On Turkey, Trump Catches Spring Fever

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves after he visited the graves of three conservative late Turkish prime ministers, in Istanbul, Monday, April 17, 2017. (Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Press Service via AP)

PJ MEDIA, BY ANDREW C. MCCARTHY, APRIL 19, 2017:

Amid reports of significant ballot-box stuffing, roughing up dissenters, and other electoral fraud, Turkey’s sharia-supremacist strongman, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hammered the final nail in the coffin of his country’s democracy. Last weekend, he narrowly prevailed in a referendum that formally concentrates in the presidency the autocratic powers he had previously usurped.

Afterwards, Donald Trump called to congratulate him.

You read that right. The president of the United States called to congratulate a terror-supporting Islamist ruler on completing his country’s turn away from Western liberalism.

Five years ago, I wrote a book called Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy. It was largely about Erdogan and Turkey. That story needed telling in order to explain why, far from a democratic revolution, the so-called Arab Spring would result in the ascendancy of political Islam in all its classic totalitarianism. The point was that we knew how the story would end in the Middle East and North Africa because the same story had already played out in Ankara.

And so it did.

Erdogan had seized the reins thanks to a constitutional quirk ironically designed to keep Islamists out of power. Gradually — in many ways, brilliantly — he strengthened his hand until, finally, he succeeded in his goal of eviscerating the secular, Westward-leaning society forged by Mustafa Kemal — Atatürk — out of the Ottoman Empire’s post-World War I collapse.

Spring Fever presaged what happened last weekend. Though he was still prime minister at the time (mid-2012, the height of Arab Spring exuberance), I contended that Erdogan’s goal was “the adoption of a new constitution with a powerful presidency that Erdogan would occupy.” Thus, my rueful conclusion that “‘Islamic Democracy’ begins to sound a lot like Russian ‘democracy.’”

It was always sadly amusing that Western devotees of “Islamic democracy” pointed to “the Turkish model” as proof positive that their oxymoronic fantasy could become Middle Eastern reality.

Even in their rose-tinted telling, the Arab Spring was supposed to be a mass transformation from dictatorships to democracy. Turkey, to the contrary, was already a democracy when Erdogan took over in 2003. He represented a shift from a secular, pro-Western orientation to sharia supremacism. There never was an Arab Spring, but Erdogan is the Turkish Winter, transforming democracy into dictatorship.

Steadily, he accumulated power though starting from a position of weakness. He was shrewd, but the tea leaves were never hard to read. “Democracy,” he proclaimed, “is just the train we board to reach our destination.” Erdogan never saw democracy as a goal, never aspired to adopt a culture of liberty and the protection of minority rights. For him democracy was nothing but the procedural means — mainly, popular elections in a Muslim majority country — to the desired end of imposing sharia, Islam’s societal framework and legal system. “I am a servant of sharia,” Erdogan was wont to say when he was Istanbul’s mayor — though he preferred to refer to himself as the city’s “imam.”

As prime minister, his masterstroke was to exploit the con-job known as European integration. Erdogan knew that, for all their flowery rhetoric, Germany, France, and the rest had no intention of welcoming a Muslim country of 80 million into the EU. Moreover, as an Islamist in the Muslim Brotherhood mold, Erdogan despises the West and had no intention of conforming in order to join. To this day, he exhorts Muslims to integrate into the West but resist assimilation. Indeed, he has described Western pressure on Muslims to assimilate as a “crime against humanity.” When it comes to Europe, Erdogan’s long range plan is to extort its accommodation of Islamic norms, not to become a partner.

Thus, we find the brilliance of Erdogan’s strategy. His main opponents when he took power were the Turkish military, which had staged coups throughout modern Turkey’s history to prevent an Islamist takeover, and the rest of the “deep state” guardians of the secular Kemalist order. So Erdogan undertook to leverage the endless European integration process in a manner that undermined his rivals. There was the Western insistence on civilian control of the military, which paralyzed Kemalists who might otherwise plot to remove Erdogan; the prime minister thus gradually installed his own loyalists. And while EU bureaucrats care little about Western religious traditions, they are indignant on the matter of religious liberty where Islam is concerned. As applied to Turkey, this EU integration metric gave Erdogan the cover he needed to ease Kemalist restrictions on the teaching and practice of Islam.

