These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 15, 2012.
Friday, 15 June 2012
Harold Rhode: The Gates Of Ijtihad Slammed Shut 1000 Years Ago And Won't Be Opened Any Time Soon
From the Gatestone Institute:
Can Muslims Reopen the Gates of Ijtihad?
by Harold Rhode
June 15, 2012
Until Muslim countries and Muslim communities in the West allow their people to express themselves freely -- without fear of reprisal -- it is unlikely that the Muslim world will be able to think creatively and again become a center of science and knowledge, as it used to be in the early centuries of Islam.
The exercise of critical thinking and independent judgment – or Ijtihad --was an important way to address questions in the early centuries of Islam. After approximately 400 years, however, the leaders of the Sunni Muslim world closed the "Gates of Ijtihad;" Muslims were no longer allowed use itjihad to solve problems. If a seemingly new problem arose, they were supposed to find an analogy from earlier scholars and apply that ruling to the problem that arose. From the 10th century onwards, Sunni Muslim leaders began to see questioning as politically dangerous to their ability to rule. Regrettably, Sunni Muslim leaders reject the use of itjihad to this day.
As questioning could very likely upset the established order and bring down the autocracies and despotic regimes which rule most of the Muslim world, even Muslims who live in freer Muslim countries such as Turkey often hesitate to exercise ijtihad. How did the Muslim world succumb to this situation, and is there a way out?
Ijtihad in historical context
Ijtihad was important in early Islam: when questions arose - even while Muhammad was alive - for which there were no answers, Muhammad would call the Muslims together in their mosque. They would discuss the issues at hand, reason them through, and come to a consensus -- so came into being the Islamic concept of ijma' (consensus among the scholars).
After Muhammad died, however, the Muslim community rapidly expanded; the community of scholars became too large, and ijma' no longer practical. What developed was a body of traditions – called hadiths – sayings and deeds attributed to their prophet Muhammad. When new questions arose, people would seek out individuals who had known Muhammad and ask them whether they had seen or heard Muhammad address the matter at hand.
Within 200 years, the number of hadiths was not ony thought to be in the hundreds of thousands, but people had no way of knowing which were true and which were fabricated. The great Muslim scholar, al-Bukhari (810 -870 CE), who analyzed them, concluded that only a few thousand were reliable.
Later, when still more questions arose, diverse schools of thought developed. The Quran, the hadiths, and those schools of thought were collected into Islamic law. This body of Islamic religious guidance is known as the Shari'a, or "The Path."
During the first four centuries of Islam, Muslim scholars seem to have exercised independent judgment freely, and debated rigorously new issues that arose. The Muslim world at that time seems to have been inclusive and flexible; it accepted differing views, differing conclusions and differing sorts of influences that arose as part of the cultures of its large empire.
Muslim scholars studied Arabic translations of ancient Greek texts which they thought might help them understand the nature of mankind as well as other aspects of life. These texts, though clearly non-Islamic, nevertheless provided scholars with useful insights. There were also intellectual interchanges with Jewish scholars, particularly in the fields of science, medicine, language, and geography. There seems to have been, however, little discussion with Christians.
With time, however, the situation became unwieldy. Certain groups (called ghulat) were accused of extremism – going too far -- and attempts were made to rein them in. Questions arose as to the limits of divergent views, and whether "extremist elements" could still be considered Muslim. The many schools of Islamic thought were reduced to four; these became the basis of the Sunni Shari'a.
As Islamic rule started to become more autocratic, Islamic rulers began to see discord as potentially able to undermine their rule.
All four schools accepted the Quran as the divine word of God, and the hadiths as the source for legal decisions. But it soon became apparent that the larger the number of hadiths a school of thought accepted, the more restrictive and rigid this school became. The Hanafi school of law, for example -- the most liberal school of thought, founded by Abu Hanifa (699-767 CE) -- accepted over a few thousand hadiths. In contrast, the most restrictive of the four schools – founded by Ahmad ibn Hanbal (778-863 CE) -- accepted tens of thousands. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the 18th century Wahhabism -- probably one of the most restrictive forms of Islam -- developed out of the Hanbali School of law.
The Islamic authorities possibly still worried that despite four schools of thought, dissent would become unmanageable. Towards the end of the eleventh century, therefore, they officially closed the "Gates of Ijtihad." There may have been too many different answers to the same questions, leading to confusion. Possibly this, in turn, may have made it difficult for the authorities to maintain order as well as to justify their autocratic rule.
Muslim scholars also appear to have decided that as all questions had been addressed, there was no longer any need to exercise independent judgment. The result was that exercising independent judgment became no longer permissible.
During the twelfth century, nevertheless, there were still attempts to use rational and deductive reasoning. In Muslim Spain, for instance, Averroes (aka Ibn Rushd, 1126-1198 CE), one of the founders of secular reasoning in Europe, refused to accept the closing of the Gates of Ijtihad. He continued to use Arabic translations of classical Greek sources, and preferred strictly rational methods to decide matters in contention. As in the Muslim world the Gates of Ijtihad had been closed, however, his rulings proved unacceptable.
What happened once the gates of ijtihad were closed: The Ottoman example
What followed the closing of the Gates of Ijtihad in the Muslim world were centuries of intellectual and political decline. At the same time, Europe, with its many states constantly at war with each other, was on the ascendancy. One of the major reasons Europe advanced appears to have been that its warring political entities needed to find new methods of defeating their adversaries. The Europeans were therefore drawn to study science and technology to enable them to produce weapons -- powerful naval vessels, for instance, that could be used in war both at home and overseas. The Muslims, on the other hand, who had fewer internal wars, had no incentive to invent new techniques to survive.
Yet all was not lost for the Muslims: European businessmen had weapons to sell and were perfectly willing to sell them to Muslims. Additionally, after many European wars, a continuous flow of refugees fleeing Europe brought their skills and knowledge to the Ottoman Empire. The Muslims were then able to take advantage of many of the technological and scientific developments in Europe. This was essentially how the Ottoman Empire (ca. 1389-1918) was able to hold its own land -- and even capture European land -- until the seventeenth century, when it began to lose battles and was forced to retreat from territories over which, for centuries, it had ruled.
Ottoman literature and chronicles are filled with descriptions of the Europeans who fled to the Empire, and the technologies they brought with them. The Ottomans, however, never seem to have asked why it was that the Europeans invented these technologies while the Muslims did not.
Why didn't the Ottomans invent these technologies? So long as the Ottoman Empire expanded, it did not need to invent them. Could the answer be -- even in retreat and today –- that, as of Gates of Ijtihad are still closed, Muslim culture does not allow the necessary creativity?
What happened once the gates of ijtihad were closed: The muslim world today
From what one reads and hears in the media among other places, many Muslims quietly ask themselves this question, but are afraid to state it publicly for fear of being ostracized, arrested, or even killed by their co-religionists. Why, these Muslims ask, can Muslims who emigrate to the West – especially to the U.S. and Canada – invent and innovate in the fields of science and technology, but not in their native lands?
When one looks at which Muslims succeed in the West and which do not, it seems that Muslims who live outside Muslim communities in the West, or who have, at best, only marginal connections with these communities, are the most likely to succeed. By examining the lives of successful Muslims in the West, it seems clear that those who live in Muslim communities -- and whose social life revolves around these communities -- seem to suffer from the intellectual constraints just as their fellow Muslims do in their lands of origin.
