Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam’s Most Eloquent Apostate

ILLUSTRATION: ZINA SAUNDERS

WSJ, by Tunku Varadarajan, April 7, 2017:

The woman sitting opposite me, dressed in a charcoal pantsuit and a duck-egg-blue turtleneck, can’t go anywhere, at any time of day, without a bodyguard. She is soft-spoken and irrepressibly sane, but also—in the eyes of those who would rather cut her throat than listen to what she says—the most dangerous foe of Islamist extremism in the Western world. We are in a secure room at a sprawling university, but the queasiness in my chest takes a while to go away. I’m talking to a woman with multiple fatwas on her head, someone who has a greater chance of meeting a violent end than anyone I’ve met (Salman Rushdie included). And yet she’s wholly poised, spectacles pushed back to rest atop her head like a crown, dignified and smiling under siege.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia in 1969, is Islam’s most eloquent apostate. She has just published a slim book that seeks to add a new four-letter word—dawa—to the West’s vocabulary. It describes the ceaseless, world-wide ideological campaign waged by Islamists as a complement to jihad. It is, she says, the greatest threat facing the West and “could well bring about the end of the European Union as we know it.” America is far from immune, and her book, “The Challenge of Dawa,” is an explicit attempt to persuade the Trump administration to adopt “a comprehensive anti-dawa strategy before it is too late.”

Ms. Hirsi Ali has come a long way from the days when she—“then a bit of a hothead”—declared Islam to be incapable of reform, while also calling on Muslims to convert or abandon religion altogether. That was a contentious decade ago. Today she believes that Islam can indeed be reformed, that it must be reformed, and that it can be reformed only by Muslims themselves—by those whom she calls “Mecca Muslims.” These are the faithful who prefer the gentler version of Islam that she says was “originally promoted by Muhammad” before 622. That was the year he migrated to Medina and the religion took a militant and unlovely ideological turn.

At the same time, Ms. Hirsi Ali—now a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, where I also work—is urging the West to look at Islam with new eyes. She says it must be viewed “not just as a religion, but also as a political ideology.” To regard Islam merely as a faith, “as we would Christianity or Buddhism, is to run the risk of ignoring dawa, the activities carried out by Islamists to keep Muslims energized by a campaign to impose Shariah law on all societies—including countries of the West.”

Dawa, Ms. Hirsi Ali explains, is “conducted right under our noses in Europe, and in America. It aims to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and also to push existing Muslims in a more extreme direction.” The ultimate goal is “to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with Shariah.” It is a “never-ending process,” she says, and then checks herself: “It ends when an Islamic utopia is achieved. Shariah everywhere!”

Ms. Hirsi Ali contends that the West has made a colossal mistake by its obsession with “terror” in the years since 9/11. “In focusing only on acts of violence,” she says, “we’ve ignored the Islamist ideology underlying those acts. By not fighting a war of ideas against political Islam—or ‘Islamism’—and against those who spread that ideology in our midst, we’ve committed a blunder.”

There is a knock on the door. I hear hushed voices outside, presumably her bodyguard telling someone to come back later. To add to the mildly dramatic effect, a siren is audible somewhere in the distance, unusual for the serene Stanford campus. Ms. Hirsi Ali is unfazed. “What the Islamists call jihad,” she continues, “is what we call terrorism, and our preoccupation with it is, I think, a form of overconfidence. ‘Terrorism is the way of the weak,’ we tell ourselves, ‘and if we can just take out the leaders and bring down al Qaeda or ISIS, then surely the followers will stop their jihad.’ But we’re wrong. Every time Western leaders take down a particular organization, you see a different one emerge, or the same one take on a different shape. And that’s because we’ve been ignoring dawa.”

Ms. Hirsi Ali wants us to get away from this game of jihadi Whac-A-Mole and confront “the enemy that is in plain sight—the activists, the Islamists, who have access to all the Western institutions of socialization.” She chuckles here: “That’s a horrible phrase . . . ‘institutions of socialization’ . . . but they’re there, in families, in schools, in universities, prisons, in the military as chaplains. And we can’t allow them to pursue their aims unchecked.”

America needs to be on full alert against political Islam because “its program is fundamentally incompatible with the U.S. Constitution”—with religious pluralism, the equality of men and women, and other fundamental rights, including the toleration of different sexual orientations. “When we say the Islamists are homophobic,” she observes, “we don’t mean that they don’t like gay marriage. We mean that they want gays put to death.”

Islam the religion, in Ms. Hirsi Ali’s view, is a Trojan horse that conceals Islamism the political movement. Since dawa is, ostensibly, a religious missionary activity, its proponents “enjoy a much greater protection by the law in free societies than Marxists or fascists did in the past.” Ms. Hirsi Ali is not afraid to call these groups out. Her book names five including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which asserts—and in turn receives in the mainstream media—the status of a moderate Muslim organization. But groups like CAIR, Ms. Hirsi Ali says, “take advantage of the focus on ‘inclusiveness’ by progressive political bodies in democratic societies, and then force these societies to bow to Islamist demands in the name of peaceful coexistence.”

