Saturday, October 20, 2012

Benghazi's meaning for Israel and the Mideast

by Dore Gold

The killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012 has become the focus of heated political exchanges in the U.S. and even appeared prominently in the presidential debates between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. But the events in Benghazi are extremely important to understand beyond their impact on American internal politics. For the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound highlighted many unanticipated developments in Libya that were a direct outgrowth of the fall of its former ruler, Muammar Gadhafi. 

Even before the attack on the U.S. compound, according to an Oct. 2, 2012 report in The Washington Post, the White House held a series of secret meetings that came out of a growing concern that "al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb" (AQIM) was gaining strength after it took control of the northern parts of the African state of Mali, where it created a new Afghan-like sanctuary. In the last year it has begun to spread its influence across the Sahara. AQIM's weaponry came from post-Gadhafi Libya, whose arsenal was boosting the arms trade from Morocco to Sinai. Israeli sources have noted that Libyan weapons, including shoulder-fired SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles, were also reaching the Gaza Strip, where one was fired last week at an Israeli helicopter for the first time. 

Moreover, it was unveiled at the end of September by journalist Eli Lake that a U.S. government study this past August reported how the leadership of al-Qaida in Pakistan dispatched senior commanders to North Africa to help build its new network there. This is a pattern found elsewhere. Two Palestinian Salafists targeted by the IDF on Oct. 13 were part of an effort to reorganize and strengthen al-Qaida networks in the Gaza Strip; one of them was linked to jihadi networks in Egypt and Jordan, and had fought with al-Qaida in Iraq. These same networks are building up their capacity to operate from Sinai, in particular. 

While only a small number of AQIM combatants were involved in the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, within hours U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted communications between members of Ansar al-Sharia, the main Libyan militia behind the operation, and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. When the Libyan revolution began in 2011, the flag of al-Qaida was raised over the courthouse in Benghazi, indicating that elements identifying with al-Qaida were present right from the start. After the attack on the mission the black flag of al-Qaida was raised again. The rise of these radical elements in eastern Libya should not have come as a surprise. 

When the U.S. Army investigated where the foreign fighters in Iraq came from during 2007, they discovered that while the largest contingent were Saudis, Libyans were the second largest group. The vast majority of the Libyan volunteers in Iraq came from two towns in eastern Libya: Darnah and Benghazi. The current Libyan government just pointed out that the head of Ansar al-Shariah, Ahmed Abu Khattala, commanded the Benghazi attack. Like other Libyan jihadists, he was let out of prison by the interim Libyan government after Gadhafi fell, though he refused to renounce violence. He apparently based himself in the Benghazi area.

Bruce Reidel, who was one of the top Middle East analysts in the CIA and later served in former president Bill Clinton's National Security Council, wrote already on July 30, 2012 that what was happening in Libya and across the Middle East was nothing less than a comeback for al-Qaida, which had created "its largest safe havens and operational bases in more than a decade across the Arab world." He specifically pointed to AQIM, which he said was now "the best armed al-Qaida franchise in the world." 

Thus AQIM is on the rise. The commander of the U.S. Army's African command said this July that it was al-Qaida's "wealthiest affiliate." The new AQIM network has been at war with Mauritania, but it also directly threatens Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and whatever government arises in Libya. Their operatives have been caught in Spain and will eventually pose a threat to France and Western Europe. Given this background, it is understandable how Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, who headed the U.S. security assistance team in Libya, could conclude in recent Congressional testimony about al-Qaida in Libya: "Their presence grows every day. They are certainly more established than we are."

While the debate rages in America over whether there was a cover-up of what actually happened in the U.S. compound in Benghazi, there are important trends being missed. There are considerable signs that al-Qaida elements are on the rise in much of the Middle East, and especially in the area of Benghazi in eastern Libya. Indeed, in the first half of 2012, attacks on foreigners in Benghazi escalated: The British ambassador's convoy was assaulted in June by terrorists who used rocket propelled grenades. 

Al-Qaida has techniques which it has used to build up its capabilities through local jihadi organizations. These groups, which identify with aspects of its ideology, start out as local militias in the Gaza Strip or in Libya, but nonetheless come into contact with global jihadi networks which provide weapons, combat skills, and finally recruit them into the al-Qaida network. Clearly what happened in Libya did not stay a local phenomenon but radiated out to the entire region and beyond.

Dore Gold


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

Caroliine Glick: Libya, Jordan and Obama's Guiding Lights

by Caroline Glick

The operational, intelligence and political fiascos that led to and followed the September 11 jihadist assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, all derive from the same problem. That problem is the failure of US President Barack Obama's conceptual framework for understanding the Middle East.

The Islamic revolutionary wave sweeping across the Arab world has rent asunder the foundations of the US alliance system in the Middle East. But due to Obama's ideological commitment to an anti-American conceptual framework for understanding Middle Eastern politics, his administration cannot see what is happening.

That framework places the blame for all or most of the pathologies of the Muslim world on the US and Israel.

What Obama and his advisers can see is that there are many people who disagree with them. And so they adopted a policy of delegitimizing, discrediting and silencing their opponents. To this end, his administration has purged the US federal government's lexicon of all terms that are necessary to describe reality.

"Jihad," "Islamist," "radical Islam," "Islamic terrorism" and similar phrases have all been banned. The study of Islamist doctrine by government officials has been outlawed.

The latest casualty of this policy was an instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.

Until he was sacked this week, the instructor taught a class called "Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism."

According to Col. Dave Lapan, spokesman for the Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, the instructor was fired for committing a thought crime. He "portrayed Islam almost entirely in a negative way." Dempsey himself ordered the probe of all Islamic courses across the US military educational system.

The administration's refusal to accept the plain fact that the Islamic regimes and forces now rising throughout the Muslim world threaten US interests is not its only conceptual failure.

Another failure, also deriving from Obama's embrace of the anti-American and anti-Israel foreign policy narrative, is also wreaking havoc on the region. And like the conceptual failure that led to the murderous attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, this conceptual failure will also come back to haunt America.

This second false conceptual framework argues that the root of instability in the region is the absence of formal treaties of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It claims that the way to pacify the radical regional forces is to pressure Israel to make concessions in land and legitimacy to its neighbors.

Obama is not unique for his embrace of this conceptual framework for US Middle East policy. He is just the latest in a long line of US presidents to adopt it.

At the same time the concept that peace processes and treaties ensure peace and stability collapsed completely during Obama's tenure in office. So what makes Obama unique is that he is the first president to cling to this policy framework since it was wholly discredited.

Israel signed four peace treaties with its Arab neighbors. It signed treaties with Egypt, Jordan, the PLO and Lebanon. All of these treaties have failed or been rendered meaningless by subsequent events.

Today Israel's 31-year-old peace treaty with Egypt is a hollow shell. No, Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood regime has not officially abrogated it. But the rise of the genocidally anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood to power has rendered it meaningless.

The treaty is no longer credible, because the Muslim Brotherhood, including Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, reject Israel's right to exist. Their rejection of Israel's right to exist is not a primarily political position, but a religious one. Morsi and his regime perceive Jews as the enemies of Allah deserving of annihilation.

Morsi himself has a rich record of pronouncements attesting to this fact. For instance, in November 2004 he said, "The Koran has established that the Jews are the ones in the highest degree of enmity towards Muslims."

He continued, "There is no peace with the descendants of apes and pigs."

In January 2009, Morsi called Israelis "Draculas who are always hungry for more killing and bloodshed using all kinds of modern war weapons supplied to them by the American administration." He accused Israelis of "sowing the seeds of hatred between humans."

With positions like these, Morsi has no need to pronounce dead the peace treaty for which Israel surrendered the Sinai Peninsula, and with it, its ability to deter and block invasions from the south. Its death is self-evident.

The peace was made with a regime. And once the regime ended, the peace was over. The fact that the peace was contingent on the survival of the regime that made it was utterly predictable.

In 1983, Israel signed a peace treaty with Lebanon. The treaty was abrogated as soon as the regime that signed it was overthrown by Islamic radicals and Syria.

Then there was the peace with the PLO. That peace - or peace process - was officially ushered in by the signing of the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993.

Today, the Obama administration opposes PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas's attempts to receive international recognition of a Palestinian state through an upgrade of its position at the UN to non-member state status.

Monday US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice explained that the Obama administration opposes the PLO's move because it believes it "jeopardize[s] the peace process."

But this is not a credible reason to oppose it. The reason to oppose it is because the PLO's move harms Israel.

The peace process is dead. It is dead because it was a fraud. The Palestinians negotiated in bad faith from the beginning. It is dead because the Palestinian Authority lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas in 2007. It is dead because Abbas and his PA have no capacity to make peace with Israel, even if they wanted to - which they don't. This is so because their people will not accept peaceful coexistence with Israel. The Palestinian national movement is predicated not on the desire to establish a Palestinian state, but on the desire to destroy the Jewish state.

Abbas made this clear - yet again - this week in a statement published on his official Facebook page. There he said outright that his claim that Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian territory applies not only to Judea and Samaria, but rather, "the point applies to all the territories that Israel occupied before June 1967."

With peace partners like this, it is beyond obvious that there is nothing that Israel can do short of national suicide that will satisfy them.

This brings us to Jordan. Jordan is one of those stories that no one wants to discuss, because it destroys all of our cherished myths about the nature of Israel- Arab relations, the relative popularity of jihadist Islam and the US's options going forward.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is composed of three population groups. Ethnic Palestinians comprise the vast majority of Jordan's citizenry. The Hashemites have always viewed the Palestinians as a threat to the regime, and so blocked their integration into governing and military hierarchies. The Palestinians have always been opposed to Israel's existence.

The second largest group of Jordanians is the Beduin tribes. Until the last decade or so, the Beduin tribes in Jordan, like those in Israel and Sinai, were not particularly religious, nor were they inherently opposed to peaceful coexistence with Israel.

Israeli Beduin served in the IDF in large numbers. The Beduin of Sinai served in Israel's Civil Administration in Sinai and opposed the peace treaty that returned them to Egyptian control. And the Beduin of Jordan did not oppose the monarchy's historically covert, but widely recognized, strategic alliance with Israel.

All of this has changed in the past 10 to 15 years as the Beduin of the area underwent a drastic process of Islamic radicalization. Today the Beduin of Sinai stand behind much of the jihadist violence. The Beduin of Israel have increasingly embraced the causes of irredentism, radical Islam and jihad. And the Beduin of Jordan have become even more opposed to peaceful coexistence with Israel than the Palestinians.

This leaves the Hashemites. A small Arabian clan installed in power by the British, the Hashemites have historically viewed Israel as their strategic partners and protectors of their regime.

Since the fall of the Mubarak regime, Jordan's King Abdullah II has been increasingly stressed by regional events and domestic trends alike. The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has empowered the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan. The rise of pro-Iranian Shi'ite forces in post-US-withdrawal Iraq has made pro-Western Jordan an attractive target for triumphant jihadists across the border. The rise of Islamist forces in the Syrian opposition, not to mention the constant subversive activities carried out by Syrian regime agents, has limited Jordan's maneuver room still further.

Emboldened by all these forces, the Jordanian Beduin are now in open revolt against the monarchy and its refusal to abrogate the peace treaty with Israel.

This revolt was exposed in all of its ugliness in recent weeks following Abdullah's appointment of Walid Obeidat to serve as Jordan's new ambassador to Israel.

Obeidat's tribe disowned him and his family and branded him a traitor for accepting the appointment. His tribe invited the other tribes to join it in a mass rally demanding the abrogation of the treaty and the destruction of Israel.

In this state of affairs, the strategic value of Israel's peace treaty has been destroyed. Even if Abdullah wished to look to Israel as a strategic protector, as his father, King Hussein, did in the 1970 Jordanian civil war between the Hashemites and the Palestinians, he can't. In 1970, the Syrians shared Hussein's antipathy to Yasser Arafat and the PLO and therefore did not intervene on their behalf. Today, there is no Arab force that would back him in an Israeli-supported fight against Islamic fundamentalists.

Perhaps in recognition of the fragility of the Hashemites' hold on power, last week it was reported that the US has deployed military forces to the kingdom. According to media reports, the force consists of a few hundred advisers and other teams whose main jobs are to assist Jordan in handling the 200,000 refugees from Syria who have streamed across the border since the onset of the civil war in Syria, and to help to secure Syria's chemical and biological arsenals. It is more than likely that the force is also in place to evacuate Americans in the event the regime collapses.

In the current situation, the US has very few good strategic options. But it does have one sure bet. Today the US has only one ally in the Middle East that it can trust: Israel. And the only no-risk move it can make is to do everything in its power to strengthen Israel.

