Friday, March 27, 2015

Gulf states, abandoned against Iran - Dr. Reuven Berko

by Dr. Reuven Berko

Arab stagnation combined with the West turning a blind eye to this Iranian aggression, alongside the willingness of Western powers to sign a deal allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb, is causing sleepless nights among those Arab leaders who are again pushing the need to upgrade the capabilities of the "Al Jazeera defense force."

Shiite Iran's increasing involvement in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, while exploiting the Shiite elements of the population in those target countries, is causing a great deal of concern among leaders of Arab Gulf states. The trauma of Iran's attempt to topple the regime in Bahrain, where most of the population is Shiite, under the claim that Bahrain is Iran's 14th province, is still fresh in their minds. The Iranian goal of using Bahrain as a bridgehead from which to spread across the Arabian Peninsula is still in play, despite Iran's first effort being blocked in March 2011, when some 1,000 Saudi troops and 500 policemen from the United Arab Emirates entered Bahrain to save its regime.

Ever since Saddam Hussein's sudden invasion of Kuwait, the Gulf states -- Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE -- realized the need for a type of "Al Jazeera defense force" to pose a strategic deterrent against Iranian machinations on the peninsula. Their effort has not been a success. Through its latest intervention, via the mobilization of Shiite Houthi tribesmen to capture key targets in Yemen, including the primary port cities and airports in the south of the country leading to control of the Gulf of Aden, Iran is clearly reiterating its ambition of acquiring the straits of Hormuz and Bab el-Mandeb, which will allow Iran to paralyze the Red Sea and Persian Gulf waterways.

Arab stagnation combined with the West turning a blind eye to this Iranian aggression, alongside the willingness of Western powers to sign a deal allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb, is causing sleepless nights among those Arab leaders who are again pushing the need to upgrade the capabilities of the "Al Jazeera defense force."

Considering the lack of trust in the West and Yemen's expected fall to the Houthis, the leaders of the Arab Gulf states are again working, feverishly, to build the military capability to curb Iran. As early as December 2009, with the goal of protecting the integrity of Arab territories situated in the Arabian Peninsula, the Arab League decided to establish a massive, unified, heavily funded, rapid-reaction military force comprising hundreds of thousands of troops and naval capabilities, capable of posing a deterrent and striking a decisive blow on the battlefield. Morocco and Jordan were also added to this coalition, as strategic depth, but the initiative ultimately failed to gain traction. 

The recent gathering of these partner states in Riyadh gave birth to a multitude of agreements, including support and aid to Egypt, which is considered the strongest true military force in the Sunni Arab Middle East. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has lobbied for Pakistani support in the aftermath of Yemen's inevitable fall, or worse, when Iran completes its nuclearization with American consent. 

As the West falls victim to the fraud peddled by Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, the Arabs (and Israel) have no illusions about Iran's true intentions. Even as the Bahrain crisis was unfolding, the threats issued by many of Iran's highest-ranking defense establishment officials -- whether in the regime, the military or the Shura (parliament) -- reflected the hostile nature of Iran's foreign policy, and removed any doubt in the minds of neighboring Arab leaders.

Many of the Gulf states with signed security and defense pacts with the West, namely the United States, are currently feeling abandoned. Ever since the events in Bahrain, and to a greater degree following the recent developments in Yemen, the realization is growing in the Gulf that Iran's aggressive goals and ambitions regarding the Arabian Peninsula have not changed and that they must take care of themselves.

The Arabs have recently come to the realization that not only will they not receive aid from the West in their hour of need, but that the West is forging a deal with Iran at their expense -- a deal that will pose the greatest threat to their security. The situation that has been created provides an opportunity for Israel, even if clandestinely, to play a part in the geostrategic plans being formulated by states in the region, and which could help lead to an agreeable deal on the Palestinian issue -- which is rather secondary in the current pan-Arab context.

The West's weakness and apathy toward Iran and the perilous predicament it has created in Yemen again prove the flimsy nature of those security and defense treaties. This lesson justifies Israel's approach, which is based on the ability to defend itself on its own. In the meantime, following the Houthi takeover, Saudi Arabia has decided to deploy a massive military force along the border with Yemen. The first shot is in the chamber and the finger is already on the trigger.

Dr. Reuven Berko


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Bowe Bergdahl, Deserter - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

Bethea’s account is in full accord with the Taliban’s 2010 claim that Bergdahl had converted to Islam and was teaching bomb-making to its jihadists. There is no reason to take anything that Taliban spokesmen say at face value, but secret documents revealed Thursday afternoon corroborate the claim.

U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion for leaving his unit in Afghanistan and joining up with the Taliban. It’s about time. After months of stonewalling as the evidence that Bergdahl was a deserter mounted ever higher, U.S. officials could ignore it no longer.

Much of that evidence has been known for years, and more of it came out last year, when Obama traded five seasoned, battle-hardened jihadis back to the Taliban in exchange for Bergdahl. Former infantry officer Nathan Bradley Bethea, who served with Bergdahl in Afghanistan, wrote in the Daily Beast that Bergdahl was “a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.” Refuting reports that Bergdahl got separated from his unit while on patrol, Bethea declared: “Make no mistake: Bergdahl did not ‘lag behind on a patrol,’ as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.”

Bethea’s account is in full accord with the Taliban’s 2010 claim that Bergdahl had converted to Islam and was teaching bomb-making to its jihadists. There is no reason to take anything that Taliban spokesmen say at face value, but secret documents revealed Thursday afternoon corroborate the claim. According to one of these documents, dated August 23, 2012, “conditions for Bergdahl have greatly relaxed since the time of the escape. Bergdahl has converted to Islam and now describes himself as a mujahid. Bergdahl enjoys a modicum of freedom, and engages in target practice with the local mujahedeen, firing AK47s. Bergdahl is even allowed to carry a loaded gun on occasion. Bergdahl plays soccer with his guards and  bounds around the pitch like a mad man. He appears to be well and happy, and has a noticeable habit of laughing frequently and saying ‘Salaam’ repeatedly.”