Her strategy to fight dawa evokes several parallels with the Western historical experience of radical Marxism and the Cold War. Islamism has the help of “useful idiots”—Lenin’s phrase—such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has denounced Ms. Hirsi Ali as an “extremist.” She sees that smear as a success for dawa: “They go to people like the SPLC and say, ‘Can we partner with you, because we also want to talk about what you guys talk about, which is civil rights. And Muslims are a minority, just like you.’ So, they play this victim card, and the SPLC swallows it. And it’s not just them, it’s also the ACLU. The Islamists are infiltrating all these institutions that were historic and fought for rights. It’s a liberal blind spot.”

Western liberals, she says, are also complicit in an Islamist cultural segregation. She recalls a multiculturalist catchphrase from her years as a Somali refugee in Amsterdam in the early 1990s: “ ‘Integrate with your own identity,’ they used to tell us—Integratie met eigen identiteit. Of course, that resulted in no integration at all.”

Ms. Hirsi Ali wants the Trump administration—and the West more broadly—to counter the dawa brigade “just as we countered both the Red Army and the ideology of communism in the Cold War.” She is alarmed by the ease with which, as she sees it, “the agents of dawa hide behind constitutional protections they themselves would dismantle were they in power.” She invokes Karl Popper, the great Austrian-British philosopher who wrote of “the paradox of tolerance.” Her book quotes Popper writing in 1945: “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

I ask Ms. Hirsi Ali what her solution might be, and she leans once more on Popper, who proposed a right not to tolerate the intolerant. “Congress must give the president—this year, because there’s no time to lose—the tools he needs to dismantle the infrastructure of dawa in the U.S.” Dawa has become an existential menace to the West, she adds, because its practitioners are “working overtime to prevent the assimilation of Muslims into Western societies. It is assimilation versus dawa. There is a notion of ‘cocooning,’ by which Islamists tell Muslim families to cocoon their children from Western society. This can’t be allowed to happen.”

Is Ms. Hirsi Ali proposing to give Washington enhanced powers to supervise parenting? “Yes,” she says. “We want these children to be exposed to critical thinking, freedom, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the rights of women.” She also suggests subjecting immigrants and refugees to ideological scrutiny, so as to deny entry, residence and naturalization to those “involved with, or supportive of, Islamism.”

In effect, Ms. Hirsi Ali would modernize the “communism test” that still applies to those seeking naturalization. “I had to answer questions when I applied for citizenship in 2013: ‘Are you, or have you ever been, a communist?’ And I remember thinking, ‘God, that was the war back then. We’re supposed to update this stuff!’ Potential immigrants from Pakistan or Bangladesh, for instance, should have to answer questions—‘Are you a member of the Jamat?’ and so on. If they’re from the Middle East you ask them about the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘or any other similar group,’ so there’s no loophole.”

Might critics deride this as 21st-century McCarthyism? “That’s just a display of intellectual laziness,” Ms. Hirsi Ali replies. “We’re dealing here with a lethal ideological movement and all we are using is surveillance and military means? We have to grasp the gravity of dawa. Jihad is an extension of dawa. For some, in fact, it is dawa by other means.”

The U.S., she believes, is in a “much weaker position to combat the various forms of nonviolent extremism known as dawa because of the way that the courts have interpreted the First Amendment”—a situation where American exceptionalism turns into what she calls an “exceptional handicap.” Convincing Americans of this may be the hardest part of Ms. Hirsi Ali’s campaign, and she knows it. Yet she asks whether the judicial attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s—themselves a reaction to the excesses of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s—might have left the U.S. ill-equipped to suppress threats from groups that act in the name of religion.

I ask Ms. Hirsi Ali if there’s any one thing she would wish for. “I would like to be present at a conversation between Popper and Muhammad,” she says. “Popper wrote about open society and its enemies, and subjected everyone from Plato to Marx to his critical scrutiny. I’d have liked him to subject Muhammad’s legacy to the same analysis.

“But he skipped Muhammad, alas. He skipped Muhammad.”

