Why Turkey’s Local Elections May Have Global Impact

Egypt: Are Elections “Democracy”?

by Andrew C. McCarthy:

From reading the American press, you would believe that if Middle Eastern Muslims were allowed to govern themselves by having free elections, this would be the route to democracy. This is a fallacy that we have been following now as a matter of American foreign policy for many administrations and many years. You cannot tell me that, after the same Egyptians voted two-to-one to have an intense Sharia constitution, eight months later they suddenly did not want Sharia any more. What they decided was that they did not want Morsi any more.

If here is ever to be anything approximating democratic transformation in Egypt the only way it is going it happen is if Egypt has a respected institution, such as the military, that governs the country, with the help of whatever technocratic officials it needs to run the country day-to-day, and where the forces of secular democracy at least have a chance to compete — which means growing these institutions to cultivate a respect for minority rights and individual liberty.

The good news is that the Egyptians will not be able to keep their Sharia constitution, at least not the way the Muslim Brotherhood designed it. But the way it was covered in the United States, this was not reflected as good news.

What is going on in Egypt now, while I wouldn’t go up in a balloon over it, is much more of a ray of hope than anything that we have had previously in what has been called the Arab Spring — a misnomer, if ever there was one. We actually knew quite a bit about how Egyptians wanted to be governed before Mubarak fell thanks to polling that was done there – in fact, done not only in Egypt but across the Middle East, from Egypt all the way to Indonesia.

There was pretty authoritative polling, for example, done by the University of Maryland in 2007 in conjunction with an outfit called World Public Opinion. It indicated that, depending on where you asked the questions, upwards of two‑thirds, and in some places over 80% of Muslim populations across the Middle East, wanted to live under Sharia, Islam’s legal code and societal framework.

 

An veiled woman casts her ballot in the second round of Egypt’s presidential election, in 2012. (Image source: Jonathan Rashad/Flickr)

Let me briefly address what Sharia is. There is no division in Islam – at least in classical Islam, Islamic supremacism, which is the Islam of the Middle East – between the secular and sacred realms. Sharia has ambition to be a total societal system.

To call it just a legal code really does not do it justice, because its ambition is to govern everything from the great things to the small things, from the matters of economy, military relations, the setting up of a government or caliphate, down to interpersonal relations and even matters of hygiene. It is a soup to nuts framework for how life is to be lived – it is not only, in many countries, about girls being prohibited from attending school, but about the many other ways in which girls and women are suppressed, not only their education, but professionally and in interpersonal relations as well.

From the Islamic perspective there is a belief that Islam has to be imposed, and that Sharia is the necessary precondition for Islamizing a society. The first World Trade Center bombing was really our first significant exposure in the United States to radical Islam conducting terrorists attacks on our shores in what turned out to be a systematic way over time.

It is interesting to me that 20 years after the World Trade Center bombing we still do not have a good understanding in the United States of what Jihad is. If you listen to the apologists for Islamic supremacists who are featured frequently in the media, you would think that it is an internal struggle for personal betterment; that it doesn’t have any military component. If you listen to them long enough, you would come away thinking that it wasn’t anything more meaningful than remembering to brush after every meal.

But Jihad is essentially a military concept, and people on our side, or on the national security side, of this debate have it wrong when they say it is everywhere and always a military concept.

What it is — everywhere and always — is the advancement of Sharia. It is about the implementation of Sharia. Whether jihad is done violently or non‑violently, the point is to implant Sharia because Sharia is seen as the necessary building block for Islamizing a society.

In the Middle East, it should tell us a lot that people across the region and in Egypt by upwards of two‑thirds said that they wanted to be governed under Sharia law. It should have given us a real clue about what was apt to happen once Mubarak fell and what, in fact, did happen once Mubarak fell. For all the hullabaloo about “democracy” and “democracy promotion,” the first election in Egypt — about two months after Mubarak was ousted — got very little coverage. I think it was the most important of all of the elections they had – then and thereafter. The media did not cover it much in the United States and in the West; it was dismissed as a procedural election about scheduling and something to do vaguely with constitutional amendments.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Guest Column: Turkey’s Democratic Reforms Aren’t All That Democratic

by Abigail R. Esman:

 

Georgetown University’s One-Way Street of Christian-Muslim Understanding

Georgetown_University_-381Juicy Ecumenism, December 4, 2013, by  (@AEHarrod)

The “more strongly you are committed to your faith,” emerging church leader Brian McLaren stated at Georgetown University on November 21, 2013, the “more tolerant and compassionate you are.”  McLaren’s equivalency among all faiths fit perfectly into the conference “Muslim-Christian Relations in the 21st Century:  Challenges & Opportunities,” a day-long, one-sided presentation of Islam as a pacific faith unjustly maligned by Christians and others.

Presented by Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the conference has already produced considerable controversy.  The keynote address by popular British religion writer Karen Armstrong, for example, unconvincingly argued that Al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks resulted from Muslim grievances inflicted by the West in general and the British Empire in particular.  Outside of the conference’s estimated 100 attendees at Georgetown’s Copley Hall, Armstrong’s arguments have met with universal revulsion, if comments upon my previously published analysis are any indication (see here and here, for example).

A panel moderated by Islam scholar Natana J. DeLong-Bas, meanwhile, preceded Armstrong.  As a moderator, DeLong-Bas did not have much too say, which was probably just as well, as research has revealed her to the unsuspecting at the conference and elsewhere as an Islamism apologist and 9/11 truther.  Among other things, she has doubted the role of Osama bin Laden in 9/11 and has praised the “democracy” efforts of Hamas.

