Islamic State claims responsibility for New Year’s Day attack at Istanbul nightclub

Medics and security officials work at the scene after an attack at a popular nightclub in Istanbul, early Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. Turkey's state-run news agency says an armed assailant has opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's celebrations, wounding several people.(IHA via AP)

Medics and security officials work at the scene after an attack at a popular nightclub in Istanbul, early Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. Turkey’s state-run news agency says an armed assailant has opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year’s celebrations, wounding several people.(IHA via AP)

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, January 2, 2017:

The Islamic State released a statement earlier today claiming responsibility for the attack on the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey during the early hours of New Year’s Day. At least 39 people were killed and dozens more wounded in the massacre. Many of the victims were foreign tourists, according to local media reports.

The so-called caliphate says that its “hero soldier” assaulted one of Turkey’s “most famous nightclubs,” because it is a location where “Christians celebrate their pagan holiday.” The jihadist group also attempts to justify the attack by portraying Turkey as a “protector of the cross” and accusing Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government of spilling the “blood of Muslims” with its planes and guns. This is likely a reference to Turkey’s military operations in northern Syria, where its forces and allied rebel groups fight Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s men on a daily basis. Of course, most of the Islamic State’s victims are Muslims, meaning its accusation against Turkey is hollow. Many of the victims at Reina were likely Muslims as well.

The Islamic State had been reticent to claim responsibility for attacks inside Turkey. Although a number of operations are thought to be the work of its men, including the June 2016 attack on the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, the group didn’t own any of them via its prolific propaganda machine. That began to change in early Nov. 2016, when Abu Bakr al Baghdadi called on his followers to strike inside Turkey. The Islamic State’s thinking likely changed after Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield was launched. Turkish forces and their allies have successfully claimed territory from the caliphate in northern Syria.

During his speech in November, Baghdadi claimed that Turkey had revealed its true agenda by entering the war. He argued that the Turks have taken advantage of the fact that the Islamic State has been distracted by the “war against the infidel nations” and has been forced to defend its territory. For these reasons, Baghdadi told his followers to “attack” Turkey and bring the country into their “conflict.” Baghdadi also likened “infidel” Turkish soldiers to dogs and called on the caliphate’s “soldiers” to spill their blood. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s ‘grand jihad’ against the world.]

Within hours of Baghdadi’s speech, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a car bombing in southeastern Turkey. This was the group’s first high-profile claim of responsibility for a terrorist operation inside the country. Turkish authorities quickly blamed the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a US-designated terrorist organization, for the explosion. It is possible that Kurdish terrorists did carry out the bombing. Still, the Islamic State’s claim was important because it signaled a new willingness to publicly lash out at Turkey.

The Islamic State’s new spokesman, Abu al Hassan al Muhajir, continued with Baghdadi’s anti-Turkey theme in his first message, which was released in early December. Muhajir accused Turkey of serving “Crusader Europe” and said that Erdoğan had miscalculated by directly entering the war in Syria. Muhajir called on the Islamic State’s jihadists to strike Turkish interests around the world.

“Accordingly, we make a call to every truthful muwahhid to target the supports of the apostate, secularist, Turkish state everywhere, including the security, military, economic, and media apparatuses…even every embassy and consulate representing them in all lands of the earth,” Muhajir said. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report: New Islamic State spokesman seeks to rally Sunnis against Iran, West.]

Baghdadi’s propagandists also released a gruesome video purportedly showing two Turkish soldiers being burned alive in December.

Nightclubs and similar venues are an easy target for the Islamic State’s terrorists. In Nov. 2015, the jihadists slaughtered 89 people at the Bataclan theatre in Paris. The attack on Bataclan was part of a coordinated assault throughout France’s capital. In June 2016, a jihadist who repeatedly swore his allegiance to Baghdadi shot and killed 49 people at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Initial reports indicate that at least one gunman assaulted Reina. Some local accounts claim that he was dressed like Santa Claus, or in similar holiday garb. However, that detail and many others remain to be confirmed. Turkish authorities have arrested several people suspected of being tied to the Islamic State’s network inside Turkey, but the terrorist responsible for the killings has not yet been identified or detained.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.

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Also see:

Does Trump Grasp the Reality of ‘Radical Islam’?

radical-islamNational Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, December 31, 2016:

It was the key national-security debate of the 2016 election. Donald Trump won the election, in no small part, because he appeared to be on the right side of it. Appeared is used advisedly: Trump was at least in the general vicinity of the bull’s-eye; his opponent wouldn’t even acknowledge the target existed — except in the most grudging of ways, and only because Trump had forced the issue.

The question boiled down to this: Are you willing to name the enemy?

After a quarter-century of willful blindness, it was at least a start. We should note, moreover, that it’s a start we owe to the president-elect. Washington, meaning both parties, had erected such barriers to a rational public discussion of our enemies that breaking through took Trump’s outsized persona, in all its abrasive turns and its excesses. Comparative anonymities (looking down at my shoes, now) could try terrorism cases and fill shelves with books and pamphlets and columns on the ideology behind the jihad from now until the end of time. But no matter how many terrorist attacks Americans endured, the public examination of the enemy was not going to happen unless a credible candidate for the world’s most important job dramatically shifted the parameters of acceptable discourse.

Trump forced the issue into the light of day. And once he did — voilà! — what was yesterday’s “Islamophobia” became today’s conventional wisdom. In reality, it was never either of these things. The former is an enemy-crafted smear (a wildly successful one) to scare off examination of the enemy; the latter is frequently wrong.

What we Cassandras have really been trying to highlight is a simple fact, as patent as it was unremarkable from the time of Sun Tsu until the 1993 World Trade Center bombing: To defeat the enemy, you must know the enemy — who he is, what motivates him, what he is trying to achieve. Being willing to name the enemy is a start. But it is just a start — the beginning, not the end, of understanding.

In his major campaign speech on the subject, Trump asserted that the enemy is “radical Islamic terrorism.” Terrorism, surely, is the business end of the spear, but “radical Islamic terrorism” is an incomplete portrait. Dangerously incomplete? That depends on whether the term (a) is Trump’s shorthand for a threat he realizes is significantly broader than terrorism, or (b) reflects his actual — and thus insufficient — grasp of the challenge.

The speech provided reasons for hope. For one thing, Trump compared “radical Islamic terrorism” to the 20th-century challenges of fascism, Nazism, and Communism. These were ideological enemies. The capacity to project force was by no means the totality of the threat each represented — which is why it is so foolish to be dismissive of today’s enemy just because jihadist networks cannot compare militarily to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

Furthermore, toward the end of his speech, Trump used “radical Islamic terrorism” interchangeably with “radical Islam.” Ending the spread of radical Islam, he said, must be our objective. He even referred to it as an “ideology” — though he called it an “ideology of death,” which misses the point; it is an ideology of conquest.

Trump intimated some understanding of this, too. He vowed to “speak out against the oppression of women, gays, and people of different faith [i.e., non-Muslims].” He promised, in addition, to work with “all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East.” The objects of radical Islamic oppression are targeted because of ideological tenets that call for dominion by sharia, Islam’s ancient totalitarian law. It is those tenets that reformers are trying to reform.

In sum, Trump showed signs of awareness that there are more than bombs, hijacked planes, weaponized trucks, and jihadist gunmen to confront. Still, his focus was terrorists — specifically ISIS, which he claimed was created by Obama-Clinton policy. While he clearly knows there is more to the threat than ISIS, he explicitly added only al-Qaeda and “Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah.”

To the contrary, ISIS is a breakaway faction of al-Qaeda that existed before Barack Obama came to power. Hamas, though certainly supported by Shiite Iran, is a Sunni terrorist organization spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood. More crucially: All of the groups Trump listed, and the regimes that sponsor them, were created by the ideology. While I’ll go with “radical Islam,” the ideology is more accurately described as “sharia supremacism” — alas, in the parts of the world Trump was talking about, “radical Islam” is not so radical. It is the ideology that creates jihadist groups and regimes, not American policy, no matter how clueless and counterproductive our policy has been at times.

If ISIS and al-Qaeda disappeared tomorrow, other jihadist networks would take their places. It will be that way until sharia supremacism is discredited and marginalized.

That is a tall order, not to be underestimated. The audience in which the ideology must be discredited is not Western; it does not share our value system — our sense of what is credible and meritorious. Plus, the sharia that our enemies strive to implement (i.e., “jihad in Allah’s way”) is undeniably rooted in Islamic scripture. It will not be easy — it may not be possible — to discredit a literalist construction of Islam that has been backed by revered scholars for 14 centuries.

That is why some detractors of Islam argue with considerable force that we should stop mincing words: If the problem is rooted in Islamic doctrine, they contend, then the problem is Islam, not “radical Islam.” Yet this overlooks significant facts. There is fierce intramural Islamic debate about doctrinal interpretation. Our own Judeo-Christian experience tells us that doctrine and religious practice can evolve. Belief systems, moreover, are ultimately about more than doctrine. Culture counts for a great deal. Yes, sharia supremacism is pretty much the same wherever you go (and becomes more aggressive and threatening as its adherents increase in number); but the understanding and practice of Islam varies from Riyadh to Cairo to Kabul to Ankara to Jakarta to Tirana to London.

There is, furthermore, an on-the-ground reality of much greater moment than theological infighting: A large percentage of the world’s approximately 1.6 billion Muslims reject sharia supremacism. Many of them provide us with essential help in fighting the enemy. To condemn Islam, rather than those who seek to impose Islam’s ruling system on us, can only alienate our allies. They are allies we need in an ideological conflict.

