Mark Steyn: Last Laughs in Europe

Under a giant portrait of Mohammed, Mark speaks to a capacity crowd at the Landsting Hall at the Danish Parliament. We doubt either the US Congress or the UK Parliament would have hosted such an event.

Under a giant portrait of Mohammed, Mark speaks to a capacity crowd at the Landsting Hall at the Danish Parliament. We doubt either the US Congress or the UK Parliament would have hosted such an event.

by Mark Steyn
Steyn on Europe
September 28, 2015

Reader Artie Bleppo complains, in all-caps, about the priorities of my week in review:


So what? His speeches were fatuous and evasive pabulum, and already forgotten. I am not a Catholic but I understand that, unlike the position of Archbishop of Canterbury, where total contempt from the congregants more or less comes with the job, the Bishop of Rome is generally held in some respect by his church. So last week, out of deference to Catholic readers’ sensibilities, I confined myself to an aside:

Best to talk about the dangers of “climate change”, as the Pope is doing this week, even as in the heart of Christendom the post-Christian future is showing up at the express check-in.

As the years go by, I like to write about what matters. And in this last seven days, the Mohammed cartoons and the “refugee” tide now engulfing Europe both matter more than “POPE CAME TO THE USA”. His Holiness in fact has chosen not to matter, even as European politicians take decisions that will guarantee “Christendom” will be non-Christian. There is something shallow and decadent about a pontiff who prioritizes “climate change” even as every last Christian is driven from the Archeparchy of Mosul. What will they say of such a pope? That he fiddled with the thermostat while Rome burned?

And let’s not even mention his appalling response to the Charlie Hebdo slaughter. So I wrote nothing about his remarks to Congress – just as he wrote nothing about my remarks in the Danish Parliament. So we’re quits.

~Speaking of which, we were a merry band, all things considered, at Christiansborg Castle. I thank my friend Katrine Winkel Holm, of the Danish Free Press Society, and her delightful sister, Marie Krarup, defense spokeslady for the Danish People’s Party, for arranging to host us behind the fortress-like walls of Parliament – so nobody could bust in and shoot us, as they did at a similar free-speech event in February. I was heartened to meet fellow free-speechers who had traveled from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Britain and even Canada. My fellow panelists included Henryk Broder, author of The Last Days of Europe; Vebjørn Selbekk, whom the quislings of Norway’s government treated disgracefully for publishing the cartoons; and Douglas Murray, who’s already written up the event in The Spectator:

My main message for the audience was to keep in mind that freedom has never been particularly popular. Most people prefer their security and comforts to freedom and although history shows that although everyone benefits from being free, it has always been a small minority who actually pursue and protect the cause. I suppose one has to wrestle whatever comfort one can from that. It was a terrible thing to see the security now needed in Denmark, as elsewhere, for people who are simply asserting their right to write and draw what they want, even – shock horror – things that might be mildly critical of the founder of one religion. That a journalist or historian should need bodyguards in 21st century in an indictment on our continent. But still, surveying the room on Saturday I think we’ve got enough people. A few Danes, a few Swedes and Norwegians. A few Americans and a couple of Brits might be all that is needed. Perhaps by the 15th anniversary things will be better.

Perhaps. On Europe’s present course, though, the security we’ll need in 2020 doesn’t bear thinking about. But I’ll be there.

~A transcript of Vebjørn Selbekk’s powerful speech can be found here:

We had interviewed leading Norwegian cartoonists. One of them was Finn Graaf. He is maybe the hardest hitting cartoonist in the history of the Norwegian press. One of his specialities is drawing Israeli prime ministers as Holocaust camp guards. He has done that with almost every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin in the late Seventies.

But Mister Graff told us that he would never draw the prophet Mohammad. Not because he had more respect towards the Muslim faith than other religions or ideologies. No, he bluntly put it this way in the interview:

‘I have to draw the line somewhere. I do not want to get my throat cut. Therefore I will refrain from drawing Muhammad.’

One-way “hard-hitting” isn’t really hard-hitting at all, is it? As I said ten years ago, it’s the easiest thing in the world to be tediously provocative with those who refuse to be provoked.

~My own remarks came last, and can be heard below. I’ll post the other speeches, as we get them. But click below to listen:

The Free Speech Society has a report here:

Steyn gjorde gældende, at problemet er de vestlige samfunds mangel på selvtillid. Vi tror ikke længere på os selv og vores grundlæggende værdier. Vi er villige til at give køb på dem. Terrorismens mål er at kapre debatten og terrorisere os til at undlade visse emner. Og den har succes med det, anførte Steyn.

Which comes out as:

Steyn claimed that the problem is the western world’s lack of self-confidence. We no longer believe in ourselves and our basic values. We are willing to trade them away. Terrorism’s goal is to hijack the debate and terrorize us to steer clear of certain subjects. And it’s had great success with it, argued Steyn.

This Swedish report concludes thus:

Därefter slutade konferensen. Några av deltagarna fick splittra upp sig eftersom den förhandsbokade restaurangen blivit rädda för att befatta sig med TFS och de inresta föreläsarna.

Which translates to something like:

After that the conference ended. Some of the participants had to split up because the pre-booked restaurant became afraid to deal with the Free Speech Society and the speakers they’d invited.

That’s true. They did. We were escorted by officers from the PET, the Danish Security Service. But the minute the restaurant discovered that, the management – some joint called Fiat – canceled. Compared to what happened to Charlie Hebdo, that’s a small price to pay, but it is still a price, and a telling one. Those who defend freedom for all wind up with less than anybody: airlines that won’t fly them, theatres that won’t book them, and even crappy Italian restaurants that won’t serve ’em a few pasta shells at the end of a hard day defending liberty.

One more quote from our Swedish correspondent:

Mark Steyn lovade dock från talarstolen att nästa gång så ska han tala på Det Konglige Teater som en fri människa inför fria människor och inte bakom låsta dörrar med säkerhetskontroller och vakter på det danska riksdagshuset.

Which translates as me getting a bit carried away:

Mark Steyn, however, promised from the podium that next time he’ll speak at the Royal Theatre as a free man before free people, and not behind locked doors with security checks and guards from the Danish Parliament.

We’ll see how that works out.

~Nobody needs the Pope to hitch up his robes and be the last world leader to jump on the climate bandwagon. But it might be helpful for him to take the lead in saving the heart of Christendom. Indeed, some might think it’s part of the job description, no?

Islamist Influence in Hollywood

2015_08_08_040335_d455913e-196d-4a67-9033-7e65be8d909cHuman Events, by Deborah Weiss, August 8, 2015:

Americans are clearly alarmed about Islamic terrorists who are encouraging and spreading violence across the globe, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as relentlessly threatening violence to the United States. So readers might be surprised to learn that organizations which sympathize and associate with jihadists are yielded a major say over what the film industry says about Islam and Muslims.

Hollywood, for instance, regularly capitulates to The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on how to portray Muslims, even though many in CAIR’s leadership are sympathetic to Islamic terrorists. As Steve Pomerantz, the FBI’s former Chief of Counterterrorism, has bluntly stated: “CAIR, its leaders, and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.”

