It attributed the rise to the levels of migration in 2015 and 2016, plus Muslims as a whole having a higher birth rate and lower average age to other Europeans. As of 2016, the UK's share of Muslims was recorded as 6.3 per cent, compared to the European total of 4.9 per cent. An inflation to 17.2 per cent in the UK, the highest projected increase, would see the number of Muslims in Britain triple.
The 30 countries it covered include the 28 European Union members, plus Norway and Switzerland. Not all countries would be affected evenly by future immigration, according to the Pew report.
In the high migration scenario, Germany and Sweden would have the biggest increases because both countries took in the most asylum-seekers during the height of the refugee crisis two years ago.
While Muslims made up 6 per cent of Germany's population last year, their proportion would go up to 20 percent by 2050.
Sweden's Muslims, who were at 8 per cent in 2016, would account for 31 per cent of the population in that same scenario.
Meanwhile, some countries that had comparatively few Muslim residents in 2016 would continue to have few by 2050 in all three scenarios.
The young faces of Islamic extremism in Australia: Somali man, 20, accused of plotting ISIS-inspired New Year's massacre 'boasted about his friendship with Curtis Cheng's 15-year-old killer'
As my good friend and colleague Christina put it yesterday"An Australian Muslim with Somalian parents". Rather, "An Australia-born Muslim with immigrant Muslim parents".
A young Somali-Australian accused of plotting an ISIS-inspired New Year's Eve attack on Melbourne was reportedly targeted by ASIO because of his links to a radicalised 15-year-old boy who killed Curtis Cheng. Ali Khalif Shire Ali was dramatically arrested on Monday and charged with trying to obtain a semi-automatic rifle to gun down revellers in Federation Square.
The 20-year-old was well-connected to Australian jihadist circles including multiple other terror suspects and extremist preacher Junaid Thorne. Ali was also friends with Farhad Jabar, 15, who shot dead NSW police accountant Curtis Cheng outside the police centre in Parramatta in 2015.
...in May 2016, Ali was one of several Muslims led by Junaid Thorne who refused to stand for a magistrate saying they 'stand for no one but Allah'. The hearing was for five men accused of trying to flee Australia by boat to fight with terrorists overseas.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Ali is also believed to be friends with the son of convicted Islamic State terrorist Abdul Nacer Benbrika, as well as having links to the friends of teen terrorist Numan Haider.
Haider was killed with a single shot to the head after pulling a knife from his jacket and started stabbing two counter-terrorist police officers in a Melbourne station.
On Tuesday, Ali was dramatically arrested by counter-terrorism police in tactical gear in front of shocked onlookers outside a restaurant on a busy Melbourne street.
Police allege Ali tried to obtain an automatic rifle to carry out the horrific act, inspired by radical Islamist propaganda produced by terrorist group al-Qaeda. The 'ISIS sympathiser' did not enter a bail when he appeared briefly in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Ali, who reportedly no longer has a formal name, was described by his boss at a local computer business as 'a very quiet guy'.
'It's very sad, it's a shock,' Warsame Hassan told the Herald Sun. 'If I had (noticed suspicious behaviour) then I would have told the police.' The business has been raided and the computer Ali used has been seized by police.
It is believe they had been monitoring Ali for months, but his alleged radicalism has increased over time and police believe he was seeking out obtaining an automatic weapon.
He had recently dropped out of Swinburne University in Hawthorn, and was a regular visitor at the Virgin Mary mosque near his family home in Melbourne's west. Members of the mosque described Ali's family as good members of the community.
The practising Muslim was born in Australia, is an Australian citizen and his parents were from Somalia, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said on Tuesday. 'The male is one of our high-risk persons of interest. We have been monitoring him for a very lengthy period of time,' he told reporters on Tuesday.
Counter-terror police make 'significant' arrests as alleged plot is foiled
The arrests, in London and Birmingham were reported in the press this morning, but this, in the Guardian, is the first report i have seen that confirms it to be Islamic terrorism.
Counter-terrorism officials believe they have foiled another plot to attack the UK with two men arrested by armed police and investigations continuing on Wednesday.
The arrests, described as “significant”, took place on Tuesday afternoon, the first in north London and the second in Birmingham. The alleged plot is believed to have been inspired by Islamic State propaganda and one of the more serious seen this year, investigators believe.
Police chiefs assessed that armed officers were needed to make the arrests, which were the result of a decision by counter-terrorism police and MI5, the domestic security agency, after a joint operation.
The two men, aged 21 and 20, were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorism contrary to section 40 of the Terrorism Act 2000. They are in custody and being questioned, and searches are under way in London and Birmingham.
Police gave few details about the arrests, which were made by officers from the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command, firearms officers and the counter-terrorism unit covering the West Midlands.
The Met said: “The officers arrested a 20-year-old man in north London and a 21-year-old man in south-east Birmingham at approximately 14.50hrs and 16.30hrs respectively on Tuesday 28 November. Both are being detained in custody under the Terrorism Act at a south-east London police station. Searches at addresses in south-east Birmingham and north London are ongoing.”
A BBC interview with two young single mothers takes for granted that society is to blame for their plight.
by Theodore Dalrymple
Recently, I had the painful experience of watching the BBC television evening news. I avoid television as much as possible, but I was in a friend’s house, and as it was part of his daily ritual to watch the news, I could not very well, as a guest, refuse to watch.
An item about halfway through the program spotlighted the increase in homelessness in Britain. Strictly speaking, this was not really news, since the increase could hardly have occurred overnight, or indeed over a very short period; and, of course, the item turned out to be opinion masquerading as information. Its tendentiousness was obvious.
The story largely consisted of interviews with two homeless single mothers of young children. They were temporarily housed in what seemed to be an old industrial and office block, converted into tiny living spaces, almost like cubicles. No one, I think, would have found it pleasant to live there.
The item drew attention to the fact that the owner of the block was making a very good income from the tenants who, the BBC told us, were each paying hundreds of pounds a week to live there. This was a very strange—and dishonest—way of putting it, since it was obviously not the homeless who were paying to live there, but the taxpayers who were paying for them to do so.
The two young mothers spoke of the difficulty of living in such a confined space, with so few appliances. One complained that she had only a microwave oven to cook with, a good example of the rhetorical device of suggestio falsi: in this case, had it not been for the injustice that forced her to live in this fashion, she would have been cooking healthful and well-balanced meals. Suffice it to say that surveys of eating habits in Britain suggest no such thing.
The two mothers, both quite young, complained bitterly of their living conditions; what struck me most was that the interviewer did not think to ask (or, if he did, it was rigorously edited out) how the situation in which they found themselves had arisen in the first place. It is possible, though unlikely, that the two young women had contributed absolutely nothing to their own misfortunes by, for example, making unwise decisions. It is possible, though unlikely, that they had no relatives in a position to help them, and that for them the state was the only conceivable source of social solidarity and support. But in any case, these matters did not arise; to have asked such questions would have been to blame the victims.
While it is perfectly true that no child should be brought up in such degraded and degrading circumstances, at least not nowadays, the blame for it was placed entirely on society, meaning the state and the taxpayers. The only solution offered was for the state to be more generous towards unfortunates such as the two young mothers. That this turned children into de facto tools of extortion, and that it made everyone responsible for the welfare of children except their parents, apparently did not occur to the producers of the news story. They passed on to other subjects, secure in the glow off their own sanctity.
We need to recover distinctions, when it comes to sexual misconduct.
by Conrad Black
The practice of instant, fierce, and quickly passing controversy seemed to come upon this country, not altogether coincidentally, with the rise of Donald Trump. The Billy Bush tape was clearly timed and aimed to destroy his candidacy, and in the two days between its release and the second presidential debate, Reince Priebus, then party chairman, virtually checked out, Speaker Paul Ryan disinvited Trump from a joint event in Wisconsin, and vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence went silent. Numerous senators and congressmen renounced their support for his candidacy, including current senators Crapo, Fischer, Gardner, McCain, Portman, and Thune. But Trump held an extended press conference with three women who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton, and another whose alleged rapist was acquitted by the legal talents of counselor Hillary Clinton. Trump apologized for what he had said eleven years before. And he emphasized that a tasteless and inappropriate comment that he regretted was much less offensive than actual physical assaults on women as were alleged against Bill Clinton. He counter-attacked both Clintons, held his own in the debate, and the Republican Party creaked back, jittery but supporting the nominee. It was an immense controversy but it had nothing to do with being president; it didn’t work as a knock-out punch and passed quickly.
Once he was installed in office, there were the apparent crises of the presidency, all based on the theory that Trump was self-evidently illegitimate; he had to be, because he attacked all factions of both parties and the entire political system apart from the Constitution. There thus began the crowded sequence of destabilizing protests, each stirring the anti-Trump media to new paroxysms of moral fury designed to prevent the new president from governing. There were the “pussycats,” protesting misogyny (a sentiment Trump has never expressed, though he has been fairly raunchy at times). Teeming masses of actresses and other feminists marched impotently in nearly 200 locations in the world — supported, from Perth, Australia, by Bruce Springsteen — proclaiming “the Resistance.” There was nothing to protest or resist, and the rage evaporated.
The temporary block on travel to the United States from six countries led to hasty judge-shopping on the flaky West Coast bench to find a few federal judges who would purport to deny the president his statutory right and duty to control the borders. The argument was that it was a religious ban, and that even Yemenis and Iranians somehow had the right not to be discriminated against at their point of origin if they chose to come to the U.S. Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer purported to be weeping, in unison with the Statue of Liberty. There were demonstrations in many places and terrible slowdowns at airports, rioting in several places, including at the Berkeley campus, with extensive vandalism. The president did not take the bait and ignore the silly local judicial rulings, but instead imposed the controls at point of entry and then rejigged his order to include a number of non-Islamic countries, including Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. The issue has gone away.
There was unfounded alarm that the president had not reaffirmed Article Five of the NATO treaty (an attack upon one is an attack upon all). In August came the Charlottesville riot, where Mayor Signer and Governor McAuliffe, pillars of the Resistance, ensured that the police would not thoroughly separate the two factions, and what began as a disagreement about whether to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee became a confrontation between Nazis and Klansmen on one hand, against, on the other, Antifa and the militants of Black Lives Matter (who had killed eight policemen and wounded twelve in Dallas and Baton Rouge in July 2016). In condemning both sides, and saying there had been some good people among those who wished to retain Lee’s statue, the president was ferociously panned in the anti-Trump media for implicit racism, another unfounded charge. There was a brief frenzy of tearing down and removing Civil War statues in the South, ludicrous ceremonies of young adults kicking and spitting on felled effigies of Confederate soldiers, and so forth, and then, like a fever, this, too, passed. There have been many other such brief crazes.
Obviously, issues of the sexual harassment of women, especially juveniles and particularly if any aggressive physical contact is involved, are a subject that will not, and should not, suddenly vanish. But aspects of the current controversy are nonsense. The latest outburst of these episodes began with the arraignment of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein by the New York Times and The New Yorker. Their research appeared to be thorough and the film community was not surprised by the accusations, but there has been no due process whatever as Weinstein has been torn down, disgraced, and stigmatized. (His initial defense, that he has always supported the Left politically, revealed its hypocrisy and confirmed that the Clinton defense of attacking “bimbos” from trailer parks has magnified the harassment problem.)
