Thursday, December 31, 2015

Iran Executes Three Iranians Every Day; The West Rewards It - Judith Bergman

by Judith Bergman

  • "Death sentences in Iran are particularly disturbing because they are invariably imposed by courts that are completely lacking in independence and impartiality. They are imposed either for vaguely worded or overly broad offences, or for acts that should not be criminalized at all, let alone attract the death penalty. Trials in Iran are deeply flawed, detainees are often denied access to lawyers in the investigative stage, and there are inadequate procedures for appeal, pardon and commutation" -- From a July 2015 Amnesty International report.
  • How ironic that Europeans have no problem stuffing themselves with syrupy Iranian dates exported by this regime, knowing full well that there are thousands of prisoners are being tortured in Iran while awaiting their executions.
  • Amnesty International reports that in the fall of 2015, cartoonist Atena Farghadani was forced to undergo a "virginity and pregnancy test" prior to her trial. The charge? "Illegitimate sexual relations," for having shaken hands with her lawyer.
  • Iran nevertheless won a top seat on the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women in April 2014. Not a single UN member, not even the US, objected.
On the UN's Human Rights Day, observed December 10, an Iranian woman was sentenced to death by stoning in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran is believed to have imposed death by stoning on at least 150 people, according to the International Committees against Execution and Stoning.
"Stoning," Iranian human rights activist Shabnam Assadollahi said, "is an act of torture. There are 15 countries in which stoning is either practiced and authorized by law or tolerated. One of those 15 countries is Iran. The last known execution by stoning was in 2009. In Iran under the Islamic law, stonings, hangings, and executions are legal torture.

"In Islam under Sharia law, the stoning (Rajm) is commonly used as a form of capital punishment, called Hudud," Assadollahi explained.
"Under the Islamic Law, it is the ordained penalty in cases of adultery committed by a married man or married woman with others who are not her/his legal partner. Stoning is carried out by a crowd of Muslims who follow the Sharia law by throwing stones (small and large) at a convicted person until she or he is killed. The international community must pressure Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, and other countries where stoning is legally carried or tolerated. Why cannot the public loudly cry out and advocate for women oppressed by those regimes?"
Instead of cries of outrage, the West, in the wake of the nuclear "deal" Iran has not even signed, has been scrambling to ingratiate itself with the Iranian regime. Countries such as France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland have barely been able to contain themselves at the prospect of doing business with them. It has been years since the Europeans could legally engage in trade with the murderous regime of the mullahs, who still cry, "Death to Israel, Death to America" -- the "Little Satan" and the "Great Satan' -- and they have not been wasting time.

In fact, the P5+1 negotiators (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) had just finished signing the "deal" with themselves, when Germany's Vice Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, hurried himself and a group of representatives from German companies and industry groups onto a plane for a visit to Iran.

The French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, who usually knows better, likewise, found it "... completely normal that after this historic deal was signed, France and Iran should restart normal relations."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that it is "completely normal that after this historic [nuclear] deal was signed, France and Iran should restart normal relations." Left, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hugs Fabius at the close of nuclear talks in Geneva, Nov. 23, 2014. Right: A public execution in Iran.

Before the sanctions took effect in 2011, French companies such as Renault and Peugeot were making billions of euros from their involvement with Iran's auto industry. Similarly, the French company Total was heavily involved in the oil sector. France was evidently not going to miss a beat in bringing this lucrative trade back to la République.

How ironic that the country of "liberté, egalité and fraternité" finds it "completely normal" to have normal diplomatic and trade relations with a country that treats its own citizens, especially women, worse than the mud under the mullah's feet; that executes whoever disagrees with the regime, and that hangs homosexuals from cranes. How ironic that Europeans have no problem stuffing themselves with syrupy Iranian dates exported by this smiling regime, knowing full well that there are thousands of Iranian prisoners being tortured in Iranian prisons while awaiting their execution day.

Iranian authorities are believed to have executed 694 people between January 1 and July 15, 2015 -- an average of three executions a day. Since the election of the "moderate" President Hassan Rouhani in 2013, the number of executions has markedly gone up. According to a July 2015 Amnesty International report:
"Death sentences in Iran are particularly disturbing because they are invariably imposed by courts that are completely lacking in independence and impartiality. They are imposed either for vaguely worded or overly broad offences, or for acts that should not be criminalized at all, let alone attract the death penalty. Trials in Iran are deeply flawed, detainees are often denied access to lawyers in the investigative stage, and there are inadequate procedures for appeal, pardon and commutation."
The report goes on to state that the majority of those put to death in 2015 were people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who were convicted on drug charges. "This is in direct breach of international law, which restricts the use of the death penalty to only the 'most serious crimes' – those involving intentional killing. Drug-related offences do not meet this threshold."

Among those executed in Iran this year are members of ethnic and religious minorities convicted of "enmity against God" and "corruption on earth." These include Kurdish political prisoners and Sunni Muslims. On August 26, 2015, Behrouz Alkhani, a 30-year-old man from Iran's Kurdish minority, was executed despite awaiting the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal.

Iran is the second most prolific executioner in the world after China, according to Amnesty International's latest global death penalty report.

Iran also tops the global list statistically for executioners of juvenile offenders, even though it is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which prohibit the imposition of the death penalty against persons who were below 18 years of age at the time of the crime, without exception. (Of course Iran was also a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it also violated repeatedly.) Iran continues to impose the death penalty against juvenile offenders, frequently deferring the execution until after they pass the age of 18. In 2015, at least four juvenile offenders are believed to have been executed: Javad Saberi, Vazir Amroddin, Samad Zahabi and Fatemeh Salbehi.

Iran is scheduled to be reviewed by the Committee on the Rights of the Child on January 11-12, 2016. The Committee has already expressed deep concerns about the use of death penalty against juvenile offenders and asked Iran to provide information on the progress and outcome of the cases of juvenile offenders undergoing re-trial.

Despite all the atrocities that Iran commits towards its citizens, women hold a special place of denigration and humiliation in Iranian society. Young women are reported brutally arrested by the thousand every week for not wearing a "proper hijab." A woman in Iran is de facto first her father's property, then after marriage, her husband's property. According to the UN Secretary General's February 2015 Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, child marriage is prevalent. The legal age of marriage for girls is 13; some as young as 9 may be married by permission of the court. In 2011, about 48,580 girls between the age of 10 and 14 were married; in 2012, there were at least 1,537 girls under the age of 10 who were reportedly married. Pedophilia is thereby widespread and legal.

Married women may not work, attend sporting events or leave the country without their husband's permission. When arrested, they suffer unspeakable torture in prison. Rape is commonly used as torture in prison against both women and men.

Forced "virginity testing" is also commonly used in prison, a serious violation of international law. It violates women's and girls' human rights to physical integrity, dignity, privacy and right to be free from torture and cruel and inhuman and degrading treatment. According to Amnesty International, satirical cartoonist Atena Farghadani, held in prison since January 2015, was sentenced in June 2015 to twelve years and nine months in prison for her peaceful activism, including meeting with families of political prisoners, and for drawing a satirical cartoon depicting legislators as monkeys, cows, and other animals. The cartoon was to protest a bill that sought to criminalize voluntary sterilization and restrict access to contraception and family planning services.

In December 2014, when Farghadani was out on bail, she released a video message on YouTube, detailing how female prison guards at Evin prison had beaten her, verbally abused her and forced her to strip naked for body searches. She was rearrested in January 2015, and in the fall of 2015 she was forced to undergo a "virginity and pregnancy test" prior to her trial. The charge? "Illegitimate sexual relations" for having shaken hands with her lawyer.

Iran nevertheless won a top seat on the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women in April 2014. Not a single UN member, not even the US, objected, to that election.

An exhaustive account of the atrocities that the Iranian regime continues to commit against its own people would require volumes. Nevertheless, the West, seems to remain unfazed in furthering its lucrative relations with the murderous regime.