CAIR’s connection to the Holy Land Foundation is central to this assessment. On May 27, 2009, U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis sentenced the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and five of its leaders on convictions of providing material support to Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group whose charter vows to obliterate the State of Israel through violence. CAIR was labeled an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the HLF trial, the largest terrorist financing trial in the history of the United States.

Additionally, several of CAIR’s former leaders are now in jail on terror-related convictions. Moreover, virtually all of CAIR’s leadership supports Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which are United States – designated terrorist organizations. Nevertheless, CAIR is actively instructing Hollywood on how to depict Islam and Muslims.

Nihad Awad, Founding Member of CAIR and current Executive Director of CAIR National, boasts that he has successfully negotiated with Hollywood to combat “negative stereotypes of Muslims.” In a 2010 speech, Awad made the inaccurate claim that one Hollywood company created in the prior three decades 800 films that presented Muslims from “an Israeli point of view.” In fact, no Hollywood company can be found to have created that many films of any type.

Here are some examples of CAIR’s successes in Hollywood:

Paramount Pictures’ “Sum of All Fears” was based on a book by Tom Clancy and starred Ben Affleck. The original plot was about Muslim terrorists who shot down an Israeli jet flying over Syria, which was carrying nuclear weapons.

CAIR complained about “negative stereotyping of Muslims” and lobbied to get the script changed for two years prior to the film’s release. Eventually, the villains were altered from Muslim terrorists to Australian neo-Nazis.

Twentieth Century Fox produced “True Lies,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, a movie about an Islamic terrorist and a spy with an unfaithful wife.

CAIR demanded a meeting with the producers. When it was declined, CAIR issued leaflets and held numerous activities protesting the film. Eventually, FOX made a disclaimer stating that the film is a work of fiction and doesn’t represent the actions or beliefs of any particular religion.

“Kingdom of Heaven,” also produced by Twentieth Century FOX, starred Liam Neeson and Orlando Bloom. It concerned the Crusades and the battle for Jerusalem.

To avoid problems, the producers gave CAIR a special pre-screening of the film and hired a Muslim consultant who is anti-Israel and believes America is a racist society. Accordingly, several scenes were cut prior to the film’s release. In the end, the movie was a skewed account of the Crusades, not only depicting the Christians as murderers and hypocrites, but the Muslims as morally superior.

CAIR-NY has gone so far as to demand that CBS stop airing all films, TV and radio shows on the subject of Islamic terrorism, whether fact or fiction, claiming that these “defame” Muslims. CAIR-NY argued that the shows cause discrimination and subject Muslim children to harassment. “Not Without My Daughter,” starring Sally Field, and several Chuck Norris movies were among the films that CAIR wanted off the air. To boycott all CBS radio and TV shows from both the CBS News and entertainment divisions as well as their advertisers, CAIR-NY started an online petition. Consequently, CBS changed the title of a Chuck Norris film, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2003 that in an upcoming film on terrorism it would remove all portrayals of Muslims.

“24 Hours” was a hit syndicated TV series produced for the FOX Channel. It was about a counter-terrorism agent who tried to thwart cyber, biological and chemical terrorist attacks. It won numerous awards, including a Golden Globe and an Emmy. It showed villains from a range of backgrounds, including German, Russian, American and Muslim.

After one episode which portrayed a Muslim family as part of a sleeper cell, CAIR met with FOX to complain. FOX capitulated, cutting additional scenes that presented Muslims negatively. FOX also issued a statement explaining that the show is fiction and assumes people can distinguish fiction from reality. FOX also allowed CAIR to air public service announcements of Muslims from different ethnicities, stating “I am an American Muslim”.

It’s important to understand that none of these films alleged all Muslims are terrorists. But CAIR wants no Muslims to be viewed in this light. And it’s obviously unconcerned with reciprocity, like discouraging the negative stereotyping of Jews that is rampant in the Arab media.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), founded by Muslim Brotherhood members, has condemned as a “crime” the Oslo accords in which the Palestine Liberation Organization agreed to recognize the State of Israel. Moreover, MPAC officially opposed the designation of both Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations, giving Palestinian violence a pass, and repeatedly condemning Israel’s defense of itself against the onslaught of thousands of rockets launched from Gaza. According to MPAC, the greatest violence taking place in Gaza and the West Bank is Israeli “occupation” and its leadership has likened Israel to Nazi Germany.

Yet, MPAC has a Hollywood Bureau which indoctrinates film-makers on Islam and offers consultations for script approval. It also provides awards to those in Hollywood who depict Islam and Muslims in a positive light. Past winners have included Alec Baldwin and Michael Moore. The bureau also connects aspiring film makers, writers and actors with Hollywood professionals and provides Muslim youth with tips on how to succeed in business.

Both new media and traditional media, including Hollywood movies, influence young minds and help shape their worldviews. Instead of appeasing Islamist organizations, Hollywood should fight for classical liberal values, including free speech, artistic license and critical thinking. It should not be complicit with Islamist groups that aim to persuade America there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism.

Islamists Hack Another Secular Writer to Death in Bangladesh

Ananta Bijoy Das

Ananta Bijoy Das

by IPT News  •  May 12, 2015

For the third time this year, Islamist radicals in Bangladesh hacked a secular writer to death in public.

Four masked men chased down Ananta Bijoy Das Tuesday morning as Das left his home in Sylhet. They hacked him with machetes after running him down.

“Ananta died on the spot,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Kamrul Hasan told theDaily Star. “Ananta was an organiser of local progressive publication outlet Jukti (logic) and a relentless writer on science.”

Das was 31.

On March 30, Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, 27, was murdered on his way to work. Like Das, Babu’s writings criticized religious fundamentalism.

Roy an BabuOn Feb. 26, American citizen Avijit Roy was killed, and his wife severely injured, when attackers jumped them at a book fair. Roy had been threatened for his writings against religion, including his statement that religious extremism is like a virus: “if allowed to spread [it] will wreak havoc on society in epidemic proportions.”

An al-Qaida branch claimed credit for Roy and Babu’s murders.

A fourth secular activist, Ahmed Rajib Haider, was attacked and killed in February 2013.

Das, Babu and Roy were part of a movement, Shahbag, which advocated the death penalty for Islamist leaders convicted for murders and other attacks at the end of the 1971 war that saw Bangladesh break away from Pakistan.

An official with the Islamic Circle of North America, Ashrafuzzman Khan, was convicted in October 2013 in connection with the kidnapping and murder of 18 intellectuals at the war’s end. He remains in the United States.

In a posting Monday that turned out to be his last, Das lashed out at police over their failures to stop the attacks on Roy and Babu even though officers were nearby. “Later the police claimed there had apparently been no dereliction of duty. One would love to know what their duty was,” he wrote.

He called them “paper tigers when women were being molested one by one before an audience of thousands at the new year celebrations.” When protests resulted, “the police pounced on them, injuring university students with the butts of their guns and their boots. Here too I was told that the police had not abandoned its responsibility. But I’m very keen to know what the real responsibility of the police is.”

Das, along with Haider, Roy and Babu, died because his opinions were deemed unacceptable to some of Bangladesh’s radical Islamists.

But this is an international phenomenon that shows no sign of waning.

Last week in Texas, two radical Islamists tried to massacre people who attended a cartoon exhibit and contest involving the Muslim prophet Muhammad. And, of course, 12 people were gunned down at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January by two brothers who boasted they had “avenged the prophet” by slaying those who dared to publish his caricature.

