Frontpage, March 25, 2015 by
Last week the Islamic State’s ‘Hacking Division’ released the names and addresses of one hundred US military personnel. It urged the ‘brothers residing in America’ – i.e. American Muslims – to ‘deal with’ them, which is to say, it wants them killed.
There is much talk these days of radicalization and deradicalization. At the heart of both processes are religious ideas: theological dogmas. What are some of the key theological principles which might cause a Muslim to take this call seriously? What is the Islamic reasoning given by the IS Hacking Division in support of its call to kill non-Muslims?
The Hacking Division quote two verses of the Qur’an:
- Sura 9:123 ‘fight disbelievers who are near to you’ and
- Sura 9:14 ‘Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them, and satisfy [actually yashfi ‘heal’] the breasts of a believing people’.
The meaning of these two verses hangs upon the word qātilū, translated here as ‘fight’. The verbal root q-t-l from which qātilū is formed means ‘kill’, so the the Arabic actually means ‘fight to kill’ (see discussion here). These Qur’anic verses truly are commands to kill non-Muslims.
The second quoted verse, from Sura 9:14, puts forward a view concerning what Muslims should do about emotional pain and anguish they may experience because of unbelievers. ‘Allah’, the verse says, ‘will heal the breasts’ of Muslims, – and then the sentence continues into the next verse – ‘and remove the rage of their hearts’.
The key concept here is that if Muslims have strong feelings, including anger, against non-Muslims, their emotional distress will subside and be ‘healed’ as they kill, humiliate and triumph over non-believers. Strange therapy indeed for the human soul! According to the Qur’an, in order to secure inner ‘peace’, calm within the Muslim soul can be secured by shedding non-Muslim blood.
These are stock-standard verses used to urge Muslims to go for jihad against disbelievers. However what most caught my eye in the Hacking Division’s call to arms against infidels in America was but a reference to Muhammad’s teachings. The Hacking Division refers to hadith 4661 in a published English version of the Sahih Muslim (translated by Abdul Hamid Sidiqqi).
The Sahih Muslim is one of the most revered and authoritative sources for the teaching and example of Muhammad, whose life is considered exemplary and compulsory for Muslims to emulate. This particular hadith can be found on page 1263 of Volume 3 of the English edition:
Chapter 789 (DCCLXXXIX)
About a man who killed a disbeliever and embraced Islam.
(4661) It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: A disbeliever and a believer who killed him will never be gathered together in Hell. [See here.]
This is a most significant statement. It is saying that if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim, they cannot both end up in hell. The alternative to hell is paradise, so in other words, killing a non-Muslim – who is destined for hell due to their unbelief – can provide a sure ticket to paradise for a Muslim.
This tradition is the authority for a view widely put about by jihadis, that if a Muslim personally gets to kill a disbeliever, the Muslim will gain paradise. Put together with with the famous belief that for a Muslim to be ‘martyred’ in jihad opens the gates of paradise (see Sura 3:169-170; 9:111; and 22:58), fighting to kill non-Muslims can be a ticket to glory, win or lose. Either one kills and gains a get-out-of-hell free card, or one is killed and gains a get-into-paradise-free card. This is a win-win proposition for the jihadi.
Persuading Muslims to take the words of Muhammad seriously is the core strategy of radicalization. This tactic works as well as it does because it appeals to a plain reading of Islam’s holy texts.
To be deradicalized, a Muslim needs to repudiate the theological authority of the teachings of Muhammad and the Qur’an. This is a hard call for pious Muslims. Ayan Hirsi Ali was surely correct in her recent essay calling for reform of Islam when she wrote that
‘the fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts.’
Hirsi Ali also declared:
‘we in the West need to challenge and debate the very substance of Islamic thought and practice. We need to hold Islam accountable for the acts of its most violent adherents and to demand that it reform or disavow the key beliefs that are used to justify those acts.’
Hirsi Ali was right: the West needs to engage with and repudiate the Islamic dogmas that killing or being killed in murderous attacks against non-Mulims is some kind of golden key which unlocks the gates of paradise. Until these beliefs and the canonical teachings they rely on are acknowledged and repudiated, the lives of non-Muslims will continue to be discarded as the ‘ticket to paradise’ of Muslim belligerents.
Hadiths such as 4661 from Sahih Muslim, and the Qur’anic verses cited here are a genuine part of the Islamic canon. Such verses remain unrenounced and unrepudiated by a great many Muslims and Islamic institutions today.
As long as such texts are not repudiated, the theological winds of Islam will all too easily continue to sweep pious Muslim hearts and minds towards radicalization, a process which exalts the idea that the lives of infidels are disposable.
Islam’s warrant to kill infidels is an idea which deserves to be exposed, challenged, thoroughly debated, and rejected.
Don’t miss the Glazov Gang’s 2-part series with Dr. Mark Durie on Jihadist Slavery and Rape — and Islam-Denial and Our Fear of Islam:
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.
“Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.” Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims. In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide. The lion’s share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.
Not all of this violence is explicitly motivated by religion, but a great deal of it is. I believe that it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace.
When I assert this, I do not mean that Islamic belief makes all Muslims violent. This is manifestly not the case: There are many millions of peaceful Muslims in the world. What I do say is that the call to violence and the justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam. Moreover, this theologically sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offenses, including but not limited to apostasy, adultery, blasphemy and even something as vague as threats to family honor or to the honor of Islam itself.
It is not just al Qaeda and Islamic State that show the violent face of Islamic faith and practice. It is Pakistan, where any statement critical of the Prophet or Islam is labeled as blasphemy and punishable by death. It is Saudi Arabia, where churches and synagogues are outlawed and where beheadings are a legitimate form of punishment. It is Iran, where stoning is an acceptable punishment and homosexuals are hanged for their “crime.”
As I see it, the fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts. It simply will not do for Muslims to claim that their religion has been “hijacked” by extremists. The killers of Islamic State and Nigeria’s Boko Haram cite the same religious texts that every other Muslim in the world considers sacrosanct.
Instead of letting Islam off the hook with bland clichés about the religion of peace, we in the West need to challenge and debate the very substance of Islamic thought and practice. We need to hold Islam accountable for the acts of its most violent adherents and to demand that it reform or disavow the key beliefs that are used to justify those acts.
As it turns out, the West has some experience with this sort of reformist project. It is precisely what took place in Judaism and Christianity over the centuries, as both traditions gradually consigned the violent passages of their own sacred texts to the past. Many parts of the Bible and the Talmud reflect patriarchal norms, and both also contain many stories of harsh human and divine retribution. As President Barack Obama said in remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, “Remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”
Yet today, because their faiths went through a long, meaningful process of Reformation and Enlightenment, the vast majority of Jews and Christians have come to dismiss religious scripture that urges intolerance or violence. There are literalist fringes in both religions, but they are true fringes. Regrettably, in Islam, it is the other way around: It is those seeking religious reform who are the fringe element.
Any serious discussion of Islam must begin with its core creed, which is based on the Quran (the words said to have been revealed by the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad) and the hadith (the accompanying works that detail Muhammad’s life and words). Despite some sectarian differences, this creed unites all Muslims. All, without exception, know by heart these words: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah; and Muhammad is His messenger.” This is the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith.
The Shahada might seem to be a declaration of belief no different from any other. But the reality is that the Shahada is both a religious and a political symbol.
In the early days of Islam, when Muhammad was going from door to door in Mecca trying to persuade the polytheists to abandon their idols of worship, he was inviting them to accept that there was no god but Allah and that he was Allah’s messenger.
