Austria Passes Reforms to 1912 Islam Law

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, February 27, 2015:

The new law, which the Austrian government says could serve as a model for the rest of Europe, seeks to reduce outside meddling by prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria. It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Turkish government has expressed outrage at the financing ban, which it says amounts to “Islamophobia.”

“Countries cannot have their own version of Islam. Islam is universal and its sources are clear. … [E]fforts taken by state leaders to create a version of Islam that is particular to their own countries are futile.” — Mehmet Görmez, Head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate.

The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools and are on the verge of overtaking Catholics in elementary schools.

At the same, time Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam.

The Austrian parliament has approved controversial reforms to the country’s century-old Islam Law (Islamgesetz), governing the status of Muslims in the country.

The new law, which was passed on February 25, is aimed at integrating Muslims and fighting Islamic radicalism by promoting an “Islam with an Austrian character.”

Among other changes, the new law seeks to reduce outside meddling by prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria. It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Austrian government says the new law is a milestone and could serve as a model for the rest of Europe. But Muslim groups say it is discriminatory and have vowed to challenge it in court.

The new law overhauls the original Islam Law, which dates back to 1912. The original law was passed in order to help integrate Muslim soldiers into the Habsburg Imperial Army after the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908. The law recognized Islam as an official religion in Austria, and allowed Muslims to practice their religion in accordance with the laws of the state.

After the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in the aftermath of World War I, the number of Muslims in Austria was reduced to just a few hundred people. After World War II, however, Austria’s Muslim population increased rapidly with the arrival of “guest workers” from Turkey and the Balkans in the 1960s, and refugees from Bosnia in the 1990s.

According to data compiled by the University of Vienna, the Muslim population in Austria now exceeds 574,000 (or roughly 7% of the total population), up from an estimated 340,000 (or 4.25%) in 2001 and 150,000 (or 2%) in 1990.

The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, where the Muslim population now exceeds 12.5%, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools. Muslim students are also on the verge of overtaking Catholics in Viennese elementary schools.

At the same time, Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam. A recent report by Austria’s Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism (BVT) warned of the “exploding radicalization of the Salafist scene in Austria.” Salafism is an anti-Western ideology that seeks to impose Islamic sharia law.

Due to its geographic location, Austria has also become a central hub for European jihadists seeking to fight in Syria. In addition to being a transit point for foreigners going to fight with the Islamic State, at least 190 Austrian citizens have become jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

In an interview with Austrian Public Radio Ö1-Morgenjournal, Austria’s Minister for Integration and Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz, said the rapid rise of Islam in Austria has rendered the old Islam Law obsolete. A new law is needed, he said, to stipulate more clearly the rights and responsibilities of Muslims living in the country.

The new law (nine-page text in German here) regulates at least a dozen separate issues, including relatively non-controversial matters such as Muslim holidays, Muslim cemeteries, Muslim dietary practices and the activities of Muslim clergy in hospitals, prisons and the army. In this respect, the government has met all of the demands put forth by Muslim groups in the country.

The new law, however, goes far beyond what Muslims had wanted. For example, the law seeks to prevent the growth of a parallel Islamic society in Austria by regulating mosques and the training of imams, who will now be required to be proficient in German. The new law also requires Muslim organizations and groups to terminate the employment of clerics who have criminal records or who “pose a threat to public safety, order, health and morals or the rights and freedoms of others.”

More significantly, Paragraph 6.2 of the law seeks to limit the religious and political influence of foreign governments within the Austrian Muslim community by prohibiting foreign countries — presumably Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states — from financing Islamic centers and mosques in Austria.

The new restrictions — including an employment ban for foreign clerics in Austria as of March 31, 2016 — would apply especially to Turkey: 60 of the 300 Muslim clerics working in Austria are Turkish civil servants whose salaries are being paid for by the Turkish government’s Religious Affairs Directorate, the Diyanet.

In an interview with the BBC, Kurz said the reforms were a “milestone” for Austria and were aimed at preventing certain Muslim countries from using financial means to exert “political influence.” He said:

“What we want is to reduce the political influence and control from abroad and we want to give Islam the chance to develop freely within our society and in line with our common European values.”

The Turkish government has expressed outrage at the financing ban, which it says amounts to “Islamophobia.” The head of the Diyanet, Mehmet Görmez, said it was a “huge mistake” that would throw Austria’s tradition of tolerance towards Islam “back 100 years.” He added:

“Countries come together from time to time on the grounds of security concerns and try to construct a version of Islam peculiar to their own countries, rather than increase the freedoms that would lead to unity and remove obstacles before the religious education and services, and make an effort to remove anti-Islamic sentiments and Islamophobia.

“Countries cannot have their own version of Islam. Islam is universal and its sources are clear. Therefore, religion is not a matter of engineering. I would like to restate that efforts taken by state leaders to create a version of Islam that is particular to their own countries are futile.”

Mehmet Görmez (left), head of the Turkish government’s Religious Affairs Directorate, denounced Austria’s new law and said that Austria should instead “make an effort to remove anti-Islamic sentiments and Islamophobia.” Johann Rädler (right), speaking for the Austrian People’s Party, said the law “guarantees Muslims more rights, and on the other hand it serves to counteract undesirable developments.”

For many, however, the most contentious part of the law involves Paragraph 4.2, which states that Muslim organizations “must have a positive attitude toward society and state” or be shut down. According to the government, this formulation makes it clear that Austrian civil law has priority over Islamic Sharia law. Muslim groups say this is unfair because it casts a “veil of general suspicion” over the entire community.

Kurz has defended the clause: “In Austria there must be no contradiction between being a self-conscious Austrian, while at the same time also being a devout Muslim. That was always the intention behind this law.”

Some say the law does not go far enough. The leader of the anti-immigration Freedom Party of Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache, says that the law is full of loopholes will be difficult if not impossible to enforce. He also expressed dismay that the law does not include a ban on minarets and burkas.

A spokesperson for the Austrian People’s Party, Johann Rädler, said the law is the result of compromises that were made on both sides. He added:

“The goal of this law is to promote an Islam with an Austrian character, without being patronizing and without being dependent upon contributions from abroad. On the one hand, this law guarantees Muslims more rights, and on the other hand it serves to counteract undesirable developments.”

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

Ezra Levant: How ISIS Are Worse Than the Nazis

The Rebel, by EZRA LEVANT, Feb. 26, 2015:

Islamic State terrorists went on a rampage in a museum in Nineveh, smashing priceless treasures.

At least the Nazis hid away great art when they invaded countries — they didn’t destroy it.

This primitive impulse towards chaos and destruction isn’t just something going on “over there.” Look at the Edmonton girl who was recruited to join ISIS in Syria.

Even one left-wing gay activist seems to be catching on:

He shocked a CBC panel by saying, “I know I sound like Ezra Levant, but…”, then went on to talk about Canadians being recruited to take part in terrorism (a word the CBC doesn’t officially allow.)

 

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READ Ezra Levant’s timely book The Enemy Within: Terror, Lies, and the Whitewashing of Omar Khadr

The Problem with Countering Violent Extremism

kl-450x296Frontpage, February 25, 2015 by Daniel Greenfield:

Obama’s Summit to Counter Violent Extremism was one of the most schizophrenic events on record. Its overall strategy was to counter Islamic radicalization while claiming that it had nothing to do with Islam. Even the King of Saudi Arabia and the leaders of a number of Muslim countries are willing to talk about Islamic terrorism. Obama isn’t. But he is rolling out a strategy to influence the theology of Muslims.

How do you change the beliefs of a religion which you can’t even name? You can’t and you don’t.