According to one Palestinian Muslim who has chosen to live outside the Muslim community in the U.S., the answer is, "They don't allow us to think." ("They" refers to the leaders of the community back home and abroad.) Muslims, he states, are subjected to intellectual oppression at home: they are not allowed to question. When young Muslims do ask questions, their elders usually humiliate them – often publicly -- a sure-fire way to discourage intellectual development and curiosity. If Muslims repeat what is proscribed, they are praised; if they question, they are chastised.
The political despotism that characterizes their governments also seems to filter down to lower levels to suppress dissent, keeping every individual and group both intimidated and dependent. The same appears to apply to Muslim communities outside the Muslim world. On paper, young Muslims who live in the Western world have the freedoms that any other Western citizens enjoy. In practice, though, this is not what takes place. Those who speak out, or who do not conform to Islamic rules as dictated by their communities and families, suffer greatly.
During the twentieth century, there were countless attempts, by Muslim scholars and non-Muslims, to address this problem; but little seems to have come from them.
The Chinese peasants who went to work as laborers for the British in Singapore in the 19th century managed to produce the economic marvel that Singapore is today. Similarly, South Korea went from a semi-medieval kingdom 50 years ago to the tenth largest economy in the world. The Muslims of Aden in southern Arabia, however, lived under British rule, like the Singaporeans, yet they remain as underdeveloped as their neighbors who never lived under foreign domination. Singapore's Lee Kuan Yu, for example, once asked a well-known scholar of Islam, "Why is it that whatever we do to help our Muslims advance fails? We provide them with educational opportunities, give them financial incentives, and so on, but nothing works. They still remain at the bottom. Why?"
Ijtihad among the Shiites: Introduction
Shiites have a different approach to the problem of questioning -- an approach which might help solve the Muslim dilemma of how to remain Muslim yet take part in the modern world. For Shiites, the Gates of Ijtihad have never been closed. Shiite religious figures also have the title mujtahid, or "one who engages in the exercise of independent judgment and critical thinking to try to solve contemporary problems."
There is a noticeable difference between how Shiites in Iran, for example, and those in Iraq or Lebanon approach exercising independent judgment. Most Iranian mullahs – even those who are known as mujtahids -- rarely use ijtihad. Even though their writings are often similar to those of the Sunni religious scholars, the Iraqi and Lebanese Shiites are more likely to engage in independent judgment than their counterparts in Iran. As the Shiites are the dominant group in Iran, they never needed to worry about what those around them might do to them; hence they had less incentive to innovate or think creatively. The Shiites under Sunni rule in the Arab world, however, always had to be concerned about what the Sunnis might do to them -- a situation that induced these Shiites to find ways to survive, and possibly be more open to exercising ijtihad.
If one compares different modes of exercising judgment: in the West, Judeo-Christian thinking is based on divinely-revealed law, but with a heavy dose of critical --
mostly Aristotelian -- deductive thinking, closer to the Shiite approach. The Western tradition also sees modern science and technology as gifts from God, developed by man -- and encourages their use.
When, for example, a medical question recently arose over whether to abort large numbers of fetuses (over three) to protect the life of the mother to enable the others more successfully to be brought to term, senior Shiite religious authorities responded that although they had not really studied the problem, these were questions to consider. The Sunnis, however, said that embryos turned into fetuses because of the will of Allah, so abortion would be unacceptable -- even if the mother and all the fetuses were to die, there was nothing to be done. Only one Sunni agreed with the Shiite approach – a Sufi mystic who refused to accept that the Gates of Ijtihad were ever closed – but his is not the prevailing approach in the Sunni world.
Even though both Sunni and Shiite religious leaders approach ijtihad differently, neither encourages their followers to think creatively. Although in theory Shiite religious leaders can exercise independent judgment, in practice only a few do so -- and rarely, at that. The rest of the Shiite community is encouraged instead, in a process known as taqlid, to choose a religious leader to follow, then "imitate" him. Although these leaders are allowed to question, the masses are not encouraged to think, but to follow. So on a fundamental level, neither Shiites nor Sunnis really approaches ijtihad all that differently.
Even if, on the surface, the Shiites appear to offer a solution to the problem of independent thinking, it is hard to imagine, given the present political climate, how the Sunnis, who constitute about 85% of the 1.3 billion Muslims of the world, would be prepared to borrow anything from their Shiite enemies.
Muslim attempts to re-open the gates of ijtihad
Most of the governments of the Muslim world are despotic regimes run by autocrats who do not allow their citizens to question them. Questioning might lead to insurrection; governments might be overthrown. These leaders, therefore, make sure to appoint "official" religious leaders who will endorse the government line. Ijtihad, might lead people to question regimes; a situation that cannot be tolerated. It is not surprising that calls for re-opening the Gates of Ijtihad fall on deaf ears, as the Saudis, Egyptians, Emiratis, and others all do their utmost to stamp out individual thought.
Because questioning religion -- and much else -- is not allowed, some young Muslims who grow up in Islamic lands find much of what was forced down their throats meaningless, then reject Islam. When some of them come to the West, often their first reaction is to stay as far away from Islam and Muslims as possible. Some, after they remain in the West for a while, stumble upon books about Islam in libraries; they start reading and realize that there is a lot of beauty and knowledge in Islam – just not forced down their throats. They read, but find almost no one with whom they can share their newfound curiosity.
If and when they do find a kindred spirit, there is often a sort of dance – a tiptoeing around the real questions – mostly out of fear and suspicion. With time, when they realize that other people might have similar interests and feel safe enough to open up, they introduce each other to other men who think like them, but as if these are secret societies: there is a fear that if others, who may not agree, find out what they are discussing, both they and their families back home could suffer. They know well that organized Islam, even in the West, is controlled overwhelmingly by forces that strongly oppose ijtihad.
The internet has offered many the anonymity to pursue an interest in Islam. A surgeon from Malaysia now living in California who says he is happy with his life there, writes on the internet extensively about his fascination with Islam and ijtihad. (See his blog at http://www.bakrimusa.com) His daring has attracted others who write on his blog about Islam. He also boldly states that he could never have engaged in these types of discussions about Islam in his native Malaysia. Could the internet be a way out of this Muslim predicament?
There is also a remarkable group called the Ahl al-Quran which originated in Egypt. The group's adherents maintain that the only true source of Islamic law is the Quran, the only divine text of Islam. The hadiths and the legal exegesis which constitute Shari'a law, they argue, are just interpretations of the Quran. The interpretations were made by man, and occurred because of problems Muslims had after the Quran was revealed. The scholars addressed problems Muslims faced centuries ago. Muslims in the 21st century, they state, face different problems and should use the Quran – and only the Quran, just as the earliest Islamic scholars did – to find solutions to modern problems. They see no reason why Muslim scholars today cannot think creatively as the scholars of early Islam used to do.
As it is more comfortable to find Quranic material that can be used to address modern situations, and not then feel encumbered by the enormous weight of the hadiths and other legal and interpretive material from ancient religious scholars, an Egyptian organization, Ahl al-Quran, maintains that science and technology are Allah's gifts to man, to be used to address contemporary problems.
