Islamic Jihad on Christian Nuns: A History

Maaloula: ancient Christian site where inhabitants still spoke Aramaic, language of Jesus, before being devastated by the jihad, its nuns abducted, its ancient churches desecrated.

Maaloula: ancient Christian site where inhabitants still spoke Aramaic, language of Jesus, before being devastated by the jihad, its nuns abducted, its ancient churches desecrated.

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Yet another phenomenon with a long paper trail in Islamic history has just taken place, even as the Western “mainstream”—little acquainted with true history or reality—dismisses it as an aberration.  Asia News has the details:

Islamist rebels have kidnapped a group of nuns from the Greek Orthodox monastery of St Thecla (Mar Taqla) in Maaloula [an ancient Christian community where Christians were earlier forced to convert to Islam or die]…  “Armed men burst in the monastery of St Thecla in Maaloula this afternoon [Dec. 2]. From there, they forcibly took 12 women religious,” Mgr Zenari said …. Neither the nuncio nor the Greek Orthodox Church know [the] reason behind the kidnapping.

The “reason behind the kidnapping”?  Sexual abuse and rape certainly should not be discounted, as these have been the lot of thousands of women abducted by U.S.-sponsored “freedom fighters” in Syria. Indeed, a new report issued by the National Reconciliation Commission in Syria states that some 37,000 women have been raped since the war started.

To keep the jihad in Syria alive, pro-war Islamic clerics have issued any number of fatwas, or Islamic rulings, permitting sexually-frustrated, female-deprived rebels to rape women.  Most of these are based on the simple fact that Islam permits jihadis, based on the example of their prophet, to copulate with any captured woman—or, in the words of the Koran, “what your right hands possess” (see “The Jihad on Christian Women: Abduction, Rape, and Forced Conversion,” pgs. 186-199 in Crucified Again for detailed information).

One cleric permitted the abduction and rape of any Syrian woman, provided she is not Sunni.  Yet apparently because there are still not enough women for the jihadi hordes, many of whom are foreigners—one Christian child was recently raped by 15 men before being killedSunni Muslim women are also being targeted through sex jihad fatwas.

So would such jihadis and their clerics have any special respect for Christian nuns?

The fact is, raped nuns is a phenomenon that goes back centuries.   According to Muslim historian Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi (1364-1442) during his raids on Egypt, Caliph Marwan II (r.744–50) “made captive a number of women from among the nuns of several convents. And he tried to seduce one of them.”  The account describes how the enslaved nun tricked him into killing her, by claiming she had a magic oil that make skin impenetrable: “She then took some oil and anointed herself with it; then stretched out her neck, which he smote with the sword, and made her head fly.  He then understood that she preferred death to defilement.”

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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. 

New Egyptian Constitution: A Slap at the Brotherhood

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Egyptians have a new draft constitution to vote upon in a referendum to be held either later this month or in January 2014. It is meant to replace, with amendment language and new provisions, the more Islamist-oriented constitution rammed through by former Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi. “It is now the right of every Egyptian to declare that this is their constitution,” said Bishop Bola, the representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church on the panel that was responsible for drafting the new constitution.

The big loser will be the Muslim Brotherhood, eclipsed by representatives from a more conservative Islamist party and from Al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni learning, who spoke for Islamists on the drafting panel and have backed the new constitution. The drafting panel also consisted of activists from Tamarod, the secular youth movement that rallied millions of Egyptians who demanded that Morsi step aside, leading to his ouster and replacement by an interim government under the rule of the defense minister, General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.

The constitution drafters and the interim government leaders hope that there will be a significantly larger turnout of voters to approve this constitution than showed up to approve Morsi’s constitution.  A larger turnout and vote in support of the draft constitution would serve to legitimize the current interim government’s self-proclaimed move towards a more inclusive, democratic regime – at least, that is what the interim government leaders are claiming. Whether presidential or parliamentary elections would be held first following the constitution’s ratification remains an open question, possibly to provide the opportunity for Sisi to run for president and consolidate his influence in advance of more contentious, drawn-out parliamentary elections.

