Friday, December 31, 2010

Ham and Other Troublesome Topics in Class


by David J. Rusin


Muslims are free not to eat pork products, but must they be protected from hearing about them? Yes, according to one high school student in Spain who was distressed by a geography lesson:

The teacher was lecturing normally on the different climates of the planet and used the Granada town of Trevélez as an example of a cold, dry climate. As an anecdote, the teacher recounted that just such a climate was conducive to the curing of hams. Then the student asked the teacher not to speak of hams since the subject offended him as a Muslim.

In a bizarre video, the student explains how talk of ham so traumatized him that he cannot get out of bed. He also accuses the teacher of telling him to leave Spain, which the educator denies. The family went so far as to lodge a complaint with police, but a clear-minded prosecutor quickly shelved it. "There is not even the minimal indication of any type of crime," he said, describing the teen's attitude as "abusive, sectarian, capricious, and inadmissible."

Regardless, one can add ham to the list of topics known to upset some Muslims in Western classrooms, sparking demands either to change the syllabus or to exempt adherents of Islam from certain academic requirements. Among the subjects causing strife through mere discussion:

  • The Holocaust. Muslim resistance has led to capitulations. In the Netherlands, "a fifth of history teachers in the four major Dutch cities have had to deal with not being able to or rarely bringing up the Holocaust because Muslim students in particular have difficulties with it." In Germany, "out of fear of the students' reactions, many of the teachers avoid teaching this chapter of history." Similar claims have emerged from the UK.

  • Mideast history. A new study has found that teachers in French public schools face pressure from students and parents who object to lessons on France's war in Algeria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  • Evolution. While Darwin inspires objections in French classrooms, British teachers have been accused of "bending over backwards" to placate Muslim pupils.

  • Select medical topics. A 2007 article reports that in the UK, "some Muslim medical students are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases because they claim it offends their religious beliefs."

Of course, these problems are only compounded in "un-Islamic" classes such as music and swimming, which move beyond discourse and mandate the active participation of students.

The prescription? Enforce equal rights and responsibilities for all, but grant no group special privileges. José Reyes Fernández, the Spanish boy's teacher, puts it this way: if "there are 30 students … one of them must adapt to the 29 others, and not the 29 others to the one."

Original URL:http://www.islamist-watch.org/blog/2010/12/ham-and-other-troublesome-topics-in-class

David J. Rusin

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Obama’s Energy Power Grab


by Rich Trzupek

The USEPA announced its intention to deliver yet another body blow to the power and petrochemical industries, piling on another layer of unneeded, unwanted and economically disastrous regulations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States. Before we consider the agency’s latest move, let’s take a moment to consider all that has been done and will be done in the name of fighting the non-existent problem of global warming. States and the feds are already moving forward with at least six major regulatory programs designed to reduce the use of fossil fuels and thus decimate the energy sector:

  • New CAFÉ Standards – This is arguably the least bad of the bunch, because the due date for the new 35.5 miles per gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard is at least a few years out (2016). Nonetheless, the new CAFÉ standard [1] will make automobiles more expensive – as even the White House admits – less safe (lighter cars don’t do as well in accidents as compared to heavier ones) and will do almost nothing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Renewable Portfolio Standards – More than thirty states, encompassing about three quarters of the population of the United States, have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards [2]. These standards require using ever decreasing amounts of electricity generated by the combustion of fossil fuels.
  • Regional Trading Programs – States in three parts of the country, the east coast, the west coast and the midwest, have formed partnerships to create regional cap and trade programs. The east coast cap and trade program [3] has been up and running for two years. The west coast and midwest programs will “go live” in the near future.
  • Permitting of Greenhouse GasesRecent USEPA guidance [4] directed state permitting authorities to treat greenhouse gases as regulated pollutants when considering the construction of new major sources and major modifications to existing sources. Permitting authorities are further directed to apply the Best Available Control Technology standard to the control of greenhouse gases from these sources.
  • New Ambient Air Standards – The USEPA’s new ambient air standards [5] for “traditional” air pollutants are so ridiculously low that it’s virtually impossible for any new facility to comply with them. This is thus a back-door way of ensuring that no new fossil fuel fired power facilities can be built.
  • New Hazardous Air Pollution Rules – The USEPA’s new rules limiting emissions of hazardous air pollutants from industrial boilers [6] are also draconian. Again, the net effect will be to ensure that new industrial boilers powered by fossil fuels are just about impossible to construct.

So, contrary to what environmental groups and leftist politicians would like you to believe, we’re already doing an awful lot to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use – far too much in my opinion – and we will continue to pay the economic price for these disastrous policies. Yet, the USEPA isn’t content. They have decided to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act and that legislative framework demands the construction of even more regulatory layers. The latest will be New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) which will, for the first time, create numerical limits on greenhouse gas emissions generated by fossil fuel burning power plants and oil refineries.

Despite the use of the adjective “New” in the acronym, NSPS standards apply to both new and existing sources of air pollution emissions. Typically, the agency uses a specific date in time to distinguish between new and existing sources. Sources built before the cut-off date have one emission limit to meet and sources built after have a different, more stringent limit. Given the record of Lisa Jackson’s USEPA so far, we can expect that the agency will adopt greenhouse gas emission limits on existing sources that will force some facilities to close and the rest to spend billions in retrofits. And the new source limit? Expect that to be so ridiculously low that nobody will even think of building a fossil fuel fired power plant or new oil refinery in the United States ever again. Of course, given the list of the other onerous regulatory initiatives provided above, building new energy or petrochemical infrastructure is no longer a feasible option anyway.

USEPA announced its intention to develop greenhouse gas emission limitations for the power sector and oil refineries as part of two proposed settlement agreements [7] between the agency and several states and environmental groups who filed suit against the USEPA over greenhouse gas issues. As part of the settlement agreements, USEPA promises to have greenhouse gas emission limitations in place for the power industry by May 2012 and limitations on petroleum refineries in place by November 2012. The agency describes this as a “common sense approach” to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and maintains that it is setting “a modest pace” in developing this massive new regulatory structure. More amazingly, USEPA administrator Lisa Jackson had this to say [8] about developing new greenhouse gas standards:

We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce GHG pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans, and contributes to climate change,” Administrator Lisa Jackson said. “These standards will help American companies attract private investment to the clean energy upgrades that make our companies more competitive and create good jobs here at home.

This is of course the same Lisa Jackson who believes that the Clean Air Act is solely responsible for American economic growth [9] over the last forty years. This latest statement by the delusional director shows that she’s drifted even farther into a green fantasyland. Eliminating America’s ability to use a cheap, domestically plentiful source of energy to power industrial growth isn’t going to attract a dime of private investment. Undercutting America’s ability to turn crude oil into refined products isn’t going to create one good job at home. Jackson is spinning yarns, utilizing all the right buzzwords, like threats to “health and welfare,” “attract[ing] private investment,” and “creat[ing] good jobs,” but those words are as hollow and meaningless as any ever uttered by the most cynical of professional politicians. The actions of Jackson’s USEPA and Congress’s continued unwillingness to rein her agency in guarantee that economic recovery and job creation will continue to be an impossibility as long as the Obama administration is in charge.

URLs in this post:

[1] the new CAFÉ standard: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1762834/the_costs_of_obamas_new_cafe_standards.html?cat=9

[2] Renewable Portfolio Standards: http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/states/maps/renewable_portfolio_states.cfm

[3] east coast cap and trade program: http://www.rggi.org/home

[4] Recent USEPA guidance: http://www.epa.gov/nsr/ghgpermitting.html

[5] ambient air standards: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/

[6] from industrial boilers: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/boiler/boilerpg.html

[7] two proposed settlement agreements: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/ghgsettlement.html

[8] this to say: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/D2F038E9DAED78DE8525780200568BEC

[9] is solely responsible for American economic growth: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/12a744ff56dbff8585257590004750b6/7769a6b1f0a5bc9a8525779e005ade13!OpenDocument


Original URL:http://frontpagemag.com/2010/12/30/obamas-energy-power-grab/

Rich Trzupek

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Al-Qaeda In-Fighting


by Ryan Mauro

The bravado of the Al-Qaeda leadership is hiding divisions within the terrorist group over the wisdom of their strategies. Despite the tough talk, key leaders are seriously questioning whether Al-Qaeda is on the winning side. This does not mean they are giving up on the cause but it shows that the War on Terror is taking a toll on their confidence.

