By Laura L. Rubenfeld – FrontPageMag.Com – August 29, 2012
In just a few days, the Democratic National Convention “kick off events” week will include its first ever “Jumah (Arabic for gathering) at the DNC” – three Islamic-centered events beginning with a Friday afternoon prayer and sermon, an evening Islamic banquet and an all-day Islamic festival.
Many of the individuals scheduled to speak during the DNC week have extremely spurious backgrounds, including, astonishingly, support for Al Qaeda and for the U.S. State Department-designated terrorist organization, Hamas.
The celebrity Imam or “Grand Imam” slated for the event is Imam Siraj Wahhaj (pictured on the top far-left of the picture above).
As this article will demonstrate, Wahhaj has a thirty-year, well-documented history of supporting terror and preaching religious and racial intolerance against Americans. For decades, Wahhaj has preached violence and insurrection against the U.S. with the goal of replacing the Constitution with shari’ah law, as the law of the land.
Here is Wahhaj in his own words:
“Islam is better than democracy- Allah will cause his deen [Islam as a complete way of life], Islam to prevail over every kind of system, and you know what? It will happen.” [i]
The following is a two-part profile on the man who will headline “Jumah at the Democratic National Convention.”
Read these mind-blowing statements from Wahhaj, and ask yourself, “How could the Democrats associate their party with such a man?”
“As long as you remember that if you get involved in politics, you have to be very careful that your leader is for Allah. You don’t get involved in politics because it’s the American thing to do. You get involved in politics because politics are a weapon to use in the cause of Islam.” [ii]
“If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate. If we were united and strong, we would elect our own emir and give allegiance to him. Take my word, if eight million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us.” [iii]
THE RADICALISM OF IMAM SIRAJ WAHHAJ
Wahhaj’s Mentors Preached Anti-Semitism and Supported Nazi Germany
Siraj Wahhaj was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He became a card-carrying member of the Nation of Islam in the late ’60s. For almost a decade, Wahhaj’s role models and those who mentored him, were a veritable who’s who in militant Black Nationalist thought, including Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammed, Louis Farrakhan[iv] and Malcolm X.
The infamous Louis Farrakhan made violent pronouncements against Jews and whites. Farrakhan described Catholics and Jews as those who practiced a “gutter religion,” [vii] He harangued Jewish people as “wicked Jews,” [viii] said “Hitler was a very great man,” [ix] and called white people “white devils,” who he said were “potential humans … [who] haven’t evolved yet.” [x] In the late ’90s, years later, Siraj Wahhaj was a frequent congregant at Farrakhan’s temple. With Farrakhan’s support, he became a minister and led his own temple in the Nation of Islam. [xi] In one sermon, Wahhaj himself said, “White people are devils.” [xii]
While Malcolm X was hailed as a great leader by the mainstream media during the civil rights movement, he was a convicted felon, and like Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farrakhan, he addressed white people as the “Klu Klux Klan,” and “White Nazis,” and Jews as “Nazis” and “dogs.” [xiii]
All of these people would be considered racists today. The so-called “Grand Imam” of the “Jumah at the DNC,” Imam Wahhaj still reveres Malcolm X to this day, and during his present-day lectures, he encourages Muslim youth to follow in the path of Malcolm X. Wahhaj says Malcolm X can still “reach out of his grave and influence Muslim youth today.” Wahhaj also frequently lectures on the history of Malcolm X, and many of these lectures can be found on YouTube or Islamist websites. Wahhaj speaks of Malcolm X as a “hero.”[xiv]
The DNC-hosted “Jumah at the DNC” includes the daughter of Malcolm X, Ilyasah Shabazz as a guest speaker. Has the Democrat leadership now embraced hatred of whites and Jews as part of their platform?