Armstrong and DeLong-Bas were perhaps predictable given the tone set at the conference’s morning introduction by ACMCU’s director, the frequent Islamism apologist and internationally renowned Islam scholar John Esposito.  Along with the “Arab Spring” becoming “potentially the Arab Winter” and “Sunni-Shia sectarianism,” Armstrong’s fellow United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) High Level Group member Esposito identified the “rise of Islamophobia” as a global issue facing Islam.  McLaren likewise during the conference’s final panel spoke of Islam substituting for Communism after the Cold War’s end had for many Americans “take[n] away their enemy” and identity “crutch.”

Participants on “The Arab Uprisings, Islamic Movements & the Future of Democracy” panel, meanwhile, seemed mystified by any threat perception within Islam.  Emad Shahin, for example, judged concerns about Islam’s compatibility with democracy a “useless question.”  According to Shahin, anyone, not just the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), could have “made mistakes” ruling Egypt following the downfall of its dictator Hosni Mubarak.  Opponents of deposed Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi from the MB “should have respected the process” and the Arab Spring’s “people power.”

Shahin’s fellow panelist, the late addition Radwan Masmoudi from the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), also decried the “myth that Islam and democracy are not compatible.”  As CSID’s president, Masmoudi claimed that his organization had produced hundreds of papers demonstrating that Islamic faith and freedom could coexist, a claim Masmoudi saw borne out in the Arab Spring.  “We are going to succeed” with an Islam-democracy combination, Masmoudi confidently predicted.

Like Shahin, Masmoudi considered it “not fair” to judge Egypt’s MB rule a failure in light of the “long process to build democracy” cut short after fewer than two years.  While Masmoudi assessed post-Saddam Hussein Iraq as a “mess,” he nonetheless considered Middle East democracy promotion under George W. Bush to have been “great.”  “Foreign intervention” in Tunisia and Egypt, meanwhile, from Western countries “afraid of democracy” had repeated America’s historic “mistake” of supporting Middle East dictators, “one of the main reasons for extremism.”  By contrast, “good relations with the Arab and Muslim world demands democracy.”

Fears of countries like Egypt emulating Iran’s theocratic dictatorship received little consideration from Masmoudi.  United States Secretary of State John Kerry’s determination that Egypt’s “Muslim Brotherhood stole democracy” baffled Masmoudi.  He correspondingly criticized a supposed American “green light” for the Egyptian military’s July 2013 ouster of Morsi, even though most evidence indicates that President Barak Obama opposed Morsi’s removal.

Rather than question any “faith in the people” in majority-Muslim societies, Masmoudi saw recurring elections as the means of controlling any Muslim political malfeasance.  Thereby Masmoudi discussed “Islamism” as a “most misunderstood word,” for, according to him, variants of Islamism existed, not all of which were malignant.  As a practical matter, Masmoudi considered impossible the political exclusion of Islamists, estimated by him at about 30-40% of Arab Spring country populations.

Contrasting with this positive presentation of Islam, leftist evangelical Richard Cizek offered comments critical of American evangelicals while sharing the stage with Armstrong.  Once the National Association of Evangelicals’ (NAE) top staffer as Vice President for Governmental affairs, Cizek left NAE in 2008 after his support for same-sex civil unions as well as climate change theories and the recently elected Obama caused uproar in evangelical circles.  Now heading the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good with funding from leftwing atheist billionaire George Soros, Cizek at Copley Hall criticized evangelical “subcultural bubbles.”  Here prevailed a “black helicopters” view of the United Nations and complaints about an “alleged intrusion” upon religious freedom by the Obama Administration’s contraception mandate.

With respect to evangelical relations with Islam, Cizek had several complaints.  Christian Zionism, for example, supported the “theft of Palestinian land.”  Cizek also critically cited a figure according to which 60% of evangelicals rejected the assertion that Western civilization had a significant Islamic heritage.

Cizek also noted his meeting with fellow evangelical James Dobson at the National Cathedral following 9/11.  In contrast to Dobson’s understanding of 9/11 as jihadist aggression, Cizek, like Armstrong, seemed to express understanding for Al Qaeda’s motives.  Cizek referenced American military personnel stationed on Saudi Arabian soil at the time of 9/11 and an Arab-Israeli conflict having claimed 4 million dead and wounded, according to Cizek.

Yet most estimates of Arab and Jewish casualties since fighting began during Zionist settlement of the British Palestine Mandate are far lower.  One accounting lists 115,000 dead and 102,000 wounded among civilians and soldiers.  In a ranking of conflicts with over 10,000 fatalities since 1950, the Arab-Israeli conflict occupies 49th place.  Cizek also did not explain why the defensive deployment of American forces to Saudi Arabia is any less justified than similar American deployments around the world.

Appearing with Masmoudi and Shahin, Georgetown professor Yvonne Haddad offered the one indication during the conference that all was not well with Islam.  Haddad described a “panic” among the Middle East’s Christians as a “vanishing minority” who resented Muslim-majority domination expressed in terms for non-Muslim monotheists like “dhimmis.”  In Syria there were “targeted killing of Christians,” something Haddad ascribed to rebel anger at Christian unwillingness to fight the Bashar Assad regime and not general Islamist persecution of non-Muslims.  “Bush’s Spring” overthrowing Saddam Hussein in Iraq had also unleashed Islamist furies and Christian flight.

Yet Haddad’s assessments of Arab Christians’ friends and foes were surprising.  Discussing transient Western interventions in the Middle East going back to the Crusades that had always ultimately weakened Christian communities there, Haddad asserted that Arab Christians did not want outside rescuers.  Denominational disputes with Western evangelists had also antagonized Arab Christians in the past.

Israel is also no friend of Christians in Haddad’s view.  One evangelical group’s online map of Christian persecution in the Middle East received her criticism for omitting Israel.  Yet Israel is for Haddad a country that places Arab Christians and Muslims in “concentration camps,” an increasingly popular slander of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.  Christian Arab population statistics tell a different story, however, as indicated by me in a question to Haddad.  In contrast to the Christian exodus from the Middle East noted by her, Christians in Israel have grown in number from 34,000 in 1949 to 125,000 in 2011.  Jordanian rule over East Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967, meanwhile, saw the Christians there decline from 25,000 to fewer than 13,000.

