"Last year, during my visit to Washington, in a very important briefing a day before I met U.S. President [Barack Obama], his national security adviser Tom Donilon, and senior White House officials, generals, and intelligence officials, the national security adviser met with me. He told me: 'The Taliban are not our enemies and we don't want to fight them.'" -- Hamid Karzai, November 26, 2013
"Issue IV Of Taliban Magazine Azan Pays Tributes To Convicted U.S. Major Nidal Hasan, Says If A Stupid Smoker Could Cause Fire In Sydney Stadium, 'Then What About An 'Intelligent' Mujahid Who Decides To Trigger Off Bushfires In Australia?," from MEMRI, December 11 (thanks to Pamela Geller):
The latest issue of the English-language jihadi magazine Azan, which is published by the Taliban in Khurasan (Afghanistan-Pakistan region), carries several articles urging Muslim youth in the West to launch attacks in their homelands, and pays tribute to Maj. Nidal Hasan, the U.S. army officer who was convicted of a jihadi attack at Fort Hood in November 2009.
The magazine, the fourth issue since it began publishing early this year, was released through a jihadi website. An article titled 'Nidal Hassan [sic] – Our Hero', written by Muhammad Qasim, carries the following words along with his photo: 'The courageous mujahid Nidal Hassan… was sentenced to death by a military jury in late August.
'He killed 13 American soldiers and wounded 30 at Fort Hood just before they were going to be deployed to kill Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. We encourage every Muslim in the Armies of the Kuffar to follow his example in repenting from their current state and killing as many of the enemy as possible.'
All over the world, believers in the canonical story of Islam’s origins are structuring their lives around the teachings of the Qur’an and Muhammad, and waging jihad warfare against unbelievers in accord with those teachings. If they cared to look into the strange history of the origins of Islam, however, they might think twice – as a landmark book, Norbert Pressburg’s What the Modern Martyr Should Know, abundantly illustrates.
Pressburg demonstrates that even the controversy over Islam’s canonical story has for centuries been wrongly framed. According to that story, Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, received his first revelation from Allah in a visitation by the angel Gabriel in the year 610. For the next twenty-three years, until his death in 632, he received more revelations periodically.
Armed with his new holy book, even as large portions of it then existed only in the memories of various of his companions, teachings, and his own teachings, his followers stormed out of Arabia after his death and conquered huge expanses of territory in the Middle East, North Africa, and Persia, bringing these conquered lands within the fold of the new religion.
Meanwhile, in 653, the caliph Uthman, Muhammad’s third successor as the leader of the Muslim community, gathered together all those who had memorized portions of the Qur’an or preserved parts of it in writing, had it all written and collated, and ordered the variants burnt.
Islamic apologists claim that Allah miraculously guided all of this process, protecting the Qur’an from error from the time of Muhammad’s first revelation to this day. Non-Muslims throughout history have disputed this by pointing to the book’s abundant obscurities; numerous grammatical, historical and factual errors; and its doctrines of warfare against unbelievers, oppression of women, and the like, in order to portray Muhammad as a false prophet, a liar, a con man, or worse.
Pressburg, however, demonstrates in this book that there is very good reason to think that Muhammad was neither a prophet nor a false prophet, but a work of fiction, an invention of the early Arabic conquerors: an Arabic prophet and an Arabic religion for their Arabic empire. Pressburg examines numerous anomalies that cast the canonical story into serious doubt: the use of crosses on official inscriptions by the caliph Muawiya, who was supposed to be the leader of a religion whose prophet and holy book abhorred and rejected crosses; the minting of coins around the same period that appear to use muhammad not as a proper name, but as a title: “the praised one,” often applied to Jesus Christ.
In fact, Pressburg notes, the philologist Christoph Luxenberg “provides evidence that muhamad is a gerund and could, under no circumstances, be understood as a name – it would be a grammatical impossibility.” What’s more, there is no trace of the superabundance of finely detailed biographical material that has come down to us about Muhammad – all of it dates from the eighth and ninth centuries, and there is no indication dating from the seventh century that anyone knew it even existed.
And so what of the prophet of Islam? “It is certainly impossible,” Pressburg correctly notes, “to prove the nonexistence of a person. But it is, however, possible to verify the information that exists about a person. And, for Muhammad, the attempt at verification has failed. Up to this day, we still have nothing, not a single proof in our hands, as scientists like Weil, Goldziher, Blachere, Luxenberg, and others have demonstrated. Beyond the religiously motivated assumptions, there is not even the slightest trace of a real-world Prophet in sight."
But surely there is archaeological evidence – notably, early mosques such as the Dome of the Rock, built late in the seventh century, no? No. Pressburg shows that the Dome of the Rock was actually built as a church, and became a mosque only as Muhammad began first to be invoked as an individual, a prophet, and the founder of a new religion – fully six decades and more after he is supposed to have lived.
The Qur’an, as Pressburg elucidates in detail, underwent a similar period of revision and development before it became the centerpiece of the new religion, and the stories about Muhammad were fabricated in the wake of its codification – often by squabbling parties within the new Islamic community, hoping to gain support for their position on a disputed issue by putting their view into the mouth of the newly minted Prophet.
Pressburg’s myth-busting doesn’t end there. He concludes with an excursus on the “Golden Age of Islam,” demonstrating that a great deal of the intellectual achievements that are commonly attributed to Islam today are actually the work of Arabic-speaking non-Muslims, and that the much-vaunted Islamic philosophers were actually decried as heretics within the Islamic world. After that Pressburg likewise explodes the “Myth of al-Andalus,” showing that Muslim Spain was not the paradise of proto-multiculturalism it is taken for granted as having been today, but a place of oppression and untold misery for dhimmi Jews and Christians subjugated under the rule of Islamic law.