The whole premise of CVE subdivides “violent extremism” from Islam and then further subdivides violent extremism from extremism. Barbers split fewer hairs than this. CVE tells us that the best way to fight violent extremists is with “non violent extremist” Salafi clergy who have the most influence on them. We’re supposed to fight the ISIS Caliphate with supporters of another kind of Caliphate.

What it really comes down to is paying Muslims to argue with other Muslims on social media. And hope that the Muslims we’re paying to do the arguing are the good kind of extremists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and not the bad kind of extremists, like ISIS. Even though they’re both vicious killers.

CVE not only doesn’t fight terrorism, it perpetuates the whole reason for it by outsourcing our interaction with domestic Muslims to the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s a big part of how we got a terrorism problem in the first place. CVE’s promoters have convinced us that the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is by partnering with Islamic terrorists.

Obama began by watering down terrorism from a military problem to a law enforcement issue. CVE waters it down even further by eliminating it as a law enforcement issue (the FBI chief was not invited to the summit to avoid making law enforcement the focus) and turning terrorism into a social problem.

The underlying problem with CVE is that it tries to transform a military problem into a civilian social problem. It bogs us down in debating Islamic theology while warning us not to mention Islam. These are not problems that we can solve. Even if there really were a definite split between Muslim moderates and extremists, rather than an immoderate Islam broken into different factions in a power struggle, the government is not the right tool for settling a religious dispute. And that’s what CVE tries to do.

CVE declares that ISIS and its supporters are not Muslims. The Saudis might have the authority to do that. Al Azhar may have the authority to do that. We don’t. The only people who believe these claims are American non-Muslims. Muslims are not impressed by us deciding who is and isn’t a Muslim.

The United States government is not an Islamic authority. We’re not a Muslim country and we shouldn’t try to be. And non-Muslim countries don’t have a good track record of exploiting Islamic theology.

Islamic terrorism is a military problem. It always has been.

Post 9/11, that’s how we first saw it. Islamic Jihadists are not domestic terrorists even if they have the right passport. Nazi saboteurs in WW2 or Communist spies during the Cold War were not a domestic enemy. It’s not the possession of American citizenship that distinguishes a domestic enemy from a foreign enemy, but his cause. Domestic enemies may seek to overthrow the government. Foreign enemies are working to aid a foreign force in inflicting harm on the United States of America.

CVE demands that we fight a war over someone else’s ideas on our own soil. It’s a dead end strategy. At best we would end up with a government approved Islam and an anti-government Islam. And then our accomplishment will have been to replicate the same totalitarian state of affairs in the Muslim world. But it’s far more likely that we will end up being used as pawns in a war between different Islamist groups, such as ISIS and the Brotherhood, funding their causes and bleeding for their political agendas.

But we’re not actually in a war of ideas. It’s still a war of bombs and bullets.

Terrorism against America won’t be stopped on Twitter. It can be stopped at the airport. Our domestic terrorists are mostly Muslim refugees or their children. And the occasional American converted by them. The situation would have quickly gotten ugly if we had allowed large numbers of Nazi and Imperial Japan loyalists to enter the United States during WW2. The Nazis sent in teams of saboteurs who were tried by military tribunals and executed. The spy rings and saboteur teams were not seen as a domestic problem.

The United States did not employ moderate Nazis to try to reason with the extremist Nazis or non-violent Nazis to educate the violent Nazis about the true peaceful meaning of National Socialism.

Instead the issue was defined in terms of allegiance to the United States. Everything else proceeded from that. Either you were loyal to the United States or you weren’t. CVE shifts the emphasis of allegiance from the United States to Muslims. It puts the burden on the United States to integrate Muslims, to make them feel at home, to reassure them so that they don’t turn to violence.

And that’s exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood wants.

Instead of placing the burden on Muslims to be loyal, a burden that all Americans already carry, it commences a process of domestic appeasement for trying to win the loyalty of people who already swore an oath to end all foreign allegiances and defend the nation against foreign enemies. It transforms Muslims into a separate nation within the United States whose allegiance is always contested and has to be constantly won over and over again.

While claiming to combat an Islamic State Caliphate, CVE concedes its central premise.

The allegiance of citizens in a nation at war is not a bargaining matter. Either it exists or it does not. A sensible counterterrorism strategy at home will not aim at parsing different flavors of Islam, but at distinguishing between those citizens whose allegiance we have and those whose allegiance we do not.

Islamic terrorism and support for it, of any variety, is first and foremost a failure of allegiance. It is treason in the practical, if not always the legal sense. It is the action of an enemy who through this betrayal knowingly abandons his or her citizenship.

We do not need to counter “violent extremism”. What we need to do is to be certain of allegiances.

This isn’t new territory. During WW2, the United States not only arrested enemy agents, it also initiated denaturalization proceedings against Nazi sympathizers. Not only did we not take in new Nazis during the war, but we made it clear to the existing ones that they would be executed or deported.

The combination proved to be extremely effective. It did not ensure loyalty. What it did was make it clear that treason would not be tolerated. And it prevented a flow of new enemy recruits.

That is what is needed in wartime.

A real strategy for fighting Islamic terrorism begins with the recognition that we are at war. It identifies the enemy. And it offers those whose allegiances are mixed a choice between committing or departing. CVE does the opposite. It refuses to recognize that there is a war. It rejects the idea that Muslims should be expected to show their allegiance and instead demands that the United States show its allegiance to them. It inverts the balance of citizenship and invests the United States in an unspoken religious debate.

We have lost sight of the problem and so we are unable to arrive at a solution. The problem is military. Islamic terrorism is not domestic unrest, but foreign invasion. It should be understood and addressed in those terms whether it comes through an immigration checkpoint or carrying a bomb over the border.

Also see:

Australian Terrorism Crackdown Goes After ‘Hate Preachers,’ ISIS Volunteers, and Welfare for Terrorists

AFP

AFP

Breitbart, by JOHN HAYWARD, Feb. 23, 2015:

Reuters reported on a new national security initiative in Australia, announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, which includes measures that could “deny welfare payments to people seen as potential threats, strip the passports of those with dual nationality and curb travel overseas.”

“For too long, we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt,” Abbott said.

“We will never sacrifice our freedoms in order to defend them, but we will not let our enemies exploit our decency either.”

He was speaking a day after the release of a damning report into the siege, in which two hostages and a radical self-styled sheikh who had sought to align himself with Islamic State were killed.

The conservative Abbott said new laws would remedy failings exposed in the areas of immigration, welfare, policing and intelligence by clamping down on those who supported radicals, especially recipients of welfare.

The laws will also target so-called “hate preachers”, he said, citing as an example the radical but non-violent Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Abbott explicitly linked welfare to terrorism, accusing dozens of Australians fighting in Syria and Iraq of having been on the dole, adding that payments to “individuals assessed to be a threat to security” could soon be canceled.

“People who come to this country are free to live as they choose. Provided they don’t steal that same freedom from others,” he said.

Reuters judges this measure is partly a result of Abbott seeking to recover from the recent challenge to his leadership, coupled with public anxiety about terrorism after the Sydney cafe hostage crisis, and several recent thwarted plots. Abbott’s quest to restore his standing with the public is going remarkably well; The Daily Telegraph describes the eight-point turnaround for his political coalition as “almost miraculous.”

The report on the Lindt cafe siege mentioned that Australia’s security hotline received no less than 18 complaints about the “self-styled cleric” Man Haron Monis in the days before he launched the attack. He was already on the radar screen of Australian authorities for sending hate mail to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, had been repeatedly discussed by counterterrorism experts as a potential problem over the past six years, and was out on bail for charges of murdering his ex-wife on the day he barged into the cafe and took hostages.

He was also the subject of nearly 40 different charges of sexual assault, according to a Daily Telegraph editorial that judges his sorry saga “smacks of a system which is not merely celebrating diversity, but is perversely being held hostage to an overwhelming and pernicious regimen of political correctness pervading the bureaucracy.”