Mr. Varadarajan is a research fellow in journalism at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

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Also see:

The Big Shut-Up

By Mark Steyn, Steyn on the WorldApril 3, 2017:

Over the weekend, I swung by Judge Jeanine’s show to talk about one of the most malign trends of our time: the ever more open refusal by one side to permit those on the other side to speak. As I always say, I don’t care what side you pick on the great questions of the age – climate change, gay marriage, Islam, transgendered bathrooms, whatever – but, if you’re on the side that says the other guy isn’t entitled to a side, you’re on the wrong side. Here’s how I put it to Judge Jeanine:

That Tweetaway takeaway is correct: They don’t want to participate in the debate, and win it. It’s easier to shut it down and save themselves the trouble. Case in point:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Tour Cancelled

Citing security issues, the Somalian-born activist calls off her scheduled Australian tour…

Let’s just expand that “Somali-born activist” précis a little. She’s not a dead white male like me or Charles Murray. As someone once said, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is everything the identity-group fetishists profess to dig: female, atheist, black, immigrant. But, because she does not toe the party line on Islam, her blackness washes off her like a bad dye job on a telly anchorman – and so do her femaleness and godlessness and immigrant status. And in the end she is Charles Murray, or Geert Wilders – or even David Duke. A black Somali woman is, it turns out, a “white supremacist“.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is someone who fled genital mutilation and arranged marriage in a backward, barbarous society to come to the west and live in freedom. Her first stop was the Netherlands. But the director of the film she wrote, Theo van Gogh, was murdered in the street, and the man who shot him then drove two knives through what was left of his chest pinning to it a five-page death-threat promising to do the same to Ayaan. So she was forced to leave the Netherlands, and has lived with round-the-clock security ever since. Now she has to cross Australia off the list, too. Where’s next? Can she speak in Sweden? Or Canada? Ireland or Germany? She left Somalia to live as a western woman, only to watch the west turn itself into Somalia, incrementally but remorselessly, at least as far as free speech is concerned.

It began, as it always does, respectably enough. Four hundred Muslim women in Australia – academics, social workers, diversicrats, supposed “human-rights activists” – signed a petition objecting to her tour Down Under but all artfully crafted in the usual weaselly more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger shtick, concluding with:

Australia deserves better than this.

Aww, that’s so cute! Did you all tilt your heads in unison and group-furrow your brows into concerned expressions? The petition title’s a doozy too:

Ayaan Hirsi-Ali [sic] Does Not Speak For Us

Well, she never claimed to, did she? You’re all Muslim women, and she’s a non-Muslim woman. She’s left Islam. Which makes her an apostate, which is one more reason why she lives with round-the-clock death threats. Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks for herself. Why don’t you try that? Why don’t you try engaging in debate, in argument, in the free exchange of ideas? Or is it easier to insist that supposed freeborn citizens can only “speak for” the collective monolithic position of identity groups?

Next came something called the “Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia”. Hey, we’re all against Islamophobia, aren’t we? (At least at the House of Commons in Ottawa.) But how exactly are we supposed to “prevent” it? Enter the Council’s enforcer, Syed Murtaza Hussain, who isn’t quite as cuddly as all those Australia-deserves-better-that’s-not-who-we-are types:

Its insurers were contacted and warned there could be trouble, and venues where she was scheduled to speak had been contacted and warned that there would be protests where she was due to appear…

[Hussain] informed Festival Hall in Melbourne there would be 5000 protesters outside the venue if the engagement went ahead.

Nice little Festival Hall you’ve got there. Shame if anything were to happen to it.

As Brendan O’Neill observes:

Hirsi Ali’s troubles in Australia are striking because they point to a really worrying interplay between the polite intolerance of ‘Islamophobia’ and the more violent urge in certain sections of society to punish and maybe even kill critics of Islam.

As I say wearily for the umpteenth time, the defenders of Section 18 in Oz and the MPs who voted for M-103 in Canada and the jelly-spined non-entity of a university president who canceled Ayaan’s appearance at Brandeis, on the one hand, and, on the other, the men who slaughtered the Charlie Hebdo staff and shot up Lars Vilks’ event in Copenhagen and firebombed the Norwegian comedienne Shabana Rehman’s family restaurant are merely different points on the same continuum: they’re all in the shut-up business. And they’re all hustling us further along the same dark retreat into silence.

But as I wrote a few years ago:

After the threats against the Comedy Central show South Park the other week, Ms. Hirsi Ali turned up on CNN to say that the best defence against Islamic intimidation is for us all to stand together and thereby “share the risk.” But, around the world, every single translator of her books has insisted on total anonymity. When push comes to shove, very few are willing to share the risk. The British historian Andrew Roberts calls her “the bravest woman I know.”

I agree with Robert. The problem is that for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s bravery to be effective depends on the tour promoters’ bravery. And the tour promoters’ bravery depends on whichever hotel group she’s booked with to be brave. And the hotel group’s bravery depends on whichever corporate entity owns the event venues to be brave. And the corporate entity’s bravery depends on the insurers’ bravery. And the insurers’ bravery depends on someone ponying up an extra gazillion dollars for security costs. And suddenly for the cost of a bare-bones speech by one brave woman you could mount The Phantom Of The Opera meets Avatar on ice and still come out ahead.

