How Islam Apologists Like John Esposito Dupe Americans About Sharia

PJ Media, by Raymond Ibrahim, July 9, 2018:

Does Islam itself promote hostility for and violence against non-Muslims, or are all the difficulties between the West and Islam based on secondary factors such as “radical” interpretations of Islam, economics, and other grievances?

This is the fundamental question.

Obviously, if “anti-infidel” hostility is inherent to Islam itself, then the conflict becomes existential — a true clash of civilizations with no easy fixes and lots of ugly implications along the horizon. Because of this truism, those who whitewash Islam’s image in the West insist on the opposite: that current difficulties are temporal, and not rooted to innate Islamic teachings.

Enter Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know, co-authored by John Esposito and Natana J. Delong-Bas. The authors’ goal is to exonerate Sharia — which they portray as enshrining “the common good (maslahah), human dignity, social justice, and the centrality of the community” — from Western criticism or fear, which they claim is based solely on “myth” and “sensationalism.”

In their introductory chapters, they define Sharia as being built upon the words of the Koran and the Sunna (“example”) of the Muslim prophet Muhammad as contained in sahih (canonical) hadiths. They add:

Shariah and Islamic law are not the same thing. The distinction between divine law (Shariah) and its human interpretation, application, and development (Islamic law) is important to keep in mind throughout this book …

Whereas Shariah is immutable and infallible, Islamic law (fiqh) is fallible and changeable.

Next, the authors highlight how important Sharia is to a majority of Muslims. They cite a 2013 Pew Poll which found that 69% of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa, 73% in South Asia, and 55% in Central Asia believe that “Sharia is God’s [Allah’s] divine revelation.”

Pew found that even larger numbers “favored the establishment of Shariah as official law”: 99% in Afghanistan, 84% in South Asia, 74% in the Middle East and North Africa, and 64% in sub-Saharan Africa.

So far so good: The authors’ introductory claim (that Sharia is fundamental to Islam) and statistics (that hundreds of millions of Muslims revere Sharia and wish to see it implemented) are correct.

Now, the aforementioned question: Is Sharia itself behind the intolerance, misogyny, violence, and terrorism committed in the name of Islam?

Here, the hitherto objective authors shift gears and take on the mantle of apologists. Their thesis is simple: Any and all negative activities Muslims engage in are to be blamed on anything and everything — as long as it’s not Sharia.

In order to support this otherwise unsupportable position, and as might be expected, the remainder of the book consists of obfuscation, dissembling, and lots and lots of contextual omissions and historical distortions. A small sampling follows.

Sharia regarding women

The authors quote and discuss at length many Koran verses about women that seem positive (Koran 30:21, 3:195, and 2:187), without alluding to counter verses that, say, permit husbands to beat their wives (4:34) and treat them as “fields” to be “plowed however you wish” (2:223). Nor do they deal with Muhammad’s assertions that women are “lacking in intelligence” and will form the bulk of hell’s denizens, as recounted in canonical hadith.

They partially quote Koran 4:3: “[M]arry those that please you of other women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then marry only one.” This suits the authors’ purpose, which is to present the Koran as implicitly recommending only one wife, since it acknowledges the near-impossibility for a man to treat all wives equally.

Yet the authors deliberately left out the continuation of Koran 4:3. Perhaps because it permits Muslim men to copulate with an unlimited number of sex slaves (ma malakat aymanukum), even if the men are married.

Esposito and Delong-Bas also dissemble about child marriage, saying “classical Islamic law” permits it, but only when “the child reaches a mature age.”

Yet they make no mention that, based on Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha — that is, based on his Sunna, which is immutable and part of Sharia — this means nine is considered a “mature age.”

Freedom of religion and non-Muslims

The authors claim that “[t]here are more than 100 Quranic verses that … affirm freedom of religion and conscience.” They quote many at length, and then assert: “The guiding Shariah principle … underscored by Quran 3:28, 29:46, and 60:89, is that believers should treat unbelievers decently and equitably as long as the unbelievers do not behave aggressively.”

Yet they fail to mention or sideline the many contradictory verses that call for relentless war on non-Muslims — who are further likened to dumb cattle in Koran 25:44 — until they surrender, one way or another, to Islam (e.g., 8:39, 9:5, 9:29). They also fail to quote the verses that form the highly divisive doctrine of al-wala’ w’al bara’ (“Loyalty and Enmity”). This includes Koran 5:51, which forbids Muslims from befriending Jews and Christians. And Koran 60:4, which commands Muslims to harbor only “hate” for non-Muslims, until they “believe in Allah alone.”

Needless to say, they also ignore Koran 3:28, which permits Muslims to feign friendship for non-Muslims whenever the former are under the latter’s authority. (Such is the doctrine of taqiyya; see herehere, and here for examples; for other sanctioned forms of deception, read about tawriya, and taysir.)

It is, incidentally, because of all these Koran verses — because of Sharia — that the Islamic State forthrightly explained: “We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers.”

The closest the authors get to addressing these issues is in a section titled “Can Muslims in the West be Loyal Citizens?” They respond with a “yes.” However, the evidence they cite are polls (based on wishful interpretations), which of course tell the reader little about the topic at hand: Sharia.

Jihad

As might be expected, when the authors reach the topic of jihad, their dissembling reaches a new level. They repeatedly insist that jihad, as enshrined in Sharia, is simply the Muslim counterpart of Western “Just War” theory, which teaches that war and aggression are permissible only in defense or to recover one’s territory from occupiers. They write: “The lesser or outer jihad involves defending Islam and the Muslim community.”

