McCarthy: Obama Administration ‘Ideologically Entrenched’ in Not Calling IS a Serious Threat

National Review:

Andrew recently wrote about the growing threat of the Islamic State in the Middle East, “Obama’s America Is September 10th America.”

Carter and Robinson: The Hamas Jihad’s Useful Idiots

Former US President Jimmy Carter Visits South Koreaby Andrew C. McCarthy:

Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson have jointly penned a characteristically appalling op-ed in Foreign Policy magazine assigning primary blame to Israel for the war in the Middle East. The key to ending the violence, they contend, is for the United States and the European Union to recognize the Hamas terrorist organization as a legitimate “political force.”

According to the authors, the latest outbreak of fighting was triggered neither by Hamas’s murder of three Israeli teenagers nor its firing of thousands of missiles into Israel. Rather, they proceed from the premise that Israel is the culprit, for what Carter and Robinson deceitfully describe as:

[Its] deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government’s deployment in Gaza.

This surely reflects Obama administration thinking, as well. Obama’s presidency has aptly been called the second (and now third) Carter term — a downward spiral from the shambles made of American foreign policy in the late seventies. Mrs. Robinson is the former president of Ireland and UN high commissioner for human rights, whose pro-terrorist sympathies and anti-Israel animus were ably chronicled several years back by Michael Rubin. (See “Mary Robinson, War Criminal?”) In 2001, she led the notorious Durban conference (the “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Zenophobia and Related Intolerance”) that was so rabidly anti-Semitic the American delegation stormed out. Yet, eight years later under a new, hard-Left administration, there stood Robinson in the White House being honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Of course, anyone who grasps the details of the “unity government” and Hamas’s strategy in agreeing to it quickly realizes it is the antithesis of “a promising move toward peace.” In fact, Hamas is simply applying the Hezbollah model to the Palestinian territories. In Lebanon, the Hezbollah terrorist organization — Iran’s forward jihadist militia and oft-time Hamas mentor — agreed to participate in a unity government while maintaining the independence of its jihadist military and intelligence apparatus. That is exactly what Hamas has done.

As this excellent analysis by Ehud Yaari of the Washington Institute relates, Hamas’s agreement to join its rival Fatah in a unity government does not relinquish control of either its 20,000-strong jihadist force, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, or its internal intelligence and security apparatus. These forces are already far stronger than the Palestinian Authority’s security forces under the control of Fatah (which Hamas routed and ejected from Gaza in 2007).

Note, moreover, the stealthy hand of Iran in the mix. Hamas has had to come crawling back to the mullahs, hat in hand. After angering Tehran (and thus losing much of its funding and weapons support) by jumping on the Sunni side of the Syrian civil war, Hamas saw its preferred patron, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egyptian regime, overthrown. The terrorist organization now finds itself opposed by the new anti-Brotherhood government in Cairo, and thus on the outs with that government’s backers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Isolated more than ever, Hamas is working hard to get back in Iran’s good graces. Its leaders conducted extensive meetings with top Iranian and Hezbollah officials prior to agreeing to cede governing authority over Gaza to the unity government. Carter and Robinson claim that this was a “major concession.” In truth, it was a coup, as Iran’s enthusiastic endorsement of the pact attests.

Read more at PJ Media

How Not To Indict a Terrorist

pic_giant_070514_SM_How-Not-to-Indict-a-TerroristBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

What happens when the president who has politicized law-enforcement to a degree unprecedented in American history meets a terrorist responsible for killing Americans he has recklessly failed to protect, decimating his pretensions about “decimating” al-Qaeda?

What happens is: You get the most politicized terrorism indictment ever produced by the Justice Department. Behold United States v. Khatallah, Case No. 14 Crim. 141, quietly unsealed in a Washington courtroom last Saturday while the country dozed off into summer-vacation mode.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah, of course, is the only suspect apprehended in connection with the Benghazi massacre, a terrorist attack on a still-mysterious U.S. diplomatic installation. J. Christopher Stevens, the United States ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans — State Department official Sean Smith and two former Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — were killed. Until recently, such attacks have been known as acts of war carried out by the enemy. In the age of Obama, they are now known as “crimes” for which “defendants” like Khatallah are “brought to justice” — rather than brought to Gitmo. Meaning: They are whisked into our country when no one’s paying much attention. The red carpet is rolled out at a federal courthouse, where the “defendant” is given Miranda warnings, taxpayer-funded counsel, and all the rights of the American citizens they plot to kill, including lavish discovery-of-intelligence files relevant to their civilian trial.

Gold-plated due process for our enemies begins with the constitutional right to an indictment returned by a grand jury, providing the “defendant” with notice of the charges against him. In Khatallah’s case, the first thing you’ll notice is that the indictment is tiny: less than two pages long — 15 measly lines of text once you discount the caption, citations, and signature lines. This is a startling departure from Justice Department indictments in jihadist terror cases, a turn to brevity that cannot be explained solely by Obama’s banning of words like “jihadist” from the government lexicon.

Read more at National Review

Dr. K, Wrong, Though Sincere

20110304_Krauthammer_OBAMAby ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

This week on Fox News (here and here), the estimable Charles Krauthammer argued in favor of President Obama’s decision to swap detainees with a terrorist organization, indulging the administration’s portrayal of a “prisoner of war” exchange though the trade involves unlawful-combatant jihadists (two of them wanted for mass-murder war crimes) and a deserter.

I respectfully disagree.

Charles’s theory is that the West routinely engages in these sorts of swaps and should do so, despite always coming out on the short end, because it is a beneficial exhibition of the higher value we place on human life. I do not for a moment doubt Dr. K’s sincerity in stressing the value of human life, but I believe he is confounding the value and the exhibition – the high-minded display of good intentions. After all, as we shall see, his argument is a loser from a humanitarian perspective.

Charles appears to find the demonstration of our veneration of life beneficial because the so-called war on terror is, in part, a war of ideas. That is, even though these typically one-sided exchanges are a tactical victory for the terrorists, our cause is advanced over the long haul because the superiority of our values attracts convincible people to our side.

It is a nice thought, of a piece with the Lawyer Left pipe dream that we advance our security by bringing terrorists into our civilian criminal-justice system and abandoning such heavy-handed practices as coercive interrogation, military commissions, and indefinite law-of-war detention. Here’s the problem: These pieties do not correlate to real-world experience. Irresolute responses to barbarism beget more barbarism.

