Saturday, January 25, 2020

European Muslim Anti-Semitic Violence Isn’t “New" - Andrew Bostom

by Andrew Bostom

The longstanding willful blindness to Islamic Jew-Hatred.

The ahistorical moniker ‘new antisemitism,’ when applied to Muslims, epitomizes a longstanding willful blindness to the Islamic continuum of antisemitism, from the invented Medieval ‘Andalusian paradise’ for Jews in Muslim Spain, to the contemporary Western European dystopia for Jews born of a trans-Mediterranean ‘full partnership’—in reality, a return to Medieval dhimmitude.”

“[A] Jew [is] of that most contemptible of religions, the most vile of faiths…They [Jews] both the ancient and modern* [*defined below] are altogether the worst liars…They are the filthiest and vilest of peoples, their unbelief horrid, their ignorance abominable…The vilest infidel ape [i.e., Jews; per Koran 5:602:657:166]; Do not consider that killing them [Jews] is treachery.”
I recalled those words (above) from my book, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, newly re-issued, in light of a Der Spiegel report on January 14, 2020, and the recent Der Spiegel interview of French philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut, published December 28, 2019.
Spiegel’s online news website reported 1/14/20 the arrest of suspected Chechen jihadist men, aged 23 to 28, who had surveilled Berlin’s historic “New Synagogue”, and made video recordings of the building, in preparation for an apparent attack. (Indeed, some 3-months earlier, on October 5, 2019, a knife-wielding Syrian Muslim, identified as Murad M., screaming the jihadist war cry, “Allahu Akbar” [“Allah is Greatest”],  and “F*** Israel,” was tackled and disarmed at the entrance to the same Berlin New Synagogue.)

During his 12/28/19 Der Spiegel interview, Finkielkraut opined that Germany was “encountering a different, new antisemitism.” He observed, accurately, that, “hatred of the Jews is very widespread in the Arab countries,” and “Germany has recently opened its doors wide to a large number of immigrants from these countries.” Finkielkraut then re-emphasized what has become a standard trope: the ostensible sui generis nature of this Muslim strain of Western European Antisemitism, dubbed “new” Antisemitism:
“Will Germany withstand this? Will Germany react to the new antisemitism with exactly the same harshness and relentlessness as against the emergence or reappearance of neo-Nazism? We’ll see about that. Germany may find this just as difficult as France.”
Past as prologue, the opening quotes I cited—within their appropriate doctrinal and historical context—underscore this pervasive modern ignorance (and/or denial) about the millennial legacy of canonical Islamic Jew-hatred, and jihadism, in Europe.

Ibn Hazm (d. 1064), an important Muslim jurist, and Abu Ishaq el-Biri, a prominent mid-11th century Muslim poet, made the opening observations about Jews, while residing in mythically “ecumenical,” Muslim-controlled Spain. As analyzed by the pre-eminent scholar of Islam’s Medieval anti-Jewish polemic, Moshe Perlmann, their inflammatory rhetoric, particularly the Koranic epithet “ape” for Jews, was common parlance, which ultimately precipitated the mass slaughter and destruction of the Jewish community in Granada, during a 1066 pogrom by rampaging Muslims. It is estimated that up to four thousand Jews perished, making it the largest anti-Jewish pogrom, till then, in European history.

contemporary chronicle written by sultan Abd Allah (who became Sultan of Granada in 1073) confirms that a breach in the humiliating and discriminatory Sharia-based system of dhimmitude for non-Muslims, including Jews, also contributed to this outburst of anti-Jewish jihad violence by the Muslims of Granada:
“Both the common people and the nobles were disgusted by the cunning of the Jews, the notorious changes they had brought in the order of things, and the positions they occupied in violation of their pact [i.e., the dhimma, per Koran 9:29, imposed by jihad]. Allah decreed their destruction on Saturday 10 Safar 459 (December 31,1066)…The Jew [Joseph Ibn Naghrela; communal leader] fled into the interior of the palace, but the mob pursued him there, seized him, and killed him. They then put every Jew in the city to the sword and took vast quantities of their property.”
Perlmann himself lamented how what he termed “the Grenada debacle of 1066,” a Muslim, mass slaughter of European Jews, incited by canonical Islamic Jew-hating motifs, was ignored 52-years ago, in 1968:
“…it seems that the recent 900th anniversary [in 1966] of the first major pogrom on European soil passed unnoticed.”
Previously, in his 1940 Ph.D. thesis, Perlmann included a remarkably compendious elucidation of Islam’s theological animus towards Jews—the chapter entitled, “The Jews in the Koran and the Traditions”—represented by these summary extracts:
“In the Fatiha [the Koran’s opening chapter, i.e., 1:7], the words al-maghdub alayhim [‘those who earned Your (Allah’s) anger’] are supposed to refer to the Jews….Forgetting the Divine Dispensation, the Jews transgressed Allah’s commandments and flouted the prophets, and even slew them (3:181).Therefore many punishments fell upon them (2:61); e.g., some of them were turned into apes for desecrating the sabbath (2:657:166)… The believers [Muslims] will find that they [the Jews] are their fiercest enemies (5:82)…Therefore, after they had rejected many friendly overtures (2:595:81), it was decided that they must be fought against, made tributaries, and compelled to pay the poll-tax, as a mark of their humiliation (9:29)… The Jews extended their hatred of the Prophet to all Muslims…They became, in a way, the incarnation of evil.”
Fast forward from Moshe Perlmann’s 1940s era scholarship on Medieval European Muslim Jew-hatred—both its canonical Islamic incitement, and lethal consequences—to a contemporary incident illustrating all the same unchanged dynamics, almost 1000 years later.