Meanwhile, Erdogan focused on restoring sharia norms in the culture and sharia tenets in the classroom. When it became clear that the armed forces would not dare overthrow him, he purged Kemalist officers, including in mass, trumped-up prosecutions. Ditto journalists: Erdogan’s Turkey imprisons more reporters than China, and is brutal generally toward dissenters.

Concurrently, he rolled out the red carpet for the Muslim Brotherhood, which turned Turkey into a center of movement gravity. He cultivated friendship with Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of jihadist terror, working to help the mullahs defeat American sanctions. He is one of the world’s foremost promoters of Hamas, maintaining that the Palestinian jihadist faction is a political party fighting against occupation — just like Hezbollah, Iran’s Shiite jihadist faction. And Erdogan’s determination to arm and train Sunni jihadists has contributed to the rise of the Islamic State, even if it has strained his relations with Tehran.

To summarize, Erdogan is an anti-Western, anti-Semitic, sharia-supremacist, jihadist-empowering anti-Democrat. As a ruler, he is a Putin wannabe who persecutes those who dare defy him, running his country like a mafia don. His referendum victory is the death knell for democracy in Turkey.

Last summer, candidate Donald Donald Trump lavished praise on Erdogan after the latter put down an attempted coup. The nominee did not realize, or perhaps did not care, that the revolt had been a last-ditch attempt to thwart the regime’s sharia authoritarianism and restore the secular, pro-Western constitutional order. This was bad enough — an early reflection of Trump’s indifference to the internal affairs of countries he perceives as potentially helpful (however well- or ill-informed such perceptions may be).

But it is simply mind-boggling that, as president, Trump would congratulate Erdogan for a stolen election victory that crushes democracy and accelerates Turkey’s Islamist turn.

After he won in November, I wondered aloud whether Trump grasped the reality of sharia supremacism. Sure, he deserved praise for his willingness to name America’s enemy — “radical Islamic terrorism,” he called it. Yet it remained to be seen whether he understood the enemy, particularly the ideology that drives the enemy.

Suffice it to say: I continue to have my doubts.

In his speech accepting the Republican nomination, Trump railed about the “radical Muslim Brotherhood” and put a positive spin on the Egyptian military’s decision to wrest control from the Brotherhood regime. All fine … except this came at the very same time he was lauding Erdogan, the Brotherhood’s key ally and ideological twin, for crushing a similarly motivated coup. Since then, Trump has opined that Turkey could be of great help against the Islamic State, notwithstanding that Erdogan’s empowerment of Sunni militants helped create the Islamic State.

Perhaps someone could explain to the president that although Erdogan, like the Brotherhood and other Islamists, has his disagreements with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, he shares the jihadists’ commitment to sharia rule. That is, his worldview is more like that of totalitarian jihadists than of, say, NATO countries. Of course, when Turkey was permitted to join NATO in 1952, it was Kemalist. Now, though the alliance of democracies has added counterterrorism to its renewed mission of containing the Kremlin’s ambitions, Turkey is Islamist, anti-democratic, supports terrorists, and has cozied up to Putin.

There are two things to notice about Erdogan. First, he sees Islam as the foundation of life, with no division among the political, civic, social, and spiritual realms. Second, he emphatically rejects the concept of “moderate” Islam – recall his famous outburst: “It is an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” That is why Erdogan so naturally champions the jihadists of Hamas and Hezbollah, and why he was so willing to provide logistical support, training space, weapons, and funding for Sunni jihadists headed to Syria.

Eventually, of course, jihadists began biting the hand that fed them, bombing targets in Turkey and kidnapping Turkish officials. It’s an old game, one Erdogan could learn about from the Saudis, Pakistanis, Egyptians, and other Islamist regimes that have similarly supported Muslim militants in the vain hope of controlling them and using them geopolitically. Only after ISIS struck Turkey did Erdogan begin posing as a committed ISIS enemy. But the new American president is kidding himself if he thinks he can bank on that, or that an Islamist dictator can be a reliable ally against Islamic terrorism while promoting sharia supremacism and continuing to support his preferred Islamic terrorists, such as Hamas.

Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s renowned jurist (and Hamas’s inspiration), has explained that Western democracy is incompatible with Islamic society because sharia is a comprehensive societal system that regards secularism as apostasy — a capital offense in Islamic law.

Al-Qaeda and its breakaway branch, the Islamic State, seek a global caliphate governed by totalitarian sharia, and thus attack governments that aspire to real democracy.

Now, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has snuffed out democracy in his quest to turn Turkey into an authoritarian sharia state.

And the president of the United States has called to congratulate him.

Turks Vote to Give Away Their Democracy

Gatestone Institute, by Burak Bekdil, April 18, 2017:

  • Alarmingly, Turkey’s proposed system lacks the safety mechanisms of checks and balances that exist in other countries such as the United States.
  • It would transfer powers traditionally held by parliament to the presidency, thereby rendering the parliament merely a ceremonial, advisory body.
  • “The conditions for a free and fair plebiscite on proposed constitutional reforms simply do not hold,” said a report released by the EU Turkey Civic Commission.

In a bitter irony, nearly 55 million Turks went to the ballot box on April 16 to exercise their basic democratic right to vote. But they voted in favor of giving away their democracy. The system for which they voted looks more like a Middle Eastern sultanate than democracy in the West.

According to unofficial results of the referendum, 51.4% of the Turks voted in favor of constitutional amendments that will give their authoritarian Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, excessive powers to augment his one-man rule in comfort.

The changes make Erdogan head of government, head of state and head of the ruling party — all at the same time. He now has the power to appoint cabinet ministers without requiring a confidence vote from parliament, propose budgets and appoint more than half the members of the nation’s highest judicial body. In addition, he has the power to dissolve parliament, impose states of emergency and issue decrees. Alarmingly, the proposed system lacks the safety mechanisms of checks and balances that exist in other countries such as the United States. It would transfer powers traditionally held by parliament to the presidency, thereby rendering the parliament merely a ceremonial, advisory body.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims victory in the April 16 referendum, at a rally the night of the vote. (Image source: VOA video screenshot)

Why did the Turks choose democratic suicide?

1. Erdogan’s confrontational Islamist-nationalist rhetoric keeps appealing to masses who adore him for his claims of being in the process of restoring the country’s historical Ottoman influence as a leader of the Islamic world. His rhetoric — and practices — would often echo an authoritarian rule in the form of a sultan. It was not a coincidence that the thousands of Erdogan fans who gathered to salute their leader after his referendum victory were passionately waving Turkish and Ottoman flags and chanting “Allah-u aqbar” [“Allah is the greatest”, in Arabic]. For most of Erdogan’s conservative fans, “God comes first… then comes Erdogan”. That sentiment explains why the vote on April 16 was not just a boring constitutional matter for many Turks: It was about endorsing an ambitious man who promises to revive a glorious past.

2. The ‘No’ campaign and its supporters were systematically silenced and intimidated by a powerful state apparatus, including its police and judicial powers. In contrast, the ‘Yes’ campaign enjoyed all possible government support, with full mobilization of state means and public resources. Worse, Turkey went to the ballot box under a state of emergency that was declared after a failed coup in July.

3. A European Union (EU) parliamentary organization warned before the referendum that the democratic legitimacy of the vote was in question. It mentioned that the lawmakers’ ability to campaign for the ‘No’ vote had been undermined by the government. “The conditions for a free and fair plebiscite on proposed constitutional reforms simply do not hold,” said a report released by the EU Turkey Civic Commission. It highlighted, among several other reasons, that the co-leaders of a pro-Kurdish political party who campaigned for ‘No’ have been imprisoned since November on charges of links with terror groups. In the 15 months leading up to the referendum, says a civil rights NGO, police used violence to stop a total of 264 peaceful demonstrations in support of the ‘No’ campaign.

