Friday, May 16, 2014

Boko Haram and the Dynamics of Denial

by Mark Durie


It is a common refrain of pious Muslims in the face of atrocities done by other Muslims in the name of Islam that Islam must not be shamed. Whenever an Islamic atrocity potentially dishonors Islam, non-Muslims are asked to agree that ‘This is not Islamic’ so that the honor of Islam can be kept pristine. The real issue, however, is not what would be good or bad for Islam’s reputation; Islam is not the victim here. The pressing issue is not to get people to think well of Islam, but how, for instance, in the case of Boko Haram’s kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls, the girls can be rescued and, above all, how Boko Haram’s murderous rampage can be halted.

Qasim Rashid, an American Muslim, recently published on a heart-felt expression of deep distress at the kidnapping of Nigerian girls by Boko Haram (‘What would Muhammad say to Boko Haram’). He declared that Muhammad himself would not recognize this group as acting in line with his teachings:

“Boko Haram’s claim that Islam motivates their kidnappings is no different than Adolf Hitler’s claim that Christianity motivated his genocide. This terrorist organization acts in direct violation of every Islamic teaching regarding women.”
Qasim Rashid is not the only Muslim who has been speaking out in support of the kidnapped girls, while denying that their plight has anything to do with Islam (see here).

Qasim Rashid is a member of the Ahmaddiyah community, which is regarded as unorthodox by most Muslims. Indeed Ahmaddiyahs are often severely persecuted for their beliefs in Islamic nations. Although Qasim Rashid does not speak for mainstream Islam, he is nevertheless to be commended for speaking up against Boko Haram’s repugnant acts.

But does the claim that Boko Haram is not Islamic hold up to scrutiny?

What counts as a valid manifestation of Islam? Ahmaddiyah beliefs can be considered Islamic, for those who hold them do so on the basis of a reasoned interpretation of Islamic canonical sources, even if the majority of Muslims reject them as Muslims. By the same token, the beliefs of Boko Haram must also be considered a form of Islam, for they too are held on the basis of a reasoned interpretation of Islamic canonical sources.

It needs to be acknowledged that Boko Haram has not arisen in a vacuum. As Andrew Bostom has pointed out, violent opposition to non-Islamic culture has been a feature of Nigerian Islam for centuries. Today this hatred is being directed against Western education and secular government, but in the past it was indigenous Africa cultures which were targeted for brutal treatment, including enslavement and slaughter. The modern revival of absolutist Sharia-compliant Islam in the north of Nigeria is a process which has deep roots in history. It has also been in progress for decades. Khalid Yasin, an African American convert to Islam and globe-trotting preacher, waxed lyrical about the advance of Sharia law in Nigeria on Australian national radio in 2003:
“If we look at the evolution of the Sharia experiment in Nigeria for instance. It’s just a wonderful, phenomenal experience. It has brought about some sweeping changes, balances, within the society, regulations in terms of moral practices and so many things. …What did the Sharia provide? Always dignity, protection, and the religious rights?”
But let us consider the evidence Qasim Rashid gives for his view that Muhammad would disown Boko Haram. His arguments can be summarized as follows:

  • ‘Boko Haram violates the Koran 24:34 [i.e. Sura 24:33] which commands, “and force not your women to unchaste life,” i.e. [this is] a condemnation of Boko Haram’s intention to sell these girls into prostitution.’
  • ‘They violate Koran 4:20 [i.e. Sura 4:19] which declares, “it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will; nor should you detain them,” i.e. a specific repudiation of Boko Haram’s kidnapping and detention.’
  • ‘Prophet Muhammad’s dying words embodied these commandments. He implored, “Do treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers.”’
  • The seeking of knowledge is an obligation on all Muslims, including ‘secular knowledge’.
  • ‘Islam … commands female education.’
Although Qasim Rashid’s views are sincerely held, his reasoning is weak. Let us consider his points in order.

Compel not your slave-girls — Sura 24:33
Contra Qasim Rashid, Sura 24:33 does not say ‘force not your women’ but:
“… compel not your slave-girls to prostitution when they desire to keep chaste, in order to seek the frail goods of this world’s life. And whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (The Quran translation used here is cited from a translation by Ahmaddiya scholar Muhammad Maulana Ali).
The word translated ‘slave-girl’ here can also mean a young woman, but in this passage it clearly refers to female slaves. A standard interpretation of this verse by Sunni commentators – such as Ibn Kathir – is that if someone owns a slave girl, he should not prostitute her, but if he does, Allah will forgive her.

Strictly speaking, this verse does not appear to apply to the situation of the Nigerian girls taken by Boko Haram. The outrage is that they were taken captive and enslaved in the first place, becoming what the Koran refers to as ‘those whom your right hand possesses’. That they may have been raped by their captors seems highly likely, but this is not the same thing as being prostituted to produce income for their owners. Islam permits men to have sexual intercourse with their slave women, and also to sell them into the service of another, but it frowns on hiring them out for prostitution.

In Sura 33:50 of the Koran it is stated that it was permissible for Muhammad to have sex with his female slaves:
“O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesses, out of those whom Allah has given thee as prisoners of war”,
and in verse 23:6 this prerogative is extended to Muslim believers:
“Successful indeed are the believers … who restrain their sexual passions except in the presence of their mates [their wives], of those whom their right hands possess.”
The actions and teaching of Muhammad also support the practice of sexual slavery for women taken captive in jihad. Chapter 547 of the Sahih Muslim, a revered collection of sayings of Muhammad considered reliable by most Muslims, is entitled ‘It is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a captive woman…’. Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, the translator and editor of the Sahih Muslim, added the following footnote to this chapter:
“As for the expression malakat aymanukum (those whom your right hands possess) [it] denotes slave-girls, i.e. women who were captured in the Holy War … sexual intercourse with these women is lawful with certain conditions.”
Boko Haram is reported to be intending to sell the girls at a slave market. This is no doubt based upon the precedent of Muhammad’s own practice. There are many examples from Muhammad’s actions and those of his companions which could be cited. For example, after putting the men of the Jewish Quraiza tribe in Medina to the sword, Muhammad’s biographer Ibn Isaq reports that he sold some of the Jewish women and used the money to buy horses and weapon:
“Then the apostle divided the property, wives, and children of B. Qurayza among the Muslims, and he made known on that day the shares of horse and men, and took out the fifth. … Then the apostle sent Sa‘d b. Zayd al-Ansari brother of b. ‘Abdu’l-Ashhal with some of the captive women of B. Qurayza to Najd and he sold them for horses and weapons. (Sirat Rasul Allah, by Ibn Ishaq)
The rest of the Jewish slaves were divided among the Muslims. Muhammad himself took one of the leading Jewish women, Rayhana, for his concubine, but she refused to marry him:
The apostle had chosen one of their women for himself, Rayhana d. ‘Amr b. Khunafa, one of the women of B. ‘Amr b. Qurayza, and she remained with him until she died, in his power. The apostle had proposed to marry her and put the veil on her, but she said: ‘Nay, leave me in your power, for that will be easier for me and for you.’” (Sirat Rasul Allah, by Ibn Ishaq).
Rayhana, who became Muhammad’s concubine by capture in warfare, is revered to this day as one of the ‘wives’ of the prophet of Islam.

