Friday, March 25, 2016

What We Could Learn from Israel - Vijeta Uniyal

by Vijeta Uniyal

Recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Mumbai, Paris, Istanbul and Ankara are simply what Israel has been living with for decades -- and India, France, Belgium and Turkey do not have "settlements." The conflict is not about "settlements". It is about one group of people trying imposing its will, culture, religion and way of life on another group. With Israel, the "settlements" are only the pretext. If you look at any map of "Palestine," it has the exact outlines of Israel.

  • To become a successful nation, India realizes that we have to emulate the Jewish quest for spiritual and worldly learning. We need a nation of empowered men and women, free and fearless to develop social, technological, entrepreneurial and humanitarian creativity, even while under constant attack.
  • When we see the restoration of Jewish State and revival of Judaism in its ancient lands, we Hindus see ourselves. If Judaism is incomplete without the Jewish homeland, the essence of Hinduism is indivisible with the geography of India. Just as Jews were forced out and in exile for millennia, Hindus too suffered a millennium of Islamic and later European subjugation in their own homeland.

For most Indians, it is hard not to feel a deep sense of historic gratitude towards Israel and the Jewish people. The State of Israel came to our military aid in just about every war India fought as an independent nation since 1947. Our elected leaders, in their vanity, polished their statesmanlike credentials denouncing Israel at every possible international gathering, even as they kept on turning to the Jewish State for help in times of dire need, whether civilian or military. From Golda Meir to Ariel Sharon, Israel never turned down any request.

Getting nothing in return, the tiny and beleaguered nation paid a price for its support for India. At times, adversely affecting its relations with China or annoying its most vital ally, the United States, by extending support to a "socialist" country at the height of the Cold War.

If there ever was a true sign of goodwill extended from one nation to another, Israel had shown it toward India and so many other nations, from Zaire to Haiti and elsewhere.

Despite this, it took India more than four decades just to treat Israel as an equal partner on the world stage -- when India established full diplomatic relations with Israel in January 1991.

India, however, had one redeeming quality. Although our political leaders hitched their wagon to the Soviet Union and the Pan-Arab nationalism in the early days of the Cold War, the Hindus of India, who constitute an 80% majority of the country's population, have been steadfast and consistent in their support for the State of Israel and the Jewish people. An international survey conducted by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2009 found Indians having the most favorable opinion of Israel, even ahead of U.S. respondents by a small margin. In August 2014, at the height of Gaza conflict, the city of Calcutta staged a 20,000-strong rally in support of the Jewish State, making it probably the largest pro-Israel rally that Asia ever witnessed.

Finally, with the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014, the India's official policies have begun to reflect the desires and aspirations of the majority Hindu population of the nation.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, on September 29, 2014. (Image source: Israel Government Press Office)

To become a successful nation, we realize that we have to emulate the Jewish quest for spiritual and worldly learning. We need a nation of empowered men and women, free and fearless to develop social, technological, entrepreneurial and humanitarian creativity, even while under constant attack.

The homecoming of the Jews and restoration of the Jewish State in its historic land has been a source of great hope for us Hindus. When we see the restoration of Jewish State and revival of Judaism in its ancient land, we Hindus see ourselves.

If Judaism is incomplete without the Jewish homeland, the essence of Hinduism is indivisible with the geography of India. Just as Jews were forced out and in exile for millennia, Hindus too suffered a millennium of Islamic and later European subjugation in their own homeland.

After surviving the most vicious genocide in human history -- a brutal and systematic attempt by Nazi Germany to annihilate the entire Jewish population of Europe, claiming six million Jewish lives, the Jewish people worked to create a nation based on democracy, freedom, equality for people of all religions and ethnicities -- the only democracy in the Middle East.

Today, over a million Arabs enjoy equal citizenship rights in Israel, and a level of religious liberty and rule of law never seen before in the Middle East. Arab Israelis are present in all walks of Israeli life; holding top positions in business, academia, media, government as well as military leadership.

The tiny nation of Israel absorbed wave after wave of immigration, including a million Jews driven out of the Arab lands soon after the creation of Jewish State in 1948, Ethiopian Jews, and Russians escaping communism. Today, Israel is home to over 80,000 Jews of Indian origin. They have been fully integrated, and have excelled in all areas of society. They serve gallantly in the Israel Defense Force and bring glory to the country in sports. An IDF soldier of Indian origin, Barak Refael Degorker, was killed by Hamas during the Gaza conflict of 2014. Mumbai-born Sarah Avraham became Israel's 2012 women's Thai boxing champion.

As the nation-states of Europe drive toward an impending disaster in failing to assert their spiritual and national identity in the face of the massive influx of Muslim migrants, only the example of Israel offers us hope.

We must admit the failures, based on European liberalism, in our nation-building project. Western-style "affirmative-action" has failed to rid the country of caste-based discrimination, and all that the European style of hyper-sensitivity towards "Muslim sentiments" has done is stifle cultural freedoms in the country. India became the first nation to ban Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses, before even Iran, Saudi Arabia and other theocratic Islamic regimes announced their fatwas and bans. For decades, India shied away from technological and academic cooperation with Israel. India seemed to have been trying to act even more Arab than the Arabs themselves.

Only an enlightened nation, built on a strong bedrock of Hindu unity, can ensure a secure and prosperous future for India. We cannot build a nation on foundations of an unjust and immoral caste system.

Just as the resurgence of Judaism in its historic and ancestral homeland means no threat to the Muslim faith, Hindu resurgence and unity should cause no harm to religious minorities of other faiths. Countries that would like to succeed and thrive would do well to follow the example of Israel.

The terrorism originating from neighboring Muslim lands must not only be countered militarily, but also with a renewed assertion of our on spiritual and national identity.

Arabs and Muslims might surely realize that they themselves have been the biggest losers of the wars of fanaticism they have waged, and turn their attention to rebuilding their societies and facing the real issues of violence, bigotry, ignorance and poverty -- to name just a few.

Until then, we all have a nation to build and a home to defend.

Recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Mumbai, Paris, Istanbul and Ankara are simply what Israel has been living with for decades -- and India, France, Belgium and Turkey do not have "settlements." The conflict is not about "settlements". It is about one group of people trying imposing its will, culture, religion and way of life on another group. With Israel, the "settlements" are only the pretext. If you look at any map of "Palestine," it has the exact outlines of Israel.

It is beyond our scope, as Indians, to heal the pathologies of the Muslim world. We can only limit the damage by defending our home and securing our national borders.

Until that day comes, we would all do well to stand with Israel.

Vijeta Uniyal is an Indian current affairs analyst based in Europe.


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

Obama’s Final Solution for the Jewish State - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

Time is running out.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

Obama’s campaign against Israel has run into one major obstacle… Muslim terrorists.
Every Obama attempt to force Israel to make concessions to the Islamic terrorists who run the Palestinian Authority has been rejected by the terrorists. No matter how much Obama got Israel to offer, it was never enough.