Those politicians and executives scrambling to do business with the mullahs should realize that Iran's intercontinental ballistic missiles can tomorrow be aimed at them. Those who comfort themselves with the thought that Iran only wants to annihilate Israel might do well to think again. Iran has tested a two-stage solid-fuel missile, the Sejjil-2, with a range of more than 2,000 km, allowing it to target southeastern Europe. In addition, Iran recently unveiled the Soumar cruise missile, reportedly a reverse-engineered version of the Russia's Raduga Kh-55 -- which was designed as a nuclear delivery system. It has a claimed range of 2,500-3,000 km.

Nevertheless, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has acceded to Iran's demands to close its 12-year investigation into whether Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program. The IAEA produced a report earlier this month that strongly suggested Iran did have a nuclear weapons program for the years up until 2003.

The West clearly not only fails to care about the plight of the Iranians -- it does not even care about its own populations being within Iranian missile range.

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.


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

'Normalization' with Turkey? No thank you - Ari Soffer

by Ari Soffer

Rapprochement with Turkey at this time and under the current terms would be a momentous, humiliating and self-defeating mistake for the State of Israel.

What a shame. Just as it seemed we might put everything behind us, Turkey has once again spurned its erstwhile ally Israel by, not for the first time, leveling conditions it knows the Jewish state can never accept in return for the holy grail of "normalization."

Lifting the blockade of Gaza - which has been ruled as legal by the UN and which is crucial for Israel's security - as demanded by Ankara, would obviously mark a total surrender by Israel from a diplomatic perspective, while placing Israelis at an acceptable risk of attack from terrorists armed with previously-inaccessible, sophisticated weaponry.

It is a condition which even the Netanyahu government - which is apparently keen to get back into bed with the Erdogan regime - cannot accept.

How sad - we were so close. But who knows, perhaps there's still a chance of rapprochement? At least, that's what Israel's foreign ministry apparently thinks.

Well, let's hope not. Rapprochement with Turkey at this time and under the current terms would be a momentous, humiliating and self-defeating mistake for the State of Israel. We can only thank God that, once again, we have been saved from ourselves by the sheer spitefulness and arrogance of our foes - at least for now.

No, our foes are not the Turkish people per se - although the fact that they have repeatedly voted in an anti-Semitic, Islamist demagogue and his clique, who were the ones who so dramatically and deliberately torpedoed their country's relations with us in the first place, doesn't exactly emanate goodwill.

But in the mustachioed, suited Islamists of the ruling AKP, Israel has a foe no less vicious, and only slightly less dangerous than the bearded, robed mullahs of Tehran.

It is a government which has not merely spewed a regular rhetorical stream of anti-Israel bile, while its officials air anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Rhetoric aside, Erdogan's Turkey has been home for several years now to Hamas's most lethal terrorist masterminds, allowing them to plot their genocide of the Jewish state under state protection and largess, while openly endorsing and supporting the terrorist group throughout its wars and terror campaigns against the citizens of Israel.

Then consider the alleged deal under consideration, details of which have been gradually leaked by Israeli officials, most likely in an attempt to test the Israeli public's reactions.

The one thing which is certainly a condition for Israeli-Turkish rapprochement - being the only detail Ankara and Jerusalem have both publicly acknowledged - is an official apology and handsome compensation package to the families of the Islamist extremists who attacked IDF soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara in 2010.

This is likely what Israeli foreign ministry Director-General Dore Gold meant, when he claimed in a recent interview with a Saudi paper that "some points have already been finalized and others are still being discussed, but things are on track."

This condition is itself an indication of the barely-concealed enmity harbored towards Israel by the Turkish government. Remember, the Islamists in question were killed while staging a violent attack on Israeli forces - which left several soldiers seriously wounded - and were all members of an extremist organization (the IHH) which even Turkish police have said has clear links to Al Qaeda.

(Of course, this latter point matters not to a Turkish government which has brazenly backed Al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in Syria - but I digress.)

What's more, the Marmara attack was only possible with the Turkish government's cooperation - the flotilla launched its final leg from Turkish shores amid much fanfare and official government support. If anything, it is the Turks who should be apologizing for enabling a flagrant violation of Israeli sovereignty and a violent, near-lethal assault on our soldiers.

The demand that Israel should apologize for its soldiers defending their own lives - and in the process the lives of all Israeli citizens, whose security is served by the maintenance of the blockade the Islamists sought to break - should be considered an unacceptable slap in the face. It's not just a disgraceful betrayal of our soldiers - such a craven apology would merely invite further such attacks. It would also broadcast a more fundamental signal of weakness throughout the region, framing Israel as the local whipping-boy: if you put enough pressure, hold out for long enough, and then dangle a carrot or two, the mighty Jewish state, desperate for friends, will eventually give in to your demands.

In the politics of the Middle East the currency of honor and respect is as valuable for a country's deterrence as its technical military capabilities. This, alas, is a fact our leaders seem stubbornly determined to ignore. Each time our enemies attack us, and lose, we reward them by agreeing to go back to square one in exchange for token agreements we all know will be broken as soon as it becomes expedient to do so.

And what would Israel get in return? That is rather less clear, not least because Turkish officials have in recent days denied what Israeli reports had claimed as the main elements of a normalization agreement. Ties with Hamas are not on the chopping block, while negotiations over a multi-billion dollar natural gas deal are apparently only to begin after any eventual normalization agreement, according to a recent report in Haaretz. Meanwhile, Hamas's terrorist kingpin Salah al-Arouri - who has been behind nearly every single major terrorist plot in Judea and Samaria in recent years, as well as the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers in 2014 which he proudly gloated about - reportedly left Turkey months ago, leaving claims by Israeli officials that his expulsion was part of the deal looking somewhat contrived.

Of course, the very notion that the AKP - the Turkish version of the Muslim Brotherhood - would be open to dropping its Palestinian cousin Hamas seemed far-fetched to begin with. But even if we assume that Turkey's denials are all a political ploy or the result of a sudden about-face, and that such a deal was in fact on the table, none of these "gains" would be of particular value to Israel, certainly not in exchange for an "alliance" with a government as unreliable as Erdogan's. 

Expelling Hamas leaders - the incentive most commonly touted to the Israeli media - would pose no more than a minor, temporary inconvenience for the world's richest terrorist organization after ISIS. Viable alternatives for a safe haven would include Qatar, home of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal himself; and of course, if all else fails, there's always Iran.

The vague suggestion of a Turkish-Israeli "strategic alliance" in view of supposedly mutual regional threats is perhaps more laughable still.

Erdogan may be an enemy of Bashar al-Assad, but the Syrian dictator and his army are hardly a threat to Israel. As for the Sunni jihadis Ankara has claimed to be combating (by bombing the Kurds who are fighting them, naturally): Turkey's support for Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and other Islamist rebels is one of the Syrian civil war's worst-kept secrets - as is his government's blind eye towards, if not indirect support of, ISIS operatives both along the Syria-Turkey border as well as within his own country.

More importantly, however, is the fact that neither the Syrian army nor Al Nusra or even ISIS (despite the latter's exceptional PR) currently pose an immediate threat to Israel. Hamas does - and its leadership is still warmly embraced by Turkey and, as is clear from the ongoing, intimate tet-a-tets between the two ideological cousins, still will be regardless of the geographic relocation of individual operatives.

Neither does a weakened Ankara, squeezed by an aggressive Russia and an emboldened Iran, and alienated by its own arrogant, failed neo-Ottoman foreign policy experiment, represent much of a bulwark against Tehran. In contrast, the increasingly determined Arab gulf states - led by Saudi Arabia - have shown far more flexibility and far less open hostility towards a relationship with Israel, albeit a semi-covert one.

The Kurds, too - who Erdogan's forces are currently butchering to deafening international silence - represent a far more convincing ally in the fight against both Sunni and Shia jihadism, if only Jerusalem woke up to Kurdistan's immense strategic potential as more than just a source of cheap oil.

Which brings us to the final talking-point surrounding the "normalization" initiative: the prospect of a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline to export Israel's natural gas deposits to an energy-hungry Turkey.

For a start, Turkey isn't the only country in the world looking to buy natural gas, and Israel should certainly not be so quick to embrace as toxic a regime as Erdogan's in exchange for such a deal.

