Saturday, December 31, 2011

Obama's Foreign Policy Spin

by Caroline Glick

Egyptian niqab lady voting.jpg

In recent months, a curious argument has surfaced in favor of US President Barack Obama. His supporters argue that Obama's foreign policy has been a massive success. If he had as much freedom of action in domestic affairs as he has in foreign affairs, they say, his achievements in all areas would be without peer.

Expressing this view, Karen Finney, a former Democratic spokeswoman who often defends the party in the US media, told The Huffington Post, "Look at the progress the president can make when he doesn't have Republicans obstructing him."

According to a Gallup poll from early November, the US public also believes that Obama's foreign policy has been successful. Whereas 67 percent of Americans disapproved of Obama's handling of the economy and the federal budget deficit, 63% of Americans approved of his terrorism strategy. So, too, 52% approved of his decision to remove US forces from Iraq. In general, 49% of Americans approved of Obama's handling of foreign affairs while 44% disapproved.

These support levels tell us a great deal about the insularity of the American public. For when one assesses the impact to date of Obama's foreign policy it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that if the US public was more aware of the actual consequences of his policies, his approval rating in foreign affairs would be even lower than his approval rating in domestic policy.

Indeed, a cursory examination of the impact so far of Obama's foreign policies in country after country and region after region indicates that his policies have been more damaging to US national interests than those of any president since Jimmy Carter. And unlike Obama, Americans widely recognized that Carter's foreign policies were failed and dangerous.

The failure of Obama's foreign policies has been nowhere more evident than in the Middle East.

Take Iraq for instance. Obama and his supporters claim that the withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq is one of his great accomplishments. By pulling out, Obama kept his promise to voters to end the war in "a responsible manner." And as the polling data indicate, most Americans are willing to give him credit for the move.

But the situation on the ground is dangerous and getting worse every day. Earlier this month, just ahead of the departure of the last US forces from Iraq, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited with Obama at the White House. Immediately after he returned home, the Shi'ite premier began a ruthless campaign against his Sunni coalition partners in a no-holds barred bid to transform the Iraqi government and armed forces into partisan institutions controlled by his Dawa Party.

Forces commanded by Maliki's son arrested and allegedly tortured several of the Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi's bodyguards. They forced the guards to implicate Hashimi in terror plots. Maliki subsequently issued an arrest warrant for Hashimi. So, too, he issued an arrest warrant for the Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak and fired him without permission from the Iraqi parliament.

Hashimi and Mutlak are now in hiding in Erbil. Maliki is demanding that the Kurdish regional government extradite them to Baghdad for trial.

Maliki's actions have driven Sunni leaders in the Sunni provinces of Diyala, Anbar and Salahadin to demand autonomy under Iraq's federal system. He has responded by deploying loyal forces to the provinces to fight the local militias.

The situation is so explosive that three prominent Sunni leaders, former prime minister Ayad Allawi, who heads the Iraqiya party, Parliament Speaker Osama Nujaifi and Finance Minister Rafe al-Essawi published an op-ed in The New York Times on Tuesday begging Obama to rein in Maliki in order to prevent Iraq from plunging into civil war.

THEN THERE is Egypt. Obama's decision in February to abandon then-president Hosni Mubarak, the US's most dependable ally in the Arab world, in favor of the protesters in Tahrir Square was hailed by Obama's supporters as a victory for democracy and freedom against tyranny. By supporting the protesters against the US ally, Obama argued that he was advancing US interests by showing the Muslim world the US favored the people over their leaders.

Ten months later, the Egyptian people has responded to this populist policy by giving jihadist parties a two-thirds majority in parliamentary elections. For the first time in 30 years, the strategic anchor of US power in the Arab world - the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty - is in danger. Indeed, there is no reason to believe it will survive.

According to the Gallup poll, 48% of Americans approve of Obama's handling of the war in Afghanistan and 44% disapprove. Here, too, it is far from clear what there is to approve of. Against the public entreaties of the US commanders on the ground, Obama is carrying through on his pledge to withdraw all US surge troops from Afghanistan before the US presidential election in November. In the meantime, the US is engaged in negotiations with the Taliban. The purpose of these negotiations is to reach a political agreement that would set the conditions for the Taliban to return to power after a US pullout. That is, the purpose of the talks is to set the conditions for a US defeat in Afghanistan.

The administration hails its success in overthrowing Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi without sacrificing a single US soldier. And certainly, this was a success. However, Gaddafi's opponents, who are now taking charge of the country, are arguably worse for the US than Gaddafi was. They include a significant number of al-Qaida terrorists and are dominated by jihadist forces. Attempts by the NATO-backed provisional government to convince them to disarm have failed completely.

Since Gaddafi was overthrown, large quantities of advanced weapons from his arsenal - allegedly including stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction - have gone missing. Significant quantities of Libyan shoulder-to-air missiles have made their way to Gaza since Gaddafi's overthrow.

In Syria, while the administration insists that dictator Bashar Assad's days in power are numbered, it is doing essentially nothing to support the opposition. Fearing the instability that would ensue if a civil war were to break out in Iran's Arab protectorate, the US has chosen to effectively sit on its hands and so cancel any leverage it ought to wield over the shape of things to come.

AS FOR Iran, Obama's policies have brought about a situation where the regime in Tehran does not fear a US military strike on its nuclear installations. Obama's open opposition to the prospect of an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations has similarly convinced the regime that it can proceed without fear in its nuclear project.

Iran's threat this week to close the Straits of Hormuz in the event that the US imposes an embargo on Iranian oil exports is being widely characterized by the US media as a sign of desperation on the part of the regime. But it is hard to see how this characterization aligns with reality. It is far more appropriate to view Iran's easy threats as a sign of contempt for Obama and for US power projection under his leadership.

If Iran's ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons are thwarted, it will be despite Obama, not because of him.

Then there is the so-called peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Due to Obama's unbridled hostility towards Israel, there is no chance whatsoever that Israel and the PLO will reach a peace deal for the foreseeable future. Instead, Fatah and Hamas have agreed to unify their forces. The only thing standing in the way of a Hamas takeover of the PLO is Congress's threat to cut off US aid to the Palestinian Authority. For his part, Obama has gone out of his way to discredit the congressional threat by serving as an indefatigable lobbyist for maintaining US financial support for the PA.

Of course, the Middle East is not the only region where the deleterious consequences of Obama's foreign policy are being felt. From Europe to Africa, from Asia to Latin America, Obama's determination to embrace US adversaries such as Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chavez has weakened pro-US forces and strengthened US foes.

So how is that that while Carter was perceived by the majority of the American public as a foreign policy failure, a large plurality of Americans views Obama's foreign policy as a success?

Obama's success in hiding his failures from the American public owes to two related factors. First, to date the US has not been forced to contend directly with the consequences of his failures.

Carter's failures were impossible to ignore because the blowback from them was immediate, unmistakable and harsh. His betrayal of the shah of Iran led directly to the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran and the hostage crisis. Carter could not spin to his advantage the daily stories about the hostages. He could not influence CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite's decision to end every broadcast by reminding viewers how many days the hostages had been in captivity.

So, too, the consequences of Carter's weakness in confronting the Soviet Union were impossible to ignore or minimize with images of Soviet tank columns invading Afghanistan dominating the news.

To date, Obama's foreign policy failures have yet to explode in a manner that can make the average American aware of them.

