Leaders Try to Squelch Dar al-Hijrah Female Genital Mutilation Debate

IPT News, June 14, 2017

One mosque leader says it’s time for unity. An international Islamist activist says such discussions shouldn’t be aired publicly. Two weeks after the senior imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque endorsed partial female genital mutilation (FGM) as “the honorable thing to do,” a clear effort is under way to try to stifle further debate.

Don’t be “in tensions” or “in camps,” mosque board member Esam Omeish told the congregation Friday. Earlier that day, Outreach Director Johari Abdul-Malik announced he was quitting after more than 15 years at the mosque over imam Shaker Elsayed’s comments. Abdul-Malik wanted Elsayed fired, noting this was the latest in a series of “reprehensible statements made by” the imam.

Omeish preached a different message for one of the largest mosques in the Washington, D.C. area: Time to move on.

Elsayed “offered his apology” and “we stand united in making sure that we are the backing of everyone, of us,” Omeish said.

Elsayed did apologize, writing that, “Islam would never support anything that harms anybody’s well-being, such as FGM.” [Emphasis original] But Elsayed rescinded the apology shortly afterward, a fact that Omeish never mentioned. Abdul-Malik’s open letter made it clear that his decision to leave was influenced by Elsayed’s public recanting of that apology.

For those wanting Elsayed ousted, “We will not engage nor accept the tactics of coercion, and of threats, and of behaviors of picking and demonizing,” Omeish said.

In addition, the notion that “Islam would never support” FGM was contradicted Monday by an international Islamist leader. Tariq Ramadan posted a video on his Facebook page repeatedly describing the FGM debate as an “internal discussion” the mosque needs to have.

He opposes the practice. But while female genital mutilation is not mentioned in the Quran, he said, “no one can deny the fact that in the mainstream Islamic tradition … it’s discussed because they are relying on the prophetic traditions, where it’s clearly mentioning the female excision.”

In a written update added beneath the video, Ramadan emphasized his opposition to female genital mutilation, and repeated that it is rooted in Islamic tradition. “To say this discussion has no ground within the Islamic tradition is wrong: it has been debated and still is. Even though I am against these practises as I think it is not the right Islamic interpretation, it cannot be denied that it was condoned by some Muslim scholars (even contemporary ones),” he wrote.

Many Islamist apologists, including Reza Aslan, have long insisted there is no religious basis for FGM, describing it instead as a tribal tradition primarily in Central Africa among both Muslims and Christians.

Ramadan’s comments refute that claim. His word carries significant influence. He is the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch describes Ramadan as “an independent power center” within the Brotherhood.

In his video, the Switzerland-based Ramadan does not explain why he took the time to weigh in on a debate within one mosque in Falls Church, Va. He does, however, argue that continuing an open debate only serves people who want to hurt the Muslim community. As the Washington Post did last week, Ramadan makes a point of attacking the messenger – the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) – which originally found Elsayed’s video and cast a spotlight on his FGM comments.

“These are Islamophobes,” Ramadan said. “And you react to them by just exposing one of your leaders, a sheikh that has been serving the community for more than 30 years? And you ask for him to be fired so quickly, just to be on the safe side of the political discussion in the United States of America, by saying – ‘oh, we have nothing to do with this’ – while your tradition is there and it’s discussed within your tradition. And whoever is attacking you, at least you have to be cautious with the people who are using this and putting you in a situation which is – yes, problematic, but, you have to stand for your rights to have opinions, and at least to have internal discussions and not react so quickly to these issues.”

Elsayed’s comments were not limited to Muslim girls. Any woman whose clitoris has not been cut is prone to becoming “hyper-sexual” and incapable of being satisfied by just one man, he said. In other words: whores.

Still, without naming names, Ramadan criticized those who spoke out and urged them to keep any disagreements private.

It is a reaction indicative of a deeper mindset. In 2003, Ramadan drew criticism when he was unwilling to unequivocally condemn stoning adulterers. Like FGM, he said he was against the practice. But he couldn’t call for its ban. Instead, he called for “a moratorium so that there can be a real debate between Muslims.”

Omeish, meanwhile, seemed concerned about the damage a debate on an ugly topic might have on the community’s influence: “For the first time, my dear brothers and sisters, we as a community have the space, have the presence, have the numbers, have the ability, inshallah [God willing], to engage and influence and discuss public discourse and bring forth what we believe in…”

He described Dar al-Hijrah as a place “embattled for so many years with a false narrative and a false paradigm that was never able to stick on Dar al-Hijrah because Dar al-Hijrah never practiced it. There is no extremism. There is none of that sense that we keep getting.”

