These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 5, 2011.
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Muslim clerics roar at Kenyan chief justice
Kenya is one of those countries (India is another) which has tried for many years to run a legal system with Sharia law alongside a mainstream system based on the English Common Law. From Africa News
Muslim clerics differed on the move taken by the Kenyan Chief Justice(CJ) Willy Mutunga.Mutunga wants to introduce post of female magistrate in the Khathis court which majority of the Muslim leaders term as disrespect to their faith. "This is a religious institution not a secular one and therefore it must be treated with respect."said Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi the chairman of National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF).The C J argued that some other countries have women representatives in their Khathis courts and Kenya should not be left behind. He also argued the move is one of the actions in the judicial reforms.
But the idea was flouted by the Secretary General of Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) who is also nominated MP, Sheikh Mohammed Dor. Dor said the constitution recognizes different faith groups in the country and Islam is one of these groups that have its norms which must be respected.
“Khathi court is not a secular court. They are religious Muslim courts that are guided by the teachings of the Holy Qur’an .the Holy Qur’an contains the commandments of Allah it should not be altered by anyone” Said Dor.
The idea was vehemently opposed by the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslim (SUPKEM) Director General Abdiladif Shaaban. “The CJ has to be cautious on such matters. There are some Islamic rituals that are conducted in the mosque by men only, so I am urging the Mutunga to desist the move, said Shaaban.
Caroline Glick On Erdogan, His House Of Cards, And American Support
From the Jerusalem Post:
To the naked eye, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to be moving from strength to strength. Erdogan was welcomed as a hero on his recent trip to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. The Arabs embraced him as the new face of the war against Israel.
The Obama administration celebrates Turkey as a paragon of Islamic democracy. The Obama administration cannot thank Erdogan enough for his recent decision to permit NATO to station the US X-Band missile shield on its territory. The US is following Turkey's lead in contending with Syrian President Bashar Assad's massacre of his people.
And according to Erdogan, the Obama administration is looking into ways to leave its Predator and Reaper UAVs with the Turkish military when US forces depart Iraq in the coming months. Turkey requires the drones to facilitate its war against the Kurds in Iraq and eastern Anatolia. The Obama administration also just agreed to provide Turkey with three Super Cobra attack helicopters.
Despite its apparent abandonment of Iran's Syrian client Assad, Turkey's onslaught against the Kurds has enabled it to maintain its strategic alliance with Iran. Last month Erdogan announced that the Turkish and Iranian militaries are cooperating in intelligence sharing and gearing up to escalate their joint operations against the Kurds in Iraq.
Erdogan is probably the only world leader that conducted prolonged friendly meetings with both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and US President Barak Obama at the UN last month.
Then there are the Balkans. After winning his third national election in June, Erdogan dispatched his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to Kosovo, Bosnia and Romania to conduct what the Turks referred to as "mosque diplomacy."
Erdogan's government has been lavishing aid on Bosnia for several years and is promoting itself as a neo-Ottoman guardian of the former Ottoman possessions.
EVEN ERDOGAN'S threats of war seem to be paying off. His attacks on Israel have won him respect and admiration throughout the Arab world. His threats against Cyprus's exploration of offshore natural gas fields caused Cypriot President Demetris Christofias to announce at the UN that Cyprus will share the revenues generated by its natural gas with Turkish occupied northern Cyprus.
Christofias said Cyprus would do so even in the absence of a unification agreement with its illegally occupied Turkish north. Moreover, due to Turkish pressure, Cyprus has agreed to intensify reunification talks with the Turkish puppet government in the northern half of the island. Those talks were set to begin in Nicosia last Tuesday.
Then there is the Turkish economy.
On the face of it, it seems that Turkey's assertive foreign policy is facilitated by its impressive economic growth.
According to Turkey's statistics agency, the Turkish economy grew by 8.8 percent in the second quarter of the year - far outperforming expectations. Last year the Turkish economy grew by 9 percent. With this impressive data, Erdogan is able to make a seemingly credible case to the likes of Egypt that it can expect to be enriched by a strategic partnership with Turkey.
For Israelis, these achievements are a cause for uneasiness. With Turkey building itself into a regional powerhouse largely on the back of its outspoken belligerence towards Israel, many observers argue Israel must do everything it can to mend fences with Turkey. Israel simply cannot afford to have Turkey angry at it, they claim.
If Turkey's position was as strong as the conventional wisdom claims, then maybe these commentators and politicians would have a point. But Turkey's actual situation is very different from its surface image.
Turkey's aggressive, peripatetic foreign policy is earning Ankara few friends.
Erdogan's threat to freeze Turkish-EU relations if the EU goes ahead as planned and transfers its rotating presidency to Cyprus next July has backfired.
European leaders wasted no time in angrily dismissing and rejecting Erdogan's threat. So too, Germany and France have been loudly critical of Turkey's belligerence towards Israel.
Then there is Cyprus. Turkey's ever escalating threats to attack Cyprus's natural gas project have angered both the EU and Russia. The EU is angry because as an EU member state, Cypriot gas will eventually benefit consumers throughout the EU, who are currently beholden to Russian suppliers and Turkish pipelines.
Russia itself has announced it will defend Cyprus against Turkish threats.
Russia is annoyed by Turkish courtship of the Balkan states. It sees no reason to allow Turkey to throw its weight around in Cyprus. Doing so successfully will only strengthen Ankara's appeal in the Balkans and among the Turkic minorities in Russia.
THIS BRINGS us to the Muslim world. Despite Erdogan's professions of friendship with Iran, it is far from clear that their alliance is as smooth as he presents it. The Iranians are concerned about Turkish ascendance in the Middle East and angry at Turkey for threatening Syria.