More crucially, this aspect of the talks highlights the very reason why prospects of "normalization" have so magically advanced over the past few weeks.

55% of Turkey's natural gas imports are currently provided by Russia, and with relations with Moscow rapidly deteriorating it can't be ruled out that a vengeful Putin would use that dependency to apply yet further pressure, or even move to withdraw it altogether. Hence, an increasingly isolated Turkey is looking for alternatives - which, thanks to a series of misjudged foreign policy decisions, are in short supply in the Middle East.

Yet if Erdogan is indeed so desperate to source an alternative provider that he is turning to the hated Zionists for salvation then why, to quote Netanyahu himself, is the Israeli government negotiating like a western tourist in a Persian (or Turkish) bazaar? Why should we be capitulating to Ankara's terms, instead of demanding Turkey hands over those Hamas terrorists still living there, stops supporting anti-Israel terrorists and ends its anti-Israel incitement? 

And then there is Russia. At a time when ties between Jerusalem and Moscow are burgeoning - economically and militarily - why risk snubbing Putin by cosying up to his newest public enemy number one?

Instead of hoping for a return to the past in a Middle East that will never be the same again, Israel should look to the future. As I have argued previously, Israel is not a vassal state dependent on the goodwill of others, but a regional power in its own right - one that is fully capable of putting Erdogan's feet to the fire.

And if, as is likely, he opts to continue supporting Israel's sworn enemies, I'm sure the Kurds would be happy to repay the favor.

Ari Soffer


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

Anti-Israel hate-mongering in the Netherlands - Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

An in depth report of one European country's surge in anti-Semitism. One can extrapolate.

Nowadays the Netherlands is proving an abundant source for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hate mongering. We will limit ourselves here to several recent events and incidents concerning Israel. These occurred against the backdrop of an opinion poll which found that 38% of the Dutch population believe that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.[1] This and other radical lies concerning Israel reflect the result of the widespread anti-Israel incitement in the Netherlands by left of center parties, numerous media outlets, various NGOs, some Christian groups and many others.

In October Youness Ouaali, a Turkish-Dutch representative of a Salafi charity World Wide Relief,[2] suggested on his website that visiting Israeli tourists should be beaten up. Pauw, a leading Dutch talk shows invited him to explain his thoughts.[3] A few days later the same talk show invited Constant Kusters, the leader of the NVU, a tiny extreme right-wing party. Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher, a Labor party member, said in Parliament, “I was shocked to see a neo-Nazi representing concerned citizens on television.” [4] No such response was forthcoming from Asscher with regard to the incitement to beat up Israelis.

One of the two annual Kristallnacht memorial meetings has become a regular event for incitement against Israel. It is organized by a group that hides its real views behind the innocuous-sounding name of “Platform for anti-Racism.” This year it invited the anti-Israel Arab MK Haneen Zoabi to speak.[5] The meeting took place next to the Amsterdam monument for the Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust, and prompted a petition asking the Amsterdam Mayor and aldermen to no longer give permission to the monument’s desecration through such anti-Israel gatherings.[6]

In 2015 a number of schoolbooks were published in The Netherlands containing distortions of Israel’s history and activities. These schoolbooks create bias against Israel among pupils by means of bogus information. In May Noordhoff Uitgevers released a history book for vocational high schools, which puts forward the suggestive claim that David Ben Gurion declared Israeli statehood only after “Jewish militias carried out murders in Arab villages, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled and settled in refugee camps across the border.” The book makes no mention of any of the many documented Arab atrocities toward Israelis, both over many years prior to Israel’s inception, and during the war of Independence itself. [7]

Several months later, another Dutch publisher, Thieme Meulenhoff, released a high school textbook on the Middle East, which claimed that the Balfour Declaration, promising a homeland in British Mandatory Palestine for the Jews, was an attempt to woo Jewish bankers to invest in British war efforts.[8]

The same firm also published a geography textbook. Likoed Nederland, a Dutch pro-Israel organization, discovered thirty-nine obvious errors in the twelve pages about Israel. These included the lie that the Jews refused the UN’s 1947 partition plan when the opposite was true: the Arab nations refused it.[9]

In July 2015, Bert Koenders, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs placed a wreath at Yad Vashem. In the guestbook he wrote “discrimination and anti-Semitism are still alive today. We owe it to the millions who were murdered in the Holocaust to continue to fight this evil through remembering the past and by educating today.”[10]

However, when a motion to counter anti-Semitism within the educational system was brought in Parliament, Koenders’ Labor party, the junior partner in the government, opposed it.  He has also firmly backed the labeling of 'West Bank' and the Golan products by the European Union. This is a typical anti-Israel version of classic anti-Semitic double standards.[11]

In June 2015 an anti-Israel debate took place at the major Amsterdam Free University organized in coordination with the SRP, the Dutch Students for Justice in Palestine. The theme of this was Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Only BDS supporters were allowed to speak freely. Opponents were booed. At the end of the meeting, Jaap de Winter, the President of the University’s Board, summarized this extremely biased discussion as “a nice debate which befits the Free University.”[12]

The Amsterdam municipal council voted recently in favor of collaboration with Tel Aviv and Ramallah.[13] The mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard Van der Laan, a member of the Labor Party, is rightly proud of his parents, who were resistance activists and helped Jews during the German occupation.[14] This did not prevent him, however, from supporting the twinning of Amsterdam and Ramallah, a city where murders of Jews are a frequent occasion for official glorification.[15] The municipal council imposed various constraints with regard to collaboration with Tel Aviv, but collaboration with Ramallah apparently required no preconditions.[16] This story in itself merits a separate article.

Van der Laan’s Labor Party colleague Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of Rotterdam, prepared a trade mission to Israel. It was opposed in the municipal council by the extreme left Socialist Party, the Green Left party and a Muslim party NIDA. Aboutaleb responded that the possibility of such a visit was still being looked into.[17] Later in the year he visited Saudi Arabia. The Socialist Party and two other parties opposed it. The Green Left and NIDA apparently did not mind.[18]

The reality in the Netherlands is such that most probably in a few months more can be published on the same subject, as fresh examples on hate mongering against and Israel in the Netherlands are emerging even as this article is being written.
[2] Carel Brendel, “Woordvoerder World Wide Relief roept op om toeristen total loss te slaan,”, 15 October 2015.
[3] Shari Deira, “Man roept op tot mishandelen Israëliërs, uitgenodigd door Pauw,” Elsevier,16 October 2015.
[4] “Asscher windt zich op over 'neonazi' bij Pauw,” NOS, 29 October 2015.
[5] Esther Voet, “Spreek me niet van waardigheid, meneer Van der Laan…,” Jalta, 9 November 2015.
[6] “Joden in Verzet tegen misbruik van het verzetsmonument te Amsterdam,” GoPetition, 2 November 2015.
[7] “Israeli Embassy slams ‘outrageous’ Dutch textbook,” Times of Israel, 27 May 2015.
[8]  “Dutch textbook: Britain endorsed Zionism to gain favor with Jewish bankers,” The Jerusalem Post, 10 September 2015.
[9] “Tweede schoolboek van ThiemeMeulenhoff boordevol fouten,” Likoed Nederland,” 16 September 2015. [Dutch]
[10] Yad Vashem Jerusalem, volume 78, October 2015.
[11] “Koenders zet etikettering weer op agenda,” Telegraaf, 20 November 2014.
[12] “Israël-vrije VU?” N.I.W., 18 June 2015.
[13] Roelf Jan Duin, “Gemeenteraad akkoord met samenwerking Ramallah en Tel Aviv,” Parool, 6 November 2015.
[14] Rob Rombouts, “Eberhard van der Laan eert op de Dam ook zijn eigen ouders,” Parool, 5 May 2014.
[15] “PA Names Ramallah Street After Hamas Terror Mastermind,” Haaretz, 7 April 2010.
[16] Elise Friedmann, “Amsterdamse gemeenteraad voor uitgeklede samenwerking Tel Aviv,” Cidi, 6 November 2015.
[17] Mark Hoogstad, “Aboutaleb moet afzien van bezoek aan Israel,”, 21 July 2015.
[18] Mark Hoogstad, “Aboutaleb geeft hypocriet signaal af,”, 27 November 2015.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld


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

Progressive “Thought-Blockers”: Islamophobia - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

A deadly belief-system.