It is delusional to believe that most people in the Muslim Middle East view the conflict through our self-absorbed lens and perceive a contest between savage and noble principles. They have their own lens, and through it they see the strong horse versus the weak horse. You don’t win a war of ideas against a culture that brays, “We love death more than you love life!” by showing them how much you love life. To think otherwise is an example of what Roger Simon wrote about this week: the elevation of moral narcissism over objective reality.

Charles Krauthammer, of course, is no pie-in-the-sky progressive. So not surprisingly, he also cites a more concrete benefit of demonstrating our reverence for human life: It breeds a knowledge that we never abandon our captured troops, which is essential to the esprit de corps of the world’s most effective fighting force.

In principle, I agree. But in the Bergdahl-Taliban situation, the principle is inapposite. Charles, it turns out, is conflating some importantly distinct concepts. To begin with, there is a huge difference between how detainees are treated (a) in the midst of hostilities and (b) in an armistice at the conclusion of hostilities.

While combat is still raging – especially combat by terrorist methods that violate civilized norms – detainees should be held until the conclusion of hostilities unless there is some strategic advantage in releasing them. There can be no strategic advantage in replenishing the Taliban with five of its most capable commanders at a time when the Taliban, along with its al-Qaeda and Haqqani confederates, is still conducting offensive jihadist operations against both our troops in harm’s way and civilians.

On that score, it would not matter if the deserter Bowe Bergdahl were, instead, a heroic Audie Murphy. Indeed, as my old boss Rudy Giuliani observed on Sean Hannity’s program this week, an honorable American prisoner of war would not want to be released if the price were freeing five terrorists who would then gravely endanger his fellow troops.

Moreover, in stressing how a detainee swap satisfies the admirable objective of retrieving our captive troops, Charles misses the other side of the humanitarian ledger. The laws of war permit detention of enemy combatants until the conclusion of hostilities not to punish the captives but to promote peace. The theory is that depleting the enemy’s resources creates an incentive on the enemy’s part to seek a truce and bring the war to a swifter end with less bloodshed.

To the contrary, releasing enemy combatants while the war is still raging fortifies the enemy, incentivizes the enemy to extend the war, and causes more carnage. If we are going to talk about our values and the veneration of human life, it makes no sense to account for the marginal humanitarian benefit of obtaining the return of our captured troops while ignoring the humanitarian catastrophe of returning enemy detainees to a hot battlefield. That is especially so if the detainees in question are terrorists, who target civilians.

This is not to say that we forget about our captured troops. Far from it. We routinely divert military resources that could be devoted to other strategic wartime objectives in order to conduct combat rescue operations. But we do not “rescue” our captured troops by negotiating with terrorist organizations and releasing their captured operatives so the enemy can sustain itself and kill more American troops.

If we were talking about a settlement to conclude hostilities, Charles would have a point. When war ends, with it ends the law-of-war justification for detaining enemy combatants without trial. At that point, even detainees who continue to pose a threat must be released unless they can be charged with war crimes or other offenses. The five Taliban commanders, however, were not exchanged in a final settlement that ends the war. They are going back to a very lethal jihad.

The absurdity here is that President Obama seems to think he can bring a war to an end, abracadabra, by saying so. In reality, the war is not close to being over from the enemy’s point of view – they are continuing to fight. Under such circumstances, Obama can end the war only by surrendering. In effect, that is what he is doing, albeit in slow motion and under the camouflage of a risible Afghan “reconciliation process.” (Translation: The Taliban retakes the country in a way that is made to look like a political settlement rather than a jihadist coup.)

Read more: Family Security Matters

Can Islamism Evolve?

lightBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

Like everything Daniel Pipes writes, his column this week about the prospects of Islamism is interesting and admirably honest. If every public intellectual were as willing as Daniel to check his premises regularly and modify them when new facts call them into question, our discourse would be a lot more civil and edifying.

His column is about “Islamism,” which is the ideology I (among others) call “Islamic supremacism” — a.k.a “radical” or “extremist” Islam, or even “sharia-ism” in the recent coinage of my friend Joy Brighton . . . all of us, it should be conceded, grappling for the pitch-perfect term that (we hope) justifies sidestepping the gnawing question whether Islam itself inevitably breeds aggressive Muslim groups even if it is otherwise widely construed, or at least practiced, benignly.

Daniel has previously rejected the possibility that Islamism, which is innately dictatorial, could evolve into something that approximates pluralistic democracy. He now surveys recent developments and concludes it is conceivable — not likely, but conceivable — that Islamism could evolve and improve.

To me, the developments Daniel cites are just glimmers here and there along a mostly discouraging trajectory. I will make three points, more in reaction than in direct response to his observations.

1. Only our own lower expectations of what liberal democracy is make it possible to speculate that Islamism could become borderline democratic. While Daniel mines some hopeful signs that Islamism — or at least branches of it — could be progressing away from unyielding authoritarianism, the parallel phenomenon (which is not the subject of his column) is that Western democracy is regressing away from a culture of individual liberty protected by limited government. If it now seems conceivable that Islamism could democratize, it can only be owing to modern democracy’s accommodation of more centralized and intrusive government.

2. The only conclusion of Daniel’s that I have a real quarrel with is his assertion that

Islamism has significantly evolved over the past 13 years. As recently as 2001, its adherents were synonymous with criminals, terrorists, and revolutionaries.

I think this conflates Islamism with our perception of Islamism. Personally, I don’t believe Islamism has materially changed at all. Instead, beginning about 21 years ago with the bombing of the World Trade Center, there was a vigorous effort on the part of progressive policy-makers and thinkers — an effort that still persists — to convince the public that the only “radical” Muslims were violent jihadists (who were incongruously portrayed as both “extremist” Muslims and practitioners of a “false Islam”). All other Muslims, we were told, were “moderates,” no matter how immoderate their beliefs. There was very little public understanding of sharia — the Islamic societal framework and legal system — and of the fact that imposing its implementation is the rationale for both jihadist terror and the non-violent agitations of Islamist groups.

What has changed over the past 13 years is not Islamism. Thanks to the good work of people like Daniel — I have tried to do my share, too — the public has begun to learn that Islamists include not only terrorists but Islamic supremacists who seek to impose and inculcate sharia standards by such other means as lawfare, legislation, the classroom, the media, popular culture, etc. There is nothing new in this variegated approach; it is the same plan for ground-up revolution that Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna laid out nearly a century ago. There is, however, more popular awareness today that not every non-terrorist Muslim activist is a “moderate.”