4. With around 150 journalists in jail, the pervading climate was fear.

The great Turkish purge spells big numbers. According to Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu:

  • 47,155 people have been jailed since the coup attempt on July 15;
  • 113,260 people have also been detained;
  • 41,499 people have been released with condition of judicial control and 23,861 people have been released without any condition; 863 other suspects remain at large;
  • 10,732 of those who have been arrested are police officers, while 168 military generals and 7,463 military officers have been jailed as of April 2, 2017;
  • 2,575 judges and prosecutors, and 208 governors or other public administrators have been imprisoned. The number of jailed civilians, including handicapped people, housewives and elders, is 26,177
  • Over 135,000 people have been purged: A total of 7,317 academics were also purged as well as 4,272 judges and prosecutors who were dismissed due to alleged involvement in the coup attempt.

‘No’ campaigners were threatened and treated like terrorists. Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed cases of intimidation against the ‘No’ campaign across the country.

5. The main opposition Republican People’s Party claimed election rigging. It claimed the vote was manipulated in terms of content and method. Only an hour into the vote count, the Supreme Board of Elections declared as valid voting papers without official seals. That practice is clearly in violation of the election laws. The opposition also claimed that in some cities the election observers from the ‘No’ groups were removed from their polling stations. In Turkey, it probably does not matter what is in the ballot box; what matters more is who counts them.

The April 16 vote in Turkey meant more than a simple vote on a package of 18 constitutional amendments. With a narrow and controversial margin, the Turks voted to change regime in favor of a sultanate. It was not a coincidence that a news editor for Yeni Akit, a militantly Islamist newspaper and a pro-Erdogan outlet, tweeted after the referendum results, an obituary for the “Old Turkey.” In January, a columnist for Yeni Akit claimed that Erdogan would become the “caliph” if he wins the referendum and the presidential election.

Turkey’s soul-searching and societal wars never have a moment of truce. Turkey’s wars are not just between political leaders and parties; they are wars between the supporters of a democratic, secular country and those of a caliphate which Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, abolished almost a century ago. As Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, said of the referendum: “This is a sad day for all democrats in Turkey”.

Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey’s leading journalists, was just fired from Turkey’s leading newspaper after 29 years, for writing what was taking place in Turkey for Gatestone. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Also see:

Erdogan Claims Victory in Referendum Making Him Dictator

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP Photo)

PJ Media, by Rick Moran, April 16, 2017:

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is claiming victory in a referendum that will greatly expand his powers, changing the country from a nominal parliamentary democracy into a presidential dictatorship.

But opposition groups are protesting the vote, which resulted in a closer outcome than expected.

Erdogan will apparently be denied the decisive victory he sought, despite his crackdown on the opposition since the failed military coup last year.

Reuters:

Nearly all ballots had been opened for counting, state-run Anadolu news agency said, although a lag between opening and counting them could see the lead tighten even further.

Erdogan called Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and the leader of the nationalist MHP party, which supported the “Yes” vote, to congratulate them, presidential sources said. They quoted Erdogan as saying the referendum result was clear.

The result appeared short of the decisive victory that Erdogan and the ruling AK Party had campaigned aggressively for. In Turkey’s three biggest cities – Istanbul, Izmir and the capital Ankara – the “No” camp appeared set to prevail narrowly, according to Turkish television stations.

Addressing a crowd outside the AKP’s headquarters in Ankara, Yildirim said unofficial tallies showed the “Yes” camp ahead.

“A new page has been opened in our democratic history,” Yildirim said. “We are brothers, one body, one nation.”

Convoys of cars honking horns in celebration, their passengers waving flags from the windows, clogged a main avenue in Ankara as they headed towards the AKP’s headquarters to celebrate. A chant of Erdogan’s name rang out from loud speakers and campaign buses.

A “Yes” vote would replace Turkey’s parliamentary democracy with an all-powerful presidency and may see Erdogan in office until at least 2029, in the most radical change to the country’s political system in its modern history.

The outcome will also shape Turkey’s strained relations with the European Union. The NATO member state has curbed the flow of migrants – mainly refugees from wars in Syria and Iraq – into the bloc but Erdogan says he may review the deal after the vote.

The opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP) said it would demand a recount of up to 60 percent of the votes, protesting against a last-minute decision by the electoral board to accept unstamped ballots as valid votes.