In addition to the support for this practice found in the Islamic canon, historical sources give ample evidence that enslavement of women as captives of war and resulting sexual servitude has been a persistent feature of Islamic warfare conducted by pious Muslims. Consider for example the report of Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani, Saladin’s chronicler, of the fate of 8,000 Christian women in Jerusalem who were unable to pay a ransom for their release after the conquest of that city by Saladin:
“Women and children together came to 8,000 and were quickly divided up among us, brining a smile to Muslim faces at their lamentations. How many well-guarded women were profaned, how many queens were ruled and nubile girls married, and noble women given away, and miserly women forced to yield themselves, and women who had been kept hidden stripped of their modesty, and serious women made ridiculous, and women kept in private now set in public, and free women occupied, and precious ones used for hard work, and pretty things put to the test, and virgins dishonoured and proud women deflowered, and lovely women’s red lips kissed, and dark women prostrated, and untamed ones tamed, and happy ones made to weep!” (Arab Historians of the Crusades, ed. by Francesco Gabrieli, pp. 96-97).
It is has been widely accepted by Islamic jurists down the ages that Islam permits Muslim men to have sex with women who have come into their possession through being taken captive in war, either because they personally captured them, or because they acquired them by purchase or gift from another. Indeed this was the legal basis in Islam for the harem system: the women of the harem were mainly sourced from jihad campaigns waged against non-Muslim communities.

It is simply incredible that Qasim Rashid would quote a verse which prohibits Muslim men from hiring out their concubines for sex as evidence that Islam is against the use of sexual violence against captive women. If we are supposed to deny the label ‘Islamic’ to Boko Haram, are we also to conclude that Saladin and even Muhammad himself cannot be called Muslims?

Inheriting and troubling wives — Sura 4:19

Sura 4:19 is another passage cited by Qasim Rashid. Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation throws a different light on this passage:
“O you who believe, it is not lawful for you to take women as heritage [i.e. to inherit them] against their will. Nor should you straiten them by taking part of what you have given them …”.
The standard explanation of this verse is that it prohibited two practices: a man ‘inheriting’ the wife of his male relative, which had apparently been a pagan Arab custom before Islam; and oppressing one’s wife in order to make her seek a divorce, so that she will pay back the bride-price. This latter practice had been occurring in Muhammad’s time, because if a Muslim man divorced a wife, he was not entitled to any financial compensation, but if a woman initiated divorce proceedings, she had to compensate him for her bride-price. (See Ibn Kathir and also Muhammad Ali’s explanation in footnotes which both concur with the explanation given here.)

Sura 4:19 is thus not a prohibition against detaining women: it has absolutely nothing to do with the situation of the captured Nigerian girls.

Treating Your Women Well:

With regard to Muhammad’s command to Muslims to treat their wives well, these words could apply as an instruction for the men who have married the captured girls, taking them as their wives. It says nothing, however, about the issue of their capture, enslavement or sale.

On Seeking Secular Knowledge:

With regard to Qasim Rashid’s next point, most pious Muslims would agree that seeking knowledge, including Western scientific knowledge, is an obligation for Muslims. Most Muslims do not agree with Boko Haram’s desire to banish all learning apart from Islamic instruction. However antipathy to non-Islamic education and knowledge has had a long history in Islamic thought. This is not a new idea, nor even a particularly aberrant one, but is part of the broad range of Islamic theological perspectives.

Learned Muslim Women in the Past:

With regard to Qasim Rashid’s fifth argument, it is of course possible to find examples in history of capable Muslim women who were well-educated. On the other hand there are traditions of Muhammad which denigrate the intellectual capacity of women, such as the following:
Once Allah’s Apostle went out to [to pray] … Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle ?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you …” The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book 6, Hadith 301)
In any case, asking what Muhammad would say on the subject of educating women is irrelevant to what Boko Haram has done. It did not attack the girls’ school because Boko Haram believes women should not be educated. They did it because they are opposed to secular, non-Islamic education per se, and they believe they have the right to kill, enslave and plunder people who they count as their enemies. They also wish to terrorize their enemies by stirring up as much fear and emotional trauma to them as possible.

Islam Is Not The Victim Here:

Qasim Rashid writes: “Do not give the terrorists known as Boko Haram the dignity of attributing any religion to their name.” This is a common refrain of pious Muslims in the face of atrocities done by other Muslims in the name of Islam: whenever an atrocity dishonors Islam, non-Muslims are asked to agree that ‘This is not Islamic’ so that the honor of Islam can be kept pristine.

However the real issue is not what might be good or bad for Islam’s reputation. The sight of Boko Haram’s leader saying on video that ‘by Allah’ he will go to market and sell the captive girls, because his religion permits him to do so, has already dishonored Islam. Muhammad and Saladin, by their actions, could equally be considered to have dishonored Islam, but this is beside the point. The real challenge here is not preserving the honor of Islam, but what can be done to counter Boko Haram.

What is crystal clear is that nothing can be gained by denial of the truth about the jihadis’ religious ideology. Other Muslims may — and do! — disagree with Boko Haram’s beliefs. That is a not a bad thing. But what will not help anyone – least of all the victims of this outrage – is putting forward weak arguments that no-one should judge Islam on the basis of Boko Haram’s actions. That line of thought is completely irrelevant to addressing the problem.