The reader thus comes away from What the Modern Martyr Should Know with the wholly justified impression that virtually everything that is taught and taken for granted today in the West about Islam’s origins, teachings and history is false. Reality is murkier and darker, clouding over the sunny picture of Islam that Western leaders are so desperate for their citizens to accept today with a record of deception, violence, and supremacism stretching back far longer than most Western analysts have dared imagine.
Pressburg’s book, consequently, should be issued to all policymakers who have had any hand in formulating the stance toward Islam of any Western government; they would find it enlightening and disquieting in equal measure – but we could hope that at least some would take it as a foundation for formulating saner policies more conducive to the defense of human rights for all people. What the Modern Martyr Should Know was originally written in German, and the translation is sometimes infelicitous, marred with spelling and grammatical errors; they do not, however, overshadow either the book’s points or its importance. This book would make a perfect Christmas gift for the uncritically accepting multiculturalist in your life.
But they stressed that this was just a temporary setback and reaffirmed their support for the "moderate" Syrian opposition, even as its hapless leader fled in the face of the Islamic jihadist advance.
(Reuters) - The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria after Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in the wrong hands.
The rebel Free Syrian Army fighting President Bashar al-Assad said the U.S. and British moves were rushed and mistaken. "We hope our friends will rethink and wait for a few days when things will be clearer," FSA spokesman Louay Meqdad said.
In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the United States was concerned about reports that Islamic Front forces had seized the buildings belonging to the Syrian Military Council, which is nominally in charge of the FSA.
"As a result of the situation ... the United States has suspended all further deliveries of non-lethal assistance into northern Syria," Earnest said, adding that humanitarian aid was not affected by the move.
The suspension underlines a crisis for the FSA leadership, which needs international backing to reinforce its credibility and to stop its fighters joining al Qaeda-backed Islamist militants who now dominate the war with Assad.
Fighters from the Islamic Front, which groups six major rebel brigades and which said last week it had quit the FSA, seized the headquarters of the Syrian Military Council and weapons warehouses at the Bab al-Hawa crossing on Syria's northwestern border with Turkey.
A U.S. official said FSA leader General Salim Idriss had fled into Turkey during the takeover of the warehouses, which contained trucks, food, medical packs and communication equipment including laptops and radios....
"This is absolutely not the beginning of the U.S. washing its hands. We will remain engaged in the humanitarian effort. We will remain engaged in the diplomatic effort," the official said, adding: "This doesn't represent a change in policy in our support for the moderate opposition."
He said the administration was looking for other ways to see how the support can be provided to ensure it does not fall into the hands of "extremists"....
"I ... want to underline that our support to the opposition remains undiminished," the British embassy spokesman said.
"We have been long-standing and strong supporters of General Idriss and the SMC. That remains the case. It is important that the SMC remains united in the face of attacks from the regime and from extremist groups....
Idris has fled the country, but who cares about such details?
Last Monday and Tuesday I was in the studios of the Aramaic Broadcasting Network, filming two live shows and taping four more shows for future broadcast. While there, I was told that an imam named Bashir Abdul Haqq had contacted the network, asking to debate me on the question of whether or not Muhammad existed, the subject of my 2012 book Did Muhammad Exist?. I readily agreed, of course, and the debate was set for tonight. However, I contacted ABN earlier today to make sure that everything was set to go and was told that after Haqq saw me in the two live shows last week (which you can see here and here), he backed out.
And so add this "lion of Allah" to the long and ever-lengthening list of Muslim spokesmen who fear to debate me. Most heap abuse and scorn at the prospect, claiming that I am too "hateful" to deal with. The reality is otherwise: they know the truth is on my side, and that they'd be defeated, and soundly. And so the lions of Allah turn rather quickly into sheep.
"Few believe the Boko Haram terrorist network has such capability." Why not? With the U.S. importing whole communities from Somalia and elsewhere in the Islamic world, and making no effort whatsoever to screen those immigrants, how hard can it be to send in a few jihadists?
"Islamic extremist leader boasts of Nigerian attack," by Michelle Faul for the Associated Press, December 12 (thanks to Kenneth):
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — The leader of an Islamic uprising in northeastern Nigeria boasts in a new video of a daring attack on military bases in a provincial capital and threatens to attack the United States next.
Few believe the Boko Haram terrorist network has such capability though there are fears its insurgency could spread to neighboring states. Officials have said that fighters from Chad, Niger and Cameroon are fighting alongside the Nigerian insurgents. Boko Haram members have been identified fighting in the Islamic rebellion in northern Mali and it has said some of its fighters trained alongside al-Shabab in Somalia.
In his first statement since the United States designated Boko Haram a terrorist network last month, Abubakar Shekau swore at the United States, calling it a prostitute nation of infidels and liars. The United States in July posted a reward of $7 million for information leading to Shekau's arrest.
He suggests that the U.S., which could not defend itself against the September 2011 terrorist attacks, cannot hurt his movement.
"If you had the capability, you would have done it in your own country. Where were you when your World Trade Center was bombed, including your Pentagon, when you were faced on your own turf?" he asks.
Shekau, eyes glaring with an anger not exhibited in previous videos, gesticulates wildly as he vows: "By Allah, we will never stop. Don't think we will stop in Maiduguri. Tomorrow you will see us in America itself. Our operation is not confined to Nigeria, it is for the whole world."...
Just weeks ago John Kerry and others were assuring us that the "moderates" were dominant among the Syrian rebels. This is the reality. "Top Western-Backed Rebel in Syria Is Forced to Flee: Islamic Front Takes Over Aid Warehouses From Moderate Rebels," by Adam Entous and Rima Abushakra in the Wall Street Journal, December 11 (thanks to David):
Islamist fighters ran the top Western-backed rebel commander in Syria out of his headquarters, and he fled the country, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
The Islamists also took over key warehouses holding U.S. military gear for moderate fighters in northern Syria over the weekend. The takeover and flight of Gen. Salim Idris of the Free Syrian Army shocked the U.S., which along with Britain immediately froze delivery of nonlethal military aid to rebels in northern Syria.