But to adopt this policy, the Americans first need to discard their false conceptual frameworks regarding the Middle East. Unfortunately, as the US response to the Benghazi attack and its continued assaults on Israel make clear, there is no chance of that happening, as long as Obama remains in the White House.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Caroline Glick


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

Don’t Just Worry About Iranian Influence in Iraq

by Michael Rubin

Within the United States, conventional wisdom relates that Iraq is now a puppet of Iran. There is real reason for concern, and I won’t be one that will downplay Iranian attempts to influence, if not dominate, Iraq. That said, Iraqi Shi’ites are traditionally not pro-Iranian; they are pro-Iraqi. After all, during the Iran-Iraq War, the bulk of Iraqi conscripts on the front line hailed not from Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit and its Sunni environs, but rather from Baghdad and the largely Shi’ite towns and villages of Iraq’s south. They fought against the Shi’ite brethren because they saw themselves as Iraqis and Arabs first, not Persians.

That said, Iranian influence is on the increase. Iran’s true Achilles’ heel is Shi’ism. Because the supreme leader claims to be the deputy of the Messiah on earth, with ultimate political and religious authority, the theologically independent ayatollahs in Najaf, Iraq, undercut his authority whenever they contradict him. Iran will never tolerate the rise of an ayatollah to the political leadership in Iraq because that would pose a threat to the supreme leader. However, the Iranians will try to dominate Iraq to ensure that Iranian strategic interests remain paramount. Certainly, it need not have been this way: Had the United States retained a presence in Iraq, even if a limited number of forces simply kicked their heels in isolated bases, their presence would have enabled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to better resist Iranian demands. For many Middle Eastern countries, diplomacy is about balance. Iran will ratchet up its pressure and perhaps its presence in Iraq as its grasp on Syria falters. Iraqis worry openly that they will become Iran’s new frontline.

While Washington should certainly do what it can to constrain Iranian influence in Iraq, it would be a mistake to focus only on Iran. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s whirlwind trip to Russia and the announcement of a multibillion-dollar arms purchase should underline this point. True, Maliki can say that he sought first to purchase weapons from the United States, but Kurdish opposition (the Kurds believe Maliki might use the weapons against them) slow-rolled the deal and convinced Maliki to look elsewhere. That said, the Iraqi government is not simply reaching out to Iran as a last resort. Throughout the Baathist period, Iraq cultivated close relations with the Soviet Union. Many Iraqis studied in the Soviet Union and the East Bloc. Many have residual ties to Russians and feel comfortable doing business the Russian way. Russians tend not to worry about niceties such as transparency or human rights, and that works just fine for some Iraqis.

It’s not just Russia and Iran which are making plays for the Iraqi market. China is a growing presence. In 2010, the United States was Iraq’s fifth largest source of imports, but was still Iraq’s No. 1 trade partner. While I do not have access to the most recent statistics, Iraqi politicians have said that the United States might now be number four or five, after Iran, Russia, Turkey, and China. The Chinese have been quite aggressive. In the scandal/power play which led to the resignation of the minister of trade, Muhammad Allawi, one factor was a Maliki ally in the ministry whom some government officials say is on the payroll of the Chinese telecommunication firm Huawei. According to their accusations, the woman in question—who clashed repeatedly with Muhammad Allawi—would repeatedly undercut efforts by American businesses to work more in Iraq in order to privilege Huawei. The problem is not just in central Iraq. In the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymani, Huawei sports a fancy new store. While the Kurdish ruling families’ notorious corruption has stymied some American investment, again, the Chinese are not so particular.

American officials are right to worry about Iranian influence. Focusing exclusively on the Iranian threat to the neglect of others, however, will be counterproductive. Saddam’s ouster was about resolving a threat to U.S. national security, and the efforts to offer Iraqis a future beyond dictatorship was the right move. Let us hope, however, that White House neglect will not mean that Iraq slides further into an Iranian-Russian-Chinese economic axis, not even a year after the departure of the last American troops.

Michael Rubin


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Why Hamas is Still Bragging About Shalit

by Jonathan S. Tobin

One year ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swallowed hard and made a decision that most Israelis understood was unpalatable but necessary: trading 1,027 imprisoned terrorists to Hamas in exchange for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. On the anniversary of the unsightly deal, Hamas is still bragging about the ransom it exacted from Israel and promising to kidnap more Jews. As Haaretz reports, Hamas is celebrating not just with its boasts and threats but also by releasing a video about Shalit’s capture and imprisonment. The Israel Defense Forces has been on its guard since Shalit’s capture in 2006 but each cross-border raid from Gaza as well as those that have come via Sinai in the last year have had as their goal the creation of more Gilad Shalit dilemmas for Netanyahu.

In some quarters, this might revive the debate about the wisdom of Netanyahu’s choice that, as his critics pointed out at the time, certainly enhanced the prestige of Hamas and strengthened their grip on Palestinian public opinion. Even if Netanyahu could never have willingly consigned a conscript like Shalit to unending imprisonment or death, those arguments were correct as far as they went. But the real reason to revisit the Shalit episode is not to second-guess the deal but to get a better understanding of Palestinian political culture and the slim chances for peace.

The point of Hamas’s chest-thumping 12 months after the Shalit deal is not to twit Netanyahu. As much as many serious thinkers bewailed the ransom, bringing Shalit home to his family only enhanced his popularity. Any reminder of this tough decision actually helps the prime minister as he prepares for a re-election campaign in which the opposition has no credible opponent for the country’s leadership.

What Hamas is doing with its histrionics is to puff its own reputation on the Palestinian street. With the prestige of its Fatah rivals on the decline and the Palestinian Authority seen as a bankrupt and corrupt failed state in the making, Hamas looks to remind ordinary Palestinians that they have done what Mahmoud Abbas cannot do: humiliate Israel and inflict pain and suffering on the Jewish people. Indeed, with Hamas being challenged by even more radical Islamist groups such as Islamic Jihad and other splinter groups, Gaza’s rulers see their key to popularity in reinforcing their image as the tormenters of Israel.

This is important not just because it makes the reliance placed on Abbas and the PA by both Israel and the West look like a shaky proposition but also because it highlights what is still the key to winning the hearts and minds of the Palestinian street: anti-Jewish violence.

The competition between Hamas and Fatah is seen not just in their on-again, off-again attempts to form a unity government but in the way the two churn out anti-Semitic invective in their official media and broadcast outlets.

What friends of Israel ought to remember most about the Shalit deal was not so much the horror of murderers being released by Israel to the consternation of the families of terror victims but the joyous welcome that those who killed without mercy received when they returned to Gaza.

So long as Palestinian groups can only curry favor with their people by boasting of killing or kidnapping Jews rather than by trying to give them a better life (something a genuine moderate like PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad knows only too well), talk about peace between Israelis and Palestinians is futile. That is something the majority of Israelis have come to understand and is one of the reasons why Netanyahu is an overwhelming favorite for re-election. It is to be hoped that this is also a lesson that either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will take to heart if they are tempted next year to begin another campaign of pressure against Israel to make concessions to Palestinians who have no interest in peace.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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

It's the Mullahs, Stupid

by Richard Butrick

The general position of the Obama administration toward the Muslim Brotherhood is that, despite the fears of alarmists regarding the radical pronouncements and mission statement of the Brotherhood, once the organization is faced with the realities of governance and working within the community of nations, they will govern as any pragmatic, problem-solving nation must to provide economic and political security for their people. 

Let me quote from an account of how Hindenburg, president of Weimar Germany, was persuaded to co-opt Hitler and his Nazi movement by bringing Hitler into his administration.
In the later years of his presidency, Hindenburg was heavily influenced by those who surrounded him -- especially his son. Hindenburg showed more and more signs of senility and was open to their suggestions. Though he disliked Hitler because he did not come from the right social class and had only been a corporal in the war, he was persuaded to appoint him chancellor in January 1933. The constitution gave him the power to do this. Hindenburg had been persuaded by his son and Franz von Papen, that Hitler could be controlled and that if anything went wrong, then Hitler and the Nazis would get the blame thus damaging their political standing in Germany. Von Papen hoped that he would set the political agenda and that Hitler would simply agree to this.

We all know how that turned out.  Actually, the Obama/Clinton approach to the Muslim Brotherhood is even more Newmanesque.  They seem to be doubling down on the belief that tension between the Muslim and non-Muslim world has nothing to do with Islam.  At least Hindenburg and company knew that Nazism -- the belief system -- was indeed at the core of the Hitler problem.  The Obama/Clinton team seems to think that the Muslim Brotherhood is not bound by core Islamic mandates.  The Coptic Christians and secular forces in Egypt know better.  Unfortunately, they know what is in store for them.  When Secretary of State Clinton visited Egypt after the election of Mohamed Morsi, Clinton's motorcade encountered a crowd estimated to be up to a half a million.  

They pelted her motorcade with tomatoes and shoes.  Here is the account from the Toronto Sun:
Instead, what she received was a barrage of tomatoes and shoes thrown at her by an angry Egyptian crowd who were clearly convinced the Americans had facilitated the takeover of Egypt by the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
As Clinton met with Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, demonstrators gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to protest America's uncritical support for the new Islamist regime in Cairo. Protesters held signs reading "Message to Hillary: Egypt will never be Pakistan," and "If you like the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood], take them with you!"

Empowering the Muslim brotherhood -- they will be so grateful! -- is a natural consequence of the Obama Doctrine spelled out back in a 2008 interview with Fareed Zakaria:
But what we also want to do is to shrink the pool of potential recruits. And that involves engaging the Islamic world rather than vilifying it, and making sure that we understand that not only are those in Islam who would resort to violence a tiny fraction of the Islamic world, but that also, the Islamic world itself is diverse.

In the above, we see that Obama is coupling the tiny-fraction meme with the Islam-is-not-the-issue meme.  It is a lethal cocktail.  The "tiny fraction" comment is more revealing than one might at first realize.  It means that Islam -- the ideology -- does not mandate jihad against the non-Muslim world and that the tiny fraction of militant jihadists do not represent or lead the Muslim world.

Here is an account of how the tiny-fraction-peaceful-majority delusion played out according to a Holocaust survivor.  The source of this account is problematic, but, real or spurious, it hits the mark.  The survivor was asked how many German people were true Nazis.
Very few people were true Nazis but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.

The tiny-fraction-peaceful-majority delusion is a death trap.  Throughout history, from Hitler to Mao to Stalin, the peaceful majority get sucked into the world of dedicated ideologues -- monomaniacal, messianic leaders out to dominate what they see as their rightful world.  It is the mullahs and the ayatollahs who command the minds of Muslims, and they are unwaveringly, maniacally sharia-minded Islamic supremacists.  That they are somehow to be discounted because most Muslims just want peace and to be able to go about their daily lives without the threat of war and terrorism is totally naïve, ignorant of history, and in the end possibly suicidal.  The peaceful majority start off as being fellow travelers and end up being co-opted by true believers.

One would think that even a casual knowledge of the history of Islamic plundering and persecution of non-Islamic cultures would disabuse the Obama/Clinton team of their fatal attraction to the it-is-not-Islam meme.  Over the last 1,400 years, 270 million non-believers were murdered by Muslim jihadists.  Islam destroyed the Christian Middle East and Christian North Africa.  It is estimated that upwards of 60 million Christians were slaughtered during this conquest.  Also, half the Hindu civilization was annihilated and 80 million Hindus murdered.  Islamic jihad also destroyed over 10 million Buddhists.  But evidently the 1,400 years of Islamic persecution does not make a dent in the idée fixe.

Reaction to recent events in Benghazi as well as other attacks on American consulates serve only to bear out the Obama/Clinton fatal attraction to the meme that Islam-is-not-the-issue.
Just recently we were assured by Susan Rice, Obama's ambassador to the U.N., that despite what happened in Libya, the majority of peace-loving Muslims in Libya really like and respect Americans.  Rice is convinced that it is all just acting out over an offensive film and that when they chant "Death to America," they really don't mean it.  In fact, the U.S. is really "extremely popular."

When signs in the Arab street say "Death to America" or "To hell with Freedom" or "Islam will dominate the world", they don't really mean that. Not according to Susan Rice. The ambassador is so far gone into the imaginary world of the religion of peace that when Islamists shout "Death to America," she hears "Hail to America."

The Obama administration has doubled down on Islam-is-not-the-issue meme.  Even after the events in Libya and Egypt, Obama can't bring himself to say "Muslim fanatics" or "Islamic terrorists."  You can't say "Muslim fanatics" because not all Muslims are fanatics.  You can't say "Islamic terrorists" because not all Islamic peoples are terrorists (you can't say Russian astronauts because not all Russians are astronauts?)  In fact, most are peace-loving, etc., etc.  As long as the Islamic world is engaged with "deference" instead of "vilified," all will be peace and harmony.  The Obama administration has overlaid the Islam-is-not-the-issue meme with the peaceful-majority delusion.  It is the delusion that lures them into the belief that the Muslim Brotherhood can be co-opted.

Time to crawl out from under the Islam-is-not-the-issue-peaceful-majority-delusion.  Time to concentrate on the fanatical sharia-heads who lead the "peaceful majority" by the nose.  Time for a war on mullahs.  The first step would be to kick out the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi mullahs spewing anti-Enlightenment venom from mosques across the U.S.  The next step would be to declare war on monomanical mullahs across the Middle East, starting with Iran.  Forget the peaceful majority.  It's the mullahs, stupid.  The Muslim Brotherhood is the bowdlerized front for Islamic supremacism -- and it is the Obama/Clinton team that has been co-opted, and not vice-versa. 

