally". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- Gabriel 2006, p. 44
- Brigitte Gabriel Heritage Foundation speech, YouTube, October 18, 2006
- Gabriel 2006, pp. 49–50
- Gabriel 2006, p. 51
- Gabriel 2006, p. 67
- "Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America". Heritage Live – Events. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2008-03-09.
Brigitte Gabriel lost her childhood to militant Islam.– speaker profile from lecture series
- Gabriel 2006, p. 77
- Lamb, Franklin (6–12 March 2008), "Lost from Lebanon", Al-Ahram (887 ed.), Cairo, retrieved 10 February 2010
- Michael Young (11 March 2011). "The Dark angel Gabriel". NOW Lebanon.
- Gabriel 2006, p. 95
- Laurie Goodstein (2011-03-07). "Drawing U.S. Crowds With Anti-Islam Message". The New York Times.
- "Americas Program Profile: Brigitte Gabriel". Center for International Policy (CIP). August 23, 2007. Retrieved 2010-02-11.[dead link]
- "Hasbara Fellowship Speakers Bureau". Israelactivism.com. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- Gabriel 2006, pp. 4–6
- Gabriel 2006, pp. 13–16
- Gabriel 2006, p. 216
- Gabriel 2006, p. 186 "... stand up and lift your head and be proud of what America and Western culture stand for."
- "Hardcover Best Seller List". The New York Times Books. The New York Times Company. 17 November 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
The author (who describes herself as an Arab Christian and victim of radical Islam) presents her view of Islamic Terrorism.
- Gabriel, 2006, p. xx of the 2008 edition.
- Gabriel, 2008, p. 7.
- Gabriel 2006, pp. 185–86
- Hoyt, Clark (2008-08-21). "A Radical Islamophobe?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
- Mira Sucharov (December 18, 2009). "Use the anti-Semitism test". Jewish Independent.
- "FrontPageMagazine.com". Symposium: Homegrown Jihadis. FrontPage Magazine. Retrieved 2009-05-09. Symposium held in January 2009.
- Gabriel 2006, p. 169
- Gabriel 2006, p. 184
- Gabriel, 2006, p. 173–74.
- Gabriel, 2006, p. 181.
- Gabriel, 2006, p. 182.
- Bruce Wilson (2007-08-15). "McCain and Lieberman Frolic At CUFI's Festival Of Hate". Talk2Action. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
- CNN.com Transcripts (2011-03-08). "Brigitte Gabriel's Anti-Islam Message on Radical Muslims". CNN. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- Dana Milbank (2014-06-18). "Politico's reporting disaster". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
- "Amazing Answer to 'Peaceful Muslims' Concern Gets Standing Ovation". 2014-06-18. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
- American Congress For Truth website
- Presentation to the Heritage Foundation
- "Polarized points of view", National Post
- Brigitte Gabriel's article about her lecture in Memphis: Muslims Muzzling Memphis