Hamid el-Hussein attacked the Great Synagogue in Krystalgade, Copenhagen, just after 12am, February 15, 2015. He murdered a Jewish community member on security duty during a bat mitzvah celebration and wounded two police officers, before being shot to death near the Nørrebro train station by Danish police.

On the evening before el-Hussein murderously attacked both a Copenhagen free speech conference and then the synagogue, Hajj Saeed, Imam of the Al-Faruq Mosque in Copenhagen, eschewed “dialogue” with Jews, reminding his Muslim listeners that Muhammad waged jihad against the Jews when they failed to submit to his nascent Islamic order. Imam Saeed intoned the following during his February 13, 2015 sermon:
"Our Prophet Muhammad had Jewish neighbors in Al-Madina. Did he call for closer relations, harmony, and dialogue with them, in the manner of the UN and of those who call to reconciliation Truth and Falsehood? Or did he call upon them to worship Allah? When they violated their pledge and did not accept this call – well, you know what he did to them. It appears in his Sira [biography]. He waged war against the Jews."

Subsequently it emerged el-Hussein had visited the Al-Faruq Mosque before his synagogue attack.

Within 6-months prior to el-Hussein’s attack on Copenhagen Jews—Abu Bilal Ismail, imam at Aarhus’s Grimhøj mosque, and Mohammed al-Khaled Samha, an imam at a mosque run by the Islamic Society in Denmark (Islamisk Trossamfund) in Vollsmose—openly fomented murderous jihadism and Islamic Jew-hatred.  While delivering a sermon at Berlin’s al-Nur mosque on July 18, 2014, Imam Ismail invoked Koranic themes of the perfidious Jews as “spreaders of corruption” (Koran 5:32–33, 5:64), and “slayers of prophets” (Koran 2:61, 2:91, 3:21, 3:112, 3:181, 4:155)—this latter motif “updated” in the canonical hadith and sira, to include the Jews’ responsibility for Muhammad’s conspiratorial poisoning, which caused the protracted and painful death of Islam’s prophet.

Sheikh Ismail concluded with a call for the extermination of the Jews. “Oh Allah, destroy the Zionist Jews. They are no challenge for you.” He added, “Count them and kill them to the very last one. Don’t spare a single one of them.” Following this annihilationist outburst, Ismail returned to Denmark, where he continued to preach at the Grimhøj Mosque, a popular hotbed of jihadism.

Two months afterward, Imam Samha delivered a sermon in the Danish town of Funen (Fyn), uploaded to the internet September 19, 2014. Consistent with the behavior of Islam’s prophet Muhammad (who invoked Koran 5:60, before the submission, and massacre, of the Banu Qurayza), Samha referred to the Jews as “the offspring of apes and pigs,” and cited the canonical apocalyptic hadith of Jew-annihilation (also, ostensibly, Muhammad’s words)

Oblivious to the post-hoc (and posthumous) sociologic gobbledygook put forth to explain away his intent, el-Hussein was clear about his own pious Islamic motivations, as Danish journalist and historian Lars Hedegaard described:
“Omar el-Hussein made no bones about the fact he acted in accordance with Islamic teachings. At 3:24 pm Saturday, nine minutes before his attack at Krudttønden, he posted the following comment on Facebook: ‘I follow Abu Bakr obediently and humbly in bad times as well as good and will not disobey the orders I have been given unless I witness open unbelief.’ The Facebook message was revealed by the national daily, B.T., which had it translated from Arabic to Danish. The paper assumes that ‘Abu Bakr’ refers to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State.
"A little earlier, at 3:01 pm the same day, el-Hussein had quoted the Koran (sura 59, verse 2) on his Facebook page: ‘It is He who expelled the ones who disbelieved among the People of the Book [‘meaning here the Jewish clan of the Banu Nadir’] from their homes at the first gathering. You did not think they would leave, and they thought that their fortresses would protect them from Allah; but Allah came upon them from where they had not expected, and He cast terror into their hearts [‘by the killing of their [the Jews] leader Kaab ibn al-Ashraf’] (so) they destroyed their houses by their hands and the hands of the believers. So take warning, O people of vision.’”
Equally unsettling were the reactions of young Danish Muslim men who created a shrine for the jihadist killer, and/or attended his overflowing funeral. The rather ugly atmospherics at these events were punctuated by a lack of remorse for el-Hussein’s murderous exploits, or compassion for his victims, paranoid denial of his culpability, perseveration on imagined “threats of reprisal” against Muslims, and even pious Islamic rationalization for “blasphemy” killing.

The Omar el-Hussein “case study” reflects broad religious inculcation of Antisemitic attitudes among Western European Muslim youth, as highlighted in sociologic studies.

