News Analysis

News: Islam (Supplement)

 

Is Terror the Problem, or is it Islam? (Foxnews, 011117)

“Relentlessly and Thoroughly”: The only way to respond (National Review Online, 011015)

Islam According to Oprah: Is Oprah Winfrey a threat to national security? (National Review Online, 011008)

Radical Islam in Nigeria: The Talibanization of West Africa (Weekly Standard, 020415)

Islam’s Threat to the West (NewsMax.com, 020509)

Who’s Right? (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, 020600)

Muslims & Christians: How Wide the Divide? (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, 020600)

Jihad Conquests: Islamism today (National Review Online, 020619)

An honest accounting of Arab decline (National Post, 020705)

Mosques Planning Terror: Why Islamists hate new FBI rules (National Review Online, 020710)

Group Takes School to Court Over Quran Assignment (Foxnews, 020723)

Mother loses appeal against death penalty (London Times, 020820)

Multiculturalists are the real racists (National Post, 020820)

Muslim extremism: Denmark’s had enough (National Post, 020827)

Media, government blamed for anti-Muslim ‘bias’ (Ottawa Citizen, 020906)

Behind the Hate: The enemy’s problem (National Review Online, 020911)

The West and the Rest: On terrorism and globalization (National Review Online, 020923)

Not Peace-Loving, After All: Is Islam itself a threat? (National Review Online, 020923)

The Historic Roots of Islamism: Bat Yeor’s latest (National Review Online, 020930)

Author’s ‘insult’ gets ruling today  (Washington Times, 021022)

Italian author slams Islam’s ‘hate’ for West  (Washington Times, 021023)

Not Exactly Tocquevillian: Electoral democracy in Muslim world (National Review Online, 021028)

The supreme lesson of the sniper case (National Post, 021026)

The Enemy Within: Asking tough questions (National Review Online, 021029)

Damned If You Do: Historians dare to criticize Islamic dhimmitude at Georgetown and pay a price (National Review Online, 021029)

Stop making excuses for Muslim extremists (National Post, 021029)

Punishment includes Islam indoctrination (WorldNetDaily, 021031)

Muslims must disavow Osama’s message (National Post, 021118)

Scores Killed in Nigerian Miss World Rioting (Foxnews, 021121)

Muslim activist won’t apologize to evangelists (Washington Times, 021122)

Crimes directed at Muslims surged after September 11 (Washington Times, 021126)

Robertson pleads for scrutiny of Koran (Washington Times, 021126)

Censored and bullied, scholars sanitize Islam (National Post, 021130)

Silence of the ‘moderates’ (Washington Times, 021204)

Religion of Peace? Prove it (National Review Online, 021204)

Some conservatives back away from Weyrich letter denouncing Muslim stamp (Baptist Website, 021210)

Are we at war with Islam? (World Net Daily, 020625)

Sheikh Tantawi Grows in Office (Free Congress Foundation, 020418)

Reports of Moderate Islam’s Existence Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (Free Congress Foundation, 020422)

Trying To Find A ‘Moderate’ Islam Is A Quixotic Quest (Free Congress Foundation, 020520)

Four Myths About Muslims (Free Congress Foundation, 020613)

Today’s Criminal Will Become Tomorrow’s Islamic Terrorist (Free Congress Foundation, 020625)

More Administration Baloney About Islam (Free Congress Foundation, 020912)

“Islam Unveiled” Deserves Equal Time In Public Libraries (Free Congress Foundation, 021003)

A fatwa of one’s own (National Post, 021205)

The invisible jihad (WorldNetDaily, 021206)

Terrorists in our midst: How and why Islamists, jihadists, sleeper cells are flocking to U.S. (WorldNetDaily, 021205)

Blond, blue-eyed Muslim terrorists? (WorldNetDaily, 021205)

A Wahhabism Problem: Misleading historical negationism (National Review Online, 021206)

The Jewish-Friendly Koran: A whole new context (National Review Online, 021219)

Islam Soft and Hard: PBS’s whitewashed commercial for Islam (National Review Online, 021219)

Islam studies required in California district (WorldNetDaily, 021219)

Islam studies spark hate mail, lawsuits (WorldNetDaily, 021219)

Book publisher: No Muslim bias (WorldNetDaily, 020219)

Author puts herself on front lines against Islam (Washington Times, 021219)

Wake Up! Islam Is About More Than Hate Crimes (Free Congress Foundation, 030129)

Classroom Jihad: What our children’s textbooks say about Islam (030207)

Islam and the Textbooks (American Textbook Council, 0302)

Textbooks said to ‘hide’ problems with Islam (Washington Times, 030207)

Jailhouse Blues: The New Islam Remains The Same Old Islam (Free Congress Foundation, 030212)

CAIR: Nothing But Not The Truth (Free Congress Foundation, 030217)

The jihad against the textbooks (Washington Times, 030220)

Muslim cleric guilty of soliciting murder (London Times, 030224)

Can good Muslims be good multiculturalists? (National Post, 030224)

Bush’s Big Speech (National Review Online, 030227)

Sound Familiar? Understanding Islamic End-Times beliefs (National Review Online, 030228)

Democracy in Arabia: An unexpected home (National Review Online, 030303)

Who Do You Believe? (National Review Online, 030408)

Contradicting CAIR’s Spin: The Islamic School Book Controversy (Free Congress Foundation, 030409)

Pentagon won’t yield to Muslims on Graham (Washington Times, 030416)

Islam in Britain: Extremists are preying on disaffected young Muslims (London Times, 020502)

Factor for Islamic Violence (Book)

Judge Orders Muslim Woman to Unveil for Driver’s License Photo (Foxnews, 030606)

No Safe Haven: Belgium ought to look within (National Review Online, 030625)

A Global Network: What’s really happening on some U.S. paintball courses (National Review Online, 030630)

Wahhabism & Islam in the U.S.: Two-faced policy fosters danger (National Review Online, 030630)

Islam vs. Christianity: The Age-Old Conflict Continues (Free Congress Foundation, 030822)

Court Rejects Sentence of Nigerian Woman Facing Death for Adultery (Foxnews, 030925)

Announcing Dhimmi Watch: A Global Alliance For Justice (Free Congress Foundation, 030923)

The Moderate from Malaysia (NR, 031110)

The State Of Freedom (Free Congress Foundation, 031111)

Cleric warns Muslims linked to U.S. (Washington Times, 031117)

European Dishonor: Sharia on the Old Continent (National Review Online, 031203)

Murder For Fun and Prophet (Ann Coulter, 020904)

So Three Arabs Walk Into A Bar ... (Ann Coulter, 020918)

Tolkien & Civilization: Gimli on our generational challenge (National Review Online, 031217)

Chirac and the Muslims: A misguided policy (National Review Online, 031219)

Conflict With No End In Sight (Free Congress Foundation, 031204)

Questions For CAIR (Free Congress Foundation, 031212)

Terror supporters stir up crowd at Florida Islamic conference (Jihad Watch, 040103)

Courts Weigh Libel Cases Against Legislators (WS, 040102)

Veiled Threat (Weekly Standard, 040119)

In The Crosshairs: Now it may be Europe’s turn (Midwest Conservative Journal, 040112)

Terror cells regroup - and now their target is Europe (Guardian, 040111)

Muslims Worldwide Protest French Head Scarf Ban (FN, 040117)

Cleric delivers veil threat (Washington Times, 040121)

Jihad on U.S. soil (Washington Times, 040312)

Islam And The West: Buzzwords Won’t Fill The Gap (Free Congress Foundation, 040205)

112 Killed in Thailand Clashes (FN, 040428)

Outside Encouragement: Sharia rules Nigeria — with the help of foreign Islamists (National Review Online, 040505)

Lessons from Iraq: Can Arab democracy happen? (National Review Online, 040505)

Kingdom Comes to North America: Top Saudi cleric to visit Canada (National Review Online, 040513)

Sacred Murder (National Review Online, 040520)

Moment of Truth: These are trying times for proponents of liberalism in the Middle East (National Review Online, 040524)

Reform Begins At Home: Sudan’s anti-Muslim policies (National Review Online, 040527)

Sacred Murder II (National Review Online, 040524)

Taking Back Islam: Moderate Muslims say their faith is compatible with freedom (National Review Online, 040603)

Head in sand saw no evil (Washington Times, 040623)

Speaking Out: Muslim reformers condemn Saudi Wahhabism (National Review Online, 040628)

Anti-Semitism and France (WS, 040713)

Hate ‘victim’ admits she lied (Washington Times, 040714)

Spanish Judge: Morocco Biggest Terror Threat to Europe (FN, 040716)

Truth Hurts (Tongue Tied, 040729)

Abetting Beheadings: It is not clear that Islam condemns the al Qaeda killings (National Review Online, 040813)

Russian siege stirs Muslim condemnation (Washington Times, 040916)

Canada Weighs Using Muslim Law (Foxnews, 040917)

Murderous Monotheists: What Zarqawi believes (Weekly Standard, 041011)

Women win rights by relying on Koran (Washington Times, 041018)

For Dutch, anger battles with tolerance (Herald Tribune, 041111)

Anti-Americanism Unites Muslim Extremes (Foxnews, 041124)

Theo van Gogh (David Warren, 041114)

Muslim Extremists Preach Violence in Europe (Foxnews, 041129)

Education as key to fighting Islamism (Washington Times, 041215)

Europe’s failed multiculturalism (Washington Times, 041210)

The Ents of Europe: Strange rumblings on the continent (National Review Online, 041210)

A Seat at the Table: Islam Makes Inroads in Education (Christian Broadcasting Network, 041212)

Nearly Half in U.S. Want Curb on Muslim-Americans’ Rights (Foxnews, 041217)

France Passes Muslim Head Scarves Ban by an Overwhelming Vote (Christian Post, 040304)

Head Scarves Serve to Protect Iraqi Muslim, Christian Women Alike (Christian Post, 050104)

Jordan: Terrorism is ‘kidnapping’ Islam (WorldNetDaily, 050107)

Terror groups call voting un-Islamic (Washington Times, 041231)

Justice Out of Balance (Weekly Standard, 050103)

CAIR presses Fox TV on Muslim terrorists (WorldNetDaily, 050114)

Jersey jihadists (Townhall.com, 050202)

Family of slain Christians speaks out (WorldNetDaily, 050216)

Tensions Linger Despite Capture of Jersey Murder Suspects (Christian Post, 050305)

Getting to Know the Sufis (Weekly Standard, 050207)

Messages in the mosques (Washington Times, 050208)

Religious hatred, Saudi-style (townhall.com, 050207)

“Kill a Jew—Go to Heaven” (Weekly Standard, 050209)

Wake-up call for my fellow Muslims (townhall.com, 050301)

Wahhabis, Go Home (Weekly Standard, 050307)

Muslim Woman’s Courage Sets Example (Foxnews, 050317)

Moderate Muslims celebrate public rebuke of bin Laden (Washington Times, 050329)

Woman to Lead Muslim Service in New York (Foxnews, 050318)

Muslim double standard on religious desecration? (WorldNetDaily, 050517)

Palestinians used Bible as toilet paper (WorldNetDaily, 050518)

Official PA sermon: Muslims will rule America (WorldNetDaily, 050518)

Saudis Shred Bibles, Rights Campaigners Claim (WorldNetDaily, 050519)

Muslim protests planned in advance? Security official says Newsweek article served as trigger (WorldNetDaily, 050518)

Why Islam is disrespected (townhall.com, 050520)

Caution: Muslims easily inflamed (townhall.com, 050520)

Moderate Muslims blaze new path (Washington Times, 050524)

Newsweek’s blunder illuminates extremists’ major shortcoming (townhall.com, 050523)

Democracy shuts its eyes as Muslim women are enslaved (townhall.com, 050523)

More than the Koran (townhall.com, 050523)

Israel’s immigration idiocy (townhall.com, 050522)

Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (American Spectator, 050531)

The Muslim groups who wouldn’t attend the March Against Terror (townhall.com, 050601)

To fight radical Islam, we need strange coalitions (Townhall.com, 050610)

Religious Visas Prove Problematic (Foxnews, 050622)

The Muslim hate crime that wasn’t (Townhall.com, 050706)

London a Longtime Haven for Radical Muslim Figures (CNSNews.com, 050708)

Choosing Sides: The challenge for Muslims (National Review Online, 050713)

Palestinian TV sermon calls for genocide (WorldNetDaily, 050715)

Enemies, foreign and domestic (Townhall.com, 050715)

Can you fight an idea? (Townhall.com, 050715)

Muslims Pay Attention (American Spectator, 050715)

‘University of Jihad’ teaches students hate and bigotry (Times Online, 050715)

CAIR to GOP: Repudiate Tancredo. Upset by radio discussion about bombing Mecca (WorldNetDaily, 050722)

Reality and Islam (Washington Times, 050722)

One common enemy: Radical Islam (townhall.com, 050725)

Pope won’t call Islam religion of peace (WorldNetDaily, 050726)

Muslims Call Comments by WMAL Host ‘Hate-Filled’ (Washington Post, 050726)

MAS’s Muslim Brotherhood Problem (Weekly Standard, 050525)

Muslim scholar: Killing civilians OK (WorldNetDaily, 050712)

Muslim Support for Bin Laden Falls, Poll Says (Foxnews, 050714)

Blair takes on Islamic extremism (Washington Times, 050721)

North American Muslims Issue Fatwa Against Terrorism (Foxnews, 050728)

Between the Sex Pistols and the Koran (Townhall.com, 050801)

Using faith to validate extremism (Townhall.com, 050805)

Dear Moderate Muslims (Townhall.com, 050716)

A Fatwa, or a fast one? (townhall.com, 050811)

Radical Islam in Europe (Christian Post, 050725)

Keep Quiet And Listen! The words of radical Islam speak for themselves. (National Review Online, 050812)

Fatwa Frenzy: The Muslim backlash against terrorism has begun with many Muslim groups speaking out, but are they being heard? (Weekly Standard, 050818)

Saudi: Radical Islam worse than Nazism (WorldNetDaily, 050819)

Talk-show host fired for linking Islam, terror (WorldNetDaily, 050821)

The tragedy of Islam (WorldNetDaily, 050822)

Cowed by CAIR: DC talk station fires host (townhall.com, 050823)

About Michael Graham: CAIR’s tie to terrorism (WorldNetDaily, 050824)

Peaceful religion? (WorldNetDaily, 050825)

How CAIR cows critics (Washington Times, 050826)

The Peculiar Alliance: Islamists and neo-Nazis find common ground by hating the Jews. (Weekly Standard, 050901)

CAIR killing free speech in the U.S.? (townhall.com, 050902)

Jihad declared against LAPD: Nation of Islam flyer calls for gangs to unite against cops (WorldNetDaily, 050905)

Karen Hughes’ big mistake (townhall.com, 050906)

Canadians Protest Islamic Law Proposal (Foxnews, 050909)

In the Shadow of a Fatwa: Religious life bustles in the world’s largest Muslim nation: pluralistic Indonesia. (Weekly Standard, 050907)

Ontario Rejects Use of Islamic Law (Foxnews, 050912)

‘An Islamist threat like the Nazis’ (Washington Times, 050912)

Needed: Old war spirit in a new war (Washington Times, 050913)

At war with an enemy of an unspoken name (Washington Times, 050914)

Jordan’s king reaches out to Jews, hits radical Islam (Washington Times, 050922)

Naming Names: A GAO report unabashedly names America’s foe in the war on terrorism: Islamic extremism. (Weekly Standard, 050921)

Thwarting ‘Eurabia’ (Washington Times, 050927)

Sounding the alarm (townhall.com, 050927)

An Islamic guide on how to beat your wife (Washington Times, 050929)

Making the Muslims love us (Washington Times, 050929)

Europe’s Wahhabi Lobby: Extremists get together to worry about intolerance. (Weekly Standard, 051006)

Test case for Quran as hate speech: British Christians want sellers prosecuted (WorldNetDaily, 051014)

Nigeria: Muslims horse-whip Christian female students for dressing improperly (Anglican News, 050924)

The wrong kind of Prison Fellowship: Wahhabism on the Inside (townhall.com, 051018)

Appeals court hears ‘Islamic indoctrination’ case: Public students in California taught to ‘become Muslims’ (WorldNetDaily, 051019)

Iraqis seek aid without crosses (Washington Times, 051019)

Islamic group told to ‘read the Koran’ (Washington Times, 051021)

Piggy banks ‘offend UK Muslims’ (WorldNetDaily, 051024)

Sheikh seeking to ‘terminate’ Jews honored: Awarded ‘Islamic Personality of the Year’ at international event (WorldNetDaily 051026)

Arab women heard from (Washington Times, 051027)

Legislating Religious Correctness: Religious vilification laws converge with the Islamist vision of a blasphemy-free society. (Weekly Standard, 051027)

Three Schoolgirls Beheaded in Indonesia (Foxnews, 051029)

Chirac Calls for Calm in Paris Suburbs (Foxnews, 051102)

Muslim youths battle Paris police (Washington Times, 051104)

Father and sons guilty of Oxford honour killing (Times Online, 051104)

First Fatality Reported in French Riots (Foxnews, 051107)

Paris When It Sizzles: The intifada comes to France. (Weekly Standard, 051107)

Anti-terror expert predicted French uprising: Judge sees potential of weapons of mass destruction (WorldNetDaily, 051107)

The intifada in France (WorldNetDaily, 051107)

Who will raise the siege of Paris? (Washington Times, 051107)

When Muslims attack... France (townhall.com, 051109)

Civilization Under Siege—The Riots in Paris (Christian Post, 051109)

Seeing Islam Through ‘Condi-Colored Glasses’ (Christian Post, 051112)

Islamic Radicals Plan World Revolution from Temple Mount (WorldNetDaily, 051114)

U.S., West, Israel all face same threat: radical Islam (townhall.com, 051118)

European intifada? (Washington Times, 051123)

Saudi Arabia Accused of ‘Hate Literature’ Distribution in U.S. (Christian Post, 051126)

Belgian Waffle: Jihad and the Girl Next Door (townhall.com, 051206)

Abdullah: Extremists have hijacked Islam: Saudi king urges muslim leaders to unite and combat radicalism (WorldNetDaily, 051208)

Muslim Leaders Pledge Crackdown on Extremism (Foxnews, 051209)

Cultural flash points (Washington Times, 051209)

Changes in the Arab world (Washington Times, 051209)

Censorship in the name of religion (townhall.com, 051212)

Going Medieval: The nature of jihad and this war we’re in. (National Review Online, 051213)

Saudi Stories: Peeling back the slick Western imaging. (National Review Online, 051213)

First TBN drops Lindsey, now Lindsey drops TBN: Best-selling author says Christian network tried to muzzle his views on radical Islam (WorldNetDaily, 060103)

Muslims and media (Washington Times, 051216)

Muslim planned revenge attack on hero soldier (London Telegraph, 051223)

Islamic terrorists shot aid couple as they watched TV (London Telegraph, 051223)

The Mayor of Bethlehem is Christian, but It’s Hamas That’s in Charge (WorldNetDaily, 051230)

Fascism, Islamism, and Anti-Semitism: The president of the Islamic Republic is guided in word and deed by the most vicious of ideologies. (Weekly Standard, 060103)

Hal Lindsey proclaims: Islam a violent religion: On national TV, Christian author declares most Muslims don’t read Quran very much (WorldNetDaily, 060111)

Muslim cleric ‘told followers to kill Jews and non-believers’ (Times Online, 060111)

A Wiser Holland: The Dutch, mugged by reality, toughen up on radical Islam (National Review, 060130)

‘Nudity invalidates marriage’ (National Review Online, 060109)

Silence that speaks volumes (Washington Times, 060120)

Islamists in court (Washington Times, 060120)

All Jihad All the Time: What Andrew Bostom’s “The Legacy of Jihad” tells us about the history of Islam. (Weekly Standard, 060130)

Radical Roadshow: The British try to counter radical Islam with slightly less radical Islam. (Weekly Standard, 060131)

Fight the bullies of Islam (townhall.com, 060201)

French newspaper reprints Muhammad cartoons (Times Online, 060201)

French, German Newspapers Run Muhammad Cartoons (Foxnews, 060201)

BBC to screen ‘blasphemous’ Muhammad cartoons (Times Online, 060202)

Buy Danish. Nothing Rotten in the State of Denmark (Brussels Journal, 060131)

Militants Surround EU Offices in Gaza Over ‘Offensive’ Cartoons (Foxnews, 060202)

Troubled Continent: A crisis of demography — and of the spirit (National Review Online, 060213)

Are We Serious? (National Review, 060213)

Gunmen in Gaza close EU office (Washington Times, 060203)

Democracy and the ‘Muslim street’ (Washington Times, 060203)

‘Let the hands that drew be severed!’ (Times Online, 060203)

Drawing the line: Publishing controversial cartoons and being damned (Times Online, 060203)

World press opinion of cartoon row (Times Online, 060203)

West tries to calm tensions as militants threaten kidnaps (Times Online, 060203)

Timeline: the Muhammad cartoons (Times Online, 060203)

Leaders Appeal for Calm in Muslim Cartoon Protests (Foxnews, 060204)

Abu Hamza jailed for seven years for inciting murder (Times Online, 060207)

Will Europe become Eurabia? (townhall.com, 060210)

Death toll rises to 38 in Pakistani town rocked by sectarian violence (National Post, 060210)

All right, I insulted Americans – but they are not planning to behead me (Times Online, 060209)

The Cartoon Jihad: The Muslim Brotherhood’s project for dominating the West. (Weekly Standard, 060213)

Selling Out Moderate Islam: Washington’s misbegotten campaign to be loved in the Middle East. (Weekly Standard, 060213)

American Muslims Give Moderate Voice amid Cartoon Violence (Christian Post, 060213)

Islamic radicals take advantage of Western liberalism (townhall.com, 060212)

Submission is all in your dhimmitude (townhall.com, 060213)

Your Honey Or Your Lyin’ Eyes? The myth of a vibrant “moderate Islam.” (National Review Online, 060215)

Islam’s problem with democracy (Washington Times, 060216)

Nonsense and sensibility (townhall.com, 060221)

Needed: Mature, Moderate Muslims: The cartoon rage is infantile. (National Review Online, 060222)

A timely letter to the Danish Prime Minister (townhall.com, 060222)

Being Mocked: the Essence of Christ’s Work, not Muhammad’s (Christian Post, 060223)

The Long War: The radical Islamists are on the offensive. Will we defeat them? (Weekly Standard, 060227)

Media won’t report radical Islamic events (townhall.com, 060308)

Reading up on Islam (townhall.com, 060309)

The media and Islam (Washington Times, 060310)

Islam Fatally Flawed, Says Voice From Corona via Al Jazeera (Los Angeles Times, 060313)

Pat Robertson: Radical Muslims ‘satanic’: ‘These people are crazed fanatics ... I believe it’s motivated by demonic power’ (WorldNetDaily, 060313)

Muslim: I attacked ‘out of love for Allah’: Man who barreled SUV into 9 people sends letter to N. Carolina TV station, cites Quran in defense (WorldNetDaily, 060316)

Democratic apostasy: The martyrdom of Abdul Rahman (townhall.com, 060321)

European Muslims seek social, political integration (Washington Times, 060408)

Where are the Muslim moderates? (Townhall.com, 060407)

Imams vow to preach values of Islam, West (Washington Times, 060410)

The Boys Left Behind: The gender graduation gap. (National Review Online, 060419)

Muslim students ‘being taught to despise unbelievers as filth’ (Times Online, 060420)

Globalization for Losers: The jihadists are far worse for indigenous cultures than Westernization. (National Review Online, 060428)

Not for the Feint of Heart: Robert Spencer asks the hard questions about Islam...and answers them. (National Review Online, 060428)

A Friendly Warning: Melanie Phillips on London’s identity crisis. (National Review Online, 060508)

A Different Sort of Radical Muslim: Ahmed Abaddi is helping Muslims to understand the West. (National Review Online, 060509)

The war we are fighting needs a more accurate name (townhall.com, 060509)

Uproar in Turkey over shooting of judge (Times Online, 060518)

What Saudis Preach (townhall.com, 060601)

This is a Saudi Textbook (after the Intolerance Was Removed) (Christian Post, 060615)

The Economist and Euro-Islam: What the paper is missing. (Weekly Standard, 060727)

Faux ‘moderate’ Islamists (Washington Times, 060802)

Muslims in the crosshairs (Washington Times, 060803)

Overcoming Islamism (Washington Times, 060804)

Iranian cataclysm forecast Aug. 22: Islamists seeking heaven could spark apocalypse, Princeton expert warns (WorldNetDaily, 060808)

US Muslims bristle at Bush term “Islamic fascists” (WorldNetDaily, 060810)

Gallup: Many Americans Harbor Strong Bias Against U.S. Muslims (WorldNetDaily, 060811)

Londonistan (townhall.com, 060811)

Plot Shows Rise of Extremism in Europe (Associated Press, 060813)

It’s fascism (Washington Times, 060812)

Muslim leader calls for vigilance against fanatics (WorldNetDaily, 060811)

The religion of peace — at gunpoint (Townhall.com, 060901)

The Fascist Disease: “Islamic fascism” is an accurate—and important—term. (Weekly Standard, 060914)

Official OK with Islamic law in Netherlands: Dutch justice minister says Sharia fine if people vote for it (WorldNetDaily, 060914)

Pope’s speech stirs Muslim anger (BBC, 060914)

Pakistan’s Parliament Condemns Pope Benedict XVI (Foxnews, 060915)

The enemy’s ideology (Townhall.com, 060914)

Christian Leader Joins Muslims in Denouncing Pope’s Remarks (Foxnews, 060916)

Unreasonable Response: Benedict XVI hasn’t revived the Crusades. (National Review Online, 060918)

Unreasonable People Will Not Keep the Pope from Reasoning (townhall.com, 060918)

Extremists say pope, West are ‘doomed’ (Washington Times, 060918)

Pope ‘deeply sorry’ about Muslim fury (Washington Times, 060918)

Muslims Demand Further Apology From Pope (Foxnews, 060919)

Papal Power: The new Pope is fighting for hearts and minds in Europe. (Weekly Standard, 060919)

Socrates or Muhammad? Joseph Ratzinger on the destiny of reason. (Weekly Standard, 060925)

Intolerance and “Infidel-Dogs” (townhall.com, 060923)

Tough Questions about Islam and Democracy (Christian Post, 060923)

Pius attacked for not confronting evil, Benedict attacked for confronting evil (townhall.com, 060926)

Traitors to the Enlightenment: Europe turns its back on Socrates, Locke, et al. (National Review Online, 061002)

South Park Creators Say ‘Open Season on Jesus,’ but Not Mohammed (Christian Post, 061005)

Dutch hospital plans for Muslims only (Washington Times, 061006)

The European jihad (National Review Online, 061006)

French police face Muslim ‘intifada’ (Washington Times, 061012)

French Police Face Attacks by Growing ‘Intifada’ (Foxnews, 061023)

Some sobering lessons from Muslim taxi drivers (townhall.com, 061017)

The Problem With Islam: And what Americans can do about it (WorldNetDaily, 061020)

Muslim veils prompt bans across Europe (Washington Times, 061023)

Turkish Cleric: Criticizing Islam Threatens Peace (Christian Post, 061101)

Is Islam inherently violent? New blockbuster, ‘Religion of Peace?,’ reveals disturbing facts (WorldNetDaily, 061102)

‘Sex in the Park’: The latest doings of the Danish imams. (Weekly Standard, 061121)

Muslim birthrate worries Russia (Washington Times, 061121)

Why radical Islam - and why now? (Townhall.com, 061221)

Somalia, U.N. regain Mogadishu (Washington Times, 061229)

Thai insurgency targets Buddhists (Washington Times, 061229)

Religion of Peace? Robert Spencer asks the hard questions. (National Review Online, 070111)

Australian Muslim Cleric Sparks Outrage by Calling Jews ‘Pigs’ and Encouraging Jihad (Foxnews, 070118)

American-Born Imam Spews Message of Hate in England (Foxnews, 070118)

Jews flee homes after Muslim death threats: Accused of ‘serving global Zionism,’ paid special taxes for protection (WorldNetDaily, 070122)

Who Says “Ladies First”? Ayaan Hirsi Ali appreciates the goodness, and uniqueness, of Western civilization; she’s trying to make sure the rest of us do the same. (National Review Online, 070129)

Change or Die: Fighting Radical Islam (townhall.com, 070205)

Psalm 2:8 (townhall.com, 070212)

Report: Serial Killers Cleared by Iranian Supreme Court as Victims’ Activities Were Un-Islamic (Foxnews, 070415)

Saudi Kidnap, Rape Victim Faces Lashing for ‘Crime’ of Being Alone With Man Not Related to Her (Foxnews, 070306)

How Not to Discuss Islam: Slate provides an excellent example. (WorldNetDaily, 070322)

Judge Tells Battered Muslim Wife: Koran Says ‘Men Are in Charge of Women’ (Foxnews, 070323)

NIGERIA: Nigeria Christian Teacher Killed by Muslim Student Mob (Christian Post, 070326)

Liberal Myths about Radical Islam (townhall.com, 070326)

A Dangerous Woman: Why Islamists want to kill Ayaan Hirsi Ali. (National Review Online, 070329)

O Brotherhood, What Art Thou?: Don’t mistake Islamic extremists for moderates. (Weekly Standard, 070418)

Where are the liberal non-Muslims? (townhall.com, 070430)

Hail Mauritania! An unheralded experiment in Arab democracy. (Weekly Standard, 070501)

Islamic Apologetics: Karen Armstrong tells us to ignore history and doctrine, focus on platitudes about peace and love. (National Review Online, 070507)

Islam and democracy (Washington Times, 070508)

The Subjection of Islamic Women: And the fecklessness of American feminism. (Weekly Standard, 070521)

Poll: 1 in 4 U.S. Young Muslims OK With Homicide Bombings Against Civilians (Foxnews, 070523)

Tiny Minority, Big Problem: Even a few suicide-bomber sympathizers is still far too many. (National Review Online, 070523)

“The World’s Gravest Terrorist Threat”: It isn’t Islamophobia that’s keeping Muslim nations down. (National Review Online, 070605)

‘Muhammad’ Jumps to No. 2 in Britain as Most Popular Name for Baby Boys (Foxnews, 070606)

CAIR membership falls 90% since 9/11 (Washington Times, 070612)

Pakistan Minister Says Salman Rushdie’s Knighthood Justifies Suicide Attacks (Foxnews, 070618)

‘Dhimmification’ on the march (Townhall.com, 070629)

Jihad and dhimmitude (Washington Times, 070821)

India’s Muslims adopt Hindu names (Washington Times, 070821)

The Libel Tourist Strikes Again: How to kill a book you don’t like. (Weekly Standard, 070821)

The Muslim World’s Hope and Ours (townhall.com, 070907)

Religous Liberty Group Criticizes Flawed U.N. Report on Islamophobia (Christian Post, 070918)

Al-Qaeda urges cartoonist death, threatens Swedish firms (National Post, 070915)

Poll: More Americans Hold Unfavorable View of Muslims (Christian Post, 070925)

Anxious for Dhimmitude (Christian Post, 071019)

Iraqi Christians forced to leave (Washington Times, 071001)

Muslims Leaders Warn Pope ‘Survival of World’ at Stake (Foxnews, 071011)

Who Speaks for Islam? Regensburg again. (National Review Online, 071012)

U.S. Commission Wants Saudi-Funded School Closed Until Textbooks Can Be Reviewed (Foxnews, 071019)

About that Muslim Letter to the Pope (townhall.com, 071019)

Jury Reaches Verdict in Case of Muslim Charity Accused of Funding Terror (Foxnews, 071022)

Al Qaeda Takes Aim at Al-Jazeera Over Bin Laden Coverage (Foxnews, 071026)

Gang-Rape in Saudi Arabia (Townhall.com, 071127)

In Search Of The “Peace-Loving Muslims” – Again (townhall.com, 070930)

Terror leaders describe America bound by Islam: Death by stoning, church bells banned, new protection tax for all non-Muslims (WorldNetDaily, 071107)

19-Year Old Saudi Rape Victim Ordered to Undergo 200 Lashes (Foxnews, 071115)

British teacher faces lashes in Sudan after class teddy bear is named ‘Muhammad’ (Times Online, 071126)

Sudan Charges British Teacher With Insulting Religion With ‘Muhammad’ Teddy Bear (Foxnews, 071128)

Saudi Court to Review Case of Rape Victim Sentenced to 200 Lashes (Foxnews, 071128)

Dutch Lawmaker Planning Film Criticizing the Koran (Foxnews, 071129)

Thousands in Sudan Call for British Teddy Bear Teacher’s Execution (Foxnews, 071130)

Sudanese President Pardons British Teacher Jailed for ‘Muhammad’ Teddy Bear (Foxnews, 071203)

Cultures collide: Muslim immigrants will be expelled from Europe unless they reverse the growing perception of them as a social threat (National Post, 060217)

Radio Host Michael Savage Sues Islamic Group for Copyright Infringement (Foxnews, 071203)

USCIRF, Evangelist Defend Teddy Row Teacher (Christian Post, 071203)

Canadian Muslim Teen’s Dad Charged in Her Murder; Friends Say They Clashed Over Head Scarf (Foxnews, 071212)

Aqsa’s father remanded into custody (National Post, 071212)

Dead girl was ‘scared of her father’: friend: Aqsa Parvez; Allegedly killed for refusing to wear hijab (National Post, 071212)

Barbara Kay: How Canada let Aqsa down (National Post, 071212)

Report: Saudi King Pardons Teen Female Rape Victim Sentenced to 200 Lashes (Foxnews, 071217)

Islamic child: ‘We all can be sacrificed’: Hamas kids program features discussion of martyrdom (WorldNetDaily, 071227)

Influential Theologian Troubled by Christian-Muslim Dialogue (Christian Post, 080112)

Dutch will ban burkas in schools/govt offices: reports (National Post, 080123)

Muslim Clerics Press Afghan President to Block Missionary Activity (Christian Post, 080107)

Afghan journalist gets death for insulting Islam (WorldNetDaily, 080124)

Muslim Youth Violence in Danish Cities Continues for 6th Night; 43 Arrested (Foxnews, 080216)

Abuse of U.S. Muslim Women Is Greater Than Reported, Advocacy Groups Say (Foxnews, 080131)

Muslims Protest Wikipedia Images of Muhammad (Foxnews, 080206)

American Woman Jailed in Saudi Arabia for Sitting With Man at Starbucks (Foxnews, 080207)

American Woman Boasted of Saudi Freedoms To Bush Brother Before Arrest at Starbucks (Foxnews, 080207)

Report: Sharia Courts Already Operating in England (Foxnews, 080209)

Egypt Supreme Court Allows Return to Christianity (Christian Post, 080211)

Danish Newspapers Reprint Controversial Muhammad Cartoon After Death Plot Foiled (Foxnews, 080213)

Danish youths set fires, attack police in 5th night of violence (Paris, International Herald, 080215)

‘Zero tolerance’ approach to rioters (Copenhagen Post, 080215)

Fires set in Danish cities after cartoon published (Khaleej Times, Denmark, 080215)

SHARIAH I: Delusions in Canterbury (Paris, International Herald, 080215)

SHARIAH II: Integrating Islam into the West (Paris, International Herald, 080215)

Freedom Remains Elusive for Journalist in Belarus Jailed For Printing Islamic Cartoons (Foxnews, 080219)

The Archbishop and Sharia (BreakPoint, 080225)

Saudi Arabia Stands By Its Arrest of An American Woman in Starbucks (Foxnews, 080219)

Pakistan Lifts Ban on YouTube (Foxnews, 080226)

Pope Baptizes Prominent Italian Muslim (Christian Post, 080323)

The New Dhimmi Times (townhall.com, 080317)

Iranian Textbooks Teach Islamic Supremacy, Inequality for Women and Non-Muslims, Study Finds (Foxnews, 080319)

Peace-loving Muslims (townhall.com, 080319)

Muslim Baptized by Pope Says Life in Great Danger (Christian Post, 080324)

Iran, Indonesia condemn Dutch Koran film (National Post, 080328)

Controversial Anti-Muslim Film Sparks Worldwide Condemnation (Foxnews, 080331)

Vatican: Islam Surpasses Roman Catholicism as World’s Largest Religion (Foxnews, 080330)

Report: Non-Muslims Deserve to Be Punished (Foxnews, 080401)

Hamas Cleric Predicts ‘Rome Will Be Conquered by Islam’ (Foxnews, 080414)

Muslim educator’s dream branded a threat in the U.S. (Paris, International Herald, 080428)

Drawn to the Light: Why Muslims Convert to Christianity (BreakPoint, 080423)

The Evolution of Religious Bigotry (townhall.com, 080402)

Tough Questions for Islam: The Challenge of Fr. Botros (Christian Post, 080424)

What Muslims Really Think (townhall.com, 080428)

Malaysian Islamic Body Rejects Proposed Conversion Rule (Christian Post, 080430)

The Truth about Mustard Seeds: Christianity and Islam (BreakPoint, 080409)

Church of England: UK Gov’t Favors Islam, Ignores Christianity (Christian Post, 080607)

German Court Rules Muslim Girl Can’t Skip Swimming Lessons (Foxnews, 080508)

Jordanian Man Charged in Honor Killing of Sister (Foxnews, 080512)

Muslim ‘Numbers Game’ Proving Deadly for Christian Converts, Says Expert (Christian Post, 080515)

Bishop Fears Radical Islam Will Fill ‘Moral Vacuum’ in Britain (Christian Post, 080529)

Large Explosion Rocks Danish Embassy in Pakistan, at Least 6 Killed (Foxnews, 080602)

Law and religion clash in France (Paris, International Herald, 080602)

Surrender! (townhall.com, 080708)

Muslim father burns Christian daughter alive (WorldNetDaily, 080814)

Saudi Cleric Advises Killing Broadcasters of Seduction, Witchcraft and Comedy (Foxnews, 080914)

Nigerian Police Arrest Muslim Preacher for Having 86 Wives (Foxnews, 080916)

‘Everybody’ Encouraged to Watch New Radical Islam Documentary (Christian Post, 080918)

We Are Losing Europe to Islam (townhall.com, 080918)

Moderate Algeria, Jordan New Spots of Islamic Fundamentalism (Christian Post, 080922)

Sharia courts operating in Britain (Daily Telegraph, 080915)

Who Speaks For Islam (townhall.com, 080915)

Group of Muslim scholars gains political clout in Indonesia (Paris, International Herald, 081007)

Britain grapples with role for Islamic justice (Paris, International Herald, 081119)

Talk is cheap (World, 081129)

Model’s Death Exposes Murky World of Polygamy in U.K. (Foxnews, 081227)

Christian Minister Beaten After Clashing With Muslims on TV (Foxnews, 090316)

Police Fire Tear Gas as Hundreds of Muslims Protest in Athens (Foxnews, 090522)

Hamas Tries to Detain Woman Walking With Man on Gaza Beach (Foxnews, 090708)

Ex-Muslim Teen Fears Family Honor Killing in U.S. (Christian Post, 090812)

Central Asia Sounds Alarm on Islamic Radicalism (Paris, International Herald, 090817)

Islamic Radicalism Slows Moroccan Reforms (Paris, International Herald, 090826)

Puppets preach hate on Hamas TV (National Post, 091001)

Report: Nearly 1 in 4 People Worldwide Is Muslim (Foxnews, 091008)

Runaway Teen Convert to be Returned to Ohio (Christian Post, 091014)

Crossroads of Islam, Past and Present (Paris, International Herald, 091014)

Anti-Islamic Dutch Lawmaker Event at University Cut Short as Crowd Turns Nasty (Foxnews, 091021)

Arizona Man Runs Down Daughter For Becoming ‘Westernized’ (Foxnews, 091021)

Toronto imam preaching ‘hate instead of harmony’ (National Post, 091022)

Prison Bible Outreach Expands to 50 States Amid ‘Prison Islam’ Trend (Christian Post, 090603)

West-Islam Clash ‘Not Inevitable’, Says Catholic Leader (Christian Post, 090608)

‘Stoning of Soraya M.’ Sheds Light on Human Cruelty, Islam (Christian Post, 090626)

Barbara Kay, It is time for the (Anti) Canadian Arab Federation to fold its tents (National Post, 090701)

Head Scarf Emerges as Indonesia Political Symbol (Paris, International Herald, 090702)

Ex-Muslim Teen Fears Family Honor Killing in U.S. (Christian Post, 090812)

Central Asia Sounds Alarm on Islamic Radicalism (Paris, International Herald, 090817)

Runaway Teen Convert Back in Ohio (Christian Post, 091029)

‘Islam Is a Dangerous Religion,’ Most American Pastors Say (Christian Post, 091215)

Judge Clears U.K. Couple of Charges in Muslim ‘Abuse’ Case (Christian Post, 091210)

Runaway Christian Convert Not Required to Meet With Parents, Judge Rules (Foxnews, 091223)

Malaysia Court Nixes Gov’t Ban on Christian ‘Allah’ Usage (Christian Post, 091231)

Anti-Islamic Dutch Lawmaker Faces Hate Speech Trial (Foxnews, 100120)

NIGERIA: More Than 200 Dead in Nigeria Religious Violence (Foxnews, 100120)

Plan to Build Europe’s Biggest Mosque Near Olympic Site Halted (Foxnews, 100117)

France to deny citizenship to man who forced burka on wife (National Post, 100203)

Ex-Palestinian Spy Talks About Evils of Islam, Hamas’ Brutalities (Foxnews, 100303)

Barbara Kay: A niqab is not a fashion statement (National Post, 100304)

The burka — not ‘worn,’ but ‘borne’ (National Post, 100326)

Christian Burned Alive, Wife Raped, for Refusing to Convert to Islam: Emulating Islam’s Barbarous Prophet (faithfreedom.org, 100322)

Ex-Muslim Defends Franklin Graham’s Islam Remarks (Christian Post, 100430)

France pushes ahead with ban on full Islamic veil in public spaces (National Post, 100421)

Muslims want Franklin Graham censored again (WorldNetDaily, 100427)

‘Leaving Islam’ Bus Ads Run in NYC (Christian Post, 100529)

Jewish, Muslim Tensions Rise at UC Irvine After Suspension of Muslim Group (Foxnews, 100619)

Europe’s Burqa Rage (townhall.com, 100527)

Official: Attackers kill more than 70 at minority sect’s mosques in eastern Pakistan (Foxnews, 100528)

Al-Qaida-Linked Militants Behead 3 Filipino Christian Loggers (Christian Post, 100614)

Family of 17-Year-Old Somali Girl Abuses Her for Leaving Islam (Christian Post, 100616)

French parliament debates ban on burqa-style veils (townhall.com, 100706)

A True Moderate Muslim And Why Obama Sides Against Him (townhall.com, 100707)

Action on honour killings (National Post, 100712)

Use of ‘honour killing’ disputed (National Post, 100713)

Battling a culture of honour and shame (National Post, 100707)

Now SYRIA bans the burka and niqab in universities as backlash against Muslim veil grows (National Post, 100720)

Can ‘Eurabia’ Be Far Behind? (townhall.com, 100729)

 

 

==============================

 

Is Terror the Problem, or is it Islam? (Foxnews, 011117)

 

WASHINGTON — Two months into America’s war on terror, some conservative strategists are starting to disavow President Bush’s dictum that the conflict is not against Islam, insisting that to fight terror means to fight the fundamentalist streak wound through much of the world’s third largest religion.

 

Islam, these hardliners say, is at its core a faith hell bent on destroying the west and the civilization of the non-believer, or infidel.

 

“It is a religious war — it is a war of Islam against us,” charged Morgan Norvel, a U.S. Marine and the author of Triumph of Disorder: Islamic Fundamentalism, the New Face of War. “Islam is hostile to all non-Islamic countries. Conflict was, and still is, part of the faith.”

 

“The problem is Islam itself — there is no such thing as peaceful Islam,” said William Lind, author and military historian for the Free Congress Foundation. “There were never a case where Islam was spread throughout the world by missionaries, but rather by the sword.”

 

Such words are provocative these days, especially as Bush goes out of his way to demonstrate that the war is against terrorists and not their faith. The president, though he decided not to halt the bombing in Afghanistan for the holy month of Ramadan, will host Muslim leaders at the White House next week for a fasting ritual.

 

Bush is backed by moderate Muslims in America and elsewhere who say the Taliban and similar fundamentalist groups preach a perversity of Islam that is not the true word of the prophet Muhammad, the father of the faith.

 

John Voll, a Georgetown University professor of Islamic history, says all of the world’s greatest religions — including Christianity — have historically seen their faiths perverted and people murder in the name of God.

 

“Bin Laden and the Taliban … is a particular movement that is rationalized by one of the worlds largest religions,” he said. “But it is not accepted by the mainstream believers of that religion.”

 

But hardliners like Lind and Norvel said that to treat Sept. 11 as an isolated terrorist attack and not part of a global fundamentalist movement against America and Christianity may cost us the war.

 

“We cannot continue to whistle past the graveyard,” said Lind. “If we think of this as only a war on terrorism we will fail. Terrorism is a technique. What is going on here is much more than a technique.”

 

People like Lind also are concerned about taking a multi-lateral approach to the conflict. Cliff Kincaid, head of the Washington D.C-based America’s Survival, Inc., says the U.S. should be wary of United Nations involvement. The U.N stood by complacently as terrorists became the scourge of world in the last 30 years, Kincaid said, and failed to stop the Taliban and its cohorts with its treaties and sanctions.

 

In fact, Kincaid says that judging from the lukewarm response to Bush’s recent speech to the U.N., the world body seems downright unsympathetic.

 

“When our president appealed to them for support to find the killers, he got only polite applause,” he said. “The UN is an anti-American body, though they want our hospitality and our money.”

 

Fred Gedrich of the Freedom Alliance, a conservative Washington-based think-tank, chides the U.N. for giving equal standing to countries routinely accused of being linked to state-sponsored terror, among them Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, the Sudan, North Korea and Cuba.

 

“That devastating terrorist attack (Sept. 11) proves we can’t rely on the U.N. or these U.N. treaties to protect our national security. It (U.N.) obstructs and delays justice,” charged Kincaid.

 

Tom Neumann, executive director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, says that’s why he does not trust the tentative coalition that Bush has built with the Middle Eastern nations post Sept. 11.

 

“We cannot conclude a war on terrorism without concluding a war against all of these agents, all of these entities,” he said, pointing to the different terrorist organizations, most of which support the Palestinians’ violent war against Israel.

 

He added, “it is politically incorrect to suggest that this is a war against Islam.”

 

“Maybe it isn’t a war against Islam but a war of Islam against Christianity. But yes, it is a clash of civilizations,” he said.

 

More moderate voices disagree. “This is a clash on a number of levels and it is first a clash with the Taliban and bin Laden. This is why we can get the support of Egypt and Turkey,” says Georgetown’s Voll. “It is a war where Christians and Muslims can get together against a particular mode of fanaticism.”

 

==============================

 

“Relentlessly and Thoroughly”: The only way to respond (National Review Online, 011015)

 

By Paul Johnson, a historian and journalist whose forthcoming book is a history of art.

 

Bold and uncompromising words were spoken by American (and British) leaders in the immediate response to the Manhattan Massacre. But they may be succeeded by creeping appeasement unless public opinion insists that these leaders stick to their initial resolve to destroy international terrorism completely. One central reason why appeasement is so tempting to Western governments is that attacking terrorism at its roots necessarily involves conflict with the second-largest religious community in the world.

 

It is widely said that Islamic terrorists are wholly unorthodox in their belief that their religion sanctions what they do, and promises the immediate reward of heaven to what we call “suicide bombers” but they insist are martyrs to the faith. This line is bolstered by the assertion that Islam is essentially a religion of peace and that the very word “Islam” means “peace.” Alas, not so. Islam means “submission,” a very different matter, and one of the functions of Islam, in its more militant aspect, is to obtain that submission from all, if necessary by force.

 

Islam is an imperialist religion, more so than Christianity has ever been, and in contrast to Judaism. The Koran, Sura 5, verse 85, describes the inevitable enmity between Moslems and non-Moslems: “Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans.” Sura 9, verse 5, adds: “Then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them. And seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them, in every strategem [of war].” Then nations, however mighty, the Koran insists, must be fought “until they embrace Islam.”

 

These canonical commands cannot be explained away or softened by modern theological exegesis, because there is no such science in Islam. Unlike Christianity, which, since the Reformation and Counter Reformation, has continually updated itself and adapted to changed conditions, and unlike Judaism, which has experienced what is called the 18th-century Jewish enlightenment, Islam remains a religion of the Dark Ages. The 7th-century Koran is still taught as the immutable word of God, any teaching of which is literally true. In other words, mainstream Islam is essentially akin to the most extreme form of Biblical fundamentalism. It is true it contains many sects and tendencies, quite apart from the broad division between Sunni Moslems, the majority, who are comparatively moderate and include most of the ruling families of the Gulf, and Shia Moslems, far more extreme, who dominate Iran. But virtually all these tendencies are more militant and uncompromising than the orthodox, which is moderate only by comparison, and by our own standards is extreme. It believes, for instance, in a theocratic state, ruled by religious law, inflicting (as in Saudi Arabia) grotesquely cruel punishments, which were becoming obsolete in Western Europe in the early Middle Ages.

 

Moreover, Koranic teaching that the faith or “submission” can be, and in suitable circumstances must be, imposed by force, has never been ignored. On the contrary, the history of Islam has essentially been a history of conquest and reconquest. The 7th-century “breakout” of Islam from Arabia was followed by the rapid conquest of North Africa, the invasion and virtual conquest of Spain, and a thrust into France that carried the crescent to the gates of Paris. It took half a millennium of reconquest to expel the Moslems from Western Europe. The Crusades, far from being an outrageous prototype of Western imperialism, as is taught in most of our schools, were a mere episode in a struggle that has lasted 1,400 years, and were one of the few occasions when Christians took the offensive to regain the “occupied territories” of the Holy Land.

 

The Crusades, as it happened, fatally weakened the Greek Orthodox Byzantine Empire, the main barrier to the spread of Islam into southeast and central Europe. As a result of the fall of Constantinople to the ultramilitant Ottoman Sultans, Islam took over the entire Balkans, and was threatening to capture Vienna and move into the heart of Europe as recently as the 1680s.

 

This millennial struggle continues in a variety of ways. The recent conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo were a savage reaction by the Orthodox Christians of Serbia to the spread of Islam in their historic heartlands, chiefly by virtue of a higher birthrate. Indeed, in the West, the battle is largely demographic, though it is likely to take a more militant turn at any moment. Moslems from the Balkans and North Africa are surging over established frontiers on a huge scale, rather as the pressure of the eastern tribes brought about the collapse of the Roman Empire of the West in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. The number of Moslems penetrating and settling in Europe is now beyond computation because most of them are illegals. They are getting into Spain and Italy in such numbers that, should present trends continue, both these traditionally Catholic countries will become majority Moslem during the 21st century.

 

The West is not alone in being under threat from Islamic expansion. While the Ottomans moved into South-East Europe, the Moghul invasion of India destroyed much of Hindu and Buddhist civilization there. The recent destruction by Moslems in Afghanistan of colossal Buddhist statues is a reminder of what happened to temples and shrines, on an enormous scale, when Islam took over. The writer V. S. Naipaul has recently pointed out that the destructiveness of the Moslem Conquest is at the root of India’s appalling poverty today. Indeed, looked at historically, the record shows that Moslem rule has tended both to promote and to perpetuate poverty. Meanwhile, the religion of “submission” continues to advance, as a rule by force, in Africa in part of Nigeria and Sudan, and in Asia, notably in Indonesia, where non-Moslems are given the choice of conversion or death. And in all countries where Islamic law is applied, converts, whether compulsory or not, who revert to their earlier faith, are punished by death.

 

The survival and expansion of militant Islam in the 20th century came as a surprise. After the First World War, many believed that Turkey, where the Kemal Ataturk regime imposed secularization by force, would set the pattern for the future, and that Islam would at last be reformed and modernized. Though secularism has — so far — survived in Turkey, in the rest of Islam fundamentalism, or orthodoxy, as it is more properly called, has increased its grip on both the rulers and the masses. There are at present 18 predominantly Islamic states, some of them under Koranic law and all ruled by groups that have good reason to fear extremists.

 

Hence American policymakers, in planning to uproot Islamic terrorism once and for all, have to steer a narrow path. They have the military power to do what they want, but they need a broad-based global coalition to back their action, preferably with military contributions as well as words, and ideally including such states as Pakistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. To get this kind of support is not easy, for moderate Moslem rulers are far more frightened of the terrorists than of Americans, and fear for their lives and families. The danger is that they will insist on qualification of American action that will amount, in effect, to appeasement, and that this in turn will divide and weaken both the administration and U.S. public opinion.

 

It is vitally important that America stick to the essentials of its military response and carry it through relentlessly and thoroughly. Although only Britain can be guaranteed to back the White House in every contingency, it is better in the long run for America to act without many allies, or even alone, than to engage in a messy compromise dictated by nervousness and cowardice. That would be the worst of all solutions and would be certain to lead to more terrorism, in more places, and on an ever-increasing scale. Now is the ideal moment for the United States to use all its physical capacity to eliminate large-scale international terrorism. The cause is overwhelmingly just, the nation is united, the hopes of decent, law-abiding men and women everywhere go with American arms. Such a moment may never recur.

 

The great William Gladstone, in resisting terrorism, once used the phrase, “The resources of civilisation are not yet exhausted.” That is true today. Those resources are largely in American hands, and the nation — “the last, best hope of mankind” — has an overwhelming duty to use them with purposeful justification and to the full, in the defense of the lives, property, and freedom of all of us. This is the central point to keep in mind when the weasel words of cowardice and surrender are pronounced.

 

==============================

 

Islam According to Oprah: Is Oprah Winfrey a threat to national security? (National Review Online, 011008)

 

By Rod Dreher, columnist for the New York Post

 

Is Oprah Winfrey a threat to national security? No, but now that the war has begun, I worry about her, and here’s why.

 

The nation cannot afford the naive illusions that have given many Americans comfort in peacetime. Chief among them is the notion, repeated ad nauseam by our leaders and the media, that Islam is a religion of peace. This may not be an outright lie, but it is so far from the full truth as to approach falsehood.

 

Americans have been told that they shouldn’t attack the Muslims among us, and only the lowest of the low would disagree. The American people, with very few exceptions, have risen to the challenge to be humane, decent, and loving toward Muslims in this country. Well and good.

 

Americans by nature want to think the best of those from other cultures. But we run the risk of blinding ourselves to the nature of the threat facing our country and our civilization. In his 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Harvard’s Samuel P. Huntington warned us of deluding ourselves about the true nature of the Islamic threat.

 

“Some Westerners, including President Bill Clinton, have argued that the West does not have problems with Islam but only with violent Islamist extremists,” Huntington wrote. “Fourteen hundred years of history demonstrate otherwise.”

 

We can sit around making diversity quilts and thinking happy thoughts, or we can, with charity, commit ourselves to soberly assessing the historical and present-day reality of “peaceful” Islam, and its relations with non-Muslims.

 

Which brings us to Oprah. Last Friday, she devoted her program to “Islam 101,” purportedly a crash course in the Mohammedan faith for her vast television audience of clueless Americans. It was grossly imbalanced and extremely dishonest. In fact, given how many Christians and other non-Muslims are horrifically persecuted today by Muslims in the name of Islam, it amounted to offensive propaganda.

 

Oprah called Islam “the most misunderstood of the three major religions” — yet did her best to add to the confusion by candy-coating the complicated truth about the Muslim faith. If you were to take Oprah’s show as your guide to Islam, you would think Muslims were basically Episcopalians in veils and turbans.

 

Take her interview with Queen Rania of Jordan, a lovely, modern young woman who looks more at home in the pages of Vogue than in a hijab. The queen said that Islam “doesn’t impose anything” on people — an absurd lie. Oprah asked her about the so-called “honor killings” of women in Jordan, murders committed by men against women in their families who are believed to have shamed the clan. For example, some young women who have been raped are in turn murdered by their male relatives for having stained the family’s honor.

 

Progressive forces, supported by the palace and Jordan’s Islamic religious establishment, tried to outlaw these killings in 1999, but were thwarted by the conservative Islamist party in Parliament. Queen Rania, reflecting establishment opinion, told Oprah that honor killings were a “cultural” phenomenon.

 

If that’s true, then why have pre-Islamic Arabic tribal customs been taken up and spread throughout the Muslim world? Moreover, many Islamic religious leaders endorse them, or lesser violent punishment of women for the same dubious offenses.

 

Anyway, if one grants, for the sake of argument, the queen’s contention that the Koran doesn’t endorse honor killings, so what? Clearly very many Muslims believe honor killings are Islamic doctrine, and act on those beliefs — and we must be aware of that, and let that reality inform our judgment. If one were a Jew in Torquemada’s Spain, it would be useless to be told that the Inquisition was a betrayal of Christianity. Theological disputes would be ancillary to the question of survival: what would matter would be how the local Christians interpreted their faith.

 

Queen Rania’s dismissal of Muslim behavior that brings discredit upon Islam as un-Islamic brings to mind the bankrupt apologies leftists made during the Cold War for Communism. When the wickedness of the Soviets, or other Communist forces, could not be denied, it was claimed that these people did not represent “true” Communism. They may have actually believed that, but those who would be victims of real Communists, not theoretical Communists, didn’t have that luxury.

 

Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, turned up to say that “There is nothing in Islam that does not accord women equal rights.” Oprah did not ask her to name one Muslim society in which women enjoy equal rights in the Western sense, because the ambassador would have had to remain silent. Or perhaps not: she had no trouble lying when she asserted that it was “absolutely untrue” that some people in her nation had taken to the streets to celebrate the September 11 attack.

 

Other quotes, from the program (available at www.oprah.com):

 

— “Muslims do not think that there is a non-Islamic world out there that we have to conquer. That is not the concept in Islam. Our job is to get to know one another, and the more we do that the better off we are.”

 

— “The main thing we would like non-Muslims to know about our religion is that we’re not so different from them.”

 

— “I would like to reassure the American public that Islam does not preach violence.”

 

— “Islam and Christianity and Judaism, and all the world’s religions share a common heritage. We come from the same root. And our prophets and the characters in our holy books are the same. In Islam, all the religions are permitted to exist in peace with these others until Judgement Day.”

 

That Oprah let these statements be broadcast unchallenged is appalling, an absurd fantasy that ignores the enormous suffering actual Muslims are inflicting on non-Muslim populations worldwide. “Wherever one looks along the perimeter of Islam, Muslims have problems living peaceably with their neighbors,” Harvard’s Huntington wrote. “Muslims make up about one-fifth of the world’s population but in the 1990s they have been far more involved in intergroup violence than the people of any other civilization. The evidence is overwhelming.”

 

In Sudan, the Muslim government in Khartoum imposed Islamic law nationwide in 1993, and has killed 2 million Sudanese Christians and animists, and enslaved countless more, in an attempt to Islamize the country. Coptic Christians in Egypt, whose presence in that country predates the arrival of Islam, have been slaughtered by fundamentalist Muslims, with authorities doing little or nothing to stop them.

 

In the Philippines and East Timor, Christians are being massacred by Muslims. Churches and Christian homes in Nigeria are being burned, and Christians murdered, by Muslim extremists. Arab Christians are oppressed by Muslims in the Holy Land, too. In Nazareth, Muslims are building a mosque just steps from the Basilica of the Annunciation, and make no secret of their intent to provoke and intimidate Christians. An imam in Gaza earlier this year broadcast a sermon over Palestinian Authority radio calling on Muslims to murder Christians and Jews as their Islamic duty. The ancient Christian presence in many Arab lands — Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, among others — has been decimated in the last century by Muslim persecution.

 

The list goes on and on. While it is true that there are relatively peaceful Muslims who wish us no harm — the Sufis of Turkey come to mind, but there are others — it is unarguable that very many Muslims and their leaders despise non-Muslims, attack us rhetorically in religious terms, and wish to see us die for our infidelity to Allah. To these Muslims, many of whom are Wahhabi (the Muslim sect that, according to Islam scholar Stephen Schwartz, accounts for 80% of the imams in the United States today), there are two worlds: that of Islam, and that of war. No compromise is possible between them.

 

What can possibly be gained from ignoring this ugly reality? Nothing — and a great deal to be lost. As Andrew Sullivan notes in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, our leaders’ “laudable” post-9/11 efforts to discourage seeing the conflict in religious terms “doesn’t hold up under inspection.”

 

“The religious dimension of this conflict is central to its meaning,” Sullivan writes, adding that it would be “naive to ignore in Islam a deep thread of intolerance toward unbelievers, especially if those unbelievers are believed to be a threat to the Islamic world.”

 

It’s naive to ignore it on a macro level, and it’s naive to ignore it on a micro level, too. We know that the Muslims who carried out the 9/11 attacks lived for years peacefully among other Americans. We also know that they couldn’t have carried out their operations without the support of others. Further, we know that some mosques and Islamic institutions in this country have been helpful to the jihadists. Believing that the threat to America comes simply from foreign Islamic extremists may make Oprah viewers feel better, but it’s dangerous — and it lets moderate, patriotic American Muslims evade their responsibility to repudiate and root out fundamentalists among them. In Sunday’s New York Times, a reporter wrote of interviews she had with Muslim American students right here in my own Brooklyn neighborhood. One of the male students said, on the record, that he would abandon the United States and give his own life to back an “observant Muslim who is fighting for an Islamic cause.” Oprah honey, this is called sedition, and if there is an Islamic fifth column in this country, the American public needs to know about it.

 

American Muslims understandably feel pressured now to show the non-Muslim majority that they are no threat, and well-meaning dolts like Oprah are key to this effort. Watching Oprah’s “Islam 101” program, I thought of the Lebanese Catholics at my church, who stopped me after a prayer service for the World Trade Center dead to talk, on the record, about the anti-Arab persecution they feared coming.

 

They all said they knew plenty of Muslims here in New York who were peace-loving people, and that it would be wrong to think ill of them. I asked these Arab Christians if these Muslims supported terrorist organizations, monetarily or otherwise. Every one of them said yes, sheepishly. After the interview was over, the group asked me not to use their last names. They were afraid of being physically attacked by Muslims in their neighborhoods — this, for standing up for America in print.

 

“That’s amazing,” I said to them. “You are all Christians living in the United States of America, yet you are afraid to have your names attached to patriotic statements, out of fear that your Muslim neighbors, the same people you are defending to me, will attack you. What does that say about the reality of Islam in America?”

 

They did not answer me, because they had no answer. Think about that next time you’re told that Islam is a religion of peace. There’s more to the story than what Oprah is telling you.

 

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Radical Islam in Nigeria: The Talibanization of West Africa (Weekly Standard, 020415)

 

AFTER SAFIYA HUSEINI was sentenced to death by stoning last October 9 by an Islamic sharia court in northern Nigeria, her case drew international attention. The New York Times Magazine profiled her, and European members of parliament protested to Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. When, in March, an appeals court overturned the death sentence on a technicality, much of the world sighed with relief and lost interest in the growth of militant Islam in Africa’s most populous country.

 

But the extremism to which Huseini’s case drew attention—she had gone to the police to complain of being raped, then was arrested and tried for adultery—remains a growing threat to human rights in the dozen Nigerian states that have adopted a hard-line interpretation of Islamic law. Especially at risk are women and religious minorities, not to mention democracy and stability in West Africa.

 

Thus, three days before Huseini’s conviction was overturned in Sokoto state, a sharia court in neighboring Katsina state condemned Amina Lawal Kurami to be stoned to death for adultery, and another court is considering the same for 18-year-old Hafsatu Abubakar. (This mode of execution, incidentally, involves immobilizing the person to be stoned by first burying her up to her chest.)

 

Men are invariably let off for their part in these sexual crimes because sharia courts require a higher standard of evidence to convict them. But men face notable brutality for other offenses. In May 2001, an Islamic court ordered the removal of Ahmed Tijjan’s left eye after he was found guilty of partially blinding a friend. Another ordered 15-year-old Abubakar Aliyu’s hand amputated for stealing. Ahmed Sani, the governor of Zamfara, the first state to introduce this form of sharia, told Freedom House that “without amputations there is no sharia.”

 

The growth of radical Islam has effects far wider than these draconian punishments. Nigeria is about equally divided between Christians and Muslims, with a small number of animists. If radical Islam is left unchecked, it will continue to provoke widespread inter-religious conflict that, combined with endemic ethnic strife, may fragment the country. This could make the giant of sub-Saharan Africa—a major oil exporter to the United States and a new, struggling democracy—into a haven for Islamism, linked to foreign extremists.

 

As in much of Africa, family law in Nigeria has long drawn on sharia, the body of Islamic law and precedent. But the versions of sharia introduced in the last two years are closer to those imposed by the Taliban in Afghanistan or the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. Since 1999, Zamfara state has sexually segregated buses, taxis, and many public places, banned alcohol, enforced a dress code on women, and closed non-Muslim schools. Its hizbah (religious enforcers) mete out immediate, harsh punishments for “un-Islamic” activities such as questioning Islamic teaching or women’s wearing pants.

 

In some states Muslims are subject to sharia even if they prefer civil courts that have protections under Nigeria’s bill of rights. Non-Muslims are barred from being judges, prosecutors, and lawyers in the courts to which they may be subject. Sharia state governments have destroyed dozens of churches.

 

Sani told Freedom House that the Koran requires Muslims to kill family members who leave Islam, and indicated that his state will not prosecute such killings. Trying to appeal a sharia verdict to one of Nigeria’s higher civil courts could be taken as a sign of such apostasy.

 

The new laws are not subject to democratic control. Since proponents of the new code say that it is divinely ordained, no constitution or election is allowed to challenge it. Sani says that sharia supercedes the Nigerian constitution, and Zamfara’s legislative assembly suspended two democratically elected Muslim members because they did not fully support the new laws. Governor Bukar Ibrahim of Yobe, another sharia state, said that he was prepared to fight a civil war to preserve it.

 

The new laws have precipitated riots throughout the country. February 2000 saw the worst violence since Nigeria’s civil war 30 years ago. In Kaduna City, whole neighborhoods were destroyed. Police conservatively estimate that 600 people died; human rights groups say as many as 3,000. Perhaps 6,000 have been killed in the last two years in religion-related violence nationwide.

 

After September 11, some Islamist violence took on a distinctly anti-American tone. In the cities of Jos and Kano, hundreds died in riots in September and October, with Muslims observed waving bin Laden posters and Christians waving American flags. Bin Laden remains a hero in much of the north.

 

While no evidence has surfaced of al Qaeda operations in Nigeria, the extremism from which it draws support is spreading rapidly, and is encouraged by radical Islamic groups and foreign regimes. Nigerian police say that dozens of Pakistanis have been involved in religious riots, and visiting Pakistani “scholars” have been ejected from the country. Before Zamfara instituted sharia, officials from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Syria, and even Palestinian representatives, visited. Sudan, which has already supplied Chechnya’s criminal code, is running training programs for Nigeria’s sharia judges.

 

The Nigerian federal government’s response has been tentative. Its justice minister has written that the new sharia is unconstitutional but has failed to mount a legal challenge.

 

Nigeria is further proof, if any were needed, that radical Islam is not created or driven by opposition to U.S. policy on Israel. It is an aggressive, worldwide ideological movement with its sights set on Africa and Asia as much as the Middle East. The situation in Nigeria also provides an additional reason for the United States to drop its 30-year practice of downplaying demands for human rights and democracy in Muslim societies. The United States should urge Nigeria to oppose extremist sharia vigorously and help it to do so. Even hardheaded realists should see the importance of aiding the country to reform its troubled legal system nationwide and provide education that includes modern knowledge and promotes freedom as an alternative to Islamist schools.

 

Otherwise this fledgling democracy, regional power, and U.S. ally is bound to face further religious violence. As Nigerian novelist and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka laments, “The roof is already burning over our head—the prelude to civil war.”

 

Paul Marshall is a senior fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House, which has just released his book-length report “The Talibanization of Nigeria: Sharia Law and Religious Freedom.”

 

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Islam’s Threat to the West (NewsMax.com, 020509)

 

Wes Vernon

“We do believe Islam is at war with the Christian West.”

 

With that comment, Paul Weyrich and William S. Lind have broken through a taboo in the entire discussion of the war on terrorism.

 

Those who say the threat comes only from “Islamic fundamentalism” or “Islamic extremism” miss the whole point of the terrorist attacks, Weyrich and Lind argue. In fact, those who believe the terrorist enemy is confined only to a few fanatics “misportray the nature of Islam itself.”

 

“War against the unbeliever is as central a doctrine and practice of Islam as the Virgin birth, the Trinity and Christ’s resurrection are central to Christianity,” declares the Free Congress booklet.

 

The study promises to stir up a new debate as to the very nature of the threat the U.S. is fighting. Among its findings:

 

* Islam is simply “a religion of war.” You may protest that your Islamic neighbor down the street could not possibly be a threat. Free Congress says you should bear in mind that “there are lax Islamics.” Or to put it another way, the peaceful individual Muslims are out of step with their religion. They are outsiders looking in.

 

* The two principle sources of Islamic belief “ooze war and blood.”

 

The Koran includes such wording as defining war as “a religious obligation for the faithful” … “fight and slay the pagans,” meaning non-Muslims … “the punishment of those who wage war against God and his Apostle.”

 

The Hadith, a collection of sayings from Mohammed, quotes him as saying there is no deed “which equals Jihad” in reward … that “a single endeavour [of fighting] in Allah’s cause in the forenoon or in the afternoon is better than the world and whatever is in it” … that the only satisfaction a martyr could derive from coming back to earth would be “so that he may by martyred ten times because of the dignity he receives [from Allah]” … “Know that Paradise is under the shade of swords.” … that “exposing their [non-Muslim] women and children to danger” is justified because as “the prophet replied, ‘They are from them.’”

 

Presumably, that would explain present-day suicide bombings that kill innocents here and elsewhere.

 

Weyrich and Lind trace the violent history of Islam to Mohammed himself.

 

Mohammed Like ‘a Mafia Don’

 

“Not only did he personally wage war,” they note, “he repeatedly called for ‘hits’ on anyone he did not like, in the manner of a mafia don.” For example:

 

“The apostle Mohammed said, ‘Kill any Jew that falls into your power.’ Thereupon Muhayyisa leapt upon Ibn Sunayna, a Jewish merchant with whom they had social and business relations, and killed him.”

 

Nobel literature prize winner Elias Cannetti has defined Islam as “a religion of war – literally a killer belief.”

 

“Islam has made war on Christendom and Christians since it first swept out of Arabia to conquer much of the Christian Mediterranian world,” the Free Congress study finds.

 

And then, a brief synopsis of history bringing us up to the present day:

 

“As recently as 1683, the armies of Islam were besieging Vienna. After about 300 years on the strategic defensive, Islam has recently resumed the strategic offensive. It is now expanding outward in every direction: down both coasts of Africa, east through the South China Sea toward Australia, north into both eastern and western Europe, and west into the United States where the fastest growing religion is Islam. As has been true throughout its history, the expansion of Islam is not peaceful. More Christians are being martyred today than at the height of the Roman persecutions, and most of them are dying at the hands of Islam. Christendom is in peril.”

 

Quite simply, Weyrich and Lind view the present-day terrorism as an extension of a religious war. Islam, they explain, divides the world into two portions; the Dar al Islam, the world of Islam, and the Dar al Harb, the world of war. Peace is possible only within the world of Islam.