The soldier’s father, Robert Bergdahl, also appears to be a convert to Islam, as during the ceremony with Obama in the Rose Garden announcing the exchange, he proclaimed: “Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim” – the phrase, “In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful,” which is the heading of 113 of the Qur’an’s 114 chapters. (Journalist Neil Munro noted in the Daily Caller that “although Bergdahl quoted the Quran verse, the White House transcript did not translate it or even include the Islamic prayer. Instead, the transcript simply said Bergdahl spoke in the Pasho language, which is the language of the Pushtun tribe, which forms the vast majority of the Taliban force. In fact, ‘Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim’ is Arabic.” The lavishly-bearded Robert Bergdahl has also called for the release of the jihadists in Guantanamo and has implied that American troops are killing Afghan children in a tweet he concluded with “ameen,” the Arabic form of “amen.”)

What’s more, an Associated Press report stated that “a Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his unit, and after an initial flurry of searching the military decided not to exert extraordinary efforts to rescue him, according to a former senior defense official who was involved in the matter.” This official said that the evidence that Bergdahl had deserted was “incontrovertible.”

Fox News reported that Bergdahl — “both in his final stretch of active duty in Afghanistan and then, too, during his time when he lived among the Taliban — has been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. intelligence community and is the subject of ‘a major classified file.’ In conveying as much, the Defense Department source confirmed to Fox News that many within the intelligence community harbor serious outstanding concerns not only that Bergdahl may have been a deserter but that he may have been an active collaborator with the enemy.”

Former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow, who served with Bergdahl and was present the night he disappeared, says flatly: “Bergdahl is a deserter, and he’s not a hero. He needs to answer for what he did.” Even worse, Buetow recounted that days after Bergdahl vanished from the U.S. base, there were reports that he was in a nearby village looking for someone who spoke English, so that he could establish communications with the Taliban. Soon afterward, Buetow recalled, “IEDs started going off directly under the trucks. They were getting perfect hits every time. Their ambushes were very calculated, very methodical.”

Bergdahl knew where the trucks would be going and when; said Buetow: “We were incredibly worried” that the Taliban’s “prisoner of war” was passing this information on to his captors in order to help them place their bombs most effectively.

Fox News also reported that according to “sources who had debriefed two former members of Bergdahl’s unit,” the deserter “left behind a note the night he left base in which he expressed disillusionment with the Army and being an American and suggested that he wanted to renounce his American citizenship and go find the Taliban.” According to Colonel David Hunt, Bergdahl even “called his unit the day after he deserted to tell his unit he deserted.”

Barack Obama must have known all or some of this, or should have known it, when he announced the exchange of five Guanatamo detainees for Bergdahl. But he gave no hint of knowing it when he declared that the swap was “a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.”
It was nonsense, and he must have known it. The desertion charge is a positive step, but there needs to be one more charge as well: treason.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.


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Obama Chief of Staff Blasts Israel at J Street Confab - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

The knives are out for the Jewish state

mcdonoughdenis_032315gnWhite House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough continued the Obama administration’s relentless series of verbal fusillades against Israel, declaring on March 23rd that “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.” Mr. McDonough added that “Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely,” as if the present state of affairs were something most Israelis yearned to maintain indefinitely. His speech offered no practical suggestions as to how to allay Israelis’ legitimate security concerns. His underlying assumption is that Israel must simply take another chance by giving up more land for peace no matter what, when its prior unilateral withdrawal from Gaza literally blew up in its face.

President Obama’s chief of staff offered up his simplistic tripe to the left-wing J Street group, which claims it is pro-Israel but more often than not sings the Palestinians’ tune.

Mr. McDonough lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election pledge that an independent Palestinian state would not be permitted under his watch.  “We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made, or that they don’t raise questions about the Prime Minister’s commitment to achieving peace through direct negotiations” he said.

President Obama’s functionary dismissed Mr. Netanyahu’s post-election attempt to clarify his remarks. The prime minister explained that he did not think the establishment of a Palestinian state under present circumstances is sustainable. He reached this conclusion because there is nothing being proposed to prevent radical Islamists from following Hamas’s Gaza model and using any territory they gain as a launching pad from which to attack Israeli citizens.

President Obama confirmed during his joint news conference with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on March 24th that his administration was re-evaluating its overall approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “We believe that two states is the best path forward for Israel’s security, Palestinian aspirations and regional stability,” Obama said. “And Prime Minister Netanyahu has a different approach.” Again, facile rhetoric replaces nuanced analysis of the roots of the conflict and the difficulties in resolving it as long as the Palestinians miss every opportunity to achieve a state of their own, going back more than six decades.

Last week, Mr. Obama’s press secretary, Josh Ernest, gave a preview of what changes in policy towards Israel such a re-evaluation may produce: “Steps that the United States has taken at the United Nations had been predicated on this idea that the two-state solution is the best outcome. Now our ally in these talks has said that they are no longer committed to that solution.”

It is a gross distortion of the truth on the part of President Obama and his minions to assert that the Israeli prime minister rejects the fundamental approach of a two-state solution out of hand. The difference in approach is over exactly how a viable two-state solution should be defined.

Mr. McDonough reiterated in his speech the terms of a final peace agreement as the Obama administration, the Palestinians and their friends at J Street would like to see it: “The borders of Israel and an independent Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu has good reason to be very concerned over the outside imposition of this particular version of a two-state solution. Israelis in major population centers will be even more vulnerable to Iranian-supplied rockets launched from the West Bank than they are today from the more distant Gaza Strip.

The Obama administration is so intent on securing any nuclear deal it can with the Iranian regime that it has overlooked Iranian leaders’ outrageous threats to arm terrorists in the West Bank. For example, Ayatollah Khamenei himself warned last year: “We believe the West Bank, too, should be armed just like Gaza and those who are interested in the fate of the Palestinians must work in this respect so that the pains and miseries of the Palestinian people will be decreased due to their mighty hands and the weakness of the Zionist enemy.”

In August 2014, Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, stated that “the holy Quds [Jerusalem’s] occupiers’ fear from arming the people and the resistance movement in the West Bank shows how deeply Tel Aviv is vulnerable to the start of a new phase of (Palestinians’) fight and resistance.”

