November 1, 2011
Believe it or not I considered becoming a Moslem before 9-11. I was in a federal joint for two years for tax evasion. I used to attend Black Moslem classes. There was wisdom and a calm demeanor to the Moslems.
I liked them back in the 90’s. They seemed pacific rather than hostile. The same way Osama bin Laden appeared wisely peaceful as he walked around the mountains of Tora Bora with his wooden staff.
The real reason I was attending Moslem religious classes in jail was to get out of my landscaping job. The landscaping department let you go at noon if you attended services. Jail was religion crazy. The warden thought that religion made you a good person.
The blacks in the classes didn’t even realize that Moslems were the biggest slave traders. They were so anxious to rebel against Christianity that they would adopt any religion, regardless of its toleration of slavery of black Africans.
Since the nineties, Moslems have let their putatively peaceful image break into jagged edges.
This is not to say that all Moslems are bad. I am not that simple-minded. But the self-propaganda of jihad and their love of bin Laden have made enough of them bad to endanger the world. In order to preserve themselves the majority must turn against their negative image and move from hatred towards love. If I were a Moslem, I would denounce the jihadists and try to recapture our reputation and former glory. I would not let Osama ruin the reputations of over a billion people. I put my hand on my ear and listen for the sighs of Arabs renouncing their religious murder. I hear nothing but the wind in the graveyard.
When I moved from landscaping to dishwashing in the kitchen, I quickly quit Moslem services. My religiosity was contingent upon my getting out of my landscaping job. Still I hold a fond place in my heart for Moslems before they undid their reputations on 9/11. I wanted to return to a time before the suicidal Moslems spread their brush of violence across the more peaceful Moslems and made all of them seem violent.
When the Arabs in New Jersey jumped up and down with joy in the hills overlooking the Trade Towers I turned against the Moslems. Any religion that would celebrate the death of innocent office workers jumping from over eighty stories is not for me. I will never get over the Palestinian fathers who sold their sons as suicide bombers to Saddam Hussein. I can’t think of any other group in history that sold its own children to death. It is one thing to argue religious or political positions. It is another to brutally murder clerks.
The Moslems need a new great leader. Someone to erase the violent image of Osama bin Laden. He has thrown his decent people into the gutter with his jihadist fanaticism. Until his memory is expunged I will never attend another Moslem class.
October 19, 2011
By TR Clancy
In late 2009, in fulfillment of a religious obligation, I decided to participate in jihad against the United States. The Koran obliges every able Muslim to participate in jihad and fight in the way of Allah, those who fight you, and kill them wherever you find them.
– Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, October 12, 2011
Think of this as Islam’s guilty plea.
Will we accept it?
Don’t bet on it, because ten years after the worst sneak-attack on the U.S. so far in Islam’s war on America, the nation’s situational awareness is worse than ever.
- Most of us still stubbornly refuse to admit what we already know about Islam: that it’s a violent, malevolent religion whose adherents can’t stop themselves from announcing to us their intentions to make war against us until they’ve either killed us or made us slaves.
- Most of us still stubbornly profess our belief in a “true” Islam, peace-loving, egalitarian, more or less an Arabian version of Christianity.
- Most of us reflexively channel all blame for the daily bombings, beheadings, murders, mutilations, honor killings, and sundry other savagery committed in the name of Allah away from “true” Islam onto what we’re told is a distorted, hijacked Islam embraced by only a tiny fringe.
- Most of us haven’t lifted a finger since September 11, 2001 to find out if our opinions about 1, 2, and 3 have any basis in reality; we haven’t read a single book, done a single Internet search, or tried reading a Qur’an.
For the past week media attention has focused on the “Occupy Wall Street” phenomenon. The commentariat justly criticize the mobs for their incoherent message. Panels debate, “Who are these people, and what do they want?”
I find no signs of such curiosity in response to what Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had to tell us. Not only did he fully answer the two questions the silly Occupiers cannot answer, but he answered them without even being asked. Too bad he was drowned out by the Occupier kid who wants free college tuition.
Let me put it another way. Last Wednesday, the most important public trial against, potentially, the deadliest al-Qaeda jihadist to breach our airspace since 9/11 concluded when the defendant, a highly educated, well-spoken man who is neither crazy nor addled by pain nor drugs nor waterboarding, told us who he was and what he wanted. More important, he told us what Allah and the Qur’an and Islam wanted — namely, that “every able Muslim participate in jihad and fight in the way of Allah, those who fight you, and kill them wherever you find them.”
Excerpts of Abdulmutallab’s remarks were reported in the news, and the transcript was published. None of it inspired any analysis. The story was old news Thursday morning.
I realize Abdulmutallab was just one defendant pleading guilty in a courtroom that day, while in a squalid park in New York City thousands of barefoot campers were stepping on each other.
Still, they’ll all soon vanish like a swarm of flying ants.
Not so Abdulmutallab and his fellow jihadists. Abdulmutallab ended his statement to the court this way: “If you laugh at us now, we will laugh at you.” Not “I,” but “we.” The very first thing to which he pleaded guilty was a criminal conspiracy count. “I had an agreement with at least one person to attack the United States.” I’ll say he did. He was doing only what is demanded of “every able Muslim.”
And for that he says he’s not guilty according to the Qur’an; for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, he is “innocent in Muslim law.”
No one has seriously contradicted him. Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, certainly wasn’t too convincing when he pretended to the media that Abdulmutallab’s “actions and speech are antithetical to how 99.99% of Muslims worldwide understand the Quran.” (If your calculator’s not handy, that would leave a mere 160,000 misinformed Muslims, a smaller number than Egyptian “freedom fighters” who showed up to Tahrir Square to promise Yusuf al-Qaradawi that they would march to Jerusalem to become martyrs.)
Walid doesn’t really speak for 99.99% of Muslims. But he does speak for the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of CAIR. And the Brotherhood reads the Qur’an the exact same way the Underwear Bomber does. Their motto goes likes this:
Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
And the Charter of Hamas, the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood so admired as “freedom fighters” by many of Dearborn’s “moderate” majority (like Arab-American News publisher Osama Siblani), contains similar language:
We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters. … I swear by that who holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammad! I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill (told by Bukhari and Muslim).
So, why the national yawn at news that a religion of 1.6 billion has a religious obligation to make jihad on us?
I’d say because of points 1, 2, and 3 above. And especially 4.
Let’s face it: we’ve heard all this before. Even if a bona fide Islamist terrorist, caught red-handed (or in this case caught red-…well, anyway, you know what I mean), goes to the trouble of announcing to America that “my Islamic religious obligation requires me ‘to carry an explosive device onto an aircraft and attempt to kill those onboard and wreck the aircraft as an act of jihad,'” we still act as if Islam had nothing to do with it.
This isn’t innocent until proven guilty. This is innocent regardless of pleading guilty.
“That’s unfair!” someone will protest. “We all know Abdulmutallab’s guilty. He’s responsible for his own actions. We can’t put Islam on trial.”
Except that he wasn’t acting on his own — not really. Neither were Nidal Hasan or Faisal Shahzad or Little Rock shooter Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, to name only a few.
And as for putting Islam on trial — that’s my point. If Islam were on trial, would the testimony from the prosecution’s witnesses sound any different?
Nidal Hasan’s calling card identified him as a “Soldier of Allah.”
Times Square bomber Shahzad’s statement to the court when he pleaded guilty was very similar to Abdulmutallab’s, saying that “[i]t’s a war“:
“One has to understand where I’m coming from,” Shahzad told the judge. “I consider myself … a Muslim soldier.”
“And it’s a war to kill people,” he coldly declared.
The Little Rock shooter identified himself as a “soldier” of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and described his shooting as a “Jihadi Attack.” He told the court, “It’s a war against Islam and Muslims, and I’m on the side of the Muslims point blank[.]”
What all these killers are trying to tell us is they’re soldiers in a national army fighting for the Islamic Umma — and they get their orders straight from the Qur’an.
Islam is a religion of prophets and messengers — and messages.
We just aren’t getting the message.
TR Clancy is the pen name of a Dearborn, MI blogger. His writing can be seen at Dearborn Underground.
July 6, 2011
See update at bottom
The Islamic world has shown again that it cannot tolerate free speech regarding Islam and its prophet. Bat Ye’or has appositely characterized Geert Wilder’s recent acquittal as a “Copernican revolution,” achieved by a solitary “unarmed man, constantly threatened by death and whose only defense was his courageous and unbending commitment to say the truth.”
It is a bitter irony that on the same day Bat Ye’or’s essay was published a pathognomonic communiqué was released by foreign ministers of the Islamintern — the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) — whose member states were meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan
The communiqué claimed “a number of Dutch politicians” had insulted Islam and its prophet Muhammad, accusing them of the invented “crime” of “Islamophobia.”