 

Islam is on the cutting edge of the new kind of warfare that does not involve easily identifiable nations or governments. Rather, there is a war of cultures, occurring not just “over there” but on American soil, a trend Free Congress says was observable “long before September 11.”

 

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Who’s Right? (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, 020600)

 

Two views of Muslims vie for our attention since September 11

 

Is anyone else confused about what Muslims really believe? Since September 11 I have read, listened to, and discussed a myriad of perspectives on what Islam is all about and how it motivates and shapes Muslims around the world. I’m left with opposing versions.

 

I live six doors down from a mosque and only a few blocks from the apartment where the first suspected Muslim terrorists in Canada were arrested. In a sense, I’ve been living with the two realities.

 

In the last 12 years, I watched the neighbourhood mosque blossom from a dilapidated old church, left empty for decades, into a place of beauty. I saw the broken windows mended, and the dirt yard transformed into garden and interlocking pathways. Every Friday I viewed Muslims gathering, with heads covered, laughing with one another. Often I smiled back, commenting on the weather.

 

Once when a Muslim worshiper in a hurry blocked our driveway, the infraction drew a crowd. The driver was brought straight from his knees in the mosque to move his vehicle while the crowd watched. My Muslim defenders were vocal: “This is not right.” “Allah does not approve.”

 

Over the years my impression has been positive. If I felt any anxiety it was only because of the tremendous burden in their believing that they must earn God’s love in order to gain an eternity in paradise. Many times I silently prayed that God would show them His love for them—just as they are.

 

The only complaints about the mosque have been from neighbours who grumble over the lack of parking spots or the sound of exuberant children playing outside late at night during Muslim festivities.

 

Then the image of the crumbling twin towers and the arrest of suspected terrorists just around the corner changed my opinion overnight. The next day, to my horror, I began to view my Muslim neighbours with suspicion. Now their modest attire and quiet manner appeared deceptive. The daily newspapers and TV images painted pictures of hidden violence fueled by Islamic scriptures.

 

Then one morning I found a red long‑stemmed rose on our doorstep. On the tiny scroll attached I found a gracious plea from the mosque for continued goodwill and thanksgiving for our kind treatment of them in the past. Every household on our street received one.

 

I recalled my recent fears. “God, forgive me,” I thought. I realized that this gesture was far more in character with my experience of our peace-loving Muslim neighbours. It was far more in character with the Muslim community that has joined with Christians and Jews across our country in defending marriage and moral values.

 

I can’t deny the reality of Muslim terrorists or Muslim countries that persecute those who share my faith in Jesus Christ. But these are not the Muslims that I know. The ones for whom I continue to pray.

 

Gail Reid is managing editor of Faith Today and director of communications for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

 

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Muslims & Christians: How Wide the Divide? (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, 020600)

 

After September 11, people are finding ways to bridge centuries of misunderstanding

 

In the church hall, darting children laugh and yell to friends. Quick interchanges burst from clusters of young adults. Nearby, murmurs arise from a group of elderly people enjoying a special opportunity to socialize.

 

Soon the evening’s English lesson starts. Some continue chatting; but most of the 50 or so present concentrate on trying to comprehend the meaning of North American slang terms such as “off the top of your head.” Later, along with the teacher, they read a grade 5-level passage from the Gospel of Matthew, learning some English and listening attentively as the teacher explains Christian faith and doctrine at appropriate points in the text.

 

The night ends with the monthly music event. The students respond enthusiastically to the worship songs played by a Canadian group. Then musicians among the students get out their own instruments: a clarinet, drums, and a four-string, long-necked lute-like instrument. Then they jam, sometimes with the worship team.

 

These sounds can be heard at many of the weekly gatherings where Canadian Christians offer hospitality and lessons in life skills to refugees. What sets this gathering apart is the fact that the majority of the students are Muslims. For two years, many of these Muslims from the former Yugoslavia have regularly attended the meetings sponsored by Friends, a ministry to Albanian Kosovar immigrants in Surrey, B.C.

 

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. and the subsequent war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the need for this type of relation building has become even more apparent. Though some non‑Muslims and Muslims in Canada have held fast to negative stereotypes, many more, including Christians, have sought to bridge the divide between Islam and Christianity.

 

Bob Granholm, who heads Friends, is one of a small group of Canadian Christians who, in the past several years, have made concerted efforts to reach out to some of the estimated 700,000 Muslims in Canada. He has seen changes in Muslim immigrants’ attitudes to Christians. Granholm, who has ministered to Muslims for 15 years, is encouraged by what he sees as a greater openness to the gospel.

 

“They ask a lot of questions,” he says. “Some are surprised to learn that Jesus was Jewish. Some think the New Testament was a book written by Jesus. A lot of them ask, ‘How do I change religions?’ Everyone wants a copy of the Jesus video in their language.” The Jesus film, produced by Campus Crusade for Christ, depicts Jesus’ life, using dialogue mainly from the Book of Luke.

 

Others have noticed this openness. “I believe the aftermath of 9-11 has been positive for spreading the gospel among Muslims,” says Tom Tan, a pastor with Coquitlam Alliance Church in B.C. Tan’s church began ESL classes for Afghans and Iranians early last year—and after September 11 the number of students almost doubled. Many Muslims, he says, “were drawn to the church because they want to have good Christian friends.”

 

In the past several months his horizons have expanded considerably. “Through the ESL classes, I managed to connect with an Afghan tribal leader,” he said. Last October the Afghani invited Tan to send Christians to work in community development in his village. “I could not dream of church planting among Afghans . . . before 9-11. But now there are plans for me to travel to Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan,” said Tan.

 

Seervan Dowlati, a one-time Muslim who now pastors Vancouver Persian Church, concurs. “We have many Muslims who are calling and asking us to pray for them.”

 

The interest goes both ways. “Among Christians,” asserts James Beverley, a professor with Tyndale Seminary in Ontario who has written on Islam, “there’s now an interest in understanding Islam that has never [existed] before in Western history.”

 

The Divide

 

Still, many bridges remain to be built—as the recent rise in hate crimes confirms.

 

According to a report issued by the Toronto police force in late February, hate crimes in Canada during 2001 showed a 66% increase over the previous year—due primarily to attacks against Muslims following September 11.

 

“There have been far too many incidents of harassment,” declares Alia Hogben, of the Ontario-based Canadian Council of Muslim Women. “On the other hand,” she adds, “we have been inundated since September 11 with wonderful expressions of concern by our Christian neighbours and friends.”

 

Some Canadian Muslims cite misrepresentation as a problem. “Many Christians’ only knowledge about Islam comes from the media,” says Ali Assaf, a spokesperson for the Canadian Islamic Centre in Edmonton. “They seem to think that Muslims do not believe in God, nor in the prophets common to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.” He exhorts Christians to think for themselves. “Please find out the truth about Islam and Muslims before drawing up a judgment.”

 

“There are definitely many misperceptions,” says Hogben “such as that Islam is a backward religion, belonging to the Middle Ages—[and] that ‘Allah’ means some other God, and not just the one God of all beings. Sadly, most of these [ideas] started with the first contacts between Muslims and Christians during the Crusades.”

 

Muslims, too, are still influenced by the Crusades. Don Little, Ontario-based director of Arab World Ministries, says that, although September 11 made some Muslims ask hard questions about Islam, the war in Afghanistan confirmed others in “their view of Christians as colonialists and oppressors.”

 

Some Christians continue to perpetuate ideas that many Muslims find offensive. On his web site, American Robert Morey, author of Islamic Invasion and head of the Faith Defenders apologetics ministry, invites Christians to join a spiritual and intellectual “Holy Crusade” against Islam. He dismisses the entire religion as “the root of terrorism.”

 

While not using Morey’s inflammatory rhetoric, some Canadian Christians have made similar assumptions. According to a Christian Week article written by John Azumah, a pastor with the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Islamic extremists “are simply implementing the fundamentals of Islam and taking official Islamic teachings to their logical conclusions.”

 

Others, such as Arab World Ministries’ Abe Wiebe, though equally critical of Islam, have been more balanced. He asserts that Islam’s “unifying purpose is to bring the whole of humanity under the banner of the Crescent [by] all means, including violence, terrorism and war if necessary.” However, he conceds that 85% of Muslims “practise a temperate form of Islam.”

 

Muslims’ perceptions of Christians are not always accurate. Despite overwhelming evidence that many contemporary North Americans and Europeans do not support or respect Christian faith, some Muslims still insist on identifying Christianity with the actions of the entire Western world—largely because of the West’s assault on Islam during the Crusades.

 

This perspective is exemplified in some of the ideas of radical Islamic leader Osama bin Laden. In a November statement translated by the BBC, bin Laden referred to “the people of the West, who are the crusaders.” Their leaders, he said, are waging “the most ferocious, serious, and violent Crusade campaign against Islam ever since the message was revealed to Muhammad.”

 

Mutual misunderstandings

 

The major source of misunderstanding for Christians and other non-Muslims has arisen from a view that Islam is a monolith. Now many Canadians are  aware that the Islamic world is becoming increasingly polarized.

 

While evidence indicates that alleged Islamic terrorists such as Ahmed Ressam have conducted activities in Canada, moderate Canadian Muslims have been quick to repudiate extremist interpretations of their faith.

 

The September 11 terrorists, says Saleem Aneen Ganam, director of the Islamic Awareness Foundation in Edmonton, committed “an abhorrent thing.” Muslims, he insists, “don’t attack innocent people” or commit suicide. The terrorists, says Hogben, were “politicizing Islam.”

 

At a meeting held by Friends in Surrey soon after the terrorist attacks, several Muslims spoke. Some, Granholm says, “were infuriated that the terrorism had been perpetrated in the name of Islam.”

 

“Muslims are in the midst of a struggle for the soul of Islam,” wrote James Beverley in a January Christianity Today cover story. As evidence, he cited Muslim intellectual Kanan Makiya, who dismissed bin Laden and his ilk as “Islam’s ‘Ku Klux Klan.’ “

 

“The vast majority of Muslims,” wrote Beverley in his recent book, Understanding Islam, “believe that Osama bin Laden . . . has disgraced Islam.” However, Muslim extremists like bin Laden, he asserted, “view their actions as a true Jihad or ‘holy war’ against infidels and the enemies of Islam . . . We are left, then, with a world of two Islams.” He concluded: “There is an Islam of peace. It is in the millions of Muslims who live every day in love and gentleness.”

 

Conservative Christian columnists Ted and Virginia Byfield expressed a similar view. “Which is the real face of Islam?” they asked in their Report column. “Is it the terrorist or that nice guy next door?” They concluded that some Muslims “unquestionably reflect the peace of soul that can come only from God.”

 

The mass media, says Hogben, need to play a role in counteracting the perception of all Muslims as potential terrorists. “They could look for moderates instead of the [extremists], and let moderates have a voice.”

 

Assaf, however, believes things are improving. “Especially after September 11, there has been a greater deal of interaction and eagerness to come to common ground.”

 

Cultivating commonality

 

Canadian Muslims and Christians have proven they can cooperate on issues of mutual concern. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, for example, has worked with Islamic groups on court cases involving the protection of marriage. Exchanges of ideas between the faiths have created understanding. “I’ve spoken to dozens of churches over many years about Islam,” says Ganam of the Islamic Awareness Foundation. “It’s when you get to know each other that much of the animosity would be wiped away.”

 

In December, Christians and Muslims spent a day at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, fasting and praying to protest both Islamic terrorism and the war in Afghanistan. In other cases, Muslim and Christian organizations have jointly sponsored social activities, lectures, and humanitarian efforts for Afghan refugees.

 

Yet some evangelicals, notes Don Joshua, Canadian director of Middle East Christian Outreach, believe the new rapprochement may be going too far. “The Anglican Diocese of Toronto also has fellowship with the Muslim community in Toronto . . . St. James Anglican Cathedral opened up its basement for Friday prayers for Muslims [to use], much to the consternation of conservative Christians.” He believes Muslims can counter such reactions by demonstrating “the kindness, tolerance and love that are an integral part of Islam.”

 

Ali Assaf urges, “Let’s live together in peace and harmony, regardless of our personal beliefs.”

 

Building closer ties

 

Many Christians echo this call for peaceful approaches. The new Canadian social landscape, says Floyd Grunau of Alliance Biblical Seminary in Toronto, “has given us opportunities to affirm the love we have in Christ for [Muslims].”

 

“I have met many Muslims who are open to the biblical view of Jesus,” says Reda Hanna, pastor of the Arabic Evangelical Church in New Westminster, B.C. “Unfortunately,” he adds, “not many Christians make an effort to be friends with Muslims.”

 

The most effective way to evangelize Muslims, says Bob Granholm, is “through acts of kindness, a demonstrably righteous life, and a transparent faith.”

 

“Christians who associate with Muslims,” agrees Joshua, “should live their lives so that Muslims are attracted to their faith without persuasion.”

 

“Talk to them without criticizing Islam,” says Dowlati. “Simply talk to them about Jesus, and the ways He loved people and forgave sinners.”

 

“They are taught that the gospels are, to some extent, the word of God,” says Beverley. “I think that if they read the gospels for themselves, they’ll be amazed at who Jesus is.”

 

He hastens to add: “Being a loving Christian is more important than winning arguments.”

 

David F. Dawes lives in Vancouver and is an associate editor of BC Christian News.

 

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Jihad Conquests: Islamism today (National Review Online, 020619)

 

By Bat Ye’or and Andrew Bostom

 

The ideology of jihad was formulated by Muslim jurists and scholars, including such luminaries as Averroes and Ibn Khaldun, from the 8th century onward. A recent Harvard commencement speech notwithstanding, these voluminous writings establish unequivocally the notion of jihad as a war of conquest. For example, Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) stated, “..the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universality of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everyone to Islam either by persuasion or by force...”. Jihad conquests were brutal, imperialist advances that spurred waves of Arab and Turkish Muslims to expropriate a vast expanse of lands, and subdue millions of indigenous peoples, across three continents — Asia, Africa, and Europe. Moreover, jihad ideology ultimately regulated the relations of Muslims with non-Muslims. The contemporary relevance of this ideology is also clear, and disturbing. Professor John Esposito, director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, recently identified Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, as one of the most influential contemporary Muslim thinkers. Sheikh al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric and the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, reaches an enormous audience during his regular appearances on Al Jazeera. During a January 9, 1998 interview, Sheikh al-Qaradawi observed that Islamic law divided the People of the Book — Jews and Christians — into three categories: 1) non-Muslims in the lands of war; 2) non-Muslims in lands of temporary truce; 3) non-Muslims protected by Islamic law, that is to say, the dhimmis.

 

The sheikh had thus summarized the theory of jihad in a few words. Now, as we see from countless calls for jihad and daily world events, this ideology still impregnates current thinking and conduct. Jihad as such, is a genocidal war, since it orders men to be massacred and women and children to be enslaved, if there is resistance. In the Southern Sudan, the ugly living embodiment of the jihad war ideology is visible with the enslavement of the wives and children of Christian and Animist rebels by Muslim agents of the Khartoum government. Unfortunately, although many Muslims do not adhere to this ideology, formal rejection of its precepts by the major Islamic clerics at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, or in Saudi Arabia, has not occurred.

 

Historically, non-Muslims conquered by jihad wars were governed by the laws of “dhimmitude.” As opposed to flimsy notions of “tolerance” and “protection,” dhimmitude was the actual sociopolitical, and economic status of these vanquished peoples (dhimmis), including Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists. Unfortunately, this “tolerance” and “protection” was afforded only upon submission to Islamic domination by a “Pact” — or Dhimma — which imposed degrading and discriminatory regulations. The main principles of dhimmitude are: (i) the inequality of rights in all domains between Muslims and dhimmis; (ii) the social and economic discrimination against the dhimmis; (iii) the humiliation and vulnerability of the dhimmis. Numerous documents from both Islamic sources and the dhimmi peoples, establish the origins and aims of these nefarious regulations, including their contemporary incarnations (for example, in Iran, Egypt, the Sudan, Pakistan, and of course in Saudi Arabia, and under the Taliban in Afghanistan).

 

Every society and religion has developed its own form of fanaticism, particularly during periods of expansion, or internal unrest. In the Judeo-Christian societies, however, the separation of politics and religion — sometimes, it is true, entirely theoretical — has permitted intolerance and oppression to be challenged. The men who fought for the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of the Jews were Christians. Jews and Christians struggled side by side for the recognition of human rights. A similar progressive movement has yet to appear in the Muslim world, which has never acknowledged the oppressed dhimmi, or recognized that the degradation of the dhimmi represents a crime against humanity. The Muslim intelligentsia has failed to condemn both jihad as a genocidal war, and dhimmitude as a dehumanizing institution, which together resulted in imperialism, slavery, and the deportation of populations, whose historical and cultural patrimony were totally destroyed. If Muslims continue to avoid meaningful self-criticism of their own history of jihad and dhimmitude, it will be impossible for Islam to accept non-Muslims as full equals, and past prejudices will continue to be rampant.

 

— Bat Ye’or is the author of Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide. Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University School of Medicine

 

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An honest accounting of Arab decline (National Post, 020705)

 

Victor Davis Hanson

 

The just-released Arab Human Development Report, commissioned by the United Nations and drafted by a group of Middle Eastern intellectuals, utterly confirms the deep pathology gripping the Arab world that Western analysts have long noted. Yet what was truly astounding about the account was less its findings than the honest acknowledgement that Arab problems are largely self-created.

 

Khalaf Hunaidi, who oversaw the economic portion of the analysis, remarked, “It’s not outsiders looking at Arab countries. It’s Arabs deciding for themselves.” And what they decided is sadly ample proof of Arab decline. Per capita income is dropping in the Arab world, even as it rises almost everywhere else. Productivity is stagnant; research and development are almost absent. Science and technology remain backward. Politics is infantile. And culture, in thrall to Islamic fundamentalism and closed to the ideas that quicken the intellectual life of the rest of the world, is “lagging behind” advanced nations, Hunaidi says.

 

Yet this novel panel of Arab intellectuals, remarkably, didn’t attribute the dismal condition of Middle Eastern society to the usual causes that Western intellectuals and academics have made so popular: racism and colonialism, multinational exploitation, Western political dominance, and all the other -isms and -ologies that we’ve grown accustomed to hear about from the Arabists on university campuses.

 

Instead, the investigators cited the subjugation of women that robs Arab society of millions of brilliant minds. Political autocracy — either in the service of or in opposition to Islamic fundamentalism — ensures censorship, stifles creativity, or promotes corruption. Talented scientists and intellectuals are likely to emigrate and then stay put in the West, since there is neither a cultural nor an economic outlet for their talents back home, but sure danger if they prove either honest or candid. The Internet remains hardly used. Greece, a country 30 times smaller than the Arab world, translates five times the number of books yearly.

 

The report didn’t give precise reasons for the growing Arab hostility toward the United States, but its findings lend credence to almost everything brave scholars such as Bernard Lewis and Daniel Pipes have been saying for years. With exploding populations, and offering little hope for either material security or personal freedom, unelected governments in the Gulf, Egypt and northern Africa have allowed their press the single “freedom” of venting popular frustration against a very successful Israel and the United States.

 

Instead of discussing elections in Egypt, debating the Sudanese government’s budget, or advocating academic freedom in Syria, state-run newspapers and television stations spin countless conspiracy theories about September 11. They dub the Jews subhuman and worse, promise eternal jihad against the West, and churn out elaborate explanations why a tiny country like Israel is responsible for everything from train wrecks in Cairo to lawlessness in Lebanon.

 

What can we learn from this newly honest Arab self-appraisal? We should put no more credence in the preposterous “post-colonial” theories that ad nauseam argue that Westerners are still to be blamed a half-century after the last Europeans vacated the Middle East. Post-Marxist analyses that claim international conglomerates stifle the Arab world are just as silly. Nor must we believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or America’s support for Israel is the problem. Instead, the simple fact is that hundreds of millions of people are going backward in time in an age when global communications hourly remind them of their dismal futures. Frustration, pride, anger, envy, humiliation, spiritual helplessness — all the classical exegeses for war and conflict — far better explain the Arab world’s hostility toward a prosperous, confident and free West.

 

But the academic Left isn’t alone in misjudging the Middle East. The realpolitik of the U.S. government that allies itself with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and other “moderate” Arab states offers little long-term hope for an improved relationship with people of the Middle East. It is no accident that America is more popular in countries whose awful governments hate the United States — Iraq and Iran, for example — than among the public of its so-called allies. Saudis, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis and Egyptians, after all, have been murdering Americans far more frequently than have Iranians, Iraqis and Syrians.

 

We have replaced our old legitimate fears of godless Marxism in the Middle East with new understandable worries over fanatical Islamic fundamentalism to justify continued support for corrupt dictatorships. Yet the old excuse that there is no middle class in the Arab world, no heritage of politics, and few secular moderates will no longer do. It should be our job to find true democrats, both in and outside of the existing governments, and then promote their interests at the expense of both the fundamentalists and the tribal grandees. Chaos, uncertainty, risk and unpredictability may ensue, but all that is better than the murderous status quo of the current mess.

 

The contemporary Arab world is like the old communist domain of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, with its political and intellectual tyranny. We should accept that, and then adopt the same unyielding resolve to oppose governments that lie, oppress, and murder — until they totter and fall from their very own corrupt weight. There was a silent majority yearning to be free behind the Iron Curtain, and so we must believe that there is also one now, just as captive, in an unfree Middle East.

 

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Mosques Planning Terror: Why Islamists hate new FBI rules (National Review Online, 020710)

 

By Debbie Schlussel

 

Why are Muslim and Arab “civil rights” groups the only ones protesting new FBI rules to fight terrorism?

 

Why aren’t mainstream Christian and Jewish groups protesting the new guidelines handed down by Attorney General John Ashcroft and his Justice Department? Or Hispanic groups?

 

Maybe because Muslim, mostly Arab, terrorists — including at least two 9/11 hijackers — deliberately used U.S. mosques to fundraise for and plan terrorist attacks. Maybe because they knew that, under the old rules, it had been difficult for FBI counterterrorism operatives to surveil terrorists once they stepped into the mosques. And they, the terrorists — and many Muslim allies in the U.S. — took advantage of this.

 

The old rules were used by a blind cleric, a professor, and even the mosque founded and headed by the father of a Bush administration official, to fund and/or plan terror, undetected.

 

Take the Santa Clara Masjid (Mosque). According to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat, Osama bin Laden’s deputy (or boss, depending upon the intelligence report), Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, visited the United States in early 1995 using a forged passport, and raised money for terrorist operations at various U.S. mosques, including the Santa Clara Mosque, a.k.a. Masjid Al-Noor, a.k.a. MCA (Muslim Community Association) of Santa Clara.

 

The late Mahboob Khan is identified by a 1999 “MCA Newsletter” as the man “whose constant efforts and guidance. . . establish[ed] the Islamic Center” of Santa Clara. A 1999 Islamic Horizons magazine obituary for Mahboob Khan quotes a former secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America as saying that Dr. Khan “was in the forefront in the struggle” of “the Santa Clara mosque.” This includes the time period when Zawahiri was staying in Santa Clara and raising money at Khan’s mosque.

 

Khan was the founder of American Muslims for Global Peace and Justice, the group spearheading the boycott of Starbucks in the United States. Incredibly, Khan’s son, Suhail Khan, was the Bush White House’s Muslim outreach official last year. He is also a current and founding board member of the Islamic Institute, which openly opposes the new FBI rules, lodging protests with Ashcroft.

 

Islamic Institute board members, including founder Grover Norquist — allied with Arab congressman Darrell Issa — fought against the Patriot Act, which included some of the same reforms — allowing easier mosque and other surveillance of suspected terrorists by the FBI — as Ashcroft’s new guidelines. FBI monitoring of Khan’s Santa Clara Mosque would have led to Zawahiri’s arrest and prosecution, and possibly the discovery and prevention of future al Qaeda terrorism.

 

Islamic Institute and other prominent Muslim groups protested federal agents’ raids and/or shutdowns of several of the largest Muslim charities and institutions in America, all of whom were funding and laundering money for terrorism, to the tune of over $1.2 billion. That included a March raid of the Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences (GSISS), which had a federal contract to train U.S. military and prison chaplains. GSISS donated to Islamic Institute as did some of its raided umbrella and sister organizations. Had federal agents been allowed to monitor these organizations earlier, their illicit activities would have been prevented.

 

Then there’s convicted terrorist, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the al Qaeda-connected religious leader who helped inspire and mastermind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He preached terror on America and helped plan the attack from mosques in Brooklyn and Jersey City. According to Ronald Kessler, New York Times best-selling author of The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI, FBI agents investigating him stopped their surveillance activities, each time he set foot in a mosque — the place where his most incriminating activities took place.

 

Rahman hung out at Brooklyn’s Alkifah Refugee Center, ostensibly a Muslim charity and welfare center directed in 1991 by bin Laden’s secretary Wadih El-Hage, later convicted of bombing the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998. A number of terrorist operations, including the 1993 WTC bombing, the murder of an American rabbi, and the murder of Jewish children in a van on the Brooklyn Bridge, were planned at Alkifah.

 

But the FBI couldn’t listen in.

 

That’s because, under the old guidelines, FBI investigators couldn’t initiate investigations of religious places of worship, other organizations, and individuals, without independent evidence from outside the FBI, that criminal activities were being perpetrated within and/or by those parties.

 

The new guidelines have done away with that. Now mosques and other organizations can be investigated without waiting for outside evidence that might never come.

 

But you don’t hear rabbis and preachers complaining. Or Latinos. That’s because it’s difficult to come up with an example where terrorist attacks were planned in synagogues, churches, or the headquarters of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

 

On the other hand, Muslim and Arab groups and their spokesmen-Khaled Saffuri of Islamic Institute, Jason Erb of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Hussein Ibish of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) — have been screaming out against the new rules.

 

In other words, forget their post 9/11 phony, ephemeral promises to help President Bush rout out terrorism. On the contrary, they attempt to protect those who enable and plan terrorism, not stop them.

 

That’s why they want don’t want the FBI entering the mosques.

 

All of these groups openly support Sheik Rahman’s buddy, Dr. Sami Al-Arian, the Islamic Jihad Chief of Military Operations, who doubles as the tax-funded, vacationing University of South Florida professor of computer science. Al-Arian raised money to fund his terrorist operations in mainstream mosques all over America, videotapes show, with the willing participation of the mosques’ imams (religious leaders) and congregants. In one video, Fawwaz Abu Damra, Imam of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, is shown introducing Al-Arian as head of “the active arm of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, and we like to call it the Islamic Committee for Palestine here for security reasons.” Abu Damra implored mosque congregants, “Donate to the Islamic Jihad! . . . If you write a check, write it for the Islamic Committee for Palestine.”

 

This is why some of the folks at CAIR, ADC, Islamic Institute, and America’s other radical Muslims don’t want the FBI in their mosques. And why we should be happy they now are. Americans who do not support terrorism should take note — and not allow themselves to be used as accessories.

 

— Debbie Schlussel is an attorney, columnist, and commentator.

 

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Group Takes School to Court Over Quran Assignment (Foxnews, 020723)

 

NEW YORK — A Christian group is going to federal court to force the University of North Carolina from requiring its incoming freshmen to read a book about the Quran.

 

The university requirement is “putting a positive face on what many people believe to be an evil religion, a very evil religion,” said Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network.

 

The FPN and three unnamed students at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, filed suit against the school at the federal court in Greensboro, N.C., on Monday.

 

University spokeswoman Karen Moon said the school could not comment on pending litigation.

 

The book flap began when the university announced all 3,500 Chapel Hill freshmen in the Class of 2006 would be reading Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations. The book translates and discusses the earliest 35 suras, the first words Muslims believe God revealed to the prophet Mohammed.

 

“This was a book chosen in the wake of Sept. 11,” UNC Chancellor James Moeser said in a late May interview with Foxnews.com. “A fifth of the world’s population subscribes to the Islamic religion, and yet it’s not a well-understood religion. This is a great opportunity to have a conversation on the teachings of one of the world’s great religions, how it’s been used or misused, whether it’s a religion of peace or not.”

 

The school selects a different book for the freshmen every year to introduce them to college-level intellectual discourse. Last year, incoming freshmen were required to read a different book, and next year another book will be chosen.

 

The FPN loudly criticized the choice of the book, saying it amounted to a state university supporting one religion over another. The group was unappeased when the school decided to allow students to opt out of reading the book if they write a one-page essay explaining their decision.

 

“The university has become so entrenched in their position that they’re forcing kids to defend their own religious views as their first university experience, which is heinous,” Glover said.

 

In late May, author Michael Sells, a professor of comparative religion at Haverford College, said the controversy over his book is undeserved.

 

“The books is not called Islam. I think that [the FPN is] misinterpreting what the book is,” he said. “The purpose of a book is to give a sense of why a billion people belong to the tradition.”

 

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Mother loses appeal against death penalty (London Times, 020820)

 

A 31-YEAR-OLD Nigerian woman was led from an Islamic court in tears yesterday after judges dismissed her appeal against death by stoning for bearing a child out of wedlock.

 

If her conviction and sentence are not overturned on appeal before a higher court, she will be buried up to her waist and stoned to death by fellow villagers and the Islamic authorities.

 

The packed courtroom in the conservative town of Funtua in Nigeria’s northern state of Katsina reverberated with cries of Allahu akbar (God is greatest) after Judge Aliyu Abdullani ordered that Amina Lawal should be stoned to death after her eight-month-old daughter, Wasila, has been weaned, which could be when she is two.

 

He spoke on behalf of a panel of judges as Lawal cradled the child in her arms.

 

Lawal, a divorcee who says that she was misled by the father of the child, could be the first woman to be executed for adultery since a dozen states in Nigeria’s predominately Muslim north began adopting the Sharia system more than two years ago.

 

The judgment was a sharp reversal for the federal Government, which chose the case to challenge the reintroduction of Sharia.

 

Lawal told the authorities that the father of Wasila, her third child, was Yahaya Mahmud, her boyfriend of 11 months, who she said had seduced her with an offer of marriage.

 

Mr Mahmud admitted being Lawal’s boyfriend, but swore on the Koran that he was not the father. He was discharged. Lawal was tried and convicted on the basis of her confession.

 

This mirrored Nigeria’s previous stoning case, that of 35-year-old Safiya Husseini, later acquitted on a legal technicality. Under Sharia’s rules of proof, witnesses are required to convict a man of adultery, while a woman may be condemned for falling pregnant. Clara Obazele, a spokeswoman for Aisha Ismail, the federal Women’s Affairs Minister, said: “This is a young woman with a child. A woman can not be pregnant without a man, so where is that man? He deserves similar punishment. It’s not fair.”

 

The verdict provoked protests from Lawal’s lawyers and human rights activists who have backed her case as part of a wider campaign against what they describe as the “injustices and excesses” of Sharia.

 

The verdict also shocked her supporters, including Ms Obazele. The federal Government has clashed with the northern states over Sharia but has yet to take concrete steps to ban it.

 

“We thought they were going to discharge her,” Ms Obazele said. “We’re going to appeal.”

 

Aliyu Musa Yawuri, Lawal’s lawyer, said that she had been tried retroactively. He said that her offence was committed before the new law came into effect, and that she would appeal.

 

Lawal was convicted of the Islamic crime of zina , or adultery, and sentenced to death in March. A regional appeals court gave her a two-year reprieve in June, allowing her to wean her child before the death sentence was carried out.

 

Her lawyers had hoped that the case would follow the precedent set by the court which quashed the sentence against Safiya Husseini in March after a worldwide appeal for clemency led by the European Union.

 

Lawal’s lawyers now have 30 days to appeal against the judges’ verdict, which is expected to be fought all the way up to Nigeria’s Supreme Court.

 

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Multiculturalists are the real racists (National Post, 020820)

 

Mark Steyn

 

Last Thursday, in Sydney, the pack leader of a group of Lebanese Muslim gang-rapists was sentenced to 55 years in jail. I suppose I ought to say “Lebanese-Australian” Muslim gang-rapists, since the accused were Australian citizens. But, identity-wise, the rambunctious young lads considered themselves heavy on the Lebanese, light on the Australian. During their gang rapes, the lucky lady would be told she was about to be “f—ed Leb style” and that she deserved it because she was an “Australian pig.”

 

But, inevitably, it’s the heavy sentence that’s “controversial.” After September 11th, Americans were advised to ask themselves, “Why do they hate us?” Now Australians need to ask themselves, “Why do they rape us?” As Monroe Reimers put it on the letters page of The Sydney Morning Herald:

 

“As terrible as the crime was, we must not confuse justice with revenge. We need answers. Where has this hatred come from? How have we contributed to it? Perhaps it’s time to take a good hard look at the racism by exclusion practised with such a vengeance by our community and cultural institutions.”

 

Indeed. Many’s the time, labouring under the burden of some or other ghastly Ottawa policy, I’ve thought of pinning some gal down and sodomizing her while 14 of my pals look on and await their turn. But I fear in my case the Monroe Reimers of the world would be rather less eager to search for “root causes.” Gang rape as a legitimate expression of the campaign for social justice is a privilege reserved only unto a few.

 

Mr. Reimers, though, will be happy to know his view is echoed across the hemispheres. Five days before 9/11, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported that 65% of the country’s rapes were committed by “non-Western” immigrants — a category which, in Norway, is almost wholly Muslim. A professor at the University of Oslo explained that one reason for the disproportionate Muslim share of the rape market was that in their native lands “rape is scarcely punished” because it is generally believed that “it is women who are responsible for rape.”

 

So Muslim immigrants to Norway should be made aware that things are a little different in Scandinavia? Not at all! Rather, the professor insisted, “Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes” because their manner of dress would be regarded by Muslim men as inappropriate. “Norwegian women must realize that we live in a multicultural society and adapt themselves to it.” Or to modify Queen Victoria’s wedding-night advice to her daughter: Lie back and think of Yemen.

 

France? Well, I can’t bring you any ethnic rape statistics from the Fifth Republic because the authorities go to great lengths not to keep any. But, even though the phenomenon of immigrant gang rape does not exist, there’s already a word for it: the “tournante” — or “take your turn.” Last year, 11 Muslim men were arrested for enjoying a grand old tournante with a 14-year old girl in a cellar.

 

Denmark? “Three quarters of rapes are carried out by non-Danes,” says Peter Skaarup, chairman of the People’s Party, a member of the governing coalition.

 

Well, you get the idea. Whether or not Muslim cultures are more prone to rape is a question we shall explore another day. What’s interesting is how easily even this most extreme manifestation of multiculturalism is subsumed within the usual pieties. Norwegian women must learn to be, in a very real sense, less “exclusionary.” Lebanese male immigrants, fleeing a war-torn wasteland and finding refuge in a land of peace, freedom and opportunity, are inevitably transformed into gang rapists by Australian racism.

 

After September 11th, a friend in London said to me she couldn’t stand all the America-needs-to-ask-itself stuff because she used to work at a rape crisis centre and she’d heard this blame-the-victim routine a thousand times before. America was asking for it: like those Norwegian women, it was being “provocative.” My friend thought the multiculti apologists were treating America as a metaphorical rape victim. But, even so, it comes as a surprise to realize they do exactly the same to actual rape victims. After the O.J. verdict, it was noted by some feminists that “race trumped gender.” What we’ve seen since September 11th is that multiculturalism trumps everything. Its grip on the imagination of the Western elites is unshakeable. Even President Bush, in the month after September 11th, felt obliged to line up a series of photo-ops so he could declare that “Islam is peace” while surrounded by representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization which objected, on the grounds of “ethnic and religious stereotyping,” to the prosecution of two men in Chicago for the “honour killing” of their female cousin.

 

On this “Islam is peace” business, Bassam Tibi, a Muslim professor at Goettingen University in Germany, gave a helpful speech a few months back: “Both sides should acknowledge candidly that although they might use identical terms these mean different things to each of them,” he said. “The word ‘peace,’ for example, implies to a Muslim the extension of the Dar al-Islam — or ‘House of Islam’ — to the entire world. This is completely different from the Enlightenment concept of eternal peace that dominates Western thought.” Only when the entire world is a Dar al-Islam will it be a Dar a-Salam, or “House of Peace.”

 

On the face of it, that sounds ridiculous. The “Muslim world” — the arc stretching from North Africa through South Asia — is economically, militarily, scientifically and artistically irrelevant. But, looked at through the prism of Norwegian rape or French crime, the idea of a Dar al-Islam doesn’t sound so ridiculous. The “code of silence” that surrounds rape in tightly knit Muslim families is, so to speak, amplified by the broader “code of silence” surrounding multicultural issues in the West. If all cultures are of equal value, how do you point out any defects?

 

As I understand it, the benefits of multiculturalism are that the sterile white-bread cultures of Australia, Canada and Britain get some great ethnic restaurants and a Commonwealth Games opening ceremony that lasts until two in the morning. But, in the case of those Muslim ghettoes in Sydney, in Oslo, in Paris, in Copenhagen and in Manchester, multiculturalism means that the worst attributes of Muslim culture — the subjugation of women — combine with the worst attributes of Western culture — licence and self-gratification. Tattoed, pierced Pakistani skinhead gangs swaggering down the streets of Northern England are as much a product of multiculturalism as the turban-wearing Sikh Mountie in the vice-regal escort at Rideau Hall. Yet even in the face of the crudest assaults on its most cherished causes — women’s rights, gay rights — the political class turns squeamishly away.

 

Once upon a time we knew what to do. A British district officer, coming upon a scene of suttee, was told by the locals that in Hindu culture it was the custom to cremate a widow on her husband’s funeral pyre. He replied that in British culture it was the custom to hang chaps who did that sort of thing. There are many great things about India — curry, pyjamas, sitars, software engineers — but suttee was not one of them. What a pity we’re no longer capable of being “judgmental” and “discriminating.” We’re told the old-school imperialists were racists, that they thought of the wogs as inferior. But, if so, they at least considered them capable of improvement. The multiculturalists are just as racist. The only difference is that they think the wogs can never reform: Good heavens, you can’t expect a Muslim in Norway not to go about raping the womenfolk! Much better just to get used to it.

 

As one is always obliged to explain when tiptoeing around this territory, I’m not a racist, only a culturist. I believe Western culture — rule of law, universal suffrage, etc. — is preferable to Arab culture: that’s why there are millions of Muslims in Scandinavia, and four Scandinavians in Syria. Follow the traffic. I support immigration, but with assimilation. Without it, like a Hindu widow, we’re slowly climbing on the funeral pyre of our lost empires. You see it in European foreign policy already: they’re scared of their mysterious, swelling, unstoppable Muslim populations.

 

Islam For All reported the other day that, at present demographic rates, in 20 years’ time the majority of Holland’s children (the population under 18) will be Muslim. It will be the first Islamic country in western Europe since the loss of Spain. Europe is the colony now.

 

Or as Charles Johnson, whose excellent “Little Green Footballs” Web site turns up dozens of fascinating Islamic tidbits every day, suggested: “Maybe we should start a betting pool: Which European country will be the first to institute shari’a?”

 

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Muslim extremism: Denmark’s had enough (National Post, 020827)

 

Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard

 

A Muslim organization in Denmark announced a few days ago that a $30,000 bounty would be paid for the murder of several prominent Danish Jews, a threat that garnered wide international notice. Less well known is that this is just one problem associated with Denmark’s approximately 200,000 Muslim immigrants. The key issue is that many of them show little desire to fit into their adopted country.

 

For years, Danes lauded multiculturalism and insisted they had no problem with the Muslim customs — until one day they found that they did. Some major issues:

 

- Living on the dole. Third-World immigrants — most of them Muslims from countries such as Turkey, Somalia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Iraq — constitute 5% of the population but consume upwards of 40% of the welfare spending.

 

- Engaging in crime. Muslims are only 4% of Denmark’s 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country’s convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim. Similar, if lesser, disproportions are found in other crimes.

 

- Self-imposed isolation. Over time, as Muslim immigrants increase in numbers, they wish to mix less with the indigenous population. A recent survey finds that only 5% of young Muslim immigrants would readily marry a Dane.

 

- Importing unacceptable customs. Forced marriages — promising a newborn daughter in Denmark to a male cousin in the home country, then compelling her to marry him, sometimes on pain of death — are one problem. Another is the vocal intent to kill Muslims who convert out of Islam.

 

- Fomenting anti-Semitism. Muslim violence threatens Denmark’s approximately 6,000 Jews, who increasingly depend on police protection. Jewish parents were told by one school principal that she could not guarantee their children’s safety and advised to send them to another institution. Anti-Israel marches have turned into anti-Jewish riots. One organization, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, openly calls on Muslims to “kill all Jews ... wherever you find them.”

 

- Seeking Islamic law. Muslim leaders openly declare their goal of introducing Islamic law once Denmark’s Muslim population grows large enough — a not-that remote prospect. If present trends persist, one sociologist estimates, every third inhabitant of Denmark in 40 years will be Muslim.

 

Other Europeans (such as the late Pim Fortuyn in Holland) have also grown alarmed about these issues, but Danes first made them the basis for a change in government.

 

In a momentous election last November, a centre-right coalition came to power that — for the first time since 1929 — excluded the socialists. The right broke its 72-year losing streak and won a solid parliamentary majority because it promised to handle immigration issues, the electorate’s first concern, differently from the socialists.

 

The next nine months did witness some fine-tuning of procedures: Immigrants now must live seven years in Denmark (rather than three) to become permanent residents; most non-refugees no longer can collect welfare cheques immediately on entering the country; and no one can bring into the country a spouse under the age of 24. The state prosecutor is considering a ban on Hizb-ut-Tahrir for its death threats against Jews.

 

These minor adjustments prompted howls internationally — with European and UN reports condemning Denmark for racism and “Islamophobia,” the Washington Post reporting that Muslim immigrants “face habitual discrimination,” and a London Guardian headline announcing that “Copenhagen Flirts with Fascism.”

 

In reality, however, the new government barely addressed the existing problems. Nor did it prevent new ones, such as the death threats against Jews, or a recent Islamic edict calling on Muslims to drive Danes out of the Nørrebro quarter of Copenhagen.

 

The authorities remain indulgent. The military mulls permitting Muslim soldiers in Denmark’s volunteer International Brigade to opt out of actions they don’t agree with — a privilege unique to them. Mohammed Omar Bakri, the self-proclaimed London-based “eyes, ears and mouth” of Osama bin Laden, won permission to set up a branch of his organization, Al-Muhajiroun.

 

Contrary to media reports, the real news from Denmark is not flirting with fascism but getting mired in inertia. A government elected specifically to deal with a set of problems has made minimal headway. Its reluctance has potentially profound implications for the West as a whole.

 

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Media, government blamed for anti-Muslim ‘bias’ (Ottawa Citizen, 020906)

 

Small national poll indicates 56% feel anti-Islam slant

 

Noreen Majeed, a 29-year-old Montreal medical research assistant, is a Canadian Muslim who felt the sting of bigotry after the Sept. 11 attacks. She was waiting on a Montreal street last fall when a group of young white men swore at her and spit on her suitcase.

 

Canadian Muslims blame the media and the federal government for boosting anti-Muslim bias across the country after the Sept. 11 attacks.

 

The Council for American-Islamic Relations Canada polled 296 Muslims across the country and said 56 per cent believe the media have grown more biased against Islam and Muslims while 69 per cent criticized Prime Minister Jean Chrétien for indifference to the Muslim community and lack of clear action to counter a wave of anti-Muslim incidents in Canada.

 

“There was a very well-documented, anti-Muslim hate wave that swept through Canada, and Muslims had their faith and their identify called into question (after Sept. 11),” Riad Saloojee, executive director of CAIR-CAN, said yesterday.

 

He said that 59.5 per cent of those surveyed said they experienced anti-Muslim incidents after Sept. 11: Mosques were defaced, Muslim children were beaten because of their faith, travellers were allegedly barred access to flights because of having common Muslim names, and police have unnecessarily intimidated Muslims by interrogating them at their workplaces.

 

Mr. Saloojee admitted the CAIR-CAN survey is small and cannot be considered truly scientific.

 

He said the Canadian media outlets perceived as being biased against Muslims were led by the National Post, which attracted complaints from 71 Muslims, primarily about its editorials and commentaries by columnists. Other Muslims also complained about bias by Global Television, and in commentaries in CanWest newspapers such as the Citizen and the Montreal Gazette. The CBC led media outlets perceived by Muslims as being fair in its treatment of Muslims.

 

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Behind the Hate: The enemy’s problem (National Review Online, 020911)

 

By David Pryce-Jones

 

The events of September 11, you’ll remember, came out of a perfect cloudless sky, as if out of the blue, out of nowhere. The unexpectedness of this mass murdering then seemed some new kind of doom. In fact a long historical process is at work, involving the relationship of the West and the world of Islam.

 

For centuries now, the West and its social order has challenged other civilizations. In the face of that challenge, China, Japan, India, adopted the science and the arts, even the music, which were both the cause and the effect of Western creativity. Leaders and thinkers in Muslim countries also tried to match the West. With the possible exception of Turkey, they proved unable to do so. The reasons for this are unclear. Nobody and nothing effectively stands in the way of education, reform, experiment in building a modern social order with its own special characteristics like other peoples. Islam, it is true, offers the vision of a society based upon the Prophet Mohammed’s long ago divine revelation of the will of God. This is a sort of utopia. But other utopias and other revelations, from Christianity to Communism, have come to terms with the contradictions and conflicts inherent in reality.

 

In the Sixties I first began to travel in Arab countries. There was still a certain courtliness of manner, a social architecture, something of a settled life. This has all since vanished in what V. S. Naipaul calls “the steady grinding down of the old world.” Arab countries are centralized and militarized secret police states inhabited by subjects of a ruler and not by citizens. Injustice is everywhere. The big cities deteriorate into slums, and the countryside into ruin. The bonus of oil wealth ebbs away in corruption and inequality. Between them, dictators like Gamal Abdul Nasser, Saddam Hussein, and so many more, have put an end to settled life. The cruelty and waste are impossibly sad.

 

Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the hijackers have a mindset conditioned by this general failure, and they speak for millions of Muslims from Algeria to Pakistan and beyond. The only solution they envisage to the despair and envy from which they are suffering is at last to build the model of the Islamic society laid down long ago. Like all utopian hopes, this is irrational, and cannot be programmed. Incapable of realization, the proposed solution is only an aggravation of the condition.

 

That would be bad enough in itself, though still open to analysis. But the bin Ladens and other Islamists shut off debate through the conviction that their utopia could indeed by realized if the West did not stand in the way. Unable to explain why the West would want to do anything so stupid and pointless, they go on to maintain that the West consists of Christians or Jews who have a plot to destroy Islam and occupy its lands and generally behave like a Great Satan. However contorted or far-fetched, this alibi serves the purpose of allowing Muslims to blame the West for their own failures, and to present themselves as innocent and powerless victims.

 

What do you do to people who victimize you from a position of unmerited strength? Of course you kill them. I have no doubt that the September 11 terrorists went to their deaths without fear and in the certainty that they were somehow leveling a long score. Their hatred fed on the sense of inferiority. They couldn’t acquire the technological skills to make the planes, but they could at least have revenge by learning to fly them. I have no doubt that the Palestinian suicide bombers also believe fearlessly, even joyfully, that they have hit upon the right way to settle a long score with Israelis.

 

Terror of the kind carries the illusion of strength, while actually expressing weakness. Years will have to pass before Muslims are able to climb out of the political and social quagmire which they have made for themselves. In that time, there are likely to be attempts at other mass attacks like September 11. But the fact of Western success does not bring with it any responsibility for Muslim failure. They have to sort that out, and they will too, because it’s a truth as old as mankind that hate ends up destroying the hater.

 

— David Pryce-Jones is an NR senior editor whose books include The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs.

 

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The West and the Rest: On terrorism and globalization (National Review Online, 020923)

 

By Roger Scruton

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This begins a series of excerpts from Roger Scruton’s new book The West and the Rest, published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

 

It is thanks to Western prosperity, Western legal systems, Western forms of banking, and Western communications that human initiatives now reach so easily across frontiers to affect the lives and aspirations of people all over the globe. However, Western civilization depends on an idea of citizenship that is not global at all, but rooted in territorial jurisdiction and national loyalty. By contrast, Islam, which has been until recently remote from the Western world and without the ability to project its message, is founded on an ideal of godliness which is entirely global in its significance, and which regards territorial jurisdiction and national loyalty as compromises with no intrinsic legitimacy of their own. Although there have been attempts to manufacture nationalisms both appropriate to the Islamic temperament and conducive to a legitimate political order, they have fragmented under the impact of sectarian or tribal allegiances, usually giving way to military dictatorship or one-man, one-family, or one-party tyranny. Islam itself remains, in the hearts of those who live under these tyrannies, a permanent call to a higher life, and a reminder that power and corruption will rule in this world until the reign established by the Prophet is restored.

 

Terrorism has a long history in the Islamic countries, being the usual recourse of those who reject the legitimacy of the prevailing sovereign power. Until recently, however, it modeled itself on the Assassins, and took powerful or symbolic individuals as its targets. In 19th-century Russia, terrorism took a new and more destructive form, involving indiscriminate bombings and acts of destruction which, according to one estimate, claimed 17,000 victims between 1894 and 1917. The Russian methods finally led to a successful revolution, and have been adopted by the postwar nationalist movements in Western Europe, notably by the IRA and ETA, as well as by the urban revolutionaries of the 1960s in Italy, France, and Germany, by the PLO, and by the left-wing insurgents in Latin America. Those groups have formed mutually supportive networks for the exchange of training and expertise, and it is due to the globalizing process that these networks are available also to the Islamist extremists.

 

Nevertheless, Islamist terrorism is a distinct development in two ways. Islamism is not a nationalist movement, still less a bid to establish a new kind of secular state. It rejects the modern state and its secular law in the name of a “brotherhood” that reaches secretly to all Muslim hearts, uniting them against the infidel. And because its purpose is religious rather than political, the goal is incapable of realization. The Muslim Brotherhood failed even to change the political order of Egypt, let alone to establish itself as a model of Koranic government throughout the Muslim world. Where Islamists succeed in gaining power — as in Iran, Sudan, and Afghanistan — the result is not the reign of peace and piety promised by the Prophet, but murder and persecution on a scale matched in our time only by the Nazis and the Communists. The Islamist, like the Russian nihilist, is an exile in this world; and when he succeeds in obtaining power over his fellow human beings, it is in order to punish them for being human.

 

Globalization does not mean merely the expansion of communications, contacts, and trade around the globe. It means the transfer of social, economic, political, and juridical power to global organizations, by which I mean organizations that are located in no particular sovereign jurisdiction, and governed by no particular territorial law. The growth of such organizations is, in my view, a regrettable by-product of our addiction to freedom. Whether in the form of multinational corporations, international courts, or transnational legislatures, these organizations pose a new kind of threat to the only form of sovereignty that has brought lasting (albeit local) peace to our planet. And when terrorism too becomes globalized, the threat is amplified a hundred-fold.

 

With al Qaeda, therefore, we encounter the real impact of globalization on the Islamic revival. To belong to this “base” is to accept no territory as home, and no human law as authoritative. It is to commit oneself to a state of permanent exile, while at the same time resolving to carry out God’s work of punishment. But the techniques and infrastructure on which al Qaeda depends are the gifts of the new global institutions. It is Wall Street and Zurich that produced the network of international finance that enables Osama bin Laden to conceal his wealth and to deploy it anywhere in the world. It is Western enterprise with its multinational outreach that produced the technology that bin Laden has exploited so effectively against us. And it is Western science that developed the weapons of mass destruction he would dearly like to obtain. His wealth, too, would be inconceivable without the vast oil revenues brought to Saudi Arabia from the West, there to precipitate the building boom from which his father profited. And this very building boom, fueled by a population explosion that is itself the result of global trade, is a symbol of the West and its outreach. The appearance of Arabia has been permanently altered by it — and altered, in the feelings of many Muslims, for the worse. Concrete high-rises dwarf the minarets, domestic alleyways give way to pretentious boulevards or jerry-built slums, and the hideous, unfriendly style of international modernism overlays and extinguishes the delicate fabric of the Muslim city.

 

It may seem quixotic to emphasize the role of architecture in the present conflict. But we should remember Mohammed Atta’s nostalgia for the old town of Aleppo and reflect on what has happened to the face of the Middle East under the impact of Western architectural norms, which have a symbolic significance at least equal to that of Western dress and Western manners. Architectural modernism was introduced with fanfares of globalist propaganda by the Bauhaus and by Le Corbusier, who envisaged their new style of architecture as both the symbol and the instrument of a radical break with the past. This architecture was conceived in the spirit of detachment from place and history and home. It was “the international style,” a gesture against the nation-state and the homeland, an attempt to remake the surface of the earth as a single uniform habitat from which differences and boundaries would finally disappear.

 

In the West, where democratic procedures and legal norms give power to the citizen, the impact of international modernism has here and there been controlled and limited. Although the damage has been great, many cities retain their local character, and villages hold out against the tide. The great exception — Germany — remains committed to architectural modernism as a symbol and instrument of its cultural self-repudiation. And the modern German city can be seen as part of the long sad coda of Germany’s defeat — the final transformation of a nation that does not dare to show its face without the benefit of plastic surgery. Elsewhere in Europe — notably in Italy, France, and Spain — the international style has been resisted; churches dominate the skyline and streets are still bordered by humane facades. A conscious effort has been made to retain the character of both town and country, in the knowledge that they define an experience of the homeland, and that the homeland is the thing to which the citizen’s loyalty is owed.

 

Americans have been careless of their cities, with the result that no one wants to live in them. But their suburbs radiate homeliness and comfort, and the country itself lies somewhere out there along the interstate, a still wild, open frontier that belongs to all of us, and we to it. Against the odds America has retained the aspect and the atmosphere of home.

 

In the Middle East, however, where land is disposed of by the governing power, and planning regulations are either non-existent or ignored, the landscape and cityscape have been mutilated beyond recognition. It was Le Corbusier who showed the way. Having failed to persuade the French authorities to adopt his plan to bulldoze Paris north of the Seine and replace it with militarized towers of glass, Le Corbusier worked on successive French governments, including the Vichy regime, to implement his insolent plan to raze the old city of Algiers, capital of Algeria, which was then a French colony. He succeeded at last, and after the war the bulldozers moved in, with catastrophic results. Thanks to the enormous profits that accrue to the modernist ways of building, Le Corbusier became a hero of the architectural establishment, and his repulsive plan for this once beautiful city is now illustrated in all the standard Western textbooks of architecture.

 

Le Corbusier showed the European intelligentsia how the inferior people of North Africa should be treated: such, surely, was Atta’s perception. Since Le Corbusier’s time, the rush of speculative building — most of it illegal and on land that is officially “publicly owned,” and fueled by the demographic explosion — has entirely transformed the visual aspect and daily rhythm of the Middle Eastern cities. Whatever hope there might have been that people would come to define their loyalties in terms of territory rather than faith has been obliterated by the impact of Western technology, which seems to believe in neither. And if we wish to understand in full the resentment of Palestinians towards Israeli settlements on the West Bank, we should not neglect the visual damage that these settlements have caused, introducing modernist styles and materials, sweeping roadways, and ubiquitous light pollution into a landscape that had worn its biblical aspect for centuries, with star-spangled nights above stone-built villages and historic cities like Jenin.

 

As the examples of bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the September 11 terrorists demonstrate, Islamism is not a cry of distress from the “wretched of the earth.” It is an implacable summons to war, issued by globetrotting middle-class Muslims, many of them extremely wealthy, and most of them sufficiently well versed in Western civilization and its benefits to be able to exploit the modern world to the full. These Muslims are products of the globalizing process, and Western civilization has so amplified their message that it travels with them around the world.

 

It may be hard to sympathize with these spoiled and self-indulgent advocates of violence. But it is not hard to sympathize with the feelings upon which they depend for their following. Globalization, in the eyes of its advocates, means free trade, increased prosperity, and the steady erosion of despotic regimes by the growing demand for freedom. In the eyes of its critics, however, it means the loss of sovereignty, together with large-scale social, economic, and aesthetic disruption. It also means an invasion of images that evoke outrage and disgust as much as envy in the hearts of those who are exposed to them. In the United States, where pornography is protected as free speech, people are able to accept that this assault on human dignity is the price we must pay for freedoms too precious to relinquish. But if you have not known those freedoms, and believe in any case that happiness resides not in freedom but in submission to God’s law, the impact of pornography is devastating. No less devastating, for pious Muslims, are what they see as the indecent clothes and behavior of young women in the West — clothes and behavior that are in no way modified when those women travel on business or as tourists to Muslim countries, there to presume on a toleration which they are willing to reciprocate but do little or nothing to earn.

 

People in the West live in a public space in which each person is surrounded and protected by his rights, and where all behavior that poses no obvious physical threat is permitted. But people in Muslim countries live in a space that is shared but private, where nobody is shielded by his rights from communal judgment, and where communal judgment is experienced as the judgment of God. Western habits, Western morals, Western art, music, and television are seen not as freedoms but as temptations. And the normal response to temptation is either to give in to it, or to punish those who offer it. Many Muslim muhajiroun do both. Like Atta, they drink, gamble, and fornicate in the flesh-pots of America, while secretly plotting revenge against the thing that made these indulgences possible.

 

Globalization, therefore, offers militant Islam the opportunity that it has lacked since the Ottoman retreat from central Europe. It both concentrates the resolve of the believer and offers him a sword with which to prosecute God’s will. Muslim states do not have the loyalty of their people, who are not citizens but subjects, contemptuous (for the most part) of their rulers. Hence, Muslim states have not recently posed a threat to the West. If they seem to do so, it is only because they form the shield around some crazy tyrant, whose power reaches no further than his weapons. Globalization, however, has brought into being a true Islamic umma, which identifies itself across borders in terms of a global form of legitimacy, and which attaches itself like a parasite to global institutions and techniques that are the by-products of Western democracy. This new form of globalized Islam is undeniably threatening, since it satisfies a hunger for membership that globalization itself has created. It calls on the old nostalgia of the muhajir, and directs it not at some local usurper but at God’s enemies, wherever they are.

 

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Not Peace-Loving, After All: Is Islam itself a threat? (National Review Online, 020923)

 

Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith by Robert Spencer (Encounter, $24.95) 170 pages.

 

Most Americans have a benignly positive attitude toward religion, one that holds faith to be a good thing for the commonweal, regardless of sectarian particulars. Norman Rockwell’s famous “Freedom of Worship” painting captures this nicely, while Eisenhower’s remark — “I believe every American should have a religious faith, and I don’t care what it is” — does so a little more clumsily. That tolerant, pro-religion view has served America well over time, but one cannot help wondering if our civic piety, allied with political correctness, is blinding us to some hard questions about Islam — questions upon which the survival of our civilization depends.

 

I don’t know many non-Muslims who believe President Bush’s politically necessary but theologically nonsensical proclamation that, “Islam means peace.” But there are many more who take comfort in the belief that the threat to America comes not from Islam itself, but from an extremist form of the religion espoused by terrorists and their small but vocal band of supporters. That’s certainly the line taken by the mainstream media, who seem so afraid of sparking American bigotry against Muslim citizens that they have largely resisted critical analysis of Islamic writings, practice, and history.

 

What if they are wrong? What if the threat is not extremist Islam, but Islam itself? That’s the view set out by author Robert Spencer in his new book, Islam Unveiled, a relatively short, plainspoken analysis of the Islamic faith and the challenge it poses to pluralist democracy. Warns Spencer, “The culture of tolerance threatens to render the West incapable of drawing reasonable distinctions. The general reluctance to criticize any non-Christian religion and the almost universal public ignorance about Islam make for a lethal mix.”

 

This is a deeply unsettling little volume, because it offers scant hope that the West can live at peace with Islam unless the religion changes radically, and even less hope that that is possible. Still, the questions Islam Unveiled poses and the answers it provides are hard to dismiss, and given the urgency of the times, necessary to ask. As Spencer writes, “This is not in order to incite thugs to attack Muslims on the street, but to look squarely at what the West is up against.”

 

If Spencer is right, the West faces a primitive, violent, and fiercely chauvinistic religion whose followers, to the extent that they are pious adherents to its teachings, cannot be reasoned with, only resisted. Islam is at its core inimical to democracy and human rights as we in the West understand them. To expect Muslims to drop their belligerence toward the West, which has existed since Islam’s founding in the 7th century, is to expect them to jettison core values of their faith — something for which there is no precedent in Islamic history.

 

The Koran, writes Spencer, is more central to the Islamic faith than the Bible is to Christianity. Muslims believe it was revealed directly from God to the Prophet Muhammad. A pious Muslim may consult an imam or spiritual leader for guidance, but he will also read the Koran himself. He will find there many divine instructions to make constant war on the infidel, who is only to be given the choice of conversion, slave-like subjugation (in historian Bat Yeor’s word, dhimmitude) — or death. And throughout Islamic history, that’s exactly how Muslim societies have behaved toward non-Muslims, who are by the very fact of their unbelief not considered innocents in the eternal, divinely mandated conflict.

 

Undeniably, Christians have in the past committed many despicable acts in the name of God, but they did so in violation of scriptural teaching, not in fulfillment of it, as in Islam. Though the Bible testifies to violence committed at the command of God, and they the few if any Christians or Jews today believe that this is how God expects man to live today. “Islam, by contrast, generally rejects the idea of a historical progression in revelation, and allows little latitude for allegorical interpretation of the martial verses in the Qu’ran,” Spencer writes. “A book [that claims] literal perfection tends to resist any interpretation that diminishes the literal truthfulness of any of its statements.”

 

This literalism has profound consequences for the way Muslims live. Unlike in Christianity, there is no scriptural mandate for separation of church and state in Islam, making secular democracy an alien and hostile concept. Women have few rights over and against their husbands, who may legally beat them, and men in general. (Spencer, quoting from Islamic sources, demonstrates that Muhammad, considered the ideal man for all time, treated women cruelly by contemporary Western standards.) Enslaving infidels and raping infidel women are justified under Koranic law (and still occur in some Muslim lands). Grotesque punishments for crimes — beheadings and the like — are not medieval holdovers, writes Spencer; “On the contrary, they will forever be part of authentic Islam as long as the Qur’an is revered as the perfect Word of Allah.”

 

Spencer does not believe that Islam can be tamed. While Muslims in the West live in peace, prosperity and religious liberty, Christians and other non-Muslims are persecuted, sometimes unto death, throughout the Muslim world today. Turkey is the only Muslim country that could be called democratic, and that’s a stretch; it’s example shows that secularist values can only be imposed on Islamic societies by force, and will therefore remain tenuous. Because Islam demands death for heretics, moderate Muslims will always risk their lives by offering more liberal interpretations of their faith.

 

And most crucially, in his view, Islam cannot be other than a religion of violence. “Of course, most Muslims will never be terrorists. The problem is that for all its schisms, sects, and multiplicity of voices, Islam’s violent elements are rooted in its central texts,” Spencer writes. His final verdict on Islam is sobering, particularly when one considers the rapidly increasing Islamic presence in Europe, the cradle of Western civilization: “It would be too pessimistic to say that there are no peaceful strains of Islam, but it would be imprudent to ignore the fact that deeply imbedded in the central documents of the religion is an all-encompassing vision of a theocratic state that is fundamentally different from and opposed to the post-Enlightenment Christian values of the West.”

 

To be sure, Spencer’s despairing view is not shared by many scholars, even one as reliably critical of radical Islam as Daniel Pipes. In his recent Militant Islam Reaches America, Pipes emphatically denies that radical Islam is the same thing as traditional Islam. He insists that drawing the distinction and encouraging moderates within Islamic societies is an imperative for the West, though he offers scant evidence for this conclusion. And he admits that Muslim moderates are “weak, divided, intimidated and generally ineffectual. Indeed, the prospects for Muslim revitalization have rarely looked dimmer than at this moment... .” One gets the feeling that Pipes would rather light a candle for the unlikely hope of a peaceful revolution within Islam, not because the alternative — one-sixth of humanity, many of whom are already living among us, as implacable enemy of the West — is unrealistic, but because it is unthinkable.

 

“Nowadays, nothing seems less tolerated than what people call pessimism — and which is often in fact just realism,” says Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Is Islam Unveiled pessimism, or realism? We can only know for sure if we have a serious public discussion of the issues Spencer raises in this important (but unsatisfyingly brief) book — issues that stand to be ignored by the media, for fear of trading in anti-Muslim bigotry. If Islam Unveiled, which is published by Encounter Books, Peter Collier’s imprint, becomes the bestseller it deserves to be, it will be through talk radio and word of mouth by Americans who believe that post-9/11, America cannot afford the moral disarmament of indulging in multicultural platitudes.

 

Spencer may be wrong — I doubt it, but I’d like to hear a convincing refutation of his arguments — but he is asking questions that few others have the courage to. And until we hear from this supposed vast silent majority of peace-loving Muslims, the answers Spencer gives go a long way to explain the hatred, violence, backwardness, and fanaticism endemic to the Islamic world.

 

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The Historic Roots of Islamism: Bat Yeor’s latest (National Review Online, 020930)

 

By Paul Giniewski

 

Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide by Bat Yeor (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Associated University Presses, 2002) Hardcover: ($60); paperback: ($19.95)

 

Historian Bat Yeor is a specialist on relations between Islam and the non-Muslim world and on their peoples and religions. We are already indebted to her for numerous scholarly articles and several books on dhimmitude (a term which she practically invented and has popularized in historical and political writing on the subject). Dhimmitude encompasses an exclusive system of protection, condescension, discrimination, exclusion, and persecution to which Christians and Jews, in particular, were subjected after being conquered by Muslims from the mid-seventh century onwards, if they refused to renounce their faith.

 

Islam and Dhimmitude returns to the major themes of her previous works, both complementing and greatly refining the analysis and documentation. The book’s subtitle, “Where Civilizations Collide,” reminds us its subject has never been more relevant.

 

Since the cataclysmic events of September 11, 2001, and the start of the Afghan war, journalists and politicians have often spoken of a collision or war of civilizations, following Professor Samuel Huntington’s hypothesis. Was that collision determined by the traditional relations between Islam and infidel non-Muslims? Both the historical roots of the question — and the answer — can be found in Bat Yeor’s works. The philosopher Jacques Ellul wrote in the preface to her previous book that “the jihad is an institution, not an event.” This new volume examines that “institution” and links it to dhimmitude, which also was to become institutionalized. This study covers a period of 14 centuries — from the rise of Islam and through the resurgence of dhimmitude in contemporary conflicts, such as the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Palestinian intifadas.

 

THE SHARIA: ADOPTED OR ADAPTED?

 

The author shows how, from the birth of Islam, the submission of the infidels led to the dispossession of their lands and to their economic exploitation through protection-ransom relationships. Freedom of worship was restricted for Jews and Christians, and Christian proselytizing was prohibited. Individuals were subjected to degrading treatment and their human liberties limited. Though Europe’s advances in the East brought hope and protection to non-Muslims (the dhimmis), the rise of Arab nationalism — and the achievement of independence by Muslim states — was to mark a return of repressive regimes, not only in countries where the sharia is strictly applied (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, Pakistan) but in countries which have “adapted,” if not completely adopted, it (Egypt, Iraq, and the autonomous Palestinian Authority).

 

The chapters dealing with Islamic anti-Zionism detail this adaptation and clarify the present phase of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They elucidate both the theological foundations, and the adulterated rewriting of history that underpins the campaign of hatred and incrimination against Israel, Zionism, the Jews, and all those whom Islamism perceives as enemies. These chapters further establish how anti-Zionism and third-worldism have collaborated and are still collaborating, as well as examining the relationship between certain Christian and Islamic trends: “Christian antisemitism has denied to the Jews historic rights by the doctrine of the fallen deicide people. For Islam, this same refusal results from a historical negationism which Islamizes all Jewish and Christian biblical history.” Curiously enough, certain Christians continue to espouse this doctrine, little understanding that they are shooting themselves in the foot: “neither the Vatican nor the World Council of Churches has officially condemned anti-Zionism as a criminal ideology advocating the elimination of the State of Israel. European policy is automatically pro-Arab, pro-Islamic, and consequently anti-Christian.”

 

Palestinianism is often an excuse for the politicized reevaluation of history. Thus, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly in 1974, Yasser Arafat described Ottoman Palestine in the late 19th century as a “verdant land,” enjoying “freedom of worship” and populated by Arabs dynamically developing a culture which had existed over millennia. The accounts of contemporary travelers depict a very different reality: a neglected, semi-desert land — dominated by “the desolation which the Turkish government maintains in the countries still under its rule” — which is scarcely cultivated, inhabited by a “wretched” population, with “ruins everywhere.” Palestianism often accepts myths as fact, using them as the foundation for political claims.

 

WHAT USE IS THE PAST?

 

Nearly 17 pages of documents complement the historical account. Clearly, this is a work that can’t be ignored. Practically every page and each of the numerous — and often previously unpublished — citations from original sources contain thoughtful insights germane to what is happening today in Gaza and the West Bank, in Kabul, in Pakistan, in Sudan, in Nigeria, and in Indonesia. Above all, it provides a clear vision of what the Islamists believe and project — a premonition of what awaits us.

 

In a sense, Bat Yeor’s book is eminently political. It explains the need to modernize Islam, and shows why the West must reevaluate the real dangers that confront it. Moreover, the author does not stop at exhortations but suggests concrete attitudes the United Nations should take within the framework of the existing non-governmental organizations in the interreligious dialogue — a real program of action for the start of the millennium. The author concludes, however, on a pessimistic note: With the wave of anti-Zionist disinformation that has engulfed the media, she observes, “Europe seems to be remembering its past only to repeat it.”

 

— Paul Giniewski, a French journalist and writer, is the author of 30 books (including translations), and a specialist on the Arab-Israeli conflict. His latest work examined Christian antijudaism (La Mutation: L’Antijudaïsme).

 

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Author’s ‘insult’ gets ruling today  (Washington Times, 021022)

 

By Marc Burleigh

 

A Paris court will rule today whether best-selling French author Michel Houellebecq should be punished for calling Islam “the dumbest religion.”

 

Mr. Houellebecq, 44, faces up to 18 months in prison and a $70,000 fine if found guilty of both charges against him: racial insult and inciting racial hatred.

 

Officials from the main mosques in Paris and Lyon filed a lawsuit after the novelist’s interview with French literary magazine Lire, also a defendant in the case.

 

“The dumbest religion, after all, is Islam,” Mr. Houellebecq said in the interview. “When you read the Koran, you’re shattered. The Bible at least is beautifully written because the Jews have a heck of a literary talent.”

 

Mr. Houellebecq also told the interviewer that he felt Islam was “a dangerous religion right from the start.”

 

The comments touched a nerve in France’s Muslim community of 5 million, which says it is a victim of a Western backlash since the September 11 attacks in the United States last year.

 

Other writers have come to Mr. Houellebecq’s defense, saying that punishing the author for his opinion is tantamount to censure.

 

His most high-profile defender was British author Salman Rushdie, who was targeted for death by an Iranian religious ruling for reputed blasphemy in his 1988 satirical novel, “The Satanic Verses.”

 

In an article this month in the French newspaper Liberation and in The Washington Post, Mr. Rushdie said a guilty verdict for Mr. Houellebecq would be a blow to free speech.

 

He said “thin-skinned guardians of Islamic sanctities” were too quick to target writers and called the charges against the French author “ridiculously slight.”

 

“If an individual in a free society no longer has the right to say openly that he prefers one book to another, then that society no longer has the right to call itself free,” Mr. Rushdie wrote.