The report also recommended changes to Australia’s citizenship and immigration laws to keep characters like Monis out of the country, leading Abbott to declare, “Plainly, this monster should not have been in our community. He shouldn’t have been allowed into the country. He shouldn’t have been out on bail. He shouldn’t have been with a gun and he shouldn’t have become radicalized.” It is asserted in the report that if Monis arrived in Australia today, he would likely have been granted a visa and introduced to the citizenship process.

Australia is also dealing with the problem of citizens who want to return home after fighting for ISIS and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. The Herald-Sun reports the government has revealed at least thirty of these trained jihadis have returned to Australian soil, with at least 90 more still fighting overseas.

The Daily Telegraph delivers the astonishing revelation that 96 percent of the Australians who have gone overseas to fight with the Islamic State were receiving welfare payments. “As a nation, we were ­repulsed when images started appearing in the media last year of Australian members of the Islamist death cult gloating over the corpses of their victims and brandishing severed heads,” Abbott wrote in an op-ed for the paper. “I was equally appalled when I was briefed last September that 55 out of 57 Australians then believed to be fighting in Syria and Iraq with ISIL and other terrorist groups had been on some form of welfare, including the Disability Support Pension.”

Revoke US Citizenship from Americans Who Join ISIS

A bus en route from Sofia to Istanbul goes through passport control on the Turkish side of the border at Kapikule. PHOTO: DANIELLA ZALCMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

A bus en route from Sofia to Istanbul goes through passport control on the Turkish side of the border at Kapikule. PHOTO: DANIELLA ZALCMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

CSP, by Fred Fleitz, Feb. 23, 2015:

The French and Australian governments have taken aggressive steps to protect its citizens from so-called home grown terrorists who travel to the Middle East to fight for ISIS.  It is time for the United States to implement similar measures.

Over the weekend, the French government for the first time seized the passports of six French citizens who allegedly were planning to travel to Syria to join ISIS and banned 40 more from leaving the country.

France’s top court ruled late last month that the government could strip French citizenship from naturalized French citizens convicted of terrorism charges.  This decision will allow the government to withdraw French citizenship and passports from dual nationality jihadists who immigrated to France from north Africa and the Middle East.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott plans to strip Australian citizenship from dual nationals who return to his country after fighting for ISIS.   The Australian government may also suspend or withdraw citizenship from natural-born Australians who fought for ISIS.  Canada and the UK have laws on the books to do this but reportedly have not used them yet.

An estimated 20,000 foreigners have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.  3,400 of them are Europeans; about 100 are Americans.  The Wall Street Journal reported today that European ISIS recruits are beginning to take steps to evade stepped-up security measures to prevent them from travelling to the Middle East by traveling by road and pretending to take trips to visit relatives or go on holiday to hide their final destinations.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Congressman Steve King (R-IA) believe the United States must crack down on U.S citizens who join ISIS.  That’s why last month they proposed the Expatriate Terrorists Act.  If passed, this bill would revoke U.S. citizenship from anyone fighting for or supporting ISIS.  The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Joe Manchin (R-WV).

Democrats blocked an earlier version of this bill submitted by Cruz last fall because they claimed it was vague and would affect the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.  The White House did not take a public position on Cruz’s bill but is believed to oppose it.

Congressman Steve King explained the urgency for passing the Expatriate Terrorist Act when he said, “I believe these American terrorists have voluntarily renounced their citizenship upon taking an oath to a foreign terrorist organization.”

Senator Cruz, Congressman King and officials in France and Australia understand the seriousness of their citizens traveling to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS and returning home to commit acts of terror.  The Cruz/King bill would send a powerful message that America is prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat ISIS and Americans who join terrorists groups will pay a high price.

Hero of the Middle East: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Gatestone Institute, by Bassam Tawil, February 23, 2015:

The courageous, historic speech yesterday by the Grand Imam of al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni Islam, calling for the reform of Islam, was the result of the even more courageous, historic speech delivered a few weeks ago by Egypt’s devoutly Muslim President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the current American administration’s great friend, is the tree whose fruit is the Islamist terrorism embodied by the ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram and others.

Apparently some of the Sunni Arab States have not yet realized that their own national security, and ability to withstand Iran, depend on how strong Egypt is.

It is possible, in fact, that U.S. policy is to weaken the Sunni world seeking to unite under el-Sisi’s flag of modernity. With European complicity, the U.S. Administration is trying to defraud the Arabs and turn the Israel-Palestine conflict into a center of Middle Eastern chaos, in order to hide the nuclear deal they are concocting with Iran.

The treachery of the U.S. Administration is the reason why Egypt’s faith in the United States, which is supposed to defend the Arabs against a nuclear Iran, has effectively evaporated.

And now the greatest American insanity of all time: America and Turkey are arming and training Islamist terrorist operatives in Turkey, on the ground that they are “moderates” opposed to Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. They either ignore or are unaware that there is no such thing as a moderate Islamist terrorist. The other name of the “moderates” opposing Assad is ISIS.

The Muslim Brotherhood, in effect, runs Turkey. According to recent rumors, Turkey is also planning to build a nuclear reactor, “for research and peaceful purposes.”

Sheikh Dr. Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni Islam, yesterday delivered a courageous, historic speech in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, urging reform in religious education to curb extremism in Islam. Al-Tayyeb’s address was the result of an even more courageous and historic speech, delivered a few weeks ago by Egypt’s devoutly Muslim President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, at Al-Azhar University.

El-Sisi’s monumental statement, truly worthy of a Nobel Prize, is having a seismic result. Al-Sisi directed his remarks, about the ills of Islam to Islamic clerics in Egypt and around the world. It was enormously brave of him. He did not single out radical Islam, but he did call on all Muslims to examine themselves, carry out a religious revolution and renew their faith.

El-Sisi, a man of monumental courage, urged Muslims not to behave according to the ancient, destructive interpretations of the Qur’an and Islam that make the rest of the world hate them, destroy Islam’s reputation and put Muslim immigrants to Western countries in the position of having to fight their hosts. He claimed that it is illogical for over a billion Muslims to aspire to conquer and subdue six billion non-Muslims.

Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, delivered a historic speech to top Islamic scholars and clergy at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, December 28, 2014. (Image source: MEMRI)

Islam deals in depth with uniting the Muslim nation (umma) and mutual responsibility among Muslims, as though they were one entity. The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.A.W.) said that every drop of Muslim blood is more precious than the entire Kaaba. Thus the liberty ISIS took upon itself to burn alive a Jordanian pilot and 45 Egyptians, to spread terrorism throughout Syria, Iraq and Egypt and to kill other Muslims in various locations around the globe, claiming they were “infidels,” is heresy in and of itself.

The calls for the deaths of “a million shaheeds” and the killing of Jews for the sake of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, as was done by Arafat in the past, and is being done now by his heirs in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, are a crime; they are extremist incitement that is opposed to the forgiving and compromising spirit of Islam. The murder and terrorism carried out by terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ] and other Islamist organizations against Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims is contrary to the modern Islam needed in the contemporary era.

El-Sisi was correct that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sunni ideology, which drives most of the extremist Islamist organizations around the world, preaches forced conversion of “infidels” to Islam at any price, or death. Some of the “infidels” are supposed to join Islam of their own accord (targ’ib), out of self-serving interest, and some not of their own accord (tarhib), out of fear and death threats. Such conversions are also contrary to the original Islam, which states that no one is to be forced to convert to Islam and that a calm religious dialogue should be held.