I have had the privilege of sharing stages with Ayaan Hirsi Ali at various places around the world from London to California. It wasn’t that long ago, but it feels already like the past – a previous era, just the day before yesterday but already the rules have changed. In 2015, I spoke in Copenhagen at an event to mark the tenth anniversary of the famous “Mohammed cartoons”. As on the fifth anniversary, it required the protection of PET, the Danish security police. But this time, as an additional precaution, it had to be moved inside the fortress-thick walls of the Danish Parliament in order to lessen further the likelihood of fellows who regard debate as a waste of time (and, indeed,an affront) busting in and shooting us all. Nevertheless, notwithstanding all the security, both the US State Department and the British Foreign Office issued formal warnings advising their nationals to steer clear of the Parliament building that day.

These things are always a little stressful: as recent incidents at Westminster and Ottawa illustrate, even national parliaments are not as “secure” as they appear. So we were looking forward to unwinding at dinner afterwards at what looked like a fine, convivial restaurant. Unfortunately, after the PET agents showed up for the advance-security check, the restaurateurs got cold feet and canceled on us. As my fellow speaker Douglas Murray commented:

Ten years ago, you could publish depictions of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. Ten years later, it is hard for anyone who has been connected with such an act to find a restaurant in Copenhagen that will serve them dinner.

And in another ten years? Douglas, Ayaan and I will still enjoy theoretical freedom of speech but, to exercise it, we’ll have to meet in an abandoned mine-shaft an hour south of Cloncurry, speaking to seven personally invited guests driven there blindfolded. The marketplace of ideas, from Canberra to Copenhagen, is shrinking fast. To quote Laura Rosen Cohen yet again: “Security” is the new “shut up”.

Why is restoring free speech to Australia by scrapping Section 18C so important? The most dismal moment of my own Aussie tour last year was a private dinner with a group of well-known conservative Members of Parliament – that’s to say, men and women reliably to the right of the current Prime Minister, a finger-in-the-windy jelly-spined squish on freedom of expression and so much else. Yet, even dining with supposed sturdier types, the most eminent among our number declared breezily that repealing 18C was “not a first-order priority”, not compared to what he regarded as the real first-order priority: Islamic terrorism in Australia and elsewhere.

I pointed out that one of the reasons why the former (free speech) most certainly is a first-order priority is because, without it, the latter (Islam and the west) cannot be honestly addressed. And so it has proved, yet again.

Malcolm Turnbull’s ministry ought to be ashamed that a woman like Ayaan Hirsi Ali cannot speak in the country they purport to govern. And, if they want to do something to change that, they could start by speaking up for free speech. Will they? Will Turnbull? The men and women who run the western world – in Oz, in Britain, in Canada, in Europe – have made a bet that they can banish a few loudmouths like Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the fringes but that otherwise life will go on. No, it won’t. As I said of that Copenhagen eatery:

The restaurant that chickened out is called Fiat, in King’s New Square. It looks rather convivial from this photograph, with everyone quaffing their bubbly without a care in the world. They don’t seem to grasp that such civilized pleasures require civilization, and, ultimately, people willing to defend it.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is learning the hard way that very few people are willing to “share the risk”.

Canada Condemns Islamophobia as 2nd Mosque Hosts Imam Calling for Murdering Jews

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, March 24, 2017:

Keeping your eyes on the great big shiny ball of Muslim victimhood.

The House of Commons voted Thursday afternoon to condemn “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination” but the vote for the controversial M-103 was not unanimous.

Liberals, New Democrats, and Green Party MP Elizabeth May were in favour; most Conservative and all Bloc Quebecois MPs were opposed. The vote was 201 for and 91 against…

The motion was proposed by Iqra Khalid, a first-time MP representing a Mississauga, Ont. riding.

Meanwhile Islamobigotry continues its glorious reign.

A second Montreal mosque hosted an imam offering a speech demonizing Jews and quoting from the Quran to kill them.

In a speech last December at the Dar al-Arkam mosque, Muhammad bin Musa al Nasr described Jews as “the most evil of mankind” and as “human demons,” the CIJNews reported Monday. He then quote from the Quran: at “the end of time … the stone and the tree will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me – come and kill him!’”

The mosque allowed the West Bank-born imam, a prominent member of the hard-line Salafist movement in Jordan, where he lectures at the al-Ahliyya University in Amman, to deliver more than a dozen other speeches as well.

I’m sure this Imam and his Islamic teachings have nothing to do with Islam. Also the second mosque had no problem hosting him despite the controversy over his first appearance. But we’re focusing on what’s important. Not Islamomurderism, but Islamophobia. It might be more tolerant if the House of Commons condemned Islamophilia.

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Also see:

Gorka & Jasser: We Are Fighting ‘Not a War with Islam, but a War Inside Islam’

Flickr/AFP

Flickr/AFP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Feb. 24, 2017:

Broadcasting live from CPAC 2017, SiriusXM host Alex Marlow spoke with Dr. Sebastian Gorka and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser about national security, Islamist terrorism, and their panel discussion, “When Did World War III Begin?”