Mr. Netanyahu has not changed his fundamental position since 2009, when he outlined his vision of two peoples living “freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect,” with each having “its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government.” Obama knew then that there were certain conditions the prime minister required in order to be confident that a formulaic two-state solution would not turn into a prescription for the destruction of the Jewish state. He asked for “ironclad” guarantees from the United States and the international community to ensure Israel’s security by requiring that any future Palestinian state be demilitarized and that it recognize Israel’s Jewish character.  He also said that the Palestinians’ refugee problem could not be solved by allowing potentially millions of Palestinians to move to the area encompassing pre-1967 Israel under the so-called Palestinian “right of return.”

Even New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who has harshly criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu and called for his defeat, had to admit that the Palestinians, not the Israeli government under Mr. Netanyahu, were primarily responsible for the breakdown in the peace talks last year. He had interviewed Tzipi Livni, Israel’s lead negotiator, who joined a party running against the prime minister in this year’s election.

As Roger Cohen reported, Prime Minister Netanyahu indicated his willingness, despite some reservations, to proceed on the basis of an American framework for an agreement that set out the Obama administration’s “views on major issues, including borders, security, settlements, Palestinian refugees and Jerusalem.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, however, “remained evasive on the framework.” The Palestinians missed an important opportunity, Roger Cohen reported Mr. Netanyahu’s political adversary Tzipi Livni as saying, “not least because to get Netanyahu’s acceptance of a negotiation on the basis of the 1967 borders with agreed-upon swaps — an idea Obama embraced in 2011 — would have indicated a major shift.”

Then Abbas pulled the rug out from under the negotiations completely by signing letters as part of a process to join 15 international agencies before the negotiations deadline, which he had said he would not do. A reconciliation was announced thereafter between Abbas’s Fatah party and the terrorist Hamas organization, making further negotiations impossible in light of Hamas’s continued violence against Israeli citizens and vows to destroy the Jewish state.

“Palestinian children deserve the same right to be free in their own land as Israeli children in their land,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told his J Street audience. That’s fair enough, as far as it goes. However, he omitted to say that the terrorist organization Abbas wants to partner with sent over 17,000 Palestinian boys to 18 new military training camps this past January to be trained as killers. And where is the outrage with the following declaration by senior Hamas official, Fathi Hamad, which reflects Hamas’s crimes against its own most vulnerable people, including its children? “For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry… This is why [we] have formed human shields of the women, the children, [and] the elderly.”

Palestinian children are taught in their schools and from Palestinian Authority TV programs to hate and revel in the murder of Jews. Why didn’t Mr. McDonough acknowledge that Israeli children deserve to be free in their own land from Palestinian terrorist attacks aimed at killing them?

The Obama administration, starting with President Obama himself, is cynically demonizing Prime Minister Netanyahu while distorting the truth about the comparative records of the Israelis and Palestinians when it comes to good faith negotiation of a viable two-state solution. It has targeted Mr. Netanyahu and sought to discredit him because he had the temerity to speak the truth about the dangerously flawed nuclear deal that the administration is reportedly trying to complete with Iran.

It is time for the Obama administration to stop the pettiness and demagoguery and show at least as much respect for the duly elected leader of the only real democracy in the Middle East as it apparently does for the leaders of the Iranian dictatorial regime.

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.


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Offense Welcome: In Defense of Free Speech on Campus - Daniel Mael

by Daniel Mael

Banning such events, speakers and displays is not the answer. It is a stance not only intellectually bankrupt, but one that solidifies a dangerous precedent: the intolerance of free speech.
Removing dissent -- however morally intended -- is intrinsically antithetical to education, especially at a university.
The greatest problem with the current lot of anti-Israel voices is not that they are "offensive" or "mean;" it is that what they say contains outright lies and falsehoods.
However malicious or misguided, the speech and conduct of those who oppose Israel --who cannot or will not see the difference between an open, tolerant democracy and repressive, authoritarian governments -- should be refuted, not suppressed.

In 1902, the Russian Jewish author and early Zionist leader, Ze'ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940) responded to a fellow journalist's effort to label Zionism as "historically retrograde", "politically reactionary" and "unworkable". "Defame it if you must!" he wrote. "The dream is greater than its slanderers. It need not fear their calumny." [1]

In 2015, the pro-Israel campus movement, through its collective attempt to combat anti-Israel forces, risks failing to uphold Jabotinsky's proclamation.

Supporting Israel is now labelled an act of "racism" by some professors and certain campus organizations, such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Opposing Israel, however, is not considered the actual act of racism that it more likely is.

Hamas, which openly promotes genocide -- not only of Israel, but of all Jews -- is apparently considered justified in its behavior. Meanwhile Zionism, which has never even touched on the subject of genocide, is now thought of as a genocidal creed by the anti-Zionist groups on campus. In 2011, SJP founder Hatem Bazian organized the "Never Again for Anyone" speaking tour, which abused the memory of the Holocaust and claimed that Israel's actions toward its Arab neighbors resembled the actions of the Nazis. So how could Hamas not take up arms against "occupation"?

UC-Berkeley Professor Hatem Bazian addresses an anti-Israel rally on July 20, 2014, appearing in front of a man carrying a sign saying, "We captured Israeli soldiers in Gaza". (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

Students on campuses across the country are then left to decide how to respond. A select few on the pro-Israel side have attempted to carve out an argument that would call for censoring the "offending parties." Some have called for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to be blocked from receiving school funding; others have called for racist or bigoted speakers to be banned from campus.

Groups such as SJP gave up on the concept of coexistence long ago, in favor of a policy of "anti-normalization," in which dialogue with "Zionists" is forbidden. To cooperate with "Zionists," the thinking seems to go, would be to legitimize their rights. The Anti-Defamation League accurately branded "Anti-normalization" a "Strategy of Rejection."

The hatred of groups such as the SJP is starting to manifest itself on campuses across the globe in "Israeli Apartheid Week," in which Israel is demonized as a racist state on a par with apartheid South Africa. The week is billed as an "international series of events that seeks to raise awareness about Israel's apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign," according to the campaign website. Campuses are rocked with incessant posturing, events and even large displays of "walls," representing Israel's defensive security barrier, but described as "apartheid walls."

Banning such events, speakers and displays, however, is not the answer. The flaws in such proposals are twofold. To begin with, they make it seem as if people, rather than defend their own views, would prefer to shut down the ability of those on the other side to express their views. It is a stance not only intellectually bankrupt, but one that solidifies a dangerous precedent: the intolerance of free speech.