Turkish OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu issued a separate statement condemning — and threatening Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders:
Wilders has taken a dangerous path, endangering the peace and harmony of civilizations by spreading hate against Islam and Muslims in his own country as well as in other European countries. Insult to Islam and to the honored Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), has reached a stage that can no longer be tolerated under any pretext, including freedom of speech.
Demonstrating once again that Wilders is a politician of rare courage, he has now challenged his own Dutch Prime Minister, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to respond appropriately to the statements of the OIC, and Ihsanoglu:
1) Have you seen the intimidating statement of the OIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, about me and the OIC report “Fourth OIC observatory report on islamophobia” about statements made by various Dutch politicians?
2) Do you agree that the OIC has vastly overstepped the boundaries with these intimidating statements and do you agree with me that a Dutch politician should have the right to criticise Islam and multiculturalism in a public debate, as was confirmed during my political trial by the court decision of June 23rd?
3) Are you prepared to explain to the OIC member countries that criticism of Islam and freedom of speech are essential in a democratic society under the rule of law? If not, why not?
4) Do you share the opinion that criticism, such as that of an organization like the OIC, is hypocrite and despicable given that the OIC in article 24 of its own Cairo Declaration on Human Rights explicitly states that all rights and freedoms are subject to Islamic Shari’ah law? If not, why not?
5) Are you prepared in the short term to distance yourself publicly in strong wordings of this report and of the intimidating statement of the OIC secretary general? If not, why not?
6) Will you make it clear once and for all to the OIC that the Netherlands will not accept to be lectured by an institution such as the OIC which makes human rights subject to the barbaric Shari’ah, and that we will not allow our fundamental freedoms and our freedom of speech to be restricted? If not, why not?
7) Are you prepared to answer these questions this week
Writing in the early 1990s, the esteemed Pakistani scholar Muhammad Asrar, whose opinion was accepted by Pakistan’s Shari’a Court, defined “blasphemy,” focusing on the Muslim prophet, as:
Reviling or insulting the Prophet (pbuh) in writing or speech; speaking profanely or contemptuously about him or his family; attacking the Prophet’s dignity and honor in an abusive manner; vilifying him or making an ugly face when his named is mentioned; showing enmity or hatred towards him, his family, his companions, and the Muslims; accusing, or slandering the Prophet and his family, including spreading evil reports about him or his family; defaming the Prophet; refusing the Prophet’s jurisdiction or judgment in any manner; rejecting the Sunnah; showing disrespect, contempt for or rejection of the rights of Allah and His Prophet or rebelling against Allah and His Prophet.
And in accord with classical Islamic jurisprudence, for example, The Risala of al-Qayrawani (d. 996) — a jurist in mythically “tolerant” Muslim Spain — Madani argues that anyone who defames Muhammad — Muslim or non-Muslim — must be put to death. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo has documented how this orthodox Islamic doctrine — incorporated into the Pakistani legal code (Section 295-C, “defiling the name of Muhammad”) — has wreaked havoc, particularly among Pakistan’s small Christian minority community:
…the blasphemy law is felt to be a sword of Damocles and has developed a huge symbolic significance which contributes substantially to the atmosphere of intimidation of Christians. The detrimental effect of the law…is most dramatically illustrated by the incident at Shanti Nagar in February 1997 in which tens of thousands of rioting Muslims destroyed hundreds of Christian homes, and other Christian property, following an accusation of blasphemy. Furthermore the blasphemy has engendered a wave of private violence. Equating blasphemy with apostasy and influenced by the tradition of direct violent action and self-help which goes back to the earliest times of Islam, some Muslims feel they are entitled to enforce the death penalty themselves.
Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and his OIC foreign ministry colleagues — spearheaded by OIC stalwart, Pakistan — want to impose this same Sharia-based system, antithetical to the US Bill of Rights, on all of humanity, including the 4/5 of world’s population that is non-Muslim. This irredentist OIC mindset remains unchanged from what Beaumarchais described in the Marriage of Figaro freedom of speech monologue in Act V, Scene 3, at the close of the 18th century, more than two centuries ago:
I cobble together a verse comedy about the customs of the harem, assuming that, as a Spanish writer, I can say what I like about Mohammed without drawing hostile fire. Next thing, some envoy from God knows where turns up and complains that in my play I have offended the Ottoman empire, Persia, a large slice of the Indian peninsula, the whole of Egypt, and the kingdoms of Barca [Ethiopia], Tripoli, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. And so my play sinks without trace, all to placate a bunch of Muslim princes, not one of whom, as far as I know, can read but who beat the living daylights out of us and say we are “Christian dogs.” Since they can’t stop a man thinking, they take it out on his hide instead.
Canon W.H. T. Gairdner (d. 1928), was a renowned scholar of Sufism, and great Arabic linguist who resided in Egypt for the last three decades of his life. Regarding Muhammad’s biography as characterized in the pious Muslim sources, Gairdner noted:
As incidents in the life of an Arab conqueror, the tales of raiding, private assassinations and public executions, perpetual enlargements of the harem, and so forth, might be historically explicable and therefore pardonable but it is another matter that they should be taken as a setting forth of the moral ideal for all time.
And in an age where jihadism is run amok, why not ridicule one of its primary sources, i.e., the sacralized violence of Muhammad himself, this “Ecce Homo Arabicus“?
Wilders’ Islamo-realistic free speech has provided a healthy dose of long overdue criticism of the direct nexus between Muhammad’s actions, and jihadism, which may prove therapeutic for the cowering West. Hope springs eternal.
Wilders courage helps stiffen the Dutch Government’s spine!
Dutch government dissociates itself from OIC statements woensdag, 06 juli 2011 ANP (Dutch press agency):
The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Uri Rosenthal, dissociates himself from a call by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to the Dutch government to stop the “Campaign of hatred” of PVV leader Geert Wilders.
“The Dutch government dissociates itself fully from the request to silence a politician. The Netherlands have a very high regard of freedom of speech,” Rosenthal said on Wednesday.
July 3, 2011
On June 18th in an airport in Florida, Transportation Security Administration agents required a 95-year-old woman with leukemia to remove her adult diaper if she wanted to pass their inspection and travel. The TSA says they would have been satisfied with merely feeling around the garment, but it was wet. Whatever version, this constitutes yet another debasing treatment of an absolutely non-threatening American citizen for the purpose of protecting Muslim honor. So as to be sensitive and not profile young Islamic men — the demographic group most likely to be terrorists — our policy is ending up dishonoring and humiliating American citizens, be they grammas or little girls, who in no way pose a threat.
This is not simply foolish, but evidence that our governmental agencies are already engaged in Islamization, for Islamization has taken root when a society abandons its decades of prevailing standards of dignity and common sense so as to accommodate Islam. In this case, American policy has set aside our historic respect for individual personhood as well as law enforcement’s tried and tested method of profiling the most likely to commit a particular crime. Groping little girls, afflicting old women, and invasively searching middle-aged people with no indication of being a threat is not the American way and would not, in other circumstances, be tolerated by any civil rights organization except here due to our preoccupation of not offending Muslims.
When a society asks its citizens to accept their own debasement and forgo their right to modesty and propriety — and all that constitutes first-class citizenship — so as to accommodate Muslim demands, those citizens have now taken a backseat; they have become second-class. Second-class citizenship for non-Muslims so as not to offend Muslims is called dhimmitude, a core Islamic belief, the a priori subtext of the Islamization process. In effect, it elevates the Muslim over the non-Muslim and holds in higher regard how he is to be treated relative to how the Christian or Jew is to be treated. This is the ideal practiced throughout the Islamic world.
There are those that call this accommodation, but in reality it is Islamization for it, step-by-step, leads to an acceptance by society and ultimately society’s new standard. The imams and Islamic organizations are well aware of Western society’s desire to be accommodating and have seized upon it as a way to begin the process that goes from accommodation to a society submissive to its own dhimmi status, in its very own land.
This has happened in Great Britain where schools with a mixed student body will, out of deference to the Muslim students, no longer serve pork in the cafeteria. Jewish students never made such demands. Instead of live and let live — the historic operating template of the West — Britons are asked to forfeit their preferences and identity under the Islamic rubric of “It’s our way, not your way.” Similarly, British neighborhoods with sizeable, but not majority, Islamic populations are forgoing their centuries-old Christmas street displays so as not to offend Muslims. It is, effectually, the beginning of a society submitting to shariah, first by omission and eventually in actual commission.
Government bureaucrats call it sensitivity, but it is, of course, the ever-moving train of Islamization. Islam makes demands of a society that no other minority has ever made precisely because, unlike other groups, its goal is to reconfigure the society. Even today, many in the West think Islamic demands are simply of the age-old civil rights variety, as was the case with other minorities, when it is really about Islamization, the imposition of Islam over the prevailing culture and over its citizens.