On paper, the new constitution would grant new important rights to Egyptian citizens, including protection against torture, human trafficking and persecution for religious belief. It bans parties founded on religion or sect and mandates equality between men and women, both slaps in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood which tried to remake the country in its own image of an Islamist state. In practice, however, the new constitution is but another in a series of constitutional documents, more honored in their breach than their observance. While the new draft pays lip service to human rights and is more secular in nature than its predecessor, the draft keeps Sharia law as the basis for legislation. Repression of dissent, limitations on freedom to practice one’s own religion, and violence and discrimination against women are likely to remain the grim reality on the streets of Egypt. State institutions such as the military and the police will retain their privileged status.

Not surprisingly, the Muslim Brotherhood has already denounced the new draft constitution. It said that “abusive coupists” were trying to “distort Egypt’s legitimate constitution,” by which they mean the Islamist-oriented constitution foisted on the Egyptian people last year by a far less inclusive drafting process.  Liberals, secularists and the Coptic Church were on the outside looking in, in contrast to their inclusion in the current drafting process.

The Obama administration appears to be taking a wait-and-see attitude towards the new draft constitution. But, in the meantime, the administration continues to punish the interim regime by cutting off vital military aid, including the delivery of F-16s, M1A1 tank kits, Harpoon missiles and Apache helicopters. It does so on the pretext that the regime’s forcible suppression of dissent and lack of inclusiveness forced the administration to the point that “we could not continue business as usual with respect to our assistance.”

Why not begin resuming at least some deliveries now that the interim government has taken at least a preliminary step on its roadmap towards a more inclusive civil democracy? The excuse appears to be a recently passed law placing restrictions on protest demonstrations, which was aimed at curbing the incessant protests by Islamists supporting Morsi before violence could erupt but has also ensnared some disaffected secularist activists. In a press statement issued on November 25, 2013, Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson, said that “this law, which imposes restrictions on Egyptians’ ability to assemble peacefully and express their views, does not meet international standards and will not move Egypt’s democratic transition forward.”  Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, piled on with this tweet on November 26th: “New law regulating peaceful protests in #Egypt simply doesn’t meet intl standards. Gov’t must protect freedoms, and this law restricts them.”

Why didn’t the administration apply the same “international standards” when it kept the arms flowing unabated to the repressive, non-inclusive Morsi regime? The truth is that the administration would have preferred the Islamist Morsi regime to remain in power.

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In the words of A. Savyon, director of MEMRI’s Iran Media Project, and Y. Carmon, President of MEMRI, in their analysis of the roots of the U.S.’s policy change in the Middle East that led to the Obama administration’s disastrous interim nuclear agreement with Iran:

“In previous attempts to appeal to the peoples of the region, that is, in Ankara and Cairo in 2009, Obama presented a vision of an America that is no longer an imperialist power that maintains military bases in the region and intervenes militarily to protect the status quo, but a country that identifies with the aspirations and interests of the Arab and Muslim peoples and disregards their regimes. In Obama’s perception, the overall U.S. shift in recent years – the pinnacle of which is his attempts at reconciliation with the Iranian regime – does not stem from weakness but is ideologically directed; it dovetails with and intensifies the revolutionary changes taking place in the Arab world since the Arab Spring, with the aim of integrating the U.S. into the Arab and Muslim world of the future.”

Read more at Front Page

 

Sharia and the New Egyptian Constitution

shariaby :

The single greatest priority of the United States and other Western governments towards Egypt should be to encourage the drafting of a constitution based on full equality of all citizens. This means the new constitution cannot be based in Sharia law.

The US and EU claim to care about human rights and women’s rights, which were increasingly suppressed and targeted under Morsi. After Morsi’s ouster, Copts have borne the brunt of Muslim Brotherhood outrage through targeted murders and kidnappings of Copts and destruction of their churches, monasteries, schools, homes and businesses.  According to a recent Reuters report, Egypt is the very worst country in which to be a woman: “Egypt scored badly in almost every category, including gender violence, reproductive rights, and treatment of women in the family and their inclusion in politics and the economy.”

Unfortunately, many in the West seem blind to the far-ranging impact that the denial of religious freedom has on an entire society. Citing from The Price of Freedom Denied, a letter from the international religious freedom community to President Obama, says, “where there is less religious freedom, there is less women’s empowerment, less economic development, and more political instability and conflict, violent extremism and terrorism.”

