Friday, June 29, 2012

The Cult of Obama


by Daniel Greenfield


The Corporate Cult evolved in the United States as a hybrid of the sales force of the corporation and the religious devotion of the cult. This type of entity might be a cult like Scientology, which used the aggressive and organized sales tactics and marketing campaigns of a corporation, or it could be a corporation like Apple, whose employees earn little, but feel a sense of satisfaction at being part of a meaningful entity.

The Obama Campaign is a fantastic marketing machine. It is constantly discovering new ways to sell things to people. But the problem is that it has no actual product. A company that goes corporate cult uses some of the tactics of a cult to inflate the value of its product. But a cult has no product except the sense of satisfaction that comes from being in the cult. The only things it sells are images of its leader, emblazoned everywhere, his books, speeches and photos, and these are used as tokens of membership in the cult.

In retrospect, the Cult of Obama had much in common with other cults. Like them it recruited young volunteers on campus. Its recruitment materials leaned heavily on books by its beloved leader. It promised them that a new age was coming and that they could be a big part of bringing it about. And its vector of introduction to older viewers was through a woman who has been accused of promoting cults on her popular television show.

Strip away the politics, wipe the polar identities of the parties from your minds and take a fresh look at the 2008 campaign. Then compare the pitch to any of the major cults in the seventies and eighties. There really isn’t all that much of a difference. They’re all “Transformative” movements that promise to solve society’s problems by using new insights to create a wave of change that begins with “us”.

Even the political angle isn’t new. Jim Jones and his murderous child-abusing cult started out as community organizers for California Democrats, and leading politicians, including saintly hero Harvey Milk, covered for his crimes until the whole thing got too big and Jones got too crazy. Long before Obama, Lyndon LaRouche went the campus cult route and if you are morbidly curious, you can find videos where “LaRouche Youth,” who have broken ties with their families and friends, shout insane slogans while their glazed eyes stare fixedly into the camera.

The corporate part of the Corporate Cult deals with adversity by redoubling the sales pitch. If sales fall, it finds more things to sell. The Obama Campaign is insanely intensifying its sales efforts, without understanding that its sales are falling because the value of the brand is failing. When businesses hysterically deluge you with offerings for their product, it’s a sign of fear. Obama’s campaign rolling out invitations to dinner with him and suggestions that you use your wedding to raise money for him stinks of that same fear.

It’s ingenious from a marketing standpoint, but from that same standpoint it’s also a bad tactic. The last thing that a company or a campaign wants to do is wear people out. But that is exactly what Obama is accomplishing by burning through his base for a short-term cash grab, when what he really needs is to have those people committed to him at the end.

This is the part where the marketing consultants spend six months on a study and inform the company that their brand is done and has to either be retired or salvaged through a high-profile campaign that will reinvent it as cutting edge. But when your brand is a man, how do you reinvent him? And when your brand is “Transformative Politics” and even your staunchest supporters don’t feel like anything has been transformed, how do you move the product?

Cults shift the burden of failure from the guru and the program to the participants. It isn’t the man or the idea that failed, but the people.

There are the outside enemies who make enlightenment impossible. “How very much I’ve tried my best to give you a good life. But in spite of all of my trying a handful of our people, with their lies, have made our lives impossible,” Jim Jones said at Jonestown. That is the epilogue of the Obama campaign. The one being scripted for him by the media.

Like Jim Jones, Obama has done his best to give us a good life, but the Republicans, FOX News, the Supreme Court, the Koch Brothers and powerful interests have sabotaged his efforts with their lies. And yet in the end it’s not the enemies who bear the final burden, but the people who weren’t good enough.

Cults demand more and more from their followers to impose upon them an unreasonable and unshakeable burden of guilt. The cult appeals to those who want to make more of their lives and it destroys their will by making them feel like failures. The Obama campaign’s endless demands of its followers have that tenor as well. Behind all the flowery words, the burden of responsibility is being shifted from his people to his supporters.

The cult frames everything in terms of commitment. What begins as a commitment to personal and global transformation becomes a commitment to the demands of the cult. The commitment is meant to be mutual and it is occasionally even framed in terms of a marriage.

“In all our years of marriage, he’s always looked out for me. Now, I see that same commitment every day to you and to this country,” Michelle Obama’s campaign mailing says. “The only way we’ll win this election is if we can rely on one another like that.”

The commitments, of course, aren’t mutual. They can’t be. The disparity in power is too great. The cult exists for the sake of the leader, but the leader does not exist for the sake of the cult. Once the followers realize this, the illusion of mutual commitment breaks down. And to keep them from realizing it, the cult strives to make them feel that they have not lived up to their commitment.

And yet all this only works for as long as the transformative illusion endures. When the sense that the commitment to the cult is not transformative, that the principles of its program cannot make a better world, then its power fades away and dies. The cult may amp up its marketing, but the only product that it ever truly had was intangible.

The Obama campaign never sold Obama; it sold the idea of Obama. The illusion that was more than the sum of his false biography, his chin up speeches full of momentous pauses and stolen poetry, or the typography of his posters. It was the sense of imminence, the perception of a transformative figure who could change the country and the world. That magnetic tug wasn’t Obama, it was the confused mess of desires, fears, hopes, dreams and wishes that the people were encouraged to project onto him.

Whether or not Obama wins again, his cult has failed. It failed because it was not able to deliver on its promises of transformation, nor was it able to place the blame on its followers. Most of those who voted for Obama will drink the Kool-Aid one more time, but there will be little enthusiasm in the drinking of it.

Daniel Greenfield

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/06/28/the-cult-of-obama/

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

The Al Qaeda-Muslim Brotherhood Coalition


by P. David Hornik


Not long ago the Arab Spring was seen as a harbinger of democracy. It turns out that, instead, it’s creating breeding grounds for international terror—and safe havens for al-Qaeda itself.

That is not just a polemical opinion but the somber assessment of the director-general of Britain’s MI5 internal security agency, Jonathan Evans. The Telegraph reports that Evans, in a rare lecture this week in London, warned that

Today parts of the Arab world have once more become a permissive environment for al-Qaeda.

This is the completion of a cycle—al-Qaeda first moved to Afghanistan in the 1990s due to pressure in their Arab countries of origin. They moved on to Pakistan after the fall of the Taliban.

And now some are heading home to the Arab world again….

Evans specifically said that British jihadis, who have been training for years at al-Qaeda strongholds in Yemen and Somalia, “are known to be receiving training in the likes of Libya and Egypt”—supposed beneficiaries of what some saw as a wave of Facebook-driven liberalization.

The MI5 chief also confirmed that al-Qaeda is now active in Syria, and “warned against suggestions that al-Qaeda’s threat has ‘evaporated’ following the death of Osama bin Laden and significant victories in Pakistan.” He noted that Britain, for its part, has “experienced a credible terrorist attack plot about once a year since 9/11.”

Evans didn’t say in what part of Egypt the jihadis are training. Israel, though, has been aware that—particularly since the winds of “spring” toppled Egypt’s pro-Western Mubarak regime—the presence of al-Qaeda and other global-jihad elements has been rapidly growing at least in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

It was only last week that what is believed to be an al-Qaeda-linked group carried out a deadly attack at the fence Israel is trying to build quickly along its border with Sinai.

But Evans’s words carry implications beyond the region and beyond Britain’s own very real security concerns.

For one thing, his point that bin Laden’s assassination (along with the killing of other terror leaders in Pakistan) has hardly finished off al-Qaeda tends to undercut the great emphasis President Obama has put on that exploit.

Still more significant, though, is the fact that “permissive environments” where al-Qaeda is coming back to roost—“Arab Spring” countries like Egypt, Libya, and Syria—are also places where the Muslim Brotherhood has been gaining strength.

And Obama, while readily identifying al-Qaeda as evil and an enemy of America and the free world, notoriously looks at the Brotherhood differently. Indeed, his administration has made a point of repeatedly lauding the election of Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi as Egypt’s new president.

For those free of a sentimental affinity for the Brotherhood, it of course makes perfect sense that it would be cultivating environments where al-Qaeda feels welcome. The Brotherhood is, after all, the organization from which Al-Qaeda sprang. Bin Laden had Brotherhood teachers in his youth, and current al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri was a member of the Brotherhood in his native country of Egypt.

