Published on Sep 16, 2014 by Q Society of Australia Inc
Clare Lopez at the Q Society event in Sydney on the evening of 5 September 2014.
Published on Sep 16, 2014 by Q Society of Australia Inc
Clare Lopez at the Q Society event in Sydney on the evening of 5 September 2014.
By Mark Durie, AUGUST 14, 2014:
An important documentary by VICE News has been published which uses extensive footage gained by a journalist embedded with Islamic State forces. The youtube video linked here is set to start at 29m 58s, just before a section in which it is declared that Christians had asked for a dhimma pact,requesting to pay jizya.
There are many noteworthy things about this documentary.
One is the intensely theological content of the IS fighters and leaders. Their speech is littered with references to the Qur’an, the Hadiths (traditions of Muhammad) and the Sira (biography of Muhammad). This shows that the jihadis’ worldview is profoundly shaped by Islam’s scriptures. Islam is their driving motivation, determining – at least in their eyes – the boundaries of their behavior, their goals, and their morality. Whatever else Muslims find in Islam’s scriptures – including words of peace or reconciliation – it is abundantly clear that the Qur’an and Sunna are more than adequate to sustain the ideological base which drives the IS actors. This conforms to the pattern of other jihad wars throughout the history of Islam.
Another notable feature of this documentary is joy; the joy of the jihadis; the joy of local Muslims about the caliphate; the joy of young boys who are being recruited to become jihadis for the Islamic State. The Islamic State is being established on a wave of the pious, exuberant joy of its supporters. Islamic State soldiers do not suffer from morale-sapping doubts about what they are doing. They believe they are making great sacrifices to what they consider to be the noblest of causes. If morale were enough to guarantee victory, these men would sweep all before them.
Another thing that struck me about the documentary is the reality that the Islamic State is intentionally gathering young boys, grooming them, and placing them in training camps to become a jihad generation. Some of the youth who appeared in the documentary were full of excitement and anticipation about this. The current Islamic State fighters have been drawn from all over the Muslim world, including from Western states, and are bound together by their creed. Now that they are establishing themselves in Iraq and Syria, they are raising up a jihad generation from the sons of the local people. Judging from the pattern established by Muhammad’s example, these boys will include young Christians who have been converted to Islam by the jihadis and are even now being trained for war. This is consistent with the practice of jihad campaigns down through history.
Another thing that struck me was the undercurrent of fear. On jihadi declared that weapons are the best way to establish Islam. The Islamic State jihadis consider it perfectly righteous to impose Islam by force, which means through fear. This is, in their view, Allah’s way. I was reminded of the words of the Qur’an: “I will strike fear in the hearts of the unbelievers” (Sura 8:12); “If you come upon them in war, deal with them so as to strike fear in the hearts of those who are behind them” (Sura 8:57); “Soon we shall strike fear into the hearts of the unbelievers” (Sura 3:151); and Muhammad’s own words “I have been victorious through terror” (Sahih Bukhari). Fear was etched onto the smiling faces of men, interviewed in prison, who were awaiting sentence by an IS sharia court. As they eagerly praised the Islamic State, and confessed their gratitude for being brought to a correct understanding of Islam, their own fear was standing in the background, monitoring everything they said.
An IS leader made the memorable claim that Iraqi Christians have asked to pay the jiyza. They have asked, he said, for a dhimma pact – the alternatives were to convert to Islam or be slaughtered.
The idea that the dhimmi status is willingly accepted by Christians and other non-Muslims living under Islamic rule – that they want and choose to be dhimmis – is reflected in the statements of many jurists and Islamic commentators from the past.
Here is what I wrote about the ‘willing’ submission of dhimmis in The Third Choice (pp. 140-141), in a discussion of the annual Islamic jizya payment ritual, in which non-Muslim men of past generations received a ritual blow on the neck to symbolize their escape from beheading through paying the non-Muslim tax.
“The 18th century Moroccan commentator Ibn ‘Ajibah said that [paying jiyza] represented the death of the ‘soul’, through the dhimmi’s execution of their own humanity:
[The dhimmi] is commanded to put his soul, good fortune and desires to death. Above all he should kill the love of life, leadership and honor. … [He] is to invert the longings of his soul, he is to load it down more heavily than it can bear until it is completely submissive. Thereafter nothing will be unbearable for him. He will be indifferent to subjugation or might. Poverty and wealth will be the same to him; praise and insult will be the same; preventing and yielding will be the same; lost and found will be the same. Then, when all things are the same, it [the soul] will be submissive and yield willingly what it should give. [Tafsir al-Bahr al-Madid fi Tafsir al-Quran al-Magid. Commentary on Sura 9:29 ]The intended result of the jizya ritual is for the dhimmi to lose all sense of his own personhood. In return for this loss, the dhimmi was supposed to feel humility and gratitude towards his Muslim masters. Al-Mawardi said that the jizya head tax was either a sign of contempt, because of the
dhimmis’ unbelief, or a sign of the mildness of Muslims, who granted them quarter (instead of killing or enslaving them): so humble gratitude was the intended response:
The jizya, or poll tax, which is to be levied on the head of each subject, is derived from the verb jaza, either because it is a remuneration due by reason of their unbelief, for it is exacted from them with contempt, or because it amounts to a remuneration because we granted them quarter, for it is exacted from them with mildness. This origin of this impost is the divine text: ‘Fight those who believe not in God …’ [Q9:29] [Al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyya]Although some today falsely claim that the jizya tax was simply a tax like any other tax, or merely a payment to exempt dhimmis from ‘military service’, the remarks of al-Mawardi and Ibn ‘Ajibah make clear that its true meaning is to be found in psychological attitudes of inferiority and indebtedness imposed upon non-Muslims living under Islam, as they willingly and gratefully handed over the jizya in service to the Muslim community.”Many have claimed that Islam’s historical record has been maligned by ‘Orientalist’ western historians. To understand the dynamics of jihad across the generations, and the meaning in Islam of Al-Futuh ‘conquest’ (literally: ‘the opening’ of a nation to Islam) one only need look at what the Islamic State is doing in Iraq.
Finally, let us consider the future. I venture to make a few predictions. The lack of air power of the Islamic State means that it cannot sweep all before it. Nevertheless it is here to stay. The movement will continue to excite the Muslim world and draw recruits to its cause, as well as funding. It will also continue to destabilize surrounding states.
The utopian promises the Islamic State has made to Sunni Muslims under its rule will prove in the end to be a profound disappointment to almost everyone. Prosperity, morality and justice will not flourish under the rule of the caliphate. The application of unfettered power, together with abuses of that power under strict Islamic conditions will corrupt the utopian rule, and will turn the current euphoria into a symphony of pain, including for Sunni Muslims. Force can win power, but it cannot make people good, despite what the jihadis believe. As in Iran, revivalist fervor will eventually give place to cynicism and despair about Islam itself, so the on-going crisis within Islam, namely the failure of revivalist movements to deliver on their utopian promises, will continue to unroll.
The most vehement rejectors of Islamic utopianism will eventually be the Muslims who have had the misfortune to live under the regimes it has created. We are already seeing the outworking of this process in Egypt and Iran. At the same time, it will be in the West that Islamic utopian sentiment, with all its dangers, will continue to thrive, for this will be the place where revivalist Muslims do not have to actually live under the conditions created by their ideal of a strict Islamic state. For this reason it will be in the West that many will persist in remaining true believers in the coming Islamic world order, despite what is happening before their eyes across the Middle East.
The tragedy for the areas now occupied by the Islamic State is that the loss of the dream will take years, and in the meantime the rising jihad generation will kill and be killed in large numbers.
What is also certain is that the refugees will continue to come. For now the ones fleeing the Islamic State are Christians and others for whom radical Sunni rule is an existential threat. In time however the disillusioned Sunnis of northern Iraq and Syria will make their own exodus. Just as post-revolutionary Iranian Shi’ites are now fleeing Iran’s failed sharia utopia, so also will the Iraqi Sunnis. They will want a better life than the Islamic State can offer.
Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, pastor of an Anglican church, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and director of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness. He has published many articles and books on the language and culture of the Acehnese, Christian-Muslim relations and religious freedom. A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford, and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992.
dhimma – covenant or pact of surrender, by which a conquered non-Muslim community have agreed to live under Islamic rule, and by virtue of which this community is protected from jihad
dhimmi – a non-Muslim living under Islamic rule, who is considered to be subject to the conditions of a dhimma pact
hadith – traditions, first spoken and later written, which record things which Muhammad is believed to have said or done, as well as things said and done by his companions
jizya – tribute paid to Muslims to prevent jihad attack; for dhimmis this is payable as an annual ‘head tax’ by adult dhimmi males
Qur’an – Allah’s revelation to Muhammad, believed to be dictated to him by the angel Jibril (Gabriel); also spelled Quran or Koran
Sunna the example and teaching of Muhammad, recorded in hadith and sira literature; the word sunna also means religiously recommended
sira – biography (of Muhammad)
Muslims will hold Islam accountable when Islamic revivalists promise utopia but deliver chaos and human rights abuses.
By Mark Durie:
In What Went Wrong, Bernard Lewis charted the decline of Islam in the modern era and the resulting theological crisis for the Muslim world.
Now Islam is going through a second crisis, caused by the repeated failures of revivalist responses to the first crisis. This second crisis, combined with the cumulative effect of the first crisis, which remains unresolved, will lead to a long drawn-out period of political and social instability for Muslim societies.
The first millennium of Islam was a period of expansion through conquest. However for five centuries from around 1500, Western powers were pushing back Islamic rule. There were numerous landmarks of the ascendancy of the West (which includes Russia), such as:
We are not just talking about Western colonialism. Some of the victories over Muslim principalities involved the occupation or colonisation of primarily Muslim lands, but many involved the liberation of non-Muslim peoples from the yoke of Muslim rule, such as in Ethiopia, Hungary and India, and some were defensive responses to Islamic aggression, such as the defeat of the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna.
While the external borders of Islam kept shrinking, its position of dominance within its own borders was also being challenged. During this same period there were in many places improvements in the conditions experienced by non-Muslims under Islamic rule – a weakening of the dhimmi system – which communicated to Muslims an impression of their own faith’s loss of dominance and its loss of ‘success’. A landmark in this long process was the Paris Peace Treaty of 1856, which settled the Crimean War. As part of this settlement the Ottomans were compelled to grant equal rights to Christians throughout their empire.
The gradual process of improvement of conditions for Christians and Jews under Islam was regretted by Muslim scholars, who saw it as evidence of Islam’s decline. For example a request for a fatwa from a Egyptian Muslim judge in 1772 lamented the ‘deplorable innovations’ of Christians and Jews, who were daring to make themselves equal to Muslims by their manner of dress and behavior, all in violation of Islamic law.
In a similar vein, the Baghdad Quranic commentator Al-Alusi complained that non-Muslims in Syria during the first half of the 19th century were being permitted to make annual tribute payments by means of an agent, thus escaping the personal ritual degradations prescribed by Islamic law. He concluded: “All this is caused by the weakness of Islam.”
Why would Islam’s lack of dominance be evidence of weakness?
Islamic doctrine promises falah ‘success’ to the religion’s followers, symbolized by the daily call to prayer which rings out from minarets: ‘come to success, come to success’. The success promised by Islam has always been understood to be both spiritual and material: conquest and rule this life, and paradise in the next. The Qur’an states that Allah has sent Muhammad “with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to triumph over all (other) religions” (Sura 48:28).
Islam’s theology of success meant that the global failure of Islamic armies and states at the hands of ‘Christian’ states constituted a profound spiritual challenge to Islam’s core claims. Just as Muslim scholars had always pointed to the military victories of Islam as proof of its divine authority, this litany of defeats testified to its failure as the religion of the successful ones.
The urgency of the question ‘What went wrong?’ drove the Islamic revival, an interconnected network of renewal movements which have as their central tenet that Muslims will once again be ‘successful’ – achieving political and military domination over non-Muslims – if they are truly devoted to Allah and implement Islamic laws faithfully. These are reformation movements in the original (medieval) sense of the Latin word reformatio, for they seek to restore Islam to its former glory by returning to first principles.
Some of the main formative strands of Islamic revivalism have been:
Out of these have come a myriad of offshoots and branches such as the Taliban (from the Deobandi movement); Al Qaida (a product of the ideology of Muslim Brotherhood theologian Said Qutb); the missionary movementTablighi Jamaat; and Hizb Ut-Tahrir.
Even the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the ‘United Nations’ of the Muslim world, is a revivalist organization: this is reflected in its Charter which states that it exists “to work for revitalizing Islam’s pioneering role in the world”, a euphemism for reestablishing Islam’s dominant place in world affairs.
In essence, Islamic revivalist movements aim to restore the greatness of Islam and make it ‘successful’ again. This hope is embodied, for example, in the Muslim Brotherhood’s slogan “Islam is the solution”. This implies that when Islam is truly implemented all the problems human beings face – such as poverty, lack of education, corruption, and injustice – will be solved. The flip-side of this slogan is the thesis that all the problems of the Muslim world have been caused through want of genuine Islamic observance: Allah allowed his people to fall into disarray because they were not faithful in obeying his laws. The correction to this spiritual problem should therefore be more sharia compliance. This is the reason why headscarves and burqas have been appearing on Muslim women’s heads with increasing frequency all around the world.
For a time it appeared to many Muslims that the revivalist program was working. The Iranian Islamic revolution, and the later victory of jihadis in Afghanistan and the break-up of the Soviet Union was considered to be evidence of the success of the revivalist program. This was the certainly view of the translator of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam’s jihadi tract Join the Caravan:
“The struggle, which he [Sheikh Azzam] stood for, continues, despite the enemies of Islam. ‘They seek to extinguish the light of Allah by their mouths. But Allah refuses save to perfect His light, even if the Disbelievers are averse. It is He who has sent His messenger with the guidance and the true religion, in order that He may make it prevail over all religions, even if the pagans are averse.’ [Qur'an, 9:32-33] Since the book was written, the Soviets have been expelled from Afghanistan, by Allah’s grace, and the entire Soviet Union has disintegrated.”
Utopian claims are risky, because they open up the possibility for even greater failure, and amplified cognitive dissonance as the gap between one’s faith and reality widens. The first crisis of Islam was the rise of West through superior technological, economic and military prowess. The second crisis is the failure of Islamic revivalism as a response to the first crisis. The second crisis could prove even more painful and profound in its effects on Islam than the first.
The manifestations of revivalism’s failures are as diverse as the Islamist movements which generated them. One could point to:
Everywhere one looks there are good reasons for Muslims to question the Islamic revivalist creed. The outcomes of more than two centuries of theological fervor are not looking good. Muslim states are not realizing the utopian goals set by these movements. Indeed the opposite is the case: again and again, wherever revivalist movements have gained the ascendancy, human misery has only increased. Too many Muslim states continue to be models of poverty and economic failure, despite all those female heads being covered up.
One inevitable consequence of this trend is disenchantment with Islam, and a growing sense of alienation from the religion. The manifest failure of the revivalist creed creates a sense of anxiety that Islam is under threat, not from the infidel West, but from reputational damage caused by the revivalists themselves. It is a case of the cure being worse than the disease.
Fasten your seat-belts: the world will be in for quite a ride in the years to come, as Muslims – who constitute around a quarter of the world’s population – struggle to make theological sense of the trashing of their religion’s utopian vision. It is one thing to blame the infidels for this – or the proxy tyrants which revivalists claim the West has foisted on the Muslim world – what is more threatening by far is the damage being done to Islam’s name by revivalist Muslims themselves.