Richard Butrick


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

Our Ambassador Is Dead, but Obama's Political Guru Is Safe

by Fred J. Eckert

You could see the pained expression on President Obama's face worsen as a 61-year-old undecided voter told the president during the second presidential debate that he and some co-workers "were sitting around talking about Libya, and we were reading and became aware of reports that the State Department refused extra security for our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, prior to the attacks that killed four Americans."
"Who was it that denied enhanced security -- and why?" he asked.
A very good question -- and one an honest news media would have so relentlessly hounded any president to answer five weeks after the Benghazi attack that no voter would need to ask it.

President Obama's answer did not include even so much as a hint about who denied the requested security or why.  Instead, he:
  • explained that our diplomats "serve all around the world."  No kidding.
  • explained that sometimes they serve "in a very dangerous situation."  Which, of course, is exactly why that voter was questioning why our security was so obviously inadequate in one of the world's most dangerous spots.
  • claimed that "[n]obody's more concerned about their safety and security than I am."  Which, of course, does not explain why his administration had refused the requested level of security support that our diplomats serving in Libya deemed absolutely necessary for their safety and security.
  • said that "[a]s soon as we found out that the Benghazi consulate was being overrun, I was on the phone with my national security team."  This is an admission that he did not bother to summon his top intelligence and diplomatic officials to meet with him.  This would have helped him determine through face-to-face cross-examination why the intelligence community was supposedly claiming that Benghazi was some spontaneous demonstration that spun out of control while the State Department was supposedly claiming that there was no such demonstration and that this was a well-coordinated terrorist attack.
  • said that he ordered that his administration "beef up our security."  Too late for our murdered ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi.
  • said he ordered his team to "investigate exactly what happened."  But State Department officials only blocks away from the White House had witnessed the entire five-hour-plus attack streamed on video in real time.  Did no one Obama spoke with on the phone inform him that we already knew that, unlike Cairo, Benghazi was much more than a demonstration -- that it was a full-fledged terrorist attack?  Was he told but forgot?
  • said he ordered that they "make sure that folks are held accountable."  And yet five weeks later he can't -- or won't -- say if anyone has been held accountable.
  • attacked Mitt Romney for supposedly not acting "as a commander-in-chief operates" because of what he said on the day of the Cairo and Benghazi 9/11 attacks.  Romney had pointed out that in response to the threat of and actual attack against our Cairo, Egypt embassy, the embassy had issued a statement about an internet video that Muslims found objectionable, condemning "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims" and denouncing it as an "abuse of free speech."  Sounding like Ronald Reagan, he said this was "disgraceful."  Soon after he said this, the Obama White House asked its media allies to report that the statement that Romney took such exception to "doesn't reflect the views of the U.S. government," which was akin to claiming that the U.S. government does not reflect the views of the U.S. government.
The Obama administration was refusing to provide anything approaching adequate security for a U.S. ambassador and other Americans serving our country in one of the most dangerous postings in the world, but the administration also committed to spending millions of dollars a year to provide a six-person, round-the-clock Secret Service detail to protect the assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs.


Our U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans who served us there are dead because of insufficient security while the assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs, a woman named Valerie Jarrett, has been given an entourage of well-armed, highly trained protectors as she goes to and from work in Washington, goes shopping or out to dinner, and travels to political events and vacations on Martha's Vineyard.

Why is Valerie Jarrett such a high priority when it comes to security, and why are our diplomats in Libya so much less of a priority?  In their eagerness to serve and protect the political interests of Barack Obama, the news media do not bother to ask and then inform the American people about this administration's particularly peculiar priorities when it comes to security at a time when security is something very much in the news and of great interest to the public.

Conservative outlets which have made inquiries about why some White House staffer merits better protection than U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was accorded are refused answers on the grounds of "security concerns."  Really!

Think you might have seen a major media story -- perhaps even a great many of them -- comparing the contrast in security protection between Valerie Jarrett and Ambassador Stevens if George W. Bush were president and it were Karl Rove rather than Valerie Jarrett?

The media are well aware of what is going on here -- and they know why.

A product of Chicago's Daley political machine, Jarrett has been a political guru to Barack and Michelle Obama for the past 20 years.  It is to her that Michelle owed the job she was given with the Daley political machine.  The Obamas seem to see themselves as dependent upon Jarrett.  When a reporter once asked Obama if he ran every important decision by Valerie Jarrett, Obama without pause answered, "Yep.  Absolutely."

One former White House colleague quoted in a New York Times feature article about her called Jarrett "the single most important person in the Obama White House."  And yes, in the eyes of some, that does include the president.  She has full rein at the White House, able to pop in and out of the Oval Office almost at will, free to drop in on any meetings in the White House whenever she wishes.  She has no significant public policy background or expertise.  Yet she has power over who gets to meet with the president or first lady.  She regularly dines with the Obamas in their private quarters and even vacations with them.

That New York Times profile uses the word "imperious" to describe her and mentions her once mistaking a four-star general for a waiter and ordering a drink from him.

Valerie Jarrett has no official role in anything involving national security, intelligence, or counter-terrorism.  She is nothing more than a political aide and friend of the Obamas, upon whom they seem overly dependent.  Yet she is living high, surrounded by a full Secret Service detail, as if she were of extraordinary importance to the nation.  Presidents and their families get such protection; serious presidential candidates do; foreign leaders visiting here do -- but not even cabinet members do, and never before has some White House staffer.

Our ambassador to Libya is dead -- and Barack Obama's political guru is living the high life, making a mockery of our country's security concerns.

And our dishonest, corrupt media pretend not to notice. 

Fred J. Eckert, author of the book That's a Crock, Barack, is a former conservative Republican congressman from New York and twice served as a U.S. ambassador (to the U.N. and to Fiji) under President Reagan, who called him "a good friend and valuable advisor."  He's retired and lives with his wife in Raleigh, NC.


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

Honing Anti-Semitism in France and Sweden

by Shoshana Bryen

In France and Sweden – and in the UN – authorities fail to acknowledge that Europe's Jewish communities are under attack by Muslims who have formed insular, radical and often criminal enclaves. They are attacked NOT because of what they do or do not do; NOT because of what Israel does or does not do, and NOT because their tormentors face discrimination in Europe – but because they are Jews.
A wave of anti-Jewish violence has taken place in France and Sweden over the past few weeks. The difference in government response is notable, and yet there is something similarly disquieting about their actions. The Swedish government alternately denies the problem, blames the Jews and blames Israel -- it recently funded a book on Israeli "apartheid." The French are more complicated. French counter-terror police have been good at tracking domestic radical Islamists, but the government has made overtly anti-Israel gestures that appear to be nothing so much as "compensation" to its increasingly angry and radical Muslim community and to the Arab world.

For the 600 Jews of Malmo, living alongside 60,000 Muslims, Jewish life has been difficult for years, with harassment of individuals and vandalism of the cemetery and synagogue. What makes it harder is a city administration that believes the Jews are asking for it. In a 2010 interview, Mayor Ilmar Reepalu told Skanska Dagbladet, [Jews] "have the possibility to affect the way they are seen by society," urging the community to "distance itself" from Israel. "Instead, the community chose to hold a pro-Israel demonstration," he said, adding that such a move "may convey the wrong message to others." He said, "There haven't been any attacks on Jewish people, and if Jews from the city want to move to Israel that is not a matter for Malmo."

Presented with information that Jews had, indeed, been attacked in Malmo, the mayor retreated just a step and said, "We accept neither Zionism nor anti-Semitism or other forms of ethnic discrimination." Zionism thus defined becomes the reason people in Malmo attack Jews -- who should be distancing themselves from "ethnic discrimination" rather than supporting Israel, according to Repaalu.

This may be why the Jewish community in Malmo, not the government, pays nearly all the cost of its own protection. The Simon Weisenthal Center called it a "Jew tax." Even then, according to the community president, Swedish authorities twice refused permission to install security cameras outside the Jewish community building, home to a kindergarten, meeting rooms and Chabad apartments, because it is a "quiet street." After the latest brick and firebomb attack on the Jewish Center, police spokesman Anders Lindell told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, "The suspects (two 18-year old men) never said or indicated they were perpetrating a hate crime," which was good enough for him, so he charged them simply as criminal vandals. Only after an angry international response, including from the U.S., were the charges upgraded.

France at first glance would seem different.

The French government responded quickly and firmly to an attack on a kosher market in Sarcelles, a Paris suburb, with raids in Strasbourg, Paris, Nice and Cannes. President François Hollande said the government would introduce bills for stronger counter-terrorism measures, including allowing police to access Internet communications. He added that places of worship would receive increased surveillance and protection, "because secularism, one of France's fundamental principles, directs the state to protect all religions."

On the other hand, Hollande also visited the head of the French Muslim Council, to reassure him there would be no "scapegoating" of the Muslim community. "French Muslims must not suffer from radical Islam. They are also victims," he said, channeling his predecessor. After a rabbi and two children were killed at a Jewish school in Toulouse in March, then-President Sarkozy announced that both Jewish and Muslim schools would receive protection, saying, "I have brought the Jewish and Muslim communities together to show that terrorism will not manage to break our nation's feeling of community… We must not cede to discrimination or vengeance."

No one called for discrimination or vengeance against Muslims and there were no discernible acts of either. But last week's series of raids by French police points to a broad and wide effort by Muslims across France to build a network, create an arsenal and attract recruits. At some point, the French government will have to acknowledge two things: that the purpose is to attack French Jews; and that there is no "Muslim community" that sits apart from its own radical elements. It is the sea in which the radicals swim – to paraphrase Mao – and it has a share of the responsibility.

Where Israel Fits

In what appears to be a sop to Arab and Muslim interests -- or what it hopes will be protection from additional Muslim anger -- the French government has taken an aggressive stance against Israel in UNESCO -- where it voted to accept "Palestine" as a full member country, and signed an agreement with "East Jerusalem" for French-Palestinian "cooperation."

A French-Palestinian effort to repair the roof on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem was announced this week. The French Consul General in Israel praised French archaeologists for "helping to discover Palestine." In this context, he mentioned the Qumran Caves – where the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls were found. And in perhaps the oddest move of all, France was the only European country to vote against a Russian motion in UNESCO to ward off an attack on Israel by Syria, Jordan and the Palestinians.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was in France recently to thank the Hollande government for the French contribution of 10 million Euros to the Palestinian Authority (PA). While saying he was concerned about anti-Semitism, he added, "A two-state solution" is the "only way to bring lasting peace to the region." Linking anti-Semitism to the lack of Palestinian independence, suggests that French Jews should understand their victimization the same way Repaalu said Swedish Jews should understand it -- as the result of Israeli policy.

In France and Sweden -- and in the UN -- authorities fail to acknowledge that Europe's Jewish communities are under attack by Muslims who have formed insular, radical and often criminal enclaves. They are attacked NOT because of what they do or do not do; NOT because of what Israel does or does not do, and NOT because their tormentors face discrimination in Europe, but because they are Jews.

Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center.


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

Missile Defense: Serious Business as Usual

by Peter Huessy

Other parallel developments should also raise serious concerns for America and our allies, including China's expanding its missile production beyond previous Western estimates.
The major argument against taking preemptive military action against Iran is the fear that Tehran's retaliatory capability will engulf the Middle East and other regions in serious violence and turmoil, throwing the world's already fragile economy into a deep recession or even an economic depression.

This mindset is coupled with a peculiar assumption that absent military action the only viable default position is some form of tepid engagement and rhetorically tough diplomacy, which quickly becomes an embrace of the status quo. That position essentially equates to acceptance -- albeit without much enthusiasm -- of the creeping incrementalism, sanctions off-and-on again, and a passive, "business as usual," or "containment," approach in dealing with Iran.

This is a perilous proposition.

New reports reveal that Iran is moving full speed ahead with its nuclear program, and is in full possession of advanced, long-range missiles with which to deliver warheads. Assembling the warheads onto the missiles takes no time and is not complicated. Iran has doubled its production capacity for enriched uranium in its underground facility. The Parchin military facility has been sanitized, making inspections futile.

Other parallel developments should raise serious concerns for America and our allies, including China's expanding its missile production beyond previous Western estimates.

In addition, assessments that Iran possesses only leftover Soviet Scud rocket motors have been thoroughly negated, and new cooperative missile and nuclear technology agreements between North Korea, Iran, and China have come to light.

Perhaps worse yet, Russia, Iran and Venezuela continue to discuss basing missiles near Caracas, right here in our own hemisphere.

U.S. combat commanders, mindful of these developments, have repeatedly noted the need for more inventories of U.S. missile defense elements.

Congress should heed this call even as naysayers recycle misperceptions and half-truths about missile defense.

