Islam and Free Speech: Missing the Point in Garland

pic_giant_050415_SM_Garland-SWAT-Mohammed2

The purpose of the free-speech event was to highlight the threat posed by Islamic supremacists.

National Review, by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY May 4, 2015:

‘Even free-speech enthusiasts are repulsed by obnoxious expression.” That acknowledgment prefaces the main argument I’ve made in Islam and Free Speech, a just-released pamphlet in the Broadside series from Encounter Books. Alas, in view of last night’s deadly events at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, the argument is more timely than I’d hoped.

In Garland, two jihadists opened fire on a free-speech event that was certain to be offensive to many Muslims. The gunmen wounded a security guard before being killed when police returned fire. The jihadists are reported to be roommates who resided in Phoenix. As this is written, only one of them has been identified: Elton Simpson. The wounded security guard, Bruce Joiner, was treated and released. Joiner works for the Garland Independent School District, which owns the Culwell Center.

Simpson was apparently what my friend, terrorism analyst Patrick Poole, describes as a “known wolf.” That’s a radical Muslim whom the Obama administration and the media are wont to dismiss as an anonymous, unconnected loner but who, in fact, has previously drawn the attention of national-security agents over suspected jihadist ties.

Simpson previously attempted to travel to Africa, apparently to join al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda franchise. He was reportedly convicted of lying to FBI agents, though a judge found the evidence insufficient to prove he was trying to join the terror group. The al-Shabaab connection seems salient now: Police are investigating tweets about the Garland event prior to the violence, allegedly posted by a young al-Shabaab jihadist who is said to be an American citizen.

The Garland free-speech event was a contest, sponsored by Pamela Geller’s New York–based American Freedom Defense Initiative. Participants were invited to draw cartoons of Islam’s prophet, in homage to the Charlie Hebdo artists killed by jihadists in France. Besides Ms. Geller, the featured speaker at the event was Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian whose life has been threatened for years for speaking openly about the scriptural moorings of Islamic terrorism. Al-Qaeda has publicly called for Wilders to be killed, and a notorious Australian imam called on Muslims to behead him because anyone who “mocks, laughs [at], or degrades Islam” must be killed by “chopping off his head.”

In Garland, activists opposed to the violence endorsed by Islamic doctrine and to the repression inherent in sharia law were invited to draw caricatures of Mohammed, with a $10,000 prize awarded to the “best” one. The contest was sure to yield images offensive to Muslims just as transgressive artist Andres Serrano had to know the public exhibition of his Piss Christ photograph would offend Christians.

Yet, as I argue in Islam and Free Speech, it will not do to blame the messenger for the violence. The shooting last night was not caused by the free-speech event any more than the Charlie Hebdo murders were caused by derogatory caricatures, or the rioting after a Danish newspaper’s publication of anti-Islam cartoons was caused by the newspaper. The violence is caused by Islamic supremacist ideology and its law that incites Muslims to kill those they judge to have disparaged Islam.

It will not do to blame the messenger for the violence. The shooting last night was not caused by the free-speech event any more than the Charlie Hebdo murders were caused by derogatory caricatures.

Christians were offended by Piss Christ, but they did not respond by killing the “artist” or blowing up the exhibiting museum. If any had, they would have been universally condemned for both violating society’s laws and betraying Christian tenets. In such a case, we would have blamed the killers, not the provocative art. There can be no right against being provoked in a free society; we rely on the vigorous exchange of ideas to arrive at sensible policy. And the greater the threat to liberty, the more necessary it is to provoke. 

The threat to liberty in this instance is sharia blasphemy law. A bloc of Muslim-majority countries, with the assistance of the Obama administration (led by the U.S. State Department, particularly under Hillary Clinton), is trying to use international law to impose Islam’s repressive law to make it illegal to subject Islam to negative criticism. No sensible person favors obnoxious expression or gratuitous insult. But as I contend in the pamphlet, there is a big difference between saying “I object to this illustration of insensitivity and bad taste” and saying “I believe that what repulses me should be against the law.”

Ms. Geller’s detractors are predictably out in droves today, prattling about how the violence would not have happened were it not for the offensive display. No one would feel deprived by the lack of sheer insult, they say, so wouldn’t it be better to compromise free-expression principles in exchange for achieving peaceful social harmony? But that line of thinking puts violent extortionists in charge of what we get to speak about — an arrangement no free society can tolerate.

It is very unfortunate that this debate is so often triggered by forms of expression that non-jihadists will find insulting and therefore that even anti-jihadists will find uncomfortable to defend. This grossly understates the stakes involved. This is about much more than cartoons. As I outline in Islam and Free Speech, classical sharia forbids most artistic representations of animate life, not just expressions that are obviously sacrilegious. More significantly, it deems as blasphemous not just expressions that insult the prophet and Islam itself but also

critical examinations of Islam . . . especially if they reach negative conclusions or encourage unbelief[;] proselytism of religions other than Islam, particularly if it involves encouraging Muslims to abandon Islam[; and any] speech or expression [that] could sow discord among Muslims or within an Islamic community. And truth is not a defense.

It is not the purpose of Pam Geller, Geert Wilders, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, and other activists to insult Muslims. Their mission is to awaken us to the challenge of Islamic supremacists — not just the violent jihadists but also the powerful Islamist forces behind the jihad. Islamists are attempting to coerce us into abandoning our commitment to free expression. They are pressuring us to accommodate their totalitarian system rather than accepting assimilation into our liberty culture.

You may not like the provocateurs’ methods. Personally, I am not a fan of gratuitous insult, which can antagonize pro-Western Muslims we want on our side. But let’s not make too much of that. Muslims who really are pro-Western already know, as Americans overwhelmingly know, that being offended is a small price to pay to live in a free society. We can bristle at an offense and still grasp that we do not want the offense criminalized.

It would be easy, in our preening gentility, to look down our noses at a Mohammed cartoon contest. But we’d better understand the scope of the threat the contest was meant to raise our attention to — a threat triggered by ideology, not cartoons. There is in our midst an Islamist movement that wants to suppress not only insults to Islam but all critical examination of Islam. That movement is delighted to leverage the atmosphere of intimidation created by violent jihadists, and it counts the current United States government among its allies.

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

Hillary Clinton Is Still Violating the Law and the Justice Department Should Take Custody of the Server

clinton3National Review, by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY March 12, 2015:

Shannen Coffin had an important NR column Wednesday, exploring for a second time the question whether Hillary Clinton committed a crime by failing to turn over government records – the thousands of work-related emails on her private server – when she left the State Department two years ago. On Fox News’s The Kelly File last night, he and Megyn Kelly followed up: outlining how, contrary to suggestions from Camp Clinton, there is a serious process involved when a high-level official stops working for a federal department – a process designed to ensure that all work-related information has been turned over for retention in government files.

While it is true, as Mrs. Clinton has said, that the departing official must decide what information belongs to the government and what is private, that is just the start of the process. What the official claims is private must be inventoried and reviewed by the department’s records retention staff; if there is any doubt about whether a record is related to official business, the default position is that the government retains the record.

More importantly for present purposes, there is a form involved – this is the government after all. The departing official must complete Form OF-109. As Shannen explains:

It is a formal separation statement, in which the departing official certifies the return of any classified materials, and, more relevant for present purposes, that the departing official has “surrendered to responsible officials all unclassified documents, and papers relating to the official business of the Government acquired by me while in the employ of the Department.” The form makes very clear that a false statement in the certification is punishable as a crime, including under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully falsify or conceal facts in statements made to federal agencies concerning a matter within its jurisdiction.

As Megyn reported last night, Fox News has asked the State Department to produce Mrs. Clinton’s Form OF-109. The public should be able to learn whether she signed it, thus representing, falsely as it turns out, that she had turned over to the State Department all files and documents relating to official government business.

I would further point out that Mrs. Clinton, even by her own account, even with respect to the copies of e-mails she has deigned to produce, is still in defiance of federal law.

Not only did she conceal and apparently delete files without completing an inventory and enabling State Department record retention officers to review her claim of privacy. Even with respect to the thousands emails she has finally revealed, she is still withholding information. What Mrs. Clinton hoarded on her server are (or were until deleted) electronic communications; what she has reportedly turned over, by contrast, are paper copies of those e-mails –reportedly, 30,490 e-mails comprising 55,000 printed pages. The paper copies may or may not have some information deleted from them.

The government record is the e-mail, the electronic communication itself. A paper copy is just a picture – and perhaps an incomplete one – of an actual electronic mail. When I left the Justice Department, I had to surrender my files and my credentials, not photocopies of them. The photocopies are depictions of the records, they are not the records. The public is entitled to maintain the actual records in the government’s filing system. It is Mrs. Clinton who must content herself with photocopies (and only of files that contain whatever categories of non-classified information she is permitted to retain as a private citizen).

