The Problem with Islam Is Aggressive Scripture, Not Aggressive ‘Traditionalism’

quran

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy — January 16, 2016:

On the Corner this week, the eminent Jim Talent touted (with some reservations) an essay about “moderate Islam” by Cheryl Bernard. A Rand Institute researcher, she is also a novelist, a defender of war-ravaged cultures, and the wife of Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to post-Taliban (or is it pre-Taliban?) Afghanistan. With due respect to Dr. Bernard, who does much heroic work, I believe the essay highlights what is wrong with Western academic analysis of Islam.

The problem comes into focus in the very title of Senator Talent’s post, “Aggressive Traditionalism.” That is the attribute of Islamic societies that Dr. Bernard blames for the frustration of her high hopes for “moderate Islam.” In truth, however, the challenge Islam poses for moderation is not its tradition; it is Islamic doctrine — the scriptural support for traditional sharia and Islamic supremacist ideology.

I give Bernard credit. She is the unusual strategist who is willing to admit failure — in this instance, of the strategy of promoting “moderate Islam” as the antidote to “radical Islam.” But even this concession goes off the rails: She maintains that the strategy was somehow “basically sensible” despite being “off track in two critical ways.” The real problem, though, is not the two errors she identifies but the fatal flaw she fails to address: The happenstance that there are many moderate Muslims in the world does not imply the existence of a coherent “moderate Islam.” Try as she might, Bernard cannot surmount this doctrinal hurdle by blithely ignoring the centrality of doctrine to a belief system — without it, there is nothing to believe.

But let’s start with the two critical problems she does cite. The first is the matter of defining what a “moderate” is. Bernard concedes that she and other thinkers adopted a definition that was “too simplistic” — meaning, too broad. It made “violence and terrorism” the litmus test for “moderation.” This enabled what she labels “aggressive traditionalists” to masquerade as moderates.

Who are the “aggressive traditionalists”? Muslims who, though nonviolent themselves, “harbor attitudes of hostility and alienation” against non-Muslims. The failure to account for the challenge that “aggressive traditionalism” poses for moderation led to the second flaw Bernard admits: the undermining of “integration” — a reference to Muslim assimilation (or the lack thereof) in the West.

This is fine as far as it goes. In fact, Bernard is quite correct about the main challenge posed by hostile, alienated, integration-resistant Muslims: Even if they are personally nonviolent, the communities they create become “the breeding ground for extremism and the safe harbor for extremists.”

But “extremism” about what? This is the salient question, and it is one Bernard studiously ducks. The error is implicit from the very start of her essay (my italics):

Over the past decade, the prevailing thinking has been that radical Islam is most effectively countered by moderate Islam. The goal was to find religious leaders and scholars and community ‘influencers’ — to use the lingo of the counter-radicalization specialists — who could explain to their followers and to any misguided young people that Islam is a religion of peace, that the term jihad refers mainly to the individual’s personal struggle against temptation and for moral betterment, and that tolerance and interfaith cooperation should prevail.

Plainly, the “prevailing thinking” casually assumes “facts” not only unproven but highly dubious. Bernard takes it as a given not only that there is an easily identifiable “moderate Islam,” but also that this . . . what? . . . doctrine? . . . attitude? . . . is the most effective counter to “radical Islam.”

But what is moderate Islam? She doesn’t say. She maintains that there are countless moderate Muslims who, by her telling, embrace “Western values, modern life and integration.” In fact, she assumes there are so many such Muslims that they constitute the “mainstream” of Islam. Yet, that proposition is not necessarily true even in the West, where Muslims are a minority who might be expected to assimilate into the dominant, non-Muslim culture; and it most certainly is not true in the Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East.

Even worse is Bernard’s assertion — uncritical, and without a hint that there may be a counter-case — “that Islam is a religion of peace, [and] that the term jihad refers mainly to the individual’s personal struggle against temptation and for moral betterment.”

As is the wont of Islam’s Western apologists, Bernard is attempting to shield from examination what most needs examining. Her reliance on the potential of “moderate Islam” to quell “radical Islam” is entirely premised on the conceit that Islam is, in fact, moderate and peaceful. Her assumption that the vast majority of Muslims can be won over (indeed, have already been won over, she seems to say) to Western values is premised on the conceit that those values are universal and, hence, locatable in the core of Islam — such that “tolerance and interfaith cooperation should prevail” because Islam is all for them.

Islam, however, is not a religion of peace. It is a religion of conquest that was spread by the sword. Moreover, it is not only untrue that jihad refers “mainly” to the individual’s internal struggle to live morally; it is also untrue that the Islamic ideal of the moral life is indistinguishable from the Western conception.

To be clear, this is not to say that Islam could not conceivably become peaceful. Nor is it to say that jihad could not be reinterpreted such that a decisive majority of Muslims would accept that its actual primary meaning — namely, holy war to establish Islam’s dominance — has been superseded by the quest for personal betterment. To pull that off, though, will require a huge fight. It cannot be done by inhabiting an alternative universe where it has already been done.

That fight would be over doctrine, the stark omission in Bernard’s analysis. I do not think the omission is an oversight. Note her labeling of faux moderates as “aggressive traditionalists.” Citing “tradition” implies that the backwardness and anti-Western hostility she detects, to her great dismay, is a function of cultural inhibitions. But what she never tells you, and hopes you’ll never ask, is where Islamic culture and traditions come from.

Alas, they are direct consequences of Islamic scripture and sharia, the law derived from scripture. She can’t go there. She wants Islam to be moderate, but its scriptures won’t cooperate. She must rely on tradition and culture because traditions and cultures can and do evolve. Scripture, by contrast, does not — not in Islam as taught by over a millennium’s worth of scholars and accepted by untold millions of Muslims. Mainstream Islam holds that scripture is immutable. The Koran, the center of Islamic life, is deemed the “uncreated word of Allah,” eternal. (See, e.g., Sura 6:115: “The Word of thy Lord doth find its fulfillment in truth and justice: None can change His Words: For He is the one Who heareth and knoweth all.”)

Bernard must blame aggressive traditionalism because if the problem is aggressive doctrine rooted in aggressive scripture, then it’s not changing any time soon — or maybe ever. Moreover, she is not in a position to challenge doctrine and scripture without deeply offending the believers to whom she is appealing. They are taught that any departure from centuries-old scholarly consensus is blasphemy.

The story Dr. Bernard tells of Islamic intransigence in her own Northern Virginia neighborhood is instructive. A Muslim-American friend of hers is a social worker who finds jobs for Muslim immigrants. He lands openings for a group of Somali women in a hospital laundry service; but the women first tell him they must check with their imam, then they turn down the jobs because they will not be allowed to wear their hijabs. The social worker and Bernard are exasperated: Why don’t the women and their adviser grasp that because hijabs could get caught in the machinery and cause injury, there is a “pragmatic reason” for departing from the traditional Islamic norm?

Notice: Bernard never considers, or at least never acknowledges, that there is doctrinal support for every decision the Somalis make: The scriptures instruct Muslims to consult authorities knowledgeable in sharia before embarking on a questionable course of conduct; they instruct Muslim women to wear the veil (particularly in any setting where they will be exposed to men who are not their husbands or close relatives). And while pragmatism suggests to the rational Dr. Bernard and her moderate, Westernized social-worker friend an obvious exception to Islam’s usual clothing rule, mainstream Islam in the Middle East and Somalia admonishes that Western reliance on reason and pragmatism is a form of corruption, a pretext for ignoring religious duty.

Doctrine is the answer to virtually every immoderate instance of aggressive “traditionalism” Bernard complains about: the separation of men from women in the mosque, and the decidedly poorer accommodations (“often unacceptable and even insulting,” as Bernard describes them) to which women are consigned; the separation of the sexes in work and social settings; the instructions not to trust or befriend “unbelievers”; the admonitions to resist adopting Western habits and developing loyalty to Western institutions. There is scriptural support for every one of these injunctions.

From the fact that she has moderate, “modernized” Muslim friends, who do not comport themselves in such “traditional” fashion, Bernard extravagantly deduces that tradition is the problem. She never comes close to grappling with doctrine — i.e., the thing that most devout Muslims believe is what makes them Muslims. The closest she comes is the fleeting observation that her moderate social-worker friend “is a scholar [presumably of Islam] and a professor who emigrated from a conservative Muslim country.” The obvious suggestion is that if he is not troubled by the flouting of traditional Islamic mores, surely there must not be any credible scriptural objection. But if it is relevant that her friend is a scholar, is it not also relevant that there are thousands of other scholars — scholars who actually do Islamic jurisprudence rather than social work for a living — who would opine that sharia requires these traditional behaviors and that it is the social worker who is out of touch?

When Dr. Bernard’s husband, Ambassador Khalilzad, served in Kabul, he midwifed the new Afghan constitution that purported to safeguard Western notions of liberty while simultaneously installing Islam as the state religion and sharia as fundamental law. In short order, Afghanistan put former Muslims who had publicly renounced Islam on capital trial for apostasy. Dr. Khalilzad, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and other Western officials and intellectuals pronounced themselves duly shocked and appalled — notwithstanding that anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Islamic scripture knows that it calls for public apostates to be killed.

To great American embarrassment, the apostates had to be whisked out of the country lest the incompatibility of civil rights and sharia become even more painfully apparent. It is worth acknowledging, however, that what chased them out of Afghanistan was not aggressive traditionalism. It was Islamic doctrine, which simply is not moderate. Looked at doctrinally, the challenge for “moderate Islam” is . . . Islam.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

 

Just Asking about Islam and Terrorism

jihadiNational Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Dec. 26, 2015:

Let me ask you a question.