Appearing on DeLong-Bas’ morning panel, South Africa’s ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool, had called upon his audience “to embrace shared space” in an “exciting world of multiculturalism.”  In such a world the existence of a “mosque in Cape Town” reciprocally demanded the allowance of a “church in Saudi Arabia.”  This new paradigm also involved a “move away from competitive faith to cooperative faith” amidst a “declining carcass” of believers in an increasingly secularized world.

Interfaith harmony invocations, though, rang hollow at this morally inverted conference.  While Islamism’s uniformly aggressive and authoritarian aspects went unexamined, conference panelists attributed prejudice and persecution almost exclusively to Christians and Jews.  Yet concerns about Muslim-majority societies in the Arab Spring and elsewhere undergoing something other than Rasool’s described “surge for freedom” are hardly “useless,” pace Shahin.  Nor does religious devotion always have a direct relationship with human decency, as Esposito’s reference to Sunni-Shia sectarianism indicates contrary to McLaren’s assertion.

Peace among peoples can only result from considered respect for principles such as human equality, something requiring rigorous intellectual inquiry and not the ACMCU’s Islamophile illusions.  Rasool’s claim, for example, that Muslims have “no monopoly” upon a “fundamentalist-extremist mindset” given Israeli “fundamentalism” and Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher’s “economic fundamentalism” deserves closer scrutiny.  Rasool’s assertion with respect to Jews in the Third Reich and 1948 Israeli War for Independence Palestinian refugees that “we all carry the burdens of victimhood” is also suspect.  Such examination necessary for Christian-Muslim or any other understanding, however, is unlikely ever to occur at Georgetown’s ACMCU.

 

Andrew E. Harrod, PhD, JD, Esq. is the author of over 100 articles online and in print concerning various political, religious, and international relations topics. 

The Muslim Brotherhood’s False Appeal

Muslim-Brotherhood_2013345cThe lazy assumption that when the Muslim Brotherhood switched from the bomb to the ballot box, it did more than switch means, it also switched ends, doesn’t hold up. Not when examining the tactics of Islamists in power from Turkey to Tunisia to Egypt. Islamists are as violent in power as they are out of power. It isn’t disenfranchisement that radicalizes them. It’s their belief in Islamic rule that does.

By :

We spend a great deal of time talking about the Muslim Brotherhood’s networks, its agents of influence and the structural elements of its infrastructure. But it may be worth exploring a more basic question.

What is its appeal?

This isn’t an inquiry about the appeal of the Muslim Brotherhood and its varied front groups to the educated and wealthy Muslims who make up its key demographic.

The Brotherhood promises the Sunni Arab elites that they can stay on top while beating the West by making Islam into as compelling a method of national and international governance as the freedom and free trade that upended their feudal societies.  So it’s no great mystery why a Cal-Tech student from Egypt will join the MSA. It offers him a heady combination of community, power, revenge and destiny.

What is more interesting is the appeal of the Muslim Brotherhood, a reactionary Islamist terrorist organization with a history of Nazi collaboration that stands for theocracy, to the Western politicians who have come flocking to it as the last best hope for stability in the Middle East.

A glimmer of that false hope can be seen in the Washington Post editorial that Senator McCain and Senator Graham penned after a disastrous visit in which they failed to pressure the Egyptian authorities to free Muslim Brotherhood detainees.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, McCain and Graham warned ominously, “is a former member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood who was radicalized during the violent crackdowns and detentions of Brotherhood leaders by previous Egyptian regimes. “  And if the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t given a chance to take power, the two politicians implicitly conclude, a new generation of Al Qaeda will be born.

Every single Al Qaeda leader, including Bin Laden, had actually been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Somehow Bin Laden turned to terror without the benefit of any Egyptian crackdown.

McCain and Graham’s thinking shows the logical flaw that allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to seduce the West. They focus on the “radicalization” of Ayman al-Zawahiri as a matter of means, not of ends.

The difference between Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, a difference that so many politicians have made their talking point in support for the Brotherhood, does not hinge on the nature of the society that both want to bring about, but on the tactics they use to bring that society about.

It’s not that there are no differences between them, but they are comparable to the ones between the Bolsheviks and the Trotskyites, rather than between the Labour Party and the Bolsheviks. The distinction is occasionally crucial to dogmatic insiders, but irrelevant to us in terms of the violence and warfare that we would inevitably face from such a regime in the long term.

As every leftist activist knows, moderation is a strategy.  Terrorism is also a strategy. Strategies can be revealing, but objectives are much more revealing.

The terrorism-or-democracy fallacy treats Islamists as “bad” if they blow up buildings in order to build a theocracy, but “good” if they compete in elections to build a theocracy. It prioritizes process over outcome and its logic suggests that we should have no objections to Hitler and Stalin if they had come to power as part of a pure democratic process. Or worse still, bet that democracy would moderate them.

****************

Is a democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood really better than a violent Muslim Brotherhood opposition? Even if the goal is to shut down terrorism, a regime in one of the largest countries in the region that supports terrorism is far more of a threat than that same regime as a terrorist opposition.

Read more at Front Page

 

Lindsey Graham, “Democracy has a way of moderating everything”

Democracy and Egypt: A “Brotherhood of Cains”

by Salim Mansur:

Both the good and bad about democracy are inseparable from what people think about it, or their experience with it, their cultural predisposition when they go about demanding it be given to them, or how they practice it.

The recent spate of commentary in media about the troubles in Egypt illustrates how widespread is the confusion among the “commentariat” class in the West witnessing the “breakdown” of democracy when an elected president was unceremoniously removed by the military.