It’s an odd argument to make, given that Dar al-Hijrah also has been home to Anwar al-Awlaki, who went on to become an al-Qaida spiritual leader and one of the terrorist group’s most effective radicalizers. Law enforcement officials also have described the mosque as “associated with Islamic extremists” and was “operating as a front for Hamas operatives in U.S.”

Omeish also made it clear that Elsayed remains a “beloved senior imam” who “will continue to be a leading member and he will be, inshalllah [God willing], kept in the highest regard” despite endorsing FGM.

In addition, Elsayed has cast Muslims as first in line for jihad and described the labeling of suicide bombers an “in-house business” for Muslims.

Now, Tariq Ramadan seems to be casting the FGM debate as “in-house business.”

Ramadan’s decision to weigh in on the matter shows that Dar al-Hijrah is an important base for the Muslim Brotherhood in America, said Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, who used to pray there often.

“Let’s make no mistake about it,” Muhammad said. “Shaker [Elsayed] is the spiritual guide to the Muslim Brotherhood in America and they’re not going to let him go down.”

Earlier this week, a Libyan House of Representatives security committee named Omeish a terrorist, saying he is an “international member of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Meanwhile, no major Islamist organization – what Muhammad calls the “immigrant Muslim syndicate” – has publicly commented on the female genital mutilation controversy.

Muhammad locked in on another part of Elsayed’s remarks that have drawn less attention. An area woman used to conduct the procedure, Elsayed said. To Muhammad, that’s a sign that girls in the D.C. area have been subjected to mutilation. “We need to round up these animals and throw them in jail for about 30 or 40 years and send a message that we’re not having this in America,” he said in a YouTube commentary. “These girls that are being butchered – these are American girls. These are girls that are born right here on the shores of the United States of America, being mutilated, butchered, by these primitive evil people.”

FGM is a growing practice in the United States, Muhammad believes. It is being imported by Muslims from other countries. When Elsayed rescinded his apology, reportedly claiming, “I’m an American” and can believe what he wants, the congregation applauded, Muhammad said. That means “they’re going to do it (FGM).”

Also see:

Dar al-Hijrah Imam Endorses (Partial) Female Genital Mutilation

IPT, by John Rossomando  •  Jun 2, 2017

Female genital mutilation (FGM) can be an effective tool to prevent promiscuity among girls, the imam at a prominent northern Virginia mosque claimed in a recent lecture flagged by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Without it, “hyper-sexuality takes over the entire society and a woman is not satisfied with one person or two or three,” said Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center Imam Shaker Elsayed in a May 19 talk, “Foundation of a Happy Family.” Only tip of a girl’s clitoris should be cut, he said, otherwise it creates “serious harm in the sexual life of the child when she grows up. And this is why the West thinks of alkhikah as sexual mutilation…”

The video remains posted on the Falls Church, Va. mosque’s YouTube channel.

Muslim societies which prohibit FGM are making a mistake “to prohibit the tradition and they end up causing a lot of damage on the other extreme side of the sexual life of a woman,” Elsayed said.

He isn’t the only prominent voice in the U.S. Muslim community endorsing female genital mutilation. The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA) endorses the practice in two fatwas posted on its website, using justifications similar to Elsayed’s. While not required, one fatwa says, “it is considered an honorable thing for females.”

Islamist advocates argue that FGM has nothing to do with Islam

After several Detroit area doctors were charged with violating Michigan’s ban on female genital mutilation in April, activist Linda Sarsour denounced denouncing the practice as contrary to Islam.

“FGM has no place in Detroit or anywhere else in the world. FGM is barbaric & not an Islamic practice,” Sarsour wrote.

She should target that message to its proponents. Sarsour spoke at a fundraiser at Elsayed’s mosque six days before his talk on female anatomy and promiscuity. FGM did not come up, but Sarsour described Islam’s prophet Mohammed as “a feminist in his own right.”

MB Backers Hide Terror Support During Capitol Hill Visits

by John Rossomando
IPT News
May 15, 2017

When two leaders of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked advocacy group lobbied Congress on May 3, they failed to disclose their open support for the Popular Resistance Movement (PRM) and the Revolutionary Punishment Movement (RPM), terrorist groups that have carried out attacks in Egypt.

Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ) President Hani Elkadi and spokesman Mahmoud El Sharkawy asked that aid to Egypt’s military rulers be cut off due to the regime’s human rights record, according to a video of one of the meetings that Elkadi posted on his Facebook page. A staffer for an unidentified member of Congress expressed sympathy with the EAFJ members and told them that his member thought President Trump should not have hosted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House.

The EAFJ officials’ support for violently overthrowing al-Sisi was never mentioned in the video.

