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“Jihad in America: The Grand Deception,” a new film by Investigative Project on Terrorism Executive Director Steven Emerson, was honored this week as the best documentary at the 2013 International Beverly Hills Film Festival.

A jury of entertainment industry professionals selected the film, which also won best documentary at last month’s Myrtle Beach International Film Festival.

The 70-minute film focuses on the Muslim Brotherhood and its penetration in the United States. It features documents and recordings from federal investigations, undercover recordings and interviews with FBI agents, federal prosecutors and Muslim experts on radical Islam.

“I am honored by the recognition the judges in Beverly Hills and Myrtle Beach have given ‘The Grand Deception,'” Emerson said. “This shows what happens when people break through the noise which often dominates discussion on this issue, actually watch the film and judge for themselves. The problem of covert Muslim Brotherhood activity in America is a serious one, and my film explores it with original source documents and a list of sources with first-hand experience combating it.”

The film also placed third at the Sunset International Film Festival in Los Angeles and is an official selection for upcoming festivals in New York and Madrid.

“As much of an honor as it is to be recognized for this work, Grand Deception co-director Rachel Milton told the Beverly Hills gala attendees upon accepting event’s crystal plaque, “it is more important that the subject matter of our film be recognized and discussed. And that is the subject of radical Islam, something that touches everyone’s life whether they realize it or not.”

Audience members from a screening in Myrtle Beach called the film “very powerful” and “a smack in the face.” “People really need to see this,” said another.

The Grand Deception is a follow-up to Emerson’s 1994 documentary “Jihad in America,” which won the George Polk Award for outstanding documentary and the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Tom Renner Award for investigative reporting.

The documentary has impressed other viewers, with Orange County Register editorial writer Rory Cohen calling it a “must see” for showing “how far the Muslim Brotherhood has reached within our own political fabric in less than three decades.”

“‘The Grand Deception’ exposes radical Islamists in their own words,” wrote Muslim physician Qanta Ahmed, calling that something “shattering to any Muslim in America – and is exactly why our communities invite unwanted scrutiny. In their own voices, American Islamists demand violent jihad against the United States.”

Producers say they want the film to start a debate about the political application of Islam – or Islamism – as anti-Islamist Muslim activist Zuhdi Jasser explains in this outtake:

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Steven Emerson is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, one of the world's largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Emerson and his staff frequently provide briefings to U.S. government and law enforcement agencies, members of Congress and congressional committees, and print and electronic media, both national and international. Since 9-11, Emerson has testified before and briefed Congress dozens of times on terrorist financing and operational networks of Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the rest of the worldwide Islamic militant spectrum.

Emerson is the author or co-author of six books on terrorism and national security, including:

  • Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S. (Prometheus, 2006)
  • American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us (The Free Press, 2002)
  • Terrorist: The Inside Story of the Highest-Ranking Iraqi Terrorist Ever to Defect to the West (Villard Books /Random House, 1991)
  • The Fall of Pan Am 103: Inside the Lockerbie Investigation (Putnam's Sons, 1990)
  • Secret Warriors: Inside the Covert Military Operations of the Reagan Era (Putnam's Sons, 1988)
  • The American House of Saud: The Secret Petrodollar Connection (Franklin Watts, 1985)

He and his organization have been quoted or profiled in hundreds of newspaper and television stories since 9-11.

Emerson launched The Investigative Project on Terrorism in late 1995, following the broadcast of his documentary film, "Jihad in America," on public television. The film exposed clandestine operations of militant Islamic terrorist groups on American soil. For the film, Emerson received numerous awards including the George Polk Award for best television documentary, one of the most prestigious awards in journalism. He also received the top prize from the Investigative Reporters and Editors Organization (IRE) for best investigative report in both print and television for the documentary. The award from IRE was the fourth he had received from that group. The documentary, which was featured on 60 Minutes, has become standard viewing for federal law enforcement and intelligence organizations.

Emerson is recognized as one of the first terrorism experts to have testified and warned about the threat of Islamic militant networks operating in the United States and their connections worldwide. In a pioneering congressional testimony delivered in 1998, he specifically warned about the threat of Osama Bin Laden's network. Nearly every one of the terrorist suspects and groups first identified in his 1994 film have been indicted, convicted, or deported since 9-11.