It is not just that what Mrs. Clinton produced are not the actual electronic records she continues to hoard. The paper production is also not searchable in the way the actual electronic government records are. If Mrs. Clinton is permitted with impunity to continue denying the public the actual records that, by law, must be retained in the government’s files, it will cost the public additional, unnecessary millions of dollars. After all, the insufficient paper copies will have to be reviewed, organized, converted into a searchable format, and analyzed to determine if they are responsive to pending or past congressional, judicial and public disclosure demands on which the State Department is now derelict because of Mrs. Clinton’s obstruction.

This is no longer a mere political issue, much less a partisan issue. It is now a black-and-white law-enforcement issue: Mrs. Clinton is withholding records that belong to the public and there is probable cause to believe she made a prosecutable false statement to the government in claiming to have surrendered all records of official business to the State Department.

If she does not voluntarily surrender her server, forthwith, to the State Department, the Justice Department should be taking prompt action – probably through the United States attorney’s in the Southern District of New York (where the Clintons reside and where their servers are believed to be stored), or in Washington (where the State Department’s records are retained and where Mrs. Clinton probably signed her departure form – assuming she did so).

Whether voluntarily or by judicial warrant, the Justice Department should take custody of the server(s). At an appropriate time, counsel for Mrs. Clinton could then meet with prosecutors and State Department record-keepers to sort out what electronic records should be transferred to the State Department, what records the Justice Department should retain in the event there are any criminal proceedings, and what records are private and should be returned to Mrs. Clinton.

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Listen to Secure Freedom Radio:

Digging Deeper on the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal

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Find the ‘Countering Violent Extremism Summit’ at the Intersection of Islamists and Leftists

Salam al-Marayati (MPAC)

Salam al-Marayati (MPAC)

National Review, by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY February 19, 2015:

You may understandably think of it as an ISIS jobs fair, but the ongoing confab in Washington is officially known as President Obama’s “summit” on “Countering Violent Extremism.” That being the case, many Americans seem surprised at the appearance of Salam al-Marayati, leader of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). After all, the White House is having a public hissy fit over the upcoming speech to Congress by Obama’s bête noire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. An odd time, one might think, for the POTUS to be so chummy with a Muslim activist best know for theorizing, right after the 9/11 attacks, that “we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list.”

But National Review readers will not be surprised. Marayati and MPAC figured in my 2010 book on the Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. operations – The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America (“grand jihad” and “sabotage” are lifted verbatim from an internal Brotherhood memo that describes the Islamists’ objective to infiltrate and destroy our country). And three years ago, I profiled Marayati and MPAC in this NRO column.

There is a reason why Obama’s summit is striking all the wrong chords with the public: strangely sympathetic to Islamist sensibilities and grievances at the very time when rampaging jihadists, while quoting Islamic scripture, are barbarically slaughtering their enemies and conducting a pogrom against Christians (there being no Jews left to mass-murder in Syria, Iraq and Libya).

The reason is that the summit serves exactly the same purpose as is served by MPAC and Marayati: It is the nexus between Islamists and Leftists.

For the Left, radical Islamic terrorism cannot be called “radical Islamic terrorism”; it must be called “violent extremism,” to avoid offending the Left’s Islamist allies. Still, while the labeling of terrorism may be problematic, the fact of terrorism is an opportunity – a crisis that, like all crises, can be used to advance the “social justice” agenda.

Just have a look at President Obama’s op-ed in the Los Angeles Times this week. ISIS and al-Qaeda are on the march, so what does the president suppose this is the occasion for? “Our focus [in the “summit on countering violent extremism”] will be on empowering local communities.”

The public is worried about our national security because, after six years of Obama, jihadists have more safe-haven than ever to plot and train for attacks against America, Israel and Western Europe. Obama, however, sees the situation as grist for a large-scale exercise in community-organizing: A summit that gathers “governments, civil society groups, and community leaders from more than 60 nations” to address “the anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them no chance of improving their lives.” By the president’s lights, what causes terrorism is not sharia supremacist ideology, something that is not to be discussed. Instead, “anger” over “legitimate grievances” — that always turn out to be the same grievances the Left grieves over – makes young Muslims vulnerable to “exploitation” by al Qaeda and ISIS.

For their part, Islamists share the Left’s affinity for muscular government that suffocates individual liberty. They are also anxious to gull Westerners into seeing their grievances as driven by wayward American policies rather than sharia principles. That makes an alliance with the Left a good fit – notwithstanding important differences on such matters as abortion and the rights of women and homosexuals (differences that allies can set aside when defeating a common opponent is the higher objective).

Read more

Under Sharia Speech Law that Europe Has and Obama Wants, Truth Is No Defense

Obama-muslim2National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Feb. 16, 2015:

Roger Kimball highlights a Gatestone Institute report by the editors of Dispatch International about the explosion of rape in Sweden. As the country’s make-up has dramatically changed due to mass immigration, particularly from Muslim countries in the Middle East and northern and eastern Africa, the number of rapes reported to police has increased by an astonishing 1,472 percent — from 421 in 1975 to 6,620 last year.

Roger observes:

Note that conspicuous by its absence is any mention of who it is who is committing the rapes. Gatestone quotes Michael Hess, a local politician from the Sweden Democrat Party: “When will you journalists realize that it is deeply rooted in Islam’s culture to rape and brutalize women who refuse to comply with Islamic teachings. There is a strong connection between rapes in Sweden and the number of immigrants from MENA-countries [Middle East and North Africa].”

For that bit of plain speaking, Hess was handed a fine and a suspended jail sentence by a Swedish court.  Was what he said untrue?  Truth was not something the court cared about: “The Court [Tingsrätten] notes that the question of whether or not Michael Hess’s pronouncement is true, or appeared to be true to Michael Hess, has no bearing on the case. Michael Hess’s statement must be judged based on its timing and context.”

Now, as I’ve related here a number of times, President Obama, with energetic assistance from Hillary Clinton, has been trying to saddle the United States withsharia blasphemy standards since taking office in 2009. Strategically, the administration pushes for these speech restrictions, which violate the First Amendment, in the context of violence committed after the publication of words, exhibitions or artistic representations that are unquestionably insulting toward Islam. In actuality, there is more insult to Islam in the administration’s intimation that barbaric Muslim reactions to merely obnoxious speech are to be expected. But I want to focus, once again, on free expression.

We need to understand that, contrary to Obama administration suggestions, what is at stake is not just speech that almost all of us would agree is in bad taste and that would not be missed if it were barred. What is at stake is the ability to tell the truth. What is at stake is the ability of a free society to engage in robust discussion in order to develop public policy, particularly security and crime-prevention.

As I wrote here after jihadists carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

The Islamist–progressive alliance I explored in The Grand Jihad would have you believe that accommodating sharia blasphemy rules would result in only a narrow limitation on free expression crudely obnoxious toward Islam, the sort of thing few of us would lament — e.g., expression analogous to the nauseating Piss Christ. This, however, is simply false.

Sharia forbids any speech — whether true or not — that casts Islam in an unfavorable light, dissents from settled Muslim doctrine, has the potential to sow discord within the ummah, or entices Muslims to renounce Islam or convert to other faiths. The idea is not merely to ban gratuitous ridicule — which, by the way, sensible people realize government should not do (and, under our Constitution, may not do) even if they themselves are repulsed by gratuitous ridicule. The objective is to ban all critical examination of Islam, period – even though Islamic supremacism, a mainstream interpretation of Islam, happens to be a top national-security threat that we sorely need to examine if we want to understand and defeat our enemies.

The Swedish prosecution of Michael Hess that Roger and the Gatestone report discuss usefully highlights this problem. Hess did not gratuitously insult Islam or Muslims. He addressed the cause of a surge in rape, a phenomenon that profoundly affects public safety in Sweden and that (as noted by those of us who have discussed the nexus between rape and jihad) is promoted by a scripturally-based interpretation of Islam. Yet the court silenced him, not because what he said was false or slanderous, but because saying it might promote hostility toward Islam.

This is exactly what President Obama and Mrs. Clinton have tried to do, particularly in their collusion with Islamist governments in U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which aims to prohibit any speech that casts Islam in an unfavorable light (under the guise of “inciting hostility” to religion).

As we saw again this weekend, this time in Copenhagen, Europe is now living with the consequences of welcoming massive immigration from sharia cultures, tolerating the demands of Islamic leaders that Muslims resist assimilation, passively watching the inexorable rise of radical Islam, and cracking down only on Europeans and others who dare to raise questions about the wisdom of it all.