Belgian Professor of Sociology Mark Elchardus co-authored a 426 pp. study, “Antisemitism in Brussels’ Schools,” which included data on the views within the young Belgian Muslim community, primarily, 12-18 year-olds, during 2011. A 354pp. follow-up study of Antwerp-Ghent youth was published in 2013. Two thousand, eight hundred thirty-seven (2,837) students in thirty-two Dutch-speaking Brussels high schools were surveyed.

Muslim respondents agreed with the following four statements—i.e. antisemitic stereotypes—at disproportionate, 3.7-fold, to 7.0-fold, rates!: [I] “Jews want to dominate everything” (Muslims, 56.8%; non-Muslims, 10.5%); [II] “Most Jews think they’re better than others” (Muslims, 47.1%; non-Muslims, 12.9%); (III) “If you do business with Jews, you should be extra careful” (Muslims, 47.5%; non-Muslims, 12.9%); (IV) “Jews incite to war and blame others” (Muslims, 53.7%; non-Muslims, 7.7%). Antisemitic Muslim attitudes were unrelated to low educational level or social disadvantage.

The 2013 study of 863 students from Ghent and Antwerp, including 346 Muslim students, confirmed these results. Forty-five to fifty (45-50%) of Muslim students evidenced antisemitic attitudes, versus 10% of non-Muslims, consistent 4.5 to 5-fold excess rates. Researcher Gunther Jikeli’s 2011 study yielded concordant results. Jikeli, a Muslim convert, conducted 117 interviews with Muslims from Berlin, Paris, and London, whose mean age was 19 years-old. He provided these critical observations which affirm the centrality of Islam in shaping the antisemitic views of young Muslim adults in Western Europe:
“References to the Koran or the Hadith may also be used with the implication that Allah agrees with this viewpoint…The majority of interviewees displayed resentments against Jews in at least one way or another. Negative attitudes toward Jews were often openly exhibited, at times aggressively so, including calls for violence against Jews and intentions to carry out antisemitic actions. Some even reported that they were involved in antisemitic acts. Negative views of Jews have become the norm in some young Muslims’ social circles. Some forms are specific to young European Muslims: anti-Jewish attitudes with direct reference to Islam, Muslim identity, or ethnic identity. In this sense, the use of the term ‘Muslim antisemitism’ is apt… The majority do not distance themselves from a literal interpretation of the Qur’an, and they are thus likely to take hostile passages in Islamic scripture literally”
A lone study of its kind, assessing non-lethal violence and violent threats targeting Jews, conducted by FRA – European Union for Fundamental Rights, in 2012, uniquely, queried Jewish victims about the identity of those who attacked them, or threatened them with violence, asking them to recall their past 5-year experiences:
“Thinking about the incident where somebody attacked or threatened you in a way that frightened you because you are Jewish–who did this to you?”
There was a gross excess occurrence of non-lethal violence, or violent threats against Western European Jews, by Muslims, relative to non-Muslims, collectively, who held designated, “right-wing”, “left-wing”, or “Christian” views: Belgium—Muslim 56%, Christian 2%, right-wing 0%, left-wing 0%; France—Muslim 53%, left-wing 18%, right-wing 4%, Christian 3%; Germany—Muslim 34%, right-wing 11%, left-wing 9%, Christian 0%; Sweden—Muslim 51%, left-wing 25%, right wing 5%, Christian 0%; United Kingdom—Muslim 36%, left-wing 14%, right-wing 7%, Christian 6%.

Compared to those with “extremist right wing (or Christian) views”, the excess rate of Muslim non-lethal violence or violent threats ranged anywhere from 3-to 28-fold! Other than in Germany, where the percentages of left wing vs. right wing attacks were essentially equal, left wing Antisemitic non-lethal violence or threatened violence also exceeded right wing antisemitic violence, or threatened violence.  Non-lethal violent acts or threats perpetrated by those with “Christian extremist” views were negligible, in absolute terms, and even more so relative to “Muslim extremists.” 

Across nearly a thousand years, from the polemics invoked by Ibn Hazm and Abu Ishaq el-Biri in 11th century Muslim Spain, to the sermon diatribes of immigrant Danish Muslim imams Abu Bilal Ismail and Muhammad al-Khaled Samha at present, the same canonical Islamic themes of Jew-hatred—punctuated by the Koranic epithet for Jews as “despicable apes”—have been invoked to incite violence against European Jews.

Andrew Bostom


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Ilhan Omar in Service of Islamist Agendas - Hany Ghoraba

by Hany Ghoraba

The freshman congresswoman's agenda could not be more at odds with the Muslim Americans she claims to represent

Freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is often presented in the press as the quintessential Muslim American, representing the values of an increasingly politically active class of voters who cling to their religious convictions while embracing progressive activism. She has unilaterally established the boundaries of appropriate discussion among Muslims, labeling any topic "Islamophobic" that infringes upon her carefully curated image as a champion of the oppressed. Yet, when it comes to Omar's flirtations with Islamist dictators such as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, her agenda could not be more at odds with the Muslim Americans she claims to represent.

While serving as a Minnesota state legislator in September 2017, Omar met Erdoğan in a closed-door meeting. She gleefully tweeted about her experience in her native Somali, and it was covered in official Turkish media. The only U.S.-based coverage of the exchange came from a Somali-language newspaper article that explained how Erdoğan concluded the meeting by asking Omar to pledge support for Turkey, before inexplicably being deleted. Turkey remains the main stronghold for Islamists in the Middle East and a Muslim Brotherhood hub, with whom Omar holds strong bonds inside and outside the United States.