The sensible strategy, therefore, calls for supporting the Islamic reformers President-elect Trump says he wants to befriend. That would be an epic improvement over outreach to Islamists, whom our government has inanely courted and empowered for a quarter-century. To the extent we can (and that may be limited), we should support the reinterpretation of what Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi courageously acknowledged as “the corpus of texts and ideas that we [Muslims] have sacralized over the centuries, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible” even though they are “antagonizing the entire world.”

Sisi, it is worth noting, is a devout Muslim who knows a lot more about Islam than Barack Obama and John Kerry do. In any event, it’s better to confront with open eyes the scripturally rooted ideological foundation of radical Islam. As we’ve seen over the last three presidential administrations (or the last six, if you want to go back to Carter and Khomeini’s revolution), pretending that the ideology does not exist, or that it represents a “false Islam,” is fantasy. As a national-security strategy, fantasy is a prescription for failure.

It has been the Obama prescription, right up to the end.

While candidate Trump was demanding that the enemy be named, and me-too Hillary was thus goaded into the occasional mention of “jihadists,” Obama tried to defend his refusal to invoke radical Islam. The defense was classic Obama. Part One was flat wrong: “There’s no religious rationale,” he maintained, that would justify” the “barbarism” in which terrorists engage — something that could only be right if we ignore scripture and adopt Obama’s eccentric notion of “religious rationale.” Part Two drew on Obama’s bottomless supply of straw men: “Using the phrase ‘radical Islam,’” he lectured, will not make the terrorist threat “go away” — as if anyone had claimed it would.

The point, of course, is not that there is talismanic power in uttering an enemy’s identity. It is to convey, to the enemy and to an anxious American public, that our leader comprehends who the enemy is, what the enemy’s objectives are, and what drives the enemy to achieve them.

Obviously, Obama is too smart not to know this. After eight infuriating years, I am beyond trying to fathom whether his intentional gibberish masks some misguided but well-meaning strategy, some dogma to which he is hopelessly beholden, or something more sinister. The imperative now is to address the mess he is leaving behind, not unwind how and why he came to make it.

This week, Obama betrayed our Israeli allies by orchestrating (and cravenly abstaining from) a U.N. Security Council resolution. As I’ve explained, the ostensible purpose of the resolution is to condemn the construction of Israeli settlements in the disputed territories of East Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria that Israel has controlled since 1967; the real purpose is to declare that those territories are sovereign Palestinian land, and thus that Israel is “occupying” it in violation of international law (“international law” is the gussied-up term for the hyper-political, intensely anti-Israeli Security Council’s say-so).

What does this have to do with our enemy’s ideology? Everything.

The Palestinians and the Islamist regimes that support them frame their struggle against Israel in terms of Islamic obligation. Hamas, the aforementioned Muslim Brotherhood branch that has been lavishly supported by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and other Muslim governments, is more explicit about this than its rival for Palestinian leadership, Fatah. But both are clear on the matter. They take the doctrinal position that any territory that comes under Islamic control for any duration of time is Islam’s forever. (That’s why Islamists still refer to Spain as al-Andalus and vow to retake it, notwithstanding that they lost it half a millennium ago.)

Further, radical Islam regards the presence of a sovereign Jewish state in Islamic territory as an intolerable affront. Again, the reason is doctrinal. Do not take my word for it; have a look at the 1988 Hamas Charter (“The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement”). Article 7, in particular, includes this statement by the prophet Muhammad:

The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, “O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” . . . (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Understand: Al-Bukhari and Muslim are authoritative collections of hadith. These memorializations of the prophet’s sayings and deeds have scriptural status in Islam. Hamas is not lying — this story of an end-of-times annihilation of Jews is related, repeatedly, in Islamic scripture. (See, e.g., here.) And please spare me the twaddle about how there are competing interpretations that discount or “contextualize” these hadith. It doesn’t matter which, if any, interpretation represents the “true Islam” (if there is one). What matters for purposes of our security is that millions of Muslims, including our enemies, believe these hadith mean what they say — unalterable, for all time.

Even after all the mass-murder attacks we have endured over the last few decades, and for all their claptrap about respecting Islam as “one of the world’s great religions,” transnational progressives cannot bring themselves to accept that something as passé as religious doctrine could dictate 21st-century conflicts. So, they tell themselves, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict is simply about territorial boundaries and refugee rights. It could be settled if Israel, which they reckon would never have been established but for a regrettable bout of post-Holocaust remorse, would just make a few concessions regarding land it was never ceded in the first place (conveniently overlooking that East Jerusalem and the West Bank are disputed territories, and were not “Palestinian” when Israel took them in the 1967 war of Arab aggression).

Transnational progressives see Israel as intransigent, notwithstanding its many attempts to trade land for peace. They rationalize Palestinian terrorism as the product of that intransigence, not of ideology. Thus their smug calculation that branding Israel as an “occupier” of “Palestinian land” in gross “violation of international law” is the nudge Israel needs to settle. This will effectively grant the Palestinians their coveted sovereign state. Thus accommodated, Palestinians will surely moderate and co-exist with Israel — if not in peace, then in the same uneasy state in which Parisians coexist with their banlieues and Berliners with their refugees.

It is not just fantasy but willfully blind idiocy. No one who took a few minutes to understand the ideology of radical Islam would contemplate for a moment a resolution such as the one Obama just choreographed.

Under Islamic law, the Palestinians regard all of the territory — not just East Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria but all of Israel — as Muslim territory. Furthermore, they deem the presence of a Jewish-ruled state on that territory as anathema. A Security Council resolution that declares Israeli control of the disputed territory not merely an “obstacle to peace” but illegitimate tells the Islamists that their jihad has succeeded, that non-Muslim powers accede to their sharia-based demands. It can only encourage them to continue their jihad toward their ultimate regional goal of eradicating the Jewish state. After all, Mahmoud Abbas has stated his racist terms: Not a single Israeli will be permitted to reside in the Palestinian state. As Islamists see it (and why shouldn’t they?), Obama’s reaction was not to condemn Abbas; it was to appease Abbas. As Islamists see it, Allah is rewarding their fidelity to Islamic doctrine; of course they will persevere in it.

We are not merely in a shooting war with jihadists. We are in an ideological war with sharia supremacists. Mass murder is not their sole tactic; they attack at the negotiating table, in the councils of government, in the media, on the campus, in the courtroom — at every political and cultural pressure point. To defeat jihadists, it is necessary to discredit the ideology that catalyzes them. You don’t discredit an ideology by ignoring its existence, denying its power, and accommodating it at every turn.

President Obama never got this. Will President Trump?

In his campaign, Trump made a welcome start by naming the enemy. Now it is time to know the enemy — such that it is clear to the enemy that we understand his objectives and his motivation, and that we will deny him because our own principles require it.

The new president should begin by renouncing Obama’s Palestinian power-play: Revoke any state recognition Obama gives the Palestinians; defund them; clarify the disputed (not occupied) status of the territories; move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem; reaffirm the principle that the conflict may only be settled by direct negotiations between the parties; and make clear that the United States will consider the Palestinians pariahs until they acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, stop indoctrinating their children in doctrinal Jew-hatred, and convincingly abandon terrorism.

That would tell radical Islam that America rejects its objectives as well as its tactics, that we will fight its ideology as well as its terrorism. This is not just about restoring our reputation as a dependable ally. Our security depends on it.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Secret ISIS list IDs U.S. churches for attack during holidays

St. Peter & Paul Chapel in Cairo Bombed by Muslims in November 2016 killing 25 Christians

St. Peter & Paul Chapel in Cairo Bombed by Muslims in November 2016 killing 25 Christians

WND, by Leo Hohmann, December 23, 2016:

The Islamic State has allegedly published a secret list in Arabic of thousands of churches in all 50 states and called on its followers to attack them during the holidays.

ISIS, according to a report by Vocativ.com, posted the list late Wednesday night in the group’s “Secrets of Jihadis” social media group using the encrypted app Telegram.

WND asked several Arab speakers to search for the list and after an exhaustive search online they came up empty, leading some question whether such a list even exists. If it does, it is well hidden within the encrypted app. [emphasis added]

A user going by the name of “Abu Marya al-Iraqi” posted an Arabic-language message calling “for bloody celebrations in the Christian New Year” and announced the group’s plans to utilize its network of lone wolf attackers to “turn the Christian New Year into a bloody horror movie,” Vocative reported.

The names and addresses, distributed in a number of posts, were all previously available online and include a public directory of churches across all 50 states.

‘Sons of Islam’ exhorted to attack large gatherings

In another group post, a member summoned “the sons of Islam” to target “churches, well-known hotels, crowded coffee shops, streets, markets and public places,” and shared a list of addresses in the United States, as well as in Canada, France and the Netherlands.

Of course, none of this should come as a surprise. Last month, the St. Peter and St. Paul chapel of the Coptic Christian Church in Cairo, Egypt, was bombed by Muslims, killing 25 Copts and injuring several more.

In July, an elderly Catholic priest had his throat slit on the altar while he was saying mass in Normandy, France. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack by two of its “soldiers.”

Then on Monday, a Christmas market was targeted by a Muslim jihadist from Tunisia who stole a truck and rammed it into the crowded market. Christmas, as a Christian holiday, is a symbol of Europe’s and America’s Christian identity, regardless of whether many Christians in these countries still take their faith seriously, terrorism experts say.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the Christmas market attack in Berlin that killed 12 and injured 48, while the suspected jihadist, a Muslim migrant who entered Europe from Tunisia, is still on the loose.