The turn of events was the strongest sign yet that the U.S.-allied FSA is collapsing under the pressure of Islamist domination of the rebel side of the war. It also weakened the Obama administration's hand as it struggles to organize a peace conference next month bringing together rebels and the regime.
The Islamic Front is a recently formed alliance of the largest Islamist rebel groups that excludes the two main al Qaeda-linked rebel groups—the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham—and is considered the more moderate faction among Islamist rebel groups.
Gen. Idris flew to the Qatari capital of Doha on Sunday after fleeing to Turkey, U.S. officials said Wednesday. "He fled as a result of the Islamic Front taking over his headquarters," a senior U.S. official said.
An Islamic Front spokesman also said Gen. Idris had fled to Turkey....
"When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads." -- Qur'an 47:4
That verse does seem to involve taking captives, and then setting them free outright or in exchange for ransom. And this is how it has been understood in Islamic law: "As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may he be exalted, says, 'When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [the Truth=Islam] then strike [their] necks' (Qur'an sura 47, verse 4)" — Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance), trans. by Dr. Asadullah Yate, (London), Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 1996, p. 192.
Amin Gemayal is apparently yet another non-Muslim politician like David Cameron: confident that he knows Islam better than Islamic jihadists who have dedicated their lives to following its dictates, and sure that the genuine article is peaceful, despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary.
"Gemayel: Abduction of nuns contradicts Koran teachings," from Ya Libnan, December 11:
Former Lebanese president and phalange party leader Amin Gemayel slammed the abductors of the Lebanese and Syrian Christian nuns and said their action does not honor them , has nothing to do with Islam and contradicts with the teachings of the Holy Koran.
“The abduction of the Maalula nuns does not honor those who did it and this act has nothing to do with Islam and this is a grave historic mistake that contradicts with the teachings of the Holy Koran.” Gemayel who is on an official visit to the United States told LBCI....
Yahya Hassan: racist?
This shows the absurdity of classifying criticism of jihad terror and Islamic supremacism as "racism": Yahya Hassan and Mohamed Suleban are likely of the same race, or at any rate both would be considered "non-white" in today's political culture. It also illustrates the deep insecurity and inability to face criticism that is shared by Islamic supremacists everywhere.
"Danish rap poet Yahya Hassan faces racism charge for knocking Muslims," by Liz Bury for the Guardian, December 12 (thanks to Twostellas):
A young Danish Palestinian rapper and poet, whose debut collection criticising the Danish Muslim immigrant community provoked death threats and a physical assault, appeared in court this week to see his attacker sentenced to five months in prison.
But 18-year-old Yahya Hassan still faces a charge of racism in a second case brought in the same week by a local politician, who claimed that non-Muslims who spoke and wrote as he did would be open to prosecution.
Hassan burst onto the scene with an interview in Politiken newspaper in October entitled "I F***ing Hate My Parents' Generation".
His collection, titled Yahya Hassan, has sold 80,000 copies since October and is expected to have topped 100,000 by Christmas, according to publisher Gyldendal. He has won fans among the Danish middle-class for his work, which slams what he sees as hypocrisy among the immigrant Muslim community in Denmark, and accuses them of a raft of negative behaviours, including bad parenting and social security fraud.
His poetry has tapped into a rumbling public debate about Islam in Denmark, which erupted in 2005 when the daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a depiction of the prophet Muhammad with a bomb as his turban. The paper later apologised for publishing the cartoons, saying that they had caused "serious misunderstandings". The country has a strong pro-free speech lobby, which is open to hijacking by racists.
Hassan was brought up in the deprived area of Gellerup in Aarhus, with a disciplinarian father. He is vociferous in his criticism of his parents' generation of Muslims, and slams the attitudes of his peer group. He has been subject to death threats, and was assaulted in November at Copenhagen Central Station, by 24-year-old Isaac Meyer, also of Palestinian descent, who has previously served a jail term for his part in a failed terrorist plot.
The racism charge was brought this week by local politician Mohamed Suleban, who told Politiken newspaper: "He says that everybody in the ghettos like Vollsmose and Gellerup steal, don't pay taxes and cheat themselves to pensions. Those are highly generalising statements and they offend me and many other people."
Novelist Liz Jensen, who lives in Denmark, said: "Denmark is obsessed with him. He's a bright, angry young man, talented and very charismatic. He deserves attention because his poetry, born of rap, is raw and urgent and has huge flair. Its observational qualities, along with its mix of Danish street-slang and sophisticated word-play has real literary merit. But would he get so much coverage if he weren't criticizing the Muslim ghetto community he comes from? I suspect not."
Nonsense. If he were criticizing non-Muslim Danish culture or Christianity, he'd be celebrated everywhere, and no one would dream of bringing a "racism" charge against him.
She added: "Most of the people who come to his readings aren't his target audience. They are white middle-aged Danes. He's providing music for their ears. And many of those who laud him in the media aren't typical poetry-lovers: they're right-wing populists and those he calls "freedom-of-expression junkies". He is providing music for their ears, too. In the midst of all these he has really kept his integrity. He's the kid from the ghetto, giving the world the finger."
Hassan'a collection, written entirely in capital letters, is not yet available in English, but a translated excerpt from LONG POEM, published by the Wall Street Journal, provides a flavour of his work:
"You don't want pork meat,
may Allah praise you for your eating habits,
you want Friday prayer till the next Friday prayer,
you want Ramadan till the next Ramadan,
and between the Friday prayers and the Ramadans,
you want to carry a knife in your pocket,
you want to go and ask people if they have a problem,
although the only problem is you."