As usual, they spend much time quoting and elaborating on Koran verses that comport with this position, while ignoring or sidelining the many contradictory verses. In reality, mainstream Islam holds that the Koran’s “Sword Verses” (especially 9:5 and 9:29) abrogate all the peaceful ones, and declare that warfare against non-Muslims — for no reason other than that they are not Muslims — to be not just permissible but obligatory.

Koran 9:29 reads:

Fight those who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth [Islam] from the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.

What, exactly, is “defensive” about this verse?

Similarly, they claim that dar al-harb, or “abode of war” — Islam’s designation for all non-Muslim territories (such as Europe) that Muslims were historically in a permanent state of war with — “applied to other parties with whom Muslims were in conflict.” Again, they fail to mention that the primary reason Muslims were “in conflict” with them was because they were non-Muslim, and that all non-Muslim territories were by default part of the “abode of war,” except when treaties advantageous to Islam were drawn.

Instead, the authors write: “The territories classified as the abode of war were those that refused to provide such protection to Muslims and their clients” — thereby implying Muslims were hostile to, say, Europe because Europe was first hostile to Muslims. (The historical reality, chronicled in my book Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, was exactly opposite.)

The authors engage in other forms of subterfuge to defend their point and exonerate Sharia. For example, they frequently project a Western definition to Islamic terms and concepts. They write that Sharia is ultimately about “promoting good and preventing evil,” which sounds admirable. They then fail to point out that, based on the Koran and Sunna (that is, Sharia), conquering non-Muslim territories is “promoting good.” And that keeping women under wraps, indoors, and beating them as required is about “preventing vice.”

While admitting that Christians and other non-Muslim minorities are currently being persecuted, not only do the authors insist this has nothing to do with Shariah, but they invoke relativistic thinking: “Just as Muslims living in non-Muslim countries are often concerned with their rights and civil liberties as minorities, so some consider the rights and status of non-Muslim minorities living in Muslim countries to be a parallel issue.”

In other words, because Americans may view Muslims in their midst with suspicion, the ongoing enslavement and slaughter of Christians — more than 6,000 in Nigeria alone since January 2018 — and ban on or destruction of churches is a tit-for-tat. A “parallel issue,” which can only be solved when the West becomes less critical about Islam.

Relativism is also invoked during the authors’ brief treatment of apostasy in Islam: “Historically, apostasy was sometimes punishable by death in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” They claim that apostasy is still a major issue in Islam only due to “radical” interpretations or politics, and they bolster their position by again quoting the same Koran verses that seem to support freedom of religion. They do not mention, for example, the canonical hadith (meaning part of Sharia) in which Muhammad said: “Whoever leaves his religion [Islam], kill him.”

Such is how Islam’s skilled apologists dupe the West: they admit to some of the more controversial aspects that many other apologists shy away from — namely that Shariah is indeed foundational to Islam, and that most Muslims revere and wish to see it implemented — and then, having established trust with the reader, they slip back into the “game.” They portray all the intolerance, misogyny, violence, and terrorism committed daily in the name of Islam as products of anything and everything except Sharia: fallible Muslim interpretations, self-serving clerics and terrorists, socio-economic pressures, Western criticism or encroachments.

Contrary to its title John Esposito’s and Natana J. Delong-Bas’s Shariah is not “what everyone needs to know.” Rather, it’s what non-Muslims need to believe in order to give Sharia, which is fundamentally hostile to all persons and things un-Islamic, a free pass.

Extremists Headline Houston Convention

Linda Sarsour (Photo: Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro and Alex Vanness, July 10, 2018:

The 55th Annual Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Convention is scheduled to take place in Houston from August 31 to September 3 and, as in years past, its appealing moderate theme is contradicted by its choice of extremist speakers.

ISNA was identified as an “entity” of the Muslim Brotherhood by the Justice Department during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a Brotherhood front that was shut down for financing Hamas. ISNA was labeled as an “unindicted co-conspirator” during that trial, partially because the Holy Land Foundation “operated from within ISNA.”

ISNA says it condemns all terrorism, including acts committed by Islamist terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and has a stated mission “to foster…interfaith relations.” Yet, far from turning over a new leaf, ISNA is still booking extremist speakers with a history of promoting anti-Semitism and using inflammatory rhetoric.

Here are just a few examples of disturbing viewpoints expressed by some of the speakers:

Hatem Bazian

Hatem Bazian is the chairman of American Muslims for Palestine and founder of Students for Justice in Palestine.

He is also a professor at the University of California-Berkeley’s Department of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies and a founder and board member of Zaytuna College.

Bazian was recorded in 2004 praising the “intifada in Iraq,” which targeted U.S. soldiers, and the “intifada in Palestine” and urging Muslim-Americans to begin an “intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here.” At least five AMP officials previously served with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s pro-Hamas Palestine Committee.

Bazian taught students that the Islamists’ opponents and critics of Islam generally are puppets of a war-seeking, Zionist conspiracy to victimize Muslims that has succeeded in seizing the United States’ major institutions. This conspiracy theory—essentially a modernized version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion—is used to silence adversaries through demonization.

video of a 2012 lecture at Zaytuna College shows him teaching that the “Islamophobic production industry” is a product of the malicious “military-industrial complex” seeking to profit off victimizing Muslims at home and abroad.

In November 2017, Bazian was caught retweeting blatantly anti-Semitic photos mocking Jews as entitled people who “kill, rape, smuggle organs & steal the land of Palestinians.  Another photo placed a yarmulke on top of North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un’s head with a caption of “NOW MY NUKES ARE LEGAL.

