Dr. William Saxton is sitting at a Starbucks in West Boca Raton, clutching a bulging black briefcase. But he's having trouble concentrating on our conversation. He keeps looking around for a better table. "I'd prefer to have more privacy," he says.
Saxton is the founder and chairman of Citizens for National Security, a nonprofit think tank based in Boca Raton whose mission is to educate and activate U.S. citizens concerning the dangers of "homegrown" fundamentalist Islam, particularly the long tentacles of the Islamic Brotherhood. Saxton has a Harvard PhD in physics and a degree from MIT, and he's worked as a consultant for NASA. Now he's devoting himself full time, and without pay, to documenting what he sees as the pernicious effects of Islam in the U.S.
Less than a minute after we've met, Saxton has launched into an explanation of how easy it would be for terrorists to detonate a nuclear bomb 10,000 feet above ground.
He has also conducted a site survey of a local Cinemaplex, where he documented how simply someone could detonate a bomb at the refreshment center and take out 2,000 moviegoers. He believes that the recent Wall Street computer glitch that sent the Dow plummeting 1,000 points was "a test" by terrorist organizations -- and so was the New York Times Square bomb, for that matter. He finds it hard to believe that a guy trained by Pakistani operatives would accidentally make so many dumb mistakes. Instead, he sees the smoking SUV as another way to test how New Yorkers react to a certain type of potential terror event.
But we're meeting to talk about how fundamentalist Islam has infiltrated the social studies textbooks of Florida schoolkids. Saxton headed the CFNS task force that spent months collecting examples of fundamentalist Islamic influence on the gullible "hearts and minds of Florida's young people."
He furtively pulls a black spiral-bound notebook from his briefcase -- the 60-page report compiled on 67 Florida school districts. Saxton believes that the Council for Islamic Education, which he calls an arm of the Islamic Brotherhood, exerts influence on U.S. textbooks from both ends. The "bad guys" act as go-betweens, lobbying publishers on behalf of school boards and school boards on behalf of publishers. They sit on the committees that choose the textbooks and act as editors and advisers to the textbook industry.
"I can't show you this report," he says. "This is very valuable research, and we have to be careful with the way we reveal our information." But Saxton does have a summary of some of the kinds of things the task force has found. Among them:
"...because humans rejected Allah's earlier messengers, Allah sent his final revelation to Mohammed." [task force note: "This de-legitimizes Christianity and Judaism by turning Jesus and Abrahm into Muslims, and marginalizing them.]
"Women, as wives and mothers, have an honored place in Saudi Society." [task force: "It is well known they are limited members of Saudi society."]
"Jesus was offended by what he perceived as Jewish religious and political leaders' excessive concern with money and power..." [task force gloss: "Sets Jesus in opposition to Jewish leaders using some of the worst stereotypes of Jews as justification."]
"The land now called Palestine consists of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip." ["Self-serving inaccuracy speaks for itself."]
Saxton says he first realized the extent of the problem when he was in California, looking at his grandchildren's textbooks. The problem isn't limited to Florida. "This is an epidemic," Saxton says. "Our goal is to turn up the heat on state officials, to pound on the doors of school officials. We want to ensure the composition of the committees that choose Florida's textbooks include people who can make objective, impartial evaluations. All we're asking is that Christian and Jewish religions receive equal treatment."
Having dozed through many a world history class in high school, it's hard for me to imagine excerpts like the ones Saxton cites turning any distracted school kid into a raging jihadist. Is his fear of Islamic infiltration just a tad exaggerated? "Make no mistake," Saxton says. "They're out to kill us. They're out to sabotage our miserable nation. And they're right on schedule."