If we want to see an Egypt in which poverty is decreased due to economic development, in which women are empowered to participate in politics, receive an education, work, and travel without fear of harassment; in which individuals can practice their faith both publically and privately without fear of attack on their person, possessions, and houses of worship, and a country that is stable without constant terrorists attacks, the single greatest antidote would be to ensure religious freedom for all, which has been proven through Pew research to improve all these other aspects of society and economy.

This is the very discussion happening with the drafting of the new constitution in Egypt. Islamists such as the Salafists (the “export” version of the notorious Saudi Wahabis), and those sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood insist that the new Constitution must be based on Sharia law even more explicitly than previous constitutions have been. If the constitutional committee does not comply, they face the threat of even greater terrorism and violence by the Muslim Brotherhood and a withdrawal of support from the Salafists in finalizing the constitution.

Egypt’s constitutions saw the mention of Sharia for the first time when Sadat in 1971 inserted in Article 2 that “principles of Sharia” be “a” main source of legislation. In a further effort to appease Islamists, he changed the stipulation in 1980 to make “principles of Sharia the main source of legislation.” In an attempt to clarify these “principles,” the Constitutional Court defined them (in May 1993) as the “Sharia injunctions, which are peremptory in proof (of origin) and significance,” somewhat limiting the possibility of applying the myriads of interpretations and rulings that date back to the tenth century. The Court further clarified that the constitutional article was addressed to legislators (not to judges) and that it was not applicable retroactively on existing laws.

Family status is entirely based on Sharia and matters related to adoption, heritage or custody apply to non-Muslims as well. More important than impacting the legislation over three decades, Article 2 had a devastating effect on Egypt. It implicitly justified treating non-Muslims as second class citizens and set the foundation of the process of Islamization of the country. Both Mubarak’s regime and the Islamists, led by the Brotherhood, participated in a competition, whose terrain was the media, education and societal behavior, to be regarded as “more pious” than the other. It set the stage for the emergence of “religious parties,” calling for ever more Sharia-compliant measures. Appealing to raw religious passions and instincts of uneducated masses, they used “the ballot box” to democratically impose fascistic rule–just as happened with the Brotherhood during the past two years.

Read more at Front Page

 

Georgetown Rescinds Invite to Egyptian Nazi

trager2IPT News:

A daylong Georgetown University conference on Egypt’s political state in the wake of July’s ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was to include a member of Egypt’s Nazi Party.

Hosted and organized by the school’s Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Center for Christian Muslim Understanding, the Dec. 5 program is entitled “Egypt and the Struggle for Democracy.” The lone Coptic Christian invited, Ramy Jan, is part of Egypt’s small Nazi Party and sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, theWashington Free Beacon reports.

Jan is listed representing “Christians Against the Coup” in a promotional flier for the event posted by Georgetown Tuesday morning. He is omitted from an updated flierposted six hours later. In between the two, Jan’s Nazi ideology was exposed in a Twitter post by Hudson Institute Fellow Samuel Tadros.

“It’s remarkable to find such a guy,” Tadros told the Beacon. “Just by inviting him that tells us something about the nature of the conference and those organizing it.”

In addition, Eric Trager, a Washington Institute on Near East Policy fellow who specializes in Egyptian politics and the Muslim Brotherhood, wrote that it also was odd to see the only Coptic speaker on the program be someone opposed to Morsi’s ouster. This “suggests [the conference's] goal is advocacy, not analysis,” he wrote.

Egyptian Copts overwhelmingly supported Morsi’s removal after he sought to entrench Islamist political power and failed to protect minority rights. The Christian minority has been targeted for a barrage of attacks by Islamists since the government was toppled.

Dalia Mogahed, a former White House advisor and protégé of the Georgetown center’s director John Esposito, wrote that Jan’s invitation “had already been handled” before the Twitter attention and that he would not be attending the event. Mogahed is scheduled to speak at the event.

The decision to change the program appears to be limited to Jan’s inclusion. The rest of the speakers, the Beacon reported, are all pro-Muslim Brotherhood. That includes a senior member of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice political party and a former senior adviser to Morsi. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who has enjoyed close relationships with American Islamist groups, is scheduled to give the keynote address.

Georgetown University to Host Member of Egypt’s Nazi Party

A pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstration in Tahrir Square / AP

A pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstration in Tahrir Square / AP

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Georgetown University is scheduled to host an event on Egypt that features a member of Egypt’s Nazi Party.