Then, too, Obama and his advisers have been extremely adept in presenting his tactical achievements as strategic victories. So it is that the administration has successfully cast the killing of Osama bin Laden as a strategic victory in the war on terror. Obama has upheld the mission, as well as the killing of al- Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki, as proof of his competence in securing US interests. And to a large degree, the US public has accepted his claims.

Because it is impossible to know when Obama's failures will begin to directly impact the America people, it is possible that he will not pay a political price for them in the 2012 election. Be that as it may, the Republican presidential contenders would provide an invaluable service to both themselves and the American public as a whole if they made exposing Obama's disastrous stewardship of US foreign policy a central plank of their campaigns.

At a minimum, forewarned is forearmed. And the dimensions of Obama's failures are so enormous, that it is clear that the American people will suffer their consequences for years to come.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Caroline Glick


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

Egypt's Winds of Change Give Way to Dark Clouds

by IPT News

As President Hosni Mubarak's regime fell in Egypt, some feared that radical Islamists were poised to take over the state and the country. This opinion was not shared in America by leading voices in government and the media, where pundit after politician confidently asserted that the Muslim Brotherhood, the dominant Islamist organization in Egypt, did not enjoy that sort of widespread public support.

This certainty started at the top, as President Obama told Bill O'Reilly, "I think the Muslim Brotherhood is one faction in Egypt. They don't have majority support in Egypt."

The president's appraisal was echoed by United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice in an interview: "There's not indication that the Brotherhood is going to dominate Egyptian politics."

This benign notion of the Egyptian future was pushed by renowned New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who wrote that "the biggest losers of the revolution" would be violent Islamist extremist groups" that would "lose steam when the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood" joined the game, and that "Egypt won't change as much as many had expected."

Boy, were they wrong.

Through two rounds of voting (out of three), Egypt's Islamist parties have secured between 67 and 75 percent of seats in the country's first post-Mubarak parliament. The clear leader is the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which won 86 of the 180 seats up for grabs. The FJP's closest contender thus far has been al-Nour—the political arm of Egypt's fundamentalist Islamist Salafists—which has won roughly 20 percent of seats.

This comes after initial assurances from the Brotherhood that they did not seek to dominate a successive Egyptian government. They pledged not to offer a candidate for president and to run candidates in only about a third of all parliamentary races.

Meanwhile, distinctions between the Brotherhood and the Salafi parties may prove insignificant. "At the end of the day, we and the Brotherhood want the same thing. What is that?" asked Salafi al-Nour chief Sheikh Ayman Shrieb—"Well, we want an Islamic state. Every vote we don't get, we hope it goes to the Brotherhood."

So much for the Brotherhood's previous claim that the revolution had "no Islamic agenda."

News outlets were more than willing to help lower expectations for the Brotherhood's electoral chances.

Kristof, for one, took the Brotherhood's assurances, coupled with the group's stated commitment not to field a presidential candidate, as a good-faith effort to prove it had been "tamed by being brought into the system."

In July, National Public Radio reported on rifts within the movement that not only could hurt at the polls, but which are "causing some in Egypt to question whether the decades-old movement can survive." That report followed a similar CNN story, which cited sources saying it "is unlikely to win more than 20% of the seats in parliament" because much of its past support was based on opposition to Mubarak's rule.

During a discussion held at the Center for the National Interest in April, a panel of experts "agreed with the assessment that the organization [the Brotherhood] is unlikely to win more than fifteen or twenty percent in September's parliamentary elections. The Salafist movement, far more conservative and radical than the MB, is unlikely to win more than a tiny fraction of that number."

Months later, right as the postponed first round of elections were set to commence, Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and former White House advisory council appointee, released a poll showing that only 23% of Egyptians "Support" the Muslim Brotherhood, while 61% "Do Not Support." Commenting on the results, Mogahed noted that "while the Muslim Brotherhood enjoy support from a significant segment of Egyptian society, more Egyptians see a parliament in which the group holds a strong, influential position as bad for the country."

In contrast, writer Barry Rubin made a point of noting the Brotherhood's history of doubletalk. And he correctly predicted the Brotherhood's electoral prowess, saying the group is "following a brilliant strategy to build a united front for Sharia, bringing in other clerics and gradually winning over more and more of the religious establishment to an Islamist position."

The ultra-conservative Salafi party already has called for an all-out ban on alcohol and beach tourism. The Brotherhood claims it will not go as far. Yet even its plan, which calls for strict changes to Egypt's tourism industry, undoubtedly would have a negative impact on the country's bottom-line.

A leading official on Tuesday pledged to bring Egypt into the 1920s via Prohibition.

"We'll prohibit alcohol," former Brotherhood Secretary General Sobhi Saleh told a rally outside Cairo. "Tourism does not mean nudity and drunkenness We Egyptians are the greatest religious people, and we don't need that."

On Thursday, the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide announced that his group's "ultimate goal" of "establishing a caliphate system" is close at hand. The path toward achieving that goal, Mohammed Badie told listeners, begins with the establishment of a "just and reasonable regime."

The statement calls into question the Brotherhood's pledge not to run a presidential candidate since a "just and reasonable regime" likely includes a leader in sync with Brotherhood aspirations.

The Brotherhood seeks to "persuade a figure who they find satisfactory to run Egypt's top post," Chairman Mahmoud Ghozlan said last week. Also at odds with its earlier position, the Brotherhood is now rejecting calls for presidential elections to take place before the constitution is drafted—the exact opposite stance it took a month ago.

Flip-flopping is a liability in American politics. Less so, apparently, in Egypt, where the Brotherhood cultivated support in part by borrowing another American tradition – "walk around" money. Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Marc Ginsburg claims Egyptian military and business leaders funneled huge amounts of money to build "an underground supply chain of financial and commodity support to local Islamist political organizations throughout Egypt outside the prying eyes of Cairo-based media."

Only in this case, the vote-buying and community support comes at an additional cost: the Islamists' agenda. That bodes ominously for American interests. Already, Egypt appears to be the next home base for designated terrorist group, Hamas.

But don't be surprised to see pundits, politicians and journalists continue to minimize the ramifications. Some things take more than elections to change.

IPT News (The Investigative Project on Terrorism)


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

Befogging the Enemy: U.S. Officials as Human Pretzels

by David J. Rusin

The most vexing video of 2011 may be this clip of Congressman Dan Lungren questioning Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Stockton on December 7. Though Stockton's evasiveness is in line with the government's history of not calling Islamism the enemy — recently exhibited by scrubbing FBI training materials and labeling the Fort Hood attack as "workplace violence" — his ability to twist himself into knots to avoid stating the obvious deserves special recognition:

Lungren: Secretary Stockton, are we at war with violent Islamist extremism?

Stockton: No, sir. We are at war with al-Qaeda, its affiliates —

Lungren: Okay, I understand that. My question is: is violent Islamist extremism at war with us?

Stockton: No, sir. We are being attacked by al-Qaeda and its allies.

Lungren: Is al-Qaeda — can it be described as being an exponent of violent Islamist extremism?

Stockton: They — al-Qaeda are murderers with an ideological agenda —

Lungren: No, I — that's not my question. That wasn't my question. My question was: is al-Qaeda acting out violent Islamist extremism?

Stockton: Al-Qaeda is a violent organization dedicated to overthrowing the values that we intend to advance.

