Saturday, June 29, 2013

Arab Spring Prompts Arab-Israeli Christians to Reevaluate Israel

by Evelyn Gordon

Today’s Israel Hayom has an important article about an Israeli Greek Orthodox priest that every Christian in the West should read. Father Gabriel Nadaf and his family are suffering harassment and even death threats from their fellow Arabs for arguing that Israeli Arab Christians should serve in the Israel Defense Forces. On Tuesday, he was even summoned to a disciplinary hearing by the local Greek Orthodox patriarch, Theophilus III, which ended with Theophilus keeping Nadaf in office but asking him to lower his profile. The account of the hearing given by one of Nadaf’s close associates, Shady Halul, is revealing:

“The patriarch told Father Nadaf that he is not an opponent of the state of Israel,” he said. “On the contrary, he is very appreciative of the security enjoyed by Christians in Israel. He did ask Nadaf to tone down his statements concerning his work with the forum so as to ensure the safety of Christians in the Palestinian Authority and the Arab states.”

It has become a truism among some Christian groups that Israel is primarily to blame for the suffering of Middle East Christians. In 2010, for instance, a synod of Catholic bishops from the Middle East blamed the Christian exodus from the region on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thus it’s worth listening to what these Israeli Christians have to say: that Israel is actually the one place in the region where Arab Christians enjoy security; elsewhere, they are oppressed by their fellow Arab Muslims.

Even more noteworthy, however, is that since the Arab Spring erupted, the “forum” to which Halul referred in the above quote–the Forum for the Enlistment of the Christian Community, founded by a group of Christian IDF veterans–has seen a marked increase in the number of Christians seeking to enlist, though they still represent a minority of the Arab Christian community. Previously, many Arab Christians bought into pan-Arab ideology, and thus believed their interests lay with their fellow Arabs. But the Arab Spring shattered this ideology: In country after country, Arab Islamists have turned on fellow Arabs who fail to toe their religious line, and this, naturally, includes Christians. By comparison, Israel is a haven.

“We feel secure in the state of Israel,” Nadaf explained, “and we see ourselves as citizens of the state with all the attendant rights as well as obligations.”

Indeed, the shift is so marked that the forum even lobbied (successfully) to get Arab Christians integrated into Jewish units rather than into Bedouin units (Bedouin are the only Muslims who serve in the IDF in significant numbers), thereby opting to forgo the comfort of serving with other Arabic-speakers.

As I’ve written before, a similar sea change is occurring among the Druze of the Golan Heights: Since the Syrian civil war erupted, the number seeking Israeli citizenship has soared by hundreds of percent, after decades in which most preferred to retain Syrian citizenship. As one explained, “People see murdered children and refugees fleeing to Jordan and Turkey, lacking everything, and ask themselves: Where do I want to raise my children. The answer is clear–in Israel and not Syria.”

All this leaves only one question: When are those western Christian groups that reflexively view Israel as the root of all evil going to reach the same realization that Nadaf and his followers have?
Evelyn Gordon


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

Obama's War of Ideas

by Caroline Glick

Obama Putin.jpg

US foreign policy is failing worldwide.

The Russian and Chinese embrace of indicted traitor Edward Snowden is just the latest demonstration of the contempt in which the US is held by an ever increasing number of adversarial states around the world.

Iran has also gotten a piece of the action.

As part of the regime's bread and circuses approach to its subjects, supreme dictator Ali Khamenei had pretend reformer Hassan Rohani win the presidential election in a landslide two weeks ago. Rohani has a long record of advancing Iran's nuclear program, both as a national security chief and as a senior nuclear negotiator. He also has a record of deep involvement in acts of mass terror, including the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded hundreds.

Yet rather than distance itself from Rohani the phony, the Obama administration has celebrated Iranian democracy and embraced him as a reformer. Obama's spokesmen say they look forward to renewing nuclear talks with Rohani, and so made clear - yet again - that the US has no intention of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Rohani responded to the administration's embrace by stating outright he will not suspend Iran's nuclear enrichment activities. In other words, so great is Iran's contempt for President Barack Obama and his administration, that it didn't even pay lip service to the notion of cutting a deal.

And that makes sense. Obama only has one card he is willing to play with Iran: appeasement. And so that is the card he plays. His allies are already talking about containing a nuclear Iran. But that's not an option.

A government's ability to employ a strategy of nuclear containment is entirely dependent on the credibility of its nuclear threats. Obama is slashing the US nuclear arsenal, and Snowden reportedly just gave the Russians and the Chinese the US's revised nuclear war plans. Obama has no credibility in nuclear games of chicken. He has no chance of containing Khamenei and his apocalyptic jihad state.

Iran, its Russian ally and its Lebanese Hezbollah proxy now have the upper hand in the Syrian civil war. In large part due to Obama's foreign policy, the war is spilling into Lebanon and threatening Jordan and Iraq - not to mention Israel. In response to this state of affairs, Obama has decided to begin arming the al-Qaida-dominated Syrian opposition forces. Now it's true, Obama is planning to transfer US arms to the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army that is recognized by the US. But that is no reason not to worry.

The Free Syrian Army is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. It condemned the US's decision to designate the Syrian al-Qaida affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, a foreign terrorist organization. FSA fighters and commanders regularly collaborate with (and sometimes fight) Al-Nusra. At a minimum, there is no reason to believe that these US arms will not be used in conjunction with al-Qaida forces in Syria.

In truth, there is little reason from a US perspective to view a Syria dominated by any of the warring parties - including the FSA - as amenable to US interests or values. There is no ideological distinction between the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood and those of al-Qaida, or Hamas or a dozen other jihadist armed groups that were formed by Muslim Brotherhood members. Like Iran and its proxies, they all want to see Western civilization - led by the US - destroyed. And yes, they all want to destroy Israel, and Europe.