John Esposito

Esposito served as a defense expert in the Hamas-financing trial against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and continues to consider Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Sami Al-Arian a close friend.

The Holy Land Foundation was found guilty of funding terrorist groups in the largest terror-funding trial in U.S. history.  Along with the seven named defendants, the U.S. government released a list of approximately 300 “unindicted co-conspirators”  including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

At a 2007 fundraising event for CAIR, Exposito stated, “[I am here] to show solidarity not only with the Holy Land Fund [sic, Holy Land Foundation], but also with CAIR.” This was stated during the Holy Land Foundation trial that connected HLF with Hamas.

In an interview on National Public Radio in 1994, Esposito described Hamas as “a community-focused group that engages in “honey, cheese-making, and home-based clothing manufacture.”

Zahra Billoo

Zahra Billoo is the executive director of the Northern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).  Recently, the interfaith organization People Acting in Community Together (PACT) rescinded an award honoring her.

In a series of tweets, Billoo blamed the loss of the award on her “vocal support of Palestinian human rights” and claimed there was pressure to rescind the award from Jewish members of the organization who opposed her criticism of Israel.

In the past, Billoo praised the terrorist group Hezbollah, tweeting “AH [All Hail] for Hezbollah having the courage to do what the Arab governments won’t” and likened the anti-Semitic terrorist group Hamas to a victim of rape implying her support of Hamas rockets being fired into the civilian population of Israel.

She questioned whether fallen U.S. soldiers should be honored on Memorial Day, sparking outrage from other Muslims. She attributed criticism of her comment to sexism, racism and anti-Muslim bigotry. She doubled-down and characterized U.S. soldiers as war criminals committing genocide.

She also equated Israel with ISIS.

Recently, a tweet of hers from 2009 received a lot of attention. In the tweet, she casually mentions that she is listening to the sermon of the noted anti-Semitic hate preacher Louis Farrakhan while at the gym. Farrakhan regularly calls Jews “Satanic” and claims they “control everything and mostly everybody.”

Linda Sarsour

Activist and Woman’s March organizer Linda Sarsour has a very sordid history with regards to anti-Semitism.

Sarsour associates with the organization Al-Awda and its co-founder (an open and unapologetic Hezbollah supporter) Abbas Hamideh. Sarsour and Hamideh playfully joked around with each other about the Jewish connections to Israel. She attended numerous rallies sponsored by Al-Awda; promoted and solicited donations for their events; spoke at their rallies. She has distanced herself a bit from Al-Awda, though she has never denounced the organization.

Sarsour also called for people to show solidarity with Muhammad Allan, a member of the terrorist group, Islamic Jihad. Allan has a history of recruiting suicide bombers. She supports the discriminatory and terror-tied BDS Movement and claimed “nothing is creepier” than Zionism.

Sarsour said despite what the “Jewish Media” might tell you, Farrakhan is not an existential threat to Jews. Days after Sarsour sat on an Anti-Semitism panel to downplay Louis Farrakhan’s Jew hatred, she went to help raise money for an organization with ties to Hamas.

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is the former imam of the Islamic Society of Boston, a mosque with extensive extremist ties and a history of radical preaching.

Webb has a history of preaching intolerance. In the past, Webb preached that “effeminate” men are “cursed” and that he “understands” Muslims who “have animosity” toward “the Jews.”

In 2001, according to FBI surveillance documents, Webb appeared alongside al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki to raise $100,000 for Jamil Abdullah al-Amin, who was convicted of shooting two U.S. police officers and killing one of them. His preaching is rabidly anti-American and endorses violence.

Azhar Azeez

Azhar Azeez is the President of ISNA and the Senior National Director of Islamic Relief USA, a group with extensive ties to Islamist extremists and terrorist entities that Clarion Project and others have exposed. The Middle East Forum recently published a large dossier documenting these links.

The Israeli government has long accused Islamic Relief of having ties to Hamas and other terrorists. The United Arab Emirates—a Muslim country—banned Islamic Relief as a terrorist entity in 2014.

The charity has strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and massive fundraising capabilities. The charity awards grants to other organizations, such as a jihadist organization in Turkey. The leadership is particularly close to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Muzammil Siddiqi

Siddiqi is the chairman of ISNA’s Fiqh Council of North America, the body that issues the authoritative religious rulings for the group.

He is also on the executive board of the International Assembly of the Council of Ulama’ in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and the Supreme Council of Mosques in Mecca. In other words, he’s part of the Saudi Wahhabist establishment.

Given that background, it is unsurprising that he preached that Muslims should implement sharia in the U.S. using the Brotherhood doctrine of “gradualism.” He taught that participation in the democratic process was a means to this end.

Zaid Shakir

Zaid Shakir is an imam with a history of radicalism and a founder of Zaytuna College.

Shakir equated school shootings with the actions of the U.S. and Israeli militaries. He also preached that Muslims must work towards establishing a caliphate so it can wage jihad against the enemies of Islam.

Last year, he preached that the U.S. Constitution is inferior to sharia because it grants equality to Muslims and non-Muslims. His writings depict the U.S. military in the worst of ways and The New York Timesreported in 2006 that “he said he still hoped that one day the United States will be ruled by Islamic law.”

He taught that Hezbollah’s bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon does not qualify as an act of terrorism and legitimized the violence. While promoting anti-Americanism among his fans and vilifying the U.S. military, Shakir told Muslims not to “vilify” the extremely radical Hizb ut-Tahrir group.

