Denmark Hails ‘Hug a Terrorist’ Scheme, Jihadists Given Homes and Jobs

HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty

Breitbart. by Liam Deacon, Aug. 11, 2017:

Denmark’s second largest city is attempting to tackle terrorism by offering jihadists “empathy” in a programme dubbed “hug a terrorist”.

Whilst Danes who have fought against Islamic State have been threatened with jail on their return from Syria, terrorists are being offered enormous privileges, including apartments, education, and jobs, to encourage them to rejoin society.

Proponents of the police-run scheme in Aarhus say that jihadists are “isolated” and struggling to integrate, and claim that offering them kindness and forgiveness will deter them from their murderous ideology.

However, Danish politician Naser Khader, a Muslim born in Syria, says it sends the wrong message and rewards terrorists who have effectively made war on the West and its values.

He told Australian news programme Dateline the “hug a terrorist” model tells young Muslims: “Go out and do something criminal, be jihadis, you will get a lot of privilege from the society. That’s wrong in my opinion.”

However, members of the police are in favour.

“We had a number of options,” Superintendent Allan Aarslev told Dateline. “We could prosecute them all if we can find evidence, however those we couldn’t prosecute, what should we do about them?”

He claimed “most” of those returning from Syria are now “very well integrated and most of them are very happy to have had a second chance”.

Adding: “These are men who have been to Syria and we don’t know what they have been doing down there and that’s the choice we have to make – between helping them and leaving them alone.

“From my point of view, it would be much more safe for the local community here to help these young men to have a normal life after they have returned than to leave them alone.”

He added: “If we did not integrate them into the local community again they would be a safety hazard for us.”

In contrast to the treatment of Islamists, a Danish woman who fought Islamic State in Syria claims she has been demonised and forced into hiding since returning to Europe.

Joanna Palani fought with Kurdish peshmerga and YPG forces and claims to have killed up to 100 terrorists and freed female sex slaves and children.

She was handed a 12-month travel ban to prevent her from travelling back to the conflict zone in September 2015 and was threatened with jail when she flew to Qatar.

Speaking last year, her lawyer, Erbil Kaya, noted the irony of seeking to prosecute someone who fought on the same side as Danish troops whilst the government seeks to rehabilitate returning Islamic State fighters.

“It’s a shame. We are the first country in the world to punish a person who has been fighting on the same side as the international coalition,” she told The Guardian.

“It’s hypocritical to punish her. Why don’t we punish the people who fight for Isis instead of people who are fighting on the same side as Denmark?… I don’t think it makes sense.”

Also see:

Lessons from Europe’s Immigrant Wave: Douglas Murray Cautions America

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
July 24, 2017

Douglas Murray has long voiced his concern about the growing influence of Muslim culture on the West. The associate editor of Britain’s Spectator, a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, and the founder of the Centre for Social Cohesion, a think tank on radical Islam, he has built an international reputation for his opposition to the demographic changes of the West and the threats to its traditions. In his latest book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam(Bloomsbury, 2017), he attacks all of these subjects as they relate to the current crisis of migration from the Middle East.

It is a controversial book, particularly for Americans and Jews, but one which also makes important arguments against the multiculturalist ideal. That ideal, which once led much of domestic policy across Europe and the United States, has proven not only a failure, but a threat to the values and national security of Western civilization.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism recently spoke with Murray about his book and the concerns that drove him to write it.

Abigail R. Esman: As an American, a Jew, and an immigrant myself to the Netherlands, there are aspects of your arguments against immigration and asylum that are troublesome to me. I come from a country where we are all immigrants, or our parents or grandparents were likely immigrants. You talk for instance of families where “neither parent speaks English as a first language,” yet my husband is Australian and I am American and neither of us speaks Dutch as a first language. So naturally, I come at these arguments with some concern. Are you saying, basically, close the borders?

Douglas K . Murray: It’s only for me to diagnose what’s happening – to see the truth about what is going on. Policy makers will make their own decisions. I have obviously broad views on it, which is that I think you can’t continue at the rate we have now, and I think you have to be choosy about the people you bring in. But you are right, and there are two groups of people who have had trouble with some of the basic things in this book: one is people of Jewish background, and others who come from nations of immigrants, like America. But Britain isn’t a nation of immigrants – we have been a static society with all the benefits and ills that this brings. And I think it is dishonest to say it is the same thing. I realize people who are predominantly Jewish have a particular sensitivity to it, but I think that that’s a particular issue. And why do we say one migration is just like the other It’s like saying because two vehicles went down the same road they are the same vehicle.