Indeed, the Brotherhood condemned Bin Laden’s assassination, proclaiming that “legitimate resistance against foreign occupation in any country is a legitimate right” and “request[ing] that the US stop…intelligence operations against dissenters, and halt its interference in the internal affairs of any Arab or Muslim country.” In other words, a direct rebuff to what the U.S. president flaunts as a heroic moment.

A rational U.S., and Western, approach to the rapidly changing—and deteriorating—Arab Middle East requires not only recognizing that al-Qaeda is returning there, as MI5 chief Evans underscores. It also requires realizing that, while they have tactical differences and sometimes frictions, al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are two closely related facets of the same global-jihadist, anti-Semitic, anti-American, anti-Western phenomenon.

Specific policy implications would include ceasing to back the wrong side—the Brotherhood—in Egypt instead of the right side—the more moderate and much more pragmatic Supreme Military Council; ceasing to back the Syrian rebels now that the Brotherhood-al-Qaeda front is spearheading them; and trying to prevent (which, according to one report from Middle East News Line, the U.S. is now starting to do) al-Qaeda-aligned militias from taking over Libya while there is still time.

Forestalling the region’s descent into an even worse, world-threatening maelstrom depends on finally starting to see it clearly.

P. David Hornik

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/06/28/the-al-qaeda-muslim-brotherhood-coalition/

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

Iran Declares War against the Jewish People


by Alan M. Dershowitz

The Iranian government, long known for its Holocaust denial and anti-Zionism, has now declared war against the Jewish people. In a speech delivered in Tehran, Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi accused the Jewish people of spreading illegal drugs around the world, killing Black babies, starting the Bolshevik Revolution and causing many of the world's other ills. His "proof": "The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anyone who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict. They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade."

There are, of course, numerous addicts among Jews and Zionists, as there are among all groups. Israel has several treatment centers for drug addicts as do Jewish communities throughout the world. He also cited "proof" that the Jews caused the Bolshevik Revolution: not a single Jew was killed during that Revolution. Of course, thousands of Jews were murdered during the Bolshevik Revolution as well as during Stalin's purges in the decades following the establishment of the Soviet Union.

But don't expect truth from a country whose leaders deny the existence of even a single gay person in all of Iran.

Vice President Rahimi cited the Talmud as the source of his claptrap and in support of his claim that Jews believe that they are racially superior and that "God has created the world so that all other nations can serve them."

These bigoted claims would be laughable if they did not have such a long and disturbing history. Virtually everything stated by Vice President Rahimi came directly out of Hitler's playbook of the 1930s and Stalin's playbook of the 1940s and 50s. They must be taken seriously in light of the fact that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and has already called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map. Moreover, Iran's surrogate, Hezbollah, has invited all the Jews of the world to move to Israel so that it will be easier to destroy them in one fell swoop.

Taken together, these statements and actions constitute a clear incitement to genocide, which is explicitly prohibited by international law and by the rules governing the International Criminal Court. Professor Irwin Cotler, the former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, has drafted a brilliant brief making the case for indicting the Iranian leaders for inciting genocide against the Jewish people. Vice President Rahimi's speech constitutes additional evidence of that crime, if any were needed.

If the leaders of Iran are guilty of incitement against the Jewish people, as they plainly are, they have many coconspirators and facilitators. In recent years these have included several prominent church leaders, such as Cardinal Glemp of Poland, Father Daniel Berrigan of the United States, Cardinal Rodriguez of Honduras, Bishop Tutu of South Africa and numerous others who have crossed the line from anti-Zionism to overt anti-Semitism.

Cardinal Glemp, while serving as the primate of Poland, accused the Jews of bringing Communism, alcoholism and poverty to Poland. He also accused them of provoking anti-Semitism. Father Daniel Berrigan characterized the Jewish state as "a criminal Jewish community" that "manufactures human waste." A current cardinal of the Catholic Church Oscar Andres Rodriguez Meridiaga, who is the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has been telling anyone who is willing to listen that "the Jews" are to blame for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners! How did Cardinal Rodriguez ever come up with this ridiculous idea? Here is his "logic:" the Vatican is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. It follows, therefore, that "the Jews" had to get even with the Catholic Church, while at the same time deflecting attention away from Israeli injustices against the Palestinians. The Jews managed to do this by arranging for the media which they, of course, control to give disproportionate attention to the Vatican sex scandal.

Not to be outdone, Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, claims that Americans are frightened of excessive Jewish influence in America because "the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful." He compared the Jewish influence in America to that of "Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic and Idi Amin"—all of whom who were "powerful, but in the end they bit the dust."

And now joining in the incitement is Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, who says that the situation of Arab citizens in Israel is much worse that what Blacks experienced in the South during Jim Crow, thus trivializing the suffering of her own people about which she has written so poignantly! She has now decided to withhold her writings from all readers of Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people.

These hateful voices, from the left, the right and the center, are influencing conduct around the world. Anti-Semitic violence is increasing as is anti-Semitic incitement. The time has come to take this threat seriously, whether it comes from absurd sources such as Iran or more respected personages such as Bishop Tutu and Alice Walker.

I am not seeking to constrain freedom of expression through governmental censorship. I am asking people of good will to condemn all anti-Jewish bigotry even when expressed by those who are admired, and to take action against the danger posed by the noxious combination of radioactive words and radioactive weapons.

Alan M. Dershowitz

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3134/iran-war-against-jewish-people

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

Racism in Arab Lands


by Michael Curtis

Above all, there is outright slavery.

The dirty little secret is finally out. Even Robert Fisk, whose anti-Israeli credentials endear him to critics of the Jewish state, wrote in an article in The Independent, on May 7, 2012, of the pious silence by the politicians, prelates, and businessmen of Arab countries about the treatment of Asian domestic servants, and discrimination against migrant labor, male and female.

The overlong story in the June 10, 2012 edition of the New York Times that a few activists, in this case Ethiopian Israelis, were protesting against racism and discrimination, is a familiar leitmotif to those who still read that newspaper; but less frequently, if ever, can those readers learn of the racism, intolerance, and discrimination that are endemic in Arab countries, or of the slavery that still exists in some of them.

Discrimination, intolerance, and racism in the Arab world persist in many forms: they affect women; all non-Muslims; dark skinned people, Blacks, would-be refugees, and migrants. Among those groups and peoples who have been denied political and civil rights are Kurds, the non-Arab people whose language belongs to the Iranian group; Berbers, the pre-Arab native people of North Africa; Turkmen who speak their own language; the Christian Copts in Egypt; the Assyrians or Assyro-Chaldeans in Iraq subject to both ethnic and religious persecution; and Jews. Christians and Jews are still regarded as dhimmis ["tolerated" people], defined in different ways but always as second-class citizens. Extreme Islamists, regarding them as infidels, have used violence against many, including the Copts and the Bahais, as well as against Jews.

Recent years have seen even stronger examples of discrimination than is customary: the slaughter in Darfur; the massacre of Kurds by Saddam Hussein and their persecution by Syria and Turkey; the Algerian government repression of the Kaybles, and the maintenance of apartheid of the Zaghawa people in the Sudan, especially in Darfur. A reasonable calculation is that over the last twenty years more than 1,500,000 African Christians have been killed or expelled from Southern Sudan, or enslaved by the Islamist regime in Khartoum.

In his unjustly neglected book, Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Bernard Lewis recounts that many of the stories in the Arabian Nights portray Blacks as slaves, and as second-class citizens, while Arabs are "white." The Egyptian story is not a pleasant one for a variety of reasons. Egyptian Copts, about 10 to 12 million, are treated as second-class citizens and denied senior jobs. Now that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis have won the election with 70% of the seats in new parliament, the Copts' situation is likely only to worsen. Individual Copts and their churches have already been attacked. The Virgin Church in Assiut in Upper Egypt was burned. Copts have been sentenced to prison for allegedly insulting the Prophet. About 200,000 Egyptian Christians have tried to get visas to come to the US.