Yasir Qadhi

Yasir Qadhi is a Salafist preacher from the Al-Maghrib Institute. He says “Allah destroys this [American] version of capitalism” and the U.S. economic system enslaves millions. He also preaches against man-made law and in favor of sharia law.

He is on the faculty of Islamic Online University, a radical institution founded by the influential extremist Bilal Phillips. Qadhi contributes educational material that the students use to learn about their faith.

The school’s education is hostile to progressive Muslim reformers and teaches an Islamist supremacist version of the religion. Clarion Project is aware of this directly because the director of the Clarion Intelligence Network, Ryan Mauro, enrolled in the school and earned a certificate in Islamic Studies from the organization.

Civilization Jihad at Upstate New York’s Chautauqua Institution

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, July 31, 2017:

The Chautauqua Institution, a non-profit educational center “originally the Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly, was founded in 1874 as an educational experiment in out-of-school, vacation learning,” according to its website.  Chautauqua supports theatre programs, debates on “The Suffrage,” hosts concerts with acts like Sheryl Crow, and is a significant driver for the Muslim Brotherhood’s jihadi Movement in the United States.

The major overtaking of Chautauqua by jihadis was led by Reverend Joan Brown Campbell, the Director of the Department of Religion at the Chautauqua Institution, and the first female to serve as the General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) and as Director of the US Office of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

As those who follow UTT know, the National Council of Churches (NCC) in the United States has long defended and advocated for terrorist/jihadi organizations, including many of the Muslim Brotherhood front groups.  The World Council of Churches has publicly called for Israel to release Hamas terrorists.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s stated method to overthrow the United States government and replace it with an Islamic State is “Civilization Jihad by OUR hands.”  They get our leaders in the religious, political, military, law enforcement, media, intelligence, educational, and business communities to do their bidding for them.

And that is just what Reverend Joan Brown Campbell and the leaders of Chautauqua have done since 2002 – right after 9/11.

Reverend Campbell brought Karen Armstrong to Chautauqua Institution, which opened the doors of Chautauqua wide to Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood, and jihadis from all over the planet.  Armstrong is a former Catholic nun who defends jihadi martyrdom operations (“suicide bomber), advocates for jihadis, and blames 9/11 on United States and the West in general.  She works closely with numerous MB leaders around the globe.

Jihadi/Terrorist defender and advocate Karen Armstrong speaking at Chautauqua Institution

The Family of Abraham/Abrahamic programs, brought to Chautauqua by Armstrong and her jihadi allies, are Muslim Brotherhood operations which perpetuate the lie that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are three Abrahamic faiths which worship the same God.  They never discuss the doctrinal components of Islam – which are the core of Islam – which call for the killing or subjugation of all non-muslims under sharia, nor do they mention that core Islamic doctrine teaches Jesus will return at the end of days and cast all Christians into hell for not converting to Islam and will slaughter all the Jews for being Jews (Bukhari 2222: Book 34, Hadith 169)

Imam Feisal Rauf at the Chautauqua Institution

Since 2002, thanks to Karen Armstrong with support from Reverend Campbell, Chautauqua has hosted senior Muslim Brotherhood jurist Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf each summer.  Rauf is the man behind the drive to build a mosque/Islamic Center at the site of the 9/11 attack in New York City through his Park 51 and Cordoba Initiative projects.  He is also a sharia scholar whose book, Islam: A Sacred Law, reads like an ISIS publication, stating the purpose of Islam is to establish an Islamic State under sharia.

Abdul Malik Mujahid speaking at Chautauqua Institution

 

ISNA’s (Hamas funder) Sayyid Syeed speaking at Chautauqua

Other suit-wearing jihadis Chautauqua brings in include:  Abdul Malik Mujahid, listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential muslims (2011-2015), is a former President of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) which was identified as a part of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement by the Department of Justice in the largest terrorism financing and Hamas trial ever successfully prosecuted in U.S. history (US v Holy Land Foundation, Dallas, 2008).  He is also the six time Board chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and former Chairman of Hamas’ front organization the Council of the Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC).  Sayyid Syeed, the National Director for Interfaith outreach for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).  ISNA was identified by the Department of Justice as a Muslim Brotherhood organization which directly funds the terrorist group Hamas, and whose stated goal is to wage “Civilization Jihad” in the United States to overthrow our government and replace it with an Islamic State; Dalia Mogahed, a leading female in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Movement who works with several MB/Hamas organizations like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and others; Khalid Qazi, the founding Director of the Western New York chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); and many others including Sulayman Nyang, Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, and Eboo Patel.

Dalia Mogahed speaking at Chautauqua Institution

Khalid Qazi speaking at the Chautauqua Institution

This entire Muslim Brotherhood Chautauqua operation supported by John Esposito, the Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim and Christian Understanding at the formerly Catholic Georgetown University.  Alwaleed bin Talal is a Saudi prince and one of the richest men in the world, who personally funds terrorists and Muslim Brotherhood operations – but I repeat myself.  John Esposito at Georgetown University is a close colleague of bin Talal, defends jihadis and Islam, and continues to act a an agent of Saudi Arabia, a foreign power. FARA alert.

NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani rejects $10 million check from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal because of his connections to terrorism

For 15 years, Chautauqua Institution has been the conduit for a successful Muslim Brotherhood Information Operation which has given the tens of thousands of people who attend their 9-week and individual programs a counter-factual understanding of Islam and the intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This is a tremendously successful operation for our enemy.