Elkadi, El Sharkawy and other EAFJ members posed for photos outside the offices of Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Texas; Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas; Robert Brady, D-Pa.; Bobby Rush, D-Ill.; Brad Sherman, D-Calif.; Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; Fred Upton, R-Mich.; Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.; Kathleen M. Rice, Bonnie Watson-Coleman, D-N.J.; and the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Representatives for McCaul, Upton and Fortenberry told the IPT no one from their offices met the EAFJ delegation. The Democratic congressional offices did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Elkady and El Sharkawy’s support for the Egyptian terrorists is made clear by their social media posts.

In February 2015, they posted PRM’s bloody hand logo with a communiqué from the terrorist group to their respective Facebook pages. The communiqué claimed responsibility for attacks on two police cars, but it did not provide additional details. It included the motto: “God, Martyrs, Revolution” in Arabic. The same bloody hand logo appears on a PRM-linked Facebook page called @Popular.Resistance.EGY that the PRM uses to claim responsibility for its attacks.

The PRM reportedly was founded by three Muslim Brotherhood officials who wanted to react violently to the Brotherhood’s ouster from power by the Egyptian military in 2013. Its first communiqué came on the first anniversary of the military’s deadly assault on Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators in Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares.

“We shall pay willingly with our blood until we crush the lackeys of Israel,” the communiqué said. “Retribution for the martyrs is our right, and we shall eventually attain it. So long as people seek their rights, their rights will not be lost. Allah …. Martyrdom ….. Revolution.”

In June 2015, El Sharkawy praised the RPM – a terror group aligned with the PRM –after it killed a man because he helped police round up 40 leaders of pro-Brotherhood protests in Helwan.

“The Revolutionary Punishment Movement executes one of the traitor guides in Helwan!!” El Sharkawy wrote on Facebook.

Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen deny any connection with these terror movements, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) notes, but plenty of evidence points to a connection. That includes Brotherhood members issuing statements supporting their attacks.

Among the examples, is former Muslim Brotherhood parliament member Muhammad Sagheer’s 2015 statement: “To the decisive Revolutionary [Punishment] movements: [Coptic businessman Naguib] Sawiris declared that it was he who was financially supporting the Tamarrud movement [which worked to topple the Mursi regime]. I hereby tell you that his property and institutions are a legitimate revolutionary target. Rebellion [Tamarrud] will encounter retribution.”

Abu Emara, a former top Muslim Brotherhood leader, told Egypt’s Al-Bawaba newspaper that the RPM’s fighters belonged to the Brotherhood.

PRM and ISIS each claimed responsibility for an attack against police officers near Cairo on May 7, 2016. The attack was intended to mark 1,000 days since the August 2013 Rabaa massacre, PRM said. This simultaneous claim of responsibility was not an isolated incident, said researcher Patrick Poole, who just returned from Egypt where he interviewed the former head of security for the Sinai.

Poole told the Investigative Project on Terrorism that a similar incident happened in January 2016 after Egypt’s Interior Ministry raided a bomb factory on a farm outside Cairo. Evidence recovered in the raid led police to an apartment in the city of Giza where their suspects blew themselves up killing the officers.

“They were pursuing Muslim Brotherhood people and lo and behold Revolutionary Punishment put out a claim of responsibility on social media, and later so did the Islamic State,” Poole said. “In every one of those cases, whether it’s Popular Resistance, Revolutionary Punishment, both the Interior Ministry and NGO experts like [former Sinai security chief] Khaled Okasha, those groups are all part or were part of Mohamed Kamal’s network.

Kamal was the youngest member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau – its top organ – who was killed in a shootout with Egyptian police last October; authorities identified him as the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “armed wing.” He established a network of terror cells in Cairo and in Upper Egypt, mostly made up of Muslim Brotherhood youth members, Poole said.

When Kamal died, Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi prayed for him as a martyr. Elkadi, one of the EAFJ officials trying to lobby Congress, shared a post showing that on his Facebook page.

Another post includes an official Muslim Brotherhood communiqué condemning Kamal’s “assassination” by the “coup criminals” with the hashtag #Kamal_martyrs.

Elkadi deleted that, but not before the IPT saved it as a screenshot.

A month later, Elkadi called for jihad.

“A question to all young people against the bloody military coup. If the summons of Jihad calls you to live for Jihad, live for success. Are you ready for the call? … Will we find one who brings his money or half for the expenses of Jihad? Will we see one who leaves everything and lines up in the ranks of the Mujahidin?” Elkadi wrote.

He publicly proclaimed his allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood in a March 2015 Facebook post.

He attended meetings of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council (ERC) – a group of exiled Morsi-era Muslim Brotherhood politicians – over the May 5 weekend in Istanbul. The website of the banned Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) notes that Elkadi reported on EAFJ’s activities in America including its recent meetings on Capitol Hill.

