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:

Report: Military Coup Under Way in Turkey

afp_3f7a0a5fd36a03cb259543d7939da47769de7c41-e1468614460915-640x479Breitbart, by John Hayward, July 15, 2016:

Reports began emerging from Turkey of a possible military coup on Friday afternoon.

The UK Telegraph reports that while Prime Minister Binali Yildirim urged the public to remain calm, and said “it would be wrong to call it a coup,” he conceded that “part of the military” was making an “illegal attempt” to seize power.

It sounds like a spirited attempt, judging from tidbits of information flowing onto social media:

Social media services Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were reportedly blocked shortly before 11:00 PM local time.

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Erdogan’s Boast of Muslims Discovering America is pure Hokum

Turkish President Erdogan at Latin American Muslim Leader Summit Istanbul 11-16-14 Sources; Reuters

Turkish President Erdogan at Latin American Muslim Leader Summit Istanbul 11-16-14
Sources; Reuters

NER, by Jerry Gordon, Nov. 16, 2014:

In a book, The Dark Knight by Harvey Dent, there is an exchange between a criminal, Tejeda and a judge that defines moral choice:  you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.   President Erdogan, an elected dictator and avowed Muslim Brotherhood supporter has made that choice given his record of human rights abuses of his own people in Turkey and tacit support for Salafist barbarians like the Islamic State, formerly ISIS.  Attacks by members of the Turkish Youth Union on US sailors on shore leave, captured on video, in Istanbul with red paint and plastic bags this past week left an indelible impression of how he despises NATO allies. Will those attackers who shouted “Yankees go home”, “pay the price” as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu sought to soften the attack at a G-20 press conference in Australia.

 

To top that incident  we had  Erdogan’s  resurrection of a hoary fabrication in a Summit with Latin American Clerics in Istanbul this weekend.  His assertion was that Muslims discovered America centuries before Columbus.  That was based on a  literary reference from Columbus’  chronicle of his voyages  that he thought a formation on a mountain in Cuba looked like a Mosque. Erdogan used that fraudulent claim to endorse his earlier suggestion that he might condone building a Mosque in Communist Cuba. It also gave him leave to castigate a former ally now an avowed enemy, Sheikh Fehtulleh Gulen in exile in Pennsylvania with his globe girdling network of schools.  Erdogan said, “Islam is being abused by Those who use Quran for their own interests, by Those who open schools abroad.” A BBC report on his latest  agit-propaganda  “Muslims found Americas before Columbus says Turkey’s Erdogan”,  boosting his anti-West and anti-US agenda noted:

Mr. Erdogan also said “Muslim sailors arrived in America in 1178”.

He said he was willing to build a mosque at the site Columbus identified.

The Turkish president – whose AK Party is rooted in political Islam – gave no further evidence to back up his theory, instead stating: “Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th Century.”

Controversial article

Columbus is widely believed to have discovered the Americas in 1492, while trying to find a new route to India.

But in a disputed article published in 1996, historian Youssef Mroueh said Columbus’ entry was proof that Muslims had reached the Americas first and that “the religion of Islam was widespread”.

However many scholars believe the reference is metaphorical, describing an aspect of the mountain that resembled part of a mosque.

No Islamic structures have been found in America that pre-date Columbus.

Mroueh is a Muslim author, historian of science and radiation control physicist at the Center for Biological & Computational Learning and CSAIL (MIT)

Mroueh’s fiction was published  in an article in 1996 on what he claimed was  the 1,000th anniversary of the Muslim discovery of the Americas,  His fiction  keeps turning up like the proverbial bad penny in publications that American school children have and are using like the Arab World Studies Notebook.  See our post about the conflict in Newton, Massachusetts  raised by  Dr. Charles Jacobs and America for Peace and Tolerance concerning the use of flagrantly proselytizing Muslim and pro-Palestinian materials.  Americans would call Turkish President Erdogan his remarks about Muslims discovering America pure hokum; others might call it by its rightful name, taqiyya, for Islamic religiously inspired dissimilitude, lying for his god Allah.

Eight years ago in 2006, Mroueh’s and the Arab World Studies Notebook claims that Muslims had discovered America came up short.  An article by Deborah Fachner in History News Network of George Mason University eviscerating the fiction, “Did Muslims Visit America Before Columbus?