Before he became Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat, who was dark skinned, was insulted as Nasser's "Black Poodle" and "The Monkey." Although Blacks suffer from discrimination in many countries, Egypt has a long history of it, with Egyptians attacking black Africans in recent years. Riot police in 2005 cleared a camp of 2,500 Sudanese refugees, mostly from Darfur, at the Egyptian border with Israel. Egyptians have killed numbers of African refugees trying to reach Israel. Black Africans report verbal harassment and negative language, such as being called "oonga boonga" or samara [black], as well as physical attacks in the streets by the public, and even by Egyptian law enforcement officials. Blacks have been stopped for arbitrary identity checks on the basis of skin color, and have faced arbitrary roundups.

In Basra, Iraq, Blacks are treated contemptuously: people in street talk call them abd [slaves]. In Yemen, darker skinned individuals are known as al-akhdam [the servants]. Kuwait has shown similar hostility to blacks. 2,000,000 black African migrants were treated as virtual slaves in Libya. Even though slavery was officially abolished in Mauritania in 1981, around 15% of its population is still enslaved.

Discrimination is also rampant in the economic area. In the United Arab Emirates, the federation of seven emirates, Dubai, with its high rise buildings and luxury resorts, is attractive to tourists who are unaware that 2,500,000 migrant workers compose 80% of the population and 95% of the workforce. As the major group in the construction business, they are treated as bonded laborers, in essence slaves, despite the alleged UAE adherence to the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. The migrant workers are abused by very low wages, years of debts to recruitment agencies, and hazardous working conditions that result in a high rate of injuries and death.

Above all, there is outright slavery. Even though Mauritania officially abolished slavery for a third time in 2007, the legislation has never been enforced. Mauritania is an unpredictable country, one of the few, along with Yasser Arafat and the PLO, to support Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War in 1991. Today, some 500,000 are still enslaved there, including the Haratin, the hereditary slave caste who speak Arabic, the language of their masters. Similarly, slavery still exists in Yemen, in the provinces of Hudaydah and Hajja in the North, even though it was officially abolished in 1962.

In contrast, more than 120,000 of the Ethiopian Beta Israel community now live in Israel with full civil and political rights. Some are in mobile home camps, but the majority are in towns and cities, and are helped by generous government loans or low interest mortgages. Undoubtedly problems exist in the attempt of Ethiopians, from a less-developed society, to become integrated into Israeli society. They arrive with a low level of education and have language problems. But they are beginning to participate in Israeli political and social life, to enter higher educational institutions, and to take positions in public bodies, including the diplomatic corps. Even the most prejudiced critics of Israel will hesitate to call this story an illustration of racism.

Is the New York Times listening? Or does it just prefer to falsify easily attainable facts?

Michael Curtis is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers University, and author of Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation under attack by the International Community.

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3136/racism-arab-lands

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

Muslim Persecution of Christians: May 2012


by Raymond Ibrahim

Elsewhere in Sub-Sahara Africa, wherever Christianity and Islam meet, Christians are being killed, slaughtered, beheaded and even crucified.

Unlike those nations, such as Saudi Arabia, that have eliminated Christianity altogether, Muslim countries with significant Christian minorities saw much persecution during the month of May: in Egypt, Christians were openly discriminated against in law courts, even as some accused the nation's new president of declaring that he will "achieve the Islamic conquest of Egypt for the second time, and make all Christians convert to Islam;" in Indonesia, Muslims threw bags of urine on Christians during worship; in Kashmir and Zanzibar, churches were set on fire; and in Mali, Christianity "faces being eradicated."

Elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa—in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, the Ivory Coast—wherever Islam and Christianity meet, Christians are being killed, slaughtered, beheaded and even crucified.

Categorized by theme, May's assemblage of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following accounts, listed in alphabetical order by country, not severity. Note: As Pakistan had the lion's share of persecuted Christians last month, it has its own section below, covering the entire gamut of persecution—from apostasy and blasphemy to rape and forced conversions.

Church Attacks

Indonesia encountered several church-related attacks:

  • A mob of 600 Muslims threw bags of urine, stones, and rotten eggs at the congregation of a Protestant church at the start of Ascension Day service; they shouted profanities and threatened to kill the pastor. No arrests were made. The church had applied for a permit to construct its house of worship five years ago. Pressured by local Muslims, the local administration ordered the church shut down in December 2009, even though the Supreme Court recently overruled its decision, saying that the church was eligible for a permit. Local Muslims and officials are nevertheless demanding that the church shut down.

  • After protests "by hard-line groups including the Islamic Defenders Front," nearly 20 Christian houses of worship were sealed off by authorities on the pretext of "not having permits." The authorities added that, to accommodate the region's 20,000 Christians, only one church may be built in the district in question.

  • The Muslim mayor who illegally sealed the beleaguered GKI Yasmin church, forcing congregants to worship in the streets, has agreed to reopen it—but only if a mosque is built next door, to ensure that the church "stays in line." "As well as opposition from the mayor, the church has faced hostility from local Muslims, who have rallied against them [the Christians], blocked them from accessing the street where the church is situated and disrupted their outdoor services. It is unlikely that they will suddenly embrace the Christians," according to the report.

France: Prior to celebrating mass, "four youths, aged 14 to 18, broke into the Church of St. Joseph, before launching handfuls of pebbles at 150 faithful present at the service." They were chased out, although, according to the report, "the parishioners, many of whom are elderly, were greatly shocked by the disrespectful act of the youths of North African origin."

Kashmir: A Catholic church made entirely of wood was partially destroyed after unknown assailants set it on fire. "What happened," said the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, "is not an isolated case," and follows the "persecution" of a pastor who baptized Muslims. "With these gestures, the Muslim community is trying to intimidate the Christian minority."

Kuwait: Two months after the Saudi Grand Mufti decreed, in response to a question on whether churches may exist in Kuwait, that all regional churches must be destroyed, villa-churches serving Western foreigners are being targeted. One congregation was evicted without explanation "from a private villa used for worship gatherings for the past seven years;" another villa-church was ordered to "pay an exorbitant fine each month to use a facility it had been renting…. Church leaders reportedly decided not to argue and moved out."

Zanzibar: Hundreds of Muslims set two churches on fire and clashed with police during protests against the arrest of senior members of an Islamist movement known as the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation. Afterwards, the group issued a statement denying any involvement of wrongdoing.

Pakistan: Apostasy, Blasphemy, Rape, Forced Conversions, and Oppression

  • A 20-year-old Christian man was arrested and charged with "blasphemy"—a crime "punishable with life imprisonment"—after vengeful Muslims accused him of burning a Koran soon after a billiard game. The Muslims kept taunting and threatening him, to which the Christian "dared them to do whatever they wanted and walked away." Days later came the accusation and arrest, which caused Muslim riots, creating "panic among Christians," who "left their houses anticipating violence."

  • Two years ago, after a Muslim man converted to Christianity and told his wife, she abused and exposed him, resulting in his being severely beaten. "No one was willing to let me live the life I wanted [as a Christian]—they say Islam is not a religion of compulsion, but no one has been able to tell me why Muslims who don't find satisfaction in the religion become liable to be killed." He eventually divorced, escaped, and remarried a Christian woman. Now that his family has again discovered his whereabouts, they have resumed threatening him. According to his wife: "Every other day, we receive threatening phone calls…They are now asking him to abandon us and renounce Christianity, threatening that they will kill me and our child."

  • A new report indicates that "on average, eight to ten Christians are being forced every month by fanatic Muslims to convert to Islam, mostly in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab. The victims of forced conversions are often girls from poor backgrounds who are then subjected to harrowing and traumatic ordeals. Most of the girls are vulnerable and unable to defend themselves against extremists because their community is deprived, defenseless and marginalized. Christians, who constitute about two percent of the Pakistani population, are paying a high price for being a part of the minority community." Two such cases from May follow:

  • In an attempt to force her to drop charges against them for raping her 13-year-old niece, a band of Muslims severely beat a pregnant Christian woman causing her to lose female twins to miscarriage. The rapists came when all male members of the Christian household were out working and beat the women "mercilessly." "They murdered our children, they raped our daughter. We have nothing left with us," lamented an older family member. As usual, police ignored both cases: both the raped Christian girl and her beaten family.

