Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dempsey says 'Won't be Complicit' in Israeli Strike on Iran


by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey warns against attacking Iran.
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Photo credit: AP

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey has reinforced Washington's opposition to unilateral Israel military action against Iran, saying "I don't want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it."

Speaking to reporters in London on Thursday, where he was in town for the opening of the London 2012 Paralympic Games as head of the U.S. delegation, Dempsey said he did not know Iran's nuclear intentions, as intelligence did not reveal intentions. What was clear, he said, was that the "international coalition" applying pressure on Iran "could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely." Sanctions against Iran were having an effect, and they should be given a reasonable opportunity to succeed, he said.

Dempsey reiterated the American assessment that an Israeli attack on Iran would delay but probably not stop its nuclear program. His comments came as the United Nation's nuclear watchdog published a report that affirmed Iran has doubled the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges it has in an underground bunker.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday confirms that Tehran has continued to expand its nuclear program despite Western pressure, sanctions and the threat of an Israeli strike.

The quarterly report on the Iranian program found that the Islamic Republic is rapidly increasing the enrichment capacity of its Fordo site, buried deep underground to withstand any military strike. In addition, buildings at the site had been demolished and earth removed at a military site the IAEA wants to inspect, in what Western diplomats see as a determined effort by Tehran to clean up any evidence of illicit nuclear-linked tests.

These "extensive activities" at the Parchin complex, the Vienna-based U.N. agency added, would significantly hamper its investigation there, if and when inspectors are allowed access.

The building, which the IAEA believes is housing a steel chamber for explosives tests, has now been "shrouded," the report said, in a possible attempt to hide it from satellite cameras.

In another apparent sign of stonewalling of the IAEA's inquiry, it said "no concrete results" had been achieved in a series of high-profile meetings with Iran this year aimed at allaying concern about its nuclear research.

"Iran's continued enrichment activities ... serve to taunt all those in the international community concerned by Iran's nuclear program," a senior Western diplomat said.

In Washington, the White House said the U.S. had made it clear to Iran that it has a limited window of time to stop its nuclear activity and diplomatic terms offered by the West would not remain open indefinitely.

"We are closely studying the details of the report, but broadly speaking it is not surprising that Iran is continuing to violate its obligations," Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

The IAEA said the number of centrifuges at Fordo, near the holy Shi'ite Muslim city of Qom, about 130 km (80 miles) from the capital Tehran, had more than doubled to 2,140 from 1,064 in May. The new machines were not yet operating, it said.

Iran's supreme leader repeated this week that Iran's nuclear program was entirely peaceful. "Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran.

But the expansion in enrichment infrastructure and the stockpiles of nuclear material revealed in the IAEA's report will do nothing to ease fears or reduce the diplomatic and sanctions pressure on Iran.

The report may strengthen a belief in Israel – which sees Iran's nuclear program as an existential threat – that the West's tougher economic sanctions against Tehran this year are failing to make the major oil producer curb its program.

"This report corroborates what [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has been saying for years now," an Israeli official said, referring to his view that the diplomatic process had only given Iran more time to pursue its program.

The IAEA said Iran had produced nearly 190 kg (418 pounds) of higher-grade enriched uranium since 2010, up from 145 kg in May, although a large part of that had been earmarked for conversion to reactor fuel. Refined uranium can have both civilian or military uses, depending on the enrichment level.

Iran says it needs the higher-grade material – which is much purer than fuel needed for electricity generation – for a medical research reactor, but it also takes it significantly closer to making potential bomb material.

Iran would need about 200-250 kg of uranium refined to 20 percent fissile concentration if it wanted to make one bomb, a decision it is not believed to have taken yet, experts say.

"Iran would not likely want to take the dramatic step of breaking out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) until it has enough material for several bombs – a point that it will not likely be able to reach for two years or more," said a source at the Arms Control Association, a U.S. research and advocacy group.

IAEA reports have expressed deepening concerns about Parchin, a military site southeast of Tehran that it wants to inspect for evidence of past nuclear weapons development tests. "Significant ground scraping and landscaping have been undertaken over an extensive area at and around the location," one report said.

According to IAEA reports, five buildings or other structures had been demolished and power lines, fences and paved roads removed; activities that would hamper its investigation if granted access.

Iranian officials have said Parchin is a conventional military facility and have dismissed the allegations about it as "ridiculous."

Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=5638

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

The Dangers of Accepting Iran as a Nuclear Threshold State


by Dore Gold

It has already been noted many times that one key difference between Israel and the U.S. over Iran is that Washington can wait far longer than Israel before it decides that it has no choice but to use force in order to destroy the Iranian nuclear program. In the simplest of terms, while the U.S. can keep trying negotiations and sanctions until five minutes before midnight, when Iran crosses the nuclear finishing line, Israel would have to already act at 11:30. In mid-August, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, remarked "we admit that our are clocks ticking at different paces."

There are multiple reasons given why the U.S. can afford to wait. The most commonly discussed explanation is the much greater firepower of the U.S. Air Force in comparison with the Israel Air Force. Presumably, against a fleet of B-2 bombers, there is no "zone of immunity" that Iran can create for its Iranian nuclear facilities. Dempsey gave another explanation, "Israel sees the Iranian threat more seriously than the U.S. sees it, because a nuclear Iran poses a threat to Israel's very existence."

A third reason given by the U.S. for why it can wait has to do with its confidence that it will have the intelligence it needs to detect that Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold. In early March 2012, President Barack Obama told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, "Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon and is not in a position to obtain a nuclear weapon without us having a pretty long lead time in which we will know that they are making that attempt." Perhaps Obama was thinking that as long as Tehran did not kick out the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency and shut down their cameras, as it made a final dash to nuclear weapons in what experts call "nuclear breakout," the U.S. would not have to consider the use of force against Iran.

Although he did not say this explicitly, Obama left open the possibility that in the meantime, Iran could move forward with its program in the coming months, while facing sanctions and diplomatic pressure, as long as it didn't actually cross the nuclear weapons threshold, it would not face an American attack. As noted in this column previously, there is a huge risk with accepting an Iranian threshold strategy, which former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pointed out in 2010. At that time he said that if Iran reached the nuclear "threshold," but did not assemble the bomb, the U.S. would not know that it had completed the final assembly of an atomic weapon.

In the meantime, Iran has been working to shorten this threshold phase, making the intelligence challenge even greater. By producing a growing stock of 20 percent enriched uranium, it has cut in half the time needed to enrich uranium to the 90% weapons-grade level. In the meantime, by next spring its stock of low enriched uranium will be sufficient for at least eight atomic bombs, upon further enrichment. In July, the head of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran, Fereydoun Abbas-Divani, boasted that Iran now has the technology to move quickly toward producing weapons-grade uranium.

According to IAEA reports, Iran has been working on warheads outfitted to carry an atomic weapon for the 1300 kilometer range Shahab-3 missile. If all that is left to complete an operational nuclear weapon is a few more weeks of work, then letting Iran reach a threshold capacity is very dangerous for obvious reasons: When nuclear breakout occurs, Iran can quickly build a substantial nuclear arsenal.

But waiting for the very last minute to act against Iran when it actually crosses the nuclear threshold also carries a steep diplomatic price for the United States. Over time, many states, especially in the Persian Gulf, will conclude that the U.S. will never take any action against Iran, even though the Iranian threat is growing. This was illustrated in another interview Goldberg conducted with the UAE ambassador to Washington, Yusuf al-Otaiba, who warned him: "There are many countries in the region, who if they lack the assurance the U.S. is willing to confront Iran, they will start running for cover towards Iran."