Al Bawaba identified El Sharkawy as a member of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2015. It also alleged that El Sharkawy was responsible for funding and coordinating operations with Brotherhood members living in Turkey and Qatar.

Other EAFJ member who participated in “Egypt Day at Capitol Hill” publicly endorsed violence or intimidation.

Aber Mostafa, for example, posted the personal information of a pro-Sisi owner of an Egyptian soccer team with the word “Attaaack!” on the same day that Elkadi and El Sharkawy reposted the PRM communiqué.

Ayat Al-Orabi, a member of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council who participated in the lobbying trip, has spouted venom against Egypt’s Christians. In September, she accused Christians of “waging war on Islam,” a leading narrative terrorists use to gain recruits.

“Egypt is Islamic even if occupied by the coup gang and even if assailed by the apostate criminal lackey of the Zionist entity,” Orabi said. “They must realize that the crescent is above the cross, and Islam is above all.”

It’s clear that the EAFJ delegation visited Capitol Hill. It is not known, however, how many offices agreed to meet with them. Given the open support for jihad and terrorist groups by key delegation members, it’s a wonder they got anywhere near the halls of Congress.

“Moderate” Muslim Brotherhood Mourns Terrorist’s Death

blind-sby John Rossomando
IPT News
February 21, 2017

Calls for revenge and glowing eulogies for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman by the Muslim Brotherhood and its followers dealt a blow to efforts to paint it as a moderate group.

Abdel Rahman, known as the “Blind Sheikh,” died Saturday in a U.S. prison where he was serving a life sentence for a seditious conspiracy to launch what prosecutors called a “war of urban terrorism” against targets around New York City. He also helped plot the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 that killed six people and injured 1,042.

“May Allah’s blessings be upon him, the deceased of the Islamic call, who was imprisoned by different repressive regimes, who was falsely and unfairly accused of terrorism by the Unites States of America, while being old and blind Sheikh, it also prevented him from receiving medical care until he met his Lord, Oh Allah please accept him and have mercy upon him,” the Muslim Brotherhood General Office said.

Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted Abdel Rahman, noted in a National Review Online column that the “Blind Sheikh” was proud of being a terrorist. This fact ought to raise red flags about the character of the Muslim Brotherhood.

McCarthy cited this Abdel Rahman statement as an example: “Why do we fear the word terrorist? If the terrorist is the person who defends his right, so we are terrorists. And if the terrorist is the one who struggles for the sake of God, then we are terrorists. We . . . have been ordered with terrorism because we must prepare what power we can to terrorize the enemy of Allah and your enemy. The Koran says ‘to strike terror.’ Therefore, we don’t fear to be described with ‘terrorism.’ . . . They may say, ‘He is a terrorist, he uses violence, he uses force.’ Let them say that. We are ordered to prepare whatever we can of power to terrorize the enemies of Islam.”

1988The Muslim Brotherhood’s official Facebook page posted another statement Saturday that was quickly taken down. The message, asking “God Almighty to bestow His Mercy, and ensconce him in the highest paradise of Heaven with the prophets, the saints, the martyrs, the righteous and the best of them as companions” was cross-posted on Ikhwanonline, the Brotherhood’s Arabic website.

Although Abdel Rahman left the Muslim Brotherhood to form the radical jihadist group Gamaa Islamiya in 1970 after the Brotherhood’s leadership renounced violence against the Egyptian government, Brotherhood leaders still mourned him in terms echoed by ISIS and al-Qaida. Mohamed Al-Sagheer, a former deputy minister of endowment in Egypt during the Muslim Brotherhood rule, called Abdel Rahman a “Mujahid” or holy warrior, in a video posted on Facebook. Muslims, he said, lost one of their most prominent scholars.

“May Allah avenge from those who did him (the sheikh) injustice, the Arab despots, and the crusaders, who loath and hate the faith and its followers,” Al-Sagheer said.

Al-Sagheer has ties to violent elements of the Muslim Brotherhood that have worked against the Egyptian government since the military forced the Brotherhood out of power in 2013, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports.

Mohamed el-Feky, chairman of the economic committee of Morsi-era Egyptian parliament who now resides in Istanbul, similarly lamented Abdel Rahman’s death.

“May God have mercy on Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and gather him into the troop of prophets, friends (of God) martyrs and the righteous, with the best of them as companions. Oh, God, compensate him for his imprisonment, and the wrong done him, and bless him with good and increase. Oh God, curse those who wronged him, Oh Lord of the worlds,” el-Feky wrote on Facebook.

Ordinary Muslim Brotherhood supporters like Abdel Rahman Muhammad Lotfy Abdel Rahman called for American blood.

