Friday, August 31, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: The Sectarian Genie

by Mordechai Kedar

Read the article in the original עברית
Read the article in Italiano (translated by Yehudit Weisz, edited by Angelo Pezzana)
The Islamic Oral Law (the Hadith) quotes the prophet Muhammad who stated: "My nation will be split into seventy two factions, and only one of them will escape Hell". Since Muhammad closed his eyes for eternity in the year 632 CE, the Muslims - regarding this tradition - have been absorbed by two questions, one theoretical and one practical. The theoretical one is: which is the correct and righteous faction which is destined to inherit Paradise, and which are all of the other factions to whom the gates of Hell are open wide to receive them. The practical question, which stems from the theoretical, is how each faction verifies that it - the correct and the righteous - is the one that will live in an earthly paradise, and how can it make concrete life hell for the other factions.


These questions were first dealt with immediately after Muhammad's funeral, when the Muslim elders met to decide who will be the Caliph - who will succeed Muhammad. Ali bin Abi Talib, Muhammad's cousin, who was also his son-in-law, claimed that the caliphate belonged to him, but his claim was not accepted and three others were named as caliphs before him. He waited twenty four long years until he was named as the fourth Caliph. During this time he consolidated around him a support group, who were even willing to engage in violent battle in order to take over the status of sovereignty. They were the first Shi'ites. The meaning of the word Shi'a in Arabic is "faction", meaning the faction of Ali.

After Ali was murdered in 661, his son, Hussein, continued to claim that the leadership belongs to him, because he was of the clan of Hashem, the family of the Prophet, and not the Caliphs of the Umayyad clan, a branch of the Quraysh tribe, which seized control. Because of this claim he was seen as a rebel and in the year 680 he was caught by the army of the regime near the city of Karbala in Southern Iraq, and slaughtered together with most of his family and supporters. This event was the seminal event of the Shi'ites until today, and the Shi'ites mark the "Ashura" - the "yahrzeit" - of Hussein with memorial rites, some of them beating and wounding themselves until they bleed.

Over the years, Shi'a developed its own theology and religious laws so different from that of Sunni, which is mainstream Islam, that there are those who claim that the Sunna and the Shi'a are two different religions. Many Sunnis see Shi'ites as heretics of a sort, and more than a few Shi'ites see Sunnis in the same way. Many Shi'ites see Sunni as najas, or unclean. The Shi'ites say that their claim to leadership is based on two chapters in the Qur'an, while the Sunnis claim that these two chapters are a Shi'ite forgery. For all of history the Shi'ites have been considered as a group which is rebelling against the regime and therefore the judgement for a Shi'ite is death. In areas where the Shi'ites have ruled, this was the fate of the Sunnis.

The struggle between the Sunna and the Shi'a continues in full strength until today, with Iran leading the Shi'a side while Saudi Arabia is in the forefront of Sunni Islam. In Saudi Arabia, the Hanbali school leads, with its extreme Wahhabi version of Islam, according to which the Shi'ites are heretics. Therefore the Shi'ites who live in Eastern Saudi Arabia are ground into dust: they are forbidden to sound the call to prayer on loudspeakers because their call includes a Shi'ite addendum. They are forbidden to mark the Ashura publicly and they are forbidden to demonstrate. The Saudi regime relates to them with fierce determination and zero sensitivity.
The Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) which cost a million people their lives on both sides, was part of the struggle between the Shi'a and and the Sunna, because Saddam Hussein was Sunni. In Lebanon, the Shi'ite Hizb'Allah fights the Sunnis and their friends over hegemony in the Land of the Cedars, and in Bahrain the Farsi-speaking Shi'ite majority has been trying for years to free itself from the Sunni minority which rules over it with an iron fist and an outstretched arm. This past year, when the spirit of the "Arab Spring" brought the Shi'ite majority into the streets, Saudi Arabia occupied Bahrain and forced the sectarian genie back into its bottle.

In Lebanon, Hizb'Allah calls itself the "group of Allah" to send the message that the Shi'ites are the faction that belongs to Allah, while the Sunnis, Christians, Druze, Zionists and all others are hazav al-Saytin , the "group of Satan". Hizb'Allah's struggle is primarily a sectarian struggle before it is nationalistic or political.

The civil war in Syria is likewise another example of the Shi'ite struggle against the Sunna: the Alawites who rule Syria represent themselves as a Shi'ite sect, because they see Ali bin Abi Talib, the founder of Shi'a, as the incarnation of G-d in a human body. That is why a Shi'ite coalition that includes Iran and Hizb'Allah stands with the Alawites, and opposing them is a Sunni coalition - Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The stakes of the war is the whole "kitty": sovereignty, physical survival and the question of who is the true Islamic faction, which will be spared from Hell: the Shi'ites or the Sunnis. And meanwhile both of them are making hell for each other.

Salafis - Sunnis

Many today are concerned about the revival of Islam in the wake of the "Arab Spring", which began with high hopes that democracy would sweep the Middle East but instead, the Islamist parties rose to power in Egypt and Tunisia, and the Islamist parties gained strength in Morocco and in Kuwait. The many jihadi militias that are active in the Syrian theater against the socialistic and secular Ba'ath regime increase the concerns about militant Islam, the concern mainly centering around the fear that the militias will succeed in getting their hands on the many weapons of mass destruction that exist in Syria.

The Salafis emerged from this whole mishmash onto the political stage. These organizations aspire to return Islamic societies to the life-style of al-Salaf al-salah - the righteous forefathers - who lived in the seventh century CE, which is how their name is derived. Some of them do this by using dawa, social activism, but some of them are pushing the end and use militant jihad to achieve their goals. In Egypt, the Salafi movements, which entered into politics last year, won a quarter of the seats of parliament, and in Syria many anti-regime militias bear Salafi jihadi symbols.

Violent Salafi groups regularly desecrate monuments of groups that they perceive as heretical: the Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed the Buddha statues in March of 2001; about two months ago groups of Salafis destroyed gravestones and buildings belonging to Sufis (a mystical Islamic sect) in Timbuktu, Mali, and a week ago, on Saturday August 25, a group of Salafis destroyed a mosque and dome belonging to Sufis in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, in broad daylight and no one dared trying to prevent them from doing it: the weapons carried by the destroyers convinced others to remain at a safe distance.

In Tunisia of post "Arab Spring" several Salafi groups are active, and recently a clip has been circulating that shows one of these groups performing a ritual in which its members slaughtered a young man who had the temerity to convert to Christianity. Some of the violent groups who have been active in Iraq since 2003, and presently in the Gaza Strip, in the Sinai Peninsula, in Saudi Arabia, in Syria, Yemen, Algeria and Morocco, in Chechnya, Iranian Baluchistan , Kurdistan (of Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran), Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, and many other states present themselves as jihadi Salafis, and over all of these groups hovers the immortal apparition of Usama bin Laden and the successful Al-Qaeda model.

It is important to note that the Salafis are Sunnis, and the struggle that they are conducting is against Sunnis, Shi'ites, Christians, Jews and heretics to the same degree, because as they see it anyone who is not a Salafi jihadi is destined for hell, in this world as well as the next, and the Salafi jihadis appoint themselves to dictate the height of the flames upon which all those who do not join in their path will be roasted.

The Common Enemy

For both sides of the factional struggle, the Sunnis as well as the Shi'ites, there is a common enemy which is the West in general, which represents an ideological and cultural enemy, while the United States and Israel fulfill the role of a concrete, military and political enemy. However the fact that there is a common enemy does not usually lead the two sides of the factional struggle to join forces. Moreover, sometimes one side - usually the Sunni - enlists the support of the West in order to cope more successfully with the Shi'a side. This is how the long standing alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia is explained, which are so very far from each other culturally.

It could be that also the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, which was signed in March 1979, was to a certain extent a reaction to the revolution of the Ayatollas in Iran that occurred months previously.

The Clash

The clash between the Salafi jihadi Sunna and the Shi'a has lasted almost 1400 years, and did not halt in the last generation either. In recent years there are several arenas in the Arab world in which a bloody clash exists between Shi'ites and Salafis:

1. In Iraq, since 2003 a fierce struggle is being conducted in which on one side are Shi'ite militias funded, armed and trained by Iran, headed by the "Mahdi Army" of Muqtada al-Sadr, as well as public organizations and political parties that do the bidding of Iran. On the other side are Sunni militias, headed by al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers", which is funded with money from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates.