Remember, this is Information Warfare.  This war is about propaganda and political influence operations. Its more about counterintelligence and espionage than it is about “terrorism.”

Just ask Congress about their IT penetration by muslims.

What can you do besides sit there, read this, and get angry?

  1. Ensure your church, pastor, and religious community is not involved in the Chautauqua Institution, the National Council of Churches, nor the World Council of Churches.
  2. Utilize UTT’s training programs for Churches and communities to ensure your pastor and church leaders do not unwittingly become tools for America’s enemies like the Chautauqua Institution.
  3. Contact the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) office and give them the names of Karen Armstrong, John Esposito, Joan Brown Campbell, and others you believe are agents acting on behalf of a foreign power.
  4. Use social media to ask Sheryl Crow why she performed at a venue that supports terrorists, and see what other acts are coming to Chautauqua Institution soon and ask them the same thing.
  5. Utilize the resources available at http://www.UnderstandingtheThreat.com and deepen your understanding of the threat to America from the Islamic Movement.

Remember, the best-dressed and “nicest” muslim in the room, is the most dangerous.

Georgetown University and Radical Islamists: It’s a Family Affair

IPT News
March 28, 2017

Georgetown University’s Qatar campus is set to host Sami Al-Arian for a lecture tonight in Doha. According to a news release from the school’s Middle Eastern Studies Student Association, Al-Arian is a “civil rights activist” who hopes to challenge students to “make it a better, and more equitable and peaceful world.”

Those are charitable descriptions for Al-Arian, a documented member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Majlis Shura, or board of directors. According to the Islamic Jihad’s bylaws, which law enforcement agents found during searches of Al-Arian’s home and offices, there can be “No Peace without Islam.” The group’s objective is to create “a state of terror, instability and panic in the souls of Zionists and especially the groups of settlers, and force them to leave their houses.”

It’s an agenda Al-Arian took to heart. Following a double suicide bombing in 1995 that killed 19 Israelis, Al-Arian solicited money from a Kuwaiti legislator. “The latest operation, carried out by the two mujahideen who were martyred for the sake of God, is the best guide and witness to what they believing few can do in the face of Arab and Islamic collapse at the heels of the Zionist enemy…” he wrote.

“I call upon you to try to extend true support of the jihad effort in Palestine so that operations such as these can continue, so that the people do not lose faith in Islam and its representatives…” he wrote. Four years earlier, he spoke at a fundraiser in Cleveland, introduced as the head of the “active arm of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.”

Why, then, is a Jesuit university, albeit at a campus in Qatar, hosting a leader of a designated terrorist group’s “active arm”?

There’s a family bond between Georgetown University and the Al-Arians. Son Abdullah is an assistant professor at Georgetown’s Qatar campus, teaching history in its School of Foreign Service. He earned his Ph.D. at Georgetown, writing his dissertation about the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood during the 1970s, a time his father acknowledges being part of the global Islamist movement.

Jonathan Brown, Al-Arian’s son-in-law, also works at Georgetown, as the [Saudi] Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization. Brown recently drew criticism for a lecture in which he argued that slavery isn’t inherently “morally evil” if the slave is treated well. He also minimized sexual consent as a recent social more, arguing no one is really free enough to grant consent anyway.

Property records show Brown and his wife Laila Al-Arian bought a modest house just outside Tampa in 2015. Brown also owns a $1.1 million house in Mclean, Va.

Brown’s boss, Georgetown University Professor John Esposito, has been a staunch Al-Arian defender. Al-Arian is “an extraordinarily bright, articulate scholar and intellectual-activist, a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice,” Esposito wrote in a letter to a federal judge.

Brown’s slavery and sexual consent lecture was hosted by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) in Herndon, Va. The IIIT was a prime financial supporter of a think tank Al-Arian founded in Tampa called the World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE). It provided cover for at least three other members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Shura Council, including his brother-in-law Mazen Al-Najjar, an academic named Basheer Nafi and Ramadan Abdullah Shallah – the Islamic Jihad’s secretary general since late 1995.

Federal prosecutors wanted Al-Arian to tell a grand jury what he knew about the IIIT’s financial support for terrorists. He refused. Al-Arian was charged with criminal contempt after maintaining that stance even after a judge granted him immunity for his truthful testimony.

The case never went to trial. Al-Arian was deported to Turkey in 2015, pursuant to terms in his 2006 guilty plea connected to his Palestinian Islamic Jihad support. He now works as “director of the Center for Regional Politics at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University,” the Georgetown Middle East students group’s news release said.

Al-Arian is a computer scientist.

Sabahattin Zaim opened in 2010 and claims to have about 1,100 undergraduate students.

While the Georgetown University program is organized by a student group, promotional material lists Mehran Kamrava as moderator. Kamrava directs the Georgetown School of Foreign Service’s Center for International and Regional Studies.

His presence adds the university’s imprimatur to the Al-Arian event. In addition, the School of Foreign Service posted the news release promoting Al-Arian’s lecture.

Qatar has supported Hamas, the Islamic Jihad’s rival Palestinian terrorist group, providing money and refuge for Hamas leaders. In that light, Al-Arian’s invitation doesn’t seem out of place. But it is still an event hosted by a Georgetown University campus, moderated by one of its prominent faculty.

While Al-Arian has tried to deny his Islamic Jihad activities, or at least minimize them, his work to advance the group’s bloody ambitions is undeniable. He self-identified as the Shura Council’s secretary. In his plea agreement, he admits lying about Shallah’s prominent role in the Islamic Jihad.