Daniel recalls his observation all those years ago that many Islamists “are peaceable in appearance, but they all must be considered potential killers.” He says “these words ring archaic now,” but, to me, they simply reflect the still valid insight that terrorist and non-terrorist Islamists share objectives even if their methods differ. I don’t think there has been any real evolution just because we are in a time when many Islamists, as Daniel says, “find the ballot box a more effective means to power than the gun.”

It has always been the case that some Islamists pursue the sharia agenda by barbaric means and others by political and legal processes. The only difference today lies in the nature of their opportunities. In Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt, Islamists got the chance to obtain by popular vote what they had previously sought by terrorism — control of the government. And what happened when the Muslim Brotherhood took over? Terrorists were sprung from captivity. Islamist Egypt seamlessly became a hospitable place for jihadists to organize against Israel and the United States. Islamists — both violent and ostensibly non-violent — put their differences aside and allied against the West.

’Twas ever thus. Daniel is surely right that “some reforms of Islam are already underway” (my italics). But that hardly means Islamism is reforming in any substantial way. Indeed, the link in Daniel’s assertion about ongoing Islamic reform takes the reader to an excellent essay he wrote for Commentary last year, which portrays the reform of Islam as what is required “if Islamism is to be defeated,” not as a phenomenon happening in Islamism itself.

Read more at National Review

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Daniel Pipes has written a reply: Islamism’s Trajectory

The Roots of CAIR’s Intimidation Campaign

pic_giant_041214_SM_The-Roots-of-CAIRs-Intimidation-Campaignby ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

Author’s Note: This week, capitulating to Islamic-supremacist agitation led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Brandeis University reneged on its announced plan to present an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the heroic human-rights activist. In my 2010 book, The Grand Jihad, I devoted a chapter to the origins and purposes of CAIR, its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Hamas-support network, and its aim to silence critics of Islamic supremacism. In light of the continuing success of this campaign – despite a federal terrorism-financing prosecution that exposed CAIR’s unsavory background – it is worth revisiting that history. What follows is an adapted excerpt from that chapter.

In January 1993, a new, left-leaning U.S. administration, inclined to be more sympathetic to the Islamist clause, came to power. But before he could bat an eye, President Bill Clinton was confronted by the murder and depraved mutilation of American soldiers in Somalia. A few weeks later, on February 26, jihadists bombed the World Trade Center. The public was angry and appeasing Islamists would have to wait.

Yasser Arafat, however, sensed opportunity. The terrorist intifada launched at the end of 1987 had been a successful gambit for the Palestine Liberation Organization chief. Within a year, even as the body count mounted, the weak-kneed “international community” was granting the PLO the right to participate (though not to vote) in U.N. General Assembly sessions. And when Arafat made the usual show of “renouncing” terrorism – even as he was orchestrating terrorist attacks in conjunction with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Islamist factions – the United States recognized him as the Palestinians’ legitimate leader, just as the Europeans had done. Arafat blundered in 1991, throwing in his lot with Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War, and that seemed to bury him with the Bush 41 administration. But Clinton’s election was a new lease on life.

Anxious to chase the holy grail of Middle East peace and suddenly in need of demonstrating toughness against jihadist terror, the new “progressive” president was made to order for the wily Marxist terror master. If Arafat could resell his “I renounce terrorism” carpet yet again, chances were he could cash in. And so he did, purporting to commit the Palestinians to the 1993 Oslo Accords – an empty promise of peaceful coexistence exchanged for hundreds of millions in aid (much of which he pocketed), an open invitation to the Clinton White House (where he became a regular visitor), international recognition (as a statesman, no less!), and a ludicrous Nobel Peace Prize (forever degrading a once prestigious honor into a punch line).

The Muslim Brotherhood, for one, was not amused. Islamists had murdered Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981 for striking a peace pact with Israel. Sure, they knew Arafat and understood what chicanery he was up to. But acceptance of the Zionist entity’s right to exist was utterly unacceptable, even if done as a ploy.

Israel, the Brotherhood also realized, would not be the only thing squeezed by Clinton at Arafat’s urging. After a shaky start, the new president was winning global plaudits for his Orwellian “peace process.” Clinton must have known that Arafat was stringing him along, but with the theater of negotiation and ostensible progress drawing rave reviews, that was a problem for another day. The immediate concern was that Hamas jihadists could spoil the show with their implacable jihad, their blunt insistence that nothing less than Israel’s obliteration would satisfy them. That gave the fledgling administration a powerful incentive to crack down on them. Arafat would be the beneficiary as the Americans squeezed his rivals for power.

A ‘Media Twinkle’ in Philadelphia
Though the United States had been a cash cow for Hamas, it was thus a perilous time for the organization when 25 of its members and supporters gathered at a Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia on October 27, 1993. They were unaware that the FBI was monitoring their deliberations. The confab was a brainstorming exercise: How best to back Hamas and derail Oslo while concealing these activities from the American government?

A little more background to the Philadelphia meeting: For nearly two decades until his extradition in 1997, Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook was the most consequential Muslim Brotherhood operative in the United States. Now living in Egypt, he remains to this day deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau. In the early Nineties, he actually ran the terrorist organization from his home in Virginia.

During his time in the U.S., Marzook formed several organizations to promote the Palestinian jihad against Israel. In 1981, for public-relations purposes, he established the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) in conjunction with two other jihadists: future Hamas chief Khalid al-Mishal and Sami al-Arian (the latter was eventually convicted of conspiring to support Palestinian Islamic Jihad).

In December 1987, the intifada was launched and Hamas was born. Marzook immediately formed the “Palestine Committee” to serve as an umbrella organization, directing the various pro-Hamas initiatives that were developing. He brought under its wing both the IAP (which concentrated on “the political and media fronts”) and a fundraising entity he had established. That entity would eventually be called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) – though it was then known as the “Occupied Land Committee.” The reorganization would better enable the Palestine Committee to comply with the Muslim Brotherhood’s instructions to “increase the financial and the moral support for Hamas,” to “fight surrendering solutions” (like Oslo), and to publicize “the savagery of the Jews.”

It was under the auspices of the Palestine Committee that the 1993 Philadelphia meeting was convened. It was clear even then that Marzook’s Hamas network was anticipating the birth of yet another organization. The Palestine Committee’s amended by-laws declared that an as-yet-unnamed entity was already in the larval stage, “operat[ing] through” the IAP, and soon to “become an official organization for political work, and its headquarters will be in Washington, insha Allah.”