After 10 years of trying this kind of persuasion, however, he and his small band of believers went to Medina, and from that moment, Muhammad’s mission took on a political dimension. Unbelievers were still invited to submit to Allah, but after Medina, they were attacked if they refused. If defeated, they were given the option to convert or to die. (Jews and Christians could retain their faith if they submitted to paying a special tax.)
No symbol represents the soul of Islam more than the Shahada. But today there is a contest within Islam for the ownership of that symbol. Who owns the Shahada? Is it those Muslims who want to emphasize Muhammad’s years in Mecca or those who are inspired by his conquests after Medina? On this basis, I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims.
The first group is the most problematic. These are the fundamentalists who, when they say the Shahada, mean: “We must live by the strict letter of our creed.” They envision a regime based on Shariah, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version. What is more, they take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.
I shall call them Medina Muslims, in that they see the forcible imposition of Shariah as their religious duty. They aim not just to obey Muhammad’s teaching but also to emulate his warlike conduct after his move to Medina. Even if they do not themselves engage in violence, they do not hesitate to condone it.
It is Medina Muslims who call Jews and Christians “pigs and monkeys.” It is Medina Muslims who prescribe death for the crime of apostasy, death by stoning for adultery and hanging for homosexuality. It is Medina Muslims who put women in burqas and beat them if they leave their homes alone or if they are improperly veiled.
The second group—and the clear majority throughout the Muslim world—consists of Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence. I call them Mecca Muslims. Like devout Christians or Jews who attend religious services every day and abide by religious rules in what they eat and wear, Mecca Muslims focus on religious observance. I was born in Somalia and raised as a Mecca Muslim. So were the majority of Muslims from Casablanca to Jakarta.
Yet the Mecca Muslims have a problem: Their religious beliefs exist in an uneasy tension with modernity—the complex of economic, cultural and political innovations that not only reshaped the Western world but also dramatically transformed the developing world as the West exported it. The rational, secular and individualistic values of modernity are fundamentally corrosive of traditional societies, especially hierarchies based on gender, age and inherited status.
Trapped between two worlds of belief and experience, these Muslims are engaged in a daily struggle to adhere to Islam in the context of a society that challenges their values and beliefs at every turn. Many are able to resolve this tension only by withdrawing into self-enclosed (and increasingly self-governing) enclaves. This is called cocooning, a practice whereby Muslim immigrants attempt to wall off outside influences, permitting only an Islamic education for their children and disengaging from the wider non-Muslim community.
It is my hope to engage this second group of Muslims—those closer to Mecca than to Medina—in a dialogue about the meaning and practice of their faith. I recognize that these Muslims are not likely to heed a call for doctrinal reformation from someone they regard as an apostate and infidel. But they may reconsider if I can persuade them to think of me not as an apostate but as a heretic: one of a growing number of people born into Islam who have sought to think critically about the faith we were raised in. It is with this third group—only a few of whom have left Islam altogether—that I would now identify myself.
These are the Muslim dissidents. A few of us have been forced by experience to conclude that we could not continue to be believers; yet we remain deeply engaged in the debate about Islam’s future. The majority of dissidents are reforming believers—among them clerics who have come to realize that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of political violence.
How many Muslims belong to each group? Ed Husain of the Council on Foreign Relations estimates that only 3% of the world’s Muslims understand Islam in the militant terms I associate with Muhammad’s time in Medina. But out of well over 1.6 billion believers, or 23% of the globe’s population, that 48 million seems to be more than enough. (I would put the number significantly higher, based on survey data on attitudes toward Shariah in Muslim countries.)
In any case, regardless of the numbers, it is the Medina Muslims who have captured the world’s attention on the airwaves, over social media, in far too many mosques and, of course, on the battlefield.
The Medina Muslims pose a threat not just to non-Muslims. They also undermine the position of those Mecca Muslims attempting to lead a quiet life in their cultural cocoons throughout the Western world. But those under the greatest threat are the dissidents and reformers within Islam, who face ostracism and rejection, who must brave all manner of insults, who must deal with the death threats—or face death itself.
For the world at large, the only viable strategy for containing the threat posed by the Medina Muslims is to side with the dissidents and reformers and to help them to do two things: first, identify and repudiate those parts of Muhammad’s legacy that summon Muslims to intolerance and war, and second, persuade the great majority of believers—the Mecca Muslims—to accept this change.
Islam is at a crossroads. Muslims need to make a conscious decision to confront, debate and ultimately reject the violent elements within their religion. To some extent—not least because of widespread revulsion at the atrocities of Islamic State, al Qaeda and the rest—this process has already begun. But it needs leadership from the dissidents, and they in turn stand no chance without support from the West.
What needs to happen for us to defeat the extremists for good? Economic, political, judicial and military tools have been proposed and some of them deployed. But I believe that these will have little effect unless Islam itself is reformed.
Such a reformation has been called for repeatedly at least since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent abolition of the caliphate. But I would like to specify precisely what needs to be reformed.
I have identified five precepts central to Islam that have made it resistant to historical change and adaptation. Only when the harmfulness of these ideas are recognized and they are repudiated will a true Muslim Reformation have been achieved.
Here are the five areas that require amendment:
1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran.
Muhammad should not be seen as infallible, let alone as a source of divine writ. He should be seen as a historical figure who united the Arab tribes in a premodern context that cannot be replicated in the 21st century. And although Islam maintains that the Quran is the literal word of Allah, it is, in historical reality, a book that was shaped by human hands. Large parts of the Quran simply reflect the tribal values of the 7th-century Arabian context from which it emerged. The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.
2. The supremacy of life after death.
The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.
3. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.
4. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.
5. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.
Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.
I know that this argument will make many Muslims uncomfortable. Some are bound to be offended by my proposed amendments. Others will contend that I am not qualified to discuss these complex issues of theology and law. I am also afraid—genuinely afraid—that it will make a few Muslims even more eager to silence me.
But this is not a work of theology. It is more in the nature of a public intervention in the debate about the future of Islam. The biggest obstacle to change within the Muslim world is precisely its suppression of the sort of critical thinking I am attempting here. If my proposal for reform helps to spark a serious discussion of these issues among Muslims themselves, I will consider it a success.
Let me make two things clear. I do not seek to inspire another war on terror or extremism—violence in the name of Islam cannot be ended by military means alone. Nor am I any sort of “Islamophobe.” At various times, I myself have been all three kinds of Muslim: a fundamentalist, a cocooned believer and a dissident. My journey has gone from Mecca to Medina to Manhattan.
For me, there seemed no way to reconcile my faith with the freedoms I came to the West to embrace. I left the faith, despite the threat of the death penalty prescribed by Shariah for apostates. Future generations of Muslims deserve better, safer options. Muslims should be able to welcome modernity, not be forced to wall themselves off, or live in a state of cognitive dissonance, or lash out in violent rejection.
But it is not only Muslims who would benefit from a reformation of Islam. We in the West have an enormous stake in how the struggle over Islam plays out. We cannot remain on the sidelines, as though the outcome has nothing to do with us. For if the Medina Muslims win and the hope for a Muslim Reformation dies, the rest of the world too will pay an enormous price—not only in blood spilled but also in freedom lost.
This essay is adapted from Ms. Hirsi Ali’s new book, “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now,” to be published Tuesday by HarperCollins (which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp). Her previous books include “Infidel” and “Nomad: From Islam to America, A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations.”
March 14, 2015:
Somali-born free speech and women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali gave the keynote address at a sold-out event in Boston Wednesday that centered on rising anti-Semitism on college campuses in North America.