Abbas, the leader of the PLO, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, has turned down every Obama offer culminating with the latest offer brought now by Biden on a visit where Abbas’ political movement had celebrated the murder of Taylor Force, an Iraq War veteran. Like the “moderate Taliban” and the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama’s outreach to Muslim terrorists failed because of the terrorists.

In the last major effort at a peace process with the PLO, Obama attempted to bypass this problem by effectively having Kerry negotiate with Israel on behalf of the terrorists. Kerry pretended to “facilitate” negotiations between Netanyahu and Abbas, but in reality it was only Kerry and Netanyahu at the table. Kerry pressured Israel into making numerous concessions to the PLO while negotiating for the PLO.

As one Israeli official put it, “At one point we discovered that throughout the entire period, the Americans didn’t actually talk to the Palestinians, only to us.”

According a senior American official, the Obama-Kerry position was closer to the PLO side and so they didn’t even bother negotiating these arrangements with the PLO.

Obama and Kerry had explicitly become proxy negotiators for an Islamic terrorist organization.

But the Obama plan to impose his own framework on Israel failed once Abbas was brought into the loop. The terror leader rejected the Kerry plan. Just as he rejected Biden’s latest offer. Not even a two hour meeting with Obama in the Oval Office could change his mind.

Once again, Obama had been hung out to dry by the Islamic terrorists he had been trying to help. No matter how close his position is to the terrorists, it’s never close enough.

Kerry nevertheless blamed Israel, not Abbas. The White House position is that it’s Netanyahu’s fault. In a recent Atlantic piece, Obama blamed Netanyahu for being too “fearful” to bring peace. While this makes for great propaganda justifying further hostility toward Israel and Netanyahu, the actual obstacle is Abbas. You can’t negotiate with Islamic terrorists. All you can do is surrender to them.

Abbas has shown that he won’t accept a peace plan. Negotiations have failed every time. And every failure undermines the Obama narrative that Israel is to blame. It’s hard to keep that myth alive when Netanyahu agrees to negotiate and Abbas doesn’t, when Israel makes concessions and the PLO won’t.

And yet Obama is determined to achieve his goals for Israel and the Middle East before he leaves office. To do that, he has to bypass the negotiations process and impose his own solution without having to get consent for it from the PLO. That means that like the Iran deal, it won’t be binding on terrorists. But it will be binding on the United States and on Israel. It will go through an international forum such as the United Nations to avoid the humiliation of Abbas rejecting yet another Obama offer.

The peace process with the PLO has amounted to decades of Israeli concessions in exchange for nothing. Even the most hypothetical concessions quickly became the default starting point in the next round of peace proposals. Every experimental measure, no matter how it failed, was soon set in stone.

The Obama framework would be a radical set of demands for Israeli concessions disguised as a peace plan. These are demands that Israel could not afford to agree to, but that the terrorists would still consider insufficient. There is no carrot here. Only a set of heavier and sharper sticks.

Israel is expected to agree to the demands in fake multilateral negotiations with the terrorists, that are really only negotiations between Obama and Netanyahu, or Obama will present his own wish list for Israeli concessions unilaterally to the UN. Either Israel kicks Obama’s football one more time in the hopes of getting something out of it or it doesn’t kick the football and loses even more as the US joins an anti-Israel pressure bloc at the United Nations to impose those same terms on the Jewish State.

Netanyahu has tried to run out the clock on Obama. Now that the clock is actually running out, the danger hour is here. Obama is ideologically opposed to Israel. He has nursed a personal grudge against Netanyahu. And he refuses to leave office without a trophy to justify his disastrous foreign policy.

Obama’s support for Islamic terrorists has led to disaster everywhere else in the region. Israel is his last bet for making his program of supporting Islamic terrorists finally pay off in a political jackpot.

A final agreement in which both sides will agree to coexist is not on the table here. If there were even a possibility of that, Obama would not have cut Abbas out of the process the way that he did. Instead the peace process has been boiled down to its essential element of pressuring Israel into expanding the existing the PLO terror state while getting nothing in return except more terrorism.

The next step in a process that led to rockets falling on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is supposed to move forward with the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes and international troops deploying in Israel.

All these were already on the table at the last negotiations. And the terms will only get worse.

This is not a peace process since peace is not the expected or desired outcome. The only agenda here is the expansion of a terror state at the expense of Israel, at the expense of the lives, homes and property of the Jews living there, and at the expense of the future of the Jewish state. No one seriously believes that Obama’s framework will bring peace. Instead it will increase terrorism while moving on to demands for more territory even deeper inside Israel, whether through territorial claims or the right of return.

Obama knows that he can’t even achieve an agreement with the terrorists. He also knows that Israel will attempt to negotiate in good faith. So he’s preparing to trash the last remnants of the negotiating protocols to simply impose a set of concessions on Israel as an international framework for peace.

The previous negotiations featured PLO demands for concessions as a pre-condition to talks. Obama will dispense with the talks entirely and skip right to the concessions. There may be a meaningless acknowledgement slipped in there that Israel is the “nation-state of the Jews”, a point that the PLO won’t acknowledge and that is a formality that achieves nothing of any strategic and territorial worth. But it will be a mandate for the drastic expansion of a failed Islamic terror state that has abandoned even its ritual fake elections and that subsidizes its Islamic terrorism with American taxpayer money.

At the last negotiations, Obama’s people openly served as proxy negotiators for the terrorists. Now they’re going to skip straight to imposing the demands of the terrorists on the Jewish State.

To justify this radical course of action, this final break with the pretense that the Democrats are supportive of Israel, a hate campaign against Israel and Netanyahu has been whipped up in the media. The familiar narrative blames Israel for the lack of peace, even though it’s Abbas who rejected Obama’s own peace offers more than once. The demonization of the Jewish State is a necessary prerequisite to the final betrayal. Israel has to be depicted as utterly unwilling to make peace with the terrorists, forcing Obama to impose his own solution. Each White House attack on Israel was preceded by propaganda laying the groundwork for its actions by demonizing Israel and Netanyahu.

The more you hear this “Big Lie” in the media that Israel is to blame for everything, the closer Obama is coming to his final solution for the Jewish State.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.


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

Apologists For Islam And History - Hugh Fitzgerald

by Hugh Fitzgerald

--the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.

Apologists for Islam are a varied bunch – some reveal ignorance, others deploy deliberate taqiyya – but all play fast and loose with history.