Georgetown University’s Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Center for Christian Muslim Understanding is scheduled to host a Dec. 5 event on “Egypt and the Struggle for Democracy.”

The event features a slew of speakers sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Coptic Christian Ramy Jan, who cut his teeth on the Egyptian political scene as a member of the country’s Nazi Party, according to multiple sources.

The event is scheduled to take place all day at Georgetown’s ICC auditorium and feature a keynote address by Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.).

In addition to Jan, a who’s who of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated speakers are scheduled to be flown in from Egypt to attend and participate in the forum, which includes multiple panel discussion about Egypt’s recent coup and the current state of the country’s democracy.

Egypt experts criticized both Georgetown and event organizers for holding an event that will primarily feature pro-Muslim Brotherhood propaganda under the guise of free and open discussion.

They also expressed surprise at the inclusion of Nazi Party member Jan, who was featured in a 2011 documentary on the Nazi Party’s “pursuit of world supremacy for the Egyptian race.”

“Several businessmen want to finance us, and we have to choose between them,” Jan told interviewers in Arabic, according to a translation of his remarks by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“We do not recognize the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel,” Jan said before explaining his desire for Egypt to build a nuclear reactor.

“We want to build an Egyptian nuclear reactor—a reactor that will be built by Egyptians and will have Egyptian components,” he said. “All Egyptians will unite around this national project.”

Egypt’s Nazi Party is very small and comprised of only a few key members, including Jan.

Jan is featured in a promotional flyer for the event as a member of the little-known group, “Christians Against the Coup.”

Egypt experts dismissed the event as an attempt by Muslim Brotherhood supporters to push their agenda with the backing of a prominent American university.

“I think Georgetown has some serious questions to answer,” such as why are they providing a “platform for the Egyptian Nazi Party,” said the Hudson Institute’s Samuel Tadros, author of Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity.

“Out of 17 speakers, most of these people are members of the Muslim Brotherhood” except for the “one token Christian—and the one Coptic out of million of Copts who also happens to be a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Tadros said.

“It’s remarkable to find such a guy,” he said. “Just by inviting him that tells us something about the nature of the conference and those organizing it.”

Read more at Free Beacon

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Islamists Take Nose Dive in 2013 Issue of “Muslim 500″

Muslim 500

The Islamist ascent in the first wave of the Arab Spring triggered a movement against the Muslim Brotherhood in the second wave.

BY RYAN MAURO:

The second wave of the Arab Spring defined the Muslim world in 2013. The Islamist ascent in the first wave triggered a movement against the Muslim Brotherhood in the second wave. The power shift’s importance is apparent in the rankings in this year’s issue ofThe Muslim 500, an annual publication compiled by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan which ranks the most influential Muslims worldwide.

Last year, seven of the top 10 Muslims ranked by the publication were Islamists, with Saudi King Abdullah and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan topping the list. This year, the number has fallen to four. Overall, this year’s tally is very negative for the Muslim Brotherhood and very positive for Muslim leaders less hostile to the West.

The opening of the issue includes a blistering critique of the Brotherhood by Professor S. Abdallah Schleifer, a prominent Middle East expert. Notably, he talks about a backlash against the Islamists.

“So if a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt stood in the beginning of 2013 as the highest expression of the tide of Islamism, it is also possible that the overthrow of that government … may be a sign that this Islamist tidal wave is beginning to recede,” Professor Schleifer writes.

The Muslim 500 identifies three ideological camps in the Muslim world:

The first and largest one is “Traditional Islam” or “Orthodox Islam” and is based on scholarly consensus. The publication says that this represents 96% of the Muslim world and (supposedly) is not politicized. All of the Islamic schools of jurisprudence are included in this category.

This camp includes Islamists like the Saudi King and non-Islamists like the Jordanian King.

The second camp is “Islamic Fundamentalism, ” which is highly politicized and explicitly anti-Western. The fundamentalists describe themselves as “reformers” and are very aggressive. The Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists/Wahhabists and Revolutionary Shiites are included in this category.

The publication says this camp represents 3% of the Muslim world.

The third and smallest camp is “Islamic Modernism.” Adherents consider themselves to be “reformers” but want Islam to become more pro-Western and “progressive.”