Hirsi Ali’s address, and a panel featuring a rabbi and three student activists, followed the premiere of a new Jerusalem U film titled Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus, which can be viewed in its entirety online. The film demonstrates how anti-Israel activities on college and university campuses are being organized to alienate and intimidate those who support Israel, and how reasonable criticism of Israel “crosses the line” into anti-Semitism.
As a press release about the Boston event notes, Hirsi Ali said the film demonstrates how students are being “misled.” Denouncing “virulent anti-Semitism” on college campuses, she asserted, “The least we can do is boycott, divest, and sanction campuses that compromise academic freedom.”
Excerpts of Hirsi Ali’s address are as follows:
It is appalling that only seventy years from the Holocaust, crowds in Europe chant, “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.” It is even more appalling that 10,000 soldiers in Paris are needed to protect Jewish sites. That is the continent that promised never again. The men and women who were in the concentration camps, who are tattooed, some are still here. And it is happening again.
Watching Crossing the Line 2: the New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus was like having a bucket of ice water being poured over my head. I saw the film last week. And I watched it again last night. And I couldn’t sleep. The more we pretend that this is happening somewhere far away, the more hopeless and helpless we feel. But this is not happening far away. This is happening on American campuses, British campuses, Canadian campuses. The filmmakers who made this film made it because it is important that we listen to this message while it is at a smaller stage.
I have a different acronym for BDS. They call themselves Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. I call them Bully, Deceive, and Sabotage. Bully, Deceive, and Sabotage the only society that is free in the Middle East. BDS. On campus, if you care about issues like justice and injustice, we really need to show it. You need to do it. Where is the BDS movement against the Islamic State? Where on campuses is the BDS movement against Saudi Arabia? The Iranian regime, who for decades have promised to wipe Israel off the map, who are developing a bomb. And there’s no BDS movement against them on campus. Why? Last year in Nigeria, 200 girls were kidnapped. They were sold into slavery. There was no BDS movement against Boko Haram.
“Anti-Israel activities on campus cause students today to feel embarrassed to be pro-Israel, or could even lead them to hold negative opinions about Israel” said Amy Holtz, president of Jerusalem U, in a statement in the press release. “Raising awareness of this growing problem is crucial. We made this film in order to give students the knowledge to differentiate between education and intimidation, debate and hate. They must be able to identify when it is ‘Crossing the Line.’”
The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is Hamas on Campus. An organization dedicated to wiping Israel off the map.
- UCLA Jews: Stop Fighting and Start Winning (frontpagemag.com)
ISIS is recruiting young Muslims from around the globe to Jihad, and the White House apparently doesn’t understand why
Time, By Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Feb. 20, 2015:
How can the Obama Administration miss the obvious? Part of the answer lies in the groups “partnering” with, or advising, the White House on these issues. Groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council or the Islamic Society of North America insist that there should be no more focus at the Summit on radical Islam than on any other violent movements, even as radical Islamic movements continue to expand their influence in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Nigeria, and elsewhere.
Amplifying a poor choice of Muslim outreach partners, however, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have argued in recent days that economic grievances, a lack of opportunities, and countries with “bad governance” are to blame for the success of groups such as ISIS in recruiting Muslims to their cause. Yet, if this were true, why do so many young Muslims who live in societies with excellent governance—Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, the United States—either join ISIS or engage in Jihadist violence in their own countries? Why do young Muslims with promising professional futures embark on the path of Jihad?
Neither the Summit partners nor the U.S. Administration can effectively answer these questions.
Both Denmark and the Netherlands have “good governance.” Denmark and the Netherlands not only offer free health insurance but also free housing to Muslim refugees, along with high-quality education for their children. This should produce an outpouring of gratitude by young Muslims towards the host society, and no Jihadists.
Yet there are dozens of Jihadists hailing from the Netherlands and a recent attack in Copenhagen was committed by a man who was raised in Denmark and had effectively enjoyed years of Danish hospitality.
The question is not limited to Europe. Minnesota, for instance, is hardly a state with “bad governance.” Minnesota offers ample opportunity for immigrants willing to work hard. Yet more than a dozen young men from the Twin Cities area have joined the Jihadist movement in recent years.
How can Barack Obama or John Kerry explain this? Based on President Obama’s public statements and John Kerry’s analysis in The Wall Street Journal, they cannot.
It is worth remembering Aafia Siddiqui, the M.I.T.-educated neuroscientist who could have enjoyed a prestigious and lucrative career in the bio-tech industry but instead chose to embrace radical Islam, eventually becoming known as “Lady Al-Qaida.”
Or think of the three Khan siblings who recently sought to leave Chicago in order to go live in Syria under the rule of ISIS. The Khan sister, intelligent and studious, had planned to become a physician. The siblings were intercepted before they could fly out of the country, and prosecutors argue they wanted to join armed Jihad. Defense attorneys have a different explanation, stating the siblings desperately wanted to live under a society ruled by Shariah law—under the rule of Allah’s laws, without necessarily wanting to commit acts of violence.
It is this motivation—the sincere desire to live under Islamic religious laws, and the concomitant willingness to use violence to defend the land of Islam and expand it—that has led thousands of Western Muslims, many of them young and intelligent—and not the oft-described “losers”—to leave a comfortable professional and economic future in the West in order to join ISIS under gritty circumstances.
In its general strategy, the U.S. Administration confounds two things. It is true that in “failed states” criminal networks, cartels, and terrorist groups can operate with impunity. Strengthening central governments will reduce safe havens for terror networks. Secretary Kerry’s argument in The Wall Street Journal is different, however, namely: If we improve governance in countries with “bad governance,” then fewer young people will become “violent extremists.” That’s a different argument and not a plausible one. In fact, it’s a really unpersuasive argument. Muslims leave bright, promising futures to join ISIS out of a sense of sincere religious devotion, the wish to live under the laws of Allah instead of the laws of men.
In reading Kerry’s piece, I am glad that in the late 1940s the U.S. had people such as George Kennan employed in its service to see the Communist threat clearly and describe it clearly. But where is today’s Kennan in this administration? Who in the U.S. government is willing to describe the threat of radical Islam without fear of causing offense to several aggressive Islamic lobby groups?
American policymakers do not yet understand Islamism or what persuades young Muslims to join Jihad: sincere religious devotion based on the core texts of Islam, in particular early Islam’s politicized and aggressive period in Medina (compared to Islam’s spiritual and ascetic period in Mecca).
How does one tackle misguided religious devotion of young Muslims? The answer lies in reforming Islam profoundly—not radical Islam, but mainstream Islam; its willingness to merge Mosque and State, religion, and politics; and its insistence that its elaborate system of Shariah law supersedes civil laws created by human legislators. In such a reform project lies the hope for countering Islamism. No traditional Islamic lobbying group committed to defending the reputation of Islam will recommend such a policy to the U.S. government. Yet until American policymakers grapple with the need for such reform, the real problem within Islam will remain unresolved.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the founder of the AHA Foundation and the author of Infidel, Nomad, and the forthcoming Heretic: The Case for a Muslim Reformation, to be published next spring.
After the horrific massacre Wednesday at the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, perhaps the West will finally put away its legion of useless tropes trying to deny the relationship between violence and radical Islam.
This was not an attack by a mentally deranged, lone-wolf gunman. This was not an “un-Islamic” attack by a bunch of thugs—the perpetrators could be heard shouting that they were avenging the Prophet Muhammad. Nor was it spontaneous. It was planned to inflict maximum damage, during a staff meeting, with automatic weapons and a getaway plan. It was designed to sow terror, and in that it has worked.
The West is duly terrified. But it should not be surprised.
If there is a lesson to be drawn from such a grisly episode, it is that what we believe about Islam truly doesn’t matter. This type of violence, jihad, is what they, the Islamists, believe.