Muslim Congressmen Want To Block ‘Islamophobic’ Dutch Lawmaker Geert Wilders From Entering US

Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders gives a speech during a rally of the anti-immigration movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) in Dresden April 13, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders gives a speech during a rally of the anti-immigration movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) in Dresden April 13, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Daily Caller, by Chuck Ross, April 28, 2015:

The two Muslim members of Congress have called on two U.S. Cabinet members to block Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders from entering the U.S. because they believe he is “Islamophobic.”

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison and Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson penned a joint letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson last Thursday. Foreign Policy reported it on Tuesday.

“We write to raise our deep concern regarding the visit of Mr. Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker known for perpetuating Islamophobia,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote, citing a 1998 law, the International Religious Freedom Act. The law allows the State Department to deny foreign leaders guilty of “severe violations of religious freedom” from entering the U.S.

The law has only been enforced once before, in 2005, to ban Narendra Modi, India’s current prime minister. He was accused of failing to protect Muslims during riots in 2002 in which more than 1,000 people died.

Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom, is slated to appear at several events during his trip to the U.S. On Wednesday, he will appear at two events in Washington D.C. at the invitation of Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King. One is hosted by the Conservative Opportunity Society. Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert has also helped facilitate Wilders’ appearences.

“I feel deeply honored by the invitations. In my speeches I will warn my American colleagues of the dangers of Islamization,” Wilders stated on his personal website earlier this month.

On Sunday, Wilders travels to Garland, Tex. where he will give a speech at the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an event hosted by Pamela Geller. That group will hold its inaugural “Muhammad Art Exhibit” and will award a $10,000 prize for the best cartoon depiction of Muhammad. The contest was created in response to the Islamist massacre at the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo earlier this year.

But Ellison and Carson believe that Wilders’ past criticism of Islam — and he has indeed been critical — is hate speech and that it warrants him being kept out of the U.S.

“We respectfully request that the U.S. government deny Mr. Wilders’s entry due to his participation in inciting anti-Muslim aggression and violence,” wrote Ellison and Carson, the first and second Muslims to be elected to national public office, respectively. “Mr. Wilders’s policy agenda is centered on the principle that Christian culture is superior to other cultures.”

The lawmakers point out that in 2010 and 2011 Wilders was brought up on formal charges of inciting hatred and discrimination. He is also currently facing charges because of a recent speech in which he called for fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands, they point out.

“Mr. Wilders’ policy agenda is centered on the principle that Christian culture is superior to other cultures,” the joint letter states, citing Wilders’ comment that “Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology, the ideology of a retarded culture.”

“We should not be importing hate speech.”

While noting that freedom of speech is “a bedrock principle” that distinguishes free societies from oppressive regimes, “free speech…is not absolute,” the letter reads.

Geller called Ellison’s and Carson’s evidence of “sharia,” or Islamic law.

“It is revealing that these Muslim congressmen would show themselves to be enemies of free speech and free discourse,” Geller told The Daily Caller. “They cannot refute Wilders and don’t dare debate him. All these little authoritarians can do is try to prevent people from hearing his message.”

Attackers Kill American Writer at Bangladesh Book Fair

by IPT News  •  Feb 26, 2015 

1138A Bangladeshi-American writer who endured threats from Islamists over his secular views was hacked to death in Dhaka late Thursday, reports say.

Avijit Roy, 42, was a naturalized American living in Georgia. He was a frequent critic of radical Islamic doctrine. At least two attackers descended on Roy and his wife, blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonna, near Dhaka University. She was hospitalized with several stab wounds and a severed finger.

No arrests have been made and no suspects identified. But police reportedly found two machetes and a finger at the scene. The couple was in Dhaka to attend an annual national book fair where two of Roy’s works were being promoted.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism profiled Roy last year after death threats against him and a top Bangladeshi bookseller prompted the company to stop selling Roy’s books. He said he felt safe in America, but took the death threats seriously. “Who knows, some miscreants might take him up and act on it.”

The threats came from Islamist Farabi Shafiur Rahman, allegedly a member of the radical Jamaat e Islami, who issued them publicly but remained free.

Rahman noted on Facebook that “Avijit Roy lives in America and so, it is not possible to kill him right now. But he will be murdered when he comes back.” The threat apparently proved all too real Thursday night.

The threat also targeted the bookseller, invoking the name of blogger Rajib Haidar, who also was hacked to death by Islamists in February 2013. Haidar, known as Thaba Baba, advocated for war crimes tribunals for alleged leaders of the 1971 killings of intellectuals and leaders after Bangladesh’s war of independence against Pakistan. Rokomari stopped selling Roy’s books in response.

In an article last fall, Roy described how his book The Virus of Faith, was well received and became a best-seller at last year’s book fair. But the book also “hit the cranial nerve of fundamentalists,” he wrote. “The death threats started flowing to my inbox on a regular basis. I suddenly found myself to be a target of militant Islamists and terrorists.”

In the essay, Roy discussed the problem of Islamist violence, but struck a defiant tone.

“Well, I am still alive despite Farabi [Rahman]-threats– writing a blog remembering the Blasphemy day,” he wrote. “My books are also going well; at least this is what I hear from my publishers. Apparently, readers did not need Rokomari to get my books … There is nothing much to complain about life right now. But that is not the point I would like to make here.”

Roy died for having ideas that radical Islamists considered blasphemous. He joins martyrs for free expression, like those at Charlie Hebdo who were slaughtered in Paris last month.

Betting National Security on a Theory

IPT News
February 24, 2015

1137The debate over whether it’s a good idea to use phrases like “Islamic extremism” in fighting global terrorism took center stage last week as the White House hosted a summit to discuss what it generically calls “violent extremism.”

In a speech last Thursday at the summit, President Obama explained his rationale for eschewing references to terrorist groups’ Islamist ideology.

“Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy,” he said. “They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the ‘Islamic State.’ And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit. That’s how they try to radicalize young people. We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists.”

So accurately describing their ideology, or calling the terrorists “jihadists” grants them undo legitimacy as true representatives of the faith, the argument goes. The current policy aims to deny them that mantle.

That’s a theory. But there’s a key question no one seems to be asking: Does it work?

This is a continuation of a policy instituted during President George W. Bush’s second term, meaning it has been in place for more than seven years. If it is indeed the right, best policy, advocates should be able to point to tangible evidence to show its value.

Arguably, the Islamist ideology has never been more popular, given the flood of foreign fighters making their way to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State, or Boko Haram’s endless reign of terror in Nigeria. Hamas still enjoys strong support despite following policies which bring devastation to the people of Gaza.

And there is no mistaking the religious motivation driving these groups. Hamas is an acronym for the “Islamic Resistance Movement.” Boko Haram translates roughly to “Western education is sinful.” And the Islamic State has a whiff of religious affinity.

The Atlantic this month devoted 10,000 words to explaining the core Quranic ideology, with an emphasis on an apocalyptic prophecy, which drives the Islamic State’s brutality. It “follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior,” Graeme Wood explains.

That’s more challenging when that belief system is deliberately kept out of deliberations.