However, a few days after President el-Sisi’s speech, which attempted to unify Muslims and Christian Copts, the Muslim Brotherhood and their affiliated terrorist organizations increased their attacks on Egyptian civilians and security forces throughout Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, as well as murdering 21 Egyptian Christian Copts in Libya. The Muslim Brotherhood knows that behind the scenes, U.S. President Obama supports the movement, especially the branch in Egypt seeking to overthrow President Sisi. This approval from the U.S. encourages the Muslim Brotherhood to be even more determined to subvert and undermine Egypt’s stability, sabotage its economic rehabilitation and destroy the el-Sisi regime.

In this atmosphere of American support, the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terrorist group in the Sinai Peninsula operates under Muslim Brotherhood protection. It recently changed its name to the “Sinai Province” of the Islamic State and swore allegiance to the “Caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It is currently working hand-in-hand with Hamas in the Gaza Strip to weaken el-Sisi’s Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

Other Islamist terrorist organizations also kill Egyptian civilians and security forces with bombs and assault rifles. In the name of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology, they indiscriminately attack people on public transport, in airports and in public places, with the intent of retaking control of Egypt.

For this reason, an Egyptian court recently designated Hamas a terrorist organization, along with its military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and outlawed both of them. In response, Qatar, a slippery agent in the service of America but also, treacherously, in the service of Iran, allowed armed Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives to be interviewed by its Al-Jazeera TV. The operatives called the Egyptian president a traitor to the Islamic-Arab cause and to those seeking to “liberate Palestine.”

At the same time, Qatar continues to use its Al-Jazeera TV to broadcast hate propaganda targeting the el-Sisi regime, to disseminate videos and to fabricate insulting quotes intended to cause friction between el-Sisi on one side and the leaders of the Arab world and the Gulf States on the other — and to keep them from giving hungry Egyptians economic aid.

As the date for the economic conference in Sharm el-Sheikh (in the Sinai Peninsula) nears, Al-Jazeera’s propaganda machine has moved into ever-higher gear. Apparently, some of the Sunni Arabs states have not yet realized that their own national security and ability to withstand Iran depend on how strong Egypt is.

The U.S. Administration could easily halt the subversion of Egypt, but not only does it turn a blind eye, it suffers from a peculiar form of ignorance that makes it fight ISIS while at the same time supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, the hothouse of most Islamic terrorist organizations, including ISIS. The damage done to Egypt and the cracks in the weak Sunni Muslim ranks in the Middle East will eventually harm American interests and expose the Gulf States to the increasing Iranian threat.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the current American administration’s great friend, is the tree whose fruit is the Islamist terrorism embodied by ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram and others. This linkage has become obvious to all the Arab states, while the U.S. and Europe steadfastly ignore the danger to their own survival, and refuse to outlaw them.

It is possible, in fact, that U.S. policy is to weaken the Sunni world that is seeking to unite under el-Sisi’s flag of modernity. With European complicity, the U.S. Administration is trying to defraud the Arabs and turn the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a center of Middle Eastern chaos, in order to hide the nuclear deal they are concocting with Iran. That is why the West does not really want to rehabilitate the Palestinian refugees by settling them in the Arab states, and why the West continues to nourish false Palestinian hopes that perpetuate this conflict.

The treachery of the U.S. Administration is the reason why Egyptians’ faith in America, which is supposed to defend the Arabs against a nuclear Iran, has effectively evaporated.

In the meantime, Iran’s Houthi proxies have taken over Yemen, threatening the entire Persian Gulf from the south. The el-Sisi regime is currently in the market for new allies, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin recently paid a visit to Egypt to examine the possibilities of building a nuclear reactor, sounding the first chord of a regional nuclear arms race.

The problems of the Middle East begin in the United States: that was the claim of participants in the Al-Jazeera TV show, “From Washington.” They described American policy towards Egypt as hesitant, indecisive and undemocratic. They claimed that the U.S. Administration had not yet decided whether or not to support el-Sisi, who heralded change and the willingness to fight radical Islam (a fight America used to participate in) or to remain neutral and waffle, in view of Egypt’s presumed instability. The Americans seem to be putting their all money on the extreme Islamists, who they seem to think will eventually win the bloody conflict currently being waged in Egypt.

The Americans have forgotten that under Mubarak, the regime turned a blind eye to attacks against Israel that were carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood and their carefully fostered agents. Unfortunately, since el-Sisi was elected, Egypt itself has become a victim of radical Islamic terrorism. The U.S. Administration, however, appears clearly to hate el-Sisi, and seems to be doing its utmost to undermine him and see him thrown out.

Under ousted President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt was tolerant and patient toward the U.S. Administration’s best friends, the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Islamist and Palestinian terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Al-Qaeda, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, all of which set up camp in the Sinai Peninsula. These terrorist groups smuggled weapons in from Iran, Sudan, Libya and Lebanon; dug smuggling and attack tunnels; developed missiles and carried out terrorist attacks “only” against Israel, the current U.S. Administration’s other apparent enemy, even though so many American Jews foolishly voted for them.

Now those same Islamist and Palestinian terrorist organizations are striking a mortal blow to the security or Egypt, and killing its civilians and security personnel.

The Muslim Brotherhood, mindful of America’s pro-Islamist policy toward it, is deliberately indulging in a wave of terrorism in Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula. Muslim Brotherhood operatives there are targeting civilians, public transport, airports and natural gas pipelines, all to undermine Egypt’s internal security and bring down el-Sisi’s regime in favor of extremist Islamists and a nuclear-threshold Iran.

In the current international situation, the U.S. Administration has apparently finally cut a deal with Turkey — which will be flimsy and ethereal — that allows Turkey to do the only thing it really cares about: to bring down the regime of Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad.

The U.S. is also trying to cut a deal with Qatar, which along with Turkey openly supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist proxies in Egypt, Gaza, Syria and Iraq, who in general work against Western interests.

The ironic result is that Turkey plays host to both NATO and senior Hamas figures, while it deliberately ignores the slaughter by ISIS of Kurds and other ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood, in effect, actually rules Turkey. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP party make it easy for foreign fighters to cross the Turkish border into Syria and join the ranks of ISIS. Meanwhile, the Turkish government wages a diversionary propaganda war against Israel. According to recent rumors, Turkey is also planning to build a nuclear reactor, “for research and peaceful purposes.”

Another surreal result is that Qatar hosts the U.S. military bases, while it finances and encourages terrorist organizations operating against Israel and the Egypt. It also panders to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual mentor of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist terrorist who issues fatwas permitting the murder of civilians and approves death sentences for apostasy.

And now the greatest American insanity of all time: the U.S. and Turkey are arming and training Islamist terrorist operatives in Turkey, on the grounds that they are “moderates” opposed to Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. They either ignore or are not aware that there is no such thing as a moderate Islamist terrorist.

The other name of the “moderates” opposing Bashar Assad is ISIS; Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei and Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah are now even saying that the U.S. is arming ISIS.

In the meantime, the Egyptian army continues its struggle against Islamist terrorist targets in the Sinai Peninsula and Libya, unaided, and even undermined, by the U.S.

In view of the U.S. Administration’s collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, I am persuaded that in the near future it will be possible to find a joint Egyptian-Israeli-Palestinian formula for eradicating the Hamas-PIJ enclave of terrorism, this time by Arabs.

Most ironically of all, in the shadow of American zigzagging, a joint Arab-Israeli front is developing against Sunni and Shi’ite radicalism, and the Palestinians can only profit from it. Thus el-Sisi, who, with towering vision and courage, dares to speak openly about the tree of radical Islam and its fruit, when others are afraid, is a truly great Islamic hero.

Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.