What the UAE ambassador was essentially saying was that as time goes on, if there are growing doubts about American resolve to destroy the Iranian nuclear program, and Tehran succeeds in "decoupling" (to use a Cold War term) the Arab states from Washington, then the U.S. alliance structure in the Arabian Peninsula might eventually collapse. Students of international politics probably recall the distinction drawn by US academics, like Kenneth Waltz, between states that seek to unite and "balance" a common threat by creating an alliance and states that give up and get on the "bandwagon" of their adversaries. Accepting Iran with a threshold nuclear capacity will eventually result in Arab states getting on the Iranian bandwagon.

Indeed, senior Arab officials in the Persian Gulf point out that Qatar's alliance with the U.S. began to change after the Bush administration released the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). In particular, many were disturbed by the language used in its summary which contended that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. As a result of the NIE, the Qataris immediately began to doubt the resolve of the U.S. to deal with the Iranian challenge. Consequently, Qatar changed its policy toward Washington, and adopted a pro-Iranian orientation, presumably in order to safeguard its security.

Because of the Syrian crisis, it appears that Qatar has shifted back to the Sunni bloc for now. But that tactical change does not eliminate the fact that there is a big risk for the West if it accepts a threshold policy for Iran: what happened with Qatar in 2007 could easily spread to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states, which would seek to reduce their ties with Washington over time and acquiesce to Iran's demands for much higher oil prices in OPEC.

For all these reasons, letting Iran reach the status of a nuclear threshold power is a big mistake. In January 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the U.S. objected to Iranian nuclear weapons capabilities and not just to the production of the weapons themselves. But how is the U.S. translating that position into practical policy, especially when it comes to the use of force, when it becomes clear to the White House that diplomacy has reached a dead end? For Iran, Washington's tolerance of a nuclear threshold capacity allows it to build up the size of its future nuclear forces, to split the U.S. from its Arab allies over time, without having to risk an American military strike. If this situation continues, it will become far harder in the future for any state to stop Iran's determination to acquire nuclear weapons.

Dore Gold

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=2490

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

Obama Doesn’t Care He’s Been Proven Wrong About Iran


by Jonathan S. Tobin

The release yesterday of a new report on Iran’s nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency effectively vindicates everything Israel’s leaders have been saying in recent months. The report says Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges it could use to make the core of nuclear warheads at its underground bunker at Fordow. It has also effectively shut down the IAEA investigation of their work at Parchin, where the Islamist regime has been conducting work on nuclear weapons development.

Fordow is the “breakout” facility where it can convert any civilian nuclear activity into military applications safe from air attack. As even the New York Times admits today, far from the Obama administration’s strategy of using diplomacy and sanctions slowing down Iran’s progress, “if anything, the program is speeding up.” It goes on to point out:

But the agency’s report has also put Israel in a corner, documenting that Iran is close to crossing what Israel has long said is its red line: the capability to produce nuclear weapons in a location invulnerable to Israeli attack.

The Times is right about that. Being proven right about the failure of Obama’s policy is cold comfort for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu since the administration refuses to recognize the failure, either publicly or privately. The Times of Israel reports that a meeting last week between Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro resulted in hostile exchanges with the diplomat “breaking protocol” and angrily scolding the prime minister for pushing too hard for U.S. action.

Israel’s problem is that the Obama administration doesn’t care that it has been proven wrong and feels no inclination to engage in a conversation with the leaders of the Jewish state about taking action to either reverse course or head off a catastrophe. Instead, it just sticks to its line about giving more time for diplomacy even though no one in Washington, let alone anywhere else, believes that it is possible to talk the Iranians into giving up their nuclear ambitions. The president wants no back talk from the Israelis about this. But even more than that, he desires no trouble in the Middle East in the next two months as he fights for re-election.

That leaves the Israelis with a difficult choice. It can, as most foreign policy mavens keep telling them to, simply shut up and hope that either a re-elected Obama will keep all the promises he’s made on the subject or that a President Romney will make good on the tough statements he’s made about the peril from an Iranian nuke. But given the speed of the Iranians’ progress and the possibility that by next year it could already be too late for an attack on their nuclear facilities to do much good, waiting may not be an option consistent with Netanyahu’s responsibility to spike any existential threat to his nation’s future.

The administration’s silence about the latest troubling IAEA report, as well as the insolent attitude of its envoy to Israel, seems to indicate the president thinks the Israelis are bluffing about acting on their own. He has good reason to think so.

Despite the assertions that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are alone in their convictions about the Iranian threat, there’s a consensus in the Israeli defense and intelligence establishment that Iran must be stopped. But many there fear the consequences of a unilateral Israeli military campaign. They are right that only the United States has sufficient resources to do the job right. Moreover, the consequences of launching a strike and the inevitable retaliation from Iran’s terrorist auxiliaries are extremely grave. If the United States does not back up Israel in the aftermath of such a strike, it could materially damage the country’s security as well as leading to its complete diplomatic isolation.

On the other hand, if Israel meekly accepts Obama’s dictat to stand down, it may lead to a nuclear Iran, which is something that may be far worse than the blowback from an attack. It would place the security and the future of the Jewish state solely in the hands of a president who has shown little interest in the country’s welfare.

President Obama clearly seems to think there is no pressure Israel could put on him short of an actual attack on Iran that can move him to do something about the situation. And he believes, not without reason, that even if his Republican opponent steps up his criticism of the administration on Iran — a topic that rated a strong mention in Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech last night — he is not politically vulnerable on the issue.

In other words, Netanyahu has no good options available to him. No matter which way he goes on Iran in the coming weeks, thanks to President Obama’s complacent stand, danger lurks.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/08/31/obama-doesnt-care-that-hes-been-proven-wrong-about-iran-nuclear-iaea-israel/

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

Obama's Second Term: Abolish Checks on his Power


by Ed Lasky

From today's Wall Street Journal column on Barack Obama's campaign:

The president views a second term in some ways as a second chance, an opportunity to approach the office differently, according to close aides. He would like to tackle issues such as climate change, immigration, education and filibuster reform.

Clearly, Barack Obama still doesn't care what the American people want or think. Climate change is not a top concern for Americans. Already, efforts by the Obama administration on this topic have killed jobs and slowed growth and hiring in any number of industries (coal, chemicals, oil and gas) but in a second term he will continue to push through regulations and rules interpretations that will accomplish much of what he was unable to do in Congress. He will have more "flexibility." He has pushed out to 2013 decisions on issues such as the XL pipeline and EPA regulations precisely for this electoral reason.

Immigration reform is a concern - but again it is not one of the top issues either. Education is just a signal that should he be reelected teachers and teacher unions will have hit pay dirt.

But it is the latter item on his to do list that should raise a red flag: filibuster reform.

We know by now what Obama means when he uses the word "reform." It means revolution.

Filibusters are methods in the Senate that can be used to slow down or stop the passing of major legislation (apart from budgets and confirmations). Senate rules permit a senator, or senators, to speak for as long as they wish, unless "three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn (60 out of 100 senators) bring debate to a close by invoking cloture under Senate Rule XXII.

From Wikipedia:

According to the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Ballin (1892), changes to Senate rules could be achieved by a simple majority, but only on the 1st day of the session in January or March. Nevertheless, under current Senate rules, a rule change itself could be filibustered, with two-thirds of those senators present and voting (as opposed to the normal three-fifths of those sworn) needing to vote to break the filibuster.[44] Despite this written requirement, the possibility exists that the filibuster could be changed by majority vote, but only on the 1st day of the session in January or March, using the so-called nuclear option, also sometimes called the constitutional option by proponents.