Jeffrey Bale, an associate professor who studies political and religious extremism at the Monterey Institute of International Studies’ Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies Program, called the continued emphasis on avoiding references to Islamic doctrine by Western leaders and pundits “absurd.”

The policy has “not had any discernably positive impact on dealing with the threats that such groups pose,” he said in an email to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “On the contrary. The simple fact is that it is the Islamists, not Muslim moderates, who are winning the struggle for ideological hegemony throughout much of the Muslim world, and that Obama’s efforts to positively ‘re-set’ relations with the Islamic world have completely failed … In short, there is no evidence that this constant pandering to Islamist activists, these embarrassing efforts to whitewash Islamic history and doctrines, and the foolish insistence that jihadist groups have ‘nothing to do with Islam’ have had any beneficial effects. They have mainly served to confuse Western citizens about the extent and nature of the Islamist threat.”

Maajid Nawaz, a former radical who now tries to combat the narrative which fuels Islamist terrorism, argues the avoidance policy could be making things worse for everyone, including Muslims. In recent social media and television appearances, Nawaz, a co-founder of the London-based Quilliam Institute, calls it the “Voldemort Effect.”

Islam is a religion, he writes. Islamism is the attempt to make the laws of the religion supreme over a society. That’s the ideology that must be defeated, but that “cannot happen if you refuse to recognise it exists,” he wrote in a social media post addressed to Obama that he signed “a constantly betrayed liberal Muslim.”

If we dare not say its name, in other words, it can become more frightening to its foes and more alluring to prospective recruits.

In a recent appearance on Fox News, Nawaz expressed concern that this self-censorship actually makes life more difficult for the overwhelming majority of Muslims who reject terrorist brutality displayed by the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al-Qaida and others.

Non-Muslims in the West “they’re just petrified,” he said, “and that can lead to even more anti-Muslim hate crime. Because if they are unable to pinpoint specifically that we’re dealing with the Islamist ideology, in their ignorance they blame all Muslims. And of course then all Muslims face a backlash. So I think it’s better if we wish to protect mainstream Muslims from anti-Muslim hate crime to name the very specific ideology that we’re talking about, which is Islamism, and distinguish that from Islam the faith.

Nawaz is offering a theory, just like the people who advocate the policy embraced by the Obama administration. There’s a key distinction, however. As he describes in his autobiography, Nawaz helped recruit followers to Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group which dreams of a global caliphate and has been called a “conveyor belt” for jihadist terror. He knows which messages worked and which did not.

Some American Islamists showed last week that the Obama message is not working. They have criticized the White House summit as hostile toward Muslims despite the verbal contortions invoked to avoid that very reaction.

If we’re going to focus on extremist violence, they argue, the bigger threat to America is from right-wing, anti-government movements. It turns out the Department of Homeland Security is concerned about violence from “sovereign citizen” movements who believe they are exempt from state and federal laws.

But it would be wrong to talk about that, Linda Sarsour and Deepa Iyak wrote Feb. 17 in The Guardian.

“One thing is clear: the federal government’s one-note approach to countering violent extremism fosters distrust and hostility towards Muslim communities while disregarding threats to Americans’ safety from racist hate groups in the country.”

There is a key distinction, however. For the most part, sovereign citizen attacks are smaller scale, often erupting in what should be routine encounters with law enforcement officers. CNN cites a 2012 example involving a Louisiana traffic stop that led to a shootout between police and a father and his son.

What Islamist terrorists want, what they urge followers to carry out, are mass casualty attacks that can target specific groups deemed to have offended Islam or simply any place where many people gather.

The United States has rigidly followed a policy, going at times to uncomfortable lengths, to avoid putting a religious label on terrorism clearly driven by a rabid adherence to centuries-old Islamic theology. The uninterrupted flow of new recruits to the Islamic State indicates that the policy has not had the desired effect.

“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),” Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim, writesin Time magazine.

“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.”

For the West, the sanitized language and tap-dancing around the issue makes it impossible to fully understand the enemy’s motivation, writes Robert R. Reilly, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.

“You cannot go into a war of ideas without understanding the ideas you are at war with. Yet, throughout the two speeches, [Obama] never mentions the substance of the enemy’s ideas once,” Reilly writes. “…This is like saying, in World War II, that we were fighting the Nazi ideology, but never mentioning the thoughts of Friedrich Nietzsche, Alfred Rosenberg or Adolph Hitler. Or, during the Cold War, saying we are fighting the ideology of Communism, but never mentioning the ideas of Karl Marx, Lenin, or Stalin.”

Rather than continuing to do the same thing and hope for a better outcome, perhaps it is time to listen to the Muslim reformers asking for a more honest, tough love approach. Terrorists are committing acts of barbarism daily in the name of Islam. That doesn’t mean all, or even most, Muslim see the same commands in their faith.

It might delegitimize terrorists more to emphasize how most of their victims are fellow Muslims, and to clearly draw the lines between the terrorists and the hundreds of millions of Muslims who reject their savagery.

It’s a theory, anyhow.

Europe on Edge One Month After Charlie Hebdo

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
February 9, 2015

1119 (1)It didn’t take long.

Less than a month after the Charlie Hebdo murders and the slaughter of four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris, Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) has sent a warning now to Belgium: “This,” they wrote in a letter to Het Laatste News (HLN), “is only the beginning.”

The letter, received by HLN’s editors on Feb. 4, referred also to a series of attacks in France that pre-dated the Paris massacres: “What happened in France will happen, too, in Belgium,” the typewritten letter stated in perfect French, “and from Belgium, IS will conquer all of Europe.”

According to HLN, counterterrorism officials are taking the letter seriously and believe it is the legitimate work of an IS jihadist. More, they claim that the writer is aware of current events in Belgium, down to small details. (The full text of the letter has not been released.)

The same day, news arrived in the Netherlands that Dutch jihadist Abu Hanief had just blown himself up in Fallujah – the fourth Dutch Muslim to commit a suicide bombing in Syria or Iraq. Hanief, 32, had been among the leaders of pro-IS demonstrations last summer in the Hague in which demonstrators called for the death of Jews. Though he was arrested on charges of hate speech after the protest, he was soon released; and evidently, despite government efforts to confiscate or cancel the passports of Dutch Muslims suspected of planning to join the Syrian jihad, he shortly thereafter slipped out undetected.

This is Europe now, poised at a moment when, while anti-Semitism is at record highs in France and the UK, Muslim groups call for “anti-Islamophobia” policies and boycotts against Israel; when officials in Wolfsburg, Germany, are investigating an alleged jihadist cell with ties to IS and as many as 50 members, most of them living in Germany; when Belgian police have arrested 15 people in the town of Verviers (population 56,000) and several others throughout the country, all since the Paris terrorist attacks that ran from Jan. 7-Jan. 9.

And no wonder, as some so-called “mainstream” Muslims now refuse to distance themselves from the acts of Muslim terrorists – including the atrocities committed by the Islamic State: Noted Shabir Burhani, a religious Muslim in his 20s and a student at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, “We have to accept Islam in its entirety, not try to adjust it to the times. Sharia is part of it, as are jihad and the Islamic state.” But Burhani, who previously served as spokesman for the now-defunct Sharia4Holland, does not view ISIS as the ideal, he told Dutch daily Trouw. It’s not the murders themselves he rejects, he said, but “the way IS does it, and shows it off to the world can be counterproductive. Does that really benefit Islam?”