Wahhaj Misrepresents the Facts of His Muslim Cleric Training
Wahhaj claims on his bio[xv] that he completed Muslim cleric training from Umm al Qura University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 1978. However, Umm al Qura University was not established until 1981. [xvi] Prior to 1981, Umm al Qura was called, The Colleges of Shari’ah and Education. It was the primary institution in Saudi Arabia to prepare new Islamic clergyman. From 1971-1981, The Colleges of Shari’ah and Education was a branch in Mecca for the Jeddah-based King Abdul Aziz University. [xvii]
Why would Wahhaj conceal that he was, in fact, educated at such an institution? King Abdul Aziz University is a hub for young radical terrorists. Osama bin Laden, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam and Wael Jalaidan,[xviii]all co-founders of Al Qaeda, were affiliated with the university:
- Osama bin Laden graduated from King Abdul Aziz University in 1979. [xix]
- Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden’s professor and mentor taught at King Abdul Aziz University until 1981.
- Wael Jalaidan was a King Abdul Aziz University representative in the U.S. during the 1970s. He left King Abdul University in the mid-1980s. Jalaidan prepared the way for two Al Qaeda terror hubs in the U.S.: one in Arizona, and the other in Brooklyn, New York, inside the Al Farouq Mosque. This mosque was later implicated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The director of the Al Farouq mosque was Osama bin Laden’s professor and mentor, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam.
Brooklyn, New York is Wahhaj’s hometown. It is the city in which Wahhaj founded the At-Taqwa mosque in 1981, located just 1.5 miles away from the terror cell known as Al Farouq mosque.
It appears likely that Wahhaj is intentionally deceptive about the name of the university at which he studied, in an effort to hide his association with these individuals.
Siraj Wahhaj Defends Al Qaeda Leader, the Blind Sheikh
Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (aka the Blind Sheikh), a leader of a terrorism organization in his native Egypt, was charged with the attempted assassination of American ally, and leader of Egypt, Anwar-al Sadat. Abdul-Rahman took over leadership from Sheikh Abdullah Azzam at Al Farouq in Brooklyn, New York. In one of Rahman’s Friday sermons, he said, “We must terrorize the enemies of Islam and … shake the earth under their feet.”[xx]
Siraj Wahhaj actually invited Abdel-Rahman to be a guest speaker for his congregation at At-Taqwa.
Rahman’s group successfully bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, murdering 6 people and injuring over 1000. The attack blew a hole five stories deep and half the size of a football field in a lower level of the World Trade Center.[xxi]
Astonishingly, Imam Wahhaj was a character witness for the blind Al Qaeda sheikh at the World Trade Center bombing trial. During his testimony, Wahhaj praised the sheikh a “respected scholar,” and “bold, as a strong, preacher of Islam.”[xxii]
Wahhaj Leads an Islamic Movement of Jihad and Martyrdom
In 1988, at the Al Farouq mosque, Al Qaeda co-founder Sheikh Abdullah Azzam announced, “The Jihad, the fighting, is obligatory on you wherever you can perform it.” Four years after Azzam said this, Wahhaj expressed a similar view just blocks away at his own mosque when he said, Muslims are “commanded to do jihad…Bis a billah Allah [jihad for the sake of Allah] is when Allah commands us to fight….Islam is the only answer because it is only Islam that we do it for Allah.”
In another sermon, Wahhaj proclaimed, “I will never ever tell people don’t be violent that is not the Islamic way. The violence has to be selected.” He then pointed to Islamic theology to justify violence. “Islam is the only answer because it is only Islam that we do it for Allah.” We are “commanded to do jihad.” “[W]hen Allah commands us to fight we are not stopping, no one will stop us.”
Wahhaj Supports Shari’ah Law in All Its Ruthlessness
The Democrats will be hosting a man who believes the Islamic way of life is the preferable alternative to the “garbage can ” [xxiii] which is what he has called America. Wahhaj himself encourages his audience to work towards an America completely dominated by Islam:
“Wherever you came from, you came to America. And you came for one reason- for one reason only- to establish Allah’s deen [Islam as a complete way of life], as a servant of Allah.”