ARE: How is it different?

DKM: In the UK, when Jewish migration happened more than a century ago, the main thing was integration, integration into the society, wanting desperately to be part of British society. Why do synagogues in the UK have a portrait of the Queen? And after services, they often sing the British national anthem. It’s very moving. It’s an effort to demonstrate this is what we are and this is what we want to be. You’d be hard pressed to find a mosque with a picture of the queen who sing the anthem.

ARE: That element of integration is crucial, I agree. In America, in fact, immigrants in the past and often even today are eager to give their children Anglicized names: “Michael,” not “Moishe,” “Henry,” not “Heinrich.” Yet you do not see the name changes in Muslims these days. Why do you think that is?

DKM: Because there is less of a feeling to integrate. They want to stay with the country they’ve left but not deal with its economics. Some people find it flattering – that people want to move to your country – they say well, it shows what a wonderful place we are. No, it shows that your economics work better.

ARE: You also write about Muslim enclaves in Europe where “the women all wear some form of head covering and life goes on much as it would if the people were in Turkey or Morocco.” How is that different than, say, Chinatowns, or Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in America and say, Belgium, where women wear wigs and men have peyas, or sidelocks?

DKM: The example of Chinatown-like places is a good comparison. These are places that are mini-Chinas, they are enjoyed and liked by people because they are a different place. Well, if people want to have a mini-Bangladesh, that’s one vision of a society. It’s not the vision we were sold in Europe. It was not meant to be the case that portions of our cities were meant to become totally different places. In the 1950s the British and other European authorities said we have to bring people into our countries and we will get a benefit in labor. But if they had said that the downside is that large portions of the area would be unrecognizable to their inhabitants, there would have been an outcry.

And the issue of them being different from Hasidic communities – you’re right, they are similar. You can go to Stamford Hill in North London and see most of the men in hats and so on and that’s because that’s an enclave that wants to keep to itself. That raises questions: one, people don’t mind that, for several reasons – one is the recognition that Orthodox men don’t cause troubles. We don’t have cases of Orthodox men going out and cutting off people’s heads. If four Jewish men from Stamford Hill had blown up buses some years back there would be concern about these enclaves.

And also those enclaves are not growing. If it was the case that these enclaves were becoming areas where all the city was hat-wearing Orthodox Jews, then people would say wait, what is that? You can applaud that or abhor it, but it’s important to mention.it.

ARE: In the Netherlands, which has some of the toughest immigration policies in the world, people from certain countries are required to take “citizenship” courses before they can even enter Dutch borders. They have to learn the language, they have to learn about Dutch values, and that no, you can’t throw stones at Jews and gay people and that gay marriage is legal and women wear short dresses. Would you recommend other countries take on the Dutch policy of citizenship courses?

DKM: I make this point in the book. You say we could have done more and better, but the fundamental thing is that none of it was ever expected in the first place. No one ever thought that we would be in the situation we are now in. We didn’t expect them to stay. That’s a very big misunderstanding. Why wouldyou ask people to become Dutch citizens if you expect them to go home in five years? Why if you only expect them to stay in Britain for only 10 years? But then we realized they would stay and then we said, “we have to let them practice their own culture.” But for us to have acted as you suggest we would have had to know [at the time].

So yes, I think it’s a bare minimum for Europe to have the Dutch policy, even at this very late stage. I’m of the inclination that this is too little too late, but I wish everyone luck with it.

ARE: What about Yazidi women, Syrian Christians?

DKM: Again, it comes down to the Jewish question – because people think that every refugee is like a Jew from Nazi Germany. But if you were to think of a group that was facing an attempt to wipe them off the face of the earth then yes, you’d have the Yazidis. But there are people on all sides of the Syrian civil war, which are a minority of people coming to Europe – these are people fleeing sectarian conflict, but none of them are fleeing an effort to wipe them out as a people. So the lazy view, and it is quite often pushed by Jewish groups which I think is a mistake – is to suggest that it is similar to Nazi Germany. And I wish more care were taken in this.

ARE: Is this in your mind a way of stopping radical Islam? Because so many of the radicalized Muslims are actually converts. How would it help?

DKM: We know that people who convert to anything tend to be fundamentalist. But the important thing is, if you were pliable to be converted, available to be converted, then it raises the question of what kind of Islam do we have in these countries? If it were people finding Sufism, rather than hardcore Salafism, maybe it would be different. I have a friend who is a Muslim who was on a trip some years ago who told me the story of introducing a Muslim woman to one of the senior clerics at Al-Azhar and she wouldn’t shake his hand. He asked her why not. She said, “Because I’m Muslim.” So he asked her how long she’d been a Muslim, and she said “Six years.” He said, “I’ve been a Muslim for eight decades.” And then he turned and said to his friend in Arabic, “What kind of Muslims are you making in Britain?”