[To order David Horowitz and Robert Spencer's pamphlet "Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future," click here.]

A few days before the San Bernardino shootings, President Obama reacted to Donald Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims entry into the U.S. by saying, “It is the responsibility of all Americans––of every faith––to reject discrimination.  It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country . . . Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes.” Attorney General Loretta Lynch went even further. In an address at the Muslim Advocates dinner, she commented,
“Now obviously this is a country that is based on free speech, but when it edges towards violence, when we see the potential for someone . . . lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric, or, as we saw after 9/11, violence against individuals who may not even be Muslims but may be perceived to be Muslims . . . When we see that, we will take action”––or as she warns, “They will be prosecuted.”
How is [it] that Muslims have become “snowflakes” like those pampered college students so traumatized by opposing points of view that they need “safe spaces” from speech they don’t like, and demand scrapping the First Amendment? For an answer, look to another progressive “thought-blocker,” “Islamophobia.”

This made-up thought-crime is not a response to an epidemic of Muslim persecution in America. Sixty percent of anti-religious hate crimes are directed at Jews, not Muslims. Nor is it penance for historical crimes committed by Christians and Jews against Muslims, whether those are imperialism, colonialism, or Israel’s defense of its nation against incessant violence. Islam’s record of slaughter, enslavement, and occupation far eclipses that of the West.

Rather, “Islamophobia” is the product of peculiarly modern bad ideas. It surfaced in 1997 in a report by a British think-tank, the Runnymede Trust. The purpose was to explain the social dysfunctions and problems of British Muslims, which were laid at the feet of “anti-Islamic bias” that encouraged discrimination, hate crimes against Muslims, and distortions of Islam in the media and popular culture. In 2004 the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia––notice how the name begs the question––concluded that England was “institutionally Islamophobic.” Facts of illiberal Muslim behavior such as its unequal treatment of women, intolerance of other faiths, and radical mosques preaching intolerance and jihad were ignored.

So where does “Islamophobia” come from? Start with the suffix “phobia,” from the Greek word for “fear.” This is a vaguely Freudian psychological idea referring to an irrational fear that reflects not reality but repression of unsavory or frightening impulses. After all, fearing a dangerous black widow spider is not irrational. Fearing a harmless brown recluse is. The suffix as used in other ideological smears like “homophobia” or “xenophobia” always implies that the fear is baseless, and has more to do with irrational neuroses and bigotry than genuine threats.  “Islamophobia,” then, begs a huge question, for it is perfectly rational to fear a danger like terrorist violence justified by religious doctrine.

Thus the purveyors of this epithet have to downplay or minimize the very real threat of jihadist violence, reducing people’s reactions and demands for improved security to a mental problem. The president implied as much in his recent comments purged from a New York Times interview, when he said “he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino,” implying that people were reacting to ginned up scare-stories on Fox News rather than a real threat. He added to this analysis when on NPR he claimed ISIS was not an “existential threat,” and said its real danger is “making us forget who we are” and our “values,” which obviously means in part irrationally indulging in anti-Muslim bigotry and “Islamophobia” out of neurotic fears stoked by Donald Trump.

More important than two-bit Freudianism for the currency of “Islamophobia” has been the work of Edward Said, the main source of most of the malign ideas that poison our discourse on Islam with self-loathing and dismissal of reality. The colonial West, according to Said in Orientalism, invented the Muslim “other” as inferior and violent in order to justify Western dominance of the region, creating a “Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the orient.” In a later book Said argued that the Muslim terrorist was another “other” fabricated to create “both a peculiarly immediate sense of hostility and a coarse, on the whole unnuanced attitude toward Islam,” the purpose of which is to serve “national and corporate needs.” These needs created the “highly exaggerated stereotypes” of Muslims highjacking airplanes and blowing up buildings. As Lee Smith points out, Said set the terms of how journalists and intellectuals talked about Islam and Muslims––as the crude “other” invented to mask Western oppression and “Islamophobia.” The reflexive self-loathing and guilt that lie at the heart of “Islamophobia” found their most influential enabler in Said’s work.

The fear of being “Islamophobic” in part explains the whitewashing flattery of Islam that has characterized the government even before 9/11. In the late 90s, when Osama bin Laden was already waging war on America, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gushed that Islam is a “faith that honors consultation, cherishes peace, and has as one of its fundamental principles the inherent equality of all who embrace it.” George Bush said that Islam’s “teachings are good and peaceful” and that terrorists like bin Laden “blaspheme the name of Allah.” And of course Barack Obama has been the most fulsome and groveling in his praise of Islam. He carefully says “the Prophet Mohammed” and “Holy Koran,” while never saying “Our Lord Jesus Christ” or “Holy Bible.” He has leached traditional Islamic doctrines from the motives driving jihadists, and regularly condemns “Islamophobia” as a greater threat to America than Muslim terrorist violence. But the top prize for such myopic pandering to Muslims goes to ex-Army Chief of Staff George W. Casey, who responded to the 2009 Fort Hood jihadist attack that killed 13 by saying, “As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

The worst consequence of the “Islamophobia” phobia has been the distortion of our analyses of the jihadists’ motives. The specious psychology of the apologists holds that the insults or policies born of “Islamophobia” offend Muslims and create more terrorists. Or as Obama said of Trump’s proposal to screen Muslims entering the country, “plays into the hands of groups like ISIL,” for “when we travel down that road, we lose.” Hillary Clinton has played this same card, calling Donald Trump ISIS’ “greatest recruiter” and “recruitment poster,” and falsely claiming that Trump is used in ISIS recruitment videos. Thus her constant calls to cater to Muslims in America, who she sees as genuine, peaceful Muslims, and thus our natural allies against the “hijackers” like ISIS. “We must work more closely with Muslim-Americans,” Clinton said recently, “not demonize them” or make them “feel left out or marginalized” since they’re trying “to stop radicalization.” Of course she ignores the fact that CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the most influential Muslim lobby in America, continually apologizes and rationalizes jihadist terror, and encourages Muslims not to cooperate with the FBI.

“Islamophobia” is not just intellectually incoherent and loaded with cringing self-hatred. It is deadly.  In order not to wound Muslim sensibilities and create a “backlash,” egregious rules of engagement are imposed on our warriors that sacrifice their lives by proscribing the destruction of mosques and dwellings harboring arsenals and snipers; common sense calls to limit Syrian economic immigrants are rejected; government security training documents are purged of references to Islamic jihadist doctrines; Guantanamo is demonized as a “recruiter” for terrorists from which actual terrorists must be released; Orwellian Newspeak is employed to “disappear” the precedents for terror in Islamic scripture and practice; and radical mosques and imams in America are given free rein to proselytize and recruit.

We’ve been at this tactic of flattery for decades, and there’s no evidence it works. America is no more liked among Middle Eastern Muslims today than when George Bush left office. Terrorist groups have multiplied and spread despite our anxious protestations of our admiration for their religion, even as we ignore the genocide of Christians in the Middle East. Jihadism is strong and growing, attracting thousands of Western Muslims to the fight against the infidel. And jihad, abetted by the anxiety over “Islamophobia,” is winning the hearts and minds of the youth demographic. As the Atlantic reports, globally jihad is “cool,” a false but glamorous promise of redeeming violence and transcendent meaning powerfully attractive in a Western world marked by anomic secularism and trivial hedonism.
“Islamophobia” blocks clear thinking. It ignores the traditional Islamic motives that drive jihadists, trivializing them into wayward teens who “act out” because their self-esteem has been damaged by insensitive adults, and who merely need their self-esteem boosted by recognition of how wonderful their religion and culture are. A foreign policy based on such pop-psychological superstitions is one doomed to fail.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.