Marlow began by asking his guests what they expected from the national security segment of President Donald Trump’s scheduled address to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

LISTEN:

“Exactly what we’ve heard before,” Gorka replied. “If you really want to understand the direction of the White House and how much everything changed at 12:01 on January the 20th, you look at two things: you look at a speech that really wasn’t carefully addressed or really paid enough attention to, that’s the Youngstown campaign speech, which was about the threat of jihad in general and what we’re going to do about ISIS.”

“Specifically, it really bears repeating, the inauguration, the address that the president gave at the inauguration, was explicit,” he continued. “Number one, we are going to eradicate the Islamic State – not degrade, not manage, not ameliorate – eradicate. And secondly, words have meaning. When he says our enemy is ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ that is a 180 degree change from the last eight years, when we weren’t allowed to even say who the enemy was.”

“Zuhdi knows it better than anybody because he understands that this isn’t about poverty or lack of education. It’s about people who are fighting for the soul of Islam – not a war with Islam, but a war inside Islam; as King Abdullah, as General Sisi has said, for which version is going to win,” Gorka said.

Marlow asked Dr. Jasser about the topic of language control Gorka touched upon and the previous administration’s reluctance to use explicit language like “radical Islamic jihad” to describe the enemy.

“We got to this point because we had an administration who was being whispered to by Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers, by apologists, by governments that might be our allies against al-Qaeda and ISIS, but they love a whack-a-mole program. They don’t want to treat the disease, which is not ‘violent extremism’ but violent Islamism,” Jasser charged.

“We have to start focusing on our own values,” he urged. “There’s nothing more American than fighting theocracy, and yet the Left for the last eight years has invoked blasphemy laws in America by telling us we can’t criticize Islamist political movements.”

Jasser predicted the new administration would succeed in destroying ISIS but warned that “it will come back in another form – two, three, four years later – unless we engage Muslim reformists, like our Muslim reform movement, to treat the underlying theocracy.”

Marlow complained that the mainstream media swiftly denounce candid talk about the problem of radical Islam as “hate speech” even when confined to straightforward reporting without editorial opinion, making it difficult to have a constructive discussion about the problem.

“I think this is exactly what the Saudi regime, the Iranian Khomeinists, the Brotherhood want, is they want to dominate what Islam means,” Jasser said. “And yes, it’s not my Islam, but we have to thread that needle. Because if you don’t call it political Islam or Islamism as the threat, you’re not going to be able to figure out who to engage. We want to engage anti-Caliphate, anti-violent jihad Muslims who are pro-freedom, pro-equality of men and women, who share our values. If we don’t do that discernment in our verbiage, we’re going to miss it and actually end up helping our enemies and end up actually not only being the firefighters, but the arsonists. We have to stop that cycle.”

“Let’s just take it one level deeper. It’s not just empowering our enemies, which would be bad enough,” Gorka added. “If you don’t talk truthfully about who the enemy is, how are you going to win? What we saw in the last eight years is a policy that actually weakened our most important allies.”

“So when you’ve got the president of the most populous Arab nation in the world say this is a war for the heart of Islam, General Sisi, when you’ve got King Abdullah with his Amman statement saying, ‘Look, we have to stop the jihadis hijacking the religion’ – we have a president here who stands up and says, ‘No, no, no, these are not the droids you’re looking for, the religion has nothing to do with this,’” he elaborated, referring to the Obama administration’s insistence on framing the war as a struggle against generic violent extremism.

“Do you know who we hurt the most? Those Muslims who are on the front lines with the jihadis, who understand this isn’t about poverty or lack of education; it’s about an ideology. So we’ve actually hurt the people who are on the front line the most. We’re not prepared to do that anymore. This administration’s going to help the Jordanians, help the Egyptians, help them fight this war,” Gorka vowed.

“I think we have to own what it means to be diverse,” Jasser suggested. “What is ‘diversity’ in the Muslim community? It’s not ethnic diversity. Being Muslim is not an identity movement of a monolithic homogenous group. It is a diverse ideological movement that has fundamentalist, orthodox, liberal, secularists that are all in this Muslim diverse group. So if the Left actually believes in diversity different from what Pelosi whispered into Andre Carson’s ear – ‘Tell them you’re Muslim’ – Islam is not a race. They’re racializing the faith. That’s the biggest obstacle.”

“I think the other thing I hope to see is not only us being against jihadists, but what are we for,” he added. “I think that will be the difference between some of the dictators in the Middle East, that yes, some of them have been on our side against jihad, the militants, but we are the adults in the world, in being for liberty and freedom. I hope that will be part of a Trump Doctrine.”

Gorka agreed, saluting Jasser as “the point man here in America for sense, for common sense in this battle.”

“The saddest part is there are people like him in the Middle East. There are people every day risking their lives on their blog sites, in North Africa, in the Middle East pushing back on this, saying, ‘I’m a Muslim, but I don’t think an infidel needs to be killed.’ That means he’s put the crosshairs on his chest,” Gorka noted. “In some parts of the Muslim world, that’s an instant death sentence.”