ARE: One thing the American Muslim community seems to have over its European brethren is its successful integration into society. Yet at the same time, some of the worst of the radicals are in fact American-born. We have people like Linda Sarsour, who wears the mantle of feminism, but who is really a Trojan horse for the Islamists. She has said things like “Our number one and top priority is to protect and defend our community. It is not to assimilate and lease any other people in authority.” What are the dangers of that kind of message?

DKM: I once spent an evening with Linda Sarsour. She is a very unpleasant, very radical girl. Filled with hate. I was the one having to defend America to Americans in an American audience against an American opponent. What she told that night was all lies, which you would tell either because you are dumb, which she isn’t, or because you want to spread propaganda, which she does.

I just think she is of a type. There are various sides to the issue that are important. There’s an “us” question and a “them” question. The “them” question is, what do people like that believe, what are they doing and how vile are they? But in a way, the “us” question is bigger. Why do we let them do this? What is wrong with America at this time in its history that an obvious demagogue like her can end up leading a feminist march [the 2017 Women’s March]? That’s an illness of America. She’s just a symptom of that.

ARE: And similarly, the Rushdie affair was effective in quashing further expression and criticism related to Islam. And Charlie Hebdo took that to an extreme. We haven’t had anything that severe, but there were the South Park threats and the attempted attack on the Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland. You blame European politicians and media for failing to recognize that those who were shouting “fire” were in fact the arsonists. This seems to be a global challenge – that any criticism or critique of Islam gets shouted down as inherently bigoted. In the U.S., the Southern Poverty Law Center places Maajid Nawaz on a list of “anti-Muslim extremists” for criticizing some tenets of the faith and advocating modernization and reform. In Europe the facts are very pessimism-causing. At the same time, though, there was certainly support for Charlie Hebdo, though you seem to deny it in your book, after the shootings. What’s the proper response to that form of a heckler’s veto?

DKM: I agree with the point. The only ways to reject the assassin’s veto is for civil society to be stronger on the question, for governments to ensure that people deemed to have ‘blasphemed’ are protected (as in the case of Rushdie) and that those who incite violence against them (such as Cat Stevens during the Rushdie affair) are the ones who find themselves on the receiving end of prosecutions. That and – obviously – ensuring that blasphemy laws aren’t allowed in through the back door via new ‘hate speech’ laws and the like.

ARE: In the chapter on multiculturalism, you describe interest groups which “were thrown up that claimed to represent and speak for all manner of identity groups.” These self-appointed voices then become the go-to groups for government. To keep the money flowing, they make the problems facing their community appear worse than they really are.” Is that a universal behavior for interest groups? We certainly see that in the U.S. with CAIR and ISNA.

DKM: Every group is vulnerable to that. With every human rights achievement, there are always some people left on the barricades. And the ones who linger on the barricades linger on without any home to go to. And you get these people who are stranded after it’s over and they have to hustle as if everything was as bad as it once was. Sometimes they are telling the truth; sometimes they wave a warning flag, but for the moment it seems particularly in America every group is claiming that this is basically 1938. It’s a tendency of every commune or group that wants awareness raised.

But it’s true, it’s especially prevalent of Muslim groups because if you keep claiming that you are the victim, then you never have to sort out your own house. And the groups that come to Europe and America, they never have to get their house in order if they spend all their time claiming they are victims of genocide and persecution and so on. And this is a familiar story.

ARE: So what would be your lesson, then, for America, especially in a book which clearly is about Europe?

DKM: Well, it is about Europe, certainly, but it’s connected to the debate America is now beginning to have. The first is to be careful with immigration. We’ve all had the same misunderstanding, the same thought that our societies are vast, immovable, unchanging things to which you could keep bringing people of every imaginable stripe and the results will always be the same. And I think that is just not the case, depending on the people who are in them. So we must take care with what kind of immigration we encourage, and at what pace, and that is something America should be thinking of, as everyone else should.

But America will have a harder time with this, because everyone in America has this vulnerability we don’t have in Europe, which is that we are all migrants. And you have the sense of ‘who am I to keep anyone out?’

ARE: I don’t think that’s the American view. I think it’s more that we all became part of this fabric, and we expect that the new immigrants will, too. But not all of them do.