Surveillance of churches reported

Former FBI counter-terrorism agent John Guandolo’s Understanding the Threat blog has received reports in the last several weeks from law enforcement, pastors and citizens that Muslims are conducting pre-operation surveillance inside U.S. churches during services.

The information received by UTT from multiple states indicates the manner of the surveillance is similar in each case.

Guandolo says two Muslim males will enter during the service and sit together in the back of the church. They will often take pictures and record video. When approached by concerned ushers, they will either tell their questioners they are “interested” in becoming Christians or they will run.

“This information has been passed to the appropriate law enforcement officials, and UTT is aware of a joint investigation between local police and the FBI in at least one of the cases,” according to Guandolo.

One planned attack already foiled

In February, the FBI interrupted a plot to pull off a mass shooting at one of Detroit’s largest Catholic churches in a case reported by WND involving a Muslim convert, Sebastian Gregerson, who had amassed an arsenal of military-grade weapons including AK-47s, a howitzer and tactical knives similar to those used by ISIS. Gregerson, who changed his name to Abu-Rayyan, reportedly received money to acquire the weapons from an imam in Maryland. Court documents showed the FBI was concerned that imams could be financing similar plots around the country.

Dr. Mark Christian, a former Muslim imam from Egypt and expert on the Muslim Brotherhood, said churches need to take precautions.

Big churches will be seen as the most prime targets, he said, as ISIS will be looking for the highest number of casualties they can inflict.

“To be honest, in every place where there are public gatherings, there are metal detectors at the front, and I hate to say it but I feel it is time for movie theaters and churches too, they need to have that, to detect guns and knives and explosives … I think it’s time to do it,” said Dr. Christian, who changed his name from Muhammad Abdullah and converted to Christianity in 2005.

“It’s going to be very expensive for a smaller church, so you have to have volunteers in those churches,” he said, adding that these volunteers should be proficient in defensive actions up to and including handgun usage.

“Metal detectors are not expensive for larger congregations, and they are a must at this time, along with trained volunteers” he said. “You are talking about a couple of grand for a metal detector, but they will save lives.

“We live in a time where, even if you are going Christmas shopping, you need to pack heat when you go. This is not the way you should have to live,” he added. “But we have awakened the giant. We give them the space to run and to expand, so I hate to say it but this is the beginning of this kind of threat.”

The invasion of Iraq and Obama promoting radical Sunni religious regimes in Syria, Egypt and Libya have helped to awaken the sleeping giant, but Christian says that’s not the only problem. After all, America was attacked on 9/11 even before the invasion of Iraq.

The biggest problem is the Islamic texts and Muslims who are taught to emulate their seventh-century prophet, Muhammad, a warlord who is seen as the “perfect man.” He advocated taking slaves, raping women, torturing and slaughtering men and taught that Islam was to reign supreme over all other religions whenever the numbers in a society were in favor of Islam. Christians and Jews, if they were allowed to live at all, were to be subjugated as second-class “dhimmis.”

Until imams stop teaching doctrines modeled after the seventh-century warlord’s example, violent jihad will always be a problem, he said.

“So there has to be a multi-level approach to fix this problem. You can use extreme vetting and require a strict assimilation, cleansing the educational and religious institutions of Islam of radical elements,” he said. “You can’t do one and not the other, or it will just get worse.”

Too many foreign imams entering U.S.?

“If you do extreme vetting and let the imams preach hatred in the mosques, they are going to create more feelings of victimhood, and you will have more attacks,” Christian said. “You have to block those not worthy of coming here, and then you have to set some rules and regulations on the institution of Islam itself. I would recommend educational programs for imams to understand our Constitution and what America stands for. Then you have to monitor the religious leaders who come here from other countries to preach.”

Christian said nearly 70 percent of the clergy in American mosques are supplied from countries in the Middle East. Most come from Egypt’s Al Azhar University, but some also come from Saudi Arabia, Syria and other nations.

“This is the way imams want to make some money and come to America. The Coptic Church does the same thing, but we don’t have a problem with the Coptic Church,” he said. “For an imam to be an imam, he has to study Islamic law from a university. … Harvard and a few other places have these Islamic studies programs, but the majority come from Egypt and some from Saudi Arabia.”

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Europe Braces Itself For More ISIS Attacks By Muslim Children

A rebel fighter takes away a flag that belonged to Islamic State militants in Akhtarin village, after rebel fighters advanced in the area, in northern Aleppo Governorate. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

A rebel fighter takes away a flag that belonged to Islamic State militants in Akhtarin village, after rebel fighters advanced in the area, in northern Aleppo Governorate. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

Daily Caller, by Saagar Enjeti, December 21, 2016:

European officials are reportedly worried by a rising trend of Islamic State-inspired attacks by young children.

A 12-year-old Iraqi refugee child was arrested Dec. 15 for trying to use a nail bomb to blow up a German Christmas market. The arrest was preceded by a brutal ax attack by a 17-year-old Afghan refugee, who hacked four tourists before being neutralized by German authorities. In both cases the assailants were inspired by ISIS propaganda.

The week before the 12-year-old’s arrest German police arrested two boys, ages 15 and 17, for plotting a terror attack on a public building in Bavaria. The two young boys had ISIS flags among their possessions, mirroring the flag found among the Afghan refugee’s possessions.

European Union records indicate 83,000 refugee children arrived in 2015 without being accompanied by a parent. Ninety-one percent of these unaccompanied minors were male, and nearly 51 percent originated in Afghanistan. ISIS-inspired attacks do not only derive perpetrators from refugee populations; some suspects are born and raised in Europe.

ISIS propaganda long features child soldiers carrying out executions, and taking classes on warfare in Iraq and Syria. The terrorist group calls the children, “Lion cubs of the caliphate.” Despite this, Europe’s counter-radicalization programs do not focus attention on children.

Most programs focus on males in their young twenties, the demographic most associated with terrorist attacks. The main suspect in Monday’s Berlin truck attack is a 23-year-old Tunisian refugee, who applied for asylum in Germany nine months ago.

Suspect Sought for Deadly Berlin Terror Attack, Anis Amri, Yet Another ‘Known Wolf’

anis-amri-berlin-attack-sized-770x415xc

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, December 21, 2016:

A manhunt is underway in Germany for 23-year old Tunisian Anis Amri, sought for his possible connection to this week’s horrific terror attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people and injured dozens more.

Amri was already known to German police for involvement in an ISIS cell, and had been under police surveillance.

If Amri’s involvement is confirmed, this would make the Berlin attack the most recent case of what I have termed “Known Wolf” terrorism, and would mark the eighth such incident this year:

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Authorities on Wednesday were seeking a 23-year-old Tunisian man who had been on the radar of intelligence services since last year as a suspect in the deadly truck attack at Berlin’s Christmas market, a German security official said.

The man, identified as Anis A., had entered Germany in July 2015 and applied for asylum, the official said. He got temporary approval to stay in Germany even though his asylum application was rejected, the official said.

German authorities had classified him as a potentially violent follower of the fundamentalist Salafi strain of Islam, and suspected ties to Islamic State, the official said.

Another security official confirmed police were seeking the man. Investigators pinpointed him as their suspect after finding his residency permit in the cab of the truck used in the attack, they said. But the document was only found on Tuesday, during a more thorough search of the truck than the one that took place in the aftermath of the attack the previous night, according to one of the officials.

The Tunisian man had used a number of different identities while in Germany, also claiming on some occasions that he was Egyptian or Lebanese, officials said.

Media reports indicate that Amri was already considered dangerous, and had asked a police informant to illegally acquire weapons:

The Ministry of Internal Affairs for Northrhine Westphalia made a statement earlier today about what was previously known about Amri:

As regular PJ Media readers would note, I first identified and termed the ongoing trend of “Known Wolf” terrorism — individuals committing terrorist acts who were already known to law enforcement and national security authorities — back in October 2014.

This year alone, I’ve reported on the following “Known Wolf” incidents: Columbus, OhioOrlando, Florida; Normandy, France; Ontario, Canada; Strasbourg, France; Roanoke, Virginia; and New York/New Jersey.

Note that four of the above seven cases in 2016 occurred here in the United States.