In truth if Assad is able to ride out the current storm and remain in power, he will owe his survival in no small measure to Turkey. Since the riots broke out in the spring, Turkey has restrained Washington from taking any concerted steps to overthrow the Syrian dictator. Had it not been for Erdogan's success in containing the US, it is possible the US and Europe might have acted swiftly to support the opposition.
But whether he stays in power or is overthrown, it is doubtful that Assad will feel any gratitude towards Erdogan. Rather, Assad will likely blame Erdogan for betraying him. And if Assad is toppled, the Kurds of Syria could easily forge alliances with their brethren in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, to Turkey's strategic detriment.
Since former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February, Turkey has been making a concerted effort to build an alliance with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Ankara has reportedly transferred millions of dollars in aid to the Islamic group, and of course continues to support Hamas as well as Hizbullah.
Yet for all of his efforts on the Muslim Brotherhood's behalf, the Brotherhood issued a sharp rebuke of Erdogan during his visit to Egypt. Brotherhood leader Essam el-Arian rejected Erdogan's call for Egypt to adopt the Turkish model of Islamic democracy as too secular for Egypt.
As for the Turkish economy, a closer analysis of its financial data indicates that Turkey's expansive growth is the result of a credit bubble that is about to burst. According to a Citicorp analyst quoted in The Wall Street Journal, domestic demand accounts for all of Turkey's economic growth.
This domestic demand in turn owes to essentially free loans the government showered on the public in the lead-up to the June elections. The loans are financed by government borrowing abroad.
Turkey's current accounts deficit stands at nearly 9 percent of GDP. Greece is engulfed in a debt crisis with a current accounts deficit of 10 percent.
Analysts project that Turkey's deficit will eclipse Greece's within the year. And whereas the EU may end up bailing Greece out of its debt crisis, Turkey has no one to bail it out of its own debt crisis. Consequently, Turkey's entire economic house of cards is likely to come crashing down very rapidly.
It is hard to understand why Erdogan is acting as he is given the poor hand he is holding. It is possible that he is crazy.
It is possible that he is so insulated from criticism that he is unaware of Turkey's economic realities or of the consequences of his aggressive behavior.
It is possible that he is hoping to combine a foreign policy crisis with Turkey's oncoming economic crisis in order to blame the latter on the former.
And it is possible that he believes that US backing gives him immunity to the consequences of his actions.
No matter what stands behind Turkey's actions, it is clear Ankara has overplayed its hand. Its threats against Israel and Cyprus are hollow. Its hopes to be a regional power are faltering.
The only thing Israel really needs to be concerned about is the US's continued insistence that Turkey is a model ally in the Islamic world. More than anything else, it is US support for Turkey that makes Erdogan a threat to the Jewish state and to the region.
“Sultanism” is an invented word that keeps popping in comments about Vladimir Putin’s decision to stretch his rule over Russia for as long a quarter century.
After failing to build a dominant political party, analysts say, Putin is taking the Central Asian route: ruling through a personality cult. In the eternal East-West, push-pull over Russia, the winner over western democracy is, once again, “oriental despotism.”
On a highway billboard, Emomalii Rahmon, leader of Tajikistan since 1992, inaugurates a river bridge. VOA Photo: Yuli Weeks
A few days after the unveiling of a political plan that would allow Putin to rule Russia through 2024, I flew 3,000 kilometers southeast to Tajikistan, one of five nations on the southern flank of the old Soviet Union that are now run by strong men.
They all carry the titles of President, but several started politics as First Secretaries of local communist parties. Their 19th century counterparts carried the titles of ‘emir,’ ‘khan,’ or ‘sultan.’
After one week in Tajikistan, I still do not know the name of the ruling party.
But I sure do know the name and face of Emomalii Rahmon, Tajikistan’s ruler since 1992. On the three hour drive south to the Afghan border, full color billboards with his portrait seemed to appear every 10 minutes.
Here he is standing tall in a field of cotton. Here he is lecturing with a pointer on the construction of Rogun, designed to be the world’s tallest dam. Here he is in a black business suit walking through a new monumental arch. In that shot, the angle makes the 59-year-old leader look as if he were wearing a crown.
Below each photo is a pithy quotation in Tajik, signed: “E. Rahmon.”
The strong Central Asian sun has not yet faded the photos. Many were put up in time for the Sept. 9 celebrations of the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Independence. To mark the date – and celebrate Rahmon’s leadership – the government spent $210 million — or 10 percent of its annual budget — on a series of public works projects, including the erection of the world’s tallest flagpole.
To the south of Russia, almost all of Central Asia is ruled by strong men. Now billionaires, these politicians have all but declared themselves presidents for life.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, center, listens to his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev, center left, with their counterparts from Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries walking nearby prior to a meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of Government in Minsk, Belarus, May 2011. AP Photo:Sergei Grits
Kazakhstan has been ruled since 1989 by a man of humble origins, whose parents had the foresight to name him Nursultan, roughly “Sultan of Light.” Nursultan Nazarbayev rose to become First Secretary of the Kazakh Communist Party. As he concentrated more and more power in his hands, Nazarbayev faced calls from supporters last year to formally taken on a new title: President for Life.
But as the Arab Spring shook autocrats from Tunisia to Syria, Nazarbayev decided to hold a quick election in April. He easily won reelection with 95.5 percent of the vote. With another five year term, he now has a mandate to rule Central Asia’s richest nation through the age of 75.
Next door, Islam Karimov, has run Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s most populous nation, since 1989 when he became First Secretary of the local communist party. In the last presidential election, in 2007, his ‘rivals’ had only praised for him. He won 88 percent of the vote. Now 73 years old, Karimov shows no sign of stepping down. Last week, he talked on the telephone with President Obama about expanding use of Uzbekistan to supply NATO troops in Afghanistan.