“If they killed you O Omar, Allah has chosen you among the martyrs! Allah will fight you O America … Today, America has killed one of the Muslim scholars after unjustly detaining him for close to a quarter of a century, that is Dr. Omar Adel Rahman, the pious scholar, who always uttered the word of truth, which resonated out of his mouth, he did not fear anyone but Allah, and we present him to Allah. We ask Allah to accept him as a martyr, they killed him for America and its allies, who participated in killing him,” Rahman wrote.

Inspiration For al-Qaida

Abdel Rahman’s ideas inspired Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaida and ISIS. He acted as al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s “mentor.” Al-Zawahiri frequently attended Abdel Rahman’s lectures as a young man in Egypt.

Al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden handed out copies of Abdel Rahman’s will at a 1998 press conference.

The will demands vengeance after his death. “But, take revenge for me against them with the most extreme and violent revenge.”

Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri also passed out a fatwa from Abdel Rahman smuggled from prison authorizing attacks against the U.S. at the 1998 press conference.

“Cut all relations with [the Americans, Christians, and Jews], tear them to pieces, destroy their economies, burn their corporations, destroy their peace, sink their ships, shoot down their planes and kill them on air, sea, and land. And kill them wherever you may find them, ambush them, take them hostage, and destroy their observatories. Kill these infidels,” the fatwa said.

Al-Qaida responded to Abdel Rahman’s death by including the incendiary will in its latest newsletter Al-Nafir. Numerous jihadi social media sites followed suit, and the will accompanied a joint statement by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), both of which are openly loyal to al-Zawahiri.

The joint AQAP/AQIM statement calls on their followers to “viciously avenge the sheikh against his oppressors and wardens.”

Supporters Remember Abdel Rahman

1986Said Abbasy, a Muslim Brotherhood supporter living in New York, wrote on Facebook, “The passing of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in the prisons of America after 24 years of incarceration. Oh God take vengeance on those who wronged him.”

Muhammad Shoubir, a self-described Muslim Brotherhood supporter who lives in New York, called Abdel Rahman “our martyr sheikh” in a since deleted Facebook post.

1987“A martyr to the interests between Egypt and America,, (sic) A martyr to the injustice done to him during his trial and the concocting of an accusation against him,, No Egyptian defended him,, but they thrust upon him a guard and a translators (Egyptian) who spied on him, and misled him,, so that he was sentenced in 93 to imprisonment for life,, the man died after 24 years in prison … May God have mercy on our noble Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman,, He was wronged in your country, and elsewhere,,” Shoubir wrote.

Jihadis aligned with various undefined factions used similar rhetoric in their social media eulogies.

“Not with tears but with red blood. We will lament Imam Omar Abdel Rahman,” said handle @ Yubayatajrasi09, who lives in the Tampa area.

In an inflammatory Twitter post on Saturday, an individual identifying himself as Obamajahid pushed a baseless conspiracy theory to blame the Trump administration for Abdel Rahman’s death.

“Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman is among the first victims of the rule of the tyrant Trump where pressure was exerted upon him in his prison, and he was deprived of his medicine and his radio as was mentioned someone who contacted them last week,” Obamajahid wrote.

Another follower of Abdel Rahman’s, Yubayatajastri09, called for vengeance.

“Oh God, forgive us for our shortcomings with regard to him. And raise his degree and accept him among the number of martyrs. And take vengeance on the head of the viper America,” he wrote.

It’s hard to claim the Muslim Brotherhood opposes terrorism when it laments the death of the man who inspired an attack on New York City, plotted even greater bloodshed and inspired bin Laden and al-Zawahiri.

***

 

 

Hamas, ISIS Affiliates, See Opportunity in Terror Truck Attack

hamas23

by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
January 11, 2017

Hamas launched a public relations campaign in recent days, aimed at capitalizing on a deadly truck attack in Jerusalem Sunday that killed four Israeli soldiers. The campaign sheds a light on Hamas’s plans to encourage and launch jihadist atrocities, but also on its vulnerability to the arrival of ISIS as an ideology and movement.

The truck attacker was Fadi Ahmad Hamdan Qanbar, a father of four from east Jerusalem. He acted alone when he plowed into a cluster of soldiers gathered, according to Israeli assessments, under the influence of jihadist propaganda disseminated by ISIS.

That fact has not stopped Hamas from making multiple efforts to claim the attack as its own, celebrating it, and pushing Palestinians to emulate it. The Gazan regime’s goal of setting the West Bank alight is well served by such incidents.

Yet Hamas’s efforts to cash in on the truck ramming also strengthen its domestic challengers in Gaza – ISIS-affiliated Salafi-jihadist groups which have been just as quick to claim Qanbar as one of their own, and probably with better cause.

These same groups wasted little time in using the opportunity to launch stinging attacks on the Hamas regime, whose security forces arrest their members and repress their activities.