Then came Roy Moore, with, like the Billy Bush tape with Donald Trump, every indication of a political hit job by the Washington Post. (The Bush tape was from NBC but released by the Post.) The Post brought forward a very plausible account of a tactile exploration, with no removal of clothes, by Moore 38 years ago, of a then 14-year old girl. Moore vehemently denies it. Leigh Corfman, the wronged woman, confirms that the Post sought her out, asked her to make her recollections of the incident public, and met her condition that others come forward also. The Post managed to recruit a number of other women who made somewhat similar claims though without the underage aspect, and Gloria Allred, the inevitable champion of all female plaintiffs against male misbehavior, subsequently brought forward another accuser. This isn’t proof; it was 38 years ago; and there have been no credible complaints about Moore since.
Minnesota liberal Democrat Al Franken has been accused of harassment of a radio personality and former model (an imposed kiss and a photograph of him appearing to touch her breasts while she was asleep on an airplane), in 2006. I wouldn’t vote for either Moore or Franken, for diametrically different reasons, but I don’t think on evidence adduced to date that either has disqualified himself from serving in the U.S. Senate (although I have always believed that Franken stole his original election from Norm Coleman). When it comes to seekers for public office, I do not accept the Mitt Romney distinction between notional probabilities concerning conflicting versions of events and proof beyond doubt for a crime (a standard that is not observed in the U.S criminal-justice system in any case, because of the corruption of the plea-bargain system). Nor can I join in Peggy Noonan’s celebration of the end of the “He said–she said” era. If we get into a regime of denunciation based on subjective probabilities, any man can be forced out of public life by millions of women.
In these two cases, even if the accused men did what has been alleged, if that is all they did of this kind of activity, they are not morally disqualified. If Moore has been an upright, sexually unoffending man for 38 years (during which time he has often been an election candidate), his alleged conduct with Ms. Corfman, though outrageous, was not an assault and is not really relevant now; and his denial is not completely incredible. Franken has not admitted the allegations against him, but has apologized, and the photo is not out of character: It is absurd and not amusing, but what is claimed should not force him out of the Senate. (Nor can the instant dismissal of Charlie Rose by CBS and PBS be justified. His recollections are different from those of the complainants and no one seems to be claiming an assault.)
Women should not be afraid to complain if they have been genuinely subjected to harassment.
It is good that women should not be afraid to complain if they have been genuinely subjected to harassment (an offense that will require much more careful definition), so that men know that improprieties will, at the least, lead to severe embarrassment (as Moore and Franken are going through). But men (and women) have a right to be tasteless, stupid, and offensive without having their careers abruptly terminated with no deliberation or mercy. Moore can stay as a candidate (and the idea of excluding him from the Senate if he is elected is bunk), and Franken can remain. And I would always be happy to see Charlie Rose again, personally or on television, regardless of whether he disported himself before individual female staff au naturel, as Mark Steyn said last week, “like Big Bird.” Official Democratic flimflam about the venerable Representative Conyers is the first sign that this craze is passing; stealing a kiss might be disgusting in some cases, but it isn’t rape, and America’s sex life can’t be run by the Red Queen.
Indian politician offers $1.5M for beheading of Bollywood star over Hindu queen, Muslim ruler romance film
When Hindus imitate Muslims - shame on them. Fox News:
Deepika Padukone, right, and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali attend the opening of the 13th annual Marrakech International Film Festival. (Reuters)
A member of India's Hindu nationalist ruling party offered a $1.5 million bounty Sunday for anyone who beheads the lead actress and the director of a yet-to-be released Bollywood film that's sparked controversy for depicting a romance between a Hindu queen and Muslim ruler.
The film "Padmavati" was set to be in theaters on Dec. 1 and has caused a firestorm over its alleged handling of the relationship.
Suraj Pal Amu, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader from the northern state of Haryana, offered the bounty against actress Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.The film's producers postponed the release of the movie the same day.
Speaking at a public rally, Amu also said the film would not be allowed to be released at all, local media reported.
The movie "Padmavati" is based on a 16th century Sufi epic poem, "Padmavat," a fictional account of a brave and beautiful Rajput queen who chose to kill herself rather than be captured by the Muslim sultan of Delhi, Allaudin Khilji. Over the centuries, the tale has come to be seen as history, even though there is little historical evidence to support it.
Padukone plays the role in the film of Padmini, the legendary queen who committed "jauhar," the medieval Rajput practice in which women of royal households walked into funeral fires to embrace death over the dishonor of being taken captive.
The film has been in trouble since the beginning of the year, with fringe groups in the western state of Rajasthan attacking the film's set, threatening to burn down theaters that show it and even physically attacking Bhansali in January.
Most of the anger at the film appears to stem from allegations that Bhansali distorted history by filming a romantic dream sequence between the film's main protagonists. Bhansali has denied the allegations.
Earlier this month, the head of the Rajput Karni Sena in Rajasthan said Padukone should have her nose cut — a symbol of public humiliation — for being part of a film that allegedly insulted the famed queen.
On Monday, local government officials vowed to take "stringent action" against those threatening Padukone and others involved in the movie, The Indian Express reported.
India's 1.3 billion-strong democracy is the largest in the world, but despite significant economic progress over the last few decades its politics are held hostage by a complex mix of religion and caste. Books and movies have found themselves at the receiving end of threats of violence and bans because they either offend one religious or caste group, or are deemed offensive to Indian culture in general...
In 1969, I received my doctoral degree from the New School. In those days, few did. The expectations, the standards, were notoriously high.
Founded by John Dewey and Thorstein Veblen, The New School hosted an eminent American and European expatriate professoriate that included Franz Boas, W.E.B. Du Bois, Hans Jonas, Maynard Keynes, Margaret Mead, Erwin Piscator, and, in my field (psychology), Karen Horney and Erich Fromm—and my most beloved professors: Nathan Brody, Mary Henle, Ausma Rabe, Robert Terwilliger, and Bernard Weitzman.
And now, I would like to return my degree—but the New School I once knew and respected no longer exists. Yes, many of the professors are still “distinguished”—they have all the right publishers and prizes—and yet, what they utterly lack is even the speck of moral imagination required to refrain from giving their imprimatur to a rather rough bunch of Jew-haters.
I am talking about the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism faculty who have officially invited the infamous Linda Sarsour and Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace to discuss Anti-Semitism, aka Judeophobia, in which they hope to continue their work of reading Jews out of progressive movements and making them targets for hate.
James Miller directs this program, assisted by Associate Director Rachel Rosenfeld. Robert Boyers, Juliette Cezzar, Mark Greif, Noah Isenberg, Melissa Monroe, Jed Perl, and Hugh Raffles all teach for this program. They are professors, not unlettered, illiterate, grassroots activists. Eighty-five years after Adolf Hitler fired Jewish professors from German universities and burned and banned Jewish books, the academics are leading the pack against Israel, Jews, intellectual diversity, and truth. Only such academics could have invited Sarsour and Vilkomerson to speak on campus, to make a mockery of the very real hate that threatens actual, live Jews, whether in Charlottesville or in Paris or in Tel Aviv.
The description of the panel tells us: “Antisemitism is harmful and real. But when Antisemitism is redefined as criticism of Israel, critics of Israeli policy become accused and targeted more than the growing far-right. Join us for a discussion on how to combat Antisemitism today.”
More targeted than the far-right? Really? Poor babies. Words almost fail me given their self-serving bid for victim status even as they themselves are the aggressors who maliciously conflate anti-Semitism, which they practice, with “criticism of Israel,” as if the all-powerful Jewish Lobby is now threatening to shut down even the most innocent “criticism” of its actions. The canard is so transparent that it’s amazing to think that educated people believe it. But being educated has never proved to be a bar against being anti-Semitic, or being a camp follower or appeaser of haters.
The non-Muslim panelists claim that, like Muslims, they, too, are being persecuted in America, although the statistics assure us that the rise in Jew-hatred/anti-Semitism is far more significant (up 67 percent in 2017). While it’s important for Jew-haters to voice their hatred at the New School, under the guise of discussing “anti-Semitism”—welcome, David Duke, to the discussion of racism, and right this way, Harvey Weinstein, to the panel on rape—it is also important never to discuss the crimes against women perpetrated by the denizens of Muslim societies who are steeped in medieval bigotry and hatred of the other. Yes, the fear of collective punishment, white guilt over the historical evils of slavery in America, and the conflation of Arabs with discrimination against African-Americans in today’s society has led to a comprehensive chilling of speech and the kind of muddled, inflammatory thinking that appears to explain how the New School got to where it is today.
It is ironic: Even as charges of “appropriation” are leveled at men who write about women, whites who write about non-whites, non-gays who write about gays—that the single exception is that of allowing a non-Jew like Sarsour to actually hold forth in an academic setting as an “expert” on a subject about which she knows absolutely nothing.
The New School panel is political theater, meant to intimidate, appease, and entertain, not to educate.
The New School panel is political theater, meant to intimidate, appease, and entertain, not to educate. It is possible because Jew-hatred is in fashion on the left these days, and because academics are in denial about Islamist violence, whether it targets Jews, women, gays, or other minorities. Therefore, they seek to appease such violence by siding with it against permissible scapegoats, beginning with the Jews and Israel. Academics who should have more-nuanced views of geopolitical conflicts instead view the jihadi aggressors as “victims” and their true victims, including civilians, as guilty perpetrators. Those presumably most dedicated to truth-finding and truth-telling are repressing and perverting the truth and indoctrinating students to do likewise.
Haymarket Books is named after the 1886 Chicago Square incident in which workers demonstrated for an eight-hour workday. A bomb exploded, police officers were killed, anarchists were tried, and anarchists were hung. The bomber was never found. Haymarket publishes Ali Abunimah (Electronic Intifada); Omar Barghouti (the Qatari-born, Egypt-reared, educated-in-America professor who teaches at Tel Aviv University—and who is also the founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the co-founder of the BDS campaign); Angela Y. Davis (Communist, black nationalist, alleged feminist icon); Noam Chomsky (far left Anti-Zionist); Ilan Pappe (Israeli Jewish anti-Zionist); the late Howard Zinn, leftist historian and author of A People’s History of American Empire—as well as Leon Trotsky, Alexandra Kollantai, and Rosa Luxembourg. Once, long, long ago, I was quite fond of these last three.
Times change, thinking people ought to change with them, but that is rarely the case. The phrase “one-sided” does not do justice to Haymarket’s lineup of books. But, hey, it’s a free country.
Jacobin Magazine? Lauded by Chomsky and Chris Hayes, they describe themselves as “a leading voice of the American left.” Now, who were the Jacobins? In 1789, after the French Revolution, which was a much romanticized but relentlessly bloody uprising, the Jacobins, in alliance with Robespierre, were the most radical and violent of the groups. They instituted the Terror of 1793-1794.
The New School panel takes place tomorrow night, Nov. 28, at 7:30 p.m. It is also being live-streamed via Facebook at Jacobin Magazine.
Perhaps the New School has learned the hard way that it is better to appease the foxes. In 1997, the New School allowed itself to be ground right down into a weeks-long standstill because one professor of “Caribbean descent,” M. Jacqui Alexander, whose résumé was very thin, played the race card to protest the fact that she had not been granted tenure. Thereafter, this same professor took her show on the road to other universities (or so I’ve been told), where she repeated her performance. Apparently, she is now emeritus at the Women’s and Gender Studies Institute at Canada’s University of Toronto.
