Iran’s Lebanese Missile Factories in “New and Very Dangerous Phase”

by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
July 18, 2017

Recently-built Iranian missile factories in Lebanon can produce powerful weapons for Hizballah and are part of a wider trend that could set the region on fire, a senior former Israeli defense source has told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

“There is no doubt that this is a new and very dangerous stage,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said about the fact that Iran has for the first time placed military production industries directly in Hizballah’s possession.

“It points to the fact that Lebanon is not a state, but a branch of Iran that is controlled by Hizballah, and that Iran, after the nuclear agreement, feels that it can do everything because no one dares harm it,” he added.

Tehran’s alliance with Moscow gives the Islamic Republic “extraordinary power, and hence, Iran allows itself to do what it has not dared do without the alliance with Russia,” the source said.

Russia depends on Iran to safeguard the Assad regime in Syria, the source noted. Iran is testing Israeli red lines by arming the radical Shi’ite Iranian proxy, Hizballah, with potentially dire consequences.

“When Israel is forced to act after Iran and Hizballah cross all of the red lines, Lebanon will be destroyed, because Iran and Hizballah have turned it into one big weapons storage facility, and the world is silent,” the source said.

“Anyone who dreams about Israel accepting, in a future arrangement [with the Palestinians], any kind of international force that will have any kind of role, should examine the utter uselessness of UNIFIL [the United Nations force stationed in southern Lebanon], which has yet to report on a single rocket or missile out of the 120,000 that exist in Lebanon. For Israel, UNIFIL is more of a nuisance than a benefit,” the source said.

Earlier this month, France’s Intelligence Online magazine reported that one factory was under construction in northern Lebanon, with the second being built on Lebanon’s southern coast.

The production center in northern Lebanon was designed to make Fateh 110 medium-range missiles, which puts most of Israel in range and carries a warhead of 500 kilograms, according to the report.

The IPT interviewed defense experts about the factories in March, and noted the sites represent a disturbing boost in the Shi’ite terrorist army’s ability to self-produce weapons.

Israeli officials have gone on record in recent weeks to confirm the factories’ existence, including Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, and the chief of Israel’s Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevi. Hizballah is “establishing a military industry in Lebanon with Iranian support,” Halevi said.

Eizenkot told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee earlier this month that the Israeli military had placed the Iranian “precision project” – the drive to produce new guided projectiles, and to improve the accuracy of existing projectiles – at “the top of our priority list.”

The program is “mainly ongoing in factories in Iran and Syria, and they are trying to promote it in Lebanon,” Eizenkot said.

He also seemed to suggest there was a difference between the current threat posed by Iran’s guided missile program and the future potential threat, if left unchecked.

The IDF was not resting on its laurels in the face of Iran’s efforts to manufacture and spread these weapons, Eizenkot said. Currently, “these abilities are very limited, and therefore, we must remain proportionate and not be alarmed. The IDF is working in regards to the [Iranian precision] project all of the time, through a wide range of tools that are best not talked about. We are working with the intention of avoiding a deterioration [of the security situation].”

Emily Landau, head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, told the IPT that the factories “signal a new escalation in Iran’s weapons proliferation in the region.”

Not only do they serve Iran’s objective of continuously arming Hizballah, they are also designed to “overcome the vulnerability of transport vehicles transferring weapons from Iran via Syria, to Lebanon,” Landau said, in reference to international media reports about repeated Israeli strikes on Iranian-Hizballah weapons convoys in Syria.

Iran seems to hope that setting up missile factories in Lebanon would eliminate opportunities to attack future international weapons trafficking runs.

“All of these activities are in blatant violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 [which called on making southern Lebanon a weapons free zone, with the exception of Lebanon’s official army],” Landau said. “The world seems to ignore this violation. The international community should be called out on turning a blind eye to what Iran is doing. This should not be Israel’s problem alone.”

The factories feed “into Iran’s very problematic regional profile,” Landau said, “which is connected to the nuclear deal as well, and should all be on the table in the Trump administration’s Iran policy review.”

For now, Israel appears to trying to deter Iran from starting up the factories, and has reportedly issued explicit warnings to Tehran to that effect.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reports say that Iran wants to create an airbase in neighboring Syria. Iran’s plans include the leasing of a ground military base for thousands of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias and a naval base.

“These steps represent a move by Iran to establish a long-term presence in Syria and pose a threat to Israel,” Israel’s daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a dramatic statement, rejecting the ceasefire in southern Syria brokered by the United States and Russia, saying it fails to suppress Iranian attempts to consolidate its military power in the war-torn country.

“Israel is aware of Iran’s expansionist goals in Syria, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

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.

Also see:

UN Report Places Some Blame on Palestinian Leaders for Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Klein, July 12, 2017:

The United Nations has just issued a report entitled “GAZA TEN YEARS LATER – United Nations Country Team in the occupied Palestinian.” It was written from the false perspective that Gaza is still part of the so-called Palestinian territory “occupied” by Israel, which represents the official position of the United Nations as a whole. However, the report also contains some insights into the destructive pattern of conduct by the Palestinian leadership, contributing significantly to the misery of the people of Gaza.

If Israel were truly the “occupier” of Gaza, 12 years after its unilateral withdrawal and 10 years after Hamas’s violent takeover of Gaza from Palestinian Authority control, Hamas would not be ruling Gaza, let alone remaining free to use the territory as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against Israel. Indeed, the UN report itself demonstrated some cognitive dissonance on the question regarding who actually runs Gaza. In one breath the report asserted that Israel is the occupying power in Gaza because of “the control that Israel retained on Gaza’s air space, sea space and external borders continuously.” However, the report also noted the “exercise of government-like functions and territorial control” by the “de facto authorities in Gaza” – i.e., Hamas. The report described how “Hamas has increasingly tightened its grip on power” since seizing control and “was able to sustain its de facto authority and build up its military strength.”