This degradation of the American citizenry is not enough for many in the Islamic organizations, who all too often yell discrimination and “Islamaphobia” when a Muslim, like all other Americans, is subjected to TSA inspection. They cry the cry of civil rights, but the undertone bespeaks a feeling of Islamic entitlement, that Muslims are above the rest and should be spared the intrusions others must bear. It’s a manifestation of the dhimmi notion found in the fifty-seven Islamic countries that shape the attitude of those, even here, who see them as model societies.
In the name of civil rights, many imams have warned our authorities not to subject Islamic women to what our own mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters routinely undergo in our policy of not implementing the commonsense profiling offensive to Muslims. But given that the civil rights of women is not at the forefront of Islamic theology, it seems that the real intent behind these warnings is not a concern for women’s dignity but yet another opportunity to assert Islamic supremacy and hierarchy above the rest of us, the dhimmis.
A society is in a condition of dhimmitude when it neglects protecting its own people and overlooks what is done to its people so as not to offend Islam. It does so by discarding its previous values and begins accepting what it, deep down, knows is not true. In Norway and Sweden, for example, there are reports of young Islamic men raping local Scandinavian girls. Yet, fearful of Islamic cries of Islamophobia, authorities are not prosecuting these men and are buying into the imamic assertion that it’s the scantily dressed girls who are, really, at fault by making men victims of their own youthful passions. When coming from a nation that for years denounced these very assertions as sexist, one has reached dhimmitude. What was previously the victim, the raped woman, is now the aggressor, and what was previously the aggressor, the man, is now the victim if a male Muslim. Dhimitude is not simply the demotion of one’s own culture in relation to Islam but a categorization of inferiority as a people, and in body, to that of Islam. Many in the West are now voluntarily practicing racism against their own race.
Islamization is happening not simply because of the brazenness of Islam but because of the multiculturalism that has become our self-imposed test as to our worthiness. What began as an attempt in openness has metastasized to assigning other cultures superiority to our own. In fact, the more it differs from our own, the more we elevate it above our own.
Last year, a State Department spokesman announced that our procedures at the airport were necessary “so we can prove what we preach.” Proving our tolerance has become more important than common sense. What impels a society to undergo mass humiliation so as to prove to Islam that we are not racist? Indeed, it would seem that Islam has a greater need to prove itself to us — to prove that the atrocities perpetuated in its name around the world are, somehow, an aberration.
The more we obsess over their honor, the less we seem to care about our own honor. What makes us cherish their honor more than being concerned with the gross indignities of our own women and children? It is the self-hate and guilt generated by liberalism, an infectious disease spread across this country unrelentingly for over fifty years from the dens of New York’s Upper West Side. It has brainwashed a great people into a confused and, often, pathetic submission. It has made us ripe for Islamization. Let’s hope we gather our strength and pride before we, God forbid, become Sweden and Norway.
Rabbi Spero can be reached at Caucus for America or at 212-252-6861.
May 29, 2011
The Five Stages of IslamGA_googleFillSlot(“AT_300_250_bottom”);Forget the Five Pillars of Islam. It is the Five Stages of Islam that threaten the fundamental freedoms of Western Democracy. Freedoms which include freedom of thought, expression, and association and the crucial derived right of freedom of the press. We should never forget that “Islam” means submission — the opposite of self-determination and Enlightenment values.Six years ago Dr. Peter Hammond published a remarkable book which included a statistical study of the correlation between Muslim to non-Muslim population ratios and the transition from conciliatory Islam to fascist Islam. The stages are the same in 2011 but the demographics have changed to show an alarming progression. Many European nations and the U.S. are on the cusp of moving to a higher bracket. The demographics change but the story is the same. First comes the taqiyya and the kitman; then comes the Sword of Islam. Imam Rauf, the Ground Zero Mosque promoter, is the current master of taqiyya. He has gulled everyone from Bloomberg to Maureen Dowd of the NYT — who fanaticizes over male Muslims. Expect doppelgangers of Khomeini for stage 5 and Islamic PEACE at last.Stage 1. Establish a BeachheadPopulation density à 2% (US, Australia, Canada).Muslims are conciliatory, deferential but request harmless special treatment (foot bath facilities, removal/elimination of that which is offensive to delicate Muslim sensibilities – like walking dogs near Mosques).Stage 2. Establish OutpostsPopulation density 2% – 5% (UK, Germany, Denmark).At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. A recent example is that of Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal who is back in Jamaica after being kicked out of the UK. Sound harmless? Read on:The dispatch, dated February 2010, warns that that Jamaica could be fertile ground for jihadists because of its underground drug economy, marginalized youth, insufficient security and gang networks in U.S. and British prisons.Stage 3. Establish Sectional Control of Major Cities.Population density 5% – 10% (France, Sweden, Netherlands).First comes the demand for halal food in supermarkets, and the blocking of streets for prayers; then comes the demand for self rule (within their ghettos) under Sharia. When Muslims approach 10% of the population the demands turn to lawlessness. In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings. Any criticism of Islam results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam. In France which may be over the 10% range, the minority Muslim populations live in ghettos, within which they are 100% Muslim, and within which they live by Sharia Law. The national police do not even enter these ghettos. There are no national courts, nor schools, nor non-Muslim religious facilities. In such situations, Muslims do not integrate into the community at large. The children attend madrassas. They learn only the Koran. To even associate with an infidel is a crime punishable with death.Stage 4. Establish Regional Control.Population density 20% – 50% (Europe 2020?).After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues.Stage 5. Total Control, Brutal Suppression, and Dhimmitude.Population density > 50%.Unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and jizya, the tax placed on infidels. As Muslim population levels increase and all infidels cower in submission there will peace at last. Dar al-Islam is achieved and everyone lives under Sharia and the Koran is the only word.Our current Western world leaders are suckered by taqiyya and kitman and steering us into stage 3. Allen West seems to get it but I can’t see that any of the crop of current GOP contenders really get it. Fear of bigotry at stage 2 is the Islamists’ greatest weapon. Crucified on the cross of bigotry — is that the future of the Western democracies? Bigotry is only bigotry if it is out of touch with reality and it is the suckers who believe the stage 1-2 peace pitch of Islam who are the ones who are out of touch with reality — not to mention our mesmerized President. The first GOP candidate who announces to Imam Rauf and his supporters, “Fine. A Mosque at ground zero. But how about a cathedral in Mecca first? It is part of our Christian outreach program of bridge building.” will be the first to get it and a big boost in the polls.
April 07, 2011
Muslims don’t need excuses for killing
David Petraeus, commander of US troops in Afghanistan, is commendably, and understandably, concerned about the safety of his troops plus innocent civilians, UN personnel and others who are not the enemy. Thus he deserves some slack for condemning the silly symbolic act of burning a book the Muslims consider holy which Afghani Muslims used as an excuse for a horrific retaliatory mass slaughter of UN personnel.
But Muslims don’t need excuses for routinely bombing churches or synagogues or temples, often with people in them, killing those who are not Muslims or forcibly converting them, practicing apartheid by expelling those they haven’t murdered or confining them to certain jobs, certain neighborhoods, extra taxes, persecuted as lowly dhimmis (low lifes, non Muslims). And all without retaliation by their fellow Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus in other parts of the world as Benny Morris, writing in the National Interest , explains.
Yet the burning of Bibles around the Islamic world – in Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq – is an almost daily occurrence and goes unremarked, and is often accompanied by the arson of churches and the murder of parishioners.
And these acts never trigger murderous responses by Christians thousands of miles away.
Surely, it is common knowledge that the world Islam conquered in the seventh and eighth centuries, largely inhabited by Christians, is today almost bereft of Christians, they having over the centuries been massacred, expelled or forcibly converted to Islam (processes still ongoing in places like Iraq, Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and Pakistan)? Surely the editors of The Times know that since the seventh century, non-Muslims have not been allowed to enter the holiest cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina, whereas Muslims have freely accessed and lived in, and still live in, the holy sites of Christendom (and Judaism)? Which religion really has been more intolerant through the ages? (Which is infinitely more intolerant today is not, I think, seriously in dispute.) It is true that the Holocaust occurred in the lands of Christendom (though it was not carried out in the name of Christianity)-and that no Holocaust has (yet) overtaken the lands of Islam (though all in effect in the twentieth century expelled their Jewish communities). But anti-Semitism is rampant, and growing, and state-sponsored in many Muslim countries.
Sacrificing our First Amendments rights by succumbing to Muslim extortion terror demands through appeasement may bring some immediate relief. Indeed, in some cases in may be necessary temporarily. But extortionists are never satisfied; seeing weakness they demand more.
So let’s honor our country’s freedoms and let the Joneses burn books if they must. But more importantly place the blame for the horrific massacres on those who committed them. And on their religious philosophy.