Don’t think it can’t happen here.

Defeat Jihad Summit panel debates the use of ‘qualifiers’ when referring to Islam

moderate_radical-islam

CJR: The perennial debate over use of qualifiers such as radical, extremist or even fundamentalist to describe Islam is brought up by the intrepid Diana West at the Center for Security Policy’s Defeat Jihad Summit. Diana West believes that we are in fact abiding by Islamic blasphemy laws when we say “radical” Islam rather then just Islam.

Stephen Coughlin comes at this from a military intelligence perspective which seeks to define just what the Islamic threat doctrine is so that we can “orient on the enemy”.  He explains that he chooses to refer to The Reliance of the Traveller shariah manual because it represents the sanctioned views of A Azhar, the OIC and the American Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore it represents the prevailing view of Sunni Islam and can be said to be Islam…not radical Islam. Coughlin then says something very interesting that needs to be highlighted. He refers to the tactic of using qualifiers in order to “bring people along”. In other words, some counter jihadists, especially those who are working in the political arena, choose to use qualifiers in order to soften the message for politically correct ears, including moderate Muslims.

Following Coughlin, David Yerushalmi speaks to the legal issues of trying to reform shariah law with an explanation of Fiqh and what it would take to overturn articles of Islamic jurisprudence developed over thousands of years as Islamic reformers such as Zuhdi Jasser and Egyptian President Al Sissi are advocating.

Debra Burlingame then speaks to the quandry of Moderate Muslims who have no safe place to express their views. Andrew McCarthy and Fred Fleitz believe it is important to reach out to Moderate Muslims and enlist their help.

I think a general consensus was reached that it is not necessary to address what the true Islam is if you can identify as the enemy those Muslims who subscribe to the Islamic Threat Doctrine of Shariah. John Guandolo gets down to law enforcement brass tacks and asserts that we need to start prosecuting those in high positions who are aiding and abetting terrorists. While John Guandolo did not agree that moderate Muslim outreach is producing results, he asserted that counter jihadists do not have to agree on everything in order to work together. I heartily agree.

Watch the debate which goes from 5:03 to about 5:38 in the video.  I’ve set the video to begin with Diana West  but if for some reason that changes just move the progress bar with your cursor:

 

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Here are some clips of the Summit now available at securefreedom:

Michael Mukasey at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Gen. Jerry Boykin at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Gov. Bobby JIndal at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Rep. Scott Perry at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Rep. Mike Pompeo at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Rep. Steve King at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Andrew McCarthy at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Pete Hoekstra at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Newt Gingrich at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Nonie Darwish

 

 

‘Defeat Jihad Summit’ Challenges Islamic Supremacism – And The Obama ‘Strategy’and A.U.M.F. That Disregard It

33480681301Center for Security Policy, Feb. 11, 2015:

(Washington, D.C.): Today, an extraordinary gathering of freedom-fighters in what might best be described as the War for the Free World convened in Washington, D.C. Their purpose was to anticipate and rebut the thesis of President Obama’s “Countering Violent Extremism Summit” next week – namely, that the United States faces hostile forces whose identity, motivations and capabilities are defined by an opaque euphemism: violent extremism.

The “Defeat Jihad Summit” was sponsored by the Center for Security Policy and brought together present and former, domestic and foreign political leaders, senior military officers, national security professionals and other experts on Islamic supremacism and its guiding doctrine, shariah. Among the noteworthy participants in this roundtable discussion were:

  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
  • former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey
  • former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
  • S. Senator Ted Cruz
  • Representative Steven King
  • Representative Mike Pompeo
  • Representative Scott Perry
  • Admiral James “Ace” Lyons (U.S. Navy, Ret.)
  • Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin (U.S. Army, Ret.)
  • Leading 9/11 family member Deborah Burlingame
  • Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders
  • Danish free speech advocate Lars Hedegaard
  • Britain’s Lord Malcolm Pearson
  • Israeli Amb. Yoram Ettinger
  • former Muslim Nonie Darwish
  • Muslim reformer Dr. Zuhdi Jasser
  • Australian pastor Mark Durie

Highlights of the Summit included:

  • A discussion of the nature of our jihadist enemies and the mainstream – not extremist –character of their inspiration: the politico-military-legal shariah doctrine derived from the sacred texts, institutions and authorities of Islam. There was widespread agreement that we mustunderstand and be able to name our foes, not pretend that they and their motivations are unknowable.
  • The global jihad takes various forms including: the violent kind; civilization (or cultural, stealthy and subversive) jihad; institutional jihad (employing entities like the multinational Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations under the OIC’s influence); individual jihad (its perpetrators are mistakenly being described as “lone wolves”); and material support (which, under shariah, is prized as highly as the service of those who take up the sword).
  • America urgently needs a strategy for countering all such jihadist endeavors – one that brings to bear all instruments of national power to achieve a decisive correlation of forces and our victory. We face a truly existential threat from the global jihad movement, as do other nations of the Free World now under assault for sharing our values and love of liberty.
  • The  unveiled last Friday by President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, and the draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force being proposed by the administration are wholly inadequate. The former compounds the inadequacies of the President’s “lead-from-behind” approach with an even more passive one: “strategic patience”; the latter appears calculated to fail and to embolden, rather than defeat, the Islamic State or any other foe.

The Center for Security Policy’s President, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., moderated the nearly six-hour summit. Afterwards, he commented:

The participants in the Defeat Jihad Summit have rendered a real public service. Their insights, analyses and recommendations concerning the threat from shariah-adherent Muslims and the need to empower and join forces with others in the Muslim community who eschew that brutally repressive ideology create the basis for a far more sound, effective and durable national security strategy.

We at the Center for Security Policy look forward to working with them and all those benefitting from the livestreaming and other products that will disseminate the fruits of this summit, far and wide.

To view videos of the summit’s presentations, go to www.SecureFreedom.org. For more information about the Summit, contact Samantha Nevore at sam@anelisgroup.com or 703.504.8856.

The event was live streamed from 9:00am to 3:00pm. The event in its entirety is embedded below. Video highlights to follow shortly:

What Is the Islamic State Trying to Accomplish?

(Image: ISIS video)

(Image: ISIS video)

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Feb. 7, 2015:

The Islamic State’s barbaric murder of Lieutenant Mouath al-Kasaebeh, the Jordanian air-force pilot the jihadists captured late last year, has naturally given rise to questions about the group’s objectives. Charles Krauthammer argues (here and here) that the Islamic State is trying to draw Jordan into a land war in Syria. It is no doubt correct that the terrorist group would like to destabilize Jordan — indeed, it is destabilizing Jordan. Its immediate aim, however, is more modest and attainable. The Islamic State wants to break up President Obama’s much trumpeted Islamic-American coalition.

As the administration proudly announced back in September, Jordan joined the U.S. coalition, along with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar. The only potential value of the coalition is symbolic: It has enabled the president to claim that Muslim countries were lining up with us against the Islamic State. Militarily, the coalition is of little use. These countries cannot defeat the Islamic State.

Moreover, even the symbolism is insignificant. Symbolism, after all, cuts both ways. As I pointed out when the administration breathlessly announced the coalition, our five Islamic partners have only been willing to conduct (extremely limited) aerial operations against the Islamic State. They would not attack al-Qaeda targets — i.e., the strongholds of al-Nusra (the local al-Qaeda franchise) and “Khorasan” (an al-Qaeda advisory council that operates within al-Nusra in Syria).

Obviously, if the relevance of the five Islamic countries’ willingness to fight the Islamic State is the implication that the Islamic State is not really Islamic, then their unwillingness to fight al-Qaeda equally implies their assessment that al-Qaeda is representative of Islam. The latter implication no doubt explains why the Saudis, Qatar, and the UAE have given so much funding over the years to al-Qaeda . . . the terror network from which the Islamic State originates and with which the Islamic State shares its sharia-supremacist ideology.

I’ll give the Saudis this: They don’t burn their prisoners alive in a cage. As previously recounted here, though, they routinely behead their prisoners. In fact, here’s another report from the British press just three weeks ago:

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have publicly beheaded a woman in Islam’s holy city of Mecca. . . . Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim, a Burmese woman who resided in Saudi Arabia, was executed by sword on Monday after being dragged through the street and held down by four police officers.

She was convicted of the sexual abuse and murder of her seven-year-old step-daughter.

A video showed how it took three blows to complete the execution, while the woman screamed “I did not kill. I did not kill.” It has now been removed by YouTube as part of its policy on “shocking and disgusting content”.

There are two ways to behead people according to Mohammed al-Saeedi, a human rights activist: “One way is to inject the prisoner with painkillers to numb the pain and the other is without the painkiller. . . . This woman was beheaded without painkillers — they wanted to make the pain more powerful for her.”