Let’s say you are an authentically moderate Muslim. Perhaps you were born into Islam but have become secularist. Or perhaps you consider yourself a devout Muslim but interpret Islam in a way that rejects violent jihad, rejects the concept that religious and civic life are indivisible, and rejects the principle that sharia’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code must be imposed on the state. Let’s just take that as a given: You are no more inclined toward terrorism than any truly peaceful, moderate, pro-democratic non-Muslim.

So let me pop the question: Is there any insulting thing I could say, no matter how provocative, or any demeaning video I could show you, no matter how lurid, that could convince you to join ISIS?

Mind you, I am not asking whether, upon my insulting and provoking you, you would ever want to have anything to do with me again. I am asking whether there is anything that could be said or done by me, or, say, Donald Trump, or Nakoula Basseley Nakoula — the video producer (Innocence of Muslims) whom Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tried to blame for the Benghazi massacre — that could persuade you to throw up your hands and join the jihad? Is there anything so profoundly offensive to Islam that we could conjure up that would make a truly moderate, peaceful Muslim sign up for mass murder? Torching and beheading? Killing children? Participating in systematic rape as a weapon of war?

I didn’t think so.

RELATED: Yes, Islamic Is Islamic, But That’s Just the Beginning of the Debate

Yet, understand, that is what Washington would have you believe. Whether it is Barack Obama sputtering on about how Guantanamo Bay drives jihadist recruitment, or Hillary Clinton obsessing over videos (the real one by Nakoula that she pretended caused terrorism in Libya, and the pretend ones about Donald Trump that she claims have Muslims lined up from Raqqa to Ramadi to join ISIS), you are to believe violent jihad is not something that Muslims do but that Americans incite.

And it’s not just Democrats who’d have you buy this bunkum. Think of the Arab Spring fairy tale — about Libya, Egypt, and, most recently, Syria — that Republicans have been telling for years, critiqued by yours truly in Spring Fever. It is still GOP gospel, glibly peddled by Marco Rubio just a couple of weeks ago at the 2016 presidential candidates’ debate. (Disclosure: I support Ted Cruz.)

RELATED: Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth — the Muslim World Is Overcome with Hate

The fairy tale goes something like this. There is a terrible dictator who so tormented his people that they rose up against him. These were noble people, overwhelmingly moderate, secular Muslims — adherents of a “religion of peace” (or, as Bush secretary of state Condi Rice put it, “a religion of peace and love”), who craved democracy. (Caution: You can call them “rebels,” but words like “Muslim Brotherhood” and “sharia” are not to be uttered — we’re trying to build a narrative here!) Sure, the noble people may have tolerated the occasional jihadist in their midst, but that could happen to even the most well-intentioned peaceful moderate, right? (The pervasive presence of jihadists who used Syria and Libya as gateways to jihad against Americans in Iraq is also not to be mentioned.)

Now let’s let bygones be bygones. No need to tarry over small details — like how the noble people installed anti-democratic Islamists who imposed a sharia constitution on Egypt after ousting their pro-American dictator; or how Libya became a jihadist playpen where Americans are murdered after the U.S. government sided with the noble people to oust the U.S.-supported dictator who had been giving us counterterrorism intelligence about jihadists in places like Benghazi.

Let’s just skip ahead to Syria. There, the noble people needed America’s help, but Barack Obama turned a deaf ear. (No need to get into Obama’s collusion with the Islamic-supremacist governments of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE to arm and train the “rebels.”) This forfeited our golden opportunity to intervene actively and empower the bounty of moderate, secular, America-loving, democracy-craving Muslims (because that worked so well in Libya). But for Obama’s default, these moderate legions could simultaneously have toppled the dictator and purged the teeny-tiny number of jihadists who might have been skulking about. (Let’s not get into how there don’t seem to be enough of these moderates to man a soccer team, let alone a legion; or how weapons supplied to these “rebels” somehow keep ending up in the hands of the jihadists.) Obama’s default, coupled with the ruthlessness of the dictator, created a leadership and territory void into which jihadists suddenly poured (apparently out of nowhere). Somehow, these spontaneously generating jihadists managed to entice recruits, vastly increasing in number and power (even though — you’ll have to trust us on this — the moderate, secular Muslims really want nothing to do with them).

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how ISIS was born and al-Qaeda rose from the ashes.

You buying it? Me neither.

RELATED: Trump’s Muslim Immigration Ban Should Touch Off a Badly Needed Discussion

About 20 years ago, I prosecuted a dozen jihadists, led by the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman, for waging a terrorist war against the United States — including the World Trade Center bombing and a plot to attack the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, as well as other New York City landmarks. The defendants were caught on tape building bombs, scheming to strike at American military sites, and planning attacks timed to achieve maximum infidel carnage.

At trial, the jihadists tried to tell the jury they were just moderate, peace-loving Muslims who had been provoked by American foreign policy, a perception of anti-Muslim bias, and videos of Muslims being persecuted in Bosnia. The Blind Sheikh insisted his incitements to jihad were simply a case of faithfully applying sharia principles, which, according to his lawyers, the First Amendment gave him the right to do.

So I asked the jury a simple question:

Is there any obnoxious, insulting, infuriating thing I could say to you, or show to you, that would convince you to join up with mass-murdering terrorists? To become a terrorist yourself?

Of course, a dozen commonsense New Yorkers did not need to be asked such a question. They laughed the defense out of the courtroom.

Alas, in the 20 years since, the defense they laughed out of the courtroom has become the bipartisan government policy of the United States.

Go figure.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Fox News is getting the message out on jihad!

a gThese interviews are packed with important information that Americans need to hear. Kudos to Fox News for interviewing the experts!

After O’Reilly gives his opinion on Donald Trump’s call to ban all Muslim Immigration, he interviews counterterrorism specialist Aaron Cohen and Center for Security Policy’s Jim Hanson. They discuss taking a temporary pause in issuing visas to people from terror supporting countries and a detailed plan to go after ISIS.

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Megyn Kelly interviews Andrew McCarthy and Dr. Sebastian Gorka. They discuss the importance of vetting for Islamic supremacist ideology and sharia adherence. Dr. Gorka points out that the San Bernardino attack used  classic jihadi tradecraft. They also touched on the need Mosque surveillance and looking at the background of Imams.

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And Dr. Gorka was on Fox and Friends this morning.

Terror Expert: Don’t Expect Calif. Attack to Be the Last on US Soil (foxnewsinsider.com)

Counterterrorism expert Dr. Sebastian Gorka said we should not expect the San Bernardino terror attack to be the last by jihadis on American soil.

He said that in the last 20 months, the U.S. has killed or arrested 82 ISIS suspects, and that a significant portion of them planned on staying in the country to kill Americans.

“They have decided the best way to serve the new caliph, the new emperor, would be to kill Americans here. We published that report before San Bernardino, with one conclusion: If you just look at the facts, a Paris-type attack is not a question of if, it is a question of when.

“Do not expect this to be the last attack in America by jihadis.”

Gorka also weighed in on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to ban the entry of Muslims into the U.S. “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Gorka said that the plan is bad for national security, because U.S. intelligence depends heavily on the Muslim community and allies in the region, and “this is going to make them just close down.”

He also said there’s logistically no good way to vet people on the basis of religion.

“Are we going to test them on Bible verses? How many Americans are going to pass a Christian test?” Watch the interview below.

Trump’s Muslim Immigration Ban Should Touch Off a Badly Needed Discussion

falls church mosqueNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy — December 8, 2015:

Donald Trump’s rhetorical excesses aside, he has a way of pushing us into important debates, particularly on immigration. He has done it again with his bracing proposal to force “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

I have no idea what Mr. Trump knows about either immigration law or Islam. But it should be obvious to any objective person that Muslim immigration to the West is a vexing challenge.

Some Muslims come to the United States to practice their religion peacefully, and assimilate into the Western tradition of tolerance of other people’s liberties, including religious liberty — a tradition alien to the theocratic societies in which they grew up. Others come here to champion sharia, Islam’s authoritarian societal framework and legal code, resisting assimilation into our pluralistic society.

Since we want to both honor religious liberty and preserve the Constitution that enshrines and protects it, we have a dilemma.

The assumption that is central to this dilemma — the one that Trump has stumbled on and that Washington refuses to examine — is that Islam is merely a religion. If that’s true, then it is likely that religious liberty will trump constitutional and national-security concerns. How, after all, can a mere religion be a threat to a constitutional system dedicated to religious liberty?

But Islam is no mere religion.

As understood by the mainstream of Muslim-majority countries that are the source of immigration to America and the West, Islam is a comprehensive ideological system that governs all human affairs, from political, economic, and military matters to interpersonal relations and even hygiene. It is beyond dispute that Islam has religious tenets — the oneness of Allah, the belief that Mohammed is the final prophet, the obligation of ritual prayer. Yet these make up only a fraction of what is overwhelmingly a political ideology.

Our constitutional principle of religious liberty is derived from the Western concept that the spiritual realm should be separate from civic and political life. The concept flows from the New Testament injunction to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.

Crucially, the interpretation of Islam that is mainstream in most Muslim-majority countries does not accept a division between mosque and state. In fact, to invoke “mosque” as the equivalent of “church” in referring to a division between spiritual and political life is itself a misleading projection of Western principles onto Islamic society. A mosque is not merely a house of worship. It does not separate politics from religion any more than Islam as a whole does. There is a reason why many of the fiery political protests that turn riotous in the Middle East occur on Fridays — the Muslim Sabbath, on which people pour out of the mosques with ears still burning from the imam’s sermon.