March 06, 2011
John Esposito: Apologist of Islam or Messenger of Islamic Da’wah?
By David BukayJohn Esposito is a professor at Georgetown University and the head of the “Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.” He is considered one of the foremost apologists of radical Islam in American academia. The term “apologist” means one who denies events and activities of a group or who uses selective perceptions and cognitive biases to whitewash reality. However, it is more fitting to view Esposito as a Da’i, or an Islamic propagator who uses Da’wah, the propagation of deceit.From the very beginning, Islam has been spread by two arms: the violent jihad and the political Da’wah (16:125)i. Da’wah serves as a diplomatic means of religious legitimization through which to invite all human beings to accept Islam as the only supreme and perfect religion (5:3; 9:33). According to Da’wah, which preaches the message of Allah’s infinite wisdom (6:38), it is in humanity’s best interest to submit to Islam (7:158; 21:107). Since Islam is perfect, no one may doubt it, use logic to determine its validity, or judge it by human conceptions (4:115; 5:72-3; 10:69-70; 29:68; 36:64-5). Any of these transgressions constitutes heresy and warrants the death penalty.Today, Da’wah has become diplomacy of deceit to mislead the ignorant infidels. John Esposito, as a Christian professor at a prestigious university, is well-placed to promote Islam by Da’wah. Lately, Esposito has taken to blaming the United States for and exaggerating the indigenous local populations’ role in the crisis in the Middle East. In an extreme leftist publication, Esposito deplores the U.S. while praising the Muslim Brotherhood as an apt practitioner of democracy. In fact, the professor believes that the uprisings have revealed a broad-based, pro-democracy movement not driven by religious extremists and therefore deserving of the U.S.’s support.These claims are in standing with Esposito’s general views and attitudes. By quoting from his book, What Everybody Needs to Know about Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), we can best understand how he uses the Islamic Da’wah to promote Muslim interests in the West.First, as to Islam’s hostility to other religions, Esposito claims the following (70-73):Theologically and historically, Islam has a long record of tolerance. Muslims did not try to impose their religion on others or force them to convert[.] … Muhammad granted freedom of religious thought and practice to the Jews and Christians, setting a precedent for peaceful and cooperative interreligious relations[.] … Muslims mainstream and extremist, conservative and progressive, struggle to balance the affirmation of the truths of their faith with the cultivation of a pluralism and tolerance rooted in mutual respect and understanding.All that remains, then, is to tell this story to the original peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, who were forcibly conquered, Arabized, and Islamizedii. Consider also the peoples of the Balkans and Eastern Europe who were conquered and enslavediii, the tens of millions of Africans who were likewise subjugated and exterminatediv, and the 80 million eliminated Buddhists in Asiav. As for our own generation, Esposito should enlighten the Armeniansvi, not to mention the Christians in Greece, Iraq (Assyrians), Lebanon, Egypt, and especially Southern Sudan. But perhaps the most eager recipients of this information would be the 10-12 million Muslims massacred in the last 80 years by other Muslims.On Muslim persecution of Christians in Muslim countries, Esposito states (76-79):Muslim-Christian relations have deteriorated[.]… from the Crusades and European colonialism to contemporary politics. Indigenous Christians were favored by and benefited from the colonial rule. The product of European missionaries that converted local Muslims[.]… [T]he creation of the state of Israel has contributed to the deterioration of relations and the Christian fundamentalists like Robertson, Graham and Falwell have been the source of intolerance, persecution, violence and terrorism.So Christians have brought harmful Islamic behavior upon themselves. As for the genocide in Sudan, Esposito’s reaction is that there is no problem, since “actually the majority of the South is animist and the struggle has been political and economic as much as religious.” The Sudanese victims are animists, not Christians, so there is no problem here.As to whether Jews and Christians have always been enemies of Islam, Esposito has this to say (79-86):[T]he Jewish population was granted the right to internal religious and cultural autonomy in exchange for their political loyalty and allegiance to the Muslims. The Jews backed Muhammad’s Meccan rivals, judged as traitors for the support of his enemies[.] … [O]ther Jews became Dhimmis and thrived under the protection of Islam[.] … [T]he establishment of the State of Israel was a turning point in relations between Muslims and Jews, and severely strained their relations in Muslim countries[.] … [T]he Muslim conquerors proved to be far more tolerant than Imperial Christianity had been, granting religious freedoms to the indigenous Christian Churches. Pluralism is the essence of Islam as revealed in the Qur’an and practiced by Muhammad and the early caliphs[.]The historical facts stand in stark contrast to Esposito’s analysis. Muhammad massacred the Jews of Arabia immediately after his military successesvii. At Haybar, the Meccans flouted the Hudaybiyah agreement, massacred the Jews, and took the fertile lands left behind by the dead — all without any provocation whatsoever. After the Jews were massacred in Arabia, it was Muhammad’s commandment that Jews are not allowed to live any longer in Arabia, viii a commandment which was strictly fulfilled till our days. Christians, for their part, are now all but an extinct species in the Middle East.ixHowever, among Esposito’s greatest hits is his declaration that “[t]he Ottoman Empire is a prime example of the positive treatment of religious minorities in a Muslim-majority context.” Well, perhaps there were two Ottoman Empires, with one clearly coming from Esposito’s imagination. The original Ottoman Empire has a different history: abusing minorities in the Balkans and Eastern Europe; kidnapping almost a million children and converting them to Islam (devshirme system); bringing millions of slaves and concubines from Eastern Europe, mainly Ukraine and Hungary (Serge Trifkovic, Islam’s Wretched Record on Slavery); and massacring Christians, as in the Armenian holocaust and the Greek extermination (to mention only two examples)x.Furthermore, Esposito is at his best while analyzing “violence and terrorism” (117-138):Jihad is struggling against the evil in oneself and to be virtuous and moral. It also includes the right, indeed the obligation, to defend Islam and the community from aggression. Western governments are propping up oppressive regimes and exploiting the region’s human and natural resources, robbing Muslims of their culture and to live in a more just society. This is the reason for the use of Jihad. The Qur’an does not advocate or condone terrorism. Muslims are merciful and just. Islam does permit Muslims only to defend themselves and their families, religion and community from aggression.To prove his point, Esposito quotes from the Qur’an — 22:39-40; 48:17; 9:91; 2:192; 47:4; 8:61; 4:90. However, there is only one problem: all of the quoted verses have different meanings and objectives. Qur’an 22:39-40 was revealed in year 624, while Muhammad was weak and plundering the caravans of Mecca. However, the tides had turned by 626, when Muhammad was waging aggressive wars against his enemies to conquer Arabia and convert the Arabs to Islam. Qur’an 48:17 and 9:91 have nothing to do with peace with the unbelievers — on the contrary, these verses permit believers not to go to war.Qur’an 2:192 is connected to 2:190-191, and the two together call upon Muslims to fight unbelievers whenever they are found. Only if the unbelievers desist (i.e., submit to Islam) is Allah forgiving and kind.As for Qur’an 47:4, one can only be amazed by Esposito’s distortion, as 47:4 is one of the most horrible verses: “when you clash with the unbelievers smite their necks until you overpower them, then hold [those who submit] in bondage. Then either free them graciously or, after taking a ransom, until war shall come to an end [there will be no more unbelievers, or they will submit to Islamic rule].”Qur’an 8:61 is the same, for it is tightly connected to verses 8:59-60. The command is to strike terror in the hearts of Allah’s enemies and fight them ceaselessly. Only then comes 8:61: “if they are inclined to peace [after submitting to Islam], make peace with them.”Qur’an 4:90 is connected and conditional to 4:89, which commands the Muslims to “seize the unbelievers wherever they are and do away with them.” This establishes the context for 4:90: “accept those who take refuge … or those who weary of fighting you or their people, come over to you[.]“It is for Westerners to evaluate how Esposito distorts the Qur’an to suit his political views. But Esposito’s propaganda reaches its highest level when he deals with Qur’an 9:5 and 9:29. He declares:[I]n fact however, the full intent of “When the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters whenever you find them” is missed or distorted when quoted in isolation. For it is followed and qualified by “but if they repent and fulfill their devotional obligation and pay the Zakat, then let them go their way, for God is forgiving and kind” (9:5). The same is true for another quoted verse (9:29), which is often cited without the line that follows: “until they pay the tax with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”Let’s analyze this. Qur’an 9:5 has presents a grim choice: convert to Islam (“but if they repent and fulfill their devotional obligation and pay the Zakat, then let them go their way”) or be massacred. The clause thus becomes rather coercive. Qur’an 9:29 speaks of submission to Islamic rule via a humiliating tax. Can we assume that Esposito considers all this peaceful and tolerant Islam?For Esposito’s sake, here is an up-to-date list of Qur’anic commandments. Fighting is demanded of the believers (2:216) — it is jihad in the cause of Allah (2:191; 2:193; 2:244; 8:39; 9:5; 9:73; 47:4; 66:9) against the powers of Satan (4:76), the unbelievers, the hypocrites (9:5; 9:73; 66:9), and the People of the Book (9:29). The order for the believers is to smite their opponents’ necks (47:4; 8:12) and strike terror in their hearts (3:151; 8: 12; 8:60) for the sake of the hereafter (4:74). (These opponents include the People of the Book [59:2]). For this, the Mujahid will earn paradise (3:195; 9:72; 13:22-23; 47:4-6), where they will be rewarded with black-eyed virgins (44:51-54; 52:17-20; 56:22-24). Above all, the believers earn the assurance that they are indeed not dead, but instead staying and living beside Allah (2:154; 3:169-171).A concise summary of Esposito’s views concerning his book, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam, can be found in his May 7, 2002 interview with Joanne Myers. Israel and the U.S. are responsible for all ills in the Middle East: if only the U.S. would withdraw from the Middle East and Israel would disappear, then there would be no problem with radical Islam. In response to the question concerning Islamic terrorism and jihad around the world, Esposito speaks simply: “Jihad means to be a good Muslim. It means to strive, the effort that it takes to be virtuous, to be a good believer. Jihad also means that in being a good Muslim you have the right and, indeed, the obligation to defend Islam and yourself if you are under siege, the struggle against an unjust government. This is a ‘just war.'” (See also here.)According to Esposito, Islamic terrorism is not a problem, and instead of dealing with the real issues, Washington bothers itself with nonsense. Worse, Esposito blames the U.S. for all the evils regarding the Middle East: the rise of Islamic radicalism in the West; the lack of self-determination, democratization, and human rights in the Middle East; the oppression by Arab and Islamic regimes of radical Islamic democratic opposition; and the worsening situation in the Arab and Islamic lands in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.John Esposito is happy to hold and express these opinions. For his part, he believes that he “represents an alternative school of thought within American academia — what America is truly about, free speech, open dialogue, and a multiplicity of views.” One can only hope that Esposito’s opponents similarly capitalize on America’s free speech to set the story straight.