There are numerous calls to violent jihad in the Quran. But the Quran is hardly alone. In too much of Islam, jihad is a thoroughly modern concept. The 20th-century jihad “bible,” and an animating work for many Islamist groups today, is “The Quranic Concept of War,” a book written in the mid-1970s by Pakistani Gen. S.K. Malik. He argues that because God, Allah, himself authored every word of the Quran, the rules of war contained in the Quran are of a higher caliber than the rules developed by mere mortals.
In Malik’s analysis of Quranic strategy, the human soul—and not any physical battlefield—is the center of conflict. The key to victory, taught by Allah through the military campaigns of the Prophet Muhammad, is to strike at the soul of your enemy. And the best way to strike at your enemy’s soul is through terror. Terror, Malik writes, is “the point where the means and the end meet.” Terror, he adds, “is not a means of imposing decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose.”
Those responsible for the slaughter in Paris, just like the man who killed the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, are seeking to impose terror. And every time we give in to their vision of justified religious violence, we are giving them exactly what they want.
In Islam, it is a grave sin to visually depict or in any way slander the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims are free to believe this, but why should such a prohibition be forced on nonbelievers? In the U.S., Mormons didn’t seek to impose the death penalty on those who wrote and produced “The Book of Mormon,” a satirical Broadway sendup of their faith. Islam, with 1,400 years of history and some 1.6 billion adherents, should be able to withstand a few cartoons by a French satirical magazine. But of course deadly responses to cartoons depicting Muhammad are nothing new in the age of jihad.
Moreover, despite what the Quran may teach, not all sins can be considered equal. The West must insist that Muslims, particularly members of the Muslim diaspora, answer this question: What is more offensive to a believer—the murder, torture, enslavement and acts of war and terrorism being committed today in the name of Muhammad, or the production of drawings and films and books designed to mock the extremists and their vision of what Muhammad represents?
To answer the late Gen. Malik, our soul in the West lies in our belief in freedom of conscience and freedom of expression. The freedom to express our concerns, the freedom to worship who we want, or not to worship at all—such freedoms are the soul of our civilization. And that is precisely where the Islamists have attacked us. Again.
How we respond to this attack is of great consequence. If we take the position that we are dealing with a handful of murderous thugs with no connection to what they so vocally claim, then we are not answering them. We have to acknowledge that today’s Islamists are driven by a political ideology, an ideology embedded in the foundational texts of Islam. We can no longer pretend that it is possible to divorce actions from the ideals that inspire them.
This would be a departure for the West, which too often has responded to jihadist violence with appeasement. We appease the Muslim heads of government who lobby us to censor our press, our universities, our history books, our school curricula. They appeal and we oblige. We appease leaders of Muslim organizations in our societies. They ask us not to link acts of violence to the religion of Islam because they tell us that theirs is a religion of peace, and we oblige.
What do we get in return? Kalashnikovs in the heart of Paris. The more we oblige, the more we self-censor, the more we appease, the bolder the enemy gets.
There can only be one answer to this hideous act of jihad against the staff of Charlie Hebdo. It is the obligation of the Western media and Western leaders, religious and lay, to protect the most basic rights of freedom of expression, whether in satire on any other form. The West must not appease, it must not be silenced. We must send a united message to the terrorists: Your violence cannot destroy our soul.
Ms. Hirsi Ali, a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, is the author of “Infidel” (2007). Her latest book, “Heretic: The Case for a Muslim Reformation,” will be published in April by HarperCollins.
By Ashe Schow:In early April of this year, Brandeis University, under pressure from student activists and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, reversed its decision to give an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a global advocate for women’s rights.
The decision was triggered by Hirsi Ali’s outspoken criticisms of Islam. The Somali-born activist has sounded alarms about the prevalence of extremism in Muslim countries and the misogyny that pervades even mainstream Islam.
During the Brandeis controversy, a CAIR spokesman called her “one of the worst of the worst of the Islam-haters in America.”
But Hirsi Ali’s warnings about Islamic extremism were quickly supported by world events, as just a week after Brandeis rescinded her honorary degree, the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in the first of many such abductions throughout the summer. A few months after the kidnappings began, news spread that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, another terrorist group, was selling Yazidi women into sexual slavery.
In recent years, as part of its efforts to leverage its historical electoral advantage with female voters, Democrats in the United States have promoted the idea that Republicans have been waging a “war on women.” At various times, the term has been associated with politicians who oppose late-term abortions; conservatives who defend the right of religious business owners to decline to provide contraception coverage to employees; and those who question the assumptions behind the statistic that women on average earn 77 cents for every dollar that men earn. During the 2014 midterm election season, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz even claimed Tea Party Republicans were “grabbing [women] by the hair and pulling us back.”
Many on the Right have responded to this campaign either by mocking the idea that a war on women exists or by challenging many of the claims liberals make to perpetuate the narrative — pointing out, for example, that nearly all of the gender wage gap can be explained by the career choices women make. But the truth is that there is a war on women. It just isn’t occurring where American liberals claim it is, but rather in countries where women are forbidden to leave their homes without a male escort; seen as nothing more than chattel to be sold or abused; killed if they disobey their family’s wishes; mutilated to prevent them from having sex; and attacked with acid when they try to escape.
If American liberals were as concerned about women’s rights as they claim to be, they would have to shift their focus to other countries, but that would mean giving up a cherished narrative about conservatives here at home and acknowledging the threat radical Islam poses to women worldwide.
The real horrors facing women in the world aren’t discussed in America, where those who try to point out what is going on in other countries or criticize the trivial nature of feminist obsessions are sidelined from the public debate.
But recent events have cast a glaring light on the brutal treatment of women by those claiming to act in the name of Islam, posing a challenge to the American Left by creating a conflict between the liberal desire for women’s equality and a multicultural reluctance to criticize other cultures. This philosophical tension gained national attention in October, when HBO’s liberal host Bill Maher noted the connection between Islamic ideology and violence, igniting a bitter argument with celebrity guest Ben Affleck.
Bundled up and fearful of shaking hands because of a cough, Hirsi Ali sat down with theWashington Examiner in November before being presented an award by the Independent Women’s Forum at its Women of Valor Dinner in Washington. She noted that where extremist ideology spreads, death and mayhem flourish.
“That consequence you see today in parts of Iraq and Syria,” Hirsi Ali said. “You see it in what Boko Haram is doing. You’ve seen it with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Everywhere where that idea is implemented it has a sudden pattern.”
Critics have attacked Hirsi Ali as Islamophobic and have argued that the portrait she paints is not representative of Islam at large. But her disagreements with Islam are rooted in her own East African upbringing.
Hirsi Ali was subjected to female genital mutilation at the age of 5 in her home country, Somalia, while her father, who opposed the traditional practice, was in prison. Her father escaped and moved the family to Saudi Arabia, then to Ethiopia and finally to Kenya when Hirsi Ali was 11 years old.
She grew up as a Muslim woman, reading and accepting the Quran and its teachings. But when her family prepared to force her into an arranged marriage, she fled to the Netherlands. She eventually became a translator, speaking on behalf of Somali women who, like her, were seeking asylum.
Hirsi Ali discovered many women continued to suffer under Islam even in the secular, liberal Netherlands. She decided to enter politics to bring attention to the plight of Muslim women and girls, and in 2003 she was elected to the Dutch parliament.
Her charisma and criticism of Islam as a member of parliament gained the attention of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. She wrote and narrated his film “Submission” about oppressed women in Holland, a film that outraged Dutch Muslims. On Nov. 2, 2004, an Islamist shot and stabbed van Gogh to death in Amsterdam as he rode his bicycle to work. A letter was pinned to van Gogh’s dead body with a knife, a letter that included a death threat against Hirsi Ali.