Additionally, in September I documented a dozen cases of “Known Wolf” terrorism in the U.S. under the Obama administration:

Here are links to my previous reporting on the “Known Wolf” terror problem:

Oct. 24, 2014: ‘Lone Wolf’ or ‘Known Wolf’: The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

Dec. 15, 2014: Sydney Hostage Taker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Jan. 7, 2015: Paris Terror Attack Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 3, 2015: French Police Terror Attacker Yesterday Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 15, 2015: Copenhagen Killer Was yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Feb. 26, 2015: Islamic State Beheader ‘Jihadi John’ Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Apr. 22, 2015: Botched Attack on Paris Churches Another Case of “Known Wolf” Terrorism

May 4, 2015: Texas Attack Is Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

June 26, 2015: France’s Beheading Terrorist Was Well-Known By Authorities

July 16, 2015: Report: Chattanooga Jihadist Was Yet Another ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorist, Anonymous Feds Dispute

Aug. 22, 2015: European Train Attacker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Oct 14, 2015: Yet Again: Turkey, Israel Terror Attacks Committed by “Known Wolves”

Nov 14, 2015: One Paris Attacker Was Previously Known to Authorities, Marks Fifth ‘Known Wolf” Attack in France This Year

Feb 16, 2016: Machete Attack in Ohio Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

May 16, 2016: News Reports Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ U.S. Terrorists

June 12, 2016: Orlando Night Club Attack by “Known Wolf” Terrorist Previously Investigated by FBI

July 14, 2016: Senate Intelligence Committee to Investigate “Known Wolf” Terrorism Problem

July 26, 2016: ISIS Suspect in Normandy Priest’s Killing Already Known to French Authorities

August 10, 2016: Canadian ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorist Planned Suicide Bombing of Major City, Killed in Overnight Police Operation

August 19, 2016: Man Who Stabbed Rabbi Thursday in Strasbourg, France Involved in Prior Attack

Sept. 20, 2016: NY-NJ Bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami Already Known to Law Enforcement Authorities

Sept. 28, 2016: “Known Wolf” SCANDAL: In at Least 12 of the 14 Terror Attacks Under Obama, FBI Already Knew Attackers

GORKA: The Front Line of This War Runs Through Art Galleries in Ankara and Christmas Festivities in Berlin

Fox News

Fox News

Breitbart, by John Hayward, December 21, 2016:

Breitbart News National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, discussed Monday’s terror attacks in Turkey and Germany with Fox News host Bret Baier on Special Report.

Gorka said the attacks were “yet again verification that in this war, there isn’t a front line like there was in World War I or World War II.”

“The front line is when you leave your house in the morning. The front line is in art galleries. The front line is at Christmas festivities in Berlin,” he said. “The fact is, Europe is at war. America is at war, and the jihadis are already in place.”

“We saw in Ankara that this is perhaps the most grievous example of insider threat. This is a police officer. This isn’t somebody who came off a boat yesterday out of Syria,” Gorka said of the man who murdered Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov. “This is somebody who clearly was trained with a weapon, who was carrying a weapon. That is perhaps the most insidious potential threat that we have to face.”

Baier noted that the Islamic State’s publications were urging precisely the sort of vehicular assault that occurred in Berlin, as far back as early November. There were even early warnings specifically concerning attacks on Christmas markets.

“Yes, don’t forget that the San Bernardino attack occurred when? It occurred during a Christmas party at the office where the couple, Farouk and Malik, worked,” Gorka pointed out. “The symbolism is very important here. This is the infidel holiday that they’re attacking.”

“ISIS has learned from al-Qaeda’s mistakes,” he said. “Al-Qaeda was obsessed with spectacle, and with killing as many people as possible. Ironically, 9/11 was perhaps too successful – 3,000 people in 102 minutes. ISIS said, well, it’s not about more people or WMD. Let’s just do classic guerrilla warfare. You don’t even have to build a bomb. You don’t even have to steal a gun. Just get in a vehicle. Mow down the infidel.”

Gorka noted that “mow the infidel down like grass” was literally the instruction given to followers of ISIS in Rumiyah, the magazine Baier quoted from.

“And what did we see in Nice? Almost a hundred people killed. Somebody has just taken that to Germany,” Gorka said.

He said the reluctance of authorities in the U.S. and Europe to acknowledge acts of Islamic terrorism have “become a joke.”

“It’s like a bad SNL skit. I mean, you’ve all seen the memes on Twitter, you know, ‘Could it be terrorism? Could it be related to jihad?’ When a man is shouting ‘Allahu akbar,’ when you see a tactic that comes straight out of the tradecraft of al-Qaeda, of ISIS, being used, what are we waiting for?” he asked.

“It was interesting, a former intelligence officer who’s very active on Twitter said the longer the authorities don’t provide the name of the suspect, the higher the likelihood that it’s a jihadi attack. What are we finding again? Exactly the same in Germany,” he noted ruefully.

Gorka said it was “very obvious what’s going to change immediately” when President-elect Trump is inaugurated.

“If you read, the best advice I can give is, anybody who wants to know what’s going to happen, read President-elect Trump’s Youngstown speech. Not a lot of people paid attention to it. The Youngstown speech is his rhetorical plan for defeating the jihadi threat that is a global movement,” said Gorka.

“The first thing I can guarantee – having read that, having read Lt. General Flynn’s book Field of Fight, he is now the National Security Adviser-designate to Donald Trump – the first thing that’s going to happen is the total jettisoning of political correctness. This idea that the enemy calls themselves jihadis, and we’re not allowed to call them jihadis, that ends the evening of January 20th. The politicization of the intelligence cycle will be finished,” he predicted.

The full text of Donald Trump’s speech on terrorism in Youngstown, as referred to by Dr. Gorka, can be found here.

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Christmas Market Massacre Proves Ignoring Muslim Warnings Will Get You Killed

berlin-truck-attackConservative Headquarters, by  George Rasley, CHQ Editor | 12/21/16

Hidden in the media coverage of the carnage at Berlin’s Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) was a hint or two that German intelligence had some previous indication that Christmas markets and other Christian holiday celebrations were potential targets for Muslim terrorists.

In actuality the warnings, both tactical and strategic, were not mere “indications”; they were clear for all who wished to heed them.

On November 22, 2016, the U.S. State Department issued a stark warning for tourists to Europe, advising them of “credible information” of an attack on Christmas markets this holiday season.

The UK Express reported the warning in an article headlined, “Europe’s Christmas markets at risk of ISIS terror attack, US warns tourists.” “Credible information indicates the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, and their affiliates continue to plan terrorist attacks in Europe, with a focus on the upcoming holiday season and associated events,” said the release.

“US citizens should exercise vigilance when attending large holiday events, visiting tourist sites, using public transportation, and frequenting places of worship, restaurants, hotels, etc. … Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds, when possible,” the warning concluded.

Even earlier this fall, on September 14, 2016, under the headline, “Germany preparing for Nice-style attack as report says ISIS could strike at ANY TIME,” the UK Express quoted a secret report from Germany’s intelligence services predicts that Islamic terrorists can strike at any time in an “unconventional” manner like the truck massacre in Nice.

These tactical warnings were largely ignored by the public and were apparently of little practical utility to the German authorities who it appears did not harden the approaches to the Berlin Christmas Market. Nor did they have the personnel on hand to apprehend the hijacker who killed the Polish truck driver and then plowed the truck loaded with steel straight through the tents and stalls of the market killing at least 12 visitors celebrating a Christian tradition dating back to the Late Middle Ages.

However, what’s even worse, is that of less utility to the German authorities were the clear strategic warnings given by the Muslim invaders twelve years ago in an interview with leading German magazine der Spiegel.

In 2005, in article titled, “What al‐Qaida Really Wants,” Yassin Musharbash interviewed Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein about his remarkable reporting on al‐Qaida’s inner circle and his book “al‐Zarqawi ‐ al‐Qaida’s Second Generation.”

Hussein told Musharbash, “I interviewed a whole range of al‐Qaida (AQ) members with different ideologies to get an idea of how the war between the terrorists and Washington would develop in the future.” What he then describes are seven phases the terror network hoped would establish an Islamic caliphate which the West will then be too weak to fight.

I will focus on just the final phases of the plan, but you can read the entire article and review the seven phases of the Muslim conquest of the West through this link.

The Fifth Phase, between 2013 and 2016, was to be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, could be declared – and it was. The plan was that by this time, Western influence in the Islamic world would be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al‐Qaida hoped that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.

As 2016 closes it is debatable how much of the Fifth Phase was accomplished. The Caliphate was declared and clearly American influence in the Islamic world has been much-weakened, but Israel remains strong.

However, it is certainly arguable that, thanks to Barack Obama, a new world order is emerging with Iran as the nuclear armed Middle Eastern hegemon, Russian influence ascendant and, in the face of an expansive and aggressive China, the United States in retreat from the Western Pacific.

Now here is the key point regarding the Berlin Christmas Market terrorist attack and the building tempo of Muslim terror; the Sixth Phase Hussein reported is that from 2016 onwards there will a period of “total confrontation.”

As soon as the caliphate has been declared Hussein reported the “Islamic army” it will create will instigate the conclusive “fight between the believers and the non‐believers” which was predicted by Osama bin Laden and is central to Muslim millennialism.

What does Phase Six look like?

Priests are murdered in their Churches, Muslims demand an end to Germany’s Oktoberfest, Christmas Markets and Christian symbols are attacked. Priests remove Nativity scenes to avoid offending Muslims, restaurants remove traditional pork dishes, Christians are ordered to “pray in silence” so as not to offend Muslim migrants and now in Germany, Christians are being forced to hide their Bibles due to death threats from migrant Muslims.

Knowing that Phase Six of the AQ plan for its war against the West was one of “total confrontation” why would Western leaders, such as Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, invite millions of Muslim invaders into their country?

But they have.

And so, thanks in large measure to Angela Merkle, a Muslim army has successfully crossed the Mediterranean, European culture and nation-states are in full retreat, and Phase Six of the Muslim conquest of the West is well and successfully under way.

According to the AQ timeline in der Spiegel we are now in the first year of the period of “total confrontation,” and so far, the Islamist army is winning. It is time Western leaders, such as Angela Merkel, take the Muslim leadership at its word.