The leaders of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have daughters, but no sons. In the patriarchal societies of Central Asia, this seems to rule out creating a dynasty.
Across the Caspian Sea, in Azerbaijan, the Aliyev family has pulled off just such a feat: the first dynastic succession of the post-Soviet space. The current president, Ilham Aliyev is the son of Heydar Aliyev, who was president of Azerbaijan from 1993 to 2003. Azerbaijan’s oil and gas wealth and a strong dose of repression keep the Aliyev dynasty in place in Baku. It is considered poor form to propose trading the modern title of ‘president’ for the traditional title of a ruler of Baku: “Khan.”
Back across the Caspian in Central Asia, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan offer two end games for “sultanistic” rule.
In Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov took over leadership in 1985, when he became First Secretary of the local communist party. Over the next two decades, he progressively went haywire.
He renamed months of the year, schools, towns and airports after himself and family members. Flush with billions of dollars in oil and gas earning, he erected in the capital a gold-plated statue of himself that revolved around the clock to eternally face the sun. Calling himself Turkmenbashi, or leader of all Turkmens, he closed hospitals and required reading in schools of his book of political thoughts. Newscasts began with the pledge that the announcer’s tongue would shrivel if he defamed the nation or Turkmenbashi.
In a final bizarre act, he ordered pensioners to repay to the state the pensions they had received in the previous two years.
At an office building reception in Dushanbe, Tajikistan's capital, President Emomalii Rahmon lectures on the construction of a major hydroelectric project. VOA Photo: Yuli Weeks
Niyazov, who enjoyed the best health care in the nation, died unexpectedly in December 2006, at the age of 66. Two months, later Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, was elected president of the one party state.
The last Central Asia nation, Kyrgyzstan, is the only one with a political system that the Kremlin seems to find unsettling.
Starting in 2005, Kremlin strategists started to organize to block the possibility of a so-called “color” street revolution at home. The Orange Revolution had defeated a pro-Russian candidate in Ukraine. The Rose Revolution had brought Mikhail Saakashvili to power in Georgia. And the Tulip Revolution drove from power Askar Akayev, who started politics as First Secretary of the Kirghiz Soviet Republic.
Today, in an oddity for a region run by sultans with cellphones, Kyrgyzstan is run by a woman, President Roza Otunbayeva.
On Sunday, Oct. 30, Kyrgyzstan is to have presidential elections. There are 20 candidates. Then, in the Kremlin’s eyes, things get really weird.
More And More, The "Peace (Treaty)" Sham Is Beginning To Be Understood
Note, however, that the anonymous author of this piece at strategypage.com fails to mention Islam, fails to mention the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah and the long record of Arab and Musilm breaching, sooner or later, of every agreement made with the Infidel nation-state of Israel. How much stronger his piece would have been, had he done so.
From Strategy Page:
Peace As A Weapon
October 4, 2011: Hamas has a growing problem in Gaza, as it is increasingly viewed as the corrupt establishment. Hamas leaders, and their families, have more money to spend, more cars to drive around in, and larger and more opulent homes to live in. While there is also more foreign aid for most Gazans to live on, Hamas skims a portion of that aid for their own expenses, which includes better living standards for the senior leadership. But Hamas also pays the security forces well, and expects its intelligence personnel to keep tabs on who's naughty, and who's still loyal.
The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) run by Fatah (the Palestinian group that controls the West Bank) has agreed to resume negotiations with Israel. According to Fatah's Arab language media, these negotiations are all a sham, just a tactic to weaken Israel enough so that Palestinians can destroy the Jewish state and drive all Jews from the Middle East. Then Fatah can deal with Hamas and reunite all Palestinians in a "Greater Palestine" (Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.) Most Palestinian maps show this area as Palestine. No mention is made of Israel, except in cases where maps show Palestinian land and cities illegally (and temporarily) occupied by Jews. The West tends to ignore this Fatah view of the situation, and believe that the Palestinians are interested in a peace deal with Israel. In Palestinian media, such "peace deals" are described as temporary truces, so that Palestinians can build up their strength for the next major assault on Israel. These tactics have been remarkably unsuccessful for decades, but the younger generation of Palestinians buys into it. Hamas is more forthcoming about these goals, and is actually in agreement about the ultimate fate of Israel.
For the Palestinians, the most annoying Israeli tactic is the development of settlements in the West Bank. These are demanded by conservative Israeli political parties. The parliamentary style democracy in Israel will not work if a government cannot be formed with a coalition of parties, and their elected representatives in parliament. This usually means using some of the smaller, pro-settlement parties. These parties believe the Palestinian party line, that there can be no peace with Israel. These Israeli parties want to take over the West Bank one settlement at a time, and they have the votes to make the government help them.
October 3, 2011: In the West Bank, Israeli settlers damaged a Mosque, in retaliation for an earlier incident where Palestinians throwing rocks at cars had caused the vehicle to crash. This killed the Israeli settler who was driving, and his infant son.
October 1, 2011: Hamas has called on other Arab nations to attack Israel anyway they can. Hamas does this periodically, without much effect.
An Israeli warplane fired a missile at a terrorist base in Gaza, wounding three people. This was in retaliation for recent rocket firings into Israel.
September 27, 2011: The Syrian government claims they have found Israeli weapons and military equipment in the city of Homs, where Syrian rebels are fighting to overthrow the Assad dictatorship. Blaming Israel for anything that goes wrong is a common practice in Syria, and throughout the Moslem world.