In the United States, the “political work” was crucial. The overarching mission, of course, was quite clear. As the IAP had explained in a December 1988 edition of its Arabic magazine, Ila Filastin, “The call for jihad in the name of Allah is the only path for liberation of Palestine and all the Muslim lands. We promise Allah, continuing the jihad way and the martyrdom’s way.” But while blatant summonses to jihad might stir the faithful in Islamic countries openly hostile to Jews, they were not going to fly in America – and even less so in an America whose financial heart had just been shaken by the jihadist bombing of the World Trade Center. The Brotherhood’s approach in the U.S. would have to be more subtle.

That was where the new organization would come in, as those gathered in Philadelphia – including Marzook’s brother-in-law and HLF co-founder Ghassan Elashi – explained. Although the Brotherhood had ideological depth and impressive fundraising mechanisms, Marzook had long been concerned that his network lacked the media and political savvy needed to advance an agenda in modern America. Now more than ever, they needed what HLF’s Shukri Abu Baker called “a media twinkle.”

In the U.S., Hamas was now perceived as the principal enemy of the popular “peace process.” After all, its charter explicitly called (and continues to call) for Israel’s annihilation by violent jihad. Therefore, its known supporters – the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, the IAP, and the others – were tainted in the American mind as terror-abettors, hostile to U.S. interests. As one attendee urged in Philadelphia, “We must form a new organization for activism which will be neutral, because we are placed in a corner. . . . It is known who we are. We are marked.” The new entity, by contrast, would have a clean slate. Maybe it could steal a page out of Arafat’s “hear what I say, don’t watch what I do” playbook. The new entity’s Islamism and Hamas promotion would have to be less “conspicuous.” It would need to couch its rhetoric in sweet nothings like “social justice,” “due process,” and “resistance.” If it did those things, though, it might be more attractive . . . and effective. A Muslim organization posing as a civil-rights activist while soft-pedaling its jihadist sympathies might be able to snow the American political class, the courts, the media, and the academy. It might make real inroads with the transnational progressives who dominated the Clinton administration.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Egypt: Are Elections “Democracy”?

by Andrew C. McCarthy:

From reading the American press, you would believe that if Middle Eastern Muslims were allowed to govern themselves by having free elections, this would be the route to democracy. This is a fallacy that we have been following now as a matter of American foreign policy for many administrations and many years. You cannot tell me that, after the same Egyptians voted two-to-one to have an intense Sharia constitution, eight months later they suddenly did not want Sharia any more. What they decided was that they did not want Morsi any more.

If here is ever to be anything approximating democratic transformation in Egypt the only way it is going it happen is if Egypt has a respected institution, such as the military, that governs the country, with the help of whatever technocratic officials it needs to run the country day-to-day, and where the forces of secular democracy at least have a chance to compete — which means growing these institutions to cultivate a respect for minority rights and individual liberty.

The good news is that the Egyptians will not be able to keep their Sharia constitution, at least not the way the Muslim Brotherhood designed it. But the way it was covered in the United States, this was not reflected as good news.

What is going on in Egypt now, while I wouldn’t go up in a balloon over it, is much more of a ray of hope than anything that we have had previously in what has been called the Arab Spring — a misnomer, if ever there was one. We actually knew quite a bit about how Egyptians wanted to be governed before Mubarak fell thanks to polling that was done there – in fact, done not only in Egypt but across the Middle East, from Egypt all the way to Indonesia.

There was pretty authoritative polling, for example, done by the University of Maryland in 2007 in conjunction with an outfit called World Public Opinion. It indicated that, depending on where you asked the questions, upwards of two‑thirds, and in some places over 80% of Muslim populations across the Middle East, wanted to live under Sharia, Islam’s legal code and societal framework.

 

An veiled woman casts her ballot in the second round of Egypt’s presidential election, in 2012. (Image source: Jonathan Rashad/Flickr)

Let me briefly address what Sharia is. There is no division in Islam – at least in classical Islam, Islamic supremacism, which is the Islam of the Middle East – between the secular and sacred realms. Sharia has ambition to be a total societal system.

To call it just a legal code really does not do it justice, because its ambition is to govern everything from the great things to the small things, from the matters of economy, military relations, the setting up of a government or caliphate, down to interpersonal relations and even matters of hygiene. It is a soup to nuts framework for how life is to be lived – it is not only, in many countries, about girls being prohibited from attending school, but about the many other ways in which girls and women are suppressed, not only their education, but professionally and in interpersonal relations as well.

From the Islamic perspective there is a belief that Islam has to be imposed, and that Sharia is the necessary precondition for Islamizing a society. The first World Trade Center bombing was really our first significant exposure in the United States to radical Islam conducting terrorists attacks on our shores in what turned out to be a systematic way over time.

It is interesting to me that 20 years after the World Trade Center bombing we still do not have a good understanding in the United States of what Jihad is. If you listen to the apologists for Islamic supremacists who are featured frequently in the media, you would think that it is an internal struggle for personal betterment; that it doesn’t have any military component. If you listen to them long enough, you would come away thinking that it wasn’t anything more meaningful than remembering to brush after every meal.

But Jihad is essentially a military concept, and people on our side, or on the national security side, of this debate have it wrong when they say it is everywhere and always a military concept.

What it is — everywhere and always — is the advancement of Sharia. It is about the implementation of Sharia. Whether jihad is done violently or non‑violently, the point is to implant Sharia because Sharia is seen as the necessary building block for Islamizing a society.

In the Middle East, it should tell us a lot that people across the region and in Egypt by upwards of two‑thirds said that they wanted to be governed under Sharia law. It should have given us a real clue about what was apt to happen once Mubarak fell and what, in fact, did happen once Mubarak fell. For all the hullabaloo about “democracy” and “democracy promotion,” the first election in Egypt — about two months after Mubarak was ousted — got very little coverage. I think it was the most important of all of the elections they had – then and thereafter. The media did not cover it much in the United States and in the West; it was dismissed as a procedural election about scheduling and something to do vaguely with constitutional amendments.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

KSM’s Prison Communiqués Part II: Wartime Religion of Peace Propaganda

20120506_khalid_sheikh_mohammed (1)by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

We explained in yesterday’s Ordered Liberty post that the publication of jihad heavyweight Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s communiqués, disseminated from the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, herald the return of the pre-9/11 paradigm: jihadist terror treated as a mere law-enforcement problem, not a war. Now, we turn to the propaganda aspects of KSM’s published writings, which – so far as we know at this time – include an Islamic-supremacist manifesto (published by the Huffington Post) and a lengthy letter to a social-worker pen-pal in Britain (reported on by the Guardian).