If you’re wondering how people could freely vote for dictatorship, this voter explains:

“I don’t think one-man rule is such a scary thing. Turkey has been ruled in the past by one man,” he said, referring to modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Opponents say it is a step towards greater authoritarianism in a country where some 47,000 people have been jailed pending trial and 120,000 sacked or suspended from their jobs in a crackdown following a failed coup last July, drawing criticism from Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups.

Erdogan will be no ordinary dictator. He is, first and foremost, an Islamist in the heart of democratic Europe. He will control a large, well-trained army equipped with the latest NATO weapons in one of the most strategically located countries in the world. It will be very difficult to fight ISIS and blunt Iran’s ambitions without Erdogan’s cooperation.

That’s why criticism from NATO and the U.S. for this power grab will be muted. As noted above, Turkey is also a key player in the refugee crisis. Erdogan could make the lives of EU leaders miserable if he opens the floodgates of migrants and allows passage through Turkey into the west.

In other words, Erdogan enjoys a considerable amount of leverage. How he uses it will impact the security of NATO and the U.S.

Also see:

US Air Force to quit Incirlik, move to Syria base

DEBKAfile, April 8, 2017:

Several US engineering teams are working round the clock to build a big new air base in northern Syria after completing the expansion of another four. They are all situated in the Syrian borderland with Iraq, DEBKAfile’s military forces report.

This was going on over the weekend as senators, news correspondents and commentators were outguessing each other over whether the US missile attack on the Syrian Shayrat air base Friday, in retaliation for the Assad regime’s chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun, was a one-off or the start of a new series.

As the White House parried those questions, the Trump administration was going full steam ahead on the massive project of preparing to pull US air force units out of the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, in active American use since 2002. Those units were in the middle of a big moving job to the five new and expanded air bases in Syria. Their hub is to be Tabqa, which is just 110km west of the Islamic State’s Syrian capital, Raqqa. The other five are Hajar airport in the Rmelan region, two small air fields serving farm transport in Qamishli, which have been converted to military us; and a fifth in the Kurdish Kobani enclave north of Aleppo near the Syrian-Turkish border.
Tabqa is also becoming the main assembly-point for the joint US, Kurdish, tribal Arab force that is coming together in readiness for a major charge on Raqqa.
When the work is finished, the rising complex of air bases will enable America to deploy twice as many warplanes and helicopters in Syria as the Russians currently maintain.

The site of the Tabqa air field was captured as recently as late March by the Syrian Democratic Force (Kurdish-Arab fighters) which were flown in and dropped there by the US Air Force’s Air Mobility Command. It was quickly dubbed “Incirlik 2” or “Qayyarah-2” after the US command center running the Iraqi military offensive against ISIS in Mosul.

Tabqa is designed to accommodate the 2,500 US military personnel housed at Incirlik. Like the Americans, the German Bundeswehr is also on the point of quitting Incirlik and eying a number of new locations in Cyprus and Jordan. The Germans are pulling out over the crisis in their relations with Ankara. The Americans are quitting because President Donald Trump wants to chill US ties with Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan and cooperation with the Turkish army.

The five US bases in Syria are part of Trump’s three-pronged strategy which aims at a) fighting Islamist terror; b) blocking Iran’s land and air access to Syria; and c) providing the enclaves of the Syrian Kurdish-PYD-YPG with a military shield against the Turkish army.

NATO Ally Turkey Working with U.S. Muslim Brotherhood

Osama Abu-Irshaid (National Director of American Muslims for Palestine, AMP, a founding member of the USCMO), USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal (center) and Naeem Baig (President of the Islamic Center of North America, ICNA, a founding member of the USCMO) outside AK Party Headquarters in Ankara, Turkey, during an August 2014 visit

Center for Security Policy, April 3, 2017:

During the 2016 U.S presidential campaign, senior leadership figures of the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) began strategic planning to ensure the advancement and protection of the group’s objectives, no matter who won the White House. USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal and HAMAS dba Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad set plans in motion to defend the Muslim Brotherhood’s Civilization Jihad inside the U.S. Those objectives were first exposed and described in the Center’s 2015 publication, in Star Spangled Shariah: The Rise of America’s First Muslim Brotherhood Party.

