On Being Brigitte

This article is Part I of a series profiling influential conservative women. It has been updated following my telephone interview with Brigitte Gabriel. 

It is hard for any American woman to imagine what it would be like to be hunted by some of the world’s most feared Islamic terrorists. If you are Brigitte Gabriel, you put on your trainers and go for a hike.

Brigitte is a Lebanese-born American business woman, activist, author and speaker most known as an outspoken opponent to the spread of political Islam and Sharia Law and is the founder of the nonprofit ACT for America.

You know Brigitte is over the target when the Southern Poverty Law Center labels ACT “the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the country,” and the Council on American-Islamic Relations describes her organization as “one of the main sources of growing anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation.”

Her card-carrying conservative credentials include being routinely vilified by the mainstream liberal press. BuzzFeed called her, “the most influential leader in America’s increasingly influential anti-Islam lobby.”

The New York Times Magazine, who interviewed Gabriel in August 2008, described her as a “radical Islamophobe.”

In 2017, The Atlantic said of her impending meeting with Trump, “The Trump administration hasn’t confirmed the meeting, but no one familiar with Gabriel—a Lebanese-born Christian who distorts Lebanese history to incite hatred of Muslims—would find those replies surprising. Her organization, ACT for America, is the largest grassroots purveyor of anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States.”

Gabriel later tweeted photos of herself in the White House.

So it is easy to see why Brigitte made Royal Diadem’s list as one of the most powerful and important conservative women in the movement. She is getting things done, speaking out and ruffling the feathers of the progressive left.

But it wasn’t always that way. As a young girl in war-torn Lebanon, Brigitte spent most of her young life—aged 10 to 17—as a virtual prisoner in a bomb shelter with her aging parents.

While other girls her age dreamed of their future, Brigitte just wanted to escape the bomb shelter and see the blue dome of sky above her and smell the flowers that once grew around her hometown of Marjayoun.

Perhaps because of her long confinement as a child, whenever Brigitte feels the stress of fighting evil she seeks solace in nature and shared with me that one of her favorite past times (when she isn’t people watching) is simply taking a walk.

Brigitte is one of the leading terrorism experts in the world, providing information and analysis on the rise of global Islamic terrorism, but it is those quieter moments when walking in nature that she can release the stress of her professional life.

As a former news anchor for World News, an Arabic evening news broadcast on Middle East Television, Brigitte is an ardent supporter of Israel and an unapologetic Christian who has appeared on many shows, including The Rubin Report, Fox News, Hannity, MSNBC and CNN.

Because of her work, she is routinely attacked by Israel haters, including activist and terror supporter Linda Sarsour, who tweeted about how much she wanted to take her down:

This is the same Sarsour who is associated with Siraj Wahhaj, an Iman in Brooklyn, New York whose son was arrested in August 2018 for teaching children how to shoot up schools at a compound in New Mexico.

Wahhaj is also the same unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. And if that isn’t frightening enough, Wahhaj is the leader of The Muslim Alliance in North America. These are just some of Brigitte’s enemies. Let that sink in.

I have been captivated by Brigitte’s firebrand honesty on Islam’s political intentions and was literally brought to real tears hearing her speak about her childhood in war-torn Lebanon.

As a result of being caught up in a devastating civil war, she has made warning the world of radical Islam her mission in life and founded Act for America in 2002. Today, her organization boasts more than 1 million members.

Brigitte ultimately spent five years in Israel from 1984 until 1989 before she emigrated to the United States, and it was this experience that helped to shape her views on Islam and Israel and is at the core of her inner strength.

Not surprising, little is known about Brigitte’s personal life. In today’s hate-filled cancel climate, it is unwise to leak too much personal information. Very few powerful conservative women are open about their families and personal life. It isn’t safe to do so.

Brigitte has received death threats from some of the world’s largest terrorist organizations because of her views, which she professes loudly and often.

Because of her fears for herself and her family, she does not divulge where she lives or the names of her family members, although it is known she is married and has two children.

So I was thrilled when she caught up with me a few months ago to speak about her work and her life. I first learned of Brigitte and her work after watching her first appearance on the Rubin Report, and I was immediately star struck by her, as well as moved by her story.

As an American who has never experienced the horror of war, her story of faith, hope and love touched my heart. When I found myself weeping as I listened to her recount her experiences during the war and her time in Israel, I knew she was special.

In this era of radical politics, when it is somehow Hitleresque to believe in nationalism or the good of the common man, her determinism as a legal immigrant and then legal citizen of the United States to publicly fight evil, touched me in a way I still don’t fully understand.

Perhaps it is her activism and willingness to be outspoken on her views of the dangers of Islam, making herself a target of not just virulent malice, but physical danger to her and her family. Or it could simply be her professed love for her adopted country.

Brigitte could have been just another immigrant with a sad story, but she has a gift—many in fact. She has been named one of the top 50 most prominent speakers in America and speaks Arabic, French, English and Hebrew. She is a gifted author and leading commentator on politics, culture and national security.

She is also absurdly beautiful, embodied with that exotic femininity of many Middle Eastern women: honey-colored skin, beautiful dark hair, soulful brown eyes.