I knew nothing about this until last year when a Jew, who was caught up in that fracas, called me, and whom I then interviewed. He was so traumatized by the overt and underlying anti-Semitism of the aggressive and shaming mob that conducted the sit-in and hunger fast that he dropped out of graduate school and never again found his footing in the academic world. Today’s mobs form on social media rather than it the streets, but their effects on people’s lives can be every bit as profound.
Here’s the story, as reported in 1997, in Lingua Franca by Eyal Press, titled “Nightmare on Twelfth Street.” For three weeks, a “mobilization” of 50 students held various administrators “hostage,” “swarmed and jeered” at them and demanded that the New School “drastically revise their curriculum and minority hiring policies.” Students blanketed the school facade with signs bearing slogans like “RACIST, SEXIST, ANTI-GAY, NEW SCHOOL POLITICS GO AWAY!”
And then things really turned “ugly.” They demonstrated against an exhibit of Holocaust photography that took place during Black History Month. They instituted “die-ins” that blocked colleagues and students. They accused the New School of “police-state measures” and stayed on a hunger strike for 19 days, “huddled in blankets.” They held signs aloft that read: “WHITE PROFESSORS, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? THE HUNGER STRIKE IMPLICATES YOU!”
Alexander’s failure to receive “immediate tenure” triggered the demand for the radical revision of minority hiring policies. In the past, Judith Friedlander, dean of the graduate faculty, had stated that “We’re not going to make mediocre appointments, be they black or white.” Although the New School now promised to bring “five scholars of color to the graduate faculty within the next three years,” that was not what the mobilization wanted, either. They would not rest until Alexander received tenure now.
According to Press, Alexander’s critics noted that she had published no books of her own; had penned several articles and co-edited two volumes of essays. Nevertheless, her supporters claimed that she dealt with “marginalized” subjects. The titles of some of her articles were: “Erotic Autonomy as a Politics of Decolonization: An Anatomy of Feminist and State Practice in the Bahamas Tourist Economy” and “Not Just (Any) Body Can Be a Citizen: The Politics of Law, Sexuality, and Post-Coloniality in Trinidad and Tobago and in the Bahamas.”
Three different departments (political science, sociology, and anthropology) each voted against recommending Alexander for tenure. New School Faculty of Color (a phrase that must be capitalized), as well as students of color, began to leave the mobilization. Increasingly, it had become a cell, a cult, irrational, out of control, frighteningly angry. According to press, “despite the group’s identity-based rhetoric and practice, many of the mobilization’s own members happen to be white, while many of its critics are not.”
Finally, at a forum, one professor stood up to Alexander and stated that her “record of academic publication is indefensibly weak.” He was immediately attacked as a “racist.” When he was confronted by Alexander, who asked him what gave him the right to judge her work, he replied: “I’ve read your work.”
That professor’s name was James Miller—perhaps the same James Miller, apparently, who has now invited Linda Sarsour and Rebecca Vilkomerson into the henhouse. Perhaps he has had second thoughts about the wisdom of making himself a target for nutcases. Perhaps he does not view Jew-hatred as a form of “racism.” Most professors don’t; most textbooks on prejudice fail to include it.
The “Zioness Movement” has launched a petition at Change.org for signatures in a letter to New School President David E. Van Zandt. They note:
This panel appears to conflate legitimate criticism of Israel—like legitimate criticism of any other state—with the belief that Israel should not exist as a state and should be replaced. … These panelists actively work to prevent Zionists from engaging on the left, despite Israel’s leftist roots. Lina Morales has publicly posted on social media that she aims to “drive a wedge between Zionists and the left, between Zionists and the queer community, between Zionists and poc communities.” Rebecca Vilkomerson has said JVP’s role is to drive a wedge between Judaism and Zionism. Linda Sarsour has said “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and declared that Zionists cannot be feminists.
Will Jews and our friends show up en masse at the New School on Nov. 28 with signs and numbers (if not wonders) to confront the Jew-haters all dressed up as respectable academics?
Setting the record straight on Jason Reza Jorjani’s “The Coming Persian War”
by Hossein Khorram
I briefly met Jason Reza Jorjani at the Asian Ball during the inaugural festivities on January 20, 2017. He was cordial and seemed reasonable, but as with many people one meets briefly at social functions, I knew nothing about him, his writings or his political activities.
He has since written a piece on his blog entitled, “The Coming Persian War” which contains some strange allegations concerning AMCD’s advisor, Dr. Walid Phares, who was also at the Asian ball that night and met Jorjani briefly after he shook his hand. Dr. Phares is a well-respected Middle East scholar who has written many books on the region and on Iran in particular. He has had no formal meeting the Jorjani as is implied in his article. I was there. Dr. Phares shook hundreds of hands at several balls throughout the evening.
Jorjani writes, “I met Walid Phares and discussed Iran policy with him. Later on, I wrote him a very substantive letter warning the Trump Administration not to go down the Pro-Saudi path that it has since chosen to pursue with respect to regime change in Iran.”
Dr. Phares did not have any meeting with Jorjani beyond this brief encounter, while he was greeting many other participants in the Asian Ball. He did not give Jorjani his contact information and has not received any letter from him.
“When asked about the nature of the new Iran policy that the President was about to announce, Phares explained, ‘The Pasdaran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, will be under the focus of [i.e. in the crosshairs of] our allies, and speaking of our allies, remember the President went to Riyadh. He met with 50 Arab and Muslim leaders. This is way different from what was the situation in the ‘90s. He has a much larger coalition. Even if the Europeans are going to be criticizing his position, he has a much larger bloc in the region to work with.’ The Fox News anchor fails to ask Phares why he is jumping all the way back to the 1990s rather than drawing a contrast with Obama’s Iran policy. What does a ‘larger coalition’ of Arab nations have to do with ‘the situation in the ‘90s’?
“Phares is referring to the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the coalition of Arab nations that George H. W. Bush formed to demolish Iraq. Saudi Arabia was the backbone of this coalition, as it will be the linchpin of the ‘much larger bloc’ of Sunni Arab states that Trump will lead in a war that shatters and devastates Iran. On Phares’ revealing analogy, the Revolutionary Guard’s forward positions in the Shiite crescent are akin to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. The difference is that the entirely predictable reaction of the Islamic Republic of Iran to being bombarded by Saudi-based missiles and air force jets is going to be a massive retaliation against Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-Arab sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf, which will require American and allied Arab forces to put boots on the ground in Iran (at least in support for ethnic separatists and other terrorists) whereas Bush Senior’s coalition never marched to Baghdad. It is also predictable that, if attacked, the Islamic Republic will use Hezbollah to unleash asymmetrical warfare inside the United States on a scale that makes 9/11 look like a firecracker. Certainly, at that point, Congress will be intimidated into authorizing a full-scale American occupation of Iran.”
Jorjani quoted Dr. Phares simply pointed out the newly forming Arab coalition along with Israel to contain Iranian expansion and counter jihadism within the Sunni world. It is quite the stretch for Jorjani to jump from that to all out warfare ending with a US occupation of Iran. Besides, Dr. Phares has published several books over three decades, including on Iran, the Middle East and terrorism. His literature is widely read and praised by experts. But that is not the only imaginative leap in this strange piece. He also claims he was introduced to Dr. Phares by Michael Bagley and that Bagley along a mysterious Mr. X were behind a convoluted plan to elevate Jorjani as head of the “alt-right.”
According to Mr. Bagley, he met Jorjani one time about two years ago and never mentioned Phares to him, at least in the way described. Jorjani, however, claims Bagley introduced him to Dr. Phares in the following extremely strange passage.
“I met with Michael months before the 2016 Presidential Election, again after Trump’s victory (which I was not surprised to see), as well as in the early days of the new administration. He would see President Trump on a regular basis, and he introduced me to others with even more access, including Walid Phares, who Michael described as the shadow Secretary of State. He said that Rex Tillerson was just supposed to be a front man, and that when I spoke to Walid I should assume that I am essentially speaking directly to President Trump.”[emphasis mine]
This is very odd. It goes without saying that Secretary Tillerson is the Secretary of State, period. Dr. Phares is a private citizen and has no secret access to President Trump.
The piece goes on to describe a strange series of events in which several shadowy individuals were supposed to set up Mr Jorjani as some sort of standard bearer for the alt-right by forming a corporation which would then subsume several other far-right organizations. I have no way to gage the accuracy of any of that, except the statement of Michael Bagley which is clearly at odds with Jorjani’s assertions.
Among Jorjani’s many odd claims is that “those of us in the Iranian opposition participating in private White House discussions regarding regime change had to fill out a form stating that we are Muslim.” As a prominent member of the Iranian opposition, I have visited the White House and have never seen such a form and I seriously doubt it exists. To my knowledge, Jorjani has never had any high level discussions with anyone at the White House.
In conclusion I wish to make very plain that Dr. Phares is a scholar, political centrist and foreign policy analyst with no ties whatsoever to the alt-right political movement, or the alt-left for that matter. He advises members of Congress and the European Parliament who are in the political center. It is unfortunate that Mr. Jorjani is trying to link himself to Dr. Phares to make himself seem as if he has access to the administration which he plainly does not have. I do respect Mr. Jorjani and wish him well. This post was meant simply to set the record straight on the fact as I know them.
Hossein Khorram is a an Iranian-American businessman and Republican activist who has appeared many times on Voice of America and Iranian American media promoting democracy and the rule of law in Iran. He is a member of the board of AMCD.
The schools watchdog Ofsted has been voted UK Islamophobe of the Year. Ofsted won the dubious accolade at a ceremony organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission in London on Sunday evening. That is the unsavoury outfit that organises the al quds offensive through London annually.
Many in the Muslim community feel that Ofsted has targeted Muslim children over the past few years. Several high-performing schools in Birmingham were put in Special Measures by Ofsted and Muslim educationalists were forced out of their jobs following the “Trojan Horse” affair, which was later largely discredited. No it wasn't. Enough of the taqiya; we know your game by now.
The former head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, critcised the wearing of the veil in schools and the current chief, Amanda Spielman, has said that Muslim girls will be questioned by inspectors about why they wear the hijab.
They won't be happy at the lfile Ofsted has complied and detailed in The Times this morning of "of the worst examples of discrimination and sexism its inspectors encountered."
One school Ofsted visited encouraged children to read a text that contrasted the “noble women of the East” with the “internally torn woman of the West” who attracts men and leaves her home to hang around aimlessly in cinemas and cafés.
Other library books insisted that in a Muslim marriage “the wife is not allowed to refuse sex to her husband” or “leave the house where she lives without his permission” while boys and girls were taught that “the man by way of correction can also beat her”. Work marked by teachers stated that women had a responsibility “only to bear children and bring them up as Muslims”.
Among the worst examples was a book discovered in a school library entitled, “Women who deserve to go to hell” which said that it was wrong for wives to show “ingratitude to their husband” or “have tall ambitions”
Ofsted insiders said the books and writings made for “uncomfortable reading”. They are concerned not only that religious schools are using inappropriate materials, but that well- intentioned mainstream schools are permitting extreme forms of Islam in the belief they are being inclusive.