During his 1991 remarks in Cleveland after his “active arm” introduction, Al-Arian urged donations for jihad. “Your brothers in Palestine are struggling with their beings,” he said, “so let us struggle here with our money.”

“This is the way of giving,” he said earlier. “This is the way of struggle. This is the way of battle. This is the way of jihad. This is the way of martyrdom. Thus is the way of blood, because this is the path to heaven.”

The student association’s news release failed to mention this background as a convicted felon, describing the former University of South Florida professor as a “civil rights advocate.” It fails to mention Al-Arian’s guilty plea, and whitewashes his resulting deportation to Turkey by saying “Al-Arian relocated.”

The federal judge who saw all the evidence against Al-Arian, who watched him lie about his true identity and violent ambitions, called him a “master manipulator.” Old habits die hard, apparently. The question in this case is whether Georgetown and its student groups are being duped or are witting accomplices in whitewashing a terrorist into a “human rights advocate.”

They Teach Our Children, Advise Our Government, And Support Jihad

jihad-in-the-academyby Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
January 27, 2017

Since the rise of ISIS as an Islamic extremist group, and certainly since its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the official creation of the caliphate, researchers and intelligence groups worldwide have noted its popularity with Muslim women, even in the West. Unlike other terrorist groups, ISIS has pointedly recruited women. And many women have, on their own, found the promise of life in the Islamic State particularly appealing.

Along the way, researchers and intelligence agencies have argued that the Muslim women who join ISIS, especially those who travel to Syria from the West, take active roles in ISIS’s jihad. While they are largely barred from fighting on the battlefield, women have enrolled in the al-Khansaa brigade, the women’s moral police force which enforces strict codes of dress and public behavior. Al-Khansaa officers regularly arrest and beat women who violate sharia-based modesty laws or who appear in public without a male companion. Other women raise their sons to be jihadists, or bring their children with them from the West in the hopes that they, too, will grow up to support the Islamic State and its jihad.

Now a young Dutch researcher, Aysha Navest, has come out with a different theory based on interviews she held with over 22 women now living in the caliphate. Navest, who is affiliated with the University of Amsterdam (UvA), says she knows several of those women. They reveal a very different portrait of the so-called “ISIS brides:” girls who are not recruited for jihad, but who willingly and eagerly make the perilous trip to Syria, where they live peaceful, happy lives as homemakers, mothers, and wives. Her findings appeared last April in the journal Anthropology Today, a peer-reviewed publication of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

There is just one problem: Aysha Navest allegedly also recruits women for the Islamic State.

This is the conclusion of journalists at the Dutch national daily NRC Handelsblad, who matched Navest’s birthdate, hometown, children’s first names and other identifying details with those of “Ought-Aisha,” a woman posting messages on the Dutch-Muslim website Marokko.nl. And according to “Ought-Aisha” (or “Sister Aisha”), life in the Islamic State is simply grand. In various posts, she has praised suicide bombers, honored Osama bin Laden, and insisted that jihadists will find rewards in Paradise. Additionally, the NRC reports, in Facebook posts she has referred to Shiites and apostates as “people who rape our women, torture our men, and kill our children.”

Unsurprisingly, the NRC’s findings put renewed focus on Navest’s reports and the nature of her research, which was performed under the tutelage of two well-known UvA professors – anthropologist Martijn de Koning and Modern Islamic Culture professor Annelies Moors. Both De Koning and Moors now admit that Navest’s subjects were interviewed anonymously, largely via WhatsApp, and that she did not share the women’s names even with them – a departure from standard research practices that call for transparency. Even so, according to Elsevier, they stand behind her research.

Others, however, voice considerable skepticism. The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD dismissed Navest’s report from the outset, noting that her conclusions stood in stark conflict not only with their own, but with other studies by UvA scholars. The UvA has now called for an independent investigation into Navest’s background and the reliability of her work.

Even fellow academics have been scathingly critical. In his column for Elsevier, Leiden University Professor of Jurisprudence Afshin Ellian observed that as a result of Navest’s online postings, “in normal situations, she would end up in prison for incitement to violence and hate with terrorist intentions.” Instead, the conclusions of her “research” showing that women do not join directly in jihad but simply enjoy idyllic lives as wives and mothers in the Caliphate, represent “the manner in which she pursues her own jihad: by pulling a smokescreen before the eyes of the unbelievers.”

But the situation also exposes a larger problem within academia internationally. In many institutions, subjectivity clouds social research, while students’ minds are too-frequently shaped by anti-democratic, anti-Western, and – worse – truth-challenged ideologues. For example, at UvA, De Koning has long been accused of sympathizing with Islamic extremists. Among other things, he co-authored a book describing Salafism as a “utopian idealism.”

Likewise, at Kent State University, the FBI is reportedly investigating history professor Julio Pino for ties to the Islamic State. A Muslim convert, Pino has made provocative comments on campus and in university-based newspapers, including shouting “Death to Israel” during a lecture by a former Israeli diplomat. In a letter to a campus publication, he declared “jihad until victory!” On Facebook, Pino once described Osama bin Laden as “the greatest.” He also posted a photograph of himself in front of the U.S. Capitol Building, adding the caption “I come to bury D.C., not to praise it,” Fox News reports.

Kent State officials say they “distanced” themselves from Professor Pino, whose tenured position poses legal challenges to dismissing him from the faculty.