Joining directly in those efforts then and now is the pro-HAMAS Turkish government, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). The groundwork for what is now a close working relationship began well before the March 2014 announcement of the USCMO’s formation, but it is known that on 15 May 2013, a visiting President Erdoğan placed a ceremonial stone on the 16-acre construction site that would become the Turkish Diyanet Center of America in Lanham, Maryland. The following year, in August 2014, a USCMO delegation led by Secretary General Oussama Jammal traveled to Ankara to meet with President Erdoğan and AK Party leaders. And then, on 29 December 2014, in a recorded video message, Dr. Mehmet Görmez, President of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), addressed the 13th Annual MAS-ICNA (Muslim American Society-Islamic Circle of North America) Conference in Chicago, Illinois and discussed a gift for all Muslims: the Turkish Diyanet Center of America. Of note for the future of the US Muslim Brotherhood-Turkish relationship, this conference was sponsored by the Turkish-backed American Zakat Foundation and included the first-ever attendance of a Turkish-American group at a MAS-ICNA conference.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shaking hands with USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal during the USCMO delegation reception with Erdoğan in NYC in September 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressing an assembly of US Muslim Brotherhood leadership during the week of the September 2016 UN General Assembly meeting. USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal is in the front row at the far right, Mazen Mokhtar, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society (MAS), can be seen in the middle, and Nihad Awad, CAIR Executive Director, is seated at the far left. Awad also welcomed the Turkish government delegation to CAIR’s WDC headquarters that same week.

It will be recalled that Erdoğan himself joined U.S. President Barack Obama on 2 April 2016 at the opening ceremonies for the Diyanet Center of America, located on a large 16-acre site in Lanham, Maryland. The Diyanet Center, also known as the Turkish American Cultural Center (TACC), is a wholly-owned facility of The Presidency of Religious Affairs, an official state institution of the Turkish government.

Under the Trump administration, the USCMO is especially concerned with legal issues, as calls were heard during the 2016 campaign urging that the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) HAMAS terror funding trial be re-opened to pursue possible cases against the more-than-200 unindicted co-conspirators named by the Department of Justice. Apparently concerned over possible vulnerability should the books of mosques, Islamic Centers and Muslim Brotherhood front groups come under renewed official scrutiny, CAIR and other members of the USCMO therefore engaged the services of the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), itself a founding member of the USCMO.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the first major event to be co-sponsored by the USCMO, TACC and the MLFA in the Trump era will be a 13 May 2017 Muslim Non-Profit Leadership Conference, to be held at the Diyanet Center of America. Among the program topics are Safeguarding 501(c)3 status; Board fiduciary responsibilities; record keeping and disclosure requirements; Fundraising regulations, state registrations, unrelated business income; and Banking regulations, FDIC, DOJ, Watchlists, international charitable giving.

One of the MLFA’s top legal representatives, now working openly with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, is U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander (ret.) Charles Swift, formerly of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Swift, a 1984 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who was recognized by the Muslim Brotherhood for his legal role advocating for client Salim Ahmed Hamdan in the U.S. Supreme Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfield 548 US 557 (2006). This role doubtless contributed to the choice of Swift as Director and Counsel for the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA), a project of the Muslim Legal Fund of America led by Executive Director Khahil Meek.

The MLFA’s CLCMA project presents itself as dedicated to two primary missions:

  • “Challenging governmental security measures affecting Muslim communities which encroach upon the constitutional liberties guaranteed to all.”
  • “Protecting the rights of Muslim individuals and organizations in the United States to exercise their constitutionally and statutorily protected rights to worship.”