It is no surprise that the Muslim conference will discuss anti-shari’ah bills, since Wahhaj has long advocated for shari’ah (Islamic law) to replace our American democracy. Wahhaj not only supports organizations and litigation against anti-shari’ah bills, he campaigns for shari’ah to overthrow the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land:
“Islam is better than democracy. Allah will cause his deen [Islam as a complete way of life], Islam to prevail over every kind of system, and you know what? It will happen.” [xxiv]
Wahhaj supports the most ruthless practices of shari’ah law regarding capital punishment, including cutting off hands for the crime of theft and stoning for adultery, and he frequently refers to Islamic scripture for his justification:
“If Allah says 100 strikes, 100 strikes it is. If Allah says cut off their hand, you cut off their hand. If Allah says stone them to death, through the Prophet Muhammad, then you stone them to death, because it’s the obedience of Allah and his messenger—nothing personal.” [xxv]
This is the man the DNC is voluntarily, of its own choice, associating with, and to whom it is giving new national prominence. The DNC must be made to state their reasons for this appalling action.
WAHHAJ DEFENDS AL QAEDA
Congregants of Wahhaj’s Mosque Charged with Providing Support for Al Qaeda
An astonishing series of congregants at Wahhaj’s at-Taqwa mosque were charged and convicted of providing material support for Al Qaeda during that same 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Wahhaj testified at the trial on behalf of the defendants, his congregants. One such man who regularly worshipped at Wahhaj’s Masjid at-Taqwa was a member of the Black Nationalist extremist organization[xxvi], Jamaat al Fuqra,[xxvii] which is dedicated to “purifying Islam through violence.”[xxviii] His name was Hampton-El and he organized a U.S.-based terrorist training camp.
Wahhaj defended Hampton-El (Rashid), whom he said he knew for 10 years, as “one of the most respected brothers” in his congregation. [xxix] Wahhaj said everyone in the congregation sought out Hampton-El for advice.
Two more at-Taqwa congregants aided the Blind Sheikh. One was a bomb-maker named El Gabrowny. El Gabrowny’s cousin, Nosair, was charged with the assassination of the founder of the Jewish Defense League. A search in El Gabrowny’s home revealed taped messages from Nosair urging violence and jihad: “Without fighting there will not be justice on earth. … We cannot establish God’s rules on earth except by fighting.” [xxx] Once again, Imam Wahhaj testified during the trial, where he expressed flattering admiration of El Gabrowny. [xxxi] Ibrahim El-Gabrowny was sentenced to 57 years in prison. [xxxii]
Another At-Taqwa congregant was Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, a diplomat of the Sudanese Mission to the UN whom federal authorities described as the “ring leader” [xxxiii] in the World Trade Center attack. Siddig Ali told an FBI informant that “he ha[d] connections that [would] allow him to drive a car carrying a bomb into a parking lot in the United Nations building.” [xxxiv] He also conspired to carry out attacks in Israel and expressed racist views, calling Jews “sons of monkeys and pigs.” He avowed, “The sword is to be absolutely used and implemented. This is as a principle.” [xxxv]
Imam Wahhaj testified during the trial he had a favorable impression of Siddig Ali and laughably added, “We don’t accept the idea of terrorism. Our mosque is open to all, but not to fanatics.” Siddiq Ali was sentenced to 11 years in prison.[xxxvi]
Siraj Wahhaj Expresses Pride to Be on a List of Alleged Terrorists
Imam Siraj Wahhaj was alleged to be associated with the terrorist cabal organizing the 1993 World Trade Center bomb plot. For that reason, his name was included on a list of the 172 unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Soon after, Wahhaj commented during one of his at-Taqwa sermons, “I’m not frightened by no list, by no government! I thank Allah. I’m honored that they thought enough of me to put me on a list.” [xxxvii]
Siraj Wahhaj’s Self-proclaimed Support for U.S.-based Al Qaeda Operatives