It is understood the material in the dossier may be used in training for inspectors.
A man has been arrested after allegedly planning to carry out a terrorist attack with an automatic rifle at Melbourne's Federation Square on New Year's Eve this year.
The 20-year-old man, who was arrested in Werribee on Monday afternoon, was allegedly planning to shoot and kill as many people as he could in Federation Square.
Victoria Police deputy commissioner Shane Patton said the Australian-born Muslim with Somalian parents sought to purchase, but did not acquire, an automatic weapon to carry out the attack that could have had "horrendous" consequences. "We have been monitoring him for a very lengthy period of time," Mr Patton said. "He's an Australian citizen and of Somalian parents."
The young man was in possession of an al-Qaeda guidebook on how to carry out terrorism attacks and is an Islamic State sympathiser, police allege.
"He has accessed documents produced by al-Qaeda Arabian Peninsula ... a guidebook in respect to how to commit a terrorist act and also how to use firearms, guns and handguns and rifles," Mr Patton said.
"He is associated with other persons in the Victorian extremists community ... it is a very small community of extremists. The potential of the attack is catastrophic. This is a person who has expressed an intention to try and kill as many people as he could. It's horrendous. . . "
The man is expected to be charged later on Tuesday with engaging in acts in preparation for a terrorist offence and collecting documents to facilitate a terrorist act.
Police expect him to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court later today or the early hours of tomorrow. VictoriaPolice, Australian Federal Police and ASIO were involved in the investigation that resulted in the young man's arrest. Police do not anticipate further arrests.
Father Christmas gets about, and ISIS aspires to follow him, although not for the same good purpose of spreading good cheer. Yesterday it was London, Paris and German cities; today New York and the Vatican. From the Daily Mail.
ISIS fanatics are sharing a disturbing propaganda image threatening an attack on New York at Christmas time.
The image shows Santa Claus standing on a low roof next to a box of dynamite looking out over a crowd of shoppers in Times Square.The poster has the words 'We meet at Christmas in New York... soon,' written across it in black on white.
Earlier today a poster emerged showing a terrorist overlooking St Peter's Square in the Vatican with rocket launcher, along with a message urging extremists: 'Do not hold back with your blood, the reward is paradise.'
The message warned that 'the crusaders' feast is approaching', alluding to a Christmas attack the Catholic church's holy city.
In total the teenager was convicted of five terror offences, which he had denied.
At the start of the boy's trial it emerged that he had written a note apparently aimed for distribution after his death reading: "I am a soldier of the Islamic State and I have attacked Cardiff today because your government keep on bombing targets in Syria and Iraq. There will be more attacks in the future."
The note - found with the gutting knife and claw hammer - also featured bullet points including "run down the non-believers with a car" and "strike the infidels, who oppose Allah, in the neck".
A court heard the boy, who is from a white British background, may have also been looking to target Cardiff Castle.
Prosecutors said the boy uploaded an image of the castle to social media with a caption, "Cardiff are you prepared?", alongside a picture of a jeep, knife and a bomb.
Another image was captioned: "Oh my Islamic state brothers you are the role models of these worlds. 'The attack on Cardiff will be deadly."
I've been convinced after thinking it through that the best thing for Saudi Arabia would be Israel. The figures on the chessboard of politics are forever changing with regard to each other. It is an agreeable surprise that for the first time a young Jewish woman is competing in the contest to become Miss Germany. More significantly, the changing Middle East based on mutual interests was shown in a New York synagogue where Efraim Halevy, former head of the Israeli Mossad, met Egyptian Prince Turki bin Faisal al Saud, long time head of Saudi Arabian intelligence agency. Another encounter was in a synagogue in Paris, visited in November 2017 by two former Saudi officials, a minister for justice, and a minister for education.
It is exactly 40 years since the historic visit of President Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem paved the way to the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The time is now ripe for a closer relationship, an open diplomatic one, between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Saudi Arabia cannot yet be considered an open society, but things are changing, with a certain amount of discussion allowed in social media, and concerts and performances, and a new dynamic and bold leader, the 32 year old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, appointed to the rank in June 2017.
The Crown Prince, a young man in a hurry if somewhat impulsive, has already acted to exert control over the country, and has been consolidating and centralizing power since his appointment. He has replaced the former Crown Prince, his older cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, first as interior minister who was in control of security arrangements. He removed Prince Mitreb bin Abdullah as head of the national guard, the internal police force.
Particularly surprising were the events of November 4, 2017 when there was a purge of senior princes and business leaders accused of corruption. They included the billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world's richest men, who has been nicknamed the Warren Buffet of Arabia. Moreover, Salman has shown his power by what appears to the house arrest on charges of systematic corruption involving $100 billion of more than 200 prominent and rich people now housed in the palatial and prestigious Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh which hosted President Donald Trump in May 2017.
The Crown Prince appears to have two major obejctives: to confront challenge Iran politically, diplomatically, militarily, strategically, and theologically; and to modernize Saudi Arabia, eliminate corruption, and foster a more competitive economy. Two of Salman's projects to introduce economic and social change and end the reliance on oil are especially impressive, plans for a Mega-city, and the Neom project. The Mega-city proposal is a $500 billion plan for a unit that spans Egypt and Jordan as well as Saudi Arabia, powered by energy from different sources. The Neom project is planned as a large center for innovation and trade, linking industry and technology.
With the decline in oil prices the Saudi economy has faltered, and had a budget deficit of $79 billion last year. The main plan for change, Vision 2030, envisages increasing non-oil revenue to 600 billion riyals, ($169 billion) by 2020, and1 trillion riyals by 2030. Part of the revenue would come from privatizing part of the state oil company, Saudi Aramco. The plan would create what Salman calls the world's largest sovereign wealth fund. Economic liberalisation will involve financial cuts in benefits for civil servants and military personnel, and in energy subidies.
Social changes related to the plans are changes in the educational curriculum, increasing women's participation in the workforce, allowing women to drive, and investing $3 billion in the entertainment sector.
Saudi Arabia has become more active politically and miltarily, acting to preserve its territorial integrity and political stability. Salman led a boycott of Qatar in June 2017 for allegedly providing supplies to Yemen. He had already intervened in fighting in Yemen in order to restore the goverment of Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi who was forced to resign in January 2015 under pressure from Shia militia.
Salman pressured Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri to resign on November 4, 2017, defying the views of UK, EU, France, and Germany. He has used some of the nomadic tribes that originate in Saudi Arabia to influence activity in the Middle East beyond its border.
Undoubtedly the main issue for Saudi Arabia is the rival Iran, the mount of all evils, seem as an existential threat. Saudi Arabia with armed forces of 250,000, and 900 battle tanks confronts the more powerful Iran which has 560,000 armed forces and 1,500 battle tanks. Saudi's only military advantage is its more up to date combat air fleet.
Already there are proxy wars between the two countries. In Yemen, in a war that has cost 10,000 lives, Iran has supplied ballistic missiles fired by Shia Houthi rebels who are opposed by the Saudis. In Syria, rebels funded by the Saudis have been defeated by the forces of President Assad helped by Iran. In Lebanon, the Hezbollah, supported and armed by Iran, is an increasing problem for the Saudis who see it as a force for instability in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia, to gain support, has formed an alliance of Sunni countries against Shia Iran. Prince Salman on November 26, 2017 convened a meeting, attended by all members except Qatar, in Riyadh to energize the military coalition, the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism coalition of 41 members set up by the Saudis in 2015. It is essentially a military alliance among Sunni Muslim states against Islamic terrorism activity, financing, and ideology. Iraq, Syria, and Iran, are not members.
This meeting was a response to the November 24, 2017 the bomb and gun attack on a mosque in north Sinai, frequented by Islamic Sufis, considered a heretical sect. The attack that killed 305 and injured 128 was carried out by assailants who carried an ISIS flag.
Saudi political and religious authorities have made clear that the enemy is terrorism, not sects, or religions, or races. One of the greatest dangers of this extremist Islamist terrorism is held to be distorting the reputation of "our tolerant religion." An interesting and important departure is the view of the Grand Mufti, Abdul Alash-Sheikh, of the country, who remarked both that killing Jews and fighting against Israel was inappropriate for Muslims, and that Hamas is a terror organization.
An open question is the relationship with Israel now that the Saudis need friends in the bitter rivalry with Iran. Its general problem had been worsened by the result of the US led coalition in 2003 in Iraq that ended the regime of Saddam Hussein, a regime that, with all its brutalities, was for the Saudis a Sunni Arab counter weight to Shia Iran. Now the Shia dominated political leadership in Iraq is close to Iran, and an Iraqi Shia militia is helping Assad.
There is no likelihood at present of any kind of formal peace with Israel, or full diplomatic and economic relations with Israel but nor is there any real Saudi concern about Palestine. Any deal about Palestine, especially one based on the 2002 Saudi peace initiative, based on Israel withdrawal from occupied territory, would be acceptable. The Saudis could then normalize relations with Israel without fear of backlash from Arab counries.
It is time for the Saudis to follow the trend in other countries that are friendly to or cooperating with Israel. In 2015 Israel opened its first office in the UAE, and some Arab countries are thinking of suspending their ban on Israeli aircraft flying over Arab air space. It is too strong to envisage Israel and Saudi Arabia as de facto allies in the struggle with Iran, but there is common concern over the possibility of Iran as a nuclear state and increasing power.
Some covert meetings and intelligence cooperation have occured between the two countries. This is insufficient. Normalization of relations will benefit both sides in trade, military and now cyberspace intelligence. It will also benefit the whole Middle East.
The media response to the vehicular terror attack in New York on Halloween gets high marks for political correctness, but failing grades for honesty and moral clarity. Both the mayor and governor of New York swiftly acknowledged it as an act of terrorism, but were equally quick to characterize it as a lone wolf attack and to ignore or downplay the perpetrator’s ideology. In so doing, they followed the same strategy employed by the former Obama administration to create a buffer between radical Islam and its core religious foundation. But there should have been no confusion about the philosophy of a terrorist who shouted “Allahu Akbar” after running down innocent pedestrians or his allegiance to a terror organization – ISIS – which routinely exhorts its followers to use motor vehicles as weapons to kill “infidels.”
Major news networks were just as willing to shift the story away from the agony of the victims and the terrorist’s doctrinal motivations, and to focus instead on the threat of an anti-Muslim backlash that never seems to materialize despite the dire warnings of progressive apologists. Less than a day after the attack, the principal storyline in a report by NBC was the Muslim community’s fear of reprisal – not the dead and injured, not the shock of the witnesses or horror of the survivors, and not the radical beliefs of Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant who carried out the attack and then reportedly asked for an ISIS flag to be hung in his hospital room. Many in the mainstream media echoed similar sentiments, warning of Islamophobic repercussions that never came. . . .
Indeed, there were far more documented instances of bias against Jews during the Obama years than against other minority groups, including Muslims and Arabs....
Yes, I know. Must we yet again go over the same ground, sweep back the same tide of taqiyya, remind ourselves yet again of what the Qur’an and hadith contain, tell ourselves yet again what the 1400 years of Islamic conquest and subjugation of many different lands and peoples have meant for them?