Islam is not the victim here. The pressing issue here is not to get people to think well of Islam, but how these girls can be rescued, and above all how Boko Haram’s murderous rampage can be halted.

To achieve progress with this second goal it is necessary first and foremost to acknowledge the theological character of the challenge. In historical contexts, such as colonial India and the Dutch East Indies, colonial governments were able to turn the tide on long-running and costly Islamic insurgencies by acknowledging the religious character of the challenge they were facing – that they were up against a jihad. This enabled them to pursue appropriate strategies, such as:
  • Getting leading mainstream Muslim scholars to issue credible rulings (fatwas) which declared the specific jihad insurgency to be sinful and forbidden by Islam. (Such fatwas continue to be used by Islamic regimes today to counter their home-grown insurgents.)
  • Making it a primary military objective to pursue and take out the ideologues – Islamic clerics – who were driving the insurgency through recruitment and religious formation of the jihadi combatants. It is essential to cut off the flow of ideology. US Navy Seals may be able to go in and rescue the kidnapped girls, but many more girls will continue to be kidnapped until the transmission of the ideology is disrupted.
Attempting to persuade non-Muslim Westerners that Islam is not the problem actually makes it much harder to formulate an effective strategy for countering jihadi insurgencies. The aversion of the US State Department to acknowledge that Boko Haram was an Islamic religious movement – they only classified it as a banned terrorist organization in late 2013 – has had a crippling effect on America’s ability to make a difference in Nigeria (see Nina Shea’s analysis).

Boko Haram will not be contained by sending in hostage negotiation experts, or making public statements about poverty, disadvantage and ‘poor government service delivery’. These are not the cause of all this hatred. Acknowledging the potent religious roots of the insurgency movement is the basic first step in shaping a credible response. To accept this is not the same as saying that Boko Haram’s interpretation of Islam is correct. One can be completely agnostic about what is or is not true Islam but yet grasp that Boko Haram is an interpretation of Islam, which at least for its followers has become the most compelling interpretation around. Finding a solution to the challenge of Boko Haram can only start from this premise.

Mark Durie


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

What Kind of Palestinian State?

by Bassam Tawil

All that is left is to sit back and watch the establishment of Hamas's new Islamic emirate in the West Bank.
"The shoulders of men were created only to bear rifles." — Fatah Facebook page
The Ramallah funeral, authorized by the Palestinian Authority, was attended by masses of Palestinians waving green Hamas-affiliated flags -- not yellow Fatah flags. Every child knows that if elections were held, Hamas would win in a landslide.
The final nail in the coffin of the Israeli-Palestinian peace was the speech given about the internal Palestinian reconciliation by the Palestinian delegate, Azzam al-Ahmed, at the home of Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza.

At the end of April, the internal Palestinian reconciliation was announced, with Fatah leaders posing for the camera with Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Musa Abu Marzouk -- all wreathed in smiles. Until the catastrophic pictures were published there were many Palestinians and Israelis who honestly believed there was a chance for a peace agreement that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state coexisting with Israel, but the speeches given by both sides made it clear that the dream of a Palestinian state would finally have to be shelved for the foreseeable future.
Ismail Haniyeh (center) speaks at the signing ceremony for the Hamas-Fatah unity agreement. (Image source: Screenshot of AlJazeera video)

It was no surprise when the Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh reassured Palestinians that their future Palestinian state would stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and that the Palestinians would return to their lands in "all Palestine."

Hamas, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and an extremist terrorist organization, has always held that unrealistic position and has never expressed any desire whatsoever for a peace agreement with the Jews. Its aspiration is, and has always been, to destroy Israel by force, slaughter its Jewish inhabitants and establish a Sharia-based Palestine on the ruins.

The real disappointment, however, was the speech given by Azzam al-Ahmed, who said the Palestinians would never recognize the State of Israel as the Jewish national homeland and would never waive the Palestinian "right of return" to Palestine.

Those speeches summed up the joint position agreed on by both Fatah and Hamas; it means there will not be peace. The Israelis will not agree to sign any agreement that will destroy their state through the influx of the millions of descendants of the 1948 refugees.

A few days later Mahmoud Abbas met with Hamas political bureau head, Khaled Mashaal, in Qatar. Apparently the internal Palestinian reconciliation is a done deal.

The events made it clear to one and all that this time it is not just more empty rhetoric, and that, as Palestinians, we will have to start recognizing that our lives will change, now and in the future.

The first signs came when Mahmoud Abbas and his associates threatened to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and lodged a unilateral appeal with the United Nations to have the "state of Palestine" recognized -- totally in violation of the framework for the peace process set out by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The Palestinians bluntly told Kerry they would not recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people. They based their refusal on the dreamy claim that doing so would damage the historical rights of the Palestinians and the rights of Israeli Arabs.

The truth is that Mahmoud Abbas does not have either the support of the Palestinian people or a consensus to lead, and his term of office ended six years ago. He knows that no decision he makes commits either the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip or the Palestinians around the world. Many people claim that because he has no legal governmental status, his decisions are not accepted as valid even in the West Bank.

For that reason, Fatah leader Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Fatah delegation, made a speech in which he claimed that the objective of the reconciliation had been to provide Mahmoud Abbas with a consensual status in the Gaza Strip as well as the West Bank, until the upcoming elections are held (if, in fact, they ever are held). Barghouti's claim was made in response to Israel's claims that Mahmoud Abbas did not actually represent anybody.

However, every West Bank child knows that Mahmoud Abbas's regime exists only by the grace of Israeli security services and that if elections were held tomorrow, or in six months as noted in the reconciliation agreement, Hamas would win in a landslide and take over the West Bank.

Mahmoud Abbas is currently at a dead end -- and why he chose to join Hamas, through the "reconciliation," of his own free will. He can control how he hands over the keys to the West Bank to Hamas and can step into the wings without fear of a Hamas putsch or a humiliating defeat in the elections.

More importantly for him, he and his associates can ward off, at least for the time being, attempts to assassinate them and appropriate the assets they have amassed over the years, and avoid the bitter fates of their Fatah compatriots in the Gaza Strip, who were divested of their assets, often kneecapped and hurled off the roofs of high-rise buildings.

The Palestinian leadership understands that it will not be able to agree to the conditions for peace set out by John Kerry. These conditions do not provide a solution for the millions of grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the original 1948 refugees, who wish to "return" to Palestine.