Omar has not been shy about vocalizing this support on social media. She praised the Islamist regime in Ankara for the "humane way" that it ordered medical evacuations from Mogadishu in the aftermath of a deadly 2017 bombing. Yet the Minnesota Democrat has categorically ignored the Turkish-orchestrated genocides in northern Syria documented by numerous international human rights organizations.

Instead, Omar has blamed President Donald Trump for the bloody outcome in Syria, accusing him of using "dehumanizing language" and deeming him a "threat to global peace."

On the other end, Omar received campaign donations in September 2019 from Halil Mutulu, the co-chairman of the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), a political advocacy group with close ties to Erdoğan.

In October, Omar voted in favor of two controversial bills that happened to coincide with Turkish foreign policy interests. First, she was the only House Democrat to vote against a bill threatening to impose fresh sanctions on Turkey for its military action in northern Syria.

Her reaction was bashed by NBA basketball star Enes Kanter, a Turkish exile and prominent regime critic. Kanter said the congresswoman "seems like [she is] on Dictator Erdogan's payroll [and is] working for his interests, but not for the American people and democracy." The Boston Celtics star is a wanted man by Erdoğan's regime as a result of his support for Fethullah Gülen, the well known archenemy of Erdoğan, in exile in the United States. The pro-Erdoğan Turkish media went as far as censoring his image on the basketball court during the broadcasting of the NBA games.

Second, affirming her allegiance with Erdoğan's regime, Omar abstained on a resolution to condemn the historical Armenian Genocide, which Turkey continues to deny. Omar deflected criticism by arguing that any true acknowledgment of genocide should include the transatlantic slave trade and American Indian genocide.

Iraqi-American journalist Dalia al-Aqidi, one of Omar's staunchest opponents, criticized the congresswoman's decision to deny the Armenian Genocide. "What if we change the name from Turkey to Israel? Would your reaction be the same?" she asked.

Omar's apparent loyalty to an oppressive Islamist tyrant fails to mesh with her self-proclaimed status as a champion of human rights. "I believe in an inclusive foreign policy — one that centers on human rights, justice and peace as the pillars of America's engagement in the world," she wrote in the Washington Post. According to Omar, peace is achievable only when we "apply our universal values to all nations."

That is, all nations except Turkey, apparently. Erdoğan continues to jail critical journalists at rates outpacing any other country. Erdoğan's Turkey has been a hub for fugitives members of terrorist organizations members such as the Muslim Brotherhood and even ISIS. The Turkish president's Islamist ideals are reflected in his belief in the resurrection of the Ottoman caliphate as the protector of Muslim minorities around the world, from India to China. As with Erdoğan, Omar looks to Islamists to speak on behalf of the Muslim community, and she remains the darling and frequent guest speaker of the domestic Islamist organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Turkey is not the only Islamist regime that Omar choose to cozy up to. Shockingly, she described the death of Iranian mass murderer and military mastermind of Iran's terrorist franchises in the region by saying, "We are outraged the president would assassinate a foreign official." Omar ignored the fact that Qassem Soleimani was instrumental in masterminding a number of attacks on American soldiers, including the killing of a U..S defense contractor in Iraq and plotting the blowing up of a U.S. embassy.

The relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian officials dates back to the 1950s, which is more than two decades before the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran in 1979. 

Omar's Islamist platform is increasingly at odds with the Muslim women she claims to represent. Former Miss Universe Iraq Sarah Idan has described Omar's behavior as "anti-American and anti-Semitic," adding, "Ilhan Omar does not represent me as a Muslim — does not represent millions of Muslims in the Middle East."

These sentiments are shared by Shireen Qudosi, a Muslim reformer and Clarion Project national correspondent who condemned Omar in an article titled: "Ilhan Omar Doesn't Represent American Muslims, She Represents Islamists." Qudosi accused Omar of dividing the Muslim American community and exposing it to "debilitating chaos."

Egyptian-British Muslim political analyst Nervana Mahmoud summarized Omar's status as an Islamist in a tweet: "Ilhan Omar is not a liberal Muslim with a headscarf; she is an Islamist with a deceptive liberal cover that aims to alienate real progressive Muslims, and present herself and her Islamist clans as useful voices in the fight against US president Trump."

Exploiting her position as a congresswoman, Omar has repeatedly placed her Islamist affiliations as a priority ahead of all else. She has been happy to offer compassion toward Muslims, such as Indian Kashmiris and Chinese Uyghurs, when a non-Islamist is the "oppressor." But she is willing to neglect the plight of Muslim Kurds who are being displaced and massacred on the orders of a Turkish Islamist tyrant. If Omar continues to selectively promote human rights causes based solely on the radical ideology of the perpetrator, she risks dividing her base of support. Omar's Islamist backers may wield great influence, but they lack the grassroots power and voting numbers to sustain Omar's political career indefinitely.

Hany Ghoraba


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America Must Avoid the EU's Embrace of 'Political Islam' - Martha Lee

by Martha Lee

[G]iven the involvement of Islamist-linked bodies with the scheme, Global Exchange is more likely to become a means for theocrats to strengthen their influence in Europe, with the financial and political support of European officials.