Yes. We must. There is no end to the nonsense and lies — every day brings a fresh batch. Google “Islam news” for what’s just come from the oven — but if we remain silent, and cease to engage in the task of constant rebuttal, the Defenders of the Faith will eventually win. They will simply have worn us out. While we can’t reply to all of the sly and sinister, or semi-demented, apologists for Islam, we can take on a representative few, hold their claims up for examination and rebuttal, as must be done, however tedious the task.
These apologist articles are essentially the same, of course, just as all those “Coffee, Cake, and Islam” events that Muslims, especially Ahmadi Muslims, put on all over the country, are essentially the same. For they deliver the same soothing messages, quote the same Qur’anic verses (2:256, 5:32), describe the Five Pillars, tell us all about Ramadan, let us know yet again that Islam means “peace,” explain how much the three Abrahamic faiths have in common, note that Moses and Jesus are revered as prophets in Islam and, above all, carefully omit any mention of Qur’an 2:191, 3:110, 3:151, 4:34, 8:12, 8:60, 9:5, 9:29, 47:4, 98:6, which might give Unbelievers the wrong idea about wonderful (peaceful, tolerant, your favorite adjective here) Islam. And of course, there is always mention of the “vast majority” — why are majorities always “vast”? — of Muslims who have never been terrorists, or disapprove of terrorism, such as Malala Yousafzai, which must mean, of course, by some sleight of illogic, that Islam itself can have nothing to do with terrorism.
Here is a fresh example, hot off the press, of the apologetics on behalf of Islam — “The Truth About Radical Islam,” by one Tony Cartalucci:
There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims on Earth. That is approximately 24% of the world population. They live in regions spanning North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and reaching as far as Southeast Asia. There are Muslim communities in virtually every nation – and in many – they have played a pivotal, constructive, and welcomed role in national development.
The insistence that there are 1.8 billion Muslims — the upper end of all the estimates — is designed to impress us with the onward and relentless march of Islam, and with the increasing numbers of its adherents. Partly a boast (reminding us that “Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion”) and partly an implied threat (“there are so many of us, and more every day, and there is nothing you can do about it”), such numbers are indeed cause for alarm.
The claim that “Muslim communities in virtually every nation….have played a pivotal, constructive, and welcomed role in national development” does not adequately describe the effect of Muslim populations in countries conquered by Islam. In the Middle East and North Africa, the “constructive” role of Muslims has meant in many countries the near-total disappearance of the indigenous non-Muslim (chiefly Christians and Jews) populations, although in a few places, e.g., Egypt, the Christians,though much diminished in numbers, have held on. Another recent display of the “constructive’”role of the Muslim community has been in Iraq, where the Christian population, under constant Muslim assault, has decreased from 1.5 million in 2003 to 250,000 today.
When Muslims completed their conquest of Sasanian Persia in 651, the Zoroastrians slowly yielded to Islamization. The invading Arabs burned their sacred texts. Many Zoroastrians were killed resisting the Arabs; others found themselves over time forced to convert to avoid the onerous status of dhimmi, and still others, who went into exile, ended up in tolerant Hindu India, where they became known as the Parsis (“Persians”) and exist to this day. What “constructive” role was played by Muslims in Persia, as they destroyed what they could of the pre-Islamic culture of Zoroastrians? What stunning cultural achievements, aside from mosque architecture, can be ascribed to the Muslim conquerors?
In India, under Mughal (Muslim) rule, 70-80 million Hindus were killed over several hundred years by their Muslim overlords. Others converted to Islam. Both the killing, and the active converting, of Hindus only stopped when the Muslims realized that they needed to keep millions of Hindus unconverted, in order to be able to keep receiving from them, as dhimmis, the jizyah on which the Muslim state depended. All over India, tens of thousands of Hindu (and Buddhist, and Jain) temples and temple complexes were destroyed by Muslims, who used the stones to build their own mosques, often right on top of the ruins of the pre-Islamic temples and temple complexes they destroyed. Is this the “constructive” role of Islam which we are supposed to admire? V. S. Naipaul famously described India as “a wounded civilization” — wounded, fatally in his view, by the Islamic conquest.
In Indonesia, a vast Hindu-Buddhist culture, of which the Buddhist temple at Borobudur is the greatest physical reminder, was largely effaced, slowly but relentlessly, by Muslims who arrived beginning in the 15th century. Only in Bali have the Hindus, who on that island make up 84% of the population, not been replaced by Muslims. Everywhere else there has been destruction of Buddhist and Hindu temples, statues, artifacts. Music was largely limited to the ensemble of instruments known as the gamelan, which survived not because of, but despite, Islam, for musical instruments are supposed to be banned in Islam. Puppetry, too, has continued as entertainment tolerated by Muslims as folkloristic practices, another sign of a practice that signifies a more forgiving version of the faith. Both gamelan music and puppetry are exceptions to the rule, famously enunciated by the Ayatollah Khomeini, that “there are no jokes in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.” What has been the “pivotal” and “constructive” role of Islam in Indonesia? What art, architecture, what music (other than the gamelan), what science has flourished in Islamic Indonesia?
Muslims everywhere destroyed the physical evidence of other faiths. Some managed to survive simply because they were too difficult to destroy. The Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan avoided destruction until a few years ago, when Muslims finally made use of powerful modern explosives, and blew them up, as Muslims had destroyed so many statues, temples, temple complexes, all over the subcontinent. Another example of Islam’s “pivotal, constructive, and welcomed role”?
Where was the development, after the Muslim conquests, of art? Islam forbids the depiction of living creatures. This severely curtailed the possibilities for artistic expression. No statuary, no portraits, nothing of human face or form. Permitted forms of art were reduced to mosque architecture, to ceramics, carpets, and Qur’anic calligraphy.
As for music, it too was constrained in Islam. Musical instruments are haram, and singing of devotional music, where allowed at all, is a cappella. There is a strong tradition that declares that any non-religious music ought to be forbidden. Music, like art, has thus been severely limited in the Islamic world. Where it is allowed, that is despite, not because of, the teachings of Islam.
What of the enterprise of science? Islam discourages free and skeptical inquiry, primarily out of fear of what might happen if Muslims began to be skeptical about Islam itself. There certainly were achievements in science in the Islamic world, especially in the earlier centuries of Islam — this should not be denied. But as the population became ever more Islamized through conversions, and as the deadening doctrine that deplored bid’a, or innovation, became more entrenched, the Islamic world fell behind the West in the development of science. From the medieval period to today, science has made constant progress in the West, and not in Islamic lands. Mr. Cartalucci might want to consult the studies of such historians of science as Toby Huff and Stanley Jaki on why Islam did not play a “pivotal” or “constructive” role in the development of science. Hostility to innovation, the mental habit of submission to authority, the fear of skeptical inquiry, all played their part. One might note that there have been only three Muslims who have received Nobel Prizes in the sciences. One of them was an Ahmadi from Pakistan who was never allowed to self-identify as a Muslim, the second a thoroughly secular Turk, an admirer of Ataturk, a Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only Muslim, who did his scientific work in the United States; only the third can remotely be called a mainstream Muslim. This offers stark evidence of the lack of scientific achievement among 1.5 billion Muslims, who constitute 22% of the world’s population. By comparison, Jews, who make up 0.2% of the world’s population, have won more than 200 Nobel Prizes in the sciences. Such differences invite discussion of what it is about Islam that has discouraged interest and achievement in the enterprise of science. To repeat: the habit of mental submission, distrust of innovation, and discouragement of free inquiry explain much of that underachievement.
Neither in art, nor in music, nor in science, nor in philosophy, has Islam demonstrated a “pivotal,constructive, and welcomed role in national development.”
Back to Cartalucci:
If even 1% of the world’s Muslims were violent terrorists bent on conquering the world, that would constitute an army 18 million strong – or in other words – larger than the next 20 largest armies on Earth combined. Most critics of Islam infer that the number is actually much higher than 1% – many suggesting that the majority of Muslims either are engaged in or support terrorism. It is logical to conclude that if even 1% were dedicated to terrorism and the “conquest of infidels,” the war would have ended in their favor long ago.
It is clear that there is not even 1% across Islam engaged in or supporting [sic] terrorism. Across the Arab World, the vast majority of Muslims, Christians, other sects, and the secular, stand united against terrorism. It is clear that a mountain of lies stands between many and the truth – a mountain built so tall that it leaves entire segments of targeted populations in the perpetual darkness of ignorance.
What “standing united” against terrorism is Tony Cartalucci talking about? Do Christians in the Muslim lands, so often on the receiving end of Muslim terrorists, feel that other Muslims are “standing united” with them, or are largely indifferent to their fate?
What do Muslims think of terrorism? Opinion polls of Muslim populations repeatedly confirm that about 35% of Muslims supported the 9/11 attacks,while about the same percentage did not, and the rest were “unsure.” That’s not being “united against terrorism.” In some Muslim populations, as the “Palestinians,” even more — 65% of those responding — supported the 9/11 attacks. One-half of British Muslims, that is, 1.5 million Muslims, told pollsters that they supported ISIS. Other polls also show significant Muslim support, both in Muslim and in non-Muslim countries, for terrorism. Surely these disturbing statistics give the lie to the author’s insistence that “not even 1% across Islam” have “engaged in or supported terrorism.” Let us distinguish between those who “engage in” — admittedly not even 1% of the world’s Muslims — and those who “support” terrorism. The figures from every poll (conducted by many different pollsters) show that at least a third, and sometimes many more, of Muslims do support terrorism against the Infidels, whether by ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, or other groups that have not yet made it to the media bigtime. Furthermore, support for terrorism is not merely a question of answering an opinion poll. Along with the “moral” support, there is practical aid, such as the vast sums contributed by rich Gulf Arabs both to Al Qaeda and ISIS, money used to pay salaries and to buy weapons for terrorists.
Terrorism does not necessarily require mass murder: it means creating an atmosphere of terror in a population, and that has indeed been achieved by Islamists the world over. Look just at the changes in our daily lives, especially in Europe, the security checks everywhere, the police and army patrols, the cancellation of everything from concerts to Christmas markets, the traffic-halting bollards — all due to fear of Muslim terrorists.
The source of terrorism is not the Qur’an – a book that few critics of Islam have even picked up let alone genuinely read – but rather a very easily traced money trail that leads to Washington and London.
How would Mr. Cartalucci know that “few critics of Islam have even picked up let alone genuinely read” the Qur’an? How many thousands of hours,for example, has Robert Spencer devoted to reading the Qur’an and the classical Muslim commentaries on the text? How much time has he devoted, in writing his 17 books on Islam, to the Hadith, which Cartalucci fails to mention and of which he may, for all I know, be blissfully unaware? Does Tony Cartalucci expect us to believe that such critics (and apostates) of Islam, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Ibn Warraq (who has written many dense scholarly books on the early history of the Qur’an) haven’t read the Qur’an closely, don’t know it inside and out?
And what does “genuinely read’ mean? Does it mean to read the Qur’an in the way that Mr. Cartalucci wants you to read it, endowing it with that peace-and-tolerance meaning that apologists for Islam insist is there for all to see?
“The source of terrorism is not the Qur’an” he tells us.
So what shall we make, then, of these verses in the Qur’an?
“We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.” (Qur’an 3:151)
“When your Lord inspired to the angels, ‘I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.’” (Qur’an 8:12)
“And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know, whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.” (Qur’an 8:60)
Or of this hadith, from the collection that Muslims deem the most reliable, where we find Muhammad saying: “I have been made victorious with terror” (Bukhari 4.52.220)?
