U. Denver’s Nader Hashemi Shills for Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Muslim Democracy’


Frontpage, by Andrew Harrod, April 5, 2016:

“I can’t have a serious conversation with you about the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and violence because” this author’s question “is driven by a certain ideological agenda,” declared University of Denver Middle East studies professor Nader Hashemi.  His dismissal typified the ideological blindness towards the MB of a March 17 presentation by the Islamist-aligned Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) before about thirty-five at Washington, DC’s National Press Club.

Hashemi concurred with his fellow panelists that enactment of the recently introduced Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act will “pour oil on the raging fires that are consuming” the Middle East.  Despite the act’s extensive catalogue of MB violent support for Islamic supremacy in numerous affiliates across the Middle East, he echoed the panel in rejecting an American terrorist designation for the MB’s founding Egyptian branch.  He contrasted a supposedly moderate MB with extremist groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and (Greater) Syria (ISIS) and warned that when “moderate forms of political Islam are crushed and denied a public voice, radical Islam thrives.”

Citing Rachid Ghannouchi of Tunisia’s MB-affiliated, deceptively moderate-sounding Ennahda party, Hashemi stated that the “only way to defeat ISIS is to offer a better product to the millions of young people in the Muslim world . . . Muslim democracy.”  He drew from the swift fall of Arab dictators in the “Arab Spring” the lesson that “dictatorial rule is fundamentally precarious” and suffers from an “absence of internal political legitimacy.”  The “Arab Spring” validated for him President George W. Bush’s 2003 statement that “stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty,” notwithstanding his costly Iraqi regime change experiment in “Muslim democracy.”

Hashemi concluded that “it is not a coincidence that ISIS emerged and attracted new followers after the crushing of the ‘Arab Spring’” in 2013 in Egypt.  He failed to explain the connection between Middle Eastern dictatorship and the many ISIS foreign fighters from Europe, nor ISIS’s drive to exterminate Christians and other minorities.  Additionally, he ignored that ISIS developed not amidst dictatorial restoration, but rather the bloody Shiite-Sunni sectarian divisions destroying central rule in Iraq and Syria. ISIS has also gained ground in Libya after President Barack Obama engaged in yet another military campaign for democracy during the “Arab Spring” and overthrew Muammar Ghaddafi.

Libya remained central to the discussion that followed when former CSID panelist Esam Omeish from the Libyan American Public Affairs Council, a pro-jihadi, pro-MB lobbying organization, joined the conversation from the audience. This documented supporter of the Palestinian “jihad way” and al-Qaeda-linked Libyan groups asked the panel about “Israeli-centric politics” motivating a MB terrorist designation.  Against all evidence, he asserted that the MB’s “discourse has always been nonviolent” since the organization’s 1928 founding.  “Violence was born only out of circumstance” as the MB reacted to various authoritarian Egyptian regimes, he maintained.

Omeish also rejected the American terrorist designation of the MB-affiliate Hamas as a “very big mistake.”  As evidence, he mentioned Hamas’s Palestinian Authority electoral victories while overlooking Hamas’s 2007seizure of power in the Gaza Strip. Parallel to his analysis of the MB, he argued that Hamas (which is nowaiding ISIS’s Sinai affiliate) “has a violent conflict with a state that is committing state violence” creating “the atmosphere for terrorist activities to happen.”

Hashemi agreed to an “Israeli-centric bias in the debate” over the MB and acquiesced in Omeish’s MB-Hamas apologia, in keeping with Hashemi’s brusqueness towards critical inquiry into the MB.  As with a Daily Callerreporter in a recently reported audience exchange, Hashemi dismissed this author’s post-event question about the MB pursuing Islamic supremacy with both violent and nonviolent tactics according to circumstances.  Hashemi retorted that the “whole question is rooted in a biased analysis of the topic” and that after a “clear break” following Egyptian state repression in the early 1950s, the MB “strategy was nonviolent political change.”

Hashemi claimed that Hamas “engages in its own acts of terrorism, but within a context of a struggle for national liberation.” He dismissed this reporter’s reminder of Hamas’ genocidal charter calling for Islam to destroy Israel by claiming “these are all pro-Israel talking points” amidst an “occupation of an entire people for the last fifty years.” Given “Israel’s attempts to quash the national rights of the Palestinians, if you were living in Gaza you would be sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, I guarantee you. That’s the rational position,” he sputtered.

