Saturday, September 15, 2012

Islamic Terror and the American Story

by Yoram Ettinger

Islamic terrorism has been part of the American story, since the first(1801-1805) and the second (1815) U.S. wars against Libya, Tunisia and Algeria-based Muslim pirates. Anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism has been fueled by Islam’s imperialistic vision, inflamed by core American values — irrespective of American national security policy — systematically and deliberately targeting innocent Americans in the U.S. and abroad.

Premeditated Islamic terrorism, accompanied by chants of “We are all bin Laden,” marked the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11 in Libya and Egypt. It erupted irrespective of the crucial role played by the U.S. in the toppling of Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the rough U.S. pressure on Israel and the financial and political U.S. support of the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and his three staff members were murdered and rocket-propelled grenades destroyed the consulate in Benghazi. The U.S. Embassies in Cairo and Sanaa were stormed, and U.S. flags were burned in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, the Gaza Strip, etc. Libyan, Egyptian and Yemenite security forces were alerted, but did not prevent the assault.

So much for the delusions of the "Arab Spring,” “the New Middle East,” “the March of Democracy,” and “painful Israeli concessions for peace …”

Islamic terrorism has targeted the U.S. despite President Jimmy Carter’s support of Ruhollah Khomeini’s rise to power; despite President Ronald Reagan’s critical military and financial support of the mujahedeen, which terminated the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan; notwithstanding President Bill Clinton’s bombing of Serbia, which led to the establishment of Muslim-dominated Bosnia and Kosovo; and regardless of President Barack Obama’s policy of engaging — rather than confronting — rogue Muslim entities.

Islamic terrorism has focused on the U.S. in defiance of Obama’s instruction to delete any reference to Islam from training literature employed by the FBI, CIA, military and other counterterrorism agencies.

Islamic terrorism has focused on the U.S. although the Obama administration denies the existence of global Islamic jihadist terrorism, referring to terrorism as “man-caused disasters,” “workplace violence,” and “isolated extremism.”

Terrorists bite the hands that feed them.

For example, the murder of nearly 3,000 people on 9/11 was planned while Clinton extended his hand to the Muslim world in general and to the Palestinians in particular. The Oct. 12, 2000 murder of 17 USS Cole sailors occurred when Clinton brokered unprecedented Israeli concessions to the Palestinian. The Aug. 27, 1998 murder of 257 persons at the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania took place while Clinton brutally pressured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The murder of 19 U.S. soldiers in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia was carried out while Clinton courted Yasser Arafat. The Dec. 21,1988 murder of 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland took place a few months following the groundbreaking recognition of the PLO by Reagan. The 1983 murders of 368 people at the U.S. Embassy and U.S. and French military barracks in Beirut occurred while Reagan interfered with Israel’s hot pursuit of the PLO, blasting Israel for its war on PLO terrorism.

The last two years of the stormy “Arab Winter” have highlighted the 1,400-year-old inherent intra-Muslim violence, hatred, treachery and terrorism, which have also afflicted non-Muslims in general and the U.S. in particular. It has been 1,400 years of no intra-Muslim comprehensive peace and no intra-Muslim compliance with most intra-Muslim agreements.

Rogue Muslim regimes consider the exceptional U.S. military, economic and diplomatic capabilities their chief adversary.

The U.S. and its core values have been targeted by Quran- and Shariah-driven dictatorial Muslim regimes and elites. They consider U.S. values to be the most lethal, clear and present danger. They dread U.S. civil liberties, such as freedom of religion, association, expression, movement, economy, equality for women, and the Internet.

The root cause of Islamic terrorism has been the nature of Islam. In contrast to Western democracy, Islam is supremacist, aiming to bring “believers” and “infidels” to total spiritual and physical submission. Henceforth, the centrality of hate-education (toward “the other”) is forging the national state of mind; hence, the intolerant, violent, anti-doubt, anti-choice, anti-criticism and anti-individualistic nature of Islam. Therefore, Islam’s call for jihad(holy war), execution of apostates, “honor killing” of women by their own relatives, genital mutilation of young women, shuhada(suicide bombing), etc.

Anti-Western Islamic authoritarian-imperialism represents the predominant worldview of Muslim societies, which have been indoctrinated by their religious, political, ideological, educational and military elites since the 7th century. According to the tenets of mainstream Islam, any criticism of Islam in general and, especially its prophet, Muhammad, warrants severe retribution, including death.

Oversimplification and wishful thinking in the battle against global Islamic terrorism, and in the pursuit of peace, have been crashed against the rocks of reality. The delusion of the Arab Spring has been brutally exposed by the tectonic and stormy Arab Winter that is gaining momentum. Ideological and operational ambiguity (“man-caused disasters”) must yield to ideological and operational clarity, identifying the clear and present danger to peace and to the survival of Western democracies — global Islamic terrorism.

Yoram Ettinger


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

The U.S. Dead Horse

by Daniel Greenfield

When Obama arrived in Cairo to tell the Muslims of the world that America does not want to fight, let alone win, he was declaring that America was now the weak horse. What the bearded men understood was that the competition was over and that Islam has won. The Islamists can always win by default if they can convince the fast, strong and agile American horse not to run.

"When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse," Osama Bin Laden famously said. The deceased mass murderer had a point, even if it wasn't a very original one.

Sentimentalists may admire the horse that lets other horses win so they don't get too upset and kick it around in the stable that night, but the crowds do not flock to cheer on losers. Nor can kings and prime ministers be expected to stake their fortunes and futures on the horse that loses so other horses feel good about themselves.

When Obama arrived in Cairo to tell the Muslims of the world that America does not want to fight, let alone win, he was declaring that America was now the weak horse. "We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan," he assured the Muslim Brotherhood attendees, and told them that, "events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy."

The bearded men glowering at him heard from the new leader of the United States that he had come "to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world… based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition." What they understood was that the competition was over and that Islam had won.

Obama condemned unilateral war in his speech, but it did not occur to him that if war can be unilateral, then a cessation of hostilities cannot be. You can stop your horse in the middle of the track and tell the other riders that horse races need not be exclusive or competitive, that all riders can learn techniques from each other and skip the racing and just exchange trophies congratulating each other on making a good effort. And that is a good way to lose the race.

Islamists would not be Islamists if they did not believe that their way is in competition with all other ways. The principle, accepted by so many Christians and Jews in the West, that religions and nations are interchangeable and only individuals matter, is flipped upside down in a region where individuals are so interchangeable that they blow themselves up to make a point about the supremacy of their identification with the nation and the religion.

The Cairo speech sent a message to American allies that the days of the United States protecting them for outmoded reasons of national security or national interest were gone. America was no longer a competitor, but an accommodator, willing to make a deal with whoever came out on top in the horse race of Islamic populism. Our allies knew that their days were numbered and our enemies knew that power was theirs for the taking.

Obama chose to turn America into a weak horse and dragged down Mubarak and a number of other regional allies with him. Netanyahu has resisted accepting the weak horse status assigned to him by Washington and that has been a major source of tension with the Obama White House. The attacks in Cairo and Benghazi are a reminder that the United States cannot opt out of the competition with the Muslim world. All it can do is stop in the middle of the track and offer itself up to them as a dead horse.

Horse racing is a popular sport in the Middle East, though perhaps not as much as camel racing. Camels run somewhat slower than horses, but they do better on rougher terrain. To transform a race from a contest of speed and skill to a contest of endurance and orneriness, the conditions of the race have to be made rougher and more difficult.

Making the conditions of the race more difficult is what the Islamists have been doing to the region all along. They wrecked the track, turned on the sandstorm machines and bet on the strong camel to outlast the weak horse.