Moreover, the UN report effectively undercut the premise that the Palestinians have achieved the prerequisites for recognition as a legitimate state, regardless of its authors’ intentions. There are severe unresolved divisions between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, leading to separate and competing governing authorities and sets of laws within the territories that the Palestinians claim as the basis for their state. Consider the following verbatim quote from the UN report:

“The Hamas takeover of Gaza has had a significant impact on the legislative, judicial and executive branches. The fact that no presidential or legislative elections have been held in Palestine since 2006 has also created a democratic deficit that undermines the legitimacy of state institutions and their actions on both sides of the divide… The division has resulted in the establishment of two different lawmaking processes and the enactment of diverging laws in Gaza and the West Bank, further eroding the unity and coherence of the future state of Palestine.”

There is no harmonization of the legal frameworks applied by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority respectively within areas under their control, due to the division of basic government authority between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The result is “the establishment of a parallel justice system in the Gaza Strip,” according to the UN report. “In addition,” the report concluded, “the lack of a harmonized legal framework and judiciary has at times created situations whereby courts in the West Bank have refused to implement verdicts issued by Gaza courts and vice versa, to the great detriment of the individuals and families involved.”

Moreover, the UN report found that the division of authority has “caused a split of the Palestinian civil service, impacting the delivery of basic services such as education and health care.”

Whenever Palestinian UN delegates participate in UN meetings, representing the “non-member observer state” of Palestine, a title bestowed by the UN General Assembly several years ago, they proudly display their name plate saying “State of Palestine.” However, while the moniker that appears on the nameplate used to describe the Palestinians’ status at the UN may make the Palestinians feel good about themselves, it is meaningless in practical terms.

The United Nations Gaza report called into question the “legitimacy” of the Palestinians’ self-proclaimed “state institutions.” It found no coherent set of laws governing the Palestinian people as a whole. It found an utter lack of government capacity to provide basic public services. All this was not Israel’s fault.  It was due instead to the fundamental, unresolved division of authority between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The result is felt directly by the people of Gaza.

As the UN report stated:

“The Hamas coup in Gaza in June 2007 and the administrative division that followed between the PA and Hamas has had a significant impact on administration and public services in Gaza…Ten years later, the Palestinian divide shows no sign of narrowing. The divisiveness and mistrust between Fatah and Hamas poses significant challenges to the development of the Strip.”

To be sure, the UN Gaza report sharply criticized Israel for contributing to the dire conditions in Gaza. It said that Israel’s “restrictions on the access and movement of people and goods, ultimately amounting to a blockade by sea, air and land” violated international law. The report accused Israel of carrying out a blockade that “constitutes a form of collective punishment on the civilian population in Gaza contrary to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, applicable to the occupied Territory.”

Aside from the fact that Israel no longer “occupies” Gaza, as discussed earlier, Israel’s self-defense measures in the face of Hamas’s rocket and terror tunnel attacks from Gaza are in accord with international law. Indeed, the UN report itself referred to what it described as “the military build-up in Gaza by Hamas and other militant groups, which continued and intensified over the past decade, including the development, stockpiling and firing of rockets capable of reaching deep into Israel and the construction of sophisticated tunnels used for kidnappings and terrorist attacks in Israel.” The UN report documented how Israel’s restrictions on movements of people and goods into and out of Gaza increased only after “significant military escalation and rocket attacks by Hamas and other armed groups on Israel.”

Moreover, Israel has not imposed anything near what could be considered a complete blockade. Far from it, Israel has taken substantial national security risks in allowing into Gaza all manner of humanitarian aid and commercial products. Exports out of Gaza have also been liberalized.

As usual, the UN report on Gaza was unfairly critical of Israel. That’s known as “a dog biting a man” story. However, the fact that this UN report finally sheds some light specifically on the responsibility the Palestinian leaders themselves bear for the present plight of the people living in Gaza is “a man bites dog” story as far as the UN is concerned.

Also see:

U.N. Survey: 3 Out of 4 Men and over Half of Women in Egypt Support FGM

Photo/Amr Nabil

Breitbart, by John Hayward, May 3, 2017:

A new United Nations surveyof male attitudes toward “gender equality” finds precious little appetite for it across the Middle East.

“Male attitudes towards the role of women in the workplace and at home, and of their participation in public life, were stereotypically sexist in the study of views in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine,” writes the UK Guardian in summarizing the report.

Egypt scored the lowest on the report’s “Gender Equitable Men” scale and is the source of the most striking headlines. For example, CNS News reports that “70 percent of Egyptian men approve of female genital mutilation.” For that matter, 56 percent of Egyptian women also voiced approval for the hideous procedure, which is illegal but not unheard-of, in much of the world.

Egyptian men also supplied 90 percent agreement with the statement that “a man should have the final word about decisions in the home,” and 58.5 percent of Egyptian women agreed. Only 31 percent of Egyptian men thought married women have the same rights to work outside their homes as men. 93 percent of men thought a husband should “know where his wife is at all times.” 96 percent thought a wife should agree to sex whenever her husband desires it.

53.4 percent said “there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten.” 90 percent agreed that “a woman should tolerate violence to keep the family together.” Roughly 45 percent of Egyptian men said they had been violent to their wives.

Only 25.7 percent of male Egyptian respondents said that women should “have the same freedom to access sites on the Internet as men.”

Egyptian women were significantly more supportive of women’s rights on most of these questions, although one point of agreement concerned women at work. While women were over twice as likely as men to say that women should have the right to work, they largely agreed that it was more important for men to work when jobs were scarce and that marriage was more important for women than a career.