But for the Obama administration, this ideological affinity is not relevant.

The only distinction they care about is whether a group just indoctrinates people to become jihadists, or whether they are actively engaged - at this minute - in plotting or carrying out terrorist attacks against the US. And even then, there are exceptions.

For instance, the Taliban are actively waging war against the US in Afghanistan. But since the Obama administration has no will to defeat the Taliban, it is begging them to negotiate with US officials.

Obama's default position in the Muslim world is to support the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is the wellspring of the Sunni jihadist movement. And Obama is the Brotherhood's greatest ally. He facilitated the Brotherhood's rise to power in Egypt, at the expense of the US's most important Arab ally, Hosni Mubarak.

He even supported them at the expense of American citizens employed in Egypt by US government-supported NGOs. Forty-three Americans were arrested for promoting democracy, and all the administration would do was facilitate their escape from Egypt. Robert Becker, the one US aid worker who refused to flee, was abandoned by the State Department. He just escaped from Egypt after being sentenced to two years in prison.

The Obama administration supports the Morsi government even as it persecutes Christians. It supports the Muslim Brotherhood even though the government has demonstrated economic and administrative incompetence, driving Egypt into failed state status. Egypt is down to its last few cans of fuel. It is facing the specter of mass starvation. And law and order have already broken down entirely. It has lost the support of large swathes of the public. But still Obama maintains faith.

Then there are the Palestinians.

John Kerry is knocking on our door again this week in an obsessive effort to restart the mordant phony peace process. For its part, as The Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh reported this week, the supposedly moderate Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority has adopted a policy of denying Jews entrance to PA-ruled areas. Jewish reporters - Israeli and non-Israeli - are barred from covering the PA or speaking with Fatah and PA officials.

Jewish diplomats are barred from speaking to PA officials or joining the entourage of diplomats who speak with them. Jewish businessmen are barred from doing business in the PA.

As for the radical Hamas terror group that rules Gaza, this week Hamas again reiterated its loyalty to its covenant which calls for the obliteration of Israel and the annihilation of world Jewry.

But Kerry is coming back because he's convinced that the reason there's no peace process is that Israelis are too rich, and too happy, and too stingy, and too suspicious, and too lacking in empathy for the Palestinians who continue to teach their children to murder our children.

You might think that this pile-on of fiascos would lead Obama and his advisers to reconsider their behavior.

But you'd be wrong. If Obama were asked his opinion of his foreign policy he would respond with absolute conviction that his foreign policy is a total success - everywhere. And by his own metrics, he'd be right.

Obama is a man of ideas. And he has surrounded himself with men and women who share his ideas. For Obama and his advisers, what matters are not the facts, but the theoretical assumptions - the ideas - that determine their policies. If they like an idea, if they find it ideologically attractive, then they base their policies on it. Consequences and observable reality are no match for their ideas. To serve their ideas, reality can be deliberately distorted. Facts can be ignored, or denied.

Obama has two ideas that inform his Middle East policy. First, the Muslim Brotherhood is good. And so his policy is to support the Muslim Brotherhood, everywhere. That's his idea, and as long as the US continues to support the Brotherhood, its foreign policy is successful. For Obama it doesn't matter whether the policy is harmful to US national security. It doesn't matter if the Brotherhood slaughters Christians and Shi'ites and persecutes women and girls. It doesn't matter if the Brotherhood's governing incompetence transforms Egypt - and Tunisia, and Libya and etc., into hell on earth. As far as Obama is concerned, as long as he is true to his idea, his foreign policy is a success.

Obama's second idea is that the root cause of all the problems in the region is the absence of a Palestinian state on land Israel controls. And as a consequence, Israel is to blame for everything bad that happens because it is refusing to give in to all of the Palestinians' demands.

Stemming from this view, the administration can accept a nuclear Iran. After all, if Israel is to blame for everything, then Iran isn't a threat to America.

This is why Fatah terrorism, incitement and anti-Semitism are ignored.

This is why Hamas's Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad reported that he met with senior US officials two weeks ago.

This is why Kerry is coming back to pressure the rich, stingy, paranoid, selfish Jews into making massive concessions to the irrelevant Palestinians.

Obama's satisfaction with his foreign policy is demonstrated by the fact that he keeps appointing like-minded ideologues to key positions.

This week it was reported that Kerry is set to appoint Robert Malley to serve as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Malley has built his career out of advancing the ideas Obama embraces.

In 2001, Malley authored an article in The New York Times where he blamed Israel for the failure of the Camp David peace summit in July 2000. At that summit, Israel offered the Palestinians nearly everything they demanded. Not only did Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat refuse the offer. He refused to make a counteroffer.

Instead he went home and ordered his deputies to prepare to initiate the terror war against Israel which he started two months later.

As Lee Smith wrote in a profile of Malley in Tablet in 2010, Malley's article, and subsequent ones, "created a viable interpretative framework for continuing to blame both sides for the collapse of the peace process even after the outbreak of the second intifada. If both sides were at fault, then it would be possible to resume negotiations once things calmed down. If, on the other hand, the sticking point was actually about existential issues - the refusal to accept a Jewish state - and the inability, or unwillingness, of the Palestinians to give up the right of Arab refugees to return to their pre- 1948 places of residence, then Washington would have been compelled to abandon the peace process after Clinton left office."

In other words, Malley shared the idea that Israel was to blame for the pathologies of the Arabs. Stemming from this view, Malley has been meeting with Hamas terrorists for years. He belittled the threat posed by a nuclear Iran and accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of exaggerating the Iranian nuclear threat to divert attention away from the Palestinians. He has also met with Hezbollah, and has been an outspoken supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

AFTER THE September 11 attacks, the US pledged to wage a war of ideas in the Muslim world. And in Obama's foreign policy, we have such a war of ideas.

The only problem is that all of his ideas are wrong.