Camel racing in the Middle East has depended on imported child jockeys, and while that may seem ugly to Western eyes, like child suicide bombers, it is a reminder that there is no tactic that is considered too dirty when it comes to winning the race. The Islamists may not be able to win on strength, speed or agility, but they can always win by default if they can convince the fast, strong and agile American horse not to run.

The murder of an American ambassador and the sight of his corpse being dragged through the streets by a mob should serve as a reminder that the United States can either be a strong horse or it can be a dead horse, but it cannot, as Obama tried to do, choose not to run.

Daniel Greenfield


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

Editorial: Obama’s Foreign Policy Is A National Disaster


President Barack Obama was elected largely on the assumption that he could – and would — make the world “like” us again. The disturbing and disgraceful events that we are witnessing in the Middle East over the last few days have revealed just what an unmitigated disaster this President’s foreign policy has been.

Obama began his tenure in office by traveling around Europe apologizing for America’s supposed international arrogance, which earned him only contempt, not goodwill. He went on to begin alienating our longstanding, closest allies. It began with small but offensive gestures like returning Churchill’s bust to England and openly snubbing Israel’s Netanyahu. Speaking of Israel, Obama has proven himself to be “the anti-Israel President.”

But it wasn’t enough that Obama pushed away our allies – he has also emboldened and empowered our enemies. He stood by and did nothing as the Iranian regime crushed the people’s Green Revolution which, with our support, could have removed Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs from power. One can only imagine how that would have changed the balance of power in the Middle East. Obama could have taken credit for taking down the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism; instead, he gave them space to continue their pursuit of nuclear weapons and dumped the problem of a nuclear Iran in Israel’s lap.

After the Green Revolution fizzled out there came the supposedly democratic uprisings across the Middle East called the “Arab Spring” – the inspiration for which some attribute to Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech. They degenerated quickly into an Islamist Winter, with Muslim fundamentalists (including al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood) seizing power, threatening war with our ally Israel, and now attacking our embassies and murdering Americans. Obama helped pave the foundation for this nightmare by helping to oust our former ally Mubarak in Egypt; now the largest country in the Middle East is in the grip of the Muslim Brotherhood and the black flag of jihad has been raised over our own embassy.

And so here we are. It is interesting to note that, up until now, no one defined the Obama Doctrine. Americans had a general idea what the Bush Doctrine was; we obviously understood the Reagan Doctrine. But the Obama Doctrine has puzzled commentators for years — is it appeasement? Is it anti-colonialism? Is it multilateral internationalism?

Well, as we witness the catastrophe unfolding right before our eyes in the Middle East, with our enemies unleashing hate and violence against America and with our President beating his breast in response with contrition and mumbling mea culpa, we now know what the Obama Doctrine is: it’s a vacuum.

President Obama is a foreign policy failure who has placed America in the worst global position she has been in since the end of the Cold War. Nations that were once our allies — though Obama says the term “ally” is a “term of art” — are now our enemies (Egypt, Tunisia). Nations that were quiet are now loud (Libya). Nations that were headed in the right direction have been turned over to Islamists (Iraq, Afghanistan). Meanwhile, we have sold our debt to China, giving them outsized influence over our foreign policy; we have allowed Russia to broaden its sphere of influence in the Middle East, as well as Central and Eastern Europe; we have ceded ground to the Hugo Chavez acolytes in South America. It is difficult to name a single spot anywhere on earth that is more pro-America thanks to President Obama.

Obama’s foreign policy: a national disaster.


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

Middle East Spirals Out of Control

by Arnold Ahlert

The bankrupt instincts of an Obama administration determined to find moral equivalence between America’s enemies and friends have been thoroughly illuminated. Within a 48-hour period — beginning on the commemoration of the worst domestic attack in our nation’s history — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was snubbed, and President Obama, besotted by the notion that the Islamist-dominated uprisings in the Middle East constituted an “Arab Spring,” has has reaped a self-inflicted whirlwind for his myopia: our embassies in Egypt, Libya and Yemen have been attacked and an ambassador and three members of his staff have been murdered.

As always, Islamists have their “rationale” for perpetrating murderous violence. This time it is allegedly a film titled “Innocence of Muslims.” In truth, the film was not responsible for igniting the latest violence, especially the apparently well-coordinated and well-planned murder of Christopher Stevens and his staff members in Benghazi, which is looking more and more like a premeditated terrorist attack. The film was nothing more than a convenient diversion used to obscure the real Islamist agenda: re-inflaming anti-American passions beginning on the eleventh commemoration of 9/11.

Sadly, administration officials equally attuned to the siren song of moral and cultural equivalency were only too willing to assist that agenda. Such assistance began early, when the American embassy in Cairo issued an apology for the film prior to the attack there:

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims–as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

Even if one could find some kind of justification for that misguided statement, such as an effort to defuse a potential attack, one is hard-pressed to comprehend a tweet sent by the embassy during that attack. “Sorry, but neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry,” it read. And then there was this tweet. “This morning’s condemnation (issued before protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton initially jumped on the appeasement bandwagon was well. “We condemn the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,” she said in response to the storming of America’s embassy in Egypt. Yet the murders in Libya were a bridge too far–sort of. While condemning ”in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi,” Mrs. Clinton still felt compelled to note the that the “United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” before finally concluding that there “is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

Yes there is. It is the attempt to elevate the actions of an Israeli-American property developer and an incendiary preacher operating on the margins of American society into something that requires an official government apology, in order to placate Islamic mobs who will never be placated.

Apparently someone in the White House recognized the political downside of such appeasement. The embassy apology was disavowed by the Obama administration. ”The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government,” an administration official told Politico. Just as telling, several of the embassy’s tweets were subsequently deleted, perhaps in the hope that a mainstream media with its own agenda of aiding and abetting this president whenever possible, would focus its energies somewhere else.

The administration needn’t have worried. Despite a timeline published by revealing when the tweets occurred, the 16 hours it took the Obama administration to disavow them, and a statement made by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney condemning the attacks and the administration’s initial response–itself held for two hours before being released–the media was more than willing to carry the president’s water.

The New York Post’s John Podhoretz best describes their pathetic attempt to make Romney and his “intemperate” statement the focus of this foreign policy debacle. “Apparently, it is the view of much of the mainstream media and foreign-policy establishment that discussing these horrific events in the course of the presidential campaign is monstrous,” writes Podhoretz. He then explains the motive. “This was an effort–not entirely conscious–to make it illegitimate for Romney to criticize the president’s foreign policy at a moment when foreign policy has suddenly taken center stage…That is not what The Most High (the media) want–a debate. What they want is for Obama to be re-elected. And they’ll use the tools at their disposal to achieve their aim.”

Apparently one of those tools was inadvertently discovered, courtesy of an open mic, at Romney’s press conference Wednesday morning. CBS’s Jan Crawford and NPR’s Ari Shapiro were caught on tape coordinating their line of questioning–specifically focusing on the “intemperate” nature of Romney’s statement. Reporters often work together in such fashion, but it is telling that their focus has nothing to do with what America’s policy responses to such attacks should be, but whether or not Romney’s statement was ill-timed and/or ill-advised. And lest anyone think those two were an anomaly, CNN’s Don Lemon continued focusing on the Romney “gaffe” theme Wednesday afternoon. Richard Williamson, the Romney campaign’s foreign policy adviser, got to the essence of the media’s agenda in response. ”[Y]ou want to talk about a process issue,” Williamson lectured Lemon. “Because the White House doesn’t want to talk about substance. It wants to talk about process.”

Here’s “process.” On September 10th, in an eerily prescient column when viewed retrospectively, Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen revealed that the “Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization,” examined the president’s schedule. They discovered that “during his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his [Presidential Daily Brief] just 536 times–or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent–falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.”