After Egypt's religious establishment ordered the Ahl al-Quran banned, arrested, or expelled, the group was forced to flee; it is now based in the United States. Why was it forced out? Its adherents, well versed in the Quran, rejected the imposed decision-making of Egypt's al-Azhar religious establishment, and stated that Islam strongly opposes dictatorship in both its political and religious forms. Instead, this group has been using the Quran to demonstrate that the original Muslim community was inclusive and that it encouraged discussion, both of which today are absent in Egypt and throughout the Muslim world.
When Western officials ask Egyptian political and religious officials about the Ahl al-Quran, the Egyptians laugh and smear the group, labeling its members as crazy extremists with no following. Sadly, because of our ignorance of Islamic culture, or political pressures, we usually accept what the Egyptian government officials tell us without subjecting their remarks to "our own ijtihad," thereby closing our eyes to a force which could help save the Muslim world from itself, and possibly even help prevent a clash between the Western and Muslim worlds.
Is there a chance that the Muslims could reopen the Gates of Ijtihad? For the foreseeable future, the answer seems to a resounding no. The mislabeled "Arab Spring" has turned into an "Arab Winter" in which the forces who apparently want to recreate an imagined, glorious past society modeled after what they believe their prophet established. Add to that the huge amounts of money Wahhabi "allies" of the U.S. are spending throughout the Muslim world, to propagate their militant version of Islam, and things do not look promising.
Those who understand that without itjihad, they have no future, are being forced underground, and, if they are lucky, then emigrate. These emigrants who think critically rarely move into Islamic communities where critical thinking is discouraged.
The way things look now, only if the forces which want to bring back seventh century Islamic society were to suffer a massive defeat, could there be much hope. Only then, after the anti-ijtihad forces were defeated and no longer had access to unlimited financial resources with which to spread their anti-critical thinking, can things change.
Until then, the Gates of Ijtihad will almost assuredly remain tightly shut, and the forces which now control Islam will see to it that they remain so.
Regrettably, if this analysis is correct, the future does not look able to be transformed for the Muslim world or its adherents in the near future. Until Muslim countries and communities in the West allow their people to express themselves freely -- without fear of reprisal -- it is unlikely that the Muslim world will be able to reopen the Gates of Ijtihad and again become a center of science and creativity as it used to be in the early centuries of Islam.
 According to early Islamic doctrine, so Muslims as a community could not go wrong, decisions were made by discussing problems which faced the community. But as the community grew in size, it became unwieldy to call the community together in one meeting.
 The Sunnis (about 85% of the Muslim world) accept al-Bukhari; but the Shiites have their own collections of hadiths.
 For example, when the Muslims reached India about 100 years after Muhammad's death, they came across a culture not mentioned in the Quran. While Islam is fiercely monotheistic, Hinduism has many gods and idols, anathema to Islam. The Quran demands that polytheists be enslaved, then offered the choice of conversion to Islam or death. During the early Muslim conquests of India, Hindus were massacred or enslaved, but there were simply too many Hindus for the Muslims to be able to comply with what was required by the Quran. The Muslims therefore devised the following solution: The Quran lists three groups of people who had received a revelation from God prior to Islam, and were therefore allowed to live under Islamic rule: the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabi'ah. No one knew who the Sabi'ah were, so the Muslims seem to have decided that that this term referred to other large groups such as the Hindus and Zoroastrian Persians. This decision evidently enabled the Muslims to allow Hindus live as Hindus under Muslim rule.
 The Jews, who did not have a state of their own, seem not to have constituted a threat to the Muslims. Moreover, unlike Christianity and Islam, Judaism is not a triumphalist religion – one whose adherents believe they have the final revelation from God to mankind, and therefore the obligation to bring that religion to the rest of humanity. Christianity and Islam, on the other hand, were rivals.
 For example, a certain ruler of Egypt, the Fatimid (Isma'ili Shiite) ruler al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, (985- ca. 1021) declared himself God. The Druze still regard him as divine.
 When, for instance, the Canadian Muslim woman, Irshad Manji, as a teenager, questioned her imam about his sermons, she was chastised by the imam, and ostracized by her family and community. She said she clearly respected Islam and considered herself an observant Muslim, but that her thoughts on re-opening the Gates of Ijtihad as a way of saving Islam fell on deaf ears
. This shows why surveys done in the Muslim world, especially in the more totalitarian countries, on topics involving politics or questioning authority, are meaningless: the consequences of telling anyone that you think differently from the prevailing trend could be devastating. Western academics and officials might do well to keep that in mind when they speak with locals about their thoughts.
 Probably best translated as "Quranics": those who believe only in the Quran.
 …which almost everyone in Egypt sees as a tool of the Egypt government. It repeats whatever the government tells it to say.
 See footnote 1 on ijma' – the concept of consensus in Islam.
Posted on 06/15/2012 8:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 June 2012
Burak Bekdil Has A Vision
June 15 2012,
That’s what we keep on doing for fun’s sake: Sailing against the wind. But that’s just too normal when you live in a country where 48.6 percent of your comrades tell pollsters they would either be “very keen or just keen” if their children or kin attended imam schools for education.
That dream scenario, if fulfilled, will not only mean that nearly 40 million future Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸans could be in the making (which is great, Mr. Prosecutor!) but also that there would be nearly 500 imams for every mosque in Turkey. It’s also great that numbers speak.
Feeling an awful land-sickness, I sailed (traverso, of course, like I write in this newspaper) to this northern Aegean island to seek refuge at Strati Myrivili 57, but the dangerous mix of Greek
and Turkish humor never leaves one a moment’s peace.
“The ancient Greeks had a remarkable vision,” my islander friend said with a maverick’s grin. “They knew thousands of years ago that the Turks would one day be the rivals and they knew how best to destroy the Turkish soul: They invented free voting and head-count democracy precisely for that!”
“That’s exceptional political foresight,” I replied. “But perhaps the ancient Greeks should have invented something to prevent the destruction of the Greek
soul, too. Something like prudent economic management.”
But is Chrysi Avgi (The Golden Dawn) not a product of free voting and head-count democracy? Did the ancient Greeks not invent something self-destructive too when they invented democracy?
Of course, I am aware of the major difference between the Chrysi Avgi and the Justice and Development: the Greek
neo-Nazis are at a mere 7 percent (for the moment) while the Turkish neo-Ottomans cherish 50 percent popular support. Forty-three percentage points is a big difference. Give it another decade and we can see the neo-pan-Hellenic and neo-Ottoman supremacists at each other’s throat across the most beautiful sea in the world. And that does not sound like a bad idea.
Strolling down the harbor I gazed at Turkey
at a distance of 18 nautical miles. I ignorantly noticed that topography does not tell you what culture a land belongs to. Europe? Liberal Democratic Party Chairman Cem Toker recently said he was confident Turkey
would join the European Union
the day Israel
joined the Arab League. Which reminded me of the 20th-century Greek
poet Nikos Kavadias’ stanza from his “Bitterness”:
“Polygyros came down and became a harbor, a dark, narrow harbor without any lights, tonight when Jews and Muslims embraced and the Canary Islands sailed the ocean.” (Polygyros is a town on the Chalkidhiki peninsular)
I recalled Kavadias’ poem and smiled at my naïveté when, for a moment, I felt hope for peace two seas away as I jumped into a New York Times headline that read: Hebrew Classes in Hamas Schools. The rest of the news story told me how foolish I was. “Starting this fall,” the story said, “at Hamas-run schools here [in Gaza] students will be able to enroll in a new course called ‘Know Your Enemy.’” Followed by encouraging remarks by Mahmoud Matar, director general of the Hamas-run Ministry of Education: “We look at Israel
as an enemy. We teach our students the language of the enemy.”