There was a near unanimous disapproval and condemnation by Western commentators of the military in Egypt for the action it took in deposing Mohammad Morsi from power merely one year into his term in office. The indignant disapproval across political lines seemed to be an expression of disbelief on how the sanctity of democracy was so seriously breached by men in uniform. Democracy, without being qualified, has arisen to a near-sacred status, a sort of secular religion into which is invested all our best hopes — and the thought that while unbelievers may question this belief, they must not be allowed to undermine it by their actions.

As Irving Babbitt (1865-1933) wrote in Democracy and Leadership, published in 1924, “In our recent crusade to make the world safe for democracy, it was currently assumed that democracy is the same as liberty and the opposite of imperialism.” Ninety years later, the surprise is how relevant he remains in illuminating the confusion surrounding American efforts since 9/11 to help bring democracy into the Middle East.

Babbitt, in reference to the problem of democracy in the Arab-Muslim world, is a rewarding critic of the romanticism that has become embedded in the idea of even illiberal democracy, and how this romanticism helps to create a democracy that is mercurial, ill-tempered, unstable and contrary to what most people think when the subject of democracy is brought up.

Babbitt, a literary critic and political philosopher at Harvard, studied at Sorbonne in Paris, and as a realist was opposed to any form of romanticism such as utopianism, transcendentalism, radicalism, or revolution-for-the-sake-of-revolution against the moderation and order that have characterized conservatism in politics.

Babbitt was an admirer of Burke and a fierce critic of Rousseau. Since at least the end of the Cold War, in thinking of democracy as a panacea for all our political and social ills, we seem, at our peril, to have forgotten both of these philosophers. Instead, we have come to romanticize the idea of democracy — but without making distinctions — as the magic key that holds the answer to all the problems of the conflict-ridden politics so prevalent among Arabs and Muslims at present time.

 

Irving Babbitt (L), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (C), and Edmund Burke (R).

There also seems to be a confusion that surrounds the idea of democracy. As set forth by C.B. Macpherson, a Canadian political theorist, in his pamphlet, The Real World of Democracy, “There is a good deal of muddle about democracy.” He then goes on to explain how for most of history, since the first experiment in democracy in ancient Greece, the idea of democracy was looked upon as a bad idea: “That was the position taken by pretty nearly all men of intelligence, from the earliest historical times down to about a hundred years ago. Then, within fifty years, democracy became a good thing. Its full acceptance into the ranks of respectability was apparent by the time of the First World War, a war which the Western allied leaders could proclaim was fought to make the world safe for democracy.”

Read more at Gatestone Institute

 

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Definition of ‘Legitimacy’

Egypt Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Morsie ”We have to admit first that legitimacy does not mean elections and democracy, but legitimacy is the Shariah … which is above all the constitutions and laws.” Ayman Al-Zawahiri

By :

Following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood leader and now former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi the Muslim Brotherhood has conducted a propaganda campaign aiming at establishing themselves as the “legitimate” rulers of Egypt, wrongfully overthrown.

Indeed the very word itself, “legitimacy,” has been central in the Brotherhood’s protests and in their media outreach. Pro-Morsi activists have organized around “The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy.”

In the West, this battle of words has been interpreted primarily within the context of U.S. law and the question of whether U.S. aid to Egypt must be severed following the Muslim Brotherhood’s overthrow. Indeed, the American discussion of whether Morsi was “legitimate” has revolved almost entirely around the question of democracy and his election (which may very well not have been as fair or free as advertised).  U.S. officials halted a shipment of F-16s to the Egyptian government in July, something they had aggressively refused to do during Morsi’s rule despite reports of attacks on Coptic Christians and secular activists, and the existence of Muslim Brotherhood torture squads. The British government has also halted arms exports.

In an Islamic context, however, the Brotherhood’s insistence that they represent “legitimacy” carries with it a different meaning. As the New York Timesnotes, the Ikhwan are encouraging their supporters to use “legitimacy” as code language:

A third man said the crisis had been useful in some ways. “It has been a tough test, but it has had benefits — now we know who our true friends are,” he said. “The liberals, the Christian leaders, they stood with the old regime. It was painful to see some fellow Muslims going against us at first, but they have now seen their mistake and returned to us. The Islamic path is clear.”

The Brotherhood has made some effort to restrain that kind of talk. On a recent evening, an older man in traditional dress was angrily shouting to a reporter about a “war against Islam” led by liberals and the military, and the need for all Muslims to fight against it. Several Brotherhood members urged the man to change his tone, telling him to stick to the words “democracy” and “legitimacy,” and then tried to escort the reporter away.

The “Islamic path,” which is to say the Shariah, Islamic jurisprudence, is for the Brotherhood the ultimate evidence of their “legitimacy.” And to oppose their efforts to institute Shariah is interpreted, as the “older man in traditional dress” says, as a “war on Islam.”

Read more at Front Page

Also see:

Is Islam Compatible With Democracy?

download (13)By Alon Ben-Meir:

The question raised by the ouster of Egypt’s President Morsi is whether Islam is compatible with democracy or any form of government that empowers the people and limits the power of leaders to hold merely representative offices with limited terms of public service.

Islam is the most recent of the Abrahamic religions to emerge on the world stage. Monotheism in general, and specifically as it developed in the Dark and Middle Ages, in principle reflects extremely authoritarian regimes.

Theologically, it posits a cosmic or heavenly hierarchy with absolute authority in God, angels in go-between positions, and a fallen humanity in need of salvation at the base of the pyramidal power structure.

It is no surprise then that in the centuries wherein the Catholic Church was at its zenith of influence in the West, political power was held by kings, popes, emperors, and powerful nepotistic and despotic elite with huge economic chasms between the people and their rulers.