2. During the past year, Syria has been a fierce arena of battle between the regime, which is funded and supported by Iran, and Sunni Salafi militias that operate with money and weapons from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, all of which countries are Sunni. These states are doing everything in their power to cut off the Syrian tentacle of the Iranian octopus, in order to decrease the Iranian threat upon the Sunni world in general and on the states of the Gulf in particular.

3. Lebanon, since the beginning of the eighties, is a boxing arena between Hizb'Allah, supported by Shi'ite Iran, and the rest of the factions under Sunni leaders such as Rafik Hariri. He indeed was not Salafi, but the Saudi regime who supported him was Salafi by its own definition. Not for nothing has Hizb'Allah been helping the Syrian regime to stand against the Sunnis who have been rebelling against it during the last year and a half.

4. The clash between the sides is exacerbated by the passing of religious laws by both sides which serve each side as a means to undermine the legitimacy of the other side. Thus, religion becomes a tool in the conflict whose basis is a family-tribal disagreement between two houses of the Quraysh tribe, over the succession of Muhammad.

5. There are cases where lines are crossed: Shi'ite Iran and its satellites Syria and Hizb'Allah supported Sunni Palestinian terror organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but after the violence in Syria broke out, the Hamas people had to leave Damascus and cut off connections with Iran, because they could not accept the slaughter of Sunnis under the Syrian regime.

6. Even mutual visits between the leaders of the two sides cannot bridge 1400 years of mutual hatred and slaughter. Ahmadinejad visited Saudi Arabia; Mursi and Haniyye visited Iran, but these visits do not fundamentally change the hostility between the two sides. Embassies that each side opens in the other side serve mainly as a basis for spying and subversion.

7. A rivalry exists between the two sides about which of them will conduct a more successful jihad against the common enemy - the West, the United States and Israel. The rivalry stems from the belief that successful acts of terror enhance the popularity and legitimacy of the group. Whenever one side is successful in carrying out an action against the West, it increases the motivation of the other side to carry out a more successful act. The success of Shi'ite Hizb'Allah in removing Israel from Southern Lebanon in May 2000 pushed the Sunni Palestinians to open a second intifada at the end of September 2000, and for al-Qaeda to attack the United States one year afterward, in September 2001.


1. The Islamization that many observers note these days in the Middle East is an existing phenomenon, and the increasing influence of the Islamist parties on political life is palpable and real. Moreover, a more important and stronger phenomenon is the escape of the factional genie from the bottle in which it was confined while dictators controlled the region. Mubarak in Egypt, Qadhaffi in Libya, bin Ali in Tunisia, Salah in Yemen and Asad in Syria, all knew and recognized the "factional genie" well , whether in the Shi'ite version or the Sunni version, and took every means at their disposal, principally torture chambers, in order to deal with the factional jihadism which has no boundaries of law or ethics. Today, dictators are taken down one by one, and jihadism is flourishing.

2. When an Islamist movement comes to power, even if it behaves in an acceptable way, it is liable to carry within its womb a jihadi group that will turn the life of the mother group into hell. Islamic rule such as that in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Gaza or Iran, tends to ignore radical groups, because it sees them as a sort of good folk, better and more faithful to original Islam than itself. Only when these groups harm the regime does it wake up to take action against them, but this action will always be limited by the lack of willingness to behave like the overthrown dictators. The regime prefers to come to an agreement with the jihadi groups but these agreements are short-range, because of the dynamic character of the groups, and their tendency to reject any regime.

3. Countries in which there are Islamic immigrants must be on guard and supervise well what is done among the separatist immigrant groups who jealously guard their traditional character, because there is a significant chance that these groups will develop jihadi characteristics. Their jihadi activities will target the host state, but also the mother faction, for not being active enough and not faithful enough to Islam according the the jihadi approach. These jihadi imigrant groups, who are composed usually of the people of a single state, are very difficult to infiltrate for intelligence gathering, because they are closed and based on personal acquaintance and absolute loyalty to the group. The smaller and more homogeneous the group, the more dangerous it is likely to be.

4. Iran maintains connections with jihadi groups, mainly Shi'ite, all over the world, which serve as "sleeper cells" waiting for a command. The diplomatic mail sacks of Iran serve as a means for transferring arms to these cells, because the diplomatic sacks are not subjected to a security check in the host country. Iranian embassies the world over serve as storage places for weapons, ammunition and devices of sabotage just as they serve as a basis for intelligence and the activation of agents and collaborators. One must assume that some of the Saudi embassies act in a similar manner regarding local Sunnis. Tracking these embassies and the activities of their people can give the security apparatuses of the host countries much information about subversive and jihadi activities in these countries.


Dr. Kedar is available for lectures in the U.S. and Canada

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

Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav.

Links to Dr. Kedar's recent articles on this blog:

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

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

Will Congress Take Military into the 1970s?

by Michael Rubin

Sequestration—the $500 billion automatic budget cuts to Defense, which will be triggered if Congress cannot reduce the budget by $1.2 trillion as per the Budget Control Act of 2011—is a looming disaster. The sequestration cuts would be in addition to already scheduled budget cutbacks.

Owen Graham, a brilliant young scholar at the Heritage Foundation, has penned an important article in the Charlotte Observer outlining just what is at stake:

According to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, sequestration would also eliminate a leg of the nuclear Triad, deliver a heavy blow to U.S. missile defenses, and eliminate next-generation fighter and bomber programs. The findings of the House Armed Services Committee were just as bleak: the smallest Air Force in its history; the smallest Navy since before World War I; and the smallest ground force since before World War II…

The reality is it is far from balanced. Military is less than one-fifth of the federal budget and absorbs fully 50 percent of the sequester. Meanwhile, 70 percent of entitlement spending, the key driver of the debt crisis, is exempt from the impact of the cuts.

Admiral James “Ace” Lyons observed wryly at a roundtable a few weeks ago that already the U.S. Navy has fewer ships under his command than he had at his disposal when he was in charge of the Pacific Command under Jimmy Carter. Obama’s talk of a pivot toward Asia is just empty talk; his priorities suggest a willingness to cede Asia.

If entitlements are cutback, we know what will happen: the economy will expand and charities and faith communities will pick up the slack; the government will still care for the most needy. If the U.S. ability to project its power is reduced to beneath even Carter administration standards, then the world in which we function will be far different. This may be the Obama administration’s goal. After all, as the Foundation for Defense of Democracy’s Cliff May notes, the scariest statement to which the mainstream media has given short shift was his promise to then-Russian President Medvedev to pursue even more devastating cutbacks once he no longer has to stand for election.

There will be no savings: When enemies perceive the United States as weak, they act. And—be they Russia, North Korea, China, or Iran—the United States has no shortage of adversaries.

Michael Rubin


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Race, the Race, and Racism

by Simon de Hundehutte

Here's the definitive question: would Barack Obama have been elected president back in 2008 if he had been white? And before anyone reading this answers with, "Yeah, well, John McCain ran the absolute worst campaign in modern history!," think about this: no candidate gets to run for president until he has been properly vetted and selected by his particular party. So for Obama to even have had the chance to run against the hapless McCain, he had to have first been "the chosen one" by the Democrats.

In the early months of 2008, long before Election Day, ponder for a minute how the campaigning and debating would have played out for the Democrat Party had Hillary Clinton been running against a half-dozen white guys -- instead of a bunch of white guys and a black guy. Imagine Obama as a white guy speaking to the crowds with the exact same words, same inflections, same bravado. Would people have fainted upon hearing lines such as "This was the moment the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal"...or would they have wagged their heads and said, "What a bunch of vacuous bullcrap"?

When asked on the campaign trail what qualified him to be president, Obama himself pointed to two things: his experience as a community organizer and the fact that he was running a winning campaign. In other words, he should be president because he's smart enough to win the presidency. Good old-fashioned circular logic.

One ebullient Democratic spokesman told the press soon after the election that his party had indeed chosen the right candidate (Obama instead of Clinton) because "race trumps sex." (Granted, a President Hillary Clinton would most likely have been as much a progressive nightmare as Obama, but that's a whole other article.)

Many on the far left will defend President Barack Obama first and foremost as a black man. Any time during the past four years, if anyone said anything negative about the president's policies, the far left immediately circled the wagons, saying he was being slammed solely because of his race (most recently, Chris Matthews' line of defense in his interview with Newt Gingrich). Their reasoning is due to the fact that they know that Obama's 2008 campaign was centered around "making history" -- he had zero experience of leadership, and his star-quality persona was literally only "skin deep."