The former spokesman of Al-Qaeda, Suleiman Abu Ghaith has been permitted to leave Iran and has written a book called “Twenty Guidelines on the Path of Jihad.” Al-Qaeda and its leaders are not mentioned by name but the criticisms are widely seen as directed towards them. He says [1] that certain jihadists have made it seem like they are part of a “culture of killing and destruction” instead of “securing a better life for all who live with Islam and in the Islamic state.” He writes that there’s been too much of an emphasis on violence instead of on building the institutions of Islamic states.

The introduction to Abu Ghaith’s book is written by Abu Hafs the Mauritarian, another high-level Al-Qaeda leader who was the head of its Sharia Committee. He opposed the 9/11 attacks and has had a public rift with Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second-in-command of Al-Qaeda. This shows that significant elements of the group are calling for a revision in strategy and are willing to publicly voice their challenges to the leadership.

This dissension first became public in 2005 when a letter [2] from Ayman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, criticized his tactics. He questioned the wisdom of Zarqawi’s attacks on Shiite civilians, beheadings and bombings of mosques. Zawahiri said this was causing a backlash and “in the absence of this popular support, the Islamic mujahed movement would be crushed in the shadows.” He also warned Zarqawi that “this matter won’t be acceptable to the Muslim populace however much you have tried to explain it.”

In October 2006, another high-level Al-Qaeda official named Attyia al-Jaza’ri that fought in Algeria wrote a letter [3] warning Zarqawi that he was leading the terrorist group to defeat. He was harshly critical of the attacks on Sunni tribal leaders, massacres of civilians and unwillingness to form partnerships with others towards the same goal. Jaza’ri said that he was in direct contact with Al-Qaeda’s central command in Pakistan, indicating they were on his side.

He said that in Algeria, “their enemy did not defeat them, but rather they defeated themselves” with their “lack of reason, delusions, their ignoring of people, their alienation of them through oppression, deviance and severity, coupled with a lack of kindness, sympathy and friendliness.” He warned Al-Qaeda was on the same path in Iraq.

The most damaging criticism for Al-Qaeda came from Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, also known as Dr. al-Fadl, who mentored Ayman al-Zawahiri and is a major spiritual leader in the jihadist world. He gave a theological rebuttal to Al-Qaeda and called Zawahiri a serial liar who acted as an agent of the Sudanese government in the 1990s. He went so far as to blame Al-Qaeda for causing more anguish for the Muslim world than the U.S. or Israel.

“Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers,” Dr. al-Fadl said. [4] He even said that Muslims following Al-Qaeda were in violation of Islam. “Let the Muslims consider who they are going to follow: Allah, or bin Laden and al-Zawahiri?” he wrote. Zawahiri responded to the condemnation by claiming that al-Fadl was being tortured in prison in Egypt and was forced to write those words.

Dr. al-Fadl also says that Allah punishes Muslims by permitting their defeat on the battlefield. If Allah approves of their jihad, he will help them defeat the enemies of Islam. Therefore, the success of U.S. military efforts in places like Iraq and Afghanistan is seen as a rebuttal to the religious legitimacy of Al-Qaeda and its allies. If the U.S. military is defeated, then it is seen as vindication that Allah is on their side.

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an Al-Qaeda-allied terrorist group, has also issued [5] a “corrective studies” critiquing the group. It now says that “Islam is a pragmatic religion, which acknowledges that war is a part of human life, but it doesn’t call for the use of violence for the sake of change and reforms.” The group argues that violent jihad can be waged against enemy military forces in Muslim lands as “resistance in Islam and defending against the colonizers and invaders is a concept originally agreed upon among Muslims and non-Muslims.”

The promotion [6] of Saif al-Adel to Al-Qaeda’s military chief means that this dissenting faction will be playing a larger role in the group’s decision-making. Like Suleiman Abu Ghaith, Saif al-Adel has been released from Iran and is being embraced by the Al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan despite the criticism. He agrees with Abu Ghaith and has also written that more focus needs to be put on “the greater objective…the establishment of a state.” The Telegraph wrote [7] that al-Adel’s promotion reflects “the triumph of a minority faction within al-Qaeda who had opposed the 9/11 attacks, arguing that the inevitable U.S. retaliation against Afghanistan would cost the jihadist movement its only secure base.”

This split shows Al-Qaeda is disappointed in its own performance and its hardships are forcing it to evaluate itself. The West’s efforts against Al-Qaeda are making the terrorist group second-guess itself, but the group is quickly adapting. And as Al-Qaeda adapts, so must we.

URLs in this post:

[1] says: http://www.al-shorfa.com/cocoon/meii/xhtml/en_GB/features/meii/features/main/2010/12/16/feature-01

[2] letter: http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/letter_in_english.pdf

[3] letter: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2006/09/harmony_the_attyia_z.php

[4] said.: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/4736358/Al-Qaeda-founder-launches-fierce-attack-on-Osama-bin-Laden.html

[5] issued: http://www.al-shorfa.com/cocoon/meii/xhtml/en_GB/features/meii/features/main/2009/12/15/feature-01

[6] promotion: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/saif-al-adel-the-next-khalid-sheikh-mohammed/?singlepage=true

[7] wrote: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/8123261/Osama-bin-Laden-appoints-new-commander-to-spearhead-war-on-West.html


Original URL:http://frontpagemag.com/2010/12/30/al-qaeda-in-fighting/

Ryan Mauro

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Turmoil in Lebanon


by Joseph Puder

Lebanon is in a state of turmoil. Hezbollah [1], the powerful Shiite-Muslim guerrilla terrorist organization, is threatening to take over the country if the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon [2] indicts its members in the murder of Rafik Hariri and demands their arrest. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (Rafik Hariri’s son) “walked” earlier this year in submission to the proverbial Canossa [3] to bow before “Pope” Bashar Assad and asked “forgiveness” for his indirect accusations against the Assad regime, suggesting that it was responsible murdering his father. It now seems that Saad Hariri might swallow the bitter pill of truth about the murderers of his father by avoiding a confrontation with Hezbollah and “re-inviting” Syria back to Lebanon.

The confessional system in Lebanon, whereby a Christian holds the presidency, a Sunni-Muslim the prime-minister’s office, a Shiite-Muslim the speaker of parliament office, a Maronite-Christian the commander of the army post, and a Druze the army chief of staff position, is under siege.

The civil war in Lebanon has reduced the Christian majority in the country, as hundreds of thousands of Christians left the country and joined the large Lebanese-Christian Diaspora in the West.

The Sunni-Muslims led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri are seeking ways in which to enfranchise some of the 400,000 [4] Sunni-Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to gain greater power in the country. The Shiite-Lebanese, in the meantime, have grown to become the largest confessional group in Lebanon, and are demanding the reshuffling of the National Pact [5] of 1943.

Demographic changes alone, however, do not explain the turmoil in the Land of the Cedars. Neighboring Syria has reasserted its influence on Lebanon from whence it was ejected following massive demonstrations and international pressure in the aftermath of the assassination of Hariri. Iran, which supports Syria both militarily and financially, is also the singular force training, arming, and funding Hezbollah, and has become the major foreign power asserting its influence.

The perceived weakness of the Obama administration for having chosen to appease Iran and Syria rather than counter their growing influence over Lebanon, has undermined the emerging Lebanese democracy and the Cedar Revolution in particular. It has enabled Hezbollah to become the strongest military force in Lebanon, capable of intimidating the government and superseding the strength of the Lebanese army.

Revealed diplomatic dispatches via WikiLeaks support the assertion that the Obama administration’s pandering to Syria was an unrealistic fantasy. Obama sought to engage Syria and reactivate the Syrian peace track in order to distance Damascus from Tehran, and he did so against the advice from regional allies such as the Emirates Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed [6], who cautioned the Obama administration against wasting time on trying to pry Syria away from Iran.

Egypt’s President Mubarak [7] shared with the Obama administration his view that the Syrians (and the Qataris) were “sycophants to Tehran” and “liars.” What is shocking is that the Obama administration ignored the advice of not only Mubarak and Prince bin Zayed, but also that of Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu. Instead, Obama chose to rely on the (Islamist) Turkish government and the Qataris.