The lack of separation between spiritual and civic life is not the only problem with Islam. Sharia is counter-constitutional in its most basic elements — beginning with the elementary belief that people do not have a right to govern themselves freely. Islam, instead, requires adherence to sharia and rejection of all law that contradicts it. So we start with fundamental incompatibility, before we ever get to other aspects of sharia: its systematic discrimination against non-Muslims and women; its denial of religious liberty, free speech, economic freedom, privacy rights, due process, and protection from cruel and unusual punishments; and its endorsement of violent jihad in furtherance of protecting and expanding the territory it governs.

Let’s bear in mind that permitting immigration is a discretionary national act. There is no right to immigrate to the United States, and the United States has no obligation to accept immigrants from any country, including Muslim-majority countries. We could lawfully cut off all immigration, period, if we wanted to. Plus, it has always been a basic tenet of legal immigration to promote fidelity to the Constitution and assimilation into American society — principles to which classical sharia is antithetical.

So why isn’t that the end of the matter? Why is Trump being vilified? Why isn’t he being hailed for speaking truth and refusing to bow to political correctness?

Because Islam is more complex in practice than in theory.

In our non-Muslim country, there is no point in debating what the “true” Islam says or whether Muslims are at liberty to ignore or reform classical sharia. There may not be a true Islam. Even if there is one, what non-Muslims think or say about it is of little interest to Muslims. Our job, in any event, is to preserve the Constitution and protect our national security regardless of how Islam’s internal debates are ultimately resolved — if they ever are.

With that understanding, it is simply a fact that many Muslims accept our constitutional principles and do not seek to impose sharia on our society. They have varying rationales for taking this position: Some believe sharia mandates that immigrants accept their host country’s laws; some believe sharia’s troublesome elements are confined to the historical time and place where they arose and are no longer applicable; some think sharia can evolve; some simply ignore sharia altogether but deem themselves devout Muslims because they remain Islamic spiritually and — within the strictures of American law — culturally.

For those Muslims, Islam is, in effect, merely a religion, and as such it deserves our Constitution’s protections.

For other Muslims, however, Islam is a political program with a religious veneer. It does not merit the liberty protections our law accords to religion. It undermines our Constitution and threatens our security. Its anti-assimilationist dictates create a breeding ground for violent jihad.

If we continue mindlessly treating Islam as if it were merely a religion, if we continue ignoring the salient differences between constitutional and sharia principles — thoughtlessly assuming these antithetical systems are compatible — we will never have a sensible immigration policy.

I have no idea what, if anything, Donald Trump knows about sharia. I do know that it’s a system we must account for if we are going to succeed in welcoming pro-Western Muslims who will be a boon to our society while excluding Islamic supremacists who want to destroy it.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

An Islam of Their Very Own

image-see-no-evil-triangleNational Review, by Andrew McCarthy, Dec. 4, 2015:

The day after the San Bernardino jihadist attack that left fourteen dead and even more wounded, my old boss, Rudy Giuliani, came out and said what most sane people are thinking. After hours of pained, halting, incoherent babbling by public officials from President Obama on down about whether the mass-killing by two heavily armed, obviously well-trained Muslims constituted a terrorist attack, Rudy exploded:

You can come to one clear conclusion with the information they have right now. This is an act of terror. The question was motivation. . . . The question here is not, is it an act of terror. We’re beyond that. When you got two assault weapons, two handguns, you’re in body armor, you got a home that’s booby-trapped. You’ve [ACM: meaning “they’ve”] been practicing to do this. . . . If you can’t come to a conclusion at this point that this was an act of terror, you should find something else to do for a living besides law enforcement. I mean, you’re a moron.

Hard to argue with that.

But look, if you actually speak with the police and federal agents conducting the investigation into the attack, you figure out pretty quickly that they are not morons. They are actually very good at what they do. So why is it that, upon seeing two-plus-two, they can’t call it four when Islam is involved?

I’ve been trying to explain this for many years, beginning in Willful Blindness, a memoir about prosecuting terrorists in the Clinton era, and in a stack of columns here at National Review, including one from a few years back that described how our government, under administrations of both parties and the bipartisan Beltway ruling class, has constructed “an Islam of their very own.”

Rudy is right that what they’ve done is moronic, but there is a logic to it. It goes like this.

The government denies that terrorism is caused by Islamic doctrine. This is a triumph of willful blindness and political correctness best illustrated by former British home secretary Jacqui Smith, who might as well have been speaking for our government when she branded terrorism as “anti-Islamic activity.” That is: the savagery is not merely unrelated to Islam but becomes, by dint of its being violence, contrary to Islam. This must be so because the British government, like our government, insists Islam is a “religion of peace.”

Now, this is absurd, of course. There are various ways of interpreting Islam, and millions of Muslims manage to “contextualize” Islamic scripture’s numerous commands to conduct holy war, reasoning that these divine injunctions applied only to their historical time and place and are no longer relevant. Yet, even if you buy this line of thinking, that does not make Islam a peaceful belief system. Verses like “Fight those who believe not in Allah,” and “fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war,” are not peaceful injunctions, no matter how one “contextualizes” them.

More to the point, the stubborn reality is: There will always be a large percentage of Muslims who believe these scriptures (and the many others like them) mean exactly what they say.

Our government is in denial of this. Unwilling to deal with Islam as it is, the government must make up an Islam of its very own. Regardless of the abundance of evidence to the contrary, the government holds that Islam is a religion of peace, case closed. (Such a laughable case has to be closed because it cannot withstand even slight examination).

Therefore, to the government, terrorism committed by people who happen to be Muslim is not in any way a reflection of any legitimate interpretation of Islam — even if Islamic supremacist ideology, which endorses jihadist violence, is so mainstream that tens of millions of Muslims adhere to it. Remember, here in America as in Western Europe, the violence is deemed anti-Islamic. That is what has been dictated to our law-enforcement agents by their superiors. If those were your instructions, you’d be babbling like a moron, too.

So, what are the policy implications of the government’s constructing its own fantasy Islam, the one and only principle of which is pacifism? Here are a few of the worst.

It means that Islamic doctrine can never be cited as the cause of terrorism. This leads, for example, to the preposterous government handwringingover “radicalization”: You are apparently supposed to believe young people, all of whom just happen to be Muslim, spontaneously become violent radicals — as if there were no doctrine or body of thought that was inducing the radicalization. You are only to say they have been “radicalized” — never mention by what.

Fantasy Islam also leads inexorably to the irrational decree that terrorist organizations like ISIS and al Qaeda are not Islamic. You are to conclude that they are either wanton killers or that they have “hijacked” and “perverted” Islam into something that it is not — something that cannot be dignified with the name “Islam” because Islam, after all, is a religion of peace.

The most ludicrous fallout of this line of thinking is the one Rudy rightly labels moronic: The apparent inability of government officials to call a mass-murder attack by Muslims a terrorist attack. But again, if you follow the government’s official party line, you understand the reluctance of these officials: The only terrorists the government acknowledges as terrorists are formally designated terrorist groups — ISIS, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah. As we’ve seen, the government has pronounced these groups to be anti-Islamic.

Thus, if the police come upon a mass-murder attack that is clearly instigated by Islamic doctrine, they are not permitted to conclude that it is terrorism because they’ve been directed to maintain that Islam is against terrorism. Consequently, the agents believe they cannot call terrorism terrorism unless and until they uncover evidence proving that the Muslim mass-murderers have some tie to a designated “non-Islamic” terrorist group, such as ISIS or al-Qaeda.

It is rare for such evidence to be uncovered early in an investigation. And the fact of the matter is, such evidence will often never be uncovered because it doesn’t exist. It will frequently turn out that the Muslims who’ve committed the atrocity have been “radicalized” by Islamic doctrine, straightforwardly interpreted as Islamic supremacism by their fellow Islamists at the local mosque and Islamic center. They don’t need mediation, help, or instruction from ISIS or al Qaeda. They already share the same ideology as these groups, the goal of imposing Allah’s law (sharia). All they really need in order to execute terrorist attacks is paramilitary training. That is readily available in many Muslim communities; you don’t need to go to an al-Qaeda or ISIS training camp to get it.

Notice that there is a treacherous flipside to our government’s insistence on making up its own content-free, obsessively peaceful Islam. Not only can terrorism never be associated with it. Anyone who is publicly associated with Islam by the government must be deemed peaceful. This is how we fall into the trap of allowing the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Islamic supremacist organization, to infiltrate the policy-making organs of counterterrorism.

The government, particularly under the control of President Obama, acknowledges the Brotherhood as an Islamic organization — notwithstanding the ham-handed attempt by the intelligence community a few years back to rebrand the Brotherhood as “largely secular.” Under the government’s imaginary Islam, acknowledging a group as Islamic perforce gives them a clean bill of health: They are deemed “peaceful,” “moderate,” and steadfastly opposed to terrorism.

And never you mind that Hamas is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, that the Brotherhood has a long history of terrorist violence, and that major Brotherhood figures have gone on to play leading roles in terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda. The beautiful thing about making up an Islam of their very own is that government officials never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

And that’s why they won’t say the terrorist attack in San Bernardino is the terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

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The Controversy over Syrian Refugees Misses the Question We Should Be Asking

Syrian refugees cross to HungaryNational Review by Andrew McCarthy, Nov. 28, 2015:

The jihad waged by radical Islam rips at France from within. The two mass-murder attacks this year that finally induced President Francois Hollande to concede a state of war are only what we see.

Unbound by any First Amendment, the French government exerts pressure on the media to suppress bad news. We do not hear much about the steady thrum of insurrection in the banlieues: the thousands of torched automobiles, the violence against police and other agents of the state, the pressure in Islamic enclaves to ignore the sovereignty of the Republic and conform to the rule of sharia.