Post Script: And if you think it isn’t happening in America consider the increasing tempo of Muslim terrorist attacks, including bombings, mass murder and random stabbings and the cultural war being waged that has seen even the mention of Christmas banned from the public square through the demands of Muslim Brotherhood fronts and terrorist affiliated organizations.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: After January 20, America Must ‘Jettison Political Correctness’ to ‘Inoculate Ourselves’ Against Jihad

Associated Press

Associated Press

 

Breitbart, by John Hayward, December 20, 2016:

Breitbart News National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, talked about Monday’s terrorist attacks in Berlin and Ankara on Tuesday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow.

Gorka noted that, unlike many terrorist attacks, a great deal of information about the Ankara shooting was immediately available to the public because Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov was murdered in front of a crowd of journalists.

“While there’s lots of jihadi snuff videos out there of hostages being executed, there really is nothing like the video of this ambassador giving a speech at an art gallery, and then being gunned down on camera – and then afterwards having the individual make his statement, his calls of ‘Allahu akbar,’ and his comments on the Syrian conflict actually recorded,” Gorka observed. “Whatever the geostrategic ramifications, that video will be with us for decades, and I’m sure will be used to incite more violence.”

“What we do is that this young man, very well-dressed young man, was part of some special police unit. So he was a Turkish national, and as a result, he represents the epitome of what we call the ‘insider threat,’” he said. “Turkey has suffered from terrorism for decades, but usually it’s by external actors or Kurdish nationals and so forth. In this case, it’s someone who’s in the security services, had some kind of vetting, was carrying a weapon, and then decided to become a jihadi. So this is an insidious threat that all nations have to think about.”

Marlow asked about reports that one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s key political allies is claiming that “shadowy NATO forces” were behind the Ambassador’s murder.

“Well, you know, Moscow loves to perpetuate dezinformatsiya, or disinformation. The whole television network RT is an amazing example of that,” Gorka noted. “The reaction will probably be some spinning of conspiracy theories by the fringes of the administration and those that are acolytes to it. But I think the actual response that we’re waiting for the most is from Putin. Will he use this as he’s used other events to exploit the instability, such as in Ukraine or Syria?”

“This provides for him, if we look at this in the cold light of day, various options to exploit the geostrategic ramifications he can gin up, simply by being the head of state of the country whose ambassador was assassinated,” he said.

Gorka said he “tends to reject the concept of ‘lone wolf’” attacks, so it’s likely just a matter of time before connections between the Ankara shooter and organized terrorism are discovered.

“‘Lone wolf’ was a phrase invented by the Obama administration to make the average American dumber,” he said. “It’s a phrase made to make you disconnect the dots. To me, there is no such thing as a lone wolf because whoever we’re talking about, whether it’s this police officer, the Boston bombers, whether it’s the 9/11 hijackers – whoever it is, they’re all connected. And the connective tissue is, of course, the ideology of jihadism. Let’s wait and see. I think that there may be some kind of broader conspiracy, but let’s just wait a few days and see what the Turkish find.”

Marlow quoted the rant from the Ankara gunman: “We die in Aleppo, you die here.”

“Right, so this is a narrative tag that has been used by jihadis before – that the crimes of the West in the Middle East, interferers, drone strikes, bombings, you name it, must be reflected in violence in the heartland,” Gorka said. “This is all part of the broader combining of philosophies of al-Qaeda originally, that melded the concepts of ‘near enemy’ and ‘far enemy.’ In the fifties and sixties, the jihadists were taking down the near enemy, which is the Arab regimes they saw to be un-Islamic. Now, after Afghanistan, with Iraq and other initiatives and military operations by the West, they want to take the war to the far enemy. That’s us.”

“Take the fight to the heartland of the infidel; this is very much an ISIS tactic. ISIS is fighting on multiple fronts – the Middle East, in North Africa, where it’s building and expanding its Caliphate, but also in the heartland of the United States,” he warned.

Gorka noted that the Berlin truck attack has “already been accepted. The responsibility for that attack has already been taken by an ISIS affiliate.”

“If that turns out to be true, then that just proves once again, we are in a multi-fronted war against a global jihadi movement,” he said, arguing that “the ball is literally in Vladimir Putin’s court, and it will be his reaction that shapes whether or not this has broader ramifications.”

“The only thing that is of note for us is this question of the insider threat,” Gorka added. “Can we put in place better vetting procedures? Are we allowed, as a nation here in America after January 20th, to jettison political correctness and talk about the ideology that motivates people like this police officer? That is something I dearly expect, and it is one of the most important ways to inoculate ourselves from this kind of threat occurring here in America.”

Marlow quoted from President-elect Donald Trump’s reaction to the Berlin attack – that “Islamic terrorists continually slaughter Christians,” and called it a “bold” statement, very different from what President Obama might have said.

“Absolutely,” Gorka agreed. “This is an indicator of how everything will change in just a matter of one short month. And this is very important; let me just give you one data point your listeners should be familiar with: when Iraq was invaded, when we invaded in 2003, there were 1.4 million indigenous Christians in that nation. Iraqi nationals went to church on Sundays. Now, with the rise of ISIS and the declaration of the Caliphate, there are significantly less than 200,000 left.”

“We, as a nation, engaged in Iraq only after the Yazidis – a polytheistic small sect – were hounded up Mount Sinjar. We went to save the polytheists. But there’s a much, much larger story, and that is the concerted targeting of Christians. Of course, a Christmas festival in Germany is an incredibly symbolic target. Let’s not forget this isn’t just about Europe,” he said.

UTT Throwback Thursday: General Petraeus Wages Civilization Jihad

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, December, 8, 2016:

This week the Federalist published a scathing article about General Petraeus raising questions about his criminal actions by mishandling classified information, the possibility he is an agent of foreign powers – namely the Islamic governments of Saudi Arabia and UAE, as well as Kazakhstan – and that he favors silencing Americans’ right to free speech over offending Muslims.

petraus

The latter is where UTT will focus today’s Throwback Thursday article.

In an Op-Ed on May 13, 2016, General Petraeus spent a lot of time defending Muslims and their feelings, yet did not seem concerned about the liberties of Americans – specifically our right to free speech and expression without being beheaded, crucified or shot dead, as Muslims are prone to do.

Specifically, the General wrote:  “Those who flirt with hate speech against Muslims should realize they are playing directly into the hands of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.”

Actually, if at some point since 9/11 General Petraeus had taken a few hours to study the enemy’s basis for all of their actions – sharia – and understood the driving force in the Global Movement – the International Muslim Brotherhood – has a strategy focused on getting our leaders to do the Muslim Brotherhood’s bidding for them, he might actually see that HE is one of those stooges doing the enemy’s bidding for them.

It’s called “Civilization Jihad by OUR hands.”

When the United States government wrote the Constitutions for Iraq and Afghanistan which created Islamic Republic’s under sharia thus giving Al Qaeda the objectives for which they were fighting, that was Civilization Jihad by OUR hands.  We did the enemy’s bidding for them.

When General Petraeus scolded a Pastor in America for burning a Koran (Sep 2010), that is Civilization Jihad by OUR hands – specifically, the General was enforcing the Islamic law of Slander by ensuring an American citizen would not take an action that would offend Muslims.

See the new 2 minute UTT video HERE on this very topic.

General Petraeus wrote in his May 2016 Op Ed:  “I fear that those who demonize and denigrate Islam make it more likely that it will be our own men and women who ultimately have to shoulder more of this fight.”

Actually sir, the commanding general not knowing his enemy is far more dangerous to the troops than those who speak truth about – and thereby offend – Muslims.

Know the threat. Understand the Threat.

“Nothing to do with Islam”?

Gatestone Institute, by Judith Bergman, December 3, 2016:

  • “Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.” — The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
  • “The Islamic State is a byproduct of Al Azhar’s programs… Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world. Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate. Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches… Al Azhar teaches stoning people. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?” — Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr, a scholar of Islamic law and graduate of Egypt’s Al Azhar University.
  • The jihadists who carry out terrorist attacks in the service of ISIS, for example, are merely following the commands in the Quran, both 9:5, “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them…” and Quran 8:39, “So fight them until there is no more fitna [strife] and all submit to the religion of Allah.”
  • Archbishop Welby — and Egypt’s extraordinary President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — has finally had the courage to say in public that if one insists on remaining “religiously illiterate,” it is impossible to solve the problem of religiously motivated violence.

For the first time, a European establishment figure from the Church has spoken out against an argument exonerating ISIS and frequently peddled by Western political and cultural elites. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, speaking in France on November 17, said that dealing with the religiously-motivated violence in Europe

“requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that ISIS is ‘nothing to do with Islam’… Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.”

Archbishop Welby also said that, “It’s very difficult to understand the things that impel people to some of the dreadful actions that we have seen over the last few years unless you have some sense of religious literacy”.

“Religious literacy” has indeed been in short supply, especially on the European continent. Nevertheless, all over the West, people with little-to-no knowledge of Islam, including political leaders, journalists and opinion makers, have all suddenly become “experts” on Islam and the Quran, assuring everybody that ISIS and other similarly genocidal terrorist groups have nothing to do with the purported “religion of peace,” Islam.

It is therefore striking finally to hear a voice from the establishment, especially a man of the Church, oppose, however cautiously, this curiously uniform (and stupefyingly uninformed) view of Islam. Until now, establishment Churches, despite the atrocities committed against Christians by Muslims, have been exceedingly busy only with so-called “inter-faith dialogue.” Pope Francis has even castigated Europeans for not being even more accommodating towards the migrants who have overwhelmed the continent, asking Europeans:

“What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom?… the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?”

(Perhaps the Pope, before rhetorically asking Europeans to sacrifice their lives for their migrant “brothers and sisters” should ask himself whether many of the Muslim migrants in Europe consider Europeans their “brothers and sisters”?)