Dr Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, Anglican pastor, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology. He has published many articles and books on the language and culture of the Acehnese, Christian-Muslim relations and religious freedom. A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford, and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992.
A film that triggered the “Jihad against Walid Phares”
According to analysts looking at the roots of the CAIR-led and Iranian supported bashing campaign against me in March and in October of 2011, this appearance in the movie “America at Risk” along with other major statements exposing the Muslim Brotherhood and their fronts in the US, was one of the triggers to the attacks. Another trigger was the movie “Iranium.” More to come.
At the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Professor Walid Phares comments in the movie “America at Risk: The War with no name”, produced by Newt and Callista Gingrich, were posted in one compilation. As we thank the producers of this powerful film, the excerpts are offered to educate the public at this important benchmark of American history. Professor Phares reminds us that the 9/11 Commission asked why America wasn’t prepared by its academia for the nature of the threat. He explains that the precursors to the Jihadists rose in the 1920’s under the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahhabis and later on under the Khomeinists. Phares argues that the Jihadists use all means at their disposal: diplomacy, military, and petrodollars when they decide to do so. The US is dealing with strategies developed by the Jihadists worldwide and in the homeland. He explains that the most important counter strategy for the US to develop is to identify the ideology of the Jihadists, without which the conflict cannot be won.
He cruelly ridiculed non-Muslims who held down 9-to-5 jobs all their lives and said sponging off them made plotting holy war easier.
The Sun secretly filmed him over three meetings also saying leaders such as David Cameron and Barack Obama should be KILLED, grinning as he branded the Queen “ugly” and predicting a “tsunami” of Islamic immigrants would sweep Europe.
Father-of-four Choudary, who has praised terrorist outrages, pockets more than £25,000 a year in benefits — £8,000 more than the take-home pay of some soldiers fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.
He laughed as he told supporters:
“You find people are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o’clock. They go to work at 9 o’clock. They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o’clock, watch EastEnders, sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery.
“And at the end of their life they realise their pension isn’t going to pay out anything, the mortgage isn’t going to pay out anything.
He went on: “People will say, ‘Ah, but you are not working’.
“But the normal situation is for you to take money from the kuffar.
“So we take Jihad Seeker’s Allowance. You need to get support.”
Figures obtained by The Sun in 2010 showed the extremist cleric received £15,600 a year in housing benefit to keep him in a £320,000 house in Leytonstone, East London.
He also got £1,820 council tax allowance, £5,200 income support and £3,120 child benefits — equivalent to a taxed salary of £32,500.
In another bile-filled rant, the scrounger said Mr Cameron, Mr Obama and the leaders of Pakistan and Egypt were the shaitan (devil).
He added: “What ultimately do we want to happen to them? Maybe I’m the only one who wants the shaitan to be killed. The shaitan should be finished. There should be no shaitan.
“All should be obedience to Allah, or you have no right to call yourself Muslim.” At a three-hour meeting in a community centre in Bethnal Green, East London, he insisted it was wrong to deny any aspect of Islam — including jihad or ultra-strict sharia law.
He told a 30-strong crowd: “We are going to take England — the Muslims are coming.”
He gloated that the 9/11 terror attacks “shook the enemy” and claimed white supremacists wished they had the “fortitude” to fly planes into buildings. He went on to proclaim: “You must hate in your heart — Cameron, Obama, all that they worship.
Read more at The Sun with video
Empires leave behind a mess when they leave. And that mess acts as the building blocks of a new empire. One empire falls and another rises in its place. It’s an old story and it is what we are seeing in the Middle East.
The Islamist resurgence was fed by the collapse of two world powers, the USSR and the US. The fall of the Soviet Union robbed the Arab Socialist dictatorships of their support. The last of these, Syria, is now under siege, by Sunni Islamist militias after becoming an Iranian Shiite puppet.
Egypt’s Sadat had made the move to the American camp early enough to avoid the fate of Syria or Iraq, but instead his successor, Mubarak, encountered the fate of the Shah of Iran. With the fall of Egypt, Syria is the last major Arab Socialist holdout, and if it falls, then the Middle East will have shifted decisively into the Salafi column.
Unlike the Soviet Union, the United States has not actually collapsed, but its international influence is completely gone. Bush was accused of many things, but impotence wasn’t one of them. Obama however gave the Taliban a premature victory with a pullout deadline, ineptly waffled over the Iranian and Arab protests, before eventually getting on board with the latter, and allowed the UK and French governments to drag him into a poorly conceived regime change operation in Libya.
The Palestine UN vote, China’s South China Sea aggression and Karzai’s growing belligerence were just more reminders that no one really cared what the United States thought anymore. America had ceased to matter internationally as a great power. It still dispensed money, but its government had become an inept tail being wagged by Europe and the United Nations.
The loss of American influence was felt most notably in the Middle East, where its former oil patrons took the opportunity to back a series of Salafi crusades, the political Islamist version of which was known as the Arab Spring. The rise of political Islamists in democratic elections was however only one component of a regional strategy that depended as much on armed militias as on the ballot box.
In Egypt, protests followed by elections were enough to allow the Salafis, a category that includes the Muslim Brotherhood, to take over. That was also true in Tunisia. In Libya, a new American client, the government put up a fight, little realizing that Obama wasn’t Putin, but a horrible mashup of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Henry Wallace. Instead of getting American backing, Gaddafi got American bombs, and the Islamist militias, armed and funded by Qatar with Obama’s blessing, got Libya. In Benghazi they repaid the help they received from Obama and Stevens by humiliating the former and murdering the latter.
In Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood’s militias are racing the Al-Qaeda linked militias to the finish line in Damascus, while Western pundits prattle reassuringly about a moderate and secular Syrian opposition, which is as moderate and secular as Egypt’s Morsi.
The regional snapshot of the Arab Spring isn’t reform, but a land rush as secular governments affiliated with Russia and the United States fall, to be replaced by believers in an emerging Islamist Caliphate. The Arab Spring isn’t 1848; it’s 638, the Mohamedan expansion at the expense of the ailing Byzantine Empire, a rampage that eventually ended in the Islamization of the Middle East. For Salafis, this is their opportunity to Re-Islamize the Middle East under the full force of Islamic law.
The Muslim world does not keep time by European progressive calendars. It isn’t out to recreate the republican revolutions that secularized and nationalized Europe; rather it is trying to undo the secondhand European effects of those revolutions on the Middle East. The left is celebrating this as a triumph for anti-imperialism, but it’s just a matter of replacing one empire with another.
Muslim imperialism and colonialism were far more brutal and ruthless, as the Indians could tell you, and if the Salafis have their way, and they are having their way for the moment, it will be the beginning of a new wave of global conquests, with old sheiks using oil money from the decadent West to outfit militias of young men with top quality American and Russian weapons before sending them off to die, while they wait for news of the new caliphate and bed down with their eight wife.
This isn’t an entirely new game. Bin Laden was playing it for decades and Salafi crusaders have been fighting the Ottoman Empire and massacring Shiites for centuries. The notion of them extending their power into Cairo would have been absurd, but for the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the backlash from the efforts to modernize its former major cities which created a modernized Islamist movement inspired by Nazi politics and funded by Nazi money. A movement that we know as the Muslim Brotherhood. It took the Brotherhood a good 80 years, but they finally took Cairo.
The notion of the Salafis threatening the Middle East and the whole world would have been even more absurd if American oil companies hadn’t rewarded their tribal allies with inconceivable wealth while turning a blind eye to their ambitions. And the notion that the Salafi crusade would ever extend to Europe would have been even more absurd, if not for the jet plane and the liberal immigration policies of Socialist governments with aging populations looking for a tax base and a voting base.