A couple weeks back, I had the wonderful opportunity of hearing the former co-chair of Obama's 2008 election team, Artur Davis, speak at a gathering of about 50 like-minded conservatives. He is an excellent, thoughtful, and thought-provoking speaker, as he demonstrated on Day One of the RNC, and he unabashedly shared with us his tale of transition from Obama supporter to an enthusiastic speaker Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention.

Mr. Davis stated that he was, like many, spellbound in the early days of the 2008 campaign, falling hook, line, and sinker for Obama's message of unity and hope and transparency -- but in his heart of hearts, Artur has always been a conservative.

One of Mr. Davis' observations, however, seemed off the mark. He stated that he believed that even if you were a die-hard conservative Republican, you had to have felt a certain joy that America had gone from slavery to electing the first black president -- what an historic triumph.

I didn't have the heart to tell Mr. Davis (who is genuinely one of the nicest and most sincere guys you'd ever want to meet) when I posed with him for a photo op afterwards that I, for one, never felt anything but impending gloom-and-doom during every stage of the 2008 campaign. And for good reason.

When Obama burst onto the scene, I didn't care one whit about the color of his skin, so I immediately checked out his background -- did my own personal vetting, as it were. I discovered (and with very little effort) that Obama was the farthest left of every single senator in Congress; that he barely voted anything but "present" in the Illinois legislature, and when he did actually vote "nay," one thing near and dear to his heart was opposing a law banning live-birth abortion; that he had domestic terrorist ties; that he was a follower of Saul Alinsky; and that his pastor (worse, mentor) spewed hate speech from the pulpit.

Mr. Davis came late to the conclusion that Obama was wrong for America -- a conclusion most of us reading and writing for American Thinker came to many, many months before Election Day 2008. Speaking solely for myself, I have always seen November 4, 2008 as the day Dr. Martin Luther King began spinning in his grave. "Weren't you listening to me? It's content of character, not color of skin, you nincompoops," I imagined Saint Martin shouting from on high. (Had King lived, by the way, I believe we would have had a non-white president long before 2008 -- and someone voted into office based on substance rather than skin color.)

Too many Americans actually believe that the 2008 election proved, once and for all, that America is not a racist nation. I mean, how can it be racist if the voters elected a genuine, bona fide African-American to run its ship of state? Even Glenn Beck recently spent his opening 20-minute monologue (complete with props) proving this no-racism-here actuality.

Racism, however, goes "both ways." There's obviously unacceptable racism, the racism that has universal recognition -- denying or destroying someone based on the color of their skin. But these days, there's also acceptable racism -- for example, voting for someone to be president based on the color of his skin. Remember the phrase expressed with pride by many Americans four years ago: "Make history by voting for the first African-American president"? I think it's unfortunate, but on Election Day 2008, America proved just how racist it really was. You do something not because it's historic; you do it because it's right. And because of that "history making" moment, America is now paying a very steep price -- not just financially, but in terms of renewed racial tensions and divisiveness.

During my opportunity to shake hands with Artur Davis after his informative and motivating talk, I refrained from sharing my belief that race played the most significant role in Obama's election. I didn't, however, hold back from saying that with everybody I know, among my family, friends, and professional acquaintances, no one -- and I mean no one -- "gives a flying crap about the color of anybody's skin." We live in a post-racial America despite the fact that Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, not because of it.

A fitting close is to remind one and all of the bumper sticker some patriots are sporting on their vehicles these days. Its message is as clear as its simple, block lettering: "If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you're not a racist, please vote for somebody else in 2012 to prove you're not an idiot."

Simon de Hundehutte is one of the creative minds behind


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The Last Line of Defense: Property

by Daren Jonescu

"Property is theft." Proudhon's classic anarchist paradox is more than a catchy slogan for international leftism. It encapsulates a complete and comprehensively absurd view of humanity -- one which finds its contemporary apotheosis in President Obama's more prosaic rendition, "You didn't build that." In other words, "You didn't build that" is just "Property is theft" without the irony.

By speaking his true mind for a change, without teleprompted euphemism, Obama conveniently highlighted the heart of today's civilizational crisis: the war over the meaning and legitimacy of property.

The "fundamental transformation" Obama seeks to impose on America has many practical manifestations, but all his sundry means relate to one basic end. This is the permanent "transformation" of a nation grounded in the principle of individual self-ownership (the philosophical foundation of property rights) into a nation grounded in the principle that everything you have is merely on loan to you from the great gods of collectivism -- "society," "history," and "government."

Let's begin with the progressive argument against private property, expressed in Obama's own infamous words. (Recall that the context is his call for the wealthy to "give back"):

If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. ... I'm always struck by people who think, "Wow, it must be because I was just so smart" -- there are a lot of smart people out there. "It must be because I worked harder than everybody else" -- let me tell you something, there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.... Somebody invested in roads and bridges -- if you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the internet so that all the companies could make money off the internet.

As for the first paragraph, Obama's point is clear, and the hateful straw-man mockery of his tone drives it home: any practically successful person who is proud of his achievement is a fool, for in truth, something other than his own intelligence and effort is responsible for his success. The identity of that "something," as if we couldn't guess, is spelled out in the subsequent paragraph. Government is the provider, the facilitator, the ultimate source of all individual success. Thus, government has a legitimate (and seemingly unlimited) claim on the results of individual success.

The upshot of all this for the question of property is undeniable: private property is an illusion, the selfish fantasy of those who ignorantly believe that their possessions are the earned fruit of their labor. Your prosperity is the product not of your effort and skill, but rather of the general social conditions in which it was achieved. The public roads, the public education system, and other government projects which form the common background of practical existence obviate any inviolable claim you might make on anything you have acquired against that background. You owe your wealth to society, because "somebody else" (i.e., government) made it happen.

What this means, translated into plain terms, is that the existence of government proves that there can be no private property. That is to say, your claim to property rights is refuted by the existence of the very programs that government coercively appropriates your wealth to pay for.

Furthermore, the implication that mere effort does nothing to establish any special claim to the products of such effort, due to the socially provided context of the acquisition, flies in the face of any reasonable theory of property. No one ever claimed that property is acquired in a vacuum -- not any more than that life is lived in one. It goes without saying that property is acquired in a social context. The concept of property rights would have no significance outside a social context. Rights are by definition an individual's claim against violations of his person and possessions by other people.

It is no more rational to suggest that property rights are trumped by the existence of public schools or roads than to say that they are trumped by the air we share with all other humans or the genes we owe to our ancestors.

A reminder of what a rational understanding of property -- and the one dearest to many of America's founding fathers -- looks like will not only show the incoherence of Obama's post-Marxist absurdity, but also reveal just how fundamental this issue is to the calamity Western civilization faces.

Locke, in Chapter 5 of his Second Treatise on Government, begins his discussion of property with a premise that is as commonsensical as it is extraordinary: "Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men [in the state of nature], yet every man has a 'property' in his own 'person.' This nobody has any right to but himself."

That is, the concept of property is grounded in your inviolable ownership of yourself. All other property is derived from this initial case, by a very natural extension of the principle of self-ownership, which in turn derives from the right of self-preservation.

The "labour" of his body and the "work" of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that Nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with it, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state Nature placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it that excludes the common right of other men. (Book II, § 26)

By nature, you own your mind and body, and hence you, necessarily own the efforts of your mind and body, from which it follows, in turn, that you own the results of those efforts, assuming that these results are not already the rightfully acquired property of another. And once men pass beyond the "state of nature" in which things are given to all in common, to be claimed by individuals by means of their labor, into the realm of those goods which are already the property of other men, that labor which established initial ownership develops into the social practice of voluntary exchange (i.e., a market) through which new property is acquired.

Locke's way of tying the origins of property rights to the principle of voluntary social interaction is as clear as can be, and as clear an indictment of today's progressives and their entitlement-drunk dupes as one can find.

God gave the world to men in common, but since He gave it them for their benefit and the greatest conveniences of life they were capable to draw from it, it cannot be supposed He meant it should always remain common and uncultivated. He gave it to the use of the industrious and rational (and labour was to be his title to it); not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious. He that had as good left for his improvement as was already taken up needed not complain, ought not to meddle with what was already improved by another's labour; if he did it is plain he desired the benefit of another's pains, which he had no right to, and not the ground which God had given him, in common with others, to labour on. [...] (Book II, § 33) (Emphasis added.)

In other words, rightful property is acquired by one's effort and through consensual exchange. Coercion rooted in "the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious" is theft, and thus its product cannot be property, as one has no right to another man's labor, physical or intellectual.