In the words of The Muslim 500, “this subdivision contextualized Islamic ideology for the times—emphasizing the need for religion to evolve with Western advances.” It says:

“They thus called for a complete overhaul of Islam, including—or rather, in particular—Islamic law (sharia) and doctrine (aqida). Islamic modernism remains popularly an object of derision and ridicule, and is scorned by traditional Muslims and fundamentalists alike.”

According to the publication, this camp only represents 1% of the Muslim world. The most influential modernist is Queen Abdullah of Jordan. She took 32nd place, whereas last year she was in 37th.

The second most influential modernist is Professor Dr. M. Din Syamsuddin, the chairman of the Muhammadiyya organization in Indonesia. The organization has 35 million members. He is in 33rdplace. He was in 39th last year.

It could be argued that the Indonesian organization Nahdlatul Ulamafalls into this category. Its leader, KH Said Aqil Siradj, is now ranked as the 15th most influential Muslim. He came in 19th last year.

This year’s most influential Muslim is Dr. Sheikh Ahmed Muhammad al-Tayeb, the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University in Egypt. He is a traditionalist opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood who endorsed the Egyptian military’s overthrow of President Morsi.

Read more at Clarion Project

Al-Qaeda’s Jihad Supported by Muslim Brotherhood

by Raymond Ibrahim:

While some are convinced that the various Islamic organizations are discreet and disparate phenomena with divergent goals, once again information appears indicating that, all semantics aside, they are better viewed as branches emanating from one root — branches that complement and work with one another for the same goal: the empowerment of Islam, whether through jihad or suits and smiley faces.

Many are aware that the current al-Qaeda leader, the Egyptian Ayman Zawahiri is a former Brotherhood member (read here); yet few know that the original al-Qaeda leader, the Saudi (and “Wahhabi”) Osama bin Laden was also a Brotherhood member. While Zawahiri made as much clear in a recent video, more interestingly, he indicated that  the Brotherhood also supported bin Laden’s jihad.

In Zawahiri’s words:

Sheikh Osama used to say: “I was evicted from my organization.  Although I was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, I was rejected by the organizations.”  Sheikh Osama bin Laden was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood group in the Arabian Peninsula. After the Russian invasion in Afghanistan, he immediately went to Pakistan to make the acquaintance of and work with the mujahidin. The group of Islamists gave him instructions to remain in Lahore to orchestrate aid; yet he was not to leave Lahore, but remain there and they would deliver aid and relief and he decide how to use it.

Interesting here is Zawahiri’s use of the term “the group of Islamists.”  While some may think this is a reference to al-Gam’a al-Islamiyya of Egypt — literally, “the Islamic Organization” — based on the context of his discussion, it is clear that Zawahiri is generically referring to the Muslim Brotherhood, as in that “group of Islamists.”

This only further confirms what recent events, especially in Egypt, demonstrate — that the Muslim Brotherhood is an inciter and supporter of the jihad around the world, also known in the West as “terrorism” — and that ousted president Morsi was in league with al-Qaeda.

 

Jihadi Leader: Jihad Against Egyptian Military a ‘Religious Duty’

Morsi supporters protest in Cairo Nov. 4, 2013 / AP

Morsi supporters protest in Cairo Nov. 4, 2013 / AP

BY: :

A top jihadi leader is urging Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to cease peaceful demonstrations and take up arms against the Egyptian military, which he dubbed “an army of infidels and apostates,” according to a translation of his remarks.

Egyptian Muslims should “come and respond to the call of jihad” and “come and shed blood for the sake of establishing Allah’s law,” Sheikh Abu al Mundhir al Shinqiti said recently according to the Arabic media.

Waging jihad against the Egyptian military is “a religious duty and divine obligation,” he said.

Shinqiti is a well-known radical thinker and jihadist who is close with the spiritual adviser of prominent terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the former leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Shinqiti’s call for jihad in Egypt came as the country’s court system upheld a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood, a decision that some fear could spark increased violence in a country already reeling from months of civil discord.

Shinqiti said that it is acceptable under Islamic law to kill Egyptian soldiers because “this army is apostasy from Islam and a pledge of allegiance to the enemies of Allah,” according to his remarks, which were translated from Arabic and republished by theLong War Journal.