Furthermore, despite every effort by the media to make it seem like Romney had no basis on which to criticize the president, Barack Obama still felt compelled to bring up religious disrespect during his statement Wednesday condemning the attacks, long after the Cairo embassy tweets had been disavowed. “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths,” he said. “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” Thus, despite all evidence emerging that such “denigration” was nothing more than a smokescreen for stoking anti-Americanism in Egypt, Yemen, and outright terror in Libya–as well as American flag burning outside our embassy in Tunisia and by Hamas in Gaza city yesterday–moral equivalence remains part of the equation.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi, invited to meet with President Obama on September 23rd (even as Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu remains persona non grata), demonstrated his priorities in remarks broadcast by Egyptian state television. ”We Egyptians reject any kind of assault or insult against our prophet. I condemn and oppose all who… insult our prophet,” said Morsi, who then contended that “it is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad..”

After the fact apparently. In Cairo, the mob scaled the embassy walls, took down the American flag and attempted to burn it. When that failed, they tore it to shreds. A black Islamic flag with the words “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet,” similar to banners used by al-Qaeda, was raised in its place. The crowd chanted, “Islamic, Islamic. The right of our prophet will not die.” Some shouted, “We are all Usama,” referring to Al Qaeda leader bin Laden. The crowd outside the embassy numbered in the thousands, and dozens of riot police lined along embassy walls made no effort to stop the assault. Attempts to re-assault the embassy continued yesterday.

The attack in Benghazi was far worse. An initial report by the Associated Press noted that the Libyan protesters “fired gunshots and burned down the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi,” during which American ambassador Christopher Stevens and his aides were killed. Once again, Libyan security forces, outnumbered by the crowd did little to stop the rampage. “The Libyan security forces came under heavy fire and we were not prepared for the intensity of the attack,” said Abdel-Monem Al-Hurr, spokesman for Libya’s Supreme Security Committee.

On Thursday in Yemen, as many as 5,000 protesters were trying to storm the U.S. compound in Sanaa. Hundreds managed to get thought the main gate into the compound before being driven back by security forces who fired weapons into the air. One protester was killed by police. anti-American protests also took place outside U.S. embassies in Morocco, Sudan, and Iraq. Remarkably, Hillary Clinton re-iterated her contention that the violence was triggered by the aforementioned video, which she characterized as “disgusting and reprehensible,” as well as a cynical attempt to offend people for their religious beliefs–even as she once again added that it does not justify violence.

If the video doesn’t justify violence, why do administration officials keep alluding to it? The answer is obvious. Without that particular crutch to fall back on, the Obama administration would be forced to face two inconvenient realities. First, their Middle East initiatives are a bust, in large part because they have proceeded from assumptions that the president’s speech in Cairo three years ago would usher in a new spirit of understanding between the West and the Islamic world. It didn’t, despite Obama’s effort to apologize for America’s “sins.” Second and far more important, despite what the progressives in this administration fervently believe, culture matters.

A New York Post editorial best expressed this reality. “This week, Barack Obama got a life lesson: There is no dealing with the 9th century. It can be held at arm’s length, and beaten back when necessary, but it has nothing in common with the 21st century–that is, with civilization.” They further noted that the administration’s aforementioned crutch is exactly that. “Ostensibly, the week’s rioting has been over a mindless bit of videography clearly meant to defame Mohammed and, by extension, Islam. In the modern world, blasphemy is shrugged off. In the 9th century, it warrants mayhem. And in the Obama White House, it’s cause for compromising a fundamental principle, the First Amendment,” it states.

Make that a fundamental American principle, one of many this administration appears more than willing to sacrifice to a chimeric Middle East “greater good” that is neither greater nor good. The first rule of any coherent foreign policy is the idea that America’s interests come first. Yet it was the Obama administration’s combination of passivity in Egypt that precipitated the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of that nation, and their activity in Libya that has propelled the ascendancy of Islamic factions completely antithetical to the interests of America. It is their ongoing antipathy towards drawing a red line with respect to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, even as they have set obvious limits on Israel’s ability to defend their very existence, that allows the megalomaniac mullahs of Tehran to continue pursuing their apocalyptic worldview towards the catastrophe that must precede the second coming of the Mahdi, according to their interpretation of the Quran. Even the failure to beef up security at embassies in the Middle East in the days leading up to the anniversary of 9/11 is part of the same ideological bankruptcy that drives this administration.

Even their claims of fostering respect for religion ring hollow. This is the same president who thinks nothing of trampling on the beliefs of Christians opposed to financing birth control and abortifacients for their employees, while expressing disdain regarding those who would “offend” Islam — even as four Americans have been murdered by the terminally offended.

A giant power vacuum has been created by this administration and its ongoing attempts to foster the despicable moral equivalence between our enemies and our friends that forms one of the essential pillars of progressive ideology. It is a vacuum that will not remain unfilled, even as leftist apologists continue to insist that Islamist ambitions, wherever they arise, can be “contained,” as long as we remain “sensitive” to that which might ignite those ambitions. That is an abject lie. Those ambitions are self-igniting, and their perpetrators will exploit perceived weaknesses wherever they arise. That the administration would even dream of giving those perpetrators even an ounce of credibility–by making sure to include criticism of a film in every condemnation of the violence supposedly precipitated by it–is utterly appalling.

Arnold Ahlert


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

The Reign of Imagination

by Caroline Click

libya cairo embassies.jpg
As he suffocated to death at the US Consulate in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the US, did US Ambassador Christopher Stevens understand why he and his fellow Americans were being murdered?

From what we have learned of this man since he was killed, it is clear that he was extremely courageous. He stole into Benghazi in April 2011 on a cargo ship to serve as chief US liaison officer to the rebel forces fighting Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. He did the business of the US government in makeshift offices and moved from safe house to safe house under what can only be considered dire conditions of combat.

But did he understand the forces he was unleashing?

Stevens arrived in Benghazi at an early phase of US involvement in the rebellion against Gaddafi, a former US foe who had been neutered since 2004. But even then it was clear that the rebels with whom he worked included jihadist fighters associated with al-Qaida. Their significance became obvious when just after the regime fell in November 2011, rebel forces foisted the flag of al-Qaida over the courthouse in Benghazi.

Did Stevens understand what this meant? Perhaps he did. But his boss, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, certainly didn't. Following Tuesday's attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Clinton said, "Today, many Americans are asking - indeed, I asked myself - how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be."

Clinton, the bewildered stewardess of US foreign policy, then proclaimed with utter certainty that there is nothing to be concerned about. "We must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group - not the people or government of Libya," she said.

Of course, what she failed to mention was that after the rebels felled Gaddafi's regime - with US support - they began imposing Islamic law over large swathes of the country.

Clinton was not the only senior US official who didn't understand why Stevens and three other Americans were murdered or why the US Consulate in Benghazi was reduced to a smoldering ruin.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thinks that the party responsible for the Muslim violence against the US on the anniversary of September 11 is a kook in Florida who enjoys saying nasty things about Islam.

The day after the murderous assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi, and in the face of an ongoing mob assault on the US Embassy in Cairo, and on US embassies in Yemen and Tunis, Dempsey called Pastor Terry Jones in Florida and asked him to withdraw his support for a film that depicts Muhammad in a negative fashion.

Dempsey's spokesman Col. Dave Lapan told Reuters, "In a brief call, Gen. Dempsey expressed his concerns over the nature of the film, the tensions it will inflame and the violence it will cause. He asked Mr. Jones to consider withdrawing his support for the film."

Dempsey's belief that a third-rate riff on Muhammad supported by a marginal figure in Florida is the cause of the terrorist attacks on US embassies is not simply shocking. It is devastating.