Inability to find work was a major source of shame, anxiety, and depression for men.

The survey noted that younger men and women, especially younger women, were more likely to support gender equality. Of the regions surveyed, Egypt scored lowest on the Gender Equitable Men scale, while Lebanon scored the highest.

Morocco produced some alarming results about sexual harassment, with over half of men saying they have sexually harassed a woman, and over 60 percent of women reporting they have been harassed. A higher percentage of female Moroccans (78 percent) agreed that provocatively dressed women deserve harassment than men (72 percent).

The survey, which was conducted by UN Women and a non-profit organization called Promundo, involved 10,000 respondents in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and the Palestinian territories.

Mohammad Naciri, regional director of Arab States UN Women, looked for optimistic signs in the report. “Amidst the stories of men’s violence against women, we found stories of men’s caregiving in the home. For every story of a man who compelled his daughter to marry against her will, there were stories of men who empowered their daughters,” he said.

“The patriarchy works for the very small minority who are on the top of that pyramid,” lead researcher Shereen El Feki told the BBC. “For the rest down below, lots of women, but also from the results of the survey, many, many men, life is very tough.”

Promundo CEO Gary Barker told Reuters that “everywhere else we have done these research… young men typically have more progressive views that their fathers and the older generation. That was not so here.”

***

Also see:

Why Islamic States Can’t & Don’t Defeat Terror: Excuses Instead of Willpower

Human Rights Voices, April 13, 2017:

In a UN report on countering terrorism, Muslim states present a series of excuses for terrorism, including “foreign occupation” (i.e. Israel), “xenophobia,” and “alienation.” The report, “Capability of the United Nations System to Assist Member States in Implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” was released on April 13, 2017 and contains the following statements:

Pakistan: “11. We believe that without addressing the underlying and root causes of terrorism, we will only be fighting its symptoms. We have always advocated that … foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination and political and economic injustice, as well as political marginalization and alienation contribute to the spread of terrorism. Therefore, it is important not to delink terrorism from its political context.”

Turkey: “6…preventive efforts in the framework of pillars I and IV should focus on combating intolerance, social exclusion and all forms of xenophobia.”

Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation: “3.. terrorism cannot be addressed in isolation from political contexts.”

Date
April 13, 2017
Title
Capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Report of the Secretary-General, A/71/858

Attempts to define terrorism perpetrators as “victims”

The UN’s shift in focus to preventing violent extremism has become a tool to attack the counter-terrorism operations of developed countries. The latter are accused of offenses against the supposedly aggrieved extremists, offenses such as engaging in systemic religious discrimination and human rights violations. The special focus on prevention is abused to delegitimize self-defense or lawful “security” responses. False narratives of victimization reduce essential military options. At the same time, actual drivers of terrorism and violent extremism are selectively omitted (like antisemitism, rejection of free speech, misogyny, and homophobia).

Secretary-General

  • Capability of the United Nations System to Assist Member States in Implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Report of the Secretary-General, A/71/858, April 13, 2017
    Written reply by Pakistan: “11. We believe that without addressing the underlying and root causes of terrorism, we will only be fighting its symptoms. We have always advocated that … foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination and political and economic injustice, as well as political marginalization and alienation contribute to the spread of terrorism. Therefore, it is important not to delink terrorism from its political context.”
  • Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, Report of the Secretary General, A/70/674, January 7, 2016
    “27…Violations of international human rights law committed in the name of state security can facilitate violent extremism by marginalizing individuals and alienating key constituencies, thus generating community support and sympathy for and complicity in the actions of violent extremists. Violent extremists also actively seek to exploit state repression and other grievances in their fight against the state. Thus, Governments that exhibit repressive and heavy-handed security responses in violation of human rights and the rule of law, such as profiling of certain populations, adoption of intrusive surveillance techniques and prolongation of declared states of emergency, tend to generate more violent extremists…”

General Assembly

  • The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Review, A/70/L.55, July 1, 2016
    “Reaffirming Member States’ determination to continue to do all they can to resolve conflict, end foreign occupation…”
  • 2016 United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Review, July 1 and 7, 2016
    • Algeria’s Statement, July 7, 2016
      “To be more explicit, the international community can not flee its responsibilities with regard to realization of the right to self determination of all peoples that are still under foreign occupation and alien domination. We welcome, in this regard, the reaffirmation through this year’s resolution of Member States’ determination to continue to do all they can to resolve conflict, end foreign occupation…”
    • Lebanon’s Statement, July 7, 2016
      “When dealing with counter terrorism, we must also keep in mind that it should not be associated with other principles recognized under international law, such as the right to self­ determination and to resist foreign occupation. In this regard, my delegation would like to denounce the attempts from one delegation to label the legitimate right to resist foreign occupation as terrorism…”
    • Saudi Arabia’s Statement on Behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, July 1, 2016
      “The OIC affirms that there is a need to make concerted determined efforts to effectively address the root causes, drivers and conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, including preventing unlawful use of force and aggression, ending foreign occupation…”
  • ‘Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism – The Way Forward,’ hosted by the United Nations and the Government of Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, April 7-8, 2016

    Organization of Islamic Cooperation: “We’re confronted with a faceless enemy, with no face or creed, which lurks in the shadows of fear and frustration, breeds on despair and disillusionment, and is fed by foreign occupation…It’s a manifestation of growing anger, hatred, and sense of helplessness against continuing wars, injustice, oppression, and the denial of fundamental freedom and rights, particular to those of Palestinians… Muslims are suffering from the scourge of terrorist groups and the Islamophobic policies and discourse.”