In contrast, at nearby Oberlin, Assistant Professor Joy Karega’s Facebook posts calling ISIS an arm of American and Israeli intelligence agencies and blaming Israel for the attacks of 9/11 were enough to get her fired from her job teaching Rhetoric and Composition. As the industry newspaper Inside Higher Ed reported, despite initially defending her right to academic freedom, Oberlin officials ultimately determined that, “Beyond concerns about anti-Semitism, which fit into larger complaints about escalating anti-Jewish rhetoric on campus, Karega’s case has raised questions about whether academic freedom covers statements that have no basis in fact.”

Then there is John Esposito, Georgetown University’s professor of Religion and International Affairs and Islamic Studies. An extensive Investigative Project on Terrorism investigation into Esposito’s activities found that he has used his position to “defend radical Islam and promote its ideology- including defending terrorist organizations and those who support them, advocating for Islamist regimes, praising radical Islamists and their apologists, and downplaying the threat of Islamist violence.” He refuses to condemn Hamas and, according to the report, “remains a close friend and defender of Palestinian Islamic Jihad board member Sami Al-Arian.”

Al-Arian ran the PIJ’s “active arm” in America while working as a University of South Florida professor.

Like Navesh, Esposito seems to want to aim his work beyond the ivory towers. He has spoken on Islam to the State Department, the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security and other government offices. Similarly, Navesh hoped that her “research” would help shape policy in the Netherlands, encouraging courts to issue lighter sentences on women who returned home from the Islamic State. After all, they hadn’t engaged in terrorism. They’d only lived in domestic bliss abroad. Where’s the crime in that?

None, of course, if it were true. But it is not.

There is nothing new, of course, in respected journals publishing flawed research by people who aim to shape public policy or opinion – the infamous and now-debunked Andrew Wakefield study that claimed to link autism to vaccines is a prime example. But such examples only underscore the challenges, and the need to investigate better the accuracy of scholarly reports as well as the integrity of those who write them. Islamic jihad, after all, is not just about destroying our lives, but about destroying our culture. In the face of the “smokescreens” of that jihad, intellectual vigilance will be our strongest shield.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

New Middle East Forum Manual Spotlights Islamist Apologists

useful-infidelsIPT News
December 28, 2016

American Islamists often depend on prominent non-Muslims to disseminate their propaganda. In a new report, the Middle East Forum’s (MEF) Islamist Watch profiles 15 prominent examples of people who help promote pro-Islamist views.

Those included continue to propagate the notion that Islamism – a radical political ideology devoted to spreading Islam worldwide – does not play any role in violence perpetrated by Muslim terrorists. Examples of “useful infidels,” as MEF calls them, include President Obama’s CIA director John Brennan, academic John Esposito, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Secretary of State John Kerry.

The MEF report seems to be a direct response to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)’s absurd attempt to denigrate people who focus on Islamist violence and Islamist political activity as bigots. That report was called, “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”

MEF dubbed its response, “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Useful Infidels.”

The SPLC report included MEF founder Daniel Pipes and Investigative Project on Terrorism Executive Director Steven Emerson. It also included Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz – a former member of the radical Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir – and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an advocate for women’s rights and against female genital mutilation.

An example of Nawaz’s alleged anti-Muslim extremism? He republished a cartoon of Islam’s prophet Muhammad and said he was not offended by such images.

Many of the people profiled in the MEF report try to deny any connection between Islamist terrorist groups and the faith in whose name they fight. This requires overlooking the Quranic justification and Islamic imagery that terrorists offer for their violence.

Many of the non-Muslim figures listed in MEF’s report cooperate with prominent Islamist groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has roots in a U.S-based Hamas-support network created by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Journalists should understand that relying on Islamists like those in CAIR risks “assisting with the ‘normalizing’ or ‘mainstreaming’ of Islamist supremacist ideology, a belief system just as dangerous and opposed to American ideals as white nationalism,” the MEF report said. It also cautions against getting too caught up in impressive-looking resumes, noting that “academia includes some of the most egregious useful infidels.”

It encourages people to seek out “moderate Muslims and reformers [who] are counting on the media to not blindly accept the Islamist narrative but to question Islamists’ self-appointed role as the voice of an imaginary unified Muslim community.”

For example, Georgetown University’s John Esposito has advocated for Islamism as “the best pathway for the Muslim world to enter modernity,” the report said, also noting his support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami Al-Arian.

CIA Director John Brennan is criticized for helping facilitate the removal of any references to Islamism in FBI training materials. To accomplish the purge, Brennan actively collaborated with known U.S. Muslim Brotherhood fronts including ISNA and MPAC, among others. Many of Brennan’s related speeches often sought to divorce Islam from terrorism.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2009, Brennan rejected the term “jihadists:” Jihad is “a legitimate term … meaning to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal…”

While the term ‘jihad’ may have multiple meanings, terrorists call themselves jihadists while waging violent campaigns in an effort to establish Islamist rule worldwide. Pretending that Islam has nothing to do with jihadist violence promotes a culture of political correctness that inhibits law enforcement from tackling the threat from radical Islamism.

Secretary of State John Kerry also plays into this narrative, trying to disassociate any role for radical ideology in fueling Islamist violence. At a press conference earlier this year, Kerry said: “Daesh [ISIS] is in fact nothing more than a mixture of killers, of kidnappers, of criminals, of thugs, of adventurers, of smugglers and thieves… And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.”

Pretending that Islam or Islamism has no role in fueling most global terrorism today obscures the ideological confrontations required to counter the appeal of Islamist terrorist groups. This confrontation should be led by more moderate Muslims who unfortunately are sidelined by too many politicians and journalists in favor of radical Islamist organizations.