It means that the senior officer in the US military is of the opinion that the party to blame for the assaults on US government installations overseas was an American pastor. To prevent the recurrence of such incidents, freedom of speech must be constrained.

And Dempsey is not the only senior US military commander who harbors this delusion.

A similar response was voiced by Gen. George Casey, the US Army chief of staff, in the wake of the massacre of US forces at Ft. Hood in November 2009 by Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan. Hassan, who had been in contact with al-Qaida commander Anwar al-Awlaki and described himself as a "soldier of Islam," was clearly acting out of Islamic jihadist motivations when he shot his fellow soldiers.

And yet, responding to the attack, Casey said that worse than the massacre itself - that is, more sacred than the lives of his own soldiers - was the notion that "our diversity" should fall casualty to Hassan's murderous attack. In his words, "Our diversity not only in our army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."

A word about the much mentioned film about Muhammad is in order. The film was apparently released about a year ago. It received little notice until last month when a Salafi television station in Egypt broadcast it.

In light of the response, the purpose of the broadcast was self-evident. The broadcasters screened the film to incite anti-American violence.

Had they not been interested in attacking the US, they would not have screened the film.

They sought a pretext for attacking America. If the film had never been created, they would have found another - equally ridiculous - pretext.

And here we come to the nature of the attacks against America that occurred on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 jihadist attacks.

A cursory consideration of the events that took place - and are still taking place - makes clear that these were not acts of spontaneous rage about an amateur Internet movie. They were premeditated. In Egypt, the mob attack on the embassy followed the screening of the anti-Islam flick on jihadist television. It was led by Muhammad al-Zawahiri - the brother of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The US's first official response to the assault on its embassy in Cairo came in the form of a Twitter feed from the embassy apologizing to Muslims for the film.

The day before the attacks, al-Qaida released a video of Ayman al-Zawahiri in which he called for his co-religionists to attack the US in retribution for the killing - in June - of his second in command Abu Al Yahya al-Libi by a US drone in Pakistan.

Zawahiri specifically asked for the strongest act of retribution to be carried out in Libya.

As for the attack in Libya, it apparently came as no surprise to some US officials on the ground. In an online posting the night before he was killed, US Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith warned of the impending strike. Smith wrote, "Assuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures."

The coordinated, premeditated nature of the attack was self-evident. The assailants were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. They knew the location of the secret safe house to which the US consular officials fled. They laid ambush to a Marine force sent to rescue the 37 Americans hiding at the safe house. And yet, Clinton and Dempsey either could not fathom why the attack occurred, or blamed an irrelevant pastor in Florida.

Like Dempsey, the US media were swift to focus the blame for the attacks on the film. The New York Times was quick to report - falsely - that the film's creator was an Israeli Jew. It took an entire day for that bit of misinformation to be dispelled. But the campaign to blame the attacks on the movie creators continued.

By Wednesday afternoon the media shifted the focus of discussion on the still ongoing attacks from the film to an all-out assault on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney became the target of media attention for his temerity in attacking as "disgraceful" the administration's initial apologetic response to the attacks on the embassies.

FOLLOWING THE September 11 attacks, the US Congress formed the bipartisan 9/11 Commission and charged it with determining the causes of the assault and recommending a course of action for the government to follow to prevent such attacks from happening again. It took the commission members nearly three years to finish their report. In the end, they claimed that the chief failure enabling the attacks was "one of imagination."

Unfortunately for the US, the commissioners had things backwards. It wasn't that imagination failed America before September 11. It was that imagination reigned in America. And it still does.

It's just that the land of make-believe occupied by the US foreign policy elite has shifted.

Until September 11, 2001, the US foreign policy elite was of the opinion that the chief threat to US national security was the fact that the US was a "hyperpower."

That is, the chief threat to the US was the US itself.

After September 11, the US decided that the main threat to the US was "terror," against which the US declared war. The perpetrators of terrorism were rarely mentioned, and when they were they were belittled as "marginal forces."

Those forces, of course are anything but marginal. The Islamic ideology of jihad is the predominant ideology in the Muslim world today.

The rallying cry of al-Qaida - the shehada - is the cry of Muslim faith. Jihadist Islam is the predominant form of Islam worshiped in mosques throughout the world. And the ideology of jihad is an ideology of war against the non-Islamic world led by the US.

Then-president George W. Bush and his administration imagined a world where the actual enemies of the US were marginal forces in Islam. They then determined - based on nothing - that the masses of the Muslim world from Gaza to Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond were simply Jeffersonian democrats living under the jackboot. If freed from tyranny, they would become liberal democrats nearly indistinguishable from regular Americans.

With President Barack Obama's inauguration, the imaginary world inhabited by the American foreign policy elite shifted again. Obama and his advisers agree that jihadist Islam is the predominant force in the Muslim world. But in their imaginary world, jihadist Islam is a good thing for America.

Hence, Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan is Obama's closest confidante in the Middle East despite his transformation of Turkey from a pro-Western secular republic into a pro-Iranian Islamic republic in which secularists are jailed without trial for years on end.

Hence Israel - the first target of jihadist Islam's bid for global supremacy - is a strategic burden rather than an ally to the US.

Hence the US abandoned its most stalwart ally in the Arab world, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and supported the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in the most strategically vital state in the Arab world.

Hence it supported a Libyan rebel force penetrated by al-Qaida.

Hence it is setting the stage for the reinstitution of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

It is impossible to know the thoughts that crossed Stevens' mind as he lay dying in Benghazi. But what is clear enough is that as long as imagination reigns supreme, freedom will be imperiled.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Caroline Click


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

7 Years, 9,393 Rockets Since Disengagement from Gaza

by Chana Ya'ar

"These are our neighbors" says the poster

Today marks seven years and more than nine thousand deadly rocket attacks since nearly 10,000 Jews were ripped from their homes in Gaza.

In the time since the government of Israel officially withdrew from the region in the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza, Palestinian Authority Arab terror organizations have flourished there.

They have fired 9,393 rockets and missiles at Israeli civilians living on the other side of the border with Gaza.

In 2005, Israel expelled every Jewish family from every town in the Gush Katif region and from northern Samaria. Also withdrawn were all Israeli military forces.

In the 23 towns that had once supported vibrant communities, numerous well-equipped greenhouses were left to the Arab residents of Gaza, purchased for their new owners by generous donors who hoped they would provide a budding economy for a nascent new nation.

Instead, within hours PA Arab terrorists contemptuously trashed the buildings and built terrorist training camps upon the ruins of the towns in which they were located.

The ruins of the Jewish communities of Gaza today serve as launching pads for Arab terrorists to fire their deadly missiles at Jewish families living in southern Israel.

"Seven years ago today we disengaged from the Gaza Strip,” commented the IDF Spokesperson on Thursday in a Facebook post that featured a special poster depicting two Gaza terrorists preparing a missile to fire at Israel.

"Share to show the world Israel's true neighbors. Share this, because mainstream media won't.”

Chana Ya'ar


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

Obama's Muslim Childhood

by Daniel Pipes

Barack Obama has come out swinging against his Republican rival, sponsoring television advertisements that ask, "What is Mitt Romney hiding?" The allusion is to such relatively minor matters as Romney's prior tax returns, the date he stopped working for Bain Capital, and the non-public records from his service heading the Salt Lake City Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts. Obama defended his demands that Romney release more information about himself, declaring in Aug. 2012 that "The American people have assumed that if you want to be president of the United States that your life's an open book when it comes to things like your finances." Liberals like Paul Krugman of the New York Times enthusiastically endorse this focus on Mitt Romney's personal history.

If Obama and his supporters wish to focus on biography, of course, this is a game two can play. Already, the temperate, mild-mannered Romney criticized Obama's reelection campaign as "based on falsehood and dishonesty" and a television ad went further, asserting that Obama "doesn't tell the truth."