Rafik Abdus Sabir and Tarik Shah are two terror operatives, indicted in 2005 for plotting to open an Al Qaeda training camp in the U.S. Both Sabir and Shah had sworn allegiance to Osama Bin Laden. [xxxviii] Sabir, a Columbia University-educated medical doctor in Boca Raton, Florida, pledged that he would fly to Saudi Arabia to provide medical aid and train Al Qaeda terrorists. The other operative, Tarik Shah, was the son of a former Malcolm X aide[xxxix] and was also himself associated with the Nation of Islam. [xl] At a 2005 CAIR Banquet in Georgia, Siraj Wahhaj showed support for these two men:
“Rafik Sabir from Florida. You might have heard about him. About five months ago him and another brother named Tarik Shah were arrested by the United States government, charged with helping Al Qaeda. They said that Doctor Sabir said that he would treat those of Al Qaeda who needed him. He’s in jail now in Manhattan. I’ve been trying to go see him for the last few months, can’t go see him yet….there’s not a day that goes by right now that my mind is not on Doctor Rafik Sabir in prison right now in Manhattan…”
Just this last April, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was scheduled to be keynote speaker for an organization known as Emerge. It is led by Chairman Khurrum Wahid, the same Attorney who defended Rafik Sabir. When Frontpage magazine’s Joe Kaufman and Beila Rabinowitz exposed Emerge’s ties to radical Islamists, Wasserman Schultz backed out of this keynote speech.
To see Part II, click here.
[i] Paul M. Barrett, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion (NY, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux 2007), 115.
[ii] Audio, Siraj Wahhaj, “The Muslim Agenda in the New World Order,” Islamic Association of Northern Texas, Dallas, TX, November, 15, 1991
[iii] Audio, Siraj Wahhaj, sermon sometime in Fall of 1992
[iv] Louis Farrakhan was then supervisor of the NOI’s New York Operations.
[v] Author Unknown “Religion: The Messenger Passes,” Time Magazine, March 10, 1975. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,917218,00.html#ixzz1RH7srhPr ( accessed 7.5.11)
[vii] “Black Separatist,” Southern Poverty Law Center, http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/ideology/black-separatist (accessed 8.22.11)
[viii] “Nation of Islam,” Southern Poverty Law Center, http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/nation-of-islam (accessed 7.5.11)
[xi] Paul M. Barrett, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion (NY, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux 2007), 108.
[xiii] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=encWEG94O2c&feature=related (accessed 6.16.11)
[xiv] Siraj Wahhaj, Young Muslims (YM) Youth Conference 2011, May 28-30, 2011, Hartford, CT.
[xv] Siraj Wahhaj Speaker’s Bio for ISNA http://www.isna.net/programs/pages/speakers-services.aspx#71, Siraj Wahhaj Speaker’s Bio for Mecca Centric Dawah Group http://www.meccacentric.com/bios.html, Siraj Wahhaj Speaker’s Bio for ICNA Convention Quran Guidance: Towards a Just and Balanced Way, May 28-30, 2011, Hartford,Connecticut,http://icnaconvention.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=117&Itemid=27#Imam%20Siraj%20Wahhaj, Siraj Wahhaj Speaker’s Bio for ICNA Relief Fundraiser, http://www.icnachicago.org/index.php/bus-ad/219, Siraj Wahhaj Speaker’s Bio for Azizah Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Gala: “An Evening of Empowered Voices” http://origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1103829160062-21/Bios-Speakers.pdf
[xviii] Steven Emerson, Jonathan Levin, “Terrorism Financing: Origination, Organization, and Prevention: Saudi Arabia, Terrorist Financing and the War on Terror,” Testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, July 31, 2003, http://www.steveemerson.com/docs/testimony/2003-07-31%20Testimony.pdf
[xix] CNN Wire Staff,“Timeline: Osama bin Laden, over the years,” CNN May 2, 2011,http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/05/02/bin.laden.timeline/ (accessed 7.21.11)
[xxi] Phil Hirschkorn, “New York Remembers 1993 WTC victims,” CNN, New York Bureau, February 26, 2003, http://edition.cnn.com/2003/US/Northeast/02/26/wtc.bombing/ (accessed 7.21.11)
[xxii] USA v. Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel-Rahman, et al. “Testimony of Imam Siraj Wahhaj,” S5 93 CR 181 (MBM), (S.D.N.Y. 1995).