September 26, 2011: Lebanese police arrested an Egyptian man and accused him of being an Israeli spy. The suspect has lived in Lebanon for twenty years and is married to a Lebanese woman. In the last two years, Lebanese police have arrested about a hundred locals and accused them of spying for Israel.
Israeli undercover police finally caught a Hamas leader, who had been ordered to leave Jerusalem a year ago. Instead, the Hamas leader received sanctuary in a Red Cross compound in Jerusalem, and periodically left to conduct Hamas business in the city. Israeli police, themselves disguised as Arab civilians, saw through one of the Hamas official's disguises and arrested him as he left the Red Cross compound. The Red Cross has not yet decided if it will file a protest.
September 25, 2011: Hamas has ordered foreign journalists to hire a Hamas approved "guide" while they are in Gaza. The guide will accompany them wherever they go, and, presumably, call the police if the journalist does anything Hamas does not approve (like report the police-state tactics Hamas is increasingly using to maintain control of the population.)
September 20, 2011: Saudi Arabia has donated $200 million to the PLO, in an effort to keep the West Bank Palestinian government going. The Hamas government in Gaza is supported by Iran, which is attempting to displace the Saudi royal family as the guardian of Islam's most holy places.
September 19, 2011: Israel has withdrawn its police cooperation with Turkey, because of Turkey's continuing efforts for make Israel to apologize for Israelis defending themselves when Turkish radicals attacked after the Israeli troops boarded a blockade running ship off Gaza last year.
Another rocket was fired from Gaza into southern Israel.
I am late with this, but the problem has not gone away in the last three weeks. I found it while searching for any new sightings in the UK of You are now in a Sharia Controlled Zone posters. This English translation is from Gates of Vienna. Dan Ritto on the Sharia controlled areas of Denmark, in particular Gellerupparken where he used to live.
On the front page of today’s edition of [Danish newspaper] Ekstra-Bladet you can see the headline ‘Here, sharia law applies’, and a map of the areas of the country where the imams and so-called cultural societies have established an alternative judicial system based on sharia law.
One of these areas is Gellerupparken, where I used to live and participate in what I thought was an effort to integrate immigrants into society. A feature article in the newspaper says that according to experts, these areas will, in the course of 10-15 years, be anti-democratic. I’ll stipulate that depending on what you mean by “democratic”, Gellerup has already turned that corner.
After some time (living in the area) I became an active member of the society called ‘Multikulturel Forening’ [Multicultural Society]. I even became its vice-president. But before then, very soon after moving in, actually, I had new neighbours. It was a very nice guy who moved in along with his family — among them a son in a wheelchair. No one in the family spoke any language other that Arabic, so I never got to talk to any of them. But they always greeted me with big smiles and a lot of warmth, and they as well as the master of the house made a fantastic impression. His name was Shaykh Raed Hlayhel. Shaykh Hlayhel was imam in the mosque on Grimshøjvej, but that interested me little back then. Later, when the whole cartoon crisis erupted, I learned with amazement that my good neighbour was one of the imams who travelled and spread lies about Denmark throughout the Middle East. One day, Hlayhel disappeared from the country. Literally in the dark of night. One day he was there — the next, he was gone.
. . .at one point I became an active vice-president of the Multicultural Society. And because at that time I was also an active member of Det Radikale Venstre [a very centrist and immigration-friendly party], some of the locals had confidence in me.Of course I wanted to know about Islam, so I posed a lot of questions. I was told by everybody — the young as well as the old, convicts as well as pensioners — and those active in associations as well as businesses that the Muslims had come to create a new society in this country. They were absolutely candid about that, even proud. Because it will be better than the old ways, they said. And as I am not opposed to improvements, a lot of them told me more about the many blessings of the sharia law. The punishments most of them skipped lightly over, but a concept like ‘dhimmi’ (the rights of non-Muslims under sharia law!), I learned about for the first time up in the Bazar — and what they told me was later confirmed both by the Quran and other sources.
I also learned what they meant when they said ‘multiculture’. Namely that Muslims should live and be judged in accordance with the sharia law and the rest of us by our laws. However — our laws were never to contradict the sharia. This, by the way, was the reason I ran screaming from that Society, because that I would not be party to!
At one point during this period I got the suspicion that there was a direct connection between the imams (or some of them at least) and the groups of young men the media and the police called gangs. Neither then nor now could I prove this, but I notice that Ekstra-Bladet in its feature draws a connection between the upholding of the sharia court system and the youth groups belonging to the culture societies and the mosques. The intelligent reader is encouraged to draw his own conclusions!
Very often have I been told that ‘We have our own rules out here’ and that problems are solved without involving the police. Back then I couldn’t imagine sharia courts in the middle of Århus, but today I understand that was what they meant.
At the same time I know that during the ghetto-riots in the winter of 2008 (when the Muhammad-cartoons were reprinted!), the disturbances in Gellerup were directed from within the residents’ communal house, Yggdrasil, (bit of a misnomer) where the parents of most of the rioters sat together with a couple of imams.
During the 3½ years I lived in the area, I saw AK 47-rifles out in public three times. They were not fired, just taken out. On top of that, a couple of pistols and from time to time knives. My conclusion is that there are enough weapons in circulation out there.
Two examples: When the local city authorities in Århus some time ago wanted to draw up a plan to beautify the area, a lot of care was taken to obtain the support of the council of imams. During these negotiations the imams (who call themselves ‘The Islamic Societies’— which is exactly the same!) made a few changes. That, along with an ‘understanding’ on the part of the Social Democrats about the building of a mosque in the middle of the area, was what it took to reach an agreement. Only then did the politicians dare propose the plan in the City Council. The imams had to agree to it beforehand!