David Bukay, Ph.D. is at the School of Political Science, the University of Haifa.Notesi Muhammad Ibn Isma`il, al-Bukhari, Saheeh al-Bukhari, Lahore: Kazi, 1979, vol. 2 nos. 291-301. Ibn al-Hajjaj Muslim, Saheeh Muslim, Cairo: Dar al-Kitab al-Misri, n.d, Book 019, no. 4294.ii Reuven Firestone. Jihad-The Origin of Holy War in Islam, Oxford University Press, 1999.iii Paul Fregosi, Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries.iv Peter Hammond, Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat
v Ali Muhammad Khan, Islamic Jihad: a Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery. New York: Universe, 2009. Sita Ram Goel, The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India, New Delhi: Voice of India, 1994.vi Vahakn Dadrian, The Key Elements in the Turkish Denial of the Armenian Genocide: A Case Study of Distortion and Falsification, Cambridge, MA, 1999. Vahakn Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide. Providence: Bergahn Books, 1997.vii Elias al-Maqdisi and Sam Solomon, al-Yahud: Eternal Islamic Enmity and the Jews. Charlottesville,Va., ANM Publishers, 2010.viii Sahih Bukhari, vol. 5, book 59, nos, 362, 392; Sahih Muslim, vol. 10, no. 3763.ix Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of the Non-Muslims. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books 2005.x Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam, Cranbury, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1985. Speros Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor. Berkeley: California University Press, 1971. Ehud Toledano, The Ottoman Slave Trade and Its Suppression, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982.
Today is a turning point in history. Nothing will ever be the same again.” So said Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan shortly after nine Turks aboard a Turkish ship died in a May 2010 clash with Israelis. The ship had challenged Israel’s embargo on terror-related goods bound for Gaza. Some observers said that the prime minister shook visibly as he spoke that day.
Erdogan was indeed marking a historic turning point. But not in Turkish-Israeli relations. Rather, he should have been seen—and in fact has been seen throughout the Middle East—as signaling a much broader and more ambitious regional agenda for Turkey, one that will impact its relations with Iran. And to the degree that this agenda succeeds, Erdogan’s words will be seen as prophetic: nothing hereafter will be the same.
Among Turks there seems little doubt that the Erdogan government was complicit in the “flotilla affair,” and that the prime minister looked forward to a confrontation that, one way or another, would show him dramatically standing against Israel. Under his leadership, Turkey’s once firm relations with Israel had already decayed. The Turkish radicals on board the ship heading toward Gaza were not surprised when an Israeli ship interdicted them; violence seems to have been in their plans. Investigations are under way. But this is a region resistant to the niceties of depositions; it sees a higher truth in this affair.
The Middle East has known for some time of Erdogan’s determination to change the nature of his country’s strategic vision. Under his tightening leadership, Turkey is distancing itself from a century of Western orientation and half a century of Western alliances. It pursues a patient and careful course toward a leading, or even dominant, role in the greater Gulf region, and perhaps in the universe of Muslim-majority countries more generally.
No explicit declaration marked this change, for none was wise or needed. Erdogan still calls Turkey a bridge to the Muslim world and tells Westerners that he will be an honest broker between them and it. But the Muslim world understands very well that Turkey has tilted toward the East. Until recently, Erdogan had quietly pursued this shift in three main ways: positioning Turkey to benefit from the decline of the Arab states whose leadership of the region has dramatically deteriorated in the past decade; reaching out to Iran, the most openly aggressive claimant for regional leadership and standard bearer for hostility toward the West; and slowly redefining Turkey’s domestic priorities and politics. Few expected the EU to embrace Turkish membership, but Erdogan adroitly used the EU rejection to undermine Ataturk’s Westernizing legacy. There is a certain artistry, if not originality, in plotting behind the brim of Ataturk’s Western ideals to favor the headscarf.
There have, of course, been less subtle signs of the shift eastward. In 2003, Turkey barred the passage of US troops into Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. In 2005, Erdogan honored Iran’s newly elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the halls of Istanbul, despite Ahmadinejad’s calls for genocide. And in 2006, Erdogan embraced Hamas after its victory in Palestinian elections, and then Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, despite his indictment for war crimes in Darfur. Even before the flotilla sailed for Gaza, Erdogan’s criticism of Israel had already grown shrill. But the change in Turkey’s posture toward Israel has in large part been a tool to advance the country’s reorientation, rather than in any sense its cause.
Erdogan’s comments following the flotilla affair marked a new stage in his quest rather than a change in his goals. He has declared Turkey’s intent to step to the fore as a leader of angry, threatening, anti-Western elements that seek to control the Islamic world. “Turkey’s hostility,” Erdogan pointedly proclaimed in his “turning point” speech, “is as strong as its friendship is valuable.” It was an advertisement for Middle Eastern consumers: we will be the enemy of your enemies, a shelter to our friends.
In the Muslim realm, radical and jihadi precincts included, Erdogan’s message was understood and applauded. Arab publics cheered Turkey as a new leader of hostility against Israel. The deputy head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, taking for granted Turkey’s role as chief instigator of the flotilla, urged the heirs of the Ottomans toward even more forceful action against Israel—advice he has repeated since. Zawahiri recalled with praise centuries of “Turkish” rule of the Muslim world.
Al-Qaeda’s endorsement confirms Erdogan’s push to be seen not merely as a leader of the Muslim world, but the leader. While he had previously played merely a supportive role to Iran, with the flotilla affair Erdogan pressed Turkey’s case. One of the many subtle implications of his “turning point” remark is that Turkey and Iran are now rivals, as well as collaborators in the drive to create an internationally more aggressive Middle East. It is unlikely that Ahmadinejad missed this nuance.
This development should not be entirely surprising. Once Erdogan and his party chose to redefine Turkish identity in a more Islamic, and perhaps Islamist, way, and once Turkey set its eyes east and south toward the ancient Muslim heartlands, a rivalry with Iran was likely.
Iran’s regional ambitions are hardwired into the theocratic regime both by its revolutionary doctrine and the limited legitimacy of its rulers. This is especially true now as different factions of the mullahs’ ruling elite compete for ownership of the “revolution.” As the Arab states’ power and influence in the region has declined, Iran has sought, with some success, to take their place. These ambitions have been advanced in the short term by the removal of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein and by the erratic recovery in Iraq and continuing conflict in Afghanistan, but far more by Iran’s unchecked pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iran draws, too, upon the attraction of its enormous proven reserves in natural gas and oil (second and third largest, respectively, in the world). But the mullahs’ regional ambitions wash up against Iran’s ancient rival, Turkey.