Caroline Glick


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

Russian Troubles in Syria, and Ours

by Shoshana Bryen

It is tempting to watch American foreign policy and Russian foreign policy and assign all the naiveté and sloppy thinking to one and all the clever, chess-playing skills to the other. But that would be wrong. Neither side is very clever and Russia's hand -- and that of the Arabs, Turkey and Iran -- looks even less good today than it did a month ago

The Russian government has announced the pullout of all Russian military forces from Syria, including those who were in the naval base at Tartus, Russia's only (small) toehold in the region. Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the pan-Arab newspaper al Hayat last week, "Today, the Russian defense ministry does not have a single person in Syria." He also downplayed the significance of Tartus, saying the base "does not have any strategic importance." Bogdanov was not including "technical experts" remaining in Syria to teach soldiers to use their Russian-origin weapons, but he did mention that about 30,000 Russians still live there. The Russian news agency Interfax reported that 128 of them left on Wednesday.

Russia finds itself in a predicament, having counted on Assad overcoming the resistance and quickly regaining control of the country. His father, after all, had killed 35-40,000 people in 1983 in Hama and driven the Muslim Brotherhood and any other opposition underground. Syria had been considered entirely "stable" since then, a notion reinforced by numerous American politicians who worked assiduously to end Bashar Assad's isolation. The Russians had no reason to think the West would intervene in Assad's suppression of the rebellion either directly or by offloading the responsibility to regional allies Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
For the Russians, a quick end to the fighting would have been a "double win." First, radical Sunnis would be defeated on a battlefield. This, for Russia, is a strategic issue, as Russian Muslims in Chechnya and Dagestan are Sunni, increasingly Islamist, and funded by Saudi Arabia. Second, Russia would prove that it was a loyal Superpower patron while the U.S. was still stumbling around after abandoning Hosni Mubarak and supporting al Qaeda elements in the overthrow of Gaddafi.

Putin thought he couldn't lose. But Russia is losing -- as are Iran, Hezb'allah, Hamas, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Assad didn't score a sharp, decisive victory. Quickly seeing an opportunity to help Sunnis against the heterodox Shiite Alawite Assad (and with a "wink and a nod" from Washington) Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia began arming and training rebel factions, including some considered terrorist by the U.S. Not enough thus far to enable the rebels to win, but enough to keep them on the battlefield and open the gates to foreign intervention, including from al Qaeda-related militias.

The shift in the Syrian revolution into a Sunni-Shiite battlefield has led to an open rift between Syria, Iran, and Hezb'allah on one side and the Arab world and Turkey on the other. Countries that used to come together to denounce Israel are now denouncing one another (a silver lining in a very dark cloud). Egypt broke relations with Syria. Syria threw Hamas out of Damascus -- or Hamas left, depending on whose story you believe. Iran has cut back its financial support and arms to Hamas (another silver lining) and appears to be instigating friction between Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza by encouraging Islamic Jihad to launch rockets at Israel knowing Israel will hold Hamas responsible.

Even Sunni coreligionists Saudi Arabia and Qatar are falling out. Qatar, flush with cash, has been tweaking its larger, more influential historic rival. Longtime analyst of Muslim politics Harold Rhode recently wrote in inFOCUS magazine:
Roughly speaking, the Qataris, along with the now only nominally secular Turkish Republic, support the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudis support Salafi, i.e., other radically anti-Western fanatical Sunni fundamentalist groups. They disagree on the nature and theological principles of the future Muslim Caliphate that they believe will rule the entire world... Qatar continually looks for ways to poke the Saudis in the eye.
And Roula Khalaf and Abigail Fielding-Smith posit in the Financial Times that Qatar may not have been prepared for the level of diplomatic maneuvering required to manage the Syrian opposition -- or even the part of the opposition that the country funds.

Qatar finds itself pulled into a complicated and fractured conflict, the outcome of which it has a decreasing ability to influence, while simultaneously becoming a high-profile scapegoat for participants on both sides. Among the Syrian regime's numerous but fragmented opponents, the small Gulf state evokes a surprisingly ambivalent -- and often overtly hostile --- response.

The choices made by Qatar and Saudi Arabia have caused both Russian nightmares to come to pass: First, the influx of foreign fighters to Syria includes Chechens, both directly from Chechnya and from elsewhere in the Middle East. They bring fighting skills with them, but will also learn new ones that can be taken back to the Caucasus along (perhaps) with more weapons and more international support.
Second, instead of being a loyal friend to an Arab leader, as opposed to the fickle United States, the fact is that Russia is now mired in support for a genocidal bastard in a war that has led to more than 100,000 deaths, the apparent use of chemical weapons, and the decided use of artillery, helicopters, and aircraft to bombard civilian centers.

No one in the Arab world wants to be Putin's friend.

Oddly enough, although President Obama has done his very best to retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan, lead from behind in Libya, outsource the Syrian revolution to the Gulf States, and find common ground with Putin, the regional players are all certain that it is the United States that has to exercise political leadership, provide weapons for the rebels, and maybe undertake direct American military action, to bring the Syrian war to a close. We may do none of those things -- America's policies have been awkward, grudging, stumbling and sometimes working at cross-purposes -- but the fact that the Arabs think we can and should leaves Putin's belief in Russian political supremacy in the Middle East in tatters as well.

Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center


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

Germany Faced with "Loudspeaker Jihad"

by Soeren Kern

"First there was no mention of a muezzin when the mosque was inaugurated; then on Fridays only; then three times a day, now five times a day." — Interview in Die Zeit
A Turkish mosque in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has begun sounding public calls to prayer from an outdoor loudspeaker system mounted on the roof of the edifice.

The mosque is one of a growing number of Islamic institutions in Germany (and other parts of Western Europe) publicly calling the Muslim faithful to prayer -- five times a day, seven days a week -- with cries of Allahu Akbar ("Allah is Greater").