    Pakistan: “Why is violent extremism growing in areas which have faced persistent foreign intervention and occupation where people have long been struggling for their legitimate right of self-determination?… It is very clear that violent extremism is being pushed by … foreign occupation … a key factor in the recent rise of violent extremism has been … continued foreign occupation… Will not the rising trends of xenophobia and Islamophobia contribute to strengthen the extremists?… In recent years there’s been a disturbing rise of extreme right-wing parties driven by xenophobic Islamophobic impulses in the West.”

    Syria: “Violent extremism is a multidimensional phenomenon, thus fighting and preventing it should not rest on a selective approach to its goals and root causes. That includes foreign occupation, discrimination and xenophobia.”

    Iran: “In this connection, extremist ideology and hate speech in the media against Muslims should not be condoned in the name of freedom of expression, which helps create conditions conducive for the spread of violent extremism.”

    Jordan: “Among the drivers of violent extremism are unresolved and protected conflicts and foreign occupation. All efforts should, therefore, be focused on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and ending occupation, which provides pretext for recruiting purposes and spreading violent extremist ideologies.”

    Qatar: “We reiterate the importance of the Plan of Action to prevent violent extremisms and to eradicate all the drivers, such as the continuing conflicts, occupation… Facing such a challenge, Mr. Chairman, requires an international joint response and a comprehensive strategy to end conflicts in the world, namely: ending the Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories and establishing an independent and sovereign State of Palestine… Also, some parties are using violent extremism acts in order to fuel Islamophobia and other acts of terrorism. Attacking religious symbols would also give more excuses to extremists and their recruiters.”

    Egypt: “There are other main drivers to violent extremism or terrorism that were not identified in the Plan of Action, such as … racism, and xenophobia, defamation of religion… the Action Plan did not include a reference to all the drivers within states leading to violent extremism and, therefore, to terrorism such as Islamophobia and actions that are insulting to Islam and to the Prophet under the pretext of freedom of expression as well as treating Muslims as second class citizens as well as other reasons.”

    Kuwait: “And we call upon the need … to look into the reasons behind this phenomenon, like … occupation…”

    Bahrain: “Israeli occupation of Arabic lands and Palestine for a long time are main factors, are reasons behind this phenomenon.”

    Oman: “[T]here is a need to address all aspects of Islamophobia… occupation are among the causes that provoke extremism.”

    Sudan: “I mean the main manifesto of those political parties is based on this anti-Muslims tendency and anti-Arabs, and I think this is very, very alarming. So the Islamophobia and many, I mean, challenges I think needs to be-needed to be addressed… We are facing, or rather this comes in the roots of many of the international problems that we are facing nowadays, including … Islamophobia, and the provocative media that is targeting Islam and the figures of Islam…. Foreign occupation is indeed the incubator, the main incubator that breeds terrorism and violent extremism… We are facing, or rather this comes in the roots of many of the international problems that we are facing nowadays, including the international occupation issue…”