After asking to hear the question again and receiving a cold stare, Stockton protested that the U.S. is not at war with Islam, which Lungren had never suggested, and said, "I don't believe it's helpful to frame our adversary as Islamic with any set of qualifiers." However, he did reluctantly admit that a serviceman identifying himself as a "soldier of Allah" could be a bad sign.

Evoking both laughter and horror, the exchange — which recalls a similar one with the attorney general bobbing and weaving in 2010 — does much to illustrate the absurdity of the speak-no-jihad routine. But what is its source? Does government refusal to "frame our adversary as Islamic with any set of qualifiers" indicate that awareness of Islamism and its perils is totally absent, or is the pussyfooting mostly just for show? Also, is the latter alternative tolerable?

Given the extensive data in the hands of U.S. security officials, the second option seems more likely: a degree of understanding exists, but public equivocation is employed for reasons that range from genuine, if misguided, strategic concerns to crass political calculations. Yet this is no cause for glee. Though preferable to abject ignorance, not being frank is problematic as well.

The conflict with radical Islam is fought not only by government-trained professionals in far-off lands. Violent jihad has targeted places like Little Rock and Times Square, while stealth jihad is ubiquitous. Ordinary citizens thus find themselves on the front lines and have a key role to play by looking out for potential terrorist activity and resisting nonviolent Islamists, but the feds appear determined to keep people too uninformed about the nature of the threat to be as useful as they otherwise could. Hence, even if U.S. leaders do have some grasp of Islamism, they fail Americans by not conveying basic knowledge of the enemy's ideology through untwisted words.

David J. Rusin


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

Should the US cut off aid to Egyptian military?

by Rick Moran

Former Reagan and Bush era diplomat Elliot Abrams thinks so:

Given recent election returns this seems to have been a self-fulfilling prophecy-and this is the real crime of Hosni Mubarak against his country. I recall vividly meeting with an Egyptian democracy activist at the White House in 2002, when I handled the human rights and democracy portfolio at the Bush NSC. This person surprised me by saying he was not in favor of a free election in Egypt. No, he said, I don't want a free election tomorrow, I want a free election ten years from tomorrow--if you give us ten years to organize freely. Otherwise, he said, the Brothers will win. That ten years brings us to now, and he was right: these Egyptian elections, after thirty years when Mubarak and the army played footsie with the Brotherhood while attacking the center, have brought the Islamists to victory. And now, as in the Mubarak years, the army will be posing as the only bulwark to radicalism.

In fact the only real bulwark is the work of Egyptians who seek a genuine democracy that respects human rights. We may not be able to stop the army from attacking them, just as yesterday it attacked American and European groups helping promote democracy and human rights in Egypt. But we should not pay for it. It is ludicrous to listen to army and other government spokesmen inveigh against dark forces who take money from foreigners--when the army takes $1.3 billion every year from the United States. Those payments should be suspended right now, and not resumed until everything seized in the raids is returned and we get promises from the military that these raids will not be repeated.

The Egyptian military plays positive and negative roles in Egypt, but the most significant single thing it did under Mubarak was to guarantee an Islamist victory once he left the scene. Mubarakism was a system that perpetuated military rule and American aid by arguing that the military was the only alternative to the Brotherhood (and groups worse than the Brotherhood) while in fact it created perfect conditions for the Islamists to thrive. We now see the result of those decades of repression and we should reject the invitation to continue the Mubarak system, this time with a collective military leadership replacing the dictator. The struggle for democracy and human rights in Egypt will be long and hard and we cannot determine the outcome, but we must at the very least let all Egyptians know which side we are on. For now, we must let the army know that if it is their policy to crush democracy activists, there is a price they will pay. It's $1.3 billion a year.

It isn't just the army's behavior in beating protestors and shutting down American-backed NGO's. The real problem is that bolstering the Egyptian armed forces only helps the Muslim Brotherhood in threatening Israel. Why should we give money and equipment to an army that might be used to attack an ally?

It's time for a total reassessment of our relations with Egypt. And giving money to the army should be a starting point for the review.

Rick Moran


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

The Center for American Progress’ Jihad Against the Free World

by Daniel Greenfield

The colors of the American flag are red, white and blue, but the colors of the Center for American Progress are red, white and green. Red for the left and green for Islam.

The Center for American Progress is not just any organization. Headed up by John Podesta, a co-chairman of Obama’s transition team and backed by a 38 million dollar annual budget, it is George Soros’ most ambitious attempt to turn his Shadow Party into a shadow government. CAP is the organization with the single greatest influence on the Obama White House and its foreign and domestic policy.

CAP is more than just another think tank; it’s a lever for shifting the Democratic Party further to the left, bought and paid for by George Soros and a roster of secret donors whose names are not made public by the secretive and powerful organization. Those who buy influence with it also get anonymity as part of the package.

But the Center is more than a rogue billionaire’s brand of progressivism turned into talking-point groupthink by Washington insiders. It is a link between the American left and the Muslim right, articulating the Islamist agenda as a vehicle for the foreign policy of the post-American left. It’s where Ali Gharib can run pieces whitewashing the Muslim Brotherhood while Zaid Jiliani attempts to justify the ambassador to Belgium’s comments denying the existence of Muslim anti-Semitism.

A CAP report co-authored by Wajahat Ali, a defender of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, and a board member of the Muslim Students Association, a Muslim Brotherhood front group, claimed that counterterrorism analysts were misrepresenting the threat of Sharia law and that Sharia was “overwhelmingly concerned with personal religious observance such as prayer and fasting, and not with national laws.” That particular revelation might come as a shock to raped women in Pakistan and gay men in Iran.

Ali’s Islamist leanings drove him to call on Obama to “interact with democratically elected Muslim governments and representatives, such as Hamas and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.” But despite Ali’s extremism, the Center allowed him to co-author a report on Islamic law and another report titled “Fear Inc.” which attempted to demonize Muslim and non-Muslim critics of Islamist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

ThinkProgress, the Center for American Progress’ blog, is run by Faiz Shakir, who also serves as the organization’s vice president. The ThinkProgress blog has become extreme even by CAP standards, forcing Ken Gude, CAP’s national security director, to attempt to distance his center’s policy arm from its blogs. In a post jointly co-authored by Faiz Shakir and Ken Gude, the two men denied that their work was anti-Semitic, but avoided similarly ruling out that their work was anti-Israel, probably because such an assertion would have simply been unsupportable.

CAP and its various affiliated blogs have taken an enthusiastically uncritical approach to the Islamist Arab Spring and a hostile, critical approach to the State of Israel. At the ThinkProgress blog, Matt Duss described Israel’s border controls with Hamas-run Gaza as a “moral abomination” and compared the deaths of Islamist radicals who attempted to murder Israeli soldiers to the murders of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner in the South during the Civil Rights movement.

Duss, writing at Middle East Progress, a spinoff CAP blog, ran a piece on Rashid al-Ghannushi. Al-Ghannushi is one of the leaders of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. In the past he has called for a war against America, branding it an “enemy of Islam.”

Al-Ghannushi has also called for the genocide of Israeli Jews, writing: “There are no civilians in Israel. The population– males, females and children… are the army reserve soldiers, and thus can be killed.” True to form, Duss tossed softball questions to the gruesome Al-Ghannushi while praising him as a non-violent intellectual. This was business at usual at CAP where Netanyahu is a monster who must be kicked to the curb, but real monsters like Al-Ghannushi are moderates who deserve our support.