I wondered how the neo-pan-Hellenic Greeks and neo-Ottoman Turks look at each other. With 57 percent of Turks and Greeks combined (for now) – and that’s approximately 43 million people – I could only hope for sustainable peace across the Aegean in a stanza I wrote on inspiration by Kavadias and Loukas Strongilos:
“Paleochori came down and became a harbor, where the rain doesn’t stop and a sailor staggers like a ship sailing under storms tonight when Christians, Jews and Muslims embraced, the grand naval battle of Mongolia ended with the victory of Peruvians, Homer’s heroes stopped drinking Thirian wine and Cycladic islands sailed to Aeolia...”
Posted on 06/15/2012 7:48 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 June 2012
Soeren Kern On Echoes Of Sarrazin's "Germany Does Away With Itself"
From The Gatestone Institute:
Islam in Germany: "Germany Does Away With Itself"
by Soeren Kern
June 15, 2012
"The values represented by Islam must correspond to our constitution. What applies here is the constitution, not Sharia law.... Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here." — Chancellor Angela Merkel
German President Joachim Gauck recently said in a newspaper interview that Muslims living in Germany are a part of the country, but that Islam is not.
The comments -- Gauck is the ninth prominent German politician to voice an opinion about Islam -- have sparked a new round in the on-going debate over the role of Islam and Muslim immigrants in Germany.
During a May 31 interview with the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Gauck was asked about a quote from the previous German president, Christian Wulff, who during a keynote speech to mark the 20th anniversary of German reunification in October 2010, proclaimed that "Islam belongs in Germany" because of the four million Muslims who now live there. Germany has Western Europe's second-biggest Islamic population after France, with Turks the single biggest minority.
Gauck responded by saying that Wulff had wanted to encourage Germans to open themselves up to the reality that "many Muslims live in this country," but that he, Gauck, would have worded things differently than did Wulff.
Gauck continued, "I would have simply said that the Muslims who are living here are a part of Germany," but that religion should not be the defining mark for immigrants there. "Anybody who has come here," he said, "and does not just pay their taxes, but also likes to be here, partly because there is a level of justice and freedom not available in their country of origin, they are all one of us; so long as they adhere to our basic rules."
The 72-year-old Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor, also said he could understand people who might ask, "Where has Islam made an impression on this Europe? Did it experience the Enlightenment, or even the Reformation? … I am highly anticipating the theological discourse about a European Islam."
The leader of the environmentalist Green Party, Cem Özdemir, a German of Turkish descent, told the daily newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten that he could not understand Gauck's differentiation between Islam and Muslims. "When the president states that Muslims who live here belong to Germany," Özdemir said, "then of course Islam it part of Germany too."
Alexander Dobrind, however, the general secretary of the Christian Social Union (CSU), a conservative political party based in the southern German state of Bavaria and a partner in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right ruling coalition, said, "Gauck has clearly found the right words. Germany is a country with a Christian character, a Christian history and a thoroughly Christian value system."
Dobrindt's comments directly contradicted those of fellow CSU politician Markus Söder, the finance minister of the state of Bavaria. On May 31, Söder surprised an audience of Turkish immigrants by declaring that "Islam is an integral part of Bavaria."
Söder made the comments at a Muslim cultural festival sponsored by an organization called the Turkish-Islamic Union for Islamic Affairs (DITIB), which is controlled by the Turkish government. According to Fikret Bilir, the Turkish chairman of DITIB in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, Söder was met with "great applause. We hope that he remains steadfast."
In April 2012, German parliamentary spokesman Volker Kauder, in an interview with the newspaper Passauer Neue Presse, said: "Islam is not part of our tradition and identity in Germany and it therefore does not belong to Germany."
Previously, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said that Islam is not a part of Germany. Speaking to reporters at a news conference in March 2011, Friedrich said: "To say that Islam belongs in Germany is not a fact supported by history at any point." He also said that although Muslims should be allowed live in Germany, Muslim immigrants ought to be aware of Germany's "Western Christian origins" and learn German "first and foremost."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stressed that Germany's roots are Judeo-Christian. She said: "Now we obviously have Muslims in Germany. But it is important in regard to Islam that the values represented by Islam must correspond to our constitution. What applies here is the constitution, not Sharia law."
Shortly thereafter, Merkel addressed an October 16 meeting of her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Potsdam outside Berlin, where she conceded that Germany's efforts to build a post-war multicultural society had "failed utterly."
In a landmark speech, Merkel said: "We are a country which at the beginning of the 1960s actually brought [Muslim] guest workers to Germany. Now they live with us and we lied to ourselves for a while, saying that they will not stay and that they will have disappeared again one day. That is not the reality. This multicultural approach -- saying that we simply live side by side and are happy about each other -- this approach has failed, failed utterly."
Merkel also told the CDU annual conference in Karlsruhe that the debate about immigration "especially by those of the Muslim faith" was an opportunity for the ruling party to stand up confidently for its convictions. "We do not have too much Islam, we have too little Christianity. We have too few discussions about the Christian view of mankind."
Merkel continued: "Germany needs more public discussion about the values that guide us and about our Judeo-Christian tradition. We have to stress this again with confidence. Then we will also be able to bring about cohesion in our society." Merkel added: "We feel bound to the Christian image of humanity -- that is what defines us. Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here."
In November 2010, the CDU passed a resolution stressing that Germany's cultural identity (Leitkultur) is based on the "Christian-Jewish tradition, ancient and Enlightenment philosophy and the nation's historical experience." The resolution also states: "Our country benefits from immigrants who live and work here. But Germany does not benefit from a minority that refuses to integrate, does not want to learn our language, and denies participation and advancement to their children.… We expect that those who come here respect and recognize our cultural identity."
The previous Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière, rejected calls from some center-left Social Democrats and Greens for Islam to be recognized as a state religion along with Christianity and Judaism. Speaking on Deutschlandradio Kultur, he said: "If you now ask: Will Islam be put on the same level as the Judeo-Christian understanding of religion and culture that we have, then my answer is: not for the foreseeable future."
The president of the state of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, has called for a halt to immigration from Turkey and Arab countries. In an interview with the German newsmagazine Focus, Seehofer said it was time for Germany to begin looking elsewhere for qualified workers, at a time when many parts of the labor market were facing grave shortfalls. "It is clear that immigrants from other cultural circles like Turkey, and Arab countries, have more difficulties," he said, " From that I draw the conclusion that we do not need any additional foreign workers from other cultures."
The current debate over the role of Islam in Germany was launched in August 2010 with the publication of a book entitled, "Germany Does Away With Itself."
The best-selling book shattered Germany's long-standing taboo on discussing the impact of Muslim immigration. It also resonated with vast numbers of ordinary Germans, who are becoming increasingly uneasy about the social changes that are transforming Germany, largely due to the presence of millions of non-integrated Muslims in the country.
The book, authored by 67-year-old Thilo Sarrazin, a renowned German banker who is also a long-time member of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), is now on its 22nd edition. At the last count, it has sold more than two million copies, making it one of the most widely read titles published in Germany since the Second World War.
Polls show that almost half of the German population (from across the political spectrum) agree with Sarrazin's view that German immigration policies have produced a deeply divided society.