Not always truthful: Obama claimed Kenyan birth in 1991 to sell his autobiography.

A focus on openness and honesty are likely to hurt Obama far more than Romney. Obama remains the mystery candidate with an autobiography full of gaps and even fabrications. For example, to sell his autobiography in 1991, Obama falsely claimed that he "was born in Kenya." He lied about never having been a member and candidate of the 1990s Chicago socialist New Party; and when Stanley Kurtz produced evidence to establish that he was a member, Obama's flacks smeared and dismissed Kurtz. Obama's 1995 autobiography, Dreams from My Father, contains a torrent of inaccuracies and falsehoods about such his maternal grandfather, his father, his mother, his parents' wedding, his stepfather's father, his high school friend, his girlfriend, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. As Victor Davis Hanson puts it, "If a writer will fabricate the details about his own mother's terminal illness and quest for insurance, then he will probably fudge on anything."

Into this larger pattern of mendacity about his past life arises the question of Obama's discussion of his faith, perhaps the most singular and outrageous of his lies.


Asked about the religion of his childhood and youth, Obama offers contradictory answers. He finessed a Mar. 2004 question, "Have you always been a Christian?" by replying: "I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian." But in Dec. 2007 he belatedly decided to give a straight answer: "My mother was a Christian from Kansas. … I was raised by my mother. So, I've always been a Christian." In Feb. 2009, however, he offered a completely different account:

I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion. I didn't become a Christian until … I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college.

He further elaborated this answer in Sept. 2010, saying: "I came to my Christian faith later in life."

Which is it? Has Obama "always been a Christian" or did he "become a Christian" after college? Self-contradiction on so fundamental a matter of identity, when added to the general questioning about the accuracy of his autobiography, raises questions about veracity; would someone telling the truth say such varied and opposite things about himself? Inconsistency is typical of fabrication: when making things up, it's hard to stick with the same story. Obama appears to be hiding something. Was he the a religious child of irreligious parents? Or was he always a Christian? A Muslim? Or was he, in fact, something of his own creation – a Christian/Muslim?

Obama provides some information on his Islamic background in his two books, Dreams and The Audacity of Hope (2006). In 2007, when Hillary Clinton was still the favored Democratic candidate for president, a number of reporters dug up information about Obama's time in Indonesia. Obama's statements as president have provided important insights into his mentality. The major biographies of Obama, however, whether friendly (such as those by David Maraniss, David Mendell, and David Remnick) or hostile (such as those by Jack Cashill, Jerome R. Corsi, Dinish D'Souza, Aaron Klein, Edward Klein, and Stanley Kurtz), devote little attention to this topic.

I shall establish his having been born and raised a Muslim, provide confirming evidence from recent years, survey the perceptions of him as a Muslim, and place this deception in the larger context of Obama's autobiographical fictions.

"I Have Never Been a Muslim"

Obama readily acknowledges that his paternal grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, converted to Islam. Indeed, Dreams (p. 407) contains a long quote from his paternal grandmother explaining the grandfather's reasons for doing so: Christianity's ways appeared to be "foolish sentiment" to him, "something to comfort women," and so he converted to Islam, thinking "its practices conformed more closely to his beliefs" (p. 104). Obama readily told this to all comers: when asked by a barber (p. 149), "You a Muslim?" for example, he replied, "Grandfather was."

Obama presents his parents and stepfather as non-religious. He notes (in Audacity, pp. 2006, pp. 204-05), that his "father had been raised a Muslim" but was a "confirmed atheist" by the time he met Barack's mother, who in turn "professed secularism." His stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, "like most Indonesians, was raised a Muslim," though a non-practicing, syncretic one who (Dreams, p. 37) "followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths."

As for himself, Obama acknowledges numerous connections to Islam but denies being a Muslim. "The only connection I've had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father's side came from that country," he declared in Dec. 2007. "But I've never practiced Islam. … For a while, I lived in Indonesia because my mother was teaching there. And that's a Muslim country. And I went to school. But I didn't practice." Likewise, he said in Feb. 2008: "I have never been a Muslim. … other than my name and the fact that I lived in a populous Muslim country for 4 years when I was a child I have very little connection to the Islamic religion." Note his unequivocal statement here: "I have never been a Muslim." Under the headline, "Barack Obama Is Not and Has Never Been a Muslim," Obama's first presidential campaign website carried an even more emphatic statement in Nov. 2007, stating that "Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian."

"Barry Was Muslim"

But many pieces of evidence argue for Obama having been born and raised a Muslim:

(1) Islam is a patrilineal religion: In Islam, the father passes his faith to the children; and when a Muslim male has children with a non-Muslim female, Islam considers the children Muslim. Obama's grandfather and father having been Muslims – the extent of their piety matters not at all – means that, in Muslim eyes, Barack was born a Muslim.

(2) Arabic forenames based on the H-S-N trilateral root: All such names (Husayn or Hussein, Hasan, Hassân, Hassanein, Ahsan, and others) are exclusively bestowed on Muslim babies. (The same goes for names based on the H-M-D root.) Obama's middle name, Hussein, explicitly proclaims him a born Muslim.

Obama's registration document at Santo Fransiskus Asisi, a Catholic school, in Jakarta. (Click to enlarge)

(3) Registered as Muslim at SD Katolik Santo Fransiskus Asisi: Obama was registered at a Catholic school in Jakarta as "Barry Soetoro." A surviving document correctly lists him as born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961; in addition, it lists him having Indonesian nationality and Muslim religion.

(4) Registered as Muslim at SD Besuki: Although Besuki (also known as SDN 1 Menteng) is a public school, Obama curiously refers to it in Audacity (p. 154) as "the Muslim school" he attended in Jakarta. Its records have not survived but several journalists (Haroon Siddiqui of the Toronto Star, Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times, David Maraniss of the Washington Post) have all confirmed that there too, he was registered as a Muslim.

(5) Islamic class at Besuki: Obama mentions (Audacity, p. 154) that at Besuki, "the teacher wrote to tell my mother that I made faces during Koranic studies." Only Muslim students attended the weekly two-hour Koran class, Watson reports:

two of his teachers, former Vice Principal Tine Hahiyari and third-grade teacher Effendi, said they remember clearly that at this school too, he was registered as a Muslim, which determined what class he attended during weekly religion lessons. "Muslim students were taught by a Muslim teacher, and Christian students were taught by a Christian teacher," said Effendi.

Andrew Higgins of the Washington Post quotes Rully Dasaad, a former classmate, saying that Obama horsed around in class and, during readings of the Koran, got "laughed at because of his funny pronunciation." Maraniss learned that the class included not only studying "how to pray and how to read the Koran," but also actually praying in the Friday communal service right on the school grounds.

Obama with his class at SD Besuki, a public school, in Jakarta.

(6) Mosque attendance: Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama's younger half-sister, said her father (namely, Barack's stepfather) attended the mosque "for big communal events," Barker found that "Obama occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers." Watson reports:

The childhood friends say Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque. "We prayed but not really seriously, just following actions done by older people in the mosque. But as kids, we loved to meet our friends and went to the mosque together and played," said Zulfin Adi, who describes himself as among Obama's closest childhood friends. … Sometimes, when the muezzin sounded the call to prayer, Lolo and Barry would walk to the makeshift mosque together, Adi said. "His mother often went to the church, but Barry was Muslim. He went to the mosque," Adi said.

(7) Muslim clothing: Adi recalls about Obama, "I remember him wearing a sarong." Likewise, Maraniss found not only that "His classmates recalled that Barry wore a sarong" but written exchanges indicating that he continued to wear this garment in the United States. This fact has religious implications because, in Indonesian culture, only Muslims wear sarongs.