In the form of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey for centuries led the greater Middle East. Today its population and economy are slightly larger than Iran’s, and its economy and conventional military are stronger. Despite limits in its democratic processes, Turkey’s government enjoys substantially more stability and legitimacy at home and abroad than Iran’s does. In addition, the Iranian political elite must deal with a traditional “quietist” school of Shiite Islam, now prospering in neighboring Iraq, that scorns theocratic rule. By contrast, as a Sunni country, Turkey may more readily garner support in a largely Sunni Middle East. Indeed, the country has historically invoked its role as the natural leader of the Sunnis to buy peace at home and fend off pressures from abroad. In Ottoman times, it did so in the aftermath of a losing war in the eighteenth century, and again in the late nineteenth. In that era, Sunnis as far afield as India responded positively to that claim; the recent statements of al-Qaeda’s Zawahiri show that Turkey may again attract such support.
The emergence of a Turkish-Iranian rivalry was somewhat delayed by the political problems Erdogan faced when he took power in 2002 with only a minority of the electorate behind him. Turkey’s longstanding secular political tradition meant that he had to move cautiously and cleverly in pursuing the domestic redefinition of Turkish identity. For Erdogan knew his history: the Turkish military had repeatedly thwarted previous Islamist-oriented parties, including, only a decade earlier, one in which Erdogan was a leading figure. So he pursued, initially, the safe course of leaning more toward Iran, and following its lead, albeit at a distance. Hence the warm reception accorded Ahmadinejad and other friendly gestures.
But Erdogan’s party was reelected in 2007 with an increased plurality and a greater majority in Parliament. Since then, he has further weakened internal opposition. While it will not be easy for him to gain and keep broad Turkish support for his plans, there are signs of his progress so far. He recently rejected with virtually no protest several of the military’s candidates for senior promotions; and civilians, not the military, will draft the new National Security Document—both changes from past patterns. Meanwhile, the opposition press has been systematically muzzled—a dash of tax intimidation, a touch of party-supported competition, a measure of prison for alleged seditious activity. Most recently, the constitutional referendum held in September passed with an unexpectedly large majority. Several of the amendments it approved significantly enhance Erdogan’s power. One of them will allow him to take greater control of the heretofore independent judiciary, which had remained a source of opposition; a second reduces the military’s control of its own criteria for membership, especially its power to exclude soldiers on religious grounds. Moreover, the referendum sets the stage for a complete rewriting of the Constitution, which had already been proposed.
In the meantime, Erdogan’s government is pursuing the prosecution of high-level officers for their role in an alleged coup planned in 2003. There are increasingly credible claims among Turks that this is a fraudulent prosecution, knowingly based on forged documents. This might cause Erdogan some domestic difficulties, but the appearance of ruthless dishonesty may confirm for both supporters and opponents alike the depth of his desire for control.
Having fewer constraints on the bases of his power, the prime minister can act with a freer hand in the foreign sphere. Indeed, the two areas at this point may be mutually reinforcing. Erdogan’s behavior in the flotilla crisis won him massive domestic demonstrations of support as he headed into the referendum campaign and positioned his party for the next general elections in 2011.
It is perhaps only a historical oddity, but still a curious one, that a modern struggle for leadership of the greater Middle East and its ancient Muslim heartlands brings to mind rivalries there five hundred years ago. Turkey and Iran are the diminished heirs of two great Muslim Empires of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: the Sunni Ottoman Empire and the Shiite Safavid Empire. The Ottomans’ four-hundred-year rule (1517–1917) of vast, especially Arab, Muslim lands arose amidst its rivalry with the Safavid state, a state founded on the basis of new, radical Shiite teachings. Indeed, the Shiite Safavids claimed a particularly close connection with the divine. Their soldiers believed the Safavid leader a divine incarnation, and they attacked the Ottoman border with millenarian utopian fervor, fomenting Shiite rebellions in Anatolia. The present border between Turkey and Iran roughly tracks the border that emerged from Ottoman-Safavid wars, and this rivalry led to long-lasting changes throughout the region. Before the conflict, the Ottomans were more preeminently a European power with an Anatolian hinterland. Afterward, Ottoman ambitions had expanded, and by a chain of events they had not only defeated the Safavids but found themselves quickly in control of present-day Iraq, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, and North Africa. From that time forward, the Ottomans became the standard bearer of Sunnis and put forward a claim, often accepted, to the ancient and prestigious title of caliph.
The defeated Safavid Empire left its own lasting legacy: the conversion of Iran from a majority Sunni to an uneasy Shiite land. The essentially theocratic Islamic Revolution of 1979 revived radical Shiism and its ambitions, toppled a regional order based on the Shah, and projected power into Syria, Iraq, the Gulf, Lebanon, Central Asia, and more recently the Palestinian community. In time, Shiite-Sunni conflict intensified, infamously in Iraq but also in Lebanon and Pakistan. The political and military struggle between Sunnis and Shiites, Turks and Persians, for preeminence in the ancient Muslim heartlands, especially Iraq, may not determine the Middle East’s future, but its influence has stalked this region’s politics for centuries.
Atop these ancient layers lie more modern sources of rivalry created by the current regional framework of states and their particular characteristics. For example, Turkey remains interested in having an influential role in Azerbaijan. A high-level Turkish delegation recently visited and concluded agreements there. Azeris are Shiites, but they are ethnically Turkish and Turkish speaking and maintain a tense relationship with Iran, which must remain concerned with Turkish-Azeri relations because approximately one-quarter of its population is Azeri and rests uneasily under “Persian rule.”
Iraq, too, presents an arena of competition because of its genuine desire to protect itself from Iranian ambitions, the internal Shiite-Sunni divide, and the Kurdish question, which looms large in Iraqi and Turkish politics, and even in Iran, with its own large Kurdish minority. (Recently there have been notably violent attacks on Iranian officials and soldiers in Iran’s “Kurdistan,” though the provenance of these attacks is not clear.)
Lebanon and Syria present yet another Muslim arena for competition. Lebanon is nearby and riven internally, not least along a Sunni-Shia divide. In the recent past, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s support for Kurdish separatists led to an actively hostile Turkish-Syrian border. Turkey has in the last few years undertaken a rapprochement with Syria. Nevertheless, both Syria and Lebanon have increasingly become satellites of Iran. Turkey must inevitably be concerned about further consolidation of Iranian influence near its borders—for example, through the enhanced power of Hezbollah.
Ahmadinejad’s recent state visit to Lebanon (his first) and the enthusiastic reception he received have real as well as symbolic implications. The trip endorsed, and provided support for, the ever-growing power of Hezbollah but also declared how far the ruling mullahs feel that Iranian writ may run. Iran is in effect claiming an “imperial sphere” that reaches across Turkey’s southern border. Iranian flags lined Lebanese roads and signs declared, “Welcome to the protector of Lebanon.” A Lebanese politician observed that “Lebanon will become an Iranian base on the shores of the Mediterranean.” Moreover, Ahmadinejad made the centerpiece of his visit the declaration of renewed hostility to Israel and the United States, saying, “Our world today stands on the verge of change, a change that is starting from our region. Lebanon is an example . . . for the unwavering resistance to the world’s tyrants and a university for jihad.” Ahmadinejad thus announced his own version of a “turning point” and emphasized, as he has in the past, an abiding goal that the “Zionists be wiped out.” Although his visit served several of his own purposes, including domestic ones, one of its most important initiatives was to renew a claim for the leadership role that Erdogan sought to grab through the flotilla affair.
Conflicting interests can be resolved; history is not destiny. The course of Turkish-Iranian relations and the region remains unknown and subject, in part, to Erdogan’s domestic goals, the agendas of others (including the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons), and the roles the Great Powers play.
In the near term, Erdogan may revert to a more cautious mode. He might be satisfied with “profit taking” after the flotilla affair. (One indication of this is the next installment in the Turkish film series Valley of the Wolves—very popular in Turkey and elsewhere—which will open with a flotilla scene. As a Turkish film critic recently said, the film will thus capitalize on Turkey’s regional popularity. Erdogan will capitalize, too.) He has sent a high-level delegation to Washington to reaffirm Turkish-American ties. This fits his ongoing claim that Turkey has not turned decisively to the Muslim East and remains a “bridge” between the West and Islam—a claim that is no longer easily credible, but which serves his other ends. Erdogan continues to seek more control over domestic Turkish politics—further rewriting the Constitution to enhance his power, curbing Kurdish separatists, and controlling the military with measures like the prosecution of officers for alleged conspiracies. In the long term, Erdogan may find that it will not suffice merely to bring the military under control; he may want to put his imprint on it and incorporate it into his foreign and domestic designs.