Pictured left to right: “Jihadis in Suits” Nihad Awad, Khalil Meek, Oussama Jammalerdogan

In apparent pursuance of these missions, the MLFA continues actively to seek the release from federal prison of defendants in the HLF trial, which concluded in late 2008 with a unanimous guilty verdict on all 108 counts. The MLFA also engages in lawfare, using lawsuits as an offensive means of shutting down opposition to its civilization jihad operations. For example, as noted by the Thomas More Law Center in the 2009 case of Joe KAUFMAN, Appellant, v. ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF ARLINGTON, Texas, Islamic Center of Irving, DFW Islamic Educational Center, Inc., Dar Elsalam Islamic Center, Al Hedayah Islamic Center, Islamic Association of Tarrant County, and Muslim American Society of Dallas, Appellees, No. 2-09-023-CV: “The head of that organization [MLFA], Khalil Meek, admitted on a Muslim radio show that lawsuits were being filed against Kaufman and others to set an example. Indeed, for the last several years, Muslim groups in the U.S. have engaged in the tactic of filing meritless lawsuits to silence any public discussion of Islamic terrorist threats.”

More recently, in response to U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s early March 2017 revised executive order to restrict immigration from six Muslim-majority nations, the MLFA working in conjunction with the USCMO, is referring all Muslims to its “advisory prepared by Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America.” The MLFA may cloak itself in the colors of Star Spangled Shariah as a “constitutional rights organization” but Executive Director Khalil Meek still whines that “We continue to be troubled by this administration’s ongoing attempts to single out Muslims for adverse actions. Such blatant discrimination is a violation of our nation’s constitutional freedoms of speech, expression and religion.”

Finally, it is worth taking note of the following guidance. The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) provides the authoritative juridical backup on Islamic Law (shariah) for the American Muslim community and U.S. Islamic legal organizations such as the MLFA. Addressing the U.S. Muslim community on 28 November 2016, shortly after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, AMJA issued the following bracing statement:

“No one could possibly be unaware of the political storm that has recently overtaken this country…For this reason, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America is addressing the Imams, Islamic workers and the entire Muslim community with permanent values that must be emphasized during this stage as well as a number of principles to be used in dealing with these events, what has happened as well as what is expected to happen…Islam, with respect to its belief and legal foundations, is unalterably fixed. It does not accept any replacement for change. (emphasis added)

While the Center for Security Policy has followed the activities of the USCMO, MLFA and AMJA, the realization of just how closely the Turkish government at the highest level is working in collusion with these Muslim Brotherhood-associated groups to thwart any legal measures that may be directed their way by the new Trump administration and Department of Justice led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions still comes as something of a shock. The U.S. Brotherhood and its international partners were way ahead of the Trump team in foreseeing a possible renewal of legal risk and liability under this new management and began taking steps to confront it. They bring significant financial and legal resources to the fight, plus, as we now see, state-level backing from NATO member Turkey whose pro-HAMAS stance has long been known.

But given that an official organization of the Ankara regime is now operating a large Center (with numerous associated centers and mosques) barely thirteen miles from the U.S. Capitol and working there in collaboration with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood to thwart possible legal actions by the U.S. government is certainly noteworthy. As the international as well as U.S. Muslim Brotherhood gear up for coming confrontations, so must U.S. national security leadership as well.

Turkish Govt Opened $100m Mosque in Washington DC as Turkish Intel Spied From Mosques Across Europe

PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, APRIL 2, 2017:

Editor’s Note: See Patrick Poole’s related article from yesterday, “Mosques Spying for Turkish Intelligence in Germany Prompt Raids, Government Probe

One year ago today Turkey’s president Recep Erdogan was in the Washington D.C. area to open a new $100 million mosque complex funded by the Turkish government and operated by the Diyanet, Turkey’s religious affairs ministry.

Needless to say, the opening of the Diyanet complex received national and international media attention:

But not without controversy:

But on the one year anniversary of the opening of the Diyanet Center of America, questions about its true purpose are raised by ongoing investigations by European officials into widespread spying allegations implicating Turkish government-funded Diyanet mosques across the continent – just like the one opened outside of Washington D.C. – spying on behalf of the the Turkish intelligence service, the Milli Istihbarat Teskilati (MIT).

Yesterday, I reported here at PJ Media on the investigations in Germany, where authorities have conducted raids targeting Diyanet imams and high ranking officers of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), the official arm of the Diyanet in Germany.