[xxiii] Audio, Siraj Wahhaj, “Who are the Real Terrorists?” Jumu’ah Khuttbah, Masjid At-Taqwah, February 17, 1995.
[xxiv] Paul M. Barrett, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion (NY, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux 2007), 115.
[xxv] Paul M. Barrett, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion (NY, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux 2007), 114.
[xxvi] Jerry Seper, Steve Miller, “Militant Muslims seek Virginia base; Group Abandons Communes in West,” The Washington Times, July 1, 2002, pg. A1.
[xxviii] Jamaat-ul-Fuqra, South Asian Terrorism Portal, http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/jamaat-ul-fuqra.htm (accessed 6.9.11)
[xxix] Paul M. Barrett, “One Imam Traces the Path of Islam in Black America,” Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2003. http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB106694267937278700,00.html (accessed 4.12.11)
[xxx] The Tribune-Review, “Rabbi’s killer turned radical during years in Pittsburgh,” August 4, 2002, http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_84624.html#ixzz1SDOda8VL (accessed 7.15.11)
[xxxi] “Francis X. Clines, “Bomb-Plot Suspects’ Lives Emerge in Sharper Detail,” New York Times, July 4, 1993, http://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/04/nyregion/bomb-plot-suspects-lives-emerge-in-sharper-detail.html.?pagewanted=all (accessed 5.3.11)
[xxxiii] Frank J. Prial, “Sudanese Deny Any Tie To Bomb Plot,” August 18, 1993
, http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/18/nyregion/sudanese-deny-any-tie-to-bomb-plot.html (accessed 7.16.11)
[xxxiv] William C. Rempel And Ronald J. Ostrow, “Bomb Plot Reportedly Hinged on U.N. Link: Terrorism: Sudan envoys deny any ties to alleged plan to hit N.Y. targets. Arrest of cleric ruled out, source says,” Los Angeles Times, June 26, 1993, http://articles.latimes.com/1993-06-26/news/mn-7391_1_alleged-plot (accessed 6.9.11)
[xxxv] Steven Emerson, Terrorists Among Us: Jihad in America, DVD, Ventura Distribution, 2001
[xxxvi] Benjamin Weiser, “Remorseful Terror Conspirator Gets an 11-Year Sentence,” Los Angeles Times, October 16, 1999, http://www.nytimes.com/1999/10/16/nyregion/remorseful-terror-conspirator-gets-an-11-year-sentence.html (accessed 7.7.11)
[xxxvii] Siraj Wahhaj “Who are the Real Terrorists?” Jumu’ah Khuttbah, Masjid At Taqwah February 17, 1995
[xxxviii]Robert Gearty, “Jazzman, Doc Are Indicted,” New York Daily News, June 28, 2005, http://articles.nydailynews.com/2005-06-28/news/18292779_1_al-qaeda-tarik-shah-terror-training-camp (accessed 4.18.11)
[xxxix] Nicole Bode, Corky Siemaszko, Michael Saul, Jeanne Dequine, “Wanna-be Posed As Jazzman,” New York Daily News, May 31, 2005, http://articles.nydailynews.com/2005-05-31/news/18289867_1_fbi-agents-tarik-shah-terrorists (accessed 4.18.11)
[xl] Michael Isikoff, “The Threat in our Midst,” The Daily Beast, May 20, 2007, http://www.newsweek.com/2007/05/20/the-threat-in-our-midst.html (accessed 7.8.11)
[xli] Andrew C. McCarthy, Willful Blindness: a Memoir of the Jihad, (New York, NY: Encounter Books, 2008), 213.