"President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono did not name the groups" that were threatening the Christians -- because he knew that if he did name them, they would take that in itself as a new offense, and possibly target him as well. The whole world is cowed and terrified in the face of the intimidation from these groups.
"Indonesia warns of possibly violent Christmas," from Reuters, December 12 (thanks to Twostellas):
(Reuters) - Indonesia's president has ordered police to step up security around churches over the Christmas holidays following reports of possible attacks.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono did not name the groups, but it was a clear reference to Islamic extremists. Though major terror groups have largely been crushed following a series of deadly attacks in the early 2000s, small Muslim extremist cells still operate.
"I have received a report from the chief of police of the existence of the elements who plan to disrupt security and order in certain places," the presidential palace quoted Yudhoyono as saying on Thursday before flying to Japan for a regional summit.
The warning comes amid growing concerns of a rise in religious intolerance in the world's largest Muslim population, with the government criticised for not doing enough to protect religious minorities, including Christians, from hardline Islamic groups.
"We will deploy two thirds of our personnel and safety apparatus at churches and other places of worship, shopping centres, tourist and entertainment spots that are frequented by the public (over the Christmas and New Year holidays)," national police chief General Sutarman said.
The "Palestinians," as you can see from the story below, are in complete denial about why these killings happen. Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2).
In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but "the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour 'provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.'" And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that "Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values."
In light of all this, until authorities get the courage to tell the truth about honor killing, there will be many more such murders.
"Palestinians see worrisome trend in 'honour' killings rise," by Noah Browning for Reuters, December 11 (thanks to Twostellas):
AQQABA, West Bank, Dec 11 (Reuters) - A silvery green olive grove set in the red soil of a Palestinian village is a crime scene - testament to a practice so sensitive that it is spoken of only in whispers.
One night in late November, Rasha Abu Ara, a 32-year-old mother of five, was beaten to death and strung from a gnarled tree branch as a gruesome badge of "family honour" restored.
The woman's alleged sin was adultery, and her killer was either her own brother or husband, security sources told Reuters. Both are behind bars while an investigation continues.
Her murder brought to 27 the number of women slain in similar circumstances in Palestinian-run areas this year, according to rights groups - more than twice last year's victims.
The rise has led Palestinians to question hidebound laws they say are lax on killers, as well as a reluctance to name and shame in the media and society, which may contribute to a feeling of impunity among perpetrators.
"It feels like something that belongs to another time," said one young man in Aqqaba who refused to give his name, the first hints of a beard on his chin. "But, it's standard."
A week after the crime, Aqqaba mayor Jamal Abu Ara, who is a member of the victim's extended family, and his brothers sat in their village home, smoking cigarettes and choosing their words carefully.
"This act has no religion - it comes from closed, tribal thinking left over from an age of ignorance. People here are walking around in a haze; they want to know who did it and why. Of course, it's the first time it's happened here," he said.
His brother added: "Islam requires you have four witnesses to prove the act of adultery. "It's not right what happened. Especially since if it were a man, some would just say 'boys will be boys'," he said....
"Honour killing" is a social menace that occurs throughout the Middle East, though precise figures are often elusive. In neighbouring Jordan, for example, a Cambridge University survey of attitudes among young people published in June found that a third of respondents agreed with the practice. The researchers attributed the result to low levels of education and "patriarchal and traditional world views, emphasis placed on female virtue and a more general belief that violence against others is morally justified."
The study estimated an average of 15 to 20 such killings occur every year in Jordan, with a population of around 6.3 million, compared to around 4 million in Palestinian lands....
But Soraida Hussein, whose rights group Muntada tallied this year's killings, said the practice also has deep roots. "There is no balance in power relations between the genders. There is a patriarchal mentality...as always, the force and pressure in society is transferred from the strong to the weak," she said....
The passing of stricter laws on violence against women is hamstrung by the absence of a Palestinian parliament, which has not met since President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party and the Islamist Hamas group fought a brief, bloody civil war in 2007.
Abbas has used his executive power to amend or cancel parts of the penal law, but has not yet changed all legislation which applies a separate status to domestic violence and has been used to justify killings and lighten prison sentences.
Palestinian Minister of Women's Affairs Rabiha Diab saved much of her blame for violence toward women for Israel: "The Israeli occupation is the one practising the utmost violence ... it's the main thing keeping us from advancing....
Spreading awareness on the issue can open campaigners and journalists to criticism and even threats, which may partly explain its scant airing in public, however.
Press bulletins occasionally note the discovery of a woman's body in what are called "hazy circumstances" - a common euphemism for honour killings.
Names are concealed and the news is rarely followed up on. "When you touch such stories, you're up against a social taboo," said Palestinian journalist Naela Khalil, whose work focuses on women's issues. "Here, the family is stronger than even the security forces. I might criticise Mahmoud Abbas more easily than a father or a brother who killed a woman. Doing this may mean a struggle with a whole family or village," she said.
And remember: Jordan is supposed to be "moderate." In any case, this is an easy way for them to declare that they're against "terrorism" while continuing to support the jihad against Israel. And credulous Western analysts (who are legion) will dutifully classify them as "moderate" and "anti-terror."
AMMAN — The Lower House on Wednesday endorsed draft amendments to the State Security Court (SSC) Law following extensive discussions over its provisions.
The deputies excluded "resistance actions" against Israel from the court's jurisdiction, following a proposal to do so by Deputy Tareq Khoury (Zarqa, 1st District).
The deputies agreed that any actions against Israel cannot be "terrorism" at all; hence, they approved a provision that excludes actions against Israel from terrorism crimes.
The draft amendments limit the jurisdiction of the SSC to five crimes specified in the Constitution: treason, espionage, terrorism, drugs and money counterfeiting.