They will come covertly accompanied by jihad fighters who gained their experience in the killing fields of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, who will accuse Mahmoud Abbas of treason, and, sooner rather than later, assassinate him and his associates and hang their bodies in the main square in Ramallah.

The new mujahideen who enter "Palestine" from Jordan will immediately join Hamas, demand a redistribution of lands and resources, wage a new terrorist campaign against Israel and turn the West Bank into a Gaza-like Islamic emirate ruled according to the Shariah.

Clearly, Mahmoud Abbas and his associates cannot recognize Israel as a Jewish state because they understand it would mean the end of their demand to flood Israel with the refugees' descendants and upset the Jewish majority. Once the political process is completed, the Palestinians would no longer have a basis for more demands and that would end the conflict once and for all.

Ever since the Palestinian leaders understood that accepting Israel's conditions would mean their own destruction at either the hands of Hamas extremists or at the hands of the "rejection front," they have manufactured marginal, if creative, excuses to extricate themselves from the negotiations. They have claimed that Israel refused to implement the fourth phase of a prisoner release (a promise made on condition that there was progress in the peace talks). Apparently the Palestinian leaders have come to the inevitable conclusion that their regime will be toppled one way or the other, with peace with Israel or without it.

Mahmoud Abbas's attempt to gain time and extort Israel into unilateral concessions by enlisting the United States and the EU, while giving nothing in return, has failed. His attempt to convince Israel that he personally would waive the "right of return" to Safed, the city of his birth, has also failed. He waffled, saying that the right of return was an individual right of every refugee, so that he could not waive everyone's "right" for them.

The Israelis immediately countered by saying that the role of a leader was to represent the collective will of all his people. They said that Mahmoud Abbas was evading taking a stand on a critical core issue, and in fact leaving the issue of the demand for the right of return without a solution.

Azzam al-Ahmed's declarations only confirmed Israel's evidently justified suspicions that the Palestinians did in fact want to flood their country with millions of refugee descendants and destroy their country's demographics. This accurate conclusion was why Netanyahu insisted that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

Another conspicuous manifestation of the upcoming change in the balance of power in the West Bank was the funeral held for the Awadallah brothers, two senior Hamas terrorists, killed by Israel, who engineered terrorist attacks that killed enormous numbers of Israeli civilians. The funeral was held near Mahmoud Abbas's office in Ramallah after the internal Palestinian reconciliation was signed. The funeral, authorized by the Palestinian Authority, was attended by masses of Palestinians waving green Hamas-affiliated flags -- not yellow Fatah flags. The crowd chanted the familiar "Khaybar, Khaybar, Jew, the army of Muhammad will return," the call for the slaughter of the Jews, just as the army of Muhammad had expelled and slaughtered the Jews of Saudi Arabia in the seventh century.

Fatah expressed its satisfaction over the union with the Hamas terrorist organization on its official Facebook page. Fatah called the "reconciliation" a union of two "military organizations." At the end of April Fatah's page featured two masked terrorists holding assault rifles. One wears a yellow headband of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's military-terrorist wing, and the other a green headband of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing. The page also features the slogan, "Yes to unity and the end of the [internal Palestinian] rift," and the caption reads, "The shoulders of men were created only to bear rifles." The site is full of encouragement for attacks on Israeli soldiers and praise for the new union of the Palestinians fighting the Israeli enemy. That includes Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the other terrorist fronts that have spent years in a terrorist campaign trying to destroy Israel. The page also included a list of shaheeds [martyrs], role models for the future struggle.

The Israelis are also aware of declarations made by Jibril Rajoub, formerly head of the Palestinian Authority intelligence service and today a government minister, who said that if he had a nuclear weapon he would drop it on Israel.

That sort of declaration gives the Israelis an indication into what the real intentions of the Palestinian Authority for them are.

Declarations made by Tawfiq al-Tirawi in an interview with the television channel Al-Manar, Hezbollah's mouthpiece, recently clarified the intentions of Fatah as well. Tirawi, who was a senior figure in the Palestinian preventive security force and today is a high-ranking Fatah member, said that "the homeland is all of Palestine, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, from the sea to the Jordan River, according to the principles of Fatah adopted in 1968" [the armed campaign].

All that is left is to sit back and watch the establishment of Hamas's new Islamic emirate in the West Bank, an enclave of lepers against whom the whole world will unite. The Israelis and Jordanians will choke off Hamas, enabling Israel to take control of the West Bank for the next million years -- without interference.

Bassam Tawil


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

IRGC Naval Commander: Iran Can Destroy The U.S. Navy With Suicide Operations​, Missiles, And Speedboats​


In a May 6, 2014 interview, the commander of the navy of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Rear-Adm. Ali Fadavi, gave details about his navy's operational preparations for a possible clash with the U.S., focusing particularly on the destruction of the U.S. Navy. Fadavi claimed that after a great deal of practice attacking models of American warships that it had built, Iran is now capable of sinking a real one in 50 seconds, and noted that Iran's aim in preparing to strike American aircraft carriers is to defeat and humiliate the U.S.

Iran, he said, compensates for its technological inferiority to the U.S. with a strategy of asymmetrical warfare, including suicide attacks and the use of speedboat and its missile capability. He added that Iran can prevent the U.S. from using its advanced technology against it, but gave no further details as to how.

Implying that Iran would not allow the U.S. to act against it from its bases in the Persian Gulf countries, he said that the Americans were taking care not to cause a flare-up in the region because they know that they will lose any potential conflict with Iran. Therefore, he said, U.S. naval forces in the region are obeying the orders of the IRGC, which maintains oversight of the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf, out of its fear that Iranian vessels or missiles will target them.

In another interview, on May 10, Fadavi hinted that his navy was planning to use its drones both as missiles and as platforms for launching missiles.

The following are the main points from Fadavi's interviews with Fars.

"When The Enemy's Ship Is Sunk, He Is Defeated"

Fadavi told Fars: "In the battle arena, the opposing side must be destroyed, otherwise you yourself will be destroyed. Naval warfare is very different than land warfare. In this arena, when your ship is sunk, you are defeated, and when the enemy's ship is sunk, he is defeated.