  • Egypt’s Statement at the ‘Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism – The Way Forward,’ April 7, 2016
    “The Report or Plan by the SG [UN Secretary General] lay down 5 main drivers namely; Lack of socioeconomic opportunities – Marginalization and discrimination- Poor governance, violations of human rights and the rule of law- Prolonged and unresolved conflicts- Radicalization in prisons. I would agree with both socioeconomic opportunities and prolonged and unresolved conflicts as well as long-time grievances as we have seen in Palestine, especially Gaza… Meanwhile, there are other main drivers to violent extremism or terrorism that were not identified in the SG Plan of Action such as (1) foreign domination and occupation that deny peoples the opportunity to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, (2) racism and xenophobia, (3) defamation of religion… “
  • General Assembly Debate on Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, February 12 and February 16, 2016
    • Algeria’s Statement, February 16, 2016
      “The struggle against violent extremism and terrorism must also include the rejection against xenophobia and Islamophobia, which are emerging as the new faces of violent extremism.”
    • Iran’s Statement, February 16, 2016
      “Foreign occupation, which is per se a manifestation of violent extremism, has been used to incite violence out of desperation and hopelessness.”
    • Lebanon’s Statement, February 16, 2016
      “Addressing root causes, drivers, political grievances, or whatever we want to call them, of violent extremism, is crucial: foreign occupation … and impunity, tend to create fertile ground for violent extremism.”
    • Malaysia’s Statement, February 16, 2016
      “We are concerned at the increase of intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, resulting in the upsurge of Islamophobia, a phenomenon which is an affront to the human rights and dignity of Muslims.”
    • Egypt’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “Additionally, the plan has not contained a reference to all the reasons inside the states leading to violent extremism, which in turn gives rise to terrorism such as Islamophobia and other reasons…Let us be candid. If there is a serious desire to take action, the international community must realize that Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine is one of the main reasons behind the proliferation of violent extremism leading to terrorism in addition to internal interference in the internal affairs of states, offending Islam and the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the pretext of freedom of expression, treating Muslim citizens as citizens of second class in some other states…”
    • Israel’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “Unfortunately, in Israel the threat of terrorism is all too real. For decades, Israel has been at the forefront of confronting terror and radical ideology. Over the course of the past few months alone, 30 Israelis have been killed by terrorists, and over 300 have been injured in hundreds of attacks… We must not allow excuses for terror – ‘no ifs and or buts’ – terror is terror is terror… Some in this chamber seek to infuse politicization into this discussion – but this background noise must not be allowed to hijack this important topic…”
    • Jordan’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “I would like to state that the continued Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and the failure to achieve just and permanent solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people will lead to more violence and hatred.”
    • Maldives’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “Islam is increasingly being associated with terror and extremism. Islamophobia, as a spectrum of negative expressions continues to expand rapidly…”
    • Pakistan’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “Injustices done to peoples under foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination, long-festering and unresolved international disputes … create conditions that are exploited by violent extremists and terrorists to propagate their twisted ideologies…Negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination and intolerance all need to be rectified to prevent violent extremism… Xenophobia, in particular Islamophobia, is on the rise in the West. This has so far gone unchecked and unfortunately unprincipled, xenophobic politicians have sought to build their political fortunes by spreading fear and deliberate mischaracterization of people of other faiths or culture…”
    • Qatar’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “Attempts by some entities to use single violent incidents and link it with no evidence to specific religions such as Islamophobia [are] misleading and thwart the efforts to verify the reasons behind terrorism. Offending symbols of specific religions give pretext to the extremists to recruit their supporters.”
    • Saudi Arabia’s Statement on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), February 12, 2016
      “On a comprehensive approach to tackle terrorism, the OIC believes that due attention and concrete plan of actions must address the following aspects and dimensions of the phenomenon of terrorism…The deep impact and legacy of historical injustices done to colonized peoples or those under occupation where sufferings and the forced destruction of their national institutions, culture, and identity and the denial of their rights to self-determination. The potential of external actors penetrating terrorist and extremist groups for the purpose of serving their own political agenda, and the threat of non-Arab and non-Muslim fighters…The OIC expresses serious concern over the increase of intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, resulting in the upsurge of Islamophobia, a phenomenon which is an affront to the human rights and dignity of Muslims…In this regard, the OIC calls upon all states to prevent any advocacy of religious discrimination, hostility, or violence and defamation of Islam by incorporating legal and administrative measures which render defamation illegal and punishable by law and also urges member and observer states to adopt specific and relevant educational measures at all levels…”
    • Sudan’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “We cannot talk about violent extremism without mentioning foreign occupation, which is the main incubator of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as well as of violent extremism conducive to terrorism…”
    • Syria’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “My delegation stresses that efforts of preventing violent extremism will not succeed unless the international community put an end to the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan and other occupied Arab territories, and stop the violent extremism and terrorism perpetrated by Israeli settlers against the Arab citizens living under occupation. The Israeli violent extremism is backed by the extreme Israeli governments that refused and rejected international legitimacy resolutions, and seeks to create, in the occupied territories, a one religion state that excludes the followers of other faiths.”
    • Venezuela’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “…the long-term solution to the threats posed today by violent extremism must absolutely require political solution to conflicts in countries like … Palestine. These protracted crises further exacerbate conflicts and serve as a breeding ground for violent extremism, for bolstering organized transactional crime; they facilitate the flow of financing and training of foreign terrorist fighters and, therefore, expanding the capacity of action for terrorist organizations.”
    • United Arab Emirates’ Statement, February 12, 2016
      “The Plan of Action needs to address other factors that propel extremism, most notably foreign occupation and ‘State terrorism.'”
  • General Assembly High-Level Thematic Debate on Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation: Fostering Peaceful, Inclusive Societies and Countering Violent Extremism, April 23, 2015
    • Syria’s Statement, April 23, 2015
      “Mr. President, those that think that groups such as Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, Boko Haram, Jemaah Islamiya occurred spontaneously or by accident are deluding themselves or they are just choosing to look away. There are real networks that explain how these groups developed. The most visible are Zionism, the fatwas that have been issued and the extremist educational programs, and the authorization by certain governments of terrorism and extremism as a tool for implementing political agendas that are very doubtful in Syria or elsewhere.”

World Shrugs as Hizballah Prepares Massive Civilian Deaths

by Noah Beck
Special to IPT News
March 21, 2017

Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently warned Israel that his Iran-backed terror group could attack targets producing mass Israeli casualties, including a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa, and a nuclear reactor in Dimona.

Also last month, Tower Magazine reported that, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Iran provided Hizballah with a vast supply of “game-changing,” state-of-the art weapons, despite Israel’s occasional airstrikes against weapons convoys.

In a future conflict, Hizballah has the capacity to fire 1,500 rockets into Israel each day, overwhelming Israel’s missile defense systems. Should such a scenario materialize, Israel will be forced to respond with unprecedented firepower to defend its own civilians.

Hizballah’s advanced weapons and the systems needed to launch them reportedly are embedded across a staggering 10,000 locations in the heart of more than 200 civilian towns and villages. The Israeli military has openly warned about this Hizballah war crime and the grave threats it poses to both sides, but that alarm generated almost no attention from the global media, the United Nations, or other international institutions.

Like the terror group Hamas, Hizballah knows that civilian deaths at the hands of Israel are a strategic asset, because they produce diplomatic pressure to limit Israel’s military response. Hizballah reportedly went so far as offering reduced-price housing to Shiite families who allowed the terrorist group to store rocket launchers in their homes.

But if the global media, the UN, human rights organizations, and other international institutions predictably pounce on Israel after it causes civilian casualties, why are they doing nothing to prevent them? Hizballah’s very presence in southern Lebanon is a flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which called for the area to be a zone “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons” other than the Lebanese military and the U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The resolution also required Hizballah to be disarmed, but the terror group today has an arsenal that rivals that of most armies. Hizballah possesses an estimated 140,000 missiles and rockets, and reportedly now can manufacture advanced weapons in underground factories that are impervious to aerial attack.

“Israel must stress again and again, before it happens, that these villages [storing Hizballah weapons] have become military posts, and are therefore legitimate targets,” said Yoram Schweitzer, senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

Meir Litvak, director of Tel Aviv University’s Alliance Center for Iranian Studies, agrees, adding that global attention would “expose Hizballah’s hypocrisy in its cynical use of civilians as… human shields.”

Even a concerted campaign to showcase Hizballah’s war preparation is unlikely to change things, said Eyal Zisser, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Hizballah exploits the fact that “the international community is too busy and…weak to do something about it,” Zisser said. All of “these talks and reports have no meaning. See what is happening in Syria.”