Here are three examples:

Karen Armstrong on the Expulsion of the Moors

In 1492, the year that is often said to inaugurate the modern era, three very important events happened in Spain. In January, the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella conquered the city of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold in Europe; later, Muslims were given the choice of conversion to Christianity or exile. In March, the Jews of Spain were also forced to choose between baptism and deportation. Finally, in August, Christopher Columbus, a Jewish convert to Catholicism and a protégé of Ferdinand and Isabella, crossed the Atlantic and discovered the West Indies. One of his objectives had been to find a new route to India, where Christians could establish a military base for another crusade against Islam. As they sailed into the new world, western people carried a complex burden of prejudice that was central to their identity.
In 1492, “the Catholic monarchs conquered Granada, the last Muslim stronghold in Europe.” What then should we call all those lands in southern and eastern Europe that the Ottomans were at that very moment busy conquering and seizing, including Constantinople, the richest, most populous, most important city in all of Christendom for 800 years (taken by the Turks on a Tuesday – May 29, 1453), and the Balkans (including the then-vast Serbian lands)? And what are modern-day Albania, Greece, Rumania, Bulgaria? The Ottomans continued to press northward and westward, later seizing much of Hungary and threatening Vienna twice. Were these not parts of Europe, and was not a good deal of Europe, including what had been its most important city for a millennium, Constantinople, firmly in Muslim hands before Granada fell – and after?

But it would not do to remind readers that while the Muslim invaders and conquerors of Spain lost their last “stronghold” in Granada, other Muslim invaders and conquerors were busy at the other end of Europe, seizing lands and subjugating the native populations to the devshirme (the forced levy of Christian children) as well as to the jizya (the tax on non-Muslims) and all the other disabilities that, wherever Muslims conquered, were imposed, as part of a clearly elaborated system, and not merely the whim a ruler, on all non-Muslims.

Now having begun with that year 1492, Armstrong has a bit of a problem. It was that year that Jews were forced to be baptized or to leave. But though Granada had fallen, nothing then happened to the Muslims. In fact, they were treated with the same gentleness that all the Mudejares (Spanish Muslims) who had been defeated, in successive campaigns, were always treated by the Christian victors. Henry Lea, the pioneering historian of the Inquisition, who was hardly looking for ways to exculpate Christianity, describes the generosity with which the defeated Muslims were treated in Granada, and after the prior victories:

It was the Jews against whom was directed the growing intolerance of the fifteenth century and, in the massacres that occurred, there appears to have been no hostility manifested against the Mudéjares. When Alfonso de Borja, Archbishop of Valencia (afterwards Calixtus III), supported by Cardinal Juan de Torquemada, urged their [the Mudejars] expulsion on Juan II of Aragon, although he appointed a term for their exile, he reconsidered the matter and left them undisturbed. So when, in 1480, Isabella ordered the expulsion from Andalusia of all Jews who refused baptism and when, in 1486, Ferdinand did the same in Aragon, they both respected the old capitulations and left the Mudéjares alone. The time-honored policy was followed in the conquest of Granada, and nothing could be more liberal than the terms conceded to the cities and districts that surrendered. The final capitulation of the city of Granada was a solemn agreement, signed November 25, 1491, in which Ferdinand and Isabella, for themselves, for their son the Infante Juan and for all their successors, received the Moors of all places that should come into the agreement as vassals and natural subjects under the royal protection, and as such to be honored and respected. Religion, property, freedom to trade, laws and customs were all guaranteed, and even renegades from Christianity among them were not to be maltreated, while Christian women marrying Moors were free to choose their religion. For three years, those desiring expatriation were to be transported to Barbary at the royal expense, and refugees in Barbary were allowed to return. When, after the execution of this agreement, the Moors, with not unnatural distrust, wanted further guarantees, the sovereigns made a solemn declaration in which they swore by God that all Moors should have full liberty to work on their lands, or to go wherever they desired through the kingdoms, and to maintain their mosques and religious observances as heretofore, while those who desired to emigrate to Barbary could sell their property and depart.
It was not until 1502, after difficulties ensued between Spanish authorities, including the famous Cardinal Ximenes (he of the Complutensian Polyglot), and the Muslims (Mudejares) that they were given the choice of expulsion or conversion. And a great many of them pretended to convert, and remained in Spain – far more Muslims were capable of engaging in dissimulation of their faith than were the hapless Jews, who were expelled, in 1492, virtually overnight. It was much later, not until the late 16th century, under Philip II, that the last of the Muslims (“Moors”) in Spain were finally expelled, having before that risen in revolt more than once, and been subject to several incomplete expulsions.

Armstrong manages to smuggle in that first, rather ineffective expulsion of 1502: “later [i.e. in a different year altogether] Muslims were given the choice of Christianity or exile.” She does not add, and may not know, that Muslims in Spain after the fall of Granada in 1492 were not under any danger of expulsion, and it was only when they showed signs of refusing to integrate as asked (and it was assumed that over time they would share the Christian faith, though at first nothing was done to demand such a sign) that they were presented with the choice of expulsion or conversion. She may not know, either, that Muslims in a Spain now everywhere ruled by Christians, asked members of the ulema in North Africa (in present-day Morocco) to determine whether under Islamic law they might continue to live in Spain under non-Muslim rule. They were told that it was not licit, that it was important for them not to be ruled by non-Muslims, and that they must, therefore, return to the Muslim-ruled lands of North Africa. Such details provide a rather different slant on what Karen Armstrong offers – she takes the real tragedy, the overnight expulsion of the hapless and inoffensive Jews, and attempts to make the reader think that the Muslims were equally inoffensive, equally harmless, and also treated with equal ferocity, as the Jews. But they were not equally inoffensive, not equally harmless, and not treated with equal ferocity. The danger of a military uprising by the Mudejares, possibly helped by Muslims from North Africa, was real, while Jews never were militarily powerful enough to pose a similar threat.

First, in 1492, comes the fall of Granada. Then, second in time, and certainly in Karen Armstrong’s indignation, came the expulsion of the Jews: “In March, the Jews of Spain were also forced to choose between conversion and exile.” Note how that “also” is dropped in, as if the real event, the main event, was the nonexistent (in 1492) expulsion of the Moors, which she had taken care to slip into her discussion of the Fall of Granada, so that she could diminish the significance of the expulsion of the Jews with that afterthoughtish “also.”

But the Muslims were invaders and conquerors, who had been resisted for 700 years of the Reconquista, and when expelled, not all at once as were the Jews, they simple went across the Straits of Gibraltar from whence they had originally come, to live again among fellow Muslims, under Muslim rule. Armstrong never says that. Nor does she point out, as she would if she were trying to compare the quite different treatments of Jews and Muslims, that the Jews of Spain never invaded, never conquered, never represented a threat to the political or social order of Christian Spain. And when they were expelled, they were not to find refuge, like the Muslims, in lands ruled by coreligionists, but again, to be scattered, both to Ottoman domains and to Christian ones, to Salonika or Amsterdam, to be treated indifferently, or kindly, or with contumely, or worse.