DM: The whole thing actually seems to be unraveling, more than in Europe. In Europe, we don’t like to think in terms of racial terms. But all anyone in America talks about is race.

ARE: I don’t think so….

DKM: Maybe; but your vision of original sin in America seems to have become all so overwhelming. Your leading cultural figures, like Ta-Nehisi Coates, have this image of America born in terrible sin. The Atlantic’s front cover recently was all about slavery. You would get the impression that slavery only ended about 12 months ago. You are going over and over this in America – this endless sense of original sin. You are discussing reparations for slavery in 2017. You’d be hard-pressed to find publications in the UK calling for reparations to our past. Find me a mainstream publication that runs such a thing in Europe, even of WWII reparations.

So it’s symptomatic of something badly wrong at the structure of the public discussion.

ARE: Which suggests that we should do what?

DKM: What you have to listen out for is very straightforward: are the people raising such issues raising them because they want America to improve, or because they want America to end? I think this is a very central issue. Are you speaking as a critic, or as an enemy of the society in question? If you think the society can do no good, then you are speaking as an enemy. If you think there are things that have been done, that are wrong, that should be righted, campaign for them, speak out for them. Sometimes if you’re lucky you can get a posthumous rectification. But it sounds to me like a lot of this talk is from people who hate America. They don’t want to improve it. They want to end it.

So the lesson is – be careful about immigration. Be choosy. And another is a pretty straightforward one which is to work on the people who are there not to fall into the victim narratives of their special interest groups. And to focus on the “we.” I’ve always felt more optimistic for America in this regard, for the same reason I feel more optimistic than others do about France: because I think there is a very specific identity there, which it is possible to become a part of. I think it’s something other Western European countries, have not accomplished in the same way. So basically to strengthen their own identity.

ARE: Do you consider yourself a pessimist?

DKM: I think in Europe the facts are very pessimism-causing. I think it would be a strange person who would look at 12,000 people landing in Lampedusa, all young men, all without jobs, all without futures, and think, ‘That’s going to go really well. These are going to be just like the Jews of Vienna. These are going to be the receptacles of our culture.’ I don’t see it happening.

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. Follow her at @radicalstates

Report: Saudi Arabia Funding Extremism, PM May Accused of ‘Kowtowing’

Getty Images

Breitbart, by Liam Deacon, July 5, 2017:

An extensive new report has drawn a link between recent terror attacks and the foreign funding of UK mosques, mainly coming from Saudi Arabia, which “is heavily involved in exporting an illiberal, bigoted Wahhabi ideology.”

The document also slams the Prime Minister Theresa May, who visited Saudi Arabia earlier this year, for “kowtowing” to Saudi Arabia by “suppressing” a government report into the funding of extremism in the UK. Last month she was accused of a “cover-up”

The inquiry was authorised by former Prime Minster David Cameron in 2015 in exchange for Liberal Democrat support for bombing Islamic State in Syria. It was initially due to be shown to then-Home Secretary Mrs. May and Mr. Cameron.

The Henry Jackson Society, who produced the recent report, is now calling for a public inquiry into the Gulf States allegedly fuelling Islamist extremism and even terrorism in British mosques.

The think tank list “numerous” example of violent jihadists who have been linked to foreign-funded mosques and preachers, some of whom have travelled to fight with Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Labour MP Dan Jarvis, a former soldier, said in a statement: “This report from the Henry Jackson Society sheds light on what are extremely worrying links between Saudi Arabia and the funding of extremism here in the UK.

“In the wake of the terrible and tragic terrorist attacks we’ve seen this year, it is vital that we use every tool at our disposal to protect our communities.

“This includes identifying the networks that promote and support extremism and shutting down the financial networks that fund it.

“I’m calling on the Government to release its foreign funding report, and guarantee that the new counter-extremism commission will make tackling the funding of extremism a priority.”

The report explains that Saudi Arabia has been using its wealth to export its ideology since the 1960s, and “this funding has primarily taken the form of endowments to mosques and Islamic educational institutions…”

Adding: “A number of Britain’s most serious Islamist hate preachers sit within the Salafi-Wahhabi ideology and are apparently linked to Islamist extremism sponsored from overseas, either by having studied in Saudi Arabia as part of scholarship programmes, or by having been provided with extreme literature and material within the UK itself.”

Clarion: Jihadi Cult Associate Arrested in NY With Firearms Stockpile

WICZ-TV 40

Breitbart, July 3, 2017:

A long-time associate of a U.S.-based Islamist terrorist organization, Muslims of America (MOA), has been arrested in Johnson City, NY. Authorities discovered that he had a large cache of weapons inside a storage locker. A source inside MOA says the weapons were intended for the group’s “Islamberg” headquarters in Hancock, NY.