Life in an echo chamber is not an education. Removing dissent -- however morally intended -- is intrinsically antithetical to education, especially at a university.

As long as the anti-Israel, or anti-anything, actors operate within the campus rules -- which, among others, require that they properly reserve their space and respect the space of others -- their speech should be protected. When intolerant individuals act out of line, such as the Temple University student who punched a classmate in August 2014, then a response is certainly warranted. The student who threw the punch was rightly charged by the Philadelphia District Attorney's office.

In addition, speech often can and should be offensive. As Trevor Burrus wrote in Forbes, "Offensive speech contributes to the marketplace of ideas by expanding its borders." The greatest problem with the current lot of anti-Israel voices claiming to represent the Palestinian cause on campus is not that they are "offensive" or "mean;" it is that what they say contains outright lies and falsehoods.

Speakers such as Max Blumenthal or Ali Abunimah, who compare the state of Israel to Nazi Germany, or claim that Israel has a policy of ethnic cleansing, should be heard and called out as the malicious slanderers and vilifiers they are. Last summer, Abunimah infamously tweeted that, "Making Yom Kippur a UN holiday to honor the genocidal "state" of Israel would be sure way to increase global anti-Jewish sentiment." Blumenthal has mocked Jewish prayer by pretending to pray to a bloodied image of Benjamin Netanyahu. That students claiming to speak for human rights would sponsor such speakers uncovers their real intent.

One needs rigorously to challenge speakers such as Blumenthal and Abunimah in the marketplace of ideas. As Harvard professor Steven Pinker put it recently, "It is only by bruiting ideas and seeing which ones withstand attempts to refute them that we acquire knowledge." If the pro-Israel community in unwilling or unable to refute the most heinous challengers of Israel it risks relying solely on dogmatic reasoning and the reverberations of the echo-chamber, at a serious intellectual cost.

After the recent Israeli elections, countless students and organizations -- both Jewish and non-Jewish -- have again accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being a "racist" or "marginalizing Arab-Israeli citizens." Rather than also marginalizing those critical of Israel or its leaders off-hand, the pro-Israel campus movement would do well to examine such claims in an objective, dispassionate fashion.

Those who understand the moral breach between Israel and its enemies should welcome debate and exchange in the open campus space. However malicious and misguided, the speech and conduct of those who oppose Israel -- who cannot or will not see the difference between an open, tolerant democracy and repressive, authoritarian governments -- should be refuted, not suppressed.

Daniel Mael, a senior at Brandeis University, is a fellow at the Salomon Center.

[1] Halkin, Hillel. Jabotinsky: A Life. New Haven: Yale UP, 2014. Print.


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Trusting the Ayatollahs - Raymond Ibrahim

by Raymond Ibrahim

In short, it’s all very standard for Islamic leaders to say they are pursuing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes while they are weaker than their infidel foes -- as Iran is today -- but once they acquire nukes the jihad can resume in earnest.

As Iran continues edging closer to developing nuclear weapons -- a major threat to the entire Mideast region, especially longstanding U.S. ally Israel -- U.S. President Obama has come to the aid of the Islamic Republic, by citing an Islamic fatwa no less. In a video recording posted on the White House’s website, Obama said, “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons, and President Rouhani has said that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon.”

This is the same Rouhani who, after recently showcasing Iran’s newly developed missiles, described his nation’s diplomatic talks with the U.S. as an active “jihad”: “Our negotiations with the world powers are a source of national pride. Yesterday [during the Iran-Iraq War], your brave generals stood against the enemy on the battlefield and defended their country. Today, your diplomatic generals are defending [our nation] in the field of diplomacy -- this, too, is jihad.” 

Other administration officials -- such as Secretary of State John Kerry and Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes -- have previously referred to the ayatollah's reported fatwa in the context of the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran.

The Obama administration’s citation of this fatwa is utterly wrongheaded on many levels. 

First, the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya permits Muslims to deceive non-Muslims. Islamic prophet Muhammad himself regularly lied to his infidel enemies, often resulting in their murder (such as the case of Ka‘b ibn Ashraf). He also proclaimed that lying was permissible in three contexts, one being war. Moreover, throughout the centuries and due to historic circumstances (discussed here), taqiyya became second nature to the Shia -- the sect currently ruling Iran.

Then there is the fact that Islamic law takes circumstance into account. When Muhammad was weak and outnumbered in Mecca, he preached peace and tolerance (hence why Meccan Suras appear peaceful); when he became strong in Medina, he preached war and went on the offensive (hence why Medinan Suras are violent and intolerant). This dichotomy -- reach peace when weak, wage war when strong -- has been Islamic modus operandi for centuries.

Speaking of fatwas, Dr. Yusuf Burhami, a prominent Islamic cleric in Egypt, recently said that destroying churches in Egypt is permissible if not advisable -- but not if doing so prompts Western infidels to intervene and occupy Egypt, which they could do “because the condition of Muslims in the current era is well known to the nations of the world -- they are weak.”  Burhami further added that circumstance is everything, “just as the prophet allowed the Jews to remain in Khaibar after he opened [conquered] it, once Muslims grew in strength and number, [second caliph] Omar al-Khattab drove them out according to the prophet’s command, ‘Drive out the Jews and Christians from the Peninsula.’”

And who can forget Yasser Arafat’s reference to Muhammad’s Hudaybiya pact? In 1994, soon after negotiating a peace treaty criticized as conceding too much to Israel, Arafat addressed an assembly of Muslims and said: “I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the [infidel] Quraysh in Mecca.” In other words, like Muhammad, Arafat gave his word only to annul it once his ranks became strong enough to go on the offensive.

In short, it’s all very standard for Islamic leaders to say they are pursuing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes while they are weaker than their infidel foes -- as Iran is today -- but once they acquire nukes the jihad can resume in earnest. 

Then there is the fact that Shia theology is rife with apocalyptic aspirations. An August 2007 report compiled by the Congressional Research Service said: “Ahmadinejad [previous president of Iran] believes his mission is to prepare for the return of the 12th ‘Hidden’ Imam, whose return from occultation [i.e., “hiding”] would, according to Twelver Shi’ite doctrine, be accompanied by the establishment of Islam as the global religion.”