Twenty years ago, after the end of the Cold War and during the Capitol Hill debates about the future of missile defense, critics often argued that other defense technologies should be prioritized ahead of missile defense; and military commanders' assessments of such needs were often cited to justify cuts to missile defense programs.

Also problematic is the misguided, wish-fulfillment reporting today: it implies that the $9 billion spent on missile defense and its related components by the U.S. military services and the Missile Defense Agency are somehow very "Cold War-like" and thus unnecessary.

It is no surprise then that the 30 long-range interceptors in Alaska and California, and the prospects of a European-based capability to shoot down long-range Iranian missiles, are too often labeled "unnecessary," "provocative" and "too costly."

Sadly, until a nuclear bomb goes off in or above an American city, the professional "business as usual" enthusiasts will advocate the status quo.

But as Robert Walpole, an expert analyst at the CIA, among others, has noted: Iran and North Korea are in the ICBM business and just a "third stage working" away from an ICBM capability.

Russian's serial condemnation of U.S. missile defense deployments rings hollow: the missile threats we face are not governed solely by Moscow and, in fact, are sustained and assisted, in part, by Russian cooperation and trade - rendering our need for missile defense more urgent, not less so. Our combat commanders, as well, are asking for greater production of our missile defenses.

Fortunately, an additional $1 billion a year in support could significantly bolster world-wide missile defense deployments and provide the U.S. and its allies better protection of the homeland.

Of particular need are more Standard Missiles – such as SM-3 1Bs being tested now – which will be deployed on our Navy Aegis ships at home and abroad. We should also focus resources on upgrading the current defense of the continental United States by both modernizing our 30 interceptors in Alaska and California and expanding the use of SM-3s and other defenses in the protection of the East Coast and southern Gulf region of the United States. The number of THAAD batteries in use should also be expanded.

Additional deployments of the Israeli Iron Dome system, including by such allies as the Republic of Korea, are also needed more fully to protect the U.S. and its allies. Some 16 nations have expressed interest in purchasing this system, a sale that would further enhance U.S. security.

Additional work should be initiated on space-based elements of missile defense to take critical advantage of U.S. technological prowess and deal with more sophisticated offensive missile threats.

If we remain wedded to the "business as usual" escapist wishes on Iran and a host of other geostrategic puzzles, we should at least pay attention to Richard Miniter's prescient warning that "in the real world, leaders cannot afford to experiment with dreams."

In the absence, then, of a willingness to eliminate the mullahs' nuclear and terrorist threats, at the very minimum it behooves us, as Americans, to reflect honestly on these gathering threats, and abide by that constitutional requirement to "provide for the common defense.

Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis of Potomac, Maryland.