Obviously, these structures were not compatible with democracy.

Christianity and Judaism, being monotheistic, are no less inheritors of this stratified and centralized power paradigm, but unlike Islam these religions were effectively secularized and toned down during the century of the European Enlightenment.

Thinkers like Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, and Hegel paved the way for Marx, Schopenhauer, Buber, and Sartre to challenge conventional approaches to religious ideologies and political formations.

Traditional monotheism, with its highly categorized view of man and God, may not in itself be wholly compatible with democracy, but modern Western monotheism gradually molded itself to new ways of thinking during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and was certainly forced to do so amid rapid scientific and technological advances.

The Islamic world enjoyed its own renaissance during the Islamic Golden Age (mid-8th to mid-13th century) with advances in the sciences, mathematics, and literature, yet the period declined and has never been restored to its former glory.

Where are Islam’s corresponding great modern philosophers and scientists who can pave the way for a similar transformation of both radical and even secular Islam in the Arab world?

In the Arab world today, the majority of its intellectuals are clerics, imams, and thinkers emerging from the core of Islamic values. Radical Islam simply does not routinely nurture free thinkers willing to brave the fires of what might otherwise become an Islamic Inquisition.

Is it even possible to transition from hierarchical religious authoritarianism to a modernized and even secularized form of Islamic democracy — one that accepts the separation of church and state?

While the possibility and harsh eventuality remains, this is a tall order since Islam, perhaps more than other monotheistic religions, invites itself into every aspect of social life. More specifically, Islam is inherently and by definition inconsistent with the separation of church and state.

It is instructive that the seeming separation between the two occurred under ruthless secular dictators such Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Hafez Assad’s family in Syria, and Qaddafi’s Libya. In all these instances, the authoritarianism seen in the rule of the Islamist Morsi was still there.

The Middle East is not the only place where religious ideology might compel people to vote against their own social, economic, and political interests. But history teaches that if there is any prospect in wedding Islam to democratic ideals, efforts to do so must concurrently work on religious, economic, and political levels.

Religiously, the concept of the separation of church and state has practically no hold in Islamic thinking. The idea is entirely foreign to most Islamic orthodoxy, and even if a political party were secular in name, they dare not forsake the basic tenets of Islam.

Read more at American Thinker

The Bipartisan Folly of Our Islam Delusion

86004211-be40-42d5-8ab0-d557e539ae34By Michael Youssef:

Politicians accuse each other of failure, which is to be expected. Each side has their “narrative,” and the truth often loses out (although I am thankful for the honest and courageous ones who do speak the truth).

But since I’m not a politician, but instead have a prophetic journalistic voice, I will speak the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

There is one area in particular where it is hard to find the truth spoken by either Republicans or Democrats: namely, this whole idea that Muslim people yearn for democracy. It is a glaring short-sightedness that both sides hold in common.

To be sure, many of my Muslim friends long for Western-style democracy and freedom. But they are always thwarted (and always will be) by the majority view. That is why even those friends of mine would admit that democracy is incompatible with Islamic ideology.

Knowledgeable people will agree that democracy and freedom is a delicate rose that was planted in the soil of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation turned the people of the dark ages back to the Bible, with its deeply-rooted respect for the individual.

The Bible unequivocally declares that God values “the individual.” God not only created a man and a woman to be compatible in every way, but God gave man the management responsibility for His creation—thus God placed “the individual” at the helm of importance.

The Christian faith testifies to the fact that although humans fell in the Garden of Eden, God saw fit to redeem them at a colossal cost to Himself—such is the value he places on us.

That is the soil that gave Western democracy its ideals.

Now enter some misguided Republicans and Democrats who think that the ideology of Islam can be rehabilitated and made compatible with Western Christian values.

Neither political side understands that, contrary to the biblical view of man, the root of Islamic ideology declares that man is of no consequence. Allah is. The human individual is of no value; he is only to serve the whim of Allah, his prophet, and the successors (caliphates) of the prophets of Islam. Democracy and freedom rise from the bottom up, whereas Islam is a top-down ideology—Allah, whose words they claim to have received, is all that matters.

So when George W. Bush often said that freedom is “God’s gift to humanity,” thoughtful people needed to ask some important questions.

Such as, which God? Yahweh, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ? Or Allah of 7th century Arabia?

As well-intentioned as his administration was, a cursory look at our effort to bring democracy to Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, and Egypt offer proof of the apparent impossibility of the task.

And when President Obama speaks of Muslims yearning for freedom as we do, one must ask: whosedefinition of freedom is he talking about?

Well over 90 percent of the Islamic states that signed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights—and the right to freedom of religion contained within it—would immediately qualify it by declaring that “freedom” means freedom to be a slave of Allah and nothing more.

Read more at Town Hall

 

Islam and the ballot box

IslamOnlyBy William J. Murray:

On January 30th the Wall Street Journal carried a column by former CIA Middle East specialist Reuel Marc Gerecht which made the preposterous assertion that Islam would become moderate in a democratic setting. Gerecht went so far as to state that Israel would eventually be accepted by its Islamist neighbors when they are all “free men voting.

The alarming nature of the column was the fact that this is the advice that has been given to presidents and Congress for many years, and the results have been disastrous, as can clearly be seen in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and other Middle East nations.

I authored a very lengthy rebuttal to Mr. Gerecht which I knew would not be published by the Wall Street Journal, since their editors drink the Kool-Aid that makes them believe the ballot box will eliminate poverty and war worldwide — never mind the fact that Adolph Hitler was duly elected to office by the German people.

Because I believe it is so important to expose the thought processes of those in the establishment CIA and State Department who advise the White House and the Congress, I am reprinting my WND.com column in this edition of the Chairman’s Report. The headline of the column makes reference to the “Pickle Factory,” the insiders’ name for the Central Intelligence Agency. The name comes from code for the daily CIA briefings to the President which are called Pickles. (WND.com changed the title to The ballot box will not tame Islamism.)