Like other Iranians, Ahmadinejad cited the eschatological (and canonical) hadith wherein Muhammad said: “The Hour [Judgment Day] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and until the Jews hide behind the trees and rocks and the trees and rocks will say, ‘O Muslim, O Servant of God! Here are the Jews! Come and kill them!”

Indeed, during a recent speech, supreme leader Khamenei -- whose fatwa Obama is now citing -- boasted about Iran’s uranium enrichment, even as his military commanders shouted, “Allah Akbar. Khamenei is the leader. Death to the enemies of the leadership. Death to America. Death to England. Death to hypocrites. Death to Israel.”  

Yet despite all this -- despite the fact that Islamic doctrine mandates lying to infidels; despite the fact that the Shia -- Iran’s leadership -- have perfected taqiyya into an art; despite the fact that Islamic law holds that Muslims should preach peace when weak, war when strong; despite the fact that Iranian leadership openly boasts that its nuclear negotiations are a “jihad” against the infidel; despite the fact that Iran has previously been exposed developing uranium enrichments suitable for nuclear warheads -- here is Obama and his administration relying on the “word” of the ayatollah of Iran.

Raymond Ibrahim


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The Washington Post Sugarcoats Obama's Communist Mentor - Paul Kengor

by Paul Kengor

It took Rudy Giuliani to call out Davis for the media to at long last hazard a look. As soon as Rudy dared do so, he naturally became the story rather than Obama or Davis. The story became Rudy’s outlandish claims rather than Davis’s outlandish politics or the outlandish reality that the current leader of the free world had a formative influence who was a devout communist who joined the Party under Stalin.

Someone in the mainstream press has finally bothered to look into Frank Marshall Davis, the Communist Party member who influenced a young Obama from 1970-79, the long period of our current president’s adolescence. It took Rudy Giuliani to call out Davis for the media to at long last hazard a look. As soon as Rudy dared do so, he naturally became the story rather than Obama or Davis. The story became Rudy’s outlandish claims rather than Davis’s outlandish politics or the outlandish reality that the current leader of the free world had a formative influence who was a devout communist who joined the Party under Stalin.

The article was published by the Washington Post in the form of one those “fact check” thingies. Conservatives no doubt assume that the Post’s final judgment was as preordained as a Soviet show trial. Yes, there would be the appearance of an investigation, with a limited degree of evidence presented, but, in the end, the verdict was predetermined. Really, can you imagine the Washington Post running a headline like this? “Rudy Was Right: Young Obama Influenced by Communist Party Member.”

Yes, you can stop laughing.

I was tipped off to the Post’s interest by Cliff Kincaid, the anti-communist researcher who started looking into Frank Marshall Davis even before I did. It was Kincaid who years ago posted Davis’s entire 600-page FBI file on-line (click here to view). Kincaid told me last week that a Washington Post reporter had contacted him. We weren’t optimistic. The last Post reporter who tracked down Kincaid was Dana Milbank in May 2008, who promptly mocked Kincaid’s investigation of Davis-Obama (publicly presented by Kincaid and the late Herb Romerstein at a conference) as tantamount to “a UFO convention.”

So, I read the Post piece. The reporter is Michelle Ye Hee Lee. In all, she did a better job than I expected. She was fairer than I expected. She is absolutely Woodward and Bernstein compared to Dana Milbank, who would not pause to even take this troubling issue seriously.

I feel bad for Lee having been given the assignment. She strikes me as an honest reporter who earnestly handedly her task. And yet, her hands were surely as tied as a Kremlin prosecutor in a Soviet kangaroo court. Again, there was simply no way the Post would publish a piece in which Lee affirmed that Rudy and Cliff Kincaid and their crazy McCarthyite buddies were right about Davis and his influence on Obama. Did Lee ever want to work in journalism again?

For all their hysteria about communist blacklists, liberals have long orchestrated blacklists of their own for those with the audacity to reach conclusions contrary to their whitewashed narratives about communists. For liberals, America is a nation rampant with racists and homophobes but not one pro-Soviet communist every trod this country’s soil.

And so, what did the Post conclude? After presenting certain details pro and con, Lee summed up:
It has been seven years since this assertion surfaced, and it continues to be perpetuated. Davis was indeed associated with the Communist Party, and the FBI identified him as a member. He was affiliated with more than a dozen other groups that were open to his views on social and racial inequality. He repeatedly showed his bitterness toward Jim Crow laws and wanted African Americans to have constitutional rights. He was an activist, but there is no evidence that Davis was a hard-core Communist who spied for Soviet leaders. He was critical of American society, but not America as a country.
Davis made an impression on Obama, as shown in his memoir. Obama mentions Davis several times in “Dreams from My Father” as someone who influenced his understanding of his black identity. But there is no evidence Obama was “raised” by Davis, or that Davis remained a close Communist mentor who advised him throughout his life. We carefully considered the facts underlying this assertion, and the evidence is slim. We may never definitively know one way or another, but it is time to put it to rest.
This pretty much lets Frank Marshall Davis off the hook, though it is accurate in some important places -- albeit not quite right in others. As for the latter, Frank Marshall Davis was, in truth, unequivocally a “hard-core Communist.” This is demonstrated by his Party membership alone. No one who took the step of actually joining the Party -- which even most (small “c”) communists didn’t do -- was not hard-core. There were probably at least a million American communists (small “c”) when Davis joined the Party, but no more than 100,000 or so took the extraordinary step of joining the Party. When you joined the Party, you swore this loyalty oath to Stalin’s Soviet Union: “I pledge myself to rally the masses to defend the Soviet Union, the land of victorious socialism. I pledge myself to remain at all times a vigilant and firm defender of the Leninist line of the Party, the only line that insures the triumph of Soviet Power in the United States.”

Beyond Party membership, Frank Marshall Davis’s vast volume of writings, which I quoted across hundreds of pages in my biography of Davis, The Communist, clearly show that he was hard-core. Anyone who reads his writings cannot conclude otherwise. It’s impossible.

Did Lee not read Davis’s writings for Party-line newspapers, including the Chicago Star, of which he was the founding editor-in-chief? Normally I would expect a reporter from a liberal publication to not have done that crucial reading, but Lee seems to have read my book, or at least part of it, and my book repeatedly quotes these blatantly and unapologetically communist writings.