According to Maariv [8], an Israeli daily, the WikiLeaks dispatches exposed the fact that during Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Murr guided Israel’s Air Force on where to attack Hezbollah targets in Lebanon and ordered the Lebanese Army not to interfere. Murr had hoped that by weakening Hezbollah, the Lebanese Army would be able to become the dominant force in Lebanon. Other leaks included Hezbollah’s warning that if implicated in the murder of Prime Minister Hariri, it would commit a coup d’état and take over power in Lebanon.

In November of this year, sources close to the Special Tribunal on Lebanon, the committee charged with investigating Hariri’s murder, suggested that the tribunal might point to leading members of Hezbollah as being responsible for the murder. Hezbollah’s General Secretary Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah responded by threatening that “he will cut off the hands of anyone trying to arrest his men.”

In a recent visit to Beirut, Bashar Assad, the Syrian dictator, made it clear to Saad Hariri that he could not guarantee the future of the Lebanese government or the stability of the political situation until the indictment issue is resolved. This is a clear indication of Syrian control over Hezbollah, at least on the ground.

This reporter asked Joseph Hakim, a Lebanese native and Vice President of the International Christian Union, to comment on the current turmoil. Hakim, who is closely connected to the leadership of the Cedar Revolution, had this to say about the situation:

Lebanon is at this time in imminent danger of Hezbollah taking over Lebanon with the collusion of Michel Aoun and the entire March 8 movement. This would be followed in a couple of years by Hezbollah’s systematic liquidation of all the March 8 movement groups including Michel Aoun, and other operatives.

Hakim further pointed out:

The Hezbollah leadership is wise enough to know that it is being watched by the international community, and therefore would seek to open fire on Israel in order to drag the entire Lebanese government, people, army and the opposition into war. This would weaken the Lebanese government, and enable Hezbollah to assert further its power grip on Lebanon. Incidentally, the Hezbollah used the same tactics during its 2006 war with Israel, when it hailed itself as the victor over Israel.

When questioned on how the Lebanese Christian community would react to Hezbollah’s takeover of its country, Hakim responded by saying:

If Hezbollah takes over the country it would cause a bloody war inside Lebanon. I believe that the Christians will fight to the end, and they will stand united for the most part. I do not anticipate a serious fight with the Aoun’s [Christians who are allied with Hezbollah at the moment] group. It will however be “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” and I believe that it may result in a likely end to the Christian’s existence in Lebanon.

Hakim cautioned that if the international community remained passive and failed to react to a Hezbollah takeover, Lebanon would become, within two years, a radical Muslim state. He added, that “the Saudi support of the Sunni-Muslims and Palestinians in Lebanon is also endangering Lebanon’s democracy, the Christians, and other minorities.”

The turmoil in Lebanon is, in part, a consequence of the Obama administration’s weakness and lack of resolve to block the machinations of Iran and Syria with Hezbollah as their blunt instrument. The U.S. administration must show strength if the Middle East is to avoid a major conflagration triggered by the radical takeover of Lebanon.

URLs in this post:

[1] Hezbollah: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?p=711659

[2] Special Tribunal for Lebanon: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2010/12/07/sealed-indictment-in-Hariri-Tribunal/UPI-827012917520291

[3] Canossa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/walk_to_canossa

[4] 400,000: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35833.htm

[5] National Pact: http://countrystudies.us/lebanon/77.htm

[6] Zayed: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/07/09ABUDHABI754.html

[7] Mubarak: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/191130

[8] Maariv: http://www.nrg.co.il/Scripts/artPrintNew.php?channel


Original URL:http://frontpagemag.com/2010/12/31/turmoil-in-lebanon/

Joseph Puder

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Mullen War Strategy


by Herbert I. London

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, recently said there are "new ways of deterrence that address those factors that make individuals vulnerable to coercion…". He noted, in a speech delivered to the Hoover Institution, that the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaida can be deterred by both the traditional method of military retaliation, and by non-traditional means of attacking extremism at its core. "Attacking the humiliation, the hopelessness, the illiteracy and abject poverty which lie at the core of the attraction to extremist thought will do more to turn the tide against terrorism than anything else," he announced.

As Admiral Mullen must surely be aware, Muslim leaders who espouse violence are often from wealthy families, such as Osama bin Laden; being able to read does not translate into understanding; and sitting on a couch with a psychologist who identifies with your agony may be comforting, but as a strategy for peace, it lacks staying power.

The admiral's recommendation has as much validity as alchemy. In fact, one wonders what happened to a military culture predicated on "kill or be killed"? No sensible person wants the bloodshed of war, but when in history the choice has been slavery or battle, some -- perhaps many -- prefer battle.

As it turns out, Admiral's Mullen's words were anyhow turned on their head. In Iran, one headline noted that Admiral Mullen wants the "U.S. to deter Qur'an followers." Hezbollah TV in Lebanon reported that U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mile Mullen says "people learning the way of the Qur'an are the subject of new American deterrence." And the Iran Broadcasting Station accused Mullen of using "insulting words against Islamic scholars."

Apparently Admiral Mullen has forgotten the incident at Fort Hood in which a Muslim physician wantonly killed fellow soldiers at the base. Was he suffering from deprivation, a lack of understanding, a low standard of living? The part of this equation Admiral Mullen does not address -- the part he intentionally ignores -- is that violence is inherent in Islamic thought, as the Qur'anic Verses of The Sword suggest.

How can one deter an enemy when there is a refusal to understand him? Even those in the Arab world are perplexed. Middle East tradition indicates you side with the "strong horse." But if you do not know how to apply your strength, you become the "weak horse." At the moment, U.S. psychologizing is having a paralyzing influence in fighting a war against radical Islam.

Can you imagine a strategy in World War II in which we argued the most effective way to deter the Nazis would be classes on Mein Kampf? Or that we should have sent psychologists to Berlin instead of Patton's army?

It stuns the mind to consider how misguided military strategists have become. From battlefield action based on lethality, we have seemingly moved to pop-psychology on the military couch. The question that remains is whether the U.S. can subdue an enemy committed to our destruction with psychological, economic and social tactics Admiral Mullen thinks we can; others of us doubt it.

Original URL:http://www.hudson-ny.org/1765/mullen-war-strategy

Herbert I. London

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Spain Goes on Mosque-Building Spree


by Soeren Kern

The city of Barcelona, widely known as a European Mecca of anti-clerical postmodernism, has agreed to build an official mega-mosque with a capacity for thousands of Muslim worshipers. The new structure would rival the massive Islamic Cultural Center in Madrid, currently the biggest mosque in Spain. An official in the office of the Mayor of Barcelona says the objective is to increase the visibility of Muslims in Spain, as well as to promote the "common values between Islam and Europe."

The Barcelona mosque project is just one of dozens of new mosques that are in various stages of construction across Spain. Overall, there are now thirteen mega-mosques in Spain, and more than 1000 smaller mosques and prayer centers scattered across the country, the majority of which are located in Catalonia in northeastern Spain.

The Muslim building spree reflects the rising influence of Islam in Spain, where the Muslim population has jumped to an estimated 1.5 million in 2010, up from just 100,000 in 1990, thanks to massive immigration. The construction of new mosques comes at a time when municipalities linked to the Socialist Party have closed dozens of Christian churches across Spain by way of new zoning laws that several courts have now ruled discriminatory and unconstitutional. It also comes at a time of growing anti-Semitism in Spain.

The Barcelona mosque project was announced during a weeklong seminar titled "Muslims and European Values," jointly sponsored by the European Council of Moroccan Ulemas [Muslim religious scholars], based in Brussels, and the Union of Islamic Cultural Centers in Catalonia, based in Barcelona. A representative of the Barcelona mayor's office who attended the conference told the Madrid-based El País newspaper that the municipality would get involved in the mosque project because "although religion pertains to the private realm, this does not mean it does not have a public role."

The idea to build a mega-mosque funded by Spanish taxpayers comes after Noureddine Ziani, a Barcelona-based Moroccan imam, said the construction of big mosques would be the best way to fight Islamic fundamentalism in Spain. "It is easier to disseminate fundamentalist ideas in small mosques set up in garages where only the members of the congregation attend, than in large mosques that are open to everyone, with prayer rooms, cafes and meeting areas," Ziani told the Spanish news agency EFE. He also said European governments should pay for the training of imams, which would be "a useful formula to avoid radical positions."