Posted on 06/15/2012 8:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 June 2012
Paul Weston: The British Freedom Party's 20 Point Plan
Paul Weston sets out the British Freedom Party's 20 Point Plan (from Gates of Vienna):
British Freedom is accused of being a far-right extremist party, but this is not the case. Fifty years ago we would simply have been considered Conservatives, but the far-left have so successfully moved the political goal posts they now feel they can accuse us of extremism from their establishment positions within the State.
Our 20 point plan encapsulates the politically central core beliefs of British Freedom, starting with point
1: Introduce a US style First Amendment guaranteeing Free Speech.
Now, I’m puzzled why the liberal left find this right wing or extremist. I appreciate they never favoured free speech in the countless totalitarian countries controlled by the hard-left over the last century, but a free and democratic nation must have freedom of speech if it wishes to remain free and democratic. There really is nothing right wing about wishing to preserve democracy.
2. Leave the profoundly undemocratic European Union.
Politicians are granted legitimacy via the electoral process. Yes, we can vote for MEPs but we cannot vote for the Commissioners, the people who really control Europe. I did not vote for the far-left President Barroso and I cannot vote him out, so when The European Union passes the majority of our legislation these days they have no democratic legitimacy to do so. There is nothing right-wing about leaving the EU but there is everything far-left, totalitarian and extremist about not granting us the right to vote on a matter of such democratic importance.
3. Abolish the Human Rights Act, which benefits only foreign criminals/ terrorists.
Why the liberal/left should find this right-wing is baffling. Allowing convicted foreign terrorists to remain in Britain, often at the tax payers expense, is madness when one considers they still remain a threat to us. If the liberal/left wish to continue this insanity then it is a mark of their political extremism rather than ours.
4. Halt any further non-Western immigration for a period of five years.
Britain is the most densely populated first world country by a huge margin. We have to build 2 million new homes, despite a decline in the indigenous population, and build 2,000 new schools at a cost of 100 billion to the taxpayer. We are quite literally swamped at the moment, our public service infrastructure cannot cope and even worse the indigenous British are set to become a minority in their own homeland within the space of just 2 generations. I believe this deliberate dilution of an ancient and native race of people to be one of the greatest racial crimes against humanity that has ever been committed. The liberal-left promoters of mass immigration are anti-white racists and extremists and resisting their warped ideology of incremental genocide is neither right-wing not extremist. It is politically central and it is basic common sense.
5. Deport foreign criminals, seditious dual nationality Islamists and illegal immigrants.
What on earth is right-wing about this? Why should we pay huge amounts of money to lock up foreign people in our overcrowded prisons? Why should we allow dual nationality Muslims to work against us courtesy of just one of their passports? Why should we not deport illegal immigrants, after all they are here illegally? There is nothing right-wing about this but there is everything left-wing and extremist about wishing to keep in this country people who want to damage us at worst, or simply use us at best.
6. Abolish all multicultural and equality quangos.
We have equality before the law in this country and have had so for centuries. The ideology promoted by these quangos is not about equality, it is about pushing for quotas based on race religion and gender and is therefore divisive and intolerant and discriminatory and it is not right wing to oppose such things.
7. Halt and turn back all aspects of the Islamisation of Britain, including Sharia finance.
Islam in its most fundamental form can only be compared to Nazism. Both ideologies have a shared hatred of democracy, women, Jews, homosexuals and all those who do not share their supremacist faith. It saddens me that the liberal/left have chosen to side with what in effect are the new Nazis in this civilisational confrontation. To then accuse those who resist this horrible, intolerant and supremacist ideology as being far-right extremists would be comic were it not so tragic. The liberal left are backing an ideology that goes against all of liberalism core tenets. Wishing to oppose this ideology is not far-right or extremist but apologising for it and defending it most certainly is extremist and left-wing.
8. Drastically reduce crime — criminals should fear the consequences of their behaviour.
What is right-wing about this? Law abiding citizens, particularly the elderly and the vulnerable should not be frightened of criminals but criminals most certainly should fear the consequences of breaking into their homes and terrorising them. I don’t think that taking measures to protect the vulnerable is a particularly right-wing thing to do and the fact that the liberal/left are against this says a great deal about their extremism, not ours.
9. Repair the damage wreaked by the progressive educational establishment.
It has been some years since Tony Blair publicly stated comprehensive education had failed, but it was not comprehensive education that has failed, it is liberal progressive education that has failed and the children it has betrayed are overwhelmingly from the poor and the working class whilst the promoters and defenders of this educational tragedy hail from the affluent middle class intelligentsia. It is essential that discipline and competition are restored to our curriculum if we are to halt and turn around this betrayal of our children. The liberal/left should be ashamed about the dreadful lifelong consequences they have inflicted on so many of our children. It really is not right-wing to give schoolchildren the key to future success, but it does appear both left-wing and extremist to wish to deprive them of such a basic human right.
10. Promote British values and assimilation, rather than multiculturalism and division.
Do I really need to argue this point? British values built much of the modern civilised world so asking foreigners invited into our country to abide by our ways does not seem right-wing or extremist to me. Multiculturalism however, is very much a left-wing orthodoxy, yet it promotes division and apartheid which in turn lead to ghettoisation and all the social problems that go with it. I appreciate the hard-left always looked upon social breakdown as a prerequisite for their taking power via revolution, but the liberals really need to understand that downplaying our values whilst promoting the non-liberal and tribal values of Somalia or Pakistan can only make our society a more fractured and unhappy pleasant place to live within.
11. Rebuild Britain’s Armed Forces to 1980 levels.
Britain is a small Island alone in a potentially hostile world. Our armed forces may not be necessary in times of peace, but history tells us the world is not always peaceful. It is quite possible that the decimation of our armed forces is being carried out in order for Britain to be part of a European defence force. Well, thanks, but no thanks. We are an island nation and we need a strong, independent military presence.
12. Diminish the public sector and government interference in the private sector.
Britain is bankrupt and the main reason for this is the sheer size of the public sector. There are tax providers in Britain and there are tax eaters. When the tax eaters outnumber the tax providers then the country is lost. This situation has to be turned back and if it is not it will again be the most vulnerable of our society who will suffer. The left-wing love the big state because it provides them with power, but it is not right wing to seek to reduce a situation that can only bankrupt us.
13. Withdraw troops from all areas where we are not directly threatened.
I don’t think this needs much of argument.
14. Cancel foreign aid to countries which do not deserve or need it.
Why are we giving billions of pounds to other countries when we can no longer afford to do so? Quite apart from the fact that our money goes to countries with their own space programs a lot of it just goes to the Swiss bank accounts of any number of tin-pot dictators and their paid off entourages whilst their people continue to starve.
15. End welfare payments to immigrants; they must pay for their housing and children.
Again, I don’t think I should need to argue against the insanity of allowing people into our country who cannot provide for themselves, which takes me to point number 16. Ensure no elderly person lives in fear, and can afford both heat and food in the winter.
Every year, thousands of our elderly die during the winter months because they cannot have food and heating and whilst this is happening large foreign families are imported into Britain and housed at the tax-payers’ expense. Is it right-wing and extremist to favour our elderly over and above ungrateful Somalis? I don’t think so.