The reason why one has no right to the fruit of another man's labor is not to be casually glossed, and it cannot be overemphasized: the other man's labor is itself his property, derived from his most fundamental property, namely himself. (This explains why state-controlled medicine is the ultimate policy prize of leftists; it directly attacks the heart of property rights, the right to the use and preservation of your own person.)

This brings us back to modern progressivism, and its chief mouthpiece, Barack Obama. By denying the inviolable right of the "successful" to the legitimately acquired result of their intellectual and physical efforts, Obama and his cohorts are denying the successful man's ownership of himself.

By implication, of course, this denial, though overtly aimed at the "wealthy," is a collectivist net thrown over everyone. It is a denial of your self-ownership, and thus of your right to self-preservation. On this principle, you live by the grace of the state, with its roads and public schools, and therefore have no real claim on anything you might achieve or acquire in this life.

Private property is the key target of the left's attack on freedom. Leftists know, in their blood if not in their minds, that property is their opponents' last line of defense in the civilizational war. The right to property is the practical expression of individualism -- i.e., of the belief that the individual is the ultimate human reality. Collectivists reject this notion, believing instead that individuals are literally the products of history and culture, and that these latter terms are the ultimate realities.

"You didn't build that" is a perfect expression of progressivism's loathing for the individual. There are no individual property rights, because individuals do not exist as such. They are merely derivative parts which owe their lives, their preservation, and the fruit of their labor to the whole, to society -- in practice, to the state.

The fight to preserve private property is the political expression of something even more profound. It is the last stand of mankind's battle to preserve reason, which teaches the metaphysical and moral primacy of the individual, against the irrational hordes for whom the collective is the only reality, the mindless conformity of "self-expression" the only morality, and coercive brutality the only truth.

Daren Jonescu


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Syria's War Spills Into Lebanon

by Michael J. Totten

The Muslim Brotherhood hardly gets any more votes in Lebanon than it would in the in the United States. But conservative Sunnis are only willing to support Moderates like the Hariris when they feel safe. If they feel physically threatened by Alawite militias, Hezbollah, or anyone else for too long, many will feel they have little choice but to back radical Sunnis if no one else will protect them.

Syria's civil war was doomed from the very beginning to spill into Lebanon. Trouble started last year shortly after peaceful demonstrations against Bashar al-Assad's regime turned violent, and it started again last week when sectarian clashes ripped through the northern city of Tripoli, the second-largest in Lebanon after Beirut, and turned parts of it into a war zone.

Sunni militiamen from the neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh are slugging it out again with militants from the adjacent Alawite stronghold of Jabal Mohsen. They have transformed their corner of Lebanon into a mirror of the Syrian war, in which Sunni rebels are waging pitched battles with the Alawite-dominated military and government. As of Wednesday, the death toll in Tripoli was twelve, and a few more were killed yesterday. More than a hundred have been wounded.

Tensions are also increasing between Lebanon's Sunnis, who support the Syrian uprising, and Lebanon's Shias, who support the Assad regime and Hezbollah. Syrian rebels recently kidnapped a man they say is a Hezbollah member; his Lebanese clan members ran around southern Beirut with AK-47s and ski masks and kidnapped almost two dozen Syrian Sunnis and even a Turkish citizen in Lebanon.

Some reporters are describing the violence as some of the worst since the Lebanese civil war that raged from 1975-1990 -- so far a bit of an exaggeration, with numbers still insignificant compared to the thousands killed, tortured, and maimed next-door in Syria. But the numbers could easily mushroom, transforming the entire Lebanese political scene for the worse.

Assad's occupation of Lebanon was terminated seven years ago by the Beirut Spring, but the two countries still function to an extent as a single political unit. Syria may no longer have its smaller neighbor under direct military rule, but it has been deliberately exporting its violence, dysfunction, and terrorism since the 1970s. Its hegemony there was partially restored when Hezbollah invaded Beirut in 2008, forcing anti-Syrian parties to surrender much of their power at gunpoint.

Even if Assad had no interest in mucking around in Beirut's internal affairs, however -- even if Lebanon were entirely free of Syrian influence -- we should still expect to see the conflict spill over. The Lebanese could not build a firewall even if the Syrians wanted to help them – but definitely not while terrified Syrian refugees are holing up in the county, and not when Hezbollah has a vested interest in keeping its patron and armorer in charge in Damascus, and not with Sunnis and Alawites living cheek-by-jowl in the north.

Lebanon, unlike most Arab countries, has a weak central government. The Lebanese designed it that way on purpose so that it would be nearly impossible for anyone to rule as a strongman; and as the country is more or less evenly divided between Christians, Sunnis, and Shias, so that no single sectarian community could easily take control over the others.

The problem, of course, is that weak central government combined with sectarian centrifugal force constantly threaten to rip the country apart. As the army is just as riven by political sectarianism as the rest of the country, when civil conflict breaks out, the army does a terrible job. Its leadership does not dare take sides lest the officers and enlisted men under their command splinter apart into rival militias as they did during the civil war. Further, the Syrian regime left pieces of itself behind when it withdrew from Lebanon in the spring of 2005. Many of the army's senior officers were promoted and appointed by Damascus; they still have their jobs and their loyalties, at least for now.

So while the violence in Lebanon is at the moment contained, it is barely contained. The real danger here is not that people will be kidnapped and killed by the dozen in isolated neighborhoods. The real danger is that if the situation does not calm down and stay down, the normally placid Sunni community will become increasingly radical.

For years the overwhelming majority of Lebanon's Sunnis have thrown their support behind the Future Movement, the liberal, capitalist, and pro-peace party of Rafik and Saad Hariri. The Muslim Brotherhood hardly gets any more votes in Lebanon than it would in the United States. But conservative Sunnis are only willing to support moderates like the Hariris when they feel safe. If they feel physically threatened by Alawite militias, Hezbollah, or anyone else for too long, many will feel they have little choice but to back radical Sunni militias if no one else will protect them.

Extremist Sunnis could eventually ruin what began as a peaceful movement for reform and change in Assad's Syria. It would be even more tragic if they did the same thing in Lebanon after the Beirut Spring showed so much promise.

Michael J. Totten is a contributing editor at World Affairs and City Journal and is the prize-winning author of Where the West Ends and The Road to Fatima Gate.


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How Many Millionaires Live in the "Impoverished" Gaza Strip?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

If the Egyptian army succeeds in demolishing the underground smuggling tunnels that keep Hamas running, it could mark the end of the Islamists' rule over the Gaza Strip. But if Egypt's new president, Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood tie the hands of the Egyptian army's generals and keep them from completing the mission, Hamas will become even stronger and wealthier.

The world often thinks of the Gaza Strip, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, as one of the poorest places on earth, where people live in misery and squalor.

But according to an investigative report published in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, there are at least 600 millionaires living in the Gaza Strip. The newspaper report also refutes the claim that the Gaza Strip has been facing a humanitarian crisis because of an Israeli blockade.

Mohammed Dahlan, the former Palestinian Authority security commander of the Gaza Strip, further said last week that Hamas was the only party that was laying siege to the Gaza Strip; that it is Hamas, and not Israel or Egypt, that is strangling and punishing the people there.

The Palestinian millionaires, according to the report, have made their wealth thanks to the hundreds of underground tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Informed Palestinian sources revealed that every day, in addition to weapons, thousands of tons of fuel, medicine, various types of merchandise, vehicles, electrical appliances, drugs, medicine and cigarettes are smuggled into the Gaza Strip through more than 400 tunnels. A former Sudanese government official who visited the Gaza Strip lately was quoted as saying that he found basic goods that were not available in Sudan. Almost all the tunnels are controlled by the Hamas government, which has established a special commission to oversee the smuggling business, which makes the Hamas government the biggest benefactor of the smuggling industry.

Palestinians estimate that 25% of the Hamas government's budget comes from taxes imposed on the owners of the underground tunnels.

For example, Hamas has imposed a 25% tax and a $2000 fee on every car that is smuggled into the Gaza Strip. Hamas also charges $15 dollars for each ton of cement, eight cents for a pack of cigarettes and 50 cents for each liter of fuel smuggled through the tunnels.

For Hamas, the Palestinian sources said, the tunnels are a matter of life or death.

Now, however, Hamas is facing a huge crisis as the Egyptian authorities plan to regain control over Sinai in the aftermath of the recent killing of 16 Egyptian border guards by unidentified terrorists.

The Egyptian army appears to be determined to destroy the underground tunnels out of fear that they are being used to smuggle not only goods and fuel, but also Islamist terrorists who pose a threat to Egypt's national security.