The Barcelona mosque would be that city's answer to the six-story, 12,000 square meter (130,000 square feet) Islamic Cultural Center in Madrid, which opened in 1992 and is one of the biggest mosques in Europe. It was paid for by the government of Saudi Arabia, as was the €22 million ($30 million) Islamic Cultural Center in Málaga, a small city in southern Spain that is home to almost 100,000 Muslims. (The center's website includes politically correct "news," with headlines such as "Christian Palestine under Zionist Occupation" and "Julian Assange Victim of the Empire of Evil.")

Saudi Arabia, which also built the "great mosques" in the Spanish cities of Marbella and Fuengirola, has been accused of using the mosques and Islamic cultural centers in Spain to promote the Wahhabi sect of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism rejects all non-Wahhabi Islam, any dialogue with other religions and any opening up to other cultures. By definition, it also rejects the integration of Muslim immigrants into Spanish society.

Not surprisingly, the Saudi government officially supports the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative sponsored by Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, which borrows heavily from the Dialogue of Civilizations concept promoted by Islamic radicals in Iran in the 1990s -- an the initiative calls for the West to negotiate a truce with Islamic terrorists on terms set by the terrorists.

In December 2000, the Islamic Cultural Center in Madrid was expelled from the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities (FEERI) to "frustrate the attempts of Saudi Arabia to control Islam in Spain." Most Muslim immigrants in Spain are from the Maghreb (especially Morocco and Algeria) or Pakistan; analysts say their low standards of living and low levels of education make them particularly susceptible to the Islamist propaganda promoted by Saudi Arabia.

Elsewhere in Spain, residents of the Basque city of Bilbao were recently surprised to find their mailboxes stuffed with flyers in Spanish and Arabic from the Islamic Community of Bilbao asking them for money to build a 650 square meter mosque costing €550,000 ($725,000). Their website says: "We were expelled [from Spain] as Moriscos in 1609, really not that long ago. … The echo of Al-Andalus still resonates in all the valley of the Ebro [ie Spain]. We are back to stay, Insha'Allah [if Allah wills it]."

Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to the parts of Spain ruled by Muslim conquerors from 711 and 1492. Many Muslims believe that the territories they lost during the Spanish Reconquista still belong to them, and that they have a right to return and establish their rule there – a belief based on the Islamic precept that territories once occupied by Muslims must forever remain under Muslim domination.

The Moriscos, descendants of the Muslim population that converted to Christianity under threat of exile in 1502, were ultimately expelled from Spain by King Philip III in 1609. Muslim leaders say Spain could right the wrong by offering Spanish citizenship to the Muslim descendants of the Moriscos as an "apology and acknowledgement of mistakes" made during the Spanish Inquisition.

In Córdoba, Muslims are demanding that the Spanish government allow them to worship in the main cathedral, which had been a mosque during the medieval Islamic kingdom of Al-Andalus and is now a World Heritage Site. Muslims hope to recreate the ancient city of Córdoba as a pilgrimage site for Muslims throughout Europe. Funds for the project to turn "Córdoba into the Mecca of the West" are being sought from the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, and Muslim organizations in Morocco and Egypt.

In Granada, a city in southern Spain that was the last Muslim stronghold of Al-Andalus to capitulate to the Roman Catholic kings in 1492, a muezzin now calls Muslims to prayer at the first mosque to be opened in the city since the Spanish Reconquista. The Great Mosque of Granada "is a symbol of a return to Islam among the Spanish people and among indigenous Europeans," says Abdel Haqq Salaberria, a spokesman for the mosque. "It will act as a focal point for the Islamic revival in Europe," he says. It was paid for by Libya, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

In Lleida, a town in northeastern Spain where 29,000 Muslims make up 20% of the population, the local Islamic association Watani recently asked Moroccan King Mohammad VI for money to build a mosque in the center of town. Local Muslims are incensed that the municipality gave them land to build a mosque on the outskirts of town and not in the city center. Although the municipality gave the land more than three years ago, the local Muslim community has refused to apply for a formal license: it is demanding a more "dignified location for the Muslim community to worship."

In Zaragoza, the fifth-largest city in Spain, the 22,000-strong Islamic community has been negotiating the purchase of an abandoned Roman Catholic grade school for €3 million. In September, however, a group of 200 teenage anarchist squatters took over the property (a seemingly normal occurrence in Spain), but a local judge has refused to remove them for "security" reasons. The local imam is now demanding a "big and visible location" for a mosque: many Muslims view the city as "theirs" and they want a way to show it.

Meanwhile, the Madrid-based ABC newspaper reports that more than 100 mosques in Spain have radical imams preaching to the faithful each Friday. The newspaper says some imams have established religious police that harass and attack those who do not comply with Islamic law. ABC also reports that during 2010, more than 10 Salafist conferences were held in Spain, compared to only one in 2008.

Salafism is a branch of revivalist Islam that calls for restoring past Muslim glory by re-establishing an Islamic empire across the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. Salafists view Spain as a Muslim state that must be reconquered for Islam.

At the same time, Noureddine Ziani, the Moroccan imam, says it is absolutely necessary to accept Islamic values as European values. He also says that from now on, Europeans should replace the term "Judeo-Christian" with term "Islamo-Christian" when describing Western Civilization.

Original URL:http://www.hudson-ny.org/1760/spain-mosque-building

Soeren Kern

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Conferences Make AMP's Destructive Ambition Clear


by IPT News


They call themselves American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), but their rhetoric indicates their true goal is the elimination of the state of Israel. In speeches last weekend at the Islamic Circle of North America-Muslim American Society 9th Annual Convention in Chicago, and a month earlier at their own conference, AMP officials repeatedly called for a grassroots effort in America to delegitimize Israel.

During a session featuring AMP speakers, board member Osama Abu Irshaid told the ICNA-MAS audience Sunday "to challenge the legitimacy of the State of Israel," and "to try to keep this debate alive."

Last month in New Brunswick, N.J., at AMP's 3rd annual conference, panelist Abdelhamid Abu Siyam ended his speech on a similar vein by calling in Arabic for "[the] right of return and rejection of Zionism, and rejection of the legitimacy of this state [Israel]."

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) was formed in 2006 as a nonprofit organization based in Chicago with chapters around the country. Its message omits any mention of peaceful coexistence with the state of Israel, and routinely includes calls for an end for U.S. aid to the Jewish state.

During the opening of the AMP conference, Vice Chairman Munjed Ahmed welcomed the audience by threatening Israel. "You occupiers of Palestine will be out. That's a promise. You will be out," Ahmed said. "And we will work every single day as an organization until that day where we truly say that Palestine is free."

Calls for the destruction of the State of Israel were reinforced by promoting "resistance."

"The first element [in changing the balance of powers] is resistance," former Palestinian Minister of Information Mustafa al Barghouthi told the audience in Arabic. "The wonderful national Palestinian resistance taking place in reality should be encouraged and increased."

Conference speaker Othman Atta condemned "attacks by Palestinians against innocent civilians," while adding, "absolutely it's within the right of an occupied people to resist their occupiers." Atta is a lawyer and the former president of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. Some mosque members "are involved in raising money … that is actually for HAMAS," according to a November 2001 FBI memo.

During an AMP session on U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East at the ICNA-MAS conference, Atta rejected peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. "Palestinians, through Oslo and other negotiating processes accepted the absurdist notion that to obtain the legitimate rights that are guaranteed by God and guaranteed by international laws that we must sit with our occupiers and oppressors, with thieves and murderers, and come to an agreement," he said. "Now imagine that this was applied to US law here in the United States. Why the hell would we need to have a court system?"

He added sarcastically, "Were you raped? Hey, no problem, sit down with your rapist and see if you can come to some kind of accommodation."

AMP founder and chairman Hatem Bazian, a senior lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, has a history of incendiary statements. At an April 10, 2004 anti-war rally in San Francisco, Bazian called for Americans to create a violent uprising at home similar to the Palestinian intifada.

"Are you angry? …Well, we've been watching intifada in Palestine, we've been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don't have an intifada in this country," Bazian said. "It's about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here. And we know every – They're gonna say some Palestinian [is] being too radical – well, you haven't seen radicalism yet."