The Salafis, despite their feigned obsession with the purity of the desert, have piggybacked their conquests entirely on Western technologies and policies, from the wire transfer to the jet plane to the cell phone to liberal political correctness and Third Worldism. The Salafi crusades were never any match for 19th Century policies and weapons, except in the occasional brief conflict. But they are a match for 21st Century policies and the accompanying unwillingness to use the full force of modern weaponry on people that a century ago would have been considered bloody savages, but today are considered potential peace partners.
Read more at Canada Free Press
Daniel Greenfield is a New York City writer and columnist. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and his articles appears at its Front Page Magazine site.
Daniel can be reached at: email@example.com
by Şenay Yıldız Akşam January 7, 2013
Translation of the original text: Ortadoğu liderliğine en yakın ülke Türkiye Translated by Elif S. Gürbey
N.B.: This translation from Turkish includes numerous changes in the text by Daniel Pipes to improve the presentation and to make it more accurate.
Founder and president of the Middle East Forum, Daniel Pipes is well known for his work on the Middle East and political Islam. Pipes, an award-winning columnist for the National Review and Jerusalem Post, writes commentaries and articles about the Middle East in leading media organizations such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. After visiting Turkey last month, Pipes, who has 12 books and numerous articles on Islam, Syria, and the Middle East, published an article in National Review Online titled “Talking Turkey.” We talked with him [in mid-December] about his impressions of Turkey and his expectations from the Middle East.
- When were you in Turkey the last time? I was in Turkey two weeks ago. I visited in 2007 as well. My first visit to Turkey was in 1972. I spent the summer of 1973 trying to learn Turkish while living in Istanbul’s Üsküdar quarter … but I was not very successful at it.
- How long did you stay in Turkey before writing your last article, “Talking Turkey”? Did you meet anyone from the government? I stayed in Turkey for 5 days. My request to meet members of the AKP did not succeed. However, I was able to meet with representatives of the CHP (Republican People’s Party) and the Gülen movement.
- Considering your visits to Turkey, what kind of difference do you see between now and then? Two major changes occurred in the last 40 years. First, economic development, especially in Istanbul: there are so many new buildings, businesses, and global brands. This differs completely from the Turkey I saw 40 years ago, which was quite separated from international business. Second, Islam. The religiosity of people in Turkey was semi-visible then. If it was necessary to go to mosques or other places to see them, now they are everywhere.
- Do you mean women who wear headscarf? Yes, the turban [headscarf] symbolizes this phenomenon. Many observers used to see Turkey as a European country with a different language. As someone interested in the history of Muslims, I always saw Turkey as a Muslim Middle Eastern country. The Atatürk revolution impressed me and I began writing a book comparing it with the Meiji transformation in Japan. I find it strange to see Turkey as European just because a small part of its territory is in Europe. Would Morocco controlling Gibraltar make it a European country? I think not.
- Do you think Islam’s visibility is negative? I have no opinion if people want to pray, fast, and on pilgrimage to Mecca. I do, however, have an opinion on attempts to implement the Shari’a. The Shari’a causes great suffering, sorrow, and pain. In the past [Necmettin] Erbakan and now [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan is moving toward Islamic law and I think this a terrible development.
- Do you really think Erdoğan is heading toward Sharia? Almost everybody I spoke to in Turkey told me, “Turkey will never be a country where hands are cut off, of burqas or jihad. Erdoğan, Gül, Davutoğlu, Arınç, and Gülen all know that and accept the order Ataturk implemented 80-90 years ago. They are only trying to create a more religious environment within that order.” Among those I spoke to, only an Alevi person did not subscribe to this opinion. According to him, Erdoğan and Gül aspire to apply Islamic law. “It will take a very long time,” he noted, “but it is their objective.” I agree with this view.
- As someone who lives in Turkey, I am having hard time to understand how you can see implementation of Shari’a. What makes you so skeptical about the AK Party’s goals? Gül and Erdoğan were members of Erbakan’s Virtue Party in the 1990s; and although he failed to achieve his objectives because he was removed from power by the military, Erbakan clearly intended to apply the Shari’a. The question now is: Did Gül and Erdoğan only change their tactics to maneuver better than him – or did they really abandon his objectives? I do not believe they altered their goals. I grant that I am speculating here because I cannot read their minds but it makes more sense to conclude that they only changed tactics.
As I see it, these lieutenants of Erbakan learned a lesson from his mistakes and are now implementing his policies more intelligently. Erdoğan is a more capable and sophisticated version of Erbakan. Should the AKP stay in power, the implementation of Islamic law will begin. The result will not look like Afghanistan under the Taliban, the Islamic Republic of Iran, or Saudi Arabia but the Shari’a will give direction to the social order.
I expect the AKP to rule for a long time, in part because the opposition in Turkey is so weak. It is reduced to hoping for divisions between Gül and Erdoğan, or Gülen and the AKP. The intellectual base of the CHP and the other parties is weak.
- Can you clarify your comment in your last article, that you heard that the AKP aspires “to create a post-Atatürk order more than an anti-Atatürk order”? Does the AKP leadership really accept the order established by Atatürk? I have my doubts. I think, deep in the leaders’ hearts, they want step by step to erase Ataturk’s accomplishments. In this sense, Erdoğan is the anti-Atatürk. Let me add that I have no problem with the removal of Atatürk from walls, quotations, and celebrations. It seems odd that a person who died 75 years ago remains ubiquitous. In the United States, I would not welcome seeing George Washington everywhere.
- Turkey is in leadership struggle for the Middle East. Do you think that Turkey can be the greatest power in the Middle East? Turkey absolutely is the best candidate right now for Middle East leadership. Given its population, the ruling party’s vision, its economic strength, and its intellectual capacity, Turkey is the country closest to leading the Middle East.
- What do you think of highly controversial Gülen movement? I never met Gülen, though he lives near me in Philadelphia. I know a number of people from the movement. It is highly sophisticated, intellectual, and impressive, especially the hundreds of schools. In my opinion, its objective is to make Islam the primary component that regulates people’s lives, and it works for this very carefully and cleverly.
Islamism in Turkey is far more intellectual than, for example, in Egypt. Take a look at Mohamed Morsi: in a few months, he tried to do more than the AKP has attempted in ten years, and for that reason, he is in great danger. Egypt faces so many problems, from a sinking economy to violent protests on the streets. In contrast, Gülen builds schools and has a media empire, which is much more impressive than Muslim Brotherhood, Khomeini, or the Taliban. For me, the most powerful feature that separates Islam in Turkey from other countries is capable leadership.
- The Arab Spring began with high hopes; at this point, do you think it brought spring to the Arabs? I never call it “Arab Spring”; the term Arab uprising is much more accurate. The Arab Middle East was surprisingly stable between 1970 and 2010, with little change of the dictators in charge. These regimes lacked an ideology or vision, so they—except for Syria—established good relations with the U.S. government. Following the incident in Tunisia in December 2010, the Islamists have increased their power. I believe this worsens things for the people of the region: dictators are bad enough but Islamists are even worse. Dictators kill tens of people; Islamists kill hundreds or thousands.
- Why are you contrasting Islamists and Americans? Islamism is the third totalitarian movement. We beat the fascist and communist threats; now we have to defeat the Islamists.
- Saudi Arabia is very close partner of the United States. No, Canada is a close partner. Saudi Arabia is only a tactical partner. The U.S. and Saudi governments work together but differ in everything from ways of life to long-term ambitions.
- Do you criticize Saudi Arabia? Yes, the government in Saudi Arabia is horrible. I am uncomfortable with the extent of privileges given to Saudi Arabia in Washington.
- You have a very negative, inflexible position about Islam? No, I am not negative about Islam, but I am negative about Islamism. A government, a movement, or a people who seek ways to implement Islamic law fully are rather a small minority in nearly every country. They are not the majority, and yes, I am negative about them. My motto is; radical Islam is a problem moderate Islam is the solution.