The other example is the mayor we had until a few weeks ago, Nicolaj Wammen (a Social Democrat). He has been elected mayor here in Århus twice, and both times he had long conversations way in advance of the elections with the previously mentioned ‘Islamic Societies’ — that is, the imams. Wammen got their support, and thus the votes of a majority of Muslims in Århus. Cf George Galloway in Tower Hamlets. Now Wammen seeks election to the Danish parliament, and is predicted to become either a top minister in a new government or Helle Thorning Schmidt’s replacement as chairman of the Social Democratic Party should she lose the election.
The power the imams hold in Gellerup is such that the area is already anti-democratic. Contrary to what Ekstra-Bladet seems to think, you don’t have to wait another 10-15 years!
Conditions in the other ghettos mentioned by the newspaper I know nothing about. Yet, like anyone else, I could see that when a certain shop called NETTO on Nørrebro was the target of some aggression, it was a Danish-born imam who ordered the largest criminal gang in the area to discontinue the harassment, after which he himself held talks with Netto. While the gang leader of course sat next to him and looked threatening! In light of the information in Ekstra-Bladet about the implementation of the decisions made by the alternative court system and my own experiences and suspicions from Gellerup, this is very interesting. Again: The libel laws preclude my drawing any conclusions or claiming anything — I just have to wonder about the connection and the obvious authority this imam has in relation to the largest gang on Nørrebro!
I am sometimes asked about my change of mind. How I came to change from being a relatively high profile vice-president of Multikulturel Forening to becoming a strong and uncompromising critic of Islam. Now you know. I am critical of Islam because I know both the Muslims and Islam. Given the choice, I have chosen freedom. Because freedom is better than slavery, because light is better than dark — because civilization is better than Islamic barbarity!
Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit Tuesday Oct. 4, 2011
World Council of Churches
Dear Rev. Dr. Tveit:
My name is Dexter Van Zile. I am a Christian who resides in the United States.
In my professional life, I am the Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). CAMERA monitors media coverage of the Middle East, especially of the Arab-Israeli conflict. I write this letter after completing an analysis of the WCC’s “witness” about the Arab-Israeli conflict that was recently published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. A copy of the article is enclosed.
During the course of preparing this analysis, it occurred to me that the god that inheres in the WCC statements about the Middle East is obsessed with Jewish sin and scared to death of Muslim extremists. Such a craven and anti-Semitic god is not worthy of worship, but that is the god implicitly proffered by the WCC in its public witness about the conflict and about the region as a whole.
The WCC’s obsession with Jewish sin can be seen in its commentary about the Arab-Israeli conflict. The World Council of Churches speaks about the modern state of Israel in a manner similar to the way Christians spoke about Jews in Medieval Europe – as a uniquely sinful nation worthy of contempt from all right thinking Christians.
By depicting Israel in such a manner, the WCC assists in the demonization of the Jewish people. Only a monstrous and hateful people could support Israel as it is falsely depicted in WCC materials.
I know that the WCC has forcefully condemned anti-Semitism on a number of occasions and in a number of different venues. I know that the in 1946 the Provisional Committee of the World Council of Churches, which laid the groundwork for the WCC’s founding in 1948, expressed a “deep sense of horror at the unprecedented tragedy which has befallen the Jewish people” as a result “of the Nazi attempt to exterminate European Jewry” and called on Christians to testify that anti-Semitism violates “the spirit and teaching of Jesus Christ.”
I also know that in 1948, the WCC’s First Assembly passed a resolution admitting that the church had “helped to foster an image of the Jews as the sole enemies of Christ, which has contributed to anti-Semitism in the secular world.”
Sadly enough, these historical condemnations of anti-Semitism can be used to highlight the anti-Semitism of the WCC’s current witness about the Middle East in general and the Arab-Israeli conflict in particular. In sum, The WCC’s witness about the Arab-Israeli conflict has helped to foster an image of Israel and its supporters as the sole enemies of world peace. This narrative has contributed to anti-Semitism in the secular world and is contrary to the spirit and teachings of Christ.
The WCC and its institutions offer up an anti-Semitic witness in four major ways.[i]
First, it uses a troubling double standard when assessing the behavior of Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East. The actions of Israel, the Jewish state, are subjected to intense scrutiny and regularly condemned with accusatory language and inflammatory rhetoric.
By way of comparison, the actions of other countries, political leaders and movements are often ignored.
When they are mentioned, they are addressed in an apologetic and appeasing language. Authoritarian regimes murder their own citizens and the WCC offers words of admonition and prayers for peace. Christians are murdered and oppressed by Muslim extremists in Iraq and Egypt and the WCC speaks in a conciliatory manner about the need for peace between the world’s religions.
By way of comparison, Israel kills civilians in the context of a defensive war and the WCC screams bloody murder and portrays the deaths as an assault on the Holy Land itself.
Secondly, WCC materials demonize Israel. WCC materials routinely criticize Israel’s efforts to defend itself without providing any reference to the threats it faces. The impact of Israeli security measures are depicted in lurid and inflammatory language and treated as insults against the landscape of the Holy Land itself.
On this score, the WCC’s Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine Israel (EAPPI) and the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) are particularly guilty. EAPPI materials portray Israeli policies in a pornographic manner that invites readers to yield themselves over to unreasonable contempt and hostility toward Israel the Jewish state. PIEF materials do the same thing on a theological level. The PIEF’s support of the Kairos Document, which portrays Palestinian terrorism as “legal resistance” is just one example of the PIEF’s role in this process.