What happens in France happens in Belgium. It happens in Sweden where much of Malmo, the third largest city, is controlled by Muslim immigrant gangs — emergency medical personnel attacked routinely enough that they will not respond to calls without police protection, and the police in turn unwilling to enter without back-up. Not long ago in Britain, a soldier was killed and nearly beheaded in broad daylight by jihadistsknown to the intelligence services; dozens of sharia courts now operate throughout the country, even as Muslim activists demand more accommodations. And it was in Germany, which green-lighted Europe’s ongoing influx of Muslim migrants, that Turkey’s Islamist strongmanRecep Tayyip Erdogan proclaimed that pressuring Muslims to assimilate in their new Western countries is “a crime against humanity.”

RELATED: Obama’s Moral Hypocrisy on the Syrian-Refugee Question Is Astounding

So how many of us look across the ocean at Europe and say, “Yeah, let’s bring some of that here”?

None of us with any sense. Alas, “bring it here” is the order of the day in Washington, under the control of leftists bent on fundamentally transforming America (Muslims in America overwhelmingly support Democrats) and the progressive-lite GOP, which fears the “Islamophobia”smear nearly as much as the “racist” smear.

This, no doubt, is why what is described as the “controversy over Syrian refugees” is among the most deceitful public debates in recent memory — which, by Washington standards, is saying something.

RELATED: There Are Serious, Unbigoted Reasons to Be War of a Flood of Syrian Refugees

Under a Carter administration scheme, the Refugee Admissions Program, the United States has admitted hundreds of thousands of aliens since 1980 — and, as the Center for Immigration Studies explains, asylum petitions have surged since the mid-Nineties. If there is a refugee “crisis,” it most certainly is no fault of ours: For example, the U.S. took in two-thirds of the world’s refugees resettled in 2014, with Canada a distant second, admitting about 10 percent.

Those figures come from an invaluable briefing by Refugee Resettlement Watch, which illustrates that the Syrian component is but a fraction of what we must consider. Tens of thousands of what are called “refugees” have come to our shores from Muslim-majority countries. From Iraq alone, the number is 120,000 since 2007, notwithstanding the thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of American taxpayer dollars sacrificed to make Iraq livable.

Many of the refugees are steered to our country by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Naturally, the UNHRC has a history of bashing Israel on behalf of Palestinian Islamists — indeed, it works closely with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, one of Hamas’s most notorious sympathizers. The UNHRC works in tandem with the State Department, which resettles the refugees throughout the U.S. with the assistance of lavishly compensated contractors (e.g., the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, other Christian and Jewish outfits, and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants) — often absent any meaningful consultation with the states in which Washington plants these assimilation-resistant imports.

Responsibility for vetting the immigrants rests with the Department of Homeland Security. As the ongoing controversy has illustrated, however, a background check is only as good as the available information about a person’s background. In refugee pipelines like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Sudan, such information is virtually nonexistent. (But don’t worry, we can rest assured that the UNHRC is doing a fine job.)

RELATED: Media Coverage of Europe’s Migrant Crisis Ignores the Long-Term Problems it Poses

Let’s assume for fantasy’s sake, though, that the vetting is perfect — that we have comprehensive, accurate information on each refugee’s life up to the moment of admission. We would still have a calamity.

There are two reasons for this, and they are easily grasped by the mass of Americans outside the Beltway.

First, vetting only works if you vet for the right thing. Washington, in its delusional Islamophilia, vets only for ties to terrorism, which it defines as “violent extremism” in purblind denial of modern terrorism’s Islamist ideological moorings. As the deteriorating situation in Europe manifests, our actual challenge is Islamic supremacism, of which jihadist terrorism is only a subset.

For nearly a quarter-century, our bipartisan governing class has labored mightily to suppress public discussion of the undeniable nexus between Islamic doctrine and terrorism. Consequently, many Americans are still in the dark about sharia, classical Islam’s societal framework and legal code. We should long ago have recognized sharia as the bright line that separates authentic Muslim moderates, hungry for the West’s culture of reason and individual liberty, from Islamic supremacists, resistant to Western assimilation and insistent on incremental accommodation of Muslim law and mores.

RELATED: Why Does the Left Continue to Insist that Islamic Terrorism Has Nothing to Do with Islam?

The promotion of constitutional principles and civic education has always been foundational to the American immigration and naturalization process. We fatally undermine this process by narrowly vetting for terrorism rather than sharia adherence.

Yes, I can already hear the slander: “You are betraying our commitment to religious liberty.” Please. Even if there were anything colorable to this claim, we are talking about inquiring into the beliefs of aliens who want to enter our country, not citizens entitled to constitutional protections.

But the claim is not colorable in any event — it just underscores how willful blindness to our enemies’ ideology has compromised our security. Only a small fraction of Islamic supremacism involves tenets that, in the West, should be regarded as inviolable religious conviction (e.g., the oneness of Allah, the belief that Mohammed is the final prophet, the obligation to pray five times daily). No one in America has any interest in interfering with that. For Muslims adherent to classical sharia, however, the rest of their belief system has nothing to do with religion (except as a veneer). It instead involves the organization of the state, comprehensive regulation of economic and social life, rules of military engagement, and imposition of a draconian criminal code.

RELATED: The Trouble with the ‘Nation of Immigrants’ Argument

Unlike the Judeo-Christian principles that informed America’s founding, classical sharia does not abide a separation of spiritual from civic and political life. Therefore, to rationalize on religious-liberty grounds our conscious avoidance of Islamist ideology is to miss its thoroughgoing anti-constitutionalism.

Sharia rejects the touchstone of American democracy: the belief that the people have a right to govern themselves and chart their own destiny. In sharia governance, the people are subjects not citizens, and they are powerless to question, much less to change, Allah’s law. Sharia systematically discriminates against women and non-Muslims. It is brutal in its treatment of apostates and homosexuals. It denies freedom of conscience, free expression, property rights, economic liberty, and due process of law. It licenses wars of aggression against infidels for the purpose of establishing sharia as the law of the land.

Sharia is also heavily favored by Muslims in majority-Muslim countries. Polling consistently tells us that upwards of two-thirds of Muslims in the countries from which we are accepting refugees believe sharia should be the governing system.

RELATED: The Left’s Dishonest Biblical Argument for Taking in Syrian Refugees

Thus, since we are vetting for terrorism rather than sharia-adherence, and since we know a significant number of Muslims are sharia-adherent, we are missing the certainty that we are importing an ever-larger population hostile to our society and our Constitution — a population that has been encouraged by influential Islamist scholars and leaders to form Muslim enclaves throughout the West.

This leads seamlessly to the second reason why the influx of refugees is calamitous. Not only are we vetting for the wrong thing, we are ignoring the dynamics of jihadism. The question is not whether we are admitting Muslims who currently have ties to terrorist organizations; it is whether we are admitting Muslims who are apt to become violent jihadists after they settle here.

RELATED: ‘Je Suis … qui?’: A Report from the Banlieues

The jihadism that most threatens Europe now, and that has been a growing problem in the United States for years, is the fifth-column variety. This is often referred to as “homegrown terrorism,” but that is a misnomer. The ideology that ignites terrorism within our borders is not native: It is imported. Furthermore, it is ubiquitously available thanks to modern communications technology

In assessing the dynamic in which ideological inspiration evolves into actual jihadist attacks, we find two necessary ingredients: (1) a mind that is hospitable to jihadism because it is already steeped in Islamic supremacism, and (2) a sharia-enclave environment that endorses jihadism and relentlessly portrays the West as corrupt and hostile.

Our current refugee policies promote both factors.

RELATED: France’s No-Go Zones: Assimilation Resistant Muslims Are the Real Refugee Problem

One last point worth considering: Washington’s debate over refugee policy assumes an unmet American obligation to the world. It is as if we were not already doing and sacrificing far more than every other country combined. It is as if there were not dozens of Islamic countries, far closer than the United States to refugee hot-spots, to which it would be sensible to steer Muslim migrants.

Yet, there is nothing obligatory about any immigration policy, including asylum. There is no global right to come here. American immigration policy is supposed to serve the national interests of the United States. Right now, American immigration policy is serving the interests of immigrants at the expense of American national security and the financial security of distressed American workers.

Our nation is nearing $20 trillion in debt, still fighting in the Middle East, and facing the certain prospect of combat surges to quell the rising threat of jihadism. So why is Congress, under the firm control of Republicans, paying for immigration policies that exacerbate our peril?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

***

Obama and the ISIS ‘Recruitment Tool’ Canard

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Pool/Sipa USA)

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Pool/Sipa USA)

PJ MEDIA, BY ANDREW C. MCCARTHY NOVEMBER 20, 2015:

I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIS than … Barack Obama.

This puts me at odds with Barack Obama, as is often the case. It is worth explaining my reasoning, though, since – as our bloviator-in-chief is fond of saying – this is a teachable moment.

The president of the United States, shamefully but characteristically, took the opportunity of being on foreign soil – in the Philippines with its large Muslim population – to smear his fellow countrymen over their effort to protect American national security. The Republican initiative, led by Senator Ted Cruz, would thwart Obama’s scheme to import thousands of refugees and prioritize the asylum claims of Christians. In response to this “rhetoric,” Obama seethed, “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL.”

The president elaborated that “when you start seeing individuals in position of responsibility suggesting Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative.”

So tough here to untangle the ignorance from the demagoguery. For starters, asylum does not involve placing comparative values on the lives of different categories of people. And no one would be more offended than Christians at the notion that Christian lives should be valued more highly than those of other human beings. (By contrast, the conceit that Muslim lives – especially the lives of male Muslims – are more worthy than others is a leitmotif of Islamic scripture that is reflected throughout sharia law.)