Actually, the nuclear option was triggered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last year - not that many in the media noticed the flouting of Senate decorum (Reid is not known for decorum: Obama is "light-skinned" with "no Negro dialect unless he wants one"; Romney is a tax cheat; his insults and accusations regarding George Bush make those made by Barack Obama look like terms of affection).

The Washington Post columnist Marc Theissen took note of the action last year in "Harry Reid's Nuclear Blunder "

On Thursday night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) triggered the so-called nuclear option - unilaterally changing Senate rules by a simple majority vote to stop the minority from forcing votes on uncomfortable amendments. It's the same tactic the majority would use to undercut the minority's ability to filibuster. And that's why it's called "nuclear" - it dramatically alters the balance of power between the majority and minority. It is not a step to be taken lightly.

What great matter drove Reid to push the nuclear button? Apparently Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) was threatening to force a vote on the original version of President Obama's jobs bill, to show how few Democrats were willing to support it. In other words, Reid invoked the nuclear option to avoid a political embarrassment for his party.

While filibusters can be used for political purposes such as the incident above, they can also be used to slow or stop or force compromise on legislation that might be too extreme. Usually, the mere threat of a filibuster can bring opposing parties to the table to work out a deal to foreclose filibusters. George Washington characterized the Senate as "the saucer into which we pour legislation to cool" and the filibuster rule is one way to prevent extremist legislation from being passed by a simple majority.

And this is why President Obama in a second term wants to "reform" its use. Basically, he would like to weaken if not abolish the use of a filibuster. Since it is entirely possible that the Senate may remain in Harry Reid's capable hands, Obama and his fellow travelers in the Senate would have even more power to trample on the rights of Republican representatives of the people to have their voiced heard and their votes counted.

All too often over the last few years when Democrats have seen their agenda stymied in Senate they complain about the unfair use of the filibuster and how the filibuster is 'undemocratic". Of course, when they are in the minority and are able to exercise it their voices are stilled.

Of course, this puts his none- too-believable statement of a few days ago that in a second term he would be able to work better with the GOP since the election would be over and Republicans would therefore not "play politics" and be less obstructionist.

Putting the rhetoric aside (something everyone should do when Obama speaks), what he actually meant was he will work to do away with the power Republicans have with the filibuster.

Needless to say, this goal of Obama's is a profound strike against democracy. Not satisfied with his use of recess powers, executive orders, signing statements, rules and regulatory interpretation and formulation, he wants to trample once more on the rights of the American people to object and slow down if not prevent his agenda from coming to fruition.

One hopes that the Republicans will make more use of Obama's zeal to accumulate power-something that so far they have been leery of addressing

Ed Lasky

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/09/obamas_second_term_abolish_checks_on_his_power.html

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

Russia, Unfortunately, Being Russia


by Shoshana Bryen

Before the pundits start telling you the Romney campaign stepped into a time-warp on the subject of Russia, it's worth considering what adviser Rich Williamson said and what it means. "They're trampling civil rights," and "they're our foe," and "they've chosen a path of confrontations, not cooperation." Pierre-Richard Prosper, another campaign adviser, added that "rule of law" has evaporated.

They might also have noted that Russia has staked its position as the guardian and defender of Syria. And that Putin has announced an upgrade in Russia's nuclear arsenal that caused Poland to consider its own missile defense system. (President Obama canceled plans for interceptors in Poland as part of his early "reset" of relations with Putin.)

Russia is asserting its interests the way large, dictatorial, and resource-rich countries do. The problem for President Obama -- which the Romney people can reasonably point out -- is that Putin's definition of Russia's interests doesn't correspond with the administration's desire for "reset." Jailing rock singers for "hooliganism" and businessmen for "corruption," stealing elections, murdering journalists and dissidents, eviscerating reliable civil and contract law, and protecting murderous dictators makes it hard for President Obama to claim that the only thing wrong with U.S.-Russian relations was the previous U.S. president.

The Obama administration, unfortunately -- like its predecessor -- has an ahistorical and rose-colored view of Russia.

In the heady days of the collapse of communism and the liberation of what were called "the captive nations" of Central Europe, the West made a key mistake. The U.S. and its allies generally treated Russia as if it had been one of the victims of communism, like Poland or Estonia, rather than the colonial occupier of the others. Communism was, in fact, the 20th-century iteration of Russian empire -- no different for the captives than tsarist Russia's occupations. Where Czechoslovakia (in those days), Poland, and the Baltic States had histories of capitalism, parliaments, and varied alliances, Russia had decades of Stalinist-designed destruction and famine, and a deal with Hitler to divide Poland. At the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, generations of people remembered life before the post-war Russian occupation. When communism fell in Russia in 1991, far fewer remembered life before 1917 -- and the waning days of the tsar were nothing on which to look back fondly.

In the decades since, Central Europe has had some problems adjusting to democratic liberalism (small d, small l), political diversity, and free markets. Czechoslovakia had a civilized divorce, but Yugoslavia's was gruesome. Hungary and Romania flirt with fascism, as does border-state Austria. But NATO and the EU have provided a strong framework in which to pull toward "Europe whole and free." How much harder would it be for Russia to adopt the economic and political norms of the West with which it was entirely unfamiliar? And why would it want to?

Russia has moved back toward traditional Russian norms. The rise of the Orthodox Church -- and its popularity with young people -- is striking. The Russian view of defense, empire, nationalism, and relations with its "near abroad" are throwback positions, as is the oligarchic nature of Russian politics and economics. Russia, rather than becoming more like us, is becoming more like itself.

It might have happened no matter how the West treated post-communist Russia; making democratic systems where none previously existed is clearly an uphill battle (see Iraq, Libya, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan). But the fact that the smallest and most lonely marker in Washington is the Monument to the Victims of Communism (2nd & G Streets, NW in case you're interested) might also be an indicator that post-communist-era United States has never had a clear picture of the victims and the aggressor in the Cold War.

Maybe another administration will do better.

Shoshana Bryen

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/09/russia_unfortunately_being_russia.html

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

Islamist Vandals Wage War on Free Speech


by David J. Rusin

When Cyrus McGoldrick, advocacy director for the New York office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), logged into Facebook on August 12 to hint at his desire to vandalize anti-jihad ads that may soon run on city buses, he did not simply underline CAIR’s troubling attitude toward free expression. McGoldrick’s words — and the subsequent actions of others — have illuminated an overlooked aspect of the Islamist assault on Western speech: the defacement, if not obliteration, of political and commercial messages.

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad,” states the advertisement that infuriated McGoldrick. The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) had to win a court battle to reverse the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s previous decision to reject it, but reluctant bureaucrats, who continue to delay, are not the only obstacle to disseminating these and similar views. After claiming that “the ads are great” because they expose their allegedly “racist, supremacist, hateful” backers, McGoldrick’s post ends with this provocative thought: “I almost DON’T want to protest/vandalize them. But then again …” — remarks followed by a mischievous emoticon. Coincidence or not, multiple copies of a separate AFDI “Islamorealism” ad — citing more than 19,000 Islamic terrorist attacks worldwide since 9/11 — were later destroyed at commuter rail stations in New York and Connecticut.