He is not the only one: at a Jan. 16 forum held in Amsterdam Muslim groups presented a manifesto against Islamophobia. Coming just days after the slaughter of four Jews in Paris and six months after the execution of four others in Brussels, the document begins by describing anti-Semitism in the Netherlands – where in August, Hanief led hundreds in a chant of “Kill Jews” – as “mild,” while “Islamophobia is anything but.”

And what are some of the symptoms of this “Islamophobia?”

Some are legitimate concerns: Muslim youth face job discrimination. Families receive hate letters from neighbors.

What else?

People demand that Muslims in the Netherlands distance themselves from Islamic terrorism.

Apparently this, as Burhani states, is anti-Islam.

Now, France debates the future of its cherished secularism and the future feasibility of a secular state in a democracy in which millions of religious Muslims, whose religion contradicts secular ideals, make their home. Many seem to feel that democracy demands allowing the religious to practice their beliefs – all beliefs, in all religions, as their faith requires. Secularism, they seem to suggest, is itself “Islamophobic.”

But if some believers demand the conquest of their faith over others, even by the sword, what then? If Burhani is right, and the jihadists of IS are merely practicing their religion, can a democratic society rightly shut them out?

It can. And it must. Secularism, after all, does not demand the faithful forfeit their belief within the private sphere. And neither does democracy. We must not allow radical and jihadist Muslims to conquer our bright democratic vision by blindly destroying it ourselves.

Andrew Klavan: Attack of the But-Heads!

Truth Revolt, by Andrew Klavan, Jan. 29, 2015:

That’s right. It’s the Attack of the But-Heads.


I’m Andrew Klavan and this is the Revolting Truth.

Today a tale of horror all the more frightening because it’s true.

As a poisonous miasmic fog of sharia creeps like a poisonous miasmic fog of sharia across the nations of the west, strange creatures are growing up among us.  They are haunting our halls of power, the sewers of our news media and the circus tents of our universities. They move in hordes as mindless and destructive as the zombies in The Walking Dead or the Democrat voters in the last presidential election or the walking dead democrat voters in Chicago and Philadelphia.

If you listen carefully, in the watches of the night, you can hear these shambling monsters murmuring their eldritch refrain:  “I believe in Free speech but…  I support the first amendment but… I believe in free expression but…”

That’s right.  It’s The Attack of The But-Heads.

The “but” in the phrase “I believe in free speech but…” is bigger than Kim Kardashian’s, has more wiggle room than Jennifer Lopez’ and is as white and soft as Kate Upton’s…  all right, maybe I just got distracted on that last one.

But the point is…  the but-heads are everywhere and they’ve come to devour your rights, one exception at a time.

Consider this. When Islamist terrorists staged a vicious mass murder in Paris in response to a magazine satire of Muhammed, the terrorists declared, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” No, wait that wasn’t the terrorists that was President Obama.  No, no, it was the terrorists.  No, it was Obama.  No, it must’ve been the terrorists, right?

Obama:  The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

Anyway, whether it was the terrorists or our president, they were expressing the creeping but-head belief that there should be an exception to free speech when it comes to blasphemy.  The Obama administration has even lent support to United Nations efforts to curtail blasphemous speech, and in England, Italy and Holland, people are being prosecuted for anti-religious speech already.  Now I know, many of the west’s foundational nations had anti-blasphemy laws. That’s why they executed Socrates and Jesus. So what could possibly go wrong?

But in the present day, those who try to outlaw blasphemy only look like western human beings. They’re really but-heads.

In our media the horror continues. Even after the Paris slaughter, many western news outlets refused to display cartoons that had offended the delicate sensibilities of cold blooded Islamist butchers.  Editors at The New York Times, a former newspaper, said, “We do not normally publish… material deliberately intended to offend religious sensibilities.”  Which was a lie since they’ve repeatedly published material offensive to Christians.  But then the editors of the Times only look like free-speaking men and women…  they’re really but-heads.

Then there’s our universities. From Yale to Purdue to UC Berkeley, the academy’s but-heads have banned, persecuted and harassed students, teachers and visiting speakers whose speech violated leftist principles by being truthful about Islamism.

So be afraid.  The Nazi-like thugs of militant islam are only men and can be destroyed…  but the but-heads are the hollowed-out shell of free people animated by oppressive undead ideas.  They’re your worst nightmare.  No buts.

I’m Andrew Klavan with the Revolting Truth.

Islamists Seek to Restrict Free Speech Following Jihadist Assault

censor-450x304Frontpage, by Andrew Harrod, Jan. 30, 2015:

“Freedom of speech is not total,” proclaimed the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy’s (CSID) William Lawrence at its January 22 panel on the “Muslim Response to Charlie Hebdo:  Understanding the Root Causes of Radicalization.”  Lawrence’s caveat disturbingly introduced false justifications for non-violently achieving the very sharia censorship sought by Charlie Hebdo’s jihadist murderers before a National Press Club audience of about fifty.

The Islamist apologist CSID focused in the panel on Muslims and not the slain at Charlie Hebdo as victims.  Lawrence’s opening condemnation of the globally infamous January 7 Paris massacre as a “complete aberration” of “Islamic teachings” quickly gave way to criticism of the satire magazine’s victims.  Their murders were “orgies of violence unleashed on . . . purveyors” of “bigoted provocations,” making Charlie Hebdo’s satire not just irreverent, but immoral in Lawrence’s estimation.  “When did bigotry get so needy” that it sheltered behind free speech claims, Lawrence later asked while quoting an article criticizing cartoon racism, as if criticizing Islamic ideas equaled individual prejudice.  Accordingly, Lawrence cited the legally discredited phrase from American Supreme Court history that “you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater,” a universal talking point of censors.

Islamist and sharia apologist Dahlia Mogahed continued Lawrence’s use of the Muslim “race” card implicitly blaming the Charlie Hebdo victims and focused on Europe’s “limits and boundaries of tolerance.”  “Certain things will not be said” in the United States, “not because it’s illegal, but because it’s immoral,” she noted without defining Charlie Hebdo’s immorality.  Historic “offensive cartoons” of African-Americans make modern Americans “rightly cringe.”  Mogahed’s equivalence between racists and Charlie Hebdo entailed that the French should “hurry up and get enlightened” about satirists.  Yet Mogahed bemoaned how many instead sought merely to “reassert our right to offend.”

CSID President Radwan Masmoudi, like his fellow panelists, wrongly equated religious ideas with individuals as worthy of protection.  He emphasized that “every freedom also has limits” and excluded a “right to transgress on others” during audience questioning.  Masmoudi described a “big debate” over whether free speech includes a right to “insult others” or “religion.”

A bizarrely benign understanding of Islamic doctrine apparently underlay Masmoudi’s reverence for the faith.  He termed blasphemy provisions (often carrying the traditional Islamic death penalty) in countries like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia “un-Islamic” and a regime tool used as “only a façade” for popularity.  The new constitution in Masmoudi’s native Tunisia, he meanwhile declared, has “no blasphemy laws.”