A new European Union scheme, championed by an official who sings the praises of "political Islam," advocates expanding religious influence over all areas of European public life, to little opposition. Meanwhile, in the United States, the question of religion in the public sphere continues to be debated vigorously and opposed by secularists on both sides of the political spectrum. One case currently brought before the Supreme Court, opposed by groups such as the ACLU, is considering whether state governments might be compelled to subsidize private religious schools.
Such careful deliberation is rarely seen in Europe. Religious institutions operate under a rather different set of rules – religious bodies already exert significant political influence, receive enormous amounts of taxpayer funding, and are often deputized by governments to provide community and welfare services.
The EU hopes to build on that further. In September 2019, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, announced the launch of an initiative titled "Global Exchange on Religion in Society," which she presented as an unobjectionable extension of the European Union's existing student exchange program but "for civil society actors who work on faith."
But given the involvement of Islamist-linked bodies with the scheme, Global Exchange is more likely to become a means for theocrats to strengthen their influence in Europe, with the financial and political support of European officials.
According to the EU, Global Exchange "will connect civil society practitioners inside and outside Europe, allowing them to learn from each other, explore partnerships, acquire new skills, and to scale-up positive experiences of coexistence among people of different faiths in pluralistic societies." Behind this jargon, however, critics have spotted danger.
The few organizations truly concerned by this latest EU program are mostly found in France, one of the few European countries with codified secularism. Comite Laicite Republique has published analysis alerting Europeans to the ominous consequences of Mogherini's initiative. While France's laïcité, stands out for its extremely strict separation of church and state, the CLR's concerns are relevant to the rest of Europe as well. The CLR describes "Global Exchange" as an anti-secular "time bomb," warning that this initiative would implement a program of reintroduction of religious authority in European societies that are mostly agnostic and effectively secular.
One of the chief architects behind the scheme is the Lokahi Foundation, a British Islamist-linked organization given over 770,000 Euros ($850,000) by the EU since 2017. In 2008, British Member of Parliament Paul Goodman called on his government to stop funding the Lokahi Foundation, noting that its director, Gwen Griffith-Dickson, had complained that moderate groups were favored by government "while the 'Islamists' are thrown out without an inheritance."
Commissioned by the EU to draft several reports on the proposed scheme, Lokahi was thanked in Mogherini's speech specifically for its help in "shap[ing] this new initiative." According to one of Lokahi's reports, the initiative will "define a new paradigm for engagement with religion." It notes that taking a "broader religion and society approach" would make it "easier to add a religious engagement or religious outreach component to work focused on issues that might not be explicitly religious."
While the report employs terms such as "diversity", "coexistence", and "inclusion" to present this initiative as a well-meaning attempt to improve European societies, there is little doubt that the "Global Exchange" project is a realization of Mogherini's previously expressed conviction that religion - and particularly "political Islam" - should be part of a "solution" to societal problems throughout the European Union.
In fact, from the beginning, it has been clear that Islam is a prominent part of this project: Lokahi's second Global Exchange report is titled "Islam, diversity and context," and calls on government bodies to "work towards making Europe a place Muslims can live in without excessive conflicts for their religious practice and identity." But who would determine what poses an "excessive conflict?" The norms of "religious practice and identity" for Muslims risk being determined by theocrats who oppose the free mixing of men and women, promote head coverings and are not necessarily representative of the general Muslim population.
In fact, Lokahi counted the notorious Islamist ideologue Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna, among its senior research fellows and even provided him with an office in central London. In France, Ramadan currently awaits trial on multiple rape charges.
One might wonder if Mogherini's initiative would really entail collaboration with Islamists rather than moderate organizations. Is Lokahi just an outlier? The EU's funding history tells us that our concerns are warranted. Significant amounts of EU monies have been handed to dangerous Islamist organizations before, and the Global Exchange program will most likely collaborate with such groups again.
In 2017 alone, the international Islamist charity Islamic Relief received 1.8 million euros from the EU. Islamic Relief was founded by senior members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and has supported terrorist organizations such as Hamas through its front groups in Gaza. Islamic Relief is designated as a terrorist organization in the United Arab Emirates; the German government has acknowledged that the charity has "significant ties" with the Muslim Brotherhood; and the UK Charity Commission has investigated its involvement with extremist preachers who call for the killing of adulterers and homosexuals.
The EU has also funded Muslim Aid, which is linked to the violent South Asian Islamist movement Jamaat-e-Islami and which has admitted to funding Hamas; as well as the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), the youth wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.
CLR warns that while the immediate effect of Mogherini's initiative may seem benign, it might very well become binding if the Court of Justice of the European Union or the European Court of Human Rights decides to adopt the initiative's recommendations and demand European countries enact laws more favorable (likely advised by the EU's Islamist partners) to Islamic religious practices.
Mogherini and her belief in the virtues of political Islam are frightening. Her Global Exchange program poses a serious threat to secularists and moderate Muslims all across Europe. Offering political power to "religious actors" affords Islamists the authority to determine norms of "religious practices" for European Muslims, and gives them religious oversight in spheres that have little to do with religion.
In the U.S, the current Supreme Court case over state government funding for schools reminds us that Mogherini's perilous idealization of religious influence in public life is shared by at least a few on this side of the Atlantic, even if the law is not currently on their side. Testimony submitted to the court by the plaintiffs praises Islamic schools, such as the Muslim Academy of Greater Orlando, as "welcoming [communities]" which should be rewarded with taxpayer funds. And yet that same Orlando school recently promoted an event with the notorious hate preacher Abdul Nasir Jangda, who has endorsed sexual slavery and the killing of apostates.
The terror-connected Islamist charities Islamic Relief and Muslim Aid, meanwhile, do not just enjoy funding from the EU, but have both received millions of dollars of funding from the U.S. government as well.
Attempts to expand religious influence into the public sphere will certainly result in increased extremist influence over society. Europe is walking purposefully down that path; America must take care not to stumble onto it.