Up to now, such acts of vigilante censorship on behalf of Islam have been relatively rare in the U.S., whose First Amendment traditionally has fostered a society in which controversial speech is opposed with more speech, not crudely silenced. However, America may be inching closer to other Western nations where Islamists and their fellow travelers have long made a habit of countering “offensive” words and images with vandalism — an important symptom of creeping Shari‘a that is worth examining in detail.

Assuming that they make it past the government censors, visual critiques of Islamic practices are perpetual targets, as Sergio Redegalli can attest. In September 2010, the Australian glass sculptor decorated the exterior wall of his Newtown studio with a “Say No to Burqas” mural depicting a veiled woman inside a red circle with a line through it. News stories and blog posts chronicle the waves of abuse inflicted on the artwork — two defacements by September 23, 2010, at least 20 by November 26, 2010, roughly 40 by January 19, 2011, and a total of 63 by February 13 of this year — prompting Redegalli to recreate it over and over again. Though he primarily blames leftists instead of Muslims, fresh damage to the mural’s driving-while-veiled version in August 2012 bears Islamist fingerprints. “Think twice before mocking Islam!!!” cautions a note placed at the scene. “We will have our rights one way or the other” — a pledge that typically results in denying rights to everybody else, starting with the right to free speech.

Belgium provides another recent example of Islam-critical graphics being disfigured. Early this year, An-Sofie Dewinter, the daughter of anti-Islam politician Filip Dewinter, appeared in an ad campaign sporting a face veil and bikini, with “Freedom or Islam?” stamped across her chest and “You choose!” over her crotch. Radical Fouad Belkacem, a.k.a. Abu Imran, replied with a video documenting how one of the posters had been vandalized by painting a cloak-like garment atop her bare skin and writing “Welcome 2 Belgistan.” The burqa debate always brings out the worst in Belkacem; he was arrested in June for urging Muslims to attack non-Muslims after the detention of a woman in face-concealing attire, which was restricted in 2011.

Efforts to cover females go beyond ads focusing on Islam. Disturbingly, commercial advertisements are in the crosshairs of Europe’s Islamist morality police, for whom seeing too much of a woman’s body pictured on a sheet of paper cannot be tolerated.

This phenomenon has been especially prevalent in the UK. A Times of London article revealed in 2005 that Muslims Against Advertising (MAAD) had launched a website with instructions on how to vandalize ads and which ones to select. “There is no longer any need to cringe as you walk past a sleazy poster,” the group declared. “We’ll improve it.” Many answered the call, as ads pitching bras, beauty products, and even television programs were trashed. “Photographs of semi-dressed women are the most frequently targeted, with the offending body parts painted over or ripped off,” the Times observed. In a telling example, thugs destroyed images of scantily clad women on an East London billboard promoting the series Desperate Housewives, but fully clothed characters were untouched. Responding to the controversy, leading British Islamist Ahmed Sheikh argued that “freedom of speech should end when you offend others.”

The UK’s Islamist vandals continue to act on this logic. “Street adverts featuring women in bikinis have been defaced in apparently targeted attacks,” the Evening Standard noted in June 2010. “Police said 14 bus shelters around Tower Hamlets” — a borough of London known for its heavy Islamist presence — “including many in Limehouse, were hit last month.” A Bollywood movie poster with a kissing couple fared no better. In May 2011, a painted-over bikini advertisement in Birmingham was “blamed on militant Muslims who were offended by her flesh,” according to the Daily Mail. “I don’t think it’s just kids messing around,” a local man asserted, because “they’ve spray-painted specific areas and covered up anything that might be offensive to very religious people.” Later in 2011, two young Muslims admitted to multiple counts of criminal damage after they “used black paint to draw the traditional headdress over a model in a poster for Lynx deodorant.” Perpetrator Mohammed Hasnath explained that “if someone was to look at our wife or mother or daughter with a bad intention we would not like it, so we were just trying to do good.” The pious Hasnath’s other attempts to “do good” have involved plastering London’s East End with anti-gay stickers, for which he was fined, and possessing al-Qaeda magazines, which led to a 14-month sentence.

The pattern is not limited to Britain. Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported this past April: “In Kanaleneiland, a predominantly Muslim area of Utrecht, a poster advertising the open museum weekend has been covered by a black bag. The poster shows a woman in a short pink strapless dress.” The bag carried an appeal invoking Allah and lamenting “sexually tinted advertising.” Also shrouded was “another poster showing a woman in a bikini in the distance walking on a beach.”

In Denmark, people depicted on ads need not be skimpily attired to enrage Islamists; they merely have to be participating in democracy. “The election posters of several Muslim MP candidates were painted over with Islamist slogans in various districts and suburbs of Copenhagen,” according to a news item from 2011. The not-so-subtle warnings: “Legislation belongs to Allah. Democracy is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy in hell.” Politicians fingered members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global Islamist group that seeks the establishment of a Shari‘a-run caliphate.

Islamists also have adapted to the information age, recognizing that much of the Western speech they despise now exists online. Al-Azhar University scholars, representatives of the highest religious authority in the Sunni Muslim world, even crafted a fatwa in 2008 that sanctions hacking for the purposes of jihad. Therefore, those who criticize Islam or otherwise offend its followers often find that their freedom of expression is no safer on the internet than it is on a Tower Hamlets billboard.

Arab News sympathetically profiled one such hacker, a Saudi native, in 2011. “An Alkhobar woman studying in the United States is taking credit for destroying 23 Danish websites that denigrated the Prophet Muhammad,” the piece begins, relaying material originally published by an Arabic-language source. “Nouf Rashid told the Arabic newspaper she was hacking into Danish websites having references to cartoons of the Prophet along with other sites that had questionable content in her view,” including pornographic ones.

Rashid joins a veritable army of Islamist hackers — most in Muslim countries, but some in the West — who target those demonstrating insufficient deference to their faith. Examples abound. Hackers commandeered the website of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo when it ran an issue with Muhammad as the “guest editor” in 2011; the electronic vandals left a message decrying the “disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech.” A year earlier, others hijacked the site of a newly opened Spanish nightclub called Mecca and posted a video predicting “a great war between Spain and the people of Islam” if it was not renamed. The sites of anti-Islam European politicians, including Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders and recent French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, have been defaced, as has the online home of Swedish Muhammad-as-a-dog artist Lars Vilks. To this day, dedicated anti-jihad websites are regularly disabled.

The most prominent controversies bring collective punishment, as whole populations are forced to suffer for the speech of a few. By February 8, 2006 — at the height of the uproar over the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoonsmore than 900 Danish websites had been hacked to convey warnings about caricatures of Islam’s prophet, some incorporating threats of violence. A similar fate befell countless Dutch websites following the 2008 release of Fitna, a short film by Wilders that draws links between Islam and terrorism. Further, in 2011, an Algerian hacker still upset with France’s former colonial rule of his nation took control of French Catholic websites.

As much as Western governments work to curtail speech deemed offensive to Muslims — from putting citizens on trial to bolstering the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s push to prohibit “defamation of religions” — it is never enough for Islamists, who are not shy about demanding greater and greater conformity with Shari‘a, particularly its anti-blasphemy provisions. In fact, misguided efforts to placate Islamists actually fuel their fire and promote do-it-yourself censorship.