Under Muslim rule, despite their sometimes horrendous treatment, as recorded by Maimonides in his “Epistle to the Yemen” (Maimonides fled Islamic Spain and reported to his coreligionists in the Yemen), the Jews managed to make important cultural contributions as translators (along with Christians), as physicians, and as poets (the name Judah Halevi comes to mind). They were perfectly willing to live in Spain under Christian rule. They posed no military or political threat, in contradistinction to the Muslims. They did nothing to deserve their expulsion. But Karen Armstrong has sympathy for the Jews only insofar as that sympathy can be transferred to the real objects of her pity, the Muslims, and she will do nothing to cause readers to recognize the difference in the two cases, that of the Jews one of clear mistreatment, that of the Muslims a matter of geopolitical prudence. It took a full decade for the Spanish rulers and clerics to realize that the Muslims, though conquered, were not, as had been hoped, eventually going to convert to the Christian faith, and the signs they gave of continued insubmission could only disturb the Christian monarchs. It had taken 500 years for the Reconquista. Why should the Spanish Christians, now that they had been militarily victorious everywhere on the Iberian Peninsula, need to worry that the Muslims might rise in revolt when they could remove the problem once and for all?

And such local Muslim revolts did take place in Spain in the sixteenth century, but it was not until the Morisco revolt of the Alpujarras in Granada in 1568 that official attitudes hardened. That war lasted until 1570; at the end of it, Grenadan Moriscos were relocated to the interior, and scattered among “Old Christians,” that is, people who were not descended from Jewish or Muslim converts to Islam, and, it was assumed, were the most trustworthy Christians of them all.

But still there were worries about the failure of hundreds of thousands of Moriscos to assimilate, and the fear that they might be in contact with Barbary pirates or the Ottomans (or even Protestants!) led the Spanish monarch in 1609 to order the expulsion of the last remaining Moriscos.

Both Jews and Moors were expelled from Spain, but not on the same date, and not at all in the same way. However determined Armstrong may be to convince us (most unconvincingly) that these were identical historical events, both prompted in her modish view by the demonization of “the Other” (a phenomenon which apparently results from the peculiar psychic deficiency of Christian Europe), they were not identical. The Moors were treated by Spanish officials much more leniently than the Jews, even though they were a greater geopolitical threat, with powerful coreligionists just across the Strait of Gibraltar in North Africa, than were the Jews, who posed no threat whatsoever. The phrase “the expulsion of the Jews and the Moors in 1492” does violence to the truth, but furthers Armstrong’s desire to win sympathy for Muslims.

Armstrong has been retelling, in her inimitable fashion, the story of European Christendom’s relations with Islam and with Muslims. In her retelling, the Muslims are innocent victims, and as innocent victims, likened misleadingly to the Jews. They are also the only people who provided, in that bright shining moment of European history known as Islamic Spain, the only real tolerance and humanity to be found anywhere in Europe before the modern era, a veritable paradise of convivencia. It is a tough job, but Karen Armstrong proves equal to the task. And her real theme is not history, but to make Europeans feel ashamed of themselves for showing any signs of wariness or suspicion about the millions of Muslims who now live in Europe, having come among the indigenous Infidels to settle, but not, pace Armstrong, to settle down.

Barack Obama on Jefferson’s “Iftar Dinner” and Muslims In America

“The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan — making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago.” — Barack Obama, speaking on August 14, 2010, at the “Annual Iftar Dinner” at the White House

Really? Is that what happened? Was there a “first known Iftar at the White House” given by none other than President Thomas Jefferson for the “first Muslim ambassador to the United States”? That’s what Barack Obama and his dutiful speechwriters told the Muslims in attendance at what was billed as the “Annual Iftar Dinner,” knowing full well that the remarks would be published for all Americans to see. Apparently Obama, and those who helped write this speech for him, and others still who vetted it, found nothing wrong with attempting, as part of the administration’s policy of both trying to win Muslim hearts and Muslim minds and to convince Americans that Islam has always been part of America’s history, to misrepresent that history. For the dinner Jefferson gave was not intended to be an Iftar dinner, and his guest that evening was not “the first Muslim ambassador…. from Tunisia,” but in using such words, Obama was engaged in a little nunc pro tunc backdating, so that the Iftar dinner that he gave in 2010 could be presented as part of a supposed tradition of such presidential Iftar dinners, going all the way back to the time of Jefferson.

But before explaining what that “first Iftar dinner” really was, let’s go back to an earlier but even more egregious example of Obama’s rewriting: the speech he delivered in Cairo on June 4, 2009. In that speech, he described Islam and America sharing basic principles:

I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.  Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
And then for his Muslim guests he segued into a flattering lesson in History. First he described Western Civ., which, he said, owed so much of its development to Islam:

As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities — (applause) — it was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality. (Applause.)
And Islam played — according to Obama — a significant role in American history, too:

I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President, John Adams, wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.” And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, they have served in our government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our universities, they’ve excelled in our sports arenas, they’ve won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson — kept in his personal library. (Applause.)
We could go through those paragraphs accompanied by such keen students of history as Gibbon, John Quincy Adams, Jacob Burckhardt, and Winston Churchill, all of whom had occasion to study and comment upon Islam, their remarks rebutting proleptically Obama’s vaporings with their much more informed and sober take on the faith — but that is for another occasion. We can note, however, that when Obama in his Cairo speech talks about “the light of learning” being held aloft at places like Al-Azhar, he misstates: some Greek texts were translated into Arabic and thereby “kept alive” instead of being lost to history, but the translators were mostly Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews, not Muslims, and the work of translation went on not at Al-Azhar but at the courts of Cordoba and Baghdad. The word “algebra” is certainly Arab, but algebra itself was a product of Sanskrit mathematicians. The printing press was not a Muslim invention, and its use was accepted in the Muslim East only long after it had been in use in Western Christendom. Indeed, in Islam itself the very notion of innovation, or bida, is frowned upon, and not only, as some Muslim apologists have claimed, in theological matters. And so on.

I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco.
The picture Obama paints by implication, of Muslims being deeply  involved in the grand sweep of American history practically from the time of the Framers (at least he didn’t make the mistake of the State Department flunky who claimed Muslims accompanied Columbus on his voyages) is simply false. The first mosque in North America was a one-room affair in 1929; the second mosque was not built until 1934. The first Muslim to be elected to Congress was Keith Ellison, less than a decade ago. The Muslim appearance in America is very late. As for Morocco being the first country to recognize the United States in a treaty, Morocco also soon violated that very treaty and became the first country to go to war with the young Republic. That is something Obama’s advisers may not have told him.