Having prominent U.S. politicians and other non-Muslim officials publicly engaging in Islamic theological debates regarding who is a true Muslim and who is an “apostate” is counterproductive and resembles a strategy that terrorist groups utilize to label infidels. Moderate Muslims correctly feel that radical Islamists and terrorist organizations are exploiting their religion to achieve their supremacist objectives. Yet moderate voices are continuously silenced by the likes of the people featured in the MEF report.

Click here to read the full MEF report.

CAIR Chief’s Reflexive Terror Denial Stands Apart

Nihad-AwadIPT News, July 15, 2016

Before the bodies of all the victims had been removed from the streets of Nice, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad insisted that religion had nothing to do with the terrorist attack that killed at least 84 people.

A French resident of Tunisian descent rammed a truck into a crowd of revelers gathered to watch fireworks commemorating Bastille Day. The truck traveled as much as two kilometers, leaving twisted bodies in its wake.

French President Francois Hollande described the “undeniable terrorist nature” of the attack, which was further established by the presence of guns and explosives inside the killer’s truck.

“All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism,” Hollande said. “Our vigilance must be relentless.”

To Awad, this was reckless and inflammatory.

“French President #Hollande is pouring oil on the fire by describing the #Nice crime as Islamic terrorism and subjects France’s Muslims to danger,” Awadwrote, in Arabic, on Twitter. “What is Islamic about this crime?”

Plenty of analysts have shown exactly how terrorist groups like ISIS are deeply rootedin Islamic theology. As IPT Shillman Senior Fellow Pete Hoekstra noted, Islamist terrorists have been calling for such attacks for years, and al-Qaida specifically suggested this kind of attack in 2010, using a mock Ford-150 ad: “With the right tools and a little effort, the truck can be turned into a killing machine from a Wes Craven horror film,” an article in al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine said.

That seems to be a pretty good description for what happened in Nice.

ISIS spokesman Abū Muhammad al Adnānī ash Shāmī made a similar suggestion in a2014 statement: “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war … kill him in any manner or way however it may be … Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.” [Emphasis added]

Awad’s denial does nothing to discredit these ideas or the Islamic theology underpinning them. In another tweet, he claimed such talk was “blaming all Muslims for the heinous #Nicemurders.#Don‘tCallTerroristsJihadists.”

Compare Awad’s reaction with other Muslim voices. He doesn’t win points for courage.

Writing in the Telegraph, former Islamist Maajid Nawaz begged Muslims and non-Muslims alike to stop pushing the counter-productive “nothing to do with Islam” message. “Your good intentions towards us Muslims are only making the problem worse,” he wrote.

Terrorist groups like ISIS successfully recruit new members in part because “we have allowed hardline Islamism to permeate our communities and mobilise the vulnerable,” Nawaz wrote. “To stop it we have to make it less attractive, and that is a long-term struggle, similar to those against racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism.”

He could have been speaking directly to Awad when he added, “please stop denying the nature of jihadism. Please stop ignoring the narratives which drive these attacks. Instead of aiding extremists who insist Islam today is perfect, perhaps you should aid us beleaguered reformist Muslims who are attempting to address this crisis within Islam against all the odds.”

Nawaz also called out the hypocrisy of critics who don’t think images of the carnage in Nice should be shown.

Speaking on Fox News Channel, American Islamic Forum for Democracy President Zuhdi Jasser explained that “intoxicant of theocratic Islam, the sharia state” must be confronted for the terror to wane. That starts by “looking at the schools of thought of jihadism, Wahabism and Salafism. And the fact that most Americans don’t even know what those terms are is a crime.”

Unable to argue on the merits, Awad and his CAIR colleagues tend to dismiss Jasseras a sellout and simply ignore reformist voices like Nawaz’s.

But even Hamza Yusuf, founder and president of Berkeley’s Zaytunah College, an Islamic institution, acknowledges there is an Islamic root for the recent wave of terrorism. In an essay he titled “The Plague Within” – which he posted after terror attacks in Orlando, Baghdad, Bangladesh and elsewhere that were carried out during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – Yusuf likened radical interpretations of Islam to “brain-eating amoebas.”

Citing another cleric, Yusuf said the plague is “the bitter harvest of teachings that have emanated from pulpits throughout the Arabian Peninsula, teachings that have permeated all corners of the world, teachings that focus on hatred, exclusivity, provincialism, and xenophobia. These teachings anathematize any Muslim who does not share their simple-minded, literalist, anti-metaphysical, primitive, and impoverished form of Islam, and they reject the immense body of Islamic scholarship from the luminaries of our tradition.”

While Yusuf still seems to balk at the phrase “Islamic radicalization,” he still called for action from scholars and others to counter the ideology driving the terrorism: “What we do not need are more voices that veil the problem with empty, hollow, and vacuous arguments that this militancy has little to do with religion; it has everything to do with religion: misguided, fanatical, ideological, and politicized religion. It is the religion of resentment, envy, powerlessness, and nihilism.” [Emphasis added]

Yusuf has spoken at CAIR fundraisers, and the organization spotlighted a message of his just last year.

These are but a few examples of Muslims who are trying to wage a battle of ideas within Islam in hopes of discrediting the ideology that fuels shooting massacres in Orlando and Paris, bombing massacres in Turkey, Belgium Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and now a vehicle massacre in Nice.

With the possible exception of Maajid Nawaz, none of them has the profile and bully pulpit Awad and his organization enjoy. Reporters quote them all the time and television news airs their views almost every day.

The message so far – don’t talk about religion when religious zealots kill – is a wasted opportunity of immeasurable proportions.