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

Sharia versus Freedom

by Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Andrew G. Bostom, the editor of the highly acclaimed The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims and of The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History. He has published articles and commentary on Islam in the Washington Times, National Review Online, The New York Post, The New York Daily News,, American Thinker, Pajamas Media, The Daily Caller, Human Events, and other print and online publications. He is the author of the new book, Sharia versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism. Visit his blog at
FP: Andrew G. Bostom, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Congratulations on your new book, Sharia versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism.
What inspired you to write this book about Sharia Law and how is it different from other books?
Bostom: Thanks Jamie! I became fascinated (if alarmed) by some excellent polling data reported in the Spring of 2007 resulting from a collaboration between the University of Maryland, and World Opinion Dynamics (and wrote about it here). The survey sample was quite extensive (encompassing some 4000 individuals) and comprised of face to face interviews in local languages of Muslims from Morocco, Egypt, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Data from two questions jumped out at me. The first asked about the strict implementation of Sharia law in Islamic countries. Sixty-five percent of Muslims were moderately or strongly in favor of this proposition. The second was about desire to establish/re-establish the Caliphate (i.e., a transnational Muslim superstate, consistent with the borders established by the jihad conquests across Asia, Africa, and Europe, from the 7th through 17th centuries). Again, 65% of the Muslim sample was supportive of this goal. I began to ask myself a series of questions. How has the idea of the Caliphate been actualized in the past? Why has it survived to this day? Why is the notion of a Caliphate so popular among Muslims, and what are implications of its popularity, for Muslims, and non-Muslims? These questions lead inevitably to Islam’s quintessence, and at the same time far reaching set of guidelines, the Sharia, or Islamic law.
Thus I began to research and write additional essays on many broad themes related to the Sharia,  which, when combined with other introductory materials written specifically for the book, including Andrew C. McCarthy’s elegant Foreword, eventually became Sharia Versus Freedom—The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism. But the final and perhaps most important inspiration proved to be a patient, careful reading of Whittaker Chambers’ autobiographical opus, Witness.  I discovered that much could be gleaned from Chambers’ witness-martyrdom in the struggle against Communism, sacrificing himself, as he put it, “a little in advance to try to win for you that infinitesimal slightly better chance,”  and applied to the modern threat of resurgent Islamic totalitarianism. As described in the book, Chambers’ own brief 1947 comparison of Communism and nascent Islam comported with more extensive, independent contemporary characterizations (i.e., made from 1920-2001) by Western scholars and intellectuals who similarly juxtaposed these ideological systems. I also elucidate in Sharia Versus Freedom Chambers’ understanding that faith in the Judeo-Christian God was conjoined to Biblical freedom. The antithetical conceptions of modern atheistic totalitarianism—epitomized by Communism—and equally liberty-crushing Islamic doctrines are compared. Specifically, with regard to Islam,  I discuss “hurriyya,” Arabic for “freedom as perfect slavery to Allah,” and how the God of Islam, the unrelenting autocrat, Allah, engendered, in Palgrave’s words, Islam’s “Pantheism of Force.”
Unlike other treatments of the Sharia, per se, the book moves well beyond a few illustrative “shocking” examples of these ancient Islamic doctrines applied in our era. Sharia Versus Freedom weaves together a very detailed, living tapestry which elaborates the unbowdlerized doctrinal elements of Sharia, while demonstrating the contemporary popularity of Sharia mandates (i.e., via copious polling data from representative Muslim population samples, as well as numerous examples from the legal codes of Muslim societies, and the mainstream Muslim jurists associations advising Muslims who reside in non-Muslim societies), and the consequences of its application across space and time, through the present. The book also elucidates how jihadism, as well as Jew- and a more general non-Muslim infidel-hatred, are intrinsic to the Sharia, while dissecting modern Sharia apologetics, which span the political spectrum. In a final section, the book offers concrete examples of strategies to combat Sharia encroachment, and  concludes with a discussion of what Whittaker Chambers’ apostasy from Communism—and the shared insights of contemporary apostates from Islam—can teach the West.
FP: What is Sharia and why is it relevant to US foreign and domestic affairs?
Bostom: According to the most authoritative twentieth-century Western Islamic legal scholar, Joseph Schacht (d. 1969), the Sharia, or “clear path to be followed,” is the “canon law of Islam,” which “denotes all the individual prescriptions composing it.” Schacht traces the use of the term Sharia to Koranic verses such as 45:18, 42:13, 42:21, and 5:48, noting an “old definition” of the Sharia by the seminal Koranic commentator and early Muslim historian Tabari (d. 923), as comprising the law of inheritance, various commandments and prohibitions, and the so-called hadd punishments. These latter draconian punishments, defined by the Muslim prophet Muhammad either in the Koran or in the hadith (the canonical collections of Muhammad’s deeds and pronouncements), included: (lethal) stoning for adultery; death for apostasy; death for highway robbery when accompanied by murder of the robbery victim; for simple highway robbery, the loss of hands and feet; for simple theft, cutting off of the right hand; for “fornication,” a hundred lashes; for drinking wine, eighty lashes. As Schacht further notes, Sharia ultimately evolved to become “understood [as] the totality of Allah’s commandments relating to the activities of man.” The holistic Sharia, he continues, is nothing less than Islam’s quintessence, “the Sharia is the most characteristic phenomenon of Islamic thought and forms the nucleus of Islam itself.” Schacht then delineates additional salient characteristics of the Sharia which have created historically insurmountable obstacles to its reform, through our present era.
Allah’s law is not to be penetrated by the intelligence . . . i.e., man has to accept it without criticism…It comprises without restriction, as an infallible doctrine of duties the whole of the reli­gious, political, social, domestic and private life of those who profess Islam, and the activities of the tolerated members of other faiths so far as they may not be detrimental to Islam.
Additionally, Schacht elucidated how Sharia—via the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad war—regulates the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims. These regulations make explicit the sacralized vulnerability of unvanquished non-Muslims to jihad depredations, and the permanent, deliberately humiliating legal inferiority for those who survive their jihad conquest, and incorporation into an Islamic polity, governed by Sharia.
Thus Sharia, Islamic law, is not merely holistic, in the general sense of all-encompassing, but totalitarian, regulating everything from the ritual aspects of religion, to personal hygiene, to the governance of an Islamic state, bloc of states, or global Islamic order. Clearly, this latter political aspect is the most troubling, being an ancient antecedent of more familiar modern totalitarian systems. Specifically, Sharia’s liberty-crushing and dehumanizing political aspects feature: open-ended jihadism to subjugate the world to a totalitarian Islamic order; rejection of bedrock Western liberties—including freedom of conscience and speech—enforced by imprisonment, beating, or death; discriminatory relegation of non-Muslims to outcast, vulnerable pariahs, and even Muslim women to subservient chattel; and barbaric punishments which violate human dignity, such as amputation for theft, stoning for adultery, and lashing for alcohol consumption.
Following violent Muslim reactions to the amateurish “Innocence of Muslims” video, which depicted some of the less salutary aspects of Muhammad’s biography, international and domestic Islamic agendas are openly converging with vehement calls for universal application of Islamic blasphemy law. This demand to abrogate Western freedom of expression was reiterated  in a parade of speeches by Muslim leaders at the UN General Assembly. The US Muslim community echoed such admonitions, for example during a large demonstration in Dearborn, Michigan, and in a press release by the Islamic Circle of North America.
Previously, the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (subsequently renamed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC])—the largest voting bloc in the UN, which represents all the major Muslim countries, and the Palestinian Authority—had sponsored and actually navigated to passage a compromise U.N. resolution insisting countries criminalize what it calls “defamation of religion.” Now the OIC—via its Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu—is calling for a specific ban on speech allegedly impugning the character of Islam’s prophet, which he termed “hate speech.” Ihsanoglu accompanied  his demand with a thinly veiled threat of violence should such “provocations” recur:
You have to see that there is a provocation. You should understand the psychology of people who revere their prophet and don’t want people to insult him,…If the Western world fails to understand the sensitivity of the Muslim world, then we are in trouble…[such provocations pose] a threat to international peace and security and the sanctity of life.
Though the language of the OIC “defamation of religion” resolution has been altered at times, the OIC’s goal has remained the same—to impose at the international level a Sharia-compliant conception of freedom of speech and expression that would severely limit anything it arbitrarily deemed critical of, or offensive to, Islam or Muslims. This is readily apparent by reading the OIC’s supervening “alternative” to both the US Bill of Rights and the UN’s own 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, i.e., the 1990 Cairo Declaration, or Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam.
The opening of the preamble to the Cairo Declaration repeats a Koranic injunction affirming Islamic supremacism (Koran 3:110, “You are the best nation ever brought forth to men . . . you believe in Allah”); and its last arti­cles, 24 and 25, maintain [article 24], “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Sharia”; and [article 25] “The Islamic Sharia is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification to any of the articles of this Declaration.” The gravely negative implications of the OIC’s Sharia-based Cairo Declaration are most apparent in its transparent rejection of freedom of conscience in Article 10, which proclaims:
Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion, or to atheism.
Ominously, articles 19 and 22 reiterate a principle stated elsewhere throughout the document, which clearly applies to the “punishment” of  so-called apostates from Islam, as well as “blasphemers”:
There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Sharia.
Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Sharia.
Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Sharia.
Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.
Existing mainstream Islamic institutions and their ongoing efforts in North America are facilitating this global Sharia agenda, as evidenced by the following:
  • Data (compiled here) from an April 2001 survey performed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) revealed that 69 percent of American Muslims in America affirmed that it was “absolutely fundamental” or “very important” to have Salafi (i.e., fundamentalist Islamic) teachings at their mosques, while 67 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “America is an immoral, corrupt society.” Another poll conducted in Detroit-area mosques during 2003 found that 81 percent of the respondents endorsed the application of Sharia law where Muslims comprised a majority of the population.
  • The trial involving the Texas Holy Land Foundation’s funding of terrorism revealed an internal Muslim Brotherhood statement dated May 22, 1991. Written by an acolyte of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi — the Brotherhood’s major theoretician, lionized Qatari cleric, popular al-Jazeera television personality, and head of the European Fatwa Council — the document, entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” is self-explanatory: “The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and by the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
  • A scholarly study by Mordechai Kedar and David Yerushalmi published in The Middle East Quarterly, “Sharia and Violence in American Mosques,” looked at 100 mosques randomly selected across the U.S. in order to test the hypothesis that Sharia adherence within mosques (including, among many other factors, gender separation, clothing, male facial hair, jewelry, strictness on shoulder-to-shoulder alignment during prayer, etc.) would correlate with incitement to jihadism. This key summary finding was highlighted by the authors: “51 percent of mosques had texts that either advocated the use of violence in the pursuit of a Shari’a-based political order or advocated violent jihad as a duty that should be of paramount importance to a Muslim; 30 percent had only texts that were moderately supportive of violence like the Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Fiqh as-Sunna; 19 percent had no violent texts at all.” Thus, 81 percent of this statistical sample representative of U.S. mosques were deemed as moderately (30 percent) to highly (51 percent) supportive of promulgating jihadist violence to impose Sharia.
  • A provisional inquiry, “Shariah Law and American State Courts,” evaluated 50 appellate court cases from 23 states that involved conflicts between Sharia and American state law. There were examples of American judges accepting “input” from Sharia in rendering judgments, included an odious, widely publicized New Jersey ruling that upheld Sharia-sanctioned marital rape. Appellate court intervention was required to reverse this ruling in July 2010: Western legal norms prevailed over Sharia — with the presiding judge soberly concluding that the Muslim husband’s “conduct in engaging in nonconsensual sexual intercourse was unquestionably knowing, regardless of his view that his religion permitted him to act as he did.” Completely ignored at the time of these New Jersey proceedings was the fact that marital rape is not recognized as criminal, but rather is sanctioned by a fatwa of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America. (see below) Moreover, David Yerushalmi provided another clear, didactic example of the need for American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) legislation to block such efforts. He described in brief an appellate court decision from Maryland, cited in the Center for Security Policy Study, where:
The court enforced a Pakistani Sharia court’s judgment of custody in favor of the father even though the mother had argued that she was not provided due process because had she gone to Pakistan to contest the case, she could have been subject to capital punishment for having a new relationship with a man not sanctioned by Sharia.
Yerushalmi then summarized the salient facts of the case and appellate court ruling*, as follows:
The Maryland appellate court ruled that since the woman could not prove she’d be executed had she gone to Pakistan to litigate custody in the Pakistan Sharia Court, which is a national-state court in Pakistan, her failure to go to Pakistan and take the risk of execution precluded her from making the void as against public policy argument. ALAC would have provided the Maryland appellate court the legislative clarity to have reversed the lower court’s outrageous decision (emphasis added).
  • Investigations of textbooks widely used in the New York City area Islamic schools, as well as the Islamic Saudi Academy of Fairfax, Va., discovered the promotion of Sharia supremacism, including sacralized disparagement and hatred of non-Muslims, especially Jews. When questioned for a New York Daily News story in 2003, Yahiya Emerick, head of a Queens-based non-profit curriculum-development project for the Islamic Foundation of North America, defended the language in these books, denying they were inflammatory. Emerick opined, “Islam, like any belief system, believes its program is better than others. I don’t feel embarrassed to say that. . . . [The books] are directed to kids in a Muslim educational environment. They must learn and appreciate there are differences between what they have and what other religions teach. It’s telling kids that we have our own tradition.”
  • The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America’s mission statement maintains that the organization was, “founded to provide guidance for Muslims living in North America. . . . AMJA is a religious organization that does not exploit religion to achieve any political ends, but instead provides practical solutions within the guidelines of Islam and the nation’s laws to the various challenges experienced by Muslim communities. ” It is accepted by the mainstream American Muslim community, and regularly trains imams from throughout North America. Notwithstanding this mainstream acceptance, AMJA has issued rulings which sanction the killing of apostates, “blasphemers,” (including non-Muslims guilty of this “crime”), and adulterers (by stoning to death); condoned female genital mutilation, marital rape, and polygamy; and even endorsed the possibility for offensive jihad against the U.S., as soon as Muslims are strong enough to wage it.
  • Finally, as reported by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), one of the largest mainstream U.S. Muslim organizations, in its 2010 ICNA Member’s Hand Book, openly acknowledges being the American branch of a global jihadist phenomenon referred to as the “Islamic Movement.” The 2010 Hand Book observes that branches of this movement “are active in various parts of the world to achieve the same objectives. It is our obligation as Muslims to engage in the same noble cause here in North America.” These efforts will culminate in the (re-)creation of a transnational Islamic superstate, the Caliphate, under Sharia law — the united Muslim ummah (community) in a united Islamic state, governed by an elected khalifah in accordance with the laws of Sharia.
FP: Tell us about Sharia courts in the United Kingdom and their significance.
Bostom: A December 2, 2010 Pew poll documented strong support for hadd punishments in Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, and Nigeria:
About eight-in-ten Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan (82% each) endorse the stoning of people who commit adultery; 70% of Muslims in Jordan and 56% of Nigerian Muslims share this view. Muslims in Pakistan and Egypt are also the most supportive of whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery; 82% in Pakistan and 77% in Egypt favor making this type of punishment the law in their countries, as do 65% of Muslims in Nigeria and 58% in Jordan. When asked about the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion, at least three-quarters of Muslims in Jordan (86%), Egypt (84%) and Pakistan (76%) say they would favor making it the law; in Nigeria, 51% of Muslims favor and 46% oppose it.
Ominously, such irredentist attitudes are shared to an alarming extent by an important Muslim immigrant community in the West—British Muslims. For example, a poll of six hundred British Muslim college students revealed that one-third support killing in the name of Islam, while forty percent want to the Sharia to replace British law.
And Sharia indoctrination of British Muslim youth begins well before college entry. A BBC Panorama investigation has revealed the presence in Britain of forty “weekend schools” attended by some five thousand Muslim children aged 6–18. These schools teach the British Muslim youth who attend them, for example, traditional Islamic motifs of Jew-hatred and mutilating Sharia punishments—as per the Saudi National Curriculum—under the rubric of “Saudi Students Clubs and Schools in the UK and Ireland.”
The BBC revelations validate prescient warnings made almost two decades earlier by the late respected British scholar of Islam, Dr. Mervyn Hiskett, in Some to Mecca Turn to Pray (the title deriving  from the poem Hassan’s Serenade by James Elroy Flecker [d. 1919]). Hiskett noted then (i.e., in 1993) the prevailing opinion among leaders of the British Muslim community that unless Muslim immigrants to Britain were allowed unrestrained access to Islamic law, Sharia, in all aspects, Britain was to be regarded, Dar-al-Harb, or the House of War, that is, the target of jihadism. Citing what he characterized as “a more urbane but some may consider ominous statement of the Muslim intention to brook no opposition,” Hiskett quoted Zaki Badawi (d. 2006), a Muslim scholar and former director of the Islamic Cultural Center, London, who was made an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in 2004, and also appointed by the Duke of Castro as a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I. Incidentally Badawi, an Egyptian Muslim, never became a British subject although he had lived in the country for more than thirty years and had received all manner of honors there. Badawi opined,
A proseltyzing religion cannot stand still. It can either expand or contract. Islam endeavors to expand in Britain. Islam is a universal religion. It aims at bringing its message to all corners of the earth. It hopes that one day the whole humanity will be one Muslim community, the “Umma.”
The “urbane,” “moderate” Muslim Badawi’s “vision” for British society—so recently deemed unthinkable—now seems eminently plausible, as Britain appears well on its way to full integration into the obscurantist Muslim umma, rife with traditional Islamic Jew-hatred, and all other aspects of Sharia-sanctioned, totalitarian barbarity.
Hence 16-years later (circa 2009), there were sixteen main Sharia courts around Britain, located in Birmingham, Bradford, and Ealing in West London. These institutions were “complemented” by more informal Sharia-based tribunals—the think tank Civitas asserting that up to eighty-five tribunals currently exist in Britain.
A window into the mindset of these Sharia courts and tribunals was provided during a public discussion of the issue of marital rape.  Crowing with pride (in a March 2010 interview), president of the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain, Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, maintained,