When Obama quotes that single phrase from John Adams, made at the signing of the Treaty of Tripoli, a treaty designed to free American ships and seaman from the ever-present threat from the marauding Muslim corsairs in the Mediterranean that attacked Christian shipping at will (and when America became independent, it could no longer count on the Royal Navy to protect its ships), he wants us to think that our second president was approving of Islam. But that is to misinterpret his statement, clearly meant to be taken to have this meaning: we in the United States, have a priori nothing against Islam. Rhetoric designed to diplomatically please. But based on his subsequent experiences with the North African Muslims, including his experiences with them after various treaties were made and then broken, Adams came to a different and negative view of Islam, a view that  was shared by all those Americans who, whether diplomats or seized seamen, had any direct dealings  with Muslims. America’s first encounter with Muslims was that with the Barbary Pirates, from Morocco to Algiers to Tunis to Tripoli, and their behavior rendered Adams’s initial “the United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims” null and void. And it was not John Adams himself, but his son John Quincy Adams (our most learned President), who studied Islam in depth, and it was he to whom Obama ought to have turned to find out more about Islam. For he would have found, among other piercing and accurate remarks by J. Q. Adams, the following:

The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.
Isn’t it amazing that not a single American official — and not just Obama — has ever alluded to the study of Islam that one of our most illustrious presidents produced?

Again, Obama, with a jumble of Jefferson, Ellison, and Holy Koran:

And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson — kept in his personal library.
When Obama notes that Thomas Jefferson had a copy of the Qur’an in his “personal” library, he is subtly implying that Jefferson approved of its contents. Keith Ellison did much the same when he ostentatiously used that very copy of the Qur’an for his own swearing-in as the first Muslim Congressman. But Jefferson, a curious and cultivated man, with a large library, had a copy of the Qur’an for the same reason you or I might possess a copy, that is, simply to find out what was in it. And we might note in passing that it was not the “Holy Koran” that Jefferson possessed and Ellison borrowed, but an English translation by George Sale of the “Koran.” According to Muslims, the epithet “Holy” can only be attached to a Koran written and read in the original Arabic. White House, for the next time, take note.

There is not a single American statesman or traveler or diplomat in the days of the early Republic who had a good word for Islam once he had studied it, or had had dealings with Muslims or had travelled to their countries. Look high, look low, consult whatever records you want in the National Archives or the Library of Congress, and you will not find any such testimony. And the very idea that an American President would someday praise Islam to the skies in Obama’s fulsome manner would have astounded them all.

And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance.
Also sprach Obama. But Islam is based on an uncompromising division of humanity into Muslims and Non-Muslims, Believers and Unbelievers, and Unbelievers, at best, can be allowed to live in a Muslim polity — be “tolerated” — only if they accept a position of permanent and humiliating inferiority. It would be fascinating if Obama could name even one example of Islam demonstrating through words and deeds “the possibilities of religious tolerance.”

But let’s return to Obama’s assertion about Jefferson’s “Iftar Dinner,” or rather, to that dinner that Barack Obama would have us all believe was the first “Iftar Dinner” at the White House, way back in 1805.
Here is the background to that meal in 1805 which not Jefferson, but Obama, calls an “Iftar Dinner”:

In the Mediterranean, American ships, now deprived of the protection formerly offered by the Royal Navy, suffered constant depredations by Muslim corsairs, who were not so much pirates acting alone but were officially encouraged to prey on Christian shipping, and at times even recorded the areas of the Mediterranean where they planned to go in search of Christian prey. Under Jefferson, America took a more aggressive line:
Soon after the Revolutionary War and the consequent loss of the British navy’s protection, American merchant vessels had become prey for Barbary corsairs. Jefferson was outraged by the demands of ransom for civilians captured from American vessels and the Barbary states’ expectation of annual tribute.
The crisis with Tunis erupted when the USS Constitution captured Tunisian vessels attempting to run the American blockade of Tripoli. The bey of Tunis threatened war and sent Mellimelli [Sidi Soliman Mellimelli] to the United States to negotiate full restitution for the captured vessels and to barter for tribute.
Mellimelli was not, pace Obama, “the first Muslim ambassador to the United States” — there was no official exchange of ambassadors – but a temporary envoy with a single limited task: to get an agreement that would set free the Tunisian vessels and come to an agreement about future payment – if any — of tribute by, or to Tripoli. At the end of six months, that envoy was to return home.

The Muslim envoy made some unexpected personal demands in Washington:

Jefferson balked at paying tribute but accepted the expectation that the host government would cover all expenses for such an emissary. He arranged for Mellimelli and his 11 attendants to be housed at a Washington hotel, and rationalized that the sale of the four horses and other fine gifts sent by the bey of Tunis would cover costs. Mellimelli’s request for “concubines” as a part of his accommodations was left to Secretary of State James Madison. Jefferson assured one senator that obtaining peace with the Barbary powers was important enough to “pass unnoticed the irregular conduct of their ministers.
Some readers will no doubt be reminded by this request for “concubines” of how the State Department has supplied female companions to much more recent Arab visitors, including the late King Hussein of Jordan.
Mellimelli proved to be the exotic cynosure of all eyes, with his American hosts not really understanding some of his reactions, as his “surprise” at the “social freedom women enjoyed in America” and his belief that only Moses, Jesus Christ, and Mohammed were acceptable “prophets” to follow, for they lacked the understanding of Islam that would have explained such reactions:

Despite whispers regarding his conduct, Mellimelli received invitations to numerous dinners and balls, and according to one Washington hostess was “the lion of the season.” At the president’s New Year’s Day levee the Tunisian envoy provided “its most brilliant and splendid spectacle,” and added to his melodramatic image at a later dinner party hosted by the secretary of state. Upon learning that the Madisons were unhappy at being childless, Mellimelli flung his “magical” cloak around Dolley Madison and murmured an incantation that promised she would bear a male child. His conjuring, however, did not work.
Differences in culture and customs stirred interest on both sides. Mellimelli’s generous use of scented rose oil was noted by many of those who met him, and guards had to be posted outside his lodgings to turn away the curious. For his part, the Tunisian was surprised at the social freedom women enjoyed in America and was especially intrigued by several delegations of Native Americans from the western territories then visiting Washington. Mellimelli inquired which prophet the Indians followed: Moses, Jesus Christ or Mohammed. When he was told none of them, that they worshiped “the Great Spirit” alone, he was reported to have pronounced them “vile hereticks.”
So that’s it. Sidi Soliman Mellimelli installed himself for six months at a Washington hotel, for which the American government apparently picked up the tab including, very likely, that for the requested “concubines.” He cut a dashing figure:

The curious were not to be disappointed by the appearance of the first Muslim envoy to the United States – a large figure with a full dark beard dressed in robes of richly embroidered fabrics and a turban of fine white muslin.
Over the next six months, this exotic representative from a distant and unfamiliar culture would add spice to the Washington social season but also test the diplomatic abilities of President Jefferson.
During the time Mellimelli was here, Ramadan occurred. And as it happens, during that Ramadan observed by Mellimelli, President Jefferson invited Sidi Soliman Mellimelli for dinner at the White House. The dinner was not meant to be an “Iftar dinner” but just a dinner, albeit at the White House; it was originally set for three thirty in the afternoon (our founding fathers dined early in the pre-Edison days of their existence). Mellimelli said he could not come at that appointed hour of three thirty p.m., but only after sundown.
Jefferson, a courteous man, simply moved the dinner forward by a few hours. He didn’t change the menu, he didn’t change anything else, he did not see himself as offering an “Iftar Dinner,” and there are no records to hint that he did. Barack Obama, 200 years later, is trying to rewrite American history, with some nunc-pro-tunc backdating, in order to flatter or please his Muslim guests. But he is misrepresenting American history to Americans, including schoolchildren who are now being subject to all kinds of Islamic propaganda, in newly-mandated textbooks, that so favorably depict Islam, and present it as so integral a part of American life.