Asylum, instead, is a remedy for persecution that is controlled by federal law. Obama lashed out at Republicans for promoting a “religious test,” which he claimed was “offensive and contrary to American values.” Yet, because asylum addresses persecution, governing law has always incorporated a religious test. Again, that is not because the lives of one religion’s believers are innately better than others; it is because when religious persecution is occurring, the targeted religion’s believers are inevitably more vulnerable to murder, rape, torture, and other atrocities than co-religionists of the persecutors.

Consequently, longstanding congressional statutes (a) call on aliens claiming to be refugees to prove “a well-founded fear of persecution on account of … religion,” among other things; and (b) require refugees seeking asylum to “establish that … religion [among other things] was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.”

Despite his diatribe, I’m going to go out on a limb and conclude that this is not news to Obama, a Harvard-trained lawyer who, for seven years, has been president and thus responsible for executing the asylum laws. He is also well aware, though, that the Muslim audience to which he was appealing, in the Philippines and in the broader ummah, does not have a clue about the vagaries of American immigration statutes.

Obama knows, moreover, that because sharia tells Muslims their lives are more valuable than those of non-Muslims, nothing is more apt to rile them up than an accusation that nativist Americans are portraying them as second-rate. And Obama knows that when Muslims get riled up, Western politicians curl up in a “religion of peace” ball and meekly back down. The president may not keep the U.S. Code on his shelves, but his bag of community-organizer tricks is ever at the ready.

One trick that never gets old is the claim that this or that American policy is a primo “recruitment tool” for jihadists.

Of course, the patent cause of violent jihadism is Islamic supremacist ideology. Washington politicians will not concede this fact because that ideology is unmistakably based on a literal construction of Islamic scripture – the Koran, the hadith, and sacralized biographies of the prophet Muhammad.

As it happens, there are ways of construing Islamic scripture that are not as literal. These constructions inform the view of millions of Muslims that violent jihad and systematic discrimination are not ordained in the modern world. These competing constructions, however, do not change the stubborn reality that Islamic supremacism – what we presume to call “radical” Islam – is a mainstream interpretation of Islam followed by tens of millions of Muslims, among them renowned sharia scholars, violent jihadists, and wily Islamists.

Though neither Republican transnational-progressives nor the hard Left will admit this palpable truth, the rationales of the two camps are significantly different.

The Republican moderates are well-meaning but foolish. Lacking confidence or competence to explain the different interpretations of Islam, they fear that if they concede the nexus between Islamic doctrine and jihadism, they will be perceived as “at war with Islam.” So they relentlessly pretend that the “true” Islam is irenic: a noble quest for justice and tolerance. Because these Republicans are more politically progressive than conservative, they delude themselves into believing their soaring words will someday alter reality: If they say “religion of peace” and “moderate” enough times, Islam will actually become a moderate religion of peace, its sharia seamlessly compatible with our Constitution and Western principles – regardless of what Islamic doctrine actually says.

The Left, to the contrary, is neither well-meaning nor foolish. It will not admit the nexus between Islamic scripture and jihadist terror for two shrewd reasons.

The first is that the alliance with Islamists is useful to the Left. I explained in The Grand Jihad why Islamists and Leftists align, despite their differences on important matters like the rights of women, homosexuals, and the unborn. Both are anti-capitalist, authoritarian central-planners, hostile to individual liberty. They become fast friends whenever they have a common enemy – e.g., the Egyptian monarchy, the shah of Iran, or the Western culture of freedom and reason. If the common enemy is overcome, Islamists and Leftists turn on each other with a vengeance because their utopias cannot coexist. But as long as the common enemy exists, they work well together – just as internecine rivalries between Islamist camps (e.g., Iran and al Qaeda) are set aside in order to present a united front against the West and Israel.

What is the second rationale for the Left’s insistence on bleaching away jihadism’s roots in Islamic doctrine? That brings us back to Obama’s claim that the conservative case against admitting thousands of Syrian refugees is a “recruitment tool” for ISIS.

Obviously, jihad does not erupt out of thin air. The American public, which remains widely uninformed about Islam, realizes something must cause the violence, and that the violence will continue unless that something is overcome. For Leftists, this presents a golden opportunity: They understand that our deeply ingrained tradition of religious liberty – a tradition the Left generally abhors – makes the public resistant to the notion that a religion can cause violence, and thus receptive to the assurance that Islam does not.

So if Islam, in the Left’s telling, has nothing to do with the savagery jihadists commit, what is the cause? Obama and his cohort fill in this blank with … the principles and policies they oppose: robust national defense, American leadership in the world, free speech, sovereignty, economic liberty, income inequality, Christianity, Israel’s character as a Jewish state, Guantanamo Bay, military commissions, … even climate change.

Yes, this is preposterous if you’ve familiarized yourself with Islamic supremacism and classical sharia. But, alas, much of America has not despite a generation of jihad from Tehran to Manhattan to Paris. What a powerful rhetorical weapon it is for the Left to claim that what it opposes is not just wrong but the cause of mass-murder attacks.

In the real world, however, it is the sharia supremacist interpretation of Islam that causes jihadist terror. With that as the foundation, jihadist recruitment has little or nothing to do with the pretexts conveniently conjured by the Left. To the contrary, recruitment is driven by one thing:the perception that jihadists will win. As Osama bin Laden recognized, people are drawn to the strong horse and shun the weak horse.

That is why I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIS than … Barack Obama.

Also see:

How France Became an Inviting Target of the Jihad

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PJ Media, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Nov. 14, 2015:

Earlier this year, following the Charlie Hebdo massacre and related terrorist attacks in and around Paris, I wrote Islam and Free Speech, a Broadside” that is part of the series published by Encounter Books. The following is an excerpt.

How did we get to this historical anomaly in France where, as the estimable scholar Daniel Pipes observes, “a majority population accepts the customs and even the criminality of a poorer and weaker community”? It is the result of a conquest ideology taking the measure of a civilization that no longer values its heritage, no longer regards itself as worthy of defense.

France’s population of 66 million is now approximately 10 percent Islamic. Estimates are sketchy because, in a vestige of its vanishing secularist tradition, France does not collect census data about religious affiliation. Still, between 6 and 7 million Muslims are reasonably believed to be resident in the country (Pew put the total at 4.7 million back in 2010 – other analysts peg it higher today). To many in France, the number seems higher, due to both the outsize influence of Islamist activists on the political class and the dense Muslim communities in and around Paris – approximating 15 percent of the local population. An online poll conducted by Ipsos Mosi in 2014 found that the average French citizenbelieves Muslims make up about a third of the country’s population.

As night follows day, when Muslim populations surge, so does support for jihadism and the sharia supremacist ideology that catalyzes it. The reason is plain to see, even if Western elites remain willfully blind to it: For a not insignificant percentage of the growing Muslim millions in Europe, infiltration – by both mass immigration and the establishment of swelling Islamic enclaves – is a purposeful strategy of conquest, sometimes referred to as “voluntary apartheid.”

One of its leading advocates is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. A Qatar-based Egyptian octogenarian, Qaradawi is a Muslim Brotherhood icon. He is a copiously published scholar graduated from Cairo’s al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni Islamic learning for over a millennium, and thus oversees both the International Union of Muslim Scholars and the European Council for Fatwa and Research. Thanks to his pioneering of the highly trafficked IslamOnline website and, especially, to his hugely popular al-Jazeera television program, Sharia and Life, he has become the world’s most influential sharia jurist.

Qaradawi is the sharia backbone of the violent jihad to exterminate Israel – a tiny country surrounded by hundreds of millions of hostile Muslims. The sheikh also vows that Islam will “conquer” both Europe and America, but acknowledges that this conquest will require a strategy more suited to a determined minority that knows it cannot win by force of arms. The key, he asserts, is dawa, the Muslim equivalent of proselytism. In radical Islam, it is hyper-aggressive, pushing on every cultural cylinder, pressuring every institution, and exploiting the atmosphere of intimidation created by jihadist terror to blur the lines between legal advocacy and extortion.

In France, dawa presses against laïcité, the credo of secularism through the strict separation of religion and the state. Qaradawi is quite clear that “secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society.” He is equally adamant that Muslims, who are bound to live in accordance with the strictures of sharia, must reject a secular framework because “acceptance of secularism means abandonment of sharia, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions.” Thus, he elaborates, “The call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam. Its acceptance as a basis for rule in place of sharia is downright apostasy.”

This nexus between free speech and Western democracy is worth pausing over. Notice that, in focusing on the incompatibility between Islamic law and democracy’s secular, pluralist underpinnings, Qaradawi draws the inevitable conclusion that democracy equals apostasy. The term apostasy is not invoked idly in radical Islam. As explained in Reliance of the Traveller, a classic sharia manual endorsed by al-Azhar scholars, the renunciation of Islam is a death penalty offense.

Free speech does not exist in a vacuum. It is the plinth of freedom’s fortress. It is the ineliminable imperative if there is to be the robust exchange of knowledge and ideas, the rule of reason, freedom of conscience, equality before the law, property rights, and equality of opportunity. That is why it must be extinguished if there is to be what Qaradawi calls a “place of religion” – meaning his religion. For all its arrogance and triumphalist claims, radical Islam must suppress speech because it cannot compete in a free market of conscience.

To sustain their movement, therefore, Islamist leaders must separate Muslims from secular society. In the West, this means forming Islamic enclaves in which sharia gradually takes root as the de facto and, eventually, the de jure law – enabling Muslims to resist the challenge of critical thinking under the guise avoiding the near occasion of apostasy. Over time, dominion is established over swaths of not only physical territory but legal privilege. Qaradawi puts the matter succinctly:

Were we to convince Western leaders and decision-makers of our right to live according to our faith — ideologically, legislatively, and ethically — without imposing our views or inflicting harm upon them, we would have traversed an immense barrier in our quest for an Islamic state.