(8) Piety: Obama says that in Indonesia, he "didn't practice [Islam]," an assertion that inadvertently acknowledges his Muslim identity by implying he was a non-observant Muslim. But several of those who knew him contradict this recollection. Rony Amir describes Obama as "previously quite religious in Islam." A former teacher, Tine Hahiyary, quoted in the Kaltim Post, says the future president took part in advanced Islamic religious lessons: "I remember that he had studied mengaji." In the context of Southeast Asian Islam, mengaji Quran means to recite the Koran in Arabic, a difficult task denoting advanced study.

In summary, the record points to Obama having been born a Muslim to a non-practicing Muslim father and having lived for four years in a fully Muslim milieu under the auspices of his Muslim Indonesian stepfather. For these reasons, those who knew Obama in Indonesia considered him a Muslim.

"My Muslim Faith"

In addition, several statements by Obama in recent years point to his Muslim childhood.

(1) Robert Gibbs, campaign communications director for Obama's first presidential race, asserted in Jan. 2007: "Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago." But he backtracked in March 2007, asserting that "Obama has never been a practicing Muslim." By focusing on the practice as a child, the campaign is raising a non-issue for Muslims (like Jews) do not consider practice central to religious identity. Gibbs added, according to a paraphrase by Watson, that "as a child, Obama had spent time in the neighborhood's Islamic center." Clearly, "the neighborhood's Islamic center" is a euphemism for "mosque"; spending time there again points to Obama's being a Muslim.

(2) He may have made faces and horsed around in Koran class but Obama learned how to pray the salat in religion class; his former teacher at Besuki, Effendi, recalls that he would "join the other pupils for Muslim prayers." Praying the salat in of itself made Obama a Muslim. Furthermore, he still proudly retains knowledge from that long-ago class: in March 2007, Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times, witnessed as Obama "recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them [to Kristof] with a first-rate accent." Obama recited not the salat itself but the adhan, the call to prayer (typically chanted from minarets). The second and third lines of the adhan constitute the Islamic declaration of faith, the shahada, whose very utterance makes one a Muslim. The full adhan in its Sunni iteration (skipping the repetitions) goes as follows:

God is the greatest.
I testify that there is no deity but God.
I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
Come to prayer.
Come to success.
God is the greatest.
There is no deity except God.

In the eyes of Muslims, reciting the adhan in class in 1970 made Obama a Muslim then – and doing so again for a journalist in 2007 once again made Obama a Muslim.

(3) In a conversation with George Stephanopoulos in September 2008, Obama spoke of "my Muslim faith," only changing that to "my Christian faith" after Stephanopoulos interrupted and corrected him. No one could blurt out "my Muslim faith" unless some basis existed for such a mistake.

(4) When addressing Muslim audiences, Obama uses specifically Muslim phrases that recall his Muslim identity. He addressed audiences both in Cairo (in June 2009) and Jakarta (in Nov. 2010) with "as-salaamu alaykum," a greeting that he, who went to Koran class, knows is reserved for one Muslim addressing another. In Cairo, he also deployed several other pious terms that signal to Muslims he is one of them:

  • "the Holy Koran" (a term mentioned five times): an exact translation from the standard Arabic reference to the Islamic scripture, al-Qur'an al-Karim.
  • "the right path": a translation of the Arabic as-sirat al-mustaqim, which Muslims ask God to guide them along each time they pray.
  • "I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed": non-Muslims do not refer to Islam as revealed.
  • "the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed … joined in prayer": this Koranic tale of a night journey establishes the leadership of Muhammad over all other holy figures, including Jesus.
  • "Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them": a translation of the Arabic 'alayhim as-salam, which pious Muslim say after mentioning the names of dead prophets other than Muhammad. (A different salutation, sall Allahu alayhi wa-sallam, "May God honor him and grant him peace," properly follows Muhammad's name, but this phrase is almost never said in English.)

Obama speaking about Islam in Cairo in June 2009.

Obama's saying "Peace be upon them" has other implications beyond being a purely Islamic turn of phrase never employed by Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians. First, it contradicts what a self-professed Christian believes because it implies that Jesus, like Moses and Muhammad, is dead; Christian theology holds him to have been resurrected, living, and the immortal Son of God. Second, including Muhammad in this blessing implies reverence for him, something as outlandish as a Jew talking about Jesus Christ. Third, a Christian would more naturally seek peace from Jesus rather than wish peace on him.

(5) Obama's overblown and inaccurate description of Islam in the United States smacks of an Islamist mentality. He drastically overestimates both the number and the role of Muslims in the United States, announcing in June 2009 that "if you actually took the number of Muslims Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." (Hardly: according to one listing of Muslim populations, the United States, with about 2.5 million Muslims, ranks about 47th largest.) Three days later, he gave a bloated estimate of "nearly 7 million American Muslims in our country today" and bizarrely announced that "Islam has always been a part of America's story. … since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States." Obama also announced the dubious fact, in Apr. 2009, that many Americans "have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim-majority country." When ordering religious communities in the United States, Obama always gives first place to Christians but second place varies between Jews and Muslims, most notably in his Jan. 2009 inaugural speech: "The United States is a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers." Obama so wildly overestimates the Muslim role in American life that they suggest an Islamic supremacist mentality specific to someone coming from a Muslim background.

In the aggregate, these statements confirm the evidence from Obama's childhood that he was born and raised a Muslim.

"My Whole Family Was Muslim"

Several individuals who know Obama well perceive him as Muslim. Most remarkably, his half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, has stated: "My whole family was Muslim." Her whole family, obviously, includes her half-brother Barack.

In June 2006, Obama related how, after a long religious evolution, he "was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my Christian faith" with an altar call. But when his pastor at Trinity United, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was asked (by Edward Klein, The Amateur, p. 40), "Did you convert Obama from Islam to Christianity?" Whether out of ignorance or discretion, Wright finessed the question, replying enigmatically: "That's hard to tell." Note his not rejecting out of hand the idea that Obama had been a Muslim.

Barack's 30-year-old half-brother who met him twice, George Hussein Onyango Obama, told an interviewer in March 2009 that "He may be behaving differently due to the position he is in, but on the inside Barack Obama is Muslim."

"His Middle Name Is Hussein"

Muslims cannot shake the sense that, under his proclaimed Christian identity, Obama truly is one of them.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the prime minister of Turkey, has referred to Hussein as a "Muslim" name. Muslim discussions of Obama sometimes mention his middle name as a code, with no further comment needed. A conversation in Beirut, quoted in the Christian Science Monitor, captures the puzzlement. "He has to be good for Arabs because he is a Muslim," observed a grocer. "He's not a Muslim, he's a Christian," replied a customer. No, said the grocer, "He can't be a Christian. His middle name is Hussein." The name is proof positive.

Despite knowing better, Asma Gull Hasan "can't seem to accept that Obama is not Muslim."

The American Muslim writer Asma Gull Hasan wrote in "My Muslim President Obama,"

I know President Obama is not Muslim, but I am tempted nevertheless to think that he is, as are most Muslims I know. In a very unscientific oral poll, ranging from family members to Muslim acquaintances, many of us feel … that we have our first American Muslim president in Barack Hussein Obama. … since Election Day, I have been part of more and more conversations with Muslims in which it was either offhandedly agreed that Obama is Muslim or enthusiastically blurted out. In commenting on our new president, "I have to support my fellow Muslim brother," would slip out of my mouth before I had a chance to think twice. "Well, I know he's not really Muslim," I would quickly add. But if the person I was talking to was Muslim, they would say, "yes he is."