  • A 14-year-old Christian girl was abducted and forced to convert to Islam by her uncle, who himself had earlier converted. Pakistani police refused to liberate her, and said she converted of her own free will. According to her father: "After converting, my brother is conspiring against our family and kidnapped Mary with deception."

  • The investigation into the murder of the nation's only cabinet-level Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, has become mired amid suspicions of a possible cover-up. Lax investigations, a series of freed suspects, and lack of coordination across law enforcement organizations have stalled the case after the March 2, 2011 slaying of the federal minister for Minority Affairs, who was an outspoken critic of, and targeted by, those who support Pakistan's "blasphemy" laws.

  • Christians are being threatened and abused for trying, since 1947, to save their community's graveyard. Despite failing to produce any proof, a retired Muslim official who claims he "recently discovered" that the land really belongs to him has already built a boundary wall, reducing the graveyard to less than a third of its original size, and turned the seized land over to agricultural use. Police, as usual, are failing to react.

Dhimmitude

[General Abuse, Debasement, and Suppression of non-Muslims as "Tolerated" Citizens]

Egypt: A court verdict that was criticized by many human rights groups as "unbelievable" and "extremely harsh" towards Christians was decided according to religion: all twelve Christians were convicted to life imprisonment, while all eight Muslims—including some who torched nearly 60 Christian homes—were acquitted, all to thunderous cries of "Allahu Akbar!" ["Allah is the Greatest!"] in the courtroom. Another Muslim judge in Upper Egypt dismissed all charges against a group of Muslims who terrorized a Christian man and his family for over a year, culminating with their cutting off his ear in a knife attack while trying to force him to convert to Islam after they "falsely accused him" of having an affair with a Muslim woman. And a new report describes the plight of Coptic girls: "hundreds of Christian girls … have been abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forced into marriage in Egypt. These incidents are often accompanied by acts of violence, including rape, beatings, and other forms of physical and mental abuse."

Eritrea: Activists taking part in a protest outside the Eritrean embassy in London revealed that "Some 2,000 to 3,000 Christians are currently detained in Eritrea without charge or trial… Several Christians are known to have died in notorious prison camps," and "thousands of Eritreans flee their country every year," some falling "into the hands of abusive traffickers, and are held hostage in torture camps in the Sinai Desert pending payment of exorbitant ransoms, or the forcible removal of organs."

Ethiopia: A Christian man accused of "desecrating the Koran" spent two years in prison, where he was abused, pressured to convert to Islam, and left paralyzed. Now returning home, he has found that his two young children have been abducted by local Muslims: "My life is ruined—I have lost my house, my children, my health. I am now homeless, and I am limping."

Greece: Abet Hasman, the deputy mayor of Patras who recently passed away, left a message to be revealed only in his obituary—that, although born to Muslim parents in Jordan, he was "secretly baptized" a Christian (demonstrating how some Muslims who convert to Christianity, knowing the consequences of apostasy, choose secrecy).

Indonesia: A predominantly Christian neighborhood was attacked for several days by "unidentified persons," who set fire to homes and cars. Dozens of Christian families fled their homes, "many fear[ing] the involvement of Islamic extremist groups."

Iran: A prominent house church pastor remains behind bars, even as his family expresses concerns that he may die from continued abuse and beatings, leading to internal bleeding and other ailments; authorities refuse to give him medical treatment. Also, the attorney of Youssef Nadarkhani—the imprisoned Christian pastor who awaits execution for apostasy—was himself "convicted for his work defending human rights and is expected to begin serving his nine-year sentence in the near future." Meanwhile, in a letter attributed to him, the imprisoned pastor wrote: "I have surrendered myself to God's will...[and I] consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith...[so that I may] prove my loyalty and sincerity to God."

Jordan: After the Jordanian Dubai Islamic Bank decreed that all females must wear the hijab, the Islamic veil or be terminated, it fired all female employees who refused to wear the hijab—mostly Christians, including one Christian woman who had worked there for 27 years. There are suspicions that this new policy was set to target and terminate the Christian employees, as it is they who are most likely to reject the hijab.

Lebanon: A 24-year-old woman, the daughter of a Shiite cleric, who was "physically and psychologically tortured by her father for converting to Christianity three years ago," managed to escape and be baptized by a Christian priest—who was himself then abducted and interrogated to disclose the whereabouts of the renegade woman. In like manner, Muslim assailants fired gunshots at the house of another priest and at a church -- "part of an escalating pattern of violence against local Catholics," in the words of the region's prelate.

Macedonia: After some Muslims were arrested in connection to a "series of murders of Christians," thousands of fellow Muslims demonstrated after Friday prayers, shouting slogans such as "death to Christians!," and calling for "jihad."

Mali: Ever since the government was overthrown in a coup, "the church in Mali faces being eradicated," especially in the north, "where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out….there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, church and Christian property has been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives."

Nigeria: Muslim gunmen set fire to a home in a Christian village and then opened fire on all who tried to escape the inferno, killing at least seven and wounding many others, in just one of dozens of attacks on Christians.

Sudan: Without reason, security officials closed down regional offices of the Sudan Council of Churches and a much needed church clinic for the poor; staff members were arrested and taken to an undisclosed location: "Their families are living in agony due to the uncertainty of their fate."

Syria: Jihadi gunmen evicted all the families of a Christian region, "taking over all the homes of the village, occupying the church and turning it to their base."

Uzbekistan: Police raided a Protestant house-church meeting, claiming "that a bomb was in the home." No bomb was found, only Christian literature which was confiscated. Subsequently, 14 members of the unregistered church were heavily fined—the equivalent of 10-60 times a monthly salary—for an "unsanctioned meeting in a private home." Between February and April, 28 Protestants were fined and four were issued warnings for the offence. Three Baptists were also fined for not declaring their personal Bibles while crossing the border from Kazakhstan into Uzbekistan. Fines and warnings were accompanied by the confiscation of religious literature.

About this Series

Because the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching epidemic proportions, "Muslim Persecution of Christians" was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

  1. To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians.
  2. To show that such persecution is not "random," but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws that criminalize and punish with death to those who "offend" Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, "tolerated" citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to India in the East, and throughout the West wherever there are Muslims—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3135/muslim-persecution-of-christians-may-2012

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

Mavi Marmara 2010 = Syrian Anti-Aircraft 2012


by Daniel Pipes

As the days go by, the Turkish handling of its airplane downed by the Syrian military on June 23 increasingly echoes the Mavi Marmara episode on May 31, 2010. In both cases:

  • NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen endorses Turkey's position: "What we have seen is a completely unacceptable [Syrian] act."

    Ankara prepared for the clash with an extended period of verbal and (in the Syrian case) military aggression;
  • It then escalated and dared the other side to respond with force;
  • When the other side did respond forcefully, the Turkish leadership seized on this, seemingly delighted to make it the centerpiece of bilateral relations and refusing to let it go;
  • It avidly sought wide support through international fora (United Nations, NATO);
  • It came up with elaborate self-justifications; and
  • It exploited the incident to do as much damage as possible to the opponent.

Comments: (1) Given hostile Turkish relations with the governments of Iraq and Cyprus, don't be surprised if it follows this same pattern in those two instances as well. Others – Greece, Armenia, Georgia, even Iran – could follow. (2) We are witnessing the step-by-step emergence of Turkey as a rogue state. (June 27, 2012)

Daniel Pipes

Source: National Review Online: The Corner

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

Arson Suspected in “Spontaneous Terror” Fires in Jerusalem


by Algemeiner Staff

Following two massive fires that spread through Jerusalem on Tuesday, Israel’s Public Security Minister says he suspected “spontaneous terrorism” was involved, a term he uses to describe people who are not acting on behalf of any particular groups but simply for nationalistic reasons on their own.

“We assume, because of the proximity of the fires and the timings of them, it was probably arson,” Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich said, noting that the official cause had yet to be determined.

“These things are being investigated – I assume this is the reason but it is still under review,” he said.

Over 30 teams of firefighters and aerial equipment were used on Tuesday to combat the blazes. The events in Jerusalem on Tuesday followed a massive spike in fires around the Jerusalem area over the past 2 weeks, which has led local fire departments to battle nearly 200 separate incidents.