During an AMP conference session on "Islamopohobia and American Muslims," Bazian, who also directs the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at UC Berkeley, claimed that "pro-Israel activists" in the United States have a "massive infrastructure that is spending 24/7 to demonize Islam and Muslims around the clock for their own strategic purposes."

During the same session, Bazian said Israel and its allies want to "demonize Islam," and "criminalize Islam to link to terrorism." Islamophobia, he argued, causes "Muslims in our own communities to actually go into the margin and think that they are gonna be revolutionary and engage in violence because they have been pushed to the margins."

Beyond its own conferences, AMP has sponsored numerous events for the UK-based pro-Hamas group Viva Palestina, as well as provided a platform for its leader, George Galloway, to speak. In May, Galloway was the headlined speaker for AMP's "Nakba" campaign around the country. Through four land convoys, Galloway and Viva Palestina have delivered millions of dollars to the Hamas regime in Gaza. AMP also hosted a Viva Palestina fundraiser in January, raising more than $130,000.

AMP's leaders include at least two men tied to a fundraising front for Hamas – the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which was shut down by the government in 2001. HLF and five former officials were convicted in 2008 of illegally routing millions of dollars to Hamas.

One AMP board member, Salah Sarsour, is named in law enforcement documents as helping raise money for Hamas.

Sarsour's ties with HLF are detailed in U.S. and Israeli law enforcement documents. His brother, Jamil Sarsour, was arrested by Israeli authorities in 1998 for providing military support to Hamas. When Jamil Sarsour was arrested by Israel, he "described his brother Salah Sarsour's involvement with HAMAS and fund-raising activities by the [HLF] in Richardson, Texas on behalf of HAMAS," a November 2001 FBI memo said. "His brothers Salah and Imad are involved in raising money in the name of the HLFRD that is actually for HAMAS."

In a February 1998 confession given during an interview with an Israeli police officer, Jamil Sarsour said he and Salah Sarsour provided money to senior Hamas military commander Adel Awdallah, wanted and killed by Israel in September 1998. The money came from the business account of a furniture store in Milwaukee owned by the two brothers.

"There is another Palestinian organization called Islamic Association for Palestine. It is connected to the H.L.F.," Jamil Sarsour said during questioning. "My brother Salah works for this organization also. He collected funds for this organization." Salah Sarsour is also the contact for the Muslim American Society's (MAS) Milwaukee chapter. MAS was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members in the U.S.

Like Sarsour, AMP's Osama Abu Irshaid was previously involved with a Hamas-support effort. He was an editor of Al-Zaytounah, an Arabic newspaper that was published by the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). The IAP, along with the HLF, was part of a group called the Palestine Committee, court records show. The committee was created by the Muslim Brotherhood to help Hamas politically and financially, court exhibits show.

In August 2002, a federal judge ruled that there was evidence that the "Islamic Association for Palestine has acted in support of Hamas."

AMP's efforts continue with a rally that has been rescheduled for January, marking the 2nd anniversary of the Israel-Gaza War. AMP's press release for the rally says that the "repression" of anti-Israel activists, "from harassment by campus officials to raids and grand jury subpoenas by the FBI… is a sign that the Zionists and their sponsors in Washington are worried – not only that further crimes will be met with equally fierce resistance, but also because they know Palestinians are more determined than ever to fight on until total liberation, until every refugee can return, until the land of Palestine is free from the river to the sea!"

Such a vision leaves no room for the state of Israel's continued existence.

Original URL:http://www.investigativeproject.org/2462/conferences-make-amp-destructive-ambition-clear

IPT News

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Delegitimizing the Jewish State


by name Bat Ye'or

In a move that caught the Israeli government and the Jewish world by complete surprise, on October 21, 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the Tomb of the Hebrew Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem "an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories," admonishing the Israeli decision to add these biblical shrines to the list of Jewish historical and archaeological sites as "a violation of international law."[1]

The United Nations has become a foremost purveyor of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement. Nowhere has this obsession been more starkly demonstrated than at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, held in September 2001 in the South African town of Durban.

What is less known, however, is that the driving force behind "the attempt to detach the Nation of Israel from its heritage" (to use Israeli prime minister Netanyahu's words)[2] was the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which pressured UNESCO to issue the declaration and drafted its initial version.[3] U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has recently described the OIC as "a strategic and important partner of the U.N."[4] In fact, it has been the OIC that has successfully exploited its marked preponderance at the U.N.—where it constitutes the largest single voting bloc—to turn the world organization and its specialized agencies into effective tools in the attempt to achieve its goals, two of which are to bring about Israel's eventual demise and to "galvanize the umma [Islamic world] into a unified body."[5]

The OIC's Israel Obsession

Established in September 1969 as the "collective voice of the Muslim world," the OIC has evolved into the second largest intergovernmental organization after the U.N., bringing together fifty-six Muslim and other states, as well as the Palestinian Authority.[6] Though boasting a global range of objectives from the "promotion of tolerance and moderation, modernization, [and] extensive reforms in all spheres of activities," to the cultivation of "good governance and promotion of human rights in the Muslim world,"[7] this body has constantly and disproportionately focused on Israel and its supposed misdeeds. It was established in response to an attempt by a deranged Australian to set fire to the al-Aqsa mosque, which was duly blamed on "the military occupation by Israel of Al-Quds—the Holy City of Jerusalem."[8] The "State of Palestine" (i.e., the then-five-year-old Palestine Liberation Organization or PLO, established as a tool for promoting the expansionist ambitions of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser) was among the OIC's original twenty-five founding members, and the pledge of "full support to the Palestinian people for the restitution of their rights, which were usurped"[9]—the standard Arab euphemism for Israel's destruction—has become a central plank of the organization's policy, reiterated in countless decisions and resolutions on issues that have nothing to do with questions concerning the Palestinians.[10]

The Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), an OIC organ mandated "to strengthen cooperation among member states in the field of education, science, and culture,"[11] has occupied pride of place in the campaign to delegitimize Israel. Since its inception in 1982, it has run dozens of programs and symposia on the Jewish state's supposed desecration of Islamic and Christian holy sites and the attendant need to wrest them from the Israelis' control. The most important of these were the international conferences on the "Protection of Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in Palestine," held in Rabat in 1993 and 2002 and in Amman in November 2004 respectively under the patronage of the Moroccan and Jordanian monarchs. An examination of conference activities reveals a systematic effort to devise an anti-Israeli media strategy that was to be adopted not only by Arab and Muslim states but also by international groups and organizations, including some of the U.N.'s most powerful agencies.

Unifying the Umma, Bashing the Jews

In his address to the 2002 Rabat conference, King Muhammad VI of Morocco stated:

The acts of destruction and distortion committed by the occupation authorities to distort the facts and truths of history cause serious damage to the Islamic and Christian holy sites and violate their sanctity and the values they embody for all the believers of the different religions.[12]

For the Moroccan monarch, as president of the OIC's al-Quds Committee, such actions as archaeological excavations and the placement of artifacts in museums constituted an attack against all believers. In fact, Christian churches that had been reduced to ruins by centuries of Islamic occupation were restored by successive Israeli governments because, unlike Shari'a or Islamic law, the Jewish state has no laws prohibiting the restoration or construction of churches. The king could have also benefitted from a measure of introspection: Morocco, like the other Maghreb states, is a place where virtually no vestiges of pre-Islamic Christian history have survived.

Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, the Saudi-born, University of Oregon-educated ISESCO director-general, went a step further, asserting that "the crimes against humanity committed by Israel have reached an extent of oppression, injustice, and aggression that humanity has never witnessed, neither in this age nor in previous ages."[13] He amplified this diatribe at the Amman conference where he claimed that Muslim responsibilities toward the Islamic and Christian holy sites in the Palestinian territories sprang from ISESCO's commitment to the Palestinian cause, which in his opinion, constituted the essence of all issues and the supreme task of both the Muslim world and those Eastern Christian circles that were part of the Arab and Islamic civilization.[14]

The proceedings of the Rabat and the Amman conferences represent a monument to anti-Jewish hatred and incitement, featuring such assertions as "Jews are the enemies of Allah, the enemies of faith, and of the worship of Allah."[15] They also brim with denials of Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel and claims to its Arab (and later Muslim) character since the third millennium BCE. The Jews are accused of having "judaized" the biblical prophets who were in fact Muslim and of having usurped the antiquity of other peoples since they themselves have no history. In the words of Adnan Ibrahim Hassan al-Subah, president of the Jenin Information Center:

People familiar with the Torah, which we believe to have been distorted, know the extent of the evils they attribute to their prophets: corruption, treachery, fornication or approval of it. It is with these facts that we need to arm ourselves when we confront the Zionist propaganda in the world with tangible facts, as part of our defence of the faith and the faithful on earth, wherever they may be.[16]

These examples of incitement to religious hatred were on display at the U.N.'s Palais des Nations in Geneva at a reception given by the OIC on December 19, 2008, to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And why not? After all, the OIC is not only "the collective voice of the Muslim world"[17] but also the U.N.'s largest single voting bloc and a prominent collaborator with many of its specialized agencies.