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

Putin's Rationality - James Lewis

by James Lewis

The Russian economy is in trouble, with the price of oil collapsing due to shale exploitation.  Putin therefore has to seize the moment, because five years from now he may not be able to afford military adventures.

Vladimir Putin seems to catch the West by surprise every single time he invades another country — starting with Georgia, then Crimea, Ukraine, and now Syria.  He hasn't yet reconquered the old Soviet Empire, but Eastern Europe and the Baltics are feeling an icy wind blowing from the East.

By now even the New York Times has noticed Putin's huge arms buildup, with a fivefold increase in the last decade. When Putin made his latest aggressive move into Syria, he made very sure that the world would take notice — using everything from ballistic and cruise missiles launched from the Caspian Sea to the guided missile cruiser Moskva in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Under Putin, the Russian Empire is on the move, expanding north into the Arctic, west into Europe, south into the Middle East, and east with the new Russo-Chinese alliance.

To be sure, Putin has an Bamster-sized ego.  But he also thinks strategically, unlike our political class, which apparently decided that with the election of Obama, peace and love were here to stay.  The Norwegians embarrassed themselves by giving the Bam their most prestigious bauble, the Nobel Peace Prize, without even waiting for him to serve his first term.  In a permanently peaceful world, why bother to spend money on defense?

Well, Russia is still a poor nation economically, but in the last ten years, Putin has quintupled its military budget.  He didn't do that to build up his self-esteem.

Look at the world from Moscow's point of view.  Unlike our foreign policy geniuses, educated Russians know a lot about their own history.  The United States has lived a charmed life for two whole centuries, protected east and west by two great oceans and bordered north and south by much weaker powers.

Russia's history is the opposite.  It's been invaded by Poland, Sweden, Lithuania, Germany, France, the Mongols, the Persians, and the Ottoman Empire.  When Turkey's Recep Erdoğan launched his "neo-Ottoman" fantasy, nobody in Washington paid any attention.  In fact, Obama has a sort of love affair with Mr. Erdoğan, whose family runs ISIS oil sales to the world — a fact that Putin is happy to publicize.  But in the former Ottoman Empire, from Greece to the Turkic-speaking Stans of Asia, people are shivering in their boots.  If Erdoğan succeeds in his imperial ambitions, the Russians fear that the Stans could revert to a future Turkish empire.

Americans think of Istanbul as a quaint tourist destination, but Russians know about four centuries of merciless Ottoman conquest and oppression.  Because of our blessed history, Americans instinctively believe that peace is the normal condition of the world.  Russians always prepare for trouble.

Russia is the largest country in the world, and it got that way by war and conquest.  Before ICBMs put every nation in the world on 15-minute notice, more territory meant more safety from aggression.  There was no practical difference between defensive and aggressive power.  The tsars constantly enlarged their empire whenever they saw the chance, knowing that any future aggressor would have to travel farther to reach Moscow and Kiev.  Putin started his rule by beating down the jihadist rebellion in Chechnya in the usual bloody fashion.  Then he started to encroach on the easy targets in the "near abroad."

The Russian economy is in trouble, with the price of oil collapsing due to shale exploitation.  Putin therefore has to seize the moment, because five years from now he may not be able to afford military adventures.  He can also see the danger that Bush and Cheney warned us about — terrorists with nukes.  The Iranian regime has exactly the same war theology as ISIS.  Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is deeply infiltrated by Sunni radicals.  The price of oil is likely to stay low due to shale discoveries, and as oil gets cheaper, the Saudis will get weaker and weaker.

If Russia wants to face that brave new world from a position of great power, Putin had to act.  Like a smart chess player, Putin moved his strongest pieces into Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean.  He can parlay that strategic power move into many future benefits.

Putin is an opportunist, and under Obama we have offered him many opportunities.  We weakened our defensive alliances, built over the last half century, leaving a huge vacuum — in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  Which is why the "Arab Spring" has left much of the Arab world in ruin.

NATO is a hollow alliance, with the Europeans still hoping to get more of a free ride from Uncle Sam.  Britain and France have drained their military budgets for social welfare programs.  Germany has become a sort of pacifist nation, with the same kind of blind belief it adopted with the Kaiser and Hitler.

Without the United States, NATO would be pathetic, and now that Obama is crunching our defense budget, Putin is openly threatening Poland and even Sweden.

Just this week Obama assured us that he was going to use his last 14 months in office to "squeeze more change" out of the American system.

Well, Putin is planning the same thing on a worldwide basis.  As long as Obama is in the White House, opportunistic jackals will seize their moment.  China now claims a good chunk of the South China Sea from the Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan.  In the Muslim world, ISIS is trying to take and hold territory as the new caliphate.  Every former imperial capital of Islam — Baghdad, Tehran, Istanbul — is trying to revive its former glory.

When you look at the world that way, Putin is playing a rational game.

James Lewis


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Hezbollah Fighters Are Fed Up With Fighting Syria’s War - Jesse Rosenfeld

by Jesse Rosenfeld

The Assad regime in Damascus has depended on Lebanon’s Army of God to shore up its weakened troops. But now many Lebanese fighters are refusing to serve.

BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon — They joined to fight Israel in Lebanon, but after multiple combat tours in the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, and around Damascus, Hezbollah reservists tell The Daily Beast that they are no longer willing to die in Syria’s unending, bloody civil war.

As a result of their refusal to continue volunteering to prop up the embattled government of Bashar al-Assad, they say that the Shia Party of God has cut off the money they were accustomed to receiving: reservist paychecks and permanent family benefits packages. What other consequences there may be remain to be seen.

Imad, as we’ll call him, crouched over a heating stove in a small Bekaa Valley farmhouse surrounded by the barren fields where his recently harvested crop of marijuana grew. He declined to give his real name because of his illegal trade and fear of reprisal for speaking out, but he said he decided to stop fighting after losing faith in the Syrian war six months ago.

When we talked to Imad in April, he was committed to supporting Assad’s forces and fueled by a desire to exact revenge on jihadists who beheaded a relative in Lebanon’s army after the soldier was captured in the Lebanese town of Arsal. Now, although he still wants to exact revenge, he has grown weary of the war and frustrated with Syrian government forces.

“I refuse to go back because when we take over a village and hand it to the Syrian army, it gets retaken [by rebel forces],” he says while fiddling with the stove that heats the small room. His decision, made in June, has cost him dearly and since then the school funding for his kids has been cut, his family medical benefits have been taken away, and heating subsidies evaporated.

The last of his six deployments to Syria was in Aleppo, and while he is still willing to fight Israel or serve on the border with Syria, he says, his reservist salary has also stopped.

He says Hezbollah is under increasing pressure since the summer, when casualties increased alongside the needs of the Syrian regime. The organization, whose militia is in fact a powerful parallel army in Lebanon, doesn’t make casualty statistics public, but funerals in its support base in Beirut’s southern suburbs are increasingly common, as is discontent from the families of its fighters in Syria.

The three reservists that The Daily Beast spoke to painted a scene of bloody back and forth combat where casualties mount but little is achieved.

Imad’s loss of benefits, especially for his kids’ schooling, has hit his family hard, but he says at least he is able to rely on the stability of the hashish trade. He thanks God for a good harvest, and while he says sales to Syria were slightly down this fall, ISIS and the Nusra Front are still loyal customers, using smugglers in Arsal so they can get baked on Lebanese blonde.

Imad says he knows of at least 60 other reservists who have decided not to go back to Syria and also had their family benefits cut. “I also know of people who have gone back to fight [in Syria] because of the financial pressure. Only the guys with an alternative say. ‘Enough!’”

In a small village in the Lebanon mountains overlooking the Bekaa Valley, Jaffar hobbled to the door of a modest second floor apartment in his extended family’s triplex. He suffered a severe hip injury when a wall fell on him after a rebel’s rocket struck the Damascus-area house he was holed up in during his final tour in July. Three of the seven fighters he was with were killed and the other four wounded.

Jaffar, who also declines to use his real name because of fear of reprisal, notified his commanders of his desire to no longer serve in Syria, but was required to do a last tour while replacements were organized. “If I refused to continue before my replacement had arrived I would have been investigated and it would have created a hostile relationship,” he says ominously. He sits awkwardly on a chair as the leg connected to his injured hip juts out into the center of the cluttered kitchen.