“Muslim women married to a member of the army should know that their marriage is nullified because [their husbands] are apostates,” Shinqiti said.

Terrorism expert Aaron Zelin said that Shinqiti’s call for violence could reverberate on the ground in Egypt, where the military continues to struggle against pro-Muslim Brotherhood agitators and other terrorist forces.

“I believe Abu Mundhir al Shinqiti’s release is quite serious,” said Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). “It is very important for jihadis on the ground for one of the top global jihadi scholars to confer legitimacy on the jihad in Egypt and the Sinai.”

Read more at Free Beacon

 

Egypt Ranked Worst Arab Country for Women

women in egypt

The rights of Egyptian women post-Arab Spring have so deteriorated that they are even worse than in Saudi Arabia.

By Clarion Project:

The Arab Spring in Egypt has significantly worsened women’s rights in Egypt, according to recent research published by the Thomas Reuters Foundation.

Egypt ranked last place – even behind Saudi Arabia –in a polling of 22 Arab countries’ treatment of women. Contributing factors to the ranking included the overwhelming abundance of sexual violence and harassment of Egyptian women, which has skyrocketed since the revolution that overthrew the Mubarak government.

In addition, since the revolution, there has been a significant drop in women representatives in the Egyptian parliament, down from 12 percent representation during the Mubarak era (due to legal quotas) to the current 2 percent since the Islamists takeover.  Other discriminatory policies as well as a significant increase in human trafficking contributed to the ranking.

In addition, according to figures provided by UNICEF, 27.2 million women in Egypt are victims of female genital mutilation, the largest number of women who have been mutilated in any single country in the world.

Publication of the research comes at a particularly inauspicious time for Egypt. Representatives of the country are scheduled to appear this Thursday before a UN human rights body in Geneva, the first time since the 2011 revolution. UN committee members are expected to grill Egypt’s representatives on how the revolution has made the lives of women worse in the country.

Read more

 

After the Pax Americana

idiot guide v1.4By Jonathan Spyer:

A report this week in the pro-Hizballah newspaper Al-Akhbar claimed that the Turks have expelled a number of Saudi intelligence officers from their soil, because of disputes between the two countries over policy toward Syria and Egypt.

Whatever the veracity of the report (Al-Akhbar can have a vivid imagination), a quote in the article from an un-named Turkish source succeeds in pointing  out pithily and concisely the current core strategic dynamic in the Middle East.

The quote is “Turkish officials believe Saudi Arabia, along with Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, are strategically working against the interests of two different regional blocs: Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and Iraq on one front, and Turkey, Qatar, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood on the other.”

If Turkish officials do indeed believe this, then they have it right.  There are today three discernible de facto alliances operating in the Middle East. Interestingly, for the first time in half a century, none of the major blocs engaged are clearly aligned with the U.S. and the West.

Let’s look at these three blocs in a little more detail.

The first, Iranian-led bloc, including Assad in Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon, is the most familiar.  The Iranian ambition, clearly stated, is to replace the U.S. as the dominant power in the energy-rich Gulf area, to build a contiguous alliance of pro-Iranian states stretching from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and into the Levant, and thus to emerge as the strongest force in the Middle East.  It is committed to acquiring a nuclear capability to underwrite and insure this process against action to prevent it.

Iran’s Shia nature means that  this bloc has a legitimacy gap outside of the minority Shia Arab populations which is probably insurmountable.  Because of ideological conviction and also to bridge this gap, Iran noisily proclaims itself for the destruction of Israel.  It believes sincerely in this, but it also hopes to woo the Sunni Arab masses through this appeal to an objective also dear to their hearts.

The second bloc noted by the “Turkish officials” is that of “Turkey, Qatar, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.”  This is the Sunni Islamist alignment that a year ago looked to be on the march across the region, as a result of the popular uprisings once misleadingly called the “Arab Spring.”

But 2013 has been a terrible year for the Muslim Brothers.  They have lost power in Egypt and in Tunisia.  A new emir in Qatar appears to prefer a more modest regional stance.  And in Syria, al-Qaeda and Salafi-oriented units now form the most active pillar in a confused insurgency which shows signs of turning in on itself.