“That’s why the four million Muslims in America need to step up and act because we can do things here that you just can’t do in the Middle East,” Jasser said. “They end up in prison. They end up slaughtered, tortured.”

Marlow proposed that “the stifling of speech in the Muslim world is really what has allowed a lot of the jihadist movements to flourish.”

“Why do you think they use the term ‘Islamophobia’ instead of talking about, yes, there might be some bigotry against Muslims in the West?” Jasser asked. “They use the term Islamophobia because they want to anthropomorphize Islam so that you don’t criticize it, and they suppress free speech. That’s how they invoke blasphemy laws in the West.”

“You’re absolutely right. The freedom of speech issue is huge in the Middle East because it’s a life and death issue in many cases,” Gorka said. “But here, it’s almost as important. It’s not life and death, but it is closing down the discussion.”

“You look at what’s happened in the last four weeks with this administration,” he said. “There’s a phrase in soccer: you play the man on the ball. We’re not going to talk about policies; we’re going to attack individuals, whether it’s Kellyanne, the president, myself, Steve Bannon. They do that how? ‘We don’t want to talk about the threat to America. You’re a racist. You’re an Islamophobe. You’re a xenophobe. Oh, well, in that case, we can’t talk to you.’ That’s as dangerous as just the constant ad hominem attacks because then there is no discussion.”

Jasser said his message to CPAC was that “there is hope” for a lasting victory in the long war against Islamist extremism.

“The first step is to defeat the militants, which this president will finally do,” he said. “The second step is to go back to our American roots and defeat theocracy, work with Muslims and our Muslim reform movement. We have a two-page declaration that can be used, I hope, not only to vet refugees, to figure out which groups are with us and against us. I hope we start doing security clearances through those who share our values.”

“There are so many that are – not in this administration, but that are in the government from the previous administration – that I think are Islamists, that might not be violent extremists, but we need to shift the axis of the lens of Homeland Security, foreign policy, to countering violent Islamism. There’s nothing this group here and the country can do to better empower reform-minded Muslims that share our values than to shift from this blasé CVE to CVI,” Jasser said, lampooning the Obama administration’s acronym for “Countering Violent Extremism.”

Gorka referred to CVE as “garbage from the last eight years that obfuscated the threat.”

He said the most important step taken by the new administration was President Trump’s executive order to temporarily limit immigration from the most unsecure Middle Eastern nations.

“Whatever the final version of the reform measures are, the fact is, when an Iraqi collars me in the halls of Congress and says, ‘My friends back home in Iraq applaud this measure because they know how many bad guys are in Iraq that want to come over here, so do it. Thank you,’” Gorka said.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is deputy assistant to President Trump and was formerly national security editor for Breitbart News. He is the author of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is the founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith.

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6AM to 9AM Eastern.

Listen to the audio of the full interview above.

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The Return of Blasphemy Laws?

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PJ Media, by Roger Kimball, Feb. 24, 2017:

Ah, Denmark, once famous for free speech, now on the cutting edge of re-instituting prosecutions for blasphemy.

“Blasphemy.” Etymologically, the word means “speaking evil,” but to our enlightened ears it has a quaint ring to it. I mean, when was the last time you heard about someone being prosecuted for blasphemy? How old-fashioned.

In Denmark, the last time a person was prosecuted for blasphemy was in 1971, when two people were hauled up before a judge for a song making fun of Christianity. They were acquitted. To find someone actually convicted of blasphemy (the statute against it in Denmark goes back to 1866) you have to go back to 1946, when a chap went to a party dressed as a priest and pretended to baptize a doll.

The current tort, it is almost superfluous to say, does not involve Christianity but — yes! You guessed it — the Religion of Peace, aka Islam, the religion that has so often demonstrated its pacific nature in recent years, for example back in 2005 when a Danish newspaper published some cartoons making fun of Mohammad. Result: adherents of this most benign religion rioted around the world, burned various Danish embassies, and left a trail of murder and mayhem that left some 200 people dead.

This time, an as-yet-unnamed person (his name will not be released unless he is convicted) posted a video of himself burning a Koran to a Facebook page called “Yes to Freedom — No to Islam.” A caption to the video (since removed) reads: “Consider your neighbor, it stinks when it burns.”

What will happen? The case was brought by a regional prosecutor, but had to be approved by Denmark’s attorney general. If convicted, the Koran-burning fellow could face up to four months in prison and a fine.

It is a strange situation. Ever since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the West has been increasingly successful in consigning religious violence to the dustbin of history.

How strange, then, to find ourselves in the opening decades of the 21st century once again conjuring with demands for the reimposition of laws against blasphemy.

As I noted recently in The New Criterion, such deployments of blasphemy laws are part of a larger movement to abridge free speech.  Like the House of the Lord, I noted, it is a movement that has many mansions.