Note these excerpts from Fachner’s HNN investigation:

Mroueh cited an Australian archeologist, Dr. Barry Fell, a marine biologist who claimed to find extensive archeological evidence of a significant Muslim presence in the New World in his book, Saga America. Fell drew parallels between West African peoples and Native Americans in the southwest, including cultural and linguistic similarities, and the existence of Islamic petroglyphs in the southwestern region. In particular, Fell mentioned a carving that he believed was done centuries before Columbus that states in Arabic: “Yasus bin Maria” (Jesus son of Mary), a phrase commonly found in the Koran.

Fell’s claims though have been ridiculed by professional archaeologists. They were enraged by his claims, deriding not only his findings, but his inflexible and rigid presentation of them, without the usual caution that characterizes academic pronouncements. Fell’s methods came into question, as detractors noted: “His claims for scientific rigour might hold for marine biology, but when it comes to archaeological interpretation, he ignored the usual rules of evidence.” (Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Cult and Fringe)

Other claims have been similarly criticized. In 2002 the Middle East Policy Council published the Arab World Studies Notebook, a teacher’s guide to understanding and teaching students about Arab culture. The text claims that Arab explorers came to America in advance of Columbus, marrying Algonquin Indians whose descendants eventually became tribal chiefs with names like Adbul-Rahim and Abdallah Ibn Malik. The Notebook and its editor, Audrey Shabbas, came under intense fire for failing to provide corroborating evidence. According to the Washington Times, Shabbas and the Council were slow to respond to concerns from various sources. Peter DiGangi, director of Canada’s Algonquin Nation Secretariat calls her claims “outlandish” and says that “nothing in the tribe’s written or oral history supports them.”

Another critique came from William Bennetta, professional editor and President of the Textbook League. Bennetta referred to the text’s “flights of pseudo historical fakery.” Among other issues, he called the Notebook to task for offering no support for its claim that the Americas were seemingly full of Muslims and Muslim descendants when Columbus arrived. He noted that the Notebook does not even name the English explorers who supposedly found the Algonquin chiefs. Bennetta wrote to Shabbas to inquire about some of the unsubstantiated claims in the Notebook, and while he received a reply, “she didn’t send me [Bennetta] any citation. She made some evasive claims about some published ‘works’.”

In an article featured at David Horowitz’s frontpagemag.com in 2004, David Yeagley, adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma, called the Notebook “intellectual genocide on American Indians,” noting that the authors “simply created an Indian story to suit the purposes of the advocacy group, and published it in a school text manual as fact.” Yeagley believed that Shabbas and the other authors were simply trying to gain acceptance for Arabs, further integrating them into American culture by making them ‘native.’ Shabbas also came under fire from the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, which published a report called “The Stealth Curriculum: Manipulating America’s History Teachers.” The report was critical of many sources that are used by history teachers, noting that sometimes there is no way to ascertain the accuracy of materials provided for teachers. In particular, the report referred to the Notebook as “propaganda.”

Turkish President Erdogan is conveying pure hokum, ‘meaningless nonsense’ claiming that Muslims discovered America in 1178 and not alleged crypto Jew Columbus in 1492. But if anyone deserves credit for discovering America  we have archeological proof that Norseman Leif Ericksson may have discovered America  half a millennia earlier around 1000 C.E. given the settlement uncovered  at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland.

Also see:

The real evidence of when Muslims discovered America dates back to the 1950’s, when the Muslim World League (MWL) helped finance stealth Muslim Brotherhood front groups like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA). Giving them the benefit of the doubt and saying their presence in the U.S. began in 1950, that would be 458 years after Columbus.

OIC Blames Free Speech for “Islamophobia” in West

by Soeren Kern:

The common thread that binds the entire document together is the OIC’s repeated insistence that the main culprit responsible for “the institutionalization of Islamophobia” in Western countries is freedom of speech.

“The Istanbul Process started with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton…. We need to build on it.” — OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Isanoglu

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an influential bloc of 57 Muslim countries, has released the latest edition of its annual “Islamophobia” report.

The “Sixth OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia: October 2012-September 2013” is a 94-page document purporting to “offer a comprehensive picture of Islamophobia, as it exists mainly in contemporary Western societies.”

But the primary objective of the OIC—headquartered in Saudi Arabia and funded by dozens of Muslim countries that systematically persecute Christians and Jews—has long been to pressure Western countries into passing laws that would ban “negative stereotyping of Islam.”