“Arson is strongly suspected, but we have excellent researchers and ultimately, if indeed there was arson, police have the ability to catch the arsonists,” said Shahar Ayalon, a fire commissioner in Israel.

Algemeiner Staff

Source: http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/06/27/arson-suspected-in-spontaneous-terror-fires-in-jerusalem/

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

Moshe Ya’alon: A Strategic Thinker and Leader


by Isi Leibler

A recent interview by journalist Ari Shavit with former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, now Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, provides a fascinating insight into the thinking of one of Israel's most sophisticated political leaders and covers the crucial challenges facing the nation. It deserves to be widely read.

Ironically, the extensive interview was published in the weekend magazine of Ha’aretz, the Israeli daily notorious for promoting the very delusional views that Ya’alon’s interview devastatingly demolishes.

Coincidentally, precisely seven years ago, I devoted a column to Ya’alon, describing him as one of the most adroit strategic thinkers to have headed the IDF. He was then accused of being disgruntled and embittered after his premature termination as chief of staff by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in response to his fierce opposition to the withdrawal from Gaza — for which he was subsequently totally vindicated.

Ya'alon was retired in the wake of his successful military response to terror which demonstrated that, contrary to the mantras invoked by the bleeding-heart leftists, resolute military action can significantly neutralize terrorism. He was also proactive when he instituted dual-track initiatives of targeted assassinations and construction of the security fence, the combination of which effectively brought an end to the Second Intifada.

In my earlier column, I expressed frustration and anger that, in a country facing existential threats from its neighbors, a retiring chief of staff’s explicit warnings of disastrous repercussions arising from the policies of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had been totally ignored by the government and opposition. Regrettably, his predictions were subsequently basically realized.

Although highly politically incorrect at the time, Ya’alon also asserted that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat were birds of a feather. Far from being peace partners, he insisted that they were primarily committed to ending Jewish sovereignty in the region. He furthermore predicted that, contrary to reassurances by other Israeli leaders who contended that the "Arab right of return" was merely a Palestinian negotiating ploy, it was set in stone and would remain a cornerstone of the intransigent Palestinian demands.

He also warned of impending missile attacks directed towards Israel's civilians unless the government took steps to enforce tougher deterrence.

Ya’alon is certainly not typical of contemporary right-wing activists. He is a follower of Ben-Gurion rather than Jabotinsky. He is a kibbutznik with a Labor background who displays traditionally liberal approaches in relation to most social, religious and economic issues. Yet while not religiously observant, he enthusiastically endorsed Jewish heritage educational programs designed to promote national consciousness in the IDF.

This new interview provides fascinating insights of Ya’alon’s view of the current imbroglio and reaffirms his primacy as a profound strategic thinker in relation to Israel's external military threats.

A major component is devoted to the Iranian nuclear threat. Ya’alon stresses that we must not, under any circumstances, stand by and enable "the apocalyptic, messianic regime of the ayatollahs” to obtain the bomb.

Although hopeful that Israel will not be obliged to go it alone, Ya’alon insists that "we are not bluffing" and that despite the likelihood of considerable Israeli casualties should armed conflict ensue, it is unquestionably preferable for us to bomb rather than to be bombed.

He points out that the IDF has the ability to hit the Iranian surrogate Hezbollah with 150 times the explosive power they could direct against us, which should make the Lebanese government weigh the consequences if they enable missiles to be launched against Israel from their territory.

Ya’alon also articulates what few other Israeli leaders are willing to say publicly. "I was ready to divide the land but they are not. ... Because they say ‘either them or us’, I say us. … As long as the other side is not ready to recognize our right to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people, I am not ready to forgo a millimeter. I am not even willing to talk about territory. After land-for-peace became land-for-terror and land-for-rockets, I am no longer willing to bury my head in the sand.”

He adds "one of our biggest problems is that we have become solution-oriented and expect a solution now. … We need not to look for a solution but to look for a path. There are problems in life that have no solution. At the moment the Israeli Palestinian conflict is a problem with no solution. … Anyone suggesting otherwise is promoting a false illusion. A golden calf. Self-deception."

Yet Ya’alon remains optimistic "when I see where my grandparents and parents were and where my children are — I see that time is not working against us. … The secret of Zionism is that when our ethos is to build and the ethos of the other side is to destroy, our ethos will triumph. … We must free ourselves of being solution-orientated and discard self-blame. We must free ourselves of thinking that if I give in to the enemy and please the enemy, the enemy will give me quiet. That is an Ashkenazi way of thinking unrelated to the reality of the Middle East."

Ya’alon was asked “as a Mapainik, a kibbutznik, a Rabinist, how did you become a Likudnik?” To which he responded, "The Labor movement had Yitzhak Tabenkin and Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin. Even Rabin from the Oslo process was never from Peace Now. He supported the Allon Plan in the broad sense and firmly opposed withdrawal to 1967 lines. Before his assassination, he spoke in the Knesset about an eternally united Jerusalem and about the Jordan Rift Valley and about a Palestinian entity that would be less than a state.”

Ya’alon is perhaps the most understated minister in the government and is considered a highly untypical Israeli leader. He is not an adept political street-fighter. He is quietly spoken, even dour in his manner and certainly lacks charisma.

Despite his low profile he is one of our most capable leaders. He was a brilliant chief of staff who can take credit, to a large extent, for creating the strategy that brought an end to the era of the suicide bombings.

His moral integrity would qualify him to serve as a role model for most Knesset members. Irrespective of whether or not he rises to more senior positions in the government, it is comforting that a man of his caliber is today a senior member of the security cabinet and influential in the formulation of defense policies. It is also reassuring to know that if Ya’alon ever considered that the government was initiating policies endangering the country, unlike numerous other politicians, he would not remain silent.

Isi Leiblermay be contacted at ileibler@netvision.net.il;His website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com.

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=2141

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

Israel’s Enemies Unsuccessful in Branding Israel the Aggressor.


by Eli E. Hertz

All UN Draft Resolutions attempting to brand Israel as aggressor or illegal occupier as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War, were all defeated by either the UN General Assembly or the Security Council

Draft Resolution A/L.519,7 19 June 1967, submitted by: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, "Israel, in gross violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the universally accepted principles of international law, has committed a premeditated and previously prepared aggression against the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan."

Draft Resolution A/L.521,8 26 June 1967, submitted by: Albania "Resolutely condemns the Government of Israel for its armed aggression against the United Arab Republic, the Syrian Arab Republic and Jordan, and for the continuance of the aggression by keeping under its occupation parts of the territory of these countries."

Draft Resolution A/L.522/REV.3*,9 3 July 1967, submitted by: Afghanistan, Burundi, Cambodia, Ceylon, Congo (Brazzaville), Cyprus, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, United Republic of Tanzania, Yugoslavia and Zambia. "Calls upon Israel to withdraw immediately all its forces to the positions they held prior to 5 June 1967."

Draft Resolution A/L.523/Rev.1,10 4 July 1967, submitted by: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. " Israel to withdraw all its forces from all the territories occupied by it as a result of the recent conflict."


In short, Israel did not violate the provisions of the UN Charter, is not an aggressor, and is not required to withdraw from all territories.

Eli E. Hertz

Source: http://www.mythsandfacts.org/article_view.asp?articleID=238

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

Exclusive: Muslim Brotherhood Preaching Israel Destruction After Election


by IPT News

"Every Muslim will be asked about the Zionists' usurpation of al-Aqsa Mosque. Why did he not seek to recover it, and wage Jihad in His way? Did he not care about the fatwa of the ulema [scholars] of the Muslims, 'Jihad of self and money to recover al Aqsa is a duty on every Muslim?'" asked Mohamed Badie, General Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, in a June 14th speech translated exclusively by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

The speech from the Brotherhood's Ikhwan Online website is evidence that the group has not moderated its position even an iota, despite assurances to Western audiences.

"How happy would be the Muslims if all Muslim rulers made the Palestinian cause a pivotal issue, around which Muslims, rulers and the ruled, would line up," he stated. According to Badie, they would ally to make "the sole goal for all of them the recovery of al Aqsa Mosque, freeing it from the filth of the Zionists, and imposing Muslim rule throughout beloved Palestine."