Martha Lee is a research fellow of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.


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Trump’s invitation has changed the stakes of the election - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

For Gantz to accept Trump’s peace plan, he will have to break away from the anti-Israeli narrative of the post-Zionist Left, held by the majority of his party members. Doing so would help him win the election. But it will also unravel his party.

Gantz confused

Leaks about the details of President Donald Trump’s peace plan are contradictory. Until the President releases his plan officially, we won’t know for certain what it involves. But from what we have experienced so far with the Trump administration generally and President Trump in particular, it is clear that Trump does not accept the premise that formed the foundation of the Oslo peace process with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The 1993 Oslo framework for peace, and every peace plan that derived from it since, was based on the assumption that the PLO gets a veto over Israel’s right to secure its interests and assert its sovereign rights in Judea and Samaria.

Comments this week from Blue and White Party officials, from party head Benny Gantz on down the line demonstrated that Israel’s largest center-left faction, the party competing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud for national leadership, adheres to this assumption unequivocally. Without the PLO’s permission, or what Gantz referred to on Tuesday as “coordination with the international community,” (which amounts to the same thing), Gantz and his colleagues assert that Israel mustn’t apply its laws to the Jordan Valley or to any other part of Judea and Samaria.

Trump’s sudden decision to summon Netanyahu to the White House for a meeting next Tuesday and his acceptance of Netanyahu’s request that Gantz also be invited, puts Gantz in a bind.

Clearly Trump’s move is dictated by U.S. electoral considerations. With the Democratic presidential primaries set to begin in just over a week, Trump cannot wait for the March 2 elections to make his move. By the time a government is finally formed in Israel – assuming the election results are conclusive this time around – Trump will be too busy with his reelection campaign to focus on Israel and the Palestinians.

Which brings us to Gantz and his invitation to the White House.

On the one hand, by agreeing to let Gantz join Netanyahu, Trump is granting the opposition leader the stature of a national leader, almost on par with Netanyahu.

But on the other hand, Trump is driving a wedge into the heart of Gantz’s party. Blue and White is not an organic party. It is a combined list of three different parties. Two of those parties lean left to various degrees. One leans right. To win over swing voters, Gantz has placed the right-wing candidates front and center and tried to keep the more leftist ideological majority of his party members on the sidelines.

The problem is that the left-leaning majority of his party cannot accept Trump’s rejection of the PLO veto. The likes of MKs Yael German and Ofer Shelah, who represent the majority of his party members have made clear that they will not accept any deviation from the Oslo line. They accept the anti-Israel narrative of the post-Zionist left and the “international community” which places all the blame on Israel for the absence of peace.

They believe that Israel must appease the PLO by giving up all – or nearly all – of Judea and Samaria and half of Jerusalem, even if that means mass expulsions of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Jews from their homes. Moreover, as German made clear this week, as far as she and her colleagues are concerned, if the PLO won’t agree to a deal, then Israel should repeat its 2005 unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in Judea and Samaria. The fact that Hamas was quick to seize control over the Gaza Strip after Israel’s withdrawal is of no concern to her.

For Gantz to accept Trump’s peace plan, he will have to break away from the anti-Israeli narrative of the post-Zionist Left, held by the majority of his party members. Doing so would help him win the election. But it will also unravel his party.

If Gantz chooses instead to reject Trump’s plan and stand with Garmen and Shelah and the rest, if he rejects the administration’s pro-Israel approach which negates the notion that Israel’s enemies get to decide if Israel can assert its rights and secure its interests as a sovereign state, Gantz’s chances of winning the elections will diminish.

It’s hard to know how Gantz will respond. What we know for sure is that Trump’s abrupt invitation changed the face of the election.

Until Thursday evening, the third election in a year was nothing more than an annoying beauty pageant where Israelis, already weary and fed up with our politicians, were expected to choose from a list of unattractive options. After Thursday evening, the March 2 vote was transformed into a referendum about national sovereignty and Zionism.

While we still don’t know what the Trump plan entails, we know for sure that things just got a lot more interesting.

Caroline Glick


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Righteous Anger vs. Politics as Usual - Shoshana Bryen

by Shoshana Bryen

From Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, where parts of a whole are coming undone, to Hong Kong to Puerto Rico to France and Venezuela, people are mad as hell.

There is anger and then there is righteous anger. Peter Finch yelling out the window, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

From Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, where parts of a whole are coming undone, to Hong Kong to Puerto Rico to France and Venezuela, people are mad as hell.