At this stage, however, it is not clear whether Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohamed Morsi, would allow his army to cut off one of Hamas's main sources of income. Morsi's policy thus far has been to embrace and strengthen Hamas at the expense of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

If the Egyptian army succeeds in its anti-terror security crackdown in Sinai, including the demolition of all the underground tunnels that keep Hamas running, it could mark the beginning of the end of the Islamist movement's rule over the Gaza Strip. But if Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood tie the hands of their generals and prevent them from completing the mission, Hamas will become even stronger and wealthier.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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The Palestine Arab Leaders Have Destroyed

by Fabio Rafael Fiallo

The leaders of Hamas "run away, and do not even have the courage to take responsibility for their casualties. They treat Gazans like sheep for slaughter." — Walid Awad

Even though Zahi Khouri, in "The Palestine Romney Doesn't Know"in the the Washington Post on August 10, charges the U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney with suggesting that cultural differences help explain why Israel's achievements are in sharp contrast to the economic predicament of the territories administered by the Palestinian leadership, Romney is not the only person to attribute to cultural elements the poor performance in the Arab world: "The Arab Development Report 2002," commissioned by the UN Development Program and prepared by around 100 experts from the Arab world, points to the stark need to revitalize and modernize the Arab culture.

Contrary to the critical conclusions of the UN Development Program's report, Mr. Khouri offers a self-complacent view of the cultural situation of his fellow Arab Palestinians, and opts for blaming Israel for the latter's predicament.

In so doing, Mr. Khouri's article attempts to deny the impact of Jews and of Jewish culture on the Palestinian region. The article says, for instance, that "Israel did not make the desert bloom." The truth is that Jews living in the Palestinian region in the late 19th century and early 20th century carried out an afforestation program without precedent in history – in addition to founding, among other things, the city of Tel-Aviv, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Daniel Sieff Research Institute at Rehovot and the Bezalel Art School at Jerusalem. It is difficult, as a matter of fact impossible, to list comparable realizations made by Palestinian Arabs over that time span.

Mr. Khouri continues by asserting that "like more than three-quarters of Palestine's population, my family was forced to leave this land after Israel's creation in 1948." Here, too, Mr. Khouri gives a lopsided picture of reality. To a very large extent, the Palestinians who fled the region at that time did it compelled by the Arab nations that had declared war on Israel: the Arab troops forced the Arab-Palestinian population to leave their homes so that they could kill Jews more leisurely.

Mr. Khouri then states that Palestinians established in other Arab countries "became known for [their] business acumen and management know-how." What Mr. Khouri neglects to specify in this regard is that, at the instigation of the Palestinian leadership, Palestinians are inhumanely kept under the status of refugees in most of the neighboring countries, with the sole -- and spurious -- purpose of continuing to blame Israel for their vicissitudes.

The blame-Israel stance adopted by Mr. Khouri is not shared by prominent Palestinian figures with no less-solid credentials than his -– to say the least.

Nonie Darwish, for example, the Gaza-born daughter of a Palestinian Fedayeen who led anti-Israel attacks from the Egyptian border in the 1950s, outspokenly defends Israel. It must have been heartrending for Mrs. Darwish to come to the conclusion, as she has, that the culprit of her people's suffering is not the "Zionist entity," but the Arab and Palestinian leaders who have misled the Palestinian population in a refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Mrs. Darwish has created a website, Arabs For Israel, calling for Arabs, in particular Palestinian Arabs, to support the state of Israel and learn from the vitality of Jewish culture.

This is also true of Zakaria Zubeidi, former commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, who in 2007 relinquished his violent struggle against Israel and accused the Palestinian leadership of having taken his people into a blind alley.

Mention can also be made of Walid Awad, a senior Gaza leader of the Palestinian People's Party (PPP), who accused Hamas of cowardly launching missiles against Israel. The leaders of Hamas, said Mr. Awad, "run away, and do not even have the courage to accept responsibility for their casualties. They treat Gazans like sheep for slaughter."[1]

Above all, while in Israel, journalists are free to write anything they want without fear of being thrown in jail -- and presidents, prime ministers, and any figure in power can stand trial like any ordinary citizen; in Syria, the regime makes unrelentingly a butchery out of its own people; and in the disputed territories of Palestine, Fatah and Hamas keep putting off overdue elections -- showing scant regard for democratic values. Is this appalling contrast not the best proof that, contrary to Mr. Khouri's self-righteousness, there is need for an aggiornamento, a bringing up-to-date, of cultural and political values in the Arab world -- including within the Palestinian-Arab leadership?

A former international civil servant, Fabio Rafael Fiallo writes on issues related to international politics and the world economy. His latest publication, "Ternes Eclats" or "Dimmed Lights" (Paris, L'Harmattan), presents a fictional critique of multilateral diplomacy, including of the anti-Israel bias that prevails in a number of international organizations.

[1] "Gazans tired of their rockets: An Alternative to Violence?" The Economist, April 15th, 2010.

Fabio Rafael Fiallo


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Al Jazeera Attacks Paul Ryan over Women’s Rights

by Daniel Greenfield

Al Jazeera, the Muslim propaganda channel operated by Qatar, for some reason decided to attack Paul Ryan over abortion, running an op-ed which accused him of extremism and victimizing raped women.

For some context, let’s look at how friendly Muslim Qatar is to women. Under Qatari law, abortion is punishable by five years in jail. Meanwhile there’s Prince Hamid bin Abdal Sani who is still wanted in Czechoslovakia for statutory rape.

The State Department’s Human Rights report stated that, “the application of Sharia denied women equal status in certain civil proceedings such as marriage, divorce, and witness testimony. In such instances, a women’s testimony was equal to half of a man’s.”

Women are generally happy in Qatar. “A 2007 Qatar University study found that 63 percent of 2,778 surveyed citizen and noncitizen female students reported they had been victims of physical abuse, with 52 reporting cases of “strong violence,” such as rape, and 120 reporting sexual harassment. Approximately 50 women reported they had considered suicide because they were afraid of the repercussions if they notified authorities.”

Some kinds of rape are acceptable in Qatar. “The law criminalizes domestic violence and rape but does not address spousal rape. ” Beating your wife is also fine. “There is no law criminalizing domestic violence.”

And this is how Al Jazeera treats its female staff. “In May five Arab women presenters resigned from al-Jazeera after complaining that they were harassed by senior managers for not dressing modestly enough. An internal inquiry cleared the al-Jazeera official and asserted that the channel has the right to dictate how its presenters appear and that it held Arab and Qatari women broadcasters to much higher dress-standards.”

If Al Jazeera is going to run attacks on Paul Ryan, they may want to skip the feminist angle.

Daniel Greenfield


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UN Blames Israel for Gaza’s ‘Inviable’ Future

by Joseph Klein

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) held a conference on August 27th entitled “Will the Gaza Strip be Viable in 2020?” The conclusion, predictably, was that the Israeli government was fully responsible for the difficult human living conditions in the Gaza Strip and that the Gaza population will face a real disaster on all levels by 2020 if the Israeli “siege” were not immediately ended.

In attendance at the Israel-bashing conference were the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, Maxwell Gaylard, Director of UNRWA operations in Gaza Robert Turner, and UNICEF Special Representative in the Palestinian Territory, Jean Gough.

Gaylard said that the Gaza population is expected to expand by a half million, reaching 2.1 million in 2020, while access to water and electricity, education and health resources will get worse over the same period, unless major remedial action is taken immediately.

“Despite their best efforts the Palestinians in Gaza still need help,” Gaylard said. “They are under blockade. They are under occupation and they need our help both politically and practically on the ground.”

Best efforts? Gaylard may not have noticed, but Gaza is not under Israeli occupation today. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and Hamas has controlled Gaza for the last five years after its forcible ejection of its Fatah rivals. Gaylard neglected to point out the reason for what remains of the Israeli blockade. Hamas and other Islamist terrorist groups have used Gaza to launch thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars into Israel during the years of Hamas control - 542 this year alone to date. Indeed, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired seven rockets into Israel in the past few days. Two of them narrowly missed a school just as the new Israeli school year got underway.

Despite the Palestinian terrorists’ continuing onslaught of unprovoked attacks, Israel has relaxed its defensive blockade at great risk to the security of its citizens. Building materials and many goods are regularly imported into the Gaza Strip without Israeli interference. Tons of agricultural products are exported without Israeli interference. And Israel is helping the Gaza economy by supplying six times as many megawatts of electricity to the Gaza Strip as Egypt does.