An interview with Masmoudi, however, critically countered that Tunisian constitution’s Article 6 contained contradictory commitments to “freedom of belief” and to “protect the sacred” against blasphemy.  Masmoudi called Article 6 “one of the most difficult clauses” in the constitutional drafting, a clause negotiated until right before the January 26, 2014, ratification.  This article “meant to balance freedom of speech” and the position that “you should not attack others,” including the “religions or faiths or beliefs” with which they happen to identify.

Masmoudi’s protestations notwithstanding, he might as well support Muslim blasphemy laws.  Asked about speech restrictions in Muslim-majority countries, as exemplified by a 2013 conviction in the “model” Muslim democracy Turkey for tweets mocking Islam, Masmoudi referenced a supposed “right not to be insulted.”  “It is dangerous to insult people based upon their race or . . . religion,” Masmoudi elaborated with once again a race/religion conflation.  Such offenses are “not . . . conducive to peace or a democratic society,” Masmoudi added in his apparent acceptance of a violent heckler’s veto like that suffered by Charlie Hebdo.  For Masmoudi, who is “not a freedom of expression fundamentalist,” finding a “balance” between free speech and not upsetting religious feelings will be a “most difficult thing” and, worryingly, “will vary from one country to another.”

Masmoudi himself in the conversation undercut his absurd assertion during audience questioning that “freedom of religion is a very, very important and strong principle in Islam.”  Masmoudi noted that an addition to Article 6 prohibited apostasy accusations or takfir as a form of death threat.  Yet Masmoudi assured that “there is nothing in Islam in the text of the Quran or the sunnah” demanding death for apostasy, canonical texts, scholarly books, and widespread modern practice to the contrary notwithstanding.  Rather, Masmoudi insisted that apostasy death penalties came from “not Islamic law,” but somehow distinct “Islamic traditions . . . societies . . . cultures.”  Masmoudi similarly analyzed the origins of Islamic blasphemy laws, contradicting again Islamic canons (see here and here) and practice.

Such is the analysis of CSID, described by Lawrence as the world’s “preeminent NGO” for the “study of democratic and Islamic thought” and their “modern synthesis.”  Not free speech under murderous assault, but offense to Muslim religious sensibilities, falsely equated with prejudices like racism, formed the panel’s main concern demanding, where possible, legal restrictions.  Contrary to his assurances, Lawrence did not in any respect “move beyond” a supposedly “superficial binary” of “Muslim extremists” and free speech.  Islamic ideas in the panelists’ presentation, by contrast, are thoroughly benign and unworthy of any critical scrutiny.  The views of CSID and others ominously portend further future threats, even if not necessarily lethal, to free speech.

American Muslim group attacks “American Sniper,” demands Eastwood and Cooper denounce fictional “islamophobia”


Breitbart, by Pamela Geller, Jan. 6, 2015

One of the foundational principles of the Bush Doctrine was and is the oft-repeated dictum, “You are either with us or against us.” Little did President Bush know that the American Muslim community was…against us.

George Bush believed that the moderates in the Muslim world would denounce and destroy the devout (that is, the “radicals”). He was expecting a war within Islam that never actually took place. Imagine Bush’s dismay when he discovered that no one was behind him, like John Belushi in Animal House when he goes running out the front door shouting, “Who’s with me?!?,” only to discover that he is utterly alone.

The faked hate narrative that Muslim groups and leaders use is now the default talking point any time that jihad — or patriotism, for that matter — is being discussed. If Muslims spent as much time instituting programs in mosques and Islamic centers against jihad recruitment and the jihadic doctrine as they do fighting the myth of “Islamophobia,” the world would be a vastly safer place.

A Muslim-dominated group, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), alleges that Muslims have become targets of “violent threats” because of American Sniper. Nobody believes it. They are demanding that American Sniper director Clint Eastwood and actor Bradley Cooper denounce the alleged hateful language directed at Muslims because of the film.

This it is what they do: victim jihad. When one part of the Muslim world kills, the other half cries victimhood. Whack and whine. It is a distraction to get people to stop talking jihad and instead address their demands.

Apparently, the ADC is claiming that a couple of tweets offended their sensibilities. They want action! More like submission. It’s called free speech, brutes.

Why don’t Muslim groups demand that leaders of the Muslim world, imams, Al Azhar university, et al denounce the hateful, racist, anti-semitic, misogynist, anti-kuffar language in the Qur’an that is responsible for all of these Muslim wars across the world?

The idea that the film “glorifies war and sanitizes [Chris] Kyle,” as the ADC claims, is laughable. The only war talk or war movie that the left enjoys is a war in which the US loses or stands down. The left demands that we hang our heads in shame if we triumph. Which is why American Sniper is such an invigorating breath of fresh air.

As for “sanitizing Kyle,” let’s get real. It is the enemedia and the elites that sanitize jihad and Islam. And they do it every day, in every news story. Hollywood doesn’t just sanitize jihad and Islam; they avoid them at all costs. It is the gravest threat to freedom, and Hollywood pretends that it doesn’t exist.

As my colleague Daniel F. points out:

Now it’s American Muslims who are complaining about ‘violent threats,” allegedly incited by the hit movie American Sniper. And this time the media is trumpeting this story. Two rules of history converge here:

1) When Muslims in an a non-Muslim country reach a certain critical mass, they seek to dominate the surrounding community – and then move on from there. cf. Britain, Germany, Sweden and France, inter alia.

2) Free speech is unknown in the Muslim world, actually it’s anathema. So it starts with trying to shut us up and stopping us from casting Islam in a negative light. And does it work? For one thing, you can be certain the entertainment industry is now poring over their scripts and deleting “offending” sections. Other “projects” will simply bite the dust. Of course, Obama didn’t need cajoling. As soon as he took office he banned certain phrases from the government’s lexicon that might reflect poorly on the Muslim religion. Makes you wonder what that man is all about, doesn’t it?

For the record, I saw the film back in December when it was first given a very limited release — just two theaters in New York City. I loved it. I tweeted that it was the best film in decades. It’s hardly a rah-rah cheerleading film. It is a film about a deeply good and decent man, a true American patriot.

The record breaking box-office numbers show how out of touch the elites are with the American people. And that is even more true of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Pamela’s temporary site:

Pamela Geller is the President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of and author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. Follow her on Twitter here. Like her on Facebook here.

CAIR Mourns Charlie Hebdo, Yet Advocates Censorship

Cair posterAmerican Thinker, By Andrew E. Harrod, Jan. 25, 2015

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Hamas-derived “civil rights” group, “repeated its defense of freedom of speech” in a baffling January 7 press release that “condemned” the Paris jihadist Charlie Hebdo massacre. A trip down a bad memory lane, though, is necessary in order to evaluate critically CAIR’s commitment to free speech rights with proverbial grains of salt equivalent to the Dead Sea’s renowned salinity.

CAIR, an unindicted terrorism coconspirator, and “defense of freedom of speech” simply do not match. CAIR, for example, has unsuccessfully tried to stop critical commentary on Islam in an American public library and school. CAIR has also harassed a Michigan individual who opposed a mosque construction with frivolous subpoenas, ultimately quashed. One 2012 article on the CAIR-Chicago affiliate website discussed how the First Amendment has “been manipulated to make America the catalyst for unjust hate.”