Contrary to CIA specialist, democracy will not “diminish” Islamic imperatives
How a Wall Street Journal column rationalizes delusional thinking at the Pickle Factory

By William J. Murray

The Wall Street Journal used a half page of its editorial space on January 30th to publish a totally illogical, if not delusional, column (Israel’s New Islamist Neighborhood: If Western history is any guide, the growth of democracy slowly diminishes religious imperativesby former CIA Middle East specialist Reuel  Marc Gerecht regarding the future “moderation” of Islam in the Middle East. It appears the Wall Street Journal’s editors, economic conservatives who can see no wrong in the human rights abuses in wealthy Islamic nations, wanted to highlight the column to justify U.S support of the Muslim Brotherhood in the takeover of half a dozen nations in the vicinity of Israel.

Gerecht asserts that:

“Israel may one day be accepted by its Arab neighbors and by its most deadly foe, Iran—but only when Arab and Iranian Muslim identities allow for it. At best, that change is decades away. Modern Islam’s great internal tug of war, between the search for authenticity and the love of modernity, must quiet before the Israeli-Palestinian clash can end.”

The key word in this paragraph is “modernity” which brings in the assumption that Islam will move out of the 7th Century and somehow accept a Martin Luther who will “fix” Islam with a reformation that will bring about the equivalent of same-sex marriages in the Episcopal Church.

On what does Gerecht base his assumptions? Later in the column he writes:

“Yet if Western history is any guide, the growth of democracy slowly diminishes religious imperatives. Representative government demystifies politics and ethics, as the here-and-now takes precedence over abstract aspirations. It makes the mundane transcendent. It promotes healthy division because it puts competing visions, even competing fundamentalist visions, to the vote. It localizes ambitions and focuses people’s passions on the national purse.”

Western history is no more a guide for modernizing Islamic nations through democracy than Stalinist history was a model to modernize China. It took over 500 years, from the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 until the ratification of the American Constitution in 1789, for cultural acceptance of democratic thought despite a Judeo-Christian religious base which promotes the dignity of the individual’s rights. Islam has no such history or character.

And to what “national pulse” does Gerecht refer? The Super Bowl? Europeans are less in touch than even Americans with any political pulse other than to demand even more benefits from their governments.

Reuel Marc Gerecht

Reuel Marc Gerecht

Apparently Gerecht sees a morally splintered Western society in which citizens have the power to vote themselves lavish entitlements as the model for the Middle East. His discussion of democracy shows his total lack of understanding that the words democracy and freedom have different definitions. Democracy is merely a process of selecting leaders and is in no way synonymous with freedom, as can be seen in the United Kingdom where even politicians are jailed for their Facebook comments which are deemed politically incorrect.

In that same paragraph be asserts that democracy “puts competing visions, even competing fundamentalist visions, to the vote.” When has this ever happened anywhere? Are the views of Orthodox Jews, fundamentalist Baptists, conservative Catholics or murderous mullahs put to the vote in Western democracies? This is nonsense.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

William J. Murray is the chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Religious Freedom Coalition and the author of seven books including “My Life Without God,” which chronicles his early life in the home of destructive atheist and Marxist leader Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

Will Egypt become a totalitarian state?

by Robert R. Reilly

Burned Again: Benghazi and Myth of ‘Nation Building’

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi burns during the terrorist attack of Sept.11, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

by Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

What happened or did not happen when our consulate in Benghazi was attacked has become a contentious and partisan issue. This horrible attack on a diplomatic urban outpost is not the first in our dealings with the Muslim world. The international standards that foreign diplomats must be protected by the host country have been violated a number of times since the 19th century, not only for American but also to British diplomats, and only in Muslim countries.

The British Embassy was regularly attacked by mobs stirred up by Muslim clerics in Iran in the 19th century and most recently in 2011. Embassy guards are reluctant to shoot to kill rioters, particularly if they are unarmed, because this response could further enrage the mob. An embassy must depend upon the host country to disburse the mobs and arrest ringleaders. Western countries always protect the embassies under their jurisdiction, whether we like the visiting country or not. It is the responsibility of modern countries to do so, and we expect reciprocity for all of our diplomatic outposts in other countries.

Recently, Egyptian mobs attacked both the American and Israeli embassies, and new Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi was very slow to respond. But after sharp words from both the American and Israeli governments, Morsi finally realized that if he wished to be a respected international leader, he had to act like one. The Muslim Brotherhood has finally won an election and they are faced with the job of running a country, not just attacking those who preceded them.

Because of the dangers of having embassies in Muslim countries, the United States has turned our embassies into fortresses. I remember with nostalgia the American Embassy in Tehran before the Islamic Revolution, open to expatriates like me to visit the cafeteria and have a real American breakfast, or to attend parties for American holidays to which many Iranians were invited.

However, after the Islamic Revolution, our embassy was overrun, trashed, documents confiscated, and diplomats held as prisoners for 444 days. The only other country to close its embassy in protest was Canada, which should still shame the rest of the diplomatic world for its cowardice or reluctance to be principled.

The 52 American hostages (shown here upon their release) that were held hostage from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981 by a group of Islamist students and militants who took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian Revolution

There is no way that the United States can protect our consulates, which by their nature are homes, not fortresses, against a rampaging mob. Furthermore, when the attack is staged by the likes of Al Qaeda, even an armed drone cannot kill only Al Qaeda operatives and not bystanders. The new government of Libya probably meant well and would have protected our consulate if they could, but they are inexperienced, inept and already run the risk of inflaming Islamists if they protect us.