 

At a hearing on Sept. 17 — during which even the state prosecutor recommended that the judge hand down an acquittal — a typically dour Mr. Houellebecq ridiculed the charges against him.

 

“The facts of the accusation are being presented with grand airs. You’d think the whole world had been waiting to hear what I had to say. But there was no shock wave,” he said.

 

He added that his comments about Islam had been spoken with “disdain, not hate.”

 

Mr. Houellebecq’s latest novel, “Platform,” has been praised by critics worldwide. It seemingly predicted last week’s bomb attack, blamed on Islamic terrorists, on an Indonesian nightclub that killed at least 187 persons.

 

In the book, the main character — also called Michel — loses his girlfriend when an explosive rips apart an Asian nightclub called the Crazy Lips, resulting in “the deadliest attack ever in Asia.”

 

Mr. Houellebecq is not the only writer who has landed in a French court for making comments about Islam.

 

Another case is ongoing against Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, who is accused by French human rights groups of inciting racial hatred by saying in her book “The Rage and the Pride” that Muslims “multiply like rats.”

 

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Italian author slams Islam’s ‘hate’ for West  (Washington Times, 021023)

 

The Islamic world is engaged in a cultural war with the West and the worst is still to come, Italian author Oriana Fallaci told a receptive Washington audience last night.

 

Spinning off a long list of Islamic countries, she told a group of about 80 people: “The hate for the West swells like a fire fed by the wind.

 

“The clash between us and them is not a military one. It is a cultural one, a religious one, and the worst is still to come,” she continued in what she said was her first public address in more than a decade.

 

Tight security was in place for the speech at the American Enterprise Institute after death threats were issued against her and her attorney as a result of her latest book, “The Rage and the Pride,” which contains harsh criticism of Muslims.

 

The book, which she called a “sermon” to Europe, was written in New York in the two weeks after September 11 as the smoke and dust from the destruction of the World Trade Center blanketed the city.

 

Miss Fallaci contends in the angry polemic that the only difference between “moderate Islam” and “radical Islam” is the length of their beards.

 

She said last night that critics have attempted to ban the book or have her arrested in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy. The 72-year-old author described these efforts as “intellectual terrorism.”

 

Miss Fallaci, who lives in New York and is afflicted with cancer, also criticizes Western culture for its loose morals and licentiousness.

 

“Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights,” she said.

 

In her prime, Miss Fallaci was famed as a belligerent journalist and argumentative interviewer, who had unprecedented access to the world’s most reclusive and wary leaders.

 

A partisan in the Italian resistance in World War II and a lifelong leftist, she once became so disgusted while interviewing Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that she ripped off her head scarf and threw it in his face.

 

The act of defiance was considered an unpardonable sin in the ayatollah’s Iran.

 

“The Rage and the Pride,” originally published in an Italian newspaper and then as a book, has sold more than 1 million copies in Italy and has been popular in Germany and France as well. All three nations have large Muslim immigrant populations.

 

Variously praised as the painful truth or decried as a “bigoted, anti-Muslim screed,” Miss Fallaci’s book is under threat of judicial action in France for inciting racial hatred.

 

A lawsuit brought by the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between People, a Muslim human rights group, is demanding that the book be banned in France.

 

In a ruling yesterday that may affect her case, a French court acquitted best-selling French author Michel Houellebecq of charges of racial insult and inciting racial hatred for calling Islam the “dumbest religion.”

 

The Paris court threw out the case brought by officials from the main mosques in Paris and the central-eastern city of Lyon and other Muslim groups after an interview Mr. Houellebecq gave to the French literary magazine Lire.

 

“The dumbest religion, after all, is Islam,” he told the magazine. “When you read the Koran, you’re shattered. The Bible at least is beautifully written because the Jews have a heck of a literary talent.”

 

While the court ruled that the 44-year-old author’s comments were “without a doubt characterized by neither a particularly noble outlook nor by the subtlety of their phrasing,” they did not constitute a punishable offense.

 

While Mr. Houellebecq indeed had expressed hatred for Islam as a religion, the court said, he had not expressed hatred for Muslims, nor did he encourage others to share his views or discriminate against Muslims.

 

Miss Fallaci, in her first book in more than 10 years, said she was prompted to write by demonstrations throughout the Muslim world and in pockets of Europe celebrating the September 11 attacks on the United States.

 

Her anger, based on years of reporting in Muslim countries, is evident. Her detractors call the work an incitement to kill Muslims.

 

Unrepentant, Miss Fallaci calls the downing of the Twin Towers an act of cultural war and says the superior Western civilization must stand up and defeat Islam.

 

“War you wanted, war you want? Good. As far as I am concerned, war it is and war it will be. Until the last breath,” she writes.

 

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Not Exactly Tocquevillian: Electoral democracy in Muslim world (National Review Online, 021028)

 

By Amir Taheri

 

By most accounts, this month’s parliamentary elections in Morocco were reasonably clean. There were few signs of the dirty tricks that had marked almost every election since the kingdom regained independence in the 1950s. Nevertheless, a chorus of criticism can now be heard. We are told, for instance, that the turnout was the lowest ever — even though it was equal to those of the British general election of 2001 and the American presidential election of 2000.

 

The real question, however, is whether this election can have any real impact on the composition of the ruling elite — and on the policies it has followed in the past five decades.

 

For some 150 years, many Muslim intellectuals and rulers have tried to borrow aspects of the Western political experience. They have experimented with many Western ideas: nationalism, socialism, communism, fascism, and, more recently, religious fundamentalism. In every case, the result has been disappointing; in some cases, it’s been tragic.

 

The latest borrowed Western idea is electoralism. Holding elections has become a la mode in the Muslim world. It makes the Americans and the Europeans happy, because they can delude themselves that their political model is being emulated in a civilization that had been a rival for 1,000 years. It also gives local rulers a veneer of legitimacy that most lack.

 

Of the 53 Muslim states, 50 have held some form of elections in the past 10 years. A generation ago, fewer than a dozen held any elections. On the surface, therefore, elections have become the norm in the Muslim world. But the problem is that in most cases elections are held only to confirm the status of those in power, and to offer a blank check for their policies.

 

In only four Muslim countries have the elections of the past decade resulted in changes of government. And even then, the changes took place within a narrow ruling elite.

 

In Bangladesh, elections serve as a mechanism for alternation between two lady prime ministers: Hasina Wajed, daughter of the nation’s martyred founder, Mujibur Rahman; and Khaleda Zia, widow of the assassinated Gen. Zia ul-Rahman. (Gen. ul-Rahman served as president in the 1970s.)

 

In Pakistan, power seesawed between Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, under the watchful eye of the military — who ended up seizing power for themselves in 1999.

 

In Turkey, one unstable coalition government has replaced another. But whenever there was a risk of meaningful change, for example by an Islamist-led coalition, the army intervened to preserve the status quo.

 

One election has also led to a very partial change of government in Indonesia, after Suharto’s downfall.

 

Otherwise, elections have largely served to glorify and prolong the status quo — regimes dominated by small power groups, or often a single man. The notorious 99.99% majorities, once common throughout the Third World, are now found only in Muslim countries.

 

The Muslim intellectuals and rulers who borrowed Western ideas often ended up discrediting them. In Iran, communists fought under the banner of mullahs led by Khomeini. In Iraq, communists became henchmen for Saddam Hussein. Self-styled nationalists in many Muslim countries did not hesitate to betray their nations to maintain their hold on power. The self-styled liberals saw capitalism as an excuse for self-enrichment through corruption.

 

Many Muslim intellectuals were obsessed with the idea of revolution — dreaming of red flags, guillotines, and fiery speeches before cheering masses. They ended up praising as revolution every military coup carried out by semi-literate army officers — even those whose leaders quickly became despots.

 

The discrediting of so many Western ideas has created a dangerous vacuum, especially because the Muslim world, mentally frozen for the past 400 years, has been unable to develop any serious political vision of its own. Without an organizing principle around which a normal political system might be built, these countries have essentially been left with a choice between despotism and chaos.

 

The last such organizing principle is electoral democracy. Sadly, that, too, is being discredited.

 

During the past decade, this writer has witnessed or indirectly followed more than 30 elections in the Muslim world. While a few were reasonably clean, none reached the level of a genuine democratic exercise. This is because those organizing the elections failed to realize that while you can’t have democracy without elections, you most definitely can have elections without democracy.

 

In the same vein, while there is no communism without a one-party state, there can be a one-party state without communism. While there is no revolution without a lot of killing, there can be a lot of killing without a revolution.

 

It’s all too easy to ape the form and ignore the content.

 

Not long ago this writer observed an election in an Arab country that shall remain unnamed. At one polling station, he asked to see the list of candidates. The list that was duly produced was scrupulously complete: It included not only the names of the candidates but also the number of votes each had won. And all that, 24 hours before anyone had voted.

 

In another Arab state, the government forced thousands of Sudanese immigrant workers to adopt its nationality so that their votes could prevent the native voters from winning an election.

 

Poor nationalism, poor socialism, poor communism, poor liberalism — and soon, maybe, poor electoral democracy.

 

Is there something in our soil and air that kills all foreign plants?

 

— Amir Taheri is editor of the French quarterly Politique Internationale

 

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The supreme lesson of the sniper case (National Post, 021026)

 

David Frum

 

WASHINGTON - A gunman named Muhammad has terrorized the Washington area for weeks. He was a follower of Louis Farrakhan and joined the security detail at the Million Man March in Washington in 1996. He had expressed admiration for the 9/11 terrorists and violent hatred for the infidel United States. So: Could this murderous rampage have anything to do with, um, Islamic terror? If you have been watching television you already know the answer: Naaaah.

 

Sometimes it seems that the single most important prerequisite for a successful media career is a talent for ignoring the obvious. Every interviewer on television congratulates himself or herself on “asking the tough questions.” But the questions that most urgently need to be answered are the easy questions: Who are John Muhammad and John Malvo? What was their relationship? What was their background?

 

The police have been very quick to reassure the public that John Muhammad did not take orders from al-Qaeda. Unlike the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, and the dirty-nuke bomber, Jose Padilla, Muhammad seems to have been acting for motives and purposes of his own: his own disappointments and resentments, his own greed and rage, and quite possibly his own weird personal dynamic with his “stepson.” In other words, Muhammad was not a Muslim who became a killer. He was a killer who became a Muslim.

 

This reassurance, however, is no reassurance at all. It raises what may be the single most important issue in the next phase of the war on terror: Is radical Islam becoming what black nationalism and communism and fascism each were in their day — the ideology of choice for psychopaths with a murderous grievance against the world?

 

Disturbed personalities can be found in every society and in every culture. In the West, they tend to be drawn to the animal-rights movement, to anti-globalization, and to radical environmentalism. But none of these movements looks very much like a threat to the existing order of society, especially not compared to al-Qaeda or Hezbollah. No wonder that at this April’s big anti-globalization march in Washington, the anti-Nike protesters wore Palestinian keffiyehs. No wonder that the star attraction at the anti-Iraq-war march in Madrid last month were two young European women dressed in suicide-bomber bikinis. There was an undercurrent of effeteness and silliness about the protests of the 1990s — all those ridiculous papier mâché puppets! Compared to that, from the point of view of the radically alienated, radical Islam is the real thing.

 

So what can we do to protect ourselves?

 

One lesson taught by the snipers is the comparative futility of what we now call “homeland security”: measures to improve the defence of aircraft, refineries, nuclear reactors and other potential targets. Homeland security protects things — and terrorists target people.

 

Better to continue to demand better police and intelligence work. The Patriot Act of 2001 gave the FBI, at long last, authority to send agents to listen to the sermons preached in mosques and to read the postings on extremist Web sites — and that will help. Ultimately, though, the police depend for their information on the help of alert citizens. It was good detective work that identified John Muhammad and John Malvo as the killers — it was a tip from a motorist that actually turned them in.

 

And this is the supreme lesson of the sniper case: It is the North American Muslim community that must be the first line of defence against Islamic terror.

 

In September, Assistant Attorney General Larry Thompson thanked the Muslim community of western New York for turning in six Buffalo men of Yemeni origin who had undergone training at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and who were allegedly plotting terrorist attacks inside the United States. This patriotic act apparently split the area’s Yemeni immigrant community. The imam of the mosque accused the police of harassment, and passed the hat around his not-very-affluent membership to raise $700,000 bail. The Pakistani newspaper, The Dawn, quoted one unnamed mosque member’s excuse for the arrested men: “These men were looking for adventure and thought it was exciting to visit an al-Qaeda camp and listen to their leaders. They never wanted to commit an act of terrorism. They love America.” Uh-huh.

 

It’s been rightly said that the war on terror is not a war between the West and Islam — it is a civil war within Islam about the future of the Islamic world. The writer Christopher Hitchens has termed Islamic extremists “Islamo-fascists” and that term is taxonomically exact. Just as European fascism sought to beat back democracy and liberty in the 20th century by invoking a medieval past that never was, so now do the Islamic fascists of al-Qaeda and Hezbollah and their many sympathizers invoke the myths of ancient Arabia against democratization and westernizatoin in the 21st.

 

The Muslim communities of the West are one of the most decisive theatres of this civil war. And the case of John Muhammad reminds us that in this theatre, our victory is far from won.

 

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The Enemy Within: Asking tough questions (National Review Online, 021029)

 

Here we go again. A Muslim is arrested and suspected of involvement in the planning and/or execution of acts of murderous terror in the United States. Suddenly, a number of organizations that purport to represent Muslims in the United States warn that the episode might produce a racist and bigoted reaction against their co-religionists.

 

For example, within hours of the arrest of a black convert to Islam named John Allen Muhammad in connection with the recent spate of sniper attacks in the Washington area, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a press release. In it, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad professed satisfaction with the breakthrough, but went on to declare: “We are concerned that because a suspect in the case has the last name of ‘Muhammad,’ American Muslims will now face scapegoating and bias.” Awad claimed that “Police reports indicate that the suspects acted alone, based on their own motivations. There is no indication that this case is related to Islam or Muslims.”

 

Actually, press accounts from Tacoma, Washington report that Muhammad sympathized with al Qaeda and cheered the September 11 attacks that brought down four jetliners and killed nearly 3,000 Americans.

 

Awad then went on offense: “We therefore ask journalists and media commentators to avoid speculation based on stereotyping or prejudice. The American Muslim community should not be held accountable for the alleged criminal actions of what appear to be troubled and deranged individuals.”

 

While “stereotyping or prejudice” is certainly to be avoided, CAIR’s real hope appears to be that journalists, media commentators and, more importantly, government officials will not recognize certain worrisome problems that the Muhammad case might illuminate. These include the following:

 

 

This is not a hypothetical problem. Jose Padilla, a felon who — after his conversion to Islam in and release from jail — is alleged to have been involved in a plot to attack the United States with a radiological weapon. Individuals like Muhammad, who have had repeated run-ins with the law, would surely have been targets for such recruitment efforts. How many have been — and was Muhammad among them?

 

 

 

Did Muhammad’s conversion occur during his time in that theater? Were other Americans induced during that period to enroll in the Wahhabist agenda?

 

 

While Wahhabists may look down their noses at black Muslims, they are happy to count them so as to inflate the claimed size of the U.S. Muslim population to maximize its political influence. The question is: Are African-American Muslims actually seen as useful, and are they being employed, for other purposes as well — perhaps including as cannon fodder for terrorist operations?

 

It is very much to be hoped that law-enforcement officials will be addressing these larger questions as they explore the suspected sniper’s past. To do so, they will have to go places and ask questions that CAIR and other Wahhabist-connected groups will no doubt assail as racist or bigoted. For instance, they will have to get inside the mosques and Islamic centers where the murder suspect lived, and conduct a thorough investigation of the imam and others who mentored his conversion. In short, the investigators will have to stand up to CAIR and the other apologists for terrorist organizations and their operatives who claim to represent Muslims in the United States — even as they work to impede law enforcement efforts to protect all Americans.

 

On the other hand, American officials doing such work should be able to count on the help of those who really do represent mainstream Muslims. After all, those who are trying to resist Wahhabist efforts to hijack and radicalize their religion have as great an interest as the rest of us in figuring out how the Saudis and others are advancing their agenda. The place to start would be for such Muslims to denounce and work to end terrorism, in stark contrast to their co-religionists who quietly support jihad while impugning their critics as racists and bigots.

 

— Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the president of the Center for Security Policy.

 

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Damned If You Do: Historians dare to criticize Islamic dhimmitude at Georgetown and pay a price (National Review Online, 021029)

 

Will Jews and Christians on American college campuses have the freedom — and more importantly, the courage — to speak out against oppression of their people in Islamic nations? Not, it seems, at Georgetown University, where Jewish student leaders turned on the leading historian of dhimmitude — the state of formal discrimination historically imposed on Jews and Christians living under Islamic occupation — when Muslim students became angry and emotional over her remarks.

 

Bat Yeor, who occasionally contributes to National Review Online, made her reputation by documenting the tragic fate of the dhimmi Christians of the East, in lands conquered by Islam. Classical Islam prescribes a state of existence for subject Jews and Christians under which they must live as second-class citizens, paying a special tax to their Muslim rulers, living under special rules, and not granted the same basic human rights enjoyed by Muslims. Bat Yeor, born a Jew in Egypt but exiled to Europe, is the best-known historian of what she has termed dhimmitude, and has written three books on the subject.

 

A coalition of Jewish and Christian student groups at Georgetown invited the historian and her husband, historian David Littman, to deliver a lecture a week ago today on the stated topic of “Ideology of Jihad, Dhimmitude and Human Rights” — which was the title of the speech, according to flyers the event organizers produced. If statements the Littmans provided to National Review Online are accurate, it is hard to believe that their hosts were unaware of the nature of their work in the field.

 

“The various flyers in my possession that were prepared, posted, and widely circulated via e-mail by the organizers (I considered some of them somewhat provocative — and said so), confirm that all were fully aware of the subjects and themes to be addressed by both speakers,” David Littman said.

 

Littman says the organizers agreed to provide special security for the event, indicating that they anticipated the possibility of trouble. Littman says he and his wife met with Ben Bixby, one of the Jewish student organizers, a week before the lecture, gave him copies of Bat Yeor’s books, as well as copies of her recent articles. “Anyone glancing at these publications would know exactly the thrust of subjects and themes of the evening lectures,” he tells NRO.

 

On the morning of the lectures, says Littman, he and Bat Yeor met Bixby and fellow students Julia Segall and Salamon Kalach-Zaga for breakfast. They spoke about the planned speeches. Littman says he decided to present a version of a talk he had given at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, and provided a copy to the organizers. For her part, Bat Yeor says it is impossible for her to believe that she would have been invited to speak by students who were unfamiliar with her work.

 

Of her lecture, Bat Yeor says, “I explained the roots of jihad according to Muslim theologians and jurists, its aim, strategy, tactics and rules. This was followed by a short description of the jihad war of conquest on three continents over a millennium: from Portugal to India, from Budapest to Sudan, as those war operations, victories and conquests were described in Muslim and Christian chronicles. Dhimmitude is the direct consequence of jihad. It embodied all the Islamic laws and customs applied over a millennium on the vanquished population, Jews and Christians, living in the countries conquered by jihad and therefore Islamized.

 

“Then I spoke of the return of the jihad ideology since the 1960s, and of some dhimmitude practices in Muslim countries applying the sharia [Islamic] law, or inspired by it. I stressed the incompatibility between the concept of tolerance as expressed by the jihad-dhimmitude ideology, and the concept of human rights based on the equality of all human beings and the inalienability of their rights.”

 

According to a letter written to the campus newspaper by Scott Borer-Miller, a Jewish student who was present at the lecture, students “openly laughed and made comments” during Bat Yeor’s half-hour lecture. In the question-and-answer period that followed, Bat Yeor reported “sometimes vehement” opposition from Muslim students in the audience. She describes it as “religiously motivated.”

 

“They wouldn’t accept a word of criticism on jihad and dhimmitude,” she says. “I had approached and explained the subject as a matter of human history, like any other such subject. My vision was pluralistic, and based on countless testimonies, including Muslim ones. It was clear that the students who objected would not accept nor even tolerate the perception of jihad’s victims.”

 

Bat Yeor describes the Jewish students as looking “miserable and stunned.” David Littman told me last week in New York that one of the Jewish students came to him and asked him not to deliver his lecture. He refused, and faced another outcry from Muslim students, particular when he mentioned disapprovingly that Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was a small child when she was married off to the Prophet. Bat Yeor told me last week that several Jewish and Christian students approached her and her husband after the event and thanked them for their testimony. “I asked them, ‘Why didn’t you stand up for us when we were being attacked?’” she said. “They didn’t have an answer.”

 

Three days after the lecture, a story appeared in The Hoya, the campus newspaper, in which Kalach-Zaga, spokesman for the Georgetown Israel Alliance, alleged that Bat Yeor and her husband misled the organizers. “We wanted an event that talked about authoritarian regimes and how they twist and distort Islam to justify repression against minorities. The information that [Yeor and Littman] provided us with was about this topic, but their presentation wasn’t concerned at all with this,” the paper quoted Kalach-Zaga as saying.

 

“The speakers gave us certain ideas about what they would speak about so that they could get in the door, and once they were in, they gave a completely different idea of what we had wanted. It was two-faced and manipulative,” he continued.

 

In a letter to The Hoya, Jewish student leaders Julia Segall and Daniel Spector called the event “a disaster, and [we] denounce the views brought forth by Bat Yeor and David Littman.” The pair called their guest speakers “hateful, slanderous and a crude surprise to us.” They accused the speakers of making “no effort to make a clear distinction between pure, harmonious Islam, and the acts of a few who falsely claim to act in the name of Islam.”

 

“This is pure nonsense,” Bat Yeor replies. “When one studies the Inquisition or the Crusades, one does not feel obliged to make a clear distinction between ‘pure’ Christianity and those historical events. In a university, the examination of several analyses of history should be encouraged. The Muslim view is exclusively religion-based, and proceeds from the assumption that there is only one valid interpretation of history: the Islamic one. No criticism of jihad is accepted because it is a just war according to Muslim dogma.

 

“This attitude imposes the worst law of dhimmitude on non-Muslims: the refusal of their evidence. The historical testimony of the millions of human victims of jihad is rejected on its face by this doctrinal attitude.”

 

It strains credibility to believe that the Jewish student organizers thought that Bat Yeor, whose work makes plain that jihad and dhimmitude are inextricably linked to Islamic doctrine and practice, would present them with a lecture saying the codified oppression of non-Muslim peoples is a peculiar distortion of Islam. None of several Jewish students involved with putting the event together responded to NRO’s request for comment. David Littman says that unless the student organizers retract their accusations that he and his wife deceived the event’s organizers, he will consult a lawyer about a libel suit.

 

Rabbi Harold White, the Jewish chaplain at Georgetown, said he was visited by several of the “horrified” organizers the day after the presentation. “They didn’t have problems with the facts [Bat Yeor and David Littman] were presenting,” says Rabbi White. “They believed [the historians] were very rude. From what the students said to me, it was their mannerisms, and cutting off questions, that led to the apology. No [student] said to me that they doubted what she said was true. The just didn’t like the presentation.”

 

That contrasts starkly with the complaints the three students — Spector, Segall, and Kalach-Zaga — made for public consumption, in the pages of the campus newspaper, in which they mostly complained about the content of the Yeor-Littman speeches (“we in no way agree or support what was said”), and in Kalach-Zaga’s case, accused the husband-wife team of being “two-faced and manipulative.”

 

Rabbi White at first told NRO he suspected that the Jewish students had not read any of Bat Yeor’s work prior to bringing her to campus, but corrected himself when he recalled that a Palestinian student group had requested of the Jewish student leaders that they cancel Bat Yeor’s talk. “I know [the Jewish students] were provided with the material in advance, because in justifying the program to the leadership of the Arab group, they said they had read it and were convinced the program wouldn’t be offensive.”

 

When Muslim students in attendance reacted angrily to the speakers’ presentations on jihad and dhimmitude, the Jewish students apparently changed their tune. “I don’t think it was intimidation,” says Rabbi White. “I think it was based on the fact that the week before, they had participated in a successful program on Jewish-Palestinian dialogue, and I think they must have figured it would endanger dialogue in the future.”

 

As for Chi Alpha, the lone Christian group co-sponsoring the event, Shawn Galyen, the group’s (non-student) chaplain, said he had never heard of Bat Yeor, but agreed to co-sponsor the lecture when Jewish organizers told him she would speak on the human rights situation of persecuted religious minorities in Islamic countries. Galyen said he was “disappointed” when her speech took up Islamic theology.

 

“I didn’t think I heard a clear distinction when there could have been one between religion and people using religion for bad purposes,” Galyen tells NRO. “If I would have known that was her work, I would have never been involved in it. It just isn’t helpful, that kind of presentation.”

 

But if what Bat Yeor and David Littman said about Islamic doctrine and history is true, I put it to Galyen, isn’t it “helpful” — as opposed to a lie that keeps social peace? Galyen demurred, saying that his group isn’t political, and that he only wishes that Bat Yeor had shown more “graciousness.” The chaplain added that he wasn’t sure that her voice belonged on a college campus, but when pressed, couldn’t explain why.

 

All this, say Bat Yeor and Littman, shows how the Jews and Christians of Georgetown have embraced a dhimmi mentality, by abasing themselves before the sensibilities of Muslims, whose co-religionists persecute and oppress Jews and Christians abroad. Political correctness demands that Islam be thought of as inherently peaceful and tolerant, and no explorations of its history and doctrines that would lead to a contrary view may be presented.

 

Walid Phares, a professor of Middle Eastern studies and ethnic-religious conflict at Florida Atlantic University, calls the Georgetown controversy “significant, but not unique.”

 

“In the past two decades, any intellectual who advocates the fact that Middle Eastern Christians have suffered, or presented their research on this phenomenon, has been repressed,” said Phares, who is a Maronite (Lebanese Catholic). “After 9/11, and continuing jihadist attacks on Christians around the world, it’s very sad that students at a prominent university would try to suppress voices of academics, of researchers who are just trying to shed light on a very difficult issue. History is history, and in the same way Christians have criticized their own history, including the Crusades, it’s time for the Muslim intellectuals to start criticizing the Islamic conquests and the jihad.”

 

It’s notable that this controversy erupted at Georgetown, says Phares, given the role its influential, Islamophilic Middle Eastern Studies department has played in what Phares calls “the erasing of the plight of Middle Eastern Christians under Islamic regimes.”

 

Charles Jacobs, director of the Boston-based American Anti-Slavery Organization, says Bat Yeor’s historical argument must be heard because she is describing the basis for laws and ideology today in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, parts of Nigeria, and other Muslim nations, that determine how non-Muslims are governed.

 

“In most of the Middle East, the legacy of this religious inequality exists today,” he says. “How can centuries of religious discrimination — cemented in daily practices through the requirement to wear distinctive garb, through the enforced custom of not looking at a Muslim in the eye, of not being able to defend yourself in court against a Muslim for any charge conceivable — how could this disappear overnight? This is what stokes the jihadi fires, and this is what Bat Yeor is calling attention to.”

 

Could it be that Jews and Christians at Georgetown and other elite universities, who are among the small number of Americans in a position to do something to draw attention to the plight of the dhimmi peoples, may not want to hear about their suffering, past and present, because it upsets the social peace on campus? Because it gainsays the comforting multiculturalist nostrum that any unpleasant manifestation of Islam is not Islam at all? Because preserving good relations with Muslim groups requires not noticing dhimmitude — and, if it comes to it, possibly even dishonestly trashing the reputations of two scholars who do?

 

Any peace built on a lie is no peace at all, and a dialogue based on anything but the truth is self deception. It is to be hoped that the Georgetown debacle may result not in Bat Yeor’s voice being silenced by dhimmitized Americans, but amplified by Americans who are tired of the silence on Islamic persecution of dhimmis. There is a nascent effort underway in certain Washington circles to establish an institute affiliated with Bat Yeor to promote scholarship on dhimmitude. This distressing incident at Georgetown underscores the need for such an institute, so Eastern Christians and Jews of dhimmi heritage can preserve and defend their history. “Ignorance is the enemy of reason,” says FAU’s Phares. “Maronites, Copts, Syriacs and others have been victims of jihad for centuries. After 9/11, the role of these communities in the West is extremely important. They can tell what has happened to them.”

 

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Stop making excuses for Muslim extremists (National Post, 021029)

 

Mark Steyn

 

Heigh-ho. After weeks of assurances that the sniper was an “angry white male,” it turns out the only angry white males connected to this story are the ones in America’s newsrooms. On Thursday, after being informed that the two suspects were a black Muslim called Muhammad and his illegal-immigrant Jamaican sidekick, The New York Times nevertheless reported in its early editions that the pair were being sought for “possible ties to ‘skinhead militia’ groups.” The Feds had already released a photo of Mr. Muhammad looking like one of the less goofy members of the Jackson Five and, though one should never rush to stereotype, it seems unlikely that a black Muslim with big hair would have many “ties” to skinhead militias.

 

But in the early hours of Thursday morning, the Times wasn’t ready to give in: C’mon, there’s gotta be some angry white male National Rifle Association right-wing redneck Second Amendment gun-nut neo-Nazi militia types in here somewhere, preferably living in a compound Janet Reno can come out of retirement to surround and torch.

 

Sadly not. Instead, we have a Muslim convert. A Muslim convert who last year discarded the name “Williams” and adopted a new identity as “Muhammad.” A Muslim convert called Muhammad who publicly expressed his approval of al-Qaeda’s September 11th attacks. A pro-al-Qaeda Muslim convert called Muhammad who marked the first anniversary of 9/11, to the exact minute, by visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles in Camden, New Jersey. Two minutes after he left the building, the cops arrived to deal with a mysterious bomb scare.

 

What are we expert profilers to make of such confusing and contradictory characteristics? Well, obviously, those of us in the media should not to be too hasty in connecting the dots. Instead, we should rush to disconnect them. Thus, CNN finds it easier to call Mr. Muhammad “Mr. Williams,” a formulation likely to be encouraged by the guy’s lawyers, once they’re in place, just as, in the hands of the ever sensitive media, Abdul Hamid and Abdullah al-Muhajir were tactfully restored to their maiden names of John Walker Lindh and Jose Padilla. (By the way, was that a picture of Cassius Clay on the front of the National Post last week?) My local radio news described Mr. Muhammad as “an ex-soldier” and “an African-American male.” Anyone spot the missing category? You can discern the preferred narrative: an African-American male from a deprived background driven psycho by military culture. But he left the army years ago and his transformation into a killer seems to be more or less coincidental with his transformation into Mr. Muhammad.

 

But pay no attention to that. Even though the crime (the random murder of Americans of all types, ages, genders and races) and the accused (an anti-American Islamist) are a perfect match, the network criminologists continue to profess themselves perplexed by the apparent lack of motive, as if we’ll shortly discover that Mr. Muhammad had been denied a promotion at Burger King or he’d been abused as a child. It doesn’t really matter whether Muhammad al-Sniper was acting on orders or simply improvising. The jihad-inciters in the Middle East are happy with either. If anything, the freelance approach suits them better: you don’t need complicated and traceable communications and wire transfers; the punks on the ground will act independently just to impress you.

 

The media lapsed into the same denial mode the last time a forty-year-old radical Muslim called Mohamed opened fire on U.S. soil. July the Fourth, LAX, the El Al counter, two dead. CNN and The Associated Press all but stampeded to report a “witness” who described the shooter as a fat white guy in a ponytail who kept yelling “Artie took my job.” But, alas, it was — surprise! — a Muslim called Hesham Mohamed Modayet.

 

Broadly speaking, in these interesting times, when something unusual and unprecedented happens, there are those who think on balance it’s more likely to be a fellow called Mohammed than, say, Bud, and there are those who climb into the metaphorical burqa, close up the grille and insist, despite all the evidence, that we should be looking for some angry white male. I’m in the former camp and, apropos the sniper, said as much in The Chicago Sun-Times. I had a bet with both my wife and my assistant that the perp would be an Islamic terrorist. The gals, unfortunately, had made the mistake of reading The New York Times, whose experts concluded it would be a “macho hunter” or an “icy loner.”

 

Speaking as a macho hunter and an icy loner myself, I’m beginning to think the media would be better off turning their psychological profilers loose on America’s newsrooms. Take, for example, the Times’ star columnist Frank Rich. Within a few weeks of September 11th, he was berating John Ashcroft, the Attorney-General, for not rounding up America’s “home-grown Talibans” — the religious right, members of “the Second Amendment cult” and “the anti-abortion terrorist movement.” In a column entitled “How To Lose A War” last October - i.e., during the Afghan campaign — he mocked the Administration for not consulting with abortion clinics, who had a lot of experience dealing with “terrorists.”

 

You get the picture: Sure, Muslim fundamentalists can be pretty extreme, but what about all our Christian fundamentalists? Unfortunately, for the old moral equivalence to hold up, the Christians really need to get off their fundamentalist butts and start killing more people. At the moment, the brilliantly versatile Muslim fundamentalists are gunning down Maryland schoolkids and bus drivers, hijacking Moscow musicals, self-detonating in Israeli pizza parlours, blowing up French oil tankers in Yemen, and slaughtering nightclubbers in Bali, while Christian fundamentalists are, er, sounding extremely strident in their calls for the return of prayer in school.

 

Oh, well. It’s not just the media who bend over backwards to look the other way. It turns out Muhammad al-Sniper was twice reported to the FBI for suspected terrorist links. Though living in a homeless shelter, he had the wherewithal to travel extensively round the country by plane, as the shelter’s director discovered when a ticket agent called up to confirm Mr. Muhammad’s booking. “At the mission, not many airline agents call and ask for residents,” says the Rev. Al Archer. I’ll bet. But, even after September 11th, a guy in a homeless shelter stacking up the frequent-flier miles wasn’t enough to attract the Bureau’s attention.

 

As for his teen “ward” (please, no giggling), he’s an illegal immigrant — or, in the loopily PC designation of the networks, “an African-American from Jamaica,” which seems a nicely inclusive way of describing a subject of the Crown. He was briefly in the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, but they let him go in breach of their own procedures.

 

So 10 more Americans have been killed by a guy the FBI never bothered checking out and a guy the INS released into the community to add to the 3,000 killed by Saudis the State Department should never have approved the visas of. Perhaps it’s time for at least one white male to get a little angry: the President.

 

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Punishment includes Islam indoctrination (WorldNetDaily, 021031)

 

Canadian to resume hate-crimes sentence under Muslim direction

 

An Ontario man convicted of promoting hatred against Muslims says his community-service sentence has included indoctrination into Islam.

 

After losing an appeal to Canada’s Supreme Court on Oct. 17, Mark Harding must resume his sentence of two years probation and 340 hours of community service under the direction of Mohammad Ashraf, general secretary of the Islamic Society of North America in Mississauga, Ont.

 

Harding, 47, said he had one session under Ashraf in 1998 before an appeal process stayed the sentence.

 

Ashraf, according to Harding, said that instead of licking stamps and stuffing envelopes, “it would be better if you learned about Islam.”

 

The cleric made it clear, Harding recalled in an interview with WorldNetDaily, that during the sessions nothing negative could be said about Islam or its prophet, Muhammad.

 

“He said he was my supervisor, and if I didn’t follow what he said, he would send me back to jail,” recounted Harding, who had been prevented from speaking publicly about his case under a gag order.

 

Harding was convicted in 1998 on federal hate-crimes charges stemming from a June 1997 incident in which he distributed pamphlets outside a public high school, Weston Collegiate Institute in Toronto. Harding – who said that until that point he spent most of his time evangelizing Muslims – was protesting the school’s policy of setting aside a room for Muslim students to pray during school hours.

 

In one of his pamphlets, Harding listed atrocities committed by Muslims in foreign lands to back his assertion that Canadians should be wary of local Muslims.

 

The pamphlet said: “The Muslims who commit these crimes are no different than the Muslim believers living here in Toronto. Their beliefs are based on the Quran. They sound peaceful, but underneath their false sheep’s clothing are raging wolves seeking whom they may devour. And Toronto is definitely on their hit list.”

 

“The point I was trying to make is you shouldn’t have a violent religion like Islam allowed in a school when Christianity or Hinduism or Buddhism is not allowed,” he told WND.

 

Harding, an evangelical Protestant, insists he has love rather than hatred toward Muslims and wants to see them go to heaven.

 

A lawyer for Harding, Jasmine Akbaralli, says she is trying to obtain permission for her client to serve out his sentence in an Islamic community closer to his current home in Chesley, Ont., north of Toronto and about a three-hour drive from the Islamic Society of North America.

 

The plea is based on humanitarian grounds, she said, due to her client’s poor health.

 

Harding said he has suffered four heart attacks since 1997, and he and his wife and two children are penniless because his health has prevented him from maintaining his trade as a cabinetmaker.

 

Akbaralli said she would not comment on Harding’s previous experience with Ashraf, noting that she was not representing him at the time. Calls to Ashraf and others at the Islamic Society of North America on Tuesday and Wednesday were not returned.

 

Understanding Islam

 

During his 1998 session with Ashraf, Harding was told to read a book called Towards Understanding Islam, by Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi.

 

On page 12 of the book, Harding noted, it gives a description of a “kafir,” or infidel, a person who does not follow Islam.

 

“Such a man ... will spread confusion and disorder on the earth,” the book says. “He will without the least compunction, shed blood, violate other men’s rights, be cruel to them, and create disorder and destruction in the world. His perverted thoughts and ambitions, his blurred vision and disturbed scale of values, and his evil-spelling activities would make life bitter for him and for all around him.”

 

“It was obvious that he intended to make sure I understood that I was a kafir,” Harding said of Ashraf.

 

Harding’s 1998 conviction on three counts of willfully promoting hatred was commended by Canadian Muslims.

 

“The verdict sends a message to Christians, Muslims and Jews that personal views of that nature can’t be allowed in a public forum,” said Shahina Siddiqui, coordinator of community relations and social services for the Manitoba Islamic Association, in a report by the Canadian evangelical publication Christian Week. “There’s a fine line between freedom of expression and hatred. Harding crossed that line.”

 

Mohamed Elmasry, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, said after the verdict that “spreading hate is against Canadian values and against Canadian law, and it doesn’t matter the group that is victimized.”

 

The verdict was not a suppression of free speech, Elmasry insisted, according to Alberta Report magazine, arguing that he would not consider scholarly books in the library that criticize Islam to be hate literature. Harding “is just trying to stereotype and put out hate literature, and he was found guilty by the courts,” he said.

 

Harding asserted at the time that he meant to criticize only Islamic terrorists, not all Muslims. But he added that faithful Muslims will always engage in jihad, or holy war, against non-Muslims because it is required by Islamic teachings.

 

Many Muslim scholars in North America argue that jihad essentially means “struggle” and is not necessarily violent.

 

But Harding said that after his case became public, he no longer felt safe, due to threats from Muslims. When he entered court for the first time for his trial, he required police protection as a large crowd of Muslims gathered, with some chanting, “Infidels, you will burn in hell.”

 

Harding said he received many death threats among more than 3,000 hate-filled calls that came to his answering service in 1997. Similar calls were received by police and the Ontario attorney general, he said.

 

“I had a call from someone who said they were from (Louis) Farrakhan’s (Nation of Islam) group, and they were going to break my legs,” he said. “Another caller said he would rip out my testicles.”

 

The Islamic Society of North America in Canada, where Harding is required to fulfill his community service, describes itself as a “broad-based unity of Muslims and Islamic organizations committed to the mission and movement of Islam: nurturing a way of life in the light of the guidance from the Quran and Sunnah for establishing a vibrant presence of Muslims in Canada.”

 

The organization shares facilities with the Canadian Council on Islamic Relations, an affiliate of the controversial Council on Islamic-American Relations, or CAIR, in Washington, D.C.

 

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper indicated in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he wants to see the United States become a Muslim country.

 

“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” Hooper told the Star Tribune. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”

 

Hate crimes

 

Judge Sidney B. Linden’s 1998 ruling against Harding was based on Canada’s genocide and hate-crimes law. The judge determined he was guilty of “false allegations about the adherents of Islam calculated to arouse fear and hatred of them in all non-Muslim people.”

 

The law bars a public statement that “willfully promotes hatred” against groups “distinguished by color, race, religion or ethnic origin.” The code has an article that excuses statements expressed in “good faith,” including religious expression. But the trial judge found that Harding had either “tried to incite hatred or was willfully blind to it,” according to lawyer Akbaralli.

 

Canadian Christian groups are fighting a bill reinstated this month by a homosexual parliament member that would add “sexual orientation” as a protected category in the hate-crimes statutes. Known previously as bill C-415, it is now registered as C-250.

 

Evangelicals have supported Harding in principle, though many have signaled their opposition to his aggressive tactics or have expressed reservations.

 

Harding said he’s received support from Christians who immigrated to Canada from Muslim countries, where minority religions experience discrimination and persecution.

 

“I have a lot of Pakistani and Egyptian friends helping me through this because they understand what Islam is all about,” he said. “When they heard about me in the news, they called to offer their support.”

 

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Muslims must disavow Osama’s message (National Post, 021118)

 

George Jonas

 

When the audio tape attributed to Osama bin Laden was released last week, the voice that threatened America’s allies didn’t issue its warning in the name of al-Qaeda. It didn’t purport to speak for Iraq, Indonesia, Chechnya or the Palestinian territories. Though the voice listed them all, it spoke for what it called “the Muslim nation.”

 

“As you assassinate,” bin Laden said to the West, naming each of six countries in turn, from Australia to Great Britain, and from Canada to Italy, “so will you be assassinated. As you bomb so will you likewise be. So the Muslim nation begins to attack you with its children, who are committed before God to continue the jihad, by word and by the sword.”

 

About two days later U.S. President George W. Bush also made a set of remarks as he began a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

 

“By far, the vast majority of American citizens respect the Islamic people and the Muslim faith,” Mr. Bush said, while dissociating his government from intemperate comments about Muslims made by some televangelists, whom Mr. Bush didn’t name. The President probably referred to Pat Robertson who reportedly said recently that Muslims were “worse than the Nazis” or to Jerry Falwell who in a TV interview last month described the prophet Mohammed as a “terrorist.”

 

“It is encouraging to hear President Bush address the issue of Islamophobic rhetoric in our society. We hope the President’s rejection of anti-Muslim hate speech will be followed by similar statements from other elected officials and from mainstream religious leaders,” commented Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) communications director Ibrahim Hooper.

 

No disagreement here. It’s indeed encouraging for the general cause of peace and tolerance in the world that President Bush repudiates excessive or thoughtless statements and reaffirms fundamental Western values. But it would be equally reassuring for leaders of Islamic countries, from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, to have issued similar statements following the speech attributed to bin Laden.

 

It would have been reassuring to hear one or more major figures in the world of Islam say that “the vast majority of citizens of Muslim countries respect the American people and the Christian faith.” Except this didn’t happen. Nor did Mr. Hooper express the hope that it might happen. He didn’t offer to repudiate what Osama bin Laden said while purporting to speak for the “Muslim nation.” Mr. Hooper expected “other elected officials and mainstream religious leaders” to follow the President’s example and declare that Pat Robertson and other televangelists don’t speak for America, but he didn’t offer to declare, or call on Muslim leaders to declare, that “bin Laden doesn’t speak for Islam.”

 

So what we’re left with is bin Laden declaring that he speaks for the “Muslim nation,” which now “begins to attack you with its children,” without anybody saying: “No, bin Laden, you do not. You do not speak for the millions of peace-loving Muslims. You speak only for a handful of terrorists.”

 

So far we’ve heard nothing from the millions of peace-loving Muslims. We heard nothing from their political leaders in Islamic countries. We heard nothing from their spiritual leaders, at home or in the West. We heard nothing from the spokespeople of CAIR. If it weren’t for President Bush’s assurance that millions of peace-loving Muslims exist, we wouldn’t know it. They’re silent, except when some exhort us, like Mr. Hooper, to keep declaring through our “elected officials and mainstream religious leaders” that Muslims are peace-loving.

 

I don’t doubt that they are, only I wouldn’t mind hearing it from them for a change. It was great to hear it from President Bush, but now I’d like to hear it from CAIR.

 

Whatever Pat Robertson said, he blew up nothing. However injudicious Jerry Falwell’s remarks have been, he didn’t threaten anyone with assassination. Robertson or Falwell cannot be mentioned in the same breath with Osama bin Laden — yet as soon as they spoke, the President dissociated his government and his country from them. “I’ll remind the Secretary-General,” he said, “that our war against terror is a war against individuals whose hearts are full of hate. We do not fight a religion.”

 

Did Muslim leaders, secular or religious, say anything to dissociate themselves and their faith from bin Laden when he declared his jihad against “the Crusaders and the Jews”? Did the ruler of a supposedly friendly Arab country, such as Saudi Arabia or Jordan, say, as Mr. Bush did, that “the comments that have been uttered do not reflect the sentiments of my government”?

 

When asked this question, Arab and Muslim commentators usually reply that (1) we have said it, and (2) why should we be obliged to say the obvious? The two replies are offered in the same breath, though reply no. 1 is negated by reply no. 2, and reply no 2. is worthless. On this test, President Bush shouldn’t be obliged to say the obvious either — i.e., that “ours is a country based upon tolerance” and that we won’t let “terrorists cause us to change our values” — yet he’s not only saying it, but CAIR demands that he and other leaders should say it even louder and more often. They’re right to demand it because in such situations the obvious isn’t obvious unless it’s stated loudly and often — except this is no less true for CAIR than for President Bush. The difference is that Mr. Bush is actually saying it, while Muslim countries and communities say little beyond reiterating their own grievances.

 

Sorry. Reiterating grievances isn’t enough to convince the world that bin Laden is only engaged in wishful thinking when he says he speaks for “the Muslim nation.”

 

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Scores Killed in Nigerian Miss World Rioting (Foxnews, 021121)

 

LAGOS, Nigeria — More than 50 people were reported dead and 200 wounded Thursday as protesters rioted over a newspaper article that suggested Islam’s founding prophet might have chosen a wife from among contestants in the Miss World beauty pageant in Nigeria.

 

Rioters were said to be stabbing pedestrians and torching churches during violent demonstrations in the northern city of Kaduna.

 

More than 50 people were stabbed, bludgeoned or burned to death and 200 were seriously injured in the violence in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods, Nigerian Red Cross President Emmanuel Ijewere told The Associated Press.

 

At least four churches were destroyed, he said.

 

Many of the bodies were taken by Red Cross workers and other volunteers to local mortuaries. Many others remained inside homes that were set afire by the demonstrators, Ijewere said.

 

Previous riots in Kaduna, a largely Muslim city with a sizable Christian minority, have escalated into religious battles that killed hundreds since civilian government replaced military rule in 1999.

 

Shehu Sani of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress said he saw one young man being stabbed by men who then forced a tire filled with gasoline around his neck and burned him alive. Sani said he saw three other bodies elsewhere in the city.

 

Alsa Hassan, founder of another human rights group, Alsa Care, said he saw a commuter being dragged out of his car and beaten to death by protesters.

 

Schools and shops hurriedly closed as hordes of young men, shouting “Allah Akhbar,” or “God is great,” ignited makeshift street barricades made of tires and garbage, sending plumes of black smoke rising above the city. Others were heard chanting, “Down with beauty” and “Miss World is sin.”

 

Police and soldiers riding in pickup trucks fired tear gas at protesters marching through otherwise abandoned streets waving tree branches and palm fronds.

 

State government officials declared a curfew of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

 

A businessman, Lateef Mohammed, said he saw young men smashing the windows of two small churches in Badarawa, a predominantly Muslim area. Two other witnesses interviewed separately gave similar accounts.

 

“I just rushed to get to my home. It was very tense,” Mohammed said by telephone.

 

The latest demonstrations began Wednesday with the burning of an office of the ThisDay newspaper in Kaduna after it published an article questioned the reasoning of Muslim groups that have condemned the Miss World pageant, scheduled to be held Dec. 7 in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

 

Muslim groups say the pageant promotes sexual promiscuity and indecency.

 

On Saturday, the newspaper published an article under the headline “The world at their feet,” which asked:

 

“What would (the prophet) Muhammad think? In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from among them (the contestants).”

 

The Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, the country’s highest Muslim body, urged President Olusegun Obasanjo to cancel the pageant and sanction the newspaper.

 

On Monday, ThisDay ran a brief front-page apology for sections considered offensive to Muslims, which it said had been mistakenly published after being removed by the supervising editor. The newspaper ran a second, more lengthy retraction and apology Thursday.

 

Participants from at least five countries are boycotting the pageant because Islamic courts in Nigeria have sentenced several unmarried women to death by stoning for conceiving babies outside wedlock.

 

Nigeria’s government insists none of the judgments will be carried out.

 

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Muslim activist won’t apologize to evangelists (Washington Times, 021122)

 

By Larry Witham

 

The spokesman for a prominent U.S. Muslim group, who regularly demands contrition from critics of Islam, will not apologize for comparing some conservative evangelical leaders to Osama bin Laden and saying they would kill Muslims given the chance.

 

Ibrahim Hooper of the activist Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) stood by his argument that the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the Rev. Pat Robertson, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart and the Rev. Franklin Graham are “equivalent” to bin Laden in wanting to divide the world into a religious war.

 

They “have the same mentality as bin Laden” in trying to incite an “unending civilizational conflict,” Mr. Hooper said Wednesday.

 

“It’s the incitement we’re talking about,” said Mr. Hooper, whose organization has been linked to radical Islamist groups in the Middle East. “It’s not Jerry Falwell throwing a hand grenade into a mosque.”

 

Mr. Hooper said his original comment about the evangelical leaders was provoked in an interview with a conservative New York radio show last week. Under questioning by WABC radio’s Steve Malzberg, Mr. Hooper said evangelical critics wanted to spark a religious war.

 

When Mr. Malzberg asked whether the Christian leaders would kill Muslims as bin Laden urges Muslims to kill Jews and Christians, Mr. Hooper said: “Given the right circumstance, these guys would do the same in the opposite direction.”

 

The transcript was released on the conservative Web site, with which Mr. Malzberg’s show is affiliated. The radio host asked that he be given credit for the interview.

 

None of the religious leaders cited by Mr. Hooper demanded an apology from CAIR when contacted this week, but they stuck by their criticism of the violence of Islam or what they call its erroneous theological claims.

 

“We never demand apologies,” said Ron Godwin, senior spokesman for Jerry Falwell Ministries. He said Mr. Hooper’s comment was “irrational at best and very, very divisive and destructive at worst.”

 

But Mr. Godwin also said that some news outlets are distorting the debate between Christians and Muslims, and blamed CBS’ “60 Minutes” for tricking Mr. Falwell into saying that Muhammad was a terrorist at the very end of an hourlong interview on Christians and Israel.

 

“After what CBS did, we immediately sent a ‘statement of reconciliation’ all over the Middle East and were able to avert a lot of harm to Christians,” Mr. Godwin said. The CBS broadcast triggered some riots in the Middle East that caused at least five deaths.

 

In the past year, CAIR on dozens of occasions has demanded apologies with varying degrees of success from critics of Islam and companies it said treated Muslims unfairly.

 

Rep. Tom Lantos, California Democrat, apologized for questioning whether Muhammad kept his treaties, as did Northwest Airlines and Delta for asking women to remove head scarves at security checks, which CAIR called “religious harassment” and a “strip search.”

 

A spokesman for Mr. Graham, son of the famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, said he “has not backed down on his statements,” which have included that Islam is “wicked.”

 

“But he has stopped giving interviews, because it’s perceived that he’s on a campaign against Islam,” which he is not, said spokesman Jeremy Blume.

 

For the past several months, criticism of Islam by conservative evangelical ministers has picked up as a news topic, including a call by the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart to expel all Muslim students on visas.

 

Last week, President Bush broke his silence on the subject and distanced himself from the evangelical rhetoric.

 

“Some of the comments that have been uttered about Islam do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans,” Mr. Bush said. “Ours is a country based upon tolerance [and] we’re not going to let the war on terror or terrorists cause us to change our values.”

 

The Bush statement came two days after Mr. Robertson broadcast a discussion of Islamic anti-Semitism in which he said, “This is worse than the Nazis.”

 

A day after Mr. Bush’s comments, Franklin Graham said his criticism of Islam comes from bad experiences doing relief work in Muslim countries.

 

“I agree with the president that ‘our war against terror is a war against individuals whose hearts are full of hate,’” Franklin Graham said in a statement. “This is not a war against Islam.”

 

A Robertson spokesman said the broadcaster wished he had been clearer in his allusions to anti-Semitism and violence by saying “some Muslims.”

 

“We must distinguish between the origin of the religion and those who adhere to it in the United States, who are indeed a peaceful people,” Mr. Robertson said in a statement issued after Mr. Bush’s comments.

 

But calling historic Islam peaceful, “I do not think is accurate,” he said in a program that looked at violent passages from Islamic texts.

 

Mr. Swaggart said in an interview that his comment about expelling the students “was not appropriate and will not happen again.”

 

While backing religious freedom, said the Pentecostal evangelist, “I oppose the religion of Islam.” After the attack on the United States, “a line has to be drawn” on tolerance, he said. “This is not really a war between nations. It is a war with a religion.”

 

He rejected the argument that the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan, with civilian deaths, amounted to Christians killing Muslims, saying it was a “play on words” because the actions involved a nation at war.

 

“You can look at the world today: How many Christians are going around killing Muslims?” he asked.

 

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Crimes directed at Muslims surged after September 11 (Washington Times, 021126)

 

Muslims and people who are or appear to be Middle Easterners were reported as victims of hate crimes more often last year than ever before, a consequence of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the FBI said yesterday.

 

The FBI’s annual hate crimes report found that incidents targeting people, institutions and businesses identified with Islam increased from 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001, a jump of 1,700%. Muslims had been among the least-targeted religious groups.

 

The increases, the FBI said, happened “presumably as a result of the heinous incidents that occurred on September 11.”

 

The statistics did not specify how many of the 481 occurred after September 11.

 

Hate crimes against people because of their ethnicity or national origin — those not Hispanic, not black and not Asian or American Indian — rose from 354 in 2000 to 1,501 in 2001. This category includes people of Middle Eastern origin or descent, whether Muslim or not.

 

Since September 11, the Justice Department has prosecuted 11 civil rights cases under its “Backlash Discrimination Initiative” and investigated 403 more, with 70 others prosecuted by state and local authorities.

 

A man was sentenced to 51 months in prison for attempting to set fire to a Pakistani restaurant in Salt Lake City; another got two months in prison and a $5,000 fine for leaving a threatening voice-mail message Sept. 12, 2001, for James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute in Washington.

 

Hate crimes, defined as a crimes motivated by prejudice, are somewhat subjective, because the numbers derive from witness and victim accounts given to police rather than court convictions.

 

Overall accusations of crime motivated by hate rose slightly more than 20% from 2000 to 2001, from 8,063 to 9,730 incidents — still less than one-tenth of 1% of the 11.8 million serious crimes reported to the FBI last year.

 

Part of the increase stems from a higher number of law enforcement agencies that supplied the data to the FBI in 2001.

 

With the increase to fewer than 500, Muslims remain far behind blacks, Jews, whites and homosexuals in the number of reported hate crimes.

 

There were 2,899 incidents against blacks in 2001, about the same as the previous year, and more than 1,000 against Jews, down slightly from the year before. Almost 1,400 incidents involved crimes against homosexuals, and whites were targeted in 891 cases, the FBI said.

 

Slightly more than 12,000 victims of all hate crimes were reported in 2001, with 46% of them targeted because of their race. Last year’s total was about 9,900 hate crime victims.

 

There were 10 murders, four rapes, 2,736 assaults and 3,563 cases of intimidation motivated by hate in 2001. There were more than 3,600 property crimes, all but a few involving vandalism or property destruction.

 

Most incidents against Muslims and people who are or were believed to have been of Middle Eastern ethnicity involved assaults and intimidation, but three cases of murder or manslaughter and 35 cases of arson were reported.

 

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Robertson pleads for scrutiny of Koran (Washington Times, 021126)

 

By Larry Witham

 

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said yesterday the news media and political leaders have failed to educate Americans about violence in the Koran and in Islamic history and wishes President Bush had never said that “Islam is a religion of peace.”

 

“He is not elected as chief theologian,” Mr. Robertson said.

 

It would have been better for the president to speak only politically about the Islamic world, and not religiously.

 

“It is leading to needless confusion,” Mr. Robertson said in an interview with The Washington Times.

 

Mr. Robertson’s comments in the past year have been a major part of the public debate on how a predominantly Christian nation responds to a foreign enemy with Islamic roots.

 

The public would be better served, Mr. Robertson said, if the media would investigate the content of the Koran and what he says are many passages that incite Muslims to kill nonbelievers. But reporting on that, he said, “is not politically correct.”

 

He said that the violence visited on Christians in many nations, such as Sudan and Nigeria, arises from Shariah, or Muslim law, showing that the violent behavior is tied to Islamic beliefs.

 

Though Mr. Robertson relinquished his Baptist ordination to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, he has taken it up again and describes his primary work as promoting Christianity.

 

For 18 years, his Christian Broadcasting Network had an Arab-language broadcast station in Lebanon, but he said that “it was overrun by Hezbollah,” a terrorist group.

 

“In terms of Islam, I don’t think the issues have been ventilated at all in the press because no one has read the Koran,” he said.

 

Still, he said civil liberties in the United States are too important to allow the U.S. government the extra powers of domestic surveillance that it is asking for and that law-abiding Muslim citizens also must have protection.

 

“I have never advocated ferreting out Muslims in America,” he said. “They are citizens like I am. But if they are funneling money to Hamas, organizing terrorist cells or holding anti-American rallies, they ought to be deported.”

 

U.S. Muslim groups have organized a yearlong project to put a package of books and a PBS video on Islam, all by American authors, in the nation’s 16,000 public libraries to promote understanding of the religion.

 

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) reports that supporters have sent in 4,219 “sponsorships” of $150 each to pay for the library package, but the number of libraries accepting them is not yet clear.

 

“It’s a yearlong campaign, and it will take a year or so to sort that [number] out,” said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

 

Last week, Mr. Hooper said on a New York radio show that conservative religious leaders such as Mr. Robertson were “equivalent” to Osama bin Laden because they want to divide the world into a religious war.

 

When asked whether Christian leaders would urge killing members of a different faith as bin Laden has done, Mr. Hooper said: “Given the right circumstance, these guys would do the same in the opposite direction.”

 

Though CAIR often demands apologies from groups that criticize Islam, Mr. Hooper would not apologize for his radio comment.

 

He also confirmed reports that a Saudi billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, donated $500,000 to CAIR for the educational push. “I think most of it is going for the library project,” Mr. Hooper said.

 

The report about the Saudi money prompted conservative activist Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, yesterday to say that while libraries have intellectual freedom, the library packages “present a highly misleading view of Islam, spray-painting over the religion’s long history of animosity to Western values.”

 

He called for the American Library Association to issue a statement on the problems with stocking a one-sided view of Islam and urged the use of materials written by his foundation’s staff.

 

Mr. Hooper said a positive image of Islam is important to protect the civil rights of Muslims in the United States. He cited the FBI report yesterday that “hate crimes” against people of Middle Eastern ethnicity had increased from 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001 across the country.

 

Mr. Robertson said he opposed as “bad law” the government’s plans, even in a time of war, to electronically track the lives of all Americans.

 

“As the war on terrorism is going forward, the thing I’m concerned about is how much government control they’ll have” on Americans’ domestic life, he said.

 

Meanwhile, he said his main business is not Islam but Christian evangelism.

 

“I don’t want to change my ministry and become some kind of Muslim fighter,” he said. “I don’t want to alienate Muslim people around the world,” whom he believes want more information about the West and even Christianity.

 

But Islam is “a deeply held religious belief pushed by mullahs all over the world” as a basis for attacking Jews and Christians, he said. “Maybe we can counter it by American propaganda. Maybe we can counter it by love.”

 

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Censored and bullied, scholars sanitize Islam (National Post, 021130)

 

David Frum

 

More than 200 people are dead, some two dozen churches and thousands of homes have been destroyed, and much of the Christian population of the Nigerian city of Kaduna driven into exile — all because of a single joke by a Nigerian journalist.

 

The joke was inspired by the controversy over the siting of this year’s Miss World contest in Nigeria. Responding to Islamic extremists who denounced the contest, Isioma Daniel, the fashion writer for the Nigerian paper ThisDay, quipped in the paper’s Nov. 16 edition that the prophet Muhammad would not have objected to the pageant; indeed, if he were alive, he would want the winner for his wife.

 

It is hard to understand what precisely was so objectionable about this remark. The Koran itself tells us that Muhammad had a lively appreciation of feminine beauty. On a visit one day to his adopted son Zaid, Muhammad was struck by the loveliness of Zaid’s wife, Zainab. Soon afterward, Muhammad announced that he had a revelation from Allah: Zaid and Zainab must divorce — and Zainab must then remarry Muhammad. (The Clans, 33:37). The incident caused another of Muhammad’s wives, Aisha, to observe: “I see your Allah quickly grants your desire.”

 

Muhammad possessed somewhere between 10 and 12 wives over his lifetime. Other Muslims were allowed no more than four, but Allah waived the restriction in Muhammad’s unique case. (The Clans, 33:50).

 

Despite its Koranic background, Daniel’s joke was interpreted as blasphemy. Mobs of outraged Muslim men attacked the offices of ThisDay in Kaduna and rampaged in the Nigerian capital city, Ajuba. The government of the Nigerian state of Zamfara issued a fatwa calling for the death of Daniel. The editor of the paper that published Daniel’s article was arrested by Nigerian secret police and compelled by Nigeria’s federal authorities to issue an abject apology.

 

Horrific as this violence is, we can reassure ourselves that it happened in a backward and far-away country — that it has no implications for those of us who live in the free and democratic West. But it does, it does.

 

Islamic law has for many years been stretching its reach into the West. The case of Salman Rushdie is the most notorious, but it is by no means unique.

 

Glance again at those stories I just told about the life of Muhammad. I bet you never heard them before. Since 9/11, the media of North America have done their utmost to educate their readers about Islam — its holidays and customs, its teachings and its traditions — and yet the most basic facts about the Muslim faith remain almost entirely unknown to most of us. These facts are hardly obscure, but they go unreported and undiscussed, as if we in the Western media — we who are so proud of our freedom and independence — feel bound by the same code that has now condemned Isioma Daniel.

 

Nor is it just the press that is intimidated: Western scholars live under the shadow of the fatwa as well. There is a small band of academics who study the history of Islam in the same questioning spirit and with the same scientific methods with which their colleagues study Christianity and Judaism. And they have found, as again their colleagues have done with Christianity and Judaism, that much of the traditional account of the origins of Islam cannot be true.

 

Large portions of the Koran, for example, appear to have been translated from Aramaic, the language of the Roman Middle East. That one fact suggests that the Koran was assembled after the Arabs erupted out of the Arabian peninsula in the 600s, rather than before, as tradition insisted. If so, the Muslim holy book would turn out to have been finished many years — possibly many hundreds of years — after the death of the Muslim prophet.

 

All very interesting. There is, however, one important way in which the work of scholars of Islam differs from that of scholars of Christianity and Judaism: which is that they must do that work in the face of constant intimidation and threat of attack.

 

When Bat Ye’or, an Egyptian-born historian of early Islam’s wars of conquest, came to lecture at Washington’s Georgetown University in October, her academic talk was shouted down by Muslim students. Not only were the students unpunished, but the organizers of the lecture apologized to them for the offence caused by permitting a scholar of world-wide reputation to speak uncensored about events that occurred 1,000 years ago and more.

 

The West is not Nigeria. Yet even in the West, some radical Muslim groups are demanding the same power over speech and thought that their Nigerian counterparts now exercise. This newspaper has been one of their favorite targets. The fate of Isioma Daniel reminds us how urgent it is to reject these demands and reassert our continuing belief in our Western principles of liberty — and how dangerous it would be to begin to surrender them.

 

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Silence of the ‘moderates’ (Washington Times, 021204)

 

Cal Thomas

 

A growing conflict between some conservative Christian leaders and the Bush administration over whether Islam is a “peaceful religion” or a militaristic faith with designs on world domination is threatening the cozy relationship between the White House and some of its most loyal supporters.

 

Conservative Christians are not about to stop supporting the president, but they are disturbed that he keeps saying things about Islam they do not believe are true and, in their hearts, do not believe he believes.

 

Paul Weyrich, a longtime conservative political force in Washington, has coauthored an essay titled “Why Islam is a threat to America and the West. “ In it, he quotes extensively from the Koran and rebuts the president’s contention this “great religion is mostly peaceful”: “ the real nature of Islam is a religion of war and conquest. Those who argue that the threat comes only from ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ or ‘Islamic extremism’ misportray the nature of Islam itself. War against the unbeliever is as central a doctrine and practice of Islam as the Virgin Birth, the Trinity and Christ’s Resurrection are central to Christianity. Islam cannot abandon jihad and remain Islam. The word ‘Islam’ does not mean ‘peace,’ it means ‘submission.’”

 

Mr. Weyrich also notes that more Christians are being martyred today than at the height of the Roman persecutions, and “most of them are dying at the hands of Islam.”

 

One can sympathize with the dilemma faced by President Bush. He needs some cover in the Muslim world in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. But he also needs to forearm Americans by warning them about the intentions of our enemies.

 

There is a way of doing this without getting into a theological argument similar to the unanswerable question about the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. The theological battle must be taken to the Muslim world.

 

The president should consider calling for “moderate” Muslims to clean up their own house. Such demands are being made by Roman Catholic laity on their hierarchy in the wake of priests alleged to have sexually abused children. The president should ask Muslim political and theological leaders to go after their own, if they are, indeed, misrepresenting “true” Islam. We should not have to clean up after the mess they have made.

 

The problem in the Muslim world is not only theological. It is also the failure of governments to meet minimal human needs. Despite massive infusions of petro dollars, most people in nations run by Muslim authoritarians are poor and illiterate. Their poverty is not the fault of the West.

 

As with the Cold War, dictators change the subject and blame their people’s misery on “outsiders” and the rich nations of the West.

 

If people realize they have been robbed of enjoying a real life, not by America, but by their own political and theological leaders, the people might overthrow those leaders. That is why they seek to keep their people in intellectual, theological and political bondage — so they can remain in power and live well.

 

In his essay, Mr. Weyrich worries about “fourth generational warfare, “ which means war will no longer be determined by states but by cultural and other concerns. And he worries much about “invasion by immigration.” Just as the Palestinians want to undermine Israel from within through homicide bombings and a “right of return” that would flood the nation with people determined to bring down the Israeli government and kick out all Jews, so, too, does Mr. Weyrich believe America’s enemies have placed their fanatical warriors in this country to eventually wreak havoc and destabilize our economy and political system. That is a stated goal of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization.

 

Pressuring “responsible” Muslim leaders to police their own house will help in two ways. If they do it, it will demonstrate there are true moderates who believe in pluralism and tolerance. If they don’t, it will expose their real motives. Either way, Americans will benefit.

 

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Religion of Peace? Prove it (National Review Online, 021204)

 

Jonah Goldberg

 

Of every German I meet or see is a Nazi, it’s reasonable for me to say all Germans are Nazis. It may not be true, of course, but having no evidence indicating otherwise it’s certainly understandable that I would draw that conclusion. If, however, I constantly hear Germans condemn Nazism and anything which remotely resembles Nazism, if I see them repudiating German Nazis, and working to repair the damage done by German Nazis, it would be outrageously unfair and malicious for me to say all Germans are Nazis.

 

Now, under both hypothetical circumstances, the actual number of Germans who are Nazis can remain the same. The only difference is what the non-Nazi Germans do. As the saying goes, all that evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

 

This goes for public relations too.

 

But first, let’s bring things up to date. Right now there’s an interesting debate going on, mostly on the right — which makes sense as that is where most interesting debates take place these days (think about it). It’s basically about the nature of Islam and how the Bush administration deals with the Muslim world. On the one extreme are folks like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who say Islam is soaked-to-the-bone violent and, according to some, just plain “evil.” On the other side, I suppose, are folks like David Forte, a law professor and reported adviser to the White House who, according to critics, believes religiosity is more important than the content of a religion. (He’s written for NRO defending this view) I’m sure there are people in the White House who truly believe “Islam means peace,” but — with the exception of George W. Bush — their names elude me.

 

In the middle of these two extremes — Islam is bad versus Islam is wonderful — are lots of pragmatists and agnostics of various flavors. Indeed, most of the folks who reject the “Islam means peace” bumper sticker, including Robertson himself, concede that as a matter of geopolitics President Bush has no choice but to make nice on the Islamic world. Asked by George Stephanopoulos whether Bush is being politically correct, Robertson replied “No, he’s not being politically correct. He is waging a war, and he’s waging a war against terrorism and he doesn’t want to take on the whole Arab world. He doesn’t want this to be a Muslim-Christian fight or a Muslim-America fight.” And this is why Bush has gone out of his way to either condemn or distance himself from comments by Robertson, Falwell, and others.

 

Now — just to be clear — on the substance, I guess I’m closer to the Islam-is-a-violent-religion party. I think Falwell was silly to call Mohammed a “terrorist” because the word as we know it simply cannot be applied with any validity to conquering Arab generals of the 7th century. I see no reason not to think of Mohammed as an enlightened ruler as far as things went back in those days and in that place. But let’s also face facts: Mohammed was a general, and his generations of successors and disciples were conquerors. There is just too much in Islam about the importance of grabbing and holding territory to ignore. Jesus was a nonviolent martyr who argued for rendering unto Caesar what was his. Mohammed was Caesar. The seed of the notion of a civil society outside the scope of religious authority was planted by Jesus in Jewish soil; it was subsequently nurtured, with much bloodshed, over two millennia until today where the separation of Church and State is a bedrock of Western Civilization. This separation of the City of God and the City of Man, to use Saint Augustine’s formulation, is still quite alien to Islamic society.

 

Furthermore, the first few generations of Christianity were marked by suffering and oppression. The first few generations of Islam were marked by conquering. In its harshness, I suppose you could say Islam resembles pre-Christian Judaism in some ways. Jews, too, believe in the importance of geography and the use of the sword to protect it. Of course, they believe in holding onto only one narrow strip of it. (Prediction: Jewish militants will never claim, say, Cleveland as rightfully theirs.) And, it should be said, many Jews do not see modern Israel as the fulfillment of any Biblical or religious imperative — lots and lots of Zionists are very secular. And, it should be noted, Jews haven’t spent most of the last two millennia ruling empires and conquering land so much as being brutalized, oppressed, or — at best — tenuously tolerated.

 

Anyway, Muslims tend to believe that once a strip of dirt becomes Muslim it’s gotta stay Muslim for ever and ever. And if a burg’s population becomes majority Muslim, it must be ruled by Muslims (see Kashmir for details). This is one of the primary understandings, historically and religiously speaking, of “jihad.” “Until fairly recent times,” writes Bernard Lewis, “[jihad] was usually, though not universally, understood in a military sense. It was a Muslim duty — collective in attack, individual in defense — to fight in the war against the unbelievers. In principle, this war was to continue until all mankind either embraced Islam or submitted to the authority of the Muslim state.”

 

According to Islamic tradition, the world is divided into the House of War and the House of Islam — and once real estate is brought into the House of Islam, there’s no getting out. And, eventually, the House of War will be brought into the House of Islam too. That’s why Osama bin Laden says that he won’t rest until he gets most of Spain back. And this is partly, though not entirely, why — as Samuel Huntington noted — “the borders of Islam are bloody.”