Now there is a kind of coda to this dismal tale, and it is provided by the New York Times, which likes to put on airs and think of itself as “the newspaper of record,” whatever that means. The Times carried a front-page story on August 14, 2010, written by one Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and no doubt gone over by many vigilant editors. This story contains a predictably glowing account of Barack Obama’s remarks a few days before at the “Annual Iftar Dinner.” Here is the paragraph that caught my eye:

In hosting the iftar, Mr. Obama was following a White House tradition that, while sporadic, dates to Thomas Jefferson, who held a sunset dinner for the first Muslim ambassador to the United States. President George W. Bush hosted iftars annually.
Question for Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and for her editors at The New York Times: You report that there is a “White House tradition that, while sporadic, dates to Thomas Jefferson.” I claim that you are wrong. I claim that there is no White House Tradition of Iftar Dinners. I claim that Thomas Jefferson, in moving forward by a few hours a dinner that changed in no other respect, for Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, did not think he was providing what he thought of as an “Iftar Dinner,” but simply a dinner, at a time his guest requested. And to describe as a “White House tradition” and the first of the “Annual Iftar Dinners” that, the New York Times tells us, has since Jefferson’s non-existent “Iftar Dinner,” have been observed “sporadically,” has absolutely no basis in fact.

When, then, was the next in this long, but “sporadic” series of Iftar dinners? I can find no record of any, for roughly the next two hundred years, until we come to the fall of the year 2001, that is, just after the deadliest attack on American civilians ever recorded, an attack carried out by a novemdectet of Muslims acting according to their orthodox understanding of the very same texts — Qur’an, Hadith, Sira — that all Muslims rely on for authority. It was President George W. Bush who decided that, to win Muslim “trust” or to end Muslim “mistrust” — I forget which — so that we could, non-Muslim and Muslim, collaborate on defeating those “violent extremists” who had “hijacked a great religion,” started this sporadic ball unsporadically rolling. And he did what he set out to do, by golly, he did. He hosted an Iftar Dinner just a month after the attacks on the World Trade Center, on the Pentagon, on a plane’s doomed pilots and passengers over a field in Pennsylvania.

And thus it is that, ever since 2001, we have had Iftar dinner after Iftar dinner. But it was not Jefferson or any other of our learned Presidents who started this “tradition” that has been observed only “sporadically” — unless we were to count as an “Iftar dinner” what was merely seen, by Jefferson, as a dinner given at a time convenient for his exotic guest.

George W. Bush, that profound student of history and of ideas, kept telling us, in those first few months after 9/11/2001, that as far as he was concerned, by gum, Islam was a religion of “peace and tolerance.” He and Obama agree on that. And just to prove it, by golly, he’d put on an Iftar Dinner with all the fixins. And that’s just what he did. And that’s how the long “tradition” that Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and her many vetting editors at the newspaper of comical record, The New York Times, referred to, began. It’s all of fourteen years old now, having survived and thrived through the differently-disastrous presidencies of Bush and of Obama.

Craig Considine on Religious Pluralism and Civic Rights in a “Muslim Nation”: An Analysis of Prophet Muhammad’s Covenants with Christians

According to The Daily Mail article about him, Craig Considine is a “professor,” but of what is not specified. This might lead an unsuspecting reader to conclude that his “professorship” must surely be in the field about which he now publishes in the popular press — to wit, the history of early Islam. How surprising, then, to discover that his doctoral thesis, completed just last year, is not about the history of early Islam, but about Pakistani immigrants in the West: “Family, Religion, and Identity in the Pakistani Diaspora: A Case Study of Young Pakistani Men in Dublin and Boston,” a subject having nothing whatever to do with covenants supposedly entered into by Muhammad with Christians before 632 A.D. And he turns out to be not a professor of Islamic studies, but a lean lecturer in sociology.

Considine promises readers of this “covenants with Christians” paper that he will “share….what I have learned about Muhammad and how his legacy informs my understanding of Islam. Muhammad’s beliefs on how to treat religious minorities make him a universal champion of human rights, particularly as it pertains to freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, and the right for[sic] minorities to have protection during times of strife.” In other words, we are about to discover a Muhammad-we-hardly-knew-ye kind of Muhammad, an interfaith-healing Muhammad, whose fondest desire is to protect freedom of religion and to be a “champion of human rights.”

And then begins his magical-mystery-tour through early Islam. Considine starts by assuming the historical truth of a document which Muhammad purportedly made with the Christian monks at Mount Sinai:

Muhammad initiated many legal covenants with Christians and Jews after establishing his Muslim community. For example, in one covenant with the Christian monks at Mount Sinai, Egypt, Muhammad called on Muslims to respect Christian judges and churches, and for no Muslim to fight against his Christian brother or sister. Through this agreement, Muhammad made it clear that Islam, as a political and philosophical way of life, respected and protected Christians.
All very fine, were there sufficient evidence to support any of it, but as Robert Spencer showed in a devastating review, this “covenant” must surely be a forgery, very likely made by the monks themselves, in order to ensure their good treatment by Muslims on the invoked authority of Muhammad.

Here’s Spencer:

The document to which Considine is referring, the Achtiname, is of even more doubtful authenticity than everything else about Muhammad’s life. Muhammad is supposed to have died in 632; the Muslims conquered Egypt between 639 and 641. The document says of the Christians, “No one shall bear arms against them.” So were the conquerors transgressing against Muhammad’s command for, as Considine puts it, “no Muslim to fight against his Christian brother or sister”? Did Muhammad draw up this document because he foresaw the Muslim invasion of Egypt? There is no mention of this document in any remotely contemporary Islamic sources; among other anomalies, it bears a drawing of a mosque with a minaret, although minarets weren’t put on mosques until long after the time Muhammad is supposed to have lived, which is why Muslim hardliners consider them unacceptable innovation (bid’a).
The Achtiname, in short, bears all the earmarks of being an early medieval Christian forgery, perhaps developed by the monks themselves in order to protect the monastery and Egyptian Christians from the depredations of zealous Muslims.
Considine doesn’t mention any of the questions about the Achtiname’s authenticity. Instead, he just piles on more:

Similarly, in the Constitution of Medina, a key document which laid out a societal vision for Muslims, Muhammad also singled out Jews, who, he wrote, “shall maintain their own religion and the Muslim theirs… The close friends of Jews are as themselves.”