Let’s start by observing that it would have been inconceivable during, say, World War II, for the U.S. government to permit imprisoned German or Japanese enemy combatants (of which there were thousands) to enable publication of ideological propaganda from American detention facilities. It would have been nearly as inconceivable for American lawyers to argue that alien enemy combatants had a “right” to communicate with the outside world this way, or for American news outlets to publish enemy propaganda under the guise of “news” reporting. The two latter institutions have changed for the worse, and the government (very much including the courts) is bending to accommodate, rather than resisting, the Lawyer Left and the media.

For the reasons detailed in yesterday’s post, this is an alarming development. The national imperative in wartime should be victory over our enemies. We should not be at war unless we have that commitment – it is a profound betrayal of the young men and women we put in harm’s way to enable our enemies. KSM has no constitutional rights, we owe him only humane treatment, and it is ludicrous to suggest that he has a right to get his messages out to the world while he is lawfully detained as an enemy combatant.

Yet, the Obama Defense Department told Fox News that it is capable of vetting jihadist communications to ensure that their publication poses no threat. Even assuming for argument’s sake that the government has such a duty – and it does not, there should be a blanket prohibition – the claim is laughable.

As I demonstrated in yesterday’s post, the communications of imprisoned jihadists, even those that seem ostensibly harmless, increase the prestige of the inmates in the eyes of Islamic supremacists. They can be exploited by the imprisoned jihadists’ confederates for purposes of fundraising, recruitment, and calls to violence. It is not a matter of what our genius government analysts believe they can divine in the way of jihadist commands and coded messages. It is a matter of how the jihadists on the outside can use communications from imprisoned terrorists to promote anti-Americanism and jihadism.

But even putting that aside, our government is incompetent when it comes to vetting jihadist communications. It cannot be competent because it has spent the last quarter century putting its head in the sand on the matter of Islamic supremacist ideology and the nexus between Islamic scripture and jihadist violence.

Back in 2008, I wrote a book called Willful Blindness about what even then was a longstanding dysfunction. Yet, things have gotten much worse, particularly under Obama’s watch. The government has now purged information about Islamic supremacism from instruction materials used to train our military, intelligence and law-enforcement agents – effectively giving Islamist organizations and operatives (many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and red-carpet access to the administration) a veto over what our investigators and analysts may be taught about the ideology that catalyzes the threat to our nation.

The resulting debacle is elucidated by the press reporting on KSM’s communiqués, which shows why information of this sort should never be published in wartime. The HuffPo story uncritically reports, for example, that KSM is now trying to persuade people to come to Islam peacefully and that forcing people to convert to Islam is against the Koran. The obvious agenda is to put KSM – the most evil mass-murderer ever to be in American custody – in a more sympathetic light, or at the very least to bleach away any nexus between Islamic principles and atrocities committed by Muslims in the name of Islam.

But KSM has not changed and neither have his beliefs – they remain as enduring as our conscious avoidance of his ideology.

In point of fact, Islamic law teaches that, before waging offensive jihad, Muslims must first invite non-believers to accept the truth of Islam. Doctrinally, this summons to Islam is a necessary precondition to waging violent jihad. There are numerous examples of bin Laden and Zawahiri (bin Laden’s deputy and now the leader of al Qaeda) issuing public statements calling on infidels to accept Islam. Under their interpretation of sharia, it is a box they are supposed to check before they start blowing things up and steering airplanes into skyscrapers.

The reporting makes much of KSM’s assertion that the Koran forbids forcible conversion to Islam. The narrative now making the rounds is that KSM “has renounced violence,” as Canada’s National Post puts it.

Even a cursory familiarity with Islamic supremacist ideology would put this specious claim to rest. It is true, in the most narrow of senses, that Islamic doctrine forbids forcible conversion: Muslims are not supposed to hold a gun to your head to force you to convert. But Islamic doctrine endorses violence for the purpose of promoting Islam, and conversion is not close to being the most significant way of promoting Islam.

Read more: Family Security Matters

See also:

KSM’s Prison Communiqués: Enemy Combatants Back to Being Criminal Defendants

ksmBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

I was invited to provide commentary Tuesday night on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News program (“The Kelly File”) regarding the all too predictable but nevertheless appalling news that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — al Qaeda heavyweight, 9/11 mastermind, decapitator of Daniel Pearl, jihadist warring against America for the better part of two decades, and murderer of nearly 3,000 of our fellow citizens — has been permitted to transmit propaganda out of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. The interview is posted on Megyn’s site here — I respond to contentions made by the first guest, defense lawyer and former JAG Charles Swift.

More needs to be said on this. Let’s first consider the insanity of permitting enemy combatants to communicate with the outside world while the war ensues — and though the administration rarely speaks or acts as if there is a war going on, and while the public pays it scant attention, we still have forces in harm’s way pursuant to a congressional authorization of combat operations; we are still killing and capturing enemy operatives pursuant to the laws of war, which is only permissible during wartime.

The rationale for shifting, post-9/11, from a law-enforcement counterterrorism paradigm to a war-footing prominently included the recognition that we had to regard as a military enemy, not as mere criminal defendants, the members of an international terrorist network that (a) had declared war against the U.S.; (b) was supported by rogue governments; (c) focused its jihad on American military, political, economic and civilian targets; and (d) was capable of projecting force on the scale of the 9/11 attacks. Contrary to popular wisdom, that remains a salient distinction.

Criminal defendant detainees in the civilian justice system are arrested only after being accused of crimes, and are presumed innocent of the charges. Thus, in the pretrial phase, they have an array of rights even if they are denied bail — and bail may only be denied based on risk-of-flight or convincing proof that they pose a danger to potential witnesses or the community at large. These pretrial rights include liberal opportunities to meet with counsel for trial-defense preparation, and to have contact with others in the outside world that approximates what accused people who are at liberty enjoy. (This changes if and when a defendant is found guilty at trial. Incarcerated convicts have significantly fewer rights and privileges than pretrial detainees.)