The real problem is the 75-year old American policy that promotes “nation building” and “democracy,” lovely ideas, but doomed for failure in Islamist world. This is not just an issue of the religion (i.e. sharia) itself, which is antithetical to democratization, but the very cultures that support it, cultures with a very different standard of honorable behavior than ours. For example, in Afghanistan, police and soldiers whom we are training have turned on their trainers, making them impossible to trust.

Read more at Radical Islam

The Islamic Threat Doctrine and 9/11/2012

Arab “Spring”

By Alan Kornman

A dark feeling of betrayal and stunned disbelief washed over me as I read the newspaper headline, “Jordanians press for democratic reforms” in the October 6, 2012 Orlando Sentinel.

The Myth of Islamic Democratic Reforms

The mainstream media, U.S. State Department, and President Obama fed us a steady stream of news in 2011 that Egyptian youth were protesting in the streets for an Arab Spring of democratic reforms in Egypt.  Fast forward to 2012 and we learned The Muslim Brotherhood orchestrated the propaganda of democracy in Egypt to get support from the Obama Administration in the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

While the press was printing gallons of ink reporting the Muslim Brotherhood would pursue democratic reforms in Egypt, Mohammad Morsi was consolidating his political base with the Salafi Islamist fundamentalists, whose objective was to institute a Sunni-led Shariah-compliant Islamic State in Egypt by overthrowing the colonialist dictator and friend of the United States, Hosni Mubarak.

The utopian mantra from the liberal left of democratic reforms blooming in Egypt on a warm and sunny Arab Spring day were proven wrong. Now these same journalists and politicians are falling for the same lie again out of Jordan.

When will our mainstream press learn that Shariah compliant political Islam and our Jeffersonian democracy are not compatible? Understanding the PLO’s failed coup of Jordan in the 1970′s will help you to see what Jordan can expect from the Muslim Brotherhood in 2012-2013.

Black September in Jordan

In September of 1970, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Yasser Arafat, nephew of Nazi collaborator Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, tried unsuccessfully to violently overthrow the Kingdom of Jordan from King Hussein.

Arafat’s PLO organization lost over 2,000 Muslim men in the attempted Black September coup of their Jordanian Muslim brothers and were violently expelled from their native Jordan.

History seems to be repeating itself again,  except now The Muslim Brotherhood is making a play to wrestle control of Jordan from the colonialist dictator and friend of the United States, King Abdullah II.

If King Abdullah II tries to appease The Muslim Brotherhood he will find himself either dead or in exile wondering how he lost his throne.  King Abdullah II need look no further than Qaddafi, Mubarak, and Assad to see his future, if he continues on his current path.

Understanding The Islamic Threat Doctrine

Understanding the Islamic Threat Doctrine (click here to read it) is essential in predicting events as they unfold on the ground and anticipating what to expect will happen in the future. Fortunately for the American people, our Islamist adversaries are more than happy to tell us exactly what their doctrine and objectives are.

We will now learn the Islamic Threat Doctrine from a well respected Islamic Jihadist who was tops in his class amongst his Jihadi peers.  Today’s teacher of the doctrine is Sheikh Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi or by his title, “Emir of Al Qaeda in the Country of Two Rivers.”  On June 7, 2006 Mr. Zarqawi was killed when a USAF F-16 dropped two 500 pound guided bombs on his safe house in Baqubah, Iraq prematurely ending his career of violence and butchery to achieve his political objectives.

Shortly before his death, Mr. Zarqawi conducted an in depth interview with the Al-Furican Foundation for Media Production, an entertainment arm of Al-Qaeda. Hidden deep in the interview Mr. Zarqawi explains clearly what the Islamic Threat Doctrine is and its objectives.

These two paragraphs below should change your life forever and how you view the world around you.  Al-Qaeda terrorist Musab Al-Zarqawi says,

“We fight in the way of Allah, until the law of Allah is implemented, and the first step is to expel the enemy, then establish the Islamic state, then we set forth to conquer the lands of Muslims to return them back to us, then after that, we fight the kuffar (disbelievers) until they accept one of the three (conversion, death or dhimmitude).
“I have been sent with the sword, between the hands of the hour”; this is our political agenda.”
“It is necessary to accept the fact that it is an obligation for every Muslim to rush to help each other and it is also very necessary to agree that the houses of Muslims are just one house. The enemies (the disbelieving nations) have imposed boundaries and divided the lands of Muslims to tiny nations — however we do not believe in them and the boundaries of Sax Bacon do not restrict us. We, the Muslims, are one nation and the lands of Islam are one land, we fight for the sake of “there is no god but Allah”.

The Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East and Northern Africa are “expelling the enemy” and establishing an Islamic State as they did in Egypt.  Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood consider the Muslim colonialist dictators as enemies of Shariah-compliant political Islam.

The Islamic Threat Doctrine Mr. Zarqawi articulated above is being implemented in coordinated steps to achieve their short-term objective of unifying, “Muslims to rush to help each other…and Muslims are of one house.”  The coordinated attacks on 9/11/12 on U.S. interests in the Middle East and Northern Africa was the real warning to America, not the red herring of an internet movie.

When the Islamist enemies of the United States tell you exactly what they want to do and why — believe them. When the soldiers of Allah conducted 20+ coordinated attacks on U.S. interests in the Middle East and Northern Africa on 9/11/2012,  they were telegraphing they can recreate these coordinated attacks at any time of their choosing — in law enforcement circles they call that a clue, as John Guandolo likes to say.

What Our Islamist Enemies Fear Most

The one thing our Islamist adversaries fear most is an American public that understands the basics of The Islamic Threat Doctrine (watch a ten-part video course about it by clicking here). Thomas Jefferson read the Qur’an to fight and defeat the Muslim Barbary Pirates in Tripoli back in 1801. Now you must learn The Islamic Threat Doctrine to understand the Islamists who attacked our embassy in Tripoli on 9/11/2012.