A statement on Islam is especially significant coming from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the senior bishop and principal leader of the Anglican Church and the symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, which stands at around 85 million members worldwide, the third-largest communion in the world.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (left), recently said that dealing with the religiously-motivated violence in Europe “requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that ISIS is ‘nothing to do with Islam’… Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.” (Image source: Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Only a year ago, commenting on the Paris massacres, the Archbishop followed conventional politically correct orthodoxy, pontificating that, “The perversion of faith is one of the most desperate aspects of our world today.” He explained that Islamic State terrorists have distorted their faith to the extent that they believe they are glorifying their God. Since then, he has clearly changed his mind.

Can one expect other Church leaders and political figures to heed Archbishop Welby’s words, or will they be conveniently overlooked? Western leaders have noticeably practiced selective hearing for many years and ignored truths that did not fit the “narrative” politicians apparently wished to imagine, especially when spoken by actual experts on Islam. When, in November 2015, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr, a scholar of Islamic law and graduate of Egypt’s Al Azhar University, explained why the prestigious institution, which educates mainstream Islamic scholars, refused to denounce ISIS as un-Islamic, none of them was listening:

“The Islamic State is a byproduct of Al Azhar’s programs. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic? Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world. Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate. Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches, etc. Al Azhar upholds the institution of jizya [extracting tribute from non-Muslims]. Al Azhar teaches stoning people. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?”

Nor did Western leaders listen when The Atlantic, hardly an anti-establishment periodical, published a study by Graeme Wood, who researched the Islamic State and its ideology in depth. He spoke to members of the Islamic State and Islamic State recruiters and concluded:

“The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam”.

In the United States, another establishment figure, Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Donald Trump’s incoming White House Chief of Staff, recently made statements to the same effect as the Archbishop of Canterbury. “Clearly there are some aspects of that faith that are problematic and we know them; we’ve seen it,” Priebus said when asked to comment on incoming National Security Adviser former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s view that Islam is a political ideology that hides behind being a religion.

In much of American society, Flynn’s view that Islam is a political ideology is considered controversial, despite the fact that the political and military doctrines of Islam, succinctly summarized in the concept of jihad, are codified in Islamic law, sharia, as found in the Quran and the hadiths. The jihadists who carry out terrorist attacks in the service of ISIS, for example, are merely following the commands in the Quran, both 9:5, “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them…” and Quran 8:39, “So fight them until there is no more fitna [strife] and all submit to the religion of Allah.”

The question becomes, then, whether other establishment figures will also acknowledge what someone like Archbishop Welby — and Egypt’s extraordinary President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — has finally had the courage to say in public: that if one insists on remaining “religiously illiterate,” it is impossible to solve the problem of religiously motivated violence.

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

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Understanding the  Threat:

The oldest and most prestigious school of Islamic jurisprudence is Al Azhar University, founded in Egypt in approximately 970 AD.

Al Azhar and its leadership continue to affirm “Jihad,” which it defines as war-fighting against unbelievers (non-Muslims), is obligatory until the world is under Islamic rule.

Oddly enough, this is exactly what Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and all of the other jihadi organizations in the world teach, and what is taught in Islamic elementary schools around the world, including the United States.

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The Doctrine of Cowards

Why are so many Muslim refugees coming to the US? Why do so few persecuted Christians come? The answer is the position of the churches. The biggest door into US society is the church door. The Christians and Jews love to attend interfaith gatherings where they sit and nod their heads yes to all that the Muslims say.

But the Christian and Jewish leaders are ignorant about Islam. They know nothing about the Islamic doctrine of Christian and Jew hatred. But what is worse is that they refuse to learn.

Christian leaders have developed a doctrine of the coward to justify their pious ignorance and fear. They are all about turning the other cheek, loving their enemies, and doing nothing while waiting for Jesus to return. They are incapable of boldness and courage. Wimps all (well, about 95% of them).

And if you are not a Christian, why aren’t you concerned with the greatest human rights tragedy happening today—the killing of religious minorities in Islamic lands? Why can’t persecuted Christians come as refugees to America? When will Christians care about the persecution of their own brothers and sisters?

What has happened to us (Christians, Jews, Buddhists, atheists and all others) that we are no longer able to have moral outrage? Righteous anger?

How James Mattis As Defense Secretary Could Bust Our Deathly Political Correctness About Islam

Photo Wikimedia Commons

Photo Wikimedia Commons

The Federalist, by M. G. Oprea, November 30, 2016:

Is political Islam in America’s best interests? This question should be central to our strategy of fighting ISIS and Islamist terrorism in general. Yet it’s one that many political leaders would rather not answer, because of our politically correct climate. But since Trump’s transition team announced last week that it’s considering retired Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense, this reluctance might fade.

In a speech given at the Heritage Foundation last year, Mattis spoke about America’s position vis à vis political Islam. Rather than equivocating on the matter in order to avoid saying something uncomfortable or politically incorrect, Mattis simply pointed out that America needs to make a decision about its stance toward this ideology.

Recall that political Islam, or Islamism, is a movement within Islam: it works toward the increasing implementation of Islamic law and values in all areas of life—usually via state control—in order to make Islam a dominant force in the world.

Why We Don’t Talk About Islamism

Mattis’ suggestion—which sounds like a basic element of defense strategy—has been surprisingly neglected in the years since 9/11. The U.S. tends to deal with Islamism on a case-by-case basis. And so long as any particular group or political entity doesn’t have a direct and obvious link to terrorism, we tend to give them a pass. Even then, this is sometimes too high of a bar, as is the case with the Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups.

No one wants to delve into the question of Islamism because it has become a politically charged issue, one that often leads to accusations of bigotry and Islamaphobia. As Islam is increasingly treated as a protected class by America’s progressive Left, any scrutiny of any faction within Islam is considered off limits. This is done in the name of tolerance, but is in fact a highly intolerant position. But it’s successfully scared off politicians and military personnel, who tend to make vague and noncommittal statements on the topic.

This makes Mattis’ statements all the more notable. He’s simply urging the U.S. to make a decision. And what’s more, he’s arguing that this decision ought to be based on what we believe is in our best interest:

“Is political Islam in the best interest of the United States?…If we won’t even ask the question then how do we even get to the point of recognizing which is our side in the fight? And if we don’t take our own side in this fight we’re leaving others adrift.”

What Is In The Country’s Best Interests?

This is a surprisingly unpopular question to ask in general, and specifically when it comes to Islam. The concept itself—asking what is in America’s best interest—has largely been ignored as of late. Under Obama, America has pursued a policy of “leading from behind,” and more or less disregarding America’s interests abroad. The Obama administration has done this based on the notion, central to the progressive narrative of history, that America is a de facto colonialist power, whose influence in the world is malign and ought to recede of our own volition.

But if the U.S. can’t identify what is in its best interests, or refuses to pursue those interests out of an oversized sense of political correctness, there’s no way to forge a comprehensive global defense strategy. As Mattis points out, if we won’t even talk about political Islam with a critical eye, how can we figure out which side we’re on, and make decisions from that point? Neglecting the question not only hurts our interests—it leaves our allies unsure of where we stand and how we will proceed when Islamist movements gain traction in their countries.

Mattis also points out that ISIS is counting on Americans not having a debate on whether political Islam is good for America. If we don’t examine this question, we can’t create a cohesive strategy, and our fight against ISIS’s self-proclaimed Caliphate (or other groups like them) will ultimately fail.

This is the opposite of what some Islamist apologists and those on the left insist, which is that ISIS wants us to talk about the connections between Islam and violence, in order to make Muslims feel like the West is at war with their entire religion. Then, so the thinking goes, Muslims will turn on the West.

Mattis Would Change Our Reputation

As it is, ISIS has largely won this battle. Any serious strategic discussion about the relationship between political Islam and American national interests has been deemed illegitimate and offensive by the political Left. See, for example, the scrubbing of terms related to Islam from Department of Homeland Security training materials.

Mattis’ appointment as Defense Secretary would be a marked change not only from the Obama administration, but also from the Bush years. Both administrations were reluctant to substantively engage in a debate on the merits or threats of political Islam.

Since giving this speech at Heritage, ISIS has experienced significant territorial losses. But the question Mattis raises has not lost its relevance. It will be central to many of the Trump administration’s foreign policy challenges. Political Islam remains, and will remain, a problem for the West both in terms of domestic security and global strategy. Whether it’s the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in the U.S., or political Islam in a post-Arab Spring Middle East, the U.S. needs to know where it stands on this issue.

Mattis concludes that political Islam is not, in the end, good for America. But he acknowledges that what’s most important is that we have a discussion about it—so that we can develop a broader strategy for how to deal with Islamism in the world. Without a cohesive strategy, there is little hope of checking the destructive influences of political Islam both at home and abroad.

M. G. Oprea is a writer based in Austin, Texas. She holds a PhD in French linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. You can follow her on Twitter here.

Gitmo prisoner reveals that Saudi ‘terrorist rehab’ center is a scam

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, November 28, 2016:

Counterterrorism experts have long suspected Saudi Arabia’s “rehabilitation” center for terrorists does a poor job of de-radicalizing jihadists. But a Saudi detainee at Guantanamo Bay now reveals it’s actually a recruiting and training factory for jihad.

According to recently declassified documents, senior al Qaeda operative Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi told a Gitmo parole board that the Saudi government has been encouraging previously released prisoners to rejoin the jihad at its terrorist reform school, officially known as the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center.