The suspect, 64-year old Ramadan Abdullah, was previously arrested in 1977 when he and another man tried to rob a candy store in Brooklyn and someone was murdered in the process. When police searched his home, they found enough material to build 50 bombs. In the end, the charges against Abdullah were strangely reduced (see below).

On May 31, Abdullah was arrested after trying to steal four boxes of ammunition from a local Gander Mountain store. When police questioned him about the purpose of the ammo, his answers made them suspicious, and they obtained a search warrant for a storage locker he was renting in the town of Union.

During that search, police found a large assortment of weaponry including:

  • 8 assault weapons
  • 4 loaded handguns
  • 1 loaded shotgun
  • 2 rifles
  • 64 high-capacity ammunition feeding devices
  • flak jackets
  • 1,000s of rounds of ammunition, including .50-caliber armor-piercing rounds

Searches of other residences linked to Abdullah turned up another loaded handgun, more high-capacity ammunition feeding devices and ammunition, including .38-caliber rounds.

New York State Police Major Jim Barnes would not say whether Abdullah was connected to terrorist groups or any organizations, but confirmed that police believe Abdullah had made trips overseas.

“There’s no indications there was a plan in place to commit an act of violence. However, it begs the question, what was he doing with all this and what were his intentions down the road?” said New York State Police Maj. Jim Barnes.

“It’s just a tremendous blessing to be able to take all these high power weapons and high power ammunition off the streets, and who knows what kind of large scale tragedy that this investigation may have prevented later down the road,” said Johnson City Police Chief Brent Dodge.

Abdullah is currently being held in the Broome County Jail without bail.

Abdullah is a longtime associate of the U.S.-based Islamist cult Muslims of America.

Read the full story at Clarion.

London Attacker Known to Police, Allegedly Appeared on TV Jihad Show, Linked to Anjem Choudary

Channel 4

Breitbart, by Liam Deacon, June 5, 2017:

One of the London Bridge attackers was allegedly a well-known Islamist, who appeared on Britain’s Channel 4 TV station, was reported to police, and can be linked to the network around notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

According to numerous reports, the suspected London Bridge terrorist appeared in a Channel 4 documentary last year, which also featured the “new Jihadi John” alleged Islamic State executioner Abu Rumaysah, hate preacher Mohammed Shamsuddin (also know as Abu Saalihah), and infamous social media radical Abu Haleema.

Twelve people, including four women in niqabs and men in Islamic robes, were arrested in Barking yesterday after raids at a flat believed to be the home of one of the attackers. A 55-year-old man has been released without charge.

Suspected terrorist “Abz” unfurls the black flag of Islamic State during the 2016 Channel 4 film on UK radicals (Credit: Channel 4)

The 27-year-old suspected terrorist is known as “Abz” in the film. According to The Times, one of the suspects was born in Pakistan, grew up in Britain, and has been named by relatives as one of three men who rampaged through the capital this Saturday.

He is thought to be the attacker who wore an Arsenal shirt and was later pictured dying on the street with a fake suicide belt strapped to him.

According to an associate, interview anonymously on the BBC’s Asian Network, he was reported to the anti-terror hotline numerous times. It was also claimed that, two years earlier, police were warned that the suspect was trying to radicalise children in a local park.

Police have asked the press not to fully identify the terrorists at this stage, but say they know who they are and will release their names “as soon as operationally possible”.

One of the attackers, wearing an Arsenal football shirt and fake suicide vest, lying in the street after being shot by police (Credit: Instagram/fried_chicken)

Anjem Choudary (centre) pictured alongside Abu Haleema (far right) protesting for the release of hate preacher Omar Bakri Muhammad on the 27th of February 2015 (Credit: Rachel Megawhat / Breitbart London)

Mohammed Shamsuddin, who “Abz” is filmed alongside in the Channel 4 documentary, was an associate of notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who founded the now-banned terror group al-Muhajiroun.

Mr. Choudary has been linked to numerous murderous terrorists, including Michael Adebolajo, one of the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, and the 7/7 London bombers, and was convicted last year of supporting Islamic State.

Abu Haleema and suspected Islamic State executioner Abu Rumaysah were also associates of Mr. Choudary, and both appear in the same film “Abz”.

In the Channel 4 program, the suspected London attacker is shown in a scene when the group of radicals, led by Mohammed Shamsuddin, pray in a central London park and unfurl a black flag which is identified as that of the Islamic State.