****

On the Ground in Egypt: Patrick Poole and Stephen Coughlin – US Policy and Egyptian Counter-terrorism Efforts

Published on May 13, 2014 by securefreedom

Recorded at Center for Security Policy’s National Security Group Lunch on Capitol Hill on Friday, 9 May, 2014
Patrick Poole, National Security and Terrorism Correspondent for PJ Media; and Stephen Coughlin, Senior Fellow, Center for Security Policy

Also see:

National Security Expert: U.S. Foreign Policy Leaders ‘Have Lost The Ability To Think’

coughlinDaily Caller, Ginni Thomas, Feb. 22, 2015: (video at Daily Caller)

From his time briefing generals in the Pentagon, Stephen Coughlin — a leading expert on national security and author of the soon-to-be-published book, “Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad” — has always feared for our nation’s safety and thinks it’s time for the government to stop lying.

Coughlin is an attorney, decorated intelligence officer and expert on Islamic law and terrorism. He says the “entire world, friend and foe alike, understands, that starting with the Bush administration and accelerating in the Obama administration, that our foreign policy community is absolutely incoherent and completely vulnerable. These people have lost the ability to think.”

He contends that government bureaucrats have become so focused on fighting “narratives” consistent with a post-modern, politically correct worldview, rather than the facts on the ground, that America’s war on terrorism has become a catastrophic failure.

Rather than be tethered to the professional canon requiring a “duty to be competent” and know the enemy, or their oath to support and defend the nation from enemies foreign and domestic, Coughlin argues the military has been persuaded, cajoled and perverted into fighting based on narratives.

“This country is in serious trouble,” he believes. “The people who hate us — and it’s not just radical Islam, it’s the Chinese, it’s the Russians, it’s the Iranians — they know that our leaders don’t know what they’re doing, because they’ve been kicking the tires.”

In this exclusive video interview with The Daily Caller, Coughlin says our allies in the war of terror “watched us change sides” in 2010 and 2011, but “the scariest thing” to him “is that our senior national security leaders seem to have no comprehension that they did.”

As for President Obama’s Summit this week, Coughlin sees the touted euphemism as an example of his point, and declares, “When you are fighting ‘violent extremism,’ you are not defending this country. You are bringing it down.”

His greatest fear is that “we may be put to sleep, like the frog that boils to death, mired in the pollution of our own politically correct narratives that has created a complete inability for us to understand and further the truth, so much so, that we have to treat the truth as propaganda just to be heard.”

Discussing the 2009 Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, Coughlin says this is a clear example that when you commit to a narrative, you can suppress the truth and undermine our national security. He says Hasan told us “at the Walter Reed and the Pentagon, over 20 times” to military officers that, “I am a Muslim. If you send me to war, I will become a jihadi.”

Coughlin describes the efforts by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to work with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), an international organization with 57 Member States (56 countries and the Palestinian Territories) concerning their 10 Year Programme of Action to make defaming Islam a punishable crime.

The UN Human Rights Commission passed UN Resolution 1618, to implement OIC’s 10 year plan. If it becomes law, “it would have the effect of subordinating our first amendment to Islamic slander laws,” Coughlin says. He discusses a meeting then-Secretary Clinton had on July 15, 2011 in Turkey where Clinton promised to use the government’s “best efforts to pass 16/18, and would resort to peer pressure and shaming against Americans who might violate that standard.”

The security expert claims this would result in an “extra-legal means to attack Americans for exercising their free speech rights inside America if they say something that the OIC deems insulting.”

To Coughlin, this is a layered strategy that calls for the dots to be connected by astute citizens. There is Islamic slander law, the OIC’s Ten Year Programme of Action and UN Resolution 16/18. Now, alongside Resolution 16/18 at the UN, is a new supporting effort to redefine “incitement” in international treaties to which the U.S. is a party to achieve their controversial objectives.

Coughlin’s hope is that more citizens should confidently and strongly ask, why is our government lying to us.

Obama Suggests His Critics Are ‘Embracing the Terrorists’ Narrative’

obama1-640x480 (1)Breitbart, by JOHN HAYWARD, 20 Feb 2015

President Obama accused those who note that the Islamic State is an Islamic organization of providing the group with recruitment rhetoric in a speech on Thursday.

The President’s remarks are delivered in a Time article headlined “Obama Claims Republican Rhetoric Could Help ISIS,” just in case anyone misses the political maneuver Obama is pulling here:

The newest front in the American war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) will not take place in the deserts of Syria, Iraq or Libya, but on the covers of the nation’s tabloids and the airwaves of its cable television jabfests. President Obama, with two speeches in as many days, has decided to take the battle to his conservative critics.

Those who identify the black-clad extremists with their religious roots, the commander-in-chief argued repeatedly, are peddling a “lie” that will drive recruitment by the nation’s enemies and ultimately hurt U.S. interests. “These terrorists are desperate for legitimacy. And all of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam, because that is a falsehood that embraces the terrorists’ narrative,” he said, using the U.S. government’s preferred acronym for ISIS, which is also known as the Islamic State.

But he did not stop there. A day after talking about the “debate in the press and among pundits” over terminology, he accused others in the public sphere Thursday of aiding the terrorist cause by highlighting the connection between Islamic teachings and Islamic State’s tactics, which include rape, beheadings, crucifixions and slavery. “That narrative sometimes extends far beyond terrorist organizations,” he continued. “That narrative becomes the foundation upon which terrorists build their ideology and by which they try to justify their violence, and that hurts all of us, including Islam and especially Muslims who are the ones most likely to be killed.”

Given the energy his loyal followers are putting behind boiling Rudy Giuliani in rhetorical oil for daring to suggest President Obama does not love America, this might have been a bad time for the President to mutter that his critics are helping ISIS by reinforcing its “narrative” of jihad.  There has always been an enormous double standard for Obama and other Democrats to be as nasty as they like in questioning the intelligence, compassion, patriotism, and very humanity of Republicans, but the President’s latest remarks are timed especially badly.  The point he wants to make about how linking any iteration of Islam to the Islamic State is playing into ISIS’ hands is also silly, an elaborate excuse to justify Obama’s lax response to Islamist terror, and it flies in the face of everything we know about the enemy.

Since Obama supporters want to give him credit for taking the gloves off and going bare-knuckle against his critics, I’ll do the same: the American political figure who is most prominently promoting the “narrative” of ISIS is Barack Obama. His cheesy effort to build moral equivalence between Christians and the Islamic State by invoking the Crusades precisely mirrors what Islamists say about the Crusades, and they say it quite frequently. This isn’t just a verbal “gotcha” game revolving around use of the terms “Crusade” and “Crusaders” – it is a core element of Islamist philosophy that modern-day Christians remain morally culpable for the Crusades, which they portray as a unique outrage, exactly the way Obama did at the National Prayer Breakfast. Every single page of the Islamic State’s magazine Dabiq rails against “Crusaders.”

Obama is most definitely repeating and reinforcing an important Islamist “narrative” when he tells Christians they have no moral standing to get up on their “high horses” and criticize contemporary Islamist atrocities because of what the Crusaders did. (Try to imagine Obama doing the reverse, and lecturing a Muslim audience at a prayer breakfast about how they have no standing to complain about Israel because of Mohammed’s bloody conquests.)

As to this business of helping ISIS by refusing to join Obama in pretending they have nothing to do with Islam – well, that’s also much more helpful to the Islamist “narrative” than what Obama’s critics have been saying. Another important element of ISIS ideology is their assertion that all Muslims who disagree with them are apostates. You will find that argument on nearly every page of Dabiq as well, especially when it is justifying the brutal treatment of such Muslim adversaries as burned-alive Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh.

ISIS explicitly and energetically invokes religious authority to command allegiance – they have captured the requisite territory to found a caliphate, head honcho Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi meets the scriptural requirements for a caliph, and so forth. Obama isn’tchallenging these claims – he is trying to deny that ISIS is making them at all, or that a significant number of Muslims are taking them seriously. That is going to reinforce the Islamic State narrative about how its opponents are henchmen of the godless West.