- Which countries you can think of in the Middle East that can implement a moderate version of Islam? Governments such as Iran, Turkey, and Tunisia that followed a moderate version of Islam are gone. Nowadays, the closest example is Algeria. The AKP and Gülen movement try to look like moderate, but they are not because both want to implement Shari’a.
- In the mission statement of the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project, of which you are the founder, it says, you “work to protect the right in the West to freely discuss Islam, radical Islam, terrorism, and terrorist funding..” But Islam is not the only religion in the Middle East, so why do you not show same concern about Christianity and Judaism? I do not see Islamism is comparable to anything in Judaism or Christianity. As I mentioned earlier, I see it comparable to Communism and Fascism. I see Islamism as far more a bigger threat than Jewish nationalism or a fundamentalist Christianity. You can criticize Jews and Judaism, Christians and Christianity without facing danger. However, you risk your life criticizing Islam.
Islamic leaders continue to portray the popular protests against President Morsi and his recently passed Sharia-heavy constitution as products of Egypt’s Christians. Recently, Muslim Brotherhood leader Safwat Hegazy said in an open rally, as captured on video:
A message to the church of Egypt, from an Egyptian Muslim: I tell the church — by Allah, and again, by Allah — if you conspire and unite with the remnants [opposition] to bring Morsi down, that will be another matter…. our red line is the legitimacy of Dr. Muhammad Morsi. Whoever splashes water on it, we will splash blood on him.”
Dr. Wagdi Ghoneim
More recently, Dr. Wagdi Ghoneim — who earlier praised Allah for the death of the late Coptic Pope Shenouda, cursing him to hell and damnation on video — made another video, entitled, “A Notice and Warning to the Crusaders in Egypt,” a reference to the nation’s Copts, which he began by saying, “You are playing with fire in Egypt, I swear, the first people to be burned by the fire are you [Copts].” The video was made in the context of the Tahrir protests against Morsi: Islamic leaders, such as Hegazy and Ghoneim, seek to portray the Copts as dominant elements in those protests; according to them, no real Muslim would participate. Ghoneim even went on to say that most of the people at the protests were Copts, “and we know you hid your [wrist] crosses by lowering your sleeves.”
The heart of Ghoneim’s message was genocidal: “The day Egyptians — and I don’t even mean the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafis, regular Egyptians — feel that you are against them, you will be wiped off the face of the earth. I’m warning you now: do not play with fire!”
Along with trying to incite Egypt’s Muslims against the Copts, and threatening them with annihilation, Ghoneim made other telling assertions, including:
Watch Raymond Ibrahim talk with Robert Spencer about what’s going on in Egypt, the plight of Coptic Christians, Islamic Revivalism, the Muslim Brotherhood and more:
By Ryan Mauro
The seemingly endless supply of martyrdom-seeking jihadists makes it tempting to abandon the battlefields, but withdrawal does not come without cost. For many Muslims, victory is a display of approval from Allah and defeat is judgment. One success can inspire a generation, while a series of undeniable losses can cause re-examination of the jihad’s merits.
The monotheistic religions have a history of viewing victories against insurmountable odds as miracles and defeats as divine punishment. The Terrorism & Homeland Security: 7th Edition textbook by Jonathan R. White explains that in the year 624, Mohammed and his followers fought a superior army from Medina that was unhappy with their raiding of caravans.
“It was a small battle, but politically important. Because of their victory at Badr, Muslims increasingly came to believe that God was on their side and that their cause would be championed in heaven,” White writes. Mohammed and his followers subsequently conquered Mecca.
The Muslim world has a much better memory than the West. Whereas most American students can name more Jersey Shore cast members than presidents, Muslim students can name battles, Caliphs and Islamic theologians. The Battle of Badr’s lesson is still valued today, as evidenced in that Iran named one of its proxies in Iraq as the Badr Brigade.
The U.S. withdrawal from Lebanon following the 1983 Marine barracks bombing and from Somalia following the 1993 ambush is seen as modern-day equivalents of the Battle of Badr. Long after most Americans forgot about the incidents, jihadists continue to reference them as proof that Allah was on their side against the “paper tiger.”
The galvanizing impact of jihadist victories is very difficult to reverse because of their emphasis on patience, faith and long-term thinking. The pain of a subsequent setback is dwarfed by the joy of the previous win. The only answer is a Western winning streak against the jihadists that cannot be denied or effectively spun.
A January 2011 letter by Adam Gadahn, an American that is now a senior Al-Qaeda member in Pakistan, shows that the unshakeable public confidence of some Al-Qaeda leaders is a farce.
He is demoralized over Al-Qaeda’s recent losses, particularly in Iraq where, for them, things seemed to be going so well. He pondered whether this was a “punishment by God on us because of our sins and injustices.”
Al-Qaeda’s massacring of Muslims is what offended Allah, he concluded. If Al-Qaeda were advancing, he would have concluded that Allah had blessed his group’s conduct.
Top Islamists feel the same way. Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, more commonly known as “Dr. Al-Fadl,” is a long-time mentor of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of Al-Qaeda. His works are widely respected and considered authoritative, particularly his 1988 jihadist text, “The Essential Guide for Preparation.”
In 2007, he rocked the jihadist world by authoring a text from his Egyptian jail cell titled, “The Document of Right Guidance for Jihad Activity.” Its criticism of Al-Qaeda is so scathing that Zawahiri had to publicly respond.
Al-Fadl argued that Al-Qaeda’s misfortunes since the September 11, 2001 attacks showed that Allah did not endorse the group’s jihad. He wrote:
“Allah, may He be praised, says that the Muslims’ misfortunes are because of themselves, and bin Laden and al-Zawahiri say they are because of America. Let the Muslims consider who they are going to follow: Allah, or bin Laden and al-Zawahiri?”
He blames Al-Qaeda for “every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq.” He criticized the 9/11 attacks as not only a violation of Sharia Law but idiotic:
“Ramming America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. [To] cross the ocean to go to your enemy in its own home and destroy one of its buildings, and it destroys the Taliban state—and then you claim to be a mujahid [holy warrior]—only an idiot would do such a thing.”
Read more at Radical Islam
Ryan Mauro is RadicalIslam.org’s National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.
by IPT News
A Syrian opposition group tied to al-Qaida has issued a threatening statement against the United States two weeks after the U.S. Treasury Department designated its leaders as terrorists.
A statement published on a jihadist website from Abu Mohammad Tahawi, a leading Jordanian Salafi jihadist who often trumpets the Nusrah Front in Syria, taunts the United States and President Obama and promises bloodshed.
The Nusrah Front “placed you long ago on the terrorism blacklist based on injustice, tyranny and vanquishing people,” Tahawi wrote. “They have made a pledge for themselves to obey the oath of Sheikh Osama [bin Laden] … and you will not know a pleasant life, nor quiet and happy sleep until you return to your homes, with bowed heads, weary, miserable; and you pay them the Jizya (tax on non-Muslims), and are humbled .”
It invokes the treatment of American Indians, the use of atomic bombs in Japan during World War II and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That history places the United States “at the top of the list of terrorists targeted for the fire of our weapons, and the fire of our weapons will not be extinguished upon until you the fire you until you are kept from your intent, your evil, your pride and your injustice, and Right is restored to its people and you return across the seas where you come from,” Tahawi wrote.
In a statement, the Treasury Department said its Dec. 11 action was an attempt “to deny al-Qa’ida’s attempts to subvert the Syrian opposition.” Al-Nusrah has tried “exploit the instability inside Syria for its own purposes, using tactics and espousing an ideology drawn from AQI [al-Qaida in Iraq] that the Syrian people broadly reject. Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed responsibility for nearly 600 terrorist attacks, killing and wounding hundreds of Syrians. These activities are attempts by AQI to hijack the struggles of the legitimate Syrian opposition to further its own extremist ideology.”