The eclipse of this bloc in turn draws attention to the third alliance mentioned in the quote. This is the bloc consisting of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries excluding Qatar.  It is the bloc of the conservative Sunni Arab monarchies.

The monarchies survived intact the recent wave of popular agitation in the Arab world, which instead took its toll on the “secular,” military regimes.

But Saudi Arabia was infuriated by the Qatar-MB nexus, and set out to roll it back. Saudi support for Sisi’s coup in Egypt formed an important part of the latter’s success.

The Saudis are also terrified at the prospect of a nuclear Iran and subsequent domination of the Gulf and the wider region.  Saudi support for and cultivation of allies in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere should be seen in this light.

So the Saudis are engaged in a political war on two fronts, with an acute awareness of the high stakes involved.

Read more at PJ Media

 

Obama Accused of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

OBAMA-articleLargeby :

According to Egyptian newspaper El Watan, a group of Egyptian lawyers has submitted a complaint charging U.S. president Barrack Hussein Obama with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

The complaint charges Obama of being an accessory to the Muslim Brotherhood, which incited widespread violence in Egypt both before and after the June 30 Revolution.

Along with Obama, the complaint reproduced by El Watan mentions several Brotherhood members by name, beginning with the leader of the organization Muhammad Badie, and other top ranking leaders such as Mohamed al-Beltagy, Essam al-Erian, and Safwat Hegazi, adding that “Obama cooperated, incited, and assisted the armed elements of the Muslim Brotherhood in the commission of crimes against humanity in the period from 3/7/2013-8/18/2013, in the Arab Republic of Egypt.”

According to the published text, the complaint begins by quoting Article 7/1 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court, titled “Crimes against humanity,” which is reproduced below:

Article 7

Crimes against humanity

1. For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following

acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against

any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

(a) Murder;

(b) Extermination;

(c) Enslavement;

(d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population;

(e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;

(f) Torture;

(g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced

sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;

(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial,

national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other

grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international

law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime

within the jurisdiction of the Court;

(i) Enforced disappearance of persons;

(j) The crime of apartheid;

(k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great

suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

Next, the complaint shows how Muslim Brotherhood leadership violated some of the above definitions, for example, by torturing, mutilating, raping, and killing Egyptians in their “sit in” camps (first reported here), with a highlight on the role the Brotherhood played in inciting violence and the killing of peaceful protesters around Itthadiya Palace back in December.

Above and beyond the accusations of crimes against humanity that the lawyer-drafted complaint cited by El Watan levels against the Brotherhood, one need only look to the fate of Egypt’s Christian minority, who were especially targeted by the Muslim Brotherhood—and thus, by extension, their supporter, Obama—to see numerous examples of nearly every aforementioned definition of crimes against humanity, as follows:

Read more with video

Amir Taheri Still Flush with Spring Fever

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Rose-tinted revisionism: Islamic supremacism was not imposed on Egyptians; it was chosen by Egyptians.

By Andrew C. McCarthy:

My great respect for Amir Taheri notwithstanding, his hopes for democratic transformation of the Middle East cause him, yet again, to misinterpret the most recent developments in Egypt.

There, the initial draft of a new constitution is about to be published, the product of a committee overseen by the military, which has run Egypt’s government since Mohamed Morsi’s ouster. The new constitution will reportedly preserve sharia (Islam’s societal framework) as the country’s main source of law. It will also codify the “special status” of the armed forces as protectors of the state vested with supreme power in matters of national defense, foreign relations, and economic affairs — possibly including, the Washington Post reports, the discretion to try civilians (such as Muslim Brotherhood operatives) in military courts.

In a recent New York Post column, Taheri argues that the new constitution will thus be an insidious pact between the generals and the “Salafists” — Muslim supremacists who, like their Brotherhood political rivals, are determined to create a caliphate beholden to Islam’s repressive principles. It will betray hopes for real democracy that are shared, Taheri insists, by the vast majority of Egyptians.

Adopting the conveniently pliable passive voice, Taheri writes (the italics are mine):

The coup that returned the military to power after a year-long interval was presented as an attempt to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from imposing an Islamist dictatorship with a constitutional facade. Highlighted were two articles in the Morsi constitution that identified the Islamic sharia as the source of legislation in Egypt and gave Al-Azhar, the official seminary, a virtual veto on certain issues.