Observers believe a precedent has now been established, and that many of the other 3,000 mosques in Germany will soon begin jumping on the muezzin loudspeaker bandwagon.

The sonorous prayer calls (known as adhan in Arabic) can be heard from great distances when amplified through electric loudspeakers; some German towns and cities are actually beginning to evoke the sounds and images of the Islamic Middle East.

The latest "muezzin event" involves the Fatih Camii Mosque in Wipperfürth, a factory town situated 40 kilometers (25 miles) north-east of Cologne, which, on June 21, began publicly calling the Muslim faithful to prayer during a formal "muezzin-induction ceremony" attended by local and foreign dignitaries, including the Turkish consul, Mustafa Kemal Basa.

The Fatih Camii Mosque -- run by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Islamic Affairs (DITIB), a branch of the Turkish government that controls over 900 mosques in Germany -- received municipal approval for a muezzin publicly to call Muslims to the mosque for prayer five times a day after Mayor Michael von Rekowski said he wanted to show the world that Wipperfürth "takes pride in being an intercultural and interreligious community."

At the request of the mayor, leaders of the Wipperfürth mosque met with representatives of the Protestant and Catholic churches in town to "integrate" the timing of the Muslim prayer calls into the traditional schedule for the ringing of church bells. Although many non-Muslim townspeople are opposed to the muezzin, local clergy say they are pleased with the "peaceful coexistence between religions and culture" in the town.

The mosque in Wipperfürth is one of several in Germany to obtain municipal approval for public prayer calls.

The Turkish-run Central Mosque in the northern German town of Rendsburg, situated 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Hamburg, has been calling Muslims to prayer since 2010, when Social Democratic Mayor Andreas Breitner authorized the muezzin to issue prayer calls through three loudspeakers mounted on the top of two 26 meter (85 foot) minarets attached to each side of the mosque. Prayer calls are permitted between 6AM and 10PM.

The German newspaper Die Zeit reported that Rendsburg was engaged in a "holy war" after a local citizen's group gathered nearly 1,000 signatures opposing the muezzin. The group, which goes by the name "No Public Prayer Calls" [Kein öffentlicher Gebetsruf], had argued that the construction of the mosque was more than sufficient to guarantee the Muslims their constitutional right to free speech, and that the subsequent demands for a muezzin publicly to call the faithful to prayer was excessive. Moreover, the group argued that the Koran makes no mention of the need for muezzin, making the position superfluous.

According to one woman interviewed by the newspaper, there was no mention of a muezzin when the mosque was inaugurated in October 2009; "But then it was proposed that a muezzin should call the faithful to prayer on Fridays only. After that it was three times a day, and now it is five times a day. The prayer calls last for three minutes and the content is a bit much, especially since we are told that 'Allah is the greatest,'" she said. (The adhan, which consists of 15 verses, some of which are repeated several times, lasts for about three minutes.)

Opponents of the muezzin also pointed to the fact that the mosque adheres to Milli Görüs, a neo-Ottoman political-religious Islamist movement that calls for the "establishment of a national-religious Turkish empire." Although Milli Görüs has been monitored by German intelligence for anti-constitutional activities, the group operates freely throughout Germany.

Despite the public opposition to the public prayer calls, Breitner said his hands were tied because there were no legal grounds to prevent the largest mosque in the northernmost German state of Schleswig-Holstein from doing so. According to Breitner, Article 4 of the German Constitution enshrines the freedom of religion, so "in my view there is no room for maneuver."

In the nearby city of Neumünster, the Turkish-run Fatih Mosque has been publicly calling Muslims to prayer three times a day for more than 15 years. According to the local imam, Celebi Kilicikesen, a Turk who speaks almost no German, "sometimes pranking children turn the loudspeaker volume all the way up and then the neighbors complain. Otherwise there have been no problems."

Back in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Turkish-run Kuba Camii Mosque in Eschweiler, a city situated along the German-Belgian-Dutch border and about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Cologne, obtained municipal approval in December 2012 to begin publicly calling Muslims to prayer.
The first such public prayer call took place on Friday, January 11, 2013, amid considerable fanfare. The call to prayer, which was described as an "historical event," was attended by myriad dignitaries, including the Turkish consul, Mustafa Kemal Basa, and the Turkish attaché, Tayfun Keltek.
The Turkish imam of the Kuba Camii Mosque, Bahri Ciftci, declared: "May the public prayer call be a symbol of a tolerant, intercultural and interreligious common coexistence."

During the ceremony, the mayor of Eschweiler, Rudi Bertram, said, "Tolerance must be practiced on a daily basis. We are all responsible for ensuring that there is a co-existence."

Also present at the event was the head of DITIB [Turkish-Islamist Union for Religious Affairs], Izzet Er, who claimed that the Prophet Mohammed had himself had been a model of religious cooperation. Er added: "I have the desire and the hope that we can contribute something positive to the peaceful coexistence of all the people in Eschweiler. Ethical values ​​are ultimately universal and valid for all."
Not surprisingly, Izzet Er failed to mention that the Turkish government is one of the greatest persecutors of Christians (and journalists) in the modern Middle East.

According to a new book entitled, "Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians," authored by three scholars from the Hudson Institute, "In today's Turkey, Christian communities confront two inter-related threats: First, they are suppressed by all-encompassing state restrictions on internal governance, education, houses of worship, and wider property rights, and the denial of legal status. They are in practice barred from operating seminaries and directly owning property. Largely through its Directorate of Religious Foundations, the state supervises and tries to control all Christian activity."

The book continues: "Second…social hostilities against Turkey's religious minorities run high. Such bigotry is reinforced by the official attitude of suspicion toward Christians. It is difficult even to have a frank national discussion about the plight of Christians in Turkey; those who have tried…can face charges for insulting Turkishness."