In this context, the OIC’s annual Islamophobia report—an integral part of a sustained effort to prove the existence of a “culture of intolerance of Islam and Muslims” in the West—is in essence a lobbying tool to pressure Western governments to outlaw all forms of “Islamophobia,” a nebulous concept invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1990s.

 

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L), Secretary-General of the OIC Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu (2nd L), Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (3rd L) and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton (4th L) participate in the OIC conference on “Building on the Consensus” in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 15, 2011. (State Department photo)

The OIC report comprises five main chapters and several annexes aimed at documenting “incidents of slandering and demeaning Muslims and their sacred symbols including attacks on mosques, verbal abuses and physical attacks against adherents of Islam, mainly due to their cultural traits.”

But the common thread that binds the entire document together is the OIC’s repeated insistence that the main culprit responsible for “the institutionalization of Islamophobia” in Western countries is freedom of speech, which the OIC claims has “contributed enormously to snowball Islamophobia and manipulate the mindset of ordinary Western people to develop a ‘phobia’ of Islam and Muslims.”

According to the OIC, freedom of expression is shielding “the perpetrators of Islamophobia, who seek to propagate irrational fear and intolerance of Islam, [who] have time and again aroused unwarranted tension, suspicion and unrest in societies by slandering the Islamic faith through gross distortions and misrepresentations and by encroaching on and denigrating the religious sentiments of Muslims.”

Chapter 1 of the report deals with “Islamophobia, Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims,” and purports to reveal the “unabated rise of Islamophobia in Western countries, thereby exacerbating tensions at all levels and constituting additional obstacles to the diversity and multicultural fabrics of the societies.”

Read more at Gatestone Institute

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

by Abigail R. Esman:

 

Germany’s Sharia No-Go Zones

f5fb0eabefc48b7b9aaedb1aa38f647b-450x337By :

“To mark No Go Areas, that is to say law-free areas with high danger potential, is nothing unusual,” Rüdiger Franz of Bonn, Germany’s General Anzeiger (GA) newspaper wrote, as travel guide entries for cities such as Detroit, Istanbul, Johannesburg, or Mogadishu show.  Considerable controversy, however, ensued after a language school posted an Internet No Go Area map of Bonn and environs, drawing ongoing, often unwelcome attention to the problems Germany’s once serene former capital faces from newly arrived Muslim immigrants.

The No Go map at the website of the Steinke Institut (SI) language school’s Bonn branch first drew significant public interest at the conservative German website Politically Incorrect (PI) with a July 18, 2013, entry. Attention only grew in the following weeks with an “unexpectedly large echo” of about 50 Bonn residents contacting SI with approval, queries, and criticism, as an SI Internet statement at the beginning of September noted.

SI explained therein the school’s emphasis on teaching German as a foreign language to students “from the entire world.”  The No Go map resulted “exclusively” from some 250 such students reporting in the last six years “extremely negative experiences”  in various Bonn neighborhoods, with over 80% of the reports agreeing upon the map’s red-marked problem zones.  SI elaborated that these “negative experiences” entailed harassment of women, theft, robbery, break-ins, assaults, and insults.

In contrast to the suspicions of “some concerned callers” at SI, these experiences had no “Neo-Nazi context.”  Rather, “above all” East Asian and East European students “had made pertinent experiences with adolescents, who almost exclusively seem to have an immigration background.”  A landlord from Bonn’s Bad Godesberg (BadGo) suburb confirmed in an October 23, 2013, GA article that many of her young renters suffered harassment from immigrants, particularly women, for “supposedly too short skirts and the wearing of shorts.” SI teaching personnel, many of whom “themselves live in these same city areas and are very often themselves connected with a partner with an immigrant background,” likewise agreed with the students, SI noted.  On the other hand, the “overwhelming majority of the language students had a thoroughly positive impression of the German and/or as German perceived citizens of Bonn and confirm therefore the image of Bonn as a tolerant and cosmopolitan city.”

For each red zone on SI’s map, SI sought confirmation in the media and linked many of these articles to the statement.  A subsequent PI entry criticized that SI “did not trust itself to name clearly what special kind of immigrants are responsible” for a “negative Germany image” among “peaceful and diligent foreign German learners.” Yet the linked “gruesome news reports” allowed an “unbiased observer” to surmise that the criticisms “all somehow had something to do with the I-word,” namely Islam.