Tahawi’s statement treats the U.S. action as a declaration of war:
The land of Greater Syrian awaits you with great suspense for your hearts to be roasted in a sea of hot coals, for your fat to melt, and your meat to be grilled; today you will no longer be able to manage a single battle much less several battles. This is by the Grace of God, then by the grace of the soldiers of Osama who will frighten you and paralyze your thinking; come to the land of Greater Syria, if you be you men or if there is in you the remains of rest manhood. Ah, why are you reluctant to come Oh, Obama? Perhaps you remember the tragedies of your friend Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the bad luck you inherited still bears the burden of its consequences.
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power is seen as weakening dramatically. Reports indicate the United States is considering intervention to stop Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal from falling into the hands of terrorists.
By Frank Gaffney, Jr.
The new study is entitled “Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack,” thereby making the foundational point that – as opposed to the purported problem of “Islamophobia” manufactured by Islamic supremacists to cow and induce Christians and other infidels to submit to their dictates – followers of Christ are truly being persecuted in much of the planet. Civitas puts it this way: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree. A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.”
As the Telegraph observed, the report draws on published estimates showing that as many as “200 million Christians, or 10 per cent of Christians worldwide, are ‘socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.'” And “between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left the region or been killed in the past century.”
The study’s author is Rupert Shortt, a journalist and visiting fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. He argues that, “Exposing and combating the problem ought in my view to be political priorities across large areas of the world. That this is not the case tells us much about a questionable hierarchy of victimhood.”
“Hierarchy of victimhood” is one, very anodyne way of describing the forces at work. Another would be to call it what it is: a blatant double-standard that has the effect of excusing and enabling Islamists, the Chinese Communists and other totalitarians to engage in mass and often brutal repression of Christians for simply exercising religious liberties our country claims to consider unalienable.
The effect of this practice is especially palpable in the region that was the birthplace of Christianity. Few native Christians feel safe living in Bethlehem anymore and Islamic supremacists like Mahmoud Abbas instead preside over the holiday observances there. Christians have fled Iraq – one of their ancient homelands – en masse. Many of them have wound up in neighboring Syria where they and their native co-religionists face rape, torture and extermination at the hands of the “rebels” striving, with our help, to overthrow Basher Assad.
Meanwhile, in Egypt – a country that long was Christian before it was conquered by Muslims and still has a sizeable minority known as Coptic Christians – has just adopted a constitution based on shariah law. Even before that legal basis was established for treating such Christians as dhimmis (enslaved peoples) they were relentlessly attacked, and in some cases murdered, as their businesses were ruined or expropriated and their churches burned. In due course, it seems likely that those who can get out will do so.
Yet, as the Civitas study recounts, “Western politicians and media largely ignore the widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East and the wider world because they are afraid they will be accused of racism. They fail to appreciate that in the defense of the wider concept of human rights, religious freedom is the ‘canary in the mine….'”
Unfortunately, in the case of the present U.S. administration, the practice of ignoring Christians’ plight seems rooted in far more ominous impulses. A powerful new book by Phyllis Schlafly and George Neumayr entitled “No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom,” recounts the President’s pervasive “Islamophilia” and relentless hostility towards other faiths. The authors conclude that Mr. “Obama is at war with Christianity.”
Which makes all the more problematic the plight of Middle Eastern Christians seeking refuge from their oppressors. Under a practice deplorably begun during the George W. Bush administration, Team Obama relies on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to determine who should receive that status and be allowed asylum in this country. And since the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – the official Islamist multinational group that is the modern day equivalent of the Muslim world’s governing caliphate – largely calls the shots at the UN these days, we generally wind up bringing in Islamists unwilling, or at least unable, to assimilate. Often they come from Somalia, Iraq and Bosnia, displacing Christians seeking to practice their faith in freedom and security.
There is a lot of talk at the moment about immigration reform. One strategically vital place to start would be by revisiting the practice of importing: Islamic supremacist clerics under the R-1visa program; tens of thousands of Saudi “students” annually; lottery winners disproportionately drawn from Muslim-dominated nations and regions; and Islamist-heavy “refugee” populations, to the effective exclusion of Christians genuinely in desperate need of that status.
An “Islamophilic” Obama administration “at war with Christianity” is unlikely to take such steps left to its own devices. The American people and their congressional representatives must therefore insist that it does so.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for the Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9:00 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.
Will their “Sharia thirst” indeed be fully quenched?
Three days before the first round of voting began for Egypt’s constitutional referendum on December 15, 2012, Hesham Darwish, from Cairo’s Hadayeq al-Qobba district, summarized the views of those who planned to vote “yes,” and affirm the charter:
People are thirsty for Sharia. [emphasis added] We do not support the president for who he is, but rather for the Islamic project he promises.
Yesterday (12/22/12), during the second round of voting, Hesham Darwish’s mindset held sway overwhelmingly in two Upper Egypt governorates on both sides of the Nile. Eighty-three percent (83.2%; 763,729/918,034) voted “yes” in Minya approximately 150 miles south of Cairo on the western bank of the Nile River, which flows north through the city), while in Qena, situated on the east bank of the Nile, some 300 miles south of Cairo, 84.7% (307,839/363,518 ) affirmed the charter, according to unofficial final tallies published by Al-Ahram. (See full results tabulated below)
When pooled with the first round of voting, a total of 64.0% (10,543,893/16,472,241), including 67.5% (162,231/240,224) of Egyptian expatriates, approved Egypt’s recently drafted, more Sharia-compliant constitution.
The referendum’s final results validate remarkably consistent polling data of Egyptian attitudes towards the Sharia chronicled since at least early 2007, through an Egyptian Vote Compass self-administered survey whose results were revealed just a week prior to voting began on 12/15/12.
Within a few days of their publication in April, 2007, I highlighted data from Egypt indicating that 74% of Egyptians favored “strict” application of the Sharia in general. As recently as December 2010, Pew polling data revealed that 84% of Egyptian Muslims rejected freedom of conscience in the most ugly terms claiming apostates should be killed (i.e., that percentage would likely be well over 90% if less draconian punishments, such as imprisonment and beating till recantation were queried), 82% favor stoning adulterers to death, and 77% approved of mutilating punishments for theft. Summarizing these findings, and other overall survey trends, pollster Douglas Schoen in an essay published February 10, 2011, cited additional composite data indicating that at least 60% of Egyptians held “fundamentalist” Islamic views, while only 20% could be classified as “secular” in their orientation. Finally, Dutch Political Scientist André Krouwel, working with an academic team of Egyptian political scientists at Vote Compass Egypt, who applied an interactive electoral literacy application, predicted in an interview published 12/8/12,
About 70 per cent of the population will vote in favor of the constitution
It is also apparent that Egyptians have voted en masse for a charter, which, relative to the 1971 constitution, more openly advances Sharia supremacism in its revised language, and by assigning an oversight role to the bastion of mainstream obscurantist Sunni Islamic religious education, Al-Azhar University.
Comparing the suspended 1971 Constitution, with the current draft charter, several features, consistent with the more pronounced influence of Sharia, are immediately apparent:
Accordingly, the constitution was praised by Muslim Brotherhood “Spiritual Adviser”, and renowned Sharia supremacist, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who noted it contained, “principles and values needed by Egyptians.” Qaradawi added, “Even if it contains shortcomings, they could be addressed later,”—perhaps alluding to his avowed stratagem of applying the more draconian aspects of Sharia, such as hadd punishments, gradually, during a “transitional” accommodation period.
Qaradawi’s stratagem for applying Sharia in all its liberty-crushing, totalitarian manifestations—a sine qua non of the Muslim Brotherhood first articulated by its founder, Hassan al-Banna, and reiterated (on May 15, 2012) by recently elected Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi—could be facilitated by the “Scholars of al-Azhar,” whom the constitution declares, “should be consulted in all matters related to Sharia.”