For the record, mine is the only biography of Davis and his relationship with Obama. The final manuscript that I turned in to the publisher contained 127,026 words and 760 endnotes. It was over 400 pages in length. It relies exhaustively on archival documents. The book was published by a Simon & Schuster imprint and debuted at #9 on the New York Times bestseller list. It isn’t a crackpot work by a crackpot author (well, not totally) published by a crackpot house.
Lee did not email or call me (that I know of). That’s fine, if she read the book, which has everything she needs.

Anyway, back to Lee’s analysis of Davis and Obama.

Among Lee’s statements, the one about Davis being critical of American society but not the country is objectionable at many levels -- too many to delineate here. But one level is especially important for this discussion, because it goes to Rudy Giuliani’s initial point about Davis being bitterly anti-American, and thinking that this bitterness and anti-Americanism might have rubbed off on Obama.

Obama himself provided testimony to Davis’s bitterness. Among the many mentions of Frank Marshall Davis in Dreams from My Father -- Obama mentioned him 22 times as “Frank” (never once divulging his full name) and dozens more via pronouns and other forms of reference -- there is a key passage prior to Obama leaving Hawaii in the fall 1979 to attend Occidental College. Despite being ignored by certain Obama biographers, this may be the most instructive Davis-related passage in Dreams from My Father. Obama wrote:
I thought back to the last time I had seen the old poet [Frank], a few days before I left Hawaii. We had made small talk for a while; he complained about his feet, the corns and bone spurs that he insisted were a direct result of trying to force African feet into European shoes. Finally he had asked me what it was that I expected to get out of college. I told him I didn’t know. He shook his big, hoary head.
 “Well,” he said, “that’s the problem, isn’t it? You don’t know. You’re just like the rest of these young cats out here. All you know is that college is the next thing you’re supposed to do….”
 He studied me over the top of his reading glasses. “Understand something, boy. You’re not going to college to get educated. You’re going there to get trained. They’ll train you to want what you don’t need. They’ll train you to manipulate words so they don’t mean anything anymore. They’ll train you to forget what it is that you already know. They’ll train you so good, you’ll start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh-t….
The Davis that Obama described here is the one I read countless times, one armed with bitter statements directed at America in communist organs like the Chicago Star and Honolulu Record. Most notable was Davis’s continued disparaging use of the phrase “the American way,” here referred to as “the American way and all that sh-t.”

Thanks to Obama (unintentionally), we find here a consistency in Frank Marshall Davis traversing four decades, dating back to columns in the 1940s and 1950s. In the Star and the Record, Davis likewise demeaned “the American way,” though style guidelines and editors and protocol and manners of the day assured he would not refer to the American way as “sh-t.”

“I’m tired of being beaned with those double meaning words like ‘sacred institutions’ and ‘the American way of life,’” growled Davis in the Chicago Star on November 9, 1946, “which our flag-waving fascists and lukewarm liberals hurl at us day and night.”

Now, over 30 years later, here was Obama recording “Frank” holding the same grudge.

It was indeed as if Frank Marshall Davis were (as Obama himself put it) in a “time warp.” Obama had nailed it, maybe more than he realized.

That diatribe against “the American way” is very revealing, is it not? Davis used it constantly. In fact, there are 38 uses of it in my book. It was so common to the Davis story that the subtitle that I originally submitted for my biography was “Frank Marshall Davis and the America Way.”

Frank Marshall Davis was very bitter toward America, period. Call it American “society” or the “country.” It was really both.

I could analyze the Post piece much more, but I’ll finish with this.

The most noteworthy item in Lee’s conclusion is this final one: “We carefully considered the facts … and the evidence is slim. We may never definitively know one way or another, but it is time to put it to rest.”

Well, I have a great idea on how to put it to rest: Why not ask the only man who can answer the question? That man, of course, is Barack Obama. Indeed, no one but Obama really knows the precise extent to which Frank Marshall Davis’s radical political ideology influenced Obama. Only Obama can tell us that. So, why not ask him?

In the absence, however, why would it not be reasonable to assume that Davis, who lived and ate and breathed the ideology, would not have influenced Obama during their many one-on-one meetings together? Davis was clearly a mentor of some influence, and we normally have no problem making some assumptions between mentors and those they mentored. But in this case, the standard of evidence for liberals must be unimpeachably perfect, at times almost implausibly high, as if in a courtroom where we’re aiming for a death conviction. It’s a standard that liberals plainly don’t apply to conservatives and Republicans.

In the end, the Washington Post piece concluded (no surprise) that “the facts … and the evidence” underlying Rudy’s assertion about Davis and Obama is “slim.” The Post then itself went to a level where evidence does not exist: it smacked Rudy Giuliani with “Three Pinocchios,” meaning, in effect, a triple-whopper of a “lie.” Really? Now is that fair?

Frankly, I detest this whole childish Pinocchio business. It implies that Rudy lied. He did not lie. He could have been mistaken (he was not), but he did not deliberately advance a lie.

How about this? If Rudy merits “Three Pinocchios,” then Barack Obama deserves at least 22 for expunging all 22 references to “Frank” in the audio version of Dreams from My Father that was released in 2005, as he prepared for a run for the presidency and no doubt feared being tied to closely to a man who joined the Communist Party under Stalin and had been so radical that the federal government placed him on the Security Index. By completely scrubbing all mentions of “Frank” from the audio version of Dreams, which Obama himself personally approved (as the jacket design says) and narrates in his own voice, Obama deliberately concealed Davis.

For that matter, should we give 23 Pinocchios to the Washington Post for doing a story on this issue and consulting every source but the most important one of all, Obama himself?

Alas, the longest Pinocchio of all should go to liberals who continue to lie to themselves about their president’s remarkably radical upbringing.

Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His books include The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.


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Palestinians Committed War Crimes During Gaza Op - Cynthia Blank

by Cynthia Blank

Amnesty International report finds Palestinian terror groups showed 'disregard' for civilian lives during Operation Protective Edge.

Palestinian terror groups demonstrated "flagrant disregard" for civilian lives during Operation Protective Edge, a report issued by Amnesty International on Thursday said. 

The report outlines the damage caused by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza during the summer war, including several incidents in which Israeli civilians were killed, as well as the deaths of 13 Palestinians when a Hamas missile fell in the A-Shati refugee camp.  