Consider Lebanon. Independent in 1943, but occupied by Syria from 1975-2005, and brought into Iran’s orbit through the creation of Hezb’allah in the early 1980s, the same constellation of politicians have held power since the end of the civil war in 1990. Americans appear to worry most about the security implications of Hezb’allah, a U.S.-designated terror organization with its own army and a drug/weapons/money racket in South America, pulling strings in Beirut. And worry, too, about the U.S. armed and trained Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), working alongside and sometimes in cooperation with Hezb’allah. Hassan Nasrallah calls the LAF “a partner.”

But how did Lebanon come to this point and why are people angry now?

Multiethnic and multicultural, Lebanese politics are sliced into sectarian segments; you are Druze or Shiite or Maronite Christian. The government has no national commitments, only confessional ones, which makes it easy to set one group against another, leaving the best-armed and richest on top, i.e., Hezb’allah. That is also a recipe for corruption -- take care of your own and the devil take the rest, also the devil is the rest. Lebanon ranks 147th out of 183 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Index. There are 6-7 million Lebanese (numbers vary widely because so many live abroad). Government debt is $89.5 billion and interest payments consumed 48 percent of domestic government revenues in 2016. The debt-to-GDP ratio is 151% with an annual growth rate of negative 0.2 percent for 2019. The Lebanese pound has lost more than 60 percent of its value in recent weeks on the black market.

Lebanon has been in a “trash crisis” since 2015 -- municipalities (based on sectarian lines) are supposed to collect trash, but the central government’s payments for collection have been “erratic” according to local sources. Unregulated dumps, open burning, trash piling up in the streets and pouring into Mediterranean Sea have led to health concerns far beyond Lebanon’s borders. A wave of forest fires in October 2019 made things immeasurably worse. The people in the south have an additional problem -- Hezb’allah has been putting rockets and missiles in their homes and villages for years, planning for the next strike against Israel.
The trash and forest fires were the proximate cause of the protests in Lebanon that began in October, but the real cause appears to be the unwillingness of Lebanese millennials to be ruled by the corrupt, Hezb’allah-led regime. Demands for secular government, more services, and the presence of the Lebanese flag rather than factional banners highlight the protests. The demise of Qassam Soleimani appears to have emboldened the protesters, while the government, feeling the heat, has been increasingly brutal. More than 500 people have been injured in the past week, but the protesters appear determined to force a change in government, chanting “revolution” in the streets.

Iran and Iraq, with some differences, are following the Lebanese model, with young people -- and women out front in Iran -- demanding change. Iraqi millennials have been attacking symbols of both their government and the Iranian government. Protests are primarily wrecking the south -- Shiite Iraqis demanding that Shiite Iran go home. More than 600 people have been killed. In Iran, protests ostensibly about the downing of a Ukrainian airliner have become louder, more violent, and more overtly demanding that the mullahs step down -- the death toll there is more than 1,000 and the UN says it has evidence that the government issued "shoot to kill" orders.

Hong Kong against China and Venezuelans against a stolen election and the impoverishment of their once-comfortable and democratic country. In France, “yellow vests” protest against economic conditions. Puerto Ricans against… Puerto Ricans?

When Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017 the island was devastated, most particularly the fragile electrical grid. Rescue and relief efforts were hampered by terrain, finances, and politics, and a sniping match ensued between President Trump and Roberto Rosellό, the governor of Puerto Rico. Almost a year later, 80 percent of Puerto Ricans graded the President as Fair/Poor in his response to the devastation -- but 74 percent rated the Puerto Rican government the same. Rosellό was forced by massive protests to resign.

Fast forward to January 2020 and the discovery that emergency aid from the mainland had been stashed in warehouses and not distributed. The people are in the street again, protesting their government’s apparent disdain for them. This time, protesters brought a guillotine -- no word on whether it was operational.

Righteous anger is truly something to behold.

Shoshana Bryen


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A Peek at America before 1950 and the Assault by the Left - Anthony J. DeBlasi

by Anthony J. DeBlasi

A sober comparison between life in America before and after mid-20th century shows what has been lost and what has been gained at the hands of Leftist agents of "change," raising necessary questions not asked or answered by most people of influence in America

Picture a neighborhood composed of low and middle income families, each with two parents, no homeless people, no street drugs, safe to walk the streets at night. Is this the figment of an overactive imagination? Well, it is in fact a peek at a neighborhood in New York City where the son of immigrant parents read The New York Times every morning in high school, before orchestra rehearsal. Me. The principal, strongly authoritarian and well loved, opened a weekly assembly of highly diverse youngsters by reading a psalm from the Bible. Tough-as-nails, yet tenderhearted teachers passed on a tradition of excellence in thought, expression, and civility while preparing us for a wide range of careers in a free and independent America. 
This typical school of 1940s New York City had higher standards and grade profile than any counterpart today and operated on a budget far smaller in equivalent dollars than any current public school budget. In these “backward” times, the schools were free of substance abuse problems, sexual promiscuity, and identity problems. There was an abiding respect for the authority of teachers and parents and for the dignity of every person regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. There were clubs in my school for religion, for foreign languages (including Latin). A Reporters’ Club recorded significant events for the school paper. There were toy drives for a local hospital . . . The list of extracurricular engagements was long. 