The Obama administration has praised the effectiveness of the Saudi rehab program — which uses “art therapy,” swimming, ping-pong, PlayStation and soccer to de-radicalize terrorists — and conditioned the release of dozens of Gitmo prisoners, including former Osama bin Laden bodyguards, on their entry in the controversial program.

To date, 134 Saudi detainees have been transferred to the Saudi reform camps in Riyadh and Jeddah. Last year, nine Yemeni detainees were sent there, as well, and more are expected to follow over the next two months, as Obama strives to meet his campaign goal of closing Gitmo.

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Al-Sharbi dropped a bombshell on the Gitmo parole board at his hearing earlier this year, when he informed members that the Saudi kingdom was playing them for suckers. “You guys want to send me back to Saudi Arabia because you believe there is a de-radicalization program on the surface.

True. You are 100% right, there is a strong — externally, a strong — de-radicalization program,” al-Sharbi testified. “But make no mistake, underneath there is a hidden radicalization program,” he added. “There is a very hidden strong — way stronger in magnitude — broader in financing, in all that.”

Al-Sharbi is one of the longest serving, and most unrepentant, prisoners at Gitmo. A Saudi national with an electrical engineering degree from King Fahd University, he attended a US flight school associated with two of the 9/11 hijackers. He traveled to Afghanistan in the summer of 2001 and trained at an al Qaeda camp, building IEDs to use against allied forces.

Al-Sharbi was captured March 28, 2002, at an al Qaeda safehouse in Faisalabad, Pakistan, with senior al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah. According to his US intel dossier, he told interrogators that “the US got what it deserved from the terrorist attacks on 9/11.”

Given a chance at parole after 14 years, however, Al-Sharbi was surprisingly frank with the board.

He explained that Riyadh is actively recruiting and training fighters to battle Iranian elements in neighboring Yemen and Syria. Saudi views Shiite-controlled Iran as a regional threat to its security.

“They’re launching more wars and the [United] States is backing off from the region,” he said. “They’re poking their nose here and here and there and they’re recruiting more jihadists, and they’ll tell you, ‘Okay, go fight in Yemen. Go fight in Syria.’ ”

Al-Sharbi said the Saudis also are “encouraging” former detainees “to fight their jihad in the States.”

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

“It’s not like a past history,” he said. “It’s increasing.”

A growing body of evidence backs up his claims. Last month, for example, a Wikileaked e-mail from Hillary Clinton revealed, citing US intelligence sources, that Saudi has provided “clandestine financial and logistic support to” ISIS and other Sunni terrorist groups in the region.

Al-Sharbi said the kingdom is playing a double game.

“They will proudly tell you they will fight terrorism,” he said. “That means they will support it.”
Al-Sharbi told the Gitmo board he doesn’t want to enroll in the Saudi rehab program, because he would be used to “fight under the Saudi royal cloak.”

“This is in the cause of a king. This is not a true jihad,” he said. “And I’m not going to Saudi unless I am sure they’re not gonna be using me.”

The Saudi rehab ruse has carried a lot of weight with the Gitmo parole board. Earlier this year, it released “Saudi al Qaeda recruiter and fighter” Muhammed Al Shumrani after his lawyers insisted that repatriating him to Saudi Arabia and enrolling him in its “well-established reintegration program” would cure his admittedly “problematic behavior.”

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Last year, the defense team of longtime bin Laden bodyguard Abdul Rahman Shalabi insisted that the same Saudi rehab program would make sure he’s reformed. In approving his release, the board said that it was “confident about the efficacy of the Saudi program.”

In both cases, US intelligence warned the board that the hardened terrorists would more than likely “reengage in terrorist activity.”

By Riyadh’s own numbers, some 20% of the terrorist enrollees at its rehab club — which features golf carts, palm trees and an Olympic-sized pool — go back to the jihad, returning to the ranks of the Taliban or al Qaeda. US officials believe the recidivism rate is much higher, but Saudi does not disclose criteria for evaluation.

One high-profile failure was Said Ali al-Shihri. After his graduation from the Saudi program, he returned to Yemen where he ran an al Qaeda branch and helped plan the deadly bombing of the US Embassy and mastermind the failed plot to blow up a 2009 Christmas flight over Detroit, before a drone-fired missile finally caught up to him.

The Saudi center is more holiday resort than halfway house for paroled inmates. Jihadists are rewarded with gourmet meals, video games, ping pong, jacuzzis and newly furnished private apartments reserved for conjugal visits. They also are allowed unescorted visits to family members. In September, the center granted “beneficiaries” Eid al-Adha holiday vacation for 12 days.

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Graduates are further rewarded with young brides and new cars.

Lending credence to al-Sharbi’s charges, the three-month program includes a few hours a day of lessons in Islam from Saudi clerics and “Shariah specialists.”

“Beneficiaries spend 15 hours a week in the Shariah program,” according to a local Jeddah press report, which is triple the amount of time devoted to psychological counseling.

Al-Sharbi’s parole was declined; he is still in Gitmo, along with 60 detainees — down from the 241 who were there when President Obama started his term.

But with the administration rushing to reduce that number even further before the end of Obama’s term, how many more jihadists will be released into this highly suspect program?

Congress has an obligation to ask hard questions: Is this a preemptive campaign to prevent terror attacks or more likely an incubator for facilitating more attacks?

Paul Sperry is author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

Muslim ‘refugee’ goes on stabbing spree at Ohio State

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-02-32-pmWND, by Leo Hohmann, November 28, 2016:

Police shot and killed a Somali refugee as he was attacking students with a butcher knife outside a science building at Ohio State University Monday morning.

At least nine people were transported to area hospitals with various injuries, the local news channel 10TV tweeted, citing the Columbus, Ohio, fire department.

The dead attacker was believed to be an Ohio State student — a Somali refugee, with permanent legal residence in the U.S., who lived near campus, CNBC News reported.

Columbus is home to the second largest community of Somali refugees after Minneapolis. More than 99 percent of Somali refugees are Sunni Muslims. The Somali refugee program has been ongoing since at least 1990 and the U.S. State Department continues to bring in between 5,000 and 10,000 Somalis per year.

In all, the U.S. government has imported more than 132,000 Somali Muslim refugees and distributed them into more than 300 U.S. cities and towns. More than 40 Somalis living in America have left the country since 2007 to fight for terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State, al-Qaida and al-Shabab, according to FBI reports. Dozens of others have been tried and convicted of providing material support to overseas terrorist organizations.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been a big backer of the federal government’s refugee resettlement program in his state.

Monday’s attack on the OSU campus is the second such knife attack in Columbus this year by a Muslim immigrant.

In February four people were wounded, one critically, at the Nazareth Mediterranean Restaurant in Columbus owned by an Arab Christian. The attacker in that case was Mohamed Barry, an immigrant from the African country of Guinea who slashed diners with a machete before he was killed by police while shouting “Allahu Akbar!”

And in September of this year a Somali refugee living in Minnesota went on a stabbing spree at a mall in St. Cloud, injuring 10 people before he was shot and killed by an alert off-duty cop. He asked shoppers if they were Muslim and if they said no, he attacked them with his knife.

The story Monday was originally reported as an “active shooter” on the OSU campus as the university police texted instructions for students to “shelter in place” and avoid parts of the sprawling campus. But when the dust had settled police said there never was any “shooter” on the campus.

This was a case of a lone attacker trying to kill students with his car and a butcher knife, they said.

There were 10 victims, some suffered injuries from the car running into them while others were treated for stab wounds. Nine were listed in stable condition and one was critical. Two victims were sent into surgery but are expected to survive.

The Islamic State and al-Qaida have encouraged Muslims to attack infidels with vehicles and knifes. The attack on a Bastille Day crowd in Paris this past summer was carried out by a Muslim migrant in a large transfer truck.

Ohio State University is a gun-free zone. Only police are allowed to carry guns on campus.

A Twitter user who appeared to be an OSU student wrote that a man had crashed his car through a group of students as they stood outside because of a fire alarm. The student initially tweeted that the man emerged from the car with a knife and a gun, but then said he hadn’t actually seen a gun and had only heard gunshots.

In one account, a student told the Independent Journal Review that someone pulled the fire alarm and then “ambushed” the students as they filed out of the building thinking it was a fire drill.

That would indicate more than one person was involved in a coordinated attack.

ISIS has encouraged lone wolf attacks using cars and knifes on crowds of people.

Several social media accounts have circulated images of a person laid out on the ground on campus in front of police:

OSU student Jacob Bower, 20, said he saw a man pull a knife outside between the Koffolt Laboratories and Watts Hall.

“He pulled a large knife and started chasing people around, trying to attack them,” Bower told CNN. He said it appeared to be a large butcher knife. Others described the weapon as similar to a machete.

“Luckily there were so many people, he couldn’t focus on one target. I didn’t see anyone get stabbed, but I saw the police officer take down the stabber. He waited till everyone was clear, and the stabber clearly wasn’t stopping. (It) took three shots to take him down. (The) stabber had a crazy look in his eyes.”

When asked if the suspect yelled or said anything during the attack, Bower told CNN: “He was completely silent. Which was very creepy. Not even when he was shot (by police).”

Other witnesses told local media outlets that the suspect attacked students with his car, and a law enforcement official later told NBC that some of the injured students had been attacked with a large knife.

It is unclear whether there are multiple suspects.