According to the data presented, armed terror groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, shot thousands of rockets and mortars from Gaza at civilian areas in Israel. Specifically addressed in the report was mortar fire.

The authors note that in certain cases mortars were fired at Israeli military targets, but since mortars are such imprecise weapons, they should never be used to target military bases near civilian areas. 

“Indiscriminate attacks that kill or wound civilians constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes,” the report accuses, adding that "Palestinian armed groups must end all direct attacks on civilians."

Also addressed are the other international violations performed by Palestinians during the conflict, including their storing ammunition in UN schools, and launching rockets from civilian areas. 

This report, the third issued by international bodies on Operation Protective Edge, is the first to deal with Palestinian activities during the operation, as opposed to just Israeli Defense Forces actions. 

“The devastating impact of Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians during the conflict is undeniable, but violations by one side in a conflict can never justify violations by their opponents,” Philip Luther, the Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International, said.

Luther called on both Israeli and Palestinian authorities to cooperate with additional probes “to end decades of impunity that have perpetuated a cycle of violations in which civilians on both sides have paid a heavy price.”

Cynthia Blank


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Turkey: Davutoglu vs. Davutoglu - Burak Bekdil

by Burak Bekdil

Turkey's Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, is probably the world's first ever politician demanding votes to end his own rule.

In a speech in parliament on Jan. 28, Turkey's main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, addressed Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu: "You are not the prime minister. You are [a "photo-op"] kid seated on the prime minister's chair."

The weird situation Davutoglu has found himself in is the product of his boss and predecessor, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last summer, as election season approached, then Prime Minister Erdogan and President Davutoglu tightened their grip on the internet. The duo deliberately limited their citizens' access to social media and to popular and informative websites. They also increased the government's power over the courts and the power of the MIT (Turkish intelligence Agency) to spy on people. None of this stopped the AKP from winning at the polls.

Shortly after Erdogan won the presidential election in August, he nominated Davutoglu to be his successor as party chairman and prime minister.

But Erdogan's longer-term plan was different. In a move possibly modeled after the arrangement between Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev in Russia, Davutoglu would take the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to parliamentary elections in June 2015 and win a two-thirds majority, allowing them to amend the constitution to enable Erdogan to become a hands-on "executive president" (rather than a symbolic one), with almost endless executive powers -- while the prime minister would be reduced to a symbolic role. In other words, Davutoglu's political task would finish off his own mission.

Burak Bekdil writes that in order to help Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) expand his executive powers, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is probably the world's first ever politician demanding votes to end his own rule. (Image sources: World Economic Forum; CFR video screeenshot)

Since then, Davutoglu has carefully avoided political conflict with Erdogan in public. His loyalty to his boss has remained unquestioned. In public speeches, Davutoglu is often seen echoing Erdogan and imitating his confrontational rhetoric. But he probably has also been privately (and grudgingly) rethinking his own role: the "photo-op" premier.

The first blow came when Davutoglu asked three of four former cabinet ministers accused of corruption, to volunteer to be tried at the supreme court. A parliamentary commission was investigating the charges. In the face of strong evidence against the suspects, even the commission's AKP members signaled they could vote in favor of court proceedings. That is, until Erdogan intervened to save all four of them.

After pressure from Erdogan, to Davutoglu's embarrassment, all nine members of the AKP commission voted against legal proceedings.

Heartbroken, but still keen to fight corruption, Davutoglu did not know the second blow would come soon.

Davutoglu drafted a bill, dubbed "The Transparency Package," which would introduce compulsory asset declaration for senior party officials, provincial and district-level party executives, and executives of radio and television channels. The presidents and members of the top courts, as well as the heads of chambers of these courts, would also have been accountable for asset declaration.

But Erdogan, meeting with party officials in the absence of Davutoglu, ordered to freeze the effort, which he said was "badly-timed ahead of parliamentary elections [on June 7]."

In early February, the AKP said the transparency package was being indefinitely postponed.
Heartbroken once again, Davutoglu decided to augment his team by pushing Turkey's master spy, Hakan Fidan, into parliamentary elections. Fidan would run for parliament and become a minister in Davutoglu's post-election cabinet.

But Erdogan expressed resentment over Fidan's candidacy. "He should have taken my consent before leaving the job," he said. That was enough to pull the string.

About a month after his resignation as chief intelligence officer, Fidan withdrew his candidacy, quit the AKP and was back at his former job almost on the same day as he quit party politics.

Davutoglu is still campaigning for the June 7 elections. If the AKP can win 330 or more seats in Turkey's 550-seat legislature, Erdogan's dream of an "executive presidency" can at least be put to a referendum. More votes for the AKP will mean higher chances for Erdogan's "executive presidency." Davutoglu is probably the world's first ever politician demanding votes to end his own rule.

Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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Obama won't snuff out our free spirit - Dr. Haim Shine

by Dr. Haim Shine

Obama's big mistake is not seeing that the Jews, an ancient and experienced people, know how to draw on great strength when necessary and stand up to anyone who threatens their freedom and independence. 

U.S. President Barack Obama is furious at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and some say that his anger stems from hatred. William Shakespeare wrote that "two stars keep not their motion in one sphere." Especially not when we are talking about two leaders, one of whom is unwilling to budge an inch from his responsibility to his people, and the other of whom is a lame duck, trying to shore up his damaged legacy. 

You don't need to be Sigmund Freud to understand Obama's motives and gambits, especially after the results of the Israeli election were announced. The prime minister of Israel, a little country somewhere in the Middle East, with fewer residents than New York City, is facing the president of the biggest and strongest superpower in history and not letting him lead the West into a dangerous deal with Iran, the tycoon of global terrorism. A deal that any honest person knows Iran won't honor and will just laugh at as it continues to develop nuclear weapons with the aid of other global powers. To build their new caliphate, the Iranians will like [lie?], deceive, distract, and spread falsehoods. They will exploit to the end the naiveté of the West, as the West sinks into itself from weariness and neglects any stable, respectable ideology in the name of multiculturalism and post-modernism. 

In 2009, shortly after the U.S. presidential election, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was given to him for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." This was the first time in the history of the prize that it was given out based on expectations, rather than for acts that contributed to world peace. Anyone who reads the reason for awarding the prize to Obama smiles sadly. U.S. weakness has led to bloodshed and anarchy in many places. Obama hasn't strengthened diplomacy and cooperation -- violence has only increased on his watch. 