When dealing with a hateful and virulent ideological enemy, it could be argued that virtually anything we say can be slotted into their “narrative” somehow; it is not as if al-Baghdadi and his gang will respond to criticism from Obama, or any Republican leader, by saying “The Americans have an excellent point!” The question is, how does our rhetoric influence those who might be persuaded to either join ISIS, or oppose them? Obama says that denying the Islamic component of Islamism will rob the terrorists of much-needed “legitimacy,” but does anyone really get the sense they need to be certified as authentically Islamic by secular Western leaders to obtain legitimacy?

On the contrary, downplaying the ideological threat posed by Islamists does their Muslim adversaries and potential recruits no favors. This is an ideological enemy we’re fighting, not just a barbarian horde with a constellation of lone-wolf admirers. They’re apocalyptic, but not “nihilists,” as Obama often describes them. Confronting and defeating their ideology is the task before us, not ignoring the problem and hoping it blows over. There are a significant number of Muslims buying what the various brands of Islamism are selling. How can we give needed cultural support to the Muslims we want to prevail over them by claiming they are up against Generic Extremism?

To take a recent example of such good Muslims, the young people organizing this weekend’s “peace ring” demonstration at a synagogue in Norway certainly don’t seem to think they are taking a stand against Generic Extremism or the “random” shooting of non-specific “folks.”

Obama’s intellectual pretensions are just excuses for his half-hearted, annoyed response to ISIS – there are many things he would rather be spending his time and political capital on, and he is scared to death that history will hold him responsible for letting the Islamic State into Iraq. If he is going to bother with this mess at all, he’d rather reframe it as something politically useful to him; he can work his domestic political agenda into a crusade against Generic Extremism, a term he uses to describe all political opposition to him. You’ll never guess who Obama’s Department of Homeland Security just portrayed as America’s big terrorist threat: “right-wing sovereign citizen extremists.” No one seems concerned that calling them out by name will reinforce their “narrative.”

***

Tom Cotton: ISIS Already Winning Without Obama ‘Legitimizing’ Them with Islamic Label (nationalreview.com)

Obama says world should address ‘grievances’ that terrorists exploit

obama extremist summit washingtonFox News, Feb. 18, 2015:

President Obama defended his administration’s approach to the terror threat at a White House summit Wednesday, standing by claims that groups like the Islamic State do not represent Islam — as well as assertions that job creation could help combat extremism.

Obama, addressing the Washington audience on the second day of the summit, said the international community needs to address “grievances” that terrorists exploit, including economic and political issues.

He stressed that poverty alone doesn’t cause terrorism, but “resentments fester” and extremism grows when millions of people are impoverished.

“We do have to address the grievances that terrorists exploit including economic grievances,” he said.

He also said no single religion was responsible for violence and terrorism, adding he wants to lift up the voice of tolerance in the United States and beyond.

Obama’s address came as Republican lawmakers and others criticized the administration for declining to describe the threat as Islamic terrorism.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf has also come under fire for suggesting several times this past week that more jobs could help address the terrorism crisis.

On Tuesday, Rob O’Neill, former Navy SEAL Team 6 member who claims to have fired the shot that killed Usama bin Laden, told Fox News: “They get paid to cut off heads — to crucify children, to sell slaves and to cut off heads and I don’t think that a change in career path is what’s going to stop them.”

Obama also called on Muslim leaders to “do more to discredit the notion that our nations are determined to suppress Islam, that there is an inherent clash in civilizations.”

Obama acknowledged that some Muslim-Americans have concerns about working with the government, particularly law enforcement, and that their reluctance “is rooted in the objection to certain practices where Muslim-Americans feel they’ve been unfairly targeted.”

He said it was important it make sure that abuses stop and are not repeated and that “we do not stigmatize entire communities.” He also said it was vital that “no one is profiled or put under a cloud of suspicion simply because of their faith.”

Although Obama called for a renewed focus on preventing terrorists from recruiting and inspiring others, some thought his message seemed to miss the mark.

“He was meandering, unfocused and weak,” said Richard Grenell, former U.S. spokesman at the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration and a Fox News contributor. “He was talking about isolating terrorists. He doesn’t understand the threat that we face… People are being burned in cages and he’s talking about more investments?”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in an interview with Fox News, called Obama an “apologist for radical Islamic terrorists.” And he mocked the president for recently comparing modern-day atrocities to those committed during the Crusades.

“I don’t think it’s too much to ask the president to stay in the current millennia,” Cruz said, describing the rhetoric as “bizarre politically correct double-speak.”

Recent Fox News polling showed most voters think Obama should be tougher on Islamic extremists. It showed 68 percent think Obama should be tougher; only 26 percent said he’s being tough enough.

The poll of 1,044 registered voters was taken Feb. 8-10. It had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Leaders from 60 different countries traveled to Washington for the summit this week.

Community leaders from Boston, Minneapolis and Los Angeles were also in attendance and discussed how their cities could help empower communities to protect themselves against extremist ideologies.

The Ideological Islamist Threat

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

The radicals are waging a war of ideas the West refuses to fight.

WSJ, Feb. 18, 2015:

President Obama opened this week’s White House Conference on Violent Extremism with a speech about community-based counter-radicalization efforts, and his Administration is being roundly mocked for its refusal to use terms like “Muslim terrorism” or “Islamism.” The mockery is deserved. Foreign policy is not a Harry Potter tale of good versus He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. And war cannot be won against an enemy we refuse to describe except in meaningless generalities.

But there is a deeper problem with the Administration’s semantic dodges. Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram and other jihadist groups are waging more than a military conflict. They are also waging an increasingly successful ideological war for the soul of Islam and its 1.6 billion followers.

Their version of jihad is gaining adherents precisely because it is motivated by an idea that challenges the values and beliefs of moderate Islam, the West and modernity. The free and non-fanatic world won’t win this deeper struggle if the Obama Administration refuses even to acknowledge its nature.

The 9/11 Commission Report put this front and center. Its second chapter, “The Foundation of the New Terrorism,” traces what it calls “ Bin Ladin ’s Appeal in the Islamic World.” It discusses the late al Qaeda leader’s faith in “a return to observance of the literal teachings of the Qur’an and the Hadith.” It underscores bin Laden’s reliance on Muslim theologians, from Ibn Taimiyyah in the 14th century to Sayyid Qutb in the 20th. And it explains how bin Laden turned Islam into a licence for murder.

“Qutb argued that humans can choose only between Islam and jahilyya,” referring to a world of licentiousness and unbelief. “No middle ground exists. . . . All Muslims—as he defined them—therefore must take up arms in this fight. Any Muslim who rejects his ideas is just one more nonbeliever worthy of destruction.”

None of this is denied in the Muslim world, which is well aware of the increasingly radical bent of mainstream Islamist theology. Not for nothing did Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi recently visit Cairo’s al-Azhar university, Sunni Islam’s premier center of religious learning, to warn leading clerics of where Islam is heading: “Let me say it again, we need to revolutionize our religion.”

That’s exactly right, but it’s hard to see how such a revolution might take place—much less who might carry it out—if Islam can barely be mentioned in the context of a conference on “violent extremism.” In his speech Wednesday, Mr. Obama acknowledged that “al Qaeda and ISIL do draw selectively from the Islamic texts,” and he called on Muslim leaders to reject grievance narratives against the West.

But the President also insisted that the West must never grant al Qaeda and Islamic State “the religious legitimacy they seek” by suggesting they are Muslim religious leaders rather than mere terrorists. That’s a fine sentiment, but it elides the fact that the two categories aren’t mutually exclusive. The Islamic State may speak for only a minority of Muslims, but it is nothing if not Islamic in its beliefs, methods and aims. Ignoring that reality for the sake of avoiding injured feelings helps nobody, least of all Islamic State’s many Muslim victims or Islam’s would-be reformers.