She moved to the United States in 2006 following her resignation from parliament amid accusations that she lied on her asylum application. But even in America, a security detail accompanies her wherever she goes.
Hirsi Ali has a reputation as a fearless critic of Islam, but she spoke quietly, almost timidly, even though her security detail was on alert just outside the secluded room where our interview took place.
Liberals, she said, protect Islamic extremists partly because the Left has no idea what really goes on in Muslim countries.
“They feel all religions are the same, and they’re not,” she observed. “I think if I adopt the position in good faith to multiculturalists and leftists, I would say [they take the position they do] because they see them [Muslims] as victims. They see them as victims of the white man and so they think: ‘Let’s protect them from the white man. Let’s protect them from capitalism.’… That is misguided at best and malicious at worst.”
One need only remember the tragic shooting at Fort Hood in 2009 to see such indifference to extremism in action. U.S. Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and wounded many more after becoming radicalized and corresponding with Yemeni-American terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki. Despite evidence that Hasan’s rampage was religiously motivated — he shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”) before opening fire — the Obama administration classified the attack as “workplace violence.”
The Left’s kid-glove treatment of even radical Islam exposes the logical flaw at the heart of multiculturalism. How does one tolerate the murderous intolerance of another culture? Is someone really a principled supporter of diversity, of women’s rights, of gay rights, if he refuses to resist or even acknowledge the mortal threat that is posed to those causes by a different culture?
Read more at Washington Examiner
Published on Sep 18, 2014 by BuckleyProgramAtYale
The William F. Buckley Program at Yale University lately showed bravery unusual for an academic institution. It has refused to be bullied by the Muslim Students Association and its demand that the Buckley Program rescind an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak on campus September 15. Hirsi Ali is the vocal Somalian critic of Islamic doctrine whose life has been endangered for condemning the theologically sanctioned oppression of women in Islamic culture. Unlike Brandeis University, which recently rescinded an honorary degree to be given to Hirsi Ali after complaints from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Buckley Program rejected both the MSA’s initial demand, and a follow up one that Hirsi Ali share the stage with one of her critics.
The Buckley Program is a rare instance of an academic organization staying true to the ideals of free speech, academic freedom, and the “free play of the mind on all subjects,” as Matthew Arnold defined liberal education. Most of our best universities have sacrificed these ideals on the altar of political correctness and identity politics. Anything that displeases or discomforts campus special interest groups––mainly those predicated on being the alleged victims of American oppression–– must be proscribed as “slurs” or “hateful,” even if what’s said is factually true. No matter that these groups are ideologically driven and use their power to silence critics and limit speech to their own self-serving and duplicitous views, the modus operandi of every illiberal totalitarian regime in history. The spineless university caves in to their demands, incoherently camouflaging their craven betrayal of the First Amendment and academic freedom as “tolerance” and “respect for diversity.”
In the case of Islam, however, this betrayal is particularly dangerous. For we are confronting across the world a jihadist movement that grounds its violence in traditional Islamic theology, jurisprudence, and history. Ignoring those motives and their sanction by Islamic doctrine compromises our strategy and tactics in defeating the jihadists, for we cripple ourselves in the war of ideas. Worse yet, Islamic triumphalism and chauvinism–– embodied in the Koranic verse that calls Muslims “the best of nations raised up for the benefit of men” because they “enjoin the right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah”–– is confirmed and strengthened by the way our elite institutions like universities and the federal government quickly capitulate to special interest groups who demand that we endorse only their sanitized and often false picture of Islam. Such surrender confirms the jihadist estimation of the West as the “weak horse,” as bin Laden said, a civilization with “foundations of straw” whose wealth and military power are undermined by a collective failure of nerve and loss of morale.
This process of exploiting the moral degeneration of the West has been going on now for 25 years. It begins, as does the rise of modern jihadism, with the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian Islamic revolution. The key event took place in February 1989, when Khomeini issued a fatwa, based on Koran 9.61, against Indian novelist Salman Rushdie for his novel The Satanic Verses, which was deemed “against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran,” as Khomeini said. Across the world enraged Muslims rioted and bombed bookstores, leaving over 20 people dead. More significant in the long run was the despicable reaction of many in the West to this outrage against freedom of speech and the rule of law, perpetrated by the most important and revered political and religious leader of a major Islamic nation.
Abandoning their principles, bookstores refused to stock the novel, and publishers delayed or canceled editions. Muslims in Western countries publicly burned copies of Rushdie’s novel and encouraged his murder with impunity. Eminent British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper suggested Rushdie deserved such treatment. Thirteen British Muslim barristers filed a formal complaint against the author. In their initial reactions, Western government officials were hesitant and timorous. The U.S. embassy in Pakistan eagerly assured Muslims that “the U.S. government in no way supports or associates itself with any activity that is in any sense offensive or insulting to Islam.”
Khomeini’s fatwa and the subsequent violent reaction created what Daniel Pipes calls the “Rushdie rules,” a speech code that privileges Islam over revered Western traditions of free speech that still are operative in the case of all other religions. Muslims now will determine what counts as an “insult” or a “slur,” and their displeasure, threats, and violence will police those definitions and punish offenders. Even reporting simple facts of history or Islamic doctrine can be deemed an offense and bring down retribution on violators. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for example, earned the wrath of Muslims in part for her contribution to Theo van Gogh’s film Submission, which projected Koranic verses regarding women on the bodies of abused women. Van Gogh, of course, was brutally murdered in the streets of Amsterdam. And this is the most important dimension of the “Rushdie rules”: violence will follow any violation of whatever some Muslims deem to be “insulting” to Islam, even facts. In effect, Western law has been trumped by the shari’a ban on blaspheming Islam, a crime punishable by death.
Read more at Frontpage
Published on Sep 17, 2014 by Washington Free Beacon
And he’s a blossoming writer, working on a book called The Atheist Muslim. In a column posted Monday by the Huffington Post, Rizvi blasted Islamists for a series of campaigns aimed at silencing critics of Islam. Their reflexive cry of “Islamophobia” is “the ultimate, lazy substitute for a non-existent counter-argument,” he wrote.
He singled out the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for special ridicule.
Pointing to CAIR’s role in pressuring Brandeis University to cancel plans to bestow an honorary degree on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s rights advocate who focuses on the treatment of women in Muslim societies, Rizvi emphasized the irony in CAIR’s invoking “Islamophobia” to criticize Hirsi Ali.
Last month, a white American man successfully convinced the Massachusetts liberal arts school Brandeis University that he was being victimized and oppressed by a black African woman from Somalia — a woman who underwent genital mutilation at age five and travels with armed security at risk of being assassinated.
That is the power of this term.
That white American is CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, a convert to Islam
Last week, CAIR joined others in lobbying the National September 11 Memorial Museum to purge references to jihad and “Islamist” from a brief film about al-Qaida that will be on display.
“They don’t want the public to think that Islamism or jihad had anything to do with Al Qaeda or the 9/11 attacks, because that could foster ‘Islamophobia,'” Rizvi wrote. “We’ve so been down this road before.“
CAIR often responds aggressively to such attitudes, especially when it comes from someone who, as Rizvi notes, “a brown-skinned person with a Muslim name.” CAIR officials have a never-ending campaign to discredit Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim fights Islamism – the blending of mosque and state – disparaging him as an “Uncle Tom” for the sin of disagreeing with them.