I think it’s revealing that dictionaries in these “retrograde” times did not prefix definitions of words referring to high moral standards, such as virtue, with the phrase “regarded as.” It did not have to be stated that opinion or “point of view” is not a valid basis for morality. 
Where were we coming from? Where was I coming from? Well it was not from vengeance against America’s “sins,” real and imagined – the basis for any ideology that dismisses the human flaws in every person, including saints and heroes. The journey I took – we took – was down-to-earth and mindful of the power that gave us life, known worldwide as God by people of every degree of intelligence. 
A childhood flashback and reflection will perhaps help bring some focus to a past that still speaks to the present. This was before World War II . . . 
At a street in Brooklyn that was closed to traffic for several blocks, archways with curlicue designs were raised on wooden posts . Bunting and lights trimmed a parade route for a feast. At twilight the ornate arches burst into sparkling color, as the lights entwining them went on. The smell of roasted nuts, sweets, and sundry aromas of Italian cuisine floated through the air in eddies, as curb-side vendors turned the street and sidewalks into a mile-long buffet of deli-grade food. People thronged and milled along the chain of carts and tables, ate, drank, and gabbed in block-party style. 
Before long there was a boom of drums, a splash of cymbals, a blare of brass and woodwinds from the direction of the church and la processione began. Musicians in white shirts played robust marches, while men in shirtsleeves carried la Madonna di Pompei along the route. When the preciously sculpted symbol of the Holy Mother returned to the front steps of the church, fireworks filled the sky with brilliant streaks of light and volleys of artificial thunder that thrilled little Tony (me) to his core. 
Festa – a unity of faith, family, friends, food, and fun – was to these 1940s Mediterraneans in Brooklyn as natural as breathing. And equally natural to these “backward” folk making their home in America was a freedom of thought and action within limits trespassed only by the mad. As a child, when you took a turn that way, you were brought back with appropriate corrective action. Any moppet philosopher thus checked, who asked why, was perhaps secretly admired but it was made clear that what is right and what is wrong was not for him or her to decide. You questioned established wisdom like you questioned the need to eat. 
It was the job of parents to transmit time-honored wisdom and the job of children to learn it. Later, after completing the needed study on matters of vital importance, the child thinker could discover for himself the ironic truth, missed by many an intellectual, that in order to move freely in life’s journey, one must heed restraints imposed by fundamental constants of life – regardless of who we are and where we come from. This is the break-off point, from which so many stray, to be gathered by activists for movements that lack genuine concern for those they pull into their fold. 
Mid-20th century saw a rapid loss of understanding regarding timeless constants relating to the fundamentals of life. “We are living at a time when the status of man is undergoing profound upheavals,” observed Igor Stravinsky in 1947. “Modern man is progressively losing his understanding of values and his sense of proportions. This failure to understand essential realities is extremely serious. It leads us infallibly to the violation of the fundamental laws of human equilibrium.” [1]
What this composer touched on, and what has occupied the minds of philosophers and theologians throughout human history, is the vital importance of achieving a harmony between what is changeable and what is not changeable, which is well expressed in the plea: “God, grant me the grace to accept with serenity the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” [2] 
Although the childhood experiences mentioned above prove nothing regarding the cultural health of America in the first half of the twentieth century, they point to a co-relation between family-with-faith-in-God – linked to eternal constants of life – and the attendant wellbeing. As I grew into an adult, during the war-ravished 20th century, I became more than ever aware of the need for a harmony between what belongs to the state and what belongs to the people or, as scripture codes it, “what is Caesar’s” and “what is God’s” [3]. 
In 1950, as I entered a classroom before the start of a college class session, I saw on a blackboard the words “Damn the Absolute!” Was the student insane, I thought? Was he not cursing himself? Can you do away with what makes you tick? In my mind this was an implicit death wish, for if you break away from what got you here in the first place and made it possible even for you to breathe, you are in essence committing suicide, spiritual if not physical. 
It would not be long before radical distortions of reality, dressed in endearing language, would be fed the public in the news, on campus, even in church, in order "to demolish beyond hope of repair the engine of Western metaphysics" – to use the words of J. Hillis Miller, an outspoken academician of the political Left.
The Absolute that was being condemned (“demolished”) is – let’s face it – the very Absolute raised by liberals themselves who have said, “If there were no God, one would have to be invented.” Well, there is no need to invent God or even to “prove” the existence of God with rationales that manage only to prove what one already believes. What is really needed, especially among those who would govern people or improve their lives, is to wake up.
A sober comparison between life in America before and after mid-20th century shows what has been lost and what has been gained at the hands of Leftist agents of “change,” raising necessary questions not asked or answered by most people of influence in America. How, for example, has the “progress” pushed by Leftist activists improved life for all of us today? Is it possible that loving, not hating, one another (a Christian constant), in an atmosphere of freedom and independence – so despised by the Left – is an important clue to why living in America was better before than after the “progress” thrust on America? Is it possible that swinging a wrecking ball against “the West,” in pursuit of a world populated with virtual zombies instead of real human beings, was not such a good idea, after all? 
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[1] Igor Stravinsky, Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons.
[2] Reinhold Niebuhr, 1892-1971]
[3] Implied in the injunction “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Luke 20:25)
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Anthony J. DeBlasi is a veteran and lifelong defender of Western culture.


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