17. Abolish destructive Political Correctness, promote Common Sense.
Why does political correctness even exist in a democracy? Democracies allow a variety of political opinions, none of which should be considered correct or incorrect. Only totalitarian regimes promote an ideological conformity of thought, so overthrowing the doctrines of PC is not in any way right-wing. Political Correctness gone mad is a common cry precisely because so much of it is not just mad, but sinister. It should be obvious by now that broadly speaking, PC works against the very people who built Western Civilisation - white, Christian males, in other words the very people the politically correct left liberals appear to hate with a vengeance. It is not extremist or right-wing to wish to defend your civilisation, but it is extremist and far-left to want to tear it down.
18. Promote morality, marriage, the family, the community and the nation state.
Anyone who opposes this must be insane. Without all of these basic foundations anarchy will ensue and the country will eventually be destroyed. I say eventually, but Britain is partially destroyed already precisely because the liberal-left have spent the last five decades deliberately undermining the basic requirements for a peaceful, cohesive democracy. It is they who are political extremists, not us.
19. Allow pubs the freedom of operating as smoking or non-smoking establishments.
It might just be a small thing, but what is wrong with this? Peoples lose their freedoms in two ways — outright revolution followed by a new order, or the incremental erosion of personal freedoms and liberties which over time gradually remove peoples will to resist. As I say, it sounds almost trivial, but pettifogging state regulations amount to the death of freedom by a thousand cuts.
20. Live by Christianity’s Golden Rule: “Do as you would be done by.”
We all know what sort of society the Godless Communists brought about over the last century when they utterly destroyed their countries and their people, yet we see the exact same sidelining and sneering at Christianity by the liberal/left today. “Do as you would be done by” is a worthy ideal and to accuse those of wishing to promote this as right-wing extremists says a great deal about the sheer immorality and extremism of the liberal-left.
Our 20 point plan stands for democracy, freedom and all that is good, moral honest and decent. To accuse us of far right-wing extremism as a result exposes the left-wing accusers as the promoters of totalitarianism, treason, evil, wickedness and political extremism of a huge magnitude. If you feel we are correct in this analysis then please consider joining the British Freedom party and help us to change this country for the better.
Posted on 06/15/2012 9:05 AM by NER
Friday, 15 June 2012
"Ideological Jihad" By Vickie Janson
An Australian woman who spent seven years visiting mosques, attending lectures by Muslims, attempting sympathetically to understand the Muslim viewpoint. She did come to understand it, and the results are in her book "Ideological Jihad."
Posted on 06/15/2012 9:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 June 2012
Head Of Syrian Ikhwan Puts On His Most Plausible Face, But There Are Gaps In The Mask
Posted on 06/15/2012 10:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 June 2012
BÃ¼lent YÄ±ldÄ±rÄ±m, Man Behind the Mevi Marmara Flotilla, Now Investigated For Sending Money To
Humanitarian Relief Foundation (Ä°HH) President Bülent YÄ±ldÄ±rÄ±m is being investigated for allegedly financing al-Qaeda through his organization, daily Habertürk has reported.
The probe, led by an Istanbul
specially authorized prosecutor, accuses YÄ±ldÄ±rÄ±m of “providing financial aid to al-Qaeda via his foundation” with absolute secrecy, reportedly without official numbering and identification.
specially authorized prosecutor has also been leading a similar case into YÄ±ldÄ±rÄ±m, Habertürk reported.
YÄ±ldÄ±rÄ±m was the Ä°HH’s head during the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident and recently mediated the release of two Turkish journalists kidnapped in Syria, as well as the release of 11 Iranians last February that were kidnapped by the Free Syrian Army.
The Ä°HH is an Istanbul-based aid foundation.
Posted on 06/15/2012 11:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 June 2012
Primitives Out In Force In Tahrir Square
Motivated by fear not hope, a polarized Egypt heads to the polls
Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images
Egyptians protest in Tahrir Square on Friday in Cairo, Egypt, after the country's supreme court ruled that the Islamist-led parliament must be immediately dissolved, and also allowed the right of Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, to run for president.
CAIRO -- Egypt's voters, already on edge after more than a year of rebellion and revolution, have been further polarized by Thursday's supreme court decision to dissolve the new Islamist-dominated parliament and allow a former prime minister to run for president.
Many see the decision - taken by judges appointed by deposed president Hosni Mubarak - to let old regime holdover Ahmed Shafiq run in this weekend's run-offs as a soft coup by the ruling military government.
Others think it as a second chance to wrest control of the parliament from the Islamists. Those who were frightened by Islamists' tremendous political gains since the revolution rejoiced after the court's decision.
"My friends were calling me and congratulating me," said the septuagenarian head of a prominent women's organization who asked to remain anonymous because she does not want to be seen as getting involved in politics. "At last we are done with that parliament. Any Egyptian on the street is worth more than them."
She didn’t vote in the first election but vows to brave long lines despite a bad knee to cast a ballot for Shafiq tomorrow.
Others who fear the return of the old regime lamented the court decision.
"How can we elect somebody who watched the massacre of protesters and stood by and did nothing?" demanded Aly Ibrahim, a plumber. "The people voted in the parliament. How does the court have the right to overturn the people's decision. It's not constitutional."
Ibrahim is boycotting the vote because he sees the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohamed Mursi, as an academic not a political leader. But he said many in his blue-collar neighborhood of Al Arab who were also going to skip the election have now decided to vote for Mursi because of yesterday's court decision.
With anger growing in Egypt over the Mubarak verdict, protestors returned to Tahrir Square to demand justice for those who died in Egypt's revolution. NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin reports.
His comrades are not necessarily going to vote for Mursi because they support him. Instead, their ballot will be an act of revenge against what they see as the ruling military government and their bid to return of the old regime to power through Shafiq.
Ibrahim predicts violence during the voting, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday.
"There will be shooting at the polling stations [...] and if Mursi looses, Tahrir Square will be on fire," he said.
In an impassioned televised speech Thursday night, Mursi promised a second revolution if there is election fraud.
"I will pay with the price of my life," he promised.
Many saw Mursi's words as a warning to foment unrest if he loses.
"Nothing but threats!" said Hanan Askar, housekeeper. "Now you see the true face of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mursi's promises during the election meant nothing."
"They want to take over everything and we will never get them out," she said.
Askar had planned on boycotting like most people in her low income-district called the Slaughterhouse.
Now she is going to go cast her ballot for Shafiq.
In Egypt's rural countryside, typically a conservative Muslim Brotherhood stronghold, veterinarian Abdul Sitar said people were enraged by the court decisions that snatched away the party's victory.
"Why would they overrule the will of the people," he argued. "The parliament was chosen by the people."
Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters
Presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood waves to a crowd outside a mosque after attending Friday Prayers in Cairo.
He is going to vote Mursi and said everybody in his area is even more committed to vote him in.
On her way home to Helwan, an industrial area south of Cairo, a cook said people on her bus were cheering "Shafiq, Shafiq!!"
She said nobody from her area is voting Mursi because, according to recent media reports, he is physically unfit to serve as president.
The April 6 organization, which played an integral role in helping organize the revolution that toppled the former president, have already called for a march to Tahrir against yesterday's decision and against a Shafiq win.
The influential revolutionary movement has already endorsed Islamist Mursi to stop the old regime from rolling back whatever gains have been made since they toppled a dictator.
Nobody can predict who will win as voters go to the polls on Saturday and Sunday to make the hardest choice yet facing their young democracy.
But one thing is certain -- the future will be anything but boring and turmoil will ensue no matter what the result.