Since its founding in 973 A.D., Al Azhar University (and its mosque) have represented a pinnacle of Islamic religious education, which evolved into the de facto Vatican of Sunni Islam. Unfortunately, during that same millennium, through the present era, Al Azhar and its leading clerics have represented and espoused the unreformed, unrepentant jihad bellicosity and infidel hatred at the core of mainstream Islam. The irrefragable truth of Al Azhar’s persistent Medieval obscurantism (i.e., from any rational non-Muslim, if not Islamic perspective), can be readily gleaned from a sampling of fatwas (Islamic religious rulings) and statements issued during 1739, till now. Moreover, the late (d. March, 2010) Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Tantawi’s own virulently Jew-hating writings, statements, and career trajectory—being rewarded for this public, “scholarly,” legacy of hatred—represents the apotheosis of these ugly realities.
You can contact Dr. Bostom at info[@]andrewbostom.org
Nothing says bug-eyed clerical fanaticism more than inviting a hate-spewing Saudi cleric to address your religious revival meeting. But this is part of the under-reported history of the Reviving the Islamic Spirit (RIS) Convention, a conference that Justin Trudeau, a frontrunner in Canada’s Liberal Party leadership race – and son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau – will address this weekend in Montreal. It’s also why moderate Muslims and non-Muslims are aghast at the prospect of Trudeau’s presence legitimizing the conference and some of its notables.
Although organizers pitch the gathering as “A Unique Youth Effort” “to help overcome new challenges of communication and integration” and “reviv[e] the Islamic tradition of education, tolerance and introspection,” there is reason to be concerned. Aspects of the multi-year history and present-day manifestations of RIS invite questions about ideology and influences at play.
This year’s conference was initially sponsored in part by IRFAN-Canada, an international Muslim relief entity that has seen its federal charitable tax status yanked by Ottawa, as a result of the Canada Revenue Agency’s belief that millions in contributions went to “relieve” the Hamas terror organization. Although exposure of this background forced IRFAN’s eleventh-hour cosmetic removal as an RIS sponsor, it is not evident that all remaining sponsors are clear of radical taint. UBS Bank recently blocked the overseas account of British-based charity and RIS 2012 sponsor Islamic Relief, a situation which an Islamic Relief official reportedly attributes to the technicalities of counterterrorism regulations. Meanwhile, some have questions about the uneven ideological record of one or two prominent figures attached to sponsoring organization Zaytuna College, an Islamic institution in Berkeley, Calif.
And, yes, the inevitable Tariq Ramadan, the charming, soft-spoken and dupe-seducing scion of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood – a man who famously called for a moratorium, rather than a ban, on the stoning of women, and avoids condemning Hamas – will also speak at the event. Ramadan is an RIS veteran speaker whose apparent Muslim Brotherhood link offers little reassurance when taken in concert with a Brotherhood strategic plan for Canada and the United States which prescribes “a grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house.”
Meanwhile, a journalist has exposed expected RIS 2012 speaker Yassir Fazaga as a fixture of Peace TV, an outlet with radical presenters, including Yusuf Islam – the former Cat Stevens – who called for author Salman Rushdie’s death and spoke at the 2009 RIS.
But, years ago, those of us in intelligence who studied RIS conferences had concluded that RIS’s problems exceeded even these present-day issues.
Indeed, the RIS’s history of invited speakers includes some dignitaries who would give pause to people of conscience, especially when speakers might be considered models for youth and other convention attendees. For example, there was distinguished American neo-Nazi William W. Baker at the 2004 gathering. Known for establishing something dubbed Christians and Muslims for Peace (CAMP), Baker has rounded publicly on “belligerent American Jews.” “[H]is apparent goal,” wrote a reporter a year or two before his RIS invitation, is “the creation of a united Christian-Muslim front against Jews and other groups.”
Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes complained that now-disgraced former RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli, then-Toronto Police Chief (and now federal Tory Minister) Julian Fantino and Mayor David Miller appeared at the Toronto conference, “thereby giving it – and by implication, William W. Baker – their blessing.” Zaccardelli’s pander-filled speech was memorable. Even the social-democratic NDP’s Jack Layton could not resist addressing an RIS meet.
Another RIS invitee was Sheik Bilal Philips, a Canadian imam who is an unindicted co-conspirator in that bombing, favors death for homosexuals in Muslim lands, and fancies punitive amputations, lashings and public executions. From Kenya to Germany to Australia, he has been banned and deported on national security grounds.
The bug-eyed invitee mentioned above was reportedly Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudais, imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque. Well before his invitation to speak at the 2004 RIS, Al-Sudais said “Jews of yesterday are the evil forefathers of the even more evil Jews of today: infidels … prophet murderers, the scum of the human race, accursed by Allah, who turned them into apes and pigs.” “[A]n ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption,” too. Christians?: idolators – “worshippers of the cross” – as were hideous “idol worshipping Hindus.”
This was a bridge-building too far, and Canada’s government barred entry to the Saudi imam.
As it did to RIS 2010 invitee (and previous speaker) Indian physician-preacher Zakir Naik, thought to have a crush on Osama bin Laden. “[E]very Muslim should be a terrorist,” says Naik, and Jews are “our staunchest enemy.” At the 2005 RIS, Naik pressed Islamic Sharia law upon America, complete with death penalties for homosexuals, heavy veiling for women. There was more than a dash of false equivalence in his comparing of the targeted civilian deaths of 9/11, and the accidental civilian casualties in Afghanistan combat. Naik’s ambiguous position on suicide bombing included the view that it “should be done under proper guidance” – surely a constructive thought for susceptible youth juggling contemporary responsibilities and trying to reach that life-balance between school and demolitions. Naik is progressive inasmuch as he believes wives should be beaten only “lightly.”
Several years ago, Britain’s Sheikh Riyadh ul-Haq spoke at an RIS convention in Toronto. Reports point to Indian-born ul-Haq’s enthusiastic paraphrasing of the Quran in remarks made on another occasion: “the ones who are bitterest in their enmity towards Muslims, the most unrelenting, unforgiving, are the Jews and the mushrikeen, idolators in all their forms.” Today’s “chief idolators,” he adds, are the Hindus.
U.S. authorities have taken an interest in RIS, and detained some American Muslims returning from the 2004 RIS conference in Toronto. Department of Homeland Security: “we had credible intelligence that conferences similar to the one from which these individuals were leaving were being used by terrorist organizations to fundraise and to hide the travel of terrorists themselves.” The Saudi-funded, extremist-sympathetic Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – later an unindicted co-conspirator in a major terror funding U.S. prosecution, and the mother group of a Canadian chapter, CAIR-CAN, now attacking critics of this week’s conference – sued the American government, and lost.
Border authorities, asserted the supportive U.S. appeals court, “had reason to believe that terrorists, or those with terrorist ties, would be attending the RIS conference.”
It was at this Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference – presumably in the midst of some of its participants’ condemnations of liberal coexistence – that a jargon-laced greeting was read aloud from a letter from then-Prime Minister Paul Martin. “[T]his year’s conference,” he intoned on behalf of the Government of Canada, “adds to the fabric of our nation and strengthens our social foundations by making our communities more dynamic, culturally rich, and cohesive.” U.S. border authorities might have taken another view.
Now comes the Reviving the Islamic Spirit 2012 conclave. You’ve heard about Tariq Ramadan and the rest, but what about other invitees who will be joining this month’s Montreal conventioneers?
Read the rest at IPT
David B. Harris is a Canadian lawyer with three decades’ experience in intelligence affairs, and serves as Director of the International Intelligence Program, INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc. He is on the advisory board of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow (MFT), although opinions expressed here are his alone.
By James Lewis
Everything is supposed to go back to the Qur’an, written in the Arabian Desert in the 7th century, straight from the mouth of Allah and therefore impossible to question. If you can’t question something you’re set for mind-lock, and all the troubles flow from that.