 

IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER

But now that I’ve given you some indication of where I come down on the question “Is Islam a religion of peace?” let me say none of this matters.

 

Look: I take law-abiding, tolerant, and peaceful Muslims at their word when they say to me that they believe Islam means peace. Further, I take them at their word that they live by that interpretation. But the fact remains that other Muslims surely believe that Islam means death. Death to Christians, Jews, and Hindus; death to unbelievers, heretics, blasphemers, adulterers, and plenty of other categories of human being. And guess what, it’s those Muslims who are killing us. And guess what else? Those other, peace-loving, Muslims aren’t doing enough about it.

 

I’ve written before that in the realm of public policy, theology doesn’t matter nearly as much as morality and behavior. You can believe that murder is wrong because it depletes the ozone layer for all we care — so long as you believe murder is wrong. The differences between, say, Greek Orthodox Christians and Quakers are fascinating, rich, storied, and significant. But in the public square they do not matter one bit so long as Greek Orthodox Christians and Quakers alike abide by the law and our common sense of morality. If one group wants to burn incense and the other wants to make oatmeal, nobody cares. So long as each group leaves the other alone.

 

So, to a certain extent, I couldn’t care less if Islam is, on paper, factually, textually, objectively, and in all other academic senses a religion of war and bigotry — so long as actual Muslims are decent and upstanding people. And, similarly, the fact that Christianity is a religion of love and compassion would be equally meaningless if Christians spent their days poking me with red-hot metal thingies — out of love and compassion no doubt — in order to get me to convert. Sure, I might take note of Christian hypocrisy while I waited for Torquemada to bust out his scrotal tongs, but, truth be told, scoring debating points wouldn’t be at the forefront of my agenda.

 

Which brings me back to the Nazis and Germans. Human beings draw conclusions from what they see. All around the world, Muslims are declaring, in the name of Islam, that they are at war with the West. More important, all around the world self-declared Muslims are actually waging war on the West. They may be a tiny minority of the global Muslim community. I have no doubt that’s true. But if the decent and peace-loving Muslims of the world sit on their hands and do nothing, you can hardly fault many in the West who draw the conclusion that Islam is anything but peaceful. Why is it so hard to find, for example, a Muslim “leader” to condemn the death sentence against the journalist who wrote about Mohammed and the Miss World pageant — without some moral-equivalence weasel words about how she should have known better?

 

Closer to home, consider our friends at CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (which has orchestrated endless spam campaigns against this publication). CAIR had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the business of denouncing terrorists. They do it now from time to time, but it sure doesn’t sound like their heart is in it. Scroll through these “News Releases” from CAIR over the last year or so. You’ll find a couple of denunciations of terrorists (followed by demands that Jews do the same to Israel, in a cute game of moral equivalence). But you will find these are the needles in the giant haystacks of whines and complaints about how unfair America is to Muslims. The folks at CAIR, and other Muslim activists, are much, much more concerned, it seems, about the U.S. government or American pundits saying vaguely un-nice things about Muslims than they are about the fact that Muslims around the world are insulting their faith through mass murder in Mohammed’s name.

 

When the FBI recently came out with its numbers on hate crimes against Muslims in America, American Islamic activists like Ibrahim Hooper were all over the airwaves and newspapers outrageously comparing American Muslims to Jews in Weimar Germany. But you can hear crickets chirp or, at best, you can read torpid boilerplate, when it comes time to denounce Muslim atrocities.

 

By the way, I’m outraged by the Germany comparison not as a Jew but as an American. There isn’t a scintilla of validity to the insinuation that America has been anything but the antithesis of what Hooper and self-pitying whiners claim. According to the very FBI statistics they cite, twice as many Jews as Muslims were the victims of hate crimes in the United States since 19 Muslim fanatics murdered 3,000 Americans on 9/11. And, by the way, if a Jew used those numbers in order to justify saying America feels like Weimar Germany I would call him an idiot who should be ashamed of himself for slandering America (and demeaning the Holocaust as well). The fact is that, while even one crime is too many, the post-9/11 “backlash” against Muslims in America has been astoundingly mild by historical standards. Compared to what happened to German-Americans during WWI or Japanese-Americans in WWII it barely even warrants an asterisk in the history books.

 

Oh, and speaking of denouncing fellow Jews, I’ve done it plenty of times. For example, when Irv Rubin of the JDL was arrested for plotting a terrorist attack I denounced him in the strongest possible terms, as did pretty much every prominent Jewish figure in America within 48 hours. (See Jeff Jacoby’s excellent column from December 20, 2001. You need to scroll down.)

 

I bring this up not to brag about my consistency but to make the point that it’s important not to let others speak in your name if you disagree with what they’re saying. Especially when they’re saying it with bombs and guns. I will have a lot more sympathy for the complaints of Muslim activists once they put even a fraction of the energy they dedicate to portraying themselves as victims of bigoted America — or Europe — toward policing and condemning their own co-religionists. If they’re afraid for their personal safety or even their lives — not an unreasonable fear — that’s no excuse. Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the rest may constitute hijackers in the cockpit of a peaceful religion, but they will define Islam if the folks in the main cabin don’t fight the hijackers. That’s what happened with Nazis in Germany, and that’s what will happen with militant Islam if non-militant Islam continues to insist that its biggest enemies are the open and tolerant nations of the West that gave them the opportunity to live decent lives in freedom. If they persist in that complaint, nobody will be able to justly blame average Americans for scoffing at the suggestion that Islam means peace.

 

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Some conservatives back away from Weyrich letter denouncing Muslim stamp (Baptist Website, 021210)

 

By Robert Marus

 

WASHINGTON (ABP)—A leader in America’s Religious Right has weighed in on debate over a stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service to commemorate an Islamic holiday.

 

Stamps commemorating the Muslim feast Eid al-Fitr should be withdrawn, overprinted with an image of the World Trade Center towers destroyed in terrorist attacks Sept. 11 and reissued, suggests Paul Weyrich, president of the conservative political action group Free Congress Foundation.

 

“I have no doubt that a majority of Americans would find the altered stamps a more appropriate commemoration of Islam than the current celebratory version,” Weyrich wrote in a letter to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and other Republican Congressional leaders.

 

Critics denounced Weyrich’s suggestion as hate speech.

 

The Postal Service issued the stamps honoring the feast that concludes the Muslim holy month of Ramadan after a long lobbying effort by American Muslim groups and a letter-writing campaign by Muslim school children.

 

The post office has long issued commemorative stamps celebrating other religious holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah and ethnic-group celebrations such Kwanzaa and Cinco de Mayo. The Eid stamps were the first issued to commemorate an Islamic holiday, however. They have drawn unusual attention because of the timing of their release, just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

 

Weyrich was a pioneer in the development of the modern-day Religious Right and remains a prominent activist in conservative politics.

 

Weyrich’s attack on Islam comes on the heels of controversy over comments by evangelist Franklin Graham, who offended American Muslim groups and ignited a minor media firestorm by calling Islam “a very evil and wicked religion.”

 

Other conservative leaders, such as President George W. Bush, have been careful to emphasize what Bush calls the positive role Islam plays in the lives of millions of American Muslims and other moderate followers of Islam around the world.

 

Conservative and liberal commentators alike have viewed comments such as Weyrich’s and Graham’s as uncalled-for and inflammatory in the wake of the harassment and persecution of some American Muslims after the Sept. 11 attacks.

 

Southern Baptist Convention President James Merritt said in an interview he believes Weyrich’s suggestion is off base. Still, he questioned whether the stamps are appropriate.

 

“Quite frankly, I think we all have to say—to use an old colloquialism—what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,” Merritt said from Snellville, Ga., where he is pastor of First Baptist Church. “I couldn’t really, in the spirit of religious liberty, issue a stamp for Christianity so to speak, but then say that you can’t issue a stamp for Jews and Muslims.”

 

However, Merritt—who recently made news himself by calling on Southern Baptists to pray for the conversion of Muslims during Ramadan—stopped short of criticizing Graham’s comments about Islam. “I believe Islam, as I do believe every other religion outside of Christianity, offers a false hope,” he said.

 

Merritt said he found it ironic that majority-Islamic countries often suppress religious liberty for religious minorities, while a majority-Christian country such as the U.S. allows complete religious freedom for Muslims.

 

“I find it interesting that there’s not one Muslim country that is a democracy,” Merritt said. “I find it interesting that Muslims can come to America and build mosques, but that we can’t go to Muslim countries and build churches.”

 

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Are we at war with Islam? (World Net Daily, 020625)

 

Joseph Farah

 

Within hours of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center on Sept. 11, President Bush and other U.S. and western leaders were explaining that though we found ourselves in a state of war, that war was not with Islam.

 

Nine months later, we’re still confused about who our enemy is.

 

If you have any chance of winning a war, you must be able to identify the enemy.

 

Are we at war with Islam? Most definitely not.

 

But, Islam is at war with us.

 

In fact, Islam has been at war with the West, with Christianity, with Judaism – indeed, with the entire non-Muslim world – ever since the days of Muhammad. This struggle, more than any other, has defined history for the last 1,200 years.

 

Americans don’t understand this because they don’t know their history. In Muhammad’s era, Islam swept through the Arabian peninsula to conquer the Middle East. Its armies then marched on Europe, Asia and Africa. In the late 15th century, Columbus was exploring new trade routes because Islam’s armies controlled the land routes to the East. He accidentally discovered America. In the late 17th century, Islam’s armies were at the gates of Vienna.

 

For the next 300 years, Islam’s imperialist ambitions faded. But it is quite clearly on the rebound today.

 

Enriched by oil wealth, Islam is expanding in every direction – through Africa, through Asia, through Europe – and even in the United States where it is said to be the fastest-growing religion.

 

Can Islam defeat the West?

 

Certainly not in any conventional military confrontation. But that is not the goal. This is asymmetrical warfare. The beauty of this conflict from Islam’s point of view is that the West can’t even identify targets, can’t even clearly identify the enemy.

 

America has troops in well over 100 nations. They are stationed all over the world to provide peace and security. Yet, in truth, America can’t adequately provide security “1,000 yards from the U.S. Capitol after nightfall,” as Paul Weyrich and William S. Lind of the Free Congress Foundation write in a new paper, “Why Islam Is a Threat to America and the West.”

 

We are vulnerable to continued terror attacks. But these attacks are not designed to defeat us militarily. They are designed to break our will. They are designed to sow seeds of confusion in a culture that has already lost its own religious underpinnings and moral framework. They are designed, in Marxist theory, to “heighten the contradictions of capitalism” – or, as another generation of communists explained it, to “bring the war home.” That was how we lost a war to little Vietnam.

 

The West has little chance of prevailing in this contest without understanding who the real enemy is.

 

Am I saying all Muslims are the enemy? Of course not. Were the people living in communist countries during the Cold War our enemies? Not really. The evil regimes that victimized their own people as well as their neighbors were the enemies. The same is true in Islam today.

 

We must understand in the West today – whether we live in the U.S., Israel, the United Kingdom or elsewhere – that Islam reflects a vastly different worldview from the one that established western civilization. If we try to understand Islam as some sort of extension of monotheistic Judeo-Christian philosophy, we will fail to see the truth.

 

The truth is that western civilization faces perhaps its greatest test at the hands of Islam today. We don’t understand these people – and, not understanding them, we try to give them what we think they want, what we might want in a similar situation. This is how Israel has been led down the primrose path in its negotiations with the Arabs.

 

It’s a war. And, for Islam, the negotiating table is just another theater in that war.

 

Every day, around the world, if we look for them, we see disparate, seemingly unconnected reports of attacks by Muslims on non-Muslims. We see them in Israel. We see them in India. We see them in Indonesia. We see them in the Philippines. We see them in Sudan. We see them even in the U.S. and Europe.

 

People are dying – lots of them. In fact, more Christians are being persecuted today than ever before in the history of the world – even under the Romans. Most of those attacks come from Islam.

 

What we need to understand is that these attacks are connected. They are coordinated. Islam is on the march, again. The only question is whether we see it, acknowledge the reality of it and figure out an adequate response before it’s too late.

 

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Sheikh Tantawi Grows in Office (Free Congress Foundation, 020418)

 

By Robert Spencer

 

George W. Bush knows that Islam is a religion of peace because Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi said so. Two months after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the President told the United Nations that Tantawi, “the Sheikh of Al-Azhar University, the world’s oldest Islamic institution of higher learning, declared that terrorism is a disease, and that Islam prohibits killing innocent civilians.”

 

Yet unfortunately for Bush and others who trumpeted Tantawi’s words around the globe last winter, this sheikh whom the BBC called “the highest spiritual authority for nearly a billion Sunni Muslims” has now changed his tune. As liberals say about conservatives who start voting for big government and high taxes, Tantawi has grown in office.

 

The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that on April 4, an Arabic-language website connected to Al-Azhar stated that Tantawi has “demanded that the Palestinian people, of all factions, intensify the martyrdom operations [that is, suicide bombings] against the Zionist enemy, and described the martyrdom operations as the highest form of Jihad operations. He says that the young people executing them have sold Allah the most precious thing of all.”

 

Islamic law, the good sheikh maintained, demanded the blood of non-combatants. He “emphasized that every martyrdom operation against any Israeli, including children, women, and teenagers, is a legitimate act according to [Islamic] religious law, and an Islamic commandment, until the people of Palestine regain their land and cause the cruel Israeli aggression to retreat...”

 

Tantawi, Bush’s imam of peace, thus joins Yasir Arafat in the Hall of Fame of Islamic dissemblers. Both are extremely adept at telling the Western media what it wants to hear - and then doing likewise for the Arabic press, contradictions be damned. Like Arafat, the wily Tantawi seems to have mastered this art long before September 11. As far back as 1998, he declared that “it is every Muslim, Palestinian and Arab’s right to blow himself up in the heart of Israel, an honorable death is better than a life of humiliation.” This right is, in fact, a religious duty: “All religious laws have demanded the use of force against the enemy and fighting against those who stand by Israel; there is no escape from fighting, from Jihad, and from [self-] defense, and whoever refrains from such things is not a believer.”

 

Maybe Tantawi’s latest change of heart was dictated by his faith. Unfortunately for those who want to believe that pro-terrorist Islam is an aberrant form of the religion of peace, the foundational text of Islam is, well, soft on terrorism. The Qur’an, which Muslims believe to be the perfect words of Almighty God, tells believers that “when you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly” (Sura 47:4).

 

This is just one of the verses that may have moved Tantawi to throw in his lot with the terrorists. Others include Sura 48:29: “Muhammad is God’s Apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another,” and Sura 9:5: “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them.”

 

Tantawi’s switch may also have been inspired by the example of the Prophet Muhammad himself; traditions about Muhammad’s words and deeds are for Muslims second in importance only to the Qur’an. According to George Washington University Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Muslims revere Muhammad as “the perfection of both the norm of the human collectivity and the human individual, the norm for the perfect social life and the prototype and guide for the individual’s spiritual life.”

 

This perfect Islamic man was a man of war. He never shrank from the use of force. He ordered his enemies murdered, and assured his followers that they incurred no guilt by carrying out these orders. While Jesus rebuked his disciples for asking Him if they should call down fire from Heaven upon a disbelieving village (St. Luke 9:51-55), Muhammad several times cursed those who rejected his message. An entire Sura, or chapter, of the Qur’an is devoted to cursing Muhammad’s disbelieving uncle and wife: “May the hands of Abu Lahab perish! May he himself perish! Nothing shall his wealth and gains avail him. He shall be burnt in a flaming fire, and his wife, laden with faggots, shall have a rope of fibre around her neck!” (Sura 111:1-5).

 

Tantawi, then, seems by embracing terrorism to have done nothing other than become more true to his faith. How many more such spiritual homecomings among Islamic “moderates” will it take for the multiculturalist establishment to admit the true nature of Islam?

 

Robert Spencer is an adjunct fellow with the Free Congress Foundation. He is the author of Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith, coming this summer from Encounter Books.

 

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Reports of Moderate Islam’s Existence Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (Free Congress Foundation, 020422)

 

History just may remember George W. Bush as the American Caesar; not for founding a hegemonic empire like an Augustus nor, like a Marcus Aurelius, for subduing the barbarians bent on the destruction of his people. No, Bush Secundus, in the mold of Julius, might be infamous for his poor choice of friends - in this case his embracing of the countries of “moderate Islam.”

 

It grows ever increasingly apparent that to ally with “moderate Islam” is about as effective as coalition building with the lands of Narnia, Middle Earth and Utopia. In contradistinction to erroneous stories of Mark Twain’s death - reports of moderate Islam’s existence have been greatly exaggerated.

 

First and foremost amongst our chimerical comrades is the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There is no doubt that if King Fahd bin Abd al-Aziz Al wasn’t sitting on a quarter of the world’s known oil reserves, Saudi Arabia’s horrid human rights record would earn it a reputation in America lower than the enormous amount of phlegm needed to pronounce the desert monarch’s name. Grown bold with oil wealth, the Saudis don’t hide the fact that they provide “charity” to the widows and orphans of suicide bombers. But perhaps the greatest effrontery from a Saudi official came this month in London.

 

Saudi ambassador to Great Britain Ghazi Algosaibi, who is also a poet of some renown in Arab circles, penned an elegy, entitled “The Martyrs” in honor of the first female Palestinian suicide bomber. The poem was published in the London-based Arab newspaper Al Hayat.

 

Algosaibi’s poem calls Ayat Akhras, who upon exploding herself in a market killed two Israelis and wounded 25 more, “the bride of loftiness” who “embraced death with a smile, while the leaders are running away from death. Doors of heaven are opened for her.” The Saudi government official’s verse likewise provided a puerile existential justification for being a suicide bomber (“May God be the witness that you are martyrs ... You died to honor God’s word. You committed suicide? We committed suicide by living like the dead.”) and a blind-side swipe at their ally, United States (“We complained to the idols of a White House whose heart is filled with darkness”).

 

Remember, Saudi Arabia is the cornerstone of the administration’s moderate Islam nation coalition.

 

Meanwhile in Egypt, which benefits to the figure of $2 billion annually from the coffers of American foreign aid, the country’s leading Islamic authority, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, also praised the acts of “martyrs” who act against Israel. Tantawi is the Grand Sheik of Islam’s oldest and most prestigious university, Al-Azhar, which serves as “moderate” Islam’s highest seat of learning.

 

Mohammed Sayed Tantawi is not an unknown figure to the Western press as he was quoted extensively as President Bush’s imam of peace after the attacks of September 11th when he declared: “It’s not courage in any way to kill an innocent person, or to kill thousands of people, including men and women and children.” Unless they happen to be Israelis.

 

But what is more symbolic of kinder and gentler Mohammedanism than the Westernized Islamic woman. Soha Arafat, wife of Yassir Arafat, is such a woman. Bleach-haired, bejeweled and business suited, Mrs. Arafat even held an Islamic women’s conference (such summits, of course, being the penultimate activity for aspiring feminists) in concert with Jordan’s Queen Rania and Sudanese First Lady Fatima Bashir which called for an end violence against women and opportunities equal to their male Islamic counterparts. Putting the latter principle into practice, Soha Arafat showed in a recent interview that she can hold a blood-thirst equal to any man as she gave her approbation of “martyr operations.” Mrs. Arafat mused that if she had a son she would approve of him being a suicide bomber - “Is there any greater honor than (martyrdom)? Do you expect me and my children to be less patriotic and more eager to live than the sons of my people?”

 

Peaceful Islam?

 

Yes, to his credit the president has not shied away from using the “E” word - “evil.” However, he has refused to apply it to any sect of organized Islam or its leadership - men and women not evil because their beliefs are different from the Judeo-Christian traditions of the West, but evil because they promote terrorism. If American foreign policy is predicated on the myth that there is a sizable segment of Islam that loves baseball, apple pie and the good ol’ USA, then the administration will eventually find itself bloodied and forced to utter quizzically: Et tu, Islam?

 

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Trying To Find A ‘Moderate’ Islam Is A Quixotic Quest (Free Congress Foundation, 020520)

 

By C.T. Rossi

 

Once upon a time (in the 1930s), a young Secretary of Agriculture believed in a mystical land peopled by wise elders of a foreign faith, full of peace and enlightenment. So the man, Henry Wallace (destined to be FDR’s vice-president), used federal money to fund an expedition to find the fabled lost city of Shambhala in central Asia. Needless to say, it was not found.

 

If history does repeat itself, the quest for “moderate Islam” might be an equally futile government endeavor. While kinder-and-gentler Mohammadism may never be found, we may at least gain apophatic knowledge of where it can’t be found - that being in places where a Muslim majority prevails, even in a detention center Down Under.

 

Strange stories first came out of the Australian immigration facility at ul protest.” They claimed that the time the Australian government was taking to screen Middle Eastern immigrants before granting them admission to Aussie society was unjustly long. Their protest consisted of a hunger strike, facilitated by the sewing shut of hungry mouths. In the case of adult Moslems, it appeared to be of a voluntary nature; in the case of the children, less so. Now, even more stories are emerging about the antics of these refugees who fled from the Taliban.

 

The Moslem majority has taken to oppressing the non-Moslem segments of the detention camp population, most notably Christians and Mandaeans (Mandaeans are a monotheistic sect, mostly found in Iraq and Iran, who claim descent from the followers of St. John the Baptist). Whether making do with what they have or following a prescription from the Koran, the Moslems’ chief weapon against the “infidels” is stoning.

 

In one stoning, Christians were ambushed upon leaving the dining mess - this resulted in the blinding of one man. Another blind man, this one a Mandaean, was held down and defecated upon by a Moslem mob. Various other attacks upon non-Moslems, both physical and scatological, have been reported - many perpetrated upon the unveiled “infidel women” who do not feel the need to conform to an Islamic law that is not their own. All of this speaks to the very hard fact that the majority of Afghani Moslems subscribe to a value system quite different from our own. This lesson is being taught concurrently in a classroom on the other side of the globe from Woomera.

 

With the deposal of the Taliban, some thought that nation-building in Afghanistan was the order of the day. But turning that rugged land, with its plethora of disparate tribes, into a democratic state may prove about as easy as readying the denizens of Woomera for “shrimp on the barbie,” a night at the Sydney Opera House, and not killing those who hold a different creed. Already, the nation-building effort seems to be unraveling due to warlord factionalism.

 

Afghan warlordism is based on the same bully-of-the-schoolyard philosophy displayed at Woomera - the most notable difference being that instead of hurling stones (or bodily waste) at their enemies, warlords tend to use Stinger missiles. Former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is such a warlord. Critical of U.S. involvement on Afghani soil, Hekmatyar found himself the recipient of a CIA attack, for allegedly planning an assault on the U.S.-backed interim government. But the problem far transcends one man.

 

In Islamic culture, dissent means death. This is not an “extreme” or “radical” position if one accepts the underpinnings of Islam and their logical consequences. To believe that the supreme being and creator of all (Allah) has manifested his express and perfect will in a series of divine edicts (the Koran) is also to believe that all who deviate from these commands are evil and an effrontery to God. Because Allah is the great potentate of the universe, these edicts are unilateral and binding on all creatures - whether they like it or not. There is no differentiation between realms of church and state. This distinction is given in the words of Christ when he commanded different shares to God and Caesar, much to the benefit of Western world ever since.

 

In a cosmology where political disagreement is heresy, heresy is a capital offense, and infidels are the enemy of God, is the warlordism of Afghanistan and mob mentality of Woomera really that unexpected?

 

No, the real radicalism is from the secular intelligentsia and politicos of the West, in thinking that Moslems can adopt an attitude where their religious beliefs don’t influence their actions - an attitude that has become all too prevalent in the West.

 

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Four Myths About Muslims (Free Congress Foundation, 020613)

 

If Robert Frost was correct when he quipped that “a liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel,” then America has descended into the depths of leftism. The systematic way in which government and the media have consistently followed the path of self-loathing and self-negation could be the source of great humor, if the matters being bungled were not so grave.

 

While the attacks of September 11th roused a dormant patriotism in the collective American bosom, it also unveiled how deeply entrenched public discourse is in political correctness. Day after day the “war on terror” brings more misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. Most security measures are either window dressings for public consumption or usurpations of civil liberties by power-hungry elements within the bowels of bureaucracy.

 

The myths need to be dispelled and the elephant in America’s living room needs to be addressed for the sake of that rarest of post-modern commodities - the truth.

 

Myth #1: Terrorism is not about Islam.

 

In fairness, someone did try to warn America to this sobering fact last fall in a Wall Street Journal editorial. The author, Amir Taheri, is a Muslim. He declared that “to claim that the attacks had nothing to do with Islam amounts to a whitewash.” Some may think it ironic that a Muslim author is the one sounding the warning bell about his own faith. It isn’t ironic in the least. Given the ground rules of politically correct discourse, only a minority may criticize a minority - only a Muslim may criticize Muslims.

 

Myth #2: Profiling is an evil to be avoided at all costs.

 

Profiling is an integral part of detective work and one component of the process is a person’s race. When a cross is set ablaze on a black homeowner’s lawn, you can guess that “white male” is placed atop the list of likely attributes of potential perpetrators. A white male is also most likely to be a serial murderer.

 

Truthfully, there is nothing in the genetic composition of a race that dictates social behavior. The real danger is that similar groups of people tend to share common cosmologies. If an ethnic group (pygmies for example) adopts an evil practice (cannibalism) in their world view, one may rightly call them backwards and savage - not because they are animists or short or black or from a different part of the globe, but because they have chosen to dine on human flesh. Terrorists are, overwhelmingly, Muslim males between the ages of 17 and 40 and from Middle Eastern ethnicities. If there doesn’t exist a genetic predisposition to terrorism in the genes of peoples of the Tigres and Euphrates, then it must be their shared belief system - Islam.

 

If you are a young Islamic Arab male, you fit the profile for 19 of 19 terrorists of September 11th and you should be prepared to face additional security in airports.

 

Myth #3: Part of the FBI’s failure on September 11th was lack of Arab or Muslim agents.

 

This laughable idea comes from the spin machine of the FBI’s restructuring. Director Mueller has announced an Arab-American/Muslim affirmative action hiring policy as a part of the new proactive FBI. What Mueller or Attorney General Ashcroft have not done is explain exactly how having stuffy white-bread types at the Bureau led to the success of the attacks. If anything, there is evidence that just the opposite is the case.

 

FBI counter-terrorism special agent-turned-whistleblower Robert Wright has related an episode of some import. Wright asserts that while investigating possible Islamic terrorist activities, a Muslim special agent refused to wear an undercover wire, stating that “Muslims don’t record other Muslims.”

 

Mueller and Ashcroft have not addressed this claim.

 

Uncooperative Islamic FBI agents aside, the FBI does not receive the lion’s share of the blame for the incidents of September 11th. That honor goes to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Because of INS’s incompetence, the United States is overrun with illegal immigrants - some are past terrorists, some are potential terrorists.

 

Myth #4: We must ally the “moderate” Muslims.

 

The truth be told, we don’t understand who’s who in the world of Islam. President Bush trotted out Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi as the imam of”peaceful Islam.” However it wasn’t long before Tantawi was advocating the suicide bombers in Israel.

 

Even Mullah Omar calls himself a “moderate” Muslim, in that his Taliban regime did nothing more nor less than is called for in the Koran. With causuistries like that, Omar should move to Washington. After all, the FBI is hiring.

 

C.T. Rossi comments on contemporary culture for the Free Congress Foundation.

 

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Today’s Criminal Will Become Tomorrow’s Islamic Terrorist (Free Congress Foundation, 020625)

 

America is about to view a remake of a classic story. It’s not a multi-million-dollar Hollywood comic book-turned-movie spectacle nor a modernized version of a long-favored stage drama. Rather, America is discovering a 700-year-old stage for herself - the story of the Janissaries.

 

The Janissaries were the elite fighting force of the Moslem Ottoman Empire for centuries. Their ranks were filled with young Christian men (who often converted to Islam) conscripted to fight for the sultan. They became instrumental in holding together the Ottoman Empire precisely because they were free from the tribal loyalties that left other Moslem Arabs and Turks, at times, conflicted. In today’s parlance, we would merely call them Moslem extremists.

 

While most reporters (and unfortunately the White House) look at the John Walker Lindh and Jose Padilla stories as some type of strange socio-religious anomaly, these instances are anything but. The advent of Jihad Johnny and Abdullah al Muhajir represent the revival of a proved weapon of radical Islam - the Janissary warrior. And the recruitment has just begun.

 

The key element in the recruitment of the new Janissaries is to seek out and evangelize those who are disaffected with Western culture. In the case of John Walker Lindh, Islam provided a young man with moral boundaries when his parents would (or could) not. With Jose Padilla, the story was different.

 

Padilla was recruited to his new vocation as an Islamic terrorist after prison. Time will show that Padilla was not alone.

 

Perhaps the foremost expert in prison evangelization in America is Chuck Colson, co-founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Colson is now warning that the Islam being preached is neither “noble” nor “peaceful.”

 

In the June 24 issue of the Wall Street Journal, Colson relates the story of how, when addressing an open meeting of prisoners, his use of the name Jesus was met with attempted censorship by Moslem inmates who upon hearing the name would turn up the volume on their portable radios. Not stopping there, Colson states that the multi-faith gathering came within a hare’s breath of becoming a full-scale prison riot - his ability to quiet the Christian prisoners being the pivotal factor.

 

Colson also made mention that Al Qaeda training manuals outline plans whereby American inmates are targeted for conversion because such individuals may be “disenchanted with their country’s policies.” These”converts” are extremely useful to terrorist groups as the inmates “combine a desire for ‘payback’ with an ability to blend easily into American culture.” This Islamic prison outreach, as recommended by Al Qaeda, is taking place - the most prominent ministry being the National Islamic Prison Foundation. Colson also notes that a main funder of such programs is none other than Saudi Arabia.

 

While the new American Janissaries, harvested from penitentiaries, could prove eminently useful to terrorist groups in waging a domestic terror campaign upon America, the solicitation of Moslem acolytes is not limited to American jails - nor even to America.

 

Islamic “missionaries” have also descended upon the volatile Chiapas region of Mexico. Since 1996, more than 300 conversions amongst the Mayan people have been made. According to the Houston Chronicle, the leader of the Islamic group, Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, “has sharply condemned democracy and global capitalism.” The Chronicle also provided a telling quote from Moslem missionary Esteban Lopez: “There isn’t a pure Islamic government in the world. That’s what we hope to create.”

 

All of these patterns lead us to serious questions that need to be asked.

 

Many Moslems have traditionally been critical (if not paranoid) of the proselytizing nature of Christianity. Such skepticism about the honorable intentions of Christianity led to the imprisonment of Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer in Afghanistan for their overt religious discussions with Afghani locals. It is also the attitude that makes it illegal to wear the religious garb of a faith other than Islam in Saudi Arabia. But now Moslem missionaries seem to be turning up in the oddest places, places that are violent and unstable, places where the people might harbor animosity toward American society, places recommended in Al Qaeda’s grand strategy. Saudi money also seems to be in play.

 

Are we prepared to ask the hard questions? Probably not.

 

And so the conscription of the new Janissaries continues. Under the guise (and legal protection) of a noble religion, the forces of radical Islam recruit disciples, for whom there is only one prerequisite - a hatred of America. All this is an old tale . . . but now it’s coming to a theater near you.

 

C.T. Rossi comments on contemporary culture for the Free Congress Foundation.

 

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More Administration Baloney About Islam (Free Congress Foundation, 020912)

 

By William S. Lind

 

On December 7, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not commemorate the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by urging Americans to regard Shinto as a religion of peace and love. Why, then, did President George W. Bush on September 10th mark the eve of the anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Towers by saying that Islam “is a faith that has made brothers and sisters of every race. It’s a faith based upon love, not hate.”

 

The reality is that like Shinto, Islam is a religion of war. The Koran breathes endless hate for all non-Islamics (one of many examples, from Sura 9:5: “slay the idolaters wherever you may find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them.”) The Koran and the hadith, the collected sayings and actions of Mohammed, point straight toward the World Trade Towers. The Koran says, “We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers (Sura 3:150).” “Unbelievers are those who declare: ‘God is the Messiah, the son of Mary (Sura 5:16)’.” According to the hadith, “As-Sa’b bin Jaththama said, ‘The Prophet (Mohammed)…was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (the women and children) are from them.’” In other words, who cares about taking innocent life?

 

Nor do we have to go back to the seventh century to see the real nature of Islam. All around the globe, Christians are being killed by Islamics. In the Sudan alone, the number is upwards of 1,000,000.

 

But what about the nice Islamics, apologists such as Mr. Bush say? Well, let’s look at what certainly should be nice Islamics, the Kuwaitis. Eleven years ago, we went to war to save Kuwait from Iraq. But according to the September 11th Washington Times, a recent poll taken in Kuwait found that 74% of almost 12,000 respondents said bin Laden was a “hero.” Maybe next time around, we would do better to go to war on Saddam’s side.

 

The reality is that Islam is at war with Christendom and always has been. The problem is that they know it while too many of our leaders, including President Bush, pretend it isn’t happening. A Marine friend of mine called a couple days ago to say he had recently watched an al Quaeda training tape, and the target the al Quaeda operatives were shooting to death was wearing a large cross. Can you imagine the White House’s reaction if our Marines started putting Islamic crescents on the targets on their shooting ranges?

 

Living in a world of “let’s pretend” is fine in the nursery. But it is a poor prescription for national security in a world where Islam is on the strategic offensive everywhere. Do we have to wait for a suitcase nuke to go off on K Street before the Bush Administration will haul itself into the real world?

 

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“Islam Unveiled” Deserves Equal Time In Public Libraries (Free Congress Foundation, 021003)

 

By Paul M. Weyrich

 

CAIR packages” will be arriving at your public library soon, if they haven’t already gotten there. Unlike the CARE packages that provided needed sustenance to the Third World, these “CAIR packages” provide scant nourishment: they put forth a distorted and incomplete view of Islam.

 

CAIR, the Council for American Islamic Relations, has already placed hundreds of books and videos on Islam in public libraries across the nation through its “Sponsor Your Library Project.” They intend to send their packages to every public library in the country. The problem is that CAIR’s favored books and videos teach that Islam is a religion of peace, generally ignoring the disquieting roots of Islamic extremism in the bases of the Islamic faith: the Qur’ an and the Sunnah. [CAIR Sponsor Your Library Project]

 

This is comforting to many Americans today. But it is the contention of Islamic scholar Robert Spencer that this tendency to gloss over what Islam is really about puts both non-Muslims and moderate Muslims at a disadvantage: non-Muslims are not adequately apprised of the full causes of the threat from the Muslim world, and moderate Muslims are left defenseless in their attempts to prove that radical Islam is not authentic Islam. No adequate response is articulated to the Muslims who justify their violence on the basis of Qur’anic passages such as this one: “Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given [i.e., Jews and Christians] as believe neither in Allah not the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His Apostle have forbidden and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued” (Sura 9:29).

 

CAIR’s material gives little or no indication of the fact that there are many millions of Muslims worldwide who take such statements literally. Quite simply, they mean our country harm. If we are to face this threat adequately, we must come to terms with this reality.

 

Fortunately, Free Congress Foundation has Robert Spencer as an adjunct fellow. Spencer has written a new book, “Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith,” that takes off the rose-colored glasses that are worn by too many journalists in the media establishment when examining Islam. He dares to stare straight at the uncomfortable elements of Islam.

 

Spencer became interested in Islam over twenty years ago, while he was in college (from which he emerged with a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies.) He began reading the Qur’an and quickly became fascinated with Islamic religion and culture. He was moved by the power and beauty of many sections of the Qur’an, but the Muslim holy book’s many violent passages troubled him. For example, in the Qur’an, are many passages that command Muslims to subdue unbelievers, including Christians and Jews, through violence: they should either convert to Islam or submit to Islamic rule.

 

In an effort to discover what Muslims themselves thought of those passages, he began reading the voluminous collections of Hadiths, or traditions about Muhammad, that most Muslims regard as second in authority only to the Qur’an itself. After years of avidly reading innumerable books and articles about Islam, Robert reluctantly arrived at the inescapable conclusion that too many in the news media want to avoid: although there are many peaceful Muslims, Islam is not a religion of peace. Moderate Muslims have a great deal of difficulty replying to Muslim extremists because the violent elements that Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists invoke to justify their actions are deeply embedded in core Islamic texts that both camps revere.

 

When 9/11/01 hit, Spencer was disturbed by the by the distorted and incomplete presentations of Islam that flooded the news media. To set the record straight, he began work on “Islam Unveiled” (Encounter Books). According to National Review’s Rod Dreher, this book goes “a long way to explain the hatred, violence, backwardness, and fanaticism endemic to the Islamic world.” This is not a Politically Correct book, but it is absolutely correct in its examination of what Islam is about — and how and why it differs so radically from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

 

Spencer explains why millions of Muslims do regard the Qur’an’s violent passages as valid guidelines for the behavior of Muslims today, while Jews and Christians don’t so regard the Old Testament’s violence. Muslims believe that the Qur’an was dictated directly by Allah through the Angel Gabriel to Muhammad. As such, unlike the Old Testament’s directives about stoning and slavery, the Qur’an’s commands cannot be questioned or mitigated by consigning them to one time or place. Allah’s words have universal validity for all people in all times.

 

As Spencer points out, there is no Islamic version of “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).” On the contrary, the Qur’an says: “Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are merciful to one another, but ruthless to unbelievers” (Sura 48:29).

 

Many prominent Muslim clerics, even in this modern era, still teach that non-believers must be forced into submission. Iran’s late Ayatollah Khomeni was not a lone voice in Islam when he said, as quoted by Spencer: “Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world…”

 

In our own day, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh al-Munajjid, an imam in our ally Saudi Arabia, stated during a Friday sermon at a mosque: “Muslims must…educate their children to Jihad. This is the greatest benefit of the situation: educating the children to Jihad and to hatred of the Jews, the Christians, and the infidels; educating the children to Jihad and to revival of the embers of Jihad in their souls. This is what is needed now…”

 

But those in America and the West who have been raised in the tolerance preached by Judaism and Christianity are ill-equipped to confront a religion that is so intolerant.

 

Muslim harshness takes other forms as well. Feminists take note: Spencer has also published for the Free Congress Foundation a short monograph called “Women and Islam” that examines how the Qur’an is taken by men living under Islamic law as giving them permission to engage in polygamy, capricious divorce, marriage to children, and even wife beating. Thus, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences’ research shows that over nine out of 10 Pakistani wives have been beaten or sexually abused — for offenses such as not giving birth to a male child or even cooking a poor meal.

 

Because such facts are seldom reported, most Americans know little about Islam. The Pew Research Center for People and the Press released a survey last March that showed a majority of Americans under 30 have a favorable view of the religion. Women are split 34% favorable to 31% unfavorable. Men were more favorable toward Islam: 42% favorable to 35% unfavorable.

 

Spencer’s book and his monographs, “Women and Islam” and “An Introduction to the Qur’an,” both published by the Free Congress Foundation, should be real eye-openers for those Americans who fail to understand what Islam is really about and why we should be concerned about it. Spencer’s book should be in every library in the country. It’s up to the grassroots to speak up and demand equal time: every library that offers the public CAIR-provided material should also offer “Islam Unveiled,” “Women and Islam,” and “An Introduction to the Qur’an.” Only in this way will library patrons have access to a realistic view of Islam and its problems in co-existing with the Judeo-Christian world.

 

Even after the horrors of 9/11, too many Americans did not open their eyes to what Islam really teaches. Thanks to Robert Spencer, they now have another chance.

 

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A fatwa of one’s own (National Post, 021205)

 

Mark Steyn

 

To be honest, I felt mildly envious when I saw Zulf M. Khalfan’s letter on Tuesday. Mr. Khalfan, of Nepean, Ontario, was responding to David Frum’s defence of Isioma Daniel, the Nigerian journalist now in hiding after remarking that the Prophet Muhammad would have been happy to take the winner of Miss World for his wife. Mr. Khalfan replied that, as Muhammad’s wives are accorded “an honourable status,” it was obviously grossly objectionable to suggest that a woman who “exposed herself” — by wearing make-up and a bikini — would be an appropriate spouse for the Prophet.

 

Fair comment. But then: “Mr. Frum has to understand that it is Muslims who determine what is objectionable to their religion, not he dictating it to them,” added Mr. Khalfan. “And since he cites Salman Rushdie, he should know by now the fatal consequences resulting from ignoring this fact.”

 

Can you believe it? For most of the last 15 months, while I’ve been here playing the National Post’s Mister Islamophobe, that milquetoast Frum has been sitting in the White House, presumably cranking out all the President’s dopey “Islam is peace” speeches. He’s back in the Post for barely a fortnight and already he’s got his own fatwa? Thanks a bunch, you ungrateful Nepean Islamists! Where did I go right?

 

Well, Mr. Khalfan has now “clarified” his original letter on the page opposite. He doesn’t want to kill David Frum. He just wants David to be aware of how easy it is to provoke other people into killing him.

 

When Isioma Daniel remarked that Muhammad would have taken Miss World as his wife, she was correct to the extent that the Prophet seems to have had an eye for the ladies. But that wasn’t really her point. Her point was more basic, and it was this: Hey, lighten up, Muslims! Muslims responded by going nuts, rampaging through the streets, pulling Christian women and children from cars and burning them to the cheers of the mob. By the end of it all, the dead numbered 500. So no, Miss Daniel, Muslims won’t lighten up, but they’ll light you up, if they ever catch up with you. (I’m in favour of Izzy offering the poor gal a job at the Post, by the way.)

 

These days, we’re all citing Salman Rushdie but at the time — February 14th 1989 — most of us didn’t appreciate the significance of the event. It marked the first time the Ayatollah Khomeini had claimed explicitly extra-territorial authority. Why he chose an obscure and for most of us unreadable English novel for his expeditionary foray is unclear, but the results must have heartened him tremendously.

 

Rushdie had not set out to offend Muslims: None of the London reviewers found anything controversial in the book. When British Muslims and their co-religionists around the world burnt copies of The Satanic Verses in the streets, BBC arts bores — including our own Michael Ignatieff — held innumerable discussions on the awful “symbolism” of this assault on “ideas.” But it wasn’t symbolic at all: they burned the book because nothing else was to hand. If his wife or kid had swung by, they’d have gladly burned them instead. Overseas, they made do with translators and publishers. Rushdie’s precious lit. crit. crowd mostly opposed the fatwa on the grounds of artistic freedom rather than as a broader defence of western pluralism. That was a mistake.

 

In the Fifties and Sixties, Nasserism attempted to import Soviet socialism to the Middle East: it never really took. A generation later, the Ayatollah came up with a better wheeze: export Islamism to a culturally defeatist West. Everything that has become pathetically familiar to us since September 11th was present in the Rushdie affair:

 

First, the silence of the “moderate Muslims”: a few Islamic scholars pointed out that the Ayatollah had no authority to issue the fatwa; they quickly shut up when the consequences of not doing so became apparent.

 

Second, the squeamishness of the establishment: Rushdie was infuriated when the Archbishop of Canterbury lapsed into root-cause mode. “I well understand the devout Muslims’ reaction, wounded by what they hold most dear and would themselves die for,” said His Grace. Rushdie replied tersely: “There is only one person around here who is in any danger of dying.”

 

Roy Hattersley, the Labour Party’s deputy leader, attempted to split the difference by arguing that, while he of course supported freedom of speech, perhaps “in the interests of race relations” it would be better not to bring out a paperback edition. He was in favour of artistic freedom, but only in hard covers — and certainly, when it comes to soft spines, Lord Hattersley knows whereof he speaks.

 

His colleague, Gerald Kaufman, attacked critics of British Muslims: “What I cannot accept is the implication that it is somehow anti-democratic and un-British for Mr. Rushdie’s writings to be the object of criticism on religious, as distinct from literary, grounds.” Mr. Kaufman said this a few days after large numbers of British Muslims had marched through English cities openly calling for Rushdie to be killed. In the last few months, several readers have e-mailed me with their memories of those marches. One man in Bradford remembers asking a West Yorkshire police officer why the “Muslim community leaders” weren’t being arrested for incitement to murder. The officer said they’d been told to play it cool. The cries for blood got more raucous. My correspondent asked his question again. The police officer told him to “F— off, or I’ll arrest you.”

 

And, most important of all, the Rushdie affair should have taught us that there’s nothing to negotiate. Mohammed Siddiqui wrote to The Independent from a Yorkshire mosque to endorse the fatwa by citing Sura 5 verses 33-34: “The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land, is execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the hereafter. Except for those who repent before they fall into your power. In that case know that God is oft-forgiving, most merciful.”

 

Rushdie seems to have got the wrong end of the stick on this. He suddenly turned up on a Muslim radio station in West London one night and told his interviewer he’d converted to Islam. Marvelous religion, couldn’t be happier, praise be to Allah and all that. The Ayatollah said terrific, now you won’t suffer such heavy punishment in the hereafter. But we’re still gonna kill you.

 

Some of us drew from the Rushdie affair a different lesson than Mr. Khalfan: As bad as the fatwa was, the inability of the establishment to defend coherently Western values was worse. All those British Muslims who called openly for Rushdie’s death are still around, more powerful and with more followers.

 

Mr. Khalfan is being disingenuous. When was the last time a mob of Jews or Christians or Buddhists tore children from cars and burned them to death? A while back, I saw Terrence McNally’s ghastly Broadway jerk-off, Corpus Christi, in which a gay Jesus rhapsodizes about the joys of anal intercourse with Judas. The play was an abomination, and deserves all the abuse discriminating theatre-goers can heap upon it. But oddly enough, I didn’t feel an urge to slaughter perfect strangers, to ram a schoolbus, drag the little moppets from it, douse them in gasoline, and get my matchbook out.

 

When Mr. Khalfan says that irresponsible journalists “risk provoking individuals who cannot control their spiritual emotions and cause the death of innocent people,” he’s being far more objectionable about Muslims than me, Frum and that Nigerian woman rolled into one; he’s being more imperialist than any old-school Colonial Officer: He’s saying Muslims are wogs, savages, they know no better, what do you expect? You’ve gotta be careful around them, the slightest thing could set ‘em off. Might be a novel, might be a beauty contest.

 

Sorry, it’s not a good enough answer. If that Nigerian mob are really no more than “pious Muslims,” then pious Muslims should be ashamed. Pious Muslims can follow the murder-inciters of Bradford, the suicide-bombers of the West Bank and the depraved killers of northern Nigeria on their descent into barbarism. Or they can wake up and save their religion. Mr. Khalfan’s sophistry won’t cut it.

 

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The invisible jihad (WorldNetDaily, 021206)

 

After praising the Sept. 11 skyjackers and threatening to commit major terrorist acts himself within the U.S., alleged sniper John Muhammad, along with 17-year-old Lee Boyd “John” Malvo, paralyzed the Washington metropolitan area for three bloody weeks in October. Yet since his capture, most in the media have been loathe to focus seriously on jihad as a motive.

 

In fact, the standard analysis of what makes Muhammad tick seems to include anything and everything except jihad – the personal spiritual mandate to engage in “holy war” against the “enemies of Islam,” that is, non-Muslims, especially Americans, Jews and Christians.

 

Such violent directives, long central to militant Islamism, have grown exponentially in recent years, emanating not only from known terror leaders like Osama bin Laden, but from militant Islamic clerics worldwide, including some in the U.S. (Last month, Sheik Abu Hamza, affiliated with London’s Finsbury Park mosque, was caught on film urging his followers to kill non-Muslims – particularly Americans – and to commit other acts of terrorism.)

 

Despite these eerie, medieval calls for the murderous purging of “unbelievers,” jihad doesn’t easily show up on the radar of the media elite, in spite of America’s unwelcome crash course in radical Islam in the aftermath of 9-11.

 

Thus, the Los Angeles Times offered up no less than six possible motives for Muhammad’s killing spree, reports Daniel Pipes, an expert on militant Islam. They included “his ‘stormy relationship’ with his family, his ‘stark realization’ of loss and regret, his perceived sense of abuse as an American Muslim post-9/11, his desire to ‘exert control’ over others, his relationship with Malvo, and his trying to make a quick buck,” said Pipes – “but did not mention jihad.”

 

“Likewise,” he adds, “a Boston Globe article found ‘there must have been something in his social interaction – in his marriage or his military career – that pulled the trigger.’”

 

Is this see-no-jihad, hear-no-jihad, speak-no-jihad mindset unique to the sniper case? Far from it.

 

* On July 4, a cab driver named Hesham Hadayet walked into the Los Angeles International Airport and shot two people to death before being shot and killed by a security guard. Despite the fact that Hadayet was Egyptian and that he had chosen the Israeli El Al ticket counter as the site for venting his rage, any suggestion that Hadayet was carrying out his own personal jihad was immediately dismissed.

 

“Investigators … believe that Hadayet was simply an overstressed man who snapped,” reported the Los Angeles Times. “He was known as a quiet, observant Muslim,” added the Times, which explained away the killer’s virulent anti-Semitism by saying: “While Hadayet occasionally mentioned a hatred for Israel, [one former employee] saw it more as a cultural perspective on Mideast politics than an emotion that would fuel violence.”

 

* One of the worst air disasters in recent history, Egypt Air Flight 990 crashed into the Atlantic shortly after takeoff from New York in October 1999, killing 217.

 

Two-and-a-half years later, the National Transportation Safety Board finally reached the same conclusion last March that virtually everyone else had immediately after the crash – that the plane’s Egyptian copilot, Gameel El-Batouty, had cut power to the engines and intentionally sent the plane plummeting into the ocean, killing all aboard.

 

But the government panel declined to suggest a motive, except to speculate that El-Batouty might have “committed suicide.”

 

Suicide? To most, “mass murder” or “terrorism” would better describe the wanton annihilation of hundreds of innocent people. Yet, despite the fact the copilot had calmly repeated over and over the Arabic phrase “tawkalt” – meaning “I rely on Allah” – for almost a minute and a half during his deed – and that such behavior, according to the report, “is not consistent with the reaction that would be expected from a pilot who is encountering an unexpected or uncommanded flight condition” – the federal report steered clear of suggesting jihad as a motive.

 

Egyptian reaction to the report was adamant: The plane’s failure was mechanical and the American report was a craven attempt to protect Boeing, the aircraft’s manufacturer. “Committing suicide is not a trait that Egyptians and Muslims are known for,” commented the head of the Egyptian pilots association.

 

But Jim Brokaw, who lost his father and stepmother in the crash and is now president of Families of Egypt Air 990 Inc., said it was clear the copilot was responsible. “American families regret that Egypt continues to resist this unavoidable conclusion, even after the events of Sept. 11,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “We call upon President George W. Bush to move beyond his predecessor’s failure of leadership in this matter, and ensure that a full criminal investigation takes place.”

 

But there will likely be no criminal investigation. The perpetrator is already dead, and “jihad” is not considered a motive. So what’s the point?

 

If the obvious conclusion is off-limits, what possible motive is left to explain the calm taking of 217 lives? The best the Los Angeles Times could come up with was the suggestion that El-Batouty might have been taking revenge against an Egypt Air executive who was aboard the flight.

 

As if 9-11 never happened

 

From the Washington, D.C., sniper shootings (in which police wrongly profiled white males despite eyewitnesses who said they saw dark skin), to the anthrax murders (after more than a year, the FBI is still guided by its profile of a “homegrown” terrorist, an angry loner with science expertise), to the Oklahoma City bombing (with which famed prosecutor David Schippers claims there is a “dead-bang Middle Eastern connection”) to the downing of TWA Flight 800 (in which multiple eyewitnesses who claim they saw a missile hit the plane contradict the government’s official conclusion of mechanical failure) – it is as if 9-11 never happened.

 

There is a strange aversion in both the administration and most of the press to investigate seriously the “jihad factor” in attack after attack that Americans are enduring.

 

Yet, the truth is that virtually all terrorist acts against the U.S. or its interests in recent years have been perpetrated by militant Islamists. Indeed, a glance at the headlines shows we are in the midst of what can only be described as a global Islamic jihad against America and Israel.

 

Thus, the official face of U.S. policy – that Islam is a religion of peace, that most Islamic nations are America’s allies in the war on terror, and that terrorist groups like al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah aren’t truly Muslim at all and, in any event, are supported by only a tiny fraction of the Muslim world – is increasingly at odds with reality.

 

Even after the resurgence of al-Qaida and the official confirmation that bin Laden is still leading the far-flung terror empire, as well as the recent mass atrocities in Bali, Moscow and elsewhere – all with direct ties to al-Qaida – the U.S. seems incapable of accurately defining its enemy.

 

The Islamic connection is always downplayed. Always.

 

John Muhammad’s militant Islamic belief system has barely figured into the analysis of his motivations. Yet, beyond the question of whether he was part of a known terrorist organization is the equally important, and ultimately more frightening, possibility that he acted as an unofficial “freelance” member of the global jihad forces.

 

After all, bin Laden – whom Muhammad reportedly admires – has repeatedly and publicly called for the wanton murder of Americans and Jews by all Muslims everywhere, acting on their own.

 

Muslim militia

 

In the world of Islamist terrorism, tiny, independent sleeper cells and “freelancers” are every bit as much a part of the global jihad force as are “card-carrying” members of al-Qaida and other known groups. It is in the nature of such groups to be highly decentralized and autonomous, held together despite long distances and minimal (or no) contact with leaders by their fervent religious convictions and intense hatred of a common enemy.

 

Think militia. In the United States, as codified by the Militia Act of 1792 and other later acts, the “militia” comprises all able-bodied males between 17 and 45. But there are two parts to the militia that together defend the interests of America (or, in this case, Islam). There is the “enrolled” or “organized” militia, where members are under a commander in a military structure. And then there is the “unenrolled” or “unorganized” militia – all able-bodied men. But both organized and unorganized militias are bound together by loyalty to a common goal – the defense of the homeland and her inhabitants from all enemies.

 

In the same way, the global Islamist jihad has its “organized militia” – members of terror groups like al-Qaida – and its “unorganized militia” – angry Islamists who hate America and Israel.

 

Even the distinction between a member of a terrorist group and a freelancer is illusory. Rather than a hard line, there’s a continuum of participation representing every type and level of involvement, all bound together by a common hatred (of America and Israel) and a common justification (Allah and the Quran).

 

Indeed, “most of the thousands of militants who passed through al-Qaida’s training camps are not technically al-Qaida members,” says U.S. News and World Report. “But the group’s leaders offer many of them encouragement and seed money to independently plan terror attacks.”

 

One such “freelancer” was American Jose Padilla (also known as Abdullah al-Muhajir), who, after training in Pakistan after 9-11, was arrested for allegedly plotting a dirty-bomb attack on U.S. soil. Another, Algerian Ahmed Ressam, was arrested at the U.S.-Canadian border and convicted of attempting to blow up the Los Angeles airport during millennium celebrations. Then there was Richard Reid, the British “shoe bomber” currently in U.S. prison for allegedly attempting to ignite a bomb hidden in his shoe aboard an American Airlines flight.

 

What about the expected next round of assaults on America? As USA Today reported Nov. 1: “Future terrorist attacks in the United States likely will involve suicidal operatives working alone or in groups of ‘twos and threes’ to try to carry out bombings and other relatively simple assaults, according to U.S. analysts who are tracking al-Qaida’s resurgence.”

 

Yet, despite such clear indications of a more decentralized and multi-faceted battle plan, heavily reliant on freelancers and loners inspired by their hatred of America and spurred on by the incendiary rhetoric of maniacal Islamic clerics calling for jihad – official Washington and, apparently, the mainstream press still don’t get it.

 

And because they don’t understand the new paradigm of war, they flail away at shadows, missing the enemy in our midst, while robbing precious freedoms from law-abiding citizens with new police powers and ever-more-intrusive surveillance capabilities.

 

In fairness, this gross official denial of reality is almost understandable. The circumstances of our “terror war” represent an unprecedented and politically radioactive situation for authorities. The plain truth is that while sleeper cells, their supporters and fund-raisers are living undercover in America, many of the biggest and most “mainstream” Islamic groups in the U.S.A. have proven ties to terrorist groups like Hamas, and – most vexing of all perhaps – a lot of fund-raising, sustenance and networking for Islamist terrorism has taken place, knowingly or unknowingly, in American mosques, Islamic centers and charities.

 

But how are law enforcement authorities to deal with such a threat? America’s very identity as a bastion of liberty is based on constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of religion, speech and assembly. We don’t imprison people for saying bad things, or even for assembling together to say bad things. Do we now send police, FBI agents or new “Homeland Security Department” agents undercover into all 1,200 of America’s mosques?

 

Do we clamp shut all immigration of males from Muslim countries? Secretary of State Colin Powell certainly doesn’t think so. Despite the fact that the government has reportedly allowed some 50,000 men from Muslim countries into the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, Powell is on a campaign to open the doors wider still.

 

In November, Powell said he wants to expand programs to bring educators, journalists and political and religious leaders from Muslim nations to the U.S., telling a Ramadan gathering of Muslim-Americans: “We are committed to ensuring that our programs reach out to Muslims in all walks of life.”

 

Extremism and violence, not radical Islam, are America’s greatest enemies, said Powell, strongly criticizing major evangelical Christian leaders (including Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, although he didn’t name them) for their recent criticisms of Islam. “We must not listen to the siren song of the bigots, extremists who cloak themselves in false spirituality in an attempt to divide and to weaken us,” he said, according to an Associated Press report.

 

And yet, there is a price to pay for all of this pious inclusiveness, no matter how beneficial to the cause of diplomacy. An analysis by Mideast expert Daniel Pipes concludes that by not directly and publicly acknowledging militant Islam as the enemy, America is endangering its war on terror in the all-important areas of:

 

* Understanding the enemy’s motives: A virtual taboo exists in official circles about Islam’s role in the violence; in the words of one senior State Department official, this subject “has to be tiptoed around.” As a result, the violence is treated as though it comes out of nowhere, the work of (in Bush’s description) “a bunch of cold-blooded killers.”

 

* Defining war goals: The U.S. government’s stated objectives in the war are operationally vague – Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once described them as preventing terrorists “from adversely affecting our way of life.” Only by naming militant Islam as the enemy is it possible to see the goal of defeating and marginalizing this ideology (along the lines of what was done to fascism and communism in World War II and in the Cold War).

 

* Defining the enemy: Right now, it’s just “terrorists,” “evildoers,” “a dangerous group of people” and other non-specific monikers. Naming militant Islam as the enemy reveals that the problem goes beyond terrorists to include those who in non-violent ways forward the totalitarian agenda – this includes its funders, preachers, apologists and lobbyists.

 

* Defining the allies: Allies are currently restricted to those who help prevent terrorism. Naming militant Islam clarifies the ideological dimension and points to the crucial role of Muslims who reject this radical utopian ideology. They can both help argue against it and then offer an alternate to it.

 

A time for truth

 

While the government and “mainstream” media avoid mentioning the Islamist elephant in the national living room, the nation is ripe for further recruitment.

 

Dr. Saul B. Wilen, president of International Horizons Unlimited, a terrorism prevention and strategies think-tank in San Antonio, Texas, writes:

 

“According to the American Correctional Association in 2001, the number of Islamic inmates in the federal prison system tripled over the previous nine years, and in some states, such as Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania, make up approximately 20% of the incarcerated population. This includes the 30% of all African-Americans who have embraced Islam in prison. Prison experts and experienced correctional facility administrators recognize that prisons offer radical fundamentalists such as al-Qaida a pool of potential recruits who can be prime targets for a religion advocating the overcoming of oppression with violence.”

 

Explaining that the opportunities for militant Islamist recruitment are great, not only in prison, but in gang cultures and other negative environments with angry and confused young people, Wilen adds, ominously:

 

“Ongoing recruitment efforts are much greater and even more complex than previously anticipated. The Justice Department and FBI have confirmed that in its major jurisdictions hundreds of suspects are being monitored 24 hours a day. This is only the beginning of the need for expanding investigation resources. The terrorist population drawn from America’s youth complicates intelligence and surveillance efforts by adding large numbers of potential terrorists who can strike widely and simultaneously against distant and multiple targets. Our preparedness and resources to respond, react and recover from such terrorist attacks would be overwhelmed.

 

“The existence and growth of American al-Qaida cells significantly frustrates our present strategies for fighting terrorism and urgently raises the need for developing a new focus for terrorism prevention.”

 

Islamic radicals come to America, not because they love freedom, but because they know they can exploit America’s unparalleled liberty, which they consider weakness, to either destroy America or to Islamize it – which of course would destroy it.

 

How do we dare deal with the fact that some Islamic mosques in America – although thousands of decent, law-abiding Muslims worship there – have also been and no doubt still are being used as cover for terrorists? How do we deal with the virulent, metastasizing hatred of Islamic militancy both around the world and on our own soil?

 

And most importantly, how do we deal with this vexing and deadly problem while still respecting law-abiding Muslims’ rights to fundamental freedoms, including freedom of worship, in America?

 

The solution will be difficult, but not impossible.

 

And it must start – as solving all seemingly intractable problems must start – with telling the truth.

 

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Terrorists in our midst: How and why Islamists, jihadists, sleeper cells are flocking to U.S. (WorldNetDaily, 021205)

 

Shortly after the release of his explosive PBS documentary “Jihad in America” – featuring video footage of terrorists and their supporters holding boisterous fund-raising rallies throughout America’s heartland — investigative journalist and terrorism expert Steven Emerson was informed by federal officials that an Islamist death squad had been dispatched to kill him. He should leave his home immediately, he was told.

 

Ever since then, the former CNN reporter, working full-time on tracking the spread of terrorist networks to American shores, has ceased to maintain a home address, varies his routine, takes a different route to work each day and practices other “living-underground” techniques.

 

Emerson tells his amazing story in the December edition of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine, in an issue titled “TERRORISTS AMONG US.”

 

With the help of a staff of researchers, Emerson has followed the terrorists’ monetary sources, monitored their attacks and plans, exposed their ties to charitable foundations and assisted a variety of government agencies in the battle against them.

 

“What we discovered,” he says, “is that, indeed, international terrorist organizations of all sorts had set up shop here in America. They often took advantage of religious, civic, or charitable organizations. Usually this was more than enough to fool the public, the police, and especially naïve leaders of religious or educational institutions, who were more than willing to encourage and sponsor these groups in the name of ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘diversity.’”

 

Meanwhile, he adds, U.S.-based terrorists have used these organizations to ferry equipment to Middle Eastern terror groups, to provide financial support to the families of suicide bombers, coordinate efforts with other terrorist networks around the world, and ultimately, he says, “to plan and support terrorist acts in the Untied States.”

 

Yet, despite the extreme threat of further terror attacks on American soil, the U.S. government and much of the news media seem unwilling or unable to confront the radioactive religious core of the current conflict. As expert Mideast analyst Daniel Pipes notes in this issue of Whistleblower: “A virtual taboo exists in official circles about Islam’s role in the violence; in the words of one senior State Department official, this subject ‘has to be tiptoed around.’ As a result, the violence is treated as though it comes out of nowhere, the work of (in Bush’s description) ‘a bunch of cold-blooded killers.’”

 

“This issue of Whistleblower,” says WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah, “is free of the politically correct sensitivities of the State Department. It succeeds in effectively connecting the dots and showing the relationships between al-Qaida, other organized groups, ‘sleeper cells,’ so-called ‘freelancers’ like sniper suspect John Muhammad, the Saudi rulers who fund radicalized Islamic schools worldwide, including throughout the U.S., and much more. If you really want to understand the threat America is now facing, read this issue.”

 

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Blond, blue-eyed Muslim terrorists? (WorldNetDaily, 021205)

 

Osama bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, with help from Iran, have recruited and trained brigades of blond, blue-eyed Bosnians and indoctrinated them for martyrdom, according to a report in Insight magazine.

 

“It’s the Joseph coat of terrorism,” says a former terrorism investigator, referring to the Old Testament account of Joseph’s coat of many colors. “The next wave of terrorism could be carried out by people with fair skin, blond hair and blue eyes.”

 

Iran and the al-Qaida terrorist network began recruiting and training Bosnian Muslims more than 10 years ago for war against Orthodox Christian Serbs and Catholic Croats in an effort to expand the Muslim base in Eastern Europe.

 

Congressional terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky says there are many blond, blue-eyed Slavs among these Bosnian Islamists, and there were “thousands trained by the mujahedin and a lot of them eventually joined the international brigades.”

 

Bodansky says, “We are not just dealing with Arabs.”

 

So far, he adds, the Bosnian Islamists have been in support positions such as couriers, but that it’s only a matter of time before they show up in other areas of the terrorist web: “They have been training in suicide missions.”

 

According to Insight, dismantling the jihadists’ training camps in the Balkans, after imposing peace plans that included Muslim power-sharing, was not a priority for the U.S. government, and the sponsors of the Muslim campaigns there have not decommissioned their jihadist forces in Bosnia, Albania and elsewhere in the region.

 

The U.S. House of Representatives Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, TFTUW, did manage to keep track of the Muslim extremist movement in the region and sounded early warnings.

 

TFTUW reports reveal a pattern of activities involving Islamists in the Balkans and around the world, and which point to potential threats to U.S. national security.

 

According to a report from 1992, Islam experienced an unexpected renaissance in communist Yugoslavia in the mid-1970s.

 

The revival increased the number of mosques throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina and led to a growing number of local youths being sent for higher Islamic studies in the Middle East, especially Iran, where the classes in schools for radical mullahs included some 250 Bosnians a year.

 

A former government terrorism expert, who spoke to Insight on the condition of anonymity, said Iran is at the core of recruiting and mobilizing terrorist-training efforts, with Iraq, Pakistan and Syria playing key support roles.

 

According to a TFTUW report, the Yugoslav government in Belgrade was concerned about what it saw as evidence that within its 40% Muslim population there were “Muslim terrorists operating against the West” and that “Yugoslav Muslim youths were drawn into cooperation with and emulation of Arab terrorists.”

 

Meanwhile, the mullahs of Iran saw the Balkans as a prize to be won for the glory of Allah and markedly intensified political involvement in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The report says Iran proclaimed the battleground of Bosnia-Herzegovina a microcosm for resisting the West’s war on Islam, and called in reinforcements.

 

Those reinforcements included highly trained and combat-proven volunteers from Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon and several other Arab countries.

 

Bodansky, who is the director of the TFTUW, says bin Laden and al-Zawahiri also played a significant role in deploying and concealing “Islamist elite” terrorist forces brought in from around the Middle East, inculcating them into the Bosnian army and setting up humanitarian front organizations to explain their presence.

 

According to Bodansky, Iran considered the outside aid to Bosnia as central to securing for Muslims a role in the leadership of a “multinational state” based on the imposition of the U.S.-led Dayton Accords of 1995 to keep peace in the region by deploying a NATO force.

 

The accords called for foreign Muslim fighters to leave Bosnia but, according to a 1996 TFTUW report, the majority of mujahedin scheduled to have left Bosnia still serve in the ranks of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The mujahedin are divided among three clusters of operational units and a fourth cluster of units directly engaged in terrorism and other covert special operations.

 

The report says the special military units are “built around a hard core of foreign mujahedin while the rest of the troops are Bosnian Islamist.”

 

Ongoing training is provided by mujahedin fighters who were obligated to leave Bosnia under the Dayton Accords and who, according to Bodansky, are activating the Bosnian Islamists by reminding them that without jihadist support, “there would not have been a Muslim Bosnia. ... We helped you, you come and fight for us.”

 

According to terrorism experts with whom Insight spoke, the mujahedin fighters who went to Bosnia to help the Muslims already have been linked to attempted terrorist attacks in the United States.

 

The Washington Post reported that the Bosnian village of Bocinja Donja, which has 60 to 100 former mujahedin Islamic guerrillas from the Middle East, came under scrutiny when U.S. law-enforcement authorities discovered that a handful of the men who have visited or lived in the area were associated with a suspected terrorist plot to bomb targets in the United States on New Year’s Day of 2000.

 

Bodansky, whose most recent book, “The High Cost of Peace,” is a stinging criticism of what he describes as failed U.S. policy in the Middle East, says U.S. policy has lacked forcefulness in dealing with the mujahedin problem in Bosnia by not forcing them out of the country as called for by the Dayton Accords.

 

He says the failure to act allowed the Islamist military brigades to maintain bases in Bosnia and continue to recruit and train Muslim forces for terrorist attacks.

 

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A Wahhabism Problem: Misleading historical negationism (National Review Online, 021206)

 

By Andrew G. Bostom

 

In his recent writings on NRO (here and here) and elsewhere, and in his new book, The Two Faces of Islam, Stephen Schwartz appropriately draws the attention of policymakers and the public at large to the dangerous, unsavory interactions between the Saudi royal family, Wahhabi Islam, and international terrorism. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Schwartz identifies Wahhabism as the source of all Islamic terror and injustice. He does not mention that the twin institutionalized scourges of Islam at the crux of the violent, nearly 1,400-year relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims — i.e., jihad and dhimmitude — were already well-elaborated by the 8th century, 1,000 years before Wahhabism arose in the 18th century.

 

Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), perhaps the preeminent Islamic scholar in history, summarized five centuries of prior Muslim jurisprudence with regard to the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad:

 

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the [Muslim] mission and [the obligation to] convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force... The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense... Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.

 

In “The Laws of Islamic Governance,” al-Mawardi (d. 1058), a renowned jurist of Baghdad, examined the regulations pertaining to the lands and infidel (i.e., non-Muslim) populations subjugated by jihad. This is the origin of the system of dhimmitude. The native infidel population had to recognize Islamic ownership of their land, submit to Islamic law, and accept payment of the poll tax (jizya). Some of the more salient features of dhimmitude include: the prohibition of arms for the vanquished non-Muslims (dhimmis), and of church bells; restrictions concerning the building and restoration of churches and synagogues; inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims with regard to taxes and penal law; the refusal of dhimmi testimony by Muslim courts; a requirement that Jews and Christians wear special clothes; and their overall humiliation and abasement. Furthermore, dhimmis, including those living under “enlightened” Turkish and Bosnian Muslim domain, suffered, at periods, from slavery (i.e., harem slavery for women, and the devshirme child levy for Balkan Christian males), abductions, deportations, and massacres. During the modern era, between 1894-96, the Ottoman Turks massacred over 200,000 (dhimmi) Christian Armenians, followed by the first formal genocide of the 20th century, in 1915, at which time they slaughtered an additional 600,000 to 800,000 Armenians. Contemporary accounts from European diplomats confirm that these brutal massacres were perpetrated in the context of a formal jihad against the Armenians who had attempted to throw off the yoke of dhimmitude by seeking equal rights and autonomy. For example, the Chief Dragoman (Turkish-speaking interpreter) of the British embassy reported regarding the 1894-96 massacres:

 

…[The perpetrators] are guided in their general action by the prescriptions of the Sheri [Sharia] Law. That law prescribes that if the “rayah” [dhimmi] Christian attempts, by having recourse to foreign powers, to overstep the limits of privileges allowed them by their Mussulman [Muslim] masters, and free themselves from their bondage, their lives and property are to be forfeited, and are at the mercy of the Mussulmans. To the Turkish mind the Armenians had tried to overstep those limits by appealing to foreign powers, especially England. They therefore considered it their religious duty and a righteous thing to destroy and seize the lives and properties of the Armenians…”

 

The scholar Bat Yeor confirms this reasoning, noting that the Armenian quest for reforms invalidated their “legal status,” which involved a “contract” (i.e., with their Muslim Turkish rulers). This

 

…breach…restored to the umma [the Muslim community] its initial right to kill the subjugated minority [the dhimmis], [and] seize their property…

 

Schwartz extols the ecumenism and tolerance of Sufi Islam. Sufism was derivative from Hinduism, in addition to strains of mysticism borrowed from Judaism and Christianity. However, Sufi Islam as practiced in the Indian subcontinent was quite intolerant of Hinduism, as documented by the Indian scholar K. S. Lal (The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India [1992], p. 237):

 

The Muslim Mushaikh [Sufi spiritual leaders] were as keen on conversions as the Ulama, and contrary to general belief, in place of being kind to the Hindus as saints would, they too wished the Hindus to be accorded a second class citizenship if they were not converted. Only one instance, that of Shaikh Abdul Quddus Gangoh, need be cited because he belonged to the Chishtia Silsila considered to be the most tolerant of all Sufi groups. He wrote letters to the Sultan Sikandar Lodi, Babur, and Humayun to re-invigorate the Shariat [Sharia] and reduce the Hindus to payers of land tax and jizya. To Babur he wrote, “Extend utmost patronage and protection to theologians and mystics... that they should be maintained and subsidized by the state... No non-Muslim should be given any office or employment in the Diwan of Islam... Furthermore, in conformity with the principles of the Shariat they should be subjected to all types of indignities and humiliations. They should be made to pay the jizya...They should be disallowed from donning the dress of the Muslims and should be forced to keep their Kufr [infidelity] concealed and not to perform the ceremonies of their Kufr openly and freely… They should not be allowed to consider themselves the equal to the Muslims.”