The useful analogy here is to the Cold War, when the world was also challenged by an ideology that professed its superiority over an allegedly decadent West. The difference then is that Western leaders didn’t shrink from describing the evil of that ideology and defending the superiority of our way of life. The same needs to be done now.

This will have to include more sophisticated arguments to counter radical Islamism. Jihadist ideology has gained millions of adherents because it makes fundamental claims about personal virtue and social justice. Countering that narrative requires something more than making an appeal, as State Department spokesperson Marie Harf did this week, to working on “root causes” such as insufficient schooling and job opportunities in the Arab world. There is little or no correlation between poverty and Islamist extremism, many of whose most notorious figures are wealthy and well-educated.

It will also require far more support for reform-minded Muslims, from granting political asylum to persecuted Muslim intellectuals to funding civil society groups seeking to spread liberal concepts of individual liberty and religious tolerance.

Above all, we need to recognize that the strength of radical Islamists is directly correlated to their battlefield success, and the growing perception that they are the strong horse against moderate Muslim leaders. Communist ideology lost its appeal when it was seen to fail against the prosperity and freedom of the West. Islamic State will lose its allure when it is defeated and humiliated in the arena it cares about most, which is the battlefield. Mr. Obama and other Western leaders must summon the will to win the war on the ground, or they will find themselves in permanent retreat in the war of ideas.

Jihad Is Authentic Islam – But According To The State Department Jihad Is Unemployment

The Last Refuge, By Sundance, Feb. 17, 2015:

Marie Harf joined Chris Matthews on MSNBC yesterday to advance an ideology we have actually heard before. When discussing radical Islam, and more specifically ISIS, according to Harf:

c825a-marie-harf

 

“We’re killing a lot of them and we’re going to keep killing more of them. So are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians. They’re in this fight with us. Butwe cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs”.

Now pause for a moment, turn your head at a 25° angle, cross your eyes, pretend she is in direct eye contact with yourself…. and ask the obvious:  “Dear Ms. Harf, if that be true – then why in sam kittens is President Obama asking for AN AUTHORIZATION OF MILITARY FORCE” ? {{Mic Drop}}

Thankfully even the insufferable Chris Matthews stopped Harf mid pontification to pointspit out the obvious.  Segments of society in all nations, not just Muslims, will always be poor/unemployed – yet that does not instinctively mean an expectation to grab the closest battle axe and start lopping off heads. (Video  HERE)

The logic implies – If poverty, as claimed, was a direct link to religious zealotry (ie fascism) then India would be a 24/7 killing field.

However, as bizarre as this sounds, we should not be surprised by such a position from the U.S. State Department.  After all, this is not the first time the State Department has proclaimed Jihad is an outcome of “Islamic Unemployment”.

Back in April of 2013 while at a conference in Brussels newly appointed Secretary of State, John Kerry, coined the phrase “economic diplomacy” as a tool to defeat global jihad:

“[W]e’re not going to solve this challenge of terror and of extremism and of people finding an alternative if we’re not reaching out to people, talking to them, bringing them to the table and trying to work through major, perceived differences.  I believe we have to create a new paradigm, frankly, to deal with this.”

Kerry went on to say that businesses, private businesses, should be “motivated” (a subtle way to say funded) to expand business operations into the heart of war torn mid-East countries whose populations are fighting, engaging in violent confrontation and civil war, along with other acts of extremist violence.

In Secretary Kerry’s view the businesses would work as a tool to stop violent extremism. According to Kerry the “new paradigm” includes public-private partnerships, and he pointed to new initiative that’s just getting under way with Palestinians in the West Bank, “where U.S. businesses are being urged to invest in places for the sake of peace, not profit”.  

Make Peace, Not Profit – that sure has the makings of a great bumper sticker.  Secretary Kerry went on to say:

 “If they grow up without education, without opportunities, it’s pretty predictable what kind of challenges we can all face. So I think this is urgent, President Obama believes this is urgent, and that we need to come together in an effort to try to change it.”

Taken in full context it would appear that 2015 Marie Harf is merely expressing the opinion of her boss.  An opinion, plan, strategy or “new paradigm” that Secretary Kerry first announced in 2013 and continues to believe will replace or defer the ISIS recruitment strategy.

abbas-1-with-kerry

 

Simply combat ISIS with a few new strategically placed Taco Bell restaurants and the menu might include Jihadi’s El’ Grande’. 

Brilliant !!

obama-wiping-forehead1-e1305400756777

Also see:

French PM: West Must Fight Muslim Brotherhood Ideology

Muslims praying in the middle of a public street in France.

Muslims praying in the middle of a public street in France.

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Feb. 16, 2015:

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has stated that the West must “fight the discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood in our country” and scrutinize foreign funding of mosques, a sharp break from U.S. policy that views the Brotherhood as a moderate competitor to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS).

Prime Minister Valls said the country needs to enact policies to combat the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, making the point that Islamist terrorism is a product of radical preaching. He announced that the Interior Minister will lead a study on the foreign financing of mosques in France and the training of French imams.

“We seek to establish a model of Islam that is fully integrated, fully compatible with the values of the Republic,” Valls said.

France has a serious problem with growing Islamism that is hostile to nationalism, secular-democracy and integration. A 2011 intelligence report warned that “self-appointed” imams in Muslim-majority areas, specifically the city of Marseille, were spreading Islamism. It said only a “relatively low” percentage of the 250,000 Muslims in that city support violent jihad, but “Islamic fundamentalism has progressed to the point where it has won over the majority of the Muslim population.”

France recognizes that the problem is not just the act of terrorism, but the Islamist ideology that drives violence and is also detrimental to the West in many non-violent ways. The Prime Minister said after the attacks in Paris that the country is at war with radical Islam; a stark difference from the vague terminology of “violent extremism” used by the U.S.

Valls’ use of “radical Islam” wasn’t a slip of the tongue. It signaled a major shift in strategy and was repeated by the French ambassador to America afterwards.

“We are at war with radical Islam. It means that right now… Islam is breeding radicalism which is quite dangerous for everybody. So I think in the coming weeks or the coming months, we have to define the global strategy. Part of the strategy is to work with the Muslim countries,” the ambassador said.

The Prime Minister even said that Europe needs to recognize that Islamists slander opponents as “Islamophobes” to stop scrutiny of their ideology and leaders.

“I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology. The charge of ‘Islamophobia’ is used to silence people,” he says.

The Prime Minister’s bold statements come as Egypt has agreed to become the first country to buy French Rafale fighter jets. The Egyptian government will sign a $5.93 billion contract to acquire 24 aircraft.

The coinciding of Prime Minister Valls’ statement with the deal suggests that France wants to wage an ideological war against Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood and sees Egypt as a major ally in that campaign. President El-Sisi banned the Muslim Brotherhood and forcefully called for a reformation of Islamic interpretations that denounce any violence.

French President Hollande said that the deal was made because his country desires for Egypt to act as a stabilizing regional power.

“I believe that, given the current context, it’s very important that Egypt is able to act to uphold stability and to be in security, not only stability on its own territory, but stability in the region,” he said.

The word usage is important. Hollande means that the sale is not just an endorsement of Egypt’s fight against the ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula, but of Egypt leadership role in the Middle East. A central post of that role is crushing the Muslim Brotherhood and undermining Islamism, including airstrikes on Islamist militias in Libya.

The deal is seen as a subtle rebuke of the U.S. over its criticism of Egypt’s handling of the Brotherhood. The U.S. says it is “not concerned” about the deal, but observers recognize that Egypt is reducing its reliance on the U.S. for arms. Egypt immediately reacted to U.S. criticism by embracing Russia and signing a major arms deal, as well as a recent agreement for Russia to build Egypt’s first nuclear reactor.