Israel has targeted Hizballah-bound weapons caches in Syria twice during the past week. Syria responded last Friday by firing a missile carrying 200 kilograms of explosives, which Israel successfully intercepted.

If Hizballah provokes a war, Israel can legitimately attack civilian areas storing Hizballah arms if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) first attempts to warn the targeted civilians to leave those areas, Litvak said. But “it will certainly be very difficult and will look bad on TV.”

While Sunni Arab states are generally united against the Shiite Iranian-Hizballah axis, Litvak, Zisser, and Schweitzer all agreed that Israel could hope for no more than silent support from them when the missiles fly.

Indeed, the “Sunni Arab street” is likely to be inflamed by the images of civilian death and destruction caused by Israel that international media will inevitably broadcast, further limiting support for Israel from Iran’s Sunni state foes.

Rather perversely, the Lebanese government has embraced the very terrorist organization that could cause hundreds of thousands of Lebanese civilian deaths by converting residential areas into war zones. “As long as Israel occupies land and covets the natural resources of Lebanon, and as long as the Lebanese military lacks the power to stand up to Israel, [Hizballah’s] arms are essential, in that they complement the actions of the army and do not contradict them,” President Michel Aoun told Egyptian television last month. Hizballah, he said, “has a complementary role to the Lebanese army.”

Aoun’s declaration means that Lebanon “takes full responsibility for all of Hizballah’s actions, including against Israel, and for their consequences to Lebanon and its entire population, even though the Lebanese government has little ability to actually control the organization’s decisions or policy,” said INSS Senior Research Fellow Assaf Orion.

MK Naftali Bennett, a veteran of Israel’s 2006 war with Hizballah, believes that Lebanon’s official acceptance of Hizballah and its policy of embedding military assets inside residential areas removes any constraints on Israeli targeting of civilian areas. “The Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases – they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out,” he said. “That’s what we should already be saying to them and the world now.”

In a future war, Hizballah is certain to try bombarding Israeli civilian communities with missile barrages. Israel, in response, will have to target missile launchers and weapons caches surrounded by Lebanese civilians.

But it need not be so. Global attention by journalists and diplomats on Hizballah’s abuses could lead to international pressure that ultimately reduces or even prevents civilian deaths.

Those truly concerned about civilians do not have a difficult case to make. Hizballah has shown a callous disregard for innocent life in Syria.

It helped the Syrian regime violently suppress largely peaceful protests that preceded the Syrian civil war in 2011. Last April, Hizballah and Syrian army troops reportedly killed civilians attempting to flee the Sunni-populated town of Madaya, near the Lebanese border. In 2008, its fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods and killed innocent civilians after the Lebanese government moved to shut down Hizballah’s telecommunication network.

Hizballah terrorism has claimed civilian lives for decades, including a 1994 suicide bombing at Argentina’s main Jewish center that killed 85 people. As the IDF notes, “Since 1982, hundreds of innocent civilians have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured thanks to Hizballah.”

If world powers and the international media genuinely care about avoiding civilian casualties, they should be loudly condemning Hizballah’s ongoing efforts – in flagrant violation of a UN resolution – to cause massive civilian death and destruction in Lebanon’s next war with Israel.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

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Nikki Haley Puts UN Anti-Israelism In Crosshairs

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New ambassador makes clear change has arrived.

Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Klein, February 21, 2017:

The Trump administration’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has hit the ground running.  She spoke truth to power by strongly calling out the United Nations for its anti-Israel bias and double standards. Her predecessor, Samantha Power, never came close.

After attending her first regular meeting of the UN Security Council devoted to the Middle East, including the Palestinian-Israeli situation, Ambassador Haley remarked to reporters, “The first thing I want to do is talk about what we just saw in there.” Calling the meeting “a bit strange,” Ambassador Haley noted how the focus of blame for everything that has gone wrong in the Middle East seemed to be placed almost entirely on Israel.

“The discussion was not about Hezbollah’s illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon,” Ambassador Haley said. “It was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how we defeat ISIS. It was not about how we hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians. No, instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. I am new around here, but I understand that’s how the Council has operated, month after month, for decades. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. I’m here to emphasize the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias.”

Ambassador Haley was speaking against the backdrop of the anti-Israel Security Council Resolution 2334 passed last December, which the Obama administration refused to veto. “We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel,” Ambassador Haley declared. “The outrageously biased resolutions from the Security Council and the General Assembly only make peace harder to attain by discouraging one of the parties from going to the negotiating table.”

How refreshing it is to hear such sincere words of support for Israel after eight years of Israel-bashing by the Obama administration. Former Ambassador Power had hypocritically mouthed some formulaic acknowledgements of bias against Israel in the Security Council and other UN forums, but while contributing strongly to that bias herself.

Resolution 2334 reeks of such bias. Yet Power strongly defended the Obama administration’s decision to abstain rather than veto it. The resolution outrageously declared that “the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.” When it came to the resolution’s call to prevent “acts of terror” and “to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric,” the resolution referred elliptically to “both parties.” Power could not defend why the resolution failed to call out the Palestinian Authority or Hamas by name for committing acts of terror, incitement to violence and glorification of terrorists. Her lame explanation to reporters at her farewell UN press conference was that Resolution 2334 “was not our resolution, so I think you can probably pose those questions to the people who were negotiating the text.” Of course, she could have insisted on including such specific references to Palestinian terror and incitement to violence in violation of international law in the resolution itself as a condition for a U.S. abstention. She didn’t. Instead, add a display of moral cowardice to Power’s list of “accomplishments” during her tenure as UN ambassador.

Things will be different from now on. And it is not just a change in words and tone. Expect concrete actions demonstrating the Trump administration’s moral clarity in holding the UN organization to account.