If CAIR wants to smear Rizvi as an Islamophobe, he’s already issued a rebuttal. The word “seeks to shield Islam itself (an ideology) from criticism,” he wrote. “It’s as if every time you said smoking was a filthy habit, you were perceived to be calling all smokers filthy people. Human beings have rights and are entitled to respect. But when did we start extending those rights to ideas, books, and beliefs? You’d think the difference would be clear, but it isn’t. The ploy has worked over and over again, and now everyone seems petrified of being tagged with this label.”
Liberals especially. Rizvi borrows the phrase “Greenwald Syndrome” from a friend who, like Rizvi, is Pakistani expatriate who embraced secularism. It is “the phenomenon of Western liberals, in a supposed show of tolerance, embracing an apologist stance in favor of the intolerant.”
He cites plenty of other examples, saying that shaming critics into silence by calling them “Islamophobes” has “fast become something of an epidemic.”
Rizvi is a provocative voice with a growing profile. CAIR must be stewing. Read his full column here.
April 16, 2014
The Brandeis professors who demanded that Ayaan Hirsi Ali be “immediately” dis-invited wrote that “we are filled with shame at the suggestion that (Hirsi Ali’s) above-quoted sentiments express Brandeis’s values.” The professors also castigated Hirsi Ali for her “core belief of the cultural backwardness of non-western peoples” and for her suggestion that “violence toward girls and women is particular to Islam.” The professors note that such a view “obscure(s) such violence in our midst among non-Muslims, including on our own campus.”
This is exactly what these professors are teaching the more than four thousand Brandeis students who signed a petition to rescind Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s award. (Read it here.)
Are eight year-old girls being genitally mutilated at Brandeis or forced into polygamous marriages with men old enough to be their grandfathers? Are they being forcibly face-veiled or honor murdered for refusing to marry their first cousins? Perhaps they are being executed because they have been raped, for leaving an abusive marriage, or for daring to express an independent opinion?
Eighty seven professors or 29% of the Brandeis faculty signed this letter. These professors teach Physics, Anthropology, Near Eastern and Jewish Studies, English, Economics, Music, Film, Computer Science, Math, Sociology, Education—and Women and Gender Studies. Four percent of the signatories teach Anthropology, 6% teach Near Eastern and Jewish Studies, 9% teach Physics—and 21% teach Women and Gender Studies.
In my 2005 book, The Death of Feminism, this is precisely what I was talking about, namely, the feminist departure from universal human rights, a greater focus on anti-racism than on anti-sexism, and a deadly multi-cultural relativism. These Brandeis feminists, both male and female, are defending Islamist supremacism, (which is not a race), and attacking an African Somali women, who happens to be a feminist hero.
Feminists have called Hirsi Ali an “Islamophobe” and a “racist” many times for defending Western values such as women’s rights, gay rights, human rights, freedom of religion, the importance of intellectual diversity, etc.
The 1960s-early 1970s feminism I once championed — and still do — was first taken over by Marxists and ideologically “Stalinized.” It was then conquered again by Islamists and ideologically “Palestinianized.” I and a handful of others maintained honorable minority positions on a host of issues. In time, women no longer mattered as much to many feminists — at least, not as much as Edward Said’s Arab men of color did. The Arab men were more fashionable victims who had not only been formerly “colonized” but who, to this day are, allegedly, still being “occupied.”
Feminists became multi-cultural relativists and as such, refused to criticize other cultures including misogyny within those other cultures.
Feminists have been attacking Ayaan Hirsi Ali for years as a “racist” and an “Islamophobe.” They are guided by the same false moral equivalents which the above Brandeis professors share. It is similar to the kind of false moral equivalence that author Deborah Scroggins made when she compared Hirsi Ali to one Aafiya Siddiqui in her 2012 book: Wanted Women. Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui., Scroggins is far more sympathetic to the Pakistani-born, American-educated Aafia Siddiqui, who became an Islamist terrorist and a rabid Jew hater (she is known as Lady Al Qaeda), than she is towards the Somali-Dutch feminist and apostate Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who eloquently opposes Islamic jihad, Islamic gender and religious apartheid. Hirsi Ali also supports the Jewish state.
Siddiqui married the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), one of the masterminds of 9/11. She disappeared into Pakistan for many years. Then she was found wandering in Afghanistan, in Ghazni, where she was arrested by American soldiers after they found her carrying bomb-making and chemical warfare instructions. In captivity, she picked up one of the soldiers’ guns and shot at him.
Guess what? Siddiqui received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Brandeis University. The university is certainly not to blame for her actions. However, according to Scroggins, as a student in America, Siddiqui joined the infamous Muslim Students Association and fell under the spell of one of bin Laden’s own mentors who ran a Muslim charity in Brooklyn, New York. This is the same Muslim Student Association (a Muslim Brotherhood- and Hamas-related enterprise in America) that has just played such a prominent role in the Brandeis campaign to dis-invite Hirsi Ali.
Scroggins still views Siddiqui as a victim. Siddiqui is a religious Muslim, veiled to the eyeballs, and has been sentenced to 86 years in prison. Many Muslims view her as a freedom fighter and, therefore, as innocent and as unjustly imprisoned.
Scroggins—and the “dis-invite her” Brandeis professors–represent your typical left point of view. The West has caused jihad due to its allegedly imperialist, colonialist, racist, and capitalist policies. Anyone who does not blame the West, especially America and Israel, is politically suspect. Scroggins, like so many left feminists, has absolutely no idea about the long and barbaric history of Islamic imperialism, colonialism, racism, slavery, and its practice of gender and religious apartheid.
Hirsi Ali championed the West, democracy, women’s rights, human rights, religious tolerance, etc. over and above the Islam that she had been exposed to in the Middle East. She became an apostate, a member of the Dutch Parliament, and ultimately, a woman who needed round-the-clock security against all the Islamist death threats against her.
Nevertheless, throughout the book, Scroggins shares Aafiya’s political analysis and condemns and challenges Ayaan’s views. Only on the very last page of her book, does Scroggins admit that the entire premise of her “morally equivalent” comparison is flawed. She writes:
“That is not to say they are equivalent figures, morally or otherwise. They are not. Ayaan…fights only with words whereas the evidence leads me to conclude that Aafiya was almost certainly plotting murder during her missing years and perhaps prepared to further a biological or chemical attack on the United States on a scale to rival 9/11.”
I wonder if the above Brandeis professors would also sympathize with Aafiya Siddiqui. I mourn the loss of an activist, vibrant, intellectually independent, and politically incorrect feminist Academy.
But this woman is a black, feminist atheist from Somalia. And so what we’re learning here, which is fascinating, in the hierarchy of progressive-politics identity-group victimhood, Islam trumps everything. Islam trumps gender. The fact that she’s a woman doesn’t matter. It trumps race. The fact that she’s black doesn’t matter. It trumps secularism. The fact that she’s an atheist doesn’t matter. They wouldn’t do this if it was a Christian group complaining about her, if it was a Jewish group complaining about her. But when the Islamic lobby group says oh, no, we’re not putting up with this, as I said, these jelly-spined nothings at Brandeis just roll over for them. – Mark Steyn
Last Tuesday, on April 8, Brandeis University rescinded its invitation to human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree from the institution. Brandeis caved in the face of intimidation from CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood front groups, as well as a student petition on Change.org and a faculty petition – the contents of which have now become known.
The faculty petition is a textbook case of leftist pathology and of how “progressives” demonize true heroic freedom fighters and push millions of victims of totalitarian regimes and ideologies into invisibility for the sake of their own egotistical and destructive agendas.
A case in point in this ugly leftist narrative is how the signatories of the Brandeis petition have succeeded in banning a woman from their university who is the victim of female genital mutilation (FGM), suffered under an Islamic knife because of Islamic doctrine. She represents millions of Muslim females — mutilated and mutilated-to-be. And yet the signatories of the petition are callously indifferent, because they have their progressive program to attend to and fulfill.