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A slippery slope in Iraq and Syria

Unanswered Questions in the Mideast Conflicts Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The Washington Times, by Shoshana Bryen, March 21, 2017:

The good news is various forces are attacking ISIS (the Islamic State) and its control of territory is weakening. But as it does, historical adversaries are converging on the battlefield and American troops are standing between them in ever-increasing numbers. What began as limited airstrikes has become an American ground presence. Changes begun in the previous administration continue in the current one.

This is not Vietnam. But as the numbers increase, it is worth noting that GIs are in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan without the United States being at war with any of these countries or necessarily supporting any of their governments. But neither President Obama nor President Trump has talked to the American people about three essential things here: America’s allies, America’s adversaries, and American military and political goals.

Five thousand American troops are near Mosul, along with Kurds, Iraqi troops, Shiite Iraqi militias and up to 80,000 Iranian-sponsored Shiite militiamen under the control of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Gen. Soleimani, banned by the United Nations from international travel for his terrorism ties, is still moving.

With him come allies. One, Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, has called on Shiite troops to kill Americans. The Institute for the Study of War reported that another has been responsible for more than 6,000 attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq since 2006. Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq (“Band of the Righteous”) considers Americans an occupying army and continues to fight them.

The war President Obama claimed to have ended in 2011 did not stop for these people. Now we are back in their space, working toward the same goal in Mosul, but with incompatible longer-term aims.

The latest American troop increase is in Syria, where the war against ISIS has moved to recapturing territory in Manbij and soon Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the self-proclaimed Islamic State “caliphate.” Along with airstrikes, the most recent report says that hundreds of U.S. Marines with heavy artillery have been deployed near Raqqa, adding to several hundred Americans already there. Another group of approximately 1,000 American soldiers is planned for Kuwait to “provide options” for commanders in Syria.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met last week in Kazakhstan with his Russian and Turkish counterparts to solidify deconfliction plans. But the potential for miscalculation or malicious attack rises exponentially as American, Iranian and Iranian-sponsored multinational Shiite militias, Kurdish, Syrian government, Syrian rebel, Turkish, Hezbollah (“Party of God”) and Russian air and a few ground forces converge.

Manbij, a city of Arabs, Yazidis and Kurds about 70 miles from Raqqa, is a flash point. In mid-August, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) routed ISIS gunmen and claimed the city. In late August, Turkish forces entered Syria and announced their own liberation of Manbij — from the SDF. Turkish planes bombed Kurdish forces before pulling back.

The secular SDF, opposed to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as well as ISIS, is primarily Kurdish with other Sunni Arab elements; the SDF’s primary Kurdish element is the People’s Protection Units (YPG), an ally of the United States and of Turkey’s nemesis, the People’s Workers Party (the Kurdish PKK). So SDF through YPG is an enemy of America’s NATO ally, Turkey. A U.S. Army spokesman told reporters that after Manbij’s liberation, U.S. Special Forces continued to assist the SDF-organized Manbij Military Council forces.

A few weeks ago, Turkey indicated that it would re-enter Manbij to eliminate “terrorist forces” in the city — meaning Kurds the Turks believe are associated with the PKK. Washington objected. “We have made visible actions in deploying U.S. forces as a part of the coalition in and around Manbij to reassure and deter,” said a Defense Department spokesman. “That’s to deter parties from attacking any other parties other than ISIS itself.”

When did U.S. forces receive the mission of keeping historic enemies from killing each other?

The SDF claims to have sufficient forces, with American support, to liberate Raqqa, 70 miles away. This has caused the Turks again to protest loudly. The Russians have thrown their political support behind the Kurds, aligning American interests with Russia against Turkey.

Has the United States decided to oppose Turkey, which controls access to the NATO air base at Incirlik, with its American contingent and nuclear weapons? Has the United States decided to side with Russia, which is the chief supporter of war criminal Mr. Assad, against Turkey? Side with the Russians who, themselves, have bombed aid convoys headed for rebel Syrian cities? Is it possible to support our allies, the Kurds, without doing both other things?

America’s allies and adversaries — and most of all, our troops — need to some answers as we appear to travel a well-worn and slippery slope.

• Shoshana Bryen is senior director of the Washington-based Jewish Policy Center.