The key to the conquest strategy is to coerce the West into accepting a Muslim right to resist assimilation, to regard sharia as superseding Western law and custom when the two conflict. For precisely this reason, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – a bloc of 56 Muslim countries (plus the Palestinian Authority) – has decreed that “Muslims should not be marginalized or attempted to be assimilated, but should be accommodated.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist president of Turkey who has systematically dismantled that country’s secular, pro-Western system, similarly pronounces that pressuring Muslims to assimilate in the West “is a crime against humanity.”

Free expression is the gateway to assimilation. Consequently, radical Islam cannot tolerate it.

As a result, France is now rife with Zones Urbaines Sensibiles – “sensitive urban areas.” The government officially lists some 751 of them: Islamic enclaves in the banlieues, often referred to as “no go zones” because the indigenous populations discourage the presence of non-Muslims who do not conform to Islamic standards of dress and social interaction, and of public officials – police, fire-fighters, emergency medical teams, and building inspectors – who are seen as symbols of the state’s effort to exercise sovereignty in areas Muslims seek to possess adversely.

Some of these zones inevitably evolve into hotbeds of jihadist activity. As the Gatestone Institute’s Soeren Kern notes, there has been no shortage of Internet traffic suggesting, for example, “the killing of France’s ambassadors, just as the manly Libyan fighters killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi.” In a low-intensity jihadist thrum stretching back several years, the torching of automobiles has become a commonplace – as many as 40,000 cars burned annually. Perhaps most alarmingly, over a thousand French Muslims, more than from any other Western country, are estimated to have traveled to Syria to fight for ISIS – meaning many will return to the country as trained, battle-hardened jihadists. Beyond the direct ISIS participants, moreover, the Washington Post has reported that a recent poll found 16 percent of French citizens expressing some degree of support for ISIS – an organization whose rule over the vast territory it has seized is best known for decapitations, rapine, the execution of homosexuals, mass graves, and the enslavement of non-Muslim communities.

Once one grasps the voluntary apartheid strategy, it becomes obvious why radical Islam’s inroads in France, and elsewhere in Europe, seamlessly translate into demands for the enforcement of sharia’s curbs on speech and artistic expression. What is not so obvious is just how profound a challenge to the West this constitutes.

U.S. Pays $400M for U.N. Agency Calling for Attacks on Israeli Jews

one-state-solution-palestinian-violenceNational Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, October 17, 2015

Hillary’s Dangerous Negligence over Benghazi — Again

hillary-email-threatens-benghazi-prosecution-bThe attempt to convict Khatallah for the attack that killed four Americans could falter over Clinton’s deleted e-mails.

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, August 15, 2015:

Who cares if Hillary Clinton is convicted of a crime? What we ought to care about is if Ahmed Abu Khatallah is convicted of a crime.

Khatallah is the only person charged thus far in the attack on a shadowy U.S. government compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Dozens of jihadists participated in the attack, during which four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens, were slain. Yet Khatallah has been singled out for prosecution. As I’ve previously detailed (here and here), the Obama Justice Department has filed an indictment that infuses evidence with politics: Trying to prove the terrorist conspiracy that actually occurred without refuting the Obama/Clinton fiction that the attack was a spontaneous protest ignited by an anti-Muslim Internet video.

That’s why there are worse jobs to have right now than defense counsel for a murderous jihadist.

Mrs. Clinton has spent the last few weeks learning that federal court is not the mainstream media. Because of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits brought by Judicial Watch, she and her top aides are finally being asked tough questions about conducting government business over a private communications system — a system that Clinton designed in order to hide her communications from public inspections, congressional inquiries, and judicial proceedings. We’ve thus learned that Team Clinton may have concealed government records, stored and transmitted classified information on private e-mail systems, and erased tens of thousands of government files.

If Mrs. Clinton thinks FOIA is a headache, wait until she sees what happens when a top government official’s reckless mass deletion of e-mails takes center stage in a terrorism prosecution of intense national interest. Federal criminal court is not the nightly news. There, mass deletion of files is not gently described as “emails a government official chose not to retain”; it is described as “destruction of evidence” and “obstruction of justice.”

RELATED: Contrary to Media Spin, It’s Hillary Who’s Being Investigated, Not Her Server

In criminal cases, the government is required to disclose to the defense any information in its possession that may tend to prove the defendant not guilty of the charges. That includes information that calls into question the prosecution’s version of events, theory of guilt, and credibility.

In the indictment against Khatallah, the Justice Department alleges that nothing of consequence happened until the day of the Benghazi attack, when he is said to have complained aloud that “something” had to be done about “an American facility in Benghazi” that he believed was an illegal intelligence operation masquerading as a diplomatic post. Suddenly, at 9:45 that night, “twenty armed men,” including “close associates of Khatallah” (not identified by prosecutors), “violently breached” the facility. In the ensuing violence, the Americans were killed. Khatallah is alleged to have participated in the mayhem and to have prevented “emergency responders” from stopping it.

Of course, there is far more to the story than the Justice Department has elected to tell.

RELATED: Why Hillary’s Wiping Her E-mail Server Clean Matters More than It Might Seem

In the months preceding September 11, the “diplomatic facility” and other Western compounds in Benghazi had been targeted in terrorist bombings and threats. September 11 would be the eleventh anniversary of the killing of nearly 3,000 Americans by al-Qaeda, which had every incentive to mark that occasion with a significant attack. American forces, moreover, had recently killed Abu Yahya al-Libi, al-Qaeda’s top Libyan operative; that prompted Ayman al-Zawahiri, the terror network’s leader, to call on fellow jihadists to avenge al-Libi — an incitement issued just a day before the Benghazi attack.

So al-Qaeda was very much on the offensive. Obama, however, was on the campaign trail falsely assuring Americans that the terror network had been “decimated.” Obama’s decision to back Libyan “rebels” against Moammar Qaddafi had resulted in the arming of anti-American jihadists and the teetering of Libya on the brink of collapse. Obama, however, was on the campaign trail pronouncing his Libya policy a boon for regional stability.

As Obama next called for the ouster of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and reports surfaced of covert American support for the Syrian “rebels,”arms used by jihadists in Libya were shipped to jihadists in Syria by way of Turkey. Was that why we needed a “diplomatic facility” with a CIA annex in Benghazi, which was a transit point for some of these weapons? Was that why Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi meeting with Turkey’s ambassador on September 11 despite the obvious peril? The Obama administration refuses to say.

Throughout 2012, American personnel in Benghazi were under heightened terrorist threat. Despite their pleas for more protection, however, the State Department under Secretary Clinton actually reduced security.

Finally, when the September 11 siege occurred, the Obama administration knew from the first moments that it was a terrorist attack of the sort that any competent assessment of the red-blinking intelligence would have predicted. Obama and Hillary Clinton, however, colluded in an elaborate scheme to convince the public that the atrocity was not an al-Qaeda-connected terrorist attack but a spontaneous protest run amok, provoked by an anti-Muslim video.

EDITORIAL: As the FBI Seizes Clinton’s Server, Her E-Mail Scandal Enters a More Serious Phase 

Like all indicted defendants, Khatallah has the right to defend himself by putting the government’s story on trial. Specifically, he could contend that he is being scapegoated for an al-Qaeda plot that was longer in the making. I’d expect him to elaborate that the government singled him out — even though many others were involved — because he was a known critic of American policy who had the misfortune of being in the vicinity of the “diplomatic facility” that night. His prosecution for an allegedly spontaneous attack, he will claim, is an effort to deflect attention from the State Department’s failure to upgrade security, from Obama’s complicity in arming jihadists long before the Benghazi attack, and from the administration’s decision to downplay the role of al-Qaeda (which is not even mentioned in the indictment) while pretending the attack was caused by a video.

Mind you, a defense theory does not have to be true. The defendant has no burden to prove his innocence. To be admissible, it is enough for a defense theory simply to have the potential to cast doubt on the government’s version of events.

RELATED: State Department to Judge: Not Our Job to Search Clinton’s Server

To press such a theory, Khatallah’s lawyer can be expected to argue that the government is hiding evidence that (a) the State Department knew of the continuing al-Qaeda threat but recklessly reduced security before September 11; (b) administration policies had empowered jihadists in Benghazi, who later carried out the attack for which Khatallah is being blamed; and (c) high administration officials, including Secretary Clinton and President Obama, concocted the video story during a tight presidential-election race to divert public attention from questions about who really carried out the Benghazi attack and what was really going on at the “diplomatic facility.”

Her criminal liability is quite beside the point. This is about judgment, credibility, and character.

Laying out this scenario, you can almost hear Khatallah’s lawyer saying, “Your Honor, we believe we are entitled to communications by the secretary of state with other officials. They would demonstrate the government’s knowledge of security lapses, the rising al-Qaeda threat, the fact that the September 11 operation was a terrorist attack, and the identities of attack participants whom the government has chosen not to charge while singling out my client. They would also show the connivance of top government officials in a scheme to convince the public this was a spontaneous attack caused by the video — a scheme that made it easy to frame my client because he happened to be on the scene that night, rather than the terrorist organization that planned it long before.”

A judge gets reversed if he fails to ensure that a defendant gets a fair trial — he cannot ignore defense lawyers the way the press ignores administration critics. On such a showing, then, a judge would be expected to order the prosecutors to search all of the government’s files, including communications by the State Department, and report back to the court about whether there is anything that tends to support the defense claims.

RELATED: Hillary’s E-mail Server Contained Classified Information — Hold Her Accountable

In this instance, the prosecutors would have to reply, “Your Honor, we wish we could but it seems the former secretary of state ran her own e-mail system outside government servers. It also turns out that she destroyed over 30,000 e-mails that she says were about yoga and her daughter’s wedding.”