Apparently these are not among the verses that Mr. Cartalucci has read, despite being a profound student of the Qur’an who, unlike Islam’s critics, knows how to “genuinely read” it. But now that they have been placed helpfully before him, perhaps he would like to comment on their meaning. He might also tell us if he is aware that many of these very verses have been quoted by Muslims, including members of ISIS and Al-Qaeda as they decapitated their Infidel victims, and by Boko Haram, and by the two Muslims who ran down, decapitated, and then dismembered Drummer Lee Rigby on a London street. They all took those verses to heart. If they did, why shouldn’t we?
Critics of Islam are simultaneously being accused by Cartalucci of not knowing the Qur’an, or not knowing how to “genuinely” read it and, at the same time, of not realizing that the Qur’an is irrelevant because terrorism is the result of “a very easily traced money trail that leads to Washington and London.”
Now comes Cartalucci’s descent into real craziness:
It is indeed the Western World that has created, branded, and marketed “radical Islam,” which is for all intents and purposes a strictly political tool designed to provoke direct Western military interventions where possible, and fight conflicts by proxy whenever direct military intervention is not possible.
In Syria and Iraq, the US has used its terrorist proxies to do both – first to fight the government of Damascus and its allies by proxy, and when that failed, to set a pretext for direct US military intervention.
It has also been used domestically, as one former analyst once put it, “to enlist our obedience for the construction of the prison planet.” Indeed, under the pretext of “fighting terrorism,” the United States and much of Europe has been transformed into an invasive police state and despite stripping away the freedom and liberty of the Western World for the promise of security – the peoples of the West find themselves with neither.
This is the kind of lunatic conspiracy theorizing that causes the head to swirl. What is commanded in 109 Jihad verses in the Qur’an apparently has nothing to do with “radical Islam”? The past 1400 years of Muslim conquest and subjugation of many lands and people have nothing to do with what some call “radical Islam” today? This whole business of a supposed threat from Muslim terrorists has been entirely “created and branded and marketed” as “radical Islam” by the Western world? And why has the Western world chosen to make its people endure the threat of terrorism? Why has the Western world decided to spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on security, with some countries, such as France, putting army patrols in the midst of cities? The countries of North America and Western Europe now have very expensive security details at every airport, at every train and bus and subway station, as well as on trains and buses and subway cars, at every major national monument, at government buildings, at museums, at churches and synagogues, at Christian and Jewish schools, at concert venues, at sports stadiums, at nightclubs, at important pedestrian walkways, such as those that were struck in Nice, Barcelona, and New York, and at all large gatherings of people, whatever their purpose. Why would the US and Europe deliberately foster, as Mr. Cartalucci insists they do, Islamic terrorism, eliciting security measures costing hundreds of billions of dollars, so as to create these “invasive police states”? Is there something we are missing here? What exactly could any Western country or cabal stand to gain from promoting Islamic terrorism, ignored to frighten its own people who will then, as a consequence, approve security measures that will turn their country into an “invasive police state”? He never explains just how this “invasive police state” will serve the interests of the groups he claims are encouraging terrorism.
Here is how Mr. Cartalucci understands things:
For those that have been sucked up into “radical Islam,” it seems very real. Just as the US uses patriotism to convince young men and women to devote their lives to foreign invasions, wars, and occupations against scores of sovereign nations around the world – predicated on “freedom, democracy, and self-determination” even as US militarism strips all of the above away from the planet – that fraction of a fraction of 1% engaged in “radical Islam” truly believe in their cause – no matter how nonexistent and contradictory it is in reality.
In the same way that “radical Islam” — Mr. Cartalucci claims — sucks in only a tiny number of Muslims (what about half of all Muslims in Britain declaring their support for ISIS?) so is “patriotism” used by our government to convince American young people to “devote their lives to foreign invasions, wars, and occupations against scores of sovereign nations around the world.”
He mentions that tiny group of Muslims, a fraction of a fraction of 1% — is “engaged” in “radical terrorism.” But even if you don’t join ISIS, or Hamas, or Hezbollah, if you support any of these or other terrorist groups, are you not “engaged” in what he calls “radical Islam”? If you refuse to report the sermons of a “radical” imam, if you tell fellow Muslims not to cooperate with the FBI, if you shout down all reasoned criticism of Islam as “Islamophobia,” are you not helping terrorists? And Cartalucci’s “less than 1%” figure for supporters of terrorism, it must be repeated, is refuted by the evidence from public opinion polls showing considerable Muslim support, more than one-third of all Muslims, for terrorist groups. He says these Muslims “believe in their cause,” but carefully refrains from telling us what that cause is — that is, the traditional cause of Islam, for 1400 years, which is to create a world where Islam everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere.
As for all these “foreign invasions, wars, and occupations” that he attributes to America, what is he talking about? Has he forgotten what led to the American invasion of Afghanistan in the first place, which was the 9/11 attack, and the fact that those responsible, members of Al-Qaeda, were to be found in safe havens in Afghanistan? This surely was a limited undertaking prompted by self-defense, not a war of conquest. Had there been no 9/11, there would have been no invasion of Afghanistan. Nor was the invasion of Iraq a war of eager conquest. It was the result of a mistake, of an overestimation of Saddam’s nuclear capability, which he himself had promoted in order to scare Iran, but instead found, much to his chagrin, that he had scared the Americans instead. As for the 1991 Gulf War, it had been thrust on us when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and made it the 19th province of Iraq. Responding to pleas from Kuwait, our only objective was to push back the invader, and leave Kuwait as soon as possible. What “occupations” in “scores of nations” does he charge us with? If Cartalucci means the 7,000 American troops still in Iraq, and the 11,000 still in Afghanistan, these are not enough troops to constitute an occupying force, but there only to lend a hand and get out, in “two” — not “scores of” — nations. Furthermore, Mr. Cartalucci must surely know how desirous the American people are to free themselves, once and for all, of the expensive burdens of Iraq and Afghanistan, that have cost us a fortune and been such great disappointments. We are, pace Cartalucci, most reluctant “occupiers.”
And “radical Islam” does not exist in a vacuum. It requires a medium to interact with. That includes an equally extreme, but opposite “radical ignorance” and fear sown across the Western population. Together, the two feed each other creating a perpetual pretext for foreign war, a perpetual sense of injustice against Muslims to which US-armed and funded terrorists can rally around, and perpetual fear and hatred spread across the Western World.
It is the age-old political tool of empires – divide and conquer – honed to perfection and supercharged through information technology – particularly social media.
So these Muslim terrorists are “US-armed and funded terrorists.” And thus do we, the offending West and our Saudi allies — keep the conflict going, keep “perpetual fear and hatred” against Muslims alive in the Western world, and keep those Muslim “radicals,” our unwitting tools, in business too. We are, in Cartalucci’s topsy-turvy world, the ones behind all the terrorism of which we only seem to be the victims. It’s nonsense. Whatever US arms ISIS managed to get its hands on, they were not supplied by the Pentagon, but seized from what the Iraqi army abandoned when it fled Mosul. And of course, all the terrorists who have attacked throughout Europe had no need of “US arms” — they had their explosives, their suicide vests, their rifles, their trucks and cars to with which to kill Infidels, none of it supplied by the Americans. As for “funding,” there is so much money sloshing around among the rich Arabs of the Gulf, some it happily given to Islamic extremist groups, that there is no need for, nor any evidence of, American funding of Muslim terrorists.
Part of “radical ignorance” includes a deep and profound ignorance of history. Understanding the actual inception of “radical Islam,” more accurately known as Wahhabism, dispels many of the most virulent lies spread about Islam – that is has always been a barbaric, warlike ideology. Militant Islam is a relatively new phenomenon, invented by the House of Saud, then cultivated and exploited to its full potential by the British Empire and its American heirs.
Militant Islam is not, pace Cartalucci, a “relatively new phenomenon.” There is nothing about it that would surprise any Muslim from the first century of Islam, nothing about it that would be unfamiliar to Muslims from the past 1400 years of Islam’s history. If Mr. Cartalucci believes that Islam has only recently become a warlike ideology, then we must ask him how he thinks Muslims conquered the Middle East, North Africa, the Iberian peninsula, the Sasanian Empire, the Byzantine Empire, India, much of Central Asia? Were not all these conquests not one long bloody story of jihad warfare? And we are entitled, too, to ask what he makes of such Qur’anic verses as 2:191, 3:151, 8:12, 8:60, 9:5, 9:29. And we must also ask too, if he is aware of the doctrine of “naskh” or abrogation, by which more than 100 of the “peaceful verses” are cancelled by the Verse of the Sword. The House of Saud, unappealing as it is, nonetheless hardly deserves to be blamed for what is to be found, without much trouble, commanded in the Qur’an and has been taken to heart by Muslims since the 7th century. Mr Cartalucci complains about those who have a “deep and profound ignorance of history.” He has done us all an unwitting service, by so brilliantly embodying the very problem he claims to deplore..
The Ottoman Empire and mastery over the Arab World was coveted and contested by the British Empire. The promise of Arab independence was dangled over the heads of the founders of many of the dynasties now ruling Arabia – dynasties that were carved out through cults of personality and a violent misinterpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism. The British, after betraying the Arabs, would harness this political tool to do what all empires do best – divide and conquer – and specifically so regarding the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
The Ottoman Empire was not “contested by the British empire.” The Ottoman Empire, with Turkey already the “sick man of Europe,” finally came undone because it was on the losing side in World War I, and as one consequence it lost its territories in the Middle East. It had already lost control, in North Africa, of Morocco (1912), Tunisia (1881), and Algeria (1830) to the French long before, while Libya was taken over by Italy in 1911. In Egypt, the British arrived in 1882, and while Egyptian independence was formally recognized in 1922, the British remained influential, and full independence did not come until 1952. But influence is not the same thing as imperial rule. After World War I, none of the territories that once formed part of the Ottoman Empire were incorporated into the British Empire.
Describing the families who ruled in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikdoms as dynasties “that were carved out through cults of personality” is inaccurate. These “dynasties” were no more the result of “cults of personality” than the House of Windsor has been in the United Kingdom. The leader of the dominant tribe simply took power, without any need for a “cult of personality” to justify his rule, in Qatar (Al-Thani), Abu Dhabi (Al-Nahyan), Dubai (Al-Maktoum), Kuwait (Al-Sabah), Saudi Arabia (Al-Saud). There have been “cults of personality’” in some Muslim countries, notably that surrounding Ataturk, and to a lesser extent, around the Ayatollah Khomeini, but the Gulf Arab states have not yet been among them.
As for Saudi Arabia, to call Wahhabism a “violent misinterpretation of Islam’” deserves comment. Wahhabism represents an attempt to go back to the earliest Islam, to end the veneration of saints, to return the faith to pure monotheism. That is hardly a “misinterpretation” of Islam, even if it is a strict version that other Muslims dislike and some insist in describing it as such.