Nihad Awad

Nihad Awad

Accordingly, CAIR executive director Nihad Awad sounded an uncertain free speech trumpet when presenting the press release that noted Charlie Hebdo’s “derogatory references to Islam and its Prophet Muhammad.” Awad equated “extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions,” placing thereby Charlie Hebdo’s victims on a level with their murderers. Similar analysis had appeared in a 2006 CAIR press release concerning the Danish cartoons, even as CAIR, the 2015 press release recalled, “rejected the sometimes violent response to Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.”

“We all value freedom of expression,” Awad had written to the Danish ambassador in 2006. “But we should also use good judgment and common sense to avoid actions” that are “intentionally insulting” or “promote hatred.” Awad proposed CAIR “as a bridge between the Muslim community worldwide and the government of Denmark” in “offering proactive educational measures.” CAIR could therefore exploit the affair to present Islam in a positive manner and effectively proselytize.

At the same time, Parvez Ahmed, CAIR’s then chairman and a Hamas/Hezbollah apologist who had also extended a speaking invitation to a neo-Nazi while leading CAIR’s Florida chapter, expressed support for blasphemy laws. Ahmed wrote on his website that a “connection between terrorism and a venerated religious figure such as Prophet Muhammad transgresses all bounds of decency.” “Free speech, like every other freedom, comes with responsibility,” Ahmed intoned, and the “affair was avoidable had all sides approached the issue wisely.” Ahmed demanded the “same zero tolerance for Islamophobia as… anti-Semitism” while painting dark scenarios of speech inciting violence. He feared “plunging the world into the abyss of a clash between civilizations.”

Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago’s director and a similar Hamas and Nazi apologist, also discussed “racism targeting Muslims” during a 2008 radio interview on republishing the Danish cartoons. “The majority of Muslims are both against the cartoons and, of course, against death threats,” was Rehab’s immoral equivalence. America does not have “absolute freedom of speech” allowing pornography on daytime television, for example, but a “responsible tradition of free speech.”

The Danish cartoons were a “red flag” for Rehab who, like Ahmed, falsely analogized criticizing Islam to anti-Semitic prejudice. “Long before there was any indication of gas chambers,” European Jews confronted bigoted “freedom of expression.”  The “demonization of a particular faith community or race-based community,” Rehab hyperbolically warned, can incite “further violence against that group or… discrimination.” “Just because one has a right” to speak, Rehab added online in 2010, “does not make it the right thing to do” under a “standard of decency.”

The strategies of CAIR et al. to equate criticism of Islamic ideas with prejudice against individuals and warn of non-Muslim speech inciting Muslim violence have not been without effect. President Barack Obama condemned the Charlie Hebdo assault as an “attack on our free press,” but in 2012 an Obama spokesperson had doubted the magazine’s “judgment” in publishing Muhammad cartoons. Days later Obama infamously declared before the United Nations General Assembly that “future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s fifty-seven member states, meanwhile, have advocated for years legal suppression of “Islamophobia” as a “crime against humanity” resembling anti-Semitism. Countries like Denmark have obliged with hate speech prosecutions against Islam’s critics, something not protested by CAIR. Private news organizations also often refrain from showing cartoons offensive to Muslims, while showing no such scruples towards Christians.

Under CAIR’s standards, individuals touching the third religious rail of Islam might escape with their lives, but not their liberty. If social ostracism does not suffice to silence those irreverent towards Islam, groups like CAIR will not refrain from seeking where possible legal instruments of censorship. While trying to talk a good talk on liberty, CAIR’s past shows all too clearly where it is heading.

Video: Steve Coughlin Counterterror Training Education and Analysis

Center for Security Policy, September 13, 2012

Over more than a decade following 9/11, MAJ Stephen Coughlin was one of the US government’s most astute and objective analysts, and an expert in the connections between Islamic law, terrorism and the jihadist movement around the globe.

Through knowledge of published Islamic law, MAJ Coughlin had a demonstrated ability to forecast events both in the Middle East and domestically and to accurately assess the future threat posture of jihadist entities before they happen.

He has briefed at the Pentagon, for national and state law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and on Capitol Hill for Members of Congress. Today, he is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy. His book, Catastrophic Failure, will be released in late 2012.

With this series of presentations, the general public has access to a professional standard of intelligence training in order to better understand the jihadist threat.

Part 1: Lectures on National Security & Counterterror Analysis (Introduction)


Part 2: Understanding the War on Terror Through Islamic Law:


Part 3: Abrogation and the ‘Milestones’ Process:


Part 4: Muslim Brotherhood, Arab Spring & the ‘Milestones’ Process:


Part 5: The Role of the OIC in Enforcing Islamic Law:


Part 6: The Boston Attack and “Individual Jihad” –  summary of key points

Islamist Panel Approaches Self-Parody in Hebdo/Radicalization Talk

IPT News
January 23, 2015

1118A panel discussion Thursday hosted by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) promised to plumb the “the root causes of radicalization” in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher market.

It turns out the problem is not Islamic theology or radical Muslim ideology. It’s all the things the West does wrong. Fix those problems, panelists said, and things get better.

During the 90-minute program at the National Press Club, no speaker discussed the Quranic verses invoked by terrorists in the Islamic State or al-Qaida to justify their actions. Instead, speakers emphasized a host of grievances that they say lead young Muslims to believe that peace and democracy will not lead to the changes they desire.

Muslim immigrants must be treated with more dignity and equality, said CSID founder Radwan Masmoudi. “Basically you must end all forms of racism, discrimination and hatred directed against Europeans of Arab descent or of the Islamic faith.” The West also must end the war in Syria and denounce the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood regime by Egypt’s military in July 2013.

Dalia Mogahed, a pollster and former White House adviser, took issue with the public reaction to the attacks. Defending the right to offend people as part of free expression plays into the terrorists’ agenda, she said. There is such a right, but society normally polices “incredibly offensive depiction(s)” of minorities. She wasn’t offended by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons as a Muslim, but she was “disgusted” by them as an American.

"All is forgiven"

“All is forgiven”

“The correct question isn’t, ‘can we?'” she said, “the correct question is ‘should we?'”

Mogahed called the attack on Charlie Hebdo “a very strange event” because it came at a time in which there were no protests. “The shooting literally came out of nowhere. It was a calculated act of provocation on the part of terrorist organizations. This was not an organic, or even fanatical, response of just rage and anger against cartoons.” This ignores the magazine’s history of satirizing all faiths, generating no violence from Christians or Jews. Last week, 10 people were killed in Niger when protesters angry at the latest Charlie Hebdo cover torched churches.

The assertion is puzzling because, as a pollster, Mogahed has monitored attitudes in the Muslim world for years. As such, she is well aware that the Paris attacks did not happen in a vacuum. In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street by a radical Muslim angered by van Gogh’s film, Submission, which focused on Islam’s treatment of women. In 2010, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard survived a home invasion attack by an ax-wielding Somali with ties to the Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

American Colleen LaRose, known as “Jihad Jane,” is serving a 10-year prison sentence in part due to her plotting to travel to Sweden to kill another cartoonist, Lars Vilks. That murder, she wrote in an email obtained by federal investigators, would be “my goal till i achieve it or die trying.”

There are numerous other examples of plots and attacks targeting people for their depictions of Islam’s prophet.