The French government’s stance is also important because the President and Prime Minister are from the Socialist Party, heralding a political consensus between the right-wing and left-wing parties that Islamism is the threat and a strategy against that ideology and its proponents including the Muslim Brotherhood is necessary.

Current French President Hollande defeated his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy of the Union for a Popular Movement party, but they are both now on the same page in regards to this issue.

This is especially significant because Hollande emphasized his friendliness with the French Muslim community during the campaign. Soeren Kern wrote that Hollande’s victory was “the first time that Muslims have determined the outcome of a presidential election in a major Western European country; it is a preview of things to come.”

Sarkozy was warning about the lack of assimilation for years prior to the Paris attacks. He said policy adjustments were needed to integrate immigrants and to prevent “a society where communities coexist side by side.”

“Our Muslim compatriots should be able to live and practice their religion like anyone else…but it can only be a French Islam and not just an Islam in France,” Sarkozy said in 2011.

France and Egypt get it. They understand that Islamism is the problem due to the former’s experiencing of the Paris attacks by the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda and the latter’s experience of Muslim Brotherhood governance. If the U.S. still doesn’t get it after 9/11, the Fort Hood shooting, the Boston bombings and countless other acts of Islamist violence, then what will it take?

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.

Copenhagen Killer Was Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

While the identity of the killer who attacked a free speech event and a synagogue yesterday in Copenhagen has not yet been released, media are now reporting that the suspect is “known to authorities” in what appears to be yet another case of what I have termed “Known Wolf” terrorism.

My friend and PJ Media colleague Andrew McCarthy noted this on Twitter this morning:

mccarthy tweet
As the incident was ongoing yesterday, I predicted that such might be the case:

ppoole2 tweet

So this attack in Copenhagen is yet another in a growing line of terror incidents in the West in recent months where the attacker was already known to intelligence and law enforcement authorities, and yet sufficient action was not taken to protect citizens:

Last month, I gave a briefing on the “Known Wolf” terror phenomenon on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth.

What remains to be seen after this Copenhagen incident is whether Denmark’s very passive “jihad rehab” approach to jihadists returning home after fighting with terrorist groups abroad will come under review. That will especially be the case if the killer in this incident (as yet undetermined) had traveled to Syria or Iraq.

With Canada, Australia, France and now Denmark having citizens killed by these “Known Wolf” terrorists, one has to wonder when the U.S. will be targeted again, too.

I’ll update here as more information is available.

UPDATE: Some details about the suspect starting to emerge:

max

The Guardian is reporting:

The gunman believed to have attacked a Copenhagen synagogue and a free speech event on Saturday was a Danish-born 22-year-old known to police because of past violence, gang-related activities and possession of weapons, officers have said.

***

Also see:

Omar El-Hussein: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know (heavy.com) 

Omar El-Hussein (Twitter)

Omar El-Hussein (Twitter)

Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein is the reported shooter who went on a terroristic killing spree in Denmark on Saturday. He targeted cartoonist Lars Vilk and a synagogue.

Former DIA Chief Flynn Calls for Global War on Islamic Extremists

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The respected general tells Congress it’s time to launch—and fund—a war that will last generations. Authorize the use of military force against ISIS? Yeah. And then some.

The Daily Beast, Kimberly Dozier, Feb. 13, 2015:

The Obama administration’s former military intelligence chief is warning Congress that Islamic extremism has expanded in every way imaginable over the past year—and the administration he was once part of is not doing enough to stop it.

“According to every metric of significance, Islamic extremism has grown over the last year,” said retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn Friday, in remarks submitted to the House Armed Services Committee which were obtained by The Daily Beast.  “We are at war with violent and extreme Islamists (both Sunni and Shia) and we must accept and face this reality.”

His remarks are a pointed attack on the Obama administration’s handling of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and a public airing of some of the frustrations that led Flynn to leave his post as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency last summer—a year early.

“There are some who counsel patience, arguing violent Islamists are not an existential threat and therefore can simply be managed as criminals,” he said. “I respectfully and strongly disagree.”

His comments also reflect frustration with the White House’s refusal to use the term “Islamic militant”—linking the religion with acts of violence. Flynn stated in earlier remarks to a group of retired special operators in January that only by calling the movement by its name can one martial the right kind of tools to fight it.

“You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists,” Flynn told the National Defense Industry Association in Washington last month.

Administration officials have said they reject using such a term at the request of Arab and Muslim allies who do not want to play into the Islamic State group’s aspirations of building a caliphate.

Flynn also took issue with that, railing against U.S. cooperation with Arab nations he says support militancy by supporting extreme versions of Islam—a dimly veiled reference to Saudi Arabia and Qatar who support Islamic schools and charities beyond their borders that practice a strict version of Islam.

“If our so-called partners do not act in accordance with internationally accepted norms and behaviors or international law, the United States must be prepared to cut off or severely curtail economic, military and diplomatic ties,” he said.

The White House rejected Flynn’s comments.

“There is no question that we are at war those who carry out acts of terrorism in service to a corrupted version of the Muslim faith,” including al-Qaeda, ISIS and others said Ned Price, the National Security Council’s assistant press secretary. “The President has not shied away from this confrontation with those who would do us harm, and anyone who may be inspired by their hate-filled rhetoric, and we will continue to be aggressive in confronting them,” he wrote by email Friday, in response to an emailed copy of Flynn’s prepared remarks.

“Regardless of what you call them, at their core, these individuals are terrorists,” Price wrote, adding that after six years in office, “no one can doubt the President’s resolve to confront this threat. He’s made it clear that we are at war with terrorist groups—AQ and ISIL. He’s taken scores of high level terrorists off the battlefield—from Osama Bin Laden to Anwar al-Aulaqi and Abu Khattalah, the Benghazi plotter. Whatever others call these individuals, we call them our enemies, and we will continue to treat them as such.”

Flynn, however, is calling for a wider, worldwide campaign against militancy.

“We have to energize every element of National Power—similar to the effort during WWII or during the Cold War—to effectively resource what will likely be a multi-generational struggle,” he said. “There is no cheap way to win this fight.”

The Iraq and Afghan war veteran, who once served as intelligence chief for the elite counterterrorist force, the Joint Special Operations Command, urged going on the attack, rather than waiting for the enemy to launch new violence inside the U.S.

“We must engage the violent Islamists wherever they are, drive them from their safe havens and kill them,” he said. “There can be no quarter and no accommodation.”

Flynn said he supported Congress issuing a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force to fight the new threat, but said the legislation should be free from time limits and other restrictions to allow the military to fight the enemy as long as it exists.

Flynn’s sentiment was reflected by many on the committee including ranking member, Washington state Democrat Adam Smith, who sees the fight against the militants as a “long-term ideological struggle,” much like the 75-year campaign against communism.

But Smith caveated that, saying the fight-back had to include moderate Muslim voices.

“The Muslim world does not want the United States to show up and tell it what it ought to do,” he said. “We have to figure out how we can be helpful to support those moderate voices so that they can triumph, so that they can defeat these extremist ideologies.”

Flynn’s testimony was countered by one of his fellow panelists, Dr. Marc Lynch, a Mideast specialist from George Washington University, who said the administration’s campaign against the Islamic State Group is working.

“The momentum of ISIL (ISIS)…has been halted,” he said. “They’re no longer able to advance, they suffered a serious defeat in—in Kobani thanks to coalition air power.”

Committee chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said he hoped Lynch was right, but his tone seemed to indicate doubt, throughout a hearing which seemed mostly designed as a vehicle to hear Flynn warn against a sweeping battle with militants to come.

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Former Obama DIA Chief: Administration ‘Struggling to Define’ Threat of Islamic Extremism