Influencing the U.N.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that these conferences did not content themselves with anti-Jewish diatribes but sought to devise a strategy to harness the international community to the anti-Israel campaign in general and the re-Islamization of Jerusalem (al-Quds) in particular. As one of the speakers explained, "Jerusalem is the cornerstone of the spiritual edifice and the Zionist Jewish entity. Were it to be dislodged, the whole edifice and the Zionist entity itself would crumble like a deck of cards."[18]

Action plans show a media strategy of employing an attractive style and scientific language and magnifying Palestinian suffering since the establishment of the "racist Zionist entity" in 1948. These plans would be effectively replicated by the U.N.'s Alliance of Civilizations' Report of the High Level Group (HLG), which would endeavor to "make it clear to the Palestinian people that the price of decades of occupation, misunderstanding, and stigmatization is being fully acknowledged," although this "story had been left untold or deliberately ignored by the community of nations."[19]

This assertion is not merely false but the inverse of the truth. The Palestinians have benefitted like no other nation from world indulgence. Europe, for one, has vigorously championed their cause since 1973, devising a string of political schemes on their behalf and pouring immeasurable sums of money into the bottomless Palestinian pit.

If anything, it was the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Arab countries during and after the 1948 war and the expropriation of their worldly possessions, that was entirely ignored by the Alliance of Civilizations, as was the history of the Jews in their ancestral homeland where they had suffered ethnic and religious oppression by a long succession of foreign occupiers.

While claiming to promote peace, the HLG report added yet another page to both the defamation of Israel and the perennial Palestinian sense of victimization. One wonders what prompted it to begin the historical survey with the establishment of the state of Israel, ignoring the millenarian Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel that had been acknowledged as early as 1920 by the U.N.'s predecessor—the League of Nations.

Moreover, the report sought to rewrite, under U.N. aegis, the story of the nakba (the "catastrophe," as Palestinians and Arabs call their 1948 failure to destroy Israel at its birth) as a counterweight to the Holocaust, and to impose this narrative on Israel and the international community. In the words of the report, it is "essential for Palestinians as well as for the Arab-Muslim world and Muslims in general to understand and acknowledge the fact that we … now know and take responsibility for ensuring everyone knows the price and weight of these sixty years of misunderstanding, stigmatization, as well as veiled and abused truths."[20] Indeed, while the Alliance was established in 2005 with the specific goal "to explore the roots of polarization between societies and cultures today and to recommend a practical program of action to address this issue," it has quickly become an anti-Israel lobbying machine on a global scale. This is evidenced not only from its implementation plan, which places "a priority on addressing relations between Western and Muslim societies"[21] at the expense of other faiths and civilizations, but also by its close collaboration with numerous anti-Israel nongovernmental organizations and bodies, notably the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The OIC's influence on the Alliance has been manifested in a wide range of historical and cultural issues, including the presentation of Islam as the source of modern Western civilization; the contrasting of Islamic tolerance with European culpability for the Crusades, imperialism and colonization; and the whitewashing of jihad's true nature and its misrepresentation as a struggle for individual self-improvement.[22]

The Alliance's views on social issues often echo OIC charges about the pervasive discrimination against Muslim migrants in the West and the Western media's deliberate dissemination of "Islamophobia." This state of affairs required, in the words, of the HLG report, that "American and European universities and research centers should expand research into the significant economic, cultural, and social contributions of immigrant communities to American and European life. Likewise, they should promote publications coming from the Muslim world on a range of subjects related to Islam and the Muslim world."[23]

Such recommendations follow the injunctions of the religious scholars (ulema) who attended the OIC's 2005 summit in Mecca.[24]

Plotting the Anti-Israel Campaign

Speakers at the OIC's Amman conference stressed the media's crucial role and importance in the fight against Israel. They recommended that the Islamic world should demonstrate its unwavering commitment to Arab and Palestinian rights, alongside the conviction that the re-Islamization of Jerusalem would restore the city's spiritual preeminence and peaceful religious coexistence, enable the flourishing of faith, and make Jerusalem a worldwide agent of culture and civilization.[25]

In fact, this picture in no way corresponds to the actual Islamic history of Jerusalem, which for most of the time was a sleepy and neglected backwater. Rather it is a usurpation of the Biblical vision of Jerusalem as "a light unto the nations," developed by generations of Hebrew prophets more than a millennium before Muhammad.

Abdullah Kan'an, secretary-general of the Royal Committee for al-Quds Affairs in Jordan—whose government signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994—presented a comprehensive plan for inculcating Islamic policy into all Western cultural and media sectors and delegitimizing the Jewish state, starting with turning the Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem into a central world problem. As a first step, he suggested publicizing the history of Jerusalem as he saw it—from the city's foundation by the "Canaanite Jebusites" to date—so as to negate "the Torah-based history." He also proposed to popularize Islamic and Christian holy sites in the same manner, starting with al-Aqsa Mosque, which "according to the noble Hadith, is only forty years older than the first shrine ever created for humanity, al-Haram Mosque in Makkah."[26]

In enumerating the themes of ISESCO's media war against Israel in the West, Kan'an evoked arguments repeated by many Western journalists, intellectuals, ministers, and heads of state. These included,

  • Convincing the EU that a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict was in its vital interest, thus helping Europeans (especially Germans) free themselves of their guilt complex vis-à-vis the Jews and the weight of history more generally.

  • Persuading Western leaders that as long as the Palestinians did not have their own state, relations between the EU and the Arab world would remain unstable. Once this goal had been achieved, Europe could look forward to an expanded partnership with the Arab world and full access to its markets.

  • Emphasizing that America's pro-Israel position was in contravention of international law, threatened U.S. vital interests as well as those of Europe, and jeopardized world peace and security. This argument, consistently inculcated in European leaders and journalists by the OIC, was hammered home by the Western media and became an important catalyst of European hostility toward the United States, especially during the George W. Bush administration.

  • Underscoring the alleged threats to Western interests as a result of supporting Israel. This support had to be presented as one of the foremost causes of anti-Western violence, both in the Middle East and in the Western countries themselves, by individuals and groups who reacted emotionally to personal and collective tragedies. This argument was frequently used by Romano Prodi, then-president of the European Commission, and French president Jacques Chirac, among other European politicians, to explain away the resurgence of European anti-Semitism during 2000-05, and was also invoked by President Obama in March 2010 when he publicly humiliated Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[27]

  • Convincing Westerners that peace was only possible through the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the entire territory occupied in 1967 with al-Quds as its capital, the "return" of Palestinian refugees, and the abandonment of Israel's "Zionist, racist character"—standard Arab and Muslim euphemisms for the destruction of the Jewish state.

  • Persuading Westerners that their shared interests with Arabs and Muslims far exceeded those they shared with Israel.[28]

Kan'an then summarized the long-term objectives of the media plan, two of which are of special note:

  • Persuading the EU to abandon its slavish trailing of Washington and to form its own independent vision and positions, which "would be more in harmony with the international will vis-à-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Israeli occupation of Arab territories, including Jerusalem, and the right of the Arab Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of its independent state with Al Quds as its capital."[29]

  • Transforming the Palestinian question and the Arab-Israeli conflict from internal U.S. issues to external problems, primarily governed by the mutual interests of Americans, Muslims, and Arabs. This would break the immunity of the Israeli policies and force the Israeli government to bow to the will of the international community and adhere to all of the U.N. resolutions.[30]

To achieve these goals, Kan'an recommended obtaining the support of certain intellectuals, literary figures, and influential political movements that were capable of molding Western public opinion within the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict and especially with regard to the Jerusalem question. This campaign would refer to U.N. resolutions that formed the basis for the media plan. Here, too, EU support for the U.N.'s international law amounted to endorsement of the strategy and policies of the OIC, whose position as the U.N.'s largest single voting bloc gave it the unrivalled ability to predominate the world organization and its specialized agencies.