But the intent behind the attacks, Mogahed said, “was for Europe to respond essentially exactly as it did – to assert the right to offend by reprinting the cartoons.”

That certainly is a point of view. Another is that the terrorists hoped to intimidate others from showing images of Muhammad under any circumstance. Given that major American news outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and Fox and others have refused to show the Charlie Hebdo images, the attacks succeeded.

The focus on radical Islam and defense of free speech that resulted from the Paris attacks gave the terrorists “the rhetorical victory they desired,” she said. A better response would have been “to reassert the place of French citizens of Muslim faith in the republic.”

Mogahed and others repeatedly expressed resentment that the terrorists’ beliefs were being conflated with the beliefs held by 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide. They provided no examples to show this is what people mean when they talk about Islamic extremism.

Whatever the merits of Mogahed’s argument, it seems to have little connection to the causes of radicalization, which is what the panel was supposed to discuss.

In a podcast Wednesday, atheist writer Sam Harris slammed an emphasis on the West’s flaws in analyzing the Paris terrorist attacks as “completely insane.” After slaughtering the Charlie Hebdo staffers, Harris notes, Cherif and Said Kouachi yelled, “We have avenged the prophet.” They did not lament racism, disenfranchisement or any other grievance.

“That’s what causes someone to grab an AK 47 and murder 12 cartoonists and then scream ‘Allahu Akhbar’ in the streets,” Harris said facetiously. “It is a completely insane analysis. Even if you grant everything that’s wrong with capitalism and the history of colonialism, you should not be able to deny that these religious maniacs are motivated by concerns about blasphemy and the depiction of the prophet Muhammad, and consider their behavior entirely ethical in light of specific religious doctrines. And it’s a kind of masochism and moral cowardice and lack of intelligence, frankly, at this point, that is allowing people to deny this fact.”

Harris argued that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were not racist. But even if they were, emphasizing the offensive nature of the images shows someone “has completely lost the plot here.”

“[P]rotecting this speech becomes important when you have one group of people – ‘radical Muslims’ – who are responding to this offense with credible threats of murder in every country on earth. We can’t give in to this.”

“People have been murdered over cartoons,” he added. “End of moral analysis.”

Not for Nihad Awad, co-founder and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). His prepared remarks at the radicalization forum focused on the frustration he said Muslim American youth feel for constantly having to condemn the actions of others and for drawing disproportionate law enforcement attention.

“Islam has been blamed for the recent events, not the terrorists themselves,” Awad said. The media’s focus on the religious motivation inspiring terrorists and references to a war of ideas within Islam “is very offensive to me, to implicate the entire Islamic faith and the 1.7 billion people into accusing them of being inherently violent and warring among themselves. I believe this is dishonest discourse.”

Awad’s assertion is contradicted by other Muslims who believe the only way to stem radicalization is by modernizing and reforming Islam, steering away from strict, literalist interpretations. In addition, those most offended by cartoons or commentaries need to learn more peaceful ways to express their frustration.

Read more (with video)

Charlie Hebdo: Martyrs for the Truth

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
January 7, 2015

1110With the massacre of Charlie Hebdo magazine’s editors and cartoonists in Paris by Islamic gunmen early Wednesday afternoon, the forces of radical Islam lay the gauntlet down: radical Islam is not just fighting against Western freedom, or the hegemony of Western powers. Their real enemy is truth.

The killing of the Charlie Hebdo staff was not the first time Islamists have made a point of murdering journalists or commentators, or the first time they have risen up against satirists in the West. The record is rich with them: the slaughter in broad daylight of Theo van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam in November, 2004; the many attempts on the life of Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist responsible for the drawings of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban; the plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Viks, for similar drawings; the kidnap and murder of American journalist Steven Vincent in response to his New York Times article exposing corruption in the Basra police force in 2005; the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff in 2014; and the 2011 bombing of the Charlie Hebdo offices in response to the magazine’s own publication of cartoons about Mohammed. Among others.

(And that doesn’t even address the strong-arming and censorship of Muslim countries – even “democratic” Turkey, which, under the iron hand of Islamist president (and former prime minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been condemned internationally for its imprisonment of journalists. Indeed, on a list of 170 countries graded on press freedom, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia stand at 154, 158, 159, and 164, respectively.)

1109But what is most terrifying about the Charlie Hebdo massacre is the fact that we can no longer hide behind excuses about “lone wolf” terrorists who are “unbalanced” or “disturbed.” Such descriptions are the way in which both media and public officials have attempted to minimize the impulses behind attacks such as the one in Fort Hood in 2009, or the attempts to behead two police officers in the streets of New York. What today’s events in Paris make clear is that this is not the work of individual crazies, and that Islam is, in fact, a part of the equation.

It’s time to stop pretending otherwise.

Let’s be clear: the killers announced after their rampage that “this was vengeance for the Prophet Mohammed.” Some witnesses claim that at least one of the men cried “Allahu Akbar,” (“Allah is great”), the rallying cry of Islamic terrorists. And while many Muslim organizations condemned the attack, other Muslims have taken to Facebook and other social media to praise them.

But as CNN’s Anderson Cooper said, “This was an attack on journalism.” And an attack on journalism is an attack against truth, against insight, against knowledge – against the Enlightenment.

The weapons may not be new, but the frontier Muslim extremists are fighting on – the destruction of the media, of truth – is one we have not paid enough attention to before.

In many cases, we’ve perhaps contributed to it: most American and other Western publications refused to republish the Danish Mohammed cartoons after they first set off international rioting among Muslims. And even the Bush administration spoke out against them, saying “We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive.”

And in 2012, White House spokesman Jay Carney criticized Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons mocking Mohammed.

“[W]e have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this. We know that these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory. But we’ve spoken repeatedly about the importance of upholding the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution,” Carney said.
“In other words, we don’t question the right of something like this to be published; we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it. And I think that that’s our view about the video that was produced in this country and has caused so much offense in the Muslim world.”

Perhaps in this, Charlie Hebdo was way ahead of the rest of us: they, along with the editors of the Danish Jyllands Posten, which first published the “Mohammed cartoons,” have been fighting back from the very start. Shockingly, even Western commentators (and especially Western Muslims) condemned the cartoonists in Denmark, just as they condemned Theo van Gogh and, today, Charlie Hebdo for “inviting” these attacks through their “recklessness.”

Nothing Charlie Hebdo ever did was “reckless,” any more than Steven Vincent’s reporting was reckless, any more than Theo van Gogh’s film Submission, about honor killings and the abuse of women in Islam, was reckless. In Charlie Hebdo’s case, it was about satire on the face of it – but more than that, their work was about the very urgent need to preserve free expression, and to condemn – in any and all ways possible – those who seek to destroy it.

In the memory of those who died for truth and freedom, we cannot give up that fight – and we cannot afford to lose it.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

Watch and Share – Your Freedom of Speech is Under Attack

Brooke Goldstein at Lawfare Project has produced a very powerful video to raise awareness on the Islamic threat to free speech.


You can download the book, “Lawfare – the War Against Free Speech – A First Amendment Guide for Reporting in an Age of Islamist Warfare” by Brooke Goldstein and Aaron Eitan Meyer for free at