The Saudi Ministry of the Interior said in a statement that it believed the sentence was warranted due to the severity of the crime.

The beheading is part of an alarming trend, which has seen the kingdom execute seven people in the first two weeks of this year. In 2014 the number of executions rose to 87, from 78 in 2013.

Would that the president of the United States were more worried about the security of the United States than about how people in such repulsive countries perceive the United States.

In any event, the Islamic State is simply trying to blow up the coalition, which would be a useful propaganda victory. And the strategy is working. It appears at this point that only Jordan is participating in the airstrikes. While all eyes were on Jordan this week for a reaction to Lieutenant al-Kasaebeh’s immolation, the administration has quietly conceded that the UAE suspended its participation in bombing missions when the pilot was captured in December.

The explanation for this is obvious: The Islamic countries in the coalition know they can’t stop the Islamic State unless the United States joins the fight in earnest, and they know this president is not serious. The White House says the coalition has carried out a total of about 1,000 airstrikes in the last five months. In Desert Storm, we did 1,100 a day.

Seven strikes a day is not going to accomplish anything, especially with no troops on the ground, and thus no search-and-rescue capability in the event planes go down, as Lieutenant al-Kasaebeh’s did. With no prospect of winning, and with a high potential of losing pilots and agitating the rambunctious Islamists in their own populations, why would these countries continue to participate?

The Islamic State knows there is intense opposition to King Abdullah’s decision to join in the coalition. While the Islamic State’s sadistic method of killing the pilot has the king and his supporters talking tough about retaliation, millions of Jordanians are Islamist in orientation and thousands have crossed into Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. There will continue to be pressure on Jordan to withdraw. Without a real American commitment to the fight, this pressure will get harder for Abdullah to resist.

Jordan has no intention of getting into a land war the king knows he cannot win without U.S. forces leading the way. But the Islamic State does not need to lure Jordan into a land war in order to destabilize the country — it is already doing plenty of that by intensifying the Syrian refugee crisis, sending Jordanians back home from Syria as trained jihadists, and trying to assassinate Abdullah.

I will close by repeating the larger point I’ve argued several times before. We know from experience that when jihadists have safe havens, they attack the United States. They now have more safe havens than they’ve ever had before — not just because of what the Islamic State has accomplished in what used to be Syria and Iraq (the map of the Middle East needs updating) but because of what al-Qaeda has done there and in North Africa, what the Taliban and al-Qaeda are doing in Afghanistan, and so on.

If we understand, as we by now should, what these safe havens portend, then we must grasp that the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the global jihad constitute a threat to American national security. That they also (and more immediately) threaten Arab Islamic countries is true, but it is not close to being our top concern. Ensuring our security is a concern that could not be responsibly delegated to other countries even if they had formidable armed forces — which the “coalition” countries do not.

The Islamic State and al-Qaeda are our problem.

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

Obama’s Moral Equivalence Ignores Islamic Doctrine

isis-obama-shhhhhhPJ Media, By Andrew C. McCarthy On February 6, 2015

The insipid moral equivalence in President Obama’s apologia for Islam at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning has already been deconstructed by such commentators as Roger Simon, Victor David Hanson and Jonah Goldberg. I am bothered, though, by the president’s presumption of equivalence between doctrinal apples and oranges. If, as he maintains, we must engage in comparative religion with a focus on what believers do in the name of their varying faiths, then we should also analyze what their varying faiths tell them to do.

Sounding more like the executive director of CAIR, the president of the United States warned Christians and other non-Muslims to stay off “our high horse” regarding the sadistic murder of a Jordanian pilot, Lieutenant Mouath al-Kasaebeh, by Islamic State terrorists. We must have some humility, explained famously humble Mr. Obama. After all, over the last millennium, “people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

In Islamic doctrine, Jesus (Isa) is considered not God but a prophet. He is deemed to anticipate the final prophet, Mohammed, and to preach a Gospel subsequently perfected by the revelations of the Koran.

From that perspective, then, an analogous answer to Obama’s assertion could be made y recounting the terrible things Muslims have done in the name of Mohammed — an answer that wouldn’t require mining a millennium since it has been just three weeks since Lt. al-Kasaebeh’s immolation and the scene of mass-murdering jihadists braying, “Allahu Akbar! The prophet has been avenged!” as they fled the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

I’m more interested, though, in the deeds of Mohammed himself. When Christians resort to the wrongs cataloged by Obama, they are blatantly deviating from the example of Christ. Can the same be said for Muslims and the example of Mohammed?

In 627 AD, the prophet orchestrated the mass-murder of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe after they had surrendered to the Muslims. He presided over the beheadings of somewhere between 600 and 900 members of the tribe – including all young boys who had reached puberty. The women and the remaining children were taken as concubines and slaves (with some of the women sold for horses and armor). All the tribe’s wealth was confiscated.

This is not speculation. The incident is explicitly recorded in Koran. (By the way, I use the Koran approved and published in various languages, side-by-side with the original Arabic, by the Saudi government’s Ministry of Hajj and Endowments. The Kingdom has widely disseminated this version throughout the world, particularly Islamic schools.)

As recounted in Sura 33:25-27:

Allah turned back the unbelievers for (all) their fury: No advantage did they gain; and enough is Allah for the believers in their fight. And Allah is full of strength, exalted in might.

And those of the people of the book [the Banu Qurayza] who aided them – Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts, (so that) some ye slew, and some ye made captives.

And He made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which ye had not frequented (before). And Allah has power over all things.

Mohammed’s first authoritative biographer, Mohammed ibn Ishaq (d. 768), elaborates with this account (reproduced at wikiislam.net):

Then [the Banu Qurayza] surrendered, and the apostle confined them in Medina[.]… Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. Among them was the enemy of Allah Huyayy b. Akhtab and Ka`b b. Asad their chief. There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.

As they were being taken out in batches to the apostle they asked Ka`b what he thought would be done with them. He replied, “Will you never understand? Don’t you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!” This went on until the apostle made an end of them. Huyayy was brought out wearing a flowered robe in which he had made holes about the size of the finger-tips in every part so that it should not be taken from him as spoil, with his hands bound to his neck by a rope. When he saw the apostle he said, “By God, I do not blame myself for opposing you, but he who forsakes God will be forsaken.” Then he went to the men and said, “God’s command is right. A book and a decree, and massacre have been written against the Sons of Israel.” Then he sat down and his head was struck off.

Ibn Kathir, a revered fourteenth century scholar of sharia jurisprudence and biographer of Mohammed, adds:

Then the Messenger of Allah commanded that ditches should be dug, so they were dug in the earth, and they were brought tied by their shoulders, and were beheaded. There were between seven hundred and eight hundred of them. The children who had not yet reached adolescence and the women were taken prisoner, and their wealth was seized.

This was six centuries after the Gospel of the New Testament. Even if he did not turn the other cheek, the prophet could have shown compassion to his enemies. They had surrendered. Even if he had been determined to seize their territory and wealth, he could have allowed them to evacuate. Instead, he killed, enslaved, and sold them off.

Some background is necessary before we get to a second incident in the life of the prophet. Earlier this week, the Islamic State released a slick video showing Lt. al-Kasaebeh being burnt alive in a cage. The Obama administration spun into action … fresh off offending both the Egyptian government and most Americans by hosting some of its friends from the outlawed and virulently anti-American Muslim Brotherhood at the State Department. Echoing Islamists, administration officials assured us that, while this sort of barbarity was a staple of fifteenth century Christianity — it was against everything Islam stands for, and thus utterly slanderous for ISIS to rationalize it as Islamic warfare.

Inconveniently, the Koran proclaims that immolation is a punishment favored by Allah, so much so that the skin is constantly replaced to prolong the agony. It is imposed, moreover, not for anything particularly treacherous — just for refusing to accept Islam. Sura 4:56 explains:

Those who reject Our signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the chastisement: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

Now, according to “Muslim clerics” far and wide, as reported by Reuters, immolation is “considered despicable by Islam, no matter what the context.” How can that be when the Koran tells us Allah Himself has prescribed immolation as a suitable punishment? Because, Islam’s defenders rationalize, the immolation promised in the Koran is for Allah alone to impose in the afterlife, not for men to presume to impose in this life. “Only God tortures by fire,” tweeted Salman al-Odah, a Saudi sheikh.

That’s not very persuasive. There are, after all, numerous cruel penalties that Islamic scripture has Allah directing Muslims to impose — scourging, stoning, beheading and so on. Indeed, while in one breath condemning the torching of the pilot as a “lowly terrorist act” by a “Satanic, terrorist” group, Reuters quoted Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar (the ancient seat of Sunni scholarship), as pronouncing in the next breath that the ISIS killers should be “killed, crucified of have their limbs amputated.”