By way of explanation, Hasan mentions Obama's middle name. She concludes: "Most of the Muslims I know (me included) can't seem to accept that Obama is not Muslim."

If Muslims get these vibes, not surprisingly, so does the American public. Five polls in 2008-09 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asking "Do you happen to know what Barack Obama's religion is?" found a consistent 11-12 percent of registered American voters averring that he's really a Muslim, with much larger percentages among Republicans and Evangelicals. This number increased to 18 percent in an Aug. 2010 Pew survey. A March 2012 poll found about half the likely Republican voters in both Alabama and Mississippi seeing Obama as a Muslim. Pew's June-July 2012 survey found that 17 percent saying Obama is a Muslim and 31 percent not knowing his religion, with just 49 percent identifying him as a Christian. This points to an even split between those who say Obama is a Christian and those who do not.

That those who see him as Muslim also overwhelmingly disapprove of his job performance points to a correlation in their minds between Muslim identity and a failed presidency. That such a substantial portion of the public persists in this view points to a bedrock of reluctance to take Obama at his word about being a Christian. This in turn reflects the widespread sense that Obama has played fast and loose with his biography.

"He Was Interested in Islam"

While attending school in Indonesia, Obama famously attended Koranic class; less known, as he recalled in Mar. 2004, was his "studying the Bible and catechisms" at the Asisi school. As each of these classes were intended just for believers, attending both was irregular. Several of his former teachers there confirm Obama's recollection. Here are three of them on this topic:

  • Obama's first-grade teacher at Asisi, Israella Dharmawan, recalled to Watson of the Los Angeles Times: "At that time, Barry was also praying in a Catholic way, but Barry was Muslim. … He was registered as a Muslim because his father, Lolo Soetoro, was Muslim."
  • Obama's former third-grade teacher at Besuki, Effendi, told Anne Barrowclough of the Times (London), that the school had pupils of many faiths and recalled how students attended classes on their own faiths – except for Obama, who alone insisted on attending both Christian and Islamic classes. He did so even against the wishes of his Christian mother: "His mother did not like him learning Islam, although his father was a Muslim. Sometimes she came to the school; she was angry with the religious teacher and said 'Why did you teach him the Koran?' But he kept going to the classes because he was interested in Islam."
  • An administrator at Besuki, Akhmad Solikhin, expressed (to an Indonesian newspaper, the Kaltim Post, Jan. 27, 2007, translation provided by "An American Expat in Southeast Asia," quote edited for clarity) bafflement at Obama's religion: "He indeed was registered as Muslim, but he claims to be Christian."

This double religiosity, admittedly, is being discussed at a time when Obama is an international personality and when the nature of his religious affiliation had taken on political overtones; still, that three figures from his Indonesian past independently made this same point is striking and points to the complexity of Barack Obama's personal development. They also raise the inconclusive but intriguing possibility that Obama, even at the tender age of six through ten, sought to combine his maternal and paternal religions into a personal syncretic whole, presenting himself as both Christian and Muslim. In subtle ways, he still does just that.

Discovering the Truth

In conclusion, available evidence suggests that Obama was born and raised a Muslim and retained a Muslim identity until his late 20s. Child to a line of Muslim males, given a Muslim name, registered as a Muslim in two Indonesian schools, he read Koran in religion class, still recites the Islamic declaration of faith, and speaks to Muslim audiences like a fellow believer. Between his non-practicing Muslim father, his Muslim stepfather, and his four years of living in a Muslim milieu, he was both seen by others and saw himself as a Muslim.

This is not to say that he was a practicing Muslim or that he remains a Muslim today, much less an Islamist, nor that his Muslim background significantly influences his political outlook (which, in fact, is typical of an American leftist). Nor is there a problem about his converting from Islam to Christianity. The issue is Obama's having specifically and repeatedly lied about his Muslim identity. More than any other single deception, Obama's treatment of his own religious background exposes his moral failings.

Questions about Obama's Truthfulness

Yet, these failings remain largely unknown to the American electorate. Consider the contrast of his case and that of James Frey, the author of A Million Little Pieces. Both Frey and Obama wrote inaccurate memoirs that Oprah Winfrey endorsed and rose to #1 on the non-fiction bestseller list. When Frey's literary deceptions about his own drug taking and criminality became apparent, Winfrey tore viciously into him, a library reclassified his book as fiction, and the publisher offered a refund to customers who felt deceived.

In contrast, Obama's falsehoods are blithely excused; Arnold Rampersad, professor of English at Stanford University who teaches autobiography, admiringly called Dreams "so full of clever tricks—inventions for literary effect—that I was taken aback, even astonished. But make no mistake, these are simply the tricks that art trades in, and out of these tricks is supposed to come our realization of truth." Gerald Early, professor of English literature and African-American studies at Washington University in St. Louis, goes further: "It really doesn't matter if he made up stuff. … I don't think it much matters whether Barack Obama has told the absolute truth in Dreams From My Father. What's important is how he wanted to construct his life."

How odd that a lowlife's story about his sordid activities inspires high moral standards while the U.S. president's autobiography gets a pass. Tricky Dick, move over for Bogus Barry.

Daniel Pipes ( is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2012 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.


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

Confronting an Obama Administration Stonewall

by Bruce Thompson

On Thursday September 13, the House Natural Resources Committee took a giant step toward achieving accountability in the Department of Interior during its questioning of two functionaries who have failed to comply with subpoenas demanding documents relating to the illegal offshore drilling moratorium imposed during the Gulf Oil Spill. Neal Kemkar, a Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, and Mary Katherine Ishee, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, both have refused to cooperate with the committee by turning over documents in their possession.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) laid it out very clearly. Their excuse, that they were instructed by higher authority within the department to not release the subpoenaed documents to Congress, has been found to be invalid by the federal courts. Specifically, Rep. McClintock cited UNITED STATES v. TOBIN, United States District Court, District of Columbia, Criminal Division. Despite his warning, both declined to agree to comply with the subpoena. You can watch Rep. McClintock's questioning at 1:31 of the archived webcast. So the path to adding their names to that of Attorney General Eric Holder as being in contempt of Congress and pursuing criminal charges against them is clear. If they refuse to change their minds and comply, they could be potentially facing jail time.

The court's decision in United States v. Tobin states...

Upon a finding of guilty of the offense charged against the defendant the statute requires a sentence of a fine of not more than $ 1,000 nor less than $ 100, and imprisonment for not less than one month nor more than twelve months. The defendant, therefore is sentenced to a fine of $ 100 and thirty days in jail. However, because defendant has stipulated his willingness to turn over the documents to the committee in the event of a finding of guilty, the sentence will be stayed for a period of thirty days, and in the event of compliance with the subpoena, will then be suspended.

It is clear that the Republican House has lost patience with the incessant stonewalling of the Obama Administration in this matter, Operation Fast and Furious and other oversight investigations. No one believes the President's assertion that his would be the most open administration in history. They have become fed up with the unctuous spin put forth by Ranking Member Ed Markey (D-MA), who had the temerity to credit the President with reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. As they pointed out to him, the increased production has taken place on private lands, not under the control of the government, where production is down. And the reduction in greenhouse gases is due to the huge unemployment plaguing our economy due to the misguided policies of President Obama.

Left unknown is what the committee will find if and when it obtains the documents the President has so jealously guarded from public inspection. The question is should be believe in coincidences? The revisions to the moratorium were written during the wee hours of May 27, 2010, while BP's top kill operation was in progress. There exist many unresolved issues regarding that operation.

Why was there a 19 hour gap in the flow of information to the media? Had the President assigned that task to Rose Mary Woods?

Why did the National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen announce that "they have been able to stop the flow of hydrocarbons up the wellbore" during his appearance with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America?