In fact, the book's section on the persecution of Christians in Turkey occupies more pages than the sections on the persecution of Christians in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The book concludes: "Modern Turkey is home to remnant Christian communities who find themselves at risk of being extinguished altogether."

Also in North Rhine-Westphalia, a mosque in the Chorweiler district of Cologne regularly begins calling Muslims to prayer at 6AM, as per this video on YouTube. In the city of Krefeld, local politicians want to ensure that the Muslim calls to prayer have the same legal footing as Christian church bells in the city.

Elsewhere in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Turkish-run Selimiye Camii Mosque in the Eving district of Dortmund, the eighth-largest city in Germany, promised in 2009 that it would not demand the right to public calls to prayer for a period of six years, that is, until the year 2014.

Filled with a sense of foreboding, a protestant pastor in Eving, Friedrich Stiller, said many people forget that Muslims perceive that they have a legal right to public calls to prayer. Stiller added that the minaret is a symbol: "It stands for the arrival of the Muslims in our society."

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.


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

U.S. Keeps Joining the Forces of Jihad

by Clare Lopez

Libya has now become the main [North African] base for Al Qaeda. Shi'a and Sunni find common cause in hating the infidel with an even greater intensity than they hate one another. As Angelo Codevilla wrote, "They are not our friends and are unlikely to become such."
With the June 13, 2013 confirmation by senior Obama administration officials that the president has authorized sending weapons directly to Syrian rebels, there is a trend developing that can no longer be ignored. This is the third country and the third instance in which Barack Obama has leapt into the fray of revolution to the defense of al-Qa'eda and Muslim Brotherhood forces within days of an explicit call for action by Yousef al-Qaradawi, the senior jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood. While no ironclad case for linkage can be proven, even just the appearance, in and of itself, of responsiveness by the U.S. government to declared Brotherhood imperatives ought to be concerning.

Speaking on Al-Arabiya Television on June 9, 2013, al-Qaradawi called for jihad in Syria:
Jihad is now incumbent upon all Muslims, each according to his capabilities – both individuals and countries. Nobody must spare a thing in helping this country…
Four days later, on June 13, Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, announced that the intelligence community had arrived at an assessment "that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year." This conveniently-timed and entirely unsourced finding set the stage for the White House announcement the next day about Obama's authorization of military aid to the Syrian rebels. The Supreme Military Council, which claims leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Free Syrian Army and is headed by BG Salim Idriss, has been selected to receive the weapons.

This pattern of an al-Qaradawi pronouncement quickly followed by White House action began in Egypt in January 2011. On January 26, 2011, speaking in an interview on Al-Jazeera television, al-Qaradawi issued an unambiguous demand that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak step down:
"President Mubarak … I advise you to depart from Egypt … There is no other solution to this problem but for Mubarak to go…"
By January 29, a mere three days later, Obama fell in line and told Mubarak that "an orderly transition must …begin now…"

It was not long afterwards—on February 21, 2011—that al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa, again on Al-Jazeera television, calling for the killing of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. The Islamic revolution against Qaddafi's regime had broken out just days before, on February 17. The news that President Obama had signed a secret order, known as a "presidential finding," to authorize covert U.S. government support for the al-Qa'eda-dominated militias then fighting to oust Qaddafi, emerged in late March 2011. Reports cited "government sources," however, who said the president had signed the finding "within the last two or three weeks." In any event, by March 14, 2011, U.S. envoy Christopher Stevens had been named official liaison to the Libyan opposition, which consisted primarily of al-Qa'eda militias such as Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), and Libya Shield. The president's cover story about intervening in the Libyan uprising cited a pending "massacre" in Benghazi "that would have….stained the conscience of the world." Of course, there was no such massacre in the offing, but rather the very real possibility that Benghazi, the center of the rebel uprising, might have fallen to Qaddafi's advancing forces. Had Benghazi fallen, the jihad offensive in Libya could well have been stopped in its tracks. So, once again, the U.S. administration lost no time in hopping to follow al-Qaradawi's lead after he called for another Islamic Awakening domino to fall.

It might be noted that a similar sequence of events in Syria apparently precipitated the al-Qaradawi call for jihad against Bashar al-Assad and his Shi'ite Iranian and Hizballah backers as well as the U.S. administration's pledge to send weapons (openly) to the Syrian rebels. It was the fall of rebel-held Qusayr to Syrian regime forces on June 5, 2013 that seemed to spur both the al-Qaradawi jihad fatwa and Obama's decision to follow suit and expand assistance to the al-Qa'eda and Muslim Brotherhood-led rebels.

In each of these instances — Egypt, Libya, and now Syria — it is "completely clear," as Barry Rubin writes, "that the United States is backing people who hate it." It is also completely clear that, at least since President Obama green-lighted the Islamic Awakening in his June 2009 Cairo speech, U.S. policy has been turned upside-down: in very tangible terms, the U.S. government has joined the forces of jihad to overthrow the unfaithful Arab and Muslim rulers that the Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Badi so blatantly threatened (along with the U.S. and Israel) in his late September 2010 call for jihad. In so doing, U.S. leadership is deliberately and proactively enabling the self-declared forces of Islamic jihad and shariah, who make no secret of their enmity and loathing for the U.S. and Western civilization in general, to come to power in country after country of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The results have been disastrous. Christians in Libya, Egypt, and rebel-conquered Syrian territory face attack, ethnic cleansing and slaughter. Strict shariah enforcement is spreading across the region. Since the fall of Qaddafi in October 2011, weapons have been flowing out of Libya in all directions, some of the weapons apparently with the active assistance of the former Benghazi U.S. mission, now closed since the al-Qa'eda attack of 11 September 11, 2012. According to a Libyan intelligence official, speaking to a reporter in a May 2013 interview, Libya has now become the main MENA base for Al-Qa'eda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). "Libya has become AQIM's headquarters," he said, adding that new AQIM terror training camps were opening in the southern part of the country. Egypt, especially in the Sinai, is in no better shape. After falling under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt faces economic disaster, its Coptic Christian minority fears genocide, and its leaders call Israel and America its enemies. In Syria, intrepid reporting from the front lines confirms the jihadist objectives of the anti-Assad coalition that now includes openly pro-shariah fighters from both Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qa'eda (Jabhat al-Nusra) militias. McClatchy Newspapers' David Enders reported in December 2012 that one of these shouted, "When we finish with Assad, we will fight the U.S.!" at him when told he was an American journalist.