Suspected London Bridge attacker ‘Abz’ (third from left) prays in Central London behind an Islamic State flag led by hate preacher Mohammed Shamsuddin (Credit: Channel 4)

The group mock the police when they are questioned and tread a delicate line throughout the film, appearing to praise Islamic State, a banned group, but not openly backing them.

Islamic State has now claimed the London Bridge attack.

At one point near the Channel 4 film, Mohammed Shamsuddin laughs and smiles as he watches Islamic State execution videos. “The guy’s foaming at the mouth, wow!” he says. “And I’m eating, hahahaha.”

Abu Haleema, who has associated with Islamic State recruiters, says: “for the record, I don’t support the Islamic State”, when challenged, before bursting out into a fit or laughter. “Just for the record so I don’t get nicked [arrested]”, he adds.

Also see:

Vox Voxplains Radical Islam As No Threat To Americans Or The West

Photo U.S. Department of Defense / Public Domain

The Federalist, by  Megan G. Oprea, May 12, 2017:

Will Wilkinson at Vox wants to warn us about the strange men influencing President Trump’s White House and pushing for the Muslim ban. But instead of settling for a reasonable critique of their beliefs—and there is certainly much to criticize—he opts for a full-throated insistence that there are no reasonable arguments to be made that radical Islam poses any threat to the United States or Western civilization.

Wilkinson begins by attacking the idea that there’s going to be an all-out war with Islam. Here, he focuses on Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart executive and Trump’s advisor, who has said, “We’re in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam.” I won’t defend Bannon’s views, because I don’t agree with many, but I will point out the confused assertions Wilkinson makes, showing his limited knowledge not only of Islam but of international affairs.

Wilkinson compares the military budgets and economic strengths of the United States and its NATO allies with those of the nine top-spending Muslim-majority countries, pointing out that the West has the obvious advantage. He’s right that radical Islam can’t really pose a threat to the United States or its NATO allies in military capacity to conduct traditional warfare. Then again, no one is really arguing that point.

Wilkinson goes on to dismiss Iran as a threat by simply saying it “spends less on its military than Canada.” Never mind the danger Iran poses throughout the Middle East, most specifically to our ally Israel, and the questionable status of its nuclear program. He also argues that Pakistan, the only Muslim nuclear power, is of no concern because we’re allies.

Yes, Lots of Muslims Support Hostile and Radical Policies

Finally, he acknowledges that “this is an exceedingly silly exercise. It shows only that even if the entire Muslim world were hostile to the United States, and unified in that hostility, it would not pose much of a threat. But how many radical anti-US Muslims are there? Not many. Again, the vast majority of the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims live in countries with which the US is friendly.”

He’s right that it’s a silly exercise. One of the reasons it’s silly is because he conflates the official position of a Muslim country’s government toward the United States with the number of “radical anti-US Muslims” in that country. Wilkinson apparently thinks that because Pakistan is officially a U.S. ally, its population must not adhere to a fundamentally anti-liberal interpretation of Islam, and the number of Pakistanis who do have those beliefs must be inconsequential.

In fact, vast numbers of Pakistanis inside and outside their government do have radical beliefs about Islam, which certainly made a difference in sheltering Osama bin Laden for ten years.

Wilkinson can barely bring himself to acknowledge that “Muslims in countries in which Islam is already recognized as the official religion do tend to support the integration of sharia into their countries’ legal codes.” In the Pew study he cites, this “tendency” is overwhelming in the largest Muslim-majority countries. He can’t come to terms with this because he doesn’t understand that in most of the Muslim world, although certainly not all, the integration of government and religion isn’t radical. It’s simply what Islam calls for, because Islam is a fundamentally political religion.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative interpretations of Islam that reject that notion. There certainly are, especially among Muslims living in the West. But they aren’t even close to the majority in the Muslim world.

So why should we care whether Muslims outside the West want Sharia law or ascribe to fundamentalist views if it’s not an “existential threat,” as Wilkinson points out? We should care when it involves human rights, like equality for women and the LGBT community, or when it threatens our allies, like Israel, or promotes instability in a region, like in Syria and Iraq, or when it means sheltering terrorists who are plotting attacks against America. We should care, for example, when Jakarta’s Christian governor is imprisoned for insulting the Quran.

All Who Notice Radical Islam Are Not Steve Bannon

Wilkinson sets up a straw-man argument in which Bannon supposedly represents anyone who argues that there are real and threatening trends in the Muslim world that could not only affect Western liberal values but threaten the growth of peace, equality, and democracy around the world. Since Bannon is such an easy target, and has many oversized, sometimes hysterical, opinions about Islam, it’s easy to knock him down.