Why has the government charged former BP engineer Kurt Mix with the crime of two counts obstruction of justice when he has provided to the court the full details of the text messages in dispute?

Bruce Thompson


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

The Islamist Death of Free Speech (and a Few Americans in the Process)

by Andrew E. Harrod

Once again, precisely in time for the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, jihadist terror attacks against the New York City World Trade Center and the Pentagon, condemnatory comments concerning Islam in free societies have led to the endangerment and perhaps even deaths of innocents abroad. On this occasion an amateur film produced in California has provided the spark inciting all-too fiery Muslim passions half a world, but only one internet link, away.

The film in question is titled Innocence of Muslims, a thoroughly negative cinematic treatment of Islam's prophet Muhammad produced, according to initial press reports, by a man who presented himself as an Israeli-American real estate developer named Sam Bacile. Later research has revealed, though, that the producer is actually Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Egyptian-American living in California with a criminal record of bank fraud and methamphetamine manufacture.

Dr. Terry Jones has also promoted the film and stated his intention to show a 13-minute film trailer on this past September 11 to his Gainesville, Florida, church, the Dove World Outreach Center, a group that offers for sale on its website coffee mugs, t-shirts, hats, signs, and a book by Jones titled with the slogan "Islam is of the Devil." Jones and his congregation gained international attention with his 2010 announcement he would burn publicly the Koran, first recanted and then implemented on March 20, 2011.

Although "Bacile" posted the trailer on Youtube in July 2012, the trailer attracted little notice until an Arabic-dubbed version appeared on Youtube a week ago. Clips from the trailer then began appearing in Egyptian television and within 48 hours of one such broadcast on the Muslim-oriented channel Al-Nas Egyptians had begun storming the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt. There on September 11, 2012 some of them tore down the American flag in the embassy courtyard and ripped it to pieces, replacing it with the black flag emblazoned with the Islamic profession of faith (shehada) favored by Al-Qaeda and dating from the ninth-century Abbasid caliphate.

As with Jones' previous calls to burn the Koran and the 2005 Danish Muhammad cartoons, such protests and violence have spread throughout Muslim countries. Grenade and rocket attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that same day, for example, claimed the lives of the American ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his State Department staff. Other protests against the film followed in diverse locales such as the Gaza Strip, Kashmir, Tunisia, and Sudan. Some observers like Robert Spencer of the website Jihadwatch, though, have questioned to what extent Innocence of Muslims has merely served as a pretext for various Muslim groups to engage in anti-Western agitation. Analysis of the Benghazi consulate attack, for example, indicates that it was a well-coordinated assault by a terrorist group unrelated to the film protests.

Viewing of the film trailer on Youtube clearly shows how Muslims could be offended. In home-movie quality, English-speaking actors open the film with a modern Egyptian police officer discussing with an Egyptian Christian doctor how Muhammad had 61 wives throughout his life, 11 at one time. The action then turns to Muslim Egyptians pillaging and killing amidst Christian Egyptian homes as the police stand aside. The film subsequently shifts to depicting Muhammad's life in 7th century Arabia, showing a gluttonous, lustfully womanizing, and blood-bespattered, ruthless conqueror and butcher of non-Muslims. For good measure, Muhammad is also of illegitimate birth and proclaims his enjoyment of both the "dominant" and "submissive" positions in male homosexuality. The film, moreover, clearly denies that the Koran is of divine origin.

Students of Muhammad's biography will recognize in the trailer references to various controversial aspects of Muhammad's life. One scene concerns Muhammad's child-marriage to Aisha, historically cited by Muslim sources as being nine-years old at the time of her marriage's consummation with a Muhammad in his mid-50s, although other Muslim accounts have ascribed older ages such as 14 to Aisha for her marriage. Another scene treats Muhammad's supposed Koran revelation (Sura 33:4-5) ruling out the equation of adopted with biological children, thereby allowing Muhammad to marry Zaynab bint Jahsh after her divorce from Muhammad's adopted son, Zayd bin Haritha, contrary to prior pagan Arab practice. Critics of Islam have historically contended that this "revelation" was merely a convenient excuse to justify Muhammad's desires (one critical commentary on this affair is even available in an online cartoon). A subsequent scene deals with Muhammad's killing and plundering of the Jewish tribal treasurer Kinana bin al-Rabi before taking his widow Safiyah bint Huyayy as a war bride. Yet another scene depicts Muhammad's followers executing one of his subjugated opponents, the female tribal chief Umm Qirfa, when the Muslims dismember her with ropes tied to opposite-pulling camels.

Muslim reaction to the confrontation with Islam presented by this otherwise eminently forgettable film has once again demonstrated how thin-skinned and volatile various adherents of the vaunted "Religion of Peace" (a moniker asserted once again by a Christian Science Monitor editorial on September 12, 2012) can be. Compounding the harm of Muslim violence, though, has been a less than resounding defense of freedom of opinion in various quarters of free societies around the world. The website of the Cairo American embassy, for example, infamously proclaimed on September 11, 2012, in a posting available at Jihadwatch but no longer in the original that the "Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims-as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions." Such persons "abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others." The embassy also made similar tweet statements, now being erased as well.

After an outcry by Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney and others, the Obama administration described the Cairo embassy statement as "not cleared by Washington." Yet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to contradict her superiors at the same time, tweeting that the "U.S. deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meanwhile, also favored the otherwise insignificant Jones with a telephone call on September 12, 2012, urging him to withdraw his support from the film given possible security risks to American forces deployed in Afghanistan.

Private individuals such as Andrew Brown of the British Guardian newspaper have been more forthright in their calls for prohibiting Innocence of Muslims. Completely ignoring the historical basis for at least some of the film's depictions (the "beliefs criticised are entirely imaginary" he charges), Brown denounces it as a "really nasty piece of lying propaganda" and "something which deserves to be called hate speech." This "blasphemous" film even "offends against the central values of liberal democracy," for the policy of combating "bad speech" with "better speech" proffered by philosophers such as John Stuart Mill "presupposes an interest in truth," a "system that breaks down when confronted with determined and malevolent liars." "If jihadi videos are banned..." argues Brown, "the same should be true of this film and for the same reasons."

Not to be outdone on the other side of the pond, University of Pennsylvania religion studies professor Anthea Butler called in USA Today for the film producer's arrest for his "ludicrous and historically inaccurate scenes" designed "to incite and inflame viewers." While this "movie is not the first to denigrate a religious figure, nor will it be the last," Butler sees a distinction between the Innocence of Muslims and, for example, The Last Temptation of Christ "protested vigorously" by Christians in that the former "indirectly and inadvertently inflamed people half a world away" with resulting American deaths. Butler demands "consequences for putting American lives at risk." Offering a culturally relativistic excuse for Muslim violence hostile to freedom worldwide, Butler determines that the "First Amendment right to free expression is important," yet "other countries and cultures do not have to understand or respect our right." The Catholic bishop of Tripoli, Libya, Giovanni Martinelli, meanwhile, called upon "Western countries" to have the "courage" to prohibit "all blasphemous projects."

Such Western timidity in the face of Muslim aggression indicates that violent Muslim "heckler's vetoes" are having an effect upon traditionally recognized principles of free speech. While religions such as Christianity must accept all manner of even celebrated criticism and condemnation (consider Piss Christ), Islam is acquiring an untouchable status off-limits from criticism, whether by the antics of "Bacile" and Jones or more respectable, thoughtful quarters. Western involvement in Muslim-majority countries such as in the military campaigns of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, meanwhile, rather than projecting freedom into these countries, is at times having precisely the opposite effect, holding the freedom of Western societies hostage to the well-being of individual citizens abroad. The defense of freedom in the face of Islamist threats will require more brain and backbone in the future.

Andrew E. Harrod


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