"The Lord of Glory has threatened these murdering Zionists criminals with a penalty of a kind which operates in this world before the Hereafter, he said, before referencing a Quranic quote calling Jews "apes, despised."

"We say to our people and our brothers in Palestine (all of Palestine): Unity, unity, persistence, persistence, reconciliation, reconciliation, and patience, patience. Make your motto and your starting point be in confronting the Zionists," he added.

Badie also made reference to the role of Hamas-tied convoys, in aiding in the effort to eliminate the Jewish state.

"Know that there stands by you every sincere Muslim mujahid from all over the world, and all the honorable nationalists. Do not presume that you are alone in the field, but there stands at your side and with you every free honorable noble man who rejects injustice, murder and bloodshed," he said, before stating, "Not far off are the Freedom flotillas which will come to you from various States, and Miles of Smiles which touched you from all over the world."

The most recent convoy by Miles of Smiles, which is linked to the U.S. terrorist designated, British organization Interpal, was led by Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood head Hammam Saeed. Hamas' Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called that convoy "the declaration of victory over the siege and the declaration of the enemy's strategic failure in Gaza."

The inability of the Muslim Brotherhood to change its rhetoric, leads to questions about how Egyptian President-elect Mohamed Morsi will serve to moderate the Islamist group's beliefs and behavior.

Much has been written about how the election of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate isn't a threat to U.S. and Israeli interests in the region, or even to Egyptian society. To take just one example, John Kerry, chairman of the Senate foreign Relations Committee, warned against "prejudging" the Muslim Brotherhood as it prepared to take power in Egypt.

"In our discussions," declared Kerry on Sunday, "Mr. Morsi committed to protecting fundamental freedoms, including women's rights, minority rights, the right to free expression and assembly, and he said he understood the importance of Egypt's post-revolutionary relationships with America and Israel."

But Morsi was singing the same tune as other Muslim Brotherhood leaders less than two months ago.

In a speech obtained and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), and aired originally on Egypt's Misr 25 TV, he advocated violent jihad and the renewal of an Islamic theocracy in Egypt.

Morsi promised the Quran would be the new constitution of the nation, and then led the crowd in chants of the Muslim Brotherhood's motto. "The Quran is our constitution," "jihad is our path," and "death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration," the jubilant crowd repeated after Morsi.

"Above all – Allah is our goal... The shari'a, then the shari'a, and finally, the shari'a. This nation will enjoy blessing and revival only through the Islamic shari'a. I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text [of the constitution]... Allah willing, the text will truly reflect [the shari'a], as will be agreed upon by the Egyptian people, by the Islamic scholars, and by legal and constitutional experts," he added.

That's the same message of violence and religious extremism that the General Guide Badie has been preaching for years.

President Obama issued a press release upon Morsi's victory. "We look forward to working together with President-elect Morsi and the government he forms, on the basis of mutual respect, to advance the many shared interests between Egypt and the United States."

That is the sort of statement governments routinely release after elections. The problem, of course, is that talk about "mutual respect" and "shared interests" may very well end up being nothing but empty talk, and that calling something a democracy does not make it so.

IPT News

Source: http://www.investigativeproject.org/3650/exclusive-muslim-brotherhood-preaching-israel

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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: The Brothers and the Muslms


by Mordechai Kedar

Read the article in the original עברית
Read the article in Italiano (translated by Yehudit Weisz, edited by Angelo Pezzana)

A Short History of the Muslim Brotherhood


In 1928, group of Islamist zealots established the Muslim Brotherhood movement in response to the challenges that were presented by new trends that rocked the cultural life in post WWII Egypt. In those days Egypt was under British occupation and Britain pulled on the strings of power as it pleased, in an effort to influence the society in a secular, Western direction. As a result, new socio-political trends emerged in Egyptian society: there were those that saw the Egyptian character as based on Pharaonic heritage (a symbol of heresy in Islam) as the source of inspiration of modern Egypt; others saw the Arab nation (of Muslims, Christians, Jews and others, all of whom speak Arabic) as the province of affiliation; and there were also those who saw the Greek (Alexander, Ptolemy) and the Roman (Cleopatra) past as the source of European identity of the Egyptian people. All of these trends were anti-Islamic, and the Brotherhood - headed by the founder of the movement, Hassan Al-Banna - saw the occupation by the Christian, wine-drinking and pork-eating British, as the source of all the cultural problems of the Land of the Nile, so they placed the struggle against the foreign occupation at the top of their priorities.

However, physical occupation is only part of the problem, because the culture of the foreign occupiers, principally the innovations that they brought into Egyptian society regarding the status of women, their manner of dress and the question of their integration in the public arena, was perceived as a threat to the stability of the global moral values of Islam. Therefore the Brotherhood saw the purification of Egyptian society from the influence of Western culture as a secondary task, that in their opinion is rotten corrupt, permissive and not suitable to Islamic society. The struggle over the culture placed the Brotherhood in conflict with the new socio-political theories about the source of collective inspiration of the Egyptian people, which is noted above. In answer to all of these trends the Brotherhood claimed that "Islam is the Solution"; it is forbidden for a Muslim society, whose guide is on high, to search among other cultures for solutions and arrangements that are the mere works of man.

The third task that the Brotherhood took upon themselves is to prove that indeed "Islam is the solution", by imposing Islamic Shari’a in all areas of life, private, family, political, economic and diplomatic. This task, which aspires to impose the rules of Islam on the politics and the state, has created the concept of "political Islam" in contrast to other religions, which separate between religion and state. The slogan of the Brotherhood is "God is our objective, the Qur'an is our law, the prophet is our leader, jihad is our way and death in the name of Allah is our supreme aspiration". The symbol of the organization expresses this ideology well: the color of green represents Paradise, two swords in the center express the two basic avowals of Islam - there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger - and one word, which appears in the Qur'an just once, written above: "Wa-aidu" - "and prepare". This word is the beginning of the passage from the Qur'an (chapter 8, verse 59) "and prepare” whatever you can of your strength and your harnessed horses in order to impose fear (=terror) in the hearts of Allah's enemy and your enemies". Zealots of Islam implement these ideological and practical components and of the Muslim Brotherhood movement at all times and in all places, according to prevailing conditions. This is why there are "daughter movements" of the Brotherhood almost in all places of the world, for example in Syria, in Jordan, in the Palestinian Authority (Hamas), in Tunisia (al-Nahda), in Israel (the two branches of the Islamic Movement), in Europe and in every other continent. States which are not Islamic and are ruled by a non-democratic regime (China and Russia) do not allow activity of political Islam at all. In the states where these organizations are active, there is usually a covert struggle at the red lines that the state delineates for their activities, because they see them as organizations whose goal is to undermine the stability of the regime and the ideological womb from which they were spawned are terrorist jihad organizations.

When the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt, King Fuad the First ruled, and in 1936 his son Farouk succeeded him, and ruled until the Officers' Revolution in July 1952. During the monarchy, the Brotherhood acted very freely, because the regime was incredibly ineffective. In December 1948 an activist from the movement assassinated the prime minister, Nukrashi, and two months afterward the movement's founder and leader - Hassan al-Banna - was murdered, apparently by agents of the regime.

The regime of the Officers was much more determined and decisive, and in general, conducted a stubborn battle against the Brotherhood because it saw them and their activities as an attempt to undermine its legitimacy and stability. In the year 1966 President Gamal Abd al-Nassar hung the ideologue of the movement, Sayyid Qutb, because in his writings, he claimed that any regime that does not implement Shari'a is like the heresy that preceded Islam, or idol worship, and therefore it is justified to conduct a jihad against it. The Egyptian constitution that was in force until it was suspended in February 2011 forbade the establishment of parties on a religious basis, which meant that the Muslim Brotherhood movement was blocked from participating in the official political process of the state as a legitimate member.