Read more at Front Page

Saudi Arabia, the UN and the OIC

by Lawrence A. Franklin:

Saudi Arabia’s rejection of a term on the UN Security Council likely reflects its view of itself as helping to establish an alternate international order based on Sharia law. The 56-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation is already the largest international organization after the UN. For Islamists, the UN, like all secular international organizations, lacks legitimacy.

A stated Islamist goal, to replace Western civilization’s liberal democratic order with a Sharia-governed Ummah[community of Muslims], now seems to involve an effort to delegitimize Western international organizations, as seen this week by Saudi Arabia’s refusing a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Saudi Arabia’s refusal likely reflects its view of itself as helping to establish an alternative international order based on Sharia law. For Islamists, the United Nations, like all secular international organs, lacks legitimacy.

OIC vs. UN

The Islamic world threw down the gauntlet to the secular international order in 1990 when it drafted an alternative declaration of human rights, the Kairos Document, based on the Sharia law. The 56 countries of what was then called the Organization of Islamic Conference, since renamed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC], criticized the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as being insensitive to religious concepts of the non-Western world. In Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi’s October 13, 2013 statement, explaining the sudden and unprecedented rejection of a seat on the Security Council, he cites Saudi Arabia’s “historical responsibilities toward its people, Arab and Islamic nations as well as toward the peoples aspiring for peace and stability in the world.” The Saudi explanation continues by enumerating a litany of UN failures to solve problems in the Mideast. This statement underscores Saudi Arabia’s role as the capital of a shadow-caliphate alternative to the current liberal democratic international order.

 

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L), Secretary-General of the OIC Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu (2nd L), Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (3rd L) and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton (4th L) participate in the OIC conference on “Building on the Consensus” in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 15, 2011. (State Department photo)

Riyadh’s sentiment was preceded by last summer’s rebuttal — which revealed the global scope of Islamist objectives — by the Pakistani Taliban fugitive, Adnan Rashid[1], to the UN address by the heroic Pakistani Malala Yousafzai (then 15 years old), shot by the Taliban for having asked for women’s education. In a letter, Rashid denounced Malala’s naiveté for placing trust in an international organization that he claimed is a tool of the West with which to punish Islamic nations.

Rashid’s riposte, however, has an unwritten corollary. He and his fellow Islamists bear allegiance to an alternate network that exists in parallel with the institutions of the current international order, the most visible symbol of which is the OIC.[2] The OIC, which promotes Islamic social, economic, and political solidarity, is, in fact, already the second-largest international organization after the UN. It has not only attempted to negotiate disputes among Islamic factions in Muslim-majority countries, such as Iraq and Somalia, but has also helped to mediate disputes between non-Muslim-majority states and their Islamic minorities, as in the Philippines and Thailand. In adjudicating these disputes, the OIC has employed, as the legal frame of reference, the principles of Sharia law rather than international law.

One has only to examine the flag and the logo of the OIC to realize its ambition. A crescent moon encompasses the entire globe. The earth rests on a sea of green, the color of Islam, with the Kaa’ba in the center of the globe. The flag resembles the national banner of the al-Saud Kingdom (the only country among all the embassies in Washington D.C. that, on 9/11, did not lower its flag). The OIC, however, is just one of several all-Islamic multinational organs that parallel secular international community structures. There is also, for example, the International Association of Islamic Banks and several other organs for cooperation, such as the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Islamic States Broadcasting Organization.

Jihadi terrorists, as a matter of targeting policy, strike at representative symbols of the existing international order. One of the initial targets of Iraq-based al-Qaeda terrorists was the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq.[3] Pakistani and Nigerian Muslim terrorists have routinely assassinated international volunteers, even those working to eradicate deadly diseases such as polio. The most extreme assassinations have occurred in Sharia-governed northern Nigeria and Pushtun tribal areas in northwestern Pakistan, where, in both places, the murders closely followed sermons that vociferously denounced ongoing inoculation campaigns. Any form of assistance from international organizations is rejected by Muslim extremists as part of a Western conspiracy to influence Muslims to abandon their faith. Inoculations against polio, for instance, have been described by Islamic extremists as a plot to sterilize Muslim children.[4] It is more likely, however, that the radical clerics who urge believers to renounce such aid efforts are more concerned about losing control of their constituency.

Read more at Gatestone Institute