As the judge’s head seemed to explode, the prosecutor would stammer on: “We’re afraid we can’t verify exactly how many e-mails she destroyed and exactly what they were about. You see, she hit ‘DELETE’ before reviewing them with State Department records custodians, as government guidelines require. And I know this may sound a bit, well, convenient, but it seems there are remarkably few existing e-mails that have anything to do with Benghazi. . . . And, no, we can’t explain why the secretary of state would have had more yoga e-mails than Benghazi e-mails.”

At that point, thanks to Hillary Clinton, the case of a terrorist allegedly responsible for the murder of Americans becomes a trial of whether the government is covering up embarrassing missteps, derelictions of duty, and efforts to deceive the public.

Prior to trial, judges almost never dismiss indictments based on allegations of government misconduct. Such motions are better addressed after the trial is over, when a non-speculative record of the misconduct and its effect on the truth-seeking process has been fully developed.

But there is no need to grapple with such a motion unless the defendant is first convicted. Khatallah’s trial — if the Obama administration goes through with it — will not be an easy one. Expect his lawyers to be given considerable leeway to claim egregious governmental derelictions of duty.

Good defense lawyers can go far on a little leeway. And most of them would tell you they’ve never had a windfall quite like 30,000 e-mails destroyed by the government official at the center of the case.

The Clinton camp is desperate to narrow the latest Hillary scandal to the question of whether she committed indictable classified-information offenses. Her criminal liability is quite beside the point. This is about judgment, credibility, and character.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

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Also see:

Modern Middle East Studies vs. Scholarship

(Majid Saeedi/Getty)

(Majid Saeedi/Getty)

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Aug. 10, 2015:

It would be a mistake to say Middle East Studies have been corrupted. For the program’s very purpose has been to serve as a corrupting agent. Specifically, it puts the essence of study — the objective pursuit of knowledge — in disrepute.

Here, of course, I am referring to the modern incarnation of Middle East Studies: an amalgam of leftist and Islamist political dogma that masquerades as an academic discipline. By contrast, the actual study of Middle Eastern history, like the intimately related study of Islamic civilization, is a venerable and vital pursuit — and is still pursued as such by, to take the best example, ASMEA, the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa. Alas, in our hyper-politicized society, the traditional notion of study seems quaint: a vestige of a bygone time when the designations “Orientalist” and “Islamist” referred to subject-matter expertise, not political activism, much less radicalism.

Yet, for Edward Said, the seminal figure in modern Middle East Studies, the object of the game was to slander knowledge itself. Joshua Muravchik nailed it in a 2013 profile of the renowned academic. Said’s animating theory held that “knowledge” was the key that enabled the West to dominate Orientals: The point of pursuing knowledge about “the languages, culture, history, and sociology of societies of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent,” Said elaborated, was to gain more control over the “subject races” by making “their management easy and profitable.” With real study caricatured as the engine of colonial exploitation, the way was paved for a competing construction of “study” — political agitation to empower the have-nots in the struggle against the haves.

Said was a fitting pioneer for such a fraud. To begin with, he was a professor not of Middle East Studies but of comparative literature. Moreover, the personal history he touted to paper over his want of credentials was sheer fiction: Far from what he purported to be (a Palestinian victim exiled by Jews from his Jerusalem home at age twelve), Said was actually a child of privilege, raised in Cairo and educated in top British and American schools. His Palestinian tie of note was membership in the PLO’s governing council. Like Rashid Khalidi — his protégé, who was later awarded the chair in Modern Arab Studies that Columbia University named in Said’s honor — Said was a reliable apologist of Yassir Arafat, the indefatigable terrorist who infused Palestinian identity with a Soviet-backed Arab nationalism.

To thrive in an Islamic culture, it was not only useful but necessary for Palestinian militancy to accommodate the Islamist sense of divine injunction to wage jihad. From its roots, then, modern Middle East Studies is a political movement aligning leftism and Islamism under the guise of an academic discipline. It is not an objective quest for learning guided by a rich corpus of history and culture; it is a project to impose its pieties as incontestable truth — and to discredit dispassionate analysis in order to achieve that end.

The embrace of Islamism usefully advances this project because Islamist ideology similarly stigmatizes the pursuit of knowledge. Where the leftist frames the West’s reverence for reason as imperialism, the Islamist attacks it on theological grounds.

Sharia, they maintain, is the complete and perfect societal framework and legal code, the path to human life lived in conformity with Allah’s design. Thus, what the West calls “reason” or “the objective pursuit of knowledge” is merely a rationalization for supplanting Allah’s design with the corrupting preferences of Western civilization.

We see how this teaching plays out in practice. Muslim countries that supplement sharia with other legislation add the caveat that no man-made law may contradict Islamic principles. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation — a group of Islamic governments that form a large bloc in the United Nations — even found it necessary in 1990 to promulgate a Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, because Islamists could not accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights spearheaded by non-Muslim governments after World War II.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Islamist organization, refers to this enterprise as “the Islamicization of knowledge,” the weaving of historical events and cultural developments into Islamist narratives that confirm sharia-supremacist tenets. The “Islamicization of knowledge” is the express and unapologetic mandate of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), the Virginia-based think tank established by the Brotherhood in 1981.

There are two pertinent observations to be made about the IIIT. First, it has provided an enthusiastic endorsement of Reliance of the Traveller, the English translation of Umdat al-Salik, a classic Arabic sharia manual. The publisher found this seal of approval sufficiently significant to be included in the manual’s preface, along with an endorsement from scholars at the ancient al-Azhar University in Cairo.

The manual is an eye-opener. In addition to detailing sharia’s gruesome hudud penalties (e.g., scourging and death for such offenses as extramarital or homosexual relations), it provides instruction on Islam’s brutally enforced proscriptions against blasphemy and apostasy. These are salient to our consideration: They include prohibitions not only against renunciation and ridicule of Islam but even against objectively true statements that contradict sharia, promote other belief systems, or might otherwise sow discord in the Islamic community.

Obviously, the animating purpose of these principles is to discourage severely the robust exchange of ideas, and even more the scholarly examination of Islamic doctrine and culture. The Islamicization of knowledge is possible only if the objective pursuit of knowledge is not permitted to compete.

That brings us to the second noteworthy observation about the IIIT: It has longstanding ties to the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). Several of these were traced by Cinnamon Stillwell in a 2014 American Thinker essay.

This alliance, the sponsorship by the IIIT of Middle East Studies programs throughout North America, the collaborations between the IIIT and MESA scholars — these are easy to understand. Modern Middle East Studies is a counter-scholarship enterprise that subverts truth to the ends of leftist and Islamist politics. To be clear, it is not an alternative interpretation of reality competing in the marketplace of ideas; it is an anti-Western program that is oblivious to reality and seeks to shut down the marketplace.

We do ourselves and the search for truth great harm by indulging the fiction that anti-American power politics is credible American scholarship.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, thanks the Middle East Forum for its sponsorship of this column.

No Trust, No Verification, No Sanctions: Obama’s Humiliating Capitulation to the Mullahs

john-kerry-iran-deal-gets-worse

National Review, by Andrew McCarthy, Aug. 8, 2015:

The sanctions regime President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry vowed to step up has already collapsed. The mullahs are already scooping up billions in unfrozen assets and new commerce, and they haven’t even gotten the big payday yet.

Obama’s promises of “anytime, anywhere” inspections have melted away as Tehran denies access and the president accepts their comical offer to provide their own nuclear-site samples for examination. Senator John Barasso (R., Wyo.), a medical doctor, drew the apt analogy: It’s like letting a suspect NFL player provide what he says is his own urine sample and then pronouncing him PED-free.#

And now even the Potemkin verification system has become an embarrassing sham, with Iran first refusing to allow physical investigations, then declining perusal of documentation describing past nuclear work, and now rejecting interviews of relevant witnesses.

Recall that administration officials indignantly assured skeptics that there would be no agreement in the absence of Iran’s coming clean on the “past military dimensions” of its nuclear work. As Kerry put it, “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal; it will be done.”

The reason it had to be done is obvious. According to Obama, his Iran deal is built on verification, not trust — at least when the president is not trusting Ayatollah Khamenei’s phantom anti-nuke fatwa. Plainly, it would be impossible to verify whether Iran was advancing toward the weaponization of nuclear energy — whether it had shortened the “breakout time” the elongation of which, Obama claims, is the principal objective of his deal — unless one knew how far the mullahs had advanced in the first place.

RELATED: The Bipartisan Coalition against Obama’s Iran Deal

But now, in open mockery of an American president they know is so desperate to close this deal he will never call their bluff, the mullahs have told the International Atomic Energy Agency to pound sand — although not sand in Iran, where the IAEA is not permitted to snoop around. Tehran is steadfastly refusing to open its books, and the IAEA sheepishly admits that it cannot answer basic questions about Iran’s programs and progress.

There is no inspection, no disclosure, and no verification. And did I mention no sanctions?

So what does Team Obama do? Do they, as they promised, walk away from an unverifiable and thus utterly indefensible deal that lends aid and comfort to our enemies? Of course not. Now they’re out there telling Americans, “We don’t need this IAEA program to discover whether or not Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon — they were,” as Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Obamabot, told the Wall Street Journal.

Well good for you, Sherlock; Obama, Kerry, and Hillary Clinton may still be hanging on that fatwa, but you hit the bull’s-eye.

Here’s the thing, though, Senator Murphy: Yes, all of us know the Iranians, as you cheerily put it, “were” pursuing a nuclear weapon — especially all of us who oppose Obama’s Iran deal and who recognize that the jihadist regime has waged war against us since 1979, killing thousands of Americans. But you “let’s make a deal” guys told us your objective was to uncover how far along they “were” and to roll back their progress. (Actually, you used to tell us your objective was to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons, period — as in “if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan, period.”)