Because the Brotherhood was marginalized politically during the years of the Officers' Regime, they found their fertile field of activity within the economically and politically marginalized people, and turned their energies to charitable activities within the society of the tens of millions of Egyptians living in the poor, unplanned neighborhoods at the margins of the cities, without running water, without sewage, without electricity, without telephone lines, without medical services or educational services, without work and without hope. It was the Brotherhood who supported these miserable people for years, out of a feeling of commitment, responsibility and mutual trust rooted in Islamic values, which does not differentiate between religion, society, politics, economics and culture. The regime allowed them to operate among the weak neighborhoods, since it did not see acts of charity and kindness as a danger to the stability of the regime, and because the burden on the state of caring for the poor population was eased because of the Brotherhood's activities. The people held the Brotherhood in high regard, because for many years, the Brotherhood supported the poor among the people wholeheartedly; and because they are not corrupt and greedy like the "fat cats" who ruled the state and because they relate to the people with respect, unlike the regime, which humiliated them and oppressed them cruelly.

In the last years of the Mubarak regime, the state, meaning the president, allowed the Brotherhood to run for seats in parliament as independents, but not as representatives of a party that was forbidden by the constitution. The number of seats that they won never reflected the high regard with which the public regarded them, but it did reflect the amount of power that Mubarak agreed to allow them. In the elections for parliament in the year 2005, as a result of the pressure of Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush, Mubarak permitted the Brotherhood to "win" 88 seats, about one fifth of the seats in the "Peoples' Council", apparently in order to fend off the pressures of the western world to implement a democratic regime in Egypt, because Mubarak feared that a democratic regime would certainly result in a takeover of the state by the Brotherhood. The threat worked, and in the elections of 2010 the Brotherhood "won" only one seat, without the White house uttering a peep. At that time President Obama still preferred secular democracy over Islamic democracy.

Those who initiated the street riots that broke out in Egypt on the 25th of January, 2011, which some call the "Arab Spring", were throngs of Egyptian secular youth, some of whom were educated, who were sick of the corrupt and cruel regime, which was slated to be passed down to the son of the ruler. "The Muslim Brotherhood" did not take a meaningful part in the demonstrations, but rather sat on the sidelines watching to see which side would win. After the military forced Mubarak to resign on the 11th of February, the Brotherhood went out to al-Tahrir Square in order to take advantage of the opportunities that it had awaited patiently for many years. The Qur'an (Chapter 2, Verse 152) states that "Allah is with the patient", and indeed Allah is with them: in the period that preceded the November 2011 elections to parliament, the Brotherhood activated Operation Da'wah" (Islamic outreach), in order to translate their investment of years of community efforts into political support by the public. Spokesmen of political Islam, headed by Yosef al-Qaradawi, mobilized themselves in support the Brotherhood, and the result was that almost half of the seats of parliament were won by the "Party of Freedom and Justice", the representative of the Brotherhood, and a quarter more of the seats were won by the "Party of Light", the representative of the more conservative Salafi groups. This is how the decisive majority of the Egyptian parliament was suffused with the color green, the color of Islamic Paradise, in a truly democratic way.

It is important to note here that one of the most eloquent spokesmen of the Brotherhood, Sheikh Safwat Hijazi, appeared on the 1st of May this year, and gave a speech that was broadcast live for thousands of people to see, as part of the Brotherhood's preparations for the elections. In his fiery discourse Hijazi announced that the goal of the Brotherhood is the unity of all the Arab states into one giant Islamic Caliphate, under Morsi's flag, whose capital will be "not Mecca and not Medina but al-Quds [Jerusalem]". His words reflect very well the goal of the movement - to erase the heritage of colonialism, principally the borders marked by colonialist interests, which damaged both the Arab world and Islam; the elimination of Israel; and imposition of Islam on Judaism. It might be that this referred to a far-off hope and not immediate plans, but the cheers of support from the throats of the masses who crowded into the street expressed the collective energy behind the idea, just waiting for the suitable moment to turn it into reality. Besides this, we must take very seriously the hopes of others, because the state of Israel is exactly the realization of hopes ("If you will it, it is not a legend"), and our enemies learn from us how to realize hopes as well.

With the winning of the presidency of Egypt last week, they have conquered another position on their way to the realization of their Islamic program, and the question of how they will continue from here disturbs the sleep of many in Israel and in the world.

The Challenges Confronting the Brotherhood

Part of the problem is the fact that the organization is not monolithic, rather there are various differing trends, whether because of cultural or personal factors. There are many among them whose culture is similar to that of the Salafi movement, while other, more modern members seek partnership especially among the secular, modern groups. Most of the adults in the movement see the situation with the moderate eyes of an adult who has accumulated experience and know that life is complex, while young people conduct themselves like youth and see the world in black and white. The raison d'etre of the Muslim Brotherhood was to challenge the state's authority, and this has shaped its character accordingly. Thus, it is not spared the crisis of leadership and the crisis between the generations that exists in most of the Arab societies.

Therefore, the main challenge that confronts the Brotherhood is to translate their political-religious hopes into a practical program, both in the internal Egyptian arena, as well as in the foreign arena: the Arab, Islamic and global.

The Internal Arena

The principal controversy that occupied the organization during the past year, especially in the period after the parliamentary elections, was whether to field a candidate for the presidency or not. During 2011, those who opposed fielding their own candidate overcame their opposition, and they even eliminated Dr. Abdul-Manam abu al-Fatouh, who dared to defy the decision and fielded himself as a candidate for the presidency as an independent. After the victory in the parliamentary elections, the voices of those in favor of fielding a candidate increased because they were encouraged by the results, but the movement lost much of its following because of their inconsistency on this issue. The movement fielded two people, Khairat al-Shater and his substitute, Muhammad Morsi, in case the first was disqualified, which was what indeed happened. Those who objected to running a candidate for presidency based their stand on a fear - that is fairly well based - that the president will not be able to solve the complex problems of Egypt, and that his failure will be interpreted, both in Egypt and outside it, as a failure of Islam. Seculars and liberals also feared being marginalized, which might exacerbate the internal split between modern sectors and traditional ones, between secular and religious groups. They also know that as the ruling party with a president from among its ranks, the movement will be accused of the expected failures, and thus will lose its support.

Another disagreement among the Brotherhood is the relationship to the military, if it continues to hold onto power and imposes its agenda on the elected civil authorities (the parliament and the president), and on the legal system. Egypt does not have a valid constitution at present, so there is no clear division between the authorities of the various powers, and therefore differences of opinions between the military and the Brotherhood might deteriorate to a situation of open conflict, which the military would win in a bloodbath. Must the Brotherhood demand from the military to pass the baton of state administration to parliament, so that they can choose a permanent government, write a constitution and legislate laws that reflect their way, or must it accept the military as "a state above the state" as it was during Mubarak's time, just to avoid a frontal conflict from which there will be only losers?

Among the members of the Brotherhood there are disagreements regarding how much they should influence the culture in Egypt through legislation by the parliament: will they force the high school girls, especially if they are not religious, to cover their heads? Will they permit the Salafi girls to come to school with their faces covered with a niqab, a practice from which the girls of the Brotherhood are exempt? Must the Brotherhood try to encourage the rehabilitation of tourism for the livelihood that it provides for millions of Egyptians, or must they limit it because of the negative influence of tourists upon the morals of youth of Egypt (both male and female)?

A question related to this is the question of whether to impose Egyptian law on the Sinai Peninsula, which has become a sanctuary for homeless jihadis the world over. Only for the sake of comparison: Egypt does not impose Egyptian law and order upon the 350,000 Bedouins who live in Sinai, just as Israel does not impose the laws of planning and building on the Bedouin residents who live in the area between Be'er Sheva, Arad and Dimona.

But the most severe questions are in the arena of security and internal governance: What would a regime ruled by the Brotherhood do about demonstrations against it when people will crowd into al-Tahrir Square? Will it allow demonstrations for democracy and the right of expression to be held, or will it scatter them with the claim that the parliament (with an Islamist majority) is the only legitimate arena for the clarification of political questions? Will the Brotherhood try to establish a coalition of powers with the liberal groups and with the remnants of the Mubarak regime, as an expression of the nationalist idea that all the Egyptians are brothers in the homeland, or perhaps they will prefer the Islamist view that sees secular people as the ideological enemy? Another important issue is that of the Copts: will the Brotherhood see the Christian Copts as brothers in the homeland in the civil and nationalist way or perhaps they will see them rather as those who have "strayed from the straight path" (Qur'an, Chapter 1, Verse 7), who eat pork and drink wine. The Copts have already reached this conclusion: ever since the Brotherhood won the elections to parliament a half year ago, tens of thousands of Copts have emigrated from Egypt.