"The Americans presume to be a superpower, and they point at their military capability as one of the criteria and signs of being a superpower. America's military might lies in its naval capability, and it is only by means of its navy that it can it reach other places in order to actualize its imperialist goals. Therefore, the American navy is not merely one branch; it is an [entire] army with three branches. Its warships are its navy, its aircraft carriers provide its aerial capability, and the Marines are its the land branch."

Fadavi in interview. Source: Fars, May 6, 2014.

The Americans Will Not Be Able To Use Their Bases In Saudi Arabia, Qatar, And Kuwait Because Of What Is Going To Happen

"The reason [for the U.S. Navy's long reach] is that the Americans have no confidence at all in their ability to properly use the countries of the southern Persian Gulf when it counts. Iran and all the southern Persian Gulf states and the other Muslin countries are like a single family with many children. All these children have one father, but different mothers. Occasional disputes in such a home are natural. What the Americans do is plan to use a base that they have built, say, in Saudi Arabia, at the right time and when they want – [but] because of events that are going to happen, they will not be able to do so. The same goes for [bases in] Qatar and Kuwait.

"One Of The IRGC Navy's Operational Goals Is To Destroy The U.S. Navy"

"Our friends and our enemies [alike] are aware of only a small part of the IRGC navy's capability, and they are not aware of a large part of it. These unknown capabilities will be presented in time, for the purpose of deterrence, or will emerge in the war arena. But the enemy is already worried about the little intelligence it does have with regard to our capabilities.

"The American aircraft carriers, which are the symbol of American military might, are under full oversight of the IRGC. Naturally, Iran determines when it will carry out the regular training, drills, and maneuvers that it uses for operational goals, and the Americans and the rest of the world know that one of the IRGC navy's operational goals is to destroy the U.S. Navy.

"With regard to the vulnerability of the American aircraft carriers, refer to Robert Gates's book, and see how he explicitly discusses the aircraft carriers' vulnerability to the IRGC navy, and how he seeks to change American naval strategy. This is no simple mission, but he stresses that the change must be made, and [the Americans] have begun to implement it. They acknowledged that the [huge] size of their vessels is making them easy targets for the IRGC navy. We have very precise analyses of the designing of these warships, and we know how we must act. The aircraft on these warships are responsible for America's aerial capability in the battlefield, and therefore it is natural for us to want to sink these warships."

Fadavi in interview. Source: Fars, May 6, 2014.

"For Many Years Now, We Have Been Building Models Of American Destroyers, Cruisers, And Frigates – And Sinking Them"

In response to the interviewer's question about reports in Western media that Iran has built models of American aircraft carriers in order to practice attacking and sinking them, in the event that the nuclear negotiations fail, Fadavi said: "The Americans do not know most of the details, and their research institutes have presented very rough data regarding the scale models of aircraft carriers that we are building. Actually, for many years now we have been building models of American destroyers, cruisers, and frigates, and sinking them. We have even successfully sunk models of their vessels within 50 seconds, in a variety of operations. These small models allow us to practice battlefield operations in the most natural way possible. We have also done this with a scale model of an aircraft carrier, because the destruction and sinking of American war ships was, is, and will remain part of our plan."

We Want To Strike American Aircraft Carriers In Order To Deliver Defeat And Humiliation To The Americans

"The Americans themselves claim that on April 14, 1988 [during the Iran-Iraq war], the IRGC navy destroyed the guided missile frigate Samuel B. Roberts. Iranian fighters have already demonstrated their capabilities and their skill in striking and sinking cruisers and frigates, and today we must also practice [sinking] aircraft carriers. So we built two-thirds scale models, 202 meters long. The Americans said in their media that Iran did this in order to humiliate America, but that is not why we are doing it. We are doing it for one clear purpose, the result of which will be the defeat and humiliation of the Americans. We want to drill operational and tactical operations of attacking an aircraft carrier."

If The Americans Do Not Heed The IRGC's Warnings – Iran's Missile Systems Will Close In On Them

"Under international law, Iran has the right to oversee the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Therefore, if American vessels do not heed the IRGC's warnings, they will immediately see a large number of Iranian vessels surrounding them, or Iran's missile systems closing in on them. However, this usually does not happen. Here at the IRGC naval command and control center, we speak to the Americans every day, and have been doing so for many years, and they have frequently acknowledged that [when they deal with us] they are dealing with a professional navy. It is naturally difficult for them to speak of the IRGC this way...

"An American warship has never been seen in Iran's territorial waters or in international waters near Iran. To see one, you have to approach the territorial waters of the southern Persian Gulf states.

"It is the U.S. that is most careful not to fire a single bullet in the Persian Gulf. It knows that if it does, any damage it receives will be substantially greater than the damage it will do [to Iran]. The Americans fear this, especially after the region was divided up between the Iranian military's navy and the IRGC navy. After the division, and after the IRGC naval forces were stationed in the Persian Gulf, we gathered all the military attach├ęs and explained to them this geographic division, under which the IRGC navy was made responsible for the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, and the responsibility for the Gulf of Oman and Mazandaran [northern Iran] and over distant [i.e. international] waters was given to the military's navy."

Iran Will Consider The American Offer For Determining A [Telephone Hot] Line – When It Anchors In The Gulf Of Mexico

"At least three times, the Americans have contacted Iran via official channels, such as the Swiss Embassy [in Tehran], to establish a [telephone hot] line [like the one between the Soviet Union and America during the Cold War, and thus to be able to control matters. However, we have told them that there is only one reason for losing [control] of matters – and that is your [i.e. the Americans'] presence in the Persian Gulf. If you leave, [we told them], nothing will happen. At the same time, I told them we would consider it once we anchor near American waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Iran has a legal duty to preserve security in the Strait of Hormuz, which is why it takes steps so that residents of the world – and of the Persian Gulf – can live peacefully. Insecurity in the Persian Gulf will be to the detriment of the residents of the world, since the energy [sources] in the region help Europe and warm Siberia. All the economic wheels in these countries are in motion thanks to the energy of the Persian Gulf. If they stop moving, their people will become unemployed and face hardship, which is why we take on the responsibility of providing security in the Persian Gulf...

"However, there is one disruptive element: the Americans themselves. Iran has a presence in the north, the east, and the west of the Strait of Hormuz, and completely surrounds it; therefore, it considers itself responsible for securing the region. This could be problematic following an American move...