As a consequence, Gaza’s economic situation is not the dire catastrophe that Gaylard makes it out to be. In 2011 the Gaza Strip enjoyed a 27% growth rate compared to 2010. This growth contributed to a rise of about 23% in the per capita Gross Domestic Product. In the first quarter of 2012, the Gaza Strip showed 6% growth compared to the first quarter of the previous year. By comparison, the Gross Domestic Product in Egypt expanded 5.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012 over the same quarter of the previous year. Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product grew 5.94 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period a year ago.

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip dropped to 28.4% in the second quarter of 2012 – very high to be sure, but not that much higher than Spain’s and South Africa’s unemployment rate of nearly 25 percent during the same period.

What about the critical water shortage in Gaza? Jean Gough, the UNICEF Special Representative in the Palestinian Territory, warned that there may not be any drinking water in Gaza by 2016. Water demand is expected to increase by 60% in the upcoming years, while, according to UNRWA, only a quarter of Gaza waste water is treated. Seventy-five percent of waste water, including raw sewage, is being pumped into the Mediterranean Sea or contaminating underground water sources.

UNRWA highlights the problem without placing responsibility where it belongs – the Gaza Palestinians themselves once they assumed control of the Gaza territory. They are destroying their own water supplies, including allowing the digging of too many wells that drain water from the low water tables and not using a water treatment plant that Israel had left behind.

Because much of the southern half of Israel is desert and receives very little rainfall, Israel has had to use technical ingenuity to make up for this deficit and “make the desert bloom.” Israel is the world’s leader in waste-water recovery, with a water recycling rate of about 75 percent. Israel is also a world leader in the development of conservation measures, drip irrigation, desalinization, and water-efficient crops.

If the Palestinians were to foreswear violence and give up their fruitless jihad against the Jewish state, they may find Israel to be a willing partner in helping them to find ways to relieve the water shortage in Gaza. Jordan has followed that course. In addition to Israel’s agreement to transfer millions of cubic meters of water annually from the northern part of Israel to Jordan, the two countries have agreed to cooperate to alleviate water shortage conditions by developing existing and new water resources, by preventing contamination of water resources, and by minimizing water wastage.

There is even one honest UN official, Ibrahim Thaiw, Director of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, United Nations Environment Programme, who has recognized Israel’s generosity in sharing its knowledge with other countries. During a 2007 UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Thaiw stated that “Israel is the best example of a country that has managed to live with the desert. It is a noble gesture that you are willing to share your knowledge with other countries.”

The answer to the question “Will the Gaza Strip be Viable in 2020?” depends on the Palestinians themselves. United Nations Humanitarian CoordinatorMaxwell Gaylard and his UNRWA cohorts would do well to listen to Thaiw’s observations concerning Israel’s willingness to help others solve their water scarcity problems. These UN officials should urge the Palestinian leadership to seek a peaceful partnership with Israel that could result in technical assistance to help relieve Gaza’s water shortage rather than continue to engage in an endless war of terror. Instead, their latest report castigating an Israeli “occupation” of Gaza that does not exist enables the Palestinian victimhood culture, which blames everyone but the Palestinians themselves for their own self-inflicted problems.

Joseph Klein


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Khamenei Calls Israelis "Ferocious Zionist Wolves who Digest the Palestinian People"

by Shlomo Cesana, Daniel Siryoti, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

Iran's motto is "Nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says, Thursday.
Photo credit: AP

Shlomo Cesana, Daniel Siryoti, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Democrats Embrace Siraj Wahhaj: Supporter of Cop-Killer, Al Qaeda and Hamas

by Laura L. Rubenfeld

In just a few days, the Democratic National Convention “kick off events” week will include its first ever “Jumah (Arabic for gathering) at the DNC” – three Islamic-centered events beginning with a Friday afternoon prayer and sermon, an evening Islamic banquet and an all-day Islamic festival.

Many of the individuals scheduled to speak during the DNC week have extremely spurious backgrounds, including, astonishingly, support for Al Qaeda and for the U.S. State Department-designated terrorist organization, Hamas.

The celebrity Imam or “Grand Imam” slated for the event is Imam Siraj Wahhaj (pictured on the top far-left of the picture above).

As this article will demonstrate, Wahhaj has a thirty-year, well-documented history of supporting terror and preaching religious and racial intolerance against Americans. For decades, Wahhaj has preached violence and insurrection against the U.S. with the goal of replacing the Constitution with shari’ah law, as the law of the land.

Here is Wahhaj in his own words:

“Islam is better than democracy- Allah will cause his deen [Islam as a complete way of life], Islam to prevail over every kind of system, and you know what? It will happen.” [i]

The following is a two-part profile on the man who will headline “Jumah at the Democratic National Convention.”

Read these mind-blowing statements from Wahhaj, and ask yourself, “How could the Democrats associate their party with such a man?”

“As long as you remember that if you get involved in politics, you have to be very careful that your leader is for Allah. You don’t get involved in politics because it’s the American thing to do. You get involved in politics because politics are a weapon to use in the cause of Islam.” [ii]

“If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate. If we were united and strong, we would elect our own emir and give allegiance to him. Take my word, if eight million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us.” [iii]


Wahhaj’s Mentors Preached Anti-Semitism and Supported Nazi Germany

Siraj Wahhaj was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He became a card-carrying member of the Nation of Islam in the late ’60s. For almost a decade, Wahhaj’s role models and those who mentored him, were a veritable who’s who in militant Black Nationalist thought, including Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammed, Louis Farrakhan[iv] and Malcolm X.

Elijah Muhammed hated white people, calling them “the human beast—the Serpent, the Dragon, the Devil and Satan.” [v] During World War II Elijah Muhammed supported Hitler and Nazi Germany. [vi]

The infamous Louis Farrakhan made violent pronouncements against Jews and whites. Farrakhan described Catholics and Jews as those who practiced a “gutter religion,” [vii] He harangued Jewish people as “wicked Jews,” [viii] said “Hitler was a very great man,” [ix] and called white people “white devils,” who he said were “potential humans … [who] haven’t evolved yet.” [x] In the late ’90s, years later, Siraj Wahhaj was a frequent congregant at Farrakhan’s temple. With Farrakhan’s support, he became a minister and led his own temple in the Nation of Islam. [xi] In one sermon, Wahhaj himself said, “White people are devils.” [xii]

While Malcolm X was hailed as a great leader by the mainstream media during the civil rights movement, he was a convicted felon, and like Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farrakhan, he addressed white people as the “Klu Klux Klan,” and “White Nazis,” and Jews as “Nazis” and “dogs.” [xiii]

All of these people would be considered racists today. The so-called “Grand Imam” of the “Jumah at the DNC,” Imam Wahhaj still reveres Malcolm X to this day, and during his present-day lectures, he encourages Muslim youth to follow in the path of Malcolm X. Wahhaj says Malcolm X can still “reach out of his grave and influence Muslim youth today.” Wahhaj also frequently lectures on the history of Malcolm X, and many of these lectures can be found on YouTube or Islamist websites. Wahhaj speaks of Malcolm X as a “hero.”[xiv]

The DNC-hosted “Jumah at the DNC” includes the daughter of Malcolm X, Ilyasah Shabazz as a guest speaker. Has the Democrat leadership now embraced hatred of whites and Jews as part of their platform?

Wahhaj Misrepresents the Facts of His Muslim Cleric Training

Wahhaj claims on his bio[xv] that he completed Muslim cleric training from Umm al Qura University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 1978. However, Umm al Qura University was not established until 1981. [xvi] Prior to 1981, Umm al Qura was called, The Colleges of Shari’ah and Education. It was the primary institution in Saudi Arabia to prepare new Islamic clergyman. From 1971-1981, The Colleges of Shari’ah and Education was a branch in Mecca for the Jeddah-based King Abdul Aziz University. [xvii]

Why would Wahhaj conceal that he was, in fact, educated at such an institution? King Abdul Aziz University is a hub for young radical terrorists. Osama bin Laden, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam and Wael Jalaidan,[xviii] all co-founders of Al Qaeda, were affiliated with the university:

  • Osama bin Laden graduated from King Abdul Aziz University in 1979. [xix]
  • Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden’s professor and mentor taught at King Abdul Aziz University until 1981.
  • Wael Jalaidan was a King Abdul Aziz University representative in the U.S. during the 1970s. He left King Abdul University in the mid-1980s. Jalaidan prepared the way for two Al Qaeda terror hubs in the U.S.: one in Arizona, and the other in Brooklyn, New York, inside the Al Farouq Mosque. This mosque was later implicated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The director of the Al Farouq mosque was Osama bin Laden’s professor and mentor, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam.