Hashemi’s biased presentation evinced no desire to inquire rigorously into the MB’s history and nature, or to entertain critical questions from audience members. He simply displayed hostility to honest research and apologias for pro-jihad, pro-Hamas, and anti-Israel propaganda.  Unfortunately, these vices characterize the Middle East studies establishment’s repeated malfeasance towards the indisputable reality of Islamist dangers.

Harvard Prof: “Islam is not the major obstacle . . . for democratization in Muslim societies”

Cesari-300x174Jihad Watch, By Andrew Harrod, Feb. 6, 2015:

“Islam is not the major obstacle . . . for democratization in Muslim societies,” declared Jocelyne Cesari, a Harvard and Georgetown University professor of Muslim politics, on January 27 at George Washington (GW) University. Cesari’s presentation of her book, The Awakening of Muslim Democracy, before an audience of about thirty failed to justify her overconfident contention that the Muslim world’s authoritarianism has no basis in Islamic doctrine.

Opening her discussion of Islamic religion and rights, Cesari warned correctly that “political Islam is not going to die.” Muslims worldwide view the separation of religion and politics “as something that doesn’t fit . . . their national identity or culture.” She added that, “Islam is . . . appealing as a form of political mobilization” as opposed to other “alternative ideologies” such as that of “socialists.”

Cesari noted how the “politicization of Islam” extended to “so-called secular states” within Muslim-majority societies. She described a “certain brand of Islam” as having a “hegemonic status” in the “state institution” and a “central element of the new national identity,” such that “being a citizen is also being a good Muslim.” Even post-Ottoman Turkey, having “removed Islam from the public space,” sought to “nationalize Islam” by controlling religious institutions, a “breakdown with the Islamic tradition” that established Muslim scholars’ independence from rulers.

She pointed out a similar “institutionalism of Islam” in the areas of education and law in states such as the oft-touted “moderate” Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. Other than Turkey, these states “did not let go of sharia,” but “changed” or “reduced” it to domains such as family law. “You cannot learn calculus without having references to Islam” in Pakistani schools, she added. Saddam Hussein also “paid a lot of attention to” a “completely instrumentalized” Islam in which he “built a fiction” that “never, never touched upon” Shiite-Sunni differences.

Strangely, Cesari’s commentary on the omnipresence of political Islam did not impel her to question the compatibility of Islamic faith with freedom.   She asserted counterfactually that, for legitimating liberty under law, the “resources in the Islamic tradition are the same” as “in the Jewish tradition or the Christian tradition.” Contradicting Islamic history, she stated that, “nothing in Islam” demands an “Islamic state” and that “not even one part” of the “totalitarian project” in the current Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “existed historically.” “The idea that Islam subsumes everything is a modern . . . not a traditional idea,” she later elaborated. In her imaginary conception of Islam, the “role of religion is not about state institutions,” but “improving the common good of the people.”

In her analysis of numerous national school curricula, Cesari found a “very intolerant” Islam, but “not because the Islamic tradition is intolerant” with any uniform theological “genetic or DNA deficit.” “The problem,” she declared, “is the lack of the Islamic tradition.” Thus, Europeans seeking to counter Islamic radicalism “need more Islam.”

Much of Cesari’s skewed perception of Islam stemmed from a misunderstanding of the Ottoman Empire, the only Islamic regime she viewed positively. She praised the alleged “built-in . . . pluralism” that gave Muslim legal schools “thought provoking, critical” debate at a time of European Protestant-Catholic strife, a “pluralism” that, in fact, included brutal Ottoman oppression of Christians and other non-Muslims. Contrary to Islamic doctrine, she claimed that non-Muslims counted under the Ottomans as “part of the umma” or Muslim community. Invoking this mythology of Ottoman multicultural coexistence, she described the oppressive empire as “very decentralized” among its various millet semiautonomous yet subordinate religious communities.

Cesari’s own statements contradicted her advocacy of governmental “equidistance” among all faiths for majority-Muslim countries. A “Westernized . . . secularized elite,” she observed, often created polities “more state-nation” than “nation-state” in newly independent Muslim-majority countries throughout history. Pakistan’s founding father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, for example, represented a “very tiny Westernized, British-ized minority” that, ultimately, had to recognize that “Islam has to play a role in the new nation.” Jinnah, she added, “would have a nightmare to see what Pakistan has become.”