To the contrary, enemy combatant detainees do not have to be accused of prosecutable offenses in order to be lawfully detained, and they are generally denied contact with the outside world. The reason is straightforward. While the object of the civilian criminal justice system is to provide due process to the accused so that civil rights are protected and trial outcomes have integrity, the object of war is to defeat the enemy. Consequently, while we owe enemy combatants basic humane treatment, due process concerns are not a high priority. After all, the rationale for detaining enemy combatants has little or nothing to do with prosecution of a criminal case — indeed, there need be no criminal case, and in most instances there is not one. The purpose of detaining enemy combatants is to deplete the assets of the enemy and thus achieve victory more rapidly and with less bloodshed.

Moreover, even when enemy combatants have committed provable war crimes that qualify for trial by military commission, the priority in wartime remains victory for the nation. As long as the war ensues, due process for the war criminal is never the priority because prosecuting war crimes, even when the accused is a high-ranking enemy operative, is far less important than victory in the war. Due process rules governing discovery and testimony can result in the public revelation of our intelligence about the enemy, and in the use of the trial process by the enemy for propaganda purposes. Thus, war crimes trials rarely happen until after the war is over, and when they do happen during the war, great care must be taken to guard against unnecessary disclosures.

Of course, fundamental fairness requires permitting an accused war criminal enough access to counsel to prepare for trial. This, however, does not imply that the accused has constitutional rights. Most commentators get this point wrong. We permit an alien enemy combatant meaningful access to counsel because by accusing him of war crimes we have chosen to put him on trial. A trial would not meet the Anglo-American standards for a trial if the accused were not permitted a meaningful opportunity to mount whatever defense he may have. That is, our concern is with the integrity of the trial process, not with the purported “rights” of wartime enemies who have committed atrocities against Americans.

Obviously, then, an alien enemy combatant accused of war crimes is not entitled to the extensive contact with counsel afforded in the civilian justice system to Americans who are fully vested with Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. And even less is an alien enemy combatant entitled to other, more general contact with the outside world.

Read more at PJ Media

Coercing Conformity

pic_giant_122813_ABy Andrew C. McCarthy:

In “protecting the rights of all people to worship the way they choose,” then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton vowed “to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.”

Mrs. Clinton required translation into the language of truth, as she generally does when her lips are moving. By the “rights” of “all people” to “worship” as “they choose,” she meant the sharia-based desire of Muslim supremacists to foreclose critical examination of Islam. Madame Secretary, you see, was speechifying before her friends at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — the bloc of 56 Muslim countries plus the Palestinian territories.

At that very moment in July 2011, Christians were under siege in Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, and Iran — being gradually purged from those Islamic countries just as they’d been purged from Turkey, which hosted Mrs. Clinton’s speech. As Christians from the Middle East to West Monroe, La., can tell you, the Left and its Obama vanguard are not remotely interested in their “rights . . . to worship the way they choose.”

What they choose, after all, is to honor Christian tenets about sexuality, freedom of conscience, and the sanctity of life. Those tenets, just like honest criticism of Islam, are consigned to the category Clinton calls “what we abhor.” And if progressives abhor something, it somehow always becomes everyone’s duty to make certain that those who embrace that something “don’t feel that they have . . . support.”

Of course, they do have support . . . at least on paper. The First Amendment protects all of us against government suppression of speech. But the amendment is just a parchment promise if the government against which it is a safeguard actively undermines it. That is today’s United States government: rendering free expression an illusory right by inciting the mob, by extortionate lawfare tactics that exhaust the resources and energy of the citizen.

That brings us to the most compelling of all the points Mark Steyn made this week in his trenchant defense of free expression: When it comes to stifling speech, and thus suppressing thought, it is increasingly frivolous to distinguish between “state coercion” and “cultural coercion.”

Yes, it is textbook true that the First Amendment applies only against the government — indeed, only against the federal government as originally understood. The constitutional free-speech guarantee is literally irrelevant against private actors, including bullies like GLAAD, the gay-rights agitators who intimidated A&E into suspending Phil Robertson from a show about his family — which, I suppose, is the absurd reality when you’re producing a “reality” program (Duck Dynasty) about a family business.

But as long as we’re talking about reality, what if the “private” actors are really the deadly point of a coercive government’s spear? Mrs. Clinton proclaimed that the Obama administration would unleash “old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming” to squelch speech it disapproved of. We call these “techniques” extortion and intimidation when they are used by mafia families and other like-minded racketeering enterprises.

A corrupt government has some direct ways of undermining our rights. It can bring vexatious lawsuits, knowingly enact unconstitutional laws, or sign international agreements transparently intended to erode constitutional liberties. Theoretically, we can fight these tactics in the courts and by lobbying our lethargic lawmakers; as a practical matter, though, it takes years of anxiety at prohibitive expense. Few will be up to the task.

Secretary Clinton’s collaboration with the OIC is a good example: They jointly came up with a resolution that would make it unlawful to engage in speech that incites “discrimination” and “hostility” toward “religion.” More translation: “Religion” here does not mean religion; it means Islam. The Obama administration, itself no stranger to incitements against traditional Christianity, is not worried about that kind of hostility.

But put aside the hypocrisy of bashing Christians for merely holding beliefs while turning a blind eye to Muslims who kill over theirs. The point here is: It is pluperfectly palpable that the resolution negotiated by the Obama State Department and the OIC violates the First Amendment.

Free speech cannot work if the government it is designed to restrain does not respect it. A lawful American government — one that takes seriously its sworn obligation to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution — would not only enforce the First Amendment; it would refrain from engaging in unconstitutional schemes in the first place.

When it instead leads the pack in assaulting the Constitution — when, to take another example, the government repeatedly, publicly, and mendaciously blames a jihadist mass murder in Benghazi on an obscure movie; when, under the guise of a “supervised release” violation, it then trumps up a prosecution against the filmmaker precisely to sell the “Muslim world” on its commitment to imposing anti-constitutional sharia blasphemy standards — it is implicitly endorsing and obviously encouraging mob suppression of speech.

Read more at National Review

 

Obama on National Security: Serial Fraud

fraud

WASHINGTON, DC– Today the Center for Security Policy released a web ad and email campaign entitled, “Obama on National Security: Serial Fraud,” featuring former federal prosecutor, National Review columnist and bestselling author Andrew C. McCarthy.