As historian Bernard Lewis points out, Islamic civilization always gets stuck in dogmatism whenever the fundamentalist priesthood takes over. That is why the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution took place in Europe and then America, and not in Muslim Persia, Spain or Ottoman Turkey. In a rigidly closed society everybody becomes mind-locked. We can see it every day in the media.
Liberals claim that the US Constitution should be a ‘living document” — meaning they want it dead. Well, the Quran brings the ancient desert war of Mohammed back to life. There’s a living document that’ll kill ya! That kind of fundamentalism is utterly stuck in a dysfunctional past.
Liberals respect the Qur’an more than the US Constitution. The Qur’an runs a billion Muslim minds, half of them women living under virtual house arrest, and subject to constant fear and indoctrination — and murder if they try to escape.
Liberals respect that kind of thing.
When Muslims encounter the modern world they may yearn for freedom, or they may wish to go back to the mythical past. They feel torn between past and future, just like other, less militant creeds.
The battle for civilization will be won or lost in their minds and in ours.
Civilized peoples always hope to fight a war of ideas, so that we will not have to fight a hot war. But peace is not won by cowards. If you can’t stand up for your beliefs during family holidays — politely but firmly — you have not yet begun to fight.
Conservatives have to bear a share of the blame for the victory of radical liberalism in the recent election. Not all the blame, but we have not done enough. Half of America is on our side, at least 100 million people.
We must begin by standing up for our beliefs to friends, family, local leaders, then nationally and internationally. This is a worldwide struggle.
You have in your hands the most fabulous tool ever invented for outreach. If we don’t use computers and the web, as well as personal contacts, to stand for our values, nobody else will do it for us. When we stand up for our values we also empower others to do the same thing.
So far the United States and our “allies” have failed dismally to stand up for our values. We keep surrendering to barbarians, a sure formula for civilizational defeat. It is abject cowardice, and there’s no excuse. None.
The answer to the election of 2012 is not to retreat from our principles, but to redouble our efforts, work smarter and harder, do retail politics — everything is local — and never, never, never, never give in. Churchill had it right. Persistence wins the day.
The election did not change right or wrong, good or evil. They are what they are. A lost election is a setback. So was Valley Forge. So was the Battle of the Bulge.
Our history is full of setbacks followed by victories.
We need to read history. This isn’t the first time control freaks have tried to take over. King George was a control freak. Slavery in the South was bloody control freakery.
Abe Lincoln was the first Republican president of the United States, and contrary to media myths, Republicans have stood for freedom when the Democrats stood for slavery, Jim Crow, the Soviet Union and the Chicago Machine.
In a few places like India there are peaceful Islamic sects, but Saudi Arabia and Iran are run by totalitarian war cults. The Saudis were pure desert warriors until the British Empire raised them to power a century ago. Even Karl Marx couldn’t get more fundamentalist than the Wahhabis, a tiny sect with oceans of oil money to buy corrupt socialist parties and media.
When we see mosques rising today we should see them as another sign that Saudi oil money is coming back to destroy constitutional government. Saudi religious fundamentalism can’t tolerate real freedom, just as radical socialism can’t. You can see it in the liberal media and their politicians. Hillary’s recent PR bomb against Israel did not happen by chance. Those pro-jihadist PR bombs show all the signs of being orchestrated, because normal people don’t mouth the identical words on cue, day after day, like the Hollywood liberal artillery brigade.
Normal people have diverse beliefs. Only ideological monopolies repeat the same slogan over and over again. Presumably somebody pays for those PR bombs. They are much too predictable to be accidental.
No major religion today is as fundamentalist as Islam. If you doubt that, kindly explain which Christian or Jewish sect would commit the atrocities of 9/11? Southern Baptists? Holy Rollers? The Lubavitcher rebbe? What religious Christian or Jew believes that God wants him to commit those civilian massacres that constantly plague the Muslim world?
We stand in horror of the murder of children in Newtown, CT. We should. That is what civilized people do. But let a hundred Shi’ite pilgrims in Iraq be blown to pieces by Sunni terrorists, and there is no outrage. To liberals, Muslim massacres mean nothing. They don’t fit the agenda.
Everything comes down to ideology. Muslims don’t kill impulsively, but for ideology. When they kill other Muslims it’s because there is no worse enemy than a heretic in their eyes. That is why 40,000 people have died in Syria in a war between Sunnis and Shi’ites that started a thousand years ago. Talk about being stuck in the past? Talk about religious fundamentalism? In the House of Peace everybody is somebody’s heretic.
It’s like the old Dean Martin song:
Everybody hates somebody sometime
Everybody falls in hate somehow
… but it’s not funny in the real world.
Islam is a fundamentalist religion at war with itself, and with infidels like us, because it preaches a war doctrine rooted in 7th century Arabia. Islam cannot change as long as it stays mind-locked in the 7th century.
So the question Can Islam reform? is no small matter, as Samuel Huntington wrote in his classic The Clash of Civilizations. We don’t know the answer yet. An Islamic Reformation is one of Rumsfeld’s Unknown Unknowns, the biggest one we all face today.
But then every civilizational war starts off as a complete unknown. In 1938 Churchill didn’t know that the civilized world could win against Hitler. He guessed, and then acted on his hope and passion, and made it happen.
We have to become Churchillian again.
There is no other way.
Imperialistic Islam may be able to reform, but only if the civilized world resists with all its might.
Read more at American Thinker
Dr. Tawfik Hamid: Islam Needs Modern Interpretation (radicalIslam.com)
Their more radical brethren will always say, “True Muslims support Sharia: if you reject this, you are no Muslim. You are an apostate, an infidel, an enemy.”
In the ongoing conflict between those Egyptians who strongly oppose a Sharia-based constitution — moderates, secularists, non-Muslim minorities — and those who are strongly pushing for it — the “Islamists” — are currently evoking the one argument that has always, from the very beginnings of Islam, empowered Islamists over moderates in the Muslim world: that anyone who disagrees with them disagrees with Islam.
Examples are many. According to a December 1 report from El Fagr, for example, Gamal Sabr, the former campaign coordinator for the anti-freedom Salafi presidential candidate Abu Ismail, made the division clear during an Al Jazeera interview, where he said: “Whoever disagrees with him, disagrees with Islam itself;” and that many Egyptians “are fighting Islam in the picture of President Muhammad Morsi and in the picture of the Islamists.” He was clearly implying that they are one with Islam, and to fight them is to fight Islam.
The logic is simple: Sabr, as well as those millions of Egyptians who want Sharia, presumably only want what Allah wants: that Egypt should be governed under Sharia law. According to this position, any and all Muslims who disagree, who do not want to be governed by Sharia law, whatever their arguments, are showing that they are at odds with Islam itself.
Sabr is hardly the only Egyptian Muslim making use of this age-old argument. A Dostor report, which also appeared on December 1, quotes Tarek Zomar making the same point. Zomar, a former leader of the infamous Gam’a Islamiyya, was once imprisoned for his role in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. Released with the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, he is a now a member of the Shura Council of Egypt’s Parliament. According to Zomor, whoever votes against the Sharia-based constitution that Morsi is trying to enforce, “is an infidel”— an apostate enemy of Allah to be killed for the cause of Islam.
Even Ahmed Morsi, President Muhammad Morsi’s son, accused the many demonstrators in Tahrir Square, who object to his father’s attempts to impose Sharia on them, of belonging to the “former regime”—code for secularist-minded people, who are opposed to the totality of Sharia law. Writing on his Facebook account, he asserted that “all the people in Tahrir Square are remnants of the old regime.” He added: “My father will eliminate them soon.”
Such is the difficulty encountered by moderate Muslims, past and present: How can they justify their rejection of Islamic teachings, as captured in the Quran, hadith [the supposed teachings and actions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, as reported 200 years after his death -- as if we were now just starting to write about George Washington], as well as the words of the Islamic scholars throughout the ages, all of which constitute the “Sharia” of Islam, a word that simply means the “Way” of Islam?
Read more at Gatestone Institute