Thirdly, the World Council of Churches has, in some instances, de-legitimized Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. Yes, there are times when the WCC has affirmed the right of the Jewish people to a sovereign state of their own, but these affirmations are contradicted by other messages that portray Israel’s creation as a mistake or irredeemable injustice against the Palestinians. Here, it is useful to quote Canadian scholar Paul Charles Merkley, who writes: “Invariably in WCC documents, the creation of the State of Israel appears as a complication, never as an answer to a problem.” Merkley may be overstating the case with the use of the words “invariably” and “never,” but not by much.
Lastly, the WCC offers up an anti-Semitic view of the Arab-Israeli conflict by downplaying or denying Arab and Muslim hostility toward Jews and their state. Non-state actors such as Hamas and Hezbollah that have openly expressed genocidal hostility toward Jews and a desire to destroy Israel merit little attention or condemnation from the WCC. You can search the WCC’s website for yourself to see what I mean.
Instead of acknowledging the religious and theological component of Arab hostility toward Israel and Jews in the Middle East, the WCC portrays the Arab-Israel conflict as an easily resolved fight over territory that can be brought to an end with a treaty – if only those obdurate Israelis were to come to their senses and make peace with the Palestinians, as if Palestinian leaders were wholly innocent of wrongdoing and as if Israeli withdrawals have not already been met with increased violence, and as if Israel hasn’t made peace offers only to be rebuffed by Palestinian refusals or silence.
In proffering this distorted narrative, the WCC encourages Christians to be bystanders to the anti-Semitic hostility directed at Israel by its enemies in the Middle East and to view Israeli Jews with contempt. In the WCC’s narrative about the Arab-Israeli conflict, all of humanity’s worst traits are projected onto Israel while its adversaries are portrayed as forced into wrongdoing by Israeli policies, as if they have no moral agency, will or agenda of their own. This is dishonest.
The WCC demonstrates its fear of Muslim extremists in its failure to confront the ongoing campaign of religious cleansing that is taking place in Muslim-majority countries throughout the world. Christians are being murdered and oppressed on a daily basis by Muslim extremists in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa and the World Council of Churches offers nary a word of criticism regarding these acts. Christians are being driven from Iraq and Egypt by acts of violence and the WCC cannot speak up forcefully on their behalf.
When the WCC is forced by events to acknowledge barbaric acts against Christians (and others) perpetrated by Muslim extremists throughout the globe, they are depicted in benign and diffuse terms that leave readers wondering exactly who is responsible for the violence. The WCC, an institution that has subjected Zionism and its supporters to intense scrutiny, has failed to speak in a forthright manner about how Muslim theology regarding non-Muslims encourages terrible acts of violence and oppression against Christians.
To make matters worse, the WCC has invoked the fear of “islamophobia” to stifle honest discussion of Muslim mistreatment of non-Muslims throughout the world. Given the current reality, this makes about as much sense as calling 19th Century abolitionists anti-white racists.
The World Council of Churches has also failed to acknowledge or confront the suffering endured by women living in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East. Women, like Christians, suffer under the lash of shariah law in Muslim-majority countries and yet the World Council of Churches does not object in a meaningful way.
If Christ would not remain silent about these problems, then why does the WCC?
Samuel Tadros of the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom has a revealing article in The Weekly Standard, "One Nation for New Holocaust," about who was behind the recent ransacking of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. They were not the usual suspects of fundamantalist Muslim Brotherhood adherents, but rather antisemitic Egyptian nationalists, anarchists and left radicals reminiscent of Nasser's Egypt in the 1960's engaged in xenophobic Nazi-inspired hatred and imagery of Jews and Israel. The title of his article is taken from the banner these Egyptian 'Ultras' so named for a popular Egyptian Soccer team, who were at the forefront of the assault of the Israeli embassy. Further, Tadros raises the criticism that we and others have made about the apparent tolerance by the Obama Administration of these excesses of the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and other North African countries.
Watch this You Tube video of fans at an Ultars soccer match in Cairo last April with the "One Nation for New Holocust Banner" and "F__K Israel" signs. Despite the chants in Arabic the video conveys the intense antisemitic hatred of these allegedly secular Egyptian youths.
Here are excerpts from the Tadros Weekly Standard article:
Some observers drew the conclusion that Islamists must have been behind the attack on the Cairo embassy just as Islamists had been a driving force in the Tehran takeover 32 years ago. Others saw the Egyptian army’s lackadaisical response as a way to provoke chaos, which would in turn allow the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to pass new measures curtailing democracy and free expression. And, of course, some saw the attack on the embassy as the logical result of Israeli policies. Local papers produced all sorts of conspiracy theories: Al-Wafd claimed that Israeli security was shooting at the demonstrators, and Al-Dustourcontended that Gamal Mubarak plotted and funded the entire scene.
The truth is somewhat different.
While Islamists are decidedly anti-Israel and have a long and thriving history of anti-Semitism, they did not take part in any of the day’s demonstrations. Rather, the attack was carried out by some of the same groups typically labeled “democrats” or even “liberals.” In the wake of the attack, 21 of these groups proudly announced their responsibility, asserting, moreover, that they would not accept the return of the Israeli ambassador.
Islamists pose a real threat to freedom, but they are hardly the only ones. Populist demagogues are no less dangerous, neither is the odd mixture of demonstrators made up of a mix of Trotskyites, anarchists, and Nasserites. These groups have no real commitment to freedom, and they are obviously no less anti-Semitic than the Islamists. The fact is that anti-Semitism is the daily bread of Egyptian politics.
Perhaps nothing captures this grim image better than the phrase, "One Nation for New Holocaust," which was displayed on a huge banner held by thousands of hardcore soccer fans, known as the Ultras, as seen in a YouTube video bearing the same title. Despite being completely apolitical, the Ultras were at the forefront of the embassy attack, perhaps in retaliation for police violence in a recent game, flying Egyptian flags with a swastika in place of the Eagle of Saladin. Referring to Egypt ’s agreement to sell natural gas to Israel , the demonstrators chanted, "We will export no gas, we shall burn you with gasoline" (it rhymes in Arabic).