"It may be that all the southern Persian Gulf states wish to maintain good relations with Iran but the enemies are not allowing them to do so. America benefits from the absence of coordination among the countries of the region. If there is complete coordination among them, the Americans will gain nothing – so they are not letting this happen. This is the imperialist policy..."

Suicide Operations And Speedboats Will Neutralize The U.S.'s Technological Superiority

"[The U.S.] spends more than $500 million on advanced equipment and weapons for its warships. The cost of an American warship is over $1 billion, and of an aircraft carrier is $13 billion. The annual [maintenance] costs for a carrier are higher than some countries' entire military budgets, and can reach $2-$3 billion annually... But they know that these weapons are ineffective against a new [Iranian] strategy relying on faith, on a desire for martyrdom, and on [Iran's] unique speedboats.

"The IRGC navy brings down their technological superiority to the situation of a nascent country, because they will not be able to use what they have in battle. This situation is the result of a new and precise strategy by the IRGC navy, and we will continue with this. Throughout these years, we have not wasted a single day in improving our naval capabilities."

The Americans Will Know Where The Russian Underwater 'Hoot' Missile Is When It Hits Them

"We have shown the Hoot underwater missile. This is a unique Russian-made missile. It can move at 100 meters per second underwater. Some physicists might not accept this, but Russian experts have achieved this technology, and we benefit from it also; we have had this missile for years..."

Responding to a question about which IRGC vessels have these missiles, Fadavi said: "When the missile hits the Americans, both you and them will see which units fired it..."

A Drone Can Function Like A Missile

In a subsequent May 10 interview with Fars, Fadavi said: "The drone command in the IRGC navy operates separately from the IRGC air force. It uses a variety of drones, first and foremost for reconnaissance missions and operations. We have established a drone base [that covers] the eastern, northern, and western parts of the Strait of Hormuz, and we fly over them regularly...

"We can launch the same missiles that we have on [our] ships and on our shores from drones, in order to hit military targets at sea."

Asked about "suicide drones," Fadavi said: "The use of drone technology is tactical and not strategic. We can determine battlefield tactics according to operational needs, so that a drone can, for instance, function like a missile.

"We have installed anti-ship missiles on our ships, our coasts, and our helicopters. We can install medium range missiles on our drones that can meet almost all of our needs. This process is now underway."



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UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Quits

by Joseph Klein

Lakhdar Brahimi

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced on May 13th that he regretfully accepted the resignation of Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint United Nations-League of Arab States Special Representative for Syria. The resignation will take effect on May 31, 2014. He follows former Secretary General Kofi Annan, who tried unsuccessfully to find a formula for a peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict and resigned in August 2012 after only about five months on the job. Mr. Brahimi stuck it out for almost two years, but finally decided, like Kofi Annan, that he was just spinning his wheels. No successor has been named as of yet.

The Secretary General described Mr. Brahimi’s resignation as a “tragedy for the Syrian people” and a “failure” for the United Nations. “He has faced almost impossible odds, with a Syrian nation, Middle Eastern region and wider international community that have been hopelessly divided in their approaches to ending the conflict,” Ban Ki-moon told reporters. “That his efforts have not received effective support from the United Nations body that is charged with upholding peace and security, and from countries with influence on the Syria situation, is a failure of all of us.”

Ban Ki-moon was blunt in laying a good portion of the blame for lack of progress in reaching a peaceful resolution of the crisis on the Syrian government. Bashar Ja’afari, Syria’s UN Ambassador, cited such criticism as the reason why Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has refused to even take any phone calls from the Secretary General.

For his part, Mr. Brahimi, who later in the day delivered his final status report to the Security Council meeting in a closed door session, expressed his frustration this way: “It’s very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state. I’m sure the crisis will end, but all [stakeholders] should consider how much more death, how much more destruction will occur…before Syria can become a new Syria.”

Although he did not say so outright, the tipping point for Mr. Brahimi’s decision to resign may well have been the decision by Assad to run for another seven-year term in a pro-forma presidential election to be held on June 3rd. This decision runs counter to Mr. Brahimi’s attempts to mediate at meetings in Geneva the terms for a transitional government with full executive powers and a path to free and fair elections acceptable to the opposition as well as the regime. The meetings had ended in failure after the two sides could not even agree on the order of agenda items for their discussions.
When Mr. Brahimi spoke with reporters after the Security Council briefing, he said that he had informed Security Council members of an offer by Iran, Assad’s patron along with Russia, to help in trying to obtain a postponement of the presidential election. “It is too late in the day for that,” Mr. Brahimi said he told the Security Council.

Aside from the political dimension of the conflict, there is a grave humanitarian crisis that continues in most of the country despite a brief pause in fighting in and around Homs which allowed people trapped in Homs to depart unharmed. The conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, has led to over 150,000 deaths, with many more Syrians injured and displaced. Despite a Security Council resolution calling for all parties to facilitate access for humanitarian relief to those in need in Syria, to cease depriving civilians of food and medicine indispensable to their survival, and to enable the rapid, safe and unhindered evacuation of all civilians who wished to leave, which was passed unanimously in February 2014, the humanitarian situation remains dire. “Far from getting better, the situation is getting worse,” said Under-Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos last month.

There is a stalemate in the Security Council preventing it from following up with measures to enforce its prior humanitarian resolution, largely due to the prospect of a Russian veto. In order to parry charges that his country is being obstructionist, Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters on May 13th that his country had circulated a draft resolution that would use the negotiation of local cease fires, such as in Homs, as the model for enabling the delivery of humanitarian aid nationwide. The United States and France are leading the effort for a stronger enforcement resolution as well as referring the Syrian regime to the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ambassador Churkin, not surprisingly, said his country was opposed to such a referral.

The most progress being made in Syria involves the removal of its declared chemical weapons for destruction. The removal is reportedly about 92% completed. However, even this positive development is clouded with some uncertainty. Reports of chlorine gas attacks on civilians are being investigated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, claimed there were “indications” that Syria has waged as many as fourteen chemical attacks involving chlorine since agreeing to give up its chemical weapons. “Right now, we are examining the samples that were taken,” he told reporters in Washington on May 13th where he was meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry. ”What it shows is that (the) Bashar al-Assad regime in spite of its commitment continues to be able to produce chemical weapons and to use them,” Mr. Fabius added.