Some are frankly religious, or at least theocratic, in origin, as in the tireless campaigns undertaken to promulgate laws against blasphemy by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The OIC represents fifty-six Muslim countries and the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations and other organs of transnational progressivism.

Other interdictions against “blasphemy” are of a more secular, but no less dogmatic, character, as in the strictures against so-called “hate speech” on campus and anywhere else that political correctness triumphs.

The chief instrument for the enforcement of conformity — at the end of the day, it is even more potent than the constant threat of terror — is language, the perfection and dissemination of what George Orwell called Newspeak: that insidious pseudo-language that aims to curtail rather than liberate thought and feeling.

Orwell wrote in 1984:

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc [English Socialism, i.e., the existing regime], but to make all other modes of thought impossible.

It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all … a heretical thought … should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.

This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever.

Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.

[I]n Newspeak the expression of unorthodox opinions, above a very low level, was well-nigh impossible.

Orwell intended 1984 as a warning, an admonition. Our academic social justice warriors, supposing they are even aware of Orwell’s work, would seem to regard it as a plan of action, and what is unfolding in Denmark today shows that the problem is not merely academic.

How Pakistani Law Enshrines Extremism and Weakens Counter-Terror Efforts

pakistanby Ammar Anwer
Special to IPT News
February 24, 2017

Pakistani extremists have killed nearly 50,000 people since 9/11. But government ineffectiveness has stymied efforts to contain terrorist violence. The government and military often are not on the same page, or have chosen a narrow and selective approach towards extremism, fighting one outfit and at the same time supporting the other.

For instance, former President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that Pakistan cultivated and possessed a soft spot for the Afghan Taliban. In addition, Pakistan has failed to take a firm stand against Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a radical outfit famous for its hateful rhetoric against India. The U.S. designated the organization as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2001, and the United Nations designated it as a terrorist outfit in 2005.

Lately, signs of hope have started to emerge. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief of Staff General Raheel Sharif seem to agree about extremism and also seem to lack the selective approach that their predecessors had often adopted. As evidence, more than 250 people have been arrested for propagating hate speech, and a ban has been imposed on loudspeakers, which were often used to promote sectarian violence.

In addition, Pakistan launched a host of military operations against militants, including 2014’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which targeted militant groups including the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Haqqani Network. As a result, most of North Waziristan is now controlled by the military.

The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2015, complied by the international research group the Institute for Economics and Peace, analyzes the impact of terrorism on the global community. The report conceded success of Zarb-e-Azb and stated, “Pakistan was the only country in the ten most impacted countries that saw a decline in deaths” but still ranked third in the world.

Pakistan still has a long way to go to eradicate Islamist extremism.

Pakistani law remains an obstacle to accomplishing this goal. Its constitution paves the way for religious intolerance as the following examples show:

Declaration of Ahmadis as non-Muslims

Discrimination against Ahmadis began shortly after Pakistan’s inception in 1947. In 1953, a series of violent attacks was instigated against the Ahmadiyya community in Lahore. The Lahore riots resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims.

In 1974, due to the strong pressure from fundamentalists, Ahmadis were officially declared non-Muslims in Pakistan. To this day Ahmadis suffer religious discrimination and persecution while the state shows no inclination toward amending the law or eradicating the discrimination.

Ehtaram-e-Ramadan Ordinance

The Ehtaram-e-Ramadan ordinance was passed in 1981 during the tenure of General Zia-Ul-Haq, and is part of the constitution. It prohibits public eating during Ramadan’s fasting hours. It is a blatant violation of religious freedom for non-Muslims and secular Muslims. The ordinance requires that restaurants remain closed during fasting hours. Violations are punishable by up to three months in prison or a fine.

But vigilantes often take this law into their own hands. During the last Ramadan, an elderly Hindu man was badly beaten for eating publicly.

Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy law

Blasphemy is the act of insulting, showing contempt or a lack of reverence for God or that which is considered sacred. The blasphemy laws are now enshrined in section 295 A, B and C of the Penal Code, with their focus to protect Islam.

Pakistan uses this controversial law at a level unparalleled in any other country. The law has had a disproportionate impact on minority communities. Minorities, which comprise just 4 percent of Pakistan’s population, are targeted in more than half of the 702 total blasphemy law cases. The laws routinely are used to target religious minorities like Hindus or Christians for personal or political motives.

This action contradicts Pakistan’s constitution which guarantees the right to profess religion, equality of citizens and protection of minorities.

The law perpetuates an environment of intolerance and discrimination. To guarantee equal treatment and fundamental rights, the blasphemy laws must be eliminated or dramatically changed. Without this improvement, the state will never be able to achieve peace, tolerance and equal human rights.

Conclusion

The facts are before us, though they might be difficult to face. However, as Aldous Huxley said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

We in Pakistan cannot claim that we are fighting a war against extremism if there are extremist tenets within our constitution. Until we change those laws, the fight can never be won.