A more accurate name for CAP would be the Center for Islamist Progress. There is no Islamist thug or regime too awful for the Center, whose number one priority is backing Islamist takeovers in the Middle East. Its number two priority is fighting military action on Iran, and even decrying sanctions against Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs, and its number three priority is portraying Israel as the greatest threat to peace in the region.

But if the Center wanted to avoid allegations of anti-Semitism it would have been wise to also avoid picking a fight with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a non-partisan organization started by Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal that tracks expressions of hate against the Jewish people. Instead, in response to a simple policy statement from the Wiesenthal Center against returning to the indefensible 1948 borders, ThinkProgress’ Ben Armbruster called it a “far-right” organization and accused it of branding Obama a Nazi.

The Wiesenthal Center had done no such thing and blasted CAP and Media Matters, the former home of Ben Armbruster, for conspiring to intimidate any group taking a pro-Israel position. CAP’s goal is to shift the Democratic Party further into the anti-Israel camp and attacking and silencing pro-Israel voices is an effective means of doing so. This Kulturkampf being waged against pro-Israel groups by Soros’ prodigies extended even to an attack on the most prominent Jewish anti-Nazi group in the world. An attack doubtlessly approved of by Soros, who was after all an unashamed Nazi collaborator.

Jewish liberals who attempted to denounce the harmful influence of the Center have been silenced. Josh Block, a former fellow at the Truman National Security Project (TNSP), was purged after he denounced Duss and co. for their bigotry. The purge was unsurprising considering that John Podesta of CAP is on the advisory board at TNSP and Rachel Kleinfeld, TNSP’s executive director who fired Block, has consulted for Soros’ Open Society Institute.

The Truman National Security Project was created to bolster the Democratic Party’s image on national security. Instead it has chosen to follow the CAP line and that has ominous implications for the Democratic Party. The Center for American Progress has done its best to revive the Carter-era Green Belt program of passing off Islamist empowerment and Israel bashing as policies that are in our national interest.

The American left has rolled out the red carpet for the Islamists without paying any attention to the bloody footprints that the Muslim Brotherhood’s various affiliates leave behind. The red, white and green flag that they have raised over the White House, the State Department and over their party has already helped turn major portions of the Middle East and North Africa into another Iran. Unless moderate Democrats stand up to the extremists at the Center for American Progress, then their party will be permanently red, white and green all over.

Daniel Greenfield


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

New York Times Ridicules Gingrich on Sharia

by Ryan Mauro

On December 21, the New York Times published an article by reporter Scott Shane titled “In Islamic Law, Gingrich Sees Mortal Threat to U.S.” The article tried to subtlety discredit Gingrich and others talking about the Islamist agenda in the U.S., twice stating that “many scholars” feel the threat is being overblown and it is “roundly rejected” by most experts.

The Times opens up with some of Gingrich’s quotes, such as when he called Sharia a “mortal threat.”

“Stealth jihadis use political, cultural, societal, religious, intellectual tools; violent jihadis use violence. But in fact they’re both engaged in jihad, and they’re both seeking to impose the same end state, which is to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Shariah,” Gingrich says.

Gingrich’s warning is then characterized as a “much-disputed thesis in vogue with some conservative thinkers but roundly rejected by many American Muslims, scholars of Islam and counterterrorism officials.” Those warning about the Islamist threat within the U.S. are thus depicted as being part of a political fringe without credibility.

The article does quote anti-Islamist Muslim activist Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, who says he appreciates Gingrich’s stance, but this is the minimal level of balance required to stop the piece from turning into an op-ed. The rest of the quotes downplay the threat and ridicule Gingrich for making it an issue. There is no mention of the Muslim Brotherhood or any of the reasons why the issue of Islamism has gained traction.

“[It] takes your breath away, it’s so absurd,” Akbar Ahmed, chairman of Islamic studies at American University is quoted as saying. It ends with a quote from a former supporter of Gingrich’s, an advisor to the Department of Homeland Security, Mohamed Elibiary. Elibiary is at the center of a scandal. He is suspected of trying to leak sensitive law enforcement documents to the media to try to expose the so-called “Islamophobia” of Rick Perry. He calls Gingrich’s rhetoric “anti-Islam” and “propaganda for jihadists.”

The fact that many opponents of the Islamist agenda do not equate it with Islam or Muslims as a whole is not mentioned. Neither is the fact that the issue at hand is Sharia-based governance and not the non-threatening practice of Sharia in Muslims’ private lives.

Scott Shane was previously confronted by Robert Spencer, a scholar of Islam and director of, over his reporting on the July 2011 massacre in Norway by Anders Breivik. Shane placed a heavy focus on Breivik’s use of Spencer’s material, implying that it inspired him into acts of violence. Spencer noted that Breivik was planning violence long before he even began writing about Islam.

In that article, titled “Killings in Norway Spotlight Anti-Muslim Thought in U.S.,” there were no quotes defending Spencer and the other critics of Islam. The title immediately framed them as having an agenda against Muslims, instead of being critics of the state of their religion. The statement that was the closest to defending Spencer was from Marc Sageman, but even his quote attributed some responsibility to the anti-Islamists for Breikvik’s actions, saying that “they and their writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged. This rhetoric is not cost-free.” The article sparked a back-and-forth between Shane and Spencer via email.

On September 2, the New York Times published an opinion piece titled “Don’t Fear Islamic Law in America.” Its main argument was that the fight against Sharia Law is the modern-day manifestation of anti-Semitism and is fundamentally un-American, bigoted and dangerous. A pattern can be seen in the pages of the New York Times where the case against the Islamist agenda is misrepresented and vilified.

The evidence substantiating the anti-Islamists’ worries is plentiful, yet unmentioned in these articles. The trial of the Holy Land Foundation proved that the Muslim Brotherhood operates in the U.S. through powerful front organizations. The Brotherhood’s stated goal is to “wage a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” A 2009 court ruling confirmed the links between Hamas and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust, the lattermost of which owns at least one-quarter of the mosques in the U.S.

Organizations like these exercise enormous political power, wo0ing politicians and government officials from both parties, including those involved in counterterrorism and foreign policy. Islamist groups in Europe, Canada and the U.S. are hard at work creating private enclaves where extremist indoctrination and even paramilitary training takes place.

The New York Times article against Gingrich accurately states that “many American-Muslims” oppose Sharia-based governance, but doesn’t mention the many American-Muslims who favor it. Right here in FrontPage, the influential Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids’ advocacy of a global Islamic state and other extremist teachings was exposed. A recent study found that of 100 mosques, only 19% had no texts advocating violent jihad.

The article uses a quote from Mitt Romney saying, “We’re not going to have Shariah law applied in U.S. courts. That’s never going to happen,” but doesn’t mention the study that found 50 cases in 23 states where “Muslim-Americans had their cases decided by Sharia Law against their will” in appellate courts. Nor is it mentioned that Sharia courts have come to Europe.

In its reporting on this issue, the New York Times tries to appear balanced by quoting both sides, but it only establishes the credibility of the experts it agrees with. The other side is seen by readers as having no concrete foundation. Luckily, the Muslim Brotherhood’s own files spell it out for all Americans with a computer to see it.

Ryan Mauro


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

"If You Said You Were a Christian, They Killed You"

by Anna Mahjar-Barducci

Nigerian Christians are under attack. On Christmas day, the Islamist group Boko Haram targeted churches in Nigeria's capital, killing 40 innocent people. Boko Haram -- literally "Western Education is a Sin " -- opposes whatever comes from the West, such as education, culture and science, and considers Christians as an obstacle to building an Islamic caliphate.