OSU student Phoebe Potiker tweeted pictures of Homeland Security vehicles on the scene. The FBI and ATF were also called in to assist.

***

Patrick Poole is a must follow on twitter whenever there is a terror attack:

Also see:

Mosul Update: Islamic State Fielding a Serious Defense of the Caliphate

A mix of conventional military and insurgent tactics is making the going tougher than anticipated. The Sunni / Shia split promises to bedevil the hard work that is still to come.

CounterJihad, November 17, 2016:

The Islamic State (ISIS) came out of a union of traditional Islamist radicals from al Qaeda in Iraq with members of Saddam’s military professionals.  In its defense of the city of Mosul, ISIS is showing that its leaders have managed to bring a professional understanding of how to leverage both conventional and insurgent tactics to maximum advantage.  The weight of numbers is against them, but they are fielding effective and vicious tactics to make their enemies pay dearly for their victories.

On the conventional side, CounterJihad has learned that ISIS successfully rendered the Mosul air field unusable for the forces pressing in on the city.  Much of the strategy of the coalition of Iraqi, Iranian, and American forces has been built around capturing outlying areas that can then be used as effective staging grounds for the push into the city proper.  ISIS anticipated this strategy.  Having no use for an airfield itself, it suffers neither long- nor short-term costs for destroying the airport.  We are also hearing that a second nearby airport near Tal Afar has been captured by Iranian-backed Shia militias, but has proven to be heavily mined with IEDs.

ISIS has also deployed snipers to slow the advance of their enemies into these neighborhoods.  Traditionally, snipers can be contested with the use of air strikes or artillery.  ISIS has been raising the cost of that by forcing Mosul civilians to remain in their  homes.  Snipers deployed on top of those homes are then protected, to some degree, by the human shields within.  American air power is less likely to strike a house that is thought to be full of civilians, although doing so is justifiable under the Doctrine of Double Effect.*  Iraqi and Iranian-led forces are less careful about such things, but the tactic does show some limited effectiveness given the reliance on American warplanes for much of the air strike capability.

Another tactic that shows a blend of insurgent and conventional military understanding has been the use of suicide vest attackers to slow military advances.  The Long War Journal reports 79 such attacks in Mosul’s province.  Our sources tell us that there have been such attacks in a “majority” of the sectors of the operation.  The suicide vest is an insurgent tactic, but it is functionally very much like a Hellfire drone strike:  it delivers a similar payload in a similarly accurate way, as if the human wearing the vest were a guided missile.  It is unclear whether the suicide attackers are motivated by a desire for Paradise, or threats to their families.  Either way, it is clear that ISIS has managed to develop a capacity to deliver these attacks on an industrial scale.  It is a tactic that they are using in the place of an air force or similar surgical strike capability.

The campaign is thus proving costly.  The hard part has not started yet, either.  These are fights for staging grounds and outlying areas.  The push into the heavily defended central city is yet to come.

There remains a serious concern with regard to the composition of the forces attacking Mosul, too.  As mentioned, the Iranian-backed Shia militias have been tasked with taking Tal Afar.  It is a city well-known to American veterans of the Iraq war, because it was one of the prototypical models for the new counterinsurgency campaign that would come to be known as the Surge, or the Awakening.  Colonel H. R. McMaster led the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment to a stunning victory over al Qaeda in Iraq, one that proved lasting because of his commitment to treating the Sunni population with justice.  The Mayor of Tal Afar visited Fort Carson, later, to personally thank American forces for freeing his city of Islamist terror.

”Are you truly my friends?” he asked through a translator. “Yes. I walk a happier man because you are my friends. You are the world to me. I smell the sweet perfume that emanates from your flower of your strength, honor and greatness in every corner of Tal Afar. The nightmares of terror fled when the lion of your bravery entered our city.”

Deploying these Shia militias to take Tal Afar instead suggests that no similar success will follow.  The Institute for the Study of War reports that both the militias and the formal Iraqi Security Forceshave already been committing war crimes against the Sunni population.  The Shia militias who were turned loose on Saddam’s home town of Tikrit disappeared hundreds while razing the homes of those they decided were personal enemies of Iran.

If this conduct continues, only chaos looms in the future of Ninevah province.  Iran and Iraq will not create a peace in that desert unless they resist a temptation that they seem committed, instead, to sating in full.

* The Doctrine of Double Effect is an important element in Just War Theory, which is the traditional Western philosophical approach to war.  The doctrine itself arose during the Middle Ages as Christian thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas applied Aristotelian reasoning to questions of war, but the roots of Just War Theory are older still.  They lie in the efforts of the Church to try to stem the horrors of the constant warfare that came during the weakening of the Roman Empire, and the chaos that came after the fall of that empire.  The Doctrine of Double Effect speaks to cases, like the bombing of a house hosting a sniper but also an innocent family, in which an act of war can cause significant harm as well as attaining some good.  Thus, there is a double effect:  a good effect, but also a bad effect.

The doctrine proposes a two part test for whether or not the action is justifiable.  The first is that the good to be attained must be proportionate to the harm being done.  While killing one sniper may not seem proportionate to killing a whole family of innocents, the killing of the sniper is part of a campaign to eliminate a regime that licenses Islamist sex-slavery and engages in terrible abuses of innocents.  Thus, the good to be accomplished is arguably proportionate: indeed, eliminating ISIS is arguably a very great good indeed.

The second part is that the act must be discriminate, a technical term that means that the harm being done is neither your end, nor the means to your end.  There is a thought experiment that helps clarify this question:  If, by miracle, the harmful effect was avoided, would you be satisfied with the outcome?  In the current case, assume that an American aircraft bombed the sniper’s location and — by miracle — none of the innocents inside were hurt.  Would we be satisfied with the outcome?  Obviously, we would be delighted if that happened.

Since the thought experiment is satisfied, the act is discriminate.  If it is also proportionate, as it very arguably is, the bombing of the building is a justified act of war.  The death of the family is a tragedy, but the moral fault for it lies on those who elected to use them as human shields, not on the pilot who bombs the building.

***

Also see:

Germany Shuts Down Islamist “True Religion” With Massive Police Raids

capture-4-3

But they’re still really worried about radical Islam’s opponents, even more than radical Islam itself.

CounterJihad, November 16, 2016:

The German government has been trying to portray itself as completely confident that Islam and the West can integrate smoothly.  It was therefore somewhat surprising when nearly 200 police raids smashed an Islamist sect over the weekend, on the charge of recruiting German nationals for service in the Islamic State (ISIS).

The group, which had been under surveillance for a year, had recruited about 140 people to join militants in Syria and Iraq, the German interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, told a news conference later in the day. In all, about 500 people in Germany are believed to have some connection to the organization.

Its members have been a familiar sight, handing out German-language copies of the Koran on the streets and in shopping centers across the country since 2011. The group has also posted propaganda videos on the Internet promoting violence, officials said.

The story provides a window on the divisions within radical Islam.  Even forms that are not the most radical can apparently be leveraged by Islamists to support the utterly radical.  German-language copies of the Koran by themselves represent a departure from the most radical forms of Islam.  This is because the Koran is supposed to be the word of God in a nearly pure form.  Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad was ordered to “recite” the words spoken to him by an archangel, which words came from God.  If you think of the matter as a kind of telephone game, only two interpreters then stand between you and God Himself.  One of them is an angel of high degree, and angels in Islam have no free will.  (Indeed, free will is undesirable in the Islamic theological picture, since after all the only thing you could do with it is fall away from God’s will — sin, in other words.)  Thus, the angel’s transmission should have been fairly reliable.

Muhammad’s interpretation of the divine revelation is thus the only occasion for error, so long as you stick to the original language.  Theologically, Muslims admit that Muhammad could occasionally err.  A group of verses is said to have been given by a Satanic source rather than the angelic one, and Muhammad is supposed to have passed them on in error.  These verses were the inspiration for Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, which caused him to be placed under a death sentence by radical clerics from Iran.  Nevertheless, the idea that Muhammad could have introduced error into the Koran is orthodox.  Another source of potential error arises with any translation of the Koran into any other language than the classical Arabic in which it was originally given.  Since preserving the integrity of God’s message to humanity is of first importance, the most conservative sects of Islam simply do not allow translation at all.  This German sect, by providing German translations, has thus already departed from the most radical visions.

Nevertheless, they were also providing fighters to ISIS.  Indeed, Syrian refugees to Germany have found its native sects far too conservative for their liking.  That shows that the fact that a sect is not as radical as possible does not imply that it is therefore safe, or not a danger to a Western system.  Groups such as Hizb-ut Tahrir, who claim to eschew violence, similarly recruit for more radical organizations than themselves.  The threat posed by such organizations must be kept in mind.

All the same, Germany has elected to focus most of its attention not on the threat from radical Islam, but on groups opposed to radical Islam.  Much as London has elected to invest vast resources in targeting so-called “hate speech,” Germany has elected to focus its attention on those who object to Islam’s most radical messages.  Germany has raided the homes of immigration critics, considering them hate criminals for questioning the compatibility of Islam and the West.  Though these citizens have legitimate concerns, the government takes it to be more important to block their criticism or skepticisms about radical Islam than to address radical Islam itself.

The degree of “radical” in “radical Islam” is not the point, as this example shows.  Less-radical organizations still feed the most-radical.  Islam needs a reformation, one that addresses its long history of theology in a way that advances human rights.  If Muhammad could introduce error into the Koran, why should he not have introduced error on these points of human dignity and free will?