As Robert Spencer points out, the grand sheikh clearly drew that sharia sentence straight out of the Koran. Specifically, according to Sura 5:33:

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, crucifixion, or the cutting of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land[.]

The verse goes on to say that, for those condemned, these punishments are to be “their disgrace in this world”; then, after death, another “heavy punishment” awaits them — presumably, the eternal barbecue foretold by Sura 4:56.

So at best, fire is frowned upon, but death by crucifixion and amputation is recommended. Not terribly comforting.

But it gets worse. There is also an eye-for-an-eye dimension of Islamic jurisprudence. Back to Sura 5, this time verse 45: “We ordained therein for them, ‘Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.” This is why, for example, in Saudi Arabia, where sharia is the law of the land, the government had a prisoner’s eye surgically removed after he was found guilty of an assault that damaged his victim’s eye.

Lt. al-Kasaebeh was captured while on a mission to firebomb Islamic State targets. The jihadists thus contend that setting him on fire was the reciprocal, scripturally prescribed punishment. That rationale is disturbing to us in the West, where — unless you’re frozen, Obama-like, in the fifteenth century — we do not criminalize honorable combatants who conduct legitimate attacks on enemy forces (and we don’t, in any event, do immolation).

Nevertheless, ISIS’s argument carries considerable weight in Islam. Even in the Reuters report that tries hard to depict universal Muslim condemnation of ISIS, a Jordanian cleric known as Abu Sayaf (a/k/a “Mohamed al-Shalabi) is quoted as grudgingly saying, “Even if the Islamic State says [the Jordanian pilot] had bombed and burnt and killed us and we punished him they way he did to us, we say, ‘OK, but why film the video in this shocking way?’” In other words, burning the pilot alive is justifiable; it’s the bad PR from recording it that is unacceptable.

Now, with all that as context, let’s consider another episode from the prophet’s life, which, as Mr. Spencer points out, is conveniently omitted by al-Azhar’s grand sheikh, his fellow sharia jurists, and Islam’s Western apologists in the White House and beyond. The incident is recorded in Ibn Ashaq’s biography of the prophet (italics mine):

Kinana b. al-Rabi`, who had the custody of the treasure of B. al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came … to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, “Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?” he said Yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam, ‘Torture him until you extract what he has,’ so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.

So at Mohammed’s direction, a man’s chest was set on fire to extract information from him before he was beheaded. Well, at least he wasn’t waterboarded.

Robert adds a hadith from the authoritative Sahi Bukari collection (No. 626 in Book 1, Volume 11) (again, my italics):

Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama [the call to prayer] and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses.

Relatedly, Raymond Ibrahim directs our attention to an incident involving the prophet, recorded in another Bukari hadith (No. 261 in Book 4, Volume 52). The story involves eight starving tribesmen who sought the prophet’s help. Mohammed directed them to a shepherd, who fed them until they recovered their health. But they turned on the shepherd, killing him, and renouncing Islam. When he was informed, Mohammed ordered that they be captured and – besides having their hands and feet cut off – that iron be heated by fire and passed over their eyes, blinding them.

President Obama says we need to approach comparisons of religion with humility. I’m all for that. In a 2011 NRO column, I traced the evolution of Christianity in America from the often harshly theocratic origins of the original colonial settlements to the tolerant pluralism of modern times. The president, however, misses the point of humility. It is to refrain from dismissing out of hand the hope that Islam, too, will eventually evolve. It is not license to remain willfully blind to the dangers posed to us by its doctrine, as widely understood and practiced by a mainstream faction of Islam for centuries, right up to the present day.

Courageous Muslim reformers are laboring to advance an evolution — and they risk death at the hands of radical Muslims who regard them as apostates, an offense Islam punishes by death. We can humbly encourage the reformers while rationally acknowledging that their labors are very uphill. To repeat what I wrote in the 2011 column:

Cultures are dynamic. They change drastically over time. [But] there are grounds for concern that Islam’s will have a harder time evolving — the blights on our history are rooted in human failure to apply Judeo-Christian doctrine, not in the doctrine itself. [By contrast,] Islam’s problems are more about Islam than about Muslims.

That remains true, Obama’s wayward moral equivalence notwithstanding. Islam regards the Koran as the immutable word of Allah. In Sura 33:21, Allah gives Muslims the following admonition regarding Mohammed, “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the Final Day.” Muslims are commanded to imitate their prophet. It is undeniable that their prophet was, to put it mildly, an aggressive warrior.

With regard to that aspect of Mohammed’s legacy, there is nothing equivalent to it in Christianity.

It is not humility but delusion to pretend that modern Islam is just fine as is. It is not humility but cowardice to indulge the suicidal notion that our own past sins render us unfit to condemn today’s atrocities.

Why the West is Losing to Islamic Supremacists

Muslim one world blinded coveredThe Blaze, by Benjamin Weingarten, Feb. 6, 2015:

During a recent lecture on the nature of and threat posed by Iran, with whom President Barack Obama’s Chamberlainian negotiations continue apace, an existential question arose: Why does the West remain asleep regarding Islamic Supremacism and the doctrine on which it is based?

I posit that there are three main reasons, which also go a long way towards explaining why we are currently losing to the global jihad: (i) Progressive multiculturalism, moral relativism and materialism; (ii) Profound willful ignorance; and (iii) An inability to cope with the staggering implications of the threat we face.

Since the days of George W. Bush, we have heard the oft-repeated trope that Islam is a religion of peace, and moreover one of the world’s great religions, with the same ethics, values and principles as Judaism and Christianity.

Originally, the Western elite argued that those who killed in the name of Islam were merely misinterpreting and perverting the religion. These, one should note, were the relatively more clear-eyed ones. Others attributed genocidal jihadism to poverty, lack of education or global warming.

Now we have completely severed the jihadist head from the Islamic body (theo)politic, arguing that the barbarians who comprise Islamic State, or as the Obama administration obediently likes to say, Daesh, in spite of the first “I” standing for “Islamic,” are nihilists.

For a people steeped in progressivism for decades, this can be the only reasonable conclusion.

Islamic supremacism does not comport with the belief system of our elites, who assert that all peoples are the same, all religions consist of the same values and beliefs, and that material concerns trump all others, including spiritual or idealist ones.

For those who honestly believe such things — as opposed to the ones who spout platitudes out of political expediency and to gloss over threats they dishonestly claim to have already defeated – throwing up one’s arms and claiming that jihadism stems from an ideology of nothingness is the most coherent of an entirely incoherent set of answers. Even better is to declare that violent extremism is the enemy, so as to smear conservatives while they’re at it.

This pervasive misunderstanding of Islam reflects a profound ignorance, in that it neglects the fact that the Koran and hadith comprise a unique belief system fundamentally different from, and in fact antithetical to the historically Judeo-Christian West.

For those interested, there is a mass of literature from authors such as Dr. Andrew BostomAndrew McCarthy, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq and Bat Ye’or who lay this out in concrete and copiously sourced terms.

Better yet, look to the texts and words of leading Islamic scholars such as Hassan Al Banna and Sayyid Qutb, prominent modern-day figures like Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Ayatollah Khameini,Hassan Nasrallah, and the content being taught at mosques right here in America.

If you would like to ignore the compendium of Islamic doctrine that calls for and compels Muslims to bring about a totalitarian world under which all submit to Allah’s rule, all one has to do is look at states whose governments are based in Shariah law to see Islam in practice.

(Image Source: PEW Research – The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society, Q79a, Q92a-c, dated April 30, 2013 and Spring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, Q100.)

(Image Source: PEW Research – The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society, Q79a, Q92a-c, dated April 30, 2013 and Spring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, Q100.)

Theory and practice aside, I am willing to wager that the vast majority of those commenting on Islam in the media and political establishment have never opened up a Koran, let alone heard the word hadith. Of the small percentage who have, invariably you will hear the argument that while parts of the Koran are violent, others are peaceful. Such a view evinces further ignorance however, as it fails to address two essential Islamic concepts: (a) Abrogation and (b) taqiyya.

Abrogation refers to the fact that as the Koran reflects Allah’s divine revealed word, where there are textual contradictions, those passages revealed later must supplant those that preceded it. These later passages are frequently more violent than the earlier peaceful ones.

Taqiyya refers to strategic lying and deception – covering up one’s true intentions so as to defeat one’s enemies. This manifests itself in acts of sabotage, subversion and the propagation of strategic disinformation, not unlike what the Communists did during and after the Cold War.