Boko Haram has recently increased its attacks against Christian Nigerians, who make up 48.2% of the country's population. Last November, of Boko Haram killed 150 Christians and bombed 11 churches. "It was a direct attack against Christians. Members of Boko Haram asked: 'Are you a Christian or a Muslim' If you said you were a Christian, they killed you. […] I saw someone who was slaughtered like a lamb in front of a church,"said a representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria.

According to the Nigerian newspaper, Sunday Tribune, Nigerian intelligence believes that the intensification in the activities of Boko Haram is aimed at putting the group in advantageous position to secure the leadership of "Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula." A report in the hands of the Nigerian government allegedly confirms that after the killing of the U.S.-born Al-Qaeda top leader ,Anwar Al-Awlaki, in an air strike in Yemen by a joint CIA-U.S. military operation, Al-Qaeda is seeking to relocate from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa.

"International and local intelligence agencies indicate that the activities of Boko Haram in recent weeks were aimed at getting the attention of the Al-Qaeda organizations and securing the headquarters," the Sunday Tribune reports, adding that Al-Awlaki's replacement will be chosen from among the African terrorist group that have the most impressive record of terror acts. The Nigerian newspapers mention that several terrorist groups based on the African continent hope to take over Al-Qaeda's leadership to be able to access more financial aid. "The contest is hot," states the Sunday Tribune.

According to Nigerian media, despite the competition, Boko Haram has strong ties to[N the Africa-based Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [North Africa],and with the Shabaab rebel group in Somalia. As this alliance could transform the central belt of Africa into an immense operational ground for terrorist operations, it is -- or should be -- of major concern.

Washington does appear to be worried about Boko Haram's activities, probably fearing that the Nigerian group might attack U.S. interests. Recently, The Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security had a hearing on emerging threats to the U.S. posed by Boko Haram. The subcommittee stressed that Boko Haram has evolved quickly, and can be a threat to U.S. interests and to the U.S. homeland. "Boko Haram has the intent and may be developing capability to coordinate on a rhetorical and operational level with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Shabaab," the subcommittee concluded, adding that "Boko Haram's evolution in targeting and tactics closely tracks that of other Al Qaeda affiliates that have targeted the U.S. Homeland".

The subcommittee further revealed the need for the collection of more intelligence on Boko Haram, as the U.S. Intelligence Community has until now wrongly underestimated the capabilities of the Nigerian terrorist group to target the U.S. homeland . The U.S – commented the subcommittee - incorrectly assessed that Boko Haram had only regional ambitions and that threats against the U.S. homeland were merely "aspirational." Nigerian sources confirm, however, that if Boko Haram will not be stopped in time, it could shake the entire African region, targeting U.S. embassies and American civilians, and that it could recruit can recruit Boko Haram's Nigerian sympathizers in the U.S.. Last August, Boko Haram had already claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a U.N. headquarters in Nigeria that killed 23 people.

In light of Boko Haram's violent escalation, it is urgent first of all officially to designate it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The U.S. should also cooperate with the government of Nigeria to counter Boko Haram. The U.S. security subcommittee further recommended that it is especially necessary to increase the U.S. Intelligence Community collection of human intelligence on Boko Haram, by gathering information on the ground through interpersonal contacts with Boko Haram's members the better to combat the threat posed by the terrorist group to both Nigerian and U.S. interests.

Anna Mahjar-Barducci


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

Has Hamas Really Changed?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Some naïve Israelis and Westerners have misinterpreted Hamas's readiness to accept a cease-fire with Israel as a sign that the Islamist movement has abandoned its desire to destroy Israel.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz even went as far as to criticize the Israeli government for failing to see the alleged change in Hamas's strategy.

In an editorial, the newspaper said that :instead of encouraging Hamas's new direction, expressing the hope that it will turn into a legitimate political party and supporting the establishment of a Palestinian unity government, Israel offered its routine response – "silence and apathy toward the declarations and a threat of a military operation [in the Gaza Strip]."

The "declarations" Haaretz is referring to are statements attributed to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to the effect that his movement is switching over from armed struggle to a popular struggle against Israel. Further, Mashaal was quoted as saying that Hamas's recent understandings with Fatah include the creation of a Palestinian state "only" in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

These "declarations" have thus far appeared only in Western media outlets. Mashaal's statements in Arabic, which were published in Hamas media outlets in the past few days, do not talk about accepting a two-state solution, recognizing Israel's right to exist or abandoning the armed struggle.

On the contrary, Mashaal and other Hamas leaders have made it clear that the armed struggle remains their most important strategy in the fight against Israel. And they have also made it clear that they will never recognize Israel's right to exist even though they are prepared to accept, for now, a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 lines.

But these statements are being ignored by Haaretz and other Western media outlets, which continue to insist that Hamas has changed.

In a separate news story, Haaretz claimed that Mashaal had ordered his movement to stop attacking Israeli targets. Hamas spokesmen insist that there was never such an order and that the report is baseless.

When Hamas talks about a cease-fire, it is because the movement wants to avoid another Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, and not because it does it has stopped believing in armed struggle. Hamas is merely worried that another massive Israeli attack would end its control over the Gaza Strip.

When Hamas talks about accepting a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, it is not because the movement recognizes Israel's right to exist. Hamas wants a temporary Palestinian state so that it can use it as a launching pad for "liberating all Palestine."

Hamas will change only on the day it abandons its dream of replacing Israel with an Islamist state, and renounces violence. Hamas needs to do this in Arabic ,and not in English.

This is not the first time that Haaretz and others have misinterpret Hamas's true intentions. In 2006, when Hamas participated in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, some Israelis and Westerners took this cooperation as proof that the movement had changed and was in the process of transforming into a political party. Hamas has perhaps changed its tactics, but definitely not its ideology and aspirations.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The less Israel says about Syria, the better...

by Jay Bushinsky

The Syrian armed forces’ brutal attempt to crush the popular uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime – which has reportedly claimed over 6,000 lives – has evoked widespread but silent sympathy in Israel.

However, there has been no public discussion of emergency medical aid or any other form of humanitarian assistance, and rightly so.

Any step that might imply support for either side in the yearlong conflict could be misconstrued as evidence of active involvement.

If Israel were to help the Free Syrian Army or its civilian supporters in the hope that they might opt for peace if they were to overthrow the Damascus regime, Syrian propagandists could charge that the Israelis were behind the uprising.

On the other hand, if Israel were to back Assad because he has abided by the cease-fire agreement instituted under the aegis of the UN after the Six Day War 44 years ago, his political longevity might be rendered that much shorter.

All that the Israelis can do at this stage is to keep abreast of developments across their northeastern border. This indeed is being done day in and day out in the local press and on TV and radio.

The biggest danger is that Assad could find a pretext for a military assault against Israel, in a desperate attempt to shift his rebellious public’s attention away from its criticism of his leadership to the historical enmity against the Jewish state.

If Assad were overthrown or fled Syria with his immediate family there are several political scenarios that could come into play.

First, this could be followed by a nationwide purge of Assad’s supporters, especially those who belong to his minority Alawite Islamic sect. That prospect stiffens the resistance to the political opposition. The pro-Assad establishment and the component remnants of the once-pervasive Ba’ath party also have a vested interest in preserving the regime.