The Center’s campaign focuses on what it calls “Obama’s national security fraud” and makes parallels from the president’s misrepresentations on Obamacare to our nation’s defense and security. The text Americans are urged to send to Obama, declares, boldly, that “We, the people, refuse to be lied to, especially about our national security. Too much is at stake – our children, our country, our lives. Your promises about health care and other domestic issues have seriously damaged your credibility.”

Send an email to President Obama

 

 

Transcript: Obama on National Security: Serial Fraud

Can we afford to leave national security to a president accused of fraud and repeatedly lying to the American public?

McCarthy: “‘You want your plan, you keep your plan’ is just the beginning. We’re talking about serial fraud on multiple levels…”

Now, he’s rushing to make a deal to leave Iran with nuclear weapons that Israel warns will make the entire world more dangerous and unstable. After what he did to healthcare, America cannot risk the same Obama train wreck… on national security.

The Clintons Employ Muslim Brotherhood Officials? You Can’t Be Serious …

Gehad el-Haddad

Gehad el-Haddad

By Andrew C. McCarthy:

I don’t know who is more shocked about this, me or Huma Abedin, but it turns out that a former top Clinton Foundation official is also … a senior Muslim Brotherhood official who has just been arrested for – you’ll never guess – inciting violence in Egypt. Not to worry, I’m sure it was only moderate violence.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo reports on Gehad [as in Jihad] el-Haddad:

A senior Muslim Brotherhood official who, until recently, had been employed by the William J. Clinton Foundation was arrested in Cairo on Tuesday and charged with inciting violence.

Gehad el-Haddad served as one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s top communications officials until Egyptian security forces seized him as part of a wider crackdown on officials loyal to ousted former President Mohamed Morsi.

Before emerging as a top Brotherhood official and adviser to Morsi, el-Haddad served for five years as a top official at the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit group founded by former President Bill Clinton.

El-Haddad gained a reputation for pushing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist agenda in the foreign press, where he was often quoted defending the Brotherhood’s crackdown on civil liberties in Egypt.

He was raised in a family of prominent Brotherhood supporters and became the public face of the Islamist organization soon after leaving his post at the Clinton Foundation. However, much of his official work with the Brotherhood took place while he was still claiming to be employed by the Clinton Foundation.

Funny how that works. As I’ve previously recounted, Ms. Abedin began working for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton while simultaneously (a) working at an Islamist journal with top al Qaeda financier Abdullah Omar Naseef (the funding device, a “charity” called the Rabita Trust, which Naseef ran with al Qaeda founder Wael Jalaidan, is a designated terrorist organization under U.S. law); and (b) serving on the executive board of the Muslim Students Association’s George Washington Universitychapter. (The Muslim Students Association is the first building block of the Brotherhood’s American infrastructure, and the late, unlamented al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki – an MSA alum, like MorsiJalaidan and Ms. Abedin – was the “chaplain” at the GWU chapter at the same time he was providing, er, spiritual advice to some of the eventual 9/11 suicide-hijackers).

Adam Kredo’s report goes on to explain that Gehad el-Haddad’s placement in the Morsi inner-circle was a natural because of family ties: el-Haddad’s father was a top foreign policy adviser to Morsi, the Brotherhood leader, America-basheranti-Semite, and now-ousted Egyptian president.

Small world: Ms. Abedin’s parents (her mother and late father) have also been prominent Brotherhood figures. In fact, besides running the journal founded by Naseef, Ms. Abedin’s mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, is reportedly a member of the Muslim Sisterhood … as is Morsi’s wife. Mrs. Abedin also runs a sharia promotion organization called the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child (IICWC), which is part of another group, the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief(IICDR), that has been banned in Israel for providing material support to Hamas (the Brotherhood’s Palestinian terrorist branch). Both IICWC and IICDR operate under the umbrella of Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi’s Union of Good. Sheikh Qaradawi is the Brotherhood’s chief jurist and has issued fatwas endorsing suicide bombings in Israel and the killing of American troops in Iraq – and his Union of Good is a designated terrorist organization under U.S. law.

Adam also notes that el-Haddad was the Brotherhood official placed in charge of the “Renaissance Project” in February 2011, while he was still at the Clinton Foundation. The report describes the “Renaissance Project” as “a Brotherhood-backed economic recovery program.” Actually, that’s not the half of it. As I outlined in Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy:

[In early 2011, just after Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badi announced that jihad was “the only solution against Zio-American arrogance and tyranny”] Khairat el-Shater … began making himself heard. Shater is the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Deputy General Guide.” He is a charismatic figure, revered as the “Iron Man” for his defiant refusal to buckle through two decades of repeated detention and prosecution by Mubarak’s regime[.]…He also brings intellectual heft: after Mubarak fell, it was to Shater that the Brotherhood turned to craft its comprehensive strategy for shaping Egypt’s future.

The Brothers have a name for this enterprise. It is called “the Nahda Project” – the Islamic “Renaissance.”

Read more at PJ Media

 

 

McCarthy: Syrian intervention should be based on national security not who used chemical weapons

 

Saudi Chemicals in hands of Syrian Rebels (via Shoebat.com)

Saudi Chemicals in hands of Syrian Rebels (via Shoebat.com)

Syria Argument Has Not Changed Since Spring

by Andrew McCarthy:

The debate on Syria continues to focus like a laser on exactly the wrong issue — whether Assad used chemical weapons. To be sure, as Alan Reynolds argued here yesterday, the Obama administration’s case that he did is underwhelming. More disturbing, Yossef Bodansky lays out evidence that the Assad regime’s alleged sarin attack on August 21 was a deception engineered by the mujahideen rebels who, a week earlier, were already antcipating what he describes as “an imminent escalation in the fighting due to ‘a war-changing development’ which would, in turn, lead to a US-led bombing of Syria.” All that aside, however, the main problem remains what it has always been: Assad’s enemies are enemies of the United States, and helping them does not advance American national security.

Read more…

And over at PJ Media, McCarthy reminds us of Al Qaeda’s history in regards to chemical weapons.

Listen to Secure Freedom Radio interviews with Robert Zarate, Henry Sokolski, Andy McCarthy, and Gordon Chang on the Syrian issue

Related articles

Closing Gitmo Is Still a Terrible Idea

20111213_GitmoEscortby ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

Such unlucky timing for Senator Dick Durbin: He insisted on hearing today to push forward President Obama’s reckless project to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Apparently, al-Qaeda did not get the memo: The jihadist network has conducted bombing raids at two Iraqi prisons – including Abu Ghraib – in a successful plot to break out hundreds of terrorists. An Iraqi parliamentarian concedes that no fewer than 500 jihadists have escaped, including many senior al-Qaeda operatives who were awaiting execution.