"We have come full circle from going after al Qaeda to indirectly backing al Qaeda," said one U.S. official, speaking about the recent decision to arm these jihadist Syrian rebels. Angelo Codevilla, professor of international relations at Boston University, a former U.S. Naval officer and State Department official, and currently senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, might well have been speaking about the entire contingent of Islamic jihadis with which the U.S. has now associated itself when he summed up the Syrian rebels, saying "They are not our friends and are unlikely to become such."

The sooner U.S. senior leadership realizes that, whether Shi'ite or Sunni, jihadis fight for the same objectives — restoration of the Caliphate (or Imamate) and enforcement of Islamic Law — the better for American core national security interests. Of course, on battlefields such as Iraq and Syria, they go after one another as they always have for the last 1300 and more years; but when it comes to the Dar al-Islam vs. the Dar al-Harb, Shi'a and Sunni find common cause in hating the infidel with an even greater intensity than they hate one another. There are battlefields where U.S. intervention can accomplish good; and there are battlefields such as Libya, Egypt, and Syria where appearing to jump to the tune of Muslim Brotherhood fatwas does no good, and arguably much harm, to U.S. interests and image.

Clare Lopez


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UK: Muslim Brothers Jailed for Life in yet another Sex Slavery Case

by Robert Spencer

These rape and sex slavery gangs are bad, but even worse would be to let into the country anyone who would talk honestly about how such actions are justified within Islam, which would explain why there are so many such gangs. Better to pretend that there is no problem at all.

Sign the petition asking that we be allowed into the country here.
The Qur'an allows for the owning of sex slaves:
If you fear that you will not act justly towards the orphans, marry such women as seem good to you, two, three, four; but if you fear you will not be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands own; so it is likelier you will not be partial. (Qur'an 4:3)
This verse is the basis for Islamic polygamy, allowing a man to take as many as four wives, as long as he believes he is able to “deal justly” with all of them. But justice in these circumstances is in the eye of the beholder. Ibn Kathir says this the requirement to deal justly with one’s wives is no big deal, since treating them justly isn’t the same as treating them equally: “it is not obligatory to treat them equally, rather it is recommended. So if one does so, that is good, and if not, there is no harm on him.”

The verse goes on to say that if a man cannot deal justly with multiple wives, then he should marry only one, or resort to “what your right hands own” – that is, slave girls.

The Qur'an commentator Maulana Bulandshahri explains the wisdom of this practice, and longs for the good old days:
During Jihad (religion war), many men and women become war captives. The Amirul Mu’minin [leader of the believers, or caliph – an office now vacant] has the choice of distributing them amongst the Mujahidin [warriors of jihad], in which event they will become the property of these Mujahidin. This enslavement is the penalty for disbelief (kufr).
He goes on to explain that this is not ancient history:
None of the injunctions pertaining to slavery have been abrogated in the Shari’ah. The reason that the Muslims of today do not have slaves is because they do not engage in Jihad (religion war). Their wars are fought by the instruction of the disbelievers (kuffar) and are halted by the same felons. The Muslim [sic] have been shackled by such treaties of the disbelievers (kuffar) whereby they cannot enslave anyone in the event of a war. Muslims have been denied a great boon whereby every home could have had a slave. May Allah grant the Muslims the ability to escape the tentacles of the enemy, remain steadfast upon the Din (religion) and engage in Jihad (religion war) according to the injunctions of Shari’ah. Amen!
This is by no means an eccentric or unorthodox view in Islam. The Egyptian Sheikh Abu-Ishaq al-Huwayni declared in May 2011 that “we are in the era of jihad,” and that as they waged jihad warfare against infidels, Muslims would take slaves. He clarified what he meant in a subsequent interview:
...Jihad is only between Muslims and infidels….Spoils, slaves, and prisoners are only to be taken in war between Muslims and infidels. Muslims in the past conquered, invaded, and took over countries. This is agreed to by all scholars--there is no disagreement on this from any of them, from the smallest to the largest, on the issue of taking spoils and prisoners. The prisoners and spoils are distributed among the fighters, which includes men, women, children, wealth, and so on. When a slave market is erected, which is a market in which are sold slaves and sex-slaves, which are called in the Qur’an by the name milk al-yamin, “that which your right hands possess” [Qur’an 4:24]. This is a verse from the Qur’an which is still in force, and has not been abrogated. The milk al-yamin are the sex-slaves. You go to the market, look at the sex-slave, and buy her. She becomes like your wife, (but) she doesn’t need a (marriage) contract or a divorce like a free woman, nor does she need a wali. All scholars agree on this point--there is no disagreement from any of them. [...] When I want a sex slave, I just go to the market and choose the woman I like and purchase her.
Right around the same time, on May 25, 2011, a female Kuwaiti activist and politician, Salwa al-Mutairi, also spoke out in favor of the Islamic practice of sexual slavery of non-Muslim women, emphasizing that the practice accorded with Islamic law and the parameters of Islamic morality.
...A merchant told me that he would like to have a sex slave. He said he would not be negligent with her, and that Islam permitted this sort of thing. He was speaking the truth….I brought up (this man’s) situation to the muftis in Mecca. I told them that I had a question, since they were men who specialized in what was halal, and what was good, and who loved women. I said, “What is the law of sex slaves?”  The mufti said, “With the law of sex slaves, there must be a Muslim nation at war with a Christian nation, or a nation which is not of the religion, not of the religion of Islam. And there must be prisoners of war.”
“Is this forbidden by Islam?,” I asked.
“Absolutely not. Sex slaves are not forbidden by Islam. On the contrary, sex slaves are under a different law than the free woman. The free woman must be completely covered except for her face and hands. But the sex slave can be naked from the waist up. She differs a lot from the free woman. While the free woman requires a marriage contract, the sex slave does not--she only needs to be purchased by her husband, and that’s it. Therefore the sex slave is different than the free woman.”
While the savage exploitation of girls and young women is an unfortunately cross-cultural phenomenon, only in Islamic law does it carry anything approaching divine sanction. Here is yet another human rights scandal occasioned by Islamic law that the international human rights community and the mainstream media cravenly ignore.