[. . .]
The attack on the Israeli embassy is yet another manifestation of the decline of U.S. power and influence in the region. Perhaps Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sincere in thanking President Obama for using "all the means and influence of the U.S. " to bring the situation at the embassy to a peaceful conclusion. Still, it is not clear what it means if it takes the U.S. secretary of defense two hours to reach his Egyptian counterpart on the phone.
The U.S. has helped bring down the regional order it has so tirelessly built for years and has not provided an alternative order. The result has been a worsening of relations between pillars of U.S. policy and a volatile situation that might well lead to regional conflict. The fact that regional leaders seem to have no appetite for war is not a consolation. Neither did Nasser in 1967, yet he still found himself driven to war by inter-Arab dynamics. While the names of the players have changed, with the Qatari Al Jazeera replacing Cairo Radio, those dynamics are still in play today. Politics in the region continues to be shaped by an Arab Cold War that is perhaps more dangerous with the proliferation of non-state actors such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda.
Mrc-tv: Australian Labour Govt. Funds the Spread of Sharia Law
Our colleagues at mrc-tv sent us this disturbing news video story about the Labour government of Australian PM Prime Minister Julia Gillard's funding Muslim outreach officers for municipalities Down under. This benighted program has been promoted by the minority Labor government’s Attorney-General, Robert McClelland as one means of blunting radical Muslim extremists and informing Anglo-Aussies about ‘the real’ religion of peace, Islam. What it appears to be doing is spreading Sharia using government funding. In this episode the annual salary of one Australian municipality Muslim outreach officer is $66,000 A dollars. Other municipalities have become dhimmified to the point that one municipal swimming pool complex had to purchase an expensive curtain in excess of $50,000 to allow for sharia compliant segregation of men and women. The members of the counter-Jihadist Q Society of Australia interviewed in this mrc-tv video object to the government program on several grounds, especially giving preference to a religious faith over others, as only Islam outreach is funded. No other faiths are funded in this manner nor presumably need to be. The Australian program amounts to a subsidized Da’wa (call to Islam) effort. This form of official dhimmitude is outrageous and might become an issue in the Canberra Parliament leading to a no confidence vote and a call for new elections for Ms. Gilliard’s minority government. This is something that would not be allowed under the US Constitution, as our First Amendment mandates separation of Church (or Mosque) from State.
Our thanks to the doughty folks of Australia’s Q Society who have made this government funded Muslim outreach program a cause célèbre Down Under.
Syria Agonistes: Assad Threatens Israel with Missile Attack
Syrians protest Assad Regime
A tip of the hat to Daniel F in Manhattan
The turmoil in Syria has reached such a dangerous point that besieged strongman Bashar Assad has threatened Israel with a missile attack if NATO intervenes in the internal strife. The brutal crackdown by Syrian military has witnessed an estimated 2,700 dead in sectarian clashes and the flight to Turkey of an estimated 7,000 Syrian refugees. In this RIA Novosti report based on an Iranian FARS news release, Assad was alleged to have said at a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday:
If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than 6 hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv.
Assad invoked the potential aid of both Iran and Hezbollah in this threat. He went further to say:
Assad also vowed to call on the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah for support.
All these events will happen in three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf and American and European interests will be targeted simultaneously.
In a related matter yesterday, Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria for the brutal crackdown against sectarian opposition. RIA Novosti noted the Russian justification:
The draft, prepared by the European members of the UN Security Council and supported by the United States, stipulated that the Assad's regime should face the possibility of tough sanctions if it fails to stop its crackdown on opposition within 30 days since the adoption of the resolution.
The resolution was rejected late on Tuesday by a vote of 9-2 with four abstentions.
Russia, which stands firmly against any mention of sanctions citing the example of Libya where the NATO countries largely overstepped the UN mandate in a military operation against Muammar Gaddafi's regime, said the text of the document was "unacceptable" despite several changes to the draft.
The US UN Ambassador Susan Rice issued a sharp rebuke of this vote by Russia and China.
The crisis in Syria will stay before the Security Council and we will not rest until this council rises to meet its responsibilities.
[. . .]
She further said: "The people of the Middle East can now see clearly which nations have chosen to ignore their calls for democracy and instead prop up desperate, cruel dictators."
Meanwhile a Syrian National Council was formed over the weekend and launched at a press conference Saturday in Ankara, Turkey with the objective of toppling the Assad government. As noted in this CNN report the National Council includes the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria, the Revolution Forces, and the Public Council for Revolution Forces and the Superior Council of the Revolution.
This NOW Lebanon report indicated that Russia has extended an invitation with representatives of the newly-formed Syrian national council.
"In October we intend to receive in Moscow two Syrian opposition delegations: one from the domestic wing of the opposition based in Damascus, and the second from those who declared the so-called national council," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich told journalists in televised remarks, yesterday.
Meanwhile, as reported in FP Morning Brief, Turkey Islamist PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his sanctions and military initiatives against Syria:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that, despite the veto, his country would push ahead with planned sanctions against Syria. Turkey military has also begun running exercises near the Syrian border this week.
Israel National News said this about Syrian strongman Assad’s previous bellicose threats against Israel back in June, 2011:
A Kuwaiti newspaper reports that Israel has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that if he will be targeted if he tries to start a war with Israel to take the glare off his brutal suppression of the uprising in his country.
The al-Jarida newspaper reported that the warning was sent through mediators in Turkey following intelligence reports of exceptional movements of Syrian troops and re-location of long-range missiles.