The bill will be sent to the Senate for deliberations and endorsement, after which it will be forwarded to His Majesty King Abdullah for ratification....
Elder of Ziyon has statements about jihad being an individual duty of every Muslim and more -- spoken by a Christian lawmaker in Jordan here.
Intisar A. Rabb
Chilling Effect for Me, But Not for Thee
by Andrew E. Harrod
“I don’t apply the same standards” as in the United States, the Muslim Harvard Law School professor Intisar A. Rabb stated at a November 21, 2013, Georgetown University conference with respect to “hate speech” restrictions and Islam abroad. In connection with her concern about an American Muslim’s terrorism conviction “chilling speech,” Rabb’s acceptance of “just a different legal regime” abroad revealed troubling double standards towards Islam.
Raab addressed the final panel of “Muslim-Christian Relations in the 21st Century: Challenges & Opportunities,” a controversial conference (see here, here, and here) marking the 20th anniversary of Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). Rabb opposed a recent appeals court conviction affirmation for Tarek Mehanna, as elaborated in an amici curia brief in Mehanna’s appeal. Therein Rabb and others warned of a “serious chilling effect” on speech from convicting Mehanna for translating the book 39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad for the website at-Tibyan.
The federal government considered the book, website, and Mehanna’s “disfavored political and religious beliefs” all supportive of Al Qaeda. The appellate opinion noted that Mehanna had a First Amendment right to praise Al Qaeda, but Al-Qaeda-coordinated advocacy was terrorism support. “Under the Government’s theory,” amici curia warned, “translating an al-Qa’ida text is lawful, as is espousing beliefs…supporting al-Qa’ida,” but together these “legal acts gives rise to criminal liability,” a particular concern for scholars researching terrorism.
Rabb at Georgetown therefore demanded that action beyond speech underlie any terrorism support conviction. Yet, unmentioned by Rabb, Mehanna had traveled in 2004 to Yemen, irrespective of any translation work charge. The appeals court rejected his “rose-colored glasses” presentation as a “devoted scholar…protected by the First Amendment” and found a jury conclusion “virtually unarguable” that Mehanna “went abroad to enlist in...terrorist training.”
Legal issues aside, amici curiae did not consider Mehanna’s reading and website choices objectionable. At-Tibyan, for example, “primarily” concerned “Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi…a theologian and a jurist” who “endorses rebellion against…illegitimate Muslim regimes.” Among “innumerable mainstream theological texts,”39 Ways also involved “basic…Sunni jurisprudence,” namely the “individual duty (fard ‘ayn) incumbent on all Muslims” to “contribute to wars of self-defense.” “All collections of the words and deeds of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad (hadith) and all Islamic law books” endorsed this “standard position in all Sunni legal schools.”
The amici curiae cited a 2003 fatwa from “mainstream Muftis” at OnIslam, “[o]ne of the most popular websites in the English-speaking world devoted to Islam.” The muftis considered whether for Muslims it is “necessary to fight alongside Afghans” or otherwise resist American-led forces in Afghanistan. Citing Quran verses legitimating fighting against non-Muslims, the muftis answered that the “Muslim Ummah (nation) is considered one body, which if a single organ aches all the other organs will share the feelings of agony.”
Robert Spencer of the website Jihadwatch could not have explained such doctrines of jihad in a more troubling manner. Questions in the brief about targeting civilians aside, the cited Islamic doctrine justified the killing of military personnel “attacking” Muslim nations, cold comfort to, among others, beheaded British soldier Lee Rigby or the 13 Americans of the Fort Hood shooting. Rabb’s brief could only confirm the criticisms of Islam by individuals like Spencer or Holland’s Geert Wilders and incite Terry Jones to burn another Quran.
Unlike Rabb, though, Spencer has faced exclusion from the United Kingdom and Wilders criminal prosecution in Holland for their comments on Islam, while destroying a Quran is prohibited hate speech in countries like Belgium. Such domestic legal actions accord with the longstanding international agenda of majority-Muslim nations in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to prohibit criticizing Islam. This agenda has culminated in the March 24, 2011, United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 with troubling implications for free speech even after Western-induced modifications.
In this context, Rabb’s invocation of the proverbial “chilling effect” on free speech prompted my question about criticizing Islam. Rabb’s “each regime is different” response allowed for “dignity laws” as a “prerogative” for other democracies dealing with anti-Islam speech grouped by her with Nazism. Muslim-majority countries also had such laws, Rabb indicated, a worrying statement in light of Islamic blasphemy laws.
Critical issues involving Islam, however, were not absent from the conference. George Soros-financed leftist evangelical Richard Cizek, for example, recalled during a panel how a fellow evangelical had once told him that “insults in Lynchburg produce riots in Lahore.” Convicted terrorism financier Sami Al-Arian, meanwhile, discussed with me in the audience viewing the conference’s morning segment before going home to comply with his house arrest.
“Islamophobia” critic Nathan Lean was also in the audience. Called a “stalker” by Spencer, Lean has repeatedly tweeted an article supposedly containing Spencer’s address and wife’s picture, a “clear attempt to intimidate me.” Addressed by me on this matter, Lean curtly replied that it is “not appropriate” to discuss Spencer at a Christian-Muslim understanding conference and walked away.
Thus Lean, Rabb, and others, concerned about fundamentally necessary anti-terrorism laws infringing intellectual inquiry in the United States, exhibited little principled concern about uninhibited discussion of Islam. Yet as the conference and Mehanna’s conviction show, the needs of security and liberty demand robust debate precisely with respect to Islam.
Andrew E. Harrod is a freelance researcher and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School. You may follow Harrod on twitter at @AEHarrod. This article was sponsored by The Legal Project, an activity of the Middle East Forum.