When politically correct government officials reflexively smear scrutiny of Islam as racist and bigoted, they paint a target on ads and websites that express Islam-critical views, granting a degree of legitimacy to the desire to silence their messages. Likewise, bowing to Islamists’ neuroses about the female body only raises their expectations to be shielded from such images. It is no coincidence that MAAD’s drive to cover photos of women commenced soon after the Advertising Standards Authority, the industry’s self-regulator, frowned upon underwear ads near mosques. Give an inch and they will take a mile. Capitulation to direct threats is especially problematic. The operators of the aforementioned Mecca nightclub, it should be recalled, did change its name, thereby inspiring every Islamist who dreams of strong-arming Westerners into curbing their own words. Moreover, the sight of high-profile entities caving to pressure creates an atmosphere of intimidation that is exploited by suit-and-tie Islamists, whose soft-spoken accommodation requests provide a seemingly easy path for avoiding short-term pain — though their long-term objectives are no different than those of the vandals.

Vigilante censorship by Islamists and their allies is a growing challenge — and America is not immune. The proper response surely must begin with fortitude, not appeasement. Secure those websites that tackle the tough questions about Islamic supremacism, replace each destroyed ad with two more, and insist that governments do their job and protect free speech, the linchpin of liberty. Sergio Redegalli put it best when he explained why he keeps repairing his burqa mural: “I don’t believe bullies have the right to stand over people and deny us our freedoms.” Larger doses of this resolve are necessary as speech comes under increasing assault, through methods both lawful and unlawful, by Islamists aiming to leave the Western world ignorant of their designs, defenseless against their jihad, and ultimately transformed beyond recognition.

David J. Rusin is a research fellow at Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/david-j-rusin/islamist-vandals-wage-war-on-free-speech/

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

More People Must Care about CAIR


by Adam Turner

It has come to my attention that I may be suffering from “CAIRophobia.”

Almost certainly, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), I am already afflicted with “Islamophobia,” which they define as “unfounded fear of and hostility towards Islam. Such fear and hostility leads to discriminations against Muslims, exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political or social process, stereotyping, the presumption of guilt by association, and finally hate crimes.” Islamophobia is actually a term the Muslim Brotherhood – the granddaddy of all Islamist groups – and their cohorts may have invented to take advantage of the bleeding hearts among the politically correct. So, if I am suffering from it, I suppose it is just a short hop to also suffering from “CAIRophobia,” which I define as having a very rational fear of CAIR.

I accept this phobia. In fact, I sure wish some others had CAIRophobia.

CAIR is very busy pressure group these days. Recently, it demanded that the Pentagon drop a former CIA operative who worked inside Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, known by his pseudonym of Reza Kahlili, as a lecturer at the Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy. Although Kahlili is primarily known for teaching, writing and lecturing about the dangers the radical Iranian regime poses to the West, CAIR still felt the need to call for his dismissal for his supposed “anti-Islam agenda” as a former Muslim-turned-Christian. This is all part of CAIR’S continuing quest to purge the Defense Department and other government departments or agencies of the services of any expert who identifies radical Islam as a major threat to our nation. CAIR’s public relations “jihads” have been waged against such people as Robert Spencer, John Guandolo, and Matthew Dooley. In Kahlili’s case, the Pentagon refused to drop him, but it did go out of its way to assure CAIR that Kahlili “does not lecture on or about Islam or any religious treatise, and his personal beliefs are his own.”

CAIR has also recently been hard at work attempting to shame and malign Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and her four congressional compatriots for their letters to the Inspector Generals (IGs) of the Defense Department, the State Department, the Justice Department, the Homeland Security Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. These letters asked the IGs to investigate thoroughly the degree to which members of, or sympathizers with, the Muslim Brotherhood are active in our defense and intelligence communities, and what impact that possible infiltration might be having on our national security. Through its pressure, CAIR presumably hopes to force the congressional leadership to block any such investigation. Harming the political careers of these Congressmen and intimidating others from ever addressing any issue related to radical Islam is an added benefit.

Further, CAIR, with the help of its left-wing friends at the Associated Press, along with other politically correct leftists, has also sought to embarrass and intimidate the New York Police Department (NYPD) from doing its job: protecting the public of New York City. The NYPD has found itself in CAIR’s crosshairs because of its continuing surveillance of Muslim people, mosques, etc. in public areas. Even though going to Muslim-inhabited areas to surveil Muslim terrorists makes as much sense as going to an Italian-American club to surveil possible members of the Italian Mafia or going to an Irish-American bar to surveil potential IRA terrorists, CAIR believes that Muslim Americans deserve the special right not to be surveilled.

The amazing part of all this is that CAIR has an uncanny, Teflon-like ability to avoid mainstream criticism of its own disturbing background.

These are the facts involving CAIR. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case. Some of its members have been indicted and then convicted of terrorism, fraud or other criminal charges. Research has shown that CAIR does not seem to have much of an American membership, and that it probably relies on funding from other sources, including the now defunct Hamas-funder, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), and potentially illegal foreign funding, especially from Saudi Arabia. CAIR even hit up the despicable Gaddafi regime in Libya for cash. The executive director of CAIR, Nihad Awad, participated in a three-day summit of U.S.-based members and supporters of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. CAIR refused for many years to unequivocally condemn Hezbollah and Palestinian terror organizations by name, even those which are formally designated terror groups by the U.S. and international community. Members of CAIR have also been caught promoting or making anti-Semitic statements. For much more information on CAIR, just see this website devoted to exposing CAIR, which CAIR unsuccessfully attempted to shut down through a defamation lawsuit.

Luckily, there are some other prominent CAIRophobes. The FBI has severed its ties with CAIR. Numerous U.S. senators and congressmen have condemned it, including Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Dick Durban. Numerous judges, FBI agents, and even a U.S. attorney have also weighed in.

But there should be plenty more. A simple Google search of the word “CAIR” would lead a researcher to a page with a link to the (above-mentioned) website, “Anti-CAIR.” Anti-CAIR, which is run by Andrew Whitehead, has at the top of its front page these words:

CAIR Founded By Terrorists – “We Know The Founders Of CAIR Are HAMAS Operatives”: CAIR Has Been Identified By The Government At Trial As A Participant In An Ongoing And Ultimately Unlawful Conspiracy To Support A Designated Terrorist Organization, A Conspiracy From Which CAIR Never Withdrew.

Each of these claims is backed up on the website. Further, also on the first page of the Google search, there is the Wikipedia link for CAIR. Wikipedia’s description of CAIR contains many of these same criticisms, listed in a separate section titled “Criticism.” Granted, any Internet user knows to check Wikipedia’s information and claims; but as mentioned before, these criticisms are easily supported on the web.

Yet, somehow, someway, many in the politically correct mainstream, in government and out, and the politically correct mainstream media, continue to interact with CAIR as if they were a normal interest group. Many news organizations simply describe CAIR as only a respectable “Muslim civil rights group,” or simply fail to mention their scandalous past at all. See these articles at the Associated Press, Reuters, and even Fox News. Many interest groups are still willing to work with CAIR as well, including the ACLU and the NAACP. And many government officials still associate with CAIR. At one of its banquets CAIR honored the Sheriff of Los Angeles County for his work with them. Perhaps most disturbingly, members of the Obama administration have admitted to “hundreds” of meetings with CAIR.

If only CAIRophobia were more contagious.

Adam Turner

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/adam-turner/more-people-must-care-about-cair/

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

The Radical Judges Who Struck Down Texas’ Voter ID Law


by Matthew Vadum

Left-wing judges-for-life struck down a new Texas law yesterday that requires voters to present photo identification before voting.

The decision was one of two odious Texas-related federal court rulings handed down this week. Both seem likely to inject a liberal dose of chaos into the upcoming election in a state known for its legendarily robust election fraud.

“Chalk up another victory for fraud,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday. “Today, federal judges subverted the will of the people of Texas.”