"Oxford grooming sex case: Brothers jailed for life," from the BBC, June 27 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Two pairs of brothers who were among seven men who abused girls from Oxford in a sadistic sex grooming ring have been jailed for life. Mohammed Karrar, 38, and brother Bassam Karrar, 34, will serve a minimum of 20 years and 15 years respectively.
Brothers Akhtar Doghar, 32, and Anjum Doghar, 31, were each jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years.
Their offences included child rape and trafficking between 2004 and 2012. A fifth man was also jailed for life.
Kamar Jamil, 27, who was found guilty of charges including rape and arranging child prostitution, received a minimum term of 12 years.
Jurors heard at the men's trial at the Old Bailey how six girls, aged at the time between 11 and 15, were plied with alcohol and drugs before being forced to perform sex acts.
Some were beaten and burned.
The court heard how the men identified vulnerable girls for abuse and then groomed each one of them until they were under the control of the gang.
They were then each either abused by the men themselves, given to the men's friends or offered at a price to others who were not on trial.
'Enormous courage'
The girls were mostly chosen because their unsettled or troubled lives made them easier to manipulate.
The men identified vulnerable girls and then groomed them individually until they were under the control of the gang.
The abuse started in Oxford but some victims were later taken to other parts of the country to be offered to other men who were in contact with the gang.
The court heard the victims were tied up, burnt, suffocated, beaten and urinated upon, and would return to Oxford bleeding, injured and carrying sexually-transmitted infections.
Judge Peter Rook, sentencing, praised the courage of the six victims in coming forward, saying the men had blighted the victims' lives and robbed them of their adolescence.
He said: "These six girls have shown enormous courage in coming to the Old Bailey to give evidence, knowing they would be accused of lying, knowing they would have to relive their ordeals, knowing they have not been believed in the past."
Judge Rook said he hoped the victims' courage would act as a deterrent to other men but also ensure the appropriate authorities would not fail in future to take action in the face of such activity.
'Sheer torture'
Two more defendants, Assad Hussain, 32, and Zeeshan Ahmed, were each jailed for seven years for two counts of sexual activity with a child.
Talking about the abuse suffered by one of the victims, Judge Rook told Jamil and the Dogar brothers, who were convicted of abusing her: "You took her soul. She felt as though it had been ripped out. You put her parents through years of sheer torture."...

Robert Spencer


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Islam, Rape and Theology

by Bruce Bawer

Five days before 9/11, a famous Norwegian social anthropologist (and Norway may well be the only nation on Earth where there is such a thing as a famous social anthropologist) instructed her countrywomen that the way to bring down the high number of rapes – most of which, even way back then, were already being committed by “non-Western immigrants” – was for them to stop dressing in a manner that Muslim men found provocative. Norway, she lectured, was steadily becoming “a multicultural society,” and Norwegian women, if they didn’t want to wind up being brutally ravished in an alleyway by some Pakistani gang, should choose their wardrobes appropriately. Period. 

That anthropologist, whose name is Unni Wikan, didn’t score any points that day for heroically championing women’s equality, but she was, at least, being honest. The rise in rapes in Norway – as throughout Western Europe – was almost entirely a product of Islamic immigration. That was a fact she didn’t attempt to disguise.

Then, however, came 9/11. And in the years since, there’s been a desperate effort by bien pensant types throughout Europe to deny that the ever-increasing incidence of rape on the continent has anything whatsoever to do with Islam. Some try to dismiss or explain away the numbers entirely; others grudgingly acknowledge them, while fiercely denying that there’s any Islamic connection at all; some, while admitting that a disproportionate number of rapists are immigrants, attempt to blame the problem on ethnic European racism, the idea being that immigrants grow so frustrated over their mistreatment that they resort to rape.

All of which is absurd to anyone who’s remotely aware of Islam teachings about sex and of the high incidence of rape in Muslim societies that is a direct consequence of those teachings. We’re talking about a religion that treats the male sex drive as a virtually holy phenomenon, and that allows men to have multiple marriages and divorce at will, even as it demands that females deny themselves even the most innocuous sorts of human contact in the name of preserving family honor – and that punishes a single infraction with death. In the view of Islam, when a man rapes an immodestly dressed woman, the rape isn’t his fault but hers; and when a Muslim rapes an infidel in the “House of War,” it’s recognized as a form of jihad. As forgiving as Islam is of virtually every imaginable heterosexual act that might be committed by a Muslim male, it’s equally unforgiving of a Muslim woman who happens to be caught alone, doing nothing whatsoever, with a male who’s unrelated to her, or who, for that matter, commits the inexcusable sin of being raped.