Dr. Essam Abdullah, a professor of philosophy at Egypt’s Ain Shams University and a regular political commentator on Arabic media, including Al Jazeera, recently made some startling remarks on a televised program: that there are “more than 23 million Copts in Egypt,” out of a total population of nearly 90 million, with an additional 7 million Copts outside Egypt.
The Copts are the Christian, indigenous inhabitants of Egypt, which was a major Christian center—Alexandria one of the three oldest and most revered episcopates, along with Rome and Antioch—before the 7th century Islamic conquest which slowly saw the numbers of Christians dwindle as growing numbers, desiring to slough off the bondage of dhimmitude, converted to the “winning team” of Islam.
Abdullah explained the background of his assertion, while repeatedly insisting that “I know what I am saying and am responsible for my words.”
According to the professor, back in 1991, then-president Hosni Mubarak asked then-Pope Shenouda for the exact number of Copts, which was not being provided by any governmental agency.
So the Coptic Church formed a census committee to provide Mubarak with an accurate number. Dr. Abdullah himself was a member of this committee. The total census was based on four sources:
1) The number of parishes under each archdiocese in each city/region.
2) The birth certificates recorded in each parish.
3) The marriage certificates recorded in each parish.
4) The death certificates recorded in each parish.
According to Abdullah, Mubarak intentionally concealed this information after it was revealed to him, “so as not to cause himself problems.”
Abdullah’s main point was that, because the Copts are 23 million in Egypt, obviously their votes can be very decisive in establishing a more democratic and inclusive government—hence precisely why the Islamists, whether the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafis, habitually terrorize them and threaten them from going out to vote.
Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians
Yet another phenomenon with a long paper trail in Islamic history has just taken place, even as the Western “mainstream”—little acquainted with true history or reality—dismisses it as an aberration. Asia News has the details:
Islamist rebels have kidnapped a group of nuns from the Greek Orthodox monastery of St Thecla (Mar Taqla) in Maaloula [an ancient Christian community where Christians were earlier forced to convert to Islam or die]… “Armed men burst in the monastery of St Thecla in Maaloula this afternoon [Dec. 2]. From there, they forcibly took 12 women religious,” Mgr Zenari said …. Neither the nuncio nor the Greek Orthodox Church know [the] reason behind the kidnapping.
The “reason behind the kidnapping”? Sexual abuse and rape certainly should not be discounted, as these have been the lot of thousands of women abducted by U.S.-sponsored “freedom fighters” in Syria. Indeed, a new report issued by the National Reconciliation Commission in Syria states that some 37,000 women have been raped since the war started.
To keep the jihad in Syria alive, pro-war Islamic clerics have issued any number of fatwas, or Islamic rulings, permitting sexually-frustrated, female-deprived rebels to rape women. Most of these are based on the simple fact that Islam permits jihadis, based on the example of their prophet, to copulate with any captured woman—or, in the words of the Koran, “what your right hands possess” (see “The Jihad on Christian Women: Abduction, Rape, and Forced Conversion,” pgs. 186-199 in Crucified Again for detailed information).
One cleric permitted the abduction and rape of any Syrian woman, provided she is not Sunni. Yet apparently because there are still not enough women for the jihadi hordes, many of whom are foreigners—one Christian child was recently raped by 15 men before being killed—Sunni Muslim women are also being targeted through sex jihad fatwas.
So would such jihadis and their clerics have any special respect for Christian nuns?
The fact is, raped nuns is a phenomenon that goes back centuries. According to Muslim historian Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi (1364-1442) during his raids on Egypt, Caliph Marwan II (r.744–50) “made captive a number of women from among the nuns of several convents. And he tried to seduce one of them.” The account describes how the enslaved nun tricked him into killing her, by claiming she had a magic oil that make skin impenetrable: “She then took some oil and anointed herself with it; then stretched out her neck, which he smote with the sword, and made her head fly. He then understood that she preferred death to defilement.”
Writing in the 10th century, the Coptic chronicler Severus ibn Muqaffa records that “the Arabs in the land of Egypt had ruined the country…. They burnt the fortresses and pillaged the provinces, and killed a multitude of the saintly monks who were in them [monasteries] and they violated a multitude of the virgin nuns and killed some of them with the sword.”
After the Islamic conquest of Constantinople in 1453, according to eyewitness accounts, “Monasteries and Convents were broken in. Their tenants were killed, nuns were raped, many, to avoid dishonor, killed themselves. Killing, raping, looting, burning, enslaving, went on and on according to tradition.”
Such is history—expunged as it is in the modern West, even as it repeats itself today. Thus, in August 2013, after torching a Franciscan school in Egypt, “Islamists,” in the words of the AP, “paraded three nuns on the streets like ‘prisoners of war’” and “Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.”... Keep reading
Alia al-Mahdi could be imprisoned or even executed on such charges. Will the world human rights community rush to her defense? Or will it abandon her since it is "racist," "extremist" and "bigoted" to have a low opinion of Sharia?
"Egypt's FEMEN favorite Alia gets feisty on social media: Feminist flasher tackles Islam's call to prayer," from AlBawaba, November 26:
Alia al-Mahdi - notoriously known as the “nude poser” - stirred up more trouble when she derided the Muslim call to prayer on social media.
On her Facebook account, she published a picture of a fabricated call to prayer, which stated “woman is great ” instead of “Allahu Akbar” or “God is great.”
She also turned the phrase “I bear witness that there is no god except the One God,” into “I bear witness that there is no lord, ruler or father.”
Mahdi’s Facebook posts have irked the Salafist preacher Sheikh Nasser Radwan, who called her statements “pure heresy” and that she should be tried for “defaming religion and insulting the Divine Being,” the Egyptian Veto Gate news website quoted him as saying on Sunday.