A Sunni Muslim in his mid-thirties, Jaffar is not the typical cadre of a movement that champions Shia rights. In 2000 he joined Hezbollah’s Resistance Brigades—the movement’s non-Shia volunteer fighting force—to confront Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon. Since those days he continued to serve, including 15 deployments to Syria, but he doesn’t want to fight a war that he sees no way out of.

“I joined to fight Israel, why should I die in Syria? It’s a lost battle, we have lost thousands,” he says. Jaffar also blames the Syrian army for losing territory taken by Hezbollah, but sees the Russian intervention to prop up Assad as a definitive sign of the inability to militarily win a war that has ballooned into an international proxy conflict. “If the Americans, Russians, and Syrian [government] want a solution, they will find one,” he adds. “It’s a big game in Syria and it’s a misery.”

As he hobbles around his musty and cramped apartment in search of his AK-47 converted into a grenade launcher, it is clear that Jaffar is not in any condition to fight, even if he wanted to. However, because he announced his intention to stop going to Syria, he has lost all his benefits for his family. Since returning from the July deployment, he only gets specific medical support for the injury that brought him home.

“It makes me feel like we are mercenaries,” he says dejectedly about Hezbollah’s treatment of him and others reservists exhausted by the war. “Now there is a problem to get people to go to Syria because they thought it would be a short war, but as it drags on people don’t want to continue,” he explains.

A Hezbollah Special Forces commander in charge of five units fighting across Syria claims there are no orders to cancel benefits to reservists who opt out of fighting in Syria. “Hezbollah is bigger than that,” he says, declining to give his name because he’s not authorized to speak to the media. He denies the organization is under pressure to provide more boots on the ground and refuses to discuss casualty numbers or comment on whether they are increasing.

In Beirut’s largely Shia southern suburbs, Hezbollah’s flags wave and defiant pictures of its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, hang on walls next to posters of martyrs who fell in Syria. The working class community here is the party’s base, but while residents embrace Hezbollah as their guardians and protectors, there is also a sense of frustration.

Abu Ahmed, who fears retribution, if named, brings his young son with him to a meeting with The Daily Beast in the bustling neighborhood of Dahiya. The child is shy and stoic and his father says that the boy cried every night during his multiple tours in Syria. Under pressure from his family to stop fighting and a growing resentment of the war, he stopped going to Syria last year.

“In my case, I love my wife and kids more than I love Syria and Palestine,” says the veteran of campaigns against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and the 2006 war with Israel. He joined Hezbollah in the mid-1990s and, now in his forties, he has lost his job and all his family benefits since he refused to return to Syria.

“They used to give me work and now they don’t, I feel like I’ve lost everything,” says Abu Ahmed, trying to control the anger in his voice.

He is not only disillusioned with the war, which he calls “a contest of superpowers,” but has also resigned himself to a cynical sectarian outlook on the region. “Let the Sunnis liberate Palestine,” he says, rejecting the pan-Arab solidarity that inspired him to take up arms in the first place.

Instead, he says he helped his nephews flee Lebanon for Germany after they deserted their units in Syria. Soon, he says, he will also take his family to Germany.

One of Hezbollah’s central arguments for propping up Assad’s brutal regime is that its troops are protecting Lebanon from Sunni jihadists bringing the war home. When The Daily Beast put that position to Abu Ahmed, just a few kilometers from where two ISIS suicide bombers killed 43 people in November, his answer is blunt.

“Let them come over here, I’m leaving.”

Jesse Rosenfeld


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Concentrated Russian air strikes may open Syrian-Hizballah door to Israeli border - DebkaFile

by DebkaFile

On the face of it, Moscow and Jerusalem make a show of their smooth air force collaboration in Syrian air space. But this picture is wide of the situation

Sheikh Maskin-Syrian Army’s 82nd Brigade base) 

Israel’s military and political leaders became intensely anxious Tuesday, Dec. 29, when they saw how concentrated Russian air strikes were swiftly dislodging anti-Assad rebels from southern Syria and beginning to open the door for the Syrian and Hizballah armies to come dangerously close to the Israeli border.

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report that Russian air strikes in other parts of the country have tapered off. Instead, heavy Russian bombardments are giving the combined Syrian-Hizballah force its first chance to recover Sheikh Maskin, the southern town housing the Syrian Army’s 82nd Brigade which has been passing from hand to hand for months. If the rebels lose that fierce battle, the way will be clear for the combined pro-Assad force to advance on the two key southern towns, Deraa and Quneitra on the Golan.

The rebel groups assaulted by the Russian air force Tuesday included moderate, pro-Western, pro-Israeli militias, such as the Southern Front and the First Column. Both suffered heavy casualties.

IDF unease as a result of Russia’s aerial intervention in the fighting in southern Syria is rising in proportion to the current military tensions with Hizballah. If the Lebanese Shiite terrorists manage to get the late Samir Quntar’s anti-Israel terror Front for the Liberation of Golan up and running, the Israeli air force would be severely hampered in launching its own strikes against this enemy by the dozens of Russian bombers using the same patch of sky without pause.

On the face of it, Moscow and Jerusalem make a show of their smooth air force collaboration in Syrian air space. But this picture is wide of the situation: The Russian air force omitted to notify Israel ahead of its massive bombardment close to its border Tuesday.

Some Israeli official circles suspect that Moscow is deliberately bringing Israel under pressure to accept a deal for southern Syria. One of President Vladimir Putin’s main object[ive]s from the outset of Russian’s military buildup in Syria was to eradicate the rebels in the South and the threat they posed to the Assad regime in Damascus.

More than once, Putin suggested to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that they work out a Russian-Israeli deal for that part of Syria. The Israeli leader was unresponsive, mainly because Israel is bound by prior understandings to coordination with the US, Jordan and moderate Syrian rebel groups. A deal with Moscow would counter those understandings.

However, The concentrated air strikes in the border region is intended by the Kremlin, according to some views, not just to push the rebels out, but to twist Israel’s arm for settling the issue with Moscow.



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Muslims "Have Nothing Whatsoever to do with Terrorism" - Raymond Ibrahim

by Raymond Ibrahim

Muslim Persecution of Christians, November 2015

  • Muslims "have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism." — Hillary Clinton.
  • "We have been forced to live under a climate of fear, this is not England. I grew up in in to a free decent country accepting British values and the British rule of law. ... I think there is two laws, one for them and one for us." — Nissar Hussain, a former Muslim living in West Yorkshire.
  • "They wanted to kill us by burning us alive, but we managed to escape. We have lost everything." — Ramni Das, 57, accused of witchcraft in Bangladesh.
  • Iraq's parliament passed a law that will force Christian children to become Muslim if their father converts to Islam or if their Christian mother marries a Muslim.
  • In Pakistan, an 8-year-old girl, Sara Bibi, was beaten and locked in a school bathroom by her Muslim head teacher for using the same toilet as Muslims. She was then expelled from the school.
As Muslim jihadis, mobs and regimes terrorized Christians and others throughout the world of Islam, in the West, institutions -- from governments to grade schools -- empowered and praised Islam, often at the expense of Christians.

U.S. President Barack Obama described the idea of giving preference to persecuted Christian refugees as "shameful" -- even though helping persecuted refugees is what America has always been doing and much of what it is about. "That's not American. That's not who we are. We don't have religious tests to our compassion," Obama admonished. Unfortunately for the president, statistics were soon released, indicating that "the current [refugee] system overwhelmingly favors Muslim refugees. Of the 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted to the United States so far, only 53 are Christians while 2,098 are Muslim." So, although Christians are 10% of Syria's population -- and possibly the most persecuted group -- only 2% of the refugees entering America are Christian.

Adding to the confusion, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush falsely claimed that Syrian President Bashar Assad "executes Christians." In reality, not only have Christian minorities long been protected under the secular regime of Assad -- himself a member of a religious minority -- but many Christian refugees who fled the jihad in Iraq went to Assad's Syria for sanctuary.