Ammar Anwer is an ex-Islamist who writes for The Nation, Pakistan Today and other media outlets. He believes in secularism and democracy and aspires to see Pakistan become a pluralistic state.

Asra Nomani: Alt-Left Is Waging ‘Propaganda War’ and ‘Cyber Jihad’ to Claim America

AFP

AFP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Feb. 14, 2017:

Asra Nomani, a former Georgetown University professor, co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement, and author of Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam, joined SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Tuesday’s Breitbart News Daily.

Marlow professed his admiration for Nomani’s recent column, “The Alt-Left’s Cyber Jihad Against Trump and His Supporters,” which covered what Marlow described as “the most significant news event of the year so far, aside from the Trump inauguration”: the anti-free-speech riots at U.C. Berkeley.

“Being a journalist, I believe in the power of words, and I also study propaganda. I feel like we’re in the middle of a fierce propaganda war,” Nomani said. “The one word that I think is important for everyone to know is ‘agitprop.’ It’s an old word for agitation propaganda. As you know, working at Breitbart, the concept of ‘alt-right’ is thrown at you all the time. It’s being used today as a way to try to immediately discredit folks. I thought to myself, ‘Well, what do we have happening on the Left?’”

“I write in the piece about how I’ve been a lifelong liberal,” she explained. “Just to let your listeners know, I came from India at the age of four and grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia, in a college town and absorbed all the strong liberal politics, really absorbed it into my heart. So I’ve been really distressed these last months. Another confession I had written a while ago in the Washington Post was that I had voted for Donald Trump, as a lifelong liberal.”

Nomani recalled the impact of seeing Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News under assault by left-wingers at a speech in Chicago and then again at U.C. Berkeley.

“I watched this happening on my TV screen, and I thought to myself, just like we do with anything in journalism, ‘Where did it begin?’” she recalled. “I had the good fortune to have met this really great cyber-sleuth named Eric Feinberg, who works out of New York City, and basically what we noticed was the hashtag that was being used to bring people to the streets there in Berkeley was hashtag #ShutDownMilo. And so what Eric did was track it, track the hashtag back to months before the actual protest happened against Milo, to a kind of odd website called ItsGoingDown.org.”

As chronicled in her latest essay, Nomani worked from that website to trace the outlines of a “far-left radical movement that is causing mayhem in our streets today.”

“I call it a cyber jihad because, as a Muslim, I’ve been well familiar with the agitation propaganda by my Muslim extremists,” she explained. “I see how what’s happening here is this very dangerous intersection – ‘intersection politics’ is such a popular word – between the far Left in America and the far Right in my Muslim community. That’s why I now see this as a cyber jihad that’s now trying to really claim America.”

Marlow noted the grim irony that the new “Antifa” (anti-fascist) movement is “just about the most fascist force in the West,” and he argued this intersection of totalitarian ugliness and left-wing politics is more widespread than the “alt-Left” fringe Nomani describes in her work.

“I hear you, and you won’t get a fight from me on this one because, honestly the disturbing reality for me as a liberal is exactly this dynamic you’re talking about,” Nomani replied. “I use this concept of ‘alt-Left’ really as a counter-propaganda to the use of alt-Right. It’s a linguistic tool on my part as a writer. But intellectually, absolutely what you’re saying has been my experience and my observation in my reporting.”

Marlow asked Nomani about the most controversial action taken to date by the president for whom she voted: his executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“I do call it a ‘so-called Muslim ban,’ as I also called the women’s march a ‘so-called women’s march,’” Nomani said. “They are all examples of ‘hashtag intifada,’ as I also talk about – an attempt to try to exaggerate reality, to make it agitprop. I as a Muslim and a member of the Muslim Reform Movement recognize the extremism problem that we have in the world and want us as a country to develop pragmatic solutions.”

“The ‘Muslim ban’ did not work because of this framing that was done, this propaganda that was done against the executive order,” she said, stressing that she uses the term ‘Muslim ban’ for Trump’s executive order sarcastically.

“What I also ultimately think we have to do is, in your community and in America, really walk the middle path with solutions,” she urged, warning that extreme expressions from the far Right would lead to the same sort of angry but ineffectual dead end as the alt-Left.

“Everything that has to happen in our country going forward, I think, has to be done with sensibility but also a sense of compassion to each other as human beings. I hope that does not sound too far liberal to you, but I think you know what I mean, in terms of trying to draw people at their heart also,” she said.

Nomani said it broke her heart to declare that America has become embroiled in a civil war, but she added, “There is an insurgency that’s trying to claim America from the far Left.”

“We have to have a balanced and rational response from all circles. And that’s what I just want to continue to appeal to people to be, is civil and human, remembering the humanity of each other – because where we see that lost from the far Left, we cannot replace it with inhumanity,” she said.

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

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