 

Sadly, both Schwartz’s recent NRO contributions and his book reflect two persistent currents widespread among the Muslim intelligentsia: historical negationism and silent hypocrisy. To these two trends, Schwartz adds a third: misleading reductionism. If we would only neutralize “Wahhabism,” he claims — presumably by some combination of military means, promoting the “true Islam,” and perhaps having the world switch to a hydrogen-based fuel economy — all Islamic terror and injustice will disappear. But the reality is that, for nearly 1,400 years, across three continents, from Portugal to India, non-Muslims have experienced the horrors of the institutionalized jihad war ideology and its ugly corollary institution, dhimmitude. Post hoc, internal disputes among Muslim scholars, including Sufi scholars, about the theological “correctness” of “lesser” versus “greater” jihad are meaningless to the millions of non-Muslim victims of countless jihad wars: Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists. What is important is that after well over a millennium, Muslims finally acknowledge the suffering of these millions of victims of jihad wars, as well as the oppressive governance imposed on non-Muslims by the laws of dhimmitude. Thus far this brutal history has been completely denied, and even celebrated, as “enlightened” conquest and rule.

 

Moreover, it is critical to understand that there were never organized, mass progressive efforts within Islam comparable to the philo-Semitic movement by European Christendom that lead to the emancipation of European Jewry, or the European Judeo-Christian movement that led to the abolition of slavery. Indeed, it took European military (primarily naval) power to force Islamic governments, including the Ottoman Empire, to end slavery at the end of the 19th century. Beginning in the mid-19th century, treaties imposed by the European powers on the weakened Ottoman Empire also included provisions for the so-called Tanzimat reforms. These reforms were designed to end the discriminatory laws of dhimmitude for Christians and Jews living under Muslim Ottoman governance. European consuls endeavored to maintain compliance with at least two cardinal principles: respect for the life and property of non-Muslims, and the right for Christians and Jews to provide evidence in Islamic courts when a Muslim was a party. Unfortunately, the effort to end the belief in Muslim superiority over “infidels,” and to establish equal rights, failed. Indeed, throughout the Ottoman Empire, particularly within the Balkans, emancipation of the dhimmi peoples provoked violent, bloody responses against any “infidels” daring to claim equality with local Muslims. Enforced abrogation of the laws of dhimmitude required the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire. This finally happened only after the Balkan Wars of independence, and in the European Mandate period after World War I.

 

Today, the Muslim intelligentsia focus almost exclusively on debatable “human-rights violations” in the disputed territories of Gaza, Judea, and Samaria, while ignoring the blatant and indisputable atrocities committed by Muslims against non-Muslims throughout the world. The most egregious examples include: the genocidal slaughter, starvation, and enslavement of south Sudanese Christians and animists by the Islamist Khartoum government forces; the mass murder of Indonesian Christians by Muslim jihadists, with minimal preventive intervention by the official Muslim Indonesian government; the imposition of sharia-sanctioned discrimination and punishments, including mutilation, against non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, and northern Nigeria; the brutal murders of Copts during pogroms by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, as well as official Egyptian government-mandated social and political discrimination against the Copts; murderous terrorist attacks and the return of such heinous institutions as bonded labor, and punishment for “blasphemy,” directed against Pakistani Christians by Pakistani Muslims.

 

There is a dire need for some courageous, meaningful movement within Islam that would completely renounce both dhimmitude and jihad against non-Muslims, openly acknowledging the horrific devastation they have wrought for nearly 1,400 years. Nothing short of an Islamic Reformation and Enlightenment may be required, to acknowledge non-Muslims as fully equal human beings, and not “infidels” or “dhimmis.” It is absurd and disingenuous for Schwartz to pretend that Islam’s problems are centered solely within Wahhabism.

 

— Andrew Bostom, M.D., an associate professor of Medicine at Brown University Medical School, has spent the past 15 months researching the history of jihad and dhimmitude. He has written for NRO previously, coauthor of a piece with dhimmi historian Bat Yeor.

 

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The Jewish-Friendly Koran: A whole new context (National Review Online, 021219)

 

By David Klinghoffer

 

I wish I could crawl into the head of British historian Karen Armstrong, whose comments about Islam and the prophet Muhammad are astonishing. In good conscious, how does she say the things she does?

 

My occasion for asking is a new PBS documentary, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, that debuted Wednesday night. The filmmakers take pains to show how cuddly and non-threatening a religion Islam is, but the most mind-blowing words in the two hours of footage are from Ms. Armstrong. She says, “Muhammad had nothing against the Jewish people per se, or the Jewish religion. The Koran continues to tell Muslims to honor the People of the Book.”

 

Referring to Christians as well as Jews, that famous phrase, “the People of the Book,” comes up whenever someone is trying to paint a friendly face on Islam. The truth is that Muhammad typically means it not in praise but as an expression of bitter irony, as if to say: These people have Scripture, yet they reject me! Author of Mohammed: A Biography of the Prophet and Islam: A Short History, Armstrong presumably has studied the Koran carefully enough to know this. Or has she?

 

Muhammad takes a lively interest in Jews and Christians, whom he deals with explicitly in many, many passages. Here’s a quick sample.

 

God is quoted by prophet as saying, “The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures.” “…those that disbelieve Our revelations and deny them are the heirs of Hell.” Of the Jews in particular: “God has cursed them in their unbelief.”

 

As to how one is to deal with such unbelievers, the Koran’s message is vigorously expressed. “Muhammad is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” “If you do not go to war, He will punish you sternly.” “Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them.” “Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. They are friends to one another.”

 

A couple of verses suggest a pacifistic perspective: “Requite evil with good, and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend.” But these are isolated thoughts. Much more representative are the passages that describe, with satisfaction, the destruction of the cities and nations of the unbelievers in the past, the ruin of their lives and fortunes in the future.

 

“Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and deal sternly with them. Hell shall be their home, evil their fate.” “God loves those who fight for His cause in ranks as firm as a mighty edifice.” In the surah titled “That Which Is Coming,” we find verses that sound weirdly like 9/11: “They [the unbelievers] shall dwell amidst scorching winds and seething water: in the shade of pitch-black smoke, neither cool nor refreshing.” “On that day woe betide the disbelievers! Be gone to the Hell which you deny! Depart into the shadow that will rise high in three columns, giving neither shade nor shelter from the flames, and throwing up sparks as huge as towers, as bright as yellow camels!”

 

As I was making my way through the text, occasionally I would read a particularly vivid passage aloud to my wife. “But you’re taking that out of context,” she’d say. “You must be.”

 

Actually, on page after page, sentiments like these are the context.

 

Karen Armstrong is either one of the biggest liars on the planet, or, more likely, self-deluded in the way only professional scholars can be. She mystifies me.

 

— David Klinghoffer is the author of a spiritual memoir, The Lord Will Gather Me In, as well as the forthcoming The Discovery of God: Abraham and the Birth of Monotheism.

 

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Islam Soft and Hard: PBS’s whitewashed commercial for Islam (National Review Online, 021219)

 

By Robert Spencer

 

In a stunning move designed to “counter the negative image of Christian Fundamentalists,” PBS officials announced today that they’re beginning production of a lavish two-hour feature, Jesus: Legacy of a Messiah. Produced by a convert to Christianity and featuring interviews with gentle, introspective Fundamentalist Christians, the production is designed to offset the widespread representation of Christian Fundamentalism as harsh, vindictive, and unforgiving. “Christianity is really a soft thing,” says one of the preachers interviewed. “It’s not a hard thing.”

 

The production tells the story of Jesus from his virgin birth through his crucifixion and miraculous resurrection, highlighting the truth and miraculous character of these events and showing how each of them has significant impact on the lives of believers today. The New Testament, says one participant, “is the most extraordinarily beautiful discourse.” Of the angel Gabriel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary to announce her mission as the Mother of God’s Son, the same expert observes, “This is how the ineffable, incomprehensible, utterly transcendent, indescribable God makes itself known to us.”

 

Don’t check your PBS schedule just yet. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would no doubt be the first to tell you that such credulity and proselytizing has no place on public television. And the idea that they would plump for Christian Fundamentalism is, of course, laughable.

 

But the above is not made up out of whole cloth. The quotations above all appear, in reference to Islam and the Koran rather than Christianity and the Bible, in Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, the real-life PBS production running during this Christmas season. In this handsome Christmas present from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, elements of Islamic faith such as Muhammad’s prophetic claim and miraculous journey to Jerusalem (for which journey there is no evidence whatsoever except the word of Muhammad himself, who never went to Jerusalem in any ordinary manner) and the court of Heaven are presented without question or challenge from skeptics. Attractive Muslim believers show the positive impact of their faith in their lives. Common challenges to Islam — that it encourages the oppression of women, as well as violence under the banner of jihad — are examined, found wanting, and dismissed.

 

Muhammad, one commentator exclaims, “is the kind of person who combines political and military and social and religious and intellectual dimensions of life in ways that are important for those of us in the 21st century who are struggling to put together complete lives ourselves.” I haven’t heard a more open and direct evangelistic call since a man on 34th Street in New York handed me a Gospel tract and said, “Read this, brother. It could change your life.”

 

But that street-corner preacher didn’t have an endowment from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Indeed, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet presents such an appealing picture of Islam that it has become the best argument yet to cut off PBS’s public funding.

 

This “documentary” is just a small element of the broader multiculturalism movement, but against the backdrop of terrorist attacks all over the world it takes on an even more disquieting cast. Take, for example, its treatment of the concept of jihad. To hear PBS tell it, Muslims are just Methodists with hats and beards. “Jihad is misused,” one expert informs us. “There is absolutely nothing in Islam that justifies the claim of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda or other similar groups to kill innocent civilians. That is unequivocally a crime under Islamic law. Acts of terror violence that have occurred in the name of Islam are not only wrong, they are contrary to Islam.”

 

Very well. But here the producers of Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet had a real opportunity. Instead of flatly stating that terrorism cannot be justified by Islam, they could have explained why misunderstanding jihad isn’t a faux pas restricted to the benighted Falwells and Robertsons of the world. They could have informed viewers why millions of Muslims endorse the violent jihad preached by Islamic organizations spanning the globe — from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Jemaah Islamiah in Southeast Asia, Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya in Egypt, the Armed Islamic Group in Algeria, Al-Ummah in India, the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, and so many others.

 

The documentary reports the views of Mohamed Zakariya, who is described by another Muslim as being among “the mildest people in our community.” Zakariya states that “revenge, suicide bombing, things of that kind, they have no place in Islam.” This is simply stated as fact. The producers pass up the opportunity to clarify opposing views held by quite prominent figures in the Islamic world, such as Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, the prestigious and respected Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Tantawi was quoted by President Bush last Fall at the United Nations as saying that “terrorism is a disease, and that Islam prohibits killing innocent civilians.” But according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), last spring the same sheikh declared that suicide bombing was “the highest form of Jihad operations,” and that “every martyrdom operation against any Israeli, including children, women, and teenagers, is a legitimate act according to [Islamic] religious law, and an Islamic commandment.”

 

They could have answered the question that has gone conspicuously unanswered by Muslim organizations since September 11: If Osama and his ilk are so clearly misusing the concept of jihad and committing acts that are plainly contrary to Islam, why are all these terrorist groups able to win so many adherents among Muslims? Why is Islamic terrorism not the province of a few disenfranchised and desperate fanatics, but a worldwide phenomenon, everywhere capable of commanding the loyalty of its adherents even unto a bloody and violent death?

 

A breezy dismissal of the Islamic bona fides of suicide bombers, terrorists, and terrorist sympathizers is inadequate and, given that the threat to the civilized world has not abated in the least since September 11, cravenly misleading.

 

This glaring omission is compounded by the fact that the production deals explicitly with Muhammad’s notorious massacre of the Jewish Bani Qurayzah tribe — an exercise of seventh-century warrior brutality of the kind that Muslim terrorists today invoke to justify their actions. But we would never know that from PBS. In the documentary, the well-known American convert to Islam Hamza Yusuf, clearly uncomfortable with the subject, notes that “uh, approximately 700 men, uh, were killed. Uh, they were executed. So, this definitely occurred.” But to his rescue rushes Karen Armstrong, author of Islam: A Short History and indefatigable apologist for all things Islamic: “All that can be said is that this cannot be seen as anti-Semitism, per se. Muhammad had nothing against the Jewish people per se, or the Jewish religion.”

 

Adds another expert: “On the Jewish side, they have used that [massacre] as a way of saying, well, you see, the Muslims hate the Jews and they kill them.”

 

Ah. Muslim anti-Semitism is all a misrepresentation by the Jews. Surely it could have nothing to do with Koran verses such as the one that declares that the “People of the Book” (i.e., Jews and Christians) “incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath” so that “some He transformed into apes and swine” (Sura 5:60). [Editor’s note: See David Klinghoffer.]

 

Muslim apologists such as Armstrong and the others involved in this documentary might charge me with taking this verse “out of context.” Let them then explain why radical Muslims today so often refer to Jews as “sons of pigs and monkeys,” as USA Today reporter Jack Kelley found Muslim schoolchildren doing in the West Bank. Let them elucidate why Muslim clerics in Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere routinely note, in the words of Sheikh Ibrahim Madhi of the Palestinian Authority, that Jews are “the enemies of Allah, the nation accursed in Allah’s book. Allah described [them] as apes and pigs.”

 

What would Karen Armstrong, or the “mild” Mohamed Zakariya, say to Ibrahim Mahdi or any of the other clerics who claim that Muhammad indeed had a great deal against the Jewish people and the Jewish religion? Armstrong also notes that “the Qur’an continues to tell Muslims to honor the People of the Book.” What would she say to the Saudi Sheikh Marzouq Salem Al-Ghamdi, who recently preached in a Friday sermon at a mosque in Mecca that “the Jews and Christians are infidels, enemies of Allah, his Messenger, and the believers. They deny and curse Allah and his Messenger… How can we draw near to these infidels?”

 

Sure, he’s just a fanatical Wahhabi. But why do so many Muslims of all sects echo his words around the world? No answer is forthcoming from PBS.

 

For many, if not most, of its adherents, Islam may indeed be, as Mohamed Zakariya calls it, “a soft thing . . . not a hard thing.” But for so many Muslims their religion is so clearly a “hard thing” that PBS could have performed a great service by explaining this dichotomy and elucidating the conflict within the Islamic world between the “soft” Muslims and the “hard” ones. Instead, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet is nothing more than misleading propaganda. It’s an abject failure as a source for the whole truth about Islam and a clarification of the bewildering features of the contemporary scene.

 

It would be wonderful if PBS’s attractively packaged, sanitized version of Islam were the only Islam. But I’m not sure that Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi or Marzouq Salem Al-Ghamdi would even recognize it as their religion.

 

— Robert Spencer is an adjunct fellow with the Free Congress Foundation and the author of Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith.

 

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Islam studies required in California district (WorldNetDaily, 021219)

 

Course has 7th-graders memorizing Koran verses, praying to Allah

 

In the wake of Sept. 11, an increasing number of California public school students must attend an intensive three-week course on Islam, reports ASSIST News Service.

 

The course mandates that seventh-graders learn the tenets of Islam, study the important figures of the faith, wear a robe, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own jihad. Adding to this apparent hypocrisy, reports ANS, students must memorize many verses in the Koran, are taught to pray “in the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful” and are instructed to chant, “Praise to Allah, Lord of Creation.”

 

“We could never teach Christianity like this,” one outraged parent told ANS.

 

Elizabeth Christina Lemings, a teacher in the Byron, Calif., Union School District , was unaware of the course until her seventh-grade son brought home the handouts. Obtained by ANS, the handouts include a history of Islam and the life of Mohammad, its founder. There are 25 Islamic terms that must be memorized, six Islamic (Arabic) phrases, 20 Islamic proverbs to learn along with the Five Pillars of Faith and 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples to be studied.

 

“We can’t even mention the name of Jesus in the public schools,” Lemings laments, “but ... they teach Islam as the true religion, and students are taught about Islam and how to pray to Allah. Can you imagine the barrage of lawsuits and problems we would have from the ACLU if Christianity were taught in the public schools, and if we tried to teach about the contributions of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Apostle Paul? But when it comes to furthering the Islamic religion in the public schools, there is not one word from the ACLU, People for the American Way or anybody else. This is hypocrisy.”

 

ANS reports that students are to pretend that they are Muslims, wear Muslim clothing to school, stage their own jihad via a dice game and pick out a Muslim name (to replace their own) from a list of 30.

 

When asked what they thought about the course, students described it as “fun,” while others described Islam as “a pretty culture.” Joseph Lemings, 12, told ANS, “the jihad was like playing a video game.”

 

The “fun” description disturbs Elizabeth Lemings, who sees the course as a tool, not only to engender sympathy and support for the Muslim cause, but for recruitment.

 

“This is not just a class of history of examining culture,” she said. “This course is entirely too specific. It is more about indoctrination.”

 

Nancy Castro, principal of Intermediate-Excelsior School of Byron, told ANS that the Islam course (included within “History of Culture”) reflects California educational standards. Castro maintains the course “is not religion, but ancient culture and history. We do not endorse any religion; we just make students aware.” Castro further emphasized the course textbook is in use throughout California.

 

The textbook used for the Islamic course, “Across The Centuries,” is published by Houghton-Mifflin and has been adopted by the California school system. In it, according to ANS, Islam is presented broadly in a completely positive manner, whereas the limited references to Christianity are “shown in a negative light, with events such as the Inquisition, and the Salem witch hunts highlighted in bold, black type.” ANS notes the portrayal of Islam leaves out word of “the wars, massacres, cruelties against Christians and other non-Muslims that Islam has consistently perpetrated over the centuries.”

 

Asked if there was any response from parents about the Islam course, Castro told ANS, “Oh, a couple of parents called to express concerns, three to be exact.”

 

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Islam studies spark hate mail, lawsuits (WorldNetDaily, 021219)

 

Parents: ‘Biased’ state-adopted textbook distorts world history in favor of Muslims

 

Word of public-school students pretending to be Muslims, wearing robes, simulating jihads and memorizing verses from the Koran in a seventh-grade California classroom touched off a firestorm of debate, but WorldNetDaily has learned these classroom exercises are neither isolated to one school district nor are they anything new.

 

Parents of seventh-graders across the state report similar experiences, and one tells WND she battled with her school district over the Islam teachings in 1994.

 

As WorldNetDaily reported last week, an article by Assist News Service described student activities at Excelsior School in Byron, Calif., where “students are to pretend that they are Muslims, wear Muslim clothing to school, stage their own jihad via a dice game and pick out a Muslim name (to replace their own) from a list of 30.”

 

ANS quoted an “outraged” teacher at Excelsior and parent of a seventh-grader: “We can’t even mention the name of Jesus in the public schools, but ... they teach Islam as the true religion, and students are taught about Islam and how to pray to Allah.”

 

The story sparked outrage and prompted a flood of 500 calls, WorldNetDaily was told, to the Byron Union School District the following morning. Principal Nancie Castro also reports receiving about 200 hate e-mails. The story quickly became grist for talk shows from 560 KSFO radio to the Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes” program . And in response to the story posted on WorldNetDaily, the international public-interest law firm The American Center for Law and Justice is demanding Excelsior School permit students to opt out of the course, contending it “is a violation of the First Amendment free speech and free exercise rights of students and violates the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children.”

 

In its letter to the Byron Union School District, ACLJ states, “We want to make sure this district knows that it crossed the line. We also want to make sure that other school districts don’t fall into the same trap and require students to attend courses that violate their own religious beliefs.”

 

Dealing with ‘hysteria’

 

The raging controversy has parents blaming schools, schools blaming the state, and one lawsuit blaming the course textbook adopted by the state. Castro also blames the media. In a letter sent to parents, she claims the school has been “victimized by a classic case of misinformation that has led to hysteria among people outside of our community.” Included in the “misinformation” in the ANS report, according to Castro, is that it was not mandatory for students to take names of Arabs of the Middle Ages or to wear Muslim clothing, and they did not wear the robes to school but only during the class “simulation.”

 

As for the simulated jihad Castro explained, “There was a dice game where, depending on the role, they had to do various things like answer a quiz bowl question or read a trivia fact. One roll had them roll for the highest number and called it a jihad.” In a response to a query from Prophezine News, Castro explained, “Dressing up in costume, role-playing and simulation games are all used to stimulate class discussion and are common teaching practices used in other subjects as well.”

 

When asked whether students were to memorize Islamic terms, phrases, proverbs and the Five Pillars of Faith of the Islam religion, as reported by ANS, Castro replied, “There are vocabulary words to be learned as in every unit. They did not have to memorize proverbs or prayers. They learned some phrases such as peace be with you, but nothing religious or praying to Allah.”

 

As for lessons from the Koran, Castro said, “There are some verses in the text that are read, just like there are Bible verses in the text in the section on Christianity.” WorldNetDaily has learned, however, that students were offered extra credit if they memorized verses from the Koran. Sources also report that no Bible verses were learned, and Christianity overall was “barely touched on.”

 

It is this perceived slighting of Christianity and Judaism contrasted with the virtual promotion of Islam in public schools that parents are taking issue with all across the state, from Byron in Northern California south to San Diego. But WND has discovered that the issue is not new.

 

Valerie Moore says her daughter “was indoctrinated in the Islamic religion for over four months while in the seventh grade” in 1994. Moore expressed shock in arriving at Joseph Kerr Junior High School in Elk Grove, Calif., one day and being greeted by a “huge banner on the front grounds of the school that read ‘There is one God, Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.’” Moore also recounts witnessing “children dressed in Muslim attire, chanting from the Koran and praying while marching around the cabala.” Moore recalls the banner being up all day.

 

“What if we put up a sign that says ‘Jesus is Lord’ for 30 minutes? Oh, no. You can’t do that – separation of church and state,” Moore laments. “They aren’t just teaching them about Islam; they have them practicing it. They have them kneeling down and praying to Allah. I have a problem with that. That’s more like inculcation.” Moore says when she complained to the school officials she was ridiculed and yelled at.

 

In her letter to parents, Castro maintained, “At no point do we teach or endorse religion; we teach about religions’ impact from a historical context. ... students learn about Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and other major religions as they apply to the understanding of history and the development of major Western and non-Western civilizations. This is the state-approved curriculum, using state-adopted textbooks and has been part of the instructional program in California for over a decade.”

 

California standards

 

Content standards adopted in 1998 by the California State Board of Education explicitly state the content students need to acquire at each grade level from kindergarten to grade 12. The standards lay out the following for seventh grade World History and Geography:

 

7.2 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of Islam in the Middle Ages.

 

1. Identify the physical features and describe the climate of the Arabian peninsula, its relationship to surrounding bodies of land and water, and nomadic and sedentary ways of life.

 

2. Trace the origins of Islam and the life and teachings of Mohammad, including Islamic teachings on the connection with Judaism and Christianity.

 

3. Explain the significance of the Koran and the Sunnah as the primary sources of Islamic beliefs, practice, and law, and their influence in Muslims’ daily life.

 

4. Discuss the expansion of Muslim rule through military conquests and treaties, emphasizing the cultural blending within Muslim civilization and the spread and acceptance of Islam and the Arabic language.

 

5. Describe the growth of cities and the establishment of trade routes among Asia, Africa, and Europe, the products and inventions that traveled along these routes (e.g., spices, textiles, paper, steel, new crops), and the role of merchants in Arab society.

 

6. Understand the intellectual exchanges among Muslim scholars of Eurasia and Africa and the contributions Muslim scholars made to later civilizations in the areas of science, geography, mathematics, philosophy, medicine, art, and literature.

 

“The state guidelines call for the approach to religion to be academic, not devotional,” stressed Tom Adams, the adminstrator for curriculum framework.

 

“I can’t confirm what went on at Byron but I don’t believe they were following the framework,” he added.

 

The Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources (the framework) , first adopted in 1988 and updated in 2000 incorporate the content standards and serve as the basis for statewide assessment. The framework for history-social science for grade seven provides for an examination of “the rise of Islam as a religion and as a civilization. ... The religious ideas of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, should be discussed both for their ethical teachings and as a way of life. Mohammed should be seen as a major historical figure who helped establish the Islamic way of life, its code of ethics and justice, and its rule of law.”

 

While the framework encourages “simulations, role playing and dramatizations,” Appendix C specifies that “the school may sponsor study about religion, but may not sponsor the practice of religion.”

 

When asked about the scant coverage of Christianity and Judaism versus Islam set forth in the content standards and framework for grade seven, Adams points to the curriculum for sixth-graders. That framework instructs:

 

“6. Note the origins of Christianity in the Jewish-Messianic Prophecies, the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament, and the contribution of St. Paul the Apostle to the definition and spread of Christian beliefs (e.g., belief in the Trinity, resurrection, salvation).”

 

Adams also stresses the state guidelines and standards “are not mandatory,” and the state recognizes the need for local control within school districts. Asked whether Byron would exercise local control and opt out of the Islam studies, Castro replied, “The state tests our students and ranks are performance on this curriculum. If we didn’t teach parts of it, students would not succeed in achieving the standards.”

 

Pitfalls of discretion

 

Parent Valerie Moore believes part of the problem lies in the discretion exercised by the teachers.

 

“The teacher spent four months on Islam and then ran out of time to teach about the Reformation and all that,” she said.

 

Field surveys conducted in 1994 by state educators substantiate Moore’s claim, revealing “gaps in student learning.” Appendix D of the framework states, “For example, in some sixth-grade classrooms students never reached the study of ancient Rome because of the extended time they spent on the study of Mesopotamia and Egypt earlier in the year. Some seventh-graders never studied about Europe during the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution” – lessons which follow the unit on Islam.

 

‘Pro Islamic, anti-Chrisitan textbook’

 

Moore and other parents find the course textbook, “Across the Centuries,” to be skewed.

 

“I started reading my daughter’s textbook and was astonished that nothing in the book resembled the history that I had been taught. It had all been distorted and rewritten,” says Moore, “No longer could the founding of America be traced through Judeo/Christian beginnings. ... The history had been altered to now show that America had been given birth through an Islamic heritage. Everything sprang up through Islam.”

 

The Pacific Justice Institute , a non-profit legal defense organization, has mounted a challenge to the textbook on behalf of a concerned parent from San Luis Obispo. Jen Schroeder noticed her son’s textbook “had a distinct bias toward Islam over Christianity” and proceeded to scour the book, writing a 10-page content analysis of it over the winter break. (See .pdf version of Schroeder’s report.)

 

“I was shocked,” Schroeder told WorldNetDaily.

 

“Across the Centuries,” she says, “instructs our children to ‘imagine you are a Muslim soldier’ and write about it; ‘imagine you are on a Mecca pilgrimage’ and write about it; to research what a mosque looks like and then to build a replica of one. Another assignment is to write why other nations are attracted to Islam. ... I found 20 Islamic beliefs stated as fact.”

 

While presenting a “white-washed version of Islam,” Schroeder asserts the textbook goes out of its way to depict Christianity in a negative light.

 

“In the textbook, there is a large three-column block titled ‘Understanding Religious Persecution,’ which blames Christians exclusively for persecuting others and forcing beliefs, when in fact there have been more Christian martyrs than any other religion.”

 

“The Bible says ‘Take heed that you do not inquire how other nations serve their gods,’” continues Schroeder, “For my son to obey the school, he must disobey what the Bible tells him.”

 

Schroeder tried to opt Eric out of the class but says the principal told her “no” because the state assessments require the knowledge presented in the class.

 

“It seems everyone has rights except the Christians, and I have no choice but to file a lawsuit.”

 

Pacific Justice Institute had scholars comb through both the textbook and the teacher’s version to substantiate Schroeder’s content analysis prior to filing the administrative complaint.

 

“The average parent would be outraged to see this kind of bias and distortion of world history,” said Brad Dacus, the group’s chief counsel.

 

California adopted the textbook in 1991. When asked why ten years have passed without a major challenge, Dacus replied, “Parents overlooked it, thinking Islam is far away. They never saw it as having a threat to their children. [The terror attacks of Sept. 11 have] changed that and [have] created more scrutiny.”

 

When seventh-grader Eric, was asked how he felt about the instruction, he responded, “It hurts my stomach.”

 

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Book publisher: No Muslim bias (WorldNetDaily, 020219)

 

Parents’ lawsuit accuses teachers’ resource of presenting Christianity in negative light

 

Houghton Mifflin Company has released a statement defending its “Across the Centuries” textbook against claims it skews history in favor of Muslims and presents Christians in a negative light.

 

WorldNetDaily was first to report that the claims, made by parents, have spawned a lawsuit against school districts. The Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit legal defense organization, is representing the concerned parents.

 

“Houghton Mifflin has always taken a neutral, fact-based approach to writing all of its educational publications, striving for a fair account of history,” the publisher states in its release.

 

WorldNetDaily reported last month that parents across California have raised objections to what they describe as in depth, promotional Islam studies being presented to seventh-graders in public-school classrooms as part of world history and geography. Students were asked to pretend to be Muslims with adopted Arabic names, offered extra credit for wearing robes and memorizing verses from the Koran, required to read verses from the Koran and learn the five pillars of faith of the Islam religion, and participated in a classroom simulation of a jihad.

 

“We can’t even mention the name of Jesus in the public schools, but ... they teach Islam as the true religion, and students are taught about Islam and how to pray to Allah,” complained Elizabeth Lemmings, a concerned parent and teacher at Excelsior School in Byron, Calif.

 

Excelsior Principal Nancie Castro defended the instruction as “state-approved curriculum, using state-adopted textbooks” that “has been part of the instructional program in California for over a decade.”

 

As WorldNetDaily reported, the course instruction and homework, including mock-Muslim exercises, are recommended in the state-adopted textbook “Across the Centuries.”

 

“I started reading my daughter’s textbook and was astonished that nothing in the book resembled the history that I had been taught. It had all been distorted and rewritten,” parent Valerie Moore of Elk Grove, Calif., said. “No longer could the founding of America be traced through Judeo/Christian beginnings. ... The history had been altered to now show that America had been given birth through an Islamic heritage. Everything sprang up through Islam.”

 

Parent Jen Schroeder from San Luis Obispo is among the plaintiffs in the Pacific Justice Institute’s lawsuit. While presenting a “white-washed version of Islam,” Schroeder asserts the textbook goes out of its way to depict Christianity in a negative light.

 

“In the textbook, there is a large three-column block titled ‘Understanding Religious Persecution,’ which blames Christians exclusively for persecuting others and forcing beliefs, when in fact there have been more Christian martyrs than any other religion,” says Schroeder.

 

Last week, Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes echoed Schroeder’s complaints in his New York Post column. Pipes attacked the 558-page history textbook as an example of “the privileging of Islam in the United States.”

 

Pipes takes issue with the “covert propagation of Islam” in the textbook: “Everything Islamic is praised; every problem is swept under the rug. Students learn about Islam’s ‘great cultural flowering,’ but nothing about the later centuries of statis and decline.”

 

Pipes also complains the textbook promotes Islamic doctrines as objective fact and presents a distorted image of Muslims: “Jihad, which means ‘sacred war,’ turns into a struggle mainly ‘to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.’”

 

“Learning about Islam is a wonderful thing,” Pipes writes, “but students, especially in public schools, should approach Islam in a critical fashion – learning the bad as well as the good, the archaic as well as the modern.”

 

In the company release, Collin Earnst, director of media relations for Houghton Mifflin responded to Pipes’ attacks, calling them “based on misinformation” and arguing, “Most of the accusations ... made in Mr. Pipes’ editorial about omissions or interpretations of the text ... are based on his own bias and his choice to cite passages out-of-context.”

 

Earnst explains that a “multi-cultural and multi-faith panel of scholars reviewed and approved ‘Across the Centuries’ before publication” and that the text is part of a two-book series developed for the state of California that covers specific topics mandated and outlined by the state board of education. As per California state standards, “the dawn of the major Western and non-Western ancient civilizations, including the origins of Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity” are dealt with in the text used in grade six.

 

But one award-winning seventh-grade history teacher from the San Francisco Bay Area, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, told National Review Online, that the role of Christianity in world civilization is studied primarily in grades seven and 10 in California public schools and that “at no point in either grade is the role of Christianity as cogently, thoroughly or engagingly described in the state history texts as Islam.”

 

Earnst further defends the textbook by explaining, “As directed by the state of California, these books were to be written with ‘Historical Empathy.’ Thus, the textbooks do not focus on accounts of violence, cruelty or hatred on the part of any religion. In accordance with California state standards, ‘Across the Centuries’ focuses on how the beliefs of certain cultures help shape their motivation and their effect on history.”

 

“The text does in fact mention instances of Muslim religious intolerance (chapter 4, page 81), just as it cites early missionary work and imperialism, as well as the Crusades and intolerance by the Christians,” Earnst points out.

 

According to Earnst, the meaning of the word “jihad” was “clarified” based on the recommendation of the multi-cultural and multi-faith panel of scholars (including Judaic and Christian scholars).

 

“Often misunderstood, this word means ‘to struggle or to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.’ ... Many Americans have come to see the word ‘jihad’ as some Islamic fundamentalists use it, as a right or a mission to kill and destroy. However, the vast majority of Muslims do not share this view, and assert that a ‘jihad’ is not necessarily an act of violence,” said Earnst.

 

National Review Online reports the Bay Area social-studies teacher credits activism on the part of California Muslims for the way Islam is presented in the textbook: “The local Muslim community makes it a point to attend social-studies teachers’ conventions to share teaching aids, and they also offer free guest speakers for the classroom.”

 

Schroeder disputes Houghton Mifflin’s defense of its textbook and remains steadfast in her view of the book: “‘Across the Centuries’ is a shameless example of how far a textbook company will go to pervert the truth and display it in a manner [that] would appeal and draw children into a violent religion. Under the banner of ‘tolerance’ they have completely rewritten a religion.”

 

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Author puts herself on front lines against Islam (Washington Times, 021219)

 

NEW YORK — Oriana Fallaci, her once-famous face framed by clouds of smoke curling from a black cigarette, is sitting in her antique-filled Manhattan hide-out, talking about threats against her life.

 

Mostly they come by phone, she says — flat, Arabic-accented voices whispering, “You hide yourself in your house, but we will find you all the same.”

 

At 72, the celebrated Italian author and journalist — known for her explosive interviews with world leaders in the 1960s and ‘70s — has broken her silence and, in the interest of fighting back, she says, granted a rare interview.

 

It is also true that Miss Fallaci has a book to recommend, and that work, “The Rage and the Pride,” published in Italy a year ago, has given her a second life. It has made her the new Salman Rushdie, a female counterpart to the British author who satirized Islam in “The Satanic Verses” and then went into hiding after Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa — or death order — against him.

 

No fatwa has been declared for Miss Fallaci, but she is determined to endure the backlash against her stone-hard conviction: that Islam is a blight on the world, a serious threat to a superior Western culture, which does not realize the danger to its existence.

 

“Troy will burn, Troy will burn,” shouts Miss Fallaci from her perch on a beige silk chair, shapely legs and high heels folded beneath her. She is the Cassandra of Homer’s Iliad, warning that, like Troy, the West is doomed.

 

“They say, ‘There goes that crazy woman again.’” But Troy will burn because they have no passion, and they conduct this war with fear. If you go on being deaf and blind, you will be dead.”

 

Gesturing to rows of books covering the walls and carpets, she says: “These books, I don’t want them burned. I am worried for these books.”

 

“La Fallaci,” as she is sometimes referred to in Europe, has a commanding presence. Her slim, petite figure in a black jersey and gray skirt rarely sits still. All opinions must be acted out in a dramatic pantomime, often while standing.

 

The expressive blue eyes, widened by black eyeliner, recall the stunning looks of her youth. The flowing, dark hair has been replaced with a chignon fastened by a Spanish comb. Large pearl rings and red nail polish flash as she makes a point.

 

“The Italian police called the FBI and told them to keep an eye on me, but I know how to defend myself. I shoot very well,” she says.

 

“And when the phone calls come, I tell them their mothers, sisters and daughters are all together working in a brothel in Beirut. Strangely enough, they say, ‘OK’ and hang up,” in shock, she suspects.

 

The Fallaci furor started when she emerged from her seclusion the day the terrorists slammed into the World Trade Center. She wrote a scathing letter to her fellow Italians, exhorting them to wake up to the dangers of Islam. The letter appeared on the front page of the newspaper Corriere della Sera, her longtime employer.

 

This bombshell eventually led to the book that in Italy alone, home to about 1 million Muslims, has sold more than 1 million copies.

 

But even as the general public embraced Miss Fallaci’s anti-Muslim opinions, the intellectual left pilloried her as a Zionist agent. In France and Switzerland, activist groups went to court in unsuccessful attempts to confiscate it.

 

“Racist, racist! They have become the new masters of the earth, these sons of Allah,” she said in a talk to the American Enterprise Institute in October. Islam cannot be touched, she said, alluding to the political correctness — a kind of intellectual terrorism, she says — that she believes precludes any criticism of Islam and protects its followers. “They multiply like protozoa to infinity,” she said of Muslims.

 

Her vitriol against the Arab world boiled over into a manifesto against anti-Semitism, which she wrote in spring. Yet even in some Jewish quarters, endorsement has been cautious. Many Jews remember her hearty support for the Palestinian cause in past years. Her strident tone makes some nervous.

 

“We welcome her turnaround,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “Her comments on the Islamic world are in essence true, but the shrill way she expresses herself makes us uncomfortable.”

 

Miss Fallaci was a vocal liberal, if not a leftist, for much of her journalistic career. Her reports from Vietnam drew fire from all directions.

 

Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large for The Washington Times, remembers her from his days covering Southeast Asia.

 

“She’s a liberal icon who is now transmogrified into a not-too-convincing conservative,” he said. “The point is we’re at war with radical Islam, but she cannot distinguish between mainstream and radical Islam.”

 

Like many European countries inundated with immigrants from Africa and the Middle East in the past 30 years, Italy faces a critical issue, namely assimilation of Muslims into Europe, which Miss Fallaci believes will never happen.

 

“In the end, every Muslim, with few exceptions, is a fundamentalist because the Koran is what it is,” she roars, pausing only to sip a glass of champagne.

 

Small wonder that when she visited her native Florence in November to face down a demonstration, which she succeeded in blocking, of antiglobalists who despise her, the Italian antiterrorist police watched her every move.

 

Whether traveling by plane or car, she takes no direct routes. While in New York, she says, detectives from the local precinct with Italian-American names watch out for her informally. But she rarely goes out anyway because of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-smoking laws, which she says leave no place — restaurant, movie theater or bar — that she can light up. A privileged few, usually longtime friends, come to her home.

 

“She’s one of those fearless people who go out on a limb and then cut it off. But even those who don’t agree with her accept the fact that she’s courageous,” said Pia Lindstrum, daughter of the late movie star Ingrid Bergman, a friend from early in Miss Fallaci’s career, when she wrote about films.

 

Miss Fallaci is well-prepared for this latest battle. As a child, she fought in the underground against the Nazis — handy training for someone who would follow war and revolution and along the way produce several books and hundreds of articles.

 

Ten years ago the silence descended, and with it a duel with breast cancer, an invader she calls “the alien.” Then came September 11, 2001.

 

Those who make the threatening phone calls have miscalculated. Miss Fallaci is back, loud and clear.

 

“I cannot be intimidated,” she says, her raucous voice inviting the enemy in. “Each time they try to scare me, I will write something more ferocious. I will double the dose of my rage and my pride and write more and more against them, for the rest of my life.”

 

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Wake Up! Islam Is About More Than Hate Crimes (Free Congress Foundation, 030129)

 

By Paul M. Weyrich

 

When the FBI released its statistics on hate crimes for 2001 late last year, the news media focused on the rise of hate crimes against Muslims living in America.

 

Well, let’s be clear about this. There is no excuse for vigilantism by any American citizen.

 

But there is no excuse for the reporting of so-called “hate crimes” separate and apart from a crime either.

 

In short, crime is crime. It is wrong regardless of whom the violence has been committed against. It should be punished under the existing laws that apply to each and every person.

 

But the use of added penalties for hate crimes takes away the meaning of “equal protection under the law,” something guaranteed Americans by the Fourteenth Amendment. This time-honored principle of American jurisprudence is being turned on its head by the “hate crimes” movement. That is not right, and it is just downright un-American.

 

But what I find particularly galling is how the news editors at many newspapers and TV stations are quick to pounce upon “hate crimes” against Muslims living in the United States. At the same time, these news executives give short-shrift to just what are the very roots of Islam and why its most fervent believers who, reading the Qur’an quite literally, have targeted Christians, Jews and anyone else deemed a non-believer in Islam, as enemies to be subdued.

 

The news media and the political establishment that predominates in Washington are simply very resistant to acknowledging the truth about Islam. The fact is that while there are many Muslims who may lead peaceful lives — for now — a literal reading of the Qur’an and other key Islamic texts leaves no doubt that violence is to be inflicted upon those who do not believe.

 

There are many Muslims who take what the Qur’an says quite seriously and literally. They mean us harm. And as the results of September 11th showed and, many incidents before and certainly after have also demonstrated, these Muslims are absolutely intent on destroying the West, caring nothing about who gets killed or what gets destroyed.

 

During the months following September 11, the powerful, well-funded Islamic lobby in the United States has stepped up its own PR campaign. Its purpose is to present an image of Islam that is diametrically at odds with the reality of its origins, theology, and the views held by many of its present day followers, including many of the clerics who command the utmost respect in the Islamic world. That false view holds that Islam is a peaceful religion.

 

This lobby maintains that the very name “Islam” means peace even though its true meaning is submission, indicating “peace” after a struggle. There is a separate word for ‘peace’ in Islam. Scholars of Islam can repeat troublesome Sura after Sura [scripture from the Qur’an] in which they make clear in startling terms that Islam is to be unmerciful to unbelievers, but peaceful and tolerant to those who believe.

 

Now, Islamic groups are attempting to stuff American libraries with books presenting an essentially false view of Islam, and some local libraries very willingly put on their shelves the books from the ‘CAIR packages’ sent by the Council on American Islamic Relations. It is incumbent upon those Americans who want the truth about Islam to demand that their libraries have on hand the publications that tell the other side.

 

Islamists truly despise multiculturalists, but, perversely, find them to be a great Fifth Column in our country, helping to pave the way for acceptance of those who truly are our enemy. Just think of the recent reports about our weak immigration laws and some of the very, very suspicious people from foreign lands who have been able to enter our country.

 

It’s time those of us who are Christian and Jews start to challenge head on groups like CAIR that present this false, sugarcoated view of Islam. It’s time we try to shake up the implicit alliance between the Islamic lobby in America and the news media.

 

For instance, anytime a CAIR representative makes an appearance on a TV news program or is quoted by a newspaper, Americans who want the truth told about Islam should call the producer of that network or the editor of that newspaper to make clear just what CAIR is about.

 

More than hate crimes are being committed against Americans. September 11th was more than the biggest hate crime of the year. It was an act of war because Islam is at war with the West. The sooner that all Americans learn to accept that bitter, hard truth, then the better off we will be as a nation.

 

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Classroom Jihad: What our children’s textbooks say about Islam (030207)

 

We’re losing the war on terrorism in America’s classrooms. That’s the sobering conclusion of the American Textbook Council, which Friday releases a report on how our schools’ most popular world-history books fail to grapple honestly with the problem of militant Islamism.

 

“History textbooks accommodate Islam on terms that Islamists demand,” writes Gilbert T. Sewell in his 35-page analysis. “On controversial subjects, world history textbooks make an effort to circumvent unsavory facts that might cast Islam past or present in anything but a positive light. Islamic achievements are reported with robust enthusiasm. When any dark side surfaces, textbooks run and hide.”

 

Textbook content is especially important because the Muslim world is so alien to many Americans. “Few teachers have at their disposal anything more than a faint knowledge of Islam,” writes Sewell. “But state mandates expect or require them to teach something about Islam.” Teachers need books they can trust; unfortunately, many of their textbooks are not trustworthy on the subject of Islam.

 

Take the concept of jihad, which Bernard Lewis, our most gifted interpreter of Arab culture, defines this way: “The object of jihad is to bring the whole world under Islamic law.” Throughout history, of course, many Muslims have sought to achieve this goal with swords, guns, and bombs. Students reading Across the Centuries, a seventh-grade textbook published by Houghton Mifflin, however, receive a sanitized version of this reality. Jihad, according to this book, is merely a struggle “to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.” There’s an element of truth in this definition, insofar as militant Islamists think anybody or anything not subscribing to their strict theology is “evil.” But the book gives students no way of appreciating this larger context. To them, jihad must seem like a useful tool to suppress their urges to pass notes in class, run in the hallways, and stick chewing gum under their desks.

 

One popular textbook, Prentice Hall’s Connections to Today, also whitewashes jihad: “Some Muslims took on jihad, or effort in God’s service, as another duty. Jihad has often been mistakenly translated simply as ‘holy war.’ In fact, it may include acts of charity or an inner struggle to achieve spiritual peace, as well as any battle in defense of Islam.” This is basically a dodge, and lays the onus for mistaken translations upon the presumed cultural insensitivities of Westerners — without acknowledging that the West, for perfectly understandable reasons, sometimes has difficulty understanding how the religion of peace distinguishes between “holy wars” and “any battle in defense of Islam.” Another favored textbook, Houghton Mifflin’s Patterns of Interaction, sidesteps this uncomfortable subject altogether; it doesn’t even mention the word jihad. Like Connections to Today, it was recently approved for use in Texas, whose statewide textbook-adoption policies influence the textbook market all over the country and drive much of its content.

 

The ATC’s report discusses similar problems with other concepts. The slave trade is an especially touchy subject for the modern multiculturalist, because it requires taking one of the great sins of the West and minimizing its role elsewhere. Patterns of Interaction, for instance, claims that the Muslim world exported fewer than 5 million slaves from Africa between 650 and 1600. This is much smaller than historian Raymond Mauvy’s estimate that 14 million blacks slaves have been sold to Muslims since the 7th century. (For comparison’s sake, 10 to 11 million Africans were shipped in chains to the New World between 1650 and 1900; the vast majority traveled to Latin America and the Caribbean, and only about half a million went to British North America and the United States.)

 

The status of women is also a tricky topic for multiculturalists, because nowhere are women more oppressed than in the societies they want to celebrate. Connections to Today engages is what can only be called a lie: “Conditions for women vary greatly from country to country in the modern Middle East. Since the 1950s, women in most countries have won voting rights.” That’s right: the freedom to vote for Saddam Hussein as president. Textbooks are dotted with references to obscure proto-feminists, who are held up as the fruits of Islamic culture. “Textbook editors’ relentless search to find such historical figures deforms and cheapens world history,” writes Sewell.

 

A chief culprit in all this is the Council on Islamic Education, a group that consults with publishing companies on how textbooks portray Islam. Anything that strays from the Islamist line is denounced as xenophobic, ethnocentric, and racist — labels which, if broadcast widely, are sure to depress book sales.

 

The ATC study concludes with positive suggestions on how to teach about Islam in ways that “take Muslims’ justified sensitivities into account, without capitulating to them and rewriting the historical record in a misguided attempt to compensate for past inaccuracies.”

 

It’s a dose of commonsense that won’t be found in many of the books our children are reading.

 

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Islam and the Textbooks (American Textbook Council, 0302)

 

Islam and the Textbooks surveys content in seven widely adopted world history textbooks used across the country in grades seven through twelve. It reviews coverage of jihad, sharia, slavery, status of women, and terrorism, comparing lesson content to prominent histories and recognized sources. It focuses on the high school textbooks adopted in Texas in 2002.

 

This review faults world history textbooks on one of the most complicated and important subjects teachers face in classrooms today. What may seem on the surface to be a minor curriculum controversy has far-reaching implications for civic education and the promotion of American constitutional values. Its main conclusions include: (1) world history textbooks hold Islam and other non-Western civilizations to different standards than those that apply to the West, (2) domestic educational activists, Muslim and non-Muslim, insist at once on harsh perspectives for the West while gilding the record of non-Western civilizations, (3) Islamic pressure groups and their allies seek to suppress critical analysis of Islam inside and outside classrooms, and distorted textbook content is one symptom of this phenomenon, and (4) publishers respond to pressure groups on account of political expediency and sales. As a result, they are giving American children and their teachers a misshapen view of the past and a false view of the future.

 

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Textbooks said to ‘hide’ problems with Islam (Washington Times, 030207)

 

By Larry Witham

 

World history textbooks in U.S. classrooms sanitize the problems of Islam when compared to how they often treat Western civilization, a review of seven widely used texts reported yesterday.

 

The study, released by the American Textbook Council, said a rosy treatment of Islam may arise from the lobbying of the Council on Islamic Education on national publishers.

 

“When any dark side [of Islam] surfaces, textbooks run and hide,” said the report, “Islam and the Textbooks,” by Gilbert Sewall, a former professor who directs the council.

 

“Subjects such as jihad and the advocacy of violence among militant Islamists to attain worldly ends, the imposition of [Shariah] law, the record of Muslim enslavement, and the brutal subjection of women are glossed over,” the 35-page study says.

 

This contrasts, the report suggested, with the candor in textbooks over such events of Western history as the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, imperialism, Christian fundamentalism and women’s suffrage.

 

Without solid facts about Islam, the study said, “instructors fall back on themes of tolerance and apology [and] skirt the reality of international affairs and threats to world peace.”

 

Many topics in history textbooks are reduced to a few paragraphs and require elaboration by teachers or supplementary materials. But Islam is so exotic that a few textbook sentences can have an inordinate impact, Mr. Sewall said in an interview.

 

“Few teachers are comfortable with the subject,” he said. “They are generally ignorant of Islam, so they depend on the textbooks for guidance.”

 

The textbook council, formed in 1988 in New York as an independent group researching social studies and history texts, advocates factual knowledge and appreciation of Western values.

 

It began a review of world history textbooks in 2001, but issued this “preliminary report” on Islam’s treatment because of its importance for students in an age of terrorism and new global tensions.

 

Shabbir Mansuri, founding director of the Council on Islamic Education, yesterday was sent a portion of the report. Other than describing the textbook council as “a conservative group,” he had no comment.

 

The Council on Islamic Education, formed in Orange County, Calif., in 1989, has sent publishers guidelines and definitions for words for the textbook treatments and protests if texts offend Muslim sensibilities, the new report said.

 

“For more than a decade, history-textbook editors have done the Council’s bidding, and as a result, history textbooks accommodate Islam on terms that Islamists demand,” the report said.

 

It noted that the Council on Islamic Education, which influences California public schools with materials and classroom speakers, is not listed as a nonprofit group and is funded by private donors. “My efforts to find out where the money comes from have met a stone wall,” Mr. Gilbert said.

 

Textbook publishers said yesterday that consulting with the public and with interest groups is routine.

 

“There’s no secret to that,” said Richard Blake, spokesman for Holt, Rinehart and Winston, which publishes the high school text “Continuity and Change,” which is reviewed in the new report. “Where publishers get in trouble is when the public thinks they are not fair or accurate.”

 

Collin Earnst, spokesman for Houghton Mifflin in Boston, agreed with other publishers that consulting is essential, but then a publisher makes independent decisions with its own scholarly editorial board.

 

“We have mentioned those topics about Islam in our book,” Mr. Earnst said of Houghton Mifflin’s “Across the Centuries,” which is used for the seventh grade in California and elsewhere. “It’s not as if there’s a rosy-colored view of Islam.”

 

He said a text for that age group must be simplified. Texts that cover Judaism and Christianity are used in the sixth grade. “None of these books are designed to delve into the dark side of any of these topics,” he said.

 

He rejected an assertion in the report that, although conservative Christian protests about textbook content are not heeded, Islamic protests are heeded to the point of censoring publishers.

 

“Neither of the groups are censors,” Mr. Earnst said. “They obviously want the textbook written the way that they like. It’s common to have groups review things. Then we walk a careful line.”

 

Mr. Gilbert said the main concern of his report are the high school texts, some of which avoid Islam’s poor record on violence, treatment of women, slavery and intolerance toward other religions.

 

Since about 1987, teachers and historians have agreed that world history was worth more attention for students, a goal that the American Textbook Council has applauded.

 

“This expansion of studying non-Western history is praiseworthy,” Mr. Gilbert said. But since it began, many of the cultural interest groups, particularly Muslims and blacks, have pressured publishers to sanitize the history of their native lands.

 

“I hope the publishers will take a second look at this,” Mr. Gilbert said.

 

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Jailhouse Blues: The New Islam Remains The Same Old Islam (Free Congress Foundation, 030212)

 

By Paul M. Weyrich

 

Monday’s USA TODAY said on the front page that friends of record producer Phil Spector had believed that he no longer had a violent streak. He had “shed” it. Well, unless there is a stunning discovery and someone else ends up taking the rap for the killing of actress Lana Clarkson, the truth must be confronted by those friends that Spector’s violent streak was not shed at all, just submerged.

 

The same can be said about Islam. Give credit to the Council on American Islamic Relations, the American Muslim Council and other members of the American Muslim disinformation lobby for using generous donations from foreign lands to package a sanitized version of Islam as peaceful and tolerant. But their fantasy Islam collides with the truth about life inside those countries where the religion is dominant. Unfortunately, too many Americans are willing to believe that Islam is a gentle lamb of a religion, rather than the lion with blood on its claws, ready to pounce once more on unsuspecting innocents — and that it is being prodded to do so by its most devout believers.

 

This does not mean that all Muslims are that way. But all it takes is a small minority who take its scriptures (which Muslims consider to be words dictated by Allah himself) literally to destroy the peace of the nation and the world at large. That became clear in a story reported last week that should arouse concern over who is ministering to the prisoners in our country.

 

Last week in The Wall Street Journal, a Muslim prison chaplain named Warith Deen Umar claimed that our country’s alleged oppression of Muslims would bring further attacks along the lines of 9/11.

 

Umar wrote in an unpublished memoir, “Even Muslims who say they are against terrorism secretly admire and applaud” the 9/11 hijackers for their wanton destruction of the World Trade Towers and the taking of innocent life. After all, Umar insists, the Qur’an does not forbid terrorism against so-called oppressors of Muslims, even if it means innocent people die too.

 

Not all Muslims are in line with such radical thinking. But all this proves what Free Congress Foundation Adjunct Scholar Robert Spencer has long said about Islam: as long as the violent passages of the Qur’an are interpreted literally, then there will be Muslims who believe and act accordingly.

 

The worrisome thing is that Umar had been a figure of some influence in New York state prisons until the Journal’s revelations. Now, all of a sudden, Umar is no longer welcomed by the prison authorities. Umar had been ministering to prisoners during the last few years as a volunteer, but he had spent 25 years as the ranking Muslim cleric for the New York state prison system before retiring in 2000. He also worked as a part-time chaplain for a Federal prison in New York state only to be fired last week when officials discovered just what he had been telling prisoners about 9/11.

 

Evidencing the popular misconceptions about Islam, the chief spokesman for New York State’s prison system, James B. Flateau, insisted to the Journal that Umar had been distorting the teachings of the Qur’an. I don’t know where Flateau got his imam’s license, but I hope that Flateau’s boss, Prison Commissioner Glenn S. Goord, is more accurate in his assertion that Umar had not been telling prisoners to interpret the Qur’an literally when he was on the state’s payroll.

 

Muslims make up at least 10% of the populations of prisons in America. That’s the lowball estimate. Some put the percentage as high as 17%. In New York State alone, there are 13,000 Muslim prisoners. I’d like to think that even hardened cons would be appalled at Umar’s claims. But I know that not all will — as was made clear in the Journal article in which it also described what happened during the immediate aftermath of 9/11 at Cape Vincent, a medium security prison in upstate New York. One of Umar’s disciples, a chaplain named Sufwan El Hadi, told the inmates that America had gotten what it deserved. Some prisoners were agitated by these outrageous comments. Others went up to El Hadi after he spoke and congratulated him. Later, Imam El Hadi, after being fired from his job, protested the interpretation of what he said, claiming he was not justifying the attacks or the taking of innocent life.

 

The official reaction? Goord said that “Umar did a great job” and Flateau had stated a disinclination to investigate the other chaplains that Umar appointed, having been quoted in an Associated Press article that it would be a “dangerous philosophy” to assume they shared his views.

 

What has been going on in New York state’s prisons is an outrage. It begs the question: What’s going on in your state’s prisons? Do the officials really know who is doing the ministering and just what they are telling the inmates? Are the state legislators who oversee your state’s prisons on top of this?

 

But there’s also a lesson for those who insist, despite all available evidence to the contrary, on seeing the work of 9/11 as just that of a few terrorists. They fail to recognize that Islam has been waging war against the West well before 9/11 and that it will continue to do so until we submit to their rule. I pray that day will never come, and it has not so far. Just like Communism failed, I think Islam will too in its latest attempt to subdue the West. But it should also be clear, given what is being said in our own nation’s prisons, that much damage could be done before we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

 

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CAIR: Nothing But Not The Truth (Free Congress Foundation, 030217)

 

By Robert Spencer

 

The Council on American Islamic Relations launches a year-long national advertising campaign with an advertisement that was scheduled to be run on Sunday, February 16 in The New York Times. The organization is staging this campaign to present a positive portrayal of Islam.

 

People who read these advertisements throughout the coming year should be aware of what CAIR’s own record has been in presenting an accurate, factual presentation of Islam.

 

CAIR presents Islam as a peaceful and tolerant religion, closely akin to Judaism and Christianity. From CAIR’s sources about Islam, one would get no idea that aspects of the religion are being used all over the world and right here in the United States today to teach Muslims intolerance and hatred of Jews, Christians, and all non-Muslims, as well as to justify violence. And this radicalism is based on a literal reading of the Qur’an as words dictated by Allah himself.

 

Instead of working constructively to counter such interpretations of the Qur’an, CAIR simply ignores them and tars as ‘racists’ and ‘bigots’ all who dare to point out how the Muslim holy book is being used in the Islamic world. CAIR seldom misses an opportunity to sling these charges: when al-Qaeda threatened violence during the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, CAIR’s Nihad Awad complained about the linking of the Hajj to terrorism - not by al-Qaeda, but by Attorney General John Ashcroft! Consequently, CAIR cannot pretend that its presentation of Islam is accurate and balanced.

 

Critics of the Islamic religion for its hostility toward unbelievers, particularly Christians and Jews, have repeatedly made clear that telling the whole truth about the religion is not to say that all Muslims are violent or even want to harm unbelievers. But it is especially important nowadays for Americans to realize that radical Muslims are using the Qur’an and the tenets of Islam to recruit and motivate terrorists. Nor are these just a few isolated nutcases: Muslim radicals have perpetrated violence against non-Muslims in Jerusalem, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Sudan, the Philippines, Bali, Egypt, and elsewhere. The United States has not been exempt from such attacks either. The WTC and Pentagon attacks of September 11 were not the beginning. The World Trade Towers were first bombed by Muslim radicals in 1993. (Siraj Wahaj, a member of CAIR’s advisory board, is someone whom Islamic scholar Daniel Pipes calls ‘a potential unindicted co-conspirator in the World Trade Center bombing of 1993.’) A later attack on the Lincoln Tunnel was foiled by FBI members who weren’t afraid to monitor what was going in a New York mosque.

 

CAIR’s rhetoric about Islam is not just open to debate, it is open to strong and clear refutation. CAIR itself has a history of questionable ties to supporters of terrorism. Before people accept the advertising claims made by CAIR about Islam, they should consider this organization’s history and lack of credibility.

 

Robert Spencer is Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation. He is the author of Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Facts About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter Books) as well as the Free Congress Foundation monographs An Introduction to the Qur’an, Women and Islam, An Islamic Primer, and Islam and the West: A Brief Overview. His latest Free Congress Foundation monograph, The Islamic Disinformation Lobby: American Muslim Groups’ Politically Motivated Distortions of Islam, will be issued later this month.

 

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The jihad against the textbooks (Washington Times, 030220)

 

One man’s jihad can be another man’s mission of distortion. The Islamist terrorists who attacked America on September 11 cited their murderous rampage as a “jihad.” The suicide bombers who set out to terrorize Israeli schools, restaurants and malls call their mission their “jihad.” But American school kids might never know anything about that.

 

A lot has gone missing in our textbooks. “Patterns of History,” for example, published by Houghton Mifflin and adopted as a world history textbook in high-school classes in Texas and other states, never even mentions the word. A seventh-grade world history book by Houghton Mifflin, titled “Across the Centuries,” defines “jihad” merely as a struggle for a Muslim “to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.” There’s no mention of the fact that millions of Muslims — not all, but many millions — are taught to regard everything not under Muslim rule or control as “evil.”

 

“Islam and the Textbooks,” a 35-page report compiled by the American Textbook Council in New York, analyzes seven history textbooks widely used between the seventh and 12th grades and finds that millions of American schoolchildren are being cheated of accurate history. Politically correct advocacy groups have thoroughly intimidated teachers, administrators and school boards — and in a way that the most fundamentalist of Christians or the most orthodox of Jews never could.

 

Textbooks are big money. Publishers cower at the prospect of offending anyone with a megaphone, and the advocacy groups are skilled at manipulating the timid and the cowardly with easy accusations of “bigot” and “racist.” Uninformed and uncritical teachers pass on their own ignorance with appeals to mushy sentiment disguised as tolerance. Parents who think textbooks are written by fair but tough-minded scholars are unaware of how political process, not scholarship, produces their children’s textbooks. There is neither understanding nor recognition of the abuse of Islam by radical Muslims and how they use this distortion to make war on America — and indeed on the millions of peaceful Muslims who do not share their distorted theology.

 

On significant Islam-related subjects, textbooks omit, flatter, embellish and resort to happy talk, suspending criticism or harsh judgments that would raise provocative or even alarming questions, says Gilbert Sewall, a former professor who heads the American Textbook Council (www.historytextbooks.org/islam). You wouldn’t even learn how Islamists frequently describe jihad in military terms, using passages from the Koran. Bernard Lewis, the author and scholar, says that “the object of jihad is to bring the whole world under Islamic law.” You won’t find this view, widely shared by scholars, even acknowledged in the politically correct texts.

 

There’s no acknowledgment that religious dogma is dictated by certain Islamic states, how freedom of religion and speech are alien concepts in most Islamic countries. Double standards are the norm in these textbooks; Judaism and Christianity get short shrift, as do Western secular institutions. Slavery is often presented as a peculiarly European and American institution. One text does not even mention that Islamic civilizations engaged in the slave trade. In another, where slavery is acknowledged, it’s treated as a “benign institution” offering slaves the opportunity for “social mobility.”

 

Textbooks that robustly discuss the benighted condition of women that once prevailed in the West present severe contemporary restrictions on Islamic women as benign. “For some women,” one textbook states, “the [hijab, or veil] symbolized resistance to unpopular governments.” A “bridal fair” of the Berbers in Morocco is portrayed as a quaint ritual of happy natives enjoying the party, without noting that fathers sell their daughters to their prospective husbands through negotiations over dowries. Upper-class women may be secluded in the home, but “in rural areas, peasant women continued to contribute to the economy in many ways.” (Aren’t they the lucky ones?)

 

The exceptional women in Islamic society who achieved great knowledge and power, such as Shajar, a 13th-century freed slave who is said to have become a ruler of Egypt, are presented as typical. Maisuna, a Bedouin poetess, is portrayed in one text as a proto-feminist (sort of like Gloria Steinem in a burqa).

 

The Council on Islamic Education in Orange County, Calif., is particularly intimidating to publishers. It has warned scholars and public officials that those who do not see eye-to-eye with its positions will be cited as racists, reactionaries and enemies of Islam. High-profile (and easily frightened) publishers and editors eagerly seek the council’s imprimatur.

 

The American Textbook Council says the distortions, inaccuracies and omissions in the study of Islam are the result of complacency, not anti-Americanism. But its report suggests something worse than complacency is at work. It’s the cheating of our children — and the rest of us, too.

 

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Muslim cleric guilty of soliciting murder (London Times, 030224)

 

A Muslim cleric who called for Jews, Hindus, and non-Muslims to be killed was today found guilty at the Old Bailey of soliciting murder.

 

Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, 39, was convicted on three charges of soliciting murder and stirring up race hatred in the first prosecution of a Muslim cleric in Britain and the first time in more than 100 years that anyone had been charged of soliciting murder without a specific victim.

 

It was also the first time that potential jurors were banned because of their religion. The judge agreed to a defence plea not to allow Jewish and Hindu jurors - but in the end none came forward.

 

Jamaican-born El-Faisal was remanded in custody for sentencing on March 7 and the Home Office is reviewing el-Faisal’s immigration status.

 

As he was led from the dock he waved to supporters who had sat in stunned silence as the jury delivered their verdicts.

 

The jury was unaware that an attempt had been made during the trial to bribe the judge, Common Serjeant of London Peter Beaumont. He ordered an immediate police inquiry after receiving a letter from Scotland offering him £50,000.

 

Judge Beaumont said that there was nothing to suggest that el-Faisal knew anything about the bribe attempt. Detectives view the letter as a deliberate attempt to try to discredit the judge.

 

It was also revealed today that Abu Hamza, Finsbury Park mosque’s controversial former cleric, had been due to give evidence at el-Faisal’s Old Bailey trial. He joined demonstrators who gathered outside the court and alleged that the British legal system was putting Islam on trial.

 

El-Faisal, who converted to Islam at the age of 16, was arrested by police investigating British links with al-Qaeda. He had been acquainted with James Ujaama, who is awaiting trial in Seattle for organising an al-Qaeda training camp in Oregon in 1999.

 

Special Branch inquiries found that el-Faisal had links to Brixton mosque but detectives had been unable to find any direct links between el-Faisal and other Brixton mosque members Richard Reid and Zacharia Moussaoui.

 

El-Faisal had left the Brixton mosque before Reid, the shoe bomber serving life in America for trying to blow up a plane, and Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker on September 11, attended there.

 

Mr Ujaama, whose original name was Thompson, was heard asking questions at two lectures.

 

Tapes of el-Faisal’s lectures to study circles around the country were on sale at specialist bookshops.

 

Officers were horrified to hear him call for the death of non-believers, and to hear references to training schoolboys to shoot Kalashnikovs. He was heard quoting the words of Osama bin Laden and backed the use of nuclear and chemical weapons. One recording had a picture of the burning World Trade Centre twin towers on the cover.

 

He promised that those who died fighting a holy war would not feel pain and would go to heaven, where they would be given 72 virgins. “We believe in the bullet not the ballot,” he told them.

 

In another speech, el-Faisal told youngsters: “People with British passports, if you fly into Israel, it is easy. “Fly into Israel and do whatever you can. If you die, you are up in paradise.

 

“How do you fight a Jew? You kill a Jew. In the case of Hindus, by bombing their businesses.”

 

El-Faisal, a father of three from Stratford, East London, said he was interpreting and updating the words of the Koran. He said that his references to killing were limited to the religious battlefield.

 

But David Perry, prosecuting, denied the cleric’s claim that the Koran was on trial and accused the preacher of hiding behind a “cloak of religion” to mask his hatred. “This is not some crank in Speaker’s Corner,” Mr Perry told the jury.

 

Mr Perry said that el-Faisal was encouraging Britons to go to terrorist training camps in Afghanistan before and after September 11.

 

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Can good Muslims be good multiculturalists? (National Post, 030224)

 

Mark Steyn

 

The other day, Barbara Amiel was writing about the transformation in the European view of the United States and Israel, and came up with an arresting metaphor:

 

“Laying out the world’s changing attitudes to Israel and America so barely makes it sound like a conscious decision — which is absurd. But changes in the spirit of the times are as difficult to explain as those immense flocks of birds you see sitting on some great African lake, hundreds of thousands of them at a time, till all of a sudden, successively, they fly up and turn in a specific direction. One can never analyze which bird started it and how it became this incredible rush. All you see is the result.”

 

The world is always changing. In 1967, when the British Parliament decriminalized homosexuality in the teeth of some pretty vigorous opposition, no one would have predicted that a mere 30 years later the Conservative Party would be electing a leader in favour of gay marriage. If you’re a British gay who’s been longing to marry since 1967, that’s an eternity. But it’s a blink in the eye of a very old civilization’s social evolution. Things change. You don’t notice the iceberg melting, only that one day it seems a lot smaller than it was, and that the next it’s not there at all.

 

So what will the “spirit of the times” look like in the Western world in 10 or 20 years’ time? Here’s a couple of early birds on the lake, plucked more or less at random from recent headlines:

 

1. Last month, Judge Beaumont, the Common Serjeant of London, ruled that, in the case of a Muslim cleric accused of inciting the murders of Jews and Hindus, no Jews or Hindus or the spouses thereof could serve on the jury.

 

2. On January 21st, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported that the Court of Appeals in Eidsivating had acquitted a Middle Eastern immigrant of raping a retarded woman on the grounds that he had only lived 12 years in Norway and so could not be expected to understand her condition.

 

The man was 22 years old. Thus, he had lived virtually his entire conscious life in Norway. But the court ruled that his insufficient understanding of the language was a mitigating factor. He was a cab driver and the woman was his customer. She paid for the ride with a “TT” card — a form of transport subsidy for the handicapped, which he evidently recognized because he accepted it. Nonetheless, because of his “cultural background,” an adult who’d lived in Norway since he was 10 years old could not be expected to know that this woman was mentally incapacitated and that he should not assault her.

 

3. In the second week of January, Cincinnati’s Playhouse In The Park cancelled its tour of a specially commissioned new play by Glyn O’Malley called Paradise. The subject of the work was the suicide bombing of March last year by an 18-year old Palestinian girl, Ayat al-Akhras. My old friend, the Saudi Minister of Water Ghazi Algosaibi, wrote a poem in praise of Miss al-Akhras as “the bride of loftiness.” O’Malley’s approach was a little subtler. His starting point was a Newsweek cover story contrasting young Ayat with one of the Jews she killed, another teenage girl, a 17-year old Israeli, Rachel Levy. To some of us, this is already obscene — the idea that murdered and murderer are both “victims.” They’re linked only because Ayat couldn’t care less whom she slaughtered as long as they were Jews.

 

But there wouldn’t be much of a play in that. So O’Malley did the decent liberal thing and bent over backwards to be “balanced.” In his play, “Fatima” gets all the best lines, raging at the Israelis because they should know better: “How can you do this? You! You who know camps and humiliation and hate and death.” “Sarah,” by comparison, is just a California airhead who’s come to Israel for the guys and can’t really get a handle on the Holy Land: “It’s, like, old.”