Iran is another factor in Assad’s favor. The Islamic Republic does want to lose its closest Middle Eastern ally. Assad’s downfall might have dangerous repercussions inside Iran and therefore could undermine the existence of the Teheran regime.

Russia’s extensive military support of Syria and its political influence over its leadership also generate backing for Assad in the international arena. His removal and a potential Syrian alliance with France and the US would deprive Moscow of its last stronghold in the Arab world.

Assad’s fall also would be a major setback to such militant Islamic organizations as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Gaza Strip’s Hamas and other extremist Palestinian groups. This is because Syria has been a major conduit for Iran’s arms shipments to its Lebanese allies. Such a change would end the use of Damascus as the the headquarters of Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Hezbollah, which has tens of thousands of surface-to-surface missiles that were airlifted to Syria and transferred to southern Lebanon for deployment just across Israel’s northern border, would lose this major supply conduit.

In the meantime, there has been serious concern that Hezbollah agents would seize much of Syria’s arsenal in the event that Assad’s regime were to collapse. Hezbollah could go on to provoke a new military showdown with Israel, if only to rally Israel’s foes in Syria to its side.

Another danger inherent in the Syrian crisis is that it might lead to the advent of a hardline Islamic regime in Damascus. This could be prompted by two factors: resentment by Syria’s largest Muslim sect, the Sunnis, caused by more than four decades of submission to the Alawite minority, or the pro- Islamic upsurge that emerged from the so-called Arab Spring. This certainly would be a negative development from Israel’s standpoint.

In the event that the current showdown leads to the emergence of a relatively moderate, reformist regime in Damascus, one of the immediate results presumably would be a diplomatic effort to recover most if not all of the strategic Golan Heights from Israel. If such an effort were to fail, Israel not only would have to cope with another prolonged period of enmity and the consequent danger of another war, but would also lose a unique opportunity for regional normalization and stability.

All of these considerations explain why Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has refrained from public comment about the violence raging in Syria and why he has been able to convince the members of his cabinet and other coalition allies to keep quiet about the Syrian crisis.

Israel would have too much to lose if ill-considered comments were to tilt Syria’s volatile situation in the wrong direction in terms of this country’s security interests.

Therefore, the wisest course is just to continue reporting the tragic toll in dead and wounded, and the failure of the international community to intervene in a concerted and honest effort to stop the bloodshed. That is as far as Israel should go for the time being.

Jay Bushinsky is a veteran foreign correspondent.


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

The Worst Case Scenario (barring the Apocalypse)

by Daniel Perez

As an American, a conservative, and as a supporter of Israel, it's not exactly an earth-shattering revelation when I say that I am dissatisfied with the current presidential administration. President Obama's domestic initiatives are questionable at best, and his approach to foreign policy has us well on the road to disaster. It's with all this in mind that I resolved to vote for anyone but Obama in next year's election.

Even though we haven't even picked a GOP candidate yet, nobody could possibly be worse for our country than the incumbent. As it turns out, I had spoken too soon.

There is, in fact, one Republican candidate who is so far off of the political mainstream that, should he secure his party's nomination, it almost certainly guarantees not just a failure for the GOP, but a spectacular failure. I am speaking, of course, about Congressman Ron Paul.

Have you ever looked at the two big party candidates in an election and thought you were being forced to choose between “Tweedle-Dee” and “Tweedle-Dum,” and that the overall difference between the Democratic and Republican candidates was so slight that the election of either would do little to change the political landscape?

Well, there’s a very simple reason for that. The rank and file of the Democratic and Republican Parties occupy positions just barely to the left and right of center. You see, the majority of American voters are what you call “moderates.” They believe in a moderate amount of government involvement in the affairs of individuals, and a moderate amount of government involvement in business. That’s normal – the government exists to carry out the will of the majority while simultaneously protecting the rights of the minority. To do all that, we need police, and courts, and legislators and what have you.

Of course, there are individuals and parties who support various extreme stances, be it extreme over-involvement (when a government is too hands-on the private lives of civilians, it’s called fascism; when the government takes the “free” out of the free market, we call it communism), or a complete laissez-faire attitude to both. Because these political ideologies are on the far ends of the spectrum, one finds less and less popular support the further out one goes. And in our two-party system, a fringe candidate is, for all practical intents and purposes, unelectable, at least when it comes to the presidency.

In any event, as the poster child for Libertarianism, Ron Paul is, in theory, a proponent of the hands-off approach to government. And while Paul’s Libertarian philosophy isn’t as malevolent as the –isms that have enslaved parts of Europe and Asia over the last century, they pose a danger nonetheless, both to the people of the United States, and our ally, Israel.

Let’s set aside for a moment the infamous newsletters, and Ron Paul’s history as an inspiration to white supremacists everywhere. He didn’t write those articles, after all. And anyone wanting to learn more can simply plug the terms “racist” and “Ron Paul Political Report” into any search engine. Moreover, President Obama for years belonged to a church where he was treated to racist diatribes on a weekly basis by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and it doesn’t seem to have affected him any. So I guess if the electorate wasn’t shaken by the racist ties of a sitting president, Ron Paul should get a free pass. So let’s stick to politics.

Ron Paul, as a matter of principle, believes that the U.S. should end all foreign aid. While that would mean no more U.S. money for terrorist groups like Hamas (hooray!), it would also mean no assistance for Israel (boooo!), so you could argue that it’s a wash. Except that we give our Israeli allies far more assistance than the P.A., and the P.A. doesn’t receive any military aid at all.

But perhaps more importantly in a big-picture terms, eliminating foreign aid deprives us of a valuable foreign policy tool. If countries on the U.S. dole are acting in direct opposition to American interests, or in a way that creates instability or humanitarian crises, we don’t just revoke all aid. We should make it contingent on their taking practical steps to resolve the situation. And if they don’t, then we cut the aid. The carrot and the stick are a package deal, as it were.

But then again, Ron Paul was one of the few voices in Congress to support Israel’s bombing of the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq. And by “support,” I mean he basically declared that it’s none of our business. That actually sounds kind of sensible. Better than saying “we need to stop them,” though perhaps not as good as asking “how can we help?”

It was a confluence of American and Israeli interests that Saddam Hussein not get a nuclear reactor, so in terms of realpolitik, Ron Paul was doing the smart thing. But what does he think of Israel when their goals and ours don’t happen to coincide?

As it turns out, Ron Paul may not hate the Jews as such, he would prefer if the Jewish state simply didn’t exist. As former senior Ron Paul aide Eric Dondero puts it:

“Is Ron Paul an anti-Semite? Absolutely no. He is however, most certainly anti-Israel, and anti-Israeli in general. He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all. He expressed this to me numerous times in our private conversations. His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the American taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs."

I think that’s all we needed to hear. Even if Dondero isn’t being 100% truthful (though I’ve no reason to suspect him), given Ron Paul’s checkered political past and racist fan base, why take the risk of voting for him? And even if you ignore all of that, why pick a candidate who’s far enough off center to be an all but guaranteed failure?

A vote for Ron Paul in the primaries is, ultimately, a vote for Barrack Obama.

Daniel Perez


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

UK Bishops Come Out Clearly Against Israel

by Giulio Meotti

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has offered the Palestinians a powerful tool of propaganda: the comparison with Jesus’ passion.

“We are to be freshly attentive to the needs of those who, like Jesus himself, are displaced and in discomfort”, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said during his Christmas Mass sermon at Westminster Cathedral. “A shadow falls particularly heavily on the town of Bethlehem tonight … We pray for them tonight”.

