Joel Richardson Defends Walid Shoebat

At WorldNetDaily, Joel Richardson has come to the defence of Walid Shoebat in the wake of last week’s investigative CNN report (see here and here). Richardson used to leave the occasional comment on this blog before he became famous as “Glenn Beck’s End-Times Prophet”, and although he promotes ideas which I consider to be foolish and objectionable he has always been personable and there is no reason to doubt his honesty.

Richardson is a long-time associate of Shoebat (they both promote the idea of a coming “Islamic Anti-Christ”, and Shoebat contributed to Richardson’s Why We Left Islam book), and he gives some more information about Shoebat’s “Rescue Christians” organisation:

Last year, I was personally involved in the advent of Walid’s Rescue Christians project. What began as a cry for help from a man in Pakistan became a major project that occupied both Walid and his manager for well over a year. I was also personally involved in this effort.

I spent hours on the phone vetting this man. I also spent multiple hours networking with Christian missionaries and safe houses in foreign countries with Walid and his manager, as they both worked tirelessly and thanklessly to help this man and his family. I heard the frustration in their voices when ministry after ministry would offer no more than a willingness to “pray about it.” And I can also testify that tens of thousands of dollars were spent by Walid and his foundation on this one family.

This is of course commendable insofar as it goes – but, as I wrote previously, why not approach  Open Doors or Release International, both of which are established Christian organisations that work in this area?

Further, Rescue Christians has made specific claims about helping specific families:

Qamar David’s family are regularly been threatened by the Islamic extremists, therefore they are kept in hiding by RC. Same in the Case of Rashid Emmanuel and Sajid Emmanuel and Fanish Robert.

As I noted here, the Emmanuel brothers were gunned down in court premises in July 2010. Robert died in police custody in September 2009 in circumstances that the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan described as “judicial murder”, while David died in suspicious circumstances in prison in February 2010. These are all cases which have received international media attention; it should therefore be possible for established and reputable groups that have been working on these cases (such as  Christian Solidarity Worldwide and International Christian Concern) to confirm that the above is true.

Richardson also addresses the ongoing controversy around Shoebat’s back-story as a former terrorist. While this was a main focus of the CNN reports, it remains something of a side-show as far as I’m concerned: the reason Shoebat should not be addressing counter-terrorism events is because his purported expertise is a farrago of nonsense, whatever his background might be. However, documenting Shoebat’s past authoritatively does seem strangely difficult.

Richardson has some details:

Another of Cooper’s charges was that Walid never spent any time in Mascubia Prison…

[W]hat is truly embarrassing is that another left-wing hit piece written only three years ago, which is easily available online, included an interview with another much closer relative who openly stated that Walid spent time in Mascubia Prison, exactly as Walid has said all along.

…First, “Walid Shoebat” is not even Walid’s actual legal name, and any reporter worth his salt would have known this. Second, if Cooper had simply done some simple due diligence, he would have easily found [Eileen] Fleming’s interview with Younis.

Actually, CNN did not state that Shoebat had not been in prison – just that records of it could not be found. However, Richardson’s point about Younis is a valid one.

Shoebat’s legal name is a continuing puzzle, though – and someone who puts testimony about their past at the centre of their claim to expertise ought to be more forthcoming. Shoebat claims that his legal name is his American mother’s maiden name, and that he refused to divulge it to CNN for reasons of privacy. But this is futile: from public statements Shoebat has made I was able to find Shoebat’s mother’s full name within a matter of minutes. There is no reason why Shoebat should not  just be straight about it.

As for Shoebat’s purported act of terrorism in the 1970s (planting a bomb at a bank), Richardson claims that there are general UN records of two explosions in the area that would fit with Shoebat’s story. He also accuses CNN of lying about checks it claims to have made, and of being in league with CAIR.