If you want to get a sense of the very coherent Middle East policy President Obama has arrived at with the help of Senator McCain, the freed al-Qaeda terrorists can remain in country as America’s enemies in the Iraqi civil war, or they can skip across the border and become “rebels” – America’s noble allies in the Syrian civil war.

But back to Gitmo. What has just happened in Iraq – and terrorist attacks to facilitate escapes have happened before in Iraq as well as in Yemen and Afghanistan – underscores one of the many fallacies in the anti-Gitmo arguments posited by the president and Attorney General Eric Holder. They claim that closing Gitmo and lodging the enemy combatant military prisoners in stateside civilian prisons would pose no security threat to the American people because our federal prisons – especially the “supermax” facilities – are so secure escape is impossible. But escape is not and has never been our principal concern; the security challenge is attempted escape. That is, just because we’re confident that violent people cannot successfully break themselves out does not mean they and their confederates will not forever plot and occasionally try to break them out – increasing considerably the threat of violence at and around the prisons.

Put aside for now the astronomical security costs to “harden” terrorist prison facilities and protect the perimeter around them. The plots to free jihadists have resulted in acts of savage violence both inside and outside the prisons where terrorists have been held. If Obama shutters Gitmo and moves the terrorists here, he will in effect be moving more of these plots here.

Read more: Family Security Matters

 

If you see something, say nothing

Runners at the start of the 117th Boston Marathon. Stew Milne / AP

Runners at the start of the 117th Boston Marathon. Stew Milne / AP

Changes to the AP stylebook show that we’re blinding ourselves to the connections between Islamic extremism and terrorism.

by Andrew C. McCarthy:

It was a report of the now numbingly familiar sort. Witnesses at the synagogue in Paris recounted that an Iranian immigrant had been screaming “Allahu Akbar!” while he chased the rabbi and his son. When he finally caught up, he slashed away at them with a box-cutter, causing severe lacerations. Nevertheless, the Associated Press assured readers that “[a]n official investigation was underway to determine a possible motive.”

Quite a mystery, that.

It is necessary to search for some “possible” motive because to notice the actual and perfectly obvious motive is verboten in the judgment of both the legacy media and Western governments. The motive, of course, is adherence to Islamic supremacist ideology, a mainstream interpretation of Muslim doctrine commonly referred to by the shorthand “Islamist.”

Indeed, just this April, the AP revised its stylebook to posit new guidelines for use of the term “Islamist.” In so doing, the news service deferred to admonitions from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood’s influential public-relations-cum-lawfare arm in the United States, is a longtime supporter 0f Hamas, the terrorist organization that doubles as the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch.

Before these revisions, the definition off which the AP had been working was reasonably accurate. An Islamist, according to the old guidelines, was “a supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam.” Such supporters make up a sizeable percentage of the 1.4 billion-strong global Islamic ummah (the community), and thus reflect a wide range of Muslim notions about how best to impose these “laws of Islam”—the societal framework and politico-legal system known as sharia (the path). But all Islamists agree that they must be imposed. That is what makes an Islamist an Islamist. The dramatic ascendancy of Islamists—the implementation of their substantially anti-democratic system through democratic procedures—is the story of the so-called Arab Spring.

There is plenty of disagreement within the ummah about what constitutes sharia, which is derived from the Koran and other sources of Islamic scripture, in particular the hadith—authoritative collections of the words and deeds of Mohammed, Islam’s warrior prophet. Some claim it is merely a set of aspirational guidelines intended as a private behavioral compass designed to achieve a Muslim’s personal experience of the divine. This construction, though held by various reformers and modernizing “secular Muslims,” flies in the face of some stubborn realities.

Sharia, for example, is the law of Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, bastions of fundamentalist Islam that admit of no other legal systems, that employ “religious police” to promote strict sharia compliance, and that routinely apply Islam’s harsh corporal punishments, such as scourging and even stoning. Furthermore, even in Islamic countries that attempt to meld sharia with other legal systems (e.g., Napoleonic law), sharia is given pride of place and enforced both officially, in civil and criminal court cases, and culturally, by public mores.

The claims that sharia is aspirational and a matter of personal conscience are further contradicted, by its emphasis on governance: Only a small percentage of Islamic ideology prescribes what we in the West would recognize as religious principles (e.g., the oneness of Allah); the lion’s share is a thoroughgoing regulation of political and social life, from economic and military affairs through interpersonal relations and matters of hygiene. In addition, sharia has long been codified: The treatise “Umdat al-Salik,” reflecting the broad consensus on sharia’s prescriptions across the four ancient Sunni jurisprudential schools, was assembled by the renowned scholar Ahmad ibn an-Naqib al-Misri in the fourteenth century. It is translated into English as Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, and is readily available through most large book retailers—complete with endorsements, in the manual’s foreword, from such influential institutions as Cairo’s al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni learning since the tenth century, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought, an Islamist think-tank headquartered in Virginia by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Islamic supremacist interpretation of sharia found in Reliance of the Traveller and systematically taught by the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most significant Islamic mass-movement, is the dynamic Islam of the Muslim Middle East. It is also gradually making inroads in the West, courtesy of a Brotherhood stratagem best described as “voluntary apartheid.” The idea is for Muslims to immigrate and integrate, but not assimilate. They are encouraged, instead, to move into Islamic enclaves, organizing their lives around the local mosque and Islamic community center, which the Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna stressed as the “axis” of the movement. The goal is to pressure the host government to abide an ever-increasing degree of sharia autonomy.

This form of sharia, to which Islamists widely adhere and aspire, is fundamentally antithetical to Western liberalism. It rejects individual liberty and privacy, equality before the law for women and non-Muslims, freedom of conscience and speech, economic liberty, and even the bedrock principle that a body politic has the power to make law for itself, irrespective of any religious or ideological code. Sharia also expressly endorses jihad. These are the “laws of Islam” to which the AP refers without describing them. The installation of these laws is the top priority of emerging Islamist “democracies,” which establish Islam as the state religion and enshrine sharia in their new constitutions—such new governments as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, whose sharia constitutions were drafted with the helping hand of the U.S. State Department.

Read more at The New Criterion