The artists of Egypt - writers, poets, playwrights, film makers, photographers, graphic artists, and sculptors - and many intellectuals as well, fear mightily for their freedom of creativity and expression in Egypt under the rule of the Brotherhood. There are those among them who have already found themselves safer places than Egypt to create, where they will not be limited by the red lines of Islam.

The Foreign Arena

The peace agreement with Israel is a point of contention among the Brotherhood, because - on one hand - everyone sees Israel as an illegitimate entity and all agree that the peace treaty with Israel gives it a "life insurance policy", which is not acceptable. But on the other hand, everyone understands that it would not be acceptable to the international community to cancel a political agreement that was signed more than a generation ago and has international backing, and this might show Egypt to be an outlaw state, and the Brotherhood as political novices.

Strangely, Egypt, under the leadership of the Brotherhood, might actually become involved in a severe conflict with Saudi Arabia. For the past fifteen years, Saudi Arabia has been exporting its Hanibali-Wahhabi messages to Egypt. And it is this ideology which represents the main ideological threat to the Brotherhood, especially if they will not succeed in extracting the millions of unemployed Egyptians from the despair into which they have recently sunk. The black money that the Salafis smuggled out from Saudi Arabia to Egypt was put to good use in funding their efforts to present themselves as an alternative to the Brotherhood in the unplanned neighborhoods. The Saudi satellite channels served many Egyptian viewers as a source of influence as to their world view, which is totally different from the way of the Brotherhood. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is an important source of loans and grants to the Egyptian government, which makes it possible for Egypt to continue to operate without going bankrupt. But Saudi money doesn't come without strings attached, and the Brotherhood will need to weigh well how it will relate to the Wahhabi kingdom.

Another important subject that will compel the Brotherhood to take a stand against another Arab state is the ideological question, because there is some doubt Iran whether it is possible to hope for good relations with its Islamic regime, or perhaps Egypt must distance itself from this Shi'ite state, which might take advantage of the connection with Egypt in order to penetrate into Egyptian society, as it did in Lebanon and Syria. Will Egypt allow Iranian battle ships to pass through the Suez Canal? Will it allow Iran to stream weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip? Will Egypt participate in the Arab effort that Saudi Arabia is leading, the goal of which is to bring an end to the Iranian nuclear project? Only the Brotherhood knows the answers.

In the background is the question of whether Egypt, under the rule of the Brotherhood, will cooperate with regimes, for example the Jordanian, which sees their peers, the local Muslim Brotherhood movement, as an enemy of the regime?

What must be Egypt's position regarding the states of East Africa, mainly those which have a Muslim majority or a large Muslim community, and also, as of today, develop agricultural initiatives within their territory, decreasing the water that flows into the Nile? What should be the connection with the state of Hamas in Gaza, which, on one hand, proves that a political Islamic fighting organization can establish and conduct a state, however - on the other hand - has also divided the Palestinian Authority and eliminated the hope for one Palestinian state?

However, the most important question specifically relates to the United States, because Egypt receives from the US significant quantities of food and monetary support, and therefore it must take into account the interests of the United States, which they see as the source of Western evil. The peace agreement with Israel and the Iranian issue are also connected with American interests.

These questions, which are connected with internal and foreign policy may cause divisions within the Muslim Brotherhood organization because they will force it to take difficult decisions about questions that it never had to address previously, and most of its decision makers haven't studied Political Science in a university. Decisions that lean too much in the "religious"direction will be subject to criticism by secular groups and the military, while decisions that lean too much in the "secular" direction will necessarily invite penetrating criticism from the Salafis, and thus the Brotherhood might find itself between the secular hammer and the Salafi anvil.

The Brotherhood's economic decisions as well in the macro-economic arena might be misguided, and the results might be fatal to the sputtering Egyptian economy.

Strong and Weak Points

The strength of the Brotherhood is mainly the fact that they are guided by the Islamic viewpoint, and that they have a guide in the person of "The General Guide" Dr. Mahmoud Badi', who has already announced that Muhammad Morsi is the president of all Egyptians including himself, and that he - the General Guide - subordinates himself to the decisions of the “president of everyone”. However, beyond the rhetorical value of such an announcement, Dr. Badi' knows well that there are many among the Brotherhood who do not take the decisions for granted, as happened many times in the past. The sociology of religion affords a few explanations for the fact that precisely a religious framework can suffer from ideological and personal divisions, and that religion, which is supposed to serve as a bond among the people, actually works sometimes more as a flame accelerator, igniting the disagreements between them into conflagrations. One of the reasons for this situation is the tendency of people who are guided by religious principles to become too meticulous, sometimes even exaggerated to the point of being overly concerned with minute details in the application of their principles, and when one person's meticulousness is different from that of another person's, a conflict arises which is sometimes irreparable, between them as well as their supporters. This phenomenon exists also among the Muslim Brotherhood, and their present situation, in which they must make decisions that involve compromising on ideological points, it will necessarily throw them into disagreements about much greater and more fateful matters than the minute details of religious practice.

From this honorable stage, I wish the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement success in bringing out the dilapidated Egyptian cart form the mire of problems in which it is sunk to the shaft of its wheels, despite that its four horses (the Islamists, the liberals, the military and the remnants of the Mubarak regime) are all pulling it in different directions. Fate has placed Egypt, with its tens of millions of citizens living under the poverty line, in the hands of people who have proven during decades of beneficial social activity that their intentions towards their people are good. The world waits to see if indeed "Islam is the solution" and what kind of future the Brotherhood will provide to their brothers, the sons of Egypt: Will they look for an external enemy such as Israel in order to distract the attention of the unemployed and neglected and blame it for the problems, or perhaps they will really cope with Egypt's problems and utilize the peace agreement with Israel as a lever with which to develop Egypt, and to bring hope to its citizens.

Islamic tradition (according to the books of Sahih Muslim and Al-Bukhari) say that Mohammad, the prophet of Islam, told his community: "Each one of you is a shepherd, and each shepherd is responsible for his flock". The question that confronts the Muslim Brotherhood today is whether and how much they will act according to this guidance of their prophet.

Who are you, Muhammad Morsi?

Muhammad Morsi was born in 1951 in the village of al-Adwa which is in district of al-Sharqiyya to a hard-working rural family, the first of its six children. He served as a soldier in the chemical warfare unit in the second Army in the years 1975-6. He is married to Naglah Mahmoud, and they have a daughter, four sons, and three grandsons. He excelled in his studies from a young age and earned a Master's degree in engineering from the University of Cairo and a doctorate in California in the United States, where he also taught. (Another proof that western studies do not turn a Muslim to an adherent of Western culture.) Morsi joined the Muslim Brotherhood movement in 1979, and served as a member of its "board of instruction" and endured persecution and harassment by the Mubarak regime. Like many other leaders of the movement, he was tried and imprisoned a number of times, but nevertheless was a member of a small coalition, which led the movement. Between the years 2000 and 2005 he was the head of a group of independent members of parliament who were people of the Brotherhood, despite the prohibition of their organization into one undivided party. In the year 2006 he was imprisoned and when he was subsequently freed, he was put under house arrest. In January2011, immediately after the demonstrations broke out, he was sent again to prison, and when the prisons were broken into, and thousands of prisoners and detainees fled, he refused to leave solitary confinement and demanded from the Mubarak regime explanations for his imprisonment. In the year 2011 he was head of the Party of Freedom and Justice, the winner of the parliamentary elections. Before the elections for the presidency he resigned his position in parliament, and after he won 51.7% (compared to 48.3% for Shafiq) he left the Muslim Brotherhood in order to be the "president of everyone".

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Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Mordechai.Kedar@biu.ac.il) is an Israeli scholar of Arabic and Islam, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. He specializes in Islamic ideology and movements, the political discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic mass media, and the Syrian domestic arena.

Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav.

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Source: The article is published in the framework of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. Also published in Makor Rishon, a Hebrew weekly newspaper.

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

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