In a conversation following the lecture, Cesari, relying upon her umma analysis, rejected this reporter’s suggestion that states in the Muslim world are weak precisely because widely recognized Islamic doctrine demands allegiance from the faithful to Islam above all others. Thus, governments in Muslim countries must always maintain Islamic legitimacy or face upheaval, as did Iran’s deposed Shah in 1979. Governments can seek this Islamic mandate of heaven through a combination of winning the dedication of the devout or controlling religious institutions, as in Turkey, so as to suppress dissent.

Cesari’s combination of facts and wildly incorrect theories were redolent of cognitive dissonance. She perceived state-sponsored intolerant Islam, supposedly the result of theological misunderstanding, everywhere except in her mythical vision of the Ottoman Empire. Facts, however stubborn, cannot always overcome politically-correct, multicultural delusions.

Thankfully, various audience members retained a more critical view of Islam. One individual caustically described France, with its poorly assimilated Muslim immigrant population, as having been “invaded by a marauding force.” Cesari’s audience gives hope that such academics will not have the last word on Islam.

Andrew E. Harrod is a freelance researcher and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project; follow him on twitter at @AEHarrod. He wrote this essay for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum

Security Expert: Our Southern Border Is A War Zone


Center For Security Policy:

In Part 2 of The Daily Caller’s video interview with Clare Lopez, a senior official with the Center for Security Policy, she explains how the collapse of America’s southern border was a planned, willful refusal to maintain national sovereignty. Citing a January budget request from the Department of Homeland Security requesting funding based on the expectation of new flows of some 65,000 immigrants including children, Lopez thinks Americans, especially at the border, are threatened.

She discusses how narco-traffickers are flowing through, organized in columns at night in military formations guarded by sentinels and scouts, and armed with advanced weaponry. To her, the southern border is a war zone. As these undocumented immigrants are dispersed by air or bus throughout America, the threat widens, she reports.

To Lopez, President Obama is “consciously trying to diminish America’s leadership in the world.” She discusses the “great purge” that occurred early in the Obama administration where there was a comprehensive removal of training materials from departments and agencies who were engaged in ferreting out jihadi threats from radical Islamic terrorists. This purge, Lopez says in this video interview, “crippled and neutralized American national security interests.”

Discussing lessons learned from the Iraq war, Lopez says, “the U.S. never understood the “fundamental incompatibility between Islamic law and liberal western democracy, and in particular, the U.S. Constitution.” She continues, “Islamic law and Islam’s doctrine mandates inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims, between men and women.” She ends by stating, “As long as a people remain enthralled to Islamic law, there cannot be genuine, true liberal Western style democracy.”

To view Part 1, Clare Lopez on Benghazi, click here.

Brigitte Gabriel and Zuhdi Jasser disagree on the idea of instilling Jeffersonian Democratic Ideals in the Middle East

In the first video they seem to agree on the nature of threat from the rise in Islamic terrorism and lack of moderate Muslim condemnation of it. In the second video however a point of contention arises over why moderates are not speaking out. Zuhdi believes it is due to a lack of committed, sustained American leadership to help Muslims “evolve into a Jeffersonian type Democracy” over a period of generations (nation building) “Brigitte is shaking her head “No”. She says you must first confront the ideology driving radicalization. Watch…

Brigitte Gabriel Explains the Rise of Jihad


Why has jihadist threat escalated in last 3 years?



The Mirage of Political Islam

Miguel Montaner

Miguel Montaner

America should help, not hinder, the secular democrats of the Muslim world.


“You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.”

President Obama delivered these words in his Cairo speech, five years ago today, when he reached out to rehabilitate Islam and Islamic civilization in the eyes of the world — and redeem America in the eyes of the global Muslim community after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The Cairo speech was part of the road map based on the advice of the 2008 report “Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations With the Muslim World,” drafted by the leadership group on United States-Muslim engagement, composed of former senior government officials, both Democrat and Republican, as well as scholars (myself included), political analysts and international relations experts. All of us were concerned about the divide between America and the Muslim world, and we recommended that the new president deliver a major speech in a significant Islamic capital — Cairo, Istanbul, Jakarta or Rabat — directly addressing the Muslim world. That’s what Mr. Obama did at Cairo University on June 4, 2009.