No other Sharia council can claim they are so diverse as ours because other Sharia councils, they are following one school of fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence]. Ours is diverse—we are hanafi, shafii, hanbali . . . we have Bangladeshi . . . we have Pakistani, we have Indian, we have Palestinian, we have Somali scholars on our board.
Of course since Koran 2:223 states that women are “tilth” to be “cultivated” (or “plowed”) by men, contemporary mainstream, institutional Islam sanctions marital rape. Not surprisingly then, as reported in the UK Independent (October 14, 2010), Sheikh Sayeed, affirmed this view during his March 2010 interview with The Samosa. Sheikh Sayeed was in fact responding to an inchoate effort at modernizing the contracts which govern Muslim marriages in Britain. The good sheikh, representing Britain’s main Islamic Sharia court, promptly published a rebuttal of the contract, which included a statement on sexual abuse. He opined in the March interview:
Clearly there cannot be any “rape” within the marriage. Maybe “aggression,” maybe “indecent activity.”
He further rejected both the characterization of nonconsensual marital sex as rape, and the prosecution of such offenders as “not Islamic.” Sheikh Sayeed, who came to Britain from Bangladesh in 1977, also brazenly expressed his Sharia supremacism and accompanying disdain for Western, that is, British law, stating “to make it exactly as the Western culture demands is as if we are compromising Islamic religion with secular non-Islamic values.”
Sayeed reaffirmed these sentiments to the UK Independent: “In Islamic Sharia, rape is adultery by force. So long as the woman is his wife, it cannot be termed as rape.”
Michael Nazir Ali (1949–) was the first bishop of Raiwand in Pakistan’s West Punjab (1984–1986), who emigrated to become the first non-white diocesan bishop in the Church of England. During September 2009, he gave up his English Bishopric to work full-time in defense of beleaguered Christian minorities, particularly within Islamdom. Nazir Ali commented aptly (during August, 2011) on this dangerous proliferation of Sharia courts in Britain from his unique, firsthand perspective on the impact of the Sharia in the Indian subcontinent, and now in his adopted British homeland with its burgeoning population of Muslims émigrés from that vast region:
To understand the impact of Sharia law you have to look at other [i.e., Islamic] countries. At its heart it has basic inequalities between Muslims and non-Muslims, and between men and women. The problem with Sharia law being used in tribunals [in Britain] is that it compromises the tradi­tion of equality for all under the law. It threatens the fundamental values that underpin our society.
But for those (like Bill O’Reilly) who naively—and smugly—proclaim such phenomena are absent within the Muslim communities of North America, con­sider the mainstream Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America’s (AMJA’s) response to the specific query, “Is there a such thing as Marital Rape?” AMJA opining on this question, issued fatwa number 2982 on May 30, 2007, by the AMJA Online Jurisprudence Section, which stated:
In the name of Allah, all praise is for Allah, and may peace and blessing be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family. To proceed: For a wife to abandon the bed of her husband without excuse is haram [forbidden]. It is one of the major sins and the angels curse her until the morning as we have been informed by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). She is considered nashiz (rebellious) under these circumstances. As for the issue of forcing a wife to have sex, if she refuses, this would not be called rape, even though it goes against natural instincts and destroys love and mercy, and there is a great sin upon the wife who refuses; and Allah Almighty is more exalted and more knowledgeable.
An ocean apart from Britain—now a recognized Western hotbed for “Islamic fundamentalism”—the same Sharia-sanctioned misogynistic bigotry prevails in a mainstream North American clerical organization openly advising US and Canadian Muslims.
FP: Why the denial about Sharia amongst Islamic Studies professors, the mainstream media, the Left in general, etc? How do you explain it?
Bostom: Unfortunately,  denial about the Sharia is not confined to the Left, or the Left-dominated academy, and includes conservative luminaries—from well-known journalist “pundits,” to policymakers and academics. But the academic Left is particularly illustrative of this ubiquitous problem.
Wael B. Hallaq, former James McGill Professor of Islamic Law at McGill University (and currently the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University), has acknowledged that a “fundamental feature” of traditional Islam’s resurgence,
is the constant and consistent popular call to restore the Sharia (which he identifies as “the religious law of Islam”). . . . The call dominates the dis­course of modern Muslims, and the tracts, pamphlets and books expounding this call are legion.
Hallaq further maintains that,
During the past two and a half decades, this call has grown ever more forceful, generating religious movements, a vast amount of literature, and affecting world politics. There is no doubt that Islamic law today is a sig­nificant cornerstone in the reaffirmation of Islamic identity, not only as a matter of positive law but also, and more importantly, as the foundation of a cultural uniqueness. Indeed, for many of today’s Muslims, to live by Islamic law is not merely a legal issue, but one that is distinctly psychological.
However, being a champion of the “postcolonial,” pseudo-academic drivel popularized by the late Edward Said, Hallaq, as an axiom, of course blames Western imperialist bogeymen, almost exclusively (if mindlessly) for this intrinsic Muslim—and Islamic—Sharia “revival” phenomenon. When also lamenting the extent to which such an Islamic revival could adopt “indig­enous modernism,” Hallaq, rather perversely, again indicts so-called Western colonial “hege­mony”—not the intrinsic totalitarian nature of the Sharia itself.
How does one explain the persistence and breadth of Hallaq’s mindset, which extends, albeit less commonly, to those on the political Right? Robert Conquest, the preeminent scholar of Soviet Communist totalitarianism, in his elucidation of Western vulnerability to totalitarian ideologies, wrote that democracy itself is “far less a matter of institutions than habits of mind”—the latter being subject to constant “stresses and strains.” He then notes the disturbingly widespread acceptance of totalitarian concepts among the ordinary citizens of pluralist Western societies.
Many in the West gave their full allegiance to these alien beliefs. Many others were at any rate not ill disposed towards them. And beyond that there was . . . a sort of secondary infection of the mental atmosphere of the West which still to some degree persists, distorting thought in countries that escaped the more wholesale disasters of our time.
But Conquest evinces no sympathy for those numerous “Western intellectuals or near intellectuals” of the 1930s through the 1950s whose willful delusions about the Soviet Union, “will be incredible to later students of mental aberration.” His critique of Western media highlights a cultural self-loathing tendency which has persisted and intensified over the intervening decades, through the present.
One role of the democratic media is, of course, to criticize their own govern­ments, draw attention to the faults and failings of their own country. But when this results in a transfer of loyalties to a far worse and thoroughly inim­ical culture, or at least to a largely uncritical favoring of such a culture, it becomes a morbid affliction—involving, often enough, the uncritical accep­tance of that culture’s own standards.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich delivered a singularly astute and courageous address July 29, 2010. Reactions to that speech across the political spectrum (here, here, here, and here) whether immediate or delayed, illustrate the contemporary equivalent of what Conquest appositely characterized as mindslaughter—a brilliantly evocative term for delusive Western apologetics regarding the ideology of Communism and the tangible horrors its Communist votaries inflicted. What did Newt Gingrich have the temerity to discuss? In defiance of our era’s most rigidly enforced cultural relativist taboo, Gingrich provided an irrefragably accurate, if blunt, characterization of the existential threat posed by Islam’s living, self-professed mission—to impose Sharia, its totalitarian, religio-political “law,” globally.
With vanishingly rare intellectual honesty and resolve, Gingrich described how normative Sharia—antithetical to bedrock Western legal principles—by “divine,” immutable diktat, rejects freedom of conscience, while sanctioning violent jihadism, absurd, misogynistic “rules of evidence” (four male witnesses for rape), barbarous punishments (stoning for adultery), and polygamy.
Sharia in its natural form has principles and punishments totally abhor­rent to the Western world, and the underlying basic belief which is that law comes directly from God and is therefore imposed upon humans and no human can change the law without it being an act of apostasy is a fun­damental violation of a tradition in the Western system which goes back to Rome, Athens and Jerusalem and which has evolved in giving us freedom across the planet on a scale we can hardly imagine and which is now directly threatened by those who would impose it.
Moreover, Gingrich warned about efforts—deliberate, or unwitting—to represent Sharia as a benign system.
So let me also be quite clear that the rules are radical and horrific. I think again it’s fascinating that even when people go out and do polling and they say to, for example, Muslims in general, do you believe in Sharia, they don’t then explain what Sharia is. Sharia becomes like would you like to be a Rotarian and it sounds okay.
Gingrich’s frank portrayal of the existential threat Sharia represents—whether or not this totalitarian system is imposed by violent, or nonviolent means—was accompanied by a clarion call for concrete measures to oppose any Sharia encroachment on the US legal code.
Stealth jihadis use political, cultural, societal, religious, intellectual tools; violent jihadis use violence. But in fact they’re both engaged in jihad and they’re both seeking to impose the same end state which is to replace Western civilization with a [radical] imposition of Sharia…The fight against Sharia and the madrassas in mosques which teach hatred and fanaticism is the heart of the enemy movement from which the terrorists spring forth. It’s time we had a national debate on this. One of the things I’m going to suggest today is a federal law which says no court any­where in the United States under any circumstance is allowed to consider Sharia as a replacement for American law.
Reminiscent of Conquest’s earlier assessment of Leftist apologists for Communism—and anticipating reactions to his own speech, albeit from “See No Sharia” cultural relativists not confined to the Left—Gingrich also wondered,
How we don’t have some kind of movement in this country on the left that understands that Sharia is a direct mortal threat to virtually every value that the left has is really one of the most interesting historical questions and will someday lead to many dissertations being written.
The ensuing vitriolic, if predictable, attacks (here, here, here, and here) on Gingrich, and/ or anti-Sharia state legislative initiatives his speech tacitly endorsed (i.e., in Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Tennessee), mirror analogous diatribes from Western Communist sympathizers and witless sycophants during the Soviet era. Past as prologue, George Orwell trenchantly characterized this particular aspect of Western pro-Communist mindslaughter, and the attitudes it engendered toward those deemed “rabidly anti-Communist.”
The upshot is that if from time to time you express a mild distaste for slave-labor camps or one-candidate elections, you are either insane or actuated by the worst motives. In the same way when Henry Wallace is asked by a news­paper interviewer why he issues falsified versions of his speeches to the press, he replies: “So you must be one of those people who are clamoring for war with Russia.” There is the milder kind of ridicule that consists in pretending that reasoned opinion is indistinguishable from an absurd out-of-date preju­dice. If you do not like Communism you are a Red-baiter.
FP: As regular contributor David Solway observes in his endorsement of your book, “…some heretofore immaculate scholarly figures come in for their lumps.” One of those critiqued is the neoconservatives’ ultimate sage of Islam, Bernard Lewis. What are your specific criticisms of Professor Lewis, and how do they relate to the book’s thematic presentation?
Bostom: Now 96 years old and still active, multiple deserving tributes to Bernard Lewis’ career as a scholar, and public intellectual, were written in celebration of this remarkable nonagenarian (see here  and here, for examples), coinciding in 2006, with his 90th birthday. I began expressing my concerns with Lewis’ scholarship in a lengthy review-essay (for Frontpage) on Bat Ye’or’s seminal book Eurabia—The Euro-Arab Axis,  published December 31, 2004. Over the intervening years—in the wake of profound US policy failures vis a vis Islamdom at that time, and subsequently, till now—this disquietude has increased considerably. As I demonstrate in Sharia Versus Freedom, Lewis’s legacy of intellectual and moral confusion has greatly hindered the ability of sincere American policymakers to think clearly about Islam’s living imperial legacy, driven by unreformed and unrepentant mainstream Islamic doctrine. Ongoing highly selective and celebratory presentations of Lewis’s under­standings—(see this for example) —are pathognomonic of the dangerous influence Lewis continues to wield over his uncritical acolytes and supporters.
In Sharia Versus Freedom, I review Lewis’s troubling intellectual legacy regarding four critical subject areas: the institution of jihad, the chronic impact of the Sharia on non-Muslims vanquished by jihad, sacralized Islamic Jew-hatred, and perhaps most importantly, his inexplicable 180-degree reversal on the notion of “Islamic democracy.” Lewis’ rather bowdlerized analyses are compared to the actual doctrinal formulations of Muslim legists, triumphal Muslim chroniclers celebrating the implementation of these doctrines,  and independent Western assessments by Islamologists (several of whom worked with Lewis, directly, as academic colleagues) which refute his sanitized claims.
Thus when discussing key doctrinal aspects of jihad, for example, the concepts of harbi, from Dar al Harb (“domain of war”,  i.e., lands not yet conquered and Islamized by the Muslims), or jihad martyrdom, Lewis’s analyses are incomplete or frankly apologetic. Lewis ignores the fact that unvanquished non-combatant “harbis” from outside the “domain of Islam” were chronically subjected to merciless and murderous rampages in full accord with the classical doctrine of jihad—a doctrine major, widely popular contemporary Muslim legists, including Muslim Brotherhood “Spiritual Guide” Yusuf al-Qaradawi, still expound to this day. Lewis also (rather disingenuously) conflates jihad homicide martyrdom operations—sanctioned and celebrated by the Sharia as the noblest path to eternal Islamic paradise—with Islam’s prohibition against suicide for depressive melancholia. Not surprisingly then, unlike scholars who specialized in the history of the jihad conquests across Asia, Africa, and Europe—such as Moshe Gil, Speros Vryonis, Dimitar Angelov, Charles Emmanuel Dufourcq, and K. S. Lal—Lewis’s rather superficial surveys avoid any details of the devastation these brutal campaigns wrought. As copiously documented by both proud Muslim historians and the laments of non-Muslim chroniclers representing the victims’ perspective, jihad depredations resulted in vast numbers of infidels mercilessly slaughtered—including noncombatant women and children—or enslaved, and deported; countless cities, villages, and infidel religious and cultural sites sacked and pillaged, often accompanied by the burning of harvest crops and massive uprooting of agricultural production systems, causing famine; and enormous quantities of treasure and movable goods seized as “booty.”
The late Orientalist Maxime Rodinson (d. 2004), a contemporary of Bernard Lewis, warned forty years ago of misguided modern scholarship effectively “sanctifying” Islam:
Understanding has given away to apologetics pure and simple.
Lewis’s bowdlerized 1974 summary portrayal of the system governance imposed upon those indigenous non-Muslims conquered by jihad is a distressing, ahistorical example of this apologetic genre.
Deriving from Koran 9:29 and its classical interpretation by Koranic commentators and Muslim jurists, alike, the “pact of subjugation, or “dhimma” (now more commonly known as “dhimmitude,” the coin termed by Bat Ye’or) was and remains a discriminatory, Sharia-based system imposed upon non-Muslims—Jews, Christians, as well as Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists—vanquished by jihad. Some of the more salient features of dhimmitude include: the prohibition of arms for the vanquished dhimmis, and of church bells; restrictions concerning the building and restoration of churches, synagogues, and temples; inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims with regard to taxes and penal law; the refusal of dhimmi testimony by Muslim courts; a requirement that Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims, including Zoroastrians and Hindus, wear special clothes; and the overall humiliation and abasement of non-Muslims. It is important to note that these regulations and attitudes were institutionalized as permanent features of the sacred Islamic law, or Sharia. The writings of the much-lionized Sufi theologian and jurist al-Ghazali (d. 1111) highlight how the institution of dhimmitude was simply a normative and prominent feature of the Sharia:
[T]he dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle. . . . Jews, Christians, and Majians [Zoroastrians] must pay the jizya [poll tax on non-Muslims]. . . . [O]n offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protru­berant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible]. . . . They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells . . . their houses may not be higher than the Muslim’s, no matter how low that is. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddler-work is of wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. They [the dhimmis] have to wear [an identifying] patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the [public] baths . . . [dhimmis] must hold their tongue.
The practical consequences of such a discriminatory system were summarized in A. S. Tritton’s 1930 The Caliphs and Their Non-Muslim Subjects, a pioneering treatise on the status of the dhimmis:
[C]aliphs destroyed churches to obtain materials for their buildings, and the mob was always ready to pillage churches and monasteries . . . dhimmis . . . always lived on sufferance, exposed to the caprices of the ruler and the pas­sions of the mob . . . in later times . . . [t]hey were much more liable to suffer from the violence of the crowd, and the popular fanaticism was accompanied by an increasing strictness among the educated. The spiritual isolation of Islam was accomplished. The world was divided into two classes, Muslims and others, and only Islam counted. . . . Indeed the general feeling was that the leavings of the Muslims were good enough for the dhimmis.
Yet over four decades after Tritton published this apt characterization, here is what Bernard Lewis opined on the subject (in 1974):
The dhimma on the whole worked well [emphasis added]. The non-Muslims managed to thrive under Muslim rule, and even to make significant contri­butions to Islamic civilization. The restrictions were not onerous, and were usually less severe in practice than in theory. As long as the non-Muslim communities accepted and conformed to the status of tolerated subordina­tion assigned to them, they were not troubled.112
As I describe in Sharia Versus Freedom, the assessments of two other highly esteemed 20th century Western Islamologists—Professors Ann Lambton and S. D. Goitein—who were Lewis’s contemporaries and colleagues, make plain that his flimsy apologetic on “the dhimma” does not represent a consensus Western scholarly viewpoint. Brief samples of their conclusions are provided below:
[Lambton] The humiliating regulations to which [dhimmis] were subject as regards their dress and conduct in public were not, however, nearly so serious as their moral subjection, the imposition of the poll tax, and their legal disabilities. They were, in general, made to feel that they were beyond the pale. Partly as a result of this, the Christian communities dwindled in number, vitality, and morality. . . . The degradation and demoralization of the [dhimmis] had dire consequences for the Islamic community and reacted unfavorably on Islamic political and social life.
[Goitein]: [T]he Muslim state was quite the opposite of the ideals propagated by…the principles embedded in the constitution of the United States. An Islamic state was part of or coincided with dar al-Islam, the House of Islam. Its trea­sury was mal al-muslumin, the money of the Muslims. Christians and Jews were not citizens of the state, not even second class citizens. They were outsiders under the protection of the Muslim state, a status characterized by the term dhimma, for which protection they had to pay a poll tax specific to them. They were also exposed to a great number of discriminatory and humiliating laws. . . . As it lies in the very nature of such restrictions, soon additional humiliations were added, and before the second century of Islam was out, a complete body of legislation in this matter was in existence. . . . In times and places in which they became too oppressive they lead to the dwindling or even complete extinction of the minorities
Lewis’s conception of Islam’s doctrinal antisemitism, and its resultant historical treatment of Jews, is a sham castle which rests on two false pillars. These glib affirmations, which amount to nothing less than sheer denial, are illustrated below:
In Islamic society hostility to the Jew is non-theological. It is not related to any specific Islamic doctrine, nor to any specific circumstance in Islamic history. For Muslims it is not part of the birth-pangs of their religion, as it is for Christians… “dhimmi”-tude [derisively hyphenated] subservience and persecution and ill treatment of Jews . . . [is a] myth.