For example, Ambassador Haley objected to the proposed appointment of the Palestinian Authority’s former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to become the next UN envoy to Libya. Palestine is not a full member of the United Nations. It is just an observer state. Israel, on the other hand, is a full member state. Yet the new UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, sought to elevate a Palestinian official to a high UN Secretariat post, while Israel has been denied the opportunity to fill such a position. Inner City Press has reported that, according to its sources, “the nomination was really by Jeffrey Feltman, the Obama administration’s appointee to head the UN Department of Political Affairs.” Feltman served previously as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in the Obama administration. Through Feltman, the former Obama administration would still have someone inside the UN bureaucracy to further enhance the Palestinians’ favorable position at the UN at the expense of Israel. But this appointment was not to be.

Shortly after Salam Fayyad’s proposed appointment was announced, Ambassador Haley issued a statement, which read in part: “The United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations, however, we encourage the two sides to come together directly on a solution. Going forward the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies.”

Evidently, that was enough to block the appointment. The Palestine Liberation Organization protested, of course. It’s not used to rejection at the United Nations.

Other actions appear to be underway or are soon to come. Late last year, during the waning days of the Obama administration, the UN General Assembly approved funding for compiling a blacklist of private Israeli companies doing business in the “occupied” territories. Samantha Power claimed the Obama administration objected to the blacklist project, but did nothing to stop it from proceeding. Less than a month after President Trump took office and Nikki Haley became the U.S.’s new UN ambassador, it was reported that the anti-Israel United Nations Human Rights Council decided to delay the publication of a report in connection with establishing the database of Israeli companies with business links to settlements in the West Bank until some unspecified time later this year. There is now a good chance the database will not see the light of day.

Blank checks for the UN’s multiple pro-Palestinian programs may finally become a thing of the past. Ambassador Haley singled out the UN Department of Political Affairs – still headed by the former Obama administration Assistant Secretary of State, Jeffrey Feltman – for having “an entire division devoted to Palestinian affairs.” She added, “There is no division devoted to illegal missile launches from North Korea. There is no division devoted to the world’s number one state-sponsor of terror, Iran. The prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues does the peace process no favors. And it bears no relationship to the reality of the world around us.”

As governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley had a reputation for being a strong fiscal conservative. The United Nations is on notice that as UN ambassador of the country paying a disproportionate amount of the total UN budget, Ambassador Haley will continue to be a fiscal conservative with American taxpayers’ money. She will aim to sharply reduce the rampant waste in the UN budget, perhaps starting with the often overlapping, over-the-top pro-Palestinian agencies and programs the UN has established over the years.

U.N. leader blames ‘Islamophobia’ for rising global terror

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who took office Jan. 1, wants to end ‘Islamophobia,’ which he says is a main cause of terrorism.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who took office Jan. 1, wants to end ‘Islamophobia,’ which he says is a main cause of terrorism.

WND, by Leo Hohmann, Feb. 17, 2017:

The United Nations — under a new leader who personally oversaw the relocation of millions of Muslim refugees into the U.S., Canada and Europe — is doubling down on its “anti-Islamophobia” campaign against the West.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, a Portuguese socialist who headed the U.N’s refugee agency before being promoted to secretary general in January, traveled to Saudi Arabia this week where he sat with Saudi royals and cited “Islamophobia” as the reason for increasing terrorism around the world.

“One of the things that fuel terrorism is the expression in some parts of the world of Islamophobic feelings and Islamophobic policies and Islamophobic hate speeches,” Guterres said at a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

Echoing the comments of Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential campaign, Guterres said Islamophobia actually helps the Islamic State or ISIS to attract new recruits.

But the way others see it, Guterres just gave a free pass to Islamic extremists to commit acts of terror throughout the world.

It’s a lot like blaming the victim, says Phillip Haney, an Islam specialist who worked for more than a decade at Homeland Security screening immigrants from Africa and the Middle East.

“So Mr. Guterres is telling you that Islamophobia is such a great crime that you will be killed for it and terrorists will rise up because of this and it will be your fault,” Haney told WND.

“Why? Because you are an Islamophobe. It’s your fault that they’re killing you,” he said. “What’s he saying if that’s not what he’s saying?”

Ann Corcoran, a refugee watchdog who has been following Guterres’ career since he left his job as leader of the Socialist International in 2005 to head up the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said the U.N. has a very narrow focus when it comes to religious intolerance.

“He lectured the world about Islamophobia but had nothing to say, no concerns, about the Christophobia exuded by Muslims who have been wiping out entire Christian communities in the Middle East for years,” said Corcoran, who blogs at Refugee Resettlement Watch. “Nor did he say anything to them, the Saudis, about refusing to take any of the millions of Muslim refugees created by the Syrian civil war.”

The venue for such a lecture was curious, Corcoran said. Christians are not allowed to exist in Saudi Arabia. There are no churches and the punishment for being caught with a Bible is death.

But the U.N. began its anti- “Islamophobia” campaign back in the early 2000s. It achieved a breakthrough in 2011 when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group of 56 Muslim countries seated in the U.N., to adopt U.N. Human Rights Resolution 16/18. This resolution encourages member states to crack down on speech that is viewed as “discriminatory” or which involves the “defamation of religion” – specifically that which can be viewed as “incitement to violence” based on religion.

The problem, as Haney and others point out, is who gets to define Islamophobia?

“That puts all the responsibility on the Western world to come up with a non-defined standard for free speech,” he said.

Watch the video trailer for new investigative work former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has called the “must read book of 2017”

Of course the U.S. already has its own well-defined standard. It’s called the First Amendment. So there should not have been any need for a United Nations’ standard to muddy the waters, said Haney, co-author of the book “See Something Say Nothing.”