“If this ruling stands, more Americans – particularly those who are minorities or poor – will be subject to having their votes stolen in the state of Texas this fall,” said Horace Cooper, a former constitutional law professor who is now Adjunct Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. Cooper is also author of the report, “Victims of Voter Fraud: Poor and Disadvantaged are Most Likely to Have Their Vote Stolen.”

The short version of the ruling in Texas v. Holder (the long version is available here) is that poor people, many of whom are not white, will somehow be inconvenienced by the state’s requirement that voters actually prove who they are before exercising their sacred democratic rights. Would-be voters “who possess none of the underlying forms of identification will have to bear out-of-pocket costs” in order to obtain acceptable ID, according to the judicial decision.

“The law was clearly intended to benefit Republicans; for example, a handgun permit is considered an acceptable form of ID but a university ID is not,” left-wing Nation reporter Ari Berman wrote as violins played poignantly in the background.

Berman and his comrades don’t care that election fraud has long been a serious problem in Texas and that whenever a vote is fraudulently cast, it has the effect of canceling out a lawful vote. In 2008 one report estimated that as many as 2.7 million non-citizens were registered to vote nationwide and that 333,000 of those non-citizens were registered to vote in Texas. Making things worse, the state’s political culture is “a mix of the worst of Old South Dixieland politics and Latin American politics,” said the report’s author, David Simcox, former chairman of the nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies.

Probably the most famous example of Lone Star State electoral larceny is a 1948 Democratic primary runoff in which future president Lyndon Johnson magically transformed a 20,000-vote loss into an 87-vote victory. It is worth noting that even the New York Times seems to concede that the failed “War on Poverty” president stole that U.S. Senate race.

Months before the black-robed politicians issued their Berman-approved fiats, Eric Holder’s Justice Department denied “pre-clearance” for the Texas law under the federal Voting Rights Act. Such advance approval is required before the law can go into effect because many years ago there used to be race-based discrimination in Texas — so officials in the state can never, ever, ever be trusted to conduct elections fairly.

It is entirely possible that representatives of ACORN-like radical groups lobbied the Department of Justice behind the scenes to push it into taking action on the Texas voter ID law.

It has been already been established that left-wing so-called civil rights groups quietly met with DOJ officials to press them on electoral integrity issues. Project Vote (i.e. the ACORN affiliate that used to employ President Obama), Demos, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Brennan Center for Justice, Fair Elections Legal Network, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund all participated in DOJ pow-wows.

Left-wingers have also apparently been pushing the Obama White House to ignore laws that promote honest elections. Former ACORN lawyer Estelle H. Rogers, now advocacy director at Project Vote, and a parade of former ACORN officials have held high-level meetings at the executive mansion. Chances are they weren’t there to hand in their NCAA tournament brackets.

These left-wing activists have quite a bit in common with two of the three judges on the panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit who put the kibosh on the Texas voter ID statute yesterday.

Those two judges were appointed by Democratic presidents. David S. Tatel was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1994; Robert L. Wilkins, by Barack Obama in 2010.

Tatel is “one of the big leftists” on the D.C. Circuit Court, legal expert and bestselling author Mark Levin said on his nationally syndicated radio show last night.

Levin’s right. Before Tatel became a federal judge he was active in left-wing politics. He was director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Later he served as director of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C. The left-wing nonprofit, whose officials have visited the Obama White House, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy. Of course this is deliciously ironic because there is plenty of trustworthy evidence that Kennedy benefitted from election fraud in the victory he eked out over Richard Nixon in 1960. Ballot-box stuffing may have even put Kennedy over the top.

The national Lawyers’ Committee that Judge Tatel previously ran is funded by radical left-wing philanthropies. George Soros has given to the group through his Open Society Institute ($779,300 since 1999) and his Foundation to Promote Open Society ($150,000 since 2009). Other prominent left-wing funders include the Ford Foundation ($5,465,000 since 2002), Tides Foundation ($817,500 since 2007), Carnegie Corp. of New York ($400,000 since 2001), and Arca Foundation ($125,000 since 2006).

As a lawyer Judge Wilkins represented the left-wing NAACP, but that is not his claim to legal fame.

An ACLU-led class action lawsuit brought by Wilkins before he became a judge is one of the reasons police across the country are terrified of being accused of racial profiling. Wilkins, a black Harvard-educated lawyer, was returning with relatives from a distant family funeral in a rental car that his cousin was driving on a Maryland highway in 1992. Police pulled the car over for speeding and then after looking at the passengers demanded to search the vehicle. Police intelligence reports at the time indicated local drug traffickers were “predominantly black males and black females” who usually traveled in groups and used rental cars. Advised on the scene by Wilkins, the driver refused to allow a search. A drug-sniffing dog found nothing in the vehicle. The case was settled out of court. One of the conditions of the settlement was that Maryland State Police maintain computer records of all traffic stops, arrests, and searches.

Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the D.C. Circuit Court’s voter ID law ruling and “we are confident we will prevail.” There is not enough time, however, to salvage the law for the November election, he was quoted as saying.

That decision comes after high-profile court rulings that upheld states’ voter ID statutes. Earlier this year a state judge refused to block Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law. Less recently, in a landmark 2008 ruling the U.S Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law. The high court opinion was written by no less a liberal icon than John Paul Stevens. At the same time Eric Holder’s DOJ has been blocking voter ID laws in South Carolina and other states.

The other awful decision from this week involved a separate federal court. That panel nixed the newly redrawn boundaries of congressional districts in Texas because they supposedly diluted the voting power of racial minorities.

Instead of using boundaries approved by elected officials in the state, in November Texas will have to use boundaries approved by unelected federal judges.

And that’s exactly the way the Left likes it in a Republican-leaning state like Texas.

Matthew Vadum

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/matthew-vadum/the-radical-judges-who-struck-down-texas-voter-id-law/

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

Muslim Persecution of Christians: July, 2012


by Raymond Ibrahim

Several reports appearing in July indicate that Christian minorities all around the Muslim world—especially women and children—are being abducted, tortured, raped, forced to convert to Islam, and/or enslaved. In Egypt, at least 550 such cases have been documented in the last five years, and have only increased since the revolution. Christians who manage to escape back to their families often find the government siding with the Muslim abductors. One young mother who recently testified before the Helsinki Commission explained how she was snatched in broad daylight, as her abductor shouted to bystanders while dragging her to a waiting taxi, "No one interfere! She is an enemy of Islam."

Identical reports are emerging from Pakistan, where "persecution, kidnapping and abduction of Christian women and girls," including many married women with children, are on the rise. Last year the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that 1800 Christian and Hindu girls were forcibly converted to Islam. Most recently, the sister of a pastor was "kidnapped raped and forcibly converted to Islam." She "was kidnapped around a month ago by some Muslim men while returning home from college. She was held for days, suffered sexual abuse, threats and violence. In such a state of terror and exhaustion, first she was coerced into converting to Islam, and then marriage. Her family reported the incident to the police station in Chunian, but no investigations have been conducted and instead her abductors have presented a report to the court attesting to the girl now being Muslim and legally married. Among other things, the girl is a minor and, according to the law, marriage is not permitted to minors."

The tiny Palestinian Christian community in the Hamas-run Gaza strip is also under siege, and charges that five Christians were abducted and pressured into converting to Islam. Because they made this forced conversion charge known, "members of the Christian community now fear reprisal attacks by Muslim extremists." Some have appealed to the Vatican and Christian groups and churches in the West for help. Yet "we only hear voices telling us to stay where we are and to stop making too much noise," said a Christian man living in Gaza City. "If they continue to turn a blind eye to our tragedy, in a few months there will be no Christians left in Palestine. Today it's happening in the Gaza Strip, tomorrow it will take place in Bethlehem."