Brooklyn, New York is Wahhaj’s hometown. It is the city in which Wahhaj founded the At-Taqwa mosque in 1981, located just 1.5 miles away from the terror cell known as Al Farouq mosque.

It appears likely that Wahhaj is intentionally deceptive about the name of the university at which he studied, in an effort to hide his association with these individuals.

Siraj Wahhaj Defends Al Qaeda Leader, the Blind Sheikh

Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (aka the Blind Sheikh), a leader of a terrorism organization in his native Egypt, was charged with the attempted assassination of American ally, and leader of Egypt, Anwar-al Sadat. Abdul-Rahman took over leadership from Sheikh Abdullah Azzam at Al Farouq in Brooklyn, New York. In one of Rahman’s Friday sermons, he said, “We must terrorize the enemies of Islam and … shake the earth under their feet.”[xx]

Siraj Wahhaj actually invited Abdel-Rahman to be a guest speaker for his congregation at At-Taqwa.

Rahman’s group successfully bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, murdering 6 people and injuring over 1000. The attack blew a hole five stories deep and half the size of a football field in a lower level of the World Trade Center.[xxi]

Astonishingly, Imam Wahhaj was a character witness for the blind Al Qaeda sheikh at the World Trade Center bombing trial. During his testimony, Wahhaj praised the sheikh a “respected scholar,” and “bold, as a strong, preacher of Islam.”[xxii]

Wahhaj Leads an Islamic Movement of Jihad and Martyrdom

In 1988, at the Al Farouq mosque, Al Qaeda co-founder Sheikh Abdullah Azzam announced, “The Jihad, the fighting, is obligatory on you wherever you can perform it.” Four years after Azzam said this, Wahhaj expressed a similar view just blocks away at his own mosque when he said, Muslims are “commanded to do jihad…Bis a billah Allah [jihad for the sake of Allah] is when Allah commands us to fight….Islam is the only answer because it is only Islam that we do it for Allah.”

In another sermon, Wahhaj proclaimed, “I will never ever tell people don’t be violent that is not the Islamic way. The violence has to be selected.” He then pointed to Islamic theology to justify violence. “Islam is the only answer because it is only Islam that we do it for Allah.” We are “commanded to do jihad.” “[W]hen Allah commands us to fight we are not stopping, no one will stop us.”

Wahhaj Supports Shari’ah Law in All Its Ruthlessness

The Democrats will be hosting a man who believes the Islamic way of life is the preferable alternative to the “garbage can ” [xxiii] which is what he has called America. Wahhaj himself encourages his audience to work towards an America completely dominated by Islam:

“Wherever you came from, you came to America. And you came for one reason- for one reason only- to establish Allah’s deen [Islam as a complete way of life], as a servant of Allah.”

It is no surprise that the Muslim conference will discuss anti-shari’ah bills, since Wahhaj has long advocated for shari’ah (Islamic law) to replace our American democracy. Wahhaj not only supports organizations and litigation against anti-shari’ah bills, he campaigns for shari’ah to overthrow the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land:

“Islam is better than democracy. Allah will cause his deen [Islam as a complete way of life], Islam to prevail over every kind of system, and you know what? It will happen.” [xxiv]

Wahhaj supports the most ruthless practices of shari’ah law regarding capital punishment, including cutting off hands for the crime of theft and stoning for adultery, and he frequently refers to Islamic scripture for his justification:

“If Allah says 100 strikes, 100 strikes it is. If Allah says cut off their hand, you cut off their hand. If Allah says stone them to death, through the Prophet Muhammad, then you stone them to death, because it’s the obedience of Allah and his messenger—nothing personal.” [xxv]

This is the man the DNC is voluntarily, of its own choice, associating with, and to whom it is giving new national prominence. The DNC must be made to state their reasons for this appalling action.


Congregants of Wahhaj’s Mosque Charged with Providing Support for Al Qaeda

An astonishing series of congregants at Wahhaj’s at-Taqwa mosque were charged and convicted of providing material support for Al Qaeda during that same 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Wahhaj testified at the trial on behalf of the defendants, his congregants. One such man who regularly worshipped at Wahhaj’s Masjid at-Taqwa was a member of the Black Nationalist extremist organization[xxvi], Jamaat al Fuqra,[xxvii] which is dedicated to “purifying Islam through violence.”[xxviii] His name was Hampton-El and he organized a U.S.-based terrorist training camp.

Wahhaj defended Hampton-El (Rashid), whom he said he knew for 10 years, as “one of the most respected brothers” in his congregation. [xxix] Wahhaj said everyone in the congregation sought out Hampton-El for advice.

Two more at-Taqwa congregants aided the Blind Sheikh. One was a bomb-maker named El Gabrowny. El Gabrowny’s cousin, Nosair, was charged with the assassination of the founder of the Jewish Defense League. A search in El Gabrowny’s home revealed taped messages from Nosair urging violence and jihad: “Without fighting there will not be justice on earth. … We cannot establish God’s rules on earth except by fighting.” [xxx] Once again, Imam Wahhaj testified during the trial, where he expressed flattering admiration of El Gabrowny. [xxxi] Ibrahim El-Gabrowny was sentenced to 57 years in prison. [xxxii]

Another At-Taqwa congregant was Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, a diplomat of the Sudanese Mission to the UN whom federal authorities described as the “ring leader[xxxiii] in the World Trade Center attack. Siddig Ali told an FBI informant that “he ha[d] connections that [would] allow him to drive a car carrying a bomb into a parking lot in the United Nations building.” [xxxiv] He also conspired to carry out attacks in Israel and expressed racist views, calling Jews “sons of monkeys and pigs.” He avowed, “The sword is to be absolutely used and implemented. This is as a principle.” [xxxv]

Imam Wahhaj testified during the trial he had a favorable impression of Siddig Ali and laughably added, “We don’t accept the idea of terrorism. Our mosque is open to all, but not to fanatics.” Siddiq Ali was sentenced to 11 years in prison.[xxxvi]

Siraj Wahhaj Expresses Pride to Be on a List of Alleged Terrorists

Imam Siraj Wahhaj was alleged to be associated with the terrorist cabal organizing the 1993 World Trade Center bomb plot. For that reason, his name was included on a list of the 172 unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Soon after, Wahhaj commented during one of his at-Taqwa sermons, “I’m not frightened by no list, by no government! I thank Allah. I’m honored that they thought enough of me to put me on a list.” [xxxvii]

Siraj Wahhaj’s Self-proclaimed Support for U.S.-based Al Qaeda Operatives

Rafik Abdus Sabir and Tarik Shah are two terror operatives, indicted in 2005 for plotting to open an Al Qaeda training camp in the U.S. Both Sabir and Shah had sworn allegiance to Osama Bin Laden. [xxxviii] Sabir, a Columbia University-educated medical doctor in Boca Raton, Florida, pledged that he would fly to Saudi Arabia to provide medical aid and train Al Qaeda terrorists. The other operative, Tarik Shah, was the son of a former Malcolm X aide[xxxix] and was also himself associated with the Nation of Islam. [xl] At a 2005 CAIR Banquet in Georgia, Siraj Wahhaj showed support for these two men:

“Rafik Sabir from Florida. You might have heard about him. About five months ago him and another brother named Tarik Shah were arrested by the United States government, charged with helping Al Qaeda. They said that Doctor Sabir said that he would treat those of Al Qaeda who needed him. He’s in jail now in Manhattan. I’ve been trying to go see him for the last few months, can’t go see him yet….there’s not a day that goes by right now that my mind is not on Doctor Rafik Sabir in prison right now in Manhattan…”

Just this last April, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was scheduled to be keynote speaker for an organization known as Emerge. It is led by Chairman Khurrum Wahid, the same Attorney who defended Rafik Sabir. When Frontpage magazine’s Joe Kaufman and Beila Rabinowitz exposed Emerge’s ties to radical Islamists, Wasserman Schultz backed out of this keynote speech.

Join us for Part II in tomorrow’s issue.


[i] Paul M. Barrett, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion (NY, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux 2007), 115.

[ii] Audio, Siraj Wahhaj, “The Muslim Agenda in the New World Order,” Islamic Association of Northern Texas, Dallas, TX, November, 15, 1991

[iii] Audio, Siraj Wahhaj, sermon sometime in Fall of 1992

[iv] Louis Farrakhan was then supervisor of the NOI’s New York Operations.