Guilty of ‘blasphemy’

John Guandolo, a former FBI counter-terrorism expert who consults with law enforcement and blogs at Understanding the Threat, said Islamophobia is the modern term Muslim leaders use to identify people who are guilty of the Islamic blasphemy laws, also called the Islamic law of slander.

The legal principle of slander is much different under Shariah law than under U.S. law. Under Shariah, comments critical of Allah, his prophet Muhammad or the Quran do not have to be false in order to constitute slander. All they need do is “offend” a Muslim.

“It is a capital crime under Shariah,” Guandolo told WND. “This is the same nonsense being spewed from the establishment Republicans and from the Democrat Party.”

Haney says Guterres is doing a great disservice to Western civilization by holding it to a standard of Shariah law.

“If Guterres really was concerned about the principles of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness why wouldn’t he say something like ‘there is no excuse for terrorism.’ He’s giving them an out,” Haney said. “‘It’s not your fault Islamic world, it’s their fault.’

“If they’re not required to take any responsibility for their terrorism and can simply blame the Islamophobic Western world it’s only going to get worse. It’s like telling the crack addict, it’s not your fault that you’re addicted to crack.”

How the West adopted Islamic blasphemy laws

It was not long after U.N. Resolution 16/18 was adopted in 2011 that the term “Islamophobia” started showing up everywhere in Western countries.

Countries like Germany, the U.K., Sweden and the Netherlands among others in Western Europe went full throttle in the rush to erase “Islamophobia” from their cultural landscapes. Germany has gone so far as to arrest citizens who post anti-Islamic comments on Facebook, with the full cooperation of Facebook.

The Obama administration tried to do the same through end runs around the First Amendment. After the San Bernardino terrorist attack, Attorney General Loretta Lynch promised to “aggressively” prosecute any speech that “edged toward violence,” while Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys in Minnesota [Andrew Luger] and Idaho [Wendy Olson] made similarly threatening comments after Muslim terrorists were arrested in those states. Lynch and Olson were forced to walk back their comments after a backlash from First Amendment advocates on the right and the left.

It was also right around this time, in 2011, the Justice Department agreed to purge all references to Islam from FBI training manuals that were deemed offensive to Muslims.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is the largest NGO in the world with direct access to the U.N., had been pushing for a U.N. anti-blasphemy law since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“They pushed for years to get that thing through and while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state they were successful in finally getting it passed,” Haney said of Resolution 16/18.

Pamela Geller, a free speech advocate, blogger and author of the popular book “Stop the Islamization of America,” said all of the recent U.N. secretaries general have been shills for the global Islamic movement.

“Guterres, like all secretaries general since the fall of the USSR, is a tool of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which has been running a years-long campaign against freedom of speech at the U.N.,” Geller told WND. “It is being used to deflect attention from jihad activity and portray Muslims as victims who don’t deserve counterterror scrutiny.”

Doubling down on Trump

Robert Spencer, author of the Jihad Watch blog and a best-selling author of several books on Islam, told WND that Guterres’ statement shows he plans to continue the U.N. campaign and even increase its intensity now that Donald Trump has been elected president of the most powerful country in the world. Trump’s supporters gave him a mandate to cut off Islamic immigration and take on “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Trump’s election, and the success of the Brexit vote in the U.K., have emboldened the leaders of several European candidates who espouse populist, anti-globalist agendas mirroring Trump’s.

That scares the U.N. and its Islamic allies to death, he said, so look for an intensification of the “Islamophobia” drum beat.

“This statement fits into the U.N.’s ongoing efforts to compel states that protect the freedom of speech to adopt ‘hate speech’ provisions that would effectively involve their adopting Sharia blasphemy provisions,” Spencer said.

There is no other explanation, says former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, as to why the U.N. would go out of its way to influence free countries to crack down on speech deemed critical of Islam when it has said little to nothing about actual acts of brutality – forget about speech – by Muslims against Christians in the Middle East.

“Guterres is doing the bidding of Islamic jihadists and is advancing Islamic conquest by silencing truthful speech about Islam,” Bachmann told WND. “Silencing opposition is the jihadists game plan for cornering their enemies.”

Whether it is U.N. Resolution 16/18, or “false charges of a nonexistent Islamophobia,” Islamic supremacists triumph if no one is allowed to criticize Islam, she said.

“No other religion enjoys such protection from criticism,” Bachmann said. “Ironically, no other religion in current times has advanced more violence, carnage and bloodshed than Islam and yet Islam’s gatekeepers demand their religion not be criticized.

“We need to recognize this is nothing more than a well-designed strategy to achieve Islamic conquest and the U.N. Secretary General is now the jihadist’s advocate.”

Spencer believes Guterres’ comment was directed squarely at the Trump phenomenon.

“The idea is that anyone, especially President Trump, who says there is the slightest problem with Islam (or “radical Islam”) is only aiding Islamic State propaganda that the West is waging war upon Islam,” he said. “This is predicated on the further assumption that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the motivation for jihad terrorism couldn’t possibly come from within it. So the poor dears must only become terrorists when we say bad things about their religion, so if we just stop doing that, all will be well.”

The only problem with this theory, says Spencer, is that the Quran’s exhortations to the conquest and subjugation of unbelievers are not predicated on what those unbelievers say or don’t say.

Guandolo added that “This gives us the cherry on top of the argument for shutting down the United Nations and sending them back to their respective countries. It is an anti-American organization which is littered with spies and haters of liberty and justice.”

Guandolo said Guterres is a perfect example of the unholy alliance between the secular Marxist left and the Islamists.

“It is also a great example of civilization jihad, spoken of by the Muslim Brotherhood, in which the Brotherhood spoke of getting non-Muslims to do their work for them.”