Since then, Egypt has experienced the “Arab Spring,” followed first by the Muslim Brotherhood’s election to power, and then its downfall. If Mr. Obama’s message of 2009 had been conveyed again more forcefully to Egypt’s former president, Mohamed Morsi, before he was ousted by the army last July, the hopes of Arabs and Muslims around the world after the Cairo speech might not have been as disappointed as they are today.

Sadly, every one of the “ingredients” for democracy listed by Mr. Obama was flouted by Mr. Morsi during his tumultuous year in office. He forced the passage of the Muslim Brotherhood’s 2012 constitution, issued edicts imposing himself over the judiciary, failed to provide protections to Coptic Christians, started vendettas against journalists and activists and treated the secular opposition as enemies to be excluded from political life. In short, the Egyptian president furthered the political aims of the Muslim Brotherhood at the expense of the nation, exactly as Mr. Obama had cautioned against.

The result is that the Obama administration has found itself in an uncomfortable position. As the president remarked to the United Nations General Assembly last September, “America has been attacked by all sides of this internal conflict, simultaneously accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, and engineering their removal of power.”

But if the administration had been more critical of the Brotherhood’s infringements of democratic rights, it might have avoided this situation. Instead, when asked about Mr. Morsi’s fiat of November 2012 that gave his regime extraordinary powers, a State Department spokesman responded, “this is an Egyptian political process.” Mr. Obama may have said that “elections alone do not equal democracy,” but America acted as though elections in Egypt were sufficient. In the words of America’s ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, “the fact is they ran in a legitimate election and won” — as if that settled the issue of the Brotherhood’s fitness for democratic rule.

Read more at New York Times

Mustapha Tlilia novelist and a research scholar at New York University, is the founder and director of the N.Y.U. Center for Dialogues: Islamic World – U.S. – the West.

Democracy Versus the Muslim Brotherhood

egypt-police-car-bombing-afpBreitbart, by :

Mr. Abdul Fattah Sisi has run a quiet election campaign. The former Egyptian general and Minister of Defense rose to prominence after siding with ​the protest by ​33 million ​​Egyptian​s​​​​ that toppled the M​​uslim Brotherhood​ rule of Muhammad Morsi. ​Sisi​ is now expected to be elected to t​he​ nation’s highest office.

Though campaign posters for Sisi are common, he himself has made few public appearances, with several events canceled over security concerns stemming from Islamist militants affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and al ​Qaeda. This insecurity is not unfamiliar to Egyptians; an assassin affiliated with the Brotherhood killed President Anwar Sadat in 1981 for the crime of making peace with Israel.

While some decry the interim government’s heavy-handed approach towards the Brotherhood, the MB have made it very difficult for Egypt to progress toward democracy. ​Sisi is seen by many in Egypt as a hero for having rescued the nation from the Muslim Brotherhood and responding to the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked terrorists responsible for numerous attacks since Morsi was removed. A common refrain heard among Egyptians is that the Muslim Brotherhood were not interested in supporting the nation of Egypt but instead establishing a theocractic caliphate.

Sisi is expected to easily win against Hamdeen Sabahi, a leftist candidate who favors a strong state role in the Egyptian economy. Expat voting ended May 19th, with Sisi winning 94.5% of votes cast. The election will be held over May 26th and 27th, and results are expected between June 1st and 3rd. The government has offered to release all but 300 Muslim Brotherhood members from prison in exchange for ​the Brotherhood’s ​participation in the democratic process, but the Islamist movement continues to demand the reinstatement of Morsi and the execution of generals and politicians responsible for their removal from power, all while embracing a rhetoric of jihad and martyrdom.

Instead of participating in a democracy that leaves space for Christians and non-Islamist Egyptian Muslims, the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideological affiliates have embraced violence, not merely violent rhetoric. On Monday, May 19, three policemen were killed by gunmen just outside Al ​Azhar University, one of the world’s oldest ​Muslim ​institutions of learning ​and the most important Sunni theological authority.​

Last Saturday four people were injured by an explosive device set off at a rally for Sisi in the Ezbet El-Nakhl neighborhood of Cairo, one of Cairo’s poorer, largely Christian districts, ​and earlier this month ​Sisi announced that two attempts on his life had been stopped.