The Brandeis faculty petition, written on April 6 and addressed to President Lawrence, stresses “the horrible message” that inviting Ali to the university “sends to the Muslim and non-Muslim communities at Brandeis and beyond” because of Ali’s “virulently anti-Muslim public statements.” Aside from complaining about Ali’s truth-telling about Islam, the petition also issues a dire warning about the “unnecessary controversy” that the human rights activist’s presence would bring to the campus.
To be sure, who needs nightmarish scenarios like debate and intellectual diversity when the Marxist Left has already lovingly bestowed the peaceful the Party Line?
The petition then references the major issues with which Ali is concerned: female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and honor killings. “These phenomena,” the petition flippantly notes, are not “exclusive to Islam.” This is a standard and perpetual tactic of obfuscation and equivocation employed by the Left whenever a monstrous evil is labelled in a totalitarian enemy. It serves as an excuse for inaction by presupposing that if a crime is committed by someone else, somewhere else, that it somehow justifies doing and saying nothing in the face of a crime being perpetrated on a mass scale right before our eyes – and one that we can do something about.
In other words, the logic implies that if a sin or an injustice exist somewhere else on the planet, that one must never fight for — or defend the victims of — any one ideology or system (unless it is of the western variety, of course).
Thus, if one dares to show concern for the millions of Muslim girls who are victims of female genital mutilation, the leftist will reflexively retort: “Muslims are not the only group that practice FGM.”
But so what? The bottom line is that Muslims are the principle religious group that practices this sexual violence against women. And if a young girl is a victim of FGM, the chances are that she lives in a Muslim household and in a Muslim culture. And this barbarity is kept alive and legitimized by Islamic theology.
The faculty petition to President Lawrence also expresses a deep concern about the fact that Ali has suggested “that violence toward girls and women is particular to Islam or the Two-Thirds World.” This is intolerable (even though completely true) because, according to the petition, it obscures “such violence in our midst among non-Muslims, including on our own campus.”
This is another consistent tactic that the Left engages in to insert its falsehoods into dialogues about oppressed people under monstrous tyrannies. The plain fact staring everyone in the face is that while violence may exist among non-Muslims, their laws and institutions delegitimize and illegalize such conduct. For instance, if a non-Muslim anywhere in the United States, including on a university campus, engages in violence against a woman and the police are called, he will be charged. In Islam, violence against women is inspired and sanctioned by the institutions themselves, precisely because misogyny, including wife beating, is embedded in the Qur’an.
In other words, non-Muslims who are violent toward women operate despite and against the laws of their lands; Muslims, on the other hand, are violent toward women because of their laws, and that is why they are, in turn, protected by those laws.
Thus, in terms of female genital mutilation, millions of Muslim girls are victims of this horrifying crime which is rooted in Islam and is integral to Islam’s misogynist structures. The road to saving millions of Muslim girls from this crime is to do what Ayaan Hirsi Ali is bravely doing, and what the signatories of the Brandeis faculty petition are trying to stop her from doing: to isolate and pinpoint Islam as the main culprit in this context.
The point cannot be stressed enough: female genital mutilation is fundamentally Islamic and it is rooted in Islamic texts such as Umdat al-Salik:
“Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. Bazr) of the clitoris.” Sacred Islamic Reliance: page 59, Umdat al-Salik (“Reliance of the Traveler”), a manual of the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence, endorsed by Egypt’s very own Al-Azhar University of Cairo — the oldest and most prestigious university in the Islamic world.
This explains why one of Sunni Islam’s “Four Great Imams,” Ahmad ibn Hanbal, quotes Muhammed as saying: “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women?” It is no shock, therefore, that Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University has called circumcision “a laudable practice that did honor to women.”
Read more at Front Page (with video)
From ACT! For America:
According to the World Health Organization, more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The African Women’s Health Center of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, report that approximately 228,000 women and girls in the U.S. have either suffered the procedure or are at risk of having it done to them. Many of these young girls are subjected to FGM when they vacation in a country that sanctions the practice. In other cases, circumcisers are brought into the U.S. – even though FGM is illegal in this country.
ACT! for America has been working diligently at the state level to see legislation passed so that no girl ever suffers the horrors of FGM – either on U.S. soil or elsewhere.
- Mainstream U.S. Muslim Jurists Association Sanctions Female Genital Mutilation by Andrew Bostom
JUST BEFORE PASSOVER, BRANDEIS CHOOSES SLAVERY by Pamela Geller
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) exists for one primary purpose: to silence critics of Islam. The best way to silence critics of Islam, however, is to masquerade as a civil rights organization. Thus, CAIR pretends to be concerned about Constitutional rights, while demonizing anyone who dares object to jihad, sharia, and the abuse of women.
Sadly, the American media have been falling for CAIR’s tactics for years. Megyn Kelly is one of the few exceptions. Here’s her recent two-part obliteration of CAIR’s spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper.
WSJ, April 10, 2014, By AYAAN HIRSI ALI:
On Tuesday, after protests by students, faculty and outside groups, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies in May. The protesters accused Ms. Hirsi Ali, an advocate for the rights of women and girls, of being “Islamophobic.” Here is an abridged version of the remarks she planned to deliver.
One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.
All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed. You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing. And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it. The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus.
I read an article recently that said many adults don’t remember much from before the age of 8. That means some of your earliest childhood memories may well be of that September morning simply known as “9/11.”
You deserve better memories than 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. And you are not the only ones. In Syria, at least 120,000 people have been killed, not simply in battle, but in wholesale massacres, in a civil war that is increasingly waged across a sectarian divide. Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt. And far more than was the case when you were born, organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world.
Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing. In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation. In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day.
Especially troubling is the way the status of women as second-class citizens is being cemented in legislation. In Iraq, a law is being proposed that lowers to 9 the legal age at which a girl can be forced into marriage. That same law would give a husband the right to deny his wife permission to leave the house.
Sadly, the list could go on. I hope I speak for many when I say that this is not the world that my generation meant to bequeath yours. When you were born, the West was jubilant, having defeated Soviet communism. An international coalition had forced Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The next mission for American armed forces would be famine relief in my homeland of Somalia. There was no Department of Homeland Security, and few Americans talked about terrorism.
Two decades ago, not even the bleakest pessimist would have anticipated all that has gone wrong in the part of world where I grew up. After so many victories for feminism in the West, no one would have predicted that women’s basic human rights would actually be reduced in so many countries as the 20th century gave way to the 21st.
Today, however, I am going to predict a better future, because I believe that the pendulum has swung almost as far as it possibly can in the wrong direction.
When I see millions of women in Afghanistan defying threats from the Taliban and lining up to vote; when I see women in Saudi Arabia defying an absurd ban on female driving; and when I see Tunisian women celebrating the conviction of a group of policemen for a heinous gang rape, I feel more optimistic than I did a few years ago. The misnamed Arab Spring has been a revolution full of disappointments. But I believe it has created an opportunity for traditional forms of authority—including patriarchal authority—to be challenged, and even for the religious justifications for the oppression of women to be questioned.
Yet for that opportunity to be fulfilled, we in the West must provide the right kind of encouragement. Just as the city of Boston was once the cradle of a new ideal of liberty, we need to return to our roots by becoming once again a beacon of free thought and civility for the 21st century. When there is injustice, we need to speak out, not simply with condemnation, but with concrete actions.