Posted on 06/15/2012 11:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 June 2012
Erdogan Wants Fethulleh Gulen To Come Home
ErdoÄŸan hopes Islamic scholar Gülen returns to Turkey soon
From Today's Zaman:
15 June 2012
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan has openly invited Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen to Turkey in a speech he delivered during the closing ceremony for the 10th Turkish Olympiads amid a standing ovation from a crowd of over 50,000.
ErdoÄŸan, who spoke after he was granted a special award by the organizing committee of the Olympiads, implied that Gülen, without directly mentioning his name, should return to Turkey as soon as possible. The well-known scholar has been residing in the US for nearly 13 years.
“We want this yearning to end,” he said, receiving a lengthy standing ovation from the crowd, in a rare blunt invitation for Gülen to return to his homeland. ErdoÄŸan added, “We want to see those who are abroad and longing for the homeland among us.” [why not bring home millions of Turks from Western Europe who are surely"longing for the homeland"?]
Responding to the lengthy applause, ErdoÄŸan further said he understands that the crowd also wants “this yearning to end.”
Gülen is a Turkish Islamic scholar well known for his teachings that promote mutual understanding and tolerance between different cultures and faiths. Now residing in the US, Gülen has pioneered educational activities in a number of countries, along with efforts to promote intercultural and interfaith activities around the world. The Turkish Olympiads are an initiative pioneered by schools associated with him.
He has also written nearly 60 books in Turkish, most of which have been translated into dozens of languages. He was most recently honored with the EastWest Institute's (EWI) 2011 EWI Peace Building Award for his contribution to world peace.
Gülen is in self-imposed exile in the US even though there is not any legal hurdle that prevent him from returning to Turkey. Shortly after he went to the US, in 2000, then-State Security Court (DGM) prosecutor Nuh Mete Yüksel launched a case against him on charges of establishing an illegal organization, but he was eventually acquitted after eight years. Upon appeal, the General Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the acquittal.
Posted on 06/15/2012 12:30 PM by [email protected]
Friday, 15 June 2012
Alex Awad Offers Distorted Version of First Intifada
Rev. Alex Awad, a prominent supporter of divestment in the United Methodist Church has offered to audiences a distorted view of the Arab-Israeli conflict to his audiences in both the West Bank and the United States.
In a video titled “A Palestinian Perspective on the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” which was sold in the gift shop at the Bethlehem Bible College during the recent Christ at the Checkpoint Conference, Awad describes the First Intifada as follows:
The first Intifada from 1987 to 1993 was mainly non-violent. Palestinian men women and children went into the streets to say to the Israelis “Enough is enough. We don't want you to take our land.”
The Israelis responded with plastic bullets, with tear gas, and with live ammunition and many Palestinians were killed in that uprising.
But from the Palestinian perspective, it was not a violent uprising while the Second Intifada was very violent.
Rev. Awad's omits some important details in his description of the First Intifada.
First, Rev. Awad makes no mention of the Israeli civilians who were killed by terror attacks during the First Intifada. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 200 Israelis were killed by terror attacks in Israel between 1987 and 1993.
B'Tselem offers different numbers, reporting that 94 Israeli civilians were killed in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the First Intifada and that 177 were killed inside the Green Line. This yields a total of 271 Israelis killed during the First Intifada.
Second, Rev. Awad refers to Israeli use of rubber bullets, tear gas, and live ammunition during the First Intifada, but makes no mention of the violent attacks perpetrated by Palestinians during the uprising. These attacks were not restricted to the mere throwing of stones, but were characterized by the use of Molotov cocktails, knives and guns.
Here are three examples of how Palestinians killed Israelis during the First Intifada:
1. On Oct. 30, 1988 a mother and her three children were killed when terrorists attacked a bus with firebombs outside of Jericho. The Associated Press reported the following:
The red-and-white buswas stopped by a barricade of stones on Jericho'soutskirts, Israel radio said. Palestinians then hurled five firebombsat the buswhich was carrying about 20 people, most civilians.
The bus was traveling from Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem when it was halted about 8:15 p.m., the army said. Witnesses said it was engulfed in fire before the woman and her children, sitting in the rear, could be rescued.
The army said the dead were from Tiberius. News reports said two of the children were infants.
(Note: Subsequent reports indicate that a soldier who tried to rescue the mother and her children died from his injuries.)
2. On July 6, 1989, Abdel Hadi Ghanem, a Palestinian terrorist forced a crowded bus into a ravine, killing 16 people. Jonathan Kuttab, who serves as Chairman of the Board at Bethlehem Bible College, (where Rev. Awad serves as Dean of Students), was Ghanem's lawyer. (Associated Press, September 14, 1989) Ghanem, a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was one of the terrorists freed in exchange for Gilad Shalit in 2011.
3. On May 24, 1992, a 15-year-old girl was murdered by a Hamas terrorist as she waited for a bus in Bat Yam. (Associated Press, May 25, 1992). Her killer, Fuad Amrin, was one of the many prisoners freed in exchange for Gilad Shalit. (Jewish Exponent, October 20, 2011)
This is just a small sampling of the types of Palestinian attacks that took place during the First Intifada. Palestinians did more than take to the streets, as Rev. Awad says. They killed people – hundreds of people. This was no “non-violent” uprising. (For a more comprehensive list of attacks during the First Intifada go to this entry at Cifwatch.org.)
Lastly, in his depiction of the First Intifada as a “non-violent” uprising, Rev. Awad makes no mention of the intra-Palestinian violence that marked the First Intifada. The Palestinian Human Rights Monitor reports that
During the first intifada (1987-1993), an estimated 1000 Palestinians were killed under suspicion of collaboration, a number roughly equivalent to the estimated 1100 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers. However, only an estimated 40 to 45% of the Palestinians killed as alleged collaborators indeed maintained contacts with the Israeli authorities.
In sum, Rev. Awad's depiction of the First Intifada as “non-violent” is counterfactual.
As stated in a previous analysis of this DVD, Rev. Awad serves as Dean of Students and full-time instructor at Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem, and is a Commissioned Mission Partner with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Rev. Awad was a prominent supporter of a resolution calling on the UMC to divest from three companies that do business with Israel. The resolution failed.
First published at CAMERA.
Posted on 06/15/2012 1:55 PM by Dexter Van Zile
Friday, 15 June 2012
Hizb Al-Tahrir in America
Tufail Ahmad writes at MEMRI:
Hizb Al-Tahrir America, which is a branch of Hizb Al-Tahrir Al-Islami, an international Islamist group that advocates the message of jihad in order to re-establish a Khilafah Rashida (a righteous caliphate), has scheduled a June 17, 2012 conference in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. This raises concerns about its ideological campaign in the U.S., especially among American Muslims.
Hizb Al-Tahrir advocates radical political change and officially acknowledges that it is an Islamist party. In a statement dated May 31, 2012 about its Tunisia branch, it described itself as "a legally unrecognized Islamist party in Tunisia." The views espoused by Hizb Al-Tahrir regarding non-Muslims and secular Muslims are no different from those advocated by Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other Islamist organizations across the world.