Accordingly, the head of the Syrian Catholic Church, Mar Ignace Youssif III Youan, in a November interview, accused Western governments of "perpetuat[ing] the endless conflict in Syria" and of having "betrayed the Christians of the East. We explained from the beginning that our situation was different from that of other nations in the region, they were not listened to. And now we mourn deaths over the past five years. ... It's a shame that the West has abandoned Christians to this situation."
Less than a week after jihadis murdered 130 people in Paris, Hillary Clinton asserted that Muslims "have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."

The same pro-Islamist, anti-Christian spirit floated through some Western schools. In the United Kingdom, pupils at Oldknow Academy were reportedly led in "anti-Christian chants" in assemblies that were "like a rally" with a "plainly divisive" attitude." According to the Birmingham Mail, Asif Khan, a Muslim teacher, led pupils, shouting, "We don't believe in Christmas, do we?" and "Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem, was he?" Children were also asked to shout: "Do we send Christmas cards? No!" and "Do we celebrate Christmas? No!" Khan denies the claims.

However, Ann Connor, an education adviser contracted to work for Department for Education who had earlier visited the school, said, "I found the school to be extraordinary. There was an element of fear." A female staff member was said to be "frightened of Mr. Khan." And a parent complained of the "increasing Islamic ethos in the school."

In the United States, a seventh-grade teacher at Spring View Middle School in Huntington Beach, California, deviated from the district's official curriculum and had students sing "This Is My Fight Song." Lyrics from the song included, "Islam ... Allah's on the way. They will preach them loud tonight. Can you hear their voice this time? This is their fight song. Spread Islam now song. Prove that they're right song."

Parents only found out about the song after some students accidentally brought the pamphlet home. "I believe that by singing the song," one of the angry parents said, "the children feel comfortable that maybe Allah is the only god and maybe that they should start following him. I'm not OK with that." The school responded by sending an apology to parents and said it would continue looking into the incident.
Meanwhile, in the Islamic world, it was business as usual. November's roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Muslim Slaughter of Christians and Savagery
Libya: Two Christians were killed by gunshots to their heads. The bodies of Wasfy Bakhit Gad Mikhail, 37, and his brother Fahmy, 27, were found on November 13 near Al Khums. On their bodies were black gloves with Islamic phrases. Like many other Christians killed in Libya -- including the 21 who were slaughtered earlier this year by the Islamic State -- the brothers were working as laborers and sent their earnings back home to support their families. "They were targeted and killed because they are Christians," said Father Sulaiman Botros. "They kept the faith and refused to deny the Lord Jesus Christ. They are our church's martyrs."

Egypt: Marwa Ahmed, a 26-year-old former Muslim woman, was killed by her family for converting to Christianity and marrying a Christian. Three years ago she fled her hometown and moved to Alexandria with her new husband, where she gave birth to a boy and girl. But when her uncle and cousins learned that she was back visiting Taymiyya, they tracked her down and kidnapped her. According to the report, her uncle then forced her younger sister to "kill her to 'punish' her for her conversion." Other reports say that the uncle killed Marwa himself.

Yet another Christian soldier was killed in his (Muslim majority) unit. Bishoy Nata'i Bushri Kamal, 21, was found dead at his military base in Cairo. The army told his family that he had committed suicide by hanging. However, the man's uncle, Sami Bushri, said: "We completely reject this [claim that he had committed suicide]." The uncle added that Bishoy had recently gotten into a quarrel with a certain "Mustafa," a fellow soldier. Injuries were found on Kamal's abdomen, face and back -- all of which indicate that he was tortured, then murdered. (See here for five more examples of Egyptian Christian soldiers found dead, followed by military claims of suicide or some other "accident," and rejection of these claims by their families. They all point to conflicts with Muslim soldiers in the unit, including attempts to force the Christians to convert to Islam.

Yemen: Two Muslim converts to Christianity, in two separate incidents, were murdered because they left Islam. In Taiz, an al-Qaeda member shot a Christian man 15 to 20 times. The second Christian, shot once in his home, was killed either by another Islamic jihadi group or by members of his own family. A colleague of the second convert said that Muslims were harassing and threatening the man: "A lot of people didn't like that he was a convert... I think it is because of his faith; there is no other reason." Authorities, as usual, made no arrests.

United Kingdom: Former Muslim, Nissar Hussain, 49, was struck 13 times with a pickax and repeatedly punched and kicked by two hooded men, as he left his house in West Yorkshire. He suffered a shattered kneecap and a broken hand (video of attack here). According to the "apostate," he became a target after he converted to Christianity in 1996 and his family appeared in a 2008 documentary exposing the mistreatment of Muslim converts. Since then, local Muslims drove his family from a previous home and have attacked them in the streets. "Our lives have been jeopardised and subjugated," Hussain said. "We have been forced to live under a climate of fear, this is not England. I grew up in in [sic] to a free decent country accepting British values and the British rule of law. I think multiculturalism has failed, I think David Cameron's Big Society has failed and I think there is two laws, one for them and one for us."

Bangladesh: On November 18, three men attacked Fr. Piero Parolari, a 64-year-old missionary who had been working at St. Vincent Hospital since 1985. "They wanted to kill him," said a colleague. "Three thugs were on the motorcycle. One shot him in the neck, but only grazed it, whilst another threw a knife (perhaps a Chinese knife) at the carotid artery. The cut did most of the damage. Fr. Parolari lost a lot of blood." The priest fell and hit his head, had bruises on his eyes and body, and three broken ribs. He was reported suffering from respiratory problems, and fluid had to be drained from his lungs.

On November 5, four Catholic families narrowly escaped death when a group of Muslims burned down their homes on the accusation of witchcraft. A Muslim mob tried to lock them inside their houses before setting them on fire. "For more than a year, Muslim youths from a neighboring village accused us of practicing witchcraft and told us to leave the village. They abused us in public and threw bricks at our houses," said Ramni Das, 57, who lost two homes in the attack. "They wanted to kill us by burning us alive, but we managed to escape. We have lost everything."

Kenya: A man exposed as a secret Christian escaped his Muslim in-laws, who tried to stab him and seized his wife and children. Hassan Ali said that on the evening of November 11, Muslim neighbors and his in-laws, armed with knives, knocked on his door. He said that Muslims in the area may have become suspicious of his break from Islam since he had stopped attending the mosque. "I heard people talking outside my house and mentioning my name... I knew I was in trouble when they started questioning my wife about her faith. I then escaped through the window." His wife's relatives then seized the woman and their two children, a 7-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, and took them to her parents' home.

According to a source, "The parents are telling Ali's wife that the children should start going to a madrassa, an Islamic elementary school. ... Ali's wife is facing pressure from her parents to recant the Christian faith, and she is emotionally troubled."

Ali said it will be "very difficult" to return to his house or see his family again. "What is worrying me at the moment is that communication between my wife and me has now been disconnected. I cannot reach her again. I know my wife and my two children, Hussein and Mariam, will be Islamized. This is making me to have sleepless nights."

Central Nigeria: Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen regularly commit atrocities against Christians that should be described as "ethnic/religious cleansing," according to a report by the Nigeria Conflict Security Analysis Network (NCSAN). Despite the media narrative that Hausa violence is a result of environmental degradation and migration, the herdsmen are reportedly motivated by an Islamic agenda that seeks to cleanse the land of Christians no less than the more notorious jihadi organization, Boko Haram. Data from the report finds that in just a year-and-a-half (December 2013 to July 2015), the Muslim herdsmen slaughtered 1,484 Christians (532 men, 507 women, and 445 children), injured 2,388 Christians (1,069 men, 817 women, and 502 children), and burned or destroyed 171 churches, 314 houses and 39 shops and businesses of Christians.

The NCSAN report concludes that "for many people the atrocities committed by the Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen can be, at best, described as ethnic cleansing, and at worst, as genocide. This is because, from the evidence presented, there is a deliberate and calculated infliction of physical destruction, targeted at particular religious [Christian] and ethnic groups. Such destruction is supported and driven by a religious supremacist ideology to ensure Islam dominates all aspects of life in Taraba State."

