Terrorism Survivor Encourages Vigilance During Wittenberg's Annual Leventhal Lecture
Springfield, Ohio – Members of the Wittenberg and Springfield communities gathered for a presentation by American Congress for Truth founder Brigitte Gabriel in the HPER Center Wednesday, Oct. 10, for the 25th annual Fred R. Leventhal Family Endowed Lecture.
Gabriel, a native of Lebanon who was raised a Christian Arab, gave a speech titled Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terrorism Warns America, based on her memoir of the same title. Before moving to Israel at the age of 20, Gabriel was subjected to many hardships as a survivor of the Lebanese Civil War. During the war, she was buried in the rubble of her destroyed house after it was hit by rockets fired by Muslim fighters.
"Terrorism is threatening our stability," Gabriel said. "I speak as a patriotic American and not as a Republican or Democrat because this is an American issue."
As issues with terrorism continue to grow, Gabriel believes that Americans are not completely cognizant of terrorism's looming threat.
"I think the West is just starting to wake up," she said. "We can find it hard to believe that radical ideology can take over intellectuals."
Many issues dealing with terrorism are thought to have begun during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. However, Gabriel says that terrorist attacks on Americans "didn't start with the Bush administration," and that they in fact have occurred since 1979. A fear of Gabriel's is that Americans aren't aware of just how close terrorists are.
"When talked about on the news, they think Al Qaeda and the U.S. is the biggest issue," Gabriel said, also stating that Al Qaeda is an umbrella organization for other terrorist groups sharing similar ideologies. Hamas, one of these umbrella organizations, is the most prevalent terrorist group on U.S. soil, existing in cities such as Boston, New York City and Cleveland.
Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, Gabriel founded American Congress for Truth, a non-profit organization devoted to informing and inspiring Americans to take action against terrorism. She continues to work with the organization and travels around the world sharing her story in hopes of opening the minds of others.
Written By: Erica Strauss '08