[xliii] Audio, Siraj Wahhaj, “Stand for Justice,” May 8, 1992
[xliv] Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” U.S. Dept. of State, May 19, 2011, http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm (accessed 8.5.11)
[xlv] Steven Emerson,” ISNA’s Lies unchallenged again,” Counterterrorism Blog, August 11, 2007, http://www.investigativeproject.org/357/isnas-lies-unchallenged-again
[xlvi] “Abu Marzouk: Damascus Welcomed Expelled Hamas Leaders, as Visitors,” ArabicNews.com, November 23, 1999, http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/991123/1999112310.html (accessed August 23, 2011)
[xlvii] ISNA “Speakers Information: Short Biographies,” http://www.isna.net/programs/pages/speakers-services.aspx#71
[xlviii] Interview with Hassan Al-Turabi, ISNA’s Islamic Horizons, March/April 2001, http://www.investigativeproject.org/691/isna-nait-seek-to-edit-history
[xlix] “Speaker on Islam Won’t Condemn Hamas, al-Qaeda at UCF,” March 3, 2011,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awFJ4NGmu38 (accessed 7.22.11)
[l]US v. Holy Land Foundation, Case 3:04-CR-00240-P “Memorandum Opinion Order,” (Page 15-20)
[lii] CAIR “Who are We?” Management and Staff, Archive, December, 7, 2001 http://classic-web.archive.org/web/20011207190546/www.cair-california.org/who.htm#Management%20&%20Staff
[liii] For Example: CAIR Fundraiser, Vienna, Virginia, October 7, 2001, CAIR Fundraiser, Orange County, California, October 19, 2002, CAIR Fundraiser, Anaheim, California, October 4, 2003, CAIR- Fundraiser Southern California, October 9, 2004, CAIR- San Jose Fundraiser 11.7.10, CAIR Fundraiser – Orange County, California 10.30.10, CAIR – Anaheim 11.1.08, CAIR Fundraiser Anaheim 11.10.07, CAIR Fundraiser 11.18.06, CAIR-San Francisco 9.17.06, CAIR New York Fundraiser, July 7, 2008, CAIR San Diego Ist Annual Fundraising Banquet, September 17, 2006
[liv] CAIR- CA, “Thank You for Your Generous Support of CAIR’s Work: More Than 750 Turn Out for CAIR-SFBA Banquet,” Dec 09, 2010,http://ca.cair.com/sfba/news/thank_you_for_your_generous_support_of_cairs_work_x (accessed 8.11.11)
[lv] Steven Merley, “The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States,” Hudson Institute, April 2009, http://www.currenttrends.org/docLib/20090411_Merley.USBROTHERHOOD.pdf (accessed 8.15.11)
[lvi] Mohamed Akram, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” May 22, 1991, Government Exhibit 003-0085, U.S. vs. HLF, et al. (P. 7 of 18).
[lvii] Mohamed Akram, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” May 22, 1991, Government Exhibit 003-0085, U.S. vs. HLF, et al. (P. 7 of 18).
[lix] Susy Buchanan, “End of Watch: Ricky Leon Kinchen, 35,” Southern Poverty Center, Intelligence Report, Fall 2005, Issue 119, http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2005/fall/end-of-watch?page=0,7 (accessed 7.11.11)
[lxi] Joe Kaufman, “Islamist Payola in the City of Brotherly Love,” FrontPageMagazine, January 03, 2008, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=29362 (accessed 8.23.11)
[lxii] Al-Amin v. State, 278 Ga. 74, 88(18)(a), 597 S.E.2d 332 (2004) (citation and punctuation omitted).
[lxv] Video Sajjad Khan, Hizb ut Tahrir: International Khilafa Conference August 7, 1994, Wembley Arena, London, England
[lxvi]Audio Siraj Wahhaj, Somewhere on August 13, 1994 http://www.investigativeproject.org/2063/hizb-ut-tahrir-in-america-lessons-from-great