Conclusion

The future of America rests on how many Americans learn The Islamic Threat Doctrine as articulated by Mr. Zarqawi. Then you must teach your friends, family, and community what Mr. Zarqawi and his Islamist ideological brothers consider their definition of Victory.

We, the Muslims, are one nation and the lands of Islam are one land, we fight for the sake of “there is no god but Allah”.

What we believe as Americans and our man made laws is of small concern to our Islamist enemies. The followers of Islam believe “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger” and that was the message on the black flags that flew above our overrun embassies and consulates when they were attacked on 9/11/2012.
God Bless America and God Bless Our Troops.

Published at Citizen Warrior
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Alan Kornman is the regional coordinator of The United West — Uniting Western Civilization for Freedom and Liberty. His email is: alan@theunitedwest.org

 

Muslim Brotherhood ‘Democracy’: Slapping, Stabbing, and Slaying for Sharia

by Raymond Ibrahim Special to IPT News July 9, 2012

Prior to the presidential elections, it was revealed how Egypt’s Islamists viewed democratic elections as an obligatory form of “holy war.” Then, any number of Islamic clerics, including influential ones, declared that it was mandatory for Muslims to cheat during elections—if so doing would help Islamist candidates win; that the elections were a form of jihad, and those who die are “martyrs” who will attain the highest levels of paradise. Top Islamic institutions and influential clerics, such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, issued fatwas decreeing that all Muslims were “obligated” to go and vote for those candidates most likely to implement Sharia law, with threats of hellfire for those failing to do so.

The point was simple: democracy, elections, voting, even the individual candidates, were all means to an end—the establishment of Sharia law. Cheat, fight, and kill during elections, as long as doing so enables Sharia; vote only for whoever will enable Sharia; avoid hell by enabling Sharia. (It is precisely for this reason that the very first demand made by Islamic leaders is that President Morsi implement the totality of Sharia law in Egypt. That is, after all, why so many voted for him.)

That many Egyptian Muslims heeded these commands to lie, cheat, steal, and kill in order to empower Sharia, there is no doubt. Story after story appeared in the Egyptian media—much of it missed in the West—demonstrating as much.

Those dealing with brutal violence speak for themselves. For example, a Muslim man “beat his pregnant wife to death upon learning that she had not voted for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Muhammad Morsi.” According to police reports, “despite her pleas,” the husband “battered and bruised” her after discovering she had voted for the secularist candidate, Ahmed Shafiq. She died later in the hospital “from injuries sustained.”

Likewise, a farmer was stabbed by a “supporter of Morsi,” simply for putting up a picture of the secular Shafiq on his motorcycle. Another 52-year-old man and “supporter of Morsi” slapped his mother for voting for Shafiq. The man took his elderly mother to the voting booth, informing her that she must vote for Morsi; after she voted, he pressed her to confirm that she did in fact vote for the Islamist—only to be told that she did not. The man “lost his temper” and slapped her in front of the other voters and electoral supervisors.

Finally, and in accord with the Muslim Brotherhood’s own directives, whole segments of Coptic Christians were prevented from voting. According to Al Ahram, Egypt’s national newspaper, in Upper Egypt, where millions of Copts live, “the Muslim Brotherhood blockaded entire streets, prevented Copts from voting at gunpoint, and threatened Christian families not to let their children go out and vote.”

Read more

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum

Egyptian Philosopher Murad Wahba: “The Muslim Brotherhood Is Ideologically Required To Start Wars”

Atlas Shrugs:

The Obama-led and supported Muslim Brotherhood revolution in Egypt continues careening down its collision course. Remember it was Obama that invited the then-banned Muslim Brotherhood to his speech in Cairo in June 2009 (at the same time as he was ignoring the plaintive, bloodthirsty, cries of the Iranian people fighting, dying to be free). It was Obama that had mid-level administration officials meeting with the Brotherhood all through 2009, 2010, until the revolution of January 2011. There are no accidents.

We have got to get the enemy out of the White House.

Egyptian Philosopher Murad Wahba: ‘The Muslim Brotherhood Is Ideologically Required To Start Wars’ MEMRI

Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian philosopher Murad Wahba, which aired on Sada Al-Balad TV on April 20, 2012.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/3442.htm.

“We’re Not Even In The Ballpark” Of The Components Of Democracy

Murad Wahba: “Democracy has four components.”

Interviewer: “Where does Egypt stand with regard to these four components?”

Murad Wahba: “We’re not even in the ballpark. This is not an exaggeration. There are four components: Secularism and relative thinking do not exist. They are considered heresy. As for a social covenant, the religious authorities interfere in everything. Enlightenment is forbidden – from the days of Sheik Abd Al-Razeq, through Taha Hussein, and all the way to Naguib Mahfouz.”

Interviewer: “And others too.”

Murad Wahba: “Enlightenment is thwarted all the time. They eradicate any sign of rational thinking. As for liberalism – there is no room for individualism. Everybody moves like a herd of sheep. […]

“Today, there is a bloc of Gulf states against the Muslim Brotherhood. This is a new phenomenon.”

Interviewer: “What do you mean?”

Murad Wahba: “Some declarations have been issued on this.”

Interviewer: “I think that the Dubai police [chief] was very clear on that.”

Murad Wahba: “Right. The Gulf states, along with the Asian countries, may be able to ‘besiege’ the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Under these circumstances, I believe that the Muslim Brotherhood ideology will face a crisis – how will they cooperate, when they are in power, with neighboring countries – the Gulf states – and with Asia, given its current relations with the Gulf states, in light of the present problems, in which the U.S. and Europe are also involved? Today, the U.S. and Europe are closer to the Gulf states and to Asia than they are to Egypt.”

“There Will Be A Crisis Between The Leadership Of The Egyptian Army And The Muslim Brotherhood”

Read more