It would have been more in keeping with Nicholas’ mission to mention hundreds of Christians losing their lives to Islamic terrorism and oppressed by Palestinian Muslim dictatorship.

Nichols’ sermon has an historical value, because now the entire Christian hierarchy in the UK, Catholic and Protestant as well, is part of the global battle against Israel.

There is a virulent animosity towards the Jewish state in the established churches in Britain, which promulgate inflammatory libels against it.

Recently Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, compared Israel to apartheid in South Africa. “The situation resembles the apartheid system in South Africa because Gaza is next to one of the most sophisticated and modern countries in the world – Israel”, said Morgan.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, joined the Church of England’s General Synod, which voted to disinvest Church funds from “companies that make profits from Israel’s occupation”.

Archbishop Morgan said in a lecture on the relationship between religion and violence: “Messianic Zionism began a policy of cleansing the Promised Land of all Arabs and non-Jews rather than co-existing with them”.

But there has been no such “cleansing” at all in the disputed territories. The only attempt at “cleansing” has been the Palestinian attempt to kill as many Jews as possible.

According to Canon Andrew White, replacement theology is dominant and present in almost every church, fueling the venom against Israel.

The revised version of “Whose Promised Land?”, a highly influential book by the Anglican thinker Colin Chapman, recycles the worst Christian anti-Jewish theology. “When seen in the context of the whole Bible, however, both Old and New Testaments, the promise of the land to Abraham and his descendants does not give anyone a divine right to possess or to live in the land for all time because the coming of the kingdom of God through Jesus the messiah has transformed and reinterpreted all the promises and prophecies in the Old Testament”, writes Chapman camouflaging anti-Jewish replacement theology, which helped fuel burnings at stake and pogroms during the Middle Ages, as a dispassionate analysis of the conflict of Israel and the Palestinians.

According to Bishop John Gladwin, a separate Palestinian state would be merely a “first step”. “Ultimately, one shared land is the vision one would want to pursue”.

A Palestinian cleric, Naim Ateek, has an immense influence in contemporary British Christianity, not least through his Sabeel Centre in Jerusalem. Ateek’s denunciations of Israel include imagery linking the Jewish State to the charge of deicide that for centuries fueled anti-Jewish bloodshed.

For example, Ateek wrote about “modern-day Herods” in Israel, referring to the king who the New Testament says slaughtered the babies of Bethlehem in an attempt to murder the newborn Jesus.

At the beginning of the XIX century, the UK Christian clergy was a driving force behind the Zionist enterprise, inspired by a brave interpretation of the Bible. A century later, British Christianity is one of the major producers of blood libels against the Jews.

Giulio Meotti is an Italian journalist with Il Foglio.


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

Europe's Inexorable March Towards Islam

by Soeren Kern

Post-Christian Europe became noticeably more Islamized during 2011.

As the rapidly growing Muslim population makes its presence felt in towns and cities across the continent, Islam is transforming the European way of life in ways unimaginable only a few years ago.

What follows is a brief summary of some of the more outrageous Islam-related controversies that took place in Europe during 2011.

In Austria, an appellate court upheld the politically correct conviction of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese housewife and anti-Jihad activist, for "denigrating religious beliefs" after she gave a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam. The December 20 ruling showed that while Judaism and Christianity can be disparaged with impunity in postmodern multicultural Austria, speaking the truth about Islam is subject to swift and hefty legal penalties.

Also in Austria, the King Abdullah Center for Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Dialogue was inaugurated at the Albertina Museum in downtown Vienna on October 13. The Saudis say the purpose of the multi-million-dollar initiative is to "foster dialogue" between the world's major religions in order to "prevent conflict." But critics say the center is an attempt by Saudi Arabia to establish a permanent "propaganda center" in central Europe from which to spread the conservative Wahhabi sect of Islam.

In Belgium, it was revealed that Muslims now make up one-quarter of the population of Brussels, according to a new book published by the Catholic University of Leuven, the top French-language university in Belgium. In real terms, the number of Muslims in Brussels -- where half of the number of Muslims in Belgium currently live -- has reached 300,000, which means that the self-styled "Capital of Europe" is now the most Islamic city in Europe.

Also in Belgium, the most popular name in Brussels for baby boys in 2011 was Mohammed. It was also the most popular name for baby boys in Belgium's second-largest city, Antwerp, where an estimated 40% of elementary school children are Muslim.

Separately, the Islamist group Sharia4Belgium intensified a propaganda and intimidation campaign aimed at turning the country into an Islamic state. In September, the group established an Islamic Sharia law court in Antwerp, the second-largest city in Belgium. Leaders of the group say the purpose of the court is to create a parallel Islamic legal system in Belgium to challenge the state's authority as enforcer of the civil law protections guaranteed by the Belgian constitution.

In Britain, a Muslim group launched a campaign to turn twelve British cities -- including what it calls "Londonistan" -- into independent Islamic states. These so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence.

Separately, it was revealed that more than 2,800 so-called honor attacks -- punishments for bringing shame on the family -- were recorded by British police last year, according to the first-ever national estimate of the problem. The highest number of honor crimes -- which include murder, mutilation, beatings, abductions and acid attacks -- was recorded in London, where the problem has doubled to more than five times the national average.

The data comes on the heels of another report which shows that tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants in Britain are practicing bigamy or polygamy to collect bigger social welfare payments from the British state.

The September 24 report shows that the phenomenon of bigamy and polygamy -- which are permitted by Islamic Sharia law -- is far more widespread in Britain than previously believed, even though it is a crime there, punishable by up to seven years in prison.

The rapid growth in multiple marriages is being fueled by multicultural policies that grant special rights to Muslim immigrants who demand that Sharia law be reflected in British law and the social welfare benefits system.

Meanwhile, a Christian worker in Britain filed a lawsuit after losing her job when she exposed a campaign of systematic harassment by fundamentalist Muslims. In a landmark legal case, Nohad Halawi, a former employee at London's Heathrow Airport, sued her former employer for unfair dismissal, claiming that Christian staff members, including her, were discriminated against because of their religious beliefs.

Halawi's case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), an organization that provides legal support for Christians in the United Kingdom. CLC says the case raises important legal issues, and also questions over whether Muslims and Christians are treated differently by employers.

In Denmark, a Muslim group launched a campaign to turn parts of Copenhagen and other Danish cities into "Sharia Law Zones" that would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic law. The Danish Islamist group Kaldet til Islam (Call to Islam) said the Tingbjerg suburb of Copenhagen would be the first part of Denmark to be subject to Sharia law, followed by the Nørrebro district of the capital and then other parts of the country.

Call to Islam said it would dispatch a 24-hour Islamic "morals police" to enforce Sharia law in those enclaves. The patrols would confront anyone caught drinking alcohol, gambling, going to discothèques or engaging in other activities the group views as running contrary to Islam.

Also in Denmark, the city council of Copenhagen approved the construction of the first official "Grand Mosque" in the Danish capital. The mega-mosque will have a massive blue dome as well as two towering minarets and is architecturally designed to stand out on Copenhagen's low-rise skyline.

Unlike most mosques in Europe, which cater to Sunni Muslims, the mosque in Copenhagen pertains to Shia Islam. The mosque is being financed by the Islamic Republic of Iran; critics say that theocrats in Tehran intend to use the mosque to establish a recruiting center for the militant Shia Muslim group, Hezbollah in Europe.