Categorized by theme, July'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.

Church Attacks

Indonesia: Muslim protesters forced a church to shut down during a Sunday worship on claims that it was operating without a permit, and hung a banner on the church's gate reading "We the people … hardily reject the use of this building … for religious activities." The church's committee secretary said the church has the necessarily permits to hold services," yet "the majority of the people still reject the church's activity."

Iran: Both the Central Assembly of God Church in Tehran and its summer campsite—once a popular site for Christian gatherings and conferences—were closed by authorities of the Islamic Republic, who also posted a large notice on the gates "warning of severe consequences should anyone try to enter the premises." These latest closures follow the official termination of Friday Persian language services and the compulsory cancellation of all Bible classes and the distribution of Christian literature. Also, as part of the crackdown on house churches, plainclothes agents of the Ministry of Islamic Guidance continued raiding, arresting, and "aggressively interrogating" assembled worshippers.

Lebanon: Ahead of the Maronite Patriarch's visit to Akker, flyers signed by the "Soldiers of the Great Prophet" threatened the Christians and churches in what has traditionally been the safest Mideast country for Christians, calling "on the infidels to stop their blasphemy ... We will start from the infidel's church in Akker and we won't stop ... this is not the end but the beginning," read the flyer.

Kenya: Seven Islamic jihadis launched simultaneous grenade and gunfire attacks on two churches, while the congregations were at prayer. Five militants attacked the Africa Inland Church, killing 17 people and wounding approximately 60, including many women and children. The other two Muslim terrorists attacked the nearby Catholic Church, wounding three.

Kuwait: After approval was issued for the construction of a church, a group of Islamic preachers, echoing the words of the Saudi Grand Mufti, reasserted that churches are not permitted to be built in Muslim countries. One sheikh "expressed displeasure" against those approving the construction of the church, "stressing that it is not permissible as per the Sharia," adding that "excuses" such as saying that the building of a church "is a matter of human rights and international norms is not acceptable, as Islam comes first, and people should respect religion first before serving humanity or anything else."

Turkey: The existence of the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world, 5th century Mor Gabriel Monastery near the Turkish-Syrian border is at risk after a ruling by Turkey's highest appeals court. Inhabited today by only a few dozen Christians dedicated to learning the monastery's teachings, the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus and the Orthodox Syriac tradition, neighboring Muslims with the support of an MP member of the Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) filed a lawsuit accusing the Christians of practicing "anti-Turkish activities" and of illegally occupying land which belongs to Muslim villages. The highest appeals court in Ankara, which is close to the government, ruled in favor of the Muslim villagers, saying the land that has been part of the monastery for 1,600 years is not its property, and even claimed that the monastery was built over the ruins of a mosque, forgetting that Mohammed was born 170 years after its foundation.

Apostasy and Blasphemy

Egypt: A Christian teacher was arrested and detained after being accused of posting cartoons insulting to Islam and its prophet on Facebook. The man faces up to five years in jail if convicted of blasphemy. While admitting he manages the site in question, he said the site was hacked. Earlier in April, a Christian teenager was sentenced to three years in prison for posting cartoons perceived to mock Islam's prophet on his Face book page. Likewise, Christian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris posted Disney's Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in Islamic attire, which landed him in court, though he was acquitted.

Iran: Pastor Youssef Nadarkhani, who has spent over 1,000 days in prison awaiting execution for refusing to recant Christianity, is only one of many persecuted in Iran for their faith. A six-year prison sentence for pastor Farshid Fathi Malayerianother Muslim convert to Christianity—was recently upheld following an unsuccessful appeal hearing. Also, another prominent house church pastor, Benham Irani, 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. The verdict against him contains text that describes the pastor as an apostate, adding that apostates "can be killed."

Pakistan: A Christian couple have been on the run since they embraced Islam back in 2006, only to reconvert to Christianity. Upon learning that the couple returned to Christianity, neighboring Muslims attacked and persecuted them; one of the husband's best friends abducted and tortured him, while beating the wife. "[One] should have the freedom to choose the religion one wishes to follow," said the Christian husband. "They have subsequently been on the run."

Saudi Arabia: A court is looking into an apostasy case concerning a 28-year-old Muslim woman's conversion to Christianity. The father alleges that a Saudi and a Lebanese played a role in converting his daughter to Christianity and smuggling her to Lebanon, where she has received sanctuary in an anonymous church.

Jihad Death and Destruction

Nigeria: In what is described as an ongoing genocide of Christians over 65 people, including two politicians, were killed in a triple attacks on Christians. First, Muslims destroyed 43 Christian-owned farms. Nobody was arrested. Then they attacked nine Christian villages around the city of Jos, killing dozens of people. "They came in hundreds," said an official, "Some had police uniforms and some even had bulletproof vests." In one instance, Christians fleeing the violence took refuge in the house of a local church leader, which was bombed and more than 50 Christians were burned alive, including the pastor's wife and children. Then the Muslims attacked the funeral for the victims of the village raids, killing several more people. Security forces said Muslim Fulani herdsmen were responsible but Islamist militant group Boko Haram issued a statement saying: "We thank Allah for the successful attack." Separately, Islamic motorcycle assassins gunned down four Christians.

South Africa: The Islamic terror group Al Shabaab is accused of murdering 14 Christians, all Ethiopians, in the Western Cape. A Christian bishop, also a former police inspector, fears more of his flock will be targeted: "We want authorities to do something because we know this is the work of al-Shabaab. If nothing is done, the Ethiopian population will be depleted… [those who died are] holy martyrs who have died because they are Christians." Meanwhile, Father Mike Williams of the Anglican Catholic Church also revealed that members of his congregation have been targeted by gunmen "with connections to Muslim extremists," saying that "In July, we have lost seven members of our church."

Syria: Syrian "freedom fighters" continue showing their true colors as they destroy churches and kill Christians, which has resulted in the mass migration of tens of thousands of Christians, including practically the entire populations of Homs and Qusayr. Surrounding nations that once might have offered refuge—Iraq, Turkey, even now Lebanon—are also increasingly inhospitable to Christians. One Christian girl who escaped said: "They sermonized on Fridays in the mosques that it was a sacred duty to drive us [Christians] away…. Christians had to pay bribes to the jihadists repeatedly in order to avoid getting killed." After making the sign of the cross, her grandmother added: "Anyone who believes in this cross suffers."

Turkey: An article titled "Who Ordered the Murder of Christians?" asserts that a Muslim undercover agent who had worked for the government "penetrated the Christian community and gathered a lot of information, while he was pretending to be a missionary. He became a church leader, and upon receiving another order, he became 'Muslim' again and launched a campaign against missionaries across the country," which culminated in the massacre of Christians.

Dhimmitude

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

Egypt: After a Christian laundry worker burned the shirt of a Muslim man, several quarrels ensued and culminated with the death of a Muslim. Accordingly, thousands of Muslims rampaged the village, causing 120 Christian families to flee. They looted Christian businesses and homes "despite hundreds of security forces being deployed in the village. Eyewitnesses reported that security forces did not protect most Coptic property." Family members of the deceased Muslim insist that the Christians must still pay with their lives. Also, during Ramadan, several Christians were attacked and beaten. Dr. Yassir al-Burhami, a prominent figure in Egypt's Salafi movement issued a fatwa forbidding Muslim taxi-drivers and bus-drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as "more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar." And a charitable medical center that performs free heart operations on both Muslim and Christian children is under threat from some Muslims, who want it closed down because it was founded by a Christian surgeon.