RELATED: Who Is the One Actually Making Common Cause with Iran’s Hard-Liners, Mr. President?

If you don’t have a baseline from which to begin verification, you can’t verify the time of day, much less the progress of nuclear research, development, procurement, and experimentation. Iran is saying we don’t get the baseline without which the Obama administration guaranteed there would be no agreement.

So in the grand deal our president describes as subjecting the mullahs to historically rigorous inspection, disclosure, and verification requirements, there is no inspection, no disclosure, and no verification.

And did I mention no sanctions?

On July 29, Kerry assured lawmakers that Iranian Quds Force commander “Qassem Soleimani will never be relieved of any sanctions.” Soleimani orchestrates the regime’s terrorist operations and, according to the Pentagon, is responsible for killing at least 500 American soldiers in Iraq.

Yet, only five days before Kerry gave that testimony, Soleimani traveled to Russia for meetings with Putin’s government — notwithstanding the vaunted sanctions that, Kerry would have us believe, confine him to Iran.

RELATED: Appeasing Iran Ignores the Lessons of History

Russia, of course, is a member of the U.N. Security Council, from which Obama sought and obtained endorsement of his Iran deal before seeking congressional review. Not only has Russia rendered the current sanctions a joke; it has made Obama’s implausible promise of future “snapback” sanctions against Iran even more laughable. Russia, by the way, has also agreed to build yet another nuclear reactor for the mullahs in Busheir — which Obama’s deal obligates the United States to protect against sabotage. And Putin has also just agreed to supply the terrorist regime in Tehran with $800 million worth of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles that can be used against the U.S. Air Force and have enough range to strike planes in northern Israel.

What a deal, Mr. President!

We really don’t know quite what a deal it is because key provisions remain secret.

Actually, we really don’t know quite what a deal it is because key provisions remain secret. After its bold verification promises, the Obama administration was too embarrassed to reveal exactly how pathetic the agreement’s inspections provisions are. So, as I outlined in a recent column, Obama and Kerry tucked them into a secret side deal between Iran and the IAEA. It then twaddled that the details — i.e., the heart of the deal from the American perspective — are, conveniently, between Iran and the IAEA. None of our business, you see.

This message was reiterated on Capitol Hill this week by the IAEA. Understand: The IAEA could not function (to the limited extend it does function) without the United States Congress’s underwriting of 25 percent of its budget — the American taxpayer contribution dwarfs that of every other country, including Iran’s, which is tiny. Yet, the IAEA chief told lawmakers that he could not reveal the agreement between his agency and Tehran because that is “confidential” information, disclosure of which would compromise the IAEA’s “independence.” The only things the IAEA would confirm are that (a) there are verification provisions and (b) Iran is not cooperating with them.

Feel better?

Well, to further improve your mood, let’s talk the Corker bill. Remember, that’s the legislation by which the GOP-controlled Congress reversed the constitutional presumption against international agreements and virtually assured that Obama’s Iran deal — no matter how appalling it may be, no matter how much aid and comfort if provides to the enemy — will become law.

Why on earth would Beltway Republicans agree to anything so catastrophic for the national security that the Constitution’s Treaty Clause is designed to protect? Because, they proclaimed, by making this devil’s bargain, they would ensure that Congress and the American people got full disclosure of the Iran deal that Obama would otherwise shroud in secrecy.

But as I asked at the time, what possessed them to think Obama would not shroud the agreement in secrecy just because there would now be a law forbidding that?

Supporters are telling themselves that the Corker bill’s benefits [include that] the president will have to produce the agreement. . . . But this is a mirage. . . . The president is notoriously lawless, and thus Republicans can have no confidence that the agreement he produces to Congress will, in fact, be the final deal he signs off on with Iran and, significantly, submits to the U.N. Security Council for an endorsing resolution.

And so it has come to pass: Republicans forfeited their constitutional power for an unenforceable promise of transparency from an infamously duplicitous backroom dealer. Now they have no power and no idea what they’ve enabled.

The president had it backwards Wednesday when, in his repulsively demagogic speech on the Iran deal, he said that Republicans are aligned with the Iranian “hardliners chanting ‘Death to America.’” It is Obama who is aiding and abetting the hardliners. Republicans have merely aided and abetted Obama.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Also see:

While the Administration and media tries to portray this latest episode as evidence of hard liners in Iran trying to upend the JCPOA, we are not buying any of these explanations.  It illustrates how incompetent the Administration has been in conducting its diplomatic initiatives with two geo-political autocrats, Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei and Russia’s President Putin.  The import of the Russian commitment to deliver the S300 air defense system is not lost on Israeli PM Netanyahu and Sunni US allies in the Middle East as it calls into question the credibility of any conventional military option for dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  This episode should be another clear  demonstration  to wavering Democrat  US Senators and Representatives that Iran will cheat on its agreements under the JCPOA to further its ambitions become a nuclear threshold and state supporter of  global terrorism.  The Iran nuclear pact announced in Vienna on July 14th was virtually shredded ten days later on July 24th with Gen. Soleimani’s arrival in Moscow. His visit to finalize arrangements for Russian weapons deliveries was in defiance of not only his travel bans but also UNSC Resolution 1929 banning purchase of conventional weapons and missile technology five years ahead of its sunset under the Iran nuclear pact.

THE MIDDLE EAST PROSPECT

unholyalliancePowerline, by Scott Johnson, July 12, 2012:

The David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Texas retreat took place last month in Dallas. I have posted videos of the presentations by Stanley Kurtz and Bret Stephens at the retreat. Other videos from the retreat are posted here.

In the video below, Daniel Pipes presents a survey of the Middle East in the Age of Obama. It works as an excellent companion to Stephens’s presentation; Pipes provides a regional close-up following Stephens’s global view (to borrow the title of Stephens’s weekly Wall Street Journal column). As with the the other two videos, I commend this one to your attention with the thought that it is worth your time. Even if you follow the news closely I think you are likely to learn something from this presentation.

The son of Richard Pipes, the prominent historian of Russia, Daniel Pipes is a brilliant student of the Middle East. He is the author of notable books including The Rushdie Affair and, most recently, Nothing Abides.

One of the ladies at PolitiChicks caught up with Pipes after his presentation in Dallas last month. She asked him to identify the greatest threat to the United States (video below). Let’s just say that we’re on the same wavelength.

I have been a reader and fan of Pipes for a long time. I saw him speak about Islamic terrorism before a campus audience at Yale in 2005 or so. He struck me as a scholar with the soul of a warrior. I caught up with Pipes in Minneapolis in 2012 when he was in town for a family wedding and posted a brief video in which I inarticulately asked him about the current relevance of the Rushdie affair here.

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Politichicks also interviewed Andrew McCarthy. They discussed threats to U.S. & justice for Benghazi

AUDIO: How does a free society that values religious liberty handle Islamic supremacism that seeks to destroy it?

41OveQ31pwLThe Blaze, by Benjamin Weingarten, May 29, 2015:

Former federal prosecutor and current National Review contributor Andrew McCarthy has published a slender but substantive new book coincidentally released eerily close to the recent Garland jihadist attack titled “Islam and Free Speech.”

We had the chance to sit down with McCarthy to discuss a variety of topics relating to his new book including a broader question that America has been grappling with for over a decade since Sept. 11, 2001: How can a free and pluralistic society built on protecting liberty including specifically religious liberty adequately counter a theopolitical Islamic supremacist ideology that seeks to use our freedoms and tolerance to undermine us.

Here is how McCarthy responded to the question:

 

The doctrine of Soviet Communism was … ultimately not just the complete and extensive undermining of [the U.S.], but when and if or if and when finally necessary, the violent overthrow of the United States, or the United States government.

So it’s not like this is the first time that we’ve dealt with a conquest ideology that seeks … to supplant the West with its own vision of what society should be. We’ve had this kind of a problem before.

The difference is, Soviet ideology never traveled under the banner of religious liberty, and there was never the kind of squeamishness about examining it that we have now. And … the best way to combat it is to get over that squeamishness.

What we have to understand is that there is a difference between what we ought to regard as Islam the religion … which is something that is adhered to by, you know, many many many patriotic American Muslims, who have no desire whatsoever to have a United States that’s structured like the totalitarian societies that a lot of them either left or reject for their own reasons.

So we have to distinguish that from this political Islamist ideology that is rooted in Islamic doctrine, and a very literal interpretation of it, and that rejects a division between church and state, or between mosque and state.

That ideology is — it has a religious component — but it’s a political ideology overwhelmingly. And it ought to be dealt with as one. And we should stop — you know our public officials should stop trying to label it as something it isn’t. It’s a political, totalitarian conquest ideology that has certain religious elements to it.

But the important thing from our perspective is it’s like every other political ideology that competes and has animus towards the west. And we have to see ourselves as in competition with it and needing to defeat it, rather than trying to figure out how we can accommodate it under the auspices of our commitment to religious liberty, because overwhelmingly it’s not a religious doctrine. The political element of it is overwhelmingly a totalitarian political doctrine. And we shouldn’t, just because it has a few religious elements to it, lose sight of the bigger picture.

You can listen to our interview in full below, or keep scrolling to listen to select clips on topics ranging from the ignored totalitarian nature of Shariah speech prohibitions to McCarthy’s defense of Section 215 of the Patriot Act and why McCarthy believes that conservative Americans frightened of a government that has targeted them through the IRS should be trusted with such powers.

Full Interview

 

The Clash of Civilizations Between Islam and the West

 

The Ignored Totalitarian Nature of Shariah Speech Prohibitions

McCarthy’s Defense of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and Why We Should Trust Our Government With Such Power

 

What is In America’s National Interest in the Middle East, and How Should We Pursue It?

 

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