Meanwhile, the president of the Denmark-based International Free Press Society, Lars Hedegaard, was found guilty of racist hate speech for comments he made about Islam. He was ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 Danish Kroner (about $1,000). Hedegaard's legal problems began in December 2009, when he remarked in a taped interview that there was a high incidence of child rape and domestic violence in areas dominated by Muslim culture.

Although Hedegaard has insisted that he did not intend to accuse all Muslims or even the majority of Muslims of such crimes, and although he was previously acquitted by a lower court, Denmark's thought police refused to drop the case until he was found guilty.

The European Union, bowing to pressure from Muslim lobby groups, quietly abandoned a new measure that would have required halal (religiously approved for Muslims) meat products to carry a label alerting consumers that the animals were not stunned, and therefore conscious, just before slaughter.

With the exponential growth of Europe's Muslim population in recent years, thousands of tons of religiously slaughtered halal meat is now entering the general food chain, where it is being unwittingly consumed also by the non-Muslim population.

The EU decision shows that Muslims have the right to choose halal foods, but non-Muslims do not have the right to choose not to eat the ritually slaughtered meat.

In France, it was revealed that Islamic mosques are being built more often than Roman Catholic churches, and that there now are more practicing Muslims in the country than practicing Catholics.

Separately, Muslim groups in France asked the Roman Catholic Church for permission to use its empty churches as a way to solve the traffic problems caused by thousands of Muslims who pray in the streets. The request, which was variously described by French political commentators as "alarming," "audacious" and "unprecedented," was yet another example of the growing assertiveness of the Muslims in France.

In October, it was also reported that the country's decrepit city suburbs are becoming "separate Islamic societies" cut off from the state, according to a major new study, "Banlieue de la République" (Suburbs of the Republic), that examines the spread of Islam in France.

Muslim immigrants are increasingly rejecting French values and identity and instead are immersing themselves in Islam, according to the report, which also warned that Islamic Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law in many parts of suburban Paris.

The authors of the report show that France, which has between five and six million Muslims (France has the largest Muslim population in European Union), is on the brink of a major social explosion because of the failure of Muslims to integrate into French society.

France's much-debated "burqa ban" entered into force in April. The new law, which prohibits the wearing of Islamic body-covering burqas and face-covering niqabs in all public spaces in France, came amid rising frustration that the country's estimated 6.5 million Muslims are not integrating into French society.

In Germany, it was revealed that thousands of young women and girls in Germany are victims of forced marriages every year. Most of the victims come from Muslim families; many have been threatened with violence and even death. The revelations shocked the German public and added to the ongoing debate in Germany over the question of Muslim immigration and the establishment of a parallel Islamic society there.

Also in Germany, a best-selling book published in September revealed that the spread of Islamic Sharia law in Germany is far more advanced than previously thought, and that German authorities are "powerless" to do anything about the Muslim shadow justice system in Germany.

The book says Sharia courts are now operating in all of Germany's big cities. This "parallel justice system" is undermining the rule of law in Germany because Muslim arbiters/imams are settling criminal cases out of court without the involvement of German prosecutors or lawyers before law enforcement can bring the cases to a German court.

Separately, the number of potential Islamic terrorists currently living in Germany jumped to around 1,000, according to new information provided by the German Interior Ministry.

In Greece, the Parliament approved a controversial plan to build a taxpayer-funded mega-mosque in Athens. The move came amid thinly veiled threats of violence by thousands of Muslim residents of the city who have been pressuring the government to meet their demands for a mosque or face an uprising.

In Holland, it was revealed that 40% of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands between the ages of 12 and 24 have been arrested, fined, charged or otherwise accused of committing a crime during the past five years, according to a report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Interior.

In Dutch neighborhoods where the majority of residents are Moroccan immigrants, the youth crime rate reaches 50%. Moreover, juvenile delinquency among Moroccans is not limited to males; girls and young women are increasingly involved in criminal activities.

The "Dutch-Moroccan Monitor 2011" also revealed that most of the Moroccan youth involved in criminal activities were born in Holland. This implies that the children of Moroccan immigrants are not integrating into Dutch society, and confirms that the Netherlands is paying dearly for its failed multicultural approach to immigration.

Also in Holland, a mob of Islamists stormed a debate in Amsterdam that was featuring two Muslim liberals, the Canadian writer and Muslim feminist Irshad Manji and the Dutch-Moroccan Green Left MP Tofik Dibi.

The December 8 debate on how liberal Muslims can prevent Islam from being hijacked by Muslim extremists was held at the De Baile venue in downtown Amsterdam, and was sponsored by the Brussels-based European Foundation for Democracy. The event resumed after police arrested several of the Islamists.

The incident highlighted the increasing frequency with which Muslims are using intimidation tactics -- including harassment and even murder -- in an effort to silence free speech in Europe and to impose Islam on the continent.

On a positive note, a court in Amsterdam acquitted Geert Wilders -- the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party who had denounced the threat to Western values posed by unassimilated Muslim immigrants -- of charges of inciting religious hatred against Muslims for comments he made that were critical of Islam.

In June, the Dutch government said it would abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands.

In Italy, it was revealed that 44% of Italians are prejudiced or hostile towards Jews, according to a new research study released by the Italian Parliament on October 17. The report, titled "Final Document: Investigation on Anti-Semitism," was commissioned by the Committee for the Inquiry into Anti-Semitism of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Italian Parliament. The 50-page document shows that anti-Semitism in Italy is also being fomented by Muslim immigrants who have established links with left-wing and right-wing extremists to carry out attacks on local Jewish communities, synagogues, schools and cemeteries.

In Spain, Muslims were accused of poisoning dozens of dogs in Lérida, a city in the northeastern region of Catalonia that has become ground zero in an intensifying debate over the role of Islam in Spain. All of the dogs were poisoned in September in Lérida's working class neighborhoods of Cappont and La Bordeta, districts that are heavily populated by Muslim immigrants and where many dogs have been killed in recent years. Local residents say Muslim immigrants killed the dogs because according to Islamic teaching dogs are "unclean" animals.

Also in Spain, two radical Islamic television stations began 24-hour broadcasting to Spanish-speaking audiences in Spain and Latin America from new studios in Madrid. The first channel, sponsored by the government of Iran, will focus on spreading Shiite Islam, the dominant religion in Iran. The second channel, sponsored by the government of Saudi Arabia, will focus on spreading Wahhabi Islam, the dominant religion in Saudi Arabia. The inaugural broadcasts of Islamic television in Spain were deliberately timed to coincide with the Christmas holidays, and represent yet another example of the gradual encroachment of Islam in post-Christian Spain.

In Sweden, police in the third-largest city, Malmö, reported a significant uptick in the number of reported anti-Semitic hate-crimes perpetrated by Muslim immigrants against Jews in 2011. The data came as the Swedish government on September 20 set aside 4 million kroner ($600,000) to help boost security around the country's synagogues, after accusations that Sweden has not done enough to protect its Jewish population.

Sweden has been accused of complacency about the growing problem of anti-Semitism in the country and the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center advised Jews to avoid traveling to southern Sweden.

In Switzerland, where the Muslim population has more than quintupled since 1980, a Muslim immigrant group based in Bern called for the emblematic white cross to be removed from the Swiss national flag because as a Christian symbol it "no longer corresponds to today's multicultural Switzerland."

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.


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