One of the best places to do that is in our institutions of higher learning. We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking, where all ideas are welcome and where civil debate is encouraged. I’m used to being shouted down on campuses, so I am grateful for the opportunity to address you today. I do not expect all of you to agree with me, but I very much appreciate your willingness to listen.
I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women’s and girls’ basic rights globally. And I stand before you as someone who is not afraid to ask difficult questions about the role of religion in that fight.
The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect.
So I ask: Is the concept of holy war compatible with our ideal of religious toleration? Is it blasphemy—punishable by death—to question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era? Both Christianity and Judaism have had their eras of reform. I would argue that the time has come for a Muslim Reformation.
Is such an argument inadmissible? It surely should not be at a university that was founded in the wake of the Holocaust, at a time when many American universities still imposed quotas on Jews.
The motto of Brandeis University is “Truth even unto its innermost parts.” That is my motto too. For it is only through truth, unsparing truth, that your generation can hope to do better than mine in the struggle for peace, freedom and equality of the sexes.
Ms. Hirsi Ali is the author of “Nomad: My Journey from Islam to America” (Free Press, 2010). She is a fellow at the Belfer Center of Harvard’s Kennedy School and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
By Diana West:
When Brandeis University withdrew an honorary degree for Ayaan Hirsi Ali after a student-professor firestorm branded her an “Islamophobe,” the campus in effect declared itself an outpost of Islamic law, American-style. Officially, Brandeis is now a place where critics of Islam – “blasphemers” and “apostates,” according to Islamic law – are scorned and rejected.
Not that Brandeis put it that way in its unsigned announcement about Hirsi Ali’s dis-invitation, which notes: “She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook … her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”
Translation: Hirsi Ali’s advocacy on behalf of brutalized women is Good, but Hirsi Ali’s “past statements” – advocacy that connects such violence to Islamic teachings – are Bad, or, in faddish twaddle, “Islamophobia.” As a dhimmi (non-Muslims under Islamic law) institution, Brandeis cannot possibly honor the infidel.
Islamic blasphemy laws sanction the death penalty for exactly the kind of criticism of Islam ex-Muslim Hirsi Ali has engaged in: hence, the innumerable death threats she has received for over a decade; and hence, the ritual Islamic slaughter of Hirsi Ali’s co-producer, Theo van Gogh, for “Submission,” their short film about specifically Islamic violence and repression of women. In the U.S. (so far), punishment for such “transgressions” against Islam usually resembles an aggressive form of blackballing. There are horrifying exceptions, however, including the decision to prosecute and incarcerate Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, producer of “Innocence of Muslims,” for “parole violations.” To be sure, when it comes to participating in the 21st-century public square – in this case, donning academic robes and making valedictory remarks – “Islamophobes” need not apply.
This has long been the case. But we have reached a new nadir when a courageous figure of Hirsi Ali’s stature is publicly lashed for expressing herself about the perils that Islamic teachings pose to women’s rights and, more generally, human rights. Brandeis, however, deems such opinions “hate speech” – exactly the phrase used in an online student petition against Hirsi Ali. After all, name-calling is so much simpler than having to mount an argument. And so much more effective as a political weapon.
In our post-Orwellian time, “hate speech” means publicly reviled speech. A “hate-speaker” thus becomes fair game for public humiliation – exactly what Brandeis chose to inflict on Hirsi Ali. The humiliation, however, is Brandeis’ alone.
For what “core values” is Brandeis protecting? Denial. Orthodoxy. Cant. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, writing in The Jewish Press, excerpted Facebook comments by Bernadette Brooten, a Brandeis professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, in which Brooten described the anti-Hirsi-Ali letter she and 85 other Brandeis professors signed. “We stressed that we recognize the harm of female genital cutting, forced marriages, and honor killings, but that this selection obscures the violence against women that happens among non-Muslims, including on our own campus,” Brooten wrote. “I recognize the harm of gendered violence wherever it occurs, and I applaud the hard, effective work of many Muslims who are working to oppose it in their own communities.”
Whether Brandeis counts as a hotbed of “gendered violence” aside (let alone the predominantly Islamic phenomena of female genital mutilation, forced marriages and honor killings), Brooten has underscored the source of animus against Hirsi Ali. Her “selection” for university honors “obscures” non-Muslim violence against women, Brooten writes, but what I think disturbs the professors more is what Hirsi Ali has done – what her whole life experience signifies – to highlight the violence against women and children that is legitimized and inspired by specifically and authoritatively Islamic sources. Thanks in part to Brandeis, such sources are increasingly relegated to the list of post-9/11 taboos.
Never say Islam has anything to do with terrorism. Don’t ever, ever draw a cartoon of Muhammad. Oppose “gendered violence” (there’s no such thing as Islamic-rooted violence against women). Ostracize or humiliate “apostates” like Hirsi Ali (at least until real Islamic apostasy law becomes applicable here). In other words, protect, coddle and swathe Islam from the barbs and scrutiny that all other religions receive – or else. Or else what? Citizens might decide to halt Islamic immigration or “refugee resettlement” because it brings Islamic law to the West.
Then again, those laws are already here – and in force at Brandeis.
MARK STEYN: Well, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali woman, a black, feminist Somali who was raised in a brutal, extreme Islamic upbringing where she underwent female genital mutilation, and she was put in an arranged marriage and all the rest of it. And she managed to escape to the Netherlands and get elected to the Dutch Parliament, and she made a film about the state of Muslim women, about the life of women in the Muslim world called Submission. She wrote the film. The guy who directed it is Theo Van Gogh. The film so outraged Muslims in Amsterdam that one of them murdered him, all but decapitated him in the street. His last words were, “Can’t we just talk about it?”, and the guy didn’t want to talk about it. He all but decapitated him, and his final act was to pin a letter and use a knife to stab it through what was left of Theo Van Gogh’s chest, pledging among other things to do the same to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Now she could have done what a lot of people would do. She could have moved to New Zealand, gone into hiding… changed her name, had a quiet life. And instead, she has lived with that death threat and many others, and had the courage to speak out against it. Most of us are never called upon to be that brave. Most of us will never have to actually weigh those odds the way Ayaan did. And no one’s asking these ghastly squishes at Brandeis to show that kind of courage. All this pathetic president – I want to get his name right, I’ve got it written down here… Frederick Lawrence. All this wretched nothing eunuch man, Frederick Lawrence, had to do – he didn’t have to show courage on that scale – all he had to do was not cave in to pressure group bullies and allow this woman to speak and receive the worthless honorary degree from his worthless institution. These guys won’t defend western civilization, and so western civilization will die, because it depends on the defense of losers like this guy.
JAMIE WEINSTEIN: And people when they get honorary degrees, it’s not like they only go to non-political people. Universities have awarded them in the recent past to people that want Israel to be wiped off the map and destroyed. Is that not right?
MS: Yeah, that’s true. And that was Brandeis, a guy called Tony Kushner… I stand back and occasionally roll my eyes at the dreary left-wing hacks invited to give commencement speeches, garlanded with state honors, things that if you trend to the right side of the spectrum, you know you’re going to be labeled ‘controversial conservative’, and you’ll never get anywhere near. But this woman is a black, feminist atheist from Somalia. And so what we’re learning here, which is fascinating, in the hierarchy of progressive-politics identity-group victimhood, Islam trumps everything. Islam trumps gender. The fact that she’s a woman doesn’t matter. It trumps race. The fact that she’s black doesn’t matter. It trumps secularism. The fact that she’s an atheist doesn’t matter. They wouldn’t do this if it was a Christian group complaining about her, if it was a Jewish group complaining about her. But when the Islamic lobby group says oh, no, we’re not putting up with this, as I said, these jelly-spined nothings at Brandeis just roll over for them.