Although Wilkinson does acknowledge the existence of al-Qaeda and ISIS, he argues that “from the perspective of empirically grounded risk assessment, this barely ranks as a minor threat to American or Western life and limb. The threat to European or American civilization is zilch.” Again, another handy conflation, this time between the risk of a wholesale military defeat and the wearing away at the Western values of freedom, democracy, and the separation of church and state.

Here, Wilkinson shifts gear to attack the proposition that there’s a threat from “stealth jihad,” what he calls an intellectual “retreat” for those bested by his arguments against the all-out war theory.

A key assumption of stealth jihad propaganda is that something like ISIS’s fundamentalist vision of Islam — the medieval elements, the torture, the beheadings, the obsession with building a caliphate — is indeed the genuine article. On this view, Islam is essentially committed to the imposition of religious law, or sharia, on believers and nonbelievers alike.

In their heart of hearts, therefore, all Muslims are committed to replacing secular political authority with Islamic religious law. This makes Islam an inherently seditious doctrine impossible to square with loyalty to a secular liberal-democratic regime.

First, most of the people who are worried about stealth jihad are not concerned that we are going to begin seeing torture and beheadings in the West. As for the concept of building a caliphate and the implementation of Islamic law, as noted earlier Wilkinson is apparently unaware of some very basic concepts within Islam, not to mention beliefs held by the majority of Muslims around the world. But let’s just look at Muslims in the West.

There Is Good Data on Western Muslims, Lots of It Scary

Wilkinson claims that “There’s no good data on Muslim support for the incorporation of sharia into the official law of Western liberal democracies, because it’s irrelevant. Muslims are very small minorities throughout Europe and North America.” Offering only the example of German Muslims of Turkish descent as proof of how un-radical Muslims living in Western countries are, he points out that only 12 percent of Turks want to replace German law with Islamic law.

What he fails to note is that young Muslims in Western countries tend to hold far more radical views than the older generation does. A BBC poll from 2007 found that 36 percent of Muslims in the United Kingdom aged 16 to 24 think Muslims should be killed if they convert to another religion. Seventy-four percent think women should wear a veil. Eighty percent of young Turks in the Netherlands don’t think it’s wrong to commit jihad against a non-believer.

If there is no problem with integration, and if so few Muslims in the West believe in sharia, jihad, or any other number of fundamentalist values, then why is it that after the Bataclan massacre in Paris, it took police months to find the prime suspect because he was being hidden and sheltered in the largely Muslim Molenbeek neighborhood in Belgium?

Wilkinson thinks it’s crazy to believe that Muslims “seek to replace secular, democratic government with sharia,” but he’s willing to grant it to make the point that, even so, there are so few Muslims in the West that it doesn’t matter. “The means by which such tiny minorities could assert control in strong states dominated by other religions and robust liberal norms remains utterly mysterious.” Yet we’ve seen both here in the United States and in Europe the extent to which the Left bends over backward to accommodate Muslim communities and push back against any criticism of them whatsoever.

Whenever the topic of women’s rights in the Muslim world is brought up, there’s always a backlash from the Left, which prefers its multiculturalism to its feminism. Or take the Rotherham sex abuse scandal, in which city officials didn’t pursue evidence of a child sex ring because the perpetrators were of Pakistani origin and they were afraid of being accused of Islamophobia. Or the fact that whenever there’s a terrorist attack in the West perpetrated by a Muslim, there’s a stampede to insist it has nothing to do with Islam, despite the avowal of the attacker himself.

These efforts are significantly supported by Islamist organizations in the United States like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has taken upon itself to be the spokesman for American Muslims, pushing out more moderate voices, and which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, a terrorist organization. It would seem, contra Wilkinson, that fundamentalist interpretations of Islam do, indeed, have a strong influence in the West, despite being a small minority.

The Truth Is, the Muslim World Is Largely Illiberal

Unlike Wilkinson, I am not interested in making radical and absolutist claims. I don’t think we’re at war with Islam; I don’t think we’re about to see beheadings codified into law; and I don’t anticipate an imminent global battle between Western countries and Muslim countries.

I do, however, think that the Muslim world, while home to many kind and charitable people, is also largely illiberal—and that in itself is a problem that we should care about. The majority of Muslims in the West, especially in the United States, tend to be a self-selecting group of people open to moderate interpretations of Islam, which is one reason they have settled in the West to begin with.