Central African Republic (CAR): Thousands of people have been killed since 2013, when the Muslim militias known as "Seleka" seized power in the Christian-majority country. After months of killings, raping, and looting by Seleka, Christian militias known as "Anti-Balaka" emerged and were likely responsible for killing three Muslims. In retaliation, Muslims torched a church and slaughtered over 30 men and women, and torched their homes, in Christian-majority parts of Bangui (the CAR capital). According to a local witness, "The people have lost everything, and have nowhere to lay their head. They have become wanderers and vagabonds in their own country... [T]he objective continues to be to impoverish the Christians by burning all their homes and property... The threat of sudden death is on everyone's mind, given what is going on in CAR far from the media cameras. We are defenceless, our very lives exposed, and only God can save us."

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches
Spain: On November 2, a group of Muslims stormed the Church of our Lady of Carmen, in the town of Rincon de la Victoria, and smashed wooden statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus on the cross. A spokesman for the Diocese of Malaga said the attack was not representative of all Muslims and that the diocese was committed to maintaining "respect and fraternity between different religious groups." The month before, a Moroccan man was arrested in the same town after trying to destroy another statue of the Virgin Mary while screaming "Allahu Akbar!"

On November 2, a group of Muslims stormed the Church of our Lady of Carmen, in the town of Rincon de la Victoria, Spain, and smashed wooden statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus on the cross. The month before, a Moroccan man was arrested in the same town after trying to destroy another statue of the Virgin Mary while screaming "Allahu Akbar!"

Iraq: The Islamic State reportedly blew up the convent belonging to the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena on the morning of November 5. The destruction of the convent also caused considerable damage to adjacent buildings. According to the Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights and other media, this latest attack by the "caliphate" occurred in Tel Keppe -- "Hill of Stones" -- one of the largest historically Assyrian Christian towns in northern Iraq, about 8 miles from Mosul.

Egypt: On November 12, three gunmen opened fire on an Evangelical church by the Giza pyramids, near Cairo. Separately, in the city of Rashid, a retired Muslim judge is attempting to destroy a church. Judge Mohamed Mostafa Kamel Tirana and his two sons claim that they purchased the church building in 1990, and say that it was their family's ancestral home. However, Tirana only registered the purchase of the building in 2008 -- 18 years after the alleged purchase. The lawyer acting for the church leaders says the building has been registered as a church since 1948 in the city's real estate authority, the Property Taxes office and the 1946 Cadastral map. "His purpose of taking over the church is demolishing its building and rebuild[ing] big shopping malls on its land," said church leader Luka Asaad Awad. Last September 2, the judge managed to infiltrate the church and tried to demolish the building from inside. "We beg President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi to intervene and protect the church and stop the demolition of it," said the church leader.

Kenya: Muslims burned down two Christian churches, Faith Victory Church and Holistic Church, on the outskirts of Tiribe town. Prior to these arson attacks, church leaders received threatening messages from Muslims, including calls to "stop converting our people to Christianity, and if not you will soon regret changing our people to Christianity." Christians have been since worshiping in tents, some of which have been flooded by heavy rains -- five people were swept away by a downpour.

Indonesia: More than 1,000 Christian churches have been shut down in Muslim-majority Indonesia since 2006, when the "religious harmony" law was passed, according to a report. The law requires minority religious groups to secure 60 signatures of local residents of another faith, and a written recommendation from local authorities before obtaining permits to build houses of worship, which, as Christian leaders indicate, is often impossible.

Iraq: Parliament passed a law that will force Christian children to become Muslim if their father converts to Islam or if their Christian mother marries a Muslim. Leaders of the Assyrian Christians, Yazidis, Mandeans, Kakai and Bahai vigorously fought the law and their representatives walked out of the parliament session in protest after it was passed. They had requested adding: "Minors will keep their current religion until the completion of 18 years of age, then they have the right to choose their religion" -- but the clause was rejected.

Iran: Fourteen Christians, among them converts from Islam, were arrested after agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided a private house-church meeting. Most of the group had previously been members of the Emmanuel Protestant Church in Tehran, which Iranian authorities had forced to close in 2012. According to Christian Solidarity, "We are extremely concerned at the arrests of these 14 Christians and the fact that their whereabouts remain unknown, which gives rise to concerns regarding their wellbeing. These people had merely gathered peacefully and had not partaken in any illegal activities. It is unacceptable that the Iranian authorities continue to harass the Christian community without cause."

Uzbekistan: On Sunday, November 8 in Tashkent, the nation's capital, twelve Protestant Christians holding a worship meeting in a private home were detained, and some beaten, after eight plain-clothes anti-terrorism officers stormed their morning meeting. A large quantity of Christian literature -- approximately 100 books -- was also confiscated. Two Christians were handcuffed and another was "hit and kicked" in the head and in the abdomen by an armed officer. The Christians were then taken to the police station where they were held for nine hours. During that time, they were forbidden to use the toilet and denied water. Some of the Christians detained had infant children with them and were not allowed to feed them until they had written statements denouncing Sarvar Zhuliyev, in whose home they had met. Christian parents were forced to write statements declaring that Sarvar Zhuliyev had "taught them the faith of Jesus Christ." Some of the children were also interrogated by police and forced to write statements. Problems began when the head teacher of a school in the capital's Yashnobod District told police that two pupils were speaking about their Christian faith with other pupils.

Turkey: A survey revealed that "Eighty percent of minorities in Turkey say they cannot express themselves openly on social media, while 35 percent said they are subject to hate speech on the same platform." The survey was conducted among 746 Turkish citizens who are members of the Greek, Armenian, Syriac, and Jewish communities. Over one-third of respondents also said they were subject to defamation, humiliation, obscenity or threats due to their minority identity on social media.

Pakistani Dhimmitude
  • Sana John, a 13-year-old Christian girl, was kidnapped and converted to Islam by force in Haji Pura, near Silakot. On November 9, Muslim men stopped the girl while she was returning home from school and seized her. The Christian family was threatened not to file a complaint. According to her father, "In Pakistan there is no justice for the poor and, above all, no one cares for Christians, no one has heard my cry. The police do not pursue the culprits, no one is doing anything for us."
  • A few days later, a Muslim family kidnapped, beat and left naked on the streets an 8-year-old Christian girl, as a way to "punish" her uncle for pursuing a relationship with a female member of the Muslim family. The Muslims kidnapped the Christian girl, named Parwasha, on her way home from school, after which she was stripped naked and beaten. When the girl ran home to her family, they went to local police, only to find that the Muslim family had already filed a complaint against the entire Christian family for "shaming" the Muslim family.
  • Another 8-year-old girl, Sara Bibi, was scolded, beaten and locked in a school bathroom by her Muslim head teacher for using the same toilet as Muslims. Headmistress of the school, Zahida Rana, locked Sara in the bathroom and then shouted at her: "You are a Christian, an infidel. How dare you use the same toilet as Muslim girls?" Despite vigorously pleading her innocence, Sara was beaten and only released from the bathroom 3 hours later, at the end of the school day. The girl has since been expelled from the school.
  • A Christian activist, Aslam Masih, was shot in the legs by four Muslims in Lahore. The attack, says Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, "is a clear sign of intimidation towards our work." Before shooting, the criminals asked him to withdraw a complaint that he had filed with the police. When he refused they opened fire.
  • A group of masked men set fire to a Christian broadcasting outlet, Gawahi TV, in Karachi. The building collapsed. Gawahi television was established in February 2013 in a joint collaboration between Catholic and Protestant communities, to "spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people of all religions who live in Pakistan." As reported by the television website, about 12 million people watched it regularly. Despite receiving many threats, and making many requests for security, police did not help.
About this Series
While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians is expanding. "Muslim Persecution of Christians" was developed to collate some -- by no means all -- of the instances of persecution that surface each month.

It documents what the mainstream media often fails to report.
It posits that such persecution is not random but systematic, and takes place in all languages, ethnicities and locations.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War in Christians (published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013).

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