He also urged al-Azhar University - the center of Islamic learning for Sunnis - as well as the Interior Ministry, to “deal with Alia to stave off any controversy in the country.”
Meanwhile, Mahmoud Muhna, a member of al-Azhar’s council of senior scholars urged Egyptian authorities to send Mahdi - who he described as an “apostate” - to criminal courts.
In Islam, an individual who renounces his or her Muslim belief is considered as an “apostate” and should be tried according to Sharia, or Islamic law.
Mahdi started her protest against Islamist rule in Egypt by posing naked on the internet, a move she said she has never regretted.
However, despite the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, Mahdi seems committed to keep crossing the what the country considers to be red lines.
Late September, she urged the Egyptian interim presidency to include a representative for those who do not subscribe to any religion in the panel currently preparing the country’s constitution.
In early 2013, she also posed naked when she participated in a protest by the International women’s movement FEMEN in Stockholm “to say NO to Sharia constitution in Egypt!”
Standing firm when no one else is. "PM, under attack, insists he ‘won’t be silent’ on Iran," by Adiv Sterman for the Times of Israel, December 2:
Israel will not stand silent as its security is compromised and will take action to dispel any threat leveled against the state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
Speaking at the Great Synagogue in Rome, Netanyahu shot back at critics of his policies, and said that he was concerned more with Israel’s safety than with his public image.
“In contrast to others, when I see that interests vital to the security of Israel’s citizens are in danger, I will not be silent,” the prime minister said.
“I am committed to the future of my state and in contrast to periods in the past, we have a loud and clear voice among the nations and we will sound it in time in order to warn of the danger.”
These remarks were apparently directed at his predecessor Ehud Olmert, who earlier Sunday slammed Netanyahu’s public feuding with the US over the best way to thwart Iran’s nuclear weapons drive.
Netanyahu went on to directly address Iran’s nuclear program, and said that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the Islamic Republic would not only endanger Israel, but the entire Middle East.
“I would like to dispel any illusions. Iran aspires to attain an atomic bomb,” he said, adding that Tehran was also spreading violence across the region.
“Today there is a regime in Iran that supports terrorism, facilitates the massacre of civilians in Syria and unceasingly arms its proxies – Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad – with deadly missiles.”
Netanyahu concluded his remarks by stressing that the lifting of sanctions on Tehran would pave the way for the Islamist regime in Tehran to produce nuclear weapons.
“As we have warned, and I say this with regret, the sanctions have started to weaken and very quickly,” the prime minister said.
“If tangible steps are not taken soon, [the sanctions pressure] is liable to collapse and the efforts of years will vanish without anything in exchange.”...
Sunni-Shi'ite Jihad comes to modern, moderate Malaysia: this is not some "extremist" crank, but a Malaysian government agency. "Fighting Shiites an act of jihad, Muslims told," from Malaysiaskini, November 29:
Muslims were today urged to fight against the Shiites as it is "a form of jihad" before it is too late, because the "Shiite virus" is spreading fast in Malaysia.
According to the Friday sermon prepared by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) this is because those who fight Shi'ism are defending the sanctity of Islam....
A swift takedown of an increasingly prominent "moderate" who pushes the Muslim Brotherhood propaganda term "Islamophobia" and opposes the freedom of speech -- particularly honesty about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat. "The Unbearable Lightness of Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, by Andrew E. Harrod at Juicy Ecumenism, November 25:
“You are a sushi,” Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the United Kingdom’s Minister for Faith and Communities, recounted friends describing her mixed Sunni-Shia Pakistani-Muslim ancestry during a November 15, 2013, Washington, DC, address. Warsi’s delectable presentation of her Muslim heritage, however, was part of a junk food understanding of different belief systems having no irreconcilable differences hindering harmony, all past and present evidence notwithstanding.
“Conflict has taken many forms” throughout history, Warsi began her remarks at Georgetown University’s Alumni House. Today, though, a “dangerous and rising phenomenon” of “religion turning on religion…is forming the fault lines.” Among the “people…singled out and hounded out simply for…faith” globally were “Baha’is, Shias, Sunnis, and Alawites, Hindus, Sikhs, atheists—I could go on.”
Warsi, though, placed a “focus on a religion which is suffering particularly in the wake of changes to the Middle East.” Christian “minority populations have co-existed with the [Muslim] majority for generations,” she claimed, but now they are “increasingly treated as outsiders.” Religious oppressors “range from states to militant groups, and even to a person’s own family.” The “countless causes” include “[t]urf wars, social unrest and corruption…[p]olitical transition, authoritarianism and terrorism.” Thereby “faith is used as a proxy for other divisions.” Somewhat contradicting her modern focus, Warsi noted that, “of course, this isn’t to say the persecution of religious minorities is new” but “is woven into the history of most of our faiths.”
In the United Kingdom, Warsi presented a counterexample of coexistence between vibrant faiths. She “grew up practicing a minority religion, Islam, in a majority-Christian country” with a sense, to cite Hillary Clinton, that “one’s faith is unshakeable” irrespective of hostility. Enrollment of her daughter, meanwhile, in a “Christian convent school didn’t make her less of a Muslim.” Here she “adapted the Lord’s prayer and made it her own by ending it ameen, instead of amen.” Warsi thus expressed opposition to a “worrying phenomenon” of “societies being told they needed to dilute their faith in order to accommodate others.” In fact, Warsi had “called on Europe to become stronger and more confident in its Christianity” during a February 14, 2012, Vatican visit.
Internationally as well, Warsi called “freedom of religion and belief a key priority for the British government.” Here Warsi called the Saudi Arabia-headquartered Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a grouping of 57-Muslim-majority states (including “Palestine”) with some of the world’s worst religious freedom abusers, a “key partner in our quest to promote religious freedom.” The OIC-supported United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution 16/18 also “lays the foundations for combating discrimination against people based on their religion.”