But they are not all like that, and their voice is not as weak as Wilkinson would have us believe. What is most worrisome is the increasing de facto censorship of any criticism of Islam, even in its most extremist manifestations. That, not roving bands of machete-wielding mujahedeen, is what threatens Western civilization and liberal values.

Wilkinson concludes with an obtuse declaration that “In the real world…the idea that anything at all about the West could be threatened by ‘stealth jihad’ is either an expression of studied ignorance or a form of malicious religious intolerance.” His reductive argument would have been infinitely stronger had he understood the issue not as black and white, as a choice between believing the armies of Islam are marching on the West or denying there’s any reason for concern.

But Wilkinson made no real effort to persuade, which is why he’ll fail to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with him. Then again, maybe his purpose was not to persuade, but merely to signal his own virtue.

Megan G. Oprea is editor of the foreign policy newsletter INBOUND. She holds a PhD in French linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. You can follow her on Twitter here.

Open Letter to National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ is Accurate and ‘Helpful’

Gatestone Institute, by A. Z. Mohamed, April 25, 2017:

  • In other words, as al-Kalbani has confirmed — and contrary to what McMaster has been telling his staff and his commander-in-chief, President Trump — Muslim terrorists are Islamic, and the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is apt, accurate and extremely “helpful.”

During his first “all hands” staff meeting on February 23, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, called terrorism “un-Islamic” and the term “radical Islamic terrorism” not helpful.

Prior to the meeting, retired U.S. Army Col. Peter Mansoor told Fox News that McMaster, with whom he served in Iraq during the 2007 surge of American troops, “absolutely does not view Islam as the enemy… and will present a degree of pushback against the theories being propounded in the White House that this is a clash of civilizations and needs to be treated as such.”

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s National Security Adviser. (Image source: Center for Strategic and International Studies)

Let us put McMaster’s premise — which is antithetical not only to that of his predecessor, Michael Flynn, but to Trump himself and many of his senior advisers — to the test.

Less than three years ago, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh — a grandchild of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th-century founder of the Saudi school of Islam called Wahhabism — said, in an August 19, 2014 statement, that Islamic State (ISIS), and al-Qaeda, are Islam’s “enemy number one.”

This would be a good sign, if not for the fact that four days earlier, Sheikh Adil al-Kalbani, a former imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and a Salafi (a strict sect of Sunni Islam advocating a return to the early Islam of the Quran), tweeted: “ISIS is a true product of Salafism and we must deal with it with full transparency.”

Later that month, al-Kalbani published two pieces in the Saudi government-aligned daily Al Riyadh — on August 24 and 31 — criticizing elements “in the Salafi stream for appropriating the truth and Islam and for permitting the killing of their opponents, and… clerics and society that dared not come out against them.”

This was a bold assertion on the part of al-Kalbani: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is based on Wahhabism, a form of Salafism embraced by the monarchy.

In January 2016, al-Kalbani gave an interview to the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based network, MBC, in which he acknowledged with regret, “We follow the same thought [as ISIS], but apply it in a refined way.” He added that ISIS “draws its ideas from what is written in our own books, from our own principles.” (Author’s emphasis)

McMaster should have been listening.

In the BBC World Service podcast “The Inquiry” (December 2015) — on a program called “Is Saudi Arabia to blame for IS?” — Professor Bernard Haykel, director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia at Princeton University, said: “The Islamic State’s religious genealogy comes from ‘Jihadi Salafism,’ a theological current that is very old in Islam that is quite literalist.” Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s well-known short books, he added, “are used by ISIS today.”

Indeed, until ISIS began producing its own textbooks in 2014, the terrorist organization relied on official Saudi ones.

In addition, many fatwas (Islamic legal decrees) issued by senior Saudi clerics are markedly similar to those issued by ISIS and other terrorist organizations. As recently as February 2017, in fact — in a lesson aired on Saudi regime-aligned Ahwaz TV — Sheikh Ayman Al-Anqari cited various hadiths (a collection of the Prophet Mohamed’s sayings) supporting his fatwa that “coexistence in the sense of freedom of religion… is null and void.” He also advocated offensive jihad and death as a punishment for apostates.

It should be noted that Al-Anqari is a professor in the Aqidah (Islamic Faith) and Current Doctrines department in the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh.

In other words, as al-Kalbani has confirmed — and contrary to what McMaster has been telling his staff and his commander-in-chief, President Trump — Muslim terrorists are Islamic, and the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is apt, accurate and extremely “helpful.”

A. Z. Mohamed is a Muslim born and raised in the Middle East.

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