There is voluminous evidence from Islam’s foundational texts of theological Jew-hatred: virulently antisemitic Koranic verses whose virulence is only amplified by the greatest classical and modern Muslim Koranic commentaries (by Tabari [d. 923], Zamakshari [d. 1143], Baydawi [d. ~1316], Ibn Kathir [d.1373], and Suyuti [d. 1505], to Qutb [d. 1966] and Mawdudi [d.1979]), the six canonical hadith collections, and the most respected sira (pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad, by Ibn Ishaq [d. 761 ]/Ibn Hisham [d. 813], Ibn Sa’d [d. 835 ], Waqidi [d. 822], and Tabari). The antisemitic motifs in these texts have been carefully elucidated by scholarship that dates back to Hartwig Hirschfeld’s mid-1880s analysis of the sira and Georges Vajda’s 1937 study of the hadith, complemented in the past two decades by Haggai Ben Shammai’s 1988 examination of the major anti-Semitic verses and themes in the Koran and Koran exegesis, and Saul S. Friedman’s broad, straightforward enumeration of Koranic antisemitism in 1989. Moshe Perlmann, a preeminent scholar of Islam’s ancient anti-Jewish polemical literature, made this summary observation in 1964:
The Koran, of course became a mine of anti-Jewish passages. The hadith did not lag behind. Popular preachers used and embellished such material.120
Notwithstanding Bernard Lewis’s hollow claims, salient examples of Jew-hatred illustrating Perlmann’s remarkably compendious assessment of these foundational Islamic sources, and their tragic application across space and time, through the present, are detailed, with copious documentation in my The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, and summarized in Sharia Versus Freedom.
Once again, it is illuminating to juxtapose Lewis’s attempt to deny the existence of antisemitism in Medieval Islam with the conclusions of his academic colleague S. D. Goitein, based upon the latter’s thorough philological and historical analyses of the primary-source Geniza documents (a cache of religious texts, documents, and letters, from Cairo, Egypt, which sheds light on the condition of Jews during “classical” Islam). Thus, in the specific context of the Arab Muslim world during the high Middle Ages (circa 950–1250 CE), Goitein’s seminal analyses revealed that the Geniza documentary record employed the term antisemitism,
in order to differentiate animosity against Jews from the discrimination practiced by Islam against non-Muslims in general. Our scrutiny of the Geniza material has proved the existence of “antisemitism” in the time and the area considered here.
Goitein cites as concrete proof of his assertion that a unique strain of Islamic Jew-hatred was extant at this time (i.e., up to a millennium ago)—exploding Lewis’s spurious claim of its absence—the fact that letters from the Cairo Geniza material,
have a special word for it and, most significantly, one not found in the Bible or in Talmudic literature (nor registered in any Hebrew dictionary), but one much used and obviously coined in the Geniza period. It is sinuth, “hatred,” a Jew-baiter being called sone, “a hater.”
Incidents of such Muslim Jew-hatred documented by Goitein in the Geniza record come from northern Syria (Salamiyya and al-Mar’arra), Morocco (Fez), and Egypt (Alexandria), with references to the latter being particularly frequent.
Pace Lewis’s complete misrepresentation of Islamic antisemitism (as well as his whitewashing of the creed’s jihadism, and related imposition of dhimmitude), here is but a very incomplete sampling of pogroms and mass murderous violence against Jews living under Islamic rule, across space and time, all resulting from the combined effects of jihadism, general anti-dhimmi, and/or specifically anti-Semitic motifs in Islam: 6,000 Jews massacred in Fez in 1033; hundreds of Jews slaughtered in Muslim Cordoba between 1010 and 1015; 4,000 Jews killed in Muslim riots in Grenada in 1066, wiping out the entire community; the Berber Muslim Almohad depredations of Jews (and Christians) in Spain and North Africa between 1130 and 1232, which killed tens of thousands, while forcibly converting thousands more, and subjecting the forced Jewish converts to Islam to a Muslim Inquisition; the 1291 pogroms in Baghdad and its environs, which killed (at least) hundreds of Jews; the 1465 pogrom against the Jews of Fez; the late fifteenth-century pogrom against the Jews of the Southern Moroccan oasis town of Touat; the 1679 pogroms against, and then expulsion of, 10,000 Jews from Sana’a, Yemen, to the unlivable, hot and dry plain of Tihama, from which only 1,000 returned alive in 1680, 90 percent having died from exposure; recurring Muslim anti-Jewish violence—including pogroms and forced conversions—throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, which rendered areas of Iran (for example, Tabriz) Judenrein; the 1834 pogrom in Safed, where raging Muslim mobs killed and grievously wounded hundreds of Jews; the 1888 massacres of Jews in Isfahan and Shiraz, Iran; the 1910 pogrom in Shiraz; the pillage and destruction of the Casablanca, Morocco, ghetto in 1907; the pillage of the ghetto of Fez, Morocco, in 1912; the government-sanctioned anti-Jewish pogroms by Muslims in Turkish Eastern Thrace during June–July 1934, which ethnically cleansed at least 3,000 Jews; and the series of pogroms, expropriations, and finally mass expulsions of some 900,000 Jews from Arab Muslim nations, beginning in 1941 in Baghdad (the murderous “Farhud,” during which 600 Jews were murdered, and at least 12,000 pillaged)—eventually involving cities and towns in Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Syria, Aden, and Bahrain, and culminating in 1967 in Tunisia—that accompanied the planning and creation of a Jewish state, Israel, on a portion of the Jews’ ancestral homeland.151
Journalist David Warren, writing in March 2006, questioned the advice given President Bush “on the nature of Islam” at that crucial time by not only “the paid operatives of Washington’s Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the happyface pseudo-scholar Karen Armstrong,” but most significantly, one eminence grise, in particular: “the profoundly learned” Bernard Lewis. All these advisers, despite their otherwise divergent viewpoints, as Warren noted,  “assured him (President Bush) that Islam and modernity were potentially compat­ible.” None more vehemently—or with such authority—than the so-called “Last Orientalist,” nonagenarian professor Bernard Lewis. Arguably the most striking example of Lewis’s fervor was a lecture he delivered July 16, 2006 (on board the ship Crystal Serenity during a Hillsdale College cruise in the British Isles) about the transferability of Western democracy to despotic Muslim societies, such as Iraq.  He concluded with the statement, “Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us.” This stunning claim was published with that concluding remark as the title, “Bring Them Freedom Or They Destroy Us,” and disseminated widely.
While Lewis put forth rather non sequitur, apologetic examples in support of his concluding formulation, he never elucidated the yawning gap between Western and Islamic conceptions of freedom—hurriyya in Arabic.  This latter omission was particularly striking given Professor Lewis’s contribution to the offi­cial (Brill) Encyclopedia of Islam entry on hurriyya. Lewis egregiously omitted not only his earlier writings on hurriyya but what he had also termed the “authoritarian or even totalitarian” essence of Islamic societies.
Hurriyya, “freedom,” is—as Ibn Arabi (d. 1240) the lionized “Greatest Sufi Master,” expressed it—“perfect slavery.” And this conception is not merely con­fined to the Sufis’ perhaps metaphorical understanding of the relationship between Allah the “master” and his human “slaves.” Following Islamic law slavishly throughout one’s life was paramount to hurriyya, “freedom.” This earlier more con­crete characterization of hurriyya’s metaphysical meaning, whose essence Ibn Arabi reiterated, was pronounced by the Sufi scholar al-Qushayri (d. 1072/74).
Let it be known to you that the real meaning of freedom lies in the perfection of slavery. If the slavery of a human being in relation to God is a true one, his freedom is relieved from the yoke of changes. Anyone who imagines that it may be granted to a human being to give up his slavery for a moment and disregard the commands and prohibitions of the religious law while possessing discre­tion and responsibility, has divested himself of Islam. God said to his Prophet: “Worship until certainty comes to you.” (Koran 15:99). As agreed upon by the [Koranic] commentators, “certainty” here means the end (of life).
Bernard Lewis, in his Encyclopedia of Islam analysis of hurriyya, discusses this concept in the latter phases of the Ottoman Empire, through the contemporary era. After highlighting a few “cautious” or “conservative” (Lewis’s characterization) reformers and their writings, Lewis maintains,
there is still no idea that the subjects have any right to share in the formation or conduct of government—to political freedom, or citizenship, in the sense which underlies the development of political thought in the West. While conservative reformers talked of freedom under law, and some Muslim rulers even experimented with councils and assemblies government was in fact becoming more and not less arbitrary.
Lewis also makes the important point that Western colonialism ameliorated this chronic situation:
During the period of British and French domination, individual freedom was never much of an issue. Though often limited and sometimes sus­pended, it was on the whole more extensive and better protected than either before or after.
And Lewis concludes his entry by observing that Islamic societies forsook even their inchoate democratic experiments,
In the final revulsion against the West, Western democracy too was rejected as a fraud and a delusion, of no value to Muslims.
Writing contemporaneously elsewhere, Lewis concedes that (with the possible exception of Turkey), following the era of the French Revolution, 150 years of prior experimentation with Western secular sovereignty and laws in many Islamic countries, notably Egypt, had not fared well.
[T]he imported political machinery failed to work, and in its breakdown led to the violent death or sudden displacement by other means of ministers and monarchs, all of whom had failed to replace even the vanished Sultanate in the respect and loyalties of the people. In Egypt a republic was proclaimed which in some respects seems to be a return to one of the older political tradi­tions of Islam—paternal, authoritarian Government, resting on military force, with the support of some of the religious leaders and teachers, and apparently, general acceptance. Perhaps that is an Islamic Republic of a sort.
Moreover, Lewis viewed this immediate post–World War II era of democratic experimentation by Muslim societies as an objective failure (again, with the possible exception of developments, at that time, in Turkey), rooted in Islamic totalitarianism, which he compared directly (and unabashedly) to Communist totalitarianism, noting their “uncomfortable resemblances” with some apprehension.
I turn now from the accidental to the essential factors, to those deriving from the very nature of Islamic society, tradition, and thought. The first of these is the authoritarianism, perhaps we may even say the totalitarianism, of the Islamic political tradition. . . . Many attempts have been made to show that Islam and democracy are identical—attempts usually based on a misunder­standing of Islam or democracy or both. This sort of argument expresses a need of the up- rooted Muslim intellectual who is no longer satisfied with or capable of understanding traditional Islamic values, and who tries to justify, or rather, re-state, his inherited faith in terms of the fashionable ideology of the day. It is an example of the romantic and apologetic presentation of Islam that is a recognized phase in the reaction of Muslim thought to the impact of the West…[T]he political history of Islam is one of almost unrelieved autocracy. . . . [I]t was authoritarian, often arbitrary, sometimes tyrannical. There are no parliaments or representative assemblies of any kind, no councils or communes, no chambers of nobility or estates, no municipalities in the history of Islam; nothing but the sover­eign power, to which the subject owed complete and unwavering obedience as a religious duty imposed by the Holy Law…Quite obviously, the Ulama [religious leaders] of Islam are very dif­ferent from the Communist Party. Nevertheless, on closer examination, we find certain uncomfortable resemblances. Both groups profess a totalitarian doctrine, with complete and final answers to all questions on heaven and earth; the answers are different in every respect, alike only in their finality and completeness, and in the contrast they offer with the eternal ques­tioning of Western man. Both groups offer to their members and followers the agreeable sensation of belonging to a community of believers, who are always right, as against an outer world of unbelievers, who are always wrong. Both offer an exhilarating feeling of mission, of purpose, of being engaged in a collective adventure to accelerate the historically inevitable victory of the true faith over the infidel evil-doers. The traditional Islamic division of the world into the House of Islam and the House of War, two necessarily opposed groups, of which—the first has the collective obligation of perpetual struggle against the second, also has obvious parallels in the Communist view of world affairs. There again, the content of belief is utterly different, but the aggressive fanaticism of the believer is the same. The humorist who summed up the Communist creed as “There is no God and Karl Marx is his Prophet” was laying his finger on a real affinity. The call to a Communist Jihad, a Holy War for the faith—a new faith, but against the self-same Western Christian enemy—might well strike a responsive note.
Six decades after Lewis made these candid observations, there is a historical record to judge—a clear, irrefragable legacy of failed secularization efforts, accompanied by steady grassroots and institutional re-Islamization across the Muslim world, epitomized, at present, by the Orwellian-named, “Arab Spring.” The late P. J. Vatikiotis (d. 1997), Emeritus Professor of Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), was a respected scholar of the Middle East, who, contemporaneous with Lewis (a SOAS colleague), wrote extensively about Islamic reformism throughout the twentieth century, particularly in Egypt. Focusing outside Turkey and Pakistan on the Arab Middle East (i.e., Egypt, the Sudan, Syria, and Iraq), Vatikiotis wrote candidly in 1981 of how authoritarian Islam doomed inchoate efforts at creating political systems which upheld individual freedom in the region:
What is significant is that after a tolerably less autocratic/authoritarian political experience during their apprenticeship for independent statehood under foreign power tutelage, during the inter-war period, most of these states once completely free or independent of foreign control, very quickly moved towards highly autocratic-authoritarian patterns of rule. . . . One could suggest a hiatus of roughly three years between the departure or removal of European influence and power and overthrow of the rickety plural political systems they left behind in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and the Sudan by military coups d’etat.
Authoritarianism and autocracy in the Middle East may be unstable in the sense that autocracies follow one another in frequent succession. Yet the ethos of authoritarianism may be lasting, even permanent. . . . One could venture into a more ambitious philosophical etiology by pointing out the absence of a concept of ‘natural law’ or ‘law of reason’ in the intellectual-cultural heri­tage of Middle Eastern societies. After all, everything before Islam, before God revealed his message to Muhammad, constitutes jahiliyya, or the dark age of ignorance. Similarly, anything that deviates from the eternal truth or verities of Islamic teaching is equally degenerative, and therefore unac­ceptable. That is why, by definition, any Islamic movement which seeks to make Islam the basic principle of the polity does not aim at innovation but at the restoration of the ideal that has been abandoned or lost. The missing of an experience similar, or parallel, to the Renaissance, freeing the Muslim individual from external constraints of, say, religious authority in order to engage in a creative course measured and judged by rational and existential human standards, may also be a relevant consideration. The individual in the Middle East has yet to attain his independence from the wider collectivity, or to accept the proposition that he can create a political order.
Unlike Vatikiotis, Bernard Lewis has ignored these obvious setbacks. Remarkably, Lewis, as evidenced by his current volte-face on the merits of experiments in “Islamic democracy” has become a far more dogmatic evangelist for so-called Islamic democratization, despite such failures!
Consistent with Lewis’ admonition, “Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us,” the US military, at an enormous cost of blood and treasure,  liberated Afghanistan and Iraq from despotic regimes. However, as facilitated by the Sharia-based Afghan and Iraqi constitutions the US military occupation helped midwife—which have negated freedom of conscience and promoted the persecution of non-Muslim religious minorities—“they,” that is, the Muslim denizens of Afghanistan and Iraq, have chosen to reject the opportunity for Western freedom “we” pro­vided them, and transmogrified it into “hurriyya.” Far more important than mere hypocrisy—a widely prevalent human trait—is the deleterious legacy of his own Islamic confusion Bernard Lewis has bequeathed to Western policymaking elites, both academic and nonacademic.
FP: The final section is entitled, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sharia?” Please summarize how you address this pressing question, and your conclusions.
Bostom: On May 12, 2011 a US Army “Red Team” issued an unclassified report which sought to explain the burgeoning rash of murderous attacks (which over the next 15-months escalated even further, still) by Afghan National Army (ANA) members on US and other NATO troops. The most salient point remained blatantly ignored throughout the feckless conduct of our mission in Afghanistan, till now, as exemplified, glaringly, by current US Forces Afghanistan commander General John Allen’s  heinous August 23, 2012  remarks. General Allen maintained that Ramadan fasting, combined with operational tempo during the summer heat, were the drivers of these most recent killings of his own troops by Muslim ANA soldiers! Contra Allen’s willful blindness, the Army’s Red Team report inserted (as item 40), this definitive comment amongst 58 other comparatively trivial recommendations:
Better educate US soldiers in the central tenets of Islam as interpreted and practiced in Afghanistan. Ensure that this instruction is not a sanitized, politically correct training package, but rather includes an objective and comprehensive assessment of the totalitarian nature of the extreme theology practiced among Afghans.
Unflinching, honest education on Islam, absent any delusive, or manifestly disingenuous cultural relativist prattle about the creed, and its totalitarian religio-political law, remains the most important defense in our armamentarium against encroaching Sharia. Properly explicated  and understood, the threats posed by Sharia supremacism, both foreign and domestic, may then be confronted rationally.
Ex-Communist apostate Whittaker Chambers (circa 1947) compared the violent fanati­cism of the twentieth century’s secular totalitarian systems adherents, to the vota­ries of Islam. The modern totalitarians expressed “new ideas” which were “violently avowed,”and “the hallmark of their advocates was a fanaticism unknown since the first flush of Islam.” Sharia Versus Freedom demonstrates that Chambers’s passing comparison has doctrinal and historical validity, which comports with serious modern assessments by other former Communist and non-Communist intellectuals alike (i.e., in chronological order, by Bertrand Russell [1920]; G.K. Chesterton [1921]; Arthur Koestler [1928]; Jules Monnerot [1949]; Bernard Lewis [1954]; Karl Wittfogel [1957]; Ernest Gellner [1991]; and Maxime Rodinson [2001]). Sociologist Jules Monnerot made very detailed and explicit connections between pre-modern Islamic and twentieth-century Communist totalitarianism in Sociologie du Communisme. The title of his first chapter dubbed Communism as “The Twentieth-Century Islam.” Monnerot elucidated these two primary shared characteristics of Islam and Communism: “conversion”—followed by subversion—from within, and the fusion of “religion” and state. Citing Stalin (circa 1949) as the contemporary personification, Monnerot elaborated on this totalitarian consolidation (“condensation”) of power shared by Islam and Communism, and the refusal of these universalist creeds to accept limits on their “frontiers.” He further observes that to those who did not accept their ideology, or self-proclaimed “mission,” Communism—and Islam before it—were viewed as imperialistic religious fanaticisms. Finally, Monnerot (invoking Ernest Renan [d. 1892]) underscores how incoherent Western intellectual apologists for totalitarianism—whether Communist or Islamic—promote the advance of these destructive ideologies.
Moreover, the seminal 20th century ideologue of Islamic revival, Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, writing in 1960, validated Monnerot’s comparison from a pious Muslim perspective.
A state of this sort [i.e., an Islamic state] cannot evidently restrict the scope of its activities. Its approach is universal and all-embracing. Its sphere of activity is coextensive with the whole of human life. It seeks to mould every aspect of life and activity in consonance with its moral norms and programme of social reform. In such a state no one can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private. Considered from this aspect the Islamic state bears a kind of resemblance to the Fascist and Communist states.
Collectively, these observations suggest that the strategies employed to thwart some of the dangers of Communist totalitarianism, might also be applicable to the struggle against totalitarian Islam.
Chambers’s pellucid formulation of the Communist threat—whether covert or overt—was rooted in his thorough doctrinal and experiential understanding of Communism. In Witness he states,
No one knows so well as the ex-Communist the character of the conflict, and of the enemy. . . . For no other has seen so deeply into the total nature of the evil with which Communism threatens mankind.
Mirroring the ex-Communist apostate Chambers, vis-à-vis Communism, Ibn Warraq, the contemporary Muslim apostate, combines a highly informed, profound appreciation for his adopted Western civilization, with a deep understanding of the doctrinal and historical threat Islam poses to the West. Warraq’s books and essays have critically examined Islam’s origins, tenets, and history. His scholarly 2003 analysis of apostasy in Islam—illustrated by exten­sive, poignant testimonies from modern Muslim apostates—remains a landmark work documenting this unresolved global human rights tragedy. More recently. Warraq produced an expansive, breathtaking overview of the West’s contributions to art, literature, and philosophy, which was combined with a sound debunking of post-modern, anti-Western charlatanism, epitomized by the sorry “oeuvre” of Edward Said.