There are also unconfirmed reports that the Syrian government may not have fully declared its chemical weapons stockpile and that some chemical weapons may have been secretly moved over the border to Lebanon where Iran’s jihadist proxy Hezbollah has significant power and presence.
Lakhdar Brahimi recognized the almost impossible odds of success even during the early days of his tenure. More than a year ago he told reporters: ”Every day I wake up, I think I should resign. But I haven’t so far. One day, perhaps, one day I will resign, and I assure you, you will find out.” That day has now arrived.

Mr. Brahimi’s successor, should there be one, will be unlikely to do any better than his predecessors. In reality, there is not really very much that the Security Council or the United Nations as a whole can do to solve the Syrian crisis, any more than the League of Nations was able to deal with the Spanish Civil War during the 1930s. They are both proxy wars, with regional and international players arming one side or the other.

Indeed, nothing has really changed since I wrote back in August 2012 – well before the latest stand-off between Russia and the West in Ukraine – regarding “the revival of U.S.-Russian Cold War-like rivalries.” It is such East-West rivalries, overlaying the involvement of Iran and its Sunni rivals along with the intervention of foreign jihadists, which have contributed to the paralysis of the United Nations in Syria:

“President Obama’s policy of trying to push a re-set button in the relationship between the two countries has backfired. As evidenced by its intransigence at the United Nations, Russia is protecting the Assad regime to thwart the West and its NATO ally Turkey in their efforts to extend their reach through regime change in a region where Russia believes it has vital strategic interests… Hopefully, after the protracted deadlock at the Security Council, the Obama administration is starting to come to grips with the futility of relying on the United Nations to confer some sort of international legitimacy on its foreign policies. We’ll have to wait and see.”

We have waited nearly two more years and the Obama administration still has not learned.

Joseph Klein


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Controversy over 9/11 Museum film that mentions the 'you-know-whos' who attacked us

by Rick Moran

CAIR is in an uproar. All those well intentioned interfaith clerics, priests, and preachers who are agree with them. There are certain things you can't say about terrorism and terrorists and a film about the rise of al-Qaeda to be shown at the 9/11 Museum made the mistake of coming right out and saying it.

You guessed it; the filmmakers ran afoul of the perpetually outraged by telling viewers exactly who it was that attacked us and why.

In the interest of ecumencialism - and not wanting to offend those good folks at CAIR - I will refrain from identifying the culprits who hijacked 4 planes and murdered 3,000 Americans because as we all know, if is far more important not to offend a religious group than it is to tell the truth about what happened that horrible day.

So let's just was the "you-know-whos" who attacked us and leave it at that, ok?

Museum officials consulted hundreds of people -- survivors, relatives of the victims, rescue workers, community leaders and others -- as they determined what should be included in the exhibits occupying the halls beneath the footprints of the Twin Towers.
While that effort has been applauded by many for being a fitting, emotional telling of one of the darkest days in U.S. history, it is not without its controversies. Among them is a seven-minute film entitled "The Rise of Al Qaeda."
The documentary tells the story of the growth of a worldwide terrorist organization. The film, which features video of al Qaeda training camps and previous attacks, plays next to a room where photos of the 9/11 attackers are on display.
The inclusion of that story is not the problem. But the use of words like "jihad" and "Islamist" in the narration prompted some Muslim Americans and others to call for edits.
"We feel that there is unfortunate messaging in referencing to Islam," said Zead Ramadan of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
His wife was a first responder who aided in the search-and-rescue effort after the attacks. Ramadan fears that millions of visitors will walk away from the documentary believing that Islam is to blame for 9/11.
The Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Center of New York, was part of a museum advisory council that was given an opportunity to view the documentary. "The film loosely and without sufficient definition or context describes the rise of al Qaeda and uses terms that are confusing and controversial," she said.
Breyer said the the film is the only museum display that appears to assign blame.
"It's the one thing in there that suggests who to blame," she said. "And to do that, it requires the kind of depth and nuance and sophistication that the rest of the museum has. It's a very delicate and difficult complex question, and they don't go anywhere near addressing it."
Is it really a "delicate and difficult complex question" or is it a straightforward, simple, and obvious question of who was responsible for the attacks? Or do the "you-know-whos" have a point?

I haven't seen the film but I can't imagine any exhibit at that museum that would blame all "you-know-whos" for terrorism. It's balmy to think so.
"No one will come through this exhibit and, in any way, think that we are indicting an entire religion, which we in no way are," said Joe Daniels, president of the National September 11 Memorial Museum.
In a statement, museum officials said: "A major part of preserving the history of September 11 is to show who was responsible for the monstrous attack on America that led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people of various ethnicities and religious beliefs. This brief film, within the context of surrounding exhibits, focuses on the roots of al Qaeda with the express purpose of helping visitors understand who perpetrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It does not purport to be a film about Islam or in any way generalize that Muslims are terrorists."
This is just another case of hypersensitivity by the "you know-whos." And a way to get CAIR's name in the media. Any effort to talk about terrorism cannot mention the "you-know-whos" in any context whatsoever, because as we all know, the "you-know-whos" are a peaceful people and would never engage in terrorist acts.

Well, maybe "never" is too strong a word. After all, terrorism is caused by poverty, imperialism., and oppression of the "you-know-whos" by the west. And religion has nothing to do with it.

So all you bigots out there - and you know who you are - stop blaming the "you-know-whos" for terrorism and get with the ecumenical program; a terrorist is just as likely to be a white Chirstian as a "you-know-who." Just ask the Department of Homeland Security. They agree.

Rick Moran


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Islamic 'Sex Slaves' Throw Wrench in Official Narrative

by Raymond Ibrahim

Islamic law permits the possession of concubines, or sex slaves. This has been demonstrated countless times, including through Islamic clerics quoting Islamic scriptures, and through ordinary Muslims, past and present, acting on those scriptures.

That said, Islam-sanctioned sex-slavery does not perturb the Western world simply because the powers-that-be – specifically, academia, media, and government – ignore it, and any number of other unsavory phenomena associated with Islam, out of existence.

Interesting, therefore, are the responses – comical, one might even say – when one of these everyday anecdotes actually does surface for the general public.