Another proposed tactic was to infiltrate the media as well as influential cultural, intellectual, and economic circles with a view to exposing them to the Arab perspective and convincing them that their countries' policies were subservient to "the interests of the Zionist movement with its various formations and bodies and not [to] the interests of their own countries"[31] Other themes included:

  • Discreetly and indirectly encouraging trends critical of Zionism and the Israeli government's "judaization policies" in Jerusalem within Western circles, so as to make them effective opponents of the "Zionist lobby and the coalition of Jewish and Christian Zionists" and defenders of their countries' vital interests.

  • Delegitimizing laws against anti-Semitism, such as France's 1990 Gayssot Act, which made it an offence to question the occurrence or scope of crimes against humanity,[32] and George W. Bush's 2004 law requiring the Department of State to monitor global anti-Semitism,[33] as laws that have no bearing on Western interests but are rather a part of a Zionist ploy to feed Westerners' guilt feelings so as to keep them subservient to Zionist machinations.

Mobilizing Western Muslims

No less importantly, the ISESCO campaign envisaged the mobilization of members of Arab and Muslim communities in the West, especially in the United States, who were to be enticed into becoming politically active so as to end their marginalization and gain major political weight. This was believed to be feasible given that these communities comprised high quality populations, including important scientists, intellectuals, and politicians. Arab and Muslim thinkers, religious scholars, and intellectuals living in Western societies ought to recommend to Muslims to reject extremism, fanaticism and violence "as this tends to be detrimental and generates negative reactions to Arab and Islamic issues." [34]

Another step would involve blocking attempts in Europe and the United States to ban Islamist charitable societies, which according to Kan'an were purely humanitarian organizations but in fact were funneling funds for jihadist and terrorist groups.[35] Within this framework, he recommended:

  • Encouraging the investment of Arab and Muslim capital in all forms of the media (written, audio, and visual), especially in the United States, thus paving the way for breaking the alleged Jewish monopoly in the field. Arab radio stations and satellite television channels such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabia should broadcast "weekly programs in English [about al-Quds], targeting Western public opinion, benefiting from media personalities knowledgeable about the Western mentality and capable of influencing it to the benefit of the issue of al-Quds with the help of U.N. resolutions." Programs about al-Quds in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, and other languages should be created, and a multilingual satellite channel called al-Quds would be created, "staffed with a media, information, intellectual, and historical team knowledgeable about the question of al-Quds and its various dimensions."[36]

  • Encouraging Muslim and Arab investments in modern information and communication technologies, notably the Internet, and the filming of television and cinema documentaries with a view to shaping Western public opinion, which is heavily reliant on this type of educational and media sources. A special emphasis should be placed on the possibilities of "utilizing modern communication technologies, especially the opening of websites dedicated to al-Quds, and encouraging Muslims to embark on an Internet-supported war for al-Quds to counterbalance the activities of the Zionist movement and its octopus-like formations, the most dangerous of which is Christian Zionism and its mastermind, the Neo-Conservatives."[37]

On a broader level, Kan'an advised Arab and Muslim communities "to integrate as much as possible within the societies where they live, in order to gain credibility," especially in universities and institutions of higher learning. "Friends of al-Quds" associations in U.S. and European universities, organizations, and working places were to be established to support those NGOs working for the cause of al-Quds. To this would be added the worldwide distribution of propaganda materials "issued by Americans, Europeans, and Jews against Israel, its policies, and Zionism," including specifically-produced films that "reveal the barbarity of Israel, the dangers inherent in the policy of demolishing houses, murder and massacre of the Arab Palestinian people, and distributing these films as widely as possible in the Islamic world."[38]

Finally, specialists and experts in Western affairs should be drawn into "the discussion of the broad lines of the media plan in order to enrich it and guarantee all conditions of its success." Such experts would specialize in Western media, politics, public opinion, psychology, religions, law and culture, as well as in history of al-Quds. In two notes that appear in the French text but are omitted from the English proceedings, the lecturer ridicules the "Zionist stories of alleged Nazi slaughters."[39]

The OIC's World Collaborators

These were by no means novel, let alone maverick ideas. The intention to extend the OIC's influence to Western countries through immigrant populations and their growing weight in the host societies had been insinuated on previous occasions, notably by OIC secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu at the European parliament in 2005,[40] and by the founders of the Euro-Arab Dialogue, which evolved from a French initiative in the late 1960s.[41]

According to unpublished sources from the Euro-Arab Dialogue movement,[42] in November 1973, Christopher Mayhew, a member of the British parliament, and Raymond Offroy, a member of the French national assembly, envisaged the creation of an association for improving Europe's relations with the Arab world.[43] Its launching coincided with the European Commission (EC)'s Brussels declaration that urged Israel to return to the pre-1967 lines and, for the first time, recognized the PLO.[44] Mayhew and Offroy, now supported by the EC, were the first to create a Euro-Arab network, the European Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation (PAEAC), at a conference in Paris on March 23-25, 1975. Its secretary-general, Robert Swann, a former foreign office diplomat, had been a secretary-general of Amnesty International. The funds for PAEAC came from a Swiss foundation, ANAF, set up in 1969 and managed by an administrative committee consisting of European political personalities. PAEAC benefited from the financial aid and support of the EC and its networks, in liaison with the Council of Europe. The minutes of the PAEAC meetings were published over the years in the Documents d'Actualité Internationale by the French foreign office. These reveal the effective extension of OIC strategy to Europe, combining a policy of immigration with the cultural and political Islamization of Europe.[45]

Extensive U.N.-sponsored networks, bringing together the EU, the OIC, and ISESCO, would effectively implement this strategy in all Western countries. Europe, for example, has lavished millions of Euros on Palestinian NGOs and organs of "civil society," which advocate the economic, political, educational, and cultural boycotting of Israel and which have systematically demonized and delegitimized the Jewish state in schools, the media, Palestinian publications, and on the international scene.[46]

Since 2005, a "Palestinian Week against Israeli Apartheid" has become a regular feature on campuses and in major cities throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States, calling for divestments, sanctions, and boycotts against Israel. According to NGO Monitor, most speakers at these demonstrations belong to organizations financed by European governments, the European Commission, and the New Israel Fund, created following Obama's election.[47]

To these NGOs must be added "The Elders"—a newly-established "independent group of eminent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering, and promote the shared interests of humanity." [48] Generating much international influence and considerable funds, the group comprises twelve leaders and dignitaries, quite a few of whom—notably former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and former Irish president Mary Robinson of Durban conference infamy—are harsh critics of Israel. It is chaired by former South African archbishop Desmond Tutu—the spiritual instigator of the world campaign of cultural and economic apartheid against Israel.

Small wonder that the group, in line with the former policies of its members while in power, has consistently misrepresented the Israelis as the unjust and warlike party and the Palestinians as hapless victims of their predatory neighbor. For The Elders, the Palestinian denial of Israel's right to exist embodies natural justice (hence, for example, their advocacy of "engaging" Hamas) while Israel's attempts to protect its citizens from sustained terror attacks—from the erection of the security fence, to Operation Cast Lead, to the naval blockade of Hamas—are illegal and disproportionate uses of force. Tutu congratulated Turkey for having sent its flotilla of supposed humanitarians in May 2010 while the Elders condemned Israel's attempt to stop this effort on behalf of Hamas, a terror organization, whose constitution openly calls for Israel's destruction.[49] They also urged the U.N. Security Council "to debate the situation with a view to mandating action to end the closure of the Gaza Strip."[50]

In what had by now become an instinctive reaction, the European parliament joined the Elders and condemned Israel by a crushing majority, insinuating its massive support for Hamas. Catherine Ashton, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy and vice president of the European Commission, argued that lifting the blockade would bring peace,[51] conveniently overlooking the fact that the blockade was a defensive response to Hamas' genocidal policies rather than their catalyst.