Israel has not commented on the report.
The problem in Syria is that Assad’s military is largely controlled by loyal minority Alawite officers, while ordinary soldiers are drawn from across the country’s sectarian groups; i.e., Sunni Muslims, Kurds. Further, disserting sectarian Syrian soldiers do not have access to safe havens as was the case in Libya. One only need look at the armed battles by Syrian forces against the opposition in Homs, Daara and in Rastan last weekend.
In Libya, People From Misurata Take Their Revenge On People From Abu Hadi
Libya revolutionaries burn, loot village homes
Fighters from Misurata, which suffered greatly during the uprising against Moammar Kadafi, have trashed homes and stolen goods in the ex-leader's reputed birthplace.
By Ruth Sherlock, Los Angeles Times
October 5, 2011
Abu Hadi, Libya
Forces loyal to Libya's transitional leaders looted and burned civilian homes Wednesday in the recently captured village of Abu Hadi, near ousted ruler Moammar Kadafi's besieged tribal homeland of Surt.
Smoke spires rose into the air as fighters, mostly from the western city of Misurata, threw gasoline bombs and grenades into abandoned homes in the village, a center for Kadafi's tribe, the Kadafa.
Whooping and toting guns, fighters from Misurata towed away a Ford Mustang from one garage. Other fighters loaded a Chevrolet onto a truck.
Libya's new transitional government has urged fighters not to engage in looting and recriminatory assaults. But Misurata suffered greatly during the war, and officials have conceded that reining in its fierce and
revenge-minded fighters has been difficult.
"The Misurata brigades are taking their revenge for what soldiers originally from this village did to them," said Fatih Shobash, 22, a fighter from an eastern-based brigade that was also taking part in the offensive against Surt. "They are burning houses, stealing gold and shooting animals."
The capture of Abu Hadi, a desert scrubland about 12 miles south of Surt that was overrun in recent days after fierce fighting, has been a symbolic victory for the forces of the transitional government. The village is where Kadafi is said to have been born in a Bedouin tent in 1942, though Surt has often been referred to as his birthplace.
Some fighters said they were looking for weapons.
A paramedic who worked with the revolutionaries returned to find his home in Abu Hadi ransacked and his father, a former officer in Kadafi's military, missing, possibly detained by anti-Kadafi forces. The paramedic, who declined to give his name for fear of recrimination, said he had gone from one detention facility to another looking for his father, so far without finding him.
He said he arrived at the newly "liberated" area and found his home a mess.
"This is my bedroom," he said, pointing to an upturned bed. The television was smashed, and amid the clothes piled on the floor lay ripped family photographs.
Dozens of homes were trashed, personal possessions strewn on the floors.
One group of elderly men waited in a garage, protecting their nearby homes.
"Rebels from Misurata came to patrol the houses, they took weapons, and stole mine and my neighbor's car," said Muftah Gaddadfa, 60. "They came three times in one day, shooting bullets into the walls of our houses and breaking cupboards. They did this in front of our women and children."
More than 1,100 people from the Misurata area were killed in fighting during the uprising against Kadafi, officials in the city say. The deaths of their comrades and relatives are still fresh in the minds of rebels who pushed back loyalist fighters from Misurata and then continued on the desert road east to Surt.
With a dispersed command structure, leaders of some Misurata brigades have been unable to control their men. Some said they feared even greater reprisals as Misurata militias advance.
"This is the cost of the revolution," said Col. Bashir Budafira, commander of the Ajdabiya Martyrs brigade, based in eastern Libya.
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who has consistently opposed U.S. military engagement overseas, said Tuesday that the Obama administration's killing of a U.S.-born radical cleric in Yemen was an impeachable offense and that "we have crossed that barrier from republic to dictatorship."
Speaking to an audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the libertarian Texas congressman also expressed sympathy for the budding Wall Street protest movement.
He harshly criticized Obama for approving last week's predator drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent al Qaeda figure linked by U.S. intelligence agencies to two unsuccessful attacks on U.S.-bound airplanes. Samir Kahn, a second American killed in the attack, was the editor of the online al Qaeda magazine "Inspire." Paul suggested the government could begin killing American journalists with impunity.
"Can you imagine being put on a list because you're a threat?" Paul told a crowd of 60 journalists and their guests at a luncheon. "What's going to happen when they come to the media? What if the media becomes a threat? ... This is the way this works. It's incrementalism."
"We have crossed that barrier from republic to dictatorship, to tyranny to empire," he said. "He can now assassinate people without due process? What is going on with this country? But you ask me if it's an impeachable offense, and it is! Just ignoring the Fifth Amendment and assassinating American citizens without due process. They won't even tell us what the rules are! Oh, but he's a threat! Can you imagine being put on a list because you're a threat? What's going to happen when they come to the media? What if the media becomes a threat? Or a professor becomes a threat?"
Paul also said he shares the frustration of the protesters who recently occupied streets in the Wall Street section of New York City, and said he believes the demonstrations are rooted in a host of economic woes, including corporate decisions to relocate American jobs overseas.
"Eventually our jobs will deploy overseas and the pie would shrink, and there would be an aggressive attitude to get a piece of the pie that's no longer there," he said. "I think civil disobedience, if everyone knows exactly what they're doing, is a legitimate effort. It's been done in this country for many grievances and some people end up going to jail for this. ... The solution is to get a healthy economy back."
"A Great Day In The History Of The Arabs And A Turning Point In World History"
See here, far left column, and the quote from Kuwatly of Syria, on the founding of the United Arab Republic,on February 2, 1958, describing it as "a great day in the history of the Arabs and a turning point in world history."