Enter the recent abduction of nearly 300, mostly Christian, teenage schoolgirls in Nigeria at the hands of Boko Haram, yet another Islamic terrorist organization plaguing mankind. As expected, the group justified its actions in Islamic terms, with its leader declaring on video, “I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah. … There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell.”

Of course, for those in the know, none of this is surprising. In March 2012, Boko Haram warned that it would do just this, declaring that it was preparing to “strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women.”

Moreover, of all the human rights abuses I catalog in Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians – and there are depressingly many – Boko Haram’s savagery has resulted in more Christians killed than in the rest of the world combined.

The group has bombed or burned hundreds of Christian churches, most when packed for service, including on Christmas Day and Easter Day, leaving hundreds of worshippers dead or dismembered through the years. In its bid to cleanse northern Nigeria of all Christian presence – a repeatedly stated goal – it has threatened to poison the food eaten by Christians and stormed areas where Christians and Muslims were intermingled, singling the Christians out before slitting their throats.

Go to my monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians” series, currently 30 in all, and see the countless atrocities that Boko Haram has been responsible for – most of which make the recent Nigerian girls’ abduction pale in comparison.

The real news here is that the so-called mainstream media actually reported on this latest atrocity, prompting both Western and Muslim authorities – who are much more accustomed to, and comfortable with, pretending these sorts of things don’t exist – to respond in awkward, hypocritical and, in a word, foolish ways. Thus:
Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. had been in touch with Nigeria “from day one” of the crisis. But repeated offers of U.S. assistance were ignored until Kerry got on the phone Tuesday with [Nigerian president] Jonathan amid growing international concern and outrage over the fate of the girls in the weeks since their abduction…. “I think now the complications that have arisen have convinced everybody that there needs to be a greater effort,” Kerry said at a State Department news conference. “And it will begin immediately. I mean, literally, immediately.”
“Convinced everybody”? Is Kerry referring to himself? After all, there might not be any need for “greater effort” had Kerry only let the Nigerian president and government do their job one year ago, when they were waging a particularly strong offensive against Boko Haram in the very same region where the schoolgirls were recently kidnapped.

Back then, in May 2013, according to Reuters, “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a strongly worded statement [to the Nigerian president] saying: “We are … deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations, which, in turn, only escalate the violence and fuel extremism” from Boko Haram.

Perhaps this sheds more light on why “repeated offers of U.S. assistance [regarding the kidnapped girls] were ignored” by Nigeria, “until Kerry got on the phone” (whatever that means).

As for Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton, who is now bemoaning the lot of the kidnapped girls in Nigeria – saying it’s “abominable, it’s criminal, it’s an act of terrorism and it really merits the fullest response possible” – when she was secretary of state and in a position to help offer “the fullest response possible,” she repeatedly refused to designate Boko Haram as a “foreign terrorist organizations,” despite the countless atrocities it had already committed, despite the fact that it had boasted it would “strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women,” as it just has, and despite urging from the CIA, FBI, Justice Department, and several congressmen and senators.

Her logic was once voiced by her husband, former U.S. president Bill Clinton. Back in February 2012, in a speech discussing Boko Haram’s terror campaign, Clinton declared that “inequality” and “poverty” are “what’s fueling all this stuff” and warned the Nigerian government that “[i]t is almost impossible to cure a problem based on violence with violence” – a precursor to Kerry’s May 2013 condemnation of the Nigerian government’s tough offensive against Boko Haram, which would “only escalate the violence and fuel extremism.”

In short, just like the Obama administration has been a thorn in Egypt’s war with the Muslim Brotherhood, so too has it been a thorn in Nigeria war’s with Boko Haram – despite all its current handwringing and “outrage” over this latest – that is, known – atrocity.

As for the “Islam” aspect of Boko Haram’s violence and Christian persecution, needless to say, the Obama administration rejects it outright. Thus, after the 2012 Easter Day church bombings by Boko Haram that killed dozens of worshipers, U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson was quick to insist that “religion is not driving extremist violence” – in other words, as Bill Clinton might put it, that “inequality” and “poverty” are “what’s fueling all this stuff.”

Still, because this latest kidnapping anecdote has received sufficient media attention, including in the Arab and Muslim worlds, some Muslim leaders have been forced out of their comfort zone to respond.

Thus, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayib, the Grand Sheikh of Egypt’s Al Azhar – regularly touted as the Muslim world’s most prestigious institution of Islamic learning – was quick to condemn Boko Haram’s actions of kidnapping and selling “infidel” women, saying, “these actions have no connection to the tolerant and noble teachings of Islam.”

As for Egypt’s minister of endowments, Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar al-Gum‘a, he too released a statement saying that “the terrorist deeds of Boko Haram have nothing to do with Islam, especially this latest deed of kidnapping girls. Instead, they are terroristic, criminal actions, and Islam is clean of them.” He then went into White House spokesperson mode, saying that poverty, oppression, and the rest were the true motivators for Boko Haram’s carnage.

On can sympathize with Egypt’s state sheikhs – after all, they are busy fighting their own misunderstanders of Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood and their fellow ideologues, who have been abducting male Coptic Christians for ransom, and females for sexual abuse, slavery, and/or conversion to Islam.

Happily for these moderate clerics, they are not in a position to have their assertions challenged. Based on precedent, they often have no response and can get hostile.

For example, some years back, when Sheikh Gamal Qutb, a one-time Grand Mufti of Al Azhar, was asked on live Arabic-language TV if Islam permits sex slaves, as some Koran verses (e.g., 4:24) indicate, he refused to give a direct answer, preferring to prevaricate. When pressed for a clear answer by the Muslim female host, he became hostile and stormed off the set. He eventually returned, only to be implored again by the host, who said, “Ninety percent of Muslims, including myself, do not understand the issue of sex slavery in Islam and are having a hard time swallowing it,” to which he gruffly responded, “You don’t need to understand!”

And there you have it. From Obama administration officials who helped empower Nigeria’s Islamic terrorists, now wringing their hands and pretending outrage, to Islamic clerics forced to confront the ugly side of Islam, by simply putting their heads in the sand and hoping no one puts them on the spot, here is just a small example of what officialdom would have to deal with if the full totality of crimes committed in the name of Islam were to become common knowledge, as they increasingly are.

Raymond Ibrahim


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