Erdogan has reasons to prefer a cautious approach, but history reveals, especially in the region, that it is hard to tame a radical agenda: Others act on their fears or hopes; Erdogan must know that the prestige of being Israel’s greatest enemy exposes him to crises created by others. The consolidation of control by Iran’s most revolutionary elements may permit, or even force, him to adopt a more aggressive policy to stay in the game. Hamas or Hezbollah may act for reasons of their own. Erdogan may find it tricky to limit entanglement without jeopardizing his desired role. In the spring of 1967, Syria sparked an escalation of Arab threats and military preparations that soon swept Egypt and other Arab states into an unwanted Six-Day War for which they were ill prepared. Events may not follow Erdogan’s chosen course or calendar, despite caution or cleverness.
Erdogan may even see some advantage in Iran’s determined drive for nuclear weapons. Assertive heirs of the Ottomans may not welcome Iranian nuclear weapons, but after observing diplomacy between Ahmadinejad and the West, Erdogan may well conclude that only a successful Israeli strike will slow Iran. By joining Brazil to mediate a transparently unacceptable nuclear deal with Iran, Erdogan raises his profile and hedges his bets: If the West falters, or if it succeeds, he has not weakened the Muslim world or exposed Turkey to Iran. In the near term, there are other opportunities for Turkish regional gains: Iran’s nuclear bid has weakened its economy and stirred up opposition among Sunni states; in the wake of an Israeli strike, should one occur, Turkey will raise its public voice in anger, even if among its leaders there is some private relief.
But Turkey’s own nuclear ambitions—and not just Iran’s—loom in Erdogan’s maneuvers. In the shadow of Iran’s headlong rush, Turkey has quietly pursued a nuclear course of its own. In 2006, Erdogan revived the country’s long-delayed plans for nuclear power; in 2007, the Turkish Parliament acted affirmatively; in 2010, Turkey and Russia agreed to build a nuclear plant in Turkey this decade. Nuclear power may or may not make economic sense for earthquake-prone, resource-poor Turkey, given that it straddles major energy transit lines. Nuclear technology presents an entirely separate strategic calculation. The Iranian example shows that nuclear enrichment capabilities are best won quietly, a task for which Erdogan is well suited. But as Turkey seeks a leading and aggressive Muslim identity, loosening Western ties, will Erdogan see Turkey’s safety or prestige ensured by having nuclear weapons only in the hands of Russians, Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis, and Western powers—and likely Iran’s as well?
Today Turkey and Iran pursue their regional ambitions with a watchful eye on the interests of greater outside powers. At the moment, there is a powerful and growing belief in the region that the United States is withdrawing—not only from Iraq, but from any forceful role in the region. This may not properly reflect President Obama’s policy; and even if it did, some may claim it is not possible for years to come. However, there is enough ambiguity, for example, in our policies toward Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Israel, to inflame our enemies and cause uncertainty among our friends. They know the perversity of this region where persistent efforts may win gains, while lesser efforts likely fail. On the occasion of Ahmadinejad’s Lebanese tour, for instance, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared, “We would hope that no visitor would do anything or say anything that would give cause to greater tension or instability in that country.” Many in the region share that hope, but they will be most interested in what deeds accompany our words.
Looking at Western European states, the Middle East cannot help but see rising domestic Muslim constituencies and declining interest in international efforts that might clash with determined Islamist aims. It also sees Russia, China, and India becoming more assertive, not to mention more willing to bargain for their own ends. This reflects not only these nations’ growing power in the world but also their increasing interest in energy resources, transportation infrastructure, and the heightened regional roles of states closer to them—states like Turkey and Iran.
So the Great Powers offer (or just as importantly, seem to offer) the leaders of Turkey and Iran new pieces in a game long played in the lands that stretch from the Bosphorus to the Straits of Hormuz. For example, the new Turkish national security strategy reportedly will remove Russia from its list of enemies, and Russia and Turkey are focused on pipelines critical to both that would have enormous strategic impact on Europe. Meanwhile, Iran has used Russian and Chinese interests to forestall UN sanctions. Even in earlier days, the Ottomans or Persians time and again allied with Russia to struggle against one another. The region is practiced in such maneuvers.
Turkey and Iran may yet follow anti-Western paths more similar than not. American problems might deepen if Turkey or Iran manipulates outside powers for support. Recently Turkey staged one of its regular “Anatolian Eagle” joint military maneuvers. This time, atypically, American and Israeli forces were absent, replaced by Chinese planes and pilots. The Chinese reached Turkey by flying, with Tehran’s permission, through Iranian airspace.
Dealing with this new configuration of power and ambition calls for a determined policy by America, one that deals realistically with the landscape we face, not the one we wish for. There are prospects for us in this landscape, but diplomacy, however adept, will accomplish little if, correctly or incorrectly, the region doubts our will to follow through.
In the 1930s, Ataturk admonished Turks to free their public life from dysfunctional ways. He warned that the choice was not ideological or aesthetic but pragmatic. “Civilization,” he said, “is a fearful fire which consumes those who ignore it.” And fire spreads—especially when fed by a volatile mix of gas, oil, religion, and ambition.
– Prophecy News Watch
February 15, 2011
The Sharia Apologencia
By D.B. GradyPrior to the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak and installed a military junta, the Egyptian government couldn’t shut the Muslim Brotherhood up. For a group whose philosophy is seventh century, the Brotherhood’s techniques are leading edge, and it has found great success spreading its message on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. This makes its silence of late all the more chilling. While it’s possible that the Brotherhood misread Egypt’s yearning for democracy and simply missed the boat, it’s more likely that it sees rich opportunity in a post-Mubarak society.Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood has found unlikely defenders in the West, and is now portrayed as a paragon of Islamic moderation. Mother Jones describes a “collection of community organizers who operated clinics and food banks, building a network of Islamic banks and companies.” This is not so different from the good works of Hamas, itself a branch of the Brotherhood. Yet mysteriously, nobody refers to Gaza as the Switzerland of the Middle East. Salon says the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda “is to make Egypt better. And their conception of what’s good and bad has a religious basis.” Lest one confuse them with America’s founders, the author adds, “They don’t want to necessarily completely convert Egypt into a traditional Islamic legal system. But if the parliaments going to pass a law, they want it to be consistent with Islamic law.” The Afghanistan of 1997 is a flowering testbed of such “consistencies.”Even disregarding the New York City telephone book of pleasures banned in a properly ordered Islamic society (included on one list: “equipment that produces the joy of music”), Islamic law in Afghanistan reduced females to chattel and imposed penalties that would give pause even to Eli Roth. Lashings, torture, acid attacks, disfigurement, and — for the very fortunate — execution. Women were draped in burqas and locked in their homes with the windows blackened. It’s hard to read about such oppression without dismissing it outright as ridiculous — impossible, even. But some habits are hard to break, and women in Afghanistan still suffer under the weight of accord with Sharia Law.It’s hard to imagine Mother Jones or Salon defending homophobia in United States, yet the stonings and executions promised to gays in an Islamic state are soundly ignored. Where the Brotherhood has gone silent, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has taken up the cause, seeming to appear on every other transatlantic flight and op-ed page. The soi-disant democrat encourages the United States to engage (and thus legitimize) the Muslim Brotherhood — no surprise, as he has long apologized for even the most barbaric of Brotherhood leaders, to include Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a man who once lamented the Holocaust, but only because Islamic “believers” weren’t responsible. Oddly, the same apologists for the Brotherhood dismiss Egyptian affinity for the group. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy clocks Brotherhood support in Egypt at 15%. That no other formal Egyptian organization was mentioned should raise flags.President Obama, after refusing to denounce the Brotherhood, waved a weak hand toward “a whole bunch of secular folks” sure to take power. The argument seems to be: “They’ll never get elected, but if they do, what could possibly go wrong?” To be clear, this is an organization that supported the Nazis, the Soviets, and Al Qaida. They assassinated their prime minister and their president. The Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait inspired Khalid Sheik Mohammed to violent jihad. The Washington Post has reported that Brotherhood cells in Germany and Spain “are suspected of organizing logistical support for the al Qaeda cell that carried out the attacks,” and that the Brotherhood established a global banking network for Al Qaida and other terrorist organizations.Who could blame Egyptians for shunning the Muslim Brotherhood? But when faced with a group so highly organized and capable of rapid mobilization, how great an advantage must they have in coming elections? And if elected, how efficient will the group be in establishing the medieval caliphate, which is their unambiguously stated goal?These are questions that must be asked and answered. Counting on “a whole bunch of secular folks” is not a plan — it’s an ironic prayer. If one needs a voice of authority on the matter, he or she would do well to ignore the Sharia apologencia like Anwar Ibrahim, and instead turn to author and scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She has experienced firsthand the business end of militant Islam, and warns that secular groups have failed to “come up with a message of opposition that says ‘yes’ to Islam, but ‘no’ to Shariah.” She writes in the New York Times, “As I have come to learn over the years, few things in democratic politics are inevitable. But without effective organization, the secular, democratic forces that have swept one tyranny aside could easily succumb to another.”D.B. Grady is a former paratrooper with U.S. Army Special Operations Command and a veteran of Afghanistan. He can be found at www.dbgrady.com.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/the_sharia_apologencia.html at February 19, 2011 – 10:25:30 AM CST
Radical Islam. What does this mean? Does it mean that there are a few Muslims who take Islam to the extreme and cause violence throughout the world? In order for innocent people and countries to combat the threat of violent Islamic jihad, we have to redefine “radical Islam.” If the majority of Muslims adhere to sharia law (at least in their hearts), then we must confront the possibility that “radical Islam” is actually mainstream Islam.