The only thing worse than being raped, moreover, is tattling about it. A couple of years ago, a Pakistani woman, Rooshanie Ejaz, contributed several very frank essays on rape in Muslim countries to the website of Norway’s Human Rights Service. Noting in a March 2011 piece that “sexual abuse is actively hidden in Pakistani society, and in Muslim society generally,” she said that “a large percentage of the people I have grown up with have experienced some form of it….Whether the act is committed by a cousin, uncle, house servant, or stranger, the victim is likely to be subjected to further abuse and emotional torment if she opens her mouth about it.”

One distinctive aspect of Islamic theology is its prescription of rape as a punishment – a punishment usually imposed upon some innocent female to avenge a crime committed by a male relative. In another 2011 piece, Ejaz cited a Pakistani village court’s recent decision in the case of a young man who’d been “seen with a young girl from a tribe superior to his”: it ordered several of the girl’s male relatives to gang-rape the guilty party’s sister, Mukhataran – who afterwards (as if the gang-bang itself weren’t enough) “was paraded nude” through the village. Sharia justice of this sort is commonplace in the Muslim world; the only thing special in this instance was that Mukhataran complained to the authorities and argued her case all the way up to the Pakistani Supreme Court – which, in the end, freed five of the six defendants, even as a chorus of prominent media figures and government leaders expressed sympathy for the rapists and dragged Mukhataran’s name through the mud.

Pakistan did pass a Women’s Protection Law in 2006 that allowed women to file rape charges even without the four male witnesses that sharia law requires. Before the law came along, 80% of Pakistani rape victims who dared to go to the cops ended up behind bars for adultery while their assailants remained free. Yet the law was a feeble instrument in a country drenched with Islam; and in late May, the Council of Islamic Ideology, an official body whose job it is to rule on the theological correctness of Pakistani legislation, announced that “DNA tests are not admissible as the main evidence in rape cases” and that, indeed, lacking those four male witnesses, you’re better off keeping quiet.

This rule doesn’t just apply to Pakistan, of course. In Afghanistan, where freedom from Taliban rule cost the U.S. and its allies thousands of lives and gazillions of dollars, the number of rape victims being sent to prison is actually on the rise. In April, the Daily Mail ran a harrowing account of a women’s prison in Kabul that’s full of inmates being punished for crimes of which they were the victims. (According to women’s-rights activists, “life for women is almost the same” in Afghanistan as under the Taliban.) Then there’s Iran, where, according to a 2010 Guardian article, the government uses “rape and the threat of rape as weapons against its opponents.” A 2009 piece in the Huffington Post quoted a young Iranian woman’s observation that rape victims in her country routinely keep silent about their victimization because “a young woman who has been raped can never be touched again.”

What about Syria? An April headline in the Atlantic didn’t pull punches: “Syria Has a Massive Rape Crisis.” A Syrian psychologist who works with rape victims said that she always tells families rape is “a way to break the family” and that she urges them, “Don’t let this break you – this is what they’re trying to do.” (To which the women respond: “Tell that to our husbands.”) A Toronto Star piece acknowledged that rape victims in Syria risk “being cast out or even killed to protect the family’s honour.” – yet managed, as so many of these reports in the Western media do, to omit entirely the words “Muslim” and “Islam.”

In wartime, Islam actively encourages the use of rape as a weapon and/or reward for the soldiers of Allah. On April 3, the Washington Times reported that Salafi Sheikh Yasir al-Ajlawni had issued a fatwa permitting Muslims who are fighting Assad’s regime to “capture and have sex with” non-Sunni women. Raymond Ibrahim observed the next day at Front Page that Aljawni wasn’t “the first cleric to legitimize the rape of infidel women in recent times”: a top Saudi preacher had recently green-lighted the gang-rape of captives, and an Egyptian imam had explained how to turn captured infidels into sex slaves. Yes, rape is almost invariably a side effect of war; but rape instigated by clergy and carried out in the name of God is an Islamic specialty.

In Libya, the number of rapes rose during its revolution – and has kept rising ever since. “Gaddafi used rape as a weapon,” one Libyan women’s-rights activist told the Guardian this month. “It was organized and systematic.” While rape victims aren’t imprisoned quite as often now as under Gaddafi, “there are still strong disincentives against speaking out, making it hard for victims to access help or to seek justice.” In March, two Pakistani-British women – who’d just participated in the latest convoy seeking to break Israel’s Gaza blockade – were gang-raped in Benghazi by a pack of Libyan soldiers.

So it goes. And yet when the growing incidence of rape in an increasingly Muslim Europe is discussed by politicians, academics, and mainstream journalists, such data are almost never adduced, the theoligical and cultural background to these phenomena almost never mentioned. In the last year or two I’ve written here about Oslo, where everyone found guilty of rape assault between 2006 and 2010 was “non-Western” (i.e. Muslim), and Sweden, with Europe’s second-highest percentage of Muslims and its highest rape figures; I’ve covered Britain‘s wave of Muslim “sex grooming” and Laurent Obertone’s documentation of Muslim rape in France.

All these developments have, of course, a common root – which it’s impossible to understand without a basic awareness of Islamic teachings about sex, gender roles, jihad, and so on. It’s all there, in the Koran, the fatwas, the sermons and public statements by those European imams who aren’t pretending to be building bridges and preaching love. No one who’s reasonably well acquainted with Islamic belief and practice should be surprised in the slightest by Europe’s rape epidemic. Unni Wikan (though her prescribed response to it was nothing but multicultural mush) saw it all quite clearly twelve years ago; Europe’s elites, however, persist in their refusal to recognize this epidemic as part of their continent’s transformation into a Muslim province. And so the statistics continue to soar.

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.


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'Even if you Give up all the Land, it won't Solve the Problems in the Mideast'

by Dror Eydar

An interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of "Infidel" • "From the perspective of the Arab leaders, reaching a two-state solution is to betray God. If you want peace and not merely a process, you must make peace with the people. The negotiators themselves are of no importance."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of "Infidel"
Photo credit: Dudi Vaaknin

Dror Eydar


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