Here again, both the Treaty of Maqnah and the Constitution of Medina are of doubtful authenticity. The Constitution is first mentioned in Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad, which was written over 125 years after the accepted date for Muhammad’s death. Unfortunately for Considine, Ibn Ishaq also details what happened to three Jewish tribes of Arabia after the Constitution of Medina: Muhammad exiled the Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir, massacred the Banu Qurayza after they (understandably) made a pact with his enemies during the pagan Meccans’ siege of Medina, and then massacred the exiles at the Khaybar oasis, giving Muslims even today a bloodthirsty war chant: “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” Funny how we never hear Muslims chanting, “Relax, relax, O Jews, the Constitution of Medina will return.”
What responsibility did Considine have to his readers? He had at least to recognize that Western scholars of Islam have known for a long time about all four the covenants he dealt with in his paper (Spencer discussed three of them):

Considine said documents have been located in obscure monasteries around the world and books that have been out of print for centuries.
It almost sounds as if he, Craig Considine, lecturer in sociology, had located them himself and been responsible for their recent unearthing.

Considine had a responsibility to present the arguments impugning the authenticity of the documents and to attempt to refute them. He does not have to accept the arguments, but surely he owes readers a duty to discuss thoroughly the issue of authenticity.He does do some of this, but not nearly enough. He surely knew what Spencer wrote, for example, about the problems with the dating of the Achtiname, a document which would have had to have been written before Muhammad’s death in 632 A.D., which makes provisions for the good treatment of Egypt’s Christians by Muslims. Such provisions would only be needed after a Muslim invasion, and the Muslim invasion of Egypt did not take place until 639. That’s only one example of hysteron-proteron, or cart-before-horseness, in Considine’s chronology.

He preens himself on his own learnedness, and presumes to pass judgment on the scholarship of others. Yet he writes about the historian and diplomat Paul Ricaut: “It is also worth pointing out that he [Ricaut] himself used the phrase ‘On dit’, which is Latin for ‘It is alleged'” — thereby unwittingly making us aware that he, Considine, is at home in neither Latin nor French, for “on dit” is not Latin, but one of the commonest of French phrases, meaning “it is said” (the Latin would be “dicitur”), rather than the doubt-casting “it is alleged.”

Considine’s paper is based almost entirely on one source, “The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad” by John Andrew Morrow, and like Morrow, Considine presents not so much an overlooked historical truth as a forlorn hope that Islam could be other than it is, based on these “covenants” of doubtful authenticity. The goal may be laudable – convincing Muslims to be kinder to non-Muslims, and for that both Considine and Morrow know you need to ground your appeal not on human decency but on Muhammad’s authority – but the evidence adduced for such covenants remains unconvincing. As Robert Hunt wrote in a review of Morrow’s book:

these documents [the covenants] represent not the aspirations of the Prophet Muhammad, but of those religious minorities who fell under the rule of his successors.
And, continues Hunt, “what are the chances that any Muslim, including those who endorse this book [or Considine’s paper], will give these documents, completely unattested by proper isnad, the status of even the weakest hadith? None. So they will remain to the Muslim community historical curiosities with no religious authority whatsoever.”

At his website, Craig Considine tells the world about himself: “My passions include thinking, teaching, writing, speaking, traveling, and fostering peace.” Perhaps his thinking has been a bit too wishful, and that peace he fondly fosters too much a peace that passeth understanding.

Hugh Fitzgerald


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Arab Press Reactions To The Brussels Attacks: Blaming The West, Enemies In The Region For The Spread Of Global Terrorism - MEMRI


The March 22, 2016 terror attacks in Brussels triggered a wave of condemnation from all Arab and Islamic countries, which stressed their opposition to terrorism. However, the condemnations and articles in the Arab press also highlighted the attempts, on the part of every country and every regional bloc, to place the blame for the attacks on their respective opponents in the region, while accusing the West of supporting this particular opponent.

Thus, for example, the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, and Hizbullah, both stated that the terrorism afflicting Europe was the same terrorism that is targeting Syria. They said that the responsibility for the spread of global terrorism lies with Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, as well as with the U.S. and the other Western countries that support them. On the other hand, the Saudi press and opponents of the Assad regime accused Iran and the Assad regime – in addition to the West, for turning a blind eye to their actions.

Meanwhile, articles in the official Egyptian press blamed the main opponent of the Al-Sisi regime there – the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) – as well as European countries that they say have supported the MB in recent years despite Egypt's warnings. The Palestinian press, for its part, blamed the West for encouraging global terrorism by supporting Israeli policy and by failing to implement international resolutions on the Palestinian issue.

"Europe" and "Middle East" attempt to unload the "ISIS" bomb (Al-Watan, Qatar, March 23, 2016)

Following is a review of these reactions:

Syrian Regime And Hizbullah: Europe, U.S. Responsible For Brussels Attacks – Because Of Their Support For Turkey, Qatar, And Saudi Arabia, Which Sponsor Terrorism

The Syrian regime, which regularly accuses the U.S., Europe, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar of supporting the rebel groups fighting it, held the same parties responsible for the Brussels attacks. Syrian regime spokesmen and mouthpieces claimed that the attacks in Brussels and worldwide were the result of the "misguided policy" of the U.S. and European countries that support the terrorism that is fostered by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel.

Thus, for example, an official Saudi Foreign Ministry source said: "The attacks in Brussels, and before that in Paris and elsewhere around the world, once again illustrate that terrorism has no borders, and that such attacks are the inevitable result of the misguided policy [of the West] and of [its] solidarity with terrorism. This is aimed at actualizing specific agendas and legitimizing terrorism by defining several terrorist organizations [i.e. Syrian opposition organizations] as moderate, although they ultimately emerged from the takfiri Wahhabi ideology..."[1] 

'Ali Nasrallah, a columnist for the official Syrian daily Al-Thawra, attacked Europe for its tolerance vis-à-vis countries that he said support terrorism, chiefly Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He mentioned Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Naif's recent visit to France – during which French President Francois Hollande awarded him the Order of Légion d'Honneur for his regional and global efforts fighting extremism and terrorism – and called on the French people to "not allow their president to harm their homeland's legacy and sell France's honor to the Wahhabis." He added: "They must immediately prosecute him [Hollande] for shaming the French decorations of honor by pinning them to the robe of Saudi extremism... Additionally, all the parliaments in Europe must prosecute their own governments for [their] policy of tolerance towards [Turkish President] Erdogan's Muslim Brotherhood regime... 