[v] Author Unknown “Religion: The Messenger Passes,” Time Magazine, March 10, 1975.,9171,917218,00.html#ixzz1RH7srhPr ( accessed 7.5.11)

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] “Black Separatist,” Southern Poverty Law Center, (accessed 8.22.11)

[viii] “Nation of Islam,” Southern Poverty Law Center, (accessed 7.5.11)

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Paul M. Barrett, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion (NY, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux 2007), 108.


[xiv] Siraj Wahhaj, Young Muslims (YM) Youth Conference 2011, May 28-30, 2011, Hartford, CT.

[xv] Siraj Wahhaj Speaker’s Bio for ISNA, Siraj Wahhaj Speaker’s Bio for Mecca Centric Dawah Group, Siraj Wahhaj Speaker’s Bio for ICNA Convention Quran Guidance: Towards a Just and Balanced Way, May 28-30, 2011, Hartford,Connecticut,, Siraj Wahhaj Speaker’s Bio for ICNA Relief Fundraiser,, Siraj Wahhaj Speaker’s Bio for Azizah Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Gala: “An Evening of Empowered Voices”

[xvi]“About,” Umm Al Qura University, (accessed 7.14.11)

[xvii] “Home,” Umm Al Qura University, (accessed 4.5.11)

[xviii] Steven Emerson, Jonathan Levin, “Terrorism Financing: Origination, Organization, and Prevention: Saudi Arabia, Terrorist Financing and the War on Terror,” Testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, July 31, 2003,

[xix] CNN Wire Staff,“Timeline: Osama bin Laden, over the years,” CNN May 2, 2011, (accessed 7.21.11)

[xx] Brian Jenkins, “Defense: Juror `bias’ in Terror: Sheik, others convicted in New York,” CNN, October 1, 1995, (accessed 7.15.11)

[xxi] Phil Hirschkorn, “New York Remembers 1993 WTC victims,” CNN, New York Bureau, February 26, 2003, (accessed 7.21.11)

[xxii] USA v. Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel-Rahman, et al. “Testimony of Imam Siraj Wahhaj,” S5 93 CR 181 (MBM), (S.D.N.Y. 1995).

[xxiii] Audio, Siraj Wahhaj, “Who are the Real Terrorists?” Jumu’ah Khuttbah, Masjid At-Taqwah, February 17, 1995.

[xxiv] Paul M. Barrett, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion (NY, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux 2007), 115.

[xxv] Paul M. Barrett, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion (NY, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux 2007), 114.

[xxvi] Jerry Seper, Steve Miller, “Militant Muslims seek Virginia base; Group Abandons Communes in West,” The Washington Times, July 1, 2002, pg. A1.

[xxvii] Jessica Stern, “The Protean Enemy,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2003, (accessed 5.3.11)

[xxviii] Jamaat-ul-Fuqra, South Asian Terrorism Portal, (accessed 6.9.11)

[xxix] Paul M. Barrett, “One Imam Traces the Path of Islam in Black America,” Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2003.,,SB106694267937278700,00.html (accessed 4.12.11)

[xxx] The Tribune-Review, “Rabbi’s killer turned radical during years in Pittsburgh,” August 4, 2002, (accessed 7.15.11)

[xxxi] “Francis X. Clines, “Bomb-Plot Suspects’ Lives Emerge in Sharper Detail,” New York Times, July 4, 1993, (accessed 5.3.11)

[xxxii] Ibid.

[xxxiii] Frank J. Prial, “Sudanese Deny Any Tie To Bomb Plot,” August 18, 1993

, (accessed 7.16.11)

[xxxiv] William C. Rempel And Ronald J. Ostrow, “Bomb Plot Reportedly Hinged on U.N. Link: Terrorism: Sudan envoys deny any ties to alleged plan to hit N.Y. targets. Arrest of cleric ruled out, source says,” Los Angeles Times, June 26, 1993, (accessed 6.9.11)

[xxxv] Steven Emerson, Terrorists Among Us: Jihad in America, DVD, Ventura Distribution, 2001

[xxxvi] Benjamin Weiser, “Remorseful Terror Conspirator Gets an 11-Year Sentence,” Los Angeles Times, October 16, 1999, (accessed 7.7.11)

[xxxvii] Siraj Wahhaj “Who are the Real Terrorists?” Jumu’ah Khuttbah, Masjid At Taqwah February 17, 1995

[xxxviii]Robert Gearty, “Jazzman, Doc Are Indicted,” New York Daily News, June 28, 2005, (accessed 4.18.11)

[xxxix] Nicole Bode, Corky Siemaszko, Michael Saul, Jeanne Dequine, “Wanna-be Posed As Jazzman,” New York Daily News, May 31, 2005, (accessed 4.18.11)

[xl] Michael Isikoff, “The Threat in our Midst,” The Daily Beast, May 20, 2007, (accessed 7.8.11)

[xli] Andrew C. McCarthy, Willful Blindness: a Memoir of the Jihad, (New York, NY: Encounter Books, 2008), 213.

[xlii] “Profile: Sudan’s Islamist leader,” BBC News, January 15, 2009, (accessed 7.16.11)

[xliii] Audio, Siraj Wahhaj, “Stand for Justice,” May 8, 1992

[xliv] Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” U.S. Dept. of State, May 19, 2011, (accessed 8.5.11)

[xlv] Steven Emerson,” ISNA’s Lies unchallenged again,” Counterterrorism Blog, August 11, 2007,

[xlvi] “Abu Marzouk: Damascus Welcomed Expelled Hamas Leaders, as Visitors,”, November 23, 1999, (accessed August 23, 2011)

[xlvii] ISNA “Speakers Information: Short Biographies,”

[xlviii] Interview with Hassan Al-Turabi, ISNA’s Islamic Horizons, March/April 2001,

[xlix] “Speaker on Islam Won’t Condemn Hamas, al-Qaeda at UCF,” March 3, 2011, (accessed 7.22.11)

[l]US v. Holy Land Foundation, Case 3:04-CR-00240-P “Memorandum Opinion Order,” (Page 15-20)


[lii] CAIR “Who are We?” Management and Staff, Archive, December, 7, 2001

[liii] For Example: CAIR Fundraiser, Vienna, Virginia, October 7, 2001, CAIR Fundraiser, Orange County, California, October 19, 2002, CAIR Fundraiser, Anaheim, California, October 4, 2003, CAIR- Fundraiser Southern California, October 9, 2004, CAIR- San Jose Fundraiser 11.7.10, CAIR Fundraiser – Orange County, California 10.30.10, CAIR – Anaheim 11.1.08, CAIR Fundraiser Anaheim 11.10.07, CAIR Fundraiser 11.18.06, CAIR-San Francisco 9.17.06, CAIR New York Fundraiser, July 7, 2008, CAIR San Diego Ist Annual Fundraising Banquet, September 17, 2006

[liv] CAIR- CA, “Thank You for Your Generous Support of CAIR’s Work: More Than 750 Turn Out for CAIR-SFBA Banquet,” Dec 09, 2010, (accessed 8.11.11)

[lv] Steven Merley, “The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States,” Hudson Institute, April 2009, (accessed 8.15.11)

[lvi] Mohamed Akram, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” May 22, 1991, Government Exhibit 003-0085, U.S. vs. HLF, et al. (P. 7 of 18).

[lvii] Mohamed Akram, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” May 22, 1991, Government Exhibit 003-0085, U.S. vs. HLF, et al. (P. 7 of 18).

[lviii] Muhammed Abdullah Ahari, “The Islamic Community In The United States: Historical Development,” undated, Islam for Today, (accessed 4.9.11)

[lix] Susy Buchanan, “End of Watch: Ricky Leon Kinchen, 35,” Southern Poverty Center, Intelligence Report, Fall 2005, Issue 119,,7 (accessed 7.11.11)

[lx] Ibid.

[lxi] Joe Kaufman, “Islamist Payola in the City of Brotherly Love,” FrontPageMagazine, January 03, 2008, (accessed 8.23.11)

[lxii] Al-Amin v. State, 278 Ga. 74, 88(18)(a), 597 S.E.2d 332 (2004) (citation and punctuation omitted).

[lxiii] Shiv Malik, “The Conveyor Belt of Extremism,” New Statesman, 18 July 2005,

[lxv] Video Sajjad Khan, Hizb ut Tahrir: International Khilafa Conference August 7, 1994, Wembley Arena, London, England

Laura L. Rubenfeld


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