Pakistan: Days after a Muslim mob doused a man with gasoline and literally burned him alive for "blaspheming" the Koran (graphic picture here), a Pakistani Christian woman, now living in the U.S., explained how when she lived in Pakistan, Muslims disfigured her in an acid attack for being Christian: After one man noticed her wearing a crucifix, he "became abusive," telling her "that she was living in the gutter and would go to hell for shunning Islam. He left and returned half an hour later, clutching a bottle of battery acid which he savagely chucked over her head. As she ran screaming for the door a second man grabbed her by the hair and forced more of the liquid down her throat, searing her esophagus. Teeth fell from her mouth as she desperately called for help, stumbling down the street. A woman heard her cries and took her to her home, pouring water over her head and taking her to hospital. At first the doctors refused to treat her, because she was a Christian. 'They all turned against me… Even the people who took me to the hospital. They told the doctor they were going to set the hospital on fire if they treated me.' … 67 per cent of her esophagus was burned and she was missing an eye and both eyelids. What remained of her teeth could be seen through a gaping hole where her cheek had been. The doctors predicted she would die any day. Despite the odds she pulled through." Separately, Muslim landowners and their police accomplices continue annexing land owned by Christians. "The police pulled away our headscarves from heads and started hitting us with clubs and punches" reported Christian women, "after news spread that police is harassing and torturing Christian women and men … to grab their agricultural land."

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 those who "offend" Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like 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.

Previous Reports:

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3318/muslim-persecution-of-christians-july-2012

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

US Security Interests in Egypt


by Shoshana Bryen

This week, without a murmur of dissent, the Egyptian Government restored the right to declare war to the President with the concurrence of Parliament. Morsi is continuing an evolution that promises to hasten the decline of American influence.

How much recent events have eroded U.S. security interests in Egypt depends on how deeply rooted those interests were in the first place. Although the Mubarak government did some things we wanted it to do, it did other things that were anathema. Mubarak, with U.S. complicity and Israeli acquiescence, fed the growth of a military that could be used for good or ill while he fed the Egyptian people lies about Israel, about war, about Jews and about peace. In the bigger picture, Egypt always saw itself with Arab and Sunni and larger Muslim responsibilities as well as responsibilities to its non-Muslim patron, whether the U.S. or Russia before it.

The smart bet was never on Egypt as an actual ally – which presumes a certain fundamental alignment – but on the understanding that things would be worse if Mubarak weren't there. The now-complete demise of military structure embodied in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) – America's erstwhile ally – was utterly predictable.

In March, Secretary Clinton handed over $1.25 billion to the SCAF in defiance of Democratic Sen. Leahy's "hold" on the money pending "democratic reforms." Thus emboldened, the SCAF amended the 1971 constitution to deprive the incoming president of, among other things, the right to declare war. While the State Department publicly demanded complete civilian rule, it was privately relieved to think that the military body in which the U.S. had invested so much money, training and technology would still hold the power of the peace treaty with Israel.

Relief was short-lived. After the terrorist attack in Sinai that killed 16 Egyptians before moving on to Israel, President Morsi channeled Rahm Emanuel and effectively fired the entire leadership of the SCAF. This week, without a murmur of dissent, the Egyptian government restored the right to declare war to the president with the concurrence of Parliament.

The dregs of the SCAF may or may not be asked for an opinion. The President may or may not consult with the revived National Defense Council, which consists of government officials including parliamentarians, ministers and representatives of branches of the military, and meets at the request of the President. In any event, the "representatives of branches of the military" are younger, more Islamist-leaning officers who were not part of the SCAF. They know the lucrative, U.S.-funded military/industrial complex that enriched Sadat, Mubarak, Suleiman and Tantawi won't be there for them.

The case looks cut and dried – our friends are out; others are in; we lose. Sure enough, President Morsi went to Iran and earlier this week, Egypt declined a U.S. request that an Iranian ship passing through the Suez Canal be inspected for illegal arms. But neither is a new position – they are the evolution of Egyptian, not Muslim Brotherhood, positions.

In April 2011, two Iranian military vessels passed through the Canal under the eyes of the provisional government, which claimed it could not stop a ship from a country with which it was not at war. As I wrote at the time: "[There is] the possibility of Egyptian complicity… this was the first Iranian military passage through the Suez Canal since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 because Egypt has considered Iran to be hostile. Egypt is, in any event, bound by the Security Council to ensure that passing ships comply with the terms of the embargo. According to some reports, the two Iranian naval ships were 'routinely' inspected by Egyptian authorities; according to others, Iranian diplomats simply 'assured' the Egyptians the ships were not carrying weapons. If the Egyptians did not actually inspect the ship's cargo, they were snookered. If inspectors checked, found the weapons but still authorized the passage, then an entirely new challenge to sanctions enforcement may be emerging. It is not reasonable to think the inspectors checked and didn't see the weapons."

The two ships were later stopped and boarded by the Israeli Navy, and 50 tons of weapons – including Chinese C-704 anti-ship missiles and radars – were impounded. If the administration was surprised, it shouldn't have been. A decade ago I wrote for JINSA:

"The U.S. cannot continue to support dictatorial regimes with no internal legitimacy and whose populations revile us in part because we support the dictatorship. At some point those dictatorships will fall – because, as the President so rightly said, the U.S. will work to establish freedom, liberty and tolerance around the world, and the Arab and Islamic world isn't exempt. When they fall, we want to be on the side of the people.

"While we are propping up dictatorships of limited utility and limited viability, the United States should be VERY CAREFUL not to do anything with long-term dangerous ramifications for itself or its allies, specifically in this case Israel. Selling Egypt high-tech military equipment and overlooking Egypt's relationship with A-E (Axis of Evil) member North Korea could result in that equipment falling into the hands of a future Egyptian government even less friendly to the U.S. and Israel than the current one. Harpoon Block II missiles could threaten U.S. carriers in the Med or Red Sea, MLRS could be used against Israel if Egypt crosses the Suez Canal (particularly if the U.S. withdraws the multinational forces in the Sinai), and the artillery rockets won't be used against Saddam, but more likely against Israel."

So in 2012, Egypt has indeed crossed forces into the Sinai, ostensibly to root out "jihadis" who threaten both Egypt and Israel. The immediate U.S. response was to offer the Egyptian military additional support in that role, suggesting that the MFO could slip out of its traditional posture as "observer" of the terms of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty into alliance with Egypt against the new threat. Egypt overstepped Israeli goodwill, however, by sending tanks and anti-aircraft guns – neither very useful in jihadi-hunting – and with the Israeli protest, Egypt changed course. Ha'aretz reports the Egyptian government is using Salafists and "former jihadists" to "negotiate" a new level of quiet in the Sinai with the current jihadists that will protect Egyptian interests, meaning local Sinai tribesmen will not attack the Egyptian military. Protecting Israeli interests? Not so important.

President Morsi's visit to Iran (and then to China) highlights his desire not to appear aligned with the U.S. or U.S. interests. He's not necessarily aligning with Iranian, Shi'ite, apocalyptic interests either, but he is continuing the evolution toward an Egyptian definition of Egyptian interests that began with the decline of Hosni Mubarak and that promises to hasten the decline of American influence.

Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center. She was formerly Senior Director for Security Policy at JINSA and author of JINSA Reports from 1995-2011.

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3320/us-security-interests-egypt

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