"The blasts in Brussels are a ringing shout that calls to Europe to awaken from her slumber... They are a direct continuation of the terrorism that has targeted the Syrians, shed the hearts' blood of the Iraqis, and harmed many peoples in the region and the world. This terrorism would not have spread had its organizations and its supporting entities not received an American green light, and not received Western incentives that spurred and encouraged the Israelis to place their knowhow at the service of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, in order to intensify the strength of Al-Qaeda, Jabhat Al-Nusra, and ISIS..."[2] 

Similarly, Hizbullah issued a statement blaming the Brussels attacks on "regional and international forces" that support terrorist groups, hinting at Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and also blamed the Western countries that support them: "The responsibility for these crimes, that target city after city around the world, lies with the attacks by the takfiris, as well as with the regional and international forces that stand behind them and provide them with doctrinal, moral, and material support. These attacks reaffirm the danger of these terrorist groups, and show that the fire that has burned Europe as well as the rest of the world is the same fire that was set by certain regimes against Syria and other countries in the region. Unfortunately, the entire world knows the source of this danger and who funds it – yet, despite this, the superpowers continue to support and defend the countries that sponsor and export terrorism."[3]

Saudi Press, Assad Regime Opponents: Iran, Assad Regime Are Responsible For Global Terrorism

On the other hand, the Saudi press blamed the Saudi enemies, Iran and the Assad regime, for the attacks, and blamed as well the Western countries that were allegedly turning a blind eye to Iran's support for terrorism.

In its editorial the day after the attacks, the official Saudi daily Al-Riyadh accused Iran, writing: "...The war on terrorism requires not only hunting down the terrorists in Iraq and Syria, where they are located, but also looking for those who afford them safe haven on their soil, and for those who spark the fire of sectarianism and aid the terrorist militias. [These militias] ceaselessly fan the flames of hatred among sectors [of the population], and push both the Syrians and the Iraqis to behave in extremist ways, after their countries were destroyed. This happened and is still happening, in both Iraq and Syria, which are in fact controlled by Iran's agenda. This is the same Iran whose cooperation with Al-Qaeda was proven in recently published American documents, and which explicitly adopts the activity of the terrorist organization Hizbullah. Failure to confront [Iran] will force the region to deal in future with difficult scenarios and ongoing terrorist attacks, like the ones in recent days in Istanbul and Brussels."[4] 

Randa Taqi Al-Din, a columnist for the London-based Saudi daily Al-Hayat, accused the West of turning a blind eye in years past to reports that the Assad regime, and Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki, were collaborating with terrorist organizations, and that this is one reason that these organizations now pose a global existential threat. She wrote: "Undoubtedly the West, and particularly the U.S., have seen how, right under their noses, Nouri Al-Maliki transferred ISIS activists from Iraq to Syria, and later Bashar Al-Assad released them from his prisons and used them, to the point where ISIS is now his partner in burning and destroying Syria and threatening the world. This threat has become a true existential one."[5] 

Syrian regime opponents supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar also blamed the Brussels attacks on the Syrian regime, launching the Twitter hashtag in Arabic "The Brussels Attacks Are An Assad Product." Syrian Al-Jazeera anchor Faisal Al-Qassem tweeted: "Do you remember the threats by Bashar Al-Assad's mufti, Ahmad Hassoun, to send suicide bombers to Europe? Has Bashar Al-Assad finally begun carry out Ahmad Hassoun's threats?"[6] 

Syrian artist Hossam Al-Din Malas likewise tweeted his accusations against the Syrian regime: "Have you forgotten or ignored the source of terrorism?! Listen to the threats made by [Mufti] Al-Hassoun regarding attacks targeting European cities." In another tweet, he also blamed the West for the spread of terrorism: "It is the world that rewards Iranian terrorism and signs commercial deals with it that is responsible for the growth and spread of terrorism."

Egyptian Press: Europe Was Burned By Terrorism Due To Its Embrace Of The MB

The Egyptian press blamed the Brussels attack on the Egyptian regime's greatest domestic enemy – the MB movement – as well as on European countries that support it. Articles in the Egyptian press on the attacks linked ISIS terrorism to the MB and argued that the European countries that embraced the MB had ultimately been burned by it, because the MB is "the ideological hotbed for all extremist takfiri organizations."

Thus, for example, the editorial of the official Egyptian daily Al-Ahram stated: "These deadly attacks confirm that the Egyptian view was correct. For a long time, [Egypt] warned that terrorism would spread to the heart of Europe, and that the West's [flagrant] disregard of the war that Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries had for years waged against terrorism does not mean that the fire of terrorism would spare it... 

"For many years, some European countries have maintained ties to extremist religious groups, embraced their leaders, and allowed them freedom of action and freedom of movement on their soil. These countries thought that they could use these organizations for [their own] political interests in the Middle East, and [believed] in the delusion that these organizations would defend the West from the evil of even more extremist groups. 

"However, time has shown that the religious organizations embraced by the West, chiefly the [Muslim] Brotherhood organization, are the ideological hotbed for all extremist takfiri organizations... and that the presence of such elements on European soil has enabled them to attract young people to their radical ideology and to recruit them to carry out acts of terrorism.

"Egypt has repeatedly demanded the formulation of an international strategy to deal with terrorism, which would tackle all extremist organizations and ideas, without exception... This is what Egypt is [also] doing now. Will anyone heed the call?"[7] 

Similarly, Egyptian journalist Mu'ataz Bellah 'Abd Al-Fattah penned an article titled "Brussels Pays the Price" in the Egyptian daily Al-Watan, in which he claimed that Europe was reaping the poison fruits of its leniency towards extremists: "The tree of terrorism only grows in the forests of extremism. Those who fight terrorism without fighting extremism will lose both wars... This is how Western countries operate when they allow extremism to blossom in their midst, on the pretext of freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, and the right to political asylum. Then they are burned by the fires of those who carry out extremist actions on their soil. 

"For political terrorism, the adoption of political Islam is necessary, but not sufficient... The problem is that the West fails to realize that it is sheltering extremists, and it is then burned by the fire of terrorism, and does not hold itself accountable for that..."[8]

Palestinian Editorial: Western Support For Israel Encourages Global Terrorism

The Palestinian press included articles hinting at Western responsibility for the Brussels attacks because of its support for Israel. In its editorial the day after the attacks, the East Jerusalem-based Palestinian daily Al-Quds argued that the West, with its support for Israel and its "destructive policy," was encouraging ongoing global terrorism: 

"The reasons for these contemptible terrorist actions are: the double standard employed by many countries that claim to champion democracy and human rights regarding certain peoples, chiefly the Palestinian issue, and the U.S.'s blind pro-Israel bias; the world's failure to take practical steps to force Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories; the failure to implement the international resolutions regarding the Palestinian issue; and the continued support of many countries for Israel's destructive policy. All these encourage global terrorism. The Western world, particularly the U.S. and Britain, should deal with the real causes [of this terrorism] rather than [merely] with its results, or else it will threaten not only Europe, but the entire world as well, and then no one will be safe from it..."[9]

[1] SANA (Syria), March 22, 2016.
[2] Al-Thawra (Syria), March 23, 2016.
[3], March 22, 2016.
[4] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), March 23, 2016.
[5] Al-Hayat (London), March 23, 2016.
[7] Al-Ahram (Egypt), March 23, 2016.
[8] Al-Watan (Egypt), March 22, 2016.
[9] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), March 23, 2016.



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