Others will argue that just as the Koran has violent verses, so too do the Old and New Testaments. But Jews and Christians do not go out and slaughter in the name of their G-d in a modern-day global Crusade like the jihadists are waging. Moreover, the values and principles that flow from these two religious systems have led to the miracle that is Western civilization. The Muslim world on the other hand, especially where Islamic doctrine is followed in its purest form, resembles the seventh century one that preceded it.

Lest you think those who have studied Islam in schools are better off, in America’s universities taqiyya has become an art form. Many of the Middle Eastern departments at our country’s most prestigious academic institutions have been found to put on a “moderate” public face while serving as Trojan horses for anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Westernism — all consistent with Islamic doctrine.

This should come as no surprise, as these departments – and even K-12 schools — are often funded by Islamic nations who are the primary backers of Islamic supremacism themselves.

For those able to see past multiculturalism, moral relativism, materialism and actually study Islam in theory and practice, recognizing that the religion at the very least as understood by millions of Muslims is not only incompatible with, but hostile to our very existence, this is a staggering realization. It offends our pluralistic, tolerant sensitivities to think that such a massive, religiously-justified threat could exist. For while similarly savage enemies marched throughout the 20th century, none were tinged with theology, and Communism for its part was explicitly anti-religious.

Moreover, there are uncomfortable practical questions that such a threat raises. Who exactly are we fighting if there are millions of jihadists, aiders, abettors and enablers all over the world? How are we to fight them? What measures can we take to secure the homeland that are both sufficient and consonant with a free society?

Today, the West is clearly not even at the point of asking these questions, which reflects a lack of education on behalf of some, and denial on the part of others. That it is considered a bold act to utter phrases like “Radical Islam,” or “Islamic extremism” or “Islamism,” in the face of now over 25,000 jihadist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001 indicates as much. Imagine what kind of stones it would take to repeat after Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdoğan, that in effect there is no such thing as “moderate Islam” or “Islamism,” and such “descriptions are very ugly…offensive and an insult to our religion…Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

Rather than deal with reality, we figuratively bury our heads in the sand. Meanwhile, savage jihadists lop off and literally bury infidel heads in the sand.

If we are going to turn the tide in a war that we are currently not fighting, it is imperative that a sizable number of Americans wake up. It behooves all men and women of good conscience to educate their fellow citizens, and spark this awakening.

The future of Western civilization depends upon it.

Follow Ben Weingarten (@bhweingarten) and TheBlazeBooks on Twitter and Facebook.

Why Obama Needs to Pretend the Taliban Aren’t Terrorists

pic_giant_013115_SM_TalibanNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Jan. 31, 2015:

No doubt because of my background investigating, prosecuting, and studying terrorism, the cynical claim by White House spokesmen that the Taliban is not a terrorist organization has annoyed me even more than the Obama administration’s nonstop lying usually does. No surprise then that I could be found railing about it on The Kelly File Thursday night.

In that spirit, ten thoughts for the weekend:

1. Under federal law, there are only three requirements for a group to qualify as a “foreign terrorist organization”: It has to be (a) foreign, (b) engaged in “terrorist activity” (bombings, assassinations, etc., carried out to intimidate people and change policy), and (c) a national-security threat to the United States. The law that covers this is Sec. 1189(a) of Title 8, U.S. Code, from the federal Immigration and Nationality Act. It’s here, and it’s just the first few lines — even a president who routinely ignores the laws he is sworn to execute faithfully should be able to make some time for it, maybe on the plane ride between the golf course and the Saudi palace.

2. Obviously, even if it were true, as posited by Messrs. Schultz and Earnest (speaking for President Obama), that the Taliban is concerned only with Afghanistan, not with the global jihad, that would be irrelevant. They easily fit the definition of a foreign terrorist organization.

3. Of course, it is not true that the Taliban is concerned only with Afghanistan. The administration’s risible claim to the contrary is part of its campaign to bleach the Islam out of radical Islam. Islamic supremacism, the ideology that fuels jihadist terror, is a global conquest ideology. Obama wants you to believe that there is just a dizzying array of small, disconnected, strange-sounding, indigenous “insurgent” groups that are not joined by any unifying ideology — the Afghan Taliban (not to be confused with the Pakistani Taliban), Hamas, Hezbollah, the Haqqani Network, Boko Haram, al-Nusra, Ansar al-Sharia, the sundry jihadist franchises that invoke al-Qaeda’s name (in the Arabian Peninsula, in the Islamic Maghreb, in the Indian subcontinent . . . ), and so on. You are not to see them as a united front against the West, but instead as animated by strictly parochial political and territorial disputes. The strategy, a disingenuous elevation of semantics over substance, is designed to minimize the global jihadist threat to the West that has intensified on Obama’s watch and has undeniable roots in a supremacist interpretation of Islam.

4. You need not take my word for it when it comes to the Taliban’s ideological connection to the global jihad. Instead, just look at what they do. What did the Taliban do when they ruled Afghanistan? They willfully allowed their territory to be used as a launch pad for attacks against the United States (the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa, the 2000 bombing of the Cole, and the 9/11 atrocities). And after 9/11, when, by simply handing bin Laden & Co. over to the United States, they could have stayed in power and avoided an invasion of the Afghanistan they are said to be preoccupied with, what did they do? At enormous cost to themselves, they tried to shelter al-Qaeda. In the 14 years since, they have continued to abet the global jihadist campaign, and have reveled in making war against the United States — a war they now understandably think they will win.

5. The Taliban’s continued alliance with al-Qaeda’s global jihad is of a piece with Hamas’s self-proclaimed incorporation in the Muslim Brotherhood’s global ambitions, and with the forward-militia role Hezbollah plays for Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s revolutionary state that exports its Shiite version of jihad. All of these actors perceive themselves as enmeshed in a civilizational struggle against the West. We can’t erase that by pretending there is no animating ideology, pretending that they can be pacified if we satisfy their local grievances.

6. This business of distinguishing “insurgents” from “terrorists” is nonsense. An insurgency is just a domestic uprising (in the sense that the insurgent is from the country in which he is rebelling). When insurgents use terrorist tactics they are domestic terrorists. It may make Obama feel better to say that his pal Bill Ayers was an “insurgent,” but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a terrorist.

7. The most disturbing facet of the “insurgent” canard is that Obama is buying the logic of such Islamic supremacists as the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They claim that Hamas and Hezbollah are not terrorist organizations (as American law designates them to be) but domestic political organizations that engage not in terrorism but in “resistance” — a righteous fight against “injustice” and “occupation” in their homelands.

8. Obama, of course, is not approving of the Taliban’s tactics and goals. But he wants you to see them as domestic insurgents because progressives believe insurgents should be negotiated with and brought into a political settlement — and to the extent insurgents go overboard in their aggression, progressives believe they should be prosecuted in the civilian justice system, not fought militarily like wartime enemies.

9. In the United States, Obama is operating in a political environment where the public — based on longstanding prudential American policy — believes we should not negotiate with terrorists because that encourages and legitimizes their savage methods. Similarly, the public strongly believes international terrorists are enemies who must be defeated, not defendants who must be indicted. Obama knows he is negotiating with, intends to settle with, and eventually will leave Afghanistan to the tender mercies of, the Taliban. Therefore, the administration is desperate that you not look at the Taliban as terrorists.

10. But they are terrorists.

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

Don’t Blame the Charlie Hebdo Mass Murder on ‘Extremism’

pic_giant_010715_SM_Hebdo-Attack-MainNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy:

There are now at least twelve confirmed dead in the terrorist attack carried out by at least three jihadist gunmen against the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo. While it practices equal-opportunity satire, lampooning Islam has proved lethal for the magazine, just as it has for so many others who dare to exercise the bedrock Western liberty of free expression. Charlie Hebdo’s offices were firebombed in 2011 over a caricature of Mohammed that depicted him saying, “100 lashes if you don’t die from laughter.”

The cartoon was obviously referring to sharia, Islam’s legal code and totalitarian framework. Don’t take my word for it. Just flip through Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, the authoritative sharia manual. You will find a number of offenses for which flagellation is the prescribed penalty.

To take just a couple of examples, “the penalty for drinking is to be scourged forty stripes,” although the caliph (the Islamic ruler) is authorized to increase this to 80 stripes — although he must pay an indemnity if death results. . . . Pretty moderate, right? (Reliance, p. 617, sec. o16.3.) For adultery “the penalty consists of being scourged one hundred stripes” — and that’s if the adulterer “is not considered to have the capacity to remain chaste” (e.g., if she “is prepubescent at the time of marital intercourse.” “If the offender is someone with the capacity to remain chaste, then he or she is stoned to death.” (Reliance, p. 610, sec. o12.2.)