For example, an ISIS-affiliated group in Gaza proudly noted that Israel attributed the attack to one who “belongs to the Islamic Caliphate State,” and stated: “Praise Allah, who provided the oppressed people of Bayt Al-Maqdis [Jerusalem] with trucks they can use to run over the settler herds – [and this] instead of the haram [forbidden] organizations [the main Palestinian organizations].”

A grim jihadist competition is underway, over who can use the Jerusalem attack to boost its political power. Immediately after Qanbar’s attack, Hamas claimed he was an operative of its military wing, the Izz Al-Din Qassam Brigades.

Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, told a rally in Gaza to celebrate the murders that same night: “the [Israeli] soldiers fled from the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades operative who carried out the attack for the sake of the Palestinians, the Arab nation and the Muslims.”

Other Hamas officials issued similar statements, praising Qanbar, and calling for his actions to reinvigorate the ‘intifada for Jerusalem.’

As the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) noted, Hamas’s official Twitter account chimed in: “We welcome the bold and heroic truck operation in Jerusalem which was a natural reaction to the crimes of the Israeli occupation.”

To be sure, Hamas is engaged in unceasing efforts to set up and launch terror cells in the West Bank and east Jerusalem from where they try to evade Israeli intelligence, infiltrate and commit mass casualty attacks in Israeli cities. Hamas also is a main source of inciting lone Palestinian attackers.

Yet it is also in a state of conflict with Gaza-based ISIS entities, which sporadically fire rockets into Israel hoping to provoke retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets. In essence, ISIS-affiliated groups try to use the Israel Air Force to punish Hamas.

ISIS views Hamas as an infidel movement due to its willingness to blend jihadist doctrines with Palestinian nationalism. Nationalism has no place in ISIS’s vision of a pan-Islamic caliphate, free of so-called artificial national divides among Muslims.

Meanwhile, tensions increased as relations between Hamas and the ISIS affiliate Wilyat Al-Sinai (Sinai Province), which once saw a good degree of cooperation, soured. This relationship enabled Hamas to continue smuggling arms into Gaza via tunnels, and to make Gazan hospitals available to wounded ISIS fighters and commanders. Egypt has long suspected Gaza’s Islamist rulers of being a steady source of weapons and volunteers for ISIS.

Now, the ISIS-affiliated movement in and around Gaza is openly challenging Hamas’s legitimacy. Ironically, Hamas does the same thing to the ruling Fatah movement in the West Bank, which it seeks to topple by provoking a large-scale Israeli military counter-terrorism operation, according to assessments by Israeli security sources.

This deadly jihadist “game of thrones” looks set to continue and could act as a destabilizing factor and a catalyst for further attacks.

The Israeli defense establishment sees the truck ramming as the work of a lone attacker – the hardest type to detect and thwart preemptively.

While the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency is making progress using big data analytics to scan social media accounts and pick out potential lone terrorists, much work remains to be done in this challenging field.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to this during remarks he made on the scene of the Jerusalem ramming, “I think the most important thing to understand is that we are under a new type of attack, by a lone terrorist, who becomes inspired and decides to spontaneously act.”

To counter ramming attacks, Israel has installed concrete barricades around bus stops in Jerusalem and the West Bank, he added. Additionally, Israeli security forces spent the past year intensively developing a “preventative intelligence infrastructure,” Netanyahu said, in reference to data analytics.

As the race continues to improve these techniques, Israel will need to continue to rely on the rapid responses of armed security forces and civilians who typically arrive at the scene of such incidents within seconds and open fire on terrorists.

Whether it is organized large-scale cells or lone murderers, the threat of indiscriminate jihadist violence looks set to remain with Israelis for years to come – though as the past two years have shown, Western cities are also increasingly prone to such threats.

Yaakov Lappin is a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He also conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks, and is
the Israel correspondent for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. His book, The Virtual Caliphate, explores the online jihadist presence.

On 15th Anniversary Of 9/11, Al-Qaeda Leader Al-Zawahiri Urges Mujahideen To Focus On Targeting U.S., Incites Black Christians Against U.S. And Calls Them To Islam

MEMRI, Sept. 9, 2016:

On September 9, 2016, Al-Qaeda’s media wing Al-Sahab released a video message by the group’s leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Al-Zawahiri reiterates the reasons behind the attacks and their impact on the U.S., and urges the mujahideen to focus on targeting the U.S. and its allies, and to bring the battle onto their own soil as well. Appealing to non-Muslim African-Americans, he blames their woes on the U.S. and calls to them to convert to Islam.

29874

Most of the 20-minute video consists of Al-Zawahiri’s message, and the final several minutes feature an archival address by Osama bin Laden. Additionally, archival footage of a Malcolm X address is played as Al-Zawahiri appeals to African-Americans.