Obama is under heavy pressure and some believe that he should return the prize in defeat. To justify keeping it, he is prepared to cut a deal with the ayatollahs in Iran, abandoning America's friends in the Middle East. 

Obama erroneously believes that Israel is a weak, submissive link. He thinks that hurting Israel won't make any waves in a cynical, alienated world. Not many righteous Gentiles are left. Obama's big mistake is not seeing that the Jews, an ancient and experienced people, know how to draw on great strength when necessary and stand up to anyone who threatens their freedom and independence. 

Obama should really ask his Jewish advisors, all of whom are left-wing liberals, to explain the meaning of the Passover holiday, the Jewish holiday of freedom. In one night, after 400 years of slavery, the Jews were free. Since that night, every generation -- in the dark days of the Diaspora and in the light of the homeland -- recall the Exodus. The feeling of freedom is in our souls, and neither Obama nor any other leader can snuff out our people's spirit of freedom and liberty.

Dr. Haim Shine


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Challenging Islam's License to Kill - Mark Durie

by Mark Durie

-- the West needs to engage with and repudiate the Islamic dogmas that killing or being killed in murderous attacks against non-Muslims is some kind of golden key which unlocks the gates of paradise. Until these beliefs and the canonical teachings they rely on are acknowledged and repudiated, the lives of non-Muslims will continue to be discarded as the 'ticket to paradise' of Muslim belligerents.

Originally published under the title, "Challenging Islam's Warrant to Kill."

Last week the Islamic State's 'Hacking Division' released the names and addresses of one hundred US military personnel. It urged the 'brothers residing in America' – i.e. American Muslims – to 'deal with' them, which is to say, it wants them killed.

There is much talk these days of radicalization and deradicalization. At the heart of both processes are religious ideas: theological dogmas. What are some of the key theological principles that might cause a Muslim to take this call seriously? What is the Islamic reasoning given by the IS Hacking Division in support of its call to kill non-Muslims?
The Hacking Division quote two verses of the Qur'an:
  • Sura 9:123 'fight believers who are near to you' and
  • Sura 9:14 'Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them, and satisfy [actually yashfi 'heal'] the breasts of a believing people'.
The meaning of these two verses hangs upon the word qātilū, translated here as 'fight'. The verbal root q-t-l from which qātilū is formed means 'kill', so the Arabic actually means 'fight to kill' (see discussion here). These Qur'anic verses truly are commands to kill non-Muslims.

The second quoted verse, from Sura 9:14, puts forward a view concerning what Muslims should do about emotional pain and anguish they may experience because of unbelievers. 'Allah', the verse says, 'will heal the breasts' of Muslims, – and then the sentence continues into the next verse – 'and remove the rage of their hearts'.

Persuading Muslims to take the words of Muhammad seriously is the core strategy of radicalization.
The key concept here is that if Muslims have strong feelings, including anger, against non-Muslims, their emotional distress will subside and be 'healed' as they kill, humiliate and triumph over non-believers. Strange therapy indeed for the human soul! According to the Qur'an, in order to secure inner 'peace', calm within the Muslim soul can be secured by shedding non-Muslim blood.

These are stock-standard verses used to urge Muslims to go for jihad against disbelievers. However what most caught my eye in the Hacking Division's call to arms against infidels in America was but a reference to Muhammad's teachings. The Hacking Division refers to hadith 4661 in a published English version of the Sahih Muslim (translated by Abdul Hamid Sidiqqi).

The Sahih Muslim is one of the most revered and authoritative sources for the teaching and example of Muhammad, whose life is considered exemplary and compulsory for Muslims to emulate. This particular hadith can be found on page 1263 of Volume 3 of the English edition:
Chapter 789 (DCCLXXXIX)
About a man who killed a disbeliever and embraced Islam.
(4661) It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: A disbeliever and a believer who killed him will never be gathered together in Hell. [See here.]

This is a most significant statement. It is saying that if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim, they cannot both end up in hell. The alternative to hell is paradise, so in other words, killing a non-Muslim – who is destined for hell due to their unbelief – can provide a sure ticket to paradise for a Muslim.

This tradition is the authority for a view widely put about by jihadis, that if a Muslim personally gets to kill a disbeliever, the Muslim will gain paradise. Put together with the famous belief that for a Muslim to be 'martyred' in jihad opens the gates of paradise (see Sura 3:169-170; 9:111; and 22:58), fighting to kill non-Muslims can be a ticket to glory, win or lose. Either one kills and gains a get-out-of-hell free card, or one is killed and gains a get-into-paradise-free card. This is a win-win proposition for the jihadi.

Persuading Muslims to take the words of Muhammad seriously is the core strategy of radicalization. This tactic works as well as it does because it appeals to a plain reading of Islam's holy texts.

To be deradicalized, a Muslim needs to repudiate the theological authority of the teachings of Muhammad and the Qur'an. This is a hard call for pious Muslims. Ayaan Hirsi Ali was surely correct in her recent essay calling for reform of Islam when she wrote that
the fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts.
Hirsi Ali also declared:
we in the West need to challenge and debate the very substance of Islamic thought and practice. We need to hold Islam accountable for the acts of its most violent adherents and to demand that it reform or disavow the key beliefs that are used to justify those acts.
Hirsi Ali was right: the West needs to engage with and repudiate the Islamic dogmas that killing or being killed in murderous attacks against non-Muslims is some kind of golden key which unlocks the gates of paradise. Until these beliefs and the canonical teachings they rely on are acknowledged and repudiated, the lives of non-Muslims will continue to be discarded as the 'ticket to paradise' of Muslim belligerents.

Hadiths such as 4661 from Sahih Muslim, and the Qur'anic verses cited here are a genuine part of the Islamic canon. Such verses remain un-renounced and un-repudiated by a great many Muslims and Islamic institutions today.

As long as such texts are not repudiated, the theological winds of Islam will all too easily continue to sweep pious Muslim hearts and minds towards radicalization, a process which exalts the idea that the lives of infidels are disposable.

Islam's warrant to kill infidels is an idea which deserves to be exposed, challenged, thoroughly debated, and rejected.

Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, Anglican pastor, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology.


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