What Charlie Hebdo has satirized is a savage reality. That reality was visited on the magazine again today. As night follows day, progressive governments in Europe and the United States are already straining to pretend that this latest atrocity is the wanton work of “violent extremists,” utterly unrelated to Islam. You are to believe, then, that François Hollande, Barack Obama, David Cameron, and their cohort of non-Muslim Islamophiles are better versed in sharia than the Muslim scholars who’ve dedicated their lives to its study and have endorsed such scholarly works as Reliance.

Let me repeat what I have detailed here before: Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State did not make up sharia law. Islam did. We can keep our heads tucked snug in the sand, or we can recognize the source of the problem.

As I detailed in Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, the literalist construction of sharia that Islamic supremacists seek to enforce is “literal” precisely because it comes from Islamic scripture, not from some purportedly “extremist” fabrication of Islam. Moreover, this “classical sharia” is enthusiastically endorsedin principle by several of the most influential institutions in the Islamic Middle East, which explains why it is routinely put into practice when Islamists are given — or seize — the opportunity to rule over a territory.

Reliance is not some al-Qaeda or Islamic State pamphlet. It is a renowned explication of sharia’s provisions and their undeniable roots in Muslim scripture. In the English translation, before you get to chapter and verse, there are formal endorsements, including one from the International Institute of Islamic Thought — a U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood think tank begun in the early Eighties (and to which American administrations of both parties have resorted as an exemplar of “moderation”). Perhaps more significantly, there is also an endorsement from the Islamic Research Academy at al Azhar University, the ancient seat of Sunni learning to which President Obama famously turned to co-sponsor his cloyingly deceptive 2009 speech on relations between Islam and the West.

In their endorsement, the al-Azhar scholars wrote:

We certify that the . . . translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community. . . . There is no objection to printing it and circulating it. . . . May Allah give you success in serving Sacred Knowledge and the religion.

There could be no more coveted stamp of scholarly approval in Islam.

Charlie Hebdo, of course, is in the business of cartoon caricature for satirical purposes. That is a time-honored method of expression, political and otherwise, in the West. That is in stark contrast to how such expression is viewed by Islam. Here, as I summarized in my book Spring Fever – quoted verbatim and supported by citations — is what Reliance has to say about such visual art forms:

It is forbidden to make pictures of “animate life,” for doing so “imitates the creative act of Allah Most High”; “Whoever makes a picture, Allah shall torture him with it on the Day of Judgment until he can breathe life into it, and he will never be able to.” (Reliance w50.0 & ff.)

Nor is visual depiction alone in drawing sharia’s wrath. “Musical instruments of all types are unlawful.” As Reliance elaborates, singing is generally prohibited (for “song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage”), and “on the Day of Resurrection Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress.” There is an exception, though: If unaccompanied by musical instruments, song and poetry drawn from Islamic scripture and encouraging obedience to Allah are permissible. Ironically, although music is generally forbidden, dancing is permissible “unless it is languid, like the movements of the effeminate.” (Reliance r40.0 &ff.)

Understand, the prohibitions just described apply to artistic expression in general; Islam need not be lampooned for caricatures to run afoul of sharia. With that hostile predisposition in mind, let’s now consider Islam’s draconian treatment of expression that renounces Islam, belittles it or, in the slightest way, casts it in an unfavorable light:

Apostasy from Islam is “the ugliest form of unbelief” for which the penalty is death (“When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed”). (Reliance o8.0 & ff.)

Apostasy occurs not only when a Muslim renounces Islam but also, among other things, when a Muslim appears to worship an idol, when he is heard “to speak words that imply unbelief,” when he makes statements that appear to deny or revile Allah or the prophet Mohammed, when he is heard “to deny the obligatory character of something which by consensus of Muslims is part of Islam,” and when he is heard “to be sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred Law.” (Reliance o8.7; see also p9.0 & ff.)

It is worth pausing to mull these latter prohibitions against denying or reviling any aspect of Islam, Allah, or the prophet. The call to kill apostates for such offensesobviously applies with equal or greater force to non-Muslims, who are pervasively treated far worse than Muslims are by sharia. See, for example, the infamous verse 29 from Sura 9, the Koran’s most bellicose chapter:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden which had been forbidden by Allah and his Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the people of the book [i.e., Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya [the poll tax imposed on non-believers for the privilege of living in the Islamic state] and feel themselves subdued.

While insipid Western leaders cannot admonish us often enough that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” the French satirical magazine has offered a different take — one rooted in the cherished Western belief that examination in the light of day, rather than willful blindness, is the path to real understanding. In that tradition, a few other choice aspects of sharia, detailed by Muslim scholars in Reliance, are worth reviewing:

“Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.” (Reliance o9.0.)

It is an annual requirement to donate a portion of one’s income to the betterment of the ummah (an obligation called zakat, which is usually, and inaccurately, translated as “charity”); of this annual donation, one-eighth must be given to “those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster. . . . They are given enough to suffice them for the operation even if they are affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing and expenses.” (Reliance, h8.1–17.)

As commanded in the aforementioned Sura 9:29, non-Muslims are permitted to live in an Islamic state only if they follow the rules of Islam, pay the non-Muslim poll tax, and comply with various conditions designed to remind them that they have been subdued, such as wearing distinctive clothing, keeping to one side of the street, not being greeted with “Peace be with you” (“as-Salamu alaykum”), not being permitted to build as high as or higher than Muslims, and being forbidden to build new churches, recite prayers aloud, “or make public displays of their funerals or feast-days.” (Reliance o11.0 & ff.)

Offenses committed against Muslims, including murder, are more serious than offenses committed against non-Muslims. (Reliance o1.0 & ff; p2.0-1.)

The penalty for spying against Muslims is death. (Reliance p50.0 & ff; p74.0 & ff.)

The penalty for homosexual activity (“sodomy and lesbianism”) is death. (Reliance p17.0 & ff.)

A Muslim woman may marry only a Muslim man; a Muslim man may marry up to four women, who may be Muslim, Christian, or Jewish (but no apostates from Islam). (Reliance m6.0 & ff. — Marriage.)

A woman is required to be obedient to her husband and is prohibited from leaving the marital home without permission; if permitted to go out, she must conceal her figure or alter it “to a form unlikely to draw looks from men or attract them.” (Reliance p42.0 & ff.)

A non-Muslim may not be awarded custody of a Muslim child. (Reliance m13.2–3.)

A woman has no right of custody of her child from a previous marriage when she remarries “because married life will occupy her with fulfilling the rights of her husband and prevent her from tending to the child.” (Reliance m13.4.)

The penalty for theft is amputation of the right hand. (Reliance o14.0.)

The penalty for accepting interest (“usurious gain”) is death (i.e., to be considered in a state of war against Allah). (Reliance p7.0 & ff.)

The testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man. (Reliance o24.7.)

If a case involves an allegation of fornication (including rape), “then it requires four male witnesses.” (Reliance o24.9.)

The establishment of a caliphate is obligatory, and the caliph must be Muslim and male. “The Prophet . . . said, ‘Men are already destroyed when they obey women.’” (Reliance o25.0 & ff; see also p28.0, on Mohammed’s condemnation of “masculine women and effeminate men.”)

This is not “violent extremist” doctrine. This is Islamic doctrine — sharia, authoritatively explained and endorsed. Millions of Muslims, particularly in the West, do not abide by it and are working heroically — and at great risk to themselves — to marginalize or supersede it. Of course we should admire and help them. That, however, is not a reason to pretend that this doctrine does not exist. It is, furthermore, suicidal to ignore the fact that, because this doctrine is rooted in scripture and endorsed by influential scholars, some Muslims are going to act on it, and many millions more will support them.

This anti-liberty, supremacist, repulsively discriminatory, and sadly mainstream interpretation of Islam must be acknowledged and confronted. In its way, that is what Charlie Hebdo had been attempting to do — while, to their lasting shame, governments in the United States and Europe have been working with Islamist statesto promote sharia blasphemy standards. That needs to end. The future must not belong to those who brutalize free expression in the name of Islam.

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

The Feinstein Report Is Going to Cost Us

pic_giant_121314_SM_Dianne_FeinsteinNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, DECEMBER 13, 2014:

Jihadists are still waging their war against the civilized world. Check that: Jihadists are currently winning their war against the civilized world. Thank Barack Obama, who fails to grasp the difference between being “the president who ends wars” and the president who retreats from wars, and thus surrenders while the enemy is on the rise.

What is the response of Senate sages to this predicament? Dianne Feinstein and her fellow Democrats saw it as the perfect time to savage the CIA, further burn America’s bridges with anti-terrorism allies, and hand jihadists a huge propaganda victory.