Exploiting the Palestinian Christians

Nor has the OIC, together with its willing international collaborators, shied away from exploiting West Bank and Gaza Christians—discriminated against and oppressed by both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which have ruled over them for the past fifteen years—for its anti-Israel propaganda campaign.

Consider the document titled Kairos Palestine, drawn up by Palestinian theologians and published in Bethlehem on December 11, 2009, by the Geneva World Council of Churches.[52] In the name of love, peace, and justice, the paper portrays Israel as the epitome of evil and oppression, urging all Western churches to initiate a policy of economic strangulation and defamation of the Jewish state. This was followed by a letter from the Greek Catholic patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, Gregorios III, to Pope Benedict XVI,[53] in preparation for the October 2010 Synod, planned to bring together the Catholic churches of the Middle East to discuss the greater problems facing the local Christians and to devise ways and means for stopping their ongoing flight from the region.

Invoking his duty to inform the pope on the dangers in the region, the patriarch had no qualms about blaming Israeli actions for the surge of militant Islamism throughout the region and its adverse implications for the local Christian communities. He wrote:

There is a diffuse but sure rise of Islamic extremism, provoked by the threats of the Israeli government against Palestinians, Lebanon, Syria, [and Iran], which is spreading throughout all the countries in the region. Even in Syria, where such extremism has been up to now very limited, its advance has become more and more evident, despite efforts from the government against it.

Gregorios lamented the widespread terror attacks by these Islamists on local Christians, especially in Iraq and Egypt. Yet rather than ask the pope to help restrain the perpetrators of this violence, he begged that

the Holy See's diplomacy redouble its efforts to persuade the Tel Aviv government, despite the views of its most intransigent wing—probably via the United States and those European countries which, having sponsored the birth of the State of Israel and supported it ever since, should be able to exert effective pressure on it—of the grave danger of this development which in the medium and perhaps short term, runs against the interests and future of the State of Israel itself, which needs peace in the region just as much as Arab countries, to be able eventually to live normally all together. [54]

Conclusion

Judging by Israel's growing international isolation, the OIC's sustained effort to delegitimize the Jewish state has borne substantial fruit. Not only is Israel's right to exist constantly debated and challenged in Western public opinion forums, but sixty-three years after establishing the Jewish state in an internationally recognized act of self-determination, the United Nations has become a foremost purveyor of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement.

Time and again, year after year, its Commission on Human Rights discusses Israel's supposed abuses while turning a blind eye to scores of actual atrocities around the globe. This world organization has 192 member nations, but its Security Council has devoted about a third of its activity and criticism to only one of those states—Israel. Nowhere has this obsession been more starkly demonstrated than in the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in September 2001 in the South African town of Durban where, for eight full days, delegates from numerous countries and thousands of nongovernmental organizations indulged in a xenophobic orgy of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement that made a mockery of the conference's original purpose.[55]

As UNESCO follows suit by denying the Jews some of their most cherished historical and religious symbols, the OIC scores yet another palpable hit in its ceaseless hate campaign.

[1] "Executive Board adopts five decisions concerning UNESCO's work in the occupied Palestinian and Arab Territories," UNESCO Media Services, Paris, Oct. 21, 2010.

[2] Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2010.
[3] See, for example, International Islamic News Agency (Jeddah), Mar. 3, 2010; "Decisions Adopted by the Executive Board at its 184th Session," UNESCO, executive board, Paris, May 14, 2010.
[4] World Bulletin (Istanbul), Sept. 28, 2010.
[5] "About OIC," Organization of the Islamic Conference, Jeddah, accessed Nov. 7, 2010.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] "Declaration of the First Rabat Islamic Conference," Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Rabat, Sept. 1969.
[9] Ibid.
[10] "Resolutions," Second Islamic Conference of the Ministers of Health, OIC, Tehran, Mar. 1-4, 2009.
[11] "Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO)," Specialized Institutions and Organs, OIC, Rabat, 2009, accessed, Nov. 7, 2010.
[12] "Message of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco," June 6, 2002, Protection of Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in Palestine International Conference, Rabat, June 7-8, 2002 (Rabat: ISESCO, 2004), p. 11.
[13] "Address of Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri," Protection of Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in Palestine, First International Conference, Rabat, June 7-8, 2002 (Rabat: ISESCO, 2004), p. 15.
[14] "Address by Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri," Protection of Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in Palestine, Second International Conference, Amman, Nov. 23-25, 2004, (Rabat: ISESCO, 2007), p. 18.
[15] Adnan Ibrahim Hassan al-Subah, "Role of Palestinian Civil Society in the Protection of Holy Sites in Palestine," Protection of Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in Palestine, Second International Conference, Amman, Nov. 23-25, 2004 (Rabat: ISESCO, 2007), p. 253.
[16] Ibid., p. 254.
[17] "About OIC."
[18] Abdullah Kan'an, "Media Plan for Publicising the Cause of Al Quds, Al Sharif in the West and Mechanisms for Its Implementation," Protection of Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in Palestine, Second International Conference, Amman, Nov. 23-25, 2004 (Rabat: ISESCO, 2007), p. 195.
[19] "Report of the High Level Group," Alliance of Civilizations, United Nations, New York, Nov. 13, 2006, p.18, art. 5.7.
[20] Ibid., p. 53.
[21] "Implementation Plan, 2007-2009," Alliance of Civilizations, United Nations, New York, p. 2.
[22] "Report of the High Level Group," pp. 11, 15.
[23] Ibid., p. 39, italicized in the text.
[24] "Recommendations of the OIC Commission of Eminent Persons (CEP)," Makkah al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 7-8, 2005.
[25] Protection of Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in Palestine, Second International Conference, Amman, Nov. 23-25, 2004 (Rabat: ISESCO, 2007), p. 175.
[26] Kan'an, "Media Plan," p. 201.
[27] The Sunday Times (London), Mar. 26, 2010.
[28] Kan'an, "Media Plan," pp. 202-3.
[29] Ibid, p. 205.
[30] Ibid.
[31] Ibid., p. 204.
[32] Tendant à réprimer tout acte raciste, antisémite ou xénophobe, République Française, Paris, July 13, 1990.
[33] Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, PL 108-332, U.S. Congress, Oct. 16, 2004; BBC News, Oct. 20, 2004.
[34] Kan'an, "Media Plan," pp. 205-6.
[35] See for example, Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha, "CAIR: Islamists Fooling the Establishment," Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2006, pp. 3-20.
[36] Kan'an, "Media Plan," pp. 206-7.
[37] Ibid.
[38] Ibid., pp. 207-8.
[39] Ibid., p. 208.
[40] Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general, Organization of the Islamic Conference, address to Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe, Oct. 4, 2005.
[41] Roy H. Ginsberg, The European Union in International Politics. Baptism by Fire (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001), pp. 112-3.
[42] 1974-1994 Association Parlementaire pour la Coopération Euro-Arabe, association archives, unpublished document in author's possession, pp. 6-12.
[43] Ibid.
[44] Joint statement, European Economic Community, Copenhagen, Nov. 6, 1973.
[45] Bat Ye'or, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (Cranbury, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005), pp. 93-5.
[46] Gerald M. Steinberg, "Europe's Hidden Hand. EU Funding for Political NGOs in the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Analyzing Processes and Impact," NGO Monitor Monograph Series, Apr. 2008.
[47] "Israeli Apartheid Week 2010: NGO Involvement," NGO Monitor, updated Mar. 3, 2010.
[48] "About the Elders," The Elders website, accessed Oct. 13, 2010.
[49] "Hamas Covenant 1988," Yale Law School Avalon Project, Aug. 18, 1988.
[50] "The Elders Condemn Israeli Attack on Gaza relief Ships," The Elders, May 31, 2010.
[51] Catherine Ashton, speech to the European Parliament, Strasbourg, June 16, 2010.
[52] Kairos Palestine, Bethlehem, Dec. 11, 2009; Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding (Dalton, Ga.), Dec. 15, 2009 .
[53] Gregorios III, Patriarch to Pope Benedict XVI, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, Mar. 1, 2010.
[54] Ibid.
[55] Gerald M. Steinberg "NGOs Make War on Israel," Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2004, pp. 13-25.

Original URL:http://www.meforum.org/2813/delegitimizing-the-jewish-state

Bat Ye'or is the author, most recently, of Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005). This article contains extracts from her forthcoming book Europe, Globalization and the Coming Universal Caliphate (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2011).

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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