 

But O’Malley didn’t stop there: He moved the scene of the bombing from within Israel proper to one of those “illegal” West Bank settlements. He even managed to remove any kind of religious component: To dear old Ghazi, Ayat was acting as a good Muslim; in O’Malley’s play, “Fatima” insists, “This is not about Allah!” This is not some crude Muslim-Jew thing, but instead arises from complex socio-economic issues unconnected to one’s faith.

 

And what was the upshot? At a read-through before invited members of the Jewish and Muslim communities, the latter denounced the work as “Zionist propaganda.” A few days later, the Jewish director was removed from the production. A few days after that, the play was cancelled entirely.

 

What normally happens with “controversial” art? I’m thinking of such cultural landmarks of recent years as Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ — a crucifix sunk in the artist’s urine — or Terrence McNally’s Broadway play Corpus Christi, in which a gay Jesus is liberated by the joys of anal sex with Judas. When, say, Catholic groups complain about these abominations, the arts world says you squares need to get with the beat: A healthy society has to have “artists” with the “courage” to “explore” “transgressive” “ideas,” etc. Yet with this play, faced with Muslim objections, the big courageous transgressive arts guys fold like a Bedouin tent. And, unlike your Piss Christs, where every liberal commentator wants to chip in his two-bits on artistic freedom, pretty much everyone’s given a wide berth to this one, except for Christopher Caldwell, whom The Weekly Standard sent to Cincinnati to interview the various figures involved. What was interesting from Caldwell’s account was that the Muslim community figures didn’t really care in the end whether the play was pro- or anti-Islam: For them, it was beyond discussion.

 

When you soak a crucifix in urine, you may get a few cranky Catholics handing out leaflets on the sidewalk. When you do a play about suicide bombers, who knows what the offended might do? The arts world seems happy to confine its transgressive courage to flipping the finger at Christians.

 

These are a few straws in the wind, birds on the lake. They’re on the periphery of our vision right now, but they won’t stay there. You may have heard the statistics — in Amsterdam the most popular name for newborn boys is Mohammed, etc. You may be aware that some waggish Western Muslims refer to the Continent as “Eurabia.” The great issue of our time is whether Islam — the fastest growing religion in Europe and North America — is compatible with the multicultural, super-diverse, boundlessly tolerant society of Western liberals. This is the paradox of multiculturalism: Is it illiberal to force liberalism on others? Is it liberal to accommodate illiberalism? I don’t personally care if Germany waives its regulations on animal cruelty to permit Muslims to have the source of their meat slaughtered in accordance with Islamic practice. But then I’m not a member of PETA. And, if I were a feminist or a gay or an “artist,” I wouldn’t be reassured by these early birds winging their way from Norwegian courts and Midwestern playhouses.

 

Meanwhile, those of us who talk of reforming Iraq are assured by our opponents that it’s preposterous to think that Arabs can ever be functioning citizens of a democratic state. If that’s so, isn’t that an issue, given current immigration patterns, not for Iraq tomorrow but for Britain, France, Belgium and Holland right now? And shouldn’t we at least try to understand why Muslims in, say, Kazakhstan have been able to reconcile the contradictions between Church and state?

 

Given Europe’s birthrates, the survival of the West depends on conversion — on ensuring that the unprecedently high numbers of immigrants to the Continent embrace Western pluralism. Some of us think it would be easier to do this if the countries from which they emigrate are themselves democratic and pluralist. But to say there’s no problem here except Texan cowboy fundamentalist paranoia is to blind yourself to reality, to march to suicide as surely as Ayat al-Akhras did.

 

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Bush’s Big Speech (National Review Online, 030227)

 

David Frum

 

The speech President Bush gave last night at the American Enterprise Institute was not only one of the most important of the war – it ranks among the most important state papers of the past three decades. In front of 2000 dinner guests, the president announced that the assumptions that have governed U.S. policy in the Middle East since 1945 would govern no longer. The U.S. government did not use to care about the internal governance of the oil-producers of the Middle East. From now on, it does. The U.S. will not merely overthrow Saddam Hussein – and throughout the speech, the president treated Saddam’s overthrow as a certain fact – but it will seek to build a more democratic Iraq afterward.

 

“There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They are mistaken. The nation of Iraq — with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people — is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom.”

 

The President replied to those who would say that the forms of government adopted in Arab world are none of America’s business by arguing, to the contrary, that the Arab world’s authoritarianism bred the terrorism of 9/11:

 

“The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life.”

 

It’s hard to over-stress the grandeur and importance of this new departure. Bush emphatically repudiated the core belief of the old policy in the Middle East – that Islamic societies are somehow permanently unsuited for democracy.

 

“It is presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a whole region of the world — or the one-fifth of humanity that is Muslim — is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life. Human cultures can be vastly different. Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on Earth. In our desire to be safe from brutal and bullying oppression, human beings are the same. In our desire to care for our children and give them a better life, we are the same.”

 

If the speech carried a title, it might have been called “Death of an Illusion.” Since World War II, American policy has assumed that progress in the Islamic world – if it comes at all – will be delivered, not by democratic reform, but by modernizing strongmen. For 50 years, American presidents have sought (and often believed they found) another Ataturk. Ataturkism led the United States to tilt toward Nasser in his early years in power – the Shah of Iran – and, yes, Saddam Hussein. (In the 1970s, that same Zbiegniew Brzezinski who criticizes Bush’s Middle East policy for its alleged naivety pushed hard as National Security Adviser for support for Saddam: “Iraq,” he was quoted at the time telling friends, “will be to my Middle East achievement what Egypt was to Henry’s.” Henry being of course Henry Kissinger.) The hunt for the modernizing strongman appears to have ended – terminated due to repeated failure. “The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq’s new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet, we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another.”

 

The speech stressed that humanitarian aid will again be essential, not peripheral, to the U.S. war effort. And it declared that the protection of innocent Iraqi life will be a war aim of the United States:

 

“The first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people, themselves. Today they live in scarcity and fear, under a dictator who has brought them nothing but war, and misery, and torture. Their lives and their freedom matter little to Saddam Hussein — but Iraqi lives and freedom matter greatly to us.”

 

The speech did not lay out the details of Iraq’s transition to democracy. The time for that will come after the war is won. But it did suggest that Iraq is the beginning, not the end, of the internal reform of the Islamic Middle East.

 

“A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions.”

 

As to how that transformation might occur, the President preserved a discreet silence. The words “Saudi Arabia” and “Iran” went unmentioned. The one post-Iraq commitment the President did talk about was the Arab-Israeli dispute. This is more than a little strange: The speech almost left behind the idea that the next order of business after Iraq is not the extension of democratic transformation in the Arab world, but yet another dreary round of negotiations on the West Bank. There may be Realpolitik reasons why this will have to be so, but it does leave behind the unfortunate idea (widely held by many in the U.S. bureaucracy) that democracy is something disagreeable the United States is inflicting on the Middle East – for which the Arabs must be compensated with another round of concessions to the Palestinians. Still, the President repeated his bold insistence that the new Palestinian state be democratic and untainted by terror – and that the Arab states must “clearly” announce their acceptance of Israel as part of any final Middle Eastern settlement.

 

It was Bush all over: strategically bold, tactically cautious; gentle in tone, strong in content; carefully balanced between the innovative and the traditional. He didn’t actually say the words “Ahmed Chalabi” – but short of that, it was masterful. And to deliver it at AEI – the institution that began arguing for Arab democracy as the true solution to the troubles of the Middle East more than 20 years ago, back when Jacques Chirac was still a nuclear salesman for Saddam – went beyond boldness to outright cheekiness. Huzzah and huzzah.

 

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Sound Familiar? Understanding Islamic End-Times beliefs (National Review Online, 030228)

 

Many Evangelical Christians in America are watching events unfold in the Middle East with great interest, seeing in the preparations for war the possible unfolding of the End-Times scenario predicted in the Bible. A small segment of ultraorthodox Judaism shares an apocalyptic vision, centering around rebuilding the Temple on Mount Zion (where the Islamic Dome of the Rock Shrine and al-Aqsa mosque, now sit). What many Americans don’t realize, though, is that Islam also has an eschatological endgame, and that like any Left Behind-reading American, many Muslims see current events as a run-up to their own version of Armageddon.

 

Islam derives its Last-Days scenario from the Koran, which appeared centuries after the Christian Bible — a fact that for non-Muslims could account for elements of Christian and Jewish prophecy appearing in the Koranic text. Particularly since the mid-1980s, modern interpreters within Islam cast the Arab-Israeli conflict, and more broadly, the conflict between Islam and the West, as part of the cosmic conflict that will mean the end of history and the ultimate triumph of Islam. David Cook, a Rice University scholar of Muslim apocalypticism, sketches below the main themes of Islamic End-Times prophecy, and its ramifications:

 

Rod Dreher: What are the main beliefs of Islamic eschatology?

 

David Cook: Referring to Sunni Islam, the principal beliefs are:

1)There are a series of signs or portents previous to the end: moral and social decay, natural and cosmic disasters, and political events that will demonstrate in an incontrovertible manner that the end is about to happen.

2) A tempter, or Antichrist, called the Dajjal will appear and lead the world (with the exception of true Muslims) astray. Almost everyone will be subject to his tribulations, but just before he succeeds in annihilating the Muslims, Jesus will come down from the heavens and kill him.

3) There will be a messianic age, led by either Jesus or another messianic figure called the Mahdi. This latter figure will conquer the entire world and convert everyone to Islam.

4) After the time of the Mahdi, then Gog and Magog [cf. Ezekiel 38, 39; the Islamic version goes by the name Yajuj and Majuj] will invade the world and destroy it.

5) God will bring the world to an end.

 

Dreher: What sort of Muslim tends to make Islamic End-Times prophecy central to his piety?

 

Cook: Usually one without much hope in the likelihood that there will be positive changes that will benefit Islam in the immediate future. Such people can oftentimes be attracted by an apocalyptic, destroy-it-all framework or long for the messianic age.

 

Dreher: How popular is apocalypticism at the present moment among Middle Eastern Muslims?

 

Cook: In certain areas, quite popular. Radical Muslims (followers of or sympathizers with al Qaeda) have responded to their setbacks during the recent past by publishing large numbers of apocalypses, and mahdi scenarios. Among Palestinians, apocalyptic speculations are also quite prominent. I think that apocalypse as a genre has become less popular in Egypt than it was 3-4 years ago, however, and Algerian radicals no longer use apocalyptic motifs either.

 

Dreher: If one is reading current events through the lens of contemporary Islamic prophecy, what will one see?

 

Cook: Many of the apocalyptic wars before the appearance of the Dajjal speak of Christian powers invading Muslim lands. This is the interpretation of the [seemingly imminent] Iraq war. The Dajjal is said to be a Jew, and will blaspheme the area of Jerusalem. Ariel Sharon is usually made to fit that bill. Among radical Muslims, the Mahdi is oftentimes said to be either Mullah Omar or in some cases Osama bin Laden. One of the traditions says: “The Prophet of Allah promised us a raid on India” which is widely cited by Pakistani radicals.

 

Dreher: Given the central role the Temple Mount plays in the End-Times beliefs of certain fervent Jews, Christians, and Muslims, what kind of trouble might we see there in the event of Middle Eastern war?

 

Cook: Right now the Temple Mount is effectively closed. It will probably always be the center of scary predictions and fears for Muslims as long as Israel has any power or influence in the region, but I don’t foresee any necessary reason why the Temple Mount should be a focus. Most of the material published now speaks of wars and apocalypses on a grand scale; the materials on the Temple Mount were all because of the fear that Israel would rebuild the Temple in the year 2000 (perhaps contributing to the explosion of the second Intifada during Sept. 2000).

 

Dreher: In the secular West, we tend to discount the role religious visions play in driving or at least shaping world affairs. If you were advising the president on what he could do to avoid provoking unnecessarily Muslims who believe strongly in Islamic prophecy, what would you tell him?

 

Cook: I would tell him to convert to Islam if I were trying to get him to avoid provoking Muslims who believe strongly in Islamic prophecy. There is probably no other way to avoid provoking them. For them, Bush is easily cast into the role of Pharaoh, the Dajjal (for those who aren’t satisfied with Sharon as the one). He is usually referred to as the Hubal (the name of a pre-Islamic idol) of this age, which signifies that there is no chance to mollify this type of people.

 

Dreher: It doesn’t matter whether or not a particular prophetic vision is true; what matters is how it affects the actions of those who do believe it’s true. With that in mind, what kind of problems could Islamic apocalypticism pose for the United States as it attempts to foment governmental and society change on Middle Eastern populations through force?

 

Cook: The basic problem is that our actions could, in the perception of large numbers of the population, coincide with apocalyptic interpretations. If this is the case then it will serve to radicalize people, and raise the stakes that much higher for the apocalyptic groups. If they view the situation (or perhaps I should say if enough of them, or enough of those placed in the right place) as an apocalyptic one, then they will respond accordingly.

 

Dreher: I guess what I’m getting at with this last question is this: How cooperative will Islamic populations be with the forces of a man, George W. Bush, whom they may see as their version of the Antichrist?

 

Cook: It depends upon the issue of perceived victory, I think. No one challenges the victory of the U.S. in Afghanistan because it was complete (more or less) and legitimate (or perhaps legitimized by the new Afghan government). If that is perceived to be the case in Iraq, then the result could be exactly the opposite. What should not happen is for something to drag out; in hindsight that was the problem with both the Oslo negotiations and the blockade of Iraq. They were lengthy and people forgot the original reasons why they were the way they were, and then allowed themselves to be swayed by radical and apocalyptic interpretations of events.

 

AUTHOR’S NOPE: For a more detailed description of Islamic eschatalogy, see this article by Cook, who is affiliated with Boston University’s Center for Millenial Studies.

 

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Democracy in Arabia: An unexpected home (National Review Online, 030303)

 

When Iraq’s opposition leaders gathered last month to discuss the future of their country, one of the few words they agreed on wasn’t even of Arab origin. The word is dimuqratiah (democracy) which was first introduced to the Arabic political lexicon in the mid-19th century as the Nahda (Awakening) movement spread in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire.

 

The word had entered other Islamic languages, including Persian and Turkish, slightly earlier in the form of demokrasi. It was the magic word that inspired the constitutional movements in the Ottoman Empire and Persia.

 

By the start of the 20th century the constitutionalists had won in both Constantinople and Tehran, establishing the first Western-style parliaments in the Muslim world. A Martian visiting the Islamic world in the final years of the 19th century would have noticed the almost unanimous support that the democratic ideal enjoyed among Muslim elites.

 

Muslim writers, scholars, and reformers in British India, the czarist empire, the Ottoman Empire, and Persia tried to understand why it was that Islam, once a global civilization that ruled in three continents, had become what the reformist leader Jamaleddin Afghani described as “an abyss of misery and terror.” By the end of the 19th century only three Muslim nations, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan, were independent, and then only nominally.

 

Muslim thinkers who pondered what had happened concluded that the answer lay in centuries of despotic rule that devastated civil society. “A nation whose government does not depend on its people is bound to become a slave of other nations,” wrote Ismail Agha, a Muslim reformer from the Crimea in the 1880s. His near contemporary Mirza Agha Kermani was more specific: “The rise of the Western powers as masters of the world, and the decline of Muslim nations into abject servitude, are due to one fact only. In Europe, governments fear the people. In Islam people fear the government.”

 

It now seems incredible that the idea of a people’s government was the central theme of political discourse throughout the Muslim world not such a long time ago.

 

By the 1920, however, the idea of democracy was under attack in the Muslim world from two opposite, but ultimately complementary, directions: the Marxists and the Islamic revivalists. The Bolshevik coup d’etat in Russia had split the Muslim intellectual elite of the czarist empire into two camps. Those who converted to Bolshevism survived and attained power and glory. Others who remained faithful to democratic ideals were killed or driven into exile.

 

The Bolsheviks “exported” their revolution with zeal, including through terrorism and military intervention in Turkey and Iran. The Ottoman Caliph and the Shah of Persia, in the name of resisting the onslaught of “heathen Bolshevism,” encouraged the Islamic revivalists. By the end of World War II and the advent of the Cold War, Muslim democrats were on the defensive. Their nations, often newly independent, were caught in a global game in which they could not develop their own strategies.

 

The 1950s witnessed a string of military coups that brought to power a new generation of army officers inspired by a cocktail of Marxist and Islamist ideas, and eventually backed by the Soviet Union.

 

Until then, such Arab countries as Egypt, Iraq, and Syria had been more or less open societies governed by parliaments that, although dominated by the wealthy, were not totally unresponsive to the masses. Elsewhere in the Muslim world, notably in Iran, Marxists, and Islamists formed united fronts to oppose authoritarian but pro-West regimes.

 

“The real threat to Islam does not come from the Shah,” Ayatollah Khomeini wrote in 1977. “The real threat comes from the idea of imposing on Muslim lands the Western system of democracy, which is a form of prostitution.”

 

The Grand Mufti of Palestine, Haj Amin al-Husseini, an adventurer who traveled to Berlin in 1938 to promote an anti-Jewish pact, had said it slightly differently in 1952: “We fight Israel not because it is Jewish. We fight it because it has a government in which the law of man replaces the law of God in the name of democracy.”

 

Between the mid-1950s and the mid-1990s democracy suffered what the late Persian poet Nader Naderpour called its “great occultation” in the Muslim world. This meant that democratic ideas were pushed into the background while Fascist, Marxist and Islamist themes dominated political discourse.

 

Now, however, democracy is back with a vengeance. It was the catchword in the Iranian presidential and parliamentary elections of 1997 and 2000. It has been written into half a dozen constitutions, from Indonesia to Algeria and passing by Bangladesh and Kuwait. Last year it was the flag around which the Afghan factions rallied to create a united front against the Taliban. Rebel students in Iran chant it with passion, and oppressed women in Pakistan and Morocco have adopted it as their battle cry.

 

Hashem Aghajari, the Iranian history professor sentenced to death for “blasphemy” merely for questioning the clerics’ right to rule, says: “Silence belongs to cemeteries. In a living society people talk, and the louder they talk the stronger they become.”

 

Rawyiah Shawi, a leader of the anti-Arafat faction in the Palestinian National Council, says: “We shall never achieve freedom until we adopt democracy.” And Kenan Makiyah, one of Iraq’s leading intellectuals, adds: “Without democracy we shall have many more Saddam Husseins in the future.” Saadeddin Ibrahim, the Egyptian intellectual who went to jail for having exposed the fraudulent nature of elections in his country, insists that “the only way for the Arabs out of their historic impasse is to adopt a democratic system.”

 

A generation ago, with two or three exceptions, virtually no elections were held in the Muslim world. Now, however 50 of the 53 predominantly Muslim nations hold regular elections. In the vast majority of cases the elections, held by often autocratic and corrupt regimes, are far from free and fair. But they represent the compliment that vice pays virtue.

 

Those familiar with the current debate within the Muslim world know that the democratic voice is being heard once again — often in the most unexpected places.

 

The reason is that the various ideologies of the left have almost disappeared while the different brands of Islamism have been discredited by the catastrophic experiences of Iran, the Sudan, and, more recently, Osama bin Laden’s terrorist enterprise.

 

Some fundamentalists have tried to confuse the debate by speaking of “Islamic democracy.” But few are deceived. “Islamic democracy is an oxymoron,” a student leader in Tehran told me. “Democracy cannot be modified by prefixes and suffixes.”

 

Today, the Islamists cannot field a single serious thinker or creative artist. There are no Islamist novelists, poets, filmmakers, architects, and, more obviously, no Islamist composers, painters, and sculptors. All the Islamists produce are suicide bombers and street thugs. They are fast losing the support they once had in sections of society that produce culture and sustain the economy. Political books with Islamist themes no longer sell in any significant numbers.

 

In every Muslim country, including the still hermetic Saudi Arabia, the democratic discourse is finding growing audiences. The West, understandably focusing on monsters such as Khomeini, Saddam, and bin Laden, has persuaded itself that democracy is a lost cause in the Muslim world.

 

But it is not. The West would do well to get to know “the other Muslims,” those who are trying to revive the democratic tradition within Islam, often at the risk of their lives. The world of Islam is certainly the last area of despotic darkness in the contemporary world. But some light is penetrating.

 

— Iranian-born Amir Taheri is author of The Cauldron: The Middle East behind the headlines. Taheri is reachable through www.benadorassociates.com. This article was originally published in the Wall Street Journal Europe on January 20, 2003.

 

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Who Do You Believe? (National Review Online, 030408)

 

David Frum

 

Yesterday I posted a story on the opposition of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) to the appointment of Daniel Pipes to the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace. I cited Pipes’s own work about CAIR and its beliefs—and specifically this 1998 statement by CAIR’s chairman, Omar M. Ahmad: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran . . . should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.”

 

Mr. Ahmad e-mailed me later in the day with this statement:

 

“Mr. Frum,

 

“My name is Omar Ahmad and I am the Board Chairman of CAIR. I wanted to let you know that the statement that Pipe attributed to me are false and pure fabrication. I never said these things and I challenged Pipe before to produce his evidence and he did not.

 

“Omar Ahmad”

 

So I asked Daniel Pipes to authenticate the quote. He sent me the following, an article from the San Ramon Valley Herald, dated July 4, 1998.

 

American Muslim Leader Urges Faithful to Spread Word

 

Lisa Gardiner

 

San Ramon Valley Herald July 4, 1998

 

FREMONT—The chairman of a national Islamic watchdog group urged Muslims Thursday not to separate or assimilate to American society, but instead to deliver Islam’s message.

 

Omar M. Ahmad, chairman of the board of the Council on American-Islamic relations, spoke before a packed crowd at the Flamingo Palace banquet hall on Peralta Boulevard, urging Muslims not to shirk their duty of sharing the Islamic faith with those who are “on the wrong side.”

 

Muslim institutions, schools and economic power should be strengthened in America, he said. Those who stay in America should be “open to society without melting (into it),” keeping mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam, he said.

 

“If you choose to live here (in America) . . . you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam,” he said.

 

“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant, “ he said. “The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth,” he said.

 

Ahmad was one of three who spoke as part of an Islamic Study School session entitled, “How Should We As Muslims Live in America?” Also speaking were Sidi Hatem Bazian, the director of Al-Qalam, an Islamic institute affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley, and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, director of the Zaytuna Institute, which is affiliated with the Islamic Studies School.

 

Ahmad spoke against people trying to impose values — such as environmentalism or vegetarianism — onto Islam, and only taking ideas from the faith that conform to personal opinions.

 

“One of the challenges is understanding the totality of Islam. Don’t come up with an opinion and find out the things that support it in Islam,” he said. “Everything we need to know is in the Koran. We don’t need to look somewhere else.”

 

Recently, the Council on American-Islamic relations challenged running shoe maker Nike when it printed the name of Allah in Arabic on a running shoe. Nike withdrew the shoes from stores, and agreed to build some basketball courts for the Muslim community, said Feraidoon Mojadidi, director of the Islamic Studies School.

 

There are about 150,000 Muslims in the Bay Area, Mojadidi said.

 

The Islamic Study School in Hayward is a non-profit, non-political school that has courses on Islam.

 

Thursday’s conference, which also included prayers, dinner and Koran readings, was organized by the school to help reconnect American Muslims with their heritage.

 

“We live in America, and a lot of us go to school here,” Mojadidi said. “What we’re trying to do is remind people in America, let’s not forget our way of life.”

 

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Contradicting CAIR’s Spin: The Islamic School Book Controversy (Free Congress Foundation, 030409)

 

American Muslim organizations have been working hard these past few months to present Islam as a peaceful, tolerant religion. Those who dare to dissent against such presentations of Islam will run afoul of the ‘Political Correctness’ crowd, who view westernized Muslims to be representative of the entire religion and its followers.

 

They are engaging in wishful thinking about Islam: If only they knew what they do not know. They are quick to smear people such as Robert Spencer, Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation, as intolerant bigots because they dare to ask probing questions about Islam and do not settle for public relations spin. These preachers of PC tolerance would do better to challenge those Muslims who are propagating scurrilous falsehoods about Christianity and Judaism in the private Muslim schools right here in the United States.

 

The news media’s emphasis on the war has diverted attention away from stories that would receive greater attention in normal times, and one such story was printed last week in The New York Daily News.

 

What the Daily News’ investigative reporter, Larry Cohler-Esses, wrote in a story about their three-month investigation of the textbooks used by Muslim schools in the New York area would create a media firestorm ordinarily. Cohler-Esses wrote that the books “are rife with inaccuracies” and contain “sweeping condemnations of Jews and Christians.”

 

One textbook cites the Qur’an as saying in reference to Jews: “You will ever [sic] find them deceitful, except for a few of them.” Another textbook makes the assertion that the Jewish religion “even teaches [Jews] to call down curses upon the worship places of non-Jews whenever they pass by them!”

 

But Christians fare little better in these textbooks either. One called “What Islam Is All About” says, “The Christians also worship statues.”

 

One publisher contacted by Cohler-Esses said the material needed to be revised, even though it took a call from a Daily News reporter to obtain such an admission. Let’s hope the Daily News will be watchful and see if the publisher follows through on his promise to do so. The publisher of “What Islam Is All About” insisted that the assertions made by his books were not inflammatory.

 

Even before 9/11 there were Americans concerned about Islam and that its most devout followers would bring harm to America. A reading of these textbooks should certainly make more Americans aware that Islam is a religion that will be slow to change its ways. Muslims generally regard the Qur’an as being the literal words of Allah himself. Therefore, as long as Muslims continue to regard the Qur’an’s ultimatum toward non-believers to mean either conversion, submission, or death, there will be some Muslims who will continue to act violently toward Jews and Christians.

 

There is a special challenge in dealing with that news story for the Council on American Islamic Relations, which will hold its annual leadership conference in the Washington area later this month. One of the topics to be considered at their meeting is a growing link between conservative Christian and Jewish organizations. It is a connection that certainly makes sense given the hateful words and violent actions of Muslim extremists, on the West Bank, in the Sudan, in Europe and even here in America, against Christians and Jews.

 

CAIR is the organization that has been spending big money on an advertising campaign. Its initial bunch of advertisements sought to present all Muslims in America as everyday people who live normal American lives. Only under pressure, does CAIR deliver the most mincing acknowledgement that some have been terrorists and it would prefer to just ignore the fact that Muslims who profess violence toward non-believers are still on the streets and in the mosques. The New York Daily News story provides even more honest-to-goodness proof that CAIR is failing to tell the whole story about Muslim life in America.

 

Yet, CAIR self-righteously continues to regard any criticism of any Muslim as bigotry.

 

But CAIR has to answer some tough questions about itself, ones that Spencer has been raising in recent months. They include:

 

1) Who is supplying the money for CAIR’s expensive advertising and public relations campaign?

2) How much money does CAIR receive from the extremist Wahhabi sect of Islam?

3) What tangible effort has CAIR made, if any, to divorce Islam from its extremist elements?

4) If CAIR is really committed to America’s security, then when will it clearly and definitively repudiate the theology of violent jihad?

 

A tough, honest examination of this organization by the news media is long overdue. Unfortunately, it is very easy for most journalists to shy away from such a difficult assignment. It is just not ‘politically correct,’ certainly with CAIR’s own media representatives, to ask probing questions about the organization.

 

CAIR can stay mum about itself if it wants. But evidently, based on the reporting about the New York school books, printed exhortations of true hate are being read by young, impressionable minds in Islamic private schools and that should concern us all.

 

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

 

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Pentagon won’t yield to Muslims on Graham (Washington Times, 030416)

 

The Defense Department has no plan to rescind its invitation to the Rev. Franklin Graham to speak at Good Friday services at the Pentagon, despite Muslim concerns over the evangelist’s labeling of Islam as “a very evil and wicked religion.”

 

“One religion, regardless of the religion, does not have the veto right over another religion,” said Army Lt. Col. Ryan Yantis, a Pentagon spokesman. “I know of no plan or discussion to uninvite anyone.”

 

Three Muslim employees at the Pentagon complained about Mr. Graham’s participation, Col. Yantis said.

 

“You had three people who sat down in a meeting with the deputy chaplain and said, ‘As Muslims, we’re concerned,’ “ he said. The issue was addressed from the standpoint of avoiding future problems, he said, but added: “We can’t uninvite [Mr. Graham]. ... He is a recognized religious leader.”

 

Mr. Graham “has accepted the invitation from the Pentagon and is still planning to attend the Good Friday service,” a spokesman for the Boone, N.C.-based evangelist said yesterday.

 

Mr. Graham, son of famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, is president of Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational Christian relief organization. He made headlines with his remarks at the dedication of a Wilkesboro, N.C., chapel a month after the September 11 attacks.

 

“We’re not attacking Islam, but Islam has attacked us,” the younger Mr. Graham said. “The God of Islam is not the same God. ... It’s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.”

 

He refused to retract those remarks, and in response to demands for an apology said: “How come the Muslim clerics haven’t gone to ground zero and had a prayer vigil and apologized to the nation in the name of Islam?”

 

He later told The Washington Times: “When people say [Islam] is a peaceful religion, don’t tell me that. When a suicide bomber straps on a bomb, that’s not a peaceful person. The Baptists are not doing that. Neither are the Pentecostals.”

 

The Pentagon’s invitation to Franklin Graham was the result of requests by Christian personnel, Col. Yantis said.

 

“These Christian congregants came to the chaplain and asked to have Mr. Graham speak,” he said, adding that the Defense Department has a policy of “providing religious support across the spectrum of religions.”

 

Christians of various denominations are about 98% of incoming troops who declare a religious preference, according to a 1999 study.

 

Friday’s observance at the Pentagon chapel will be led by chaplain Ralph G. Benson, and Mr. Graham will “provide the homily about the death and resurrection of Christ,” Col. Yantis said.

 

Mr. Graham’s appearance at the Pentagon “sends entirely the wrong message to the Muslim community,” said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

 

“This action would only bolster suspicions in the Islamic world that the war on terrorism and the war on Iraq is really an attack on Islam,” Mr. Hooper said. “We can all guess what the reception would be for a religious leader who said that Christianity is evil or Judaism is evil or any other religion is evil.”

 

Franklin Graham has been condemned to death by some Muslim clerics, including Ayatollah Mohsen Mujtahed Shabestari of Iran. Speaking of Mr. Graham, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Ayatollah Shabestari said last year: “In our opinion, to kill these three is necessary.”

 

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Islam in Britain: Extremists are preying on disaffected young Muslims (London Times, 020502)

 

The discovery that a suicide bomber in Israel had a quiet upbringing in suburban Britain is disturbing. For the Israelis, the arrival of two extremists from overseas opens up the awful prospect of a potentially vast new security threat among the Muslim diaspora. For the British authorities, the recruitment of young men from Hounslow and Derby as terrorists bears out the warning, first voiced a decade ago, that Britain has become a haven for Islamist militants. And for the British Muslim community the suicide bombing will deepen fears of alienation and reinforce the association of Islam with terrorism.

 

The bombing raises questions that must be faced by the security services, politicians and society as a whole as well as by the Muslim community in Britain and those who speak in its name. Why are young British Muslims so susceptible to the siren voices of extremists and self-publicising militants such as Abu Hamza and al-Muhajiroun? Why do they devote so much time to causes overseas — Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya and Afghanistan — rather than grievances at home or getting ahead in British society? And why has the younger generation become more alienated than their parents and less integrated into the mainstream than the children of immigrants from India, the Caribbean or East Africa?

 

Classic revolutionaries have been recruited among the poor and the marginalised. In the case of suicide bombers, however, this is not so. The evidence suggests that Asif Mohammed Hanif and his accomplice Omar Khan Sharif were well brought up, well educated and reasonably well off. Others who have gone out to engage in terrorism overseas have also come from privileged backgrounds — Omar Sheikh, sentenced to death for the brutal murder of the journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, attended the London School of Economics. But they were spiritually disaffected, and like the frustrated and underemployed graduates from Middle East universities who form the backbone of al-Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood, saw in radical Islam a cause. Many British Muslims, and not only extremists, mistakenly believe that Islam is under global threat and that they have a religious duty to defend it — by force if necessary.

 

Many Muslims, especially Bangladeshis, are noticeably worse off than other minority groups. There are pockets of great poverty in northern former mill towns, where Pakistanis settled a generation ago to work in the textile factories. Britain is a relatively tolerant society, but its liberal values are, almost by definition, offensive to the minority of Muslims who regard their doctrine as an excuse for intolerance. Socialising and socialisation can be far from simple. Women do not go out, and men do not congregate in pubs. Young Muslims have less opportunity to form easy friendships with others of their age. Some meet instead in mosques. And it is there they hear the corrupting message of jihad.

 

Such a message is cynically spread — sometimes by extremists seeking recruits for overseas causes, sometimes by imams who have been invited from Pakistan to fill posts here and preach a violent message. It falls on fertile ground. Islam has a keen sense of the “umma” or community, which can be distorted by “religious leaders”.

 

Some in the Muslim mainstream are now, commendably, speaking out against extremism as well as against discrimination and tokenism, but other community leaders remain reluctant to condemn acts of terrorism in a clear and loud voice. These leaders also need to look more closely at those shadowy figures who exploit the prison inmates, the idealistic and under-achieving young to lure them into “martyrdom” in God’s name. Their deeds destroy not only lives abroad but the standing of Islam in Britain.

 

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Factor for Islamic Violence (Book)

 

Huntington, Samuel P. (1996): Clash of civilization and remaking of world order. Touchstone.

 

 

Extra-Muslim Conflict

Intra & Extra Muslim Conflict

Historical and contemporary conflict

1. Proximity

4. Militarism

 

2. Indigestibility

 

Contemporary conflict

3. Victim status

5. % 15-24 demographic bulge

 

 

6. Core statust absence

 

 

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Judge Orders Muslim Woman to Unveil for Driver’s License Photo (Foxnews, 030606)

 

ORLANDO, Fla.  — A Muslim woman who says her religious beliefs forbid her from publicly showing her face cannot wear a veil in her driver’s license photo, a judge decided Friday.

 

Sultaana Freeman’s (search ) right to free exercise of religion would not be burdened by showing her face on the license, Circuit Judge Janet C. Thorpe ruled after hearing three days of testimony last week.

 

Freeman, 35, had sued Florida after the state revoked her license in 2001 when she refused to have her photo retaken with her face uncovered, saying it violated her religious beliefs. Her previous license showed her veiled with only her eyes visible.

 

Freeman, a convert to Islam previously known as Sandra Kellar, wore her veil for the photo on the Florida driver’s license she obtained after moving to the state in 2001.

 

Nine months later, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she received a letter from the state warning that it would revoke her license unless she returned for a photo with her face uncovered.

 

Freeman claims her religious beliefs require her to keep her head and face covered out of modesty and that her faith prohibits her face from being photographed.

 

Her lawyers argued that instead of a driver’s license photo, she could use other documents such as a birth certificate or Social Security card to prove her identity if necessary.

 

But a state attorney countered that Islamic law (search ) has exceptions that allow women to lift their veil and expose their face if the action serves a public good. Assistant Attorney General Jason Vail said arrangements can be made to have Freeman photographed only with women present to allay her concerns about modesty.

 

During the hearing, Freeman conceded that she has had her face photographed without a veil since she started wearing one in 1997. She had a mug shot taken after her arrest in 1998 on a domestic battery charge involving one of twin 3-year-old sisters who were in her foster care. The children were removed from her home, according to records from the Decatur (Ill.) Police Services.

 

Child welfare workers told investigators in Decatur that Freeman and her husband had used their concerns about religious modesty to hinder them from looking for bruises on the girls, according to the Decatur Police records.

 

Thorpe didn’t allow much of the facts about Freeman’s arrest into evidence.

 

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No Safe Haven: Belgium ought to look within (National Review Online, 030625)

 

After suicide bombers attacked the Belgian consulate in Casablanca in May, most Belgians should have realized that being supine to Islamic terrorists does not shelter them from Islamist wrath. The fact that the terrorists tried to attack the diplomatic facility of one of the most Muslim-friendly countries in the West should make it clear that they do not hate the West for its alleged pro-Israel bias or its colonial past: They simply hate it for what it is and for the values for which it stands.

 

Belgium is one of the bastions — if not the bastion — of European liberalism. It opposed the Iraq war, just one of the many examples of its left-leaning policies and sympathy for Muslim grievances.

 

In 1993, Belgium adopted a law that gives its courts jurisdiction over war crimes, regardless of where the offenses took place. The cases against Ariel Sharon and Gen. Tommy Franks are examples of how a well-intentioned law can be used to pursue a biased political agenda. The majority of Belgian media and politicians have welcomed these lawsuits in the name of human rights and universal justice.

 

Additionally, Belgium teams up with France in maintaining a strong pro-Palestinian position and in criticizing the U.S. for its firm hand in the war on terror. Despite the proven presence of al Qaeda cells in Belgium, local authorities have repeatedly refused to extradite alleged terrorists to other countries. One example is Belgian citizen Maaroufi Tarek, an alleged planner of the assassination of the Northern Alliance’s legendary general Massoud. Italian authorities have repeatedly requested that Belgium extradite Tarek for his involvement in terrorist activities but have been denied by Belgian courts.

 

Belgians must have thought that this behavior would have been favorably perceived by Islamists, inoculating Belgium from terrorism. Unfortunately — but to the surprise of no one save the Belgians — that has not been the case. Islamic radicals hate any authority, ideology, or religion that is not theirs; if you do not think like them you are an enemy.

 

Belgium has been extremely active in trying to solve the world’s problems, playing a role in the international arena that is disproportionate to its small size and economic power. But the small European nation should look within its borders and solve its own problems first. Not only does Belgium find itself in a deep economic recession, caused mainly by a disastrous welfare state, but the social unrest in its cities are a source of major concern.

 

Like every other western European country, in the last 40 years Belgium has welcomed waves of immigrants, mainly from Muslim countries. The sons of these immigrants now constitute an amazingly large segment of those living on welfare and committing crimes. As is happening in other European countries, these young men find it difficult to straddle the two cultures they inhabit, and are often lured into the trap of Islamic radicalism. An intelligence report recently presented to the Belgian senate warned that Belgium is a recruiting ground for Islamic militants, with at least one in ten mosques used to spread anti-Western ideas.

 

Antwerp, Belgium’s second-largest city, is home to the Arab European League, a group founded by a former Hezbollah fighter, which advocates a form of separatism for Belgian Muslims, demanding segregated schools and the recognition of Arabic as the nation’s fourth language. Last year, the group sparked racial riots in this once-peaceful northern European city after a Moroccan man was shot dead by a Belgian neighbor.

 

Antwerp, the world’s diamond capital, has historically been home to a large Jewish community, which has always been respected. The last few years have seen a dramatic increase of attacks on local Jews and, as in France, most of the time the perpetrators are young Muslims.

 

The problem of integration becomes even more troubling in light of the astonishing growth rate of the Muslim community. Belgium’s 400,000 Muslims are only five percent of the population, but with immigration and a higher birth rate than that of native Belgians, Muslims will comprise a far higher percentage in a few years. Fifty-seven percent of the children born in Brussels are Muslims, which means that Belgium will be a completely different country in a few decades.

 

Nevertheless, mainstream Belgian politicians and the media refuse to have a serious debate on immigration, labeling as racist those who question Muslims’ willingness to integrate and to abide by Belgian law. Like Pim Fortuyn’s party in neighboring Holland, the Vlaams Blok party is trying to curb the wild flood of immigrants and to curtail the benefits that are automatically granted them once they reach Belgium, legally or illegally. Most newspapers refuse to publish interviews with Vlaams Blok leaders and politicians. The tactic has failed miserably: Vlaams Blok is the biggest party in Antwerp and Mechelen, gaining ground in most of Flanders.

 

The refusal of mainstream parties to address what is probably Belgium’s biggest problem is symptomatic of a general European reluctance to deal with issues deemed politically incorrect. But if the Europeans keep their heads in the sand, they will end up buried — six feet under.

 

— Lorenzo Vidino is a research analyst for the Investigative Project.

 

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A Global Network: What’s really happening on some U.S. paintball courses (National Review Online, 030630)

 

On Friday, the government indicted eleven men from the D.C. area alleged to have trained with Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Righteous), a formidable Pakistani terrorist group fighting the Indian government in Kashmir. Remarkably, the men were indicted not for planning attacks within the United States, but for participating in a “military expedition” against India. The FBI’s Virginia office is to be commended for demonstrating its awareness of the confluence of Islamic terrorist groups. However, the fact that these men from the United States were able to train with an Islamic terrorist group reveals the grave situation that the civilized world faces in dismantling the global jihadist terrorist network.

 

Though not ostensibly interested in attacking American targets, the eleven men still comprise a very real and dangerous facet of the global jihad movement that must be recognized in order to combat terrorists effectively and thoroughly. Various jihadist factions may focus on specific areas of the world and can seem as though they have separate goals and values, but they are in fact all interconnected, sharing the same financial resources as well as ideology. The groups reinforce one another, aiding each other as needed, creating a global terrorist network.

 

The indictment of the eleven individuals never mentions al Qaeda, however al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba are very much connected financially, ideologically, and militarily. On September 12, 2001, Lashkar-e-Taiba claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks, releasing a statement maintaining, “The attacks on the World Trade Centre and other places were not an act of terrorism but an Islamic duty.” Though al Qaeda soon became and was the official perpetrator of the September 11 attacks, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s claim of responsibility was not far from the truth.

 

Lashkar-e-Taiba tends to keep a low profile amongst Americans, but it is one of the most organized and best funded terrorist groups and remains a breeding ground for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The terrorist group has trained thousands of mujahedeen, sending them to areas as diverse as Afghanistan, Kashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, and the Philippines. David Hicks, an Australian who was captured in Afghanistan fighting alongside al Qaeda, trained with Lashkar-e-Taiba before joining the ranks of al Qaeda foot soldiers. Reports of other Lashkar-e-Taiba fighters also indicate that they trained in Afghanistan with the Taliban. Perhaps most telling, al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah was captured in a Lashkar-e-Taiba safe house in Faisalabad in March 2002.

 

The group, like most other Islamic terrorist groups in the world, shares its roots with al Qaeda. Lashkar-e-Taiba is the military wing of the religious group, Markaz Dawa Waal Irshad, which had among its founders Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden’s mentor and original founder of al Qaeda. Azzam, assassinated in 1989 by unknown assailants, traveled the globe spreading his Jihadist ideology, seducing many disaffected men to participate in jihad, for no more than the sake of jihad. Azzam’s most famous quote is no doubt the most telling about his ideology: “Jihad and the rifle alone: no negotiations, no conferences, and no dialogues.”

 

It is this ideology — perhaps mythology — that pervades the Islamic terrorist groups and binds them together in a common cause. That Lakshar-e-Taiba chooses to attack Indians does not remove it from the concern of the United States and the rest of the globe affected by terrorism. Lashkar-e-Taiba, demonstrating the union of the jihadist groups, notably linked on its website to the Hamas official website, the Hezbollah official website, and the English mouthpiece of al Qaeda, Azzam.com.

 

Recognizing the fluidity between the jihadist groups is integral to understanding the manner in which the terrorist network operates. Thus, while the men arrested were allegedly shooting at Indian positions, they could have easily been recruited to perform a devastating terrorist attack wherever they were needed — even in America. Indeed, Unindicted Co-Conspirator #1 in the indictment “told the conspirators that American troops were legitimate targets of the jihad in which the conspirators had a duty to engage.”

 

The majority of these men are Americans, some Christian converts who have lived here for their entire lives. They were not indoctrinated in Saudi Arabia or Yemen, but right here in the United States, even practicing military tactics on Virginia paintball courses. They needed a local spiritual adviser to assure them that participating in jihad fulfills their duty as a Muslim. The indictment makes clear that Unindicted Co-Conspirator #1, who seems to have fulfilled this clerical role for the men, “provided historical examples from Islamic history justifying attacks on civilians.” Thus, while the men’s military training took them to faraway Pakistan, their indoctrination was home grown, a testament to how widespread and ubiquitous the terrorist network has become.

 

In order to defeat this terrorist network, we must dismantle every component. No longer can we turn a blind eye to a terrorist group merely because it mainly operates in another country, nor can we ignore those that exhort people to violence in the name of Islam. The scourge of terrorism is global, and a terrorist trained on the opposite side of the world can easily have come from our backyard, just as these eleven indicted men did.

 

— Rita Katz, author of Terrorist Hunter, is the director of the SITE Institute, based in Washington, D.C. Josh Devon is a senior analyst at the SITE Institute.

 

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Wahhabism & Islam in the U.S.: Two-faced policy fosters danger (National Review Online, 030630)

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the text of testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security on Thursday, June 26, 2003.

 

Chairman Kyl, other distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for your invitation to appear here today.

 

I come before this body to describe how adherents of Wahhabism, the most extreme, separatist, and violent form of Islam, and the official sect in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have come to dominate Islam in the U.S.

 

Islam is a fairly new participant at the “big table” of American religions. The Muslim community only became a significant element in our country’s life in the 1980s. Most “born Muslims,” as opposed to those who “converted” — a term Muslims avoid, preferring “new Muslims” — had historically been immigrants from Pakistan and India who followed traditional, peaceful, mainstream Islam.

 

With the growth of the Islamic community in America, there was no “Islamic establishment” in the U.S. — in contrast with Britain, France, and Germany, the main Western countries with significant Islamic minorities. Historically, traditional scholars have been a buffer against extremism in Islam, and for various sociological and demographic reasons, American Islam lacked a stratum of such scholars. The Wahhabi ideological structure in Saudi Arabia perceived this as an opportunity to fill a gap — to gain dominance over an Islamic community in the West with immense potential for political and social influence.

 

But the goals of this operation, which was largely successful, were multiple.

 

First, to control a significant group of Muslim believers.

 

Second, to use the Muslim community in the U.S. to pressure U.S. government and media, in the formulation of policy and in perceptions about Islam. This has included liaison meetings, “sensitivity” sessions and other public activities with high-level administration officials, including the FBI director, that we have seen since September 11.

 

Third, to advance the overall Wahhabi agenda of “jihad against the world” — an extremist campaign to impose the Wahhabi dispensation on the global Islamic community, as well as to confront the other religions. This effort has included the establishment in the U.S. of a base for funding, recruitment, and strategic/tactical support of terror operations in the U.S. and abroad.

 

Wahhabi-Saudi policy has always been two-faced: that is, at the same time as the Wahhabis preach hostility and violence against non-Wahhabi Muslims, they maintain a policy of alliance with Western military powers — first Britain, then the U.S. and France — to assure their control over the Arabian Peninsula.

 

At the present time, Shia and other non-Wahhabi Muslim community leaders estimate that 80% of American mosques are under Wahhabi control. This does not mean 80% of American Muslims support Wahhabism, although the main Wahhabi ideological agency in America, the so-called Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has claimed that some 70% of American Muslims want Wahhabi teaching in their mosques.1This is a claim we consider unfounded.

 

Rather, Wahhabi control over mosques means control of property, buildings, appointment of imams, training of imams, content of preaching — including faxing of Friday sermons from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — and of literature distributed in mosques and mosque bookstores, notices on bulletin boards, and organizational solicitation. Similar influence extends to prison and military chaplaincies, Islamic elementary and secondary schools (academies), college campus activity, endowment of academic chairs and programs in Middle East studies, and most notoriously, charities ostensibly helping Muslims abroad, many of which have been linked to or designated as sponsors of terrorism.

 

The main organizations that have carried out this campaign are the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which originated in the Muslim Students’ Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA), and CAIR. Support activities have been provided by the American Muslim Council (AMC), the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, its sister body the International Institute of Islamic Thought, and a number of related groups that I have called “the Wahhabi lobby.” ISNA operates at least 324 mosques in the U.S. through the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). These groups operate as an interlocking directorate.

 

Both ISNA and CAIR, in particular, maintain open and close relations with the Saudi government — a unique situation, in that no other foreign government directly uses religion as a cover for its political activities in the U.S. For example, notwithstanding support by the American Jewish community for the state of Israel, the government of Israel does not intervene in synagogue life or the activities of rabbinical or related religious bodies in America.

 

According to saudiembassy.net, the official website of the Saudi government, CAIR received $250,000 from the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, an official Saudi financial institution, in 1999, for the purchase of land in Washington, D.C., to construct a headquarters facility.2

 

In a particularly disturbing case, the Islamic Development Bank also granted US$295,000 to the Masjid Bilal Islamic Center, for the construction of the Bilal Islamic Primary and Secondary School in California, in 1999.3 Hassan Akbar, an American Muslim presently charged with a fatal attack on his fellow soldiers in Kuwait during the Iraq intervention, was affiliated with this institution.

 

In addition, the previously mentioned official website of the Saudi government reported a donation in 1995 of $4 million for the construction of a mosque complex in Los Angeles, named for Ibn Taymiyyah, a historic Islamic figure considered the forerunner of Wahhabism.4 (It should be noted that Ibn Taymiyyah is viewed as a marginal, extremist, ideological personality by many traditional Muslims. In the wake of the Riyadh bombings of 2003, the figure of Ibn Taymiyyah symbolized, in Saudi public discourse, the inner rot of the regime. An article in the reformist daily al-Watan was headlined, “Who is More Important? The Nation or Ibn Taymiyyah”? Soon after it appeared, Jamal Khashoggi, editor of al-Watan and former deputy editor of Arab News, was dismissed from his post.)

 

The same official Saudi website reported a donation of $6 million, also in 1995, for a mosque in Cincinnati, Ohio.5 The website further stated, in 2000, “In the United States, the Kingdom has contributed to the establishment of the Islamic Center in Washington DC; the Omer Bin Al-Khattab Mosque in western Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Islamic Center, and the Fresno Mosque in California; the Islamic Center in Denver, Colorado; the Islamic center in Harrison, New York City; and the Islamic Center in Northern Virginia.”6

 

How much money, in total, is involved in this effort? If we accept a low figure of control, i.e. NAIT ownership of 27% of 1,200 mosques, stated by CAIR and cited by Mary Jacoby and Graham Brink in the St. Petersburg Times,7 we have some 324 mosques.

 

If we assume a relatively low average of expenditures, e.g. $.5 million per mosque, we arrive at $162 million.

 

But given that Saudi official sources show $6 million in Cincinnati and $4 million in Los Angeles, we should probably raise the average to $1 million per mosque, resulting in $324 million as a minimum.

 

Our view is that the number of mosques under Wahhabi control actually totals at least 600 out of the official total of 1,200, while, as noted, Shia community leaders endorse the figure of 80% Wahhabi control. But we also offer a number of 4-6,000 mosques overall, including small and diverse congregations of many kinds.

 

A radical critic of Wahhabism stated some years ago that $25m had been spent on Islamic Centers in the U.S. by the Saudi authorities. This now seems a low figure. Another anti-extremist Islamic figure has estimated Saudi expenses in the U.S., over 30 years, and including schools and free books as well as mosques, near a billion dollars.

 

It should also be noted that Wahhabi mosques in the U.S. work in close coordination with the Muslim World League (MWL) and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), Saudi state entities identified as participants in the funding of al Qaeda.

 

Wahhabi ideological control within Saudi Arabia is based on the historic compact of intermarriage between the family of the sect’s originator, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, and the family of the founding ruler, Ibn Saud. To this day, these families divide governance of the kingdom, with the descendants of Ibn al-Wahhab, known as ahl al-Shaykh, responsible for religious life, and the Saudi royal family, or ahl al-Saud, running the state. The two families also continue to marry their descendants to one another. The supreme religious leader of Saudi Arabia is a member of the family of Ibn al-Wahhab. The state appoints a minister of religious affairs who controls such bodies as MWL and WAMY, and upon leaving his ministerial post he becomes head of MWL.

 

The official Saudi-embassy website reported exactly one year ago, on June 26, 2002, “The delegation of the Muslim World League (MWL) that is on a world tour promoting goodwill arrived in New York yesterday, and visited the Islamic Center there.” The same website later reported, on July 8, 2002, “During a visit on Friday evening to the headquarters of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) [Secretary-General of the MWL Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulmohsin Al-Turki] advocated coordination among Muslim organizations in the United States. Expressing MWL’s readiness to offer assistance in the promotion and coordination of Islamic works, he announced plans to set up a commission for this purpose. The MWL delegation also visited the Islamic Center in Washington DC and was briefed on its activities by its director Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammad Fowaj.”8

 

In a related matter, on June 22, 2003, in a letter to the New York Post, James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, a civic lobbying organization, stated that his attendance at a press conference of WAMY in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, had been organized by the U.S. embassy in the kingdom. If this is true, it is extremely alarming. The U.S. embassy should not act as a supporter of WAMY, which, as documented by FDD and the Saudi Institute,9 teaches that Shia Muslims, including even the followers of Ayatollah Khomeini, are Jewish agents.

 

This is comparable to Nazi claims that Jewish business owners were Communists, or Slobodan Miloševic’s charge, in the media of ex-Yugoslavia, that Tito was an agent of the Vatican. The aim is to derange people, to separate them from reality completely, in preparation for massacres. We fear that official Saudi anxiety their large and restive Shia minority, aggravated by Saudi resentment over the emergence of a protodemocratic regime in Iraq led by Shias, and consolidation of popular sovereignty in Shia Iran, may lead the Saudi regime to treat Shias as a convenient scapegoat, making them victims of a wholesale atrocity. The history of Wahhabism is filled with mass murder of Shia Muslims.

 

There is clearly a problem of Wahhabi/Saudi extremist influence in American Islam. The time is now to face the problem squarely and find ways to enable and support traditional, mainstream American Muslims in taking their community back from these extremists, while employing law enforcement to interdict the growth of Wahhabism and its financial support by the Saudis. If we fail to do this, Wahhabi extremism continues to endanger the whole world — Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

 

Thank you for your attention.

 

NOTES

1 Council on American Islamic Relations, The Mosque in America: A National Portrait, A Report from the Mosque Study Project, April 26, 2001.

 

2 Saudi Embassy Press Archive, August 15, 1999.

 

3 Islamic Development Bank; also, “IDB Allocates $202 Mln to Finance Islamic Development Ventures,” Arabic News, 1/25/2000.

 

4 Saudi Embassy Press Archive, July 8, 1995.

 

5 Saudi Embassy Press Archive, November 10, 1995.

 

6 Saudi Embassy Press Archive, March 5, 2000.

 

7 “Saudi Form of Islam Wars With Moderates,” St. Petersburg Times, March 11, 2003.

 

8 Saudi Embassy Press Archive.

 

9 Ali al-Ahmed and Stephen Schwartz, “Saudis Spread Hate Speech in U.S,” Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Washington, copublished with Saudi Institute.

 

— Stephen Schwartz is director, Islam and Democracy Program at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

 

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Islam vs. Christianity: The Age-Old Conflict Continues (Free Congress Foundation, 030822)

 

It’s not just because Prem Awaes has come to this country as a legal immigrant that Americans should welcome him.

 

No. He has a message that does not make for easy listening, but it is one that Americans, particularly those who are anxious to cast Islam as a peaceful and tolerant religion, need to hear.

 

Awaes has come to America thanks to the sponsorship of the Virginia Council of Churches and the Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg. He had been trained as a missionary by the Salvation Army and had operated a Christian school for in Pakistan.

 

Because Pakistan is a Muslim republic, Awaes’ work as a Christian missionary made him run afoul of the government’s laws. Believers in the Christian religion are often persecuted; the police seldom do much to Ensure the protection of religious minorities. Indeed, as Awaes pointed out in an interview with the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, they will often be the attackers.

 

Recalling the violence inflicted on his village in an attack six years ago, Awaes said: “They threw hand grenades at houses. Muslims robbed the houses and took everyone’s things.”

 

After living constantly on the run in Pakistan, Awaes fled to Asia, living there for awhile before being granted refugee status by the United Nations and finding sponsorship in the United States. He expects to be reunited with his family soon.

 

More Americans are coming to realize that while many Muslims lead peaceful and tolerant lives, those who truly believe that the Qur’an represents the divine words spoken by Allah will not be tolerant or peaceful toward the “People of the Book”: the Qur’an’s designation for Jews and Christians. As Sura 9:29 of the Qur’an declares: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the people of the Book, until they pay the Jizya (a special higher tax rate) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

 

Many contemporary theologians depict the Crusades as Christianity’s war against Islam, but they have it dead wrong. For Islam was on the march centuries before the Crusades, having conquered the Christian lands of Egypt, Syria, North Africa, and Spain by the time Pope Urban II had declared the first Crusade.

 

To this day, the enmity continues. Just last year, a Muslim cleric in Indonesia called upon his fellow believers to fight “belligerent infidels” who are Christians.

 

Christians who believe that all people are equal in dignity before God need to realize that this idea is not taught in traditional Islam. Muslims who do believe in this equality of dignity have been influenced by the West, but within the Muslim community they are typically shouted down by the more fervent and louder voices of Islamic militants.

 

My colleague, Robert Spencer, writes in Islam vs. Christianity: The Age-Old Conflict Continues that Americans need to wake up to the fact that not all religions or their followers share the Western values of tolerance. Indeed, more Americans are waking up to this. A poll released last month by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press showed 44% of the American public now understands that Islam is more likely than other religions “to encourage violence among its believers.” Only a quarter of Americans realized this in March 2002.

 

September 11 should have alerted every American to that fact. Unfortunately, the innate American sense of trust and decency, our best values, leave us ill-equipped to confront an enemy like Islam — just as it was difficult in 1940 for many Americans to grasp that a civilized country like Germany could discard true Christian beliefs. Now, as the second anniversary approaches of that terrible day, conservatives need to make sure every American realizes the true nature of the threat we face from Islam’s true believers. We should not have to depend on al Qaeda to provide a reminder.

 

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

 

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Court Rejects Sentence of Nigerian Woman Facing Death for Adultery (Foxnews, 030925)

 

KATSINA, Nigeria  — A single mother facing death by stoning for adultery had her sentence overturned by an Islamic appeals court Thursday in a case that has sparked international outrage.

 

A five-judge panel rejected the sentence against 32-year-old Amina Lawal, saying she was not caught in the act of adultery and she was not given “ample opportunity to defend herself.”

 

If the sentence had been carried out, the single mother would have been the first woman stoned to death since 12 northern states first began adopting strict Islamic law, or Shariah, in 1999.

 

Lawal, wrapped in a light orange veil, sat on a stone bench, eyes downcast, cradling her nearly 2-year-old daughter as the ruling was announced at the Katsina State Shariah Court of Appeals under heavy security.

 

The judges read their verdict, which is final, inside a tiny blue-walled courtroom equipped with ceiling fans to ease the sweltering heat.

 

Lawal was first convicted in March 2002 following the birth of her daughter two years after she divorced her husband. Judges rejected Lawal’s first appeal in August 2002.

 

In an hour-long hearing, the panel said Lawal was not caught in the act of adultery and wasn’t given enough time to understand the charges against her.

 

It also cited procedural errors, including that only one judge was present at her initial conviction in March 2002, instead of the three required under Islamic law.

 

The case had drawn sharp criticism from international rights groups. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government and world leaders had called for Lawal to be spared. Last week, Brazil even offered her asylum.

 

Few believed the brutal sentence — in which Lawal would have been buried up to her neck in sand and executed by stoning — would ever be carried out.

 

Francois Cantier, a lawyer with French group Avocats Sans Frontieres, or Lawyers Without Borders, said the punishment was contrary to the Nigerian constitution and would violate international treaties against torture.

 

Prosecutors argued Lawal’s child was living proof she committed a crime under Shariah.

 

But lead defense lawyer Aliyu Musa Yawuri said that under some interpretations of Shariah, babies can remain in gestation in a mother’s womb for five years, opening the possibility her ex-husband could have fathered the child.

 

He also argued Lawal’s case should be dropped because no lawyers were present when she first testified that she had slept with another man following her divorce. Yawuri said Lawal — a poor, uneducated woman from a rural family — didn’t understand the charges against her at the time.

 

Lawal has identified her alleged sexual partner, Yahaya Mohammed, and said he promised to marry her. Mohammed, who would also have faced a stoning sentence, has denied any impropriety and has been acquitted for lack of evidence.

 

Lawal is the second Nigerian woman to be condemned to death for having sex out of wedlock under Islamic law. The first woman, Safiya Hussaini, had her sentence overturned in March on her first appeal in the city of Sokoto.

 

The introduction of strict Islamic law in a dozen northern states triggered violent clashes between Christians and Muslims that killed thousands.

 

Four other people have been sentenced to stoning deaths. Two have been acquitted, and two others — a pair of lovers — are awaiting rulings.

 

Also under Shariah punishments, one man has been hanged for killing a woman and her two children. Muslim authorities have amputated the hands of three others for stealing respectively, a goat, a cow and three bicycles.

 

Despite such harsh sentences, the majority of Muslims in the predominantly Islamic north have welcomed the implementation of Shariah, saying it’s a key part of their religion and discourages crime.

 

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Announcing Dhimmi Watch: A Global Alliance For Justice (Free Congress Foundation, 030923)

 

It is long past time to bring the world’s attention to a global scandal.

 

Dhimmitude is the status that Islamic law, the Sharia, mandates for non-Muslims, primarily Jews and Christians. Dhimmis, “protected people,” are free to practice their religion in a Sharia regime, but are made subject to a number of humiliating regulations designed to enforce the Qur’an’s command that they “feel themselves subdued” (Sura 9:29). They are not to build new houses of worship or repair existing ones. They are to get off the sidewalk if a Muslim wishes to pass. They are to wear distinctive clothing (or sometimes a special badge indicating their status), are barred from certain professions and from wielding authority over Muslims, and they must pay a special and often prohibitive tax, the jizya, from which Muslims are free. Since the Sharia is not enforced in its fullness in most Muslim states today, these laws are not uniformly or universally enforced; however, they remain part of the Sharia, and, as such, are part of the legal superstructure that global jihadists are laboring to restore everywhere in the Islamic world, and wish ultimately to impose on the entire human race. Moreover, since they are organically part of the culture and history of Islamic nations, they form part of a culture of bias that even today strongly influences public policy and existing statutes in countries with ostensibly secular governments, particularly Egypt and Pakistan.

 

The dhimmi “contract,” which bought for indigenous non-Muslim populations under Islam the protection of the authorities, was conditional upon the dhimmis’ fulfillment of their part of the bargain. If they complained about their inferior status, institutionalized humiliation, or poverty, their masters voided their contract and regarded them as enemies of Islam, fair game as objects of violence. For this, untold millions have died. Tens of millions have been uprooted from their homes. Tens of millions have been stripped of their cultural identity. And above all, millions have been cowed into silence and worse: for centuries dhimmi communities in the Islamic world learned to live in peace with their Muslim overlords by acquiescing to their subservience. Like some slaves in the Old South, some even actively identified with the dominant class, and became strenuous advocates for it. It was almost unheard-of to find dhimmis speaking out against their oppressors; to do so would have been suicide.

 

Spearheaded by dhimmi academics such as Edward Said, John Esposito, and Noam Chomsky, that same attitude of chastened subservience has entered into Western academic study of Islam, and from there into journalism, school textbooks, and the popular discourse. One must not point out the depredations of jihad and dhimmitude; to do so would offend the multiculturalist ethos that prevails everywhere today. To do so would endanger chances for peace and rapprochement between civilizations all too ready to clash.

 

But in this era of global terrorism it must be said: this silence, this distortion, has become deadly. Before 9/11 it was easy to ignore and whitewash dhimmitude, but the atrocities changed the situation forever. To continue to gloss over the destruction wrought by jihad ideology and its attendant evil of dhimmitude is today to play into the hands of jihadists, who have repeatedly vowed to dhimmify the West and destroy any recalcitrant elements. While jihadist groups, even with their global diffusion, are not strong enough to realize this goal by themselves, they have a potent and destructive ally, a genuine fifth column, in the dhimmi academics and dhimmi journalists they have recruited in the West. They have succeeded in confusing millions in the West into mistaking honesty and truthfulness for bigotry, and self-defense for oppression.

 

Before it’s too late for Western Europe and the United States, which gave birth to the traditions of freedom and equality of rights for all that shine today as lights in the entire world, this must be stopped. Therefore a group of scholars and human rights advocates from across the political spectrum is uniting to form Dhimmi Watch: A Global Alliance for Justice.

 

Dhimmi Watch seeks to bring public attention to:

 

* The plight of the dhimmis, an immense but almost completely ignored ongoing scandal that continues in Muslim countries today;

* The plight of women under Sharia provisions, similar to conditions imposed on dhimmis, in the denial of equal rights and dignity;

* Slavery in Islamic lands, which continues today, justified by Sharia-’s dhimmi codes;

* The integral role of jihad and dhimmitude ideology in global terrorism today;

* The license that academic and journalistic whitewashes of dhimmitude gives to radical jihadist enemies of human rights for all.

 

We invite all concerned people to join forces now with Dhimmi Watch, to help us ensure that deeds done in the darkness for so long will not continue to be done. The light of world attention is anathema to the proponents of jihad and dhimmitude: we have seen in recent years that women sentenced to stoning for adultery, often victims of rape unjustly accused thanks to Sharia laws disallowing rape victims’ testimony, were freed following international outcry. We seek to provoke similar, continuous and increasing outcry wherever and whenever the Sharia’s institutionalized injustices threaten dhimmis and women.

 

Only when the truth about jihad and dhimmitude is widely told will moderate Muslims be able to prevail over jihadists and establish fully just societies in Islamic lands. May the truth prevail.

 

Robert Spencer, a grandson of dhimmi exiles from the Ottoman Empire, is the author of an in-depth look at terrorism, jihad and dhimmitude, Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (new from Regnery Publishing), and Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter Books).

 

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The Moderate from Malaysia (NR, 031110)

 

The prime minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, is an international superstar — a toast of the Davos forum, a darling of Western correspondents and analysts. He is thought to be the Great Muslim Moderate, and in certain respects he is — which can be most disheartening. Think of his famed political prisoner, Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister. Ibrahim has become a rallying point for anti-Mahathir opposition; the prisoner’s wife, Dr. Wan Azizah Ismail, has proven a tireless and graceful campaigner for his freedom — a descendant, in a way, of Avital Shcharansky, or Yelena Bonner.

 

Mahathir is ending his rule, after 22 years. But he has gone out with a bang, delivering the keynote address at the recent Organization of the Islamic Conference powwow, held in his country. At the beginning of his speech, he welcomed non-Muslim “observers at this meeting,” saying their “presence . . . will help towards greater understanding of Islam and the Muslims.” Perhaps it did — but perhaps not in the way Mahathir intended.

 

The prime minister delivered an almost perfect example of what has long ailed the Muslim world; it was as though he had set out to confirm the writings of Bernard Lewis and our own David Pryce-Jones. First and foremost, there was the presentation of Muslims as perpetual victims, oppressed by forces possibly not seen, but certainly non-Muslim, and almost certainly Jewish and Western. “We are all Muslims. We are all oppressed. We are all being humiliated.” The “enemy” will “attack and kill us, invade our lands, bring down our governments,” etc., etc.

 

The speaker then went into history, sounding, for a moment, actually very much like Professor Lewis: “At the time the Europeans of the Middle Ages were still superstitious and backward, the enlightened Muslims had already built a great Muslim civilization, respected and powerful.” Why, “the Europeans had to kneel at the feet of Muslim scholars.”

 

But then The Turn took place, and, “intellectually, the Muslims began to regress.” The West wrapped its tentacles around the Islamic world, and “apart from the new nation-states, we also accepted the Western democratic system” — a calamity. (If only it were true — that the Muslim world had been forced to accept the “Western democratic system.”)

 

About mid-speech, Mahathir delivered his strongest poison: regarding “the Zionist transgression.” The Muslims are numerous, Mahathir noted: “We are now 1.3 billion strong. . . . We control 50 out of the 180 countries in the world. Our votes can make or break international organizations.” And yet “none of our countries are truly independent. We are under pressure to conform to our oppressors’ wishes about how we should behave, how we should govern our lands, how we should think, even.”

 

And, really, “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way.” The Jews are very clever, those people. “The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them. . . . They survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented and successfully promoted socialism, communism, human rights, and democracy so that persecution of them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries, and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.”

 

Mahathir suggested that Muslims learn a trick from the Jews and start thinking: but for the purpose of destroying those very Jews. The prime minister’s speech took for granted that the aim of Muslims should be the destruction of these people — interestingly, Mahathir didn’t even bother to say “Israelis,” out of politeness: He went straight for “Jews” — rather than peaceful co-existence with them. A history and a present of victimhood (at the hands of others); Jews as wily and all-powerful; Muslims as kept from their due place (supremacy) only by lack of unity — the great Dr. Mahathir mixed in every ingredient of the stew that has proven so toxic for Muslim people everywhere.

 

Later, confronting criticism, his foreign minister snapped, “Forget about anti-Semitism.” Ah, but that’s hard — and unwise. Israel’s own foreign minister said, “The civilized world has seen the results of such violent rhetoric in the past.” It will be good to be done with Mahathir. But the chilling question is: Among viable leaders in Muslim countries, is that the best of them?

 

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The State Of Freedom (Free Congress Foundation, 031111)

 

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, President George W. Bush has made a sweeping declaration announcing a new policy toward the Middle East.

 

In speaking before the British Parliament 20 years ago, then-President Ronald Reagan made a similar speech aimed at the Communist empire. It was during that speech Reagan announced the formation of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). At the time, most critics, including many in his own party, called Reagan’s pronouncement that freedom would overcome totalitarian ideologies in the Communist world naïve and unrealistic. Yet before the decade of the 1980s was over, the Soviet empire had begun to crumble. Reagan had more faith in freedom than almost anyone else. He believed that a system built on lies could not ultimately prevail.

 

The National Endowment for Democracy, which Reagan established, has given modest amounts of money to both the Democrat and Republican parties and to the US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO to give technical assistance to democracy movements around the world. In addition, NED itself has projects modestly supporting individuals and organizations who promote democracy all over creation. I have seen NED in action both in the former Soviet empire and in Latin America. It represents the best investment of American dollars abroad in our nation’s history, in my view. It is far better than funds distributed by the Agency for International Development.

 

So any objective examination of NED would have to pronounce Ronald Reagan’s vision a success. While freedom is not complete in the former Soviet Union, the situation is a lot better there than it was twenty years ago. Certainly in most of Central and Eastern Europe real freedom has taken hold. They are no longer “captive nations.”

 

So what of the Bush vision? It clearly was Reagan-like in its vision and sweeping pronouncements. The Bush doctrine seeks to push democracy all over the Middle East. Except for Israel and now the Bush experiment in Iraq, there is little or no democracy anywhere in the Middle East. While the dictatorships in that region are not as repressive as they were in the Soviet empire (except where Christianity is concerned), people generally do not have the right to choose their leaders, even at the local level.

 

President Bush sounded themes reminiscent of President Woodrow Wilson (“Make the world safe for democracy”), although he stressed freedom as well.

 

The President is to be commended for his vision and for giving the nation a sense of purpose consistent with its ideals.

 

I wish I could say I believe that this president will succeed, as Ronald Reagan did. The reason I don’t believe he will succeed can be summed up in one word: Islam. President Bush went out of his way to suggest that freedom and democracy is compatible with Islam. He stressed that modernization does not necessarily mean Westernizing. Well and good. But Islam, at its core, does not believe in freedom. The President cited Islamic nations that do practice freedom and democracy such as Turkey and Indonesia. The hard core Islamists consider those nations traitorous and believe they are as much an enemy as the United States or Great Britain.