The Islamic State had a response, too: They beheaded four Christian children for refusing to renounce Jesus Christ.

You see where this is going, no?

The Democrats’ “torture” report is a gratuitous hit job — brought to you by the same party that, out of political calculation, aggressively undermined the American war effort in Iraq — only after voting to send our men and women into grave danger there, also out of political calculation.

To be sure, the report is a highly disturbing document. It graphically illustrates the severity of enhanced interrogation tactics used against a small group of top-tier terrorists — terrorists who were responsible for brutally murdering thousands of Americans and who, at the time of their capture, were actively plotting to kill thousands more.

Still, notwithstanding the revelation of a few new gory details, this is old news and its disclosure serves no useful purpose — it is just a settling of scores.

“Old news” is not used here in the familiar Clinton/Obama sense of acknowledging a few embarrassing scandal details on Friday night to pave the way for dismissing scandal coverage as stale by Monday morning. The CIA’s interrogation program happened over a decade ago. It was investigated by Justice Department prosecutors for years — and not once but twice. The second time, even Eric Holder, the hyper-politicized, hard-Left attorney general who had promised Obama’s base a “reckoning,” could not help but concede that the case against our intelligence agents should be dropped because the evidence was insufficient to warrant torture prosecutions.

As I have frequently argued here over the years, there is a world of difference between what is couched in political rhetoric as “torture,” a conversation stopper that the Left cavalierly applies to every instance of prisoner abuse, and the federal crime of torture, which has a strict legal definition and is a difficult offense to prove, precisely to ensure that torture is not trivialized. Not surprisingly, then, the fact that the interrogations investigation was terminated has never been regarded as a clean bill of health.

To the contrary, disclosure was made to the public, through congressional investigations as well as through the criminal probe, that the tactics used were troubling. The treatment of a bare fraction of the tens of thousands of detainees held for a time raised concerns about abuse — far less than the norm in previous wars. The abuses that did occur, however, became notorious. And they were not trivial. Indeed, two detainees died: one under suspicious circumstances in Iraq, another of hypothermia in Afghanistan.

But we’ve known this for years. In conjunction with the Left’s shameful “Bush lied, people died” Iraq war meme — along with the Bush administration’s peculiar decision not to defend itself from scurrilous allegations — the “torture” narrative helped propel Democrats to decisive victories in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Feinstein’s report similarly serves no useful purpose when it comes to the ostensible rationale for its release, namely: the quest to corroborate the strictly ideological — and demonstrably false — claim that coercive interrogation does not yield vital intelligence.

On this score, it is almost not worth pointing to the averments of current and former CIA directors and operatives that the techniques employed produced essential wartime intelligence. It is even tempting to omit mention of the fact that the 9/11 Commission Report — lauded by members of both parties as the definitive account of the 9/11 attacks and the foundation of American counterterrorism policy — is largely the product of intelligence culled from top terrorists subjected to waterboarding and other indignities.

These are time-wasting exercises because the Feinstein report, as a piece of government investigative work, is laughably incompetent — at least as much as a taxpayer can laugh at a $50 million political stunt. An investigation that, as Rich Lowry notes, neglects to interview a single participant in the relevant events is a fraud. There is no other word for it.

This one will cost us dearly — and I’m not just talking about the $50 mil. The allies we need to prosecute a global anti-terror campaign — the ones from whom Obama’s election was supposed to win us renewed respect and affection — despise us for what Senate Democrats have done. As someone who has been around the block as many times as Feinstein must be aware, the report embarrasses governments that cooperate with the United States and raises their vulnerability as terror targets.

And just as our allies are reminded that America is an unfaithful friend, so, too, have American national-security officials, intelligence agents, and warriors been given a cautionary lesson: If you take actions to protect the American people — in wartime, in the heat of the moment amid a palpably justified fear of mass-murder attacks after nearly 3,000 of your fellow citizens have been slaughtered — better prepare to be hounded as a war criminal for the succeeding decade or more.

Jihadists, meanwhile, will go on beheading teenagers and planning massive attacks.

It has been one thing to tell our ascendant enemies — in actions and omissions that speak louder than words — that we have no stomach to fight them where they must be fought: on the ground where, we know, given time and space, they plot to kill Americans. It is quite another thing to buoy them with the assurance that a major party in this country has a bottomless appetite to fight Americans whose major allegiance is to America.

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

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As War Heats Up, Obama Dismantles War Approach to Counterterrorism

abc_obama_words_090331_mnPJ Media, By Andrew C. McCarthy:

Last week, while Republicans popped open the champagne over the electorate’s emphatic rejection of the Obama left’s policies, Mr. Obama significantly advanced one he’s been pushing – against public opinion and with haltingly incremental success – since the first hours of his presidency. Lost amid Shellacking 2.0 – and between the sudden dump of over 60,000 previously withheld Fast & Furious documents and the president’s reaffirmation of his executive illegal-alien amnesty vow – was the administration’s further dismantling of the post-9/11 counterterrorism paradigm.

With nearly no one noticing, the administration transferred a long-held terrorist detainee out of Guantanamo Bay. Fawzi al-Odah was returned to his native Kuwait, another Gulf halfway house between Gitmo and return to the jihad. He had been detained under the laws of war for over a dozen years because he was assessed as posing a continuing danger. Naturally, his release was instantly heralded by an al Qaeda leader in Syria – indeed, by a top figure in what the administration refers to as the Khorasan group, the al Qaeda component plotting attacks against the U.S. and the West. And astoundingly, it appears that al Qaeda knew Odah’s release was coming before the American people were informed.

Odah’s transfer comes just as the president, forced to confront the increased jihadist threat from al Qaeda and ISIS, has escalated the number of American troops (as “advisers” only, of course) and continues conducting an aerial bombing campaign. It fulfills a prediction made this past summer by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and other commentators (including your humble correspondent): The release in July of five Taliban commanders in exchange for the deserter Bowe Bergdahl was intended to help Obama achieve the vow to close Guantanamo Bay, made on his first day in office. (Actually, Obama promised to close Gitmo within a year. He is five years behind schedule because Americans hate the idea, igniting strong congressional opposition.)

The laws of war, the foundation of Bush-Cheney post-9/11 counterterrorism, provide for detention without trial of enemy combatants until the conclusion of hostilities. Hostilities are not close to being over – as Obama quite obviously recognizes since our forces continue to conduct lethal attacks. We know, moreover, that a very high percentage of former detainees return to the jihad. The CIA has conceded that it could be 20 percent, but the truth is it’s no doubt higher – our intelligence community has no idea who goes back to the jihad unless they encounter the terrorist on the battlefield or are in the unusual position of having good intelligence about about what he’s up to. We do know that former Gitmo detainees regularly resurface as al Qaeda leaders in places like in Yemen, Iraq and Libya.

Yet, by releasing the Taliban commanders – the “worst of the worst” … and at a time when the Taliban was (just as it is) still conducting terrorist operations against our troops – Obama established a very high ceiling. By acceding to the release of high-ranking Taliban operatives despite the heightening threat, the administration makes it far more difficult to rationalize the continued detention without trial of virtually any other Gitmo detainee. By comparison, the Taliban commanders were bound to be worse.

Bear in mind, moreover, that the Obama administration is threaded with lawyers who used to represent terrorist detainees (voluntarily … for free!). These lawyers well know that many of the detainees are still bringing the same kinds of lawsuits these lawyers used to help them bring: challenges to their detention without trial. By springing the most dangerous terrorists, the administration plainly strengthens the litigation position of lesser players still held at Gitmo. While courts are reluctant to issue outright release orders – there being debate about the extent of their authority to do so – they certainly can and do ratchet up pressure on the government to get the terrorists out of Gitmo (i.e., to find countries willing to take them and effect transfer). Indeed, in al-Odah’s own case, while declining to invalidate the terrorist’s law-of-war detention, a federal judge in Virginia admonished that the time was coming that the executive branch would be obliged to release the detainees. Less than three months later, al-Odah was sent home.

Expect a quickening of the pace. Obama is patently pushing to reduce the number of detainees at Gitmo, now estimated at 148, to one low enough to justify, at least in his own mind, transferring the remainder into the United States. Gitmo would then be shuttered.

Knowing how ballistic this would make voters, congressional Republicans have succeeded in enacting laws that prohibit the executive branch from moving the detainees into U.S. prisons. But our imperious president is notorious for riding roughshod over federal laws not to his liking. He has never been stopped by mere law; he has been brushed back only by concern about political damage that might hurt him and Democrats in elections.

Except … now he doesn’t have anymore elections to worry about. All that is left for the next two years-plus is the imperative to implement as much of his agenda as his enormous raw power allows.