On May 27, 2012, Hizb Al-Tahrir America noted in its announcement of the June 17 Illinois conference: "With the blessings of Allah (swt) Hizb ut-Tahrir America will inshaAllah [Allah Willing] be hosting a Khilafah Conference, entitled 'Revolution: Liberation by Revelation – Muslims Marching Toward Victory' on Sunday, June 17th 2012." Although the conference is expected to focus heavily on events in Syria, it is also expected to discuss the question of what forms of government are desirable for Muslims: Islamic state, secular state, or democracy. Details of the day-long conference – date, venue and subjects to be discussed – are outlined on its website:
The conference announcement attracted attention in the U.S. media. As a result, Hizb Al-Tahrir America announced that the venue would be moved elsewhere in the "Chicagoland area" but that the date and time would remain the same. It added: "Other details concerning the circumstances leading to the change in venue will be updated at a later date."
Hizb Al-Tahrir America – Global Ideological Background
Hizb Al-Tahrir, or the Islamic Party, is an international Islamist organization that has been proactively working for the re-establishment of a global Islamic caliphate, to be governed as per the teachings of the Koran and the Sunnah (the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad). In recent years, it has called for military coups in Islamic countries.
The group has branches in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco, Palestinian territories, etc. In Islamic countries, it has sought to recruit top military officers to its ideological fold in the hope of carrying out a military coup to usher in an era of Islamic rule. In Pakistan, it has strived to bring about an Islamic revolution, hoping to transform Pakistan into an ideal Islamic state that could lead the Ummah (the global Muslim nation). In recent years, several top Pakistani Army officers were discovered to have links with Hizb Al-Tahrir Pakistan, and were suspended.
Hizb Al-Tahrir's international network is well organized, and has a strong presence in non-Islamic countries such as the U.K., Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, Australia, and the U.S. In non-Islamic countries, it advances its campaign to recruit Muslims to its ideological goals through a variety of tactics, such as lectures, public protests designed to attract publicity, verbal and symbolic attacks aimed at undermining Western symbols, messages designed to unify Muslims across the world on international issues, and more.
Like Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups, Hizb Al-Tahrir America hopes that the downfall of autocratic regimes in Arab countries will usher in an era of Islamic government. A video accompanying the June 17 conference announcement includes quotes from the Koran and from Islamist leaders of the Arab Spring. Images in the video show the ideological message conveyed by Hizb Al-Tahrir America to its audiences among American Muslims, with one cleric cited in the video calling upon Muslims, in the context of political changes in Egypt, to work for Islamic rule even "at the expense of your lives."
In the above image from the video, Hizb Al-Tahrir America quotes Egyptian cleric Shaykh Al-Zaghby as issuing a clarion call to Muslims: "Oh Muslims! Rise up to aid and support the call for Khilafah even if it is at the expense of your lives."
Hizb Al-Tahrir America Online – Domain Registration Details
In the U.S., Hizb Al-Tahrir America formalized its online presence in 2009, with its website, Hizb-america.org. Over the past few years, the website has published numerous statements and videos of events and conferences in the U.S. and other countries. The website also regularly publishes e-books, audio lectures, and articles, justifying jihad and conveying calls for Islamic rule worldwide.
In recent years, the website has regularly published articles on topics such as "The Shari'ah and the rule of law – Islamic governance for the 21st century," "Raising Children in Islam," "The role of the political woman in the shade of the Khilafah," "All 'Thanksgiving' is to Allah(swt) alone," "Hajj Season: the Spiritual and Political Ascent," and so on.
The Jihadi/Ideological Basis of Hizb Al-Tahrir America: "Currently, The Whole World Is Dar Al-Kufr, As No Country Matches The Criterion For An Islamic State"
A map on its website shows Hizb Al-Tahrir's presence worldwide
In a recent article on the Hizb Al-Tahrir America website, an Islamic scholar analyzed distinctions between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Kufr (the Land of Islam and the Land of Infidels, respectively), arguing that even a Muslim-majority country can be Dar al-Kufr if it is not governed by the laws of Islam. According to Hizb Al- Tahrir America, only Islamic law will protect Muslims, even in countries where non-Muslims are in the majority. Under this definition, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia – or for that matter Syria, as it is ruled by an autocrat, or Iran, which does not implement the rule of the Righteous Islamic Caliphs – qualify as Dar al-Kufr (the Land of Infidels).
The article, by Abu Ismael al-Beirawi, stated: "According to Shariah terminology, Dar al-Islam is defined as the land which is governed by the laws of Islam and whose security (Aman) is maintained by the security of Islam, i.e. by the authority and protection of Muslims inside and outside the land, even if the majority of its inhabitants are non-Muslims.
"Dar al-Kufr is the land which is governed by the laws of Kufr [unbelief], and whose security is not maintained by the security (Aman) of Islam, i.e. by other than the authority and security of Muslims, even if the majority of its inhabitants are Muslims. So what matters in determining whether the land is Dar al-Islam or Dar al-Kufr is neither the land itself nor its inhabitants, rather it is the laws and the security."
It is evident that Hizb Al-Tahrir views the entire world as Dar al-Kufr, i.e. the land where there is an urgent need for the enforcement of Islamic rule as practiced during the time of the Prophet Muhammad and the four Righteous Caliphs who ruled after him. Hizb Al-Tahrir America also holds the view that a Muslim country becomes Dar al-Kufr by joining the United Nations. The article stated:
"• Being members of the United Nations Organization, every member of which has to agree with international law set by human beings above the laws of Allah… Instead of being ashamed of this, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia proudly highlights this relationship on the website of its Permanent Mission to the UN… In fact it was among the first 50 nations to sign the UN Charter in 1945 in San Francisco.
"• Both Iran and Saudi Arabia cannot argue that they only say they accept international law as some form of deception as they are both modern non-expansionist nation states which means the abandonment of the definitive obligation of Jihad (an obligation stipulated in multiple verses of the Quran [Koran]).
• Both have legalized Riba (usury) based banking. The Arab Monetary Fund, based in Abu Dhabi, is a huge Riba institution that was established by an agreement on 4/7/76 in Morocco. Saudi [Arabia] is the biggest share holder in it; it receives, as everyone else in the fund, riba on its shares. Iran and Saudi [Arabia] are also part of the riba based International Monetary Fund.
"The hypocrisy of these regimes is plain for everyone to see. Saudi's overt alliance with America and Iran's warm relations with the Kafir Alawite [i.e. infidel Shi'ite leader], Bashar al-Assad of Syria who has the blood of thousands on his hands are glaring examples of this.
"Therefore, it is clear that currently the whole world is Dar al-Kufr, as no country matches the criterion for an Islamic state. Thus we see the laws of Allah… abandoned as if they were worth nothing, the Sunnah of the Prophet… betrayed and the example of the Sahaba [Companions of Prophet Muhammad] ignored by the rulers of our countries. It is as [Islamic theologian] Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, 'The Fitna (mischief and tribulations) occurs when there is no Imam established over the affairs of the people.'
"Contrary to wishes of the enemies of Islam and their modernist defenders it is paramount for us to work to re-establish Dar al-Islam, the Islamic Khilafah state. Let us take heed in the warning of our Messenger …. [Prophet Muhammad said:] 'My Ummah will be divided into seventy-something divisions, of them, the greatest Fitna (trial) upon my Ummah are a people who measure matters with their opinion, so they make the forbidden permissible and the permissible forbidden.'"...
Posted on 06/15/2012 1:59 PM by Richard L. Rubenstein
Friday, 15 June 2012
Find out Why China Owes Americans $1 Trillion: Watch This Fox News Special Report Tonight
Posted on 06/15/2012 3:24 PM by Jerry Gordon