Below are the main points of the message:

Al-Zawahiri praises the “blessed raids” of 9/11, noting that they managed to strike deep within the U.S. and to attack its economic symbols, i.e. the Twin Towers. He also notes that the final and fourth hijacked airplane, United Flight 93, was heading towards “the biggest criminals in the White House or the Congress.” Al-Zawahiri boasts that 9/11 was a wakeup call to the U.S., reminding it that its crimes against Muslims won’t go unnoticed. The attacks’ impact, according to Al-Zawahiri, continues to be felt today, and its memory will forever be remembered by the Americans.

29875

Addressing the U.S., Al-Zawahiri reminds it: “The events of 9/11 were a direct result of your crimes against us, your crimes in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Islamic Maghreb, and Egypt [and] the result of your occupation of Muslim lands, theft of their resources, and support for the murderous corrupt criminals, who rule over them.” He further threatens the U.S.: “As long as your crimes continue, the events of 9/11 will be repeated thousands of times, by the will of Allah. And we will follow you – if you don’t cease your aggression [against us] – until the Day of Judgment…”

Moving on to the subject of the mujahideen, Al-Zawahiri informs the U.S. that their strength is increasing by the day: “There it is, the jihadi awakening [movement] increasing – thanks to Allah – many times over what it used to be before the blessed raids,” he says.

Addressing the mujahideen, Al-Zawahiri urges them to focus on attacking the U.S. and its allies, and on trying as much as possible to shift the battle onto these countries’ own soil. In that regard, he notes that the defeat of the U.S. will lead to the defeat of its lackeys. He also urges the mujahideen to unite, pledge allegiance to the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan (the Taliban), support the revolutions across the Muslim world, and urge prominent Islamic leaders to form the nucleus of a future council that will be tasked with appointing an imam (leader) for all Muslims.

Speaking to the Muslims in general, Al-Zawahiri implores them to rise up against their rulers: “It has become clear to you that your rulers are tools in the hands of the secular Safavid Crusader alliance, the alliance of the devils, headed by American and the West,” he says. He also urges them to disavow these rulers, and to adopt the path of da’wa and jihad: “Your true soldiers are your mujahideen sons… who wish for you to live free and honored in the shade of the righteous caliphate, in which the ummah chooses, holds accountable, and ousts its imam.”

Al-Zawahiri also lashes out at the various Islamic movements that have emerged in the awake of the Arab Spring, calling them “sheep” and agents of the U.S. who have hijacked the sacrifices of the Muslims. He also calls on the Muslims to be the real lions – like the mujahideen – who refuse to live under these corrupt and apostate regimes.

29876

Finally, Al-Zawahiri appeals to non-Muslims, particularly African Americans, blaming their woes on the U.S. and calling them to Islam. His message is augmented with an address by Malcolm X. Al-Zawahiri says: “We inform every weakened [person] in the world: America is the source of calamity and the head of evil in this world, and it is the thief of nations’ aliment, and it is the one who humiliate the Africans [i.e. African Americans] until this day, and no matter how much they try to reform and obtain their rights according to the law and the [U.S.] constitution, they will not attain it, for the law is in the hands of the white majority, [who] control it as they wish. And they [i.e. African Americans] will not be saved but by Islam.”

CAIR Offers Terror Sympathizers and Misleading Rhetoric to Condemn Orlando Tragedy

1616IPT NewsJune 14, 2016:

In the wake of Sunday morning’s devastating and monumental Islamist terrorist attack that killed 49 men and women at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) convened a news conference to condemn the bloodshed.

It posted excerpts, presumably the parts CAIR most wants people to see, on YouTube.

It marks yet another missed opportunity for American Islamists to engage fellow Muslims in a debate about their faith’s more incendiary commands. Instead, CAIR and the other assembled speakers spent more time telling non-Muslims what to think. Several speakers also seemingly contradicted one other regarding Islam’s view of homosexuality.

“Homophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia are interconnected systems of oppression. And we cannot dismantle one without dismantling the others…,” said CAIR co-founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Saif Inam of the Muslim Public Affairs Council was more impassioned.
“To the LGBTQ community, let me be very clear. The American Muslim community stands with you. We are your allies” who “stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”

Two other speakers, Naeem Baig of the Islamic Circle of North America, and Abu Nahidian of Virginia’s Manassas Mosque, referenced Islam’s prohibition on homosexuality, though they said that it did not justify violence against gay people.

“Our issue here is not about the LGBT community. It is totally un-Islamic to do such a ghastly act, and not to mention the level of aggression and violence that followed,” Baig said, quickly pivoting to his concern that the slaughter at the Pulse nightclub reflects poorly upon Muslims: “It brings total chaos in society and Muslims now would have to undeservedly carry this crime on their heads.”