In an age where women are led to believe they must hide their own femininity in order to be heard, it is refreshing to see a powerful woman that doesn’t feel the need to hide her natural beauty in order for her brains to be heard.

And because my intent in this series is to highlight conservative women and their achievements, it’s important to acknowledge that beauty still matters and that a well groomed and well dressed women still commands attention.

Following Brigitte’s twitter post at the Western Conservative Summit in July 2019, where she appeared alongside Michelle Malkin and her daughter, I’d say many of her followers agree.

Brigitte Gabriel with Michelle Malkin and her daughter at the Western Conservative Summit in July 19, 2019.

My objective in beginning this series was not only to celebrate the work of conservative women I admire, but to restore their personhood and femininity in a world that ignores or maligns them. Could anything be more unfair than how First Lady Melania Trump is ignored by all the major media outlets?

Melania embodies what girls were once taught in America to admire and emulate—poise, kindness, manners and softness. All attributes third wave feminists have sought to relegate to the wood pile. While the press gushed over Michelle Obama, Melania Trump has been roundly ignored when she isn’t being mocked.

In Brigitte’s book, Because They Hate, she recounts one of her most poignant “girly” memories. The importance and power of a pretty dress.

“Fearing we were going to be slaughtered that night, I didn’t want strangers to see some poor dead girl in wrinkled old clothes who would be dumped in a hole. I wanted to look pretty when I was dead…I asked my mother if I could put on a pretty Easter dress. They might rob me of my life, but they would not rob me of how I wanted to look before I was gone forever.”

Although Brigitte’s beauty is not what makes her a conservative superstar, it is important. Even the established media, which likes to pretend that beauty and feminism cannot coexist, often refers to Michelle Obama as beautiful. It’s a double standard that is not lost to ladies right of center.

Never underestimate the power of a pretty dress with a laser sharp mind.

In a world were courage today consists of elevating young women who wear pussy hats and scream about their reproductive “rights” holding a protest sign, real feminine courage is in short supply.

Today’s courageous women are found on the right, where they are routinely silenced, mocked and maligned by the vitriol of the left, but continue to fight for conservative values despite the hate and danger they are subjected to with the complicity of the media.

As the only child of aging parents who depended on Brigitte’s to support them, Brigitte recounts how she desperately needed a job following her graduation from her business course in 1984 and gives us a peek at what real courage looks like.

Consumed with thoughts about her employment options, she saw no alternative than to leave her hometown and her parents. She made the decision to go directly to the Israeli general at the the army base in charge of the security zone near her home for a secretarial job.

Brigitte says in her book, “It was a crazy thought for a girl in my culture to go into the heart of a military fortress alone and ask to speak to the general. How absurd! But I had no other choice. If I wanted to do something with my life, I had to take charge, be creative, and explore all the possibilities no matter what.”

Following the death of her parents and landing in America, Brigitte experienced the loneliness of being an only child. She missed family, and holidays were particularly hard.

It was during this lonely time that she founded a television production and advertising company.  Her clients included ABC, NBC, CBS, Discovery, TLC, History Channel, CNN, the Oprah Winfrey show, 20/20, World News Tonight and Good Morning America that she vowed to build her own network of friends. Friends who ultimately served as her makeshift family.

Brigitte loves to plan and cook for her family and friends and says that entertaining is one of her greatest passions in life. She says she spends at least a week shopping, cleaning and preparing herself traditional meals, including baklava, for her inner circle. Although Brigitte eventually had her own family, she says that it is still common for her to host dinner parties with upwards of 20 guests.

Today, her own children help her to clean and prepare for parties and holidays and says the camaraderie she shares with them draws them closer together as a family.

But nothing can be taken for granted when you are an enemy of Islam or the media, and because of the level of threats she receives, Brigitte says she carefully hand picks those she allows into the inner sanctum of her life and confided that she has a bullet-proof room in her home.

Brigitte’s brand of servitude and humility is as intrinsic to her personality as what she experienced during the war as a young child and then young woman. And I can personally attest to her graciousness. Once she became aware of the first article I had published about her, she reached out to personally thank me.

In a rare personal photo she shared on her Facebook page, it’s clear that her followers adore her.

Despite her commitment to warning America about the dangers of Islam and the many credible threats she has received, Brigitte is aware of what she calls in her book Rise, “The Business of Fake Hate,” and refuses to bow to the shrieking left. She warns us that when we hear about the agendas of organizations like the SPLC and CAIR, don’t daydream about heading for the border but ACT!”

“After the SPLC designated the conservative Family Research Council (FRC) as a hate group, and attacked it viciously on its website, a deranged man named Floyd Corkins II walked into the FRC headquarters in Washington, D.C., and started shooting.”

In the margins of Rise, Brigitte writes, “Simply because I have written this book and spoken the words I have spoken in my life, I am marked for death in the eyes of an Islamist.”

And she is right, of course. The tragic reality is that women on the conservative right who are as outspoken as Brigitte, deserve to be applauded for their bravery and their love of country. It is a dangerous world, but we have a responsibility to ourselves, our nation and the next generation to continue to fight the poison of the progressive left and to continue to sound the alarm. America needs more Brigittes. You, too, can join the fight at ACT. #Reignwell

 

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