Warraq’s insights, and the shared revelations of Muslim freethinkers Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan presented in Sharia Versus Freedom, expose the nature of totalitarian Islam, while helping formulate rational strategies to combat its threats. Their concerns are validated domestically by accompanying analyses of mosque surveillance data, and the authoritative advice proffered by the mainstream Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) to both imams (during formal AMJA-sponsored educational training programs), and ordinary Muslims (via public fatwas).

In brief, the landmark “Sharia and Violence in American Mosques” study provides irrefragable evidence that 81 percent of this nationally representative sample of US mosques—consistent with mainstream Islamic doc­trine, practice, and sentiment since the founding of the Muslim creed—are incul­cating jihadism with the goal of implementing sharia here in America. AMJA’s fatwas and other publications make plain that it too promotes application of traditional Sharia mandates—antithetical to US constitutional law—and the seditious replacement of our legal code with Islam’s totalitarian system, via jihad.

Four specific examples of push back (three suggested; one completed) against domestic the Sharia supremacist agenda, are discussed:
  • Subpoenaing a group of AMJA jurists to testify before Congressman Peter Kings’ Committee on Homeland Security and have them repeat verbatim, and then explain, under cross-examination, their Sharia-based, seditious advice to North American Muslims.
  • To combat warped, Islamophilic educational indoctrination at the high school, community college, and freshman/sophomore major college levels, families/students should purchase the single volume Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam (also reproduced and available as The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam). The Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam remains an unequaled—and unbowdlerized—reference work, which includes all the articles contained in the first edition and supplement of the nine-volume classic Brill Encyclopaedia of Islam, pertaining, in particular, to the religion and law of Islam.
  • A minor, but deeply symbolic edit to the Naval sea burial ceremony protocol for eligible Muslim members must be performed. Specifically, the final verse (v. 7) of the Fatiha (the Koran’s brief opening prayer), has to be eliminated. While the first 6 verses celebrate Islam without reference to other faiths, v. 7 is an eternal curse upon Jews and Christians (as confirmed by 13 centuries of authoritative, mainstream Koranic exegesis, to this day). Thus, uttering v. 7 at a solemn, interfaith Naval funeral ceremony, attended by predominantly non-Muslims, especially Christians, is a blatant, gratuitous rejection of America’s core values of religious tolerance, and an affirmation of bigoted Sharia supremacism.
  • The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2:1 on Thursday, May 26, 2011 (in GEORGE SAIEG, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CITY OF DEARBORN; RONALD HADDAD, Dearborn Chief of Police), that Dearborn, and its police department, violated the free-speech rights of a Christian evangelist by barring him from handing out leaflets at an Arab-American street festival last year. The majority opinion of Justices Moore and Clay included a keen observation revealing how these judges understood the sharia-based objections to non-Muslim proselytization which motivated Dearborn’s attempt to abrogate Pastor Saieg’s freedom of speech—mainstream Islam’s continued rejection of freedom of conscience:
Saieg also faces a more basic problem with booth-based evangelism: “[t]he penalty of leaving Islam according to Islamic books is death,” which makes Muslims reluctant to approach a booth that is publicly “labeled as . . . Christian.” R. 48 (Ex. A: Saieg Dep. at 75). Saieg believes that evangelism is more effective when he can roam the Festival and speak to Muslims more discreetly.
Following the issuance of the verdict, Pastor Saieg’s intrepid attorney, Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center, made these apposite remarks, which all who cherish our unique Western freedoms must heed, and support:

Everybody should be pleased. Dearborn is getting a pretty strong reputation as being the enemy of the First Amendment. As long as they keep passing these draconian restrictions that violate the rights of everyone, we’re going to challenge them.
Finally, when opposing jihadism overseas, American policymakers must radically alter their See No Islam/See No Sharia mindset, and heed the lessons of Japan’s World War II era defeat and reconstruction. Central to both efforts—first defeating, and then reconstructing Japan—was a complete delegitimization and disenfranchise­ment of Japan’s religio-political state religion, post–Meiji Restoration (1868) Shintoism. Our policymakers ignored this paradigm in Afghanistan and Iraq, midwiving illiberal Sharia states, allied with their axis of jihad co-religionists from neighboring Pakistan and Iran, against the US.

We have a moral obligation to oppose Sharia which is antithetical to the core beliefs for which hundreds of thousands of brave Americans have died, including, over 6600 now, in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined. There has never been a Sharia state in history that has not discriminated (often violently) against the non-Muslims (and Muslim women) under its suzerainty. Such states have invariably taught (starting with Muslim children) the aggressive jihad ideology which leads to predatory jihad razzias on neighboring “infidels”—even when certain of those “infidels” happened to consider themselves Muslims, let alone if those infidels were clearly non-Muslims. That is the ultimate danger and geopolitical absurdity of a policy that ignores or whitewashes basic Islamic doctrine and history, while however inadvertently, making or remaking these societies “safe for Sharia.”

FP: Andrew G. Bostom, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

Jamie Glazov


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