The crowds that for weeks filled Tahrir Square called on the army to intervene to save the nation from a burgeoning sharia-based dictatorship. Well, when the new draft constitution — written by a 50-man committee appointed by the military — is published, the Tahrir Square crowds are likely to be disappointed. The two controversial articles will still be there, albeit under different numbers and with slight changes in terminology.

This is rose-tinted revisionism. Yes, the coup “was presented” by democracy romantics as a rejection of Islamic totalitarianism. But that did not make it one. Egypt is a big, complex country, and there was no single rationale for Morsi’s ouster, which was supported by some important Salafist factions — groups that could not be more opposed to Western liberalism. The impetus for removing Morsi that came closest to a societal consensus was not the desire for real democracy; it was — as our colleague David Goldman has observed — that Egypt is an economic basket-case that Morsi and the Brothers were steering toward failed-state status.

Read more at PJ Media

Egyptian Paper Names 30 Brotherhood Operatives in U.S.

Morsi3

El-Watan, one of Egypt’s most widely-read newspapers, published a list of 30 alleged Muslim Brotherhood fronts and operatives in the U.S..

By Ryan Mauro:

One of Egypt’s most widely-read newspapers El-Watan has published a list of 30 alleged Muslim Brotherhood fronts and operatives in the U.S. that were tasked with winning public support for the Islamist group.

Citing unnamed “informed sources,” journalist Ahmed al-Tahiri says the Muslim Brotherhood has a “lobby inside America.” Raymond Ibrahim translated the article verbatim. It opens by describing the goal of the political influence operation:

“The sources said that these organizations, which are spread throughout the States, agitated for and were supportive of the decisions taken by Mohammed Morsi’s project to ‘Brotherhoodize’ and consolidate power and gave a favorable opinion to the general American public that Morsi’s decisions were welcomed by the public [in Egypt].

Following the June 30 Revolution, these groups launched a malicious war in order to incite the American administration to take hostile decisions against Egypt, with the aim of bringing the Brotherhood back to  power.”

Background information on a significant number of the identified entities and individuals could not be found, with alternate spellings likely being a major factor. In other cases, Clarion Project research supports the newspaper’s reporting.

Go to Clarion Project to see what Ryan Mauro has so far on some of the names. And he asks that “If you have verifiable information about the individuals and organizations named in the Egyptian press report, please contact us.”

 

Egypt’s Trial: True Justice will Reveal Morsi’s Alliances

20130829_MUSLIMBROTHERHOOD_MORSI_EGYPT_LARGEby ASHRAF RAMELAH:

On Monday, November 4th, an Egyptian Triple Seven elite military force helicopter transported former Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, out of secret hiding where he has been held in custody by authorities since July 3rd this year.  Morsi was flown to a courtroom inside Toro Police School to begin his trial for high treason and other suspected crimes. On the eve of his political career and presidential candidacy, Morsi sat in prison awaiting trial for spying against Egypt. Now he is accused of continuing these efforts during his presidency.

According to Egyptian news agencies, Morsi recently notified his family that he alone will defend himself before the judge and jury. Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood organizations across the world scramble to bring to Egypt lawyers from the West and East who will try to prove that Morsi is blameless and his trial unfair. This will not be easy. Egyptian attorneys are unified against foreign attorneys appearing in the courtroom on Morsi’s behalf.  In any case, proving Morsi’s innocence will be a herculean task.

In a country where no regulation or law exists to govern taping of conversations or, more aptly, where the Attorney General appointed by the President permitted secret recordings by Egyptian intelligence of the President’s meetings and phone conversations, judges dismissed by Morsi and now reinstated will be presented with tape recordings of Morsi’s discussions with Aymen Al Zawahiri of Al Qaeda.

These will show Morsi requesting the terrorist’s support. Morsi’s negotiation with the Al Qaeda leader delays application of the Iran and Taliban models for Egypt until a more receptive time and, in return for Al Zawahiri’s favor, the President agrees to immediately enforce Sharia law and release five thousand jailed terrorist-jihadists, including Aymen’s brother, Mohammed. All jihadists jailed under Mubarak were freed by Morsi within the first month of his installation to prove to Aymen Al Zawahiri that he could be trusted, according to leaked information paraphrasing the contents of the tapes.

Read more: Family Security Matters