Why does Mr. Cartalucci write that “the British, after betraying the Arabs, would harness this political tool [Wahhabism] to do what all empires do best – divide and conquer – and specifically so regarding the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)”? The British did not “betray the Arabs,” but in fact, liberated them from their Turkish masters. Or does Mr. Cartalucci mean here to allude to the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, which the Arabs have always regarded as an attempt to assign newly-freed Arab territories to either British or French rule? More likely he has in mind the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine, which Arabs and Muslims consider a “betrayal’” because in their view, no people other than the Arabs deserved to have a state, or — as it has turned out — 22 states, carved out of what had been lands ruled by the Ottomans.
As for the notion that the British “used” Wahhabism to “divide and conquer” — where and when did this occur? Wahhabism was the state religion of Saudi Arabia from its inception. How did the British use it to “divide,” much less “conquer,” any of the other Arabs? We have no way of rebutting a claim that is both preposterous and vague; we can only ask for details to see what Mr. Cartalucci has in mind. For the British, the Middle East was not then a source of wealth. Iraq was, in Churchill’s celebrated phrase, an “ungrateful volcano.” Saudi Arabia, and the lesser sheikdoms, still needed subventions from the West. Oil would not be discovered until 1938.
The British did control Aden (in present-day Yemen), but had done so since 1839. It was a useful port from which to subdue pirates who were attacking British shipping to and from India. Other than that entrepôt, the British established a few small garrisons in the lesser Arab sheikdoms, to keep the peace as much as to control the sea lanes. But “Wahhabism” had nothing to do with any of this.
Then there were the League of Nations mandates. The Syria-Lebanon mandate was held by the French, who guided both territories — Syria and Lebanon — to statehood after World War II. The British held Iraq, not as an imperial power, but as a mandatory authority, for exactly ten years, from 1922 to 1932, at which point Iraq became independent, under a Hashemite monarch, and the British left. The Palestine Mandate’s history was more complicated, as the British unilaterally lopped off all the territory east of the Jordan to create the Emirate of Transjordan, later the Kingdom of Jordan, which became independent in 1946. This was despite the fact that the Mandate for Palestine, which was originally established for the sole purpose of creating the Jewish National Home, ended when the State of Israel was declared on May 15, 1948. Nowhere in the Middle East did the “British Empire” expand at the expense of the defeated Ottoman Empire.
As the British Empire unraveled, the Americans picked up where London left off. The Saudis and their neighboring Persian Gulf kingdoms have been propped up by the West since the end of World War 1. Since World War 2, many of the same dynasties have sat in power, armed, funded, protected, and invited into some of the most lucrative business deals and economic activity in human history.
The Saudis have hardly been propped up in the usual geopolitical sense. They were helped in the discovery, and exploitation, of their enormous oil reserves, but did not face any outside military threat to their rule. As for the smaller Persian Gulf kingdoms, “propped up” implies weakness and instability, but there was none. The traditional ruling families of Kuwait, the Emirates, and Qatar did not face any military or political challenges, until Kuwait was invaded by Iraq in 1991. They all had enormous oil or gas reserves, derived large revenues from them, and naturally made business deals, which included contracts given to Western companies to build, from the (desert) ground up, the spectacular cities we see today, and also, unsurprisingly, bought arms in order to survive in a place where neighbors included Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah Khomeini. There was nothing particularly sinister or surprising about any of this, though Cartalucci wants you to think there is. Nor were those Arab dynasties, as he claims, “invited in” to make lucrative business deals– it was they that did the inviting to Western companies.
It was with members of the Muslim Brotherhood that the US attempted to overthrow current Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad. It was the US with the Saudis and factions within Pakistan’s military and government who oversaw the very creation of militant groups like Al Qaeda to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
First, there is no evidence that the Americans ever supported the Muslim Brotherhood, in Syria or anywhere else. The Americans did not like Hafez al-Assad, but understood, correctly, that the Muslim Brotherhood would be far worse. In Assad’s Syria, the Alawite-dominated government shut down at both Christmas and on Good Friday (impossible to imagine any other Muslim country allowing this); the Alawites guaranteed the safety and well-being in Syria of the Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, and Armenian), who would have suffered had the Muslim Brotherhood come to power. This was understood in Washington. And when Assad attacked the Brotherhood, and even killed 20,000 people in Hama in 1982, no one in Washington was unduly disturbed. Yet Cartalucci blithely claims that the US tried “with members of the Muslim Brotherhood” to overthrow Hafez al-Assad. Cartalucci’s narrative — or rather, the Iranian narrative whose script Cartalucci largely follows — has the Americans always supporting Sunni extremists. In Syria today, the Americans have supplied arms to the Kurds and to the liberal Arab opposition, making sure that their arms do not inadvertently end up in the hands of such groups as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Second, Cartalucci’s assertion that the Americans “oversaw the creation of militant groups like Al-Qaeda” is simply false. Al-Qaeda was created in 1988 by Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, and some members of Egyptian Jihad. The Americans had nothing to do with it. American scholars and reporters deny that the CIA or other American officials had contact with Bin Laden, let alone armed, trained, coached or indoctrinated those who joined Al Qaeda. Those scholars and reporters have called the idea of a CIA-backed Al Qaeda “nonsense,” “sheer fantasy,” and — as Peter Bergen, who conducted the first interview with bin Laden, concluded, as “simply a folk myth.”
Here are the reasons why American support for Al-Qaeda would have made no sense:
First, with a quarter of a million local Afghans willing to fight, there was no need to recruit foreigners unfamiliar with the local language, customs or lay of the land.
Second, with several hundred million dollars a year in funding from non-American, Muslim sources, Afghan Arabs themselves would have no need for American funds.
Third, Americans could not train mujahideen, because Pakistani officials would not allow more than a handful of U.S. agents to operate in Pakistan and none in Afghanistan.
Fourth, the Afghan Arabs were militant Islamists, reflexively hostile to Westerners, and prone to threaten or attack Westerners even though they knew the Westerners were helping the mujahideen.
Fifth, the US government greatly feared arming or training Arabs would lead to attacks on Israel with those arms or training.
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri says much the same thing in his book Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner.
Bin Laden himself once said “The collapse of the Soviet Union … goes to God and the mujahideen in Afghanistan … the US had no mentionable role,” but that “collapse made the US more haughty and arrogant.”
Cartalucci appears impervious to facts, but perhaps, should he happen to read this piece, he will be less vocal in his insistence that the Americans helped to create Al-Qaeda. He might even drop that baseless accusation altogether.
And it is to this very day still very much a US-European enterprise perpetuating the Saudi regime in Riyadh, arming it to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons and military support, and using Riyadh admittedly as an intermediary through which Washington, London, and Brussels arm and fund the worst, most virulent terrorist organizations on Earth.
Even current US President Donald Trump – who regularly cites “radical Islam” as an enduring threat to America’s national security, has signed off on immense weapon deals to the very nations the US uses to cultivate and perpetuate global terrorism.
The US and Europeans do not “perpetuate” the Saudi regime, which has shown itself quite capable of remaining in power. It is one of the most stable polities in the entire Islamic world (cf. Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan). The Saudis buy arms from the West, which is different from Cartalucci’s statement that the US and Europe are “arming it [impliedly, giving the Saudis arms] to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars in weaponry.” If we did not sell them arms, then they could buy what they desired elsewhere in Europe (the U.K., France, Germany, Sweden). Cartalucci wants to depict Saudi Arabia as an American puppet, doing America’s bidding. History says otherwise. When the Saudis led the effort in OPEC to quadruple the price of oil in October 1973, which inflicted great damage on the American economy, they were hardly following orders from Washington. When some rich Saudis helped to fund Al-Qaeda, and later to do the same with ISIS, they were not acting at Washington’s behest, but against our national interest. When the Saudi textbooks continue to teach hatred of Jews and Christians, despite the repeated protests of the American government, the Saudis are hardly dancing to an American tune.
Cartalucci’s claim that, by using Saudi Arabia as an intermediary, the U.S. and Europe fund the world’s “worst, most virulent terrorist organizations on Earth,” is another bizarre statement. Presumably by those “most virulent terrorist organizations” he means ISIS and Al-Qaeda. In his world, Wahhabi Islam is not the real, the peaceful Islam, but a “violent misinterpretation,” though no Qur’anic verses are quoted to show where Wahhabi Islam has deviated from mainstream Islam, for no such verses exist. There are, of course, differences between the practices of Wahhabis and of mainstream Muslims, in the level of virulence against Infidels, in the strictness of rules concerning women, in the power of takfiris, in the uncompromising way Wahhabi Muslims apply Islam — but these are not based on textual differences. Wahhabi Islam is used, Cartalucci claims, by the US and Europe to encourage Muslim terrorists. Through Saudi intermediaries, we promote the very terrorism that in turn, gives our governments, that is our sinister rulers, the excuse they need to create invasive police states which, as we all know, the democratically-elected leaders all over the Western world apparently desire. We know this because Tony Cartalucci has told us that that’s the plan. Have you noticed anything remotely like an “invasive police state” anywhere in the Western world? Isn’t the problem, rather, that we have too little surveillance of mosques, too few people on watch lists, too few of those who are on watch lists actually being watched, too many Muslim migrants with potentially thousands of violent Jihadis among them? And ordinary citizens are afraid to report suspicious behavior by Muslims for fear of being called “racists” and “Islamophobes.” Some police state.
Cartalucci claims, as one of his subtitles puts it, that “the US and Europe Drive Terrorism, Not Islam.”
Each and every terrorist attack that unfolds across North America or Europe is followed by a tidal wave of propaganda aimed at further bolstering a “clash of civilizations.” The fearful public either cowers or lashes out against Muslims – led by establishment voices including the newly christened “alt-right.”
What “tidal wave of propaganda” supposedly ”aimed at further bolstering ‘a clash of civilizations” is that? After every Muslim terrorist attack, the Western media is not, as he claims, deluged with a tidal wave of propaganda against Islam. Instead, the media run endless stories about how “Muslims fear a backlash” (though no serious “backlash” has ever occurred) and how “officials reassure Muslims” while “neighbors gather to offer support at local mosque”and “local rabbi denounces Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer for hate speech against Islam.”
Also never discussed is the fact that terrorists – particularly those either members of the self-titled “Islamic State” (ISIS) and Al Qaeda, or those inspired by such groups – are indoctrinated, radicalized, armed, funded, and supported by Washington, London, Brussels, and a collection of the West’s closest allies in the Middle East – namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, and Israel.
Cartalucci’s wild claims, in which the Americans (and the U.K., and the E.U.) are accused of having “indoctrinated, radicalized, armed, funded, and supported” terrorists of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and similar groups, represent the conspiratorial worldview of Iran’s mullahs. They see Saudi Arabia as always having been an American puppet, the Saudis eager to act as takfiris and to excommunicate Iran’s Shi’a, even describing them as “Rafidite” (Rejectionist) dogs and the worst kind of Infidels. And even Israel, Iran’s other great enemy, is accused by Cartalucci of supporting ISIS and Al-Qaeda. That will come as news to Mossad.
Despite admissions from the United States military and high-level politicians that ISIS was literally a creation of its own intentional foreign policy and perpetuated through state-sponsorship by America’s closest regional allies, both the administrations of President Barack Obama and President Trump would continue signing weapon deals, maintaining diplomatic ties, and strengthening military and economic cooperation with these state-sponsors of terror.’
Where are these “admissions” by U.S. military and politicians that “ISIS was literally [as opposed to what? “figuratively”?] a creation of its own intentional foreign policy”? Again, there are none. And were there even a hint or scintilla of such an admission, it would be all over the papers, as a stunning example of government stupidity and moral turpitude.