Nahidian compared gays and lesbians to drunks and people who consume pork. Islam prohibits many activities, he said, but “that does not mean that we have to go ahead and attack every bar because we are against drinking, every supposedly, grocery store because we are against the porks and eating that. Go ahead and attack all kind of areas that it is against our religion. No. We have to live with the people and we have to dialogue only and talk. We are not allowed to take arms against anyone.”

Terrorist Omar Mateen’s father echoed the message in a statement early Monday. “God will punish those involved in homosexuality,” he said, adding it is “not an issue that humans should deal with.”

Nahidian, meanwhile, stands out as an odd representative for an event aimed at enhancing the image of Muslims in America. He maintained close ties with Iran, and during a 2010 anti-Israel rally in Washington’s Dupont Circle, he insisted the 9/11 attacks were “not done by Muslims. It is done by the plot of the Zionists in order to justify to occupy the land of the Muslims such as Afghanistan, such as Iraq, such as Pakistan, now moving on to the rest of the areas. They plot and they scheme and no doubt God is plotting and scheming against them too.”

Another speaker included at the CAIR event, Kristin Szremski, represents the vehemently anti-Israel group American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). Several AMP officials and speakers have direct ties to a U.S-based Hamas support network, the Investigative Project on Terrorism first reported last year. Internal records reveal that CAIR was part of that network, known as the Palestine Committee, and Awad waslisted as among its members.

1615Szremski also is a prominent and vocal advocate for Rasmieh Odeh, the Palestinian woman convicted in a 1969 terrorist attack in Jerusalem that killed two college students. Odeh and an accomplice have publicly discussed their roles in the attack.

Meanwhile none of the speakers mentioned that attacks targeting gay people – often by throwing them off the tops of buildings – are frightfully common in areas controlled by ISIS, the group to which Mateen pledged allegiance during his slaughter.

Awad said ISIS claims to speak for Islam, but “the 1.7 billion [Muslims in the world] are united in rejecting their extremism and their interpretation and their acts and senseless violence.”

The evidence says otherwise.

In 2014, the Washington Post listed 10 countries where homosexuality can lead to the death penalty. They are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Nigeria, Mauritania and the United Arab Emirates. In some of those states, any sex outside of marriage is prohibited.

After the Orlando attack, political scientist Ian Bremmer noted the overwhelming majorities in Muslim countries which exhibit intolerance toward gay people. In addition, more than half of British Muslims surveyed earlier this year said homosexuality should be outlawed.

It was widely reported before CAIR’s news conference that in April, a mosque near Orlando hosted an Iranian-born cleric who was on videotape saying, “Death is the sentence” for homosexuality. If it was mentioned during the news conference, CAIR cut it out of the video it posted on YouTube.

In 2008, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) flagged the condemnations of Abd Al-Qader Shiba Al-Hamad, a Saudi scholar in Medina, who called homosexuality “a great corruption” and a “heinous crime.” He then recounts the various punishments discussed in the Quran and among the followers of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. They range from “merely killing them or burning them” to beheading to climbing the highest mountain and rolling “them down the mountain until they are killed.”

There was no recognition during CAIR’s news conference that prominent imams espouse such violent rhetoric toward gay people. Instead, two people invoked the Quranic passage that states, “Whoever saves a life, it’s as if they have saved the life of all of humanity. And if you take a life, it’s as if you have taken the life of all of humanity.”

They stopped short of the next verse, which commands, “the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land.”

Similarly, Rizwan Jaka, a national board member for the Islamic Society of North America, noted the Quran’s instruction that “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion.” But no one tried to tell impressionable Muslims, like Mateen, why that is more relevant today than the verse that tells them to “kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.”

It isn’t that difficult. The American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, whose founder Zuhdi Jasser has been attacked by CAIR, issued a statement expressing its sorrow over the Orlando attack and committing during the holy month of Ramadan to “triple down on acknowledging the deep reforms necessary and the responsibility of every Muslim in countering the ideologies that inspire these Islamist savages … Make no mistake. We are again horrifically reminded that our nation and the free world are in a long war that has been declared upon us by global militant Islamists and their Salafi-Jihadi ideology.

“Understanding this ideology demands that we finally move beyond the false ‘lone wolf’ and ‘violent extremism’ narrative and counter the enemy’s ideology of Islamism and its jihadism.”

After terrorist attacks like Orlando, San Bernardino, and too many others, CAIR’s message focuses on non-Muslims and their thoughts on Islam. Perhaps they would better serve the public by encouraging Muslims to relay to other Muslims why the theological underpinnings that drive the bloodshed are wrong. When other Muslims try to do so, they too often are derided as sellouts.