 

Ask the average Iranian if they have any real freedom or can practice real democracy. Their elections are a sham. Last time out they voted for so-called reformers who pledged to cut down on the influence of the religious hard liners who have imposed Islamic law on that nation. Virtually nothing has been done to moderate the situation. Iranians are not free people. Western media and publications, regardless of content, are forbidden. Women are second-class citizens. Dissenting religious or political views are not permitted. It is difficult for young Iranians to travel or leave the country. Technically Iran might be called a democracy since they elect their parliament and other leaders. In reality, the citizens there may as well be living in Saudi Arabia where the royal family determines who serves in office.

 

If the nations of the Middle East renounce Islam, then President Bush’s vision will work. If they stick to a death-oriented religion where the greatest act one can perform is to kill Christians and Jews, then the ideals of pluralistic democracy and freedom will hardly prevail. I know it is fashionable to pretend that Islam is really just another religion like Judaism or Christianity. It is not. The freedom Christians and Jews acknowledge because they believe we are created in the image and likeness of God, radical Islam fails to acknowledge.

 

Yes, there is a civil war within Islam, between the radicals and moderates. So far the radicals are winning hands down. So unless the Bush plan contemplates secretly aiding the moderates, I fear his ideas for the Middle East will not be realized. I take no comfort in saying this. Perhaps I will be wrong. For a few years after Reagan gave his address to the British Parliament, he appeared to be wrong as well. Believe me if I live long enough to see the Bush vision for the Middle East prevail, I will be perfectly happy to shout on the Capitol steps that I was very wrong.

 

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

 

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Cleric warns Muslims linked to U.S. (Washington Times, 031117)

 

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The imprisoned Islamic cleric thought to be a guiding force behind the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah warned that all Muslim countries with close ties to the United States were targets for attack.

 

“As long as Muslim countries have close ties or support the U.S. government or U.S. policy, [they] will be threatened by a Muslim militant attack,” said Abu Bakar Bashir, as he sat on the rough floor of the Salemba Prison, the Jakarta prison where he has been held for the past year.

 

“Indonesia, Egypt, Afghan-istan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and some Mideast countries,” were all potential targets, the 66-year-old, white-bearded cleric told The Washington Times.

 

Bashir was convicted last year on charges of treason. But prosecutors at the time tried and failed to convince the court that the preacher was a leader of the militant Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network responsible for a string of bombings and attacks across Southeast Asia, capped by the horrific October 2002 explosions that killed 202 persons, including many Australian and Western tourists, in the Indonesian beach resort of Bali.

 

The cleric and his lawyer, Mahendradata, have rejected all charges against him, including the one which landed him four years in prison. The Bush administration saw the short sentence as a slap on the wrist for the JI, which reportedly has links to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network.

 

Bashir rejected Afghan President Hamid Karzai as “an American doll,” and dismissed Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, a key U.S. ally in the war against terrorism, as an American lackey. He accused Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri of neither understanding nor caring about Islam. Indonesia is 87% Muslim and is the world’s most populous Islamic country.

 

Leaders of the small Islamic states around the Persian Gulf “are too soft against America. They are under America’s influence,” he continued, speaking under the gaze of four prison guards.

 

“As long as they are still under U.S. control like Megawati, we cannot call them as Muslim leaders. The Muslim leader should be free from American influence and should have power to rule the country. A Muslim leader should control the country, and non-Muslims in the country should obey.”

 

According to a report on JI by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group in August, Bashir was one of group’s top leaders from late 1999 until his arrest in 2002.

 

He also was the founder of a Muslim “pesantren,” or boarding school, committed to the principles of Islamic holy war, or jihad. A number of the graduates of the Pondok Ngruki school have been linked to JI attacks.

 

“I called on the students — the young Muslims for jihad — to help and protect Muslim people in Afghanistan and Bosnia who suffered and were killed by non-Muslims as their obligation, if they had enough capability and money,” Bashir said.

 

“Some of them were then recruited and trained by many militant Muslim groups such as al Qaeda, the [Moro Islamic Liberation Front] or Abu Sayyaf,” he said, referring to two Islamic separatist groups fighting in the Philippines. “Others only live normally.”

 

“But, then some of them who were trained by militant Muslim groups in the Philippines or Afghanistan committed bombings. I cannot control one by one my students after they leave my pesantren,” he said.

 

Like many Muslims in the region, Bashir denied the existence of Jemaah Islamiyah, which translates roughly as “Islamic Community.” Instead, he blamed al Qaeda for last year’s Bali bombing and the Aug. 5 Marriott hotel bombing in Jakarta that left 12 dead.

 

“If we look at the concept [the bombers] used, it was clear that they used the concept of al Qaeda. I can say that al Qaeda was behind the attacks,” he said.

 

Families of fellow prisoners visited during the interview, but stayed a respectful distance away. Dressed in the traditional Muslim white cap, white tunic and sarong, Bashir is a short, slight man, and peers through thick glasses.

 

But he is still a powerful figure among certain Indonesians, and he has about 400 followers in this jail, set amid a riddle of crowded city streets. Saremba holds a little more than 2,600 prisoners, most of them sentenced for drug trafficking.

 

Of the roughly 14,000 pesantren schools in this largely moderate Islamic country, only a few are under extremist militant influence. Some leaders of the new generation of Islamic activists here have broken with Bashir’s former school and set up their own pesantrens, arguing that the aging cleric was too moderate.

 

“Even though they hate the Bush administration, he does not agree with the way of these groups involved in Bali bombing and in Marriott bombing,” said Mr. Mahendradata, the lawyer, speaking later outside the prison’s gray steel gates and walls topped with razor wire. Many Indonesians go by a single name.

 

Inside the prison, Bashir, who later led the evening’s Ramadan prayers from within an open-air caged-in courtyard, praised bin Laden, whom the United States thinks is the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks.

 

“He is the big hero, the big martyr who sacrificed his time, his wealth and his life to defend Muslim people all over the world even though I, myself, don’t agree with his way of struggle,” the cleric said.

 

“But I believe he is God’s army. He is the army of God who has mandate to fight against the enemies of Allah, of Islam.”

 

Those caught in the cross fire, Mr. Bashir added in the interview held through a local translator, were collateral damage.

 

“Civilians killed in the attack are a consequence of the war, the effect of unannounced attacks. Actually, the rule of war says it is normal, and Islamic teachings say it is the destiny of human beings to die in many ways, so if a non-Muslim died in a bomb attack that was his or her destiny.”

 

“That’s why I don’t agree with the way of al Qaeda’s struggle, because its effect will hit and kill innocent people.”

 

The cleric blamed the increasing militancy of extremist Islamic groups on the United States, arguing that President Bush’s pro-Israel stance and his policies in Iraq and Afghanistan threatened the existence of Islam.

 

“If the U.S. can change, not to be driven by Israel as the enemy of Islam, the world will be peaceful, because Islam loves peace. But if the enemy disturbs Islam and kills Muslim people such as in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Chechnya and other places, we, as Muslim people, are obliged to protect and defend our brother Muslims.”

 

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European Dishonor: Sharia on the Old Continent (National Review Online, 031203)

 

Young women killed for dating. Limbs amputated for petty theft. Makeshift courts deciding the fates of members of local Muslim communities. The Western world has grown accustomed to hearing about the brutalities of Islamic law. However, these primitive practices are no longer limited to the remote tribal areas of Pakistan, the backward kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or oppressive, mullah-dominated Iran. Today, thanks in large part to a massive flow of immigration from Muslim countries, sharia law and medieval customs are becoming increasingly common in the heart of Christian Europe.

 

One of the most shocking examples of this new reality occurred in Sweden last year, when a Kurdish woman was killed by her father for having a romantic relationship with a Swedish man. Fadime Sahindal, 26, had taken her father and brother to sharia court in 1998, alleging that they had threatened to kill her for refusing to marry a Kurdish man the family had chosen for her. The two received only light sentences, however, and continued to abuse Fadime until, in 2002, her father shot and killed her. Disturbingly, the young woman was well aware of the fate that awaited her, as she said during the 1998 trial: “The only way for the family to regain its honor now that I have spread dishonor over it is to kill me.”

 

Cases similar to Fadime’s have been reported in France and Denmark. In England last September, a Kurdish father slit his daughter’s throat because he disapproved of her Christian boyfriend and Westernized way of life. And, recently, in the port town of Taranto in southern Italy, a Muslim man who suspected that his wife had committed adultery decided — after consulting with members of his local Muslim community — that she should be stoned to death. The tragedy was only averted thanks to the intervention of local police.

 

Honor killings are not limited to Muslim countries and are, in fact, a common practice in several third-world cultures. Not all Muslims approve of them, and, according to some Muslim scholars, they do not reflect “real Islam.” Nevertheless, the Koran itself permits men to beat their wives (Chapter 4, Verse 34), and the sharia-inspired penal codes of most Muslim countries give the benefit of the doubt to a man who kills his wife, daughter, or sister for engaging in adulterous or immoral behavior. This barbaric practice, which has not been seen in European countries in well over a century, is making an unsavory return within the Old Continent’s Muslim communities.

 

The effects of the application of sharia in Europe are not limited to Muslim women. Last year, in the small Italian town of Eboli, hospital workers treated a young Algerian man whose fingers on his right hand had been chopped off. Under questioning, the man refused to reveal how he had sustained his injuries, but investigators have no doubt that he was the victim of punishment carried out according to Islamic law. Authorities in southern Italy, where many migrants from North Africa flock to work in agriculture, are becoming accustomed to such incidents. A Sicilian doctor revealed to the Italian magazine Panorama that victims of violent sharia justice go to the hospital only as a last resort, “when the bleeding is serious.” He added that he had become knowledgeable about how amputations must be made according to Islamic tradition (the hand has to be chopped off piece by piece, without breaking any bones).

 

While these incidents may seem isolated, in actuality, several Muslim groups in Europe openly advocate the introduction of sharia in the West. Uneducated immigrants might use sharia simply because it is a system they are more familiar with, but militant Islamic organizations push for the introduction of Islamic law because they believe it is a superior system, the law revealed by God, and therefore the only acceptable law.

 

In Germany, Milli Gorus, a militant Turkish Islamic organization with more than 200,000 members, is accused by German intelligence of promoting Islamic law among Turkish immigrants in Europe. The August 2001 issue of Milli Gorus’s official publication, Milli Gazete, featured an article stating that “A religious Muslim is also at the same time an advocate for sharia. The state, the media, and the courts have no rights to interfere. The allegiance of a Muslim to sharia cannot be condemned or questioned.”

 

In Britain, the rapid spread of radical Islam in urban areas has led to major social exclusion and the development of sharia among England’s Muslims. Al-Muhajiroun, a London-based fundamentalist group with sympathizers throughout Britain’s burgeoning Muslim communities, has made the struggle against “man-made law” one of the key points of its agenda, declaring that its members do not recognize English law, but only Islamic law. (Nevertheless, al-Muhajiroun’s leaders do not disdain collecting unemployment benefits generously granted by English “man-made law.”)

 

In Italy, mainstream Muslim groups have asked for the introduction of Islamic marriages with no legal effects under Italian law, a de facto subtraction of the wedlock from the control of authorities. This request is aimed at creating a situation where two different legal systems regulate the lives of two different groups of citizens within the same state. In European legal history, it would represent a jump back to the Middle Ages, when different laws applied to different ethnicities. In practical terms, it would mean that Italian citizens of Muslim faith would be subtracted from the guarantees that the Italian legal system provides to its citizens. Therefore, while Christian Italian women would have the same rights as Italian men, Muslim Italian women would have very few rights. While a Christian woman would have the right to obtain a divorce simply by filing papers, a Muslim woman would have to go to great lengths to prove ill treatment at the hands of her husband.

 

Multiculturalists and leftist defenders of uncontrolled immigration, uneasy when confronted with episodes of the brutal application of sharia in Europe’s Muslim ghettoes, are quick to predict that these incidents will disappear once Muslims are wealthier and better integrated into Western society through marriage to native Europeans. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that these predictions will come true in the foreseeable future. Muslims in Europe account for the vast majority of those living under the poverty line, and Muslim neighborhoods are the poorest areas in nearly every European city. Furthermore, statistics show that the majority of European Muslims are not marrying indigenous Europeans but other Muslims, either from their country of origin or from within local Muslim communities.

 

Politically correct European politicians, ever mindful not to offend their newly arrived Muslim brethren, have done little to aid in the assimilation process. As a result, immigrants who settle in Europe’s Muslim communities are often greeted with the same sharia-inspired mayhem that they left behind in their countries of origin. From England to Holland to Greece, many European Muslims have managed to segregate themselves from society at large and maintain harsh traditions ill-suited to the West. As the number of unassimilated Muslims grows and Europe’s elites continue to remain silent, the ultimate victim may turn out to be Western civilization itself.

 

— Erick Stakelbeck is head writer and Lorenzo Vidino is an attorney and terrorism analyst at the Investigative Project, a Washington, D.C.-based counterterrorism think tank.

 

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Murder For Fun and Prophet (Ann Coulter, 020904)

 

IN “THE TRUST” by Susan E. Tifft and Alex S. Jones, a fawning historical account of the New York Times and the family behind it, the authors describe how the Newspaper of Record conspired to hide information about the Holocaust:

 

“A July 2, 1944, dispatch citing ‘authoritative information’ that 400,000 Hungarian Jews had already been deported to their deaths and an additional 350,000 were to be killed in the next three weeks received only four column inches on Page 12, while that same day a story about Fourth of July holiday crowds ran on the front page.”

 

To find out what the enemy is up to in the current war, you keep having to turn to obscure little boxes at the bottom of Page A-9 of the Newspaper of Record.

 

In a little-noticed story almost exactly one year after Muslims staged the most horrific terrorist attack the world has ever seen, a Muslim en route from Germany to Kosovo emerged from the airplane bathroom and tried to strangle a stewardess with his shoelaces. (Not that there’s anything unpeaceful about that.)

 

That story was squirreled away in small box at the very bottom of Page A-9 of the Times. In the entire Lexis Nexis archives, only three newspapers reported the incident. Not one mentioned that the attacker was a Muslim. It was a rather captivating story, too. Earlier in the flight, the Muslim responded to the stewardess’s offer of refreshments by saying, “I’d like to drink your blood.” (Not that there’s anything unpeaceful about that.)

 

Also last week, another practitioner of the Religion of Peace, this one with ties to al-Qaida, tried to board a plane in Sweden with a gun. This story did not merit front-page coverage at The New York Times.

 

On July 4 this year, an Egyptian living in California — who had complained about his neighbors flying a U.S. flag, had a “Read the Koran” sticker on his front door, and expressed virulent hatred for Jews — walked into an El Al terminal at the Los Angeles airport and started shooting Jews. (Not that there’s anything unpeaceful about that.)

 

The Times casually reported the possibility that his motive was a fare dispute. Four days after the shooting, the story vanished amid an embarrassed recognition of the fact that any Muslim could snap at any moment and start shooting.

 

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary (generally found around Page A-12 of the Times), Americans have been cowed into perseverating that Islam is a “religion of peace.” Candid conversations about Islam are beyond the pale in a country that deems Screw magazine part of our precious constitutional freedoms.

 

If the 9/11 terrorists had been Christians, the shoelace strangler a Christian, the gun-toting Swedish Muslim a Christian, the Los Angeles airport killer a Christian and scores of suicide bombers Christians, I assure you we would not be pussyfooting around whether maybe there was something wrong with Christianity.

 

In a fascinating book written by two Arab Muslims who converted to Christianity, Ergun Mehmet Caner and Emir Fethi Caner give an eye-opening account of Islam’s prophet in “Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs.”

 

Citing passages from the Hadith, the collected sayings of Muhammad, the Caners note that, by his own account, the founder of Islam was often possessed by Satan. The phrase “Satanic Verses” refers to words that Muhammad first claimed had come from God, but which he later concluded were spoken by Satan.

 

Muhammad married 11 women, kept two others as concubines and recommended wife-beating (but only as a last resort!). His third wife was 6 years old when he married her and 9 when he consummated the marriage.

 

To say that Muhammad was a demon-possessed pedophile is not an attack. It’s a fact. (And for the record, Timothy McVeigh is not the founder of Christianity. He wasn’t even a Christian. He was an atheist who happened to be a gentile.)

 

Muslims argue against the Caners’ book the way liberals argue against all incontrovertible facts. They deny the meaning of words, posit irrelevant counterpoints, and attack the Caners’ motives.

 

Ibrahim Hooper, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says that by “6 years old” the Hadith really means “16 years old” and “9” means “19” — numbers as similar in Arabic as they are in English. Hooper also makes the compelling argument that the Caner brothers — who say they wrote their book out of love for Muslims whom they want to see in heaven — are full of “hate.”

 

Other Islamic scholars concede the facts but argue that Muhammad’s marriage to a 6-year-old girl was an anomaly. Oh, OK, never mind. Still others explain that Muhammad’s marriage to a 6-year-old girl was of great benefit to her education and served to reinforce political allegiances.

 

So was she really 16, or was it terrific that he had sex with a 9-year-old to improve her education? This is like listening to some Muslims’ earlier argument-in-the-alternative that the Zionists attacked the World Trade Center, but America brought the attack on itself anyway.

 

Muhammad makes L. Ron Hubbard look like Jesus Christ. Most people think nothing of assuming every Scientologist is a crackpot. Why should Islam be subject to presumption of respect because it’s a religion? Liberals bar the most benign expressions of religion by little America. Only a religion that is highly correlated with fascistic attacks on the U.S. demands their respect and protection.

 

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So Three Arabs Walk Into A Bar ... (Ann Coulter, 020918)

 

AN AMERICAN CITIZEN overheard three Muslims at a Shoney’s restaurant laughing about Sept. 11 over breakfast.

 

“If people thought Sept. 11 was something, wait till Sept. 13.”

 

“Do you think that will bring it down?”

 

“Well, if that won’t bring it down, I have contacts. I’ll get enough to bring it down.”

 

Patriot Eunice Stone took down their license plate numbers and called the police as the mirthful Muslims left. (I’d give you the names, but they’re too complicated. There’s a reason they use numbers at Guantanamo.) Despite the racist hysteria sweeping the nation, the police did not rush out and start rounding up Arabs. They interviewed Stone in person to evaluate her credibility and corroborate her story.

 

That night, a little after midnight, one of the two cars being driven by the Muslims ran a toll booth — at least according to everyone but these beacons of truth. Law enforcement officials soon descended on the cars. According to accounts in The New York Times, the men were uncooperative, refused to answer basic questions, gave false information and told contradictory stories. A bomb-sniffing dog reacted to the presence of explosives in both vehicles. After a careful search, however, no explosives were found and the men were released.

 

Naturally, therefore, the men and their families accused Americans, especially Southerners, of being ignorant racists. “Just because of the way we look or the way we choose to live our lives, we’re persecuted,” said the sister of one. Demonstrating her own open-mindedness, she explained the entire incident by saying, “Unfortunately, they stopped in a restaurant in Georgia.” No prejudice in that.

 

It’s interesting that the Muslims’ denial of Stone’s account was instantly and universally treated as having precisely the same credibility as Bill Clinton denying he had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. Even the Islamic Al Sharptons simply assume these guys are lying. The Muslims now say they didn’t do it. Their defenders say they were joking. (Who knew the Religion of Peace was so darn funny? Did you hear the one about the release of VX gas in Disneyland?)

 

By my count, the Muslims have given at least five versions of what happened. Eunice Stone has given one consistent story. She has been interrogated by law enforcement officials and is corroborated by another witness.

 

According to the Boston Globe, the Three Stooges first told law enforcement officers they did it on purpose. Stone, they said, was watching them too closely and this got the poor little darlings’ undies in a bundle. So they decided to scare her. One year after Muslims murdered thousands of people on American soil, evidently it’s rude to look at three Muslim men decked out in Arabic garb.

 

Next, the Muslims told reporters that Stone had “put a little salt and pepper into her story.” A stunned CNN correspondent blurted out: “Salt and pepper?” He reminded them what Stone had heard them say. “Well, yes, whatever,” came the reply.

 

Third, they tried out the hysterical-woman defense — used to great effect by Democrats in the Clinton era. One of the Muslims tauntingly demanded to know “how many other people witnessed this event that supposedly took place, first of all?” Well, at least one other person. Stone’s son was there and he heard the conversation exactly the same way. He just thought the men were playing his mother and him for suckers. (The Muslims might want to try the Clintonian “she wants to write a book” defense.)

 

Fourth, the Muslims leapt to their very favorite explanation, the one they haul out at the slightest provocation for almost any occasion: Pogrom-oriented Americans were victimizing them. In a stirring sermon, one of the Arabs advised Americans to “read about other people and read about what they believe before we jump to conclusions.”

 

Yes, it’s manifestly absurd for anyone to think Muslims might blow something up. In point of fact, it is only by not reading that Americans have been deluded into spouting the Soccer-Momism about Islam being a “religion of peace.” Actually, reading would provide dozens upon dozens of contrary examples from the last year alone.

 

While I could be jumping the gun — the night is still young — it now appears that their final answer is: They were talking about a car. They didn’t say anything about 9/11 or 9/13, but the “bring it down” bon mot referred to bringing a car down to Florida. This occurred to them only after meeting with their lawyers. Oh, OK.

 

No one in the press has bothered to investigate the “car” story further. No one believes them, so what’s the point? It would be like chasing down Gennifer Flowers to ask her if it really happened only “once.”

 

Non-terrorist Muslims are crying wolf when they play these games — talking about blowing up buildings in restaurants, taking a lighter to their sneakers on commercial aircraft, and spending a long time shaving in airplane bathrooms. Intentionally or not, they are giving the real terrorists a cushion for the next attack.

 

Instead of preying on America’s hatred of prejudice, these aspiring Scottsboro Boys should capitalize on America’s capacity for forgiveness, admit they did something really stupid, and stop lying.

 

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Tolkien & Civilization: Gimli on our generational challenge (National Review Online, 031217)

 

When you see him in person, John Rhys-Davies looks a lot taller than he does on the screen. That’s because clever camera angles and movie magic were utilized to make the 6’1 British actor fit the part of his height-challenged and axe-wielding dwarf character named Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. On the day of the Hollywood premiere, he stormed into the press suite at the Four Seasons Hotel with all of the gregariousness and dry wit of his irrepressible character. (He also provides the voice for Treebeard.) Crammed around a table in the center of the room sat a handful of journalists and film critics who had seen The Return of the King — the final installment of the trilogy — the night before. “O.K., let’s try to sabotage a career again!” he said jokingly, hinting at his willingness to make the interview more memorable — whether he was talking about the filmability of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or the potential downfall of Western Civilization.

 

To most movie fans, Rhys-Davies is most recognizable for his role as Sallah, an Egyptian archeologist, in the blockbuster films Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. (It has been rumored that he may also appear in Indiana Jones IV.) He was here, however, to make his rounds at the press junket for The Return of the King.

 

“As you remember, Tolkien, I think, sold the original rights for a hundred pounds because he didn’t think the book could ever be made into a film,” he said. “And he’s right. It’s unfilmable.... If you are going to tell the story in the book...you will break all the rules of Filmmaking 101. The structure’s impossible.” He praised director Peter Jackson, however, for struggling to make the structure work for the film without sacrificing “fidelity to the book.”

 

When it was pointed out that Gimli is one of the principal characters of comic relief in the movies, Rhys-Davies took it in stride. Rather humorously, he synopsized the structure of The Lord of the Ring as follows: “Something’s quite nice, and then something bad goes wrong, and then there’s a fight, and then something gets worse, and then there’s a bigger fight, and then things look really bad, and then there’s a battle, and then things look really, really bad, and then there’s a bigger battle, and then things look really, really bad.”

 

Cutting into the laughter, he continued. “That’s the structure of the damn thing. And you can’t have that mounting tension all the way through. So we needed to find ways of sort of releasing the tension,” he said. “And we decided that Gimli was probably the way to do it. Because there’s something innately funny about Gimli.”

 

While Rhys-Davies strikes you as happy-go-lucky actor with a hearty laugh, there was one subject that brought the laughter to a halt as he spoke with sober intonations: the future of Western Civilization.

 

“I’m burying my career so substantially in these interviews that it’s painful. But I think that there are some questions that demand honest answers,” he confessed after being asked about how much resonance he had with Tolkien’s religious beliefs and perspectives.

 

“I think that Tolkien says that some generations will be challenged. And if they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilization. That does have a real resonance with me,” he responded.

 

Rhys-Davies’s unique childhood was spent in both the United Kingdom and colonial Africa. While he viewed the experience as an “ideal background for being an actor,” one also senses that it contributes to his passionate beliefs about Western values.

 

He recalled a conversation with his father back in the summer of 1955 as the two of them overlooked the Dar Es Salaam harbor in Tanzania. He remembers his father pointing to a boat and saying, “Twice a year it comes down from Aden [in Yemen]. It stops here and goes down [south]. On the way down it’s got boxes of machinery and goods. On the way back up it’s got two or three little black boys on it. Now, those boys are slaves. And the United Nations will not let me do anything about it.”

 

As the conversation continued on that warm summer day, his father said, “Look, boy, there is not going to be a world war between Russia and the United States. The next world war will be between Islam and the West.” “Dad, you’re nuts,” Rhys-Davies responded. “The Crusades have been over for hundreds of years!’” (Precocious as it sounds at age 11, he points out that he did indeed know a “bit about history.”) After all, it was 1955. Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the United States and the Cold War was front-burner foreign policy.

 

His father responded, “Well, I know but militant Islam is on the rise again. And you will see it in your lifetime.”

 

Although his father has passed on, Rhys-Davies said that “there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and think, ‘God, I wish you were here, just so I could tell you that you were right.’”

 

Many of the Lord of the Rings actors have utilized their newfound fame to embrace political causes. Viggo Mortensen (“Aragron”) bashes President Bush with low-simmered contempt, Sean Astin (“Sam”) has hinted at running for political office, while Billy Boyd (“Pippin”) and Dominc Monaghan (“Merry”) promote various environmental causes.

 

Rhys-Davies, however, runs contrary to the prevailing political sentiment of the industry that feeds him. “You do realize that in this town [Hollywood], what I’ve been saying is rather like, sort of — oh well, I can’t find a comparable blasphemy ... but we’ve got to get a bit serious.” Surveying the room, he said: “What is unconscionable is that too many of your fellow journalists do not understand how precarious Western civilization is and what a joy it is. From it, we get real democracy. From it, we get the sort of intellectual tolerance that allows me to propound something that may be completely alien to you around this table....” He continued by saying, “The abolition of slavery comes from Western democracy. True democracy comes from our Greco-Judeo-Christian-Western experience. If we lose these things, then this is a catastrophe for the world.” He pointed out that while projected population statistics in Western Europeans will be falling sharply over the next 20 years, Islam will become more prominent in those countries.

 

“There is a change happening in the very complexion of Western Civilization in Europe that we should think about, at least, and argue about,” he said. “If it just means the replacement of one genetic stock with another genetic stock, that doesn’t matter too much. But if it involves the replacement of Western Civilization with a different civilization with different cultural values, then it is something we really ought to discuss.”

 

Recognizing the sheer politically incorrect nature of his commentary, he summed it up by saying, “I am for dead white male culture” — utilizing a derogatory catchphrase used on college campuses to describe Western Culture.

 

As Rhys-Davies stood to leave the room, he jokingly asked the writers to make sure to “put verbs in my sentences” and concluded by saying: “By and large, our cultures and our society are resilient enough to put up with any sort of nonsense. But if Tolkien’s got a message, it’s, ‘Sometimes you’ve got to stand up and fight for what you believe in.’ He knew what he was fighting for in World War I.”

 

— Steve Beard is the editor of Good News magazine and the creator of Thunderstruck.org.

 

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Chirac and the Muslims: A misguided policy (National Review Online, 031219)

 

France’s state-owned television channels reached their highest viewer ratings Wednesday when the nation was invited to witness what one commentator described as “an historic moment.”

 

This consisted of a 4,000-word address by President Jacques Chirac, live from the Elysee Palace. With a tricolor in the background to emphasise the solemnity of the occasion, Chirac read his text as if it were a declaration of war. A crowd of 400 “leading citizens,” including the prime minister, the entire cabinet, speakers of the two houses of parliament, and heads of the various religious communities, were present in the gilded hall to provide the cued applause.

 

But what was all the fuss about?

 

From the way the French media have covered the occasion, one would think that Chirac had raised the banner of national resistance against a foreign invader: something like Vercingetorix standing up to Roman conquerors in Gaul, or Charles Martel stopping the Saracens at Poitier.

 

All that Chirac did, however, was “instruct” the parliament to pass a law under which girls wearing the Islamist foulard (head scarf) would not be allowed to attend state-owned schools. Anxious that the move should not appear anti-Islamic, the president also announced that the wearing of “big crosses”, and Jewish skullcaps, would also be banned. Chirac said that the Hand of Fatma be banned too, though apparently he didn’t even know what it was: He pronounced it Fatima’s Hand, and appeared to regard it as an Islamic symbol.

 

Chirac presented the foulard as the greatest challenge faced by the French republic since it formulated its secular principles in 1905. Using the traditional devices of French grandiloquence, the president recalled the heritage of the Great Revolution and its rallying cry: freedom, fraternity, and equality.

 

The truth, however, is that Chirac has decided upon — or been misled into — making a mountain out of a molehill. By doing so, he risks casting himself in the role of a modern Don Quixote, off to fight the windmills instead of the real giants.

 

First, it is wrong to see the foulard as a symbol of conflict between Islam and the West: The foulard in question is a political, not a religious, symbol. Designed in Lebanon in 1975 and imposed by force in Iran in the 1980s, it has never been sanctioned by any Islamic religious authority in France or anywhere else; it has, however, been adopted as a symbol by many radical Islamist groups.

 

Thus Chirac is wrong to present the foulard as a means by which mainstream Islam is trying to extend religion into the public space. And even then, the foulard concerns very few Muslims in France, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

 

The French government’s own statistics show that no more than 2,000 out of 1.8 million Muslim girls wore it in 2002. Several studies conducted in various Muslim-inhabited French suburbs show that more than two-thirds of girls wearing the foulard do so because of intimidation by organized Islamist gangs. But Chirac isn’t passing laws to protect those girls from intimidation: He is suggesting legislation to punish them at the school gates instead.

 

France does have a problem with its Arab population, most of which comes from North Africa. The North African minority, known as beurs, bears deep resentment about France’s colonial past. It also regards itself as a victim of racial discrimination, much as do African Americans in the United States.

 

The problem of the beurs, therefore, is social, cultural, and economic — not religious. Even if all beurs converted to Christianity or became atheists, they would still feel like victims, because they cannot get good jobs and are confined to the shanty towns built by French Stalinists in the 1950s and 1960s.

 

There’s even more to refute about the “subversiveness” of France’s six million Muslims. Of these, for example, more than half have taken up French nationality and thus, one must presume, respect the principles on which the French republic is based. Another 1.5 million, mostly from Algeria and Morocco, are believed to have dual nationality. But there is no reason to believe that they wish to undermine the principles of French statehood. Nor is the Muslim community isolated, or self-segregating: Some 40% of French Muslims marry non-Muslims. (

 

To treat France’s Muslims as a single community is to mistakenly believe that Islam, like Christianity, has church-like structures. Islam, however, is the religion of the individual: Its chief feature is the direct line it establishes between the believer and the Creator, thus eliminating priests, intercessors, and other religious functionaries.

 

Since there is no baptism or confirmation in Islam, and certainly no excommunication either, the only way to know who is a Muslim and who is not is an individual’s self-identification as one. The Chirac administration’s attempt at inventing a single “authority” for Islam is already proving counterproductive. This was made abundantly clear last year when the interior ministry decided to create a “French authority” for Islam.

 

The ministry gathered a few beards from around the country and put them up for election as founders of the French “church” of Islam. Despite months of publicity, and some $50 million in public funds (illegal under French secular rules), the election that the ministry organized for the “church of Islam” attracted around 40,000 voters, less than one percent of Muslims eligible for the franchise. Not surprisingly, those who voted were mostly political militants who want to transform Islam into an ideology and use it as an instrument of achieving power, or at least a share in it.

 

Thus the battle Chirac needs to fight is not with Muslims in France, but instead with the militant Islamists that his own government has helped and financed.

 

French Muslims have scores of non-religious organizations and associations. But the authorities never talk to them. French governments, on both the left and the right, cannot understand a simple fact: It is possible to be a believing and practicing Muslim without subscribing to communitarian politics.

 

Despite Chirac’s typically monarchic “instructions” to the legislature, the French parliament should not rush into hasty lawmaking on this sensitive issue. What France needs instead is a proper study of the Islamic presence on her soil.

 

Such a study would show that France has no problem with its Muslim citizens as such. The problem it has is with fascists using religion not only against the French republic, but also, and often primarily, against Muslims. The overwhelming majority of the girls who wear the foulard is forced to do so by verbal threats or even physical violence. The small numbers that might wear it for political and ideological reasons must be allowed to do so for as long as they do not try to impose it on others through psychological terror or physical violence.

 

Chirac’s intervention may well be connected with the declining popularity of his government. His loose center-right coalition of half a dozen parties is facing local elections next May, and feels threatened by the rising tide of extremism from both left and right. The extreme Right, especially the National Front, which won over 18% of the votes in the presidential election almost two years ago, is trying to portray Islam as a religious threat to “Christian” France. The extreme Left, led by Trotskyites, claims that Islam is now the only religion that can endanger France’s secular traditions.

 

By trying to make his own Islamic pitch, Chirac may well be trying to chip at the support base of both extreme-right and extreme-left parties. This may a clever tactic in electoral terms. But it leaves the real issue untouched: France is threatened by a number of extremist groups of which the Islamists are but one — that have to be challenged and defeated in the political arena.

 

— Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. He’s reachable through www.benadorassociates.com.

 

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Conflict With No End In Sight (Free Congress Foundation, 031204)

 

Terror alerts were sounded this week in Kenya and Saudi Arabia. Our government expressed concern about the likelihood of renewed action by Islamic militants. We hope it will turn out to be a false alarm. But innocent people in both countries have learned the hard way just what Islamic militants are capable of doing.

 

Many Americans have probably forgotten that al Qaeda terrorists destroyed the American embassy during the summer of 1998. Twelve Americans were among the 219 people killed. This summer, Kenya’s police are said to have discovered a scheme to destroy our new embassy.

 

Terrorists in Saudi Arabia reportedly have placed a housing complex for Westerners under “active surveillance.” The recent bombing in Riyadh did more than just kill and maim people. It sent a shock wave through the populace, particularly those in the government who had extended support to al Qaeda.

 

Many Westerners would think, given the terror alerts, that the term “jihad” represents violence against those whom the radical Islamists view to be their enemies.

 

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

 

My colleague, Robert Spencer, adjunct fellow at the Free Congress Foundation, has worked tirelessly over the past few years to raise the public’s awareness about the threat that Islamists pose to the United States and Western Civilization. He has published a number of monographs and three books on Islam, including one co-authored by Daniel Ali, a former Muslim who converted to Catholicism. Their book, Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics, was written in the hope of awakening American Catholics to the threat that we face from Islamic true believers. Admittedly, there are many Muslims who are leading peaceful lives and who are sincerely tolerant in their dealings with representatives of other religions. But the threat posed by the radical Islamists represents an unusual conflict, unlike any experienced by our nation before: we face an enemy that is not a state. Instead, the enemy consists of true believers who, given access to sophisticated technology, can wreak a good deal of damage based on their ability to strike with surprise.

 

These true believing Islamists interpret the violent sections of the Qur’an quite literally and act upon their urgings without fear that they will kill innocent people. Nor do they respect Muslims who are intent on leading peaceful lives: witness the bombing in Turkey, a secular Muslim country that maintains good relations with our own country.

 

Spencer argues that we in the West are being sold an inaccurate view of Islam by writers such as Karen Armstrong, author of Islam: A Short History, who blame Christianity for the tensions between the two civilizations, failing to concede that even before the onset of the Crusades, the belief in jihad had driven Muslims to conquer Spain and much of North Africa. Jihad, explains Spencer, means that the Islamic community has a responsibility to fight unbelievers, including Christians and Jews — only because they believe another religion.

 

Spencer writes in the Free Congress Foundation monograph Jihad in Context: Beyond Political Correctness, What the Qur’an Really Says that “it is clear today and throughout Islamic history, millions of Muslims have considered jihad to be a war to establish the supremacy of Islam. Many have believed, and believe today, that they are commanded to fight this war by Allah himself.” Writers such as Armstrong prefer to discount the writings contained in the Qur’an’s Sura 9, the most violent teachings of Muhammad that come from when he was a political and military leader. Yet many Muslim theologians assign these teachings greater precedence in Islamic theology than more tolerant sayings of Muhammad that he spoke earlier in his life.

 

Radical Islamic fundamentalists harbor contempt for our democratic way of life and, given the opportunity, will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal of bringing our country to its knees. We have placed tough anti-terrorist laws on the books to help our law enforcement agencies stop terrorists. There is a need for proper accountability and oversight on the part of Congress and the Judiciary to ensure the USA-PATRIOT Act’s considerable powers are deployed against terrorists in the way that Congress intended when the law was passed in October 2001, not used to circumvent the constitutional liberties of American citizens involved in non-terrorism cases. If the USA-PATRIOT powers are allowed to be deployed indiscriminately, that would hand the terrorists a backhanded victory, proving their contempt for Western democracy is justified.

 

Even so, more than two years after the attacks of 9/11 many Americans would like to believe that things are back to normal. Spencer’s work, however, indicates that what many Americans and our radical Islamist adversaries consider “normal” are likely to be two very different things. We can only hope and pray that the West’s belief in peace and tolerance prevail in a conflict that has no end in sight.

 

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

 

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Questions For CAIR (Free Congress Foundation, 031212)

 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations struck another pose of “righteous” indignation. CAIR launched a campaign to protest the statement made on December 4 by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey that Islam is “a religion that encourages killing.” When Harvey made that inflammatory statement, he was discussing cockfighting in Iraq.

 

CAIR’s campaign of faxes and e-mails apparently motivated Harvey to retract his statement, saying through a stand-in that Harvey had been reminded that Islam is a “religion of peace.”

 

There is nothing Paul Harvey needed to retract or for which he needed to apologize. However, CAIR needs to answer a great many questions and has yet to do so.

 

Many Muslims honor people of other faiths and do not kill. Many have even made their own peace with the West and our traditions of tolerance. The work of those who have not can be seen in terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, and the millions of Muslims that support, often quite vocally, their bloody work.

 

Muhammad stated quite clearly: “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform As-Salat (prayers) and give Zakat (obligatory charity), so if they perform all that, then they save their lives and properties from me except for Islamic laws, and their reckoning (accounts) will be with (done by) Allah.”

 

Muhammad answered quite clearly in response to a question about what the “best deed” is after belief in Allah that it is “To participate in Jihad (Holy fighting) in Allah’s Cause.”

 

These are only two quotations of many in the religious documents of Islam that indicate at its core its beliefs are different from the way that Judaism and Christianity have evolved. For one, the Qur’an is considered by Muslims to consist entirely of words spoken by Allah himself. When the Qur’an urges violence, as it does in the notorious “Verse of the Sword” (“Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them,” Sura 9:5) and many other passages, all too many Muslims believe that they have been given a command from Almighty God that must be obeyed.

 

CAIR ignores this, and demands that others ignore it, too, despite mounting evidence that radical Muslims are using such passages to recruit terrorists even here in the United States. Now CAIR is crowing that it has also bullied Paul Harvey into pretending that these Qur’anic exhortations to violence do not exist.

 

CAIR’s hands aren’t clean: CAIR officials have never explained how people who had important affiliations with CAIR, including their community affairs director, had been arrested on terrorism-related charges. Nor have they ever made a full disclosure about the backing CAIR has received from organizations affiliated with Saudi Arabia’s extremist Wahhabi sect.

 

CAIR has brazenly offered to arrange a summit meeting between its select list of American Muslim leaders and Harvey. If Harvey decides to go, he should not be buffaloed, but be armed with the facts and ask tough questions.

 

Robert Spencer, Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation, posed eight questions to CAIR in a March 10, 2003 article “Speak to Me, Ibrahim!” that appeared in FrontPageMagazine.com.

 

Question: The Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud gave CAIR $500,000 for its program to put books and tapes about Islam in American libraries. The American Muslim leader W.D. Muhammad has said that when Saudis give money to American Muslims, they say, “We’re gonna give you our money, then we want you to…prefer our school of thought.” Were these books and tapes approved by Islamic authorities belonging to the Saudi Wahhabi sect?

 

Question: CAIR’s stated intention in the library campaign is to help Americans learn about Islam “as a religion of peace and justice.” How is this goal consistent with financing from Wahhabis, a sect so fanatical and extremist that it sanctions violence against non-Muslims and even against Muslims it considers heretical?”

 

Question: Why, when terrorist groups around the world use the words “Islam and Jihad” in their names, are people who ask questions about this fact tarred by CAIR as having an “anti-Muslim agenda?” What is CAIR really doing to sever the worldwide connection between Islam and terrorism?

 

CAIR officials or former officials have been arrested on charges related to terrorism yet all it offers is silence and stonewalling in discussing what are its real motives.

 

It’s not Paul Harvey who should be called to account, it’s CAIR. When will the mainstream news media realize this?

 

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

 

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Terror supporters stir up crowd at Florida Islamic conference (Jihad Watch, 040103)

http://www.jihadwatch.org/

 

An extraordinarily important report in today’s WND comes from the inside of the controversial Florida Islamic conference about which we have written here before. It’s a lengthy, detailed, insider’s account (and it’s just part one) — read it all, but here are a few highlights:

 

“Just as a Florida Islamic conference was trying to recover from one media controversy, they were mired in another when Islamic speakers who have voiced support for suicide bombers and referred to Jews as ‘Jewish crackers,’ ‘apes’ and ‘pigs’ freely addressed the crowd and were warmly embraced by conference leaders.

 

“The speakers addressed the crowd just hours after Islamic leader Dr. Sayed M. Saeed assured media that those present represented ‘mainstream’ Islam, and radical rhetoric or ‘misguided imams’ would not be tolerated. The controversial leaders addressed the crowd after all media (except for WND) had left. One addressed the attendees in only Arabic in a separate room. . . .

 

“Last April, while addressing 2 million followers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, chief cleric Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais prayed to God to ‘terminate’ the Jews, who he called ‘the scum of humanity, the rats of the world, prophet killers ... pigs and monkeys.’ Al-Sudais also urged Arabs and Muslims to abandon peace initiatives with Israel. His comments were carried worldwide by Reuters and the Associated Press. The racist characterization of Jews was not a singular occurrence, as suggested by some media. Al-Sudais has variously described Jews as ‘evil,’ a ‘continuum of deceit,’ ‘tyrannical’ and ‘treacherous.’

 

“Al-Sudais was listed as a ‘specially invited guest’ of the conference . . . Following media exposure, al-Sudais’ name disappeared from conference materials. Later, Imam Siraj Wahhaj’s name also was dropped from a new issue of the program. Wahhaj was deemed a potential unindicted co-conspirator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and sits on the board of directors of the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA, and the advisory board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.

 

“On the opening night of the conference, Dec. 19, Dr. S.M. Syeed, secretary general of the ISNA, addressed the controversy directly, with media present.

Syeed said the conference presented and ‘extraordinary opportunity’ since the public and media are ‘waiting to see what we’re saying.

 

“‘We would never allow such statements to be made on our stage,’ Syeed said. ‘That kind of rhetoric has no place in our conference, projects or programs. We need to be sensitive and we should certainly distance ourselves from them.’

 

“Referring to the prior media controversy, Saeed said, ‘This does not represent the Islam mainstream … these misguided imams. …We should clearly announce they are not representing us or the message of the prophet as mercy to mankind.’ . . .

 

“Early the next day, the moderator announced that an address by Egyptian cleric Sheikh Wagdy Ghunaim would be re-scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The moderator said Ghunaim was ‘in town’ but was not present at the Silver Spurs Arena. The sheikh had previously referred to Jews as ‘monkeys’ and ‘pigs’ during a Brooklyn College conference of the American Muslim Alliance on May 24, 1998. Before leading the audience in anti-Jewish verse, Ghuneim said: ‘The Jews distort words from their meanings. ... They killed the prophets and worshipped idols. ... Allah says he who equips a warrior of jihad is like the one who makes jihad himself.’”

 

Another speaker, Imam Malik, “has previously voiced empathy and support for suicide bombers, denied Muslims were involved in 9-11, characterized the war on terror as a conspiratorial Zionist plot designed to destroy Islam and Muslims, and blamed attacks on affirmative action on ‘the rise of the Jewish cracker,’ according to media reports and audio/video recordings obtained by WND.”

 

One problem in an otherwise excellent piece was this nuggest of dhimmitude: “Middle East experts told WND that in contradiction to mainstream Islam, which accepts Jews as fellow believers in monotheism, Hamas is characterized by a theological anti-Semitism that regards Israel and Jews as an embodiment of evil in the world that will, in time, be destroyed as part of the divine plan.”

 

Unfortunately, Hamas’s view is supported by passages of the Qur’an such as Suras 2:62-5, 5:59-60, and 7:166, all of which depict Jews as “pigs and monkeys.” Sura 9:30 says Jews and Christians are under the curse of Allah. Mainstream Islam does recognize Jews as fellow monotheists, but these other aspects are part of it also.

 

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Courts Weigh Libel Cases Against Legislators (WS, 040102)

 

By Peter Brownfeld

 

WASHINGTON — Libel cases against lawmakers are not uncommon — as North Carolina Republican Rep. Cass Ballenger learned this month — but in many cases the immunity lawmakers receive as elected public officials goes a long way in protecting them.

 

But not every time, say experts.

 

“I defended a spate of them when I was [general counsel for the House of Representatives] and they’ve continued on occasion, given that the members are always giving speeches outside their immunity,” said Stanley Brand, who served as general counsel from 1976 to 1983.

 

In libel suits, public figures such as lawmakers are accorded “absolute privilege.”

 

“Elected government officials who make statements that are a necessary part of their government function are completely  immunized,” said John Watson professor of communication law at American University, explaining the cover that absolute privilege affords.

 

For a plaintiff to sue a congressman for libel, the plaintiff first “would have to show actual malice: that the congressman knew the statements were false or acted in reckless disregard, and that’s a heavy burden to overcome,” Brand said.

 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is going to try. The group announced in early December that it has filed a defamation suit against Ballenger for his claims that CAIR is  “the fund-raising arm of Hezbollah.”

 

Ballenger made the claim in an interview for his hometown paper, The Charlotte Observer. He also claimed that the stress of living across the street from CAIR’s Washington, D.C., office “bugged the hell” out of his wife and led to the breakup of their marriage.

 

In its lawsuit, CAIR says Ballenger’s statements damaged the group’s reputation and are not protected speech because he did not make them within the scope of his role as a congressman.

 

The suit says Ballenger’s claim that CAIR raised funds for terrorists was made “with actual malice, wrongful and willful intent to injure…and with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity.”

 

Brand said because Ballenger’s statement was not strictly speaking part of his legislative duties, but part of a newspaper interview, his priviliged status is not entirely clear.

 

But CAIR, which is seeking $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages along with attorney fees, may have a difficult time proving its case, he added.

 

“They would have to show that the congressman uttered a false statement about them that disparaged them in some way, that harmed them in some way, and they have to show actual damages,” he said.

 

Brand said cases like the one between CAIR and Ballenger can take years, in part because the courts are cautious abour dismissing claims against lawmakers unless the complaint referred back to a statement the lawmaker made on the floor of Congress or in committee.

 

Even cases that appear frivolous “are not that easy to dismiss,” Brand said. “You have to show that you’re absolutely immune. Courts are reluctant to throw things out on a preliminary basis.”

 

By example, one suit against former Sen. William Proxmire, D-Wisc., went all the way to the Supreme Court, said Don Ritchie, associate historian in the Senate Historical Office

 

Ritchie said Proxmire was sued by a scientist, Ronald Hutchinson, after the senator gave Hutchinson his “Golden Fleece of the Month Award,” a distinction Proxmire handed out to people or organizations that he thought wasted government funds. Hutchinson earned the “award” for his research on the emotional behavior of monkeys.

 

In delivering the prize, Proxmire made statements about the research on the Senate floor and in a press release.

 

Hutchinson “has made a fortune from his monkeys and in the process made a monkey of the American taxpayer,” Proxmire said in his release.

 

Although the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that Proxmire was protected by his status as a legislator, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court ruling, concluding that the press release was not protected in the same way as the statement on the Senate floor.

 

Probably the largest number of libel suits against a single lawmaker was directed at Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisc.. McCarthy took advantage of his senatorial immunity by making accusations and bold statements on the Senate floor.

 

“McCarthy would say things on the floor of the Senate and people challenged him to say it off the floor of the Senate,” Ritchie said. To protect himself from libel suits, “McCarthy was very careful about not repeating many of his statements.”

 

Ritchie said that although plaintiffs often ask for monetary damages, that is not necessarily the primary goal.

 

“In some cases people bring the libel case just to make a point. Whether they win it or not, in a sense they’ve drawn attention to the issue and put their opponent on the defensive,” Ritchie said.

 

“Usually a libel lawsuit is an effort to get back your reputation and you get back your reputation by having it repaired in the public arena,” said Watson, who added that libel cases often end with an apology, retraction or clarification of the contested comments.

 

One of CAIR’s likely motives is simply to contest publicly Ballenger’s assertions in order to protect its reputation, said Thomas Dienes, professor of law at George Washington University.

 

“I think sometimes it’s almost necessary to do it just for the sake of doing it. You don’t really expect the win and you’re telling all your donors: ‘We are contesting it.’ If you didn’t do it, then people would be saying that it must be true.”

 

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Veiled Threat (Weekly Standard, 040119)

 

Can French secularism survive Islam?

 

IN LATE DECEMBER, Mohamed Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual leader of the Lebanese radical organization Hezbollah, released to the Western media a letter in which he complained of a “stripping of liberties from Muslims, even when they have not disobeyed the law,” and warned of an emerging climate “hostile to religion and to Muslim citizens.” The tone was not unusual for a Hezbollah letter. What was unusual was the addressee. For the broadside was launched neither at George Bush nor at John Ashcroft but at French president Jacques Chirac, who until recently was hailed as a hero among Arab radicals for his opposition to the American invasion of Iraq. Last March, Chirac was mobbed by hundreds of thousands of Algerian well-wishers in the streets of Oran. Even Fadlallah in his letter (which is reproduced on the French Middle East website www.proche-orient.info) professed himself “mindful of France’s political role—under your administration—in Lebanese, Arab, and French matters, and the convergence of our positions, along with our interests, despite differences on certain points.”

 

Fadlallah’s gripe is a law now being rushed to the French National Assembly that by February will, in many settings, forbid women and girls to wear Muslim headscarves. On December 11, a Chirac-appointed blue-ribbon commission under the direction of the centrist politician Bernard Stasi recommended a ban on “conspicuous” religious symbols—including headscarves, yarmulkes, and “large crosses”—in schools, hospitals, and other public buildings. There were other things in the report, including the proposal to add two new national holidays—Yom Kippur and Id

al-Adha, the Islamic feast of Abraham. The new holidays were approved by 98% of Muslims, according to mid-December polling done by daily Le Parisien, but were overwhelmingly rejected by the public at large. The commission also broached the establishment of a School of Islamic Studies and the teaching of le fait religieux (“religion as a subject”) in secondary schools. This last measure would seem particularly pressing in a country that has grown thoroughly alienated from religion. According to an article published in Le Figaro two days after Christmas, 45% of those who describe themselves as Catholics are unable to say what Easter celebrates.

 

But the commission’s proposals on the veil dwarfed everything else. The French are obsessed with Muslim headwear, with an intensity that can mystify foreigners. There are a dozen books on the veil selling briskly in French bookstores now, and to rattle off some of their titles puts one in mind of a Monty Python routine: “One Veiled, the Other Not”; “The Veil That Is Tearing France Apart”; “A Veil Over the Republic”; “Drop the Veil!” (by the Iranian feminist Chahdortt Djavann), and “What the Veil Veils” (by the leftist gadfly and Stasi commission member Régis Debray). The controversy dates from 1989, when the first cases of girls’ refusing to uncover themselves cropped up. Over 15 years, the issue has been settled and reopened through a series of bans, rules, waivers, overturnings, and decrees.

 

It is true that more women are wearing coverings lately (at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Asnières, a third of the female students are covered, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education) and that there has been a spike in confrontations between public-school girls and authorities (some of them related to political issues in the Middle East and in Iraq). But the most recent statistics—1,200 cases of veiled girls in state schools, with four expulsions—would seem to indicate little more than a dress-code problem of limited extent. Yet the French are debating it as Americans would debate a declaration of war.

 

Which is what the French man on the street perceives it to be. At issue is the assimilability of France’s Arab immigrants and their children. France is now about 10% Muslim. Some set the Muslim population (almost all of it Arab) at 5 million, others at 8 million. But all agree that the Muslims are disproportionately (even unconscionably) poor, clustered in housing projects surrounding France’s biggest cities, victimized by discrimination, and ravaged by unemployment and increasingly crime. Young men of Arab descent (beurs, as they’re called) have been responsible for a lot of that crime, including the vast majority of the hundreds of attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions in France over the last three years, and for much of an epidemic unruliness in France’s schools. In “The Lost Territories of the Republic,” the sociologist Emmanuel Brenner made an inventory of such classroom incidents—kids guffawing through lectures on the Holocaust, teachers subjected to ethnic taunts, humiliation of girls—that is reported to have shocked Jacques Chirac profoundly. So the veil is to the French imagination what graffiti were to the American imagination in the late 1970s: harmless per se, yet a marking of territory, sparking fear that those willing to do harm are in the neighborhood.

 

This attitude toward the veil upsets Claude Allègre, the Socialist former minister of education, who wrote recently: “Anyone who thinks that the ‘atypical’ presence of a couple hundred veiled girls among 7 or 8 million adolescent students is enough to bring a rather apathetic France to its boiling point is kidding himself. The veil is above all a symptom of fear—a fear that Le Pen and his retrograde and dangerous ideas can ride on.” French centrist politicians don’t want the far-right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen to use anxiety over the veil—and more generally over immigration and assimilation—to score big victories in the regional elections coming this spring. That is part of the reason why the law on the veil is being rushed to the legislature. And also part of the reason why France’s minister of the interior, Nicolas Sarkozy, has spent much of the past year trying to bring Islam into line with the country’s laws.

 

France has a sharp separation of church and state that regulates religion under the rubric of laïcité, which can be translated as “secularism” but is a specifically French concept. As Paris’s Cardinal Lustiger has correctly noted, laïcité—particularly the 1905 laws in which it is encoded—is “a history,” more than a theory of government. It was meant to solve several concrete problems. In 1905, the church was reactionary; it possessed enormous state power through its control of the schools; and enormous power to influence elections through its assets and its authority to excommunicate and preach. These factors had come together to permit the church to play a central role—as both propagandist and backroom string-puller—in denying justice to Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish career officer framed on charges of spying for Germany and sentenced to exile.

 

Laïcité, in other words, is a hundred-year-old compromise between a decadent state Catholicism and a crusading rationalism, the key insistence of which is that all religions must confine their practice to the private sphere. Religion has no place in political life. A French politician who uttered an American-style platitude along the lines of “My faith sure as heck means a lot to me” would be pressured to resign. Where the American First Amendment seeks to protect the free exercise of religion from state interference, laïcité seeks to protect the country’s political life from being hijacked by the church.

 

PERHAPS WE ASSUME too much in asserting that the open democratic republics of the West are compatible with “religion.” We know empirically only that they are compatible with Protestantism, Judaism, and Catholicism. It is no insult to Islam to say that it may not be as assimilable into a regime of laïcité as Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism were—because there is little historical evidence that Islam can be effectively or sincerely practiced only in private. In recent years, French institutions have often tried to fudge the matter by offering ad hoc religious easements to Muslims that would be unthinkable for Protestants, Catholics, or Jews: Last summer in Lille, the mayoralty made one of its swimming pools women-only, and agreed to board up the windows, under pressure from Islamic groups.

 

The philosopher Chantal Delsol referred in a recent interview to Marsilius of Padua, who argued in the fourteenth century that the papacy had no right to interfere in the affairs of states. “The Islamic Marsilius hasn’t appeared yet,” she said. “And if he did, on what [Islamic] texts could he possibly base his case?” If Delsol is right, then France has a difficult choice: either scrapping the principle that has been the foundation of its social harmony for a century or banning the public expression of a religion. One of them—either the French social compact, or Islam as it is normally practiced—will have to go.

 

And France has a great deal of trouble admitting that this may be the choice it faces. The sociologist Michel Wieviorka answers Delsol by saying that we must distinguish between Islam (religious, good) and Islamism (political, bad), “much as one must separate Catholicism, Judaism, or Protestantism from their most radical fundamentalisms.” The distinction between Islam and “extremist” Islam redefines as political any elements of the religion that the French public doesn’t like. It thus offers an out to those who would retain their multiculturalist credentials—”your culture is just as good as mine”—while taking aim specifically at the veil. It is not Islam but “extremism” that is being targeted.

 

Such thinking has the added benefit of moving France’s biggest problem out of an arena the French don’t understand (religion) into an arena they understand quite well (politics). But at a steep price, for it throws the proposed legislation on the veil into a thicket of disingenuousness.

 

The neutrality of the law is a fraud, because France is worried about Islam, not about “religion.” So the Île-de-France chapter of the French Council on the Muslim Religion (CFCM), the newly established public body that mediates between French Muslims and their government, is right to declare that the law “is aimed at Muslims, stigmatizes their religion, practices exclusion, and condemns them to turning inward to their own community.” The ban on crosses and yarmulkes is meant only to disguise the singling out of Islam by distributing restrictions evenly across the religions—as if the religions themselves were different “styles” of the same thing. Clearly laïcité is not the principle that is being defended here—it is being defended, yes, but only incidentally, as a means of curbing Islam while allowing the French state to appear politically correct.

 

Obviously political correctness is not a presentable reason for an intrusion into the religious lives of a nation’s citizens. So French authorities are flailing about for a pretext that can be mentioned in polite company. Chirac has tried to cast his actions as a defense of feminism, saying that “a society’s level of civilization is measured first and foremost by the position that women occupy in it.” In this he has had ample backing, from the philosopher Paul Ricoeur to the magazine Elle. The magazine, casting the veil as an “intolerable discrimination” and the “visible symbol of the submission of women in public,” sponsored a petition against it that was signed by the designer Sonia Rykiel and the actresses Isabelle Adjani, Nathalie Baye, Emmanuelle Béart, and Isabelle Huppert, along with several intellectuals and politicians.

 

On the Monday before Christmas, 3,000 veiled women took to the streets of Paris, begging to differ. They marched against the proposed law along with a sizable male “security detail.” Two young students claimed to have come up with the idea for a “spontaneous” demonstration themselves. No one believed them. There are three more demonstrations planned before the first week of February. One will be led by the Muslim Collective of France, whose best-known organizer is the telegenic fundamentalist Tariq Ramadan. Another has been organized for January 17 by Mohammed Ennacer Latrèche, founder of the Strasbourg-based French Muslims’ party (PMF). The theme of the PMF march will be “No to Lay Islamophobia.” (“Islamophobia” being a word coined defensively two years ago in response to the essayist Pierre-André Taguieff’s book “The New Judeo-phobia,” which described an anti-Semitic upsurge on the left and in Islamist circles. A good dictionary definition of Islamophobia might be “resistance to Judeophobia.”)

 

Religious parties are a violation of French laïcité (the PMF is another of those ad hoc exceptions mentioned above), but in fact, Latrèche’s is not a Muslim party—its program consists almost purely of anti-Semitism. At Latrèche rallies, lists are handed out that detail American and Jewish products to boycott; the “Jewish” ones are accompanied by a Nazi yellow star bearing the word “Jude” (German for Jew). Latrèche was the subject of a telling profile in early January by the journalists Blandine Grosjean and Olivier Vogel of Libération, in which it was noted that he has taken to referring to France’s Socialist party as the Zionist party, and now associates with one of France’s notorious Holocaust deniers. He coedited a work called “The Judeo-Nazi Manifesto of Ariel Sharon” and took several Parisian youths to Baghdad to serve as human shields before the invasion of Iraq. “Fear is going to have to change sides,” Libération quoted Latrèche as saying. “It’s going to have to pass from the side of veiled women to the side of those politicians who are going to vote for this law.”

 

In a sense, this is exactly what France has bargained for in transforming a serious religious problem into a serious political problem. And it is a good bargain, too, making it possible to refer Latrèche-style outrages to the police, arresting the violent, and leaving in peace those who practice their religion inoffensively. But none of this is as easy as it sounds.

 

Jean Bauberot, one of the members of the Stasi commission, stressed that France needs a policy on religion that is “credible beyond our own borders.” He is right for two reasons. One is that, however battered it may look at present, the European Union could yet evolve into a tighter confederation, with community-wide directives on religious freedom. France would like those to arise out of its own system, and not out of, say, the system of Ireland, whose constitution mentions the Holy Trinity in its preamble.

 

The second reason involves Islam worldwide. French politicians were apt to brag during the Iraq war of how clearly their voice was heard in the Arab world. France indeed has sway there, but at the price that it must listen attentively to the Arab world’s wishes. The mufti of Egypt has darkly warned Chirac that the anti-veil law would “destroy the social peace of French society.” The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has called it “an interference in the realm of Muslims’ personal and religious liberty.” And Hezbollah wrote that angry letter to Chirac. Interior Minister Sarkozy was thus heartened when Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi, the hugely influential imam of al-Azhar theological institute in Egypt, told him that France had the right to ban the veil. While Sarkozy’s visit was presented as a drop-in after a vacation, it was obviously of high diplomatic import.

 

But alongside any cheer that Sarkozy may feel at this triumph of diplomacy, it must be sobering to know that France needs a nihil obstat from Muslim clerics abroad before it can pass a piece of domestic legislation. More sobering still is an increasing tendency among Muslim theologians to count France as part of Dar al-Islam (“the House of Islam”). When Tantawi made similar accommodations to Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, in the late 1990s, other clerics at al-Azhar repudiated them under pressure from French Muslim groups.

 

WHAT LESSONS has America drawn from this episode? None. It has decided to gloat instead. There are elements of laïcité in American politics, such as the American Civil Liberties Union’s efforts to ban crèches from public land at Christmastime. But the broader American system does not insist on the religious evacuation of the public square. It is probably the stronger for that. Nevertheless, Americans in government have been too quick to criticize French attempts to regulate the veil. John Hanford, the State Department’s roving ambassador for freedom of religion, expressed his concern that France was violating “a fundamental principle of religious freedom.” Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum called the law “further evidence of the postmodern culture in Europe. When you marginalize faith, you end up marginalizing the people of faith.” (In Britain, too, the measure was attacked by both the Foreign Office and Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury.)

 

These are cheap shots. Americans overestimate the constitutional issues involved primarily because they are ignorant of the historic ones. Jean-Marie Colombani, editor of Le Monde, is right to say, “It is no longer a question of religious freedom but of public order.” One can prefer the American means of dealing with religious diversity and still question the smug assumption that America’s constitutional order could easily cope with the facts on the ground that exist in France—i.e., the equivalent of, in this country, some 30 million rapidly radicalizing Muslims, concentrated in a handful of pivotal cities.

 

Banning the veil is not about Anglo-Saxon constitutional niceties, it is about a clash of civilizations. France’s Muslims bring higher rates of practice and much more passion to their religion than France’s post-Christian secularists bring to the defense of the Republic. Those Frenchmen who cling to the order of laïcité have begun to fear that Islam is strong enough to overthrow it. That is a problem for people of all non-Islamic religions. Devout Catholics have at times been shabbily treated under laïcité, and many likely think the world it structures is arid and unspiritual. Yet in a country where the public square is dominated by laïcité, Catholics are able to practice their faith unmolested. What guarantee do they have that they will be able to do so in a public square dominated by Islam?

 

Such questions show why this law, which looks illogical and off-the-point to foreigners, is nothing of the sort. France’s problem is not some short-circuiting of individual freedom due to a faulty constitutional code—in fact, looking at the problem that way is what has led France to delay acting on the veil for 15 years. The problem is finding a way to deal with Islam while it is still, as condescending editorialists put it, the second religion of France, and before it becomes, more simply, the religion of France.

 

Christopher Caldwell is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.

 

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In The Crosshairs: Now it may be Europe’s turn (Midwest Conservative Journal, 040112)

 

Previously seen as a relative backwater in the war on terror, Europe is now in the frontline. ‘It’s trench warfare,’ said one security expert. ‘We keep taking them out. They keep coming at us. And every time they are coming at us harder.’

 

An investigation by The Observer has revealed the extent of the new networks that Islamic militants have been able to build in Europe since 11 September - despite the massive effort against them. The militants’ operations go far beyond the few individuals’ activities that sparked massive security alerts over Christmas and the new year. Interviews with senior counter-intelligence officials, secret recordings of conversations between militants and classified intelligence briefings have shown that militants have been able to reconstitute, and even enlarge, their operations in Europe in the past two years. The intelligence seen by The Observer reveals that:

 

Britain is still playing a central logistical role for the militants, with extremists, including the alleged mastermind of last year’s bombings in Morocco, and a leader of an al-Qaeda cell, regularly using the UK as a place to hide. Other radical activists are using Britain for fundraising, massive credit card fraud, the manufacture of false documents and planning. Recruitment is also continuing. In one bugged conversation, a senior militant describes London as ‘the nerve centre’ and says that his group has ‘Albanians, Swiss [and] British’ recruits. He needs people who are ‘intelligent and highly educated’, he says and implies that the UK can, and does, supply them.

 

Islamic terror cells are spreading eastwards into Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and the Czech Republic for the first time, prompting fears of a new battleground in countries with weak authorities, powerful criminal gangs and endemic corruption in the years to come.

 

Austria has become a central communications hub for Muslim extremists; France has become a key recruiting ground for fighters in Chechnya; and German groups, who often have extensive international links, are developing contacts with Balkan mafia gangs to acquire weapons.

 

The investigation has also revealed that, despite moves by the government there to crack down, Saudi Arabia remains the key source of funds for al-Qaeda and related militant groups.

 

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Terror cells regroup - and now their target is Europe (Guardian, 040111)

 

Secret intelligence papers from across the continent reveal a growing danger from a widening network of fanatics - and this is a struggle the West cannot lose

 

They had been watching him for months, aware that his pop star good looks concealed a secret life as one of Europe’s new terrorist kingpins. Finally, on a cold winter dawn, the police moved in. Abderrazak Mahdjoub did not resist as armed German officers surrounded his Hamburg home and led him away.

 

For at least a year, investigators claim, the 30-year-old Algerian had been a key part of a network of Islamic militants dedicated to recruiting and dispatching suicide bombers to the Middle East. Several volunteers had got through, wreaking havoc in a series of attacks in Iraq. Many more were on their way, along with bombers focused on targets in Europe.

 

Even worse, his associates were planning bombs in Western Europe. At least two European intelligence services had made previous attempts to take Mahdjoub out. Now, finally, it was the Germans’ turn. This weekend, just over a month after his arrest, Mahdjoub remains in prison at an undisclosed location. He is likely to remain incarcerated for some time.

 

Mahdjoub’s arrest was a minor victory in a major war being fought, bitterly and secretly, in cities from London to Warsaw, from Madrid to Oslo. It pits the best investigative officers in Europe against a fanatical network of men dedicated to the prosecution of jihad both in Europe and overseas. It is a war security officials know they cannot afford to lose - and that they know they will be fighting for the foreseeable future.

 

Previously seen as a relative backwater in the war on terror, Europe is now in the frontline. ‘It’s trench warfare,’ said one security expert. ‘We keep taking them out. They keep coming at us. And every time they are coming at us harder.’

 

An investigation by The Observer has revealed the extent of the new networks that Islamic militants have been able to build in Europe since 11 September - despite the massive effort against them. The militants’ operations go far beyond the few individuals’ activities that sparked massive security alerts over Christmas and the new year. Interviews with senior counter-intelligence officials, secret recordings of conversations between militants and classified intelligence briefings have shown that militants have been able to reconstitute, and even enlarge, their operations in Europe in the past two years. The intelligence seen by The Observer reveals that:

 

· Britain is still playing a central logistical role for the militants, with extremists, including the alleged mastermind of last year’s bombings in Morocco, and a leader of an al-Qaeda cell, regularly using the UK as a place to hide. Other radical activists are using Britain for fundraising, massive credit card fraud, the manufacture of false documents and planning. Recruitment is also continuing. In one bugged conversation, a senior militant describes London as ‘the nerve centre’ and says that his group has ‘Albanians, Swiss [and] British’ recruits. He needs people who are ‘intelligent and highly educated’, he says and implies that the UK can, and does, supply them.

 

· Islamic terror cells are spreading eastwards into Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and the Czech Republic for the first time, prompting fears of a new battleground in countries with weak authorities, powerful criminal gangs and endemic corruption in the years to come.

 

· Austria has become a central communications hub for Muslim extremists; France has become a key recruiting ground for fighters in Chechnya; and German groups, who often have extensive international links, are developing contacts with Balkan mafia gangs to acquire weapons.

 

The investigation has also revealed that, despite moves by the government there to crack down, Saudi Arabia remains the key source of funds for al-Qaeda and related militant groups.

 

Investigators stress that most of the European cells are autonomous, coming together on an ad hoc basis to complete specific tasks. To describe them as ‘al-Qaeda’ is simplistic. Instead, sources say, the man most of these new Islamic terror networks look to for direction is Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian Islamic militant who some analysts believe was behind the recent Istanbul suicide bombings against British targets and synagogues. Though he follows a similar agenda to Osama bin Laden, the 37-year-old Zarqawi has always maintained his independence from the Saudi-born fugitive. Last week, his developing stature in global Islamic militancy was reinforced when he issued his first-ever public statement, an audiotape calling on God to ‘kill the Arab and the foreign tyrants, one after another’.

 

Zarqawi is believed to be in Iran or Iraq. However European investigators have discovered that one of his key lieutenants is an Iraqi Kurd known only as Fouad, a cleric based in Syria, who handles the volunteer suicide bombers sent from Europe to launch attacks in Iraq.

 

Italian investigators made the first breakthrough in the hunt for Zarqawi’s operatives. Just after 10pm on the evening of 15 June, 2002, an unidentified Arab visitor from Germany - believed to be a senior figure in the militants’ network - arrived at a mosque in the Via Quaranta, Milan. He began by warning the mosque’s Egyptian imam, Abu Omar, about increased surveillance. He was unaware that Italian police were listening to his every word.

 

Transcripts obtained by The Observer reveal that the visitor spoke of a project needing ‘intelligent and highly educated people’. Already, the visitor said, that ‘where the jihad part is concerned there was a battalion of 25 to 26 units’. It is these ‘units’, believed by investigators to mean potential suicide bombers, that the authorities knew they had to find.

 

The visitor then began a review of recent developments. He stressed that ‘the thread begins in Saudi Arabia’, where the bulk of funds apparently still comes from. ‘Don’t ever worry about money, because Saudi Arabia’s money is your money,’ the visitor says. He then refers to recent ‘confidential’ meetings in Eastern Europe with Islamic militant leaders.