Sharia law is an all-or-nothing concept. A true Muslim can’t take certain parts of sharia and adhere to certain aspects but not others. Physical jihad is a part of sharia law, and even when Muslims can’t fight in the name of Islam, they must support the mujahadeen (fighters) financially, or at the very least in their hearts.
Many readers will criticize me for saying that 80-plus percent of Muslims desire sharia in all aspects. I can only say this because I have been going to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East since 1979, and the majority of Muslims do desire sharia law to be implemented in all parts of the world. Muslims in the Middle East desire sharia law and an Islamic ummah (nation) worldwide, and unfortunately for Americans, this means America as well.
While assigned to Iraq in 2003, I had the opportunity to interrogate numerous enemies of prisoners of war (EPW). I have to admit that I was a bit selfish, but I wanted to know what were going to be the next attacks in America. Over and over we were told the next attacks were going to attack the “hearts” of Americans. I was persistent and wanted to know exactly what this meant. We were told that the “hearts” of Americans were their children.
If Americans believe that al-Qaeda and their cognates such as CAIR, ISNA, the MSA, MANA, and a host of others will not attack our children, they are living with a false sense of security. I blame this false sense of security on our U.S. president and his administration. I also blame our FBI for attempting to make Americans feel safe when in actuality they are not. America could suffer another 9/11-style physical attack much worse than we had on this day. The cards are in the hands of Islamic terrorists. They have the capability to carry out such attacks any day they desire. They have the support, money, knowledge, and most importantly, the desire to carry out these attacks.
What is most frightening is that my researchers and I have conducted research at over 250 Islamic centers in America. The vast majority desire to destroy America — and our House, Senate, president, and senior law enforcement officials give them the opportunity.
The most important question people have is this: how do we stop the pending attacks? The answer is quite simple. Islam is not a religion. Islam (according to Islamic scholars) is a military, economic, and political ideology that uses “religion” to carry out the ultimate goal of world domination (again according to their leading scholars of Islam both in the U.S. and in the Middle East).
The following are materials obtained at Islamic centers in the U.S., and this is what the Muslim children are being taught.
1. “The objective of Islamic Jihad is to put an end to the dominance of the un-Islamic systems of government and replace them with Islamic rule, Islam intends to bring about this revolution not in one country or in a few countries but in the entire world. Although initially it is the duty of every member of the Muslim party to work for revolution wherever he lives the final purpose is nothing but a world revolution. Any revolutionary ideology which upholds the good of all mankind, and is not of a mere national unit, cannot limit its horizons to those of any single country or nation.”
Book: Come let us change this World, pages 106-107. Author: Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi, founder of Jamaat-e-Islami (The Islamic Party), a political party in Pakistan.
2. “If you accept the whole of Islam in your life … a time will come when Communism will fear for its survival in Moscow, Capitalistic democracy will tremble for its safety in Washington and New York.”
Book: Ibid., page 83.
3. “Islam requires the earth — not just a portion, but the whole planet.”
Book: Jihad in Islam, page 10. Author: Syed Abul A’la Maududi.
4. “Every Muslim should have the desire for martyrdom in his heart. If he is unable to go into the battlefield, he should certainly have the desire for martyrdom in his heart.”
Pamphlet: “40 Hadith on Jihad,” page 7. Author: Maulana Abdus Samad Siyal. Published in Pakistan.
5. “It is learnt from this Hadith that physical jihad will continue right till the day of resurrection and will be waged as such in some part or the other of the world”. We do not deny the benefit of waging an academic and intellectual war. However, an intellectual war alone cannot be fought everywhere. There are special places and occasions for it. In short, despite waging a jihad with the tongue, pen, rationale and intellect, the Muslim community cannot be absolved of the duty of waging physical jihad.”
Pamphlet: Ibid., pages 21-22.
6. “A martyr will go directly to heaven.”
Pamphlet: Ibid., page 59.
7. “The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land, will be that they will be killed.”
Booklet: “Duties of the learned to Ignorant Muslims,” page 5. Author: Abdul Qadir Oudah (Muslim Brotherhood/Egypt). Published in Pakistan.
8. “Whatever is against Sharia, is unlawful for Muslims, irrespective of any Government which has declared it lawful or has ordered it to be acted upon because the right of legislation for any Government is restricted to the condition that the law framed by it should be in accordance with the Sharia, its fundamentals and legal spirit. Now, if any Government considers it lawful to exceed these prescribed limits, then because of this attitude of the Government, unlawful shall not become of this attitude of the Government, unlawful shall not become lawful and it would not be lawful for any Muslim to act upon or enforce laws against the Sharia. Rather in such a situation it becomes obligatory for every Muslim to refuse to accept those laws and abstain from acting upon them, for it is unconditional for the Muslims to obey the orders of men in power.”
Booklet: Ibid., page 34.
9. “Justice demands that tyranny and oppression should not be allowed to work havoc in the world.” The Holy Qur’an clearly beings out the fact that Qital (physical Jihad/Fighting) is not an end in itself in Islam, but a means to a higher and nobler end – the welfare of humanity”. “The person who raises arms in order to curb tyranny and oppression and to eradicate evil are the blessed souls who fight in the way of Allah.”
Pamphlet: Jihad in Islam, page 15. Author: Abdul Hameed Siddiqi (Jemmah Islamiyah). Published in Pakistan.
10. “The Islamic State is that it is an ideological state.” The Qur’an and the Sunnah would be the chief sources of of the public law of the land.”
Pamphlet: “Political Theory of Islam,” pages 31 & 33. Author: S. Abul A’la Maududi (Founder of JI terrorist organization).
11. “The Front is Everywhere. You have been well aware now of the categorical injunction of the Islamic Shari’ah that whenever an enemy attacks any part of Darul Islam, Jihad for its defense becomes obligatory (Fard) on every Muslim.” “Jihad is obligatory on all the Muslims does not necessarily mean that all of us should take to arms and proceed to the battle-front. Jihad is a very wide term and its connotation is not confined to just the clash of arms only. In fact it denotes the entire war-effort which is made to uphold our cause and win victory over the enemy. Out of the many and varied fronts of war, battlefield is just one of them. Warfare requires total effort and all sections of people-nay, each and every citizen in the rear-must contribute his share, however humble, to strengthen the capability of those fighting on the front line. This duty of doing our best, dedicated to enhance the fighting ability of our soldiers, is too a Jihad. Indeed, every bit of work done, the minutest service rendered, is Jihad. The gallantry and dedication of the armed personnel no doubt is the key to success but next in importance for the successful prosecution of war is the procurement of money, means, and material. Besides, the qur’an warns us that if a person fails to contribute financially, he in face invites his own doom.”
Pamphlet: “Call to Jihad,” pages 9-10. Author: Syed Abul A’la Maududi.
12. “Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it. Islam requires the earth-not just a portion, but the whole planet. Towards this end, Islam wishes to press into service all forces which can bring about a revolution and a composite term for the use of all these forces is ‘Jihad.'”
Pamphlet: “Jihad in Islam,” pages 9-10. Author: Syed Abul A’al Maududi.
13. “Slay the disbelievers whenever you find them. The disbelievers should be killed in whatever month or time they are found.”
Book: Ma’ariful Qur’an, Vol. 1, page 534.
14. “Islam is a revolutionary ideology and program which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenants and ideals”
Pamphlet: “Jihad in Islam,” page 8. Author: Syed Abul A’la Maududi.
15. “Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it.”
Pamphlet: Ibid., page 9.
16. “Islam requires the earth — not just a portion, but the whole planet.”
Pamphlet: Ibid., page 10.
17. “The objective of the Islamic ‘Jihad’ is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of state rule. Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single State or a few Countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution.”
Pamphlet: Ibid., page 24.
18. A Brief Illustrated Guide To Understanding Islam – Book
Ali Al Timimi (editor):
Convicted in 2005 and serving life plus seventy years for advocating terrorism against America. Timimi is supported by CAIR, was their “man of the year,” and is often invited by our congressional leaders to give the opening prayer.
This book is distributed by Saudi Arabia as da’wah material. Public libraries throughout America have this book donated for our children to better understand Islam.
– From Prophecy News Watch