Sisi has not been the only target. Egypt’s Interior Minister announced Wednesday that the country had foiled several high-level assassination plots organized by the Brotherhood, including attempts to kill not only the interim president, but the Minister of Defense, Minister of Interior, and several high-ranking members of Egypt’s police force. The greatest test of Egypt’s domestic security since the Islamists were​​ deposed with the support of the population will come ​​this week as the ancient country of Egypt attempts its second ever f​ree election.​

​The Council for Global Security is a Washington-based​​​ non-profit organization that support democracy, prosperity and the protection of minorities in the in the Middle East.

The Blair Doctrine

ipeI-450x313by Daniel Greenfield:

Tony Blair’s latest speech on Islam is significant as much for what it doesn’t mention as for what it does. Not long ago, a speech of this sort would have been rich with contrasts between dictatorship and democracy. Democracy, the audience would have been told solemnly, equals freedom and modernity.

Instead Blair mentions the word ‘democracy’ only three times.

The first time he’s referring to Israel and the second time he disavows the entire program of dropping elections on Muslim countries and expecting their populations to make the right choices. Instead he argues,

“Democracy cannot function except as a way of thinking as well as voting. You put your view; you may lose; you try to win next time; or you win but you accept that you may lose next time. That is not the way that the Islamist ideology works.”

This is very much a post-Arab Spring speech and though he offers obligatory praise of that over-hyped phenomenon, the lessons he has drawn from its failure make for a changed perspective.

How changed? Blair endorses the Egyptian popular overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood and urges support for the new government within the larger context of “supporting and assisting” those who take on “Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood”.

That’s an impossible position in Washington D.C., but it emerges naturally out of an understanding that democracy isn’t enough and that an Islamist political victory inherently dismantles democracy.

“Islamist ideology”, Blair says, has an “exclusivist” ultimate goal, which is “not a society which someone else can change after winning an election”. The Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups, he says, are both part of an “overall ideology” in which “such extremism can take root”. They are all totalitarian group that differ on “how to achieve the goals of Islamism” rather than on “what those goals are.”

Democracy is downright destructive in a political landscape in which Islamic political forces compete. Instead Blair’s new doctrine replaces democracy with religious freedom.

The former British Prime Minister calls for supporting “the principles of religious freedom and open, rule based economies.  It means helping those countries whose people wish to embrace those principles to achieve them. Where there has been revolution, we should be on the side of those who support those principles and opposed to those who would thwart them.”

That position, Blair continues, leads him to support the Egyptian uprising against the Muslim Brotherhood and even interim Assad rule until a final agreement is concluded.

While that may not seem like much, imagine the last 15 years if the obsession with using democracy to replace dictatorships had instead been turned to promoting religious freedom at the expense of Islamic rule. Imagine if we made tolerance for Christians and other religious minorities into the defining line instead of the meaningless one of holding majority rule Muslim elections.

The Blair Doctrine surgically replaces democracy with religious freedom while leaving the larger worldview so common in European and American political circles untouched so that it does not seem like a shift, but a natural adaptation to the failures of the Arab Spring.

Blair cannot and will not say that the problem with democracy in countries with an Islamic majority is the tyranny of the majority, nor does he ever use the word ‘secularism’, and his rhetoric is largely dependent on assumptions made in the aftermath of the Cold War by a comfortable West.

He speaks positively of globalization, without conceding that the UK has a terrorism crisis largely because of it. He briefly mentions the export of ‘radicalism’ from the Middle East, but aside from the Muslim Brotherhood’s growing power in Europe, he doesn’t elaborate.

To a multicultural left that already embraces Burkas and FGM, his speech is rage fodder. But while Blair may have helped turn Islam into a problem in the UK, it’s his foes on the left who have championed its worst aspects.

Tony Blair is no Geert Wilders and the UK’s problem with Islam is in no small part of his making due to his government’s immigration policies, but revolutionary ideas are more likely to be accepted from thoroughly establishment sources.

In his speech, Blair argues that reactionary Islamic rule is the problem, rather than mere tyranny. It’s a shift that invalidates the entire political Islam movement behind the Arab Spring. And for all the many ways that he covers his tracks, subdividing Islam from Islamism, he does hold a nearly firm line on Islamic rule. That is a rarity in a world order which had come to embrace political Islam as the future.

Read more at Front Page

Also see:

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