Simultaneously, the US and Europe also continue encouraging and protecting Saudi Arabia’s global network of faux-madrasas – centers of indoctrination often under the watch and even co-management of Western intelligence agencies ensuring a constant, fresh supply of potential patsies for local terrorist attacks and recruits for the West’s proxy armies fighting abroad.
This “global network” of “faux-madrasas” are neither “encouraged” nor “protected” by the US and Europe. In 2003, a United States Senate committee on terrorism heard testimony that in the previous 20 years, Saudi Arabia had spent $87 billion on promoting Wahhabism worldwide.
This included financing 210 Islamic centers, 1,500 mosques, 202 colleges and 2,000 madrassas. Far from “encouraging” or “protecting” these Wahhabi mosques and madrasas, it has been the position of American officials that Wahhabi Islam is a menace, that the Saudis have been intimately involved in the recruitment of terrorists by spreading Wahhabism, and that Western governments ought, where they can, to closely monitor Saudi-funded Salafist mosques and madrasas and close those deemed “extreme.” That is why such Congressional investigations have been undertaken in the first place. What prevents more intrusive monitoring of mosques and madrasas in the U.S. is not a desire to protect Saudi Wahhabis, but the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of religion.
In Europe, the authorities are keeping mosques and madrasas under surveillance, and closing those where sufficient evidence exists of “extremism.” France recently closed 20 Salafist mosques. In Germany, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that “Salafist mosques must be banned, communities dissolved, and the preachers should be expelled as soon as possible.” In Belgium, the Loqman Mosque in Molenbeek, the main Muslim neighborhood in Brussels, has been shut down for “extremism.” In the United Kingdom, madrasas are now required to register and be open to inspection, because of the perceived effect of Saudi money. None of this supports Cartalucci’s claim that the US and Europe are colluding with the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia.
Nor is Saudi Arabia being “protected” by the American government. The American government has repeatedly — and publicly — called on the Saudis to reform their school curriculums and particularly their textbooks, which preach hatred of Jews and Christians. When in July 2016 Congress finally released those “28 pages” missing from the original Congressional report on the 9/11 attack, that clearly showed Saudi ties to the terrorists, this surely signaled the end of any putative “protection” for Saudi Arabia.
Of course, more surveillance, more monitoring is needed of mosques, madrasas, Islamic centers, connected to, and funded by, not just the Saudis, but by any of the many groups of Muslims who are found to preach jihad and hatred of Infidels. Some of us believe that will necessarily include a great many Muslims. It would be an error to think, as Mr. Cartalucci wants us to, that only the Wahhabi brand of Islam is a threat. If there is not enough surveillance now of all Wahhabi mosques and madrasas, that is a question of insufficient resources, not of a deliberate desire to either “encourage” or to “protect” the Saudis, as Cartalucci seems to think.
There is much more that one could say about this farrago of conspiracy-theorizing, and sheer craziness, which attempts to blame the West, or its leaders, for deliberately encouraging Wahhabi terrorism (the only kind that Mr. Cartalucci recognizes), so that, as a natural reaction, our liberal democracies, unhinged by fear of Muslims, will turn into “invasive police states.” But at a certain point it becomes such an absurd exercise, which one ought not, as the saying goes, dignify with a response. I’ve done too much dignifying, by too much responding, already. So I’ll stop here.
10 AM at the National Press Club in Washington DC.
CLINTON VICTIMS, MEDIA EQUALITY PROJECT STORM CAPITOL HILL DEMANDING FRANKEN AND CONYERS RESIGN
In the wake of damning evidence that Al Franken has brazenly harassed women for decades, why won’t the Minnesota senator resign?
With some liberal groups now playing defense as more accusers emerge, Franken used the Thanksgiving holiday to apologize for “making some women feel badly“. Apparently, he believes a mere apology tour will suffice.
We disagree and feel so strongly that we’re taking the Media Equality Project straight to Washington. Dozens of women and other victims of sexual harassment are joining together this Wednesday with this message:
#ShowUsTheList of representatives or staffers who received taxpayer funded pay-outs totaling $17 million dollars.
The Media Equality Project is bringing Bill Clinton’s victims, other luminaries, including Dr. Alveda King, niece of the late Martin Luther King, and others to Washington to confront Senator Franken and Congressman John Conyers. We believe that this effort should be in a spirit of bi-partisanship in order to end sexual harassment on Capitol Hill and across the country.
Franken’s long history of inappropriate behavior combined with “Captain Underpants” a/k/a Congressman Conyers, who accusers say has paraded around his office without appropriate attire, as well as verbal and sexual harassment that has resulted in official complaints and financial pay-outs.
The Media Equality Project says “enough is enough."
Joining us at the podium at the National Press Club are Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Leslie Millwee, (who was stalked and assaulted three times by Bill Clinton while she was a TV reporter in Fort Smith, Arkansas,) as well as Melanie Morgan, who shared her story of harassment and stalking by Senator Franken, Brian Maloney, co-founder of The Media Equality Project and MediaEqualizer.com, talk show host Blanquita Cullum and many others of all socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicity.
We have invited Senators Kirsten Gillibrand,(D-NY) Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Congresswomen Jackie Speirer,(D-CA) Kathleen Rice (D-NY) Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (D-VA) plus Melanie Sloan, head of the Liberal watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility.
Our message is clear: Both Senator Franken and Congressman Conyers must resign now! And Congress must end taxpayer-funded payouts to harassment victims in an effort to silence their voices and complaints.
The Media Equality Project joins with any Congressman or Senator who will support this critical legislation. Our guests will be available for Media interview requests.
When: Wednesday, November 29th 10:00 AM
Where: National Press Club, First Amendment Room, 529 14th Street, NW Washington, D.C.
A charity handing out millions of pounds to mosques and other organisations in Britain is run by a former Qatari official who founded a website that instructed Muslims to hate Jews and Christians, the Telegraph can disclose.
Yousef al-Kuwari is the chief executive of Qatar Charity UK, whose work includes the construction of a new mosque in the north of England.
He previously founded Islamweb, a website that issued edicts stating that it is “forbidden” to swear an oath to gain British citizenship. In June, it warned of Jews and Christians: “It is incumbent to hate them for the sake of Allah.”
Qatar Charity UK is the British arm of Qatar Charity, a Doha charity which has been designated a proscribed organisation by neighbouring Gulf states.
Separately, in an employment tribunal claim against the UK charity, a former staff member accused Fadi Itani, its deputy director general, of “bullying and harassment” and warning non-Muslims who failed to convert to Islam would be “punished”.
Between 1998 and 2010 fatwas posted on the website included ones calling on all citizens to “wage jihad by every means against the Zionist occupation and aggression” and stating that “living in non-Muslim countries is forbidden except for a dire need”.
Salman Mujtaba worked for Qatar Charity UK as development manager for nine months until January. In legal claims, he and Chris Goward, its former communications manager, accuse Mr Itani of “routinely belittling, undermining and mocking them and other non-Arab employees”.
“Mr Itani would on numerous occasions mention converting non-Muslims including the non-Muslim staff, citing if they did not they would be punished.”
Qatar Charity UK denied the allegations by Mr Mujtaba and Mr Goward “in their entirety” and “will vigorously defend the claims”, but could not comment further because of “ongoing employment tribunal proceedings”.
Being a pro-Israel activist while teaching at the University of California at Irvine, I had a chance to see, hear and challenge my share of misfits who came to speak on behalf of the pro-Palestinian forces on campus. From George Galloway to Hatem Bazian, to Norman Finkelstein, to Amir Abdel Malik Ali, to Omar Barghouti, to Abdul Alim Musa and many others, the list of obnoxious characters has been long. One of the most obnoxious, however, has been the Israeli-born, son of a prominent Israeli general, Miko Peled. This character now makes his residence in Southern California, which allows him to travel from one speaking venue to another (usually university campuses) not only taking the Palestinian side of the conflict, but challenging Israel's very right to exist.
Peled is back in the news following this week's tragic massacre of over 300 Sufi Muslims by Muslim terrorists (who consider peaceful Sufis as heretics) at a mosque in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. In the above tweet, Peled laid the blame directly on the government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his "collaboration" with Israel.
Leaving aside the obvious refusal to blame the true culprits (Islamic terrorists mostly likely affiliated with ISIS), Peled talks of "regional instability" caused by el-Sisi's "criminal collaboration" with Israel as causing the carnage. What Peled leaves out is that el-Sisi and the Egyptian military overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi, a government that would have led their country back into a disastrous war with Israel if allowed to remain in power. You talk about instability. El-Sisi is no Jeffersonian democrat, but what is wrong with keeping the peace with Israel except in Peled's fevered imagination?
I had my own chance to listen to Peled's poison when he came to speak at UC Irvine in 2013. On this occasion, Peled showed his temper when he stopped in mid speech to protest my videotaping him. He lost that battle as the dean of students had to inform his Muslim Student Union sponsors that I had every right to videotape. Peled thought I was breaking "the rules" because the MSU had said no videotaping would be allowed. He and the MSU were never taught the law, however, as it applies to public events.
Peled no doubt would prefer to see Egypt go to war with Israel (and emerge victorious) something that isn't going to happen with el-Sisi in power. In the meantime, Peled is going to have to stew in his own well-known anger. He is truly a pathetic figure.
ISIS has called on militants to carry out atrocities at Christmas markets in the UK, Germany and France, according to reports. Extremists are said to be circulating chilling posters via messaging apps that include the phrase "soon on your holidays" in English, German and French. The picture of Father Christmas bound and about to be beheaded is set in London's Regent Street, but the Christmas lights are those of 2010. Regent Street and Oxford Street cross, and Oxford Street underground station is at the crossroads; you can understand why people get jittery, although we never did so much during 30 years of IRA bombing. I suppose we didn't have twitter winding us up in those days and the IRA never did suicide missions or spraying passersby with gunfire.
The images were intercepted by BlackOps Cyber, a dark web intelligence agency, several days ago, the Epoch Times reported.
The latest images come after six Syrians suspected of planning an attack using weapons or explosives in Germany were detained on Tuesday. Prosecutors said the planned attack was on behalf of the Islamic State militant group.
This year, armed police, large concrete barriers and stop and search checks are being carried out at festive markets up and down the UK as many opened to the public last week.
Organisers of popular Christmas markets, such as London and Manchester, have been putting staff through anti-terror training with police as part of Project Griffin - a counter-terrorism initiative where business personnel learn what to look out for and how to deal with the aftermath of an attack.
The extra measures follow advice from the Department for Transport to local authorities about “mitigating security vulnerabilities” around major public transport hubs, including “hostile vehicle mitigation” to deter attackers using “vehicles as a weapon”.
Birmingham Christmas market will also see a host of new measures installed including bollards due to the threat of threat of vehicle attacks.
Our campuses show we're practicing cultural genocide on ourselves
Fiascoes like Shepherd's raise the question of how this society allowed its education system to become steadily poorer the more money it stuffed into it.
by Conrad Black
Little remains to be added to what my esteemed colleagues Christie Blatchford and Barbara Kay have written about the shameful performance of Wilfrid Laurier University in the Lindsay Shepherd affair. The 