 

‘Now Europe is controlled via air and land, but in Poland and Bulgaria and countries that aren’t part of the European Community everything is easy,’ he says. ‘First of all they are corrupt, you can buy them with dollars...[Secondly] they are less-controlled countries, there aren’t too many eyes.’

 

The man named Austria as a launch pad for attacks. ‘The country from which everything takes off is Austria. There I met all of the sheikhs and all our brothers are there ... it has become the country of international communications. It has become the country of contacts.’

 

Poland is a particularly important location too, the man says and names a ‘Sheikh Abd al-Aziz’, before boasting: ‘His organisation is stunning.’

 

After translating the conversation, held in Arabic, Italian investigators immediately relayed the information to counterparts elsewhere in Europe. The British security services swung into action. The transcripts also reveal the continuing importance of London.

 

‘The nerve centre is still London,’ the man says and hints that there are many recruits from the UK: ‘We have Albanians, Swiss [and] British.’

 

The role of the UK was reinforced when, last April, 29-year-old Somali-born Cabdullah Ciise was arrested in Milan days after arriving from London, where he had fled to escape Italian investigators months earlier. The Italians suspect him of financing a terror cell involved in the car bomb attack on Israeli tourists in Mombasa, Kenya in November 2002. According to Italian court documents, Ciise transferred money from Great Britain to Somalia through Dubai.

 

He is also accused of being an important member of Zarqawi’s international terrorist organisation. A year earlier, in May 2002, Faraj Farj Hassan, the suspected leader of an Islamic terrorist cell in Milan, was arrested in Harrow, west London, where he had taken refuge with a relative who had political asylum. Hassan, 23, was arrested for immigration offences and is believed to still be held in Belmarsh high security prison awaiting extradition to Italy.

 

And last November, an Algerian-born British national from west London was arrested after travelling to Poland. He was the subject of an Algerian arrest warrant alleging his involvement in a terrorist group.

 

When the Italians arrested Ciise they put him in the same cell as another Islamic radical known as ‘Mera’i’. Again, the conversation was bugged; it gives a chilling insight into the mind of a hardened militant.

 

Mera’i tells Ciise that he hates their jailers: ‘They like life, I want to be a martyr, I live for jihad. In this life there is nothing, life is afterward, the indescribable sensation of dying a martyr.’

 

Then the pair talk about the Syrian-based cleric Fouad, whom they describe as the ‘gatekeeper’ to Iraq. Other transcripts reveal conversations between Fouad and Mera’i about how they had organised the flow of ‘brothers’ to Iraq via the Syrian cities of Damascus and Aleppo. British suicide bombers who died in Israel last year travelled through both cities. One of the network’s recruits is believed to have been involved in the rocket attack in October against the Baghdad hotel where Paul Wolfowitz, the American deputy Secretary of Defence, was staying. One phone call between the two reveals Mera’i telling Fouad that: ‘This week more guests will be arriving ... they are good people.’ Fouad replies: ‘I want those that are awake and prepared ... I want those who will strike the earth and make iron rise out of it ... I’m looking for those that were in Japan [ie, kamikaze or suicide bombers].’

 

The Italian investigation yielded important intelligence and the focus shifted to Germany. After 11 September, authorities there had concentrated on rounding up all those connected with the ‘Hamburg cell’ who had led the attacks on New York and Washington. Soon, however, they came across a group known as ‘al-Tauhid’ (the unitarians) which posed as grave a threat. Al-Tauhid were loyal to Zarqawi; indeed, many of their key personnel had trained in his camp in Afghanistan in the late 1990s.

 

According to an intelligence dossier compiled last year by German criminal intelligence, the link between the Italian network and the German cells was a 30-year-old Palestinian called Mansour Thaer. Another connection was a Turk called Mevluet Tar, a 23-year-old who spoke fluent German. Both were quickly picked up.

 

The dossier lists a dozen senior al-Tauhid operatives in Germany. Most were involved in the provision of false passports or spent their time raising and transferring funds to fighters in the Middle East. But others, many still at large, were involved in plotting bomb attacks against Jewish targets in Western Europe. At least one militant liaised with Albanian mafia gangs in a bid to obtain weapons, the dossier reveals. Only a handful of the individuals named in the document have been arrested.

 

Last week there were more arrests. In Paris a group alleged to be recruiting fighters for the war in Chechnya was picked up. In Switzerland a series of raids broke up an alleged support and fundraising network which had connections to the men who set off bombs in Riyadh last May. In Spain, a favoured entry point into Europe for North African militants, investigators continue to chase down terrorists linked to cells rounded up earlier.

 

A Moroccan cleric called Mohammed al-Garbuzi, whom local authorities claim was a key figure in the Casablanca bombings last May, is believed to be at large in the UK. Scotland Yard last week warned leaders of the Jewish community that the threat ‘remained high’. Senior British police officers said they are aware that millions of pounds are being raised in the UK by credit card fraud for Islamic militant groups.

 

‘We act when we can,’ said one police source. ‘But we are stretched enough going after the clear and immediate threats, let alone their back-up.’

 

Security experts stress that the campaign to prevent another major bomb attack in Western Europe has got no easier since major round-ups after 11 September. ‘We are dealing with something that is organic, not mechanical,’ one told The Observer . ‘You can’t remove a part and watch it all break down. It’s more like fungus. Burn some away and it just keeps growing somewhere else.’

 

The targets, the death toll and the suspects

 

Istanbul November 2003, 62 dead

Target: British consulate and bank, synagogues

Suspect: Local Islamic group thought to be linked to al-Qaeda or Abu Musab Zarqawi

 

Baghdad August-October 2003, 50 dead

Target: Al-Rasheed hotel, UN and Red Cross headquarters.

Suspect: European suicide bombers believed to have been recruited by Mullah Fouad in Syria.

 

Casablanca May 2003, 41 dead

Target: Jewish community centre and Spanish social club

Suspect: Local Islamic group. The authorities want to interview a Moroccan cleric, Mohammed al-Garbuzi, who is believed to be in Britain.

 

Riyadh May 2003, 34 dead

Target: Luxury compounds in Saudi capital

Suspect: Swiss arrest an eight-strong ‘logistics cell’.

 

Mombasa November 2002, 16 dead

Target: Israeli tourists at Paradise hotel

Suspect: Kenyan Islamic cell. Some funds allegedly provided by a Somali-born militant living in London, arrested in Milan and ‘a part of Zarqawi’s cell’.

 

==============================

 

Muslims Worldwide Protest French Head Scarf Ban (FN, 040117)

 

PARIS — Waving the French flag or wearing it as a head scarf, thousands of Muslim women marched Saturday through Paris, the center of a worldwide protest against France’s plan to ban head coverings from public schools.

 

From Baghdad and Beirut to London and Stockholm, protesters condemned the law as an attack on religious freedom. Even in the West Bank city of Nablus and in the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, Srinagar, women came out to support French Muslims.

[KH: Question for Muslims: Do you allow religious freedom in your own country?]

 

“Where is France? Where is tolerance?” the crowd chanted during the four-hour march through Paris. “The veil is my choice.”

 

The protesters want to scrap a bill that will go before French lawmakers next month forbidding “conspicuous” religious signs, from Islamic head scarves to Jewish skull caps and large Christian crosses, in public schools. Easy passage is expected, and the law is to become applicable with the new school year in September.

 

President Jacques Chirac says the aim is to protect the principle of secularism that anchors life in France. However, it also is seen as a way to hold back the swell of Islamic fundamentalism in France’s Muslim community — the largest in Western Europe at an estimated 5 million.

 

Protesters, from small girls to women, formed a sea of color in fanciful scarves of all sizes in Paris. Bearded men, some in long robes, also joined in the Paris march. A small group set out a prayer mat and prayed.

 

“Faith is not conspicuous,” said one of hundreds of banners. “Neither Fundamentalist nor Terrorist but Peaceful Citizen,” read another.

 

Police said up to 10,000 people took part in the peaceful march in the French capital, while several thousand others protested in a half-dozen cities around the country.

 

Critics of the law claim it will stigmatize France’s Muslims. French authorities contend the principle of secularism is meant to make everybody equal.

 

“I think it will make things worse,” Kods Mejry, 18, said of the head scarf ban. “There will be no more integration.”

 

Her blue, white and red scarf matching the French flag was meant “to show that we are French and Muslim and proud of it.”

 

In Washington, about 100 people protested outside the French Embassy; many were women wearing scarves. The crowded chanted “My scarf, my choice.”

 

Demonstrators held signs that read: “Repressive Does Not Equal Progressive” and “Is My Scarf a Threat to Democracy?”

 

In London, 2,400 people demonstrated near the French Embassy in the upscale Knightsbridge area. Waving placards, they chanted: “If this is democracy, we say ‘No, merci!”‘

 

“The government is isolating Muslims and setting a dangerous precedent,” said Ihtisham Hibatullah, spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain.

 

Nearby, a small rival group of about 30 demonstrators expressed support for the French ban.

 

British Foreign Office Minister Mike O’Brien said Britain’s overnment supports the right to display religious symbols.

 

“In Britain, we are comfortable with the expression of religion, seen in the wearing of the hijab, crucifixes or the kippa,” O’Brien said in a statement. “Integration does not require assimilation.”

 

Across the Middle East, protesters denounced the French ban. The largest turnout was in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, where some 2,500 people marched. Smaller rallies drew up to 100 people each in the Jordanian capital of Amman, in Cairo and in Kuwait.

 

Some 300 Palestinian women protested in the West Bank city of Nablus.

 

“As a people who have been oppressed, we know what it means for others in the world who are denied their freedom,” said Salam Ghazal, head of a local women’s group.

 

In Iraq, an Islamic group distributed an open letter to Chirac in mosques that called on him to reverse his position, while dozens of male and female students demonstrated at Baghdad’s Al Mustansiriya University.

 

In Canada, snowy weather and subzero temperatures did not shake the resolve of 300 protesters outside the French consulate in Toronto.

 

“Public outrage will hopefully cause the French government to rethink what they’re planning on doing,” said Rania Lawendy, a protest organizer.

 

In Stockholm, too, about 2,000 people marched to the French Embassy. A smaller group protested in Oslo.

 

The Party of Muslims of France, a small group known for its radical views, organized the Paris march. However, the huge Union of Islamic Organizations of France, a fundamentalist group, gave its blessing and encouraged people to take part.

 

“The next step is for the president to react before it’s too late,” said Mohamed Latreche, head of the Party of Muslims of France.

 

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Cleric delivers veil threat (Washington Times, 040121)

 

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) — Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority said yesterday that Saudi women appearing without their veils in the presence of men “cause the doors of evil to open.”

 

Grand Mufti Sheik Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Sheik’s remarks came after Saudi Arabia’s leading businesswoman, Lubna Olayan, who delivered the opening speech at an economic conference in the Red Sea port of Jidda this week, was shown on the front pages of local newspapers without a head scarf.

 

“This is prohibited for all. ... I severely condemn this matter and warn of grave consequences. I am pained by such shameful behavior in the country of the two holy mosques,” Sheik Abdulaziz said in remarks carried by the state Saudi Press Agency.

 

Men and women at the conference were segregated by a screen, but women were able to cross over into the men’s section — portrayed by some Saudi journalists as a sign of liberalization in the conservative country.

 

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is ruled by an alliance of the House of Saud and powerful Wahhabi religious authorities.

 

Under Saudi Arabia’s Shariah law, women are required to be covered fully in public. Contact with men outside their immediate families is limited.

 

Sheik Abdulaziz said those who strayed from what he called the righteous path should fear God and His punishment. “They cause the doors of evil to open before the people of Islam,” SPA quoted him as saying.

 

“What was published in some newspapers about this being the start of liberating the Saudi woman ... such talk is null and void. One’s duty is to obey Shariah by complying with orders and shunning that which is forbidden.”

 

Female speakers at the conference called for unlocking the potential of women in the work force.

 

Economists say women make up more than half the graduates from Saudi universities but just 5% of the work force.

 

The kingdom, facing a wave of militant violence and growing economic challenges, has embarked on a program of cautious reform despite fierce opposition from some religious figures.

 

Crown Prince Abdullah has promised municipal elections this year, although it is not known if women will be allowed to vote.

 

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Jihad on U.S. soil (Washington Times, 040312)

 

Although most media attention has been focused on Martha Stewart, gay “marriage” and the national waistline, the jihad continues in America.

 

> The FBI and Coast Guard announced last Thursday that they have discovered nine members of the Merchant Marine who may have links to terrorist groups. This is the fruit of Operation Drydock, an anti-terror investigation that has lasted more than a year. These efforts, while laudable, only underscore the fact that terrorists have already begun to try to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of American seaports.

 

On the same day, three members of the “Virginia jihad network” were found guilty of conspiracy. Masoud Khan, Seifullah Chapman and Hammad Abdur-Raheem played paintball in 2000 and 2001 with a deadly serious purpose: They were training with the hope of joining the Taliban and waging jihad against the United States. Khan was also convicted of attempting to wage war against the United States.

 

> Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, formerly a high-profile Muslim student activist at the University of Idaho, was charged, also on Thursday, with ties to Hamas. He maintains his innocence. Fox News reported that he “was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism after federal prosecutors said he helped run Web sites that urge people to contribute money to Hamas.”

 

> In San Diego last Wednesday, Ilyas Ali, an American citizen, and Muhamed Abid Afridi, a Pakistani national, admitted to drug trafficking in order to raise money for weapons for the Taliban and al Qaeda. They were selling heroin and hashish to raise money for Stinger missiles.

 

> On the same day, five Muslims were convicted in Buffalo of trafficking in untaxed cigarettes in order to get money for jihad. Mohamed Abuhamra, Aref Ahmed, Ramzy Abdullah, Nagib Aziz and Azzeaz Saleh could get 20 years and $500,000 fines for using the smokes to try to raise money to help the six jihadists from a Lackawanna, N.Y., mosque — the notorious “Lackawanna Six” journey to Afghanistan to join up with al Qaeda.

 

> A member of the Kashmir jihad was arrested last week in Pennsylvania. Mohammad Aslam, a British citizen, was originally arrested for staying in the United States after the expiration of his visa. Through his fingerprints, however, he was identified as a member of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, wanted for the kidnapping and murder of Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre in England in 1984. Mhatre was seized and killed in an attempt to secure the release from prison of the group’s founder, Maqbool Bhat.

> Sgt. Hasan Akbar is the Muslim soldier who attacked his own commanding officers in Kuwait last year while crying out, “You guys are coming into our countries, and you’re going to rape our women and kill our children” — a clear indication that his attack grew out of his identity as a Muslim. After a long period of silence, the Army announced last Thursday that it is going to go ahead with a court martial. Sgt. Akbar could get the death penalty.

 

> The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) is building a new mosque that it intends to be one of the grandest in the country. Arabic-language brochures boast that the project has the backing of the radical Sheikh Yusuf Abdullah al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian now based in Qatar.

 

In English, the ISB claims that al-Qaradawi “has never played any role in the ISB.” However, the Boston Herald reports that “records show al-Qaradawi’s name was listed on federal tax forms as recently as 2001 as a member of the society’s board of directors.” The ISB is not alone in embracing al-Qaradawi: establishment Islamic scholar John Esposito has praised him as a champion of a “reformist interpretation of Islam.”

 

Yet al-Qaradawi has justified suicide bombings, specifically praising such attacks against Israeli civilians. In this he works from tenets of Islamic law that forbid attacks against civilians unless they are aiding the war effort — and al-Qaradawi sees everyone in Israel in this category. Also, according to the Herald, al-Qaradawi exclaimed at a Muslim youth group convention in Toledo in 1995: “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through (the) sword, but through Da’awa [preaching].” The Herald adds that “in March 2003, al-Qaradawi issued a religious ruling, a fatwa, encouraging Muslim women, as well as men, to become suicide bombers in the name of Allah and jihad.”

 

With the biases of the major media abundantly established, it will be interesting to see how much attention such stories receive as the election season kicks into high gear.

 

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and the author of “Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West” and “Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Fait

 

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Islam And The West: Buzzwords Won’t Fill The Gap (Free Congress Foundation, 040205)

 

By Paul M. Weyrich

 

Recently, a friend forwarded an e-mail that contained a link to a news story that should make every adult - especially women - in our country rise to their feet in righteous indignation. A few years ago a Muslim cleric living in Spain published a book telling men how to beat their wives without leaving telltale signs. If a man’s “serene dialogue” failed to bring a “rebellious woman” under control, then he should use a “light and thin stick” to hit her “so it will not leave scars and bruising.” This led to a court case a few weeks ago in which the book was confiscated and the cleric, Mohamed Kamal Mustafa, was given a suspended sentence and a fine.

 

Given our country’s belief in the First Amendment, that cleric would be free to publish such a work here. If that were to happen, I could never agree to put him on trial for what he wrote, though any man in our country who followed through on the imam’s advice should be sent to trial and given a meaningful penalty. However, for what he wrote, the cleric should receive a hearing in our country’s court of public opinion.

 

Many Americans concerned with civil rights are quick to come forward with charges of abuse and discrimination against so-called “Islamophobes”, yet fall strangely silent when they are urged to examine Islamic beliefs in greater detail.

 

The Spanish cleric maintained that he was interpreting texts central to his religion. In his view the Spanish court, with arrogance and ignorance, took it upon itself to proclaim that the imam’s beliefs and the texts he cited are unrepresentative of the Islamic religion or culture.

 

Indeed, Robert Spencer, adjunct fellow at the Free Congress Foundation, and author of Women and Islam (Free Congress) and Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Regnery), notes that the Qur’an does include sentences that show men and women to be equal, something that defenders of Islam will highlight while portraying Islam to be a religion in harmony with the Judeo-Christian tradition.

 

But, as Mr. Spencer points out, there is much more to Islam and how it treats women.

The Qur’an also contains a directive for the husband to beat his disobedient wife (Sura 4:34) and other passages denying women equality with men - and too many Muslim husbands take these passages as guides for how to deal with their wives.

 

Women who live in Saudi Arabia, where the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect exerts such a strong influence, risk arrest on suspicion of prostitution simply for walking down the street alone. Ironically, Amnesty International claims that in Pakistan, a locus for sexual slavery trafficking, women have actually been killed for refusing to engage in prostitution.

 

We hear very little about the sad plight of women in Muslim countries. In America there is much more of an outcry against Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell for their alleged opposition to women’s rights. For instance, on the issue of abortion, Robertson and Falwell place the issue of the unborn child’s right to life ahead of the right of the mother to have a “choice”. They are condemned for speaking out on behalf of the child, who, after all, cannot speak for himself or herself.

 

I know these men well and I have never heard them say that a woman who gave birth to a child out of wedlock should be stoned or whipped. Never have I heard them say that women must not own property. Never have I heard them say, even in jest, that women cannot walk unaccompanied down a street. Yet, in Muslim countries or regions it’s a different story. Lashings still occur in Nigeria, where the northern provinces are under the influence of Shar’ia, which is an Islamic system of law. In the northern province of Zamfara in January 2001, a teenage mother was lashed one hundred times. Recently, another 16-year-old in Sudan was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery. Not long ago attention was focused on a mother, Amina Lawal, 31, who had been sentenced to death by stoning. Fortunately, she escaped death through a massive worldwide appeal.

 

American advocates of diversity and multiculturalism just don’t get it. There is a vast fundamental difference between how women are treated in countries and regions under the sway of Islamic law and how they are treated in the West, with its tradition of individual rights.

 

That difference alone should make those who are interested in promoting “diversity” realize that a simple, feel-good buzzword will not wash away the differences between the West and much of the Islamic world.

 

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Preaching Poison

Palestinian clerics encourage child-martyrdom.

 

By Steven Stalinsky

 

It has been reported that at least 29 suicide bombers younger than 18 years of age have been exploited into committing attacks by Palestinian terrorist organizations over the past few years. This past Monday an 11-year-old Palestinian boy was apprehended in Nablus with explosives to be used in another apparent suicide attack.

 

The concept of educating children to become suicide bombers often appears in weekly Palestinian sermons by Khatibs (preachers) who are paid employees of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The sermons are broadcast live every Friday at noon from mosques under control of the PA and are shown on PA television.

 

The most senior Palestinian Authority religious figure, Mufti Sheikh Ikrimeh Sabri, is a vocal proponent of sending children on terrorist attacks. In an interview with the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, he explained his thoughts on child martyrs, as well as the joy of their mothers: “I feel the martyr is lucky because the angels usher him to his wedding in heaven. I feel the earth moves under the occupiers’ feet... There is no doubt that a child [martyr] suggests that the new generation will carry on the mission with determination. The younger the martyr — the greater and the more I respect him... They [mothers of martyrs] willingly sacrifice their offspring for the sake of freedom. It is a great display of the power of belief. The mother is participating in the great reward of the jihad to liberate Al-Aqsa... I talked to a young man... [who] said: ‘... I want to marry the black-eyed [beautiful] women of heaven.’ The next day he became a martyr. I am sure his mother was filled with joy about his heavenly marriage. Such a son must have such a mother.”

 

Sheikh Ibrahim Madhi, one of the most popular Palestinian imams, is especially vocal on educating children to become martyrs by sending them on terrorist attacks. During a sermon at the ‘Ijlin Mosque in Gaza, he repeats the following discussion he had with a child who approached him about becoming a suicide bomber: “A young man said to me, ‘I am 14 years old, and I have four years left before I blow myself up’.... We, the Muslims on this good and blessed land, are all — each one of us — seekers of Martyrdom.... The Koran is very clear on this: The greatest enemies of the Islamic nation are the Jews, may Allah fight them.... Blessings for whoever assaulted a soldier.... Blessings for whoever has raised his sons on the education of jihad and Martyrdom; blessings for whoever has saved a bullet in order to stick it in a Jew’s head...”

 

On another occasion, Madhi praised children who put on explosive belts in order to blow up Jews: “Shame and remorse on whoever refrained from raising his children on jihad... Blessings to whoever waged jihad for the sake of Allah; blessings to whoever raided for the sake of Allah; blessings to whoever put a belt of explosives on his body or on his sons’ and plunged into the midst of the Jews, crying ‘Allahu Akbar, praise to Allah, There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger’.... Allah, show us a black day for the Jews, like the day of ‘Aad and Thamud [Two pre-Islamic Arab tribes that refused to convert to Islam, and were punished by annihilation]. Allah, turn them into pillage for us. Allah, we strive for martyrdom for your sake...”

 

If there was only one Palestinian child left, he or she would be sacrificed by the Palestinian people for the sake of jihad, according to Madhi in another sermon: “Even if they slaughter all of the Palestinian people and the only survivors will be one single Palestinian baby girl and one single Palestinian baby boy, the baby boy will marry the baby girl and they will give birth to the one who will liberate Jerusalem from the defilement of the Jews.... While they [the Palestinians] sacrifice the last Palestinian child and the last Palestinian fetus, they [the Arab nations] will satisfy themselves with victories on the soccer courts.... It was rightly claimed that a thousand verbal shells cannot compare to one shell made of iron. It was rightly claimed that what was taken by force will be regained only by the use of force. We must prepare ourselves in accordance with the religion of Allah and the Law of Allah. We must educate our children on the love of jihad for the sake of Allah and the love of fighting for the sake of Allah.”

 

In addition to the usual calling of the Jews “sons of Pigs and Apes,” who “deserve death,” last Friday’s sermon by Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris discussed the joy a mother has when hearing her child committed a suicide bombing: “...But they accuse us of being terrorists. Terrorists, because when the Palestinian mother welcomes her martyred son, she wishes to receive him as a corpse. She does not want him to be alive.... The wish of the Palestinian mother is to see the body of her son the martyr...”

 

The importance of educating youth for battle has also been the topic of sermons by Sheikh Mudeiris, who stated on February 28, 2003, from the Khalil Al-Wazir Mosque in Gaza: “And here, I want to emphasize, oh people of Palestine, that our children, the fruit of our loins — we must protect them.... The children need proper education because it is they who will lead the struggle after us, on the day when they will grow up and become strong and we will grow old. They are our children, who will conduct the battle after us.”

 

To view videos of these and other Palestinian Authority sermons that deal with calls for the destruction of the U.S., the perceived American Crusader War Against Islam, honoring Shahids and the rewards of the martyrs, and anti-Semitism, including calls for the killing of Jews, visit http://www.memri.org/video/.

 

— Steven Stalinsky is executive director of The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

 

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112 Killed in Thailand Clashes (FN, 040428)

 

PATTANI, Thailand  — Police gunned down machete-wielding militants who stormed security outposts in the Muslim-dominated south of Thailand Wednesday, killing at least 112 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Southeast Asian kingdom.

 

The attackers were mostly teenagers — some wearing red head bands — and were intent on stealing weapons. They were poorly armed and apparently unaware that police had been tipped off in advance and were lying in wait for them.

 

The eight hours of mayhem ended when police fired tear gas and rocket-propelled grenades into a mosque, killing 32 militants who, witnesses said, were sheltering inside after running away from an earlier battle.

 

“Maybe the insurgents underestimated the preparedness of security forces. They used machetes to steal guns and when we fought back they suffered big losses,” Yala Gov. Boonyasit Suwanarat said.

 

It was the worst violence in a region that has seen dozens of people killed in near-daily attacks this year. The government has blamed Islamic separatists seeking for decades to carve out a homeland in the Muslim-majority south of this predominantly Buddhist country.

 

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the killings would halt the simmering separatist struggle in the Muslim-dominated south.

 

“After this, it will be hard for them to do these kind of bad things again,” Thaksin said.

 

The raids were linked to a Jan. 4 attack on a military camp in the nearby province of Narathiwat, which triggered an upsurge of violence in the area this year, Thaksin said. Four soldiers were killed and hundreds of guns stolen in that raid.

 

“The masterminds of this movement were in such high spirits after they raided the army camp, and they believed that they could do it again. But they were wrong,” Thaksin said.

 

He denied the attackers had connections to international terrorists, saying “most of the insurgents are youths from the southern provinces.”

 

The attacks began before dawn, when insurgents stormed more than 15 police bases, village defense posts and district offices in a bid to steal weapons, said Lt. Gen. Proong Bunphandung, the chief of police for the south.

 

However, security forces had been tipped off and were waiting for the assailants, most of whom carried only machetes, Proong said.

 

Television news reports showed the bodies of insurgents lying in pools of blood, some of them in front of police stations clasping machetes and wearing camouflage.

 

Gunfire could be heard in the background as armored personnel carriers drove down deserted village streets and commandos ran through the forest. Policemen and soldiers, carrying automatic rifles, ran across streets and ditches.

 

Army chief Gen. Chaiyasith Shinawatra said 107 insurgents were killed and 17 were arrested. He said three policemen and two soldiers also were killed.

 

No group claimed responsibility for the highly coordinated assault.

 

Nimu Magajae, deputy chairman of Yala Islamic Council, said he was told the attackers were drug addicts.

 

“This is the first time in my life that I have seen so many Muslim youths killed in one day. But if they were drug addicts we do not regard them as religious followers,” he told The Associated Press.

 

Nimu demanded that authorities hand over the dead so they could be buried within 24 hours, in line with Islamic custom.

 

Many parts of the region have been under martial law for months. Security was tightened Wednesday along the border with neighboring Malaysia, which in the past has denied allegations of harboring militants.

 

Thaksin said the attackers arrived at the target point with brand new motorcycles, which he said proved they were funded by “influential figures, including politicians and drug gangsters.”

 

Muslims have long complained of discrimination in jobs and education in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat — Thailand’s only Muslim majority provinces.

 

They also say their culture and language are being subjugated by the Buddhist Thais, and cite as an example the state schools, which teach in Thai language. Muslims in the south speak Yawi, a dialect of Malay, spoken in neighboring Malaysia.

 

The alienation caused by the central government’s policies has been the source of a decades-old separatist struggle, which subsided after an amnesty in the late 1980s before exploding with the army arsenal raid in January.

 

The military also crushed pro-democracy uprisings in 1973, 1976 and 1991, killing dozens.

 

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Outside Encouragement: Sharia rules Nigeria — with the help of foreign Islamists (National Review Online, 040505)

 

It is a pretty good rule of thumb that where you find Muslim extremism, Islamist terrorism, and women being sentenced to death by stoning, there you will find Saudi funds and Saudi-trained personnel. One exception to this rule has been Nigeria, but now evidence of Wahabbi mischief is surfacing there as well.

 

Since the governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Ahmed Sani, introduced a draconian version of sharia in 1999, 11 of Nigeria’s 36 states have followed suit. Five women have been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, though no punishment has yet been carried out. Thieves have had their hands amputated by court order. One man had his eye removed after accidentally blinding a friend (he could have escaped this by paying 60 camels, but the injured party wasn’t interested in the camels).

 

Under these sharia dictates, women are harshly subjugated. In northern Nigeria, they have been forbidden to rent houses and barred from riding motorbikes or traveling in the same vehicles as men. Taxi drivers have been caned for carrying female passengers. Zamfara requires all high-school girls to wear a hijab and bars them from wearing skirts and other “Western” forms of dress. State officials have advocated public flogging of those violating an “Islamic” dress code. Prostitution charges have been leveled at women merely for the crime of being unmarried after the age of 13. Judges in Bauchi State have told women to get married immediately or be sent to prison. One judge ordered four of them to pick out husbands from among the men in the court. Women are at a particular disadvantage in these criminal prosecutions since their testimony usually counts for only half that of a man.

 

Non-Muslims, usually Christians, have become second-class citizens. Their taxes pay for Islamic preachers, while hundreds of churches have been closed by government order. Last week, Sani announced that all “unauthorized” places of worship in Zamfara State would be demolished. Those who exercise their right under the Nigerian constitution to change their religion from Islam are threatened with death, a punishment for apostasy under sharia law. The Catholic and Anglican churches have had to set up protected centers for converts.

 

This spread of radical Islam has also led to riots, mob attacks, and vigilantes, producing the largest death toll in Nigeria since the civil war over Biafra in the 1960s. Over 10,000 people have died in the last four years in sharia-related violence — perhaps over 1,000 in the central states this year alone.

 

Recent months have seen the emergence of more organized militias. In early January, in Yobe State, there was an uprising by a group calling itself the “Taliban,” led by a “Mullah Omar,” and demanding an Islamic state. It took several hundred troops two weeks to put it down.

 

Foreign groups have been aiding the institutionalization of Islamic law. Saudi, Sudanese, Syrian, and Palestinian representatives appeared with Governor Sani in the days before he announced his plans for sharia. The Jigawa State government has sent Islamic judges for training in Malaysia and Sudan. The government of Katsina State has sent a delegation to Sudan to study its laws. Other states have been offered assistance from some these same countries as well as from Iran and Libya.

 

In January, the Saudi religious and cultural attaché in Nigeria, Sheik Abdul-Aziz, said that his government had been monitoring the implementation of sharia in Nigeria and noted the results “with delight.”

 

There is also evidence of infiltration by foreign Islamic radicals. According to some reports, extremists from neighboring Chad were involved in the July 2001 violence in Bauchi State. In November 2001, Nigerian police arrested six Pakistani preachers, accusing them of inciting religious violence in Ogun state. The police have announced that scores of Pakistanis have been arrested in different parts of the country for allegedly fomenting religious trouble since 9/11. Church spokesmen in Plateau State said last month that local Muslim extremists have brought in thousands of mercenaries from Niger and Chad to invade Christian towns and villages.

 

However, despite repeated rumors, there has until this year been little evidence of organized foreign support for violence and domestic terrorism. Now such evidence is appearing. On February 3, the Nigerian government announced that an unnamed Iranian diplomat was arrested on January 23 in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, after he was found taking photographs of Churches, a presidential villa, the defense headquarters, and the Israeli, British, and American embassies.

 

The usually reliable news service Compass Direct reports that one of January’s “Taliban” raiders, Muslim cleric Alhaji Sharu, confessed to police that he was a middleman between Nigerian extremists and the Al-Muntada Al-Islami Trust, a Saudi funded “charity” headquartered in Britain. Sharu said that the Trust’s money had been used to propagate a Wahabist version of Islam in Nigeria and fund religious violence.

 

Subsequent investigation by Nigeria’s police led to “the discovery of financial transactions running into millions of dollars” between Sharu and the Trust’s local head, a Sudanese businessman named Muhiddeen Abdullahi. Authorities arrested Abdullahi on February 20, accusing him and the Trust of financing attacks on Christians, including the January Taliban uprising.

 

When authorities released Abdullahi 10 days after his arrest, more than 5,000 Qadiriyya Sufi Muslims, the largest tradition within Nigerian Islam, mounted a protest march. Chanting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Great”), demanded that Wahabbis be banned from the country. Their spokesman, Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara, told journalists, “As a matter of urgency, the state government should close the office of Al-Muntada Al-Islami because of its activities which have resulted in religious unrest in Nigeria.”

 

If Nigeria’s moderate Muslims can call for the rejection of Saudi interference, there is nothing stopping the Nigerian government from doing the same, and little stopping the U.S. government from encouraging it to do so.

 

— Paul Marshall is senior fellow at Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom. He is author of Islam at the Crossroads and God and the Constitution: Christianity and American Politics.

 

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Lessons from Iraq: Can Arab democracy happen? (National Review Online, 040505)

 

Following the victory-but-fiasco that the British eked out in the Boer War of 1899-1902, Rudyard Kipling wrote:

 

Let us admit it fairly, as a business people should, We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of good.

 

Now, I am not going to present an argument that Iraq is America’s Boer War. I don’t believe it is, even in potential. Not that there aren’t some resemblances, mainly centered around the verb “to underestimate”; but we are not, except in the fevered imaginations of some of the more extreme Bush-haters, in the empire-building business. The “good” that Kipling looked forward to was a better and stronger British Empire (“We have had an Imperial lesson; it may make us an Empire yet!”)

 

That’s not us. It’s certainly not me — I persist in regarding the whole thing as a punitive expedition against a major nuisance and probable future threat. It’s not the more “neocon” of us neocons, either, though. The most anyone on the pro-war side hopes for is a modern, constitutional, independent nation in Iraq. I personally think that’s a stretch; but it’s not an ignoble idea, would actually be great for the whole world if it came to pass, and it certainly isn’t imperialist.

 

I do, though, want to try to peer forward to see what lessons the Iraq war might end up teaching us. A few days ago I posted a column about how our domestic obsessions with “diversity” and “multiculturalism” influence the conduct of our foreign policy, and of this war. Here I’m going to try to look at the topic from the other side: Will the war change our national culture? Will it, in particular, hasten the crack-up of the multicultural ideology?

 

Let’s take a close look at that ideology, through the eyes of a passionate adherent. Here was George W. Bush addressing the press on Friday, on the occasion of a visit by Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin:

 

There’s a lot of people in the world who don’t believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren’t necessarily — are a different color than white can self-govern. And the Prime Minister — I don’t want to put words in his mouth — but I think he shares that great sense of optimism and possibility...

 

I bet he does. If he doesn’t, he’s in trouble, for multiculturalism is official state dogma in Canada just as much as it is here, and the prime minister would be run out of public life as a “hate-filled” heretic, with a howling pack of ideological enforcers close on his heels, if he showed signs of not believing in it.

 

Does our own president believe in it? I feel sure that he does. He is a sincere man, and also a very religious one, in the apologetic, guilt-addled, world-embracing style of upper-class white American Christianity. Further, I don’t think he has the kind of mind that responds critically to social dogmas. If they appeal to his emotions, and are widely believed, or at least repeated, by the people he moves amongst, he will incorporate them into his worldview, and from then on will defend them with the iron-willed certitude that is, of all his character traits, the one most useful to our nation in this time of war. Everything George W. Bush has said and done indicates that on matters of race, ethnicity, “diversity,” and multiculturalism, he is as liberal as it is possible to be.

 

Just look at his words up there above, for example. What is the president actually saying? What, for instance, is all that stuff about skin color? What does skin color have to do with the matter of democracy in Iraq? I have blood relatives in England who are darker-skinned than Saddam Hussein. Practically the entire editorial staff of National Review is darker-skinned than Muqtada al-Sadr. And how did we suddenly segue from “people whose skin color may not be the same as ours” (Whose? Yours? Condi’s?) to “people who practice the Muslim faith,” then back again in the very next sentence to “people whose skins...are a different color than white”?

 

The reason for all the confusion is that the president is talking — or rather, like a good multiculturalist, tying himself in knots by trying desperately not to talk — about race. One of the central tenets of the multiculturalist dogma is that there is no such thing as race. Populations of different ancestry may differ from each other in superficial and easily visible ways — that is why it is O.K., just about, to mention “skin color” — but in no other ways at all. So what the president is asserting is, if you translate it out of multiculturalist code, something like this:

 

While people from various regions of the world might differ in appearance, they do not differ innately in psychology or characteristic patterns of behavior. There is, therefore, no reason why any nation, anywhere, should not have constitutional government under representative democracy. To suggest otherwise is racist.

 

Now I, personally, have that deplorable cast of mind that, when it hears someone say that such and such a thing is racist, reacts instinctively with the thought: “Racist, schmacist: is it t-r-u-e?”

 

Well, is it? Are there any grounds for believing that the Arabs of Iraq are innately, genetically, incapable of practicing rational government, based upon the consent of the governed?

 

Let’s take a look. There is, of course — of course! — no such thing as race, but there is definitely such a thing as population genetics. I have a huge fat tome on the subject right here on my desk: the 1994 edition of Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi and Piazza’s 1,088-page, backpack-sized History and Geography of Human Genes, the fruit of decades of research into the frequencies of numerous human genes in different parts of the world. Iraqi Arabs are covered in Section 4.15, “Genetics of West Asia.” Here we read that Iraqi Arabs are closest in genetic composition to the Kurds. The next closest populations genetically are Turks and Jordanian Arabs.

 

Democracy-wise, this is a mixed bag. The Turks have a pretty good democracy going — not up to Jeffersonian standards, perhaps, but they’d be popping champagne corks in the White House if Iraq ever got as democratic as Turkey. The Kurds of liberated Iraq have a way to go, but they seem to be on the road and moving fast. Cavalli-Sforza et al. don’t make it clear whether “Jordanian Arab” includes the Palestinians, so it’s hard to draw much of a conclusion there; but if the kingdom of Jordan is not exactly Switzerland, it’s not North Korea, either. (Neither, let it be noted, since we are talking about the intersection of genetics and political science, is South Korea...)

 

It does not, therefore, look as if race — oops, sorry!, I meant population genetics — has anything to do with it. So, then, the president is right, isn’t he? There is nothing in the biological make-up of the Iraqi Arabs that prohibits them from having a democracy, is there?

 

My guess is that there isn’t. Unfortunately, while biology is a much under-estimated part of human nature — an unmentionable one, in fact, to the strict multiculturalist — it is not the whole of it. The uncomfortable fact remains that of the 18** nations whose first language is Arabic, not one is a modern constitutional democracy. The further fact remains that while President Bush may, and probably does, believe that constitutional democracy is priority No. 1 for the Arabs, a great deal of circumstantial evidence suggest that for many in that part of the world, priority No. 1 is the humiliation and murder of their enemies, most especially the hated Jews, with constitutional democracy round about priority No. 853.

 

So what is it? Why can’t Arabs do what English and Irish, French and German, Japanese and Taiwanese, Barbadians and Trinidadians have done? Is it the folkways — cousin marriage, the subjugation of women, what David Pryce-Jones calls the “closed circle” of money-favoring and power-challenging, shame and honor? Is it perhaps even, as Goitein suggested, something to do with the language itself?

 

Whatever the barrier is, it makes it awfully difficult for the Arabs to take up a civilized form of government. And there we come to the lesson. Either the Iraqis can break through that barrier, or they can’t. If they can, we are of course home and dry, and George W. Bush enters the rolls of history as a world-transforming president.

 

If they can’t, though, then the American people are going to take a lesson from it. The lesson they take will be: “These people are fundamentally different from us. They don’t care about the things we care about — liberty, law, constitutionalism, rational economics — and can’t be persuaded to. They are different from us in some permanent, unfathomable, intractable way.”

 

If large numbers of Americans come away from the Iraq experience thinking that, then the multicultural ideology — which teaches that the cultures of the world differ only superficially, in things like cuisine and “skin color,” but in no ways that have anything to do with behavior, either individual or collective — will be in very serious trouble. So will be the nation’s most ardent enthusiast for that ideology, George W. Bush.

 

** Everyone gets a different count here. I make it 18, but I may have missed a couple: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

 

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Kingdom Comes to North America: Top Saudi cleric to visit Canada (National Review Online, 040513)

 

Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, the Saudi government appointed imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, will give a series of lectures in Canada next week and attend the Islamic Studies of North America conference in Toronto. Al-Sudayyis’s position is one of the most prestigious in Sunni Islam. Thus, his sermons hold significant weight throughout the Islamic world.

 

The themes of his sermons are characterized by confrontation toward non-Muslims. Al-Sudayyis calls Jews “scum of the earth” and “monkeys and pigs” who should be “annihilated.” Other enemies of Islam, he says, are “worshippers of the cross” and “idol-worshipping Hindus” who should be fought. Al-Sudayyis has been consistent in calling for jihad in Kashmir and Chechnya, for Jerusalem to be liberated, and for the “occupiers in Iraq” to also be fought. He often claims that Islam is superior to Western culture.

 

At the Grand Mosque in Mecca on February 1, 2004, Sheikh Al-Sudayyis called on Muslims everywhere to unite to defeat the world’s occupiers and oppressors. “History has never known a cause in which our religious principles, historical rights, and past glories are so clearly challenged.... The conflict between us and the Jews is one of creed, identity, and existence.” He told those listening to “read history,” in order “to know that yesterday’s Jews were bad predecessors and today’s Jews are worse successors. They are killers of prophets and the scum of the earth. Allah hurled his curses and indignation on them and made them monkeys and pigs and worshippers of tyrants. These are the Jews, a continuous lineage of meanness, cunning, obstinacy, tyranny, evil, and corruption....”

 

Al-Sudayyis elaborated on the conflict between Muslims and Jews:

 

O Muslims, the Islamic nation today is at the peak of conflict with the enemies of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, with the grandsons of Bani-Quraydah, Al-Nadhir, and Qaynuqa [Jewish tribes in the early days of Islam]. May Allah’s curses follow them until the Day of Judgment.

 

The nation must know that these are people with a disgraceful history and.... They want to establish the Greater Israel with Jerusalem as its capital. They also aspire to demolish the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build their alleged temple in its place. They want to liquidate the State of Islam and the Koran, and build the State of the Torah and Talmud on its debris. They will get what they deserve from Allah.... Our Al-Aqsa is crying out saying all mosques have been liberated, while I — a great holy mosque — am still being desecrated. Is the aspiration of over 1 billion Muslims to preserve their holy places [to be] considered savagery and terrorism? What a great lie, O Allah, O steadfast brothers in struggler and steadfast Palestine, the land of honor, loftiness, sacrifice, jihad, and bravery. The captivity of our Al-Aqsa in the hands of the tyrants makes us sleepless. May Allah please us with its liberation. Victory is coming soon, Allah willing.

 

....Here are the flags of victory looming on the horizon. We can smell it. It is crowned by a brave jihad, an intifada, which is still the winning card and the lit candle in the hands of the devout sons of this nation.... O nation of jihad and sacrifice, it is the duty of Muslims to support their brothers in creed in Palestine and elsewhere and to back them with material and moral support. Jihad with money sometimes supersedes jihad with soul, as mentioned in many Koranic verses and the prophet’s traditions.

 

In a sermon on April 23, 2004, regarding Iraq, Al-Sudayyis stated that “our Muslim brothers in the Iraq of history and civilization are facing another bloody chapter, particularly in the brave, steadfast city of Al-Fallujah.” He called on Muslims everywhere to unite “to defeat all their occupiers and oppressors” for the destruction of the enemies of Islam, to support “our mujahedeen brothers in Palestine,” and to disperse “the unjust Zionists.”

 

Discussing plots by enemies of Islam, who he identifies as Hindus, Jews, and Christians, Al-Sudayyis delivered a sermon on May 31, 2002, which stated:

 

Those whom Allah cursed, got angry with, and turned into monkeys and pigs, the tyrant worshippers among the Jewish aggressors and criminal Zionists. Their course is supported by the advocates of usury and worshippers of the Cross, as well as by those who are infatuated with them and influenced by their rotten ideas and poisonous culture among the advocates of secularism and Westernization.... The enemies of Muslims among the atheists insist on their arrogance and aggression against our people and our holy places in Chechnya? The idol-worshipping Hindus indulge in their open hatred against our brothers and holy places...in Muslim Kashmir, threatening an imminent danger and a fierce war in the whole Indian sub-continent?... O Allah, support our brother Mujahedeen for your sake and the oppressed everywhere. O Allah, support them in Palestine, Kashmir, and Chechnya. O Allah, we ask you to support our Palestinian brothers in Palestine against the aggressor Jews and usurper Zionists. O Allah, the Jews have oppressed, terrorized, and indulged in tyranny and corruption. O Allah, deal with them for they are within your power.

 

According to Sheikh Al-Sudayyis, Islam is superior to Western culture. He told worshipers in Mecca in February 2002: “The most noble civilization ever known to mankind is our Islamic civilization. Today, Western civilization is nothing more than the product of its encounter with our Islamic civilization in Andalusia [medieval Spain]. The reason for [Western civilization’s] bankruptcy is its reliance on the materialistic approach, and its detachment from religion and values. [This approach] has been one reason for the misery of the human race, for the proliferation of suicide, mental problems...and for moral perversion.... Only one nation is capable of resuscitating global civilization, and that is the nation [of Islam].... While the false cultures sink in the swamp of materialism and suffer moral crises...our Islamic nation is the one worthy of grasping the reins of leadership and riding on the back of the horse of pioneering and world sovereignty.”

 

“Read history,” Al-Sudayyis stated in another sermon in May 2002, “and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil fathers of the Jews of today, who are evil offspring, infidels, distorters of [others’] words, calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers ... the scum of the human race ‘whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs....’ These are the Jews, an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption....”

 

The concluding supplications of Al-Sudayyis sermons are often filled with statements concerning current affairs. He consistently calls for “Muslims to humiliate the infidels (non-Muslims),” as well as for their destruction. For example, on November 1, 2002, he stated “O Allah, support our mujahedeen bothers in Palestine, Kashmir, and Chechnya and destroy the aggressor Jews and the tyrannical Zionists, for they are within your power.” In a June 21, 2002, sermon, Al-Sudayyis gives supplication: “O Allah, support them in Palestine, Kashmir, and Chechnya. O Allah, deal with the Jews and Zionists for they are within Your power. O Allah, scatter their assemblies, make them a lesson for others, and let them and their property be a booty for Muslims.”

 

In another sermon in May 2003, Sheikh Al-Sudayyis condemned what he termed the “serpents” to “spit their venom” by harming the Islamic religion, ridiculing the pious, and blaming the school curricula and religious and welfare institutions. Al-Sudayyis stated: “O Allah, support our brother mujahedeen for your sake everywhere. O Allah, support them in Palestine. O Allah, deal with the aggressor Jews and sinful Zionists. O Allah, deal with them for they are within Your power. O Allah, deal with the enemies of religion and show us the miracles of Your power on them.” Also, on July 11, 2003, he stated: “O Allah, support our mujahedeen brothers everywhere. O Allah, help them score victory over the unjust Jews and aggressive Zionists in Palestine. O Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. O Allah, destroy them, for they are within your power. O Allah, disperse them and make them prey for Muslims.”

 

According to statements beginning in June 2003 made by Washington D.C. Saudi-embassy spokesman Adel Al-Jubeir, “Hundreds of imams [in Saudi Arabia] who violated prohibitions against preaching intolerance have been removed from their positions and more than 1,000 have been suspended and referred to educational programs.” Clearly, this is not the case with Saudi Arabia’s leading imam, Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, who continues to preach incitement from the most holy site in all of Islam.

 

— Steven Stalinsky is executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute.

 

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Sacred Murder (National Review Online, 040520)

 

by David Frum

 

Irshad Manji has an important oped in the Wall Street Journal today. Manji, NR readers may recall, is the Canadian Muslim who recently published The Trouble with Islam, a biting diagnosis of present-day Muslim religiosity. Brave and insightful, Manji brings from her own first-hand experiences a warning that demands attention.

 

The warning is this: actions like the murder of Nicholas Berg may violate the human feelings of decent Muslims. But the hard truth is that it is just wishful thinking to claim that the killing violates the teachings of Islam, as those teachings are authoritatively interpreted by the leading modern Muslims.

 

Islam, like all religions, teaches respect for human life. But Islam also contains unique elements all its own. For unlike Judaism and unlike Christianity, the spiritual elements of Islam are mixed with an ideology of war and conquest, even in the pages of the Koran itself. And both the text of the Koran – and the personal example of the Prophet Muhammad – justify killing in general and beheading in particular as legitimate weapons against unbelievers.

 

The brave Iraqi blogger at www.healingiraq.com reminds us of the Koranic text that he translates thus: “When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives.”

 

This was not just a theoretical prescription. As Andrew Bostom has

observed, one of the great events in the story of Muhammad is his mass beheading of the defeated survivors of the Jewish Arabian tribe of the Qurayza.

 

“According to Muhammad’s sacralized biography by Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad himself sanctioned the massacre of the Qurayza, a vanquished Jewish tribe. He appointed an ‘arbiter’ who soon rendered this concise verdict: the men were to be put to death, the women and children sold into slavery, the spoils to be divided among the Muslims. Muhammad ratified this judgment stating that it was a decree of God pronounced from above the Seven Heavens.

 

“Thus some 600 to 900 men from the Qurayza were lead on Muhammad’s order to the Market of Medina. Trenches were dug and the men were beheaded, and their decapitated corpses buried in the trenches while Muhammad watched in attendance. Women and children were sold into slavery, a number of them being distributed as gifts among Muhammad’s companions, and Muhammad chose one of the Qurayza women (Rayhana) for himself. The Qurayza’s property and other possessions (including weapons) were also divided up as additional ‘booty’ among the Muslims, to support further jihad campaigns.”

 

In other words: It is very possible that the killers of Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg believed themselves to be re-enacting a scene from the life of the Prophet Muhammad. And when they videotaped the severed heads of their victims, they may have thought that they were fulfilling a commandment of the Koran.

 

Now I don’t want to single out the Islamic text and Islamic legends for criticism here. The Bible contains stories just as horrifying as the story of the story of the Qurayza; it too sacralizes war leaders like Joshua and Gideon. But over the centuries, Jewish and Christian tradition re-interpreted Biblical scriptures to make it plain that the massacring of Midianites and Amalekites is no guide of any kind to contemporary action, and there was a time when Islamic scholars did the same thing. Andy Bostom goes on to quote an 11th century Muslim jurist’s commentary on the Koran’s commandment to behead unbelievers:

 

“As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them.”

 

The jurist in question was evidently a civilized man trying to deal with an awkward text. He has no choice but to reaffirm the religious permissibility of beheading captives. But then he goes on to suggest that there might be more intelligent ways to deal with them – leading up to option four, which is to spare their lives and deal kindly with them. Anyone who has ever studied the way in which the rabbis of the Talmud endeavored to explain away the more gruesome and primitive sections of the Book of Judges will recognize exactly what this Muslim jurist is up to.

 

You often hear people say that the Islamic world needs a “Reformation.” Alas, in many ways, Islamic extremism is the Muslim “Reformation.” Al Qaeda and its ideological supporters are rejecting a thousand years of interpretation - interpretation that has tended to soften the often harsh Koranic text - to return to the bald words of Islamic scripture.

 

And this last brings us to a very difficult problem – unfortunately, one that has to wait for tomorrow.

 

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Moment of Truth: These are trying times for proponents of liberalism in the Middle East (National Review Online, 040524)

 

By Meyrav Wurmser

 

It’s been a tough year for us proponents and allies of Arab liberalism. We have spent a decade trying to solicit Arab good will. We sent troops to Somalia to end starvation. While we denied solace and assistance to endangered Christian communities in Sudan and Lebanon, we interceded in Bosnia to put an end to genocide and used our power to block the Serbs from further harming the Kosovars. We distanced ourselves from our “special relationship” with democratic Israel to be a neutral arbitrator with the Palestinians. We turned a blind eye to money flowing from the Arab world to various radicals in Europe and Muslim extremists around the world. We sent our wealth to rebuild Muslim societies, not only in the war-torn Balkans, but also in places like Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories.

 

We have spent a decade demonstrating our good will. And yet, we still find that the Arab world holds us in so much contempt and hatred that even after devastating, unprovoked attacks in New York and Washington that claimed thousands of innocents, Arab elites can — without a moment of introspection, remorse, or humility — blame us and our policies as the legitimizing “root cause.” Instead of a welling-up of popular indignation at the barbarities committed in their name, we hear excuses from most quarters of Arab society.

 

Recently we saw the mutilated body parts of six Israeli soldiers gruesomely displayed in the streets of Gaza. We saw an American citizen, who came to help rebuild Iraq, monstrously beheaded by al Qaeda, with the grizzly scene captured on video cameras and proudly displayed over the Internet. Some popular commentators told us not to expect any wellspring of condemnation from any quarter of the Arab world — even from those who call themselves moderates. Once again we wonder whether the West is caught in a hopeless clash of civilizations with the Arab and Muslim worlds.

 

It is not an easy question to ask for those who are historic optimists or believe in the basic ability of human nature to seek freedom, reform, and improve over time. It is even more difficult for those of us in Washington who believe that the regimes that engage in evil, reckless policies are often oppressive dictatorships ruling over innocent populations. Change the regime, goes the logic, bring freedom and democracy, and people will choose moderate, rational, more peaceful policies.

 

Thus, after September 11, we went to destroy the dictatorships of the Middle East that had brought so much radicalism and violence to the region, starting with Afghanistan and Iraq. We believed that encouraging freedom in the Middle East was the only answer to the core problems of the region and moreover a policy that reflected the American spirit and American values. In the months following September 11, many of us in leading magazines and research institutes argued that our relationships with liberal-minded Arabs and Muslims could lay the foundation for a forward-looking strategy of freedom. We were not naive; we knew that they represented a small minority in their societies. But we believed that with the right policies and encouragement from governmental and non-governmental forces in the West they could be brought to positions of power. These Arabs and Muslims were not our agents — they were our allies in what we believed was a large Arab civil war. We were willing to help because we believed that doing so would improve their lives and ours. As in World War II, it would require defeating and destroying the dictatorships in the region. The free societies that would be established in their place were thought to be the only long-term solution to terror and the best guarantee for the security of the West.

 

Moreover, we wanted to demonstrate to these freedom-seeking Arabs and Muslims that we rejected the idea of a clash of civilizations between our world and theirs. We did not ascribe to the notion that there was something inherent in Arab and Muslim history, religion, or culture that made it more violent and less free. We thought that, beyond cultural and religious differences, all people were alike and equal in their desires and aspirations. The dictatorial regimes of the Middle East were not the result of a culture that rejected progress but rather were born out of specific, sometimes unfortunate, historical developments. These developments produced destructive ideologies — both secular and religious in nature — that swept the region and gave rise to those regimes. Since there was nothing that was specifically violent or oppressive in their culture, there was no reason why — once free governments were established in the Middle East — there could not be peaceful co-existence between their societies and the West.

 

This logic was also applied by the Bush administration to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian society was engaged in terror and violence because it needed to release its frustration with Arafat’s corrupt and oppressive regime. A regime change in the Palestinian-controlled territories and the establishment of a democracy — coupled with the eventual creation of a Palestinian state — would help moderate the population and put an end to political oppression. This was the logic behind President Bush’s speech in June 2002 and was viewed by his administration as the only way to bring about long-term stability and end Palestinian terror.

 

But a complete lack of respect for human life, demonstrated in the streets of Gaza and Baghdad, casts doubt on these hopes for reform in the Middle East. There are many Arabs and Muslims who are just as revolted as we are by the photos of mutilated body parts of Israelis and Americans. But they remain a silent minority. Even if the perpetrators themselves are only a small minority of blood-thirsty extremists, too many others applauded their actions. As we have often seen in recent years, there was no sweeping condemnation of these hideous acts by Arab leaders — no remorse, no apology. There is no real introspection. Even those who condemn such violence regard it as a legitimate reaction to the West’s own brutality.

 

Coming on the heels of events at Abu Ghraib, the difference between American society’s reaction to American misdeeds and the reaction of the Arab world to the brutal acts in Iraq and Gaza tell the whole story. For those of us who believe that the Middle East can be improved this is a moment of crisis, of soul-searching. It is very difficult not to think that, after all, there may be a hopeless clash of civilizations taking place between the Middle East and the West. It is impossible not to ask whether there is inherent violence and lack of civility in Arab society.

 

It now has become clear that we are confronted with a deep malady. So many years of corruption, despotism, and tyranny — not just a century of Arab ideologies, but also centuries of Ottoman imperial rule and centuries of Arab tyrannies before that — have distorted, even sickened, Arab societies.

 

There has always been a divide among those who study history. Some argue that cultures and civilizations are organic entities with lives of their own, creating the states they deserve; proponents of this view write off the Arab world as incapable of liberalism. Others continue to hope that the crafty state is, over time, the main forger of society. But merely removing a despotic state after a millennium of tyranny is no longer a sufficient corrective to the illness afflicting Arab society. The problem now is not only political. Arab economies have been reduced to Mafioso-like monopolies and fights to control the state. Arab culture and art have been reduced to statist self-glorification. Most of all, Arab politics have been reduced violence and personal destruction rather than debate and mutual respect. In Arab politics, opponents are not answered or rebutted, they are discredited or destroyed.

 

We should not give up on all Muslims or all Arabs. But the burden of proof now is on them. It is no longer up to us to show that we treat them as equals and are not motivated by Western (or Jewish) anti-Arab conspiracies. It is no longer up to us to solicit their approval and acceptance. We should no longer blame ourselves.

 

This is now more than a struggle for Arab and Muslim freedom; it is a struggle for Arabs and Muslims to reclaim their souls, and it can only be decided within their own societies. It is up to the Arabs and the Muslims of the Middle East to decide not whether they want to be a part of modern, Western society, but whether they want to be a part of the civilized world. Now is their moment of truth.

 

— Meyrav Wurmser is senior fellow and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the Hudson Institute.

 

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Reform Begins At Home: Sudan’s anti-Muslim policies (National Review Online, 040527)

 

The Arab League wound up its lackadaisical weekend summit with several stunning displays of hypocrisy.

 

It condemned “the crimes and inhumane and immoral practices committed by the occupying soldiers” against prisoners in Iraq. The events at Abu Ghraib are terrible enough, but the idea that members of the Arab League are in any moral position to do any condemning is laughable. Many of its members are major-league torturers: Human-rights groups have been telling U.S. forces that it would be a violation of international law even to transfer prisoners to the custody of the likes of Egypt or Syria.

 

The Arab League also condemned Israel for purportedly conducting “military [operations]...that target civilians without distinction.” While it did so, the League managed to ignore the elephant in their living room, indeed, sitting in their lap: The fact that one of their members, Sudan, which is daily and hourly engaged in what the U.S. Congress, U.N. functionaries, Freedom House, and many other human-rights groups have labeled war crimes, and even genocide.

 

While the summit went on, the Sudanese government continued its war on the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa people in Darfur, in the west of the country. Government-backed militias are burning towns and villages, and engaging in systematic rape and murder. In recent months, more than 10,000 people have been killed and 110,000 have fled to neighboring Chad, with perhaps another million displaced. Many of those forced to flee their villages are now held in camps where they face starvation.

 

The targets of this policy are mainly Muslims — the inhabitants of western Sudan, who have the misfortune of being the “wrong sort” of Muslim: traditional, Sufi, easygoing Africans, at peace with their neighbors. They are rebelling against discrimination by the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired execration of Islam propagated by the ruling Sudanese National Islamic Front, a brother of Hamas.

 

How has the Arab League addressed this? As usual by ignoring it. Does it ignore it because it does not care about fundamental human suffering, because it would rather play political games with the all too real but, on a Sudanese scale, comparatively lesser suffering of the Palestinians? Does it not care about Muslims who are dying in their thousands, and soon to be tens of thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands? Will it ignore this as it did Algeria, where Islamists massacred over a 100,000 Muslims, disemboweling them, tearing up pregnant women, and sawing off heads? As it ignored the earlier two million, largely Christian and animist, Sudanese who died owing to government policies of forced starvation? Or is it simply racist in ignoring what Arabs do to Muslims who happen to be non-Arab, black Africans.

 

Whatever it is, members of the Arab League should be questioned, exposed, challenged, mocked, pilloried, castigated, shamed, and humiliated for their vile abdication of any real human responsibility.

 

And why is our media doing so little? Why is there nothing in the broadcast media? Why do they let the Arab League off the hook? As we know all too well, visuals can drive a story and compel attention. Where are the photos and videos of Darfur?

 

If we do not act, then we may well sit here five years from now and hear the equivalents of Kofi Annan and Bill Clinton once more bleating about how the U.N. and the U.S. did not do enough in Rwanda. So far only America has shown much leadership on this issue. The U.N. Human Rights Commission managed only a watery resolution on Sudan, and even elected this practitioner of genocide to the commission itself. The U.S. needs to pressure the Arab League to begin reforming Sudan, and to influence the Europeans to put their sense of moral superiority to some good use.

 

— Paul Marshall is senior fellow at Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom. He is author of Islam at the Crossroads and God and the Constitution: Christianity and American Politics.

 

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Sacred Murder II (National Review Online, 040524)

 

The reverberations continue from the Chalabi affair. There will be more to say – but for now I want to pick up with a theme from last week’s post on Irshad Manji’s May 20 oped in the Wall Street Journal.

 

Here’s where I left off: “Al Qaeda and its ideological supporters are rejecting a thousand years of interpretation - interpretation that has tended to soften the often harsh Koranic text - to return to the bald words of Islamic scripture.

 

And this last brings us to a very difficult problem ….”

 

The difficult problem that I was referring to forms the main theme of Irshad Manji’s oped and also of her book, The Trouble With Islam, and it is this: Why do Islam’s softer traditions seem to be losing out to the harsher versions of the faith?

 

We in the Western press often praise “moderate Islam.” But in practice, “moderate Islam” often turns out to be moderate in its actions only. As decent human beings, moderate Muslims will of course refrain from committing acts of oppression, cruelty, and terrorism. But intellectually, moderate Muslims have a difficult time explaining why these acts are “un-Islamic.” Take a look at Memri.org’s interesting posts on the important Sunni cleric, Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi.

 

Qaradhawi adamantly opposes terrorism. Yet his objections to terrorism are practical rather than moral, as in this sermon that Qaradhawi preached in Qatar in the summer of 2003 to denounce recent terror attacks in Saudi Arabia and Morocco:

 

“Therefore, I say that there is no use in operations of this type, because they kill peace-loving, innocent people. Not everyone who was killed in Riyadh was American and not everyone who was killed in Casablanca was American or foreign. Not every foreigner deserves to be killed. Killing has specific conditions. There are people whom we call ‘under Muslim protection’ who have entered our country. They must not be harmed and their blood must not be spilled. The brothers harmed, among others, a Belgian club, even though Belgium’s opinion was good – it opposed the war on Iraq and wanted to try Sharon and some American officers …”

 

Qaradhawi thinks the terrorists have gone too far, have damaged their own cause – but he cannot find ground to condemn them utterly. He rejects their actions, but he will not reject their intellectual and moral premises, not at least in public.

 

Or consider this. In 1997, one of the leading religious authorities of the Islamic world, Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, the grand imam of Cairo’s al-Ahzar university, met with the Chief Rabbi of Israel. Tantawi was subsequently criticized for this meeting, and he gave a series of interviews to explain his actions:

 

“The Prophet’s stance, which is my own stance as well, was that anyone who avoids meeting with the enemies in order to counter their dubious claims and stick fingers into their eyes, is a coward. My stance stems from Allah’s book [the Koran], more than one-third of which deals with the Jews. You should know that you are interviewing a person who wrote a dissertation dealing with them [the Jews], all their false claims and their punishment by Allah. I still believe in everything written in that dissertation. …

 

“I did not ask to meet with the rabbi; he was the one who asked to meet me and when he left the meeting, his face looked like his behind. …

 

“On the personal level, I attacked him, and proved to him that Islam is the religion of truth.”

 

The sheikh of al-Ahzar is by definition about as mainstream a figure as a Muslim can be – and yet he recoils as if from a libel the suggestion that he might have even been ordinarily civil to a visiting rabbi.

 

What Westerners are really yearning for is not a “moderate” Islam, but a “liberal” Islam – one that accepts peace and tolerance on principle, and not just as unfortunate necessities.

 

Yet such a “liberal” Islam, if it ever came to be, would pose a very serious challenge to the whole elaborate structure of Islamic thought and practice.

 

Socrates once posed a brain-twister to his disciples. “Is a good action good because it is approved by the gods? Or is it approved by the gods because it is good.” In other words – do the categories of right and wrong have an existence apart from divine will?

 

Islam’s answer to Socrates’ puzzle has been emphatic: An action is good because it is approved by Allah. There is no independent criterion of morality outside of the will of God. And since the Koran is an absolutely literal and accurate account of that will – since indeed in a deep sense the Koran itself actually incarnates that will – there is no independent criterion of morality outside the text of the Koran.

 

In other words: If the Koran says or teaches something that seems morally offensive, it is morality that is mistaken, not the Koran.

 

Intellectually, traditional Islam forms a closed system. You can exit the system (although the penalty for exit – apostasy – is death). But so long as you remain within it, the intellectual system forbids its own reform.

 

A liberal Islam would have to begin by challenging the system. It would have to begin by submitting the Koran itself to human inquiry and reason. Where did this book truly come from? How was it in fact assembled? What do we genuinely know historically about Muhammad and early Arabia? It will be a very painful exercise. And there’s no telling in advance where it will end.

 

 

The province of Ontario recently established a sharia court – an arbitration tribunal that Canadian Muslims can use to adjudicate certain kinds of family and personal disputes. An Iranian exile named Homa Arjomand has formed a protest movement against this court, the first of its kind in the Western world. She has a website and has posted a lengthy explanation there of her objections to the court. One excerpt:

 

“While, technically, all Muslim women have access to Canadian laws and courts, and while the Canadian legal system would reject the oppressive decisions made under Shari’a as being contrary to Canadian Law, the reality is that most women would be coerced (socially, economically and psychologically) into participating in the Shari’a tribunal. Women are told that the Shari’a Tribunal is a legal tribunal under the Arbitration Act 1991. The women would take that to mean that whatever is decided by the Tribunal would be considered as lawful. Even women who know that Canadian law would not uphold the decisions, would not challenge the decisions for fear of physical, emotional, economic and social consequences. Therefore, it is most unlikely that decisions that are contrary to Canadian law would ever come before the courts.”

 

Today’s shocking unacceptability has a way of becoming tomorrow’s shrugged-at reality. The legal arrival of Sharia in North America is not a small event. It deserves very careful attention – not least from Canadian voters as they choose their next government.

 

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Taking Back Islam: Moderate Muslims say their faith is compatible with freedom (National Review Online, 040603)

 

By Erick Stakelbeck & Nir Boms

 

There’s an elephant in the room whenever the current U.S. operation in Iraq is discussed: Is Islam truly compatible with democracy? Or do the U.S.’s troubles in stabilizing Iraq signal that Muslims simply have no desire to live in a free, democratic society?

 

Right now the answers to these questions are unclear. For every modern Islamic “success story” like Turkey or Malaysia, there are Islamist nightmares like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

 

In the United States, too, there is reason for uncertainty. American Muslims with moderate views have been either unable or unwilling to engage in public discourse. As a result, militant groups with a moderate veneer have been able to set the tone.

 

A patriotic group of Arizona Muslims, however, is looking to change all that.

 

Earlier this spring in Phoenix, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) held a “Rally Against Terror” that gave moderate Muslims a platform on which to condemn terrorism and pledge support for the United States.

 

Identified by the Arizona Republic as “the nation’s first Muslim rally against terrorism,” the 50-minute event drew, according to various estimates, between 250 and 400 people, most of them non-Muslims.

 

Considering that the event was actively promoted within Phoenix’s 50,000-strong Muslim community, that number is a bit disappointing. Nevertheless, AIFD Chairman Zuhdi Jasser says the rally was a positive first step for the group, which was founded in March 2003 by Muslim professionals in the Phoenix area.

 

“When the moderates stay silent, the radicals speak for everyone,” says Jasser, a physician. “Up until now, moderates have not been articulating a moderate form of Islam which Americans can embrace. We want to take back our faith from the radicals and let them know that we are side-by-side with the U.S.”

 

Listening to Jasser, the son of Syrian immigrants, is a breath of fresh air at a time when anti-American sentiment engulfs a large part of the Arab and Muslim world. A former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander who served as a Navy medical officer from 1988 to 1999, Jasser clearly loves his country and his faith, and sees no reason why the two cannot coexist.

 

“Our inspiration for this is two things,” says Jasser. “Number one, at the core of the war on terror is a battle over ideology. World War II had fascism, the Cold War had Communism. Our present war has the targeting and killing of civilians in the name of religion: Islam. There needs to be a Muslim voice that speaks directly against that ideology. Secondly, there is a lack of any American Islamic institution that discusses the synergy of the U.S. Constitution with the Islamic faith. This makes it an obligation for us to be leaders in promoting a form of Islam that is tolerant and secular in nature.”

 

Jasser is quick to clarify his use of the word “secular.”

 

“Secularism as a term is almost associated with a lack of piety,” he says. “What I’m trying to say is that in America, there are many devout people who are politically active. But we don’t make decisions here based on theocracy or religious views.”

 

The values that Jasser and AIFD are promoting are deeply rooted in the American experience. Jasser is confident that Muslims in the U.S. will eventually embrace his message and realize that, as he says, “Freedom brings you closer to God.”

 

For now, though, Jasser realizes that views like the ones he expressed in a May 25 op-ed for azcentral.com aren’t likely to endear him to the al-Jazeera crowd. In the piece, titled “Iraq is Your War,” Jasser listed four reasons why the U.S. is currently fighting abroad:

 

It is impossible to keep America safe by just playing defense.

 

The Middle East is the epicenter of the terror network.

 

Despotic governments bring out the worst in religion.

 

Change the political environment in the Middle East and we change the associated religious pathology.

 

“Over half of the Muslim immigrants in the U.S. came here in the past 25 years,” says Jasser. “And many of them bring with them the baggage that government coercion and autonomy are necessary, just as in their former countries. We want to educate them and let them know that is not the case.”

 

It would help if U.S. government officials and the mainstream media took notice of AIFD’s efforts, rather than continuing to promote the agendas of radical Muslims with anti-American views. AIFD is attempting to increase its visibility through its website and by holding future anti-terrorism rallies.

 

By supporting the endeavors of AIFD and other moderate Muslim organizations, the U.S. may yet be able to avert the clash of civilizations simmering in its own backyard.

 

— Nir Boms is a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Council for Democracy and Tolerance. Erick Stakelbeck is senior writer for the Investigative Project, a Washington, D.C.-based counterterrorism research institute.

 

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Head in sand saw no evil (Washington Times, 040623)

 

Osama Bin Laden running for high office in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia? And winning a free election hands down? A preposterous scenario, but one that was suggested by one of the most important Saudi businessmen, speaking privately in a European capital this week. “We are reaping what we have sown over the last 25 years,” said the billionaire who is on good terms with the highest ranking members of the Saudi royal family.

 

The terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia over the past year have not weakened popular support for bin Laden, the Saudi said. The execution of an American technician, he speculated today, is precisely what fundamentalists seek. They want all the westerners who keep the economy and the military humming to leave. The economy would then grind to a halt