Lurking at home for Warsi, though, is the danger of “Islamophobia,” something that “had passed the dinner table test…it could be found in the most civilized of settings.” Warsi likewise condemned in the United States “individuals like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer denying the place of Muslims in society.” Such “so-called patriots ignore the founding tenets of their nation, of freedom and equality.”
Warsi demanded to “expose those who seek to twist history, who are neither true to the roots of their faiths or the founding principles of their nations” such as Spencer and Geller. Warsi therefore reiterated President Barack Obama’s twisted politically correct history that “America’s founding father, Thomas Jefferson, over 200 years ago hosted an iftar at the White House and had a Quran on his bookshelf.” Unmentioned by Obama or Warsi, President Jefferson merely shifted the usual afternoon dinner hour on December 9, 1805, to after sunset in order to accommodate a fasting Tunisian envoy, Sidi Soliman Mellimelli. Mellimelli was negotiating restitution for Tunisian vessels seized by the USS Constitution while running a blockade to the Barbary Pirates of Tripoli. Their depredations against American merchantmen had caused Jefferson to acquire a Quran in order to better understand his Muslim enemies.
“Spain’s Islamic Golden Age was a period of harmony and progress,” Warsi similarly superficially asserted, invoking an oft-critiqued cliché in order to demonstrate that “history shows that it is possible for these religions to live together.” “The fundamental tenets of the major faiths…are not intrinsically on some collision course.” Reiterating a quotation in her Vatican address from Islam’s fourth caliph, Ali ibn Abu Talib, Warsi drew inspiration from “the teachings of Islam, which tell us your fellow man is your brother—either your brother in faith, or your brother in humanity.”
Yet all of Warsi’s examples of religious repression involve various Muslim oppressors, with the exception of Burma’s Muslim Rohingha population and “attacks against Christians” in “in some parts of India.” The mass exodus of Jews from Arab countries following Israel’s establishment in 1948 also belies Warsi’s assertion of past coexistence between religious minorities and Muslim majorities. Hardly any objective observer would share Warsi’s view that the “Arab Spring” manifested no Muslim “sectarian tension” but merely a “mutual desire for democracy, freedom, and equality.” Warsi’s controversial claim of a “moderate Syrian opposition” with a “strong commitments to protecting minorities” has additionally failed to win public support around the world for intervention in Syria’s civil war.
Seemingly some examination of aggressive and authoritarian teachings of Islam such as sharia and militant jihad would be in order. Appropriate as well would be explanation by Warsi concerning how her Shiite and Sunni relatives avoided conflict while these two branches of Islam have battled each other up to the present day. Warsi would not lack for material on these issues; whole books have appeared on dhimmitude, for example, such as Mark Durie’s The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude, and Freedom and Bat Ye’or’s Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide. Yet Warsi apparently denies any actual Islamic motive in the numerous international security issues that have vexed the world since Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks. Islam merely serves as a “proxy” in the persecution of Christians in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, the Middle East, Muslim terrorist attacks, or the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Warsi’s behavior following her return to the United Kingdom suggests that her superficiality has not improved. Her fellow peer, Lord Pearson, expressed on November 19 in the House of Lords his “fear that the dark side is moving strongly within Islam” and considered “part of Islam’s problem” that the Quran “commands the faithful to kill the unbelievers.” Warsi responded with a West Wing segment criticizing various archaic Old Testament passages to argue that “[t]hese texts from the Old Testament could so easily be manipulated to cause mischief and indeed have been manipulated in the past.”
As Warsi’s bête noir Spencer noted at his website Jihadwatch, Warsi’s “argument is “extremely common and extremely disingenuous.” While there are “armed jihad groups justifying violence by referring to the Qur’an and Sunnah all over the world,” both Judaism and Christianity distinguish between various forms of law in the Old Testament. Judaism sees the religious laws of the Old Testament, in contrast to moral laws, as applicable only to Jews and has interpretations defining various brutal practices in the Old Testament as no longer applicable (see here and here). Christianity, meanwhile, sees Old Testament religious law’s completion in Jesus Christ’s life (see here and here).
Warsi’s approval of UNHRC Resolution 16/18 indicates that she is not terribly interested in rebuttal. The resolution references “derogatory stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of persons based on their religion” and “denigration.” Hidden behind such words is the OIC’s long term goal of criminalizing Islamic blasphemy, something even more evident in earlier OIC resolution drafts abandoned in the face of Western resistance.
Speaking on February 7 to the 2013 OIC summit in Cairo, Warsi evinced no opposition to this agenda. Using the OIC’s favored propagandistic terminology, Warsi argued that the “OIC has for many years been concerned about the scourge of Islamophobia, or anti-Muslim hatred, and other hate speech.” Warsi noted that “incitement to religious hatred remains an offence in Britain” under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act, such that speech like Quran burning is illegal. Opposition to “Islamophobia” has similarly barred Geller and Spencer from entering the United Kingdom....
Did he condemn Green-On-Blue attacks this forcefully? Or is he just trying to do what he can to stay in power longer than fifteen minutes after the last American troops finally leave?
"Afghan president condemns U.S. airstrike that killed a child," from Reuters, November 28:
KABUL (Reuters) - President Hamid Karzai said U.S. forces had bombed a home in southern Afghanistan, killing a small child and wounding two women, and condemned the attack as a sign of disregard for civilian lives, his spokesman said on Thursday.
The strike could not have come at a worse time, as Karzai is engaged in a stand-off with the U.S. government over a bilateral security agreement that will decide whether U.S. troop stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
"It shows that U.S. forces have no respect for the decisions of the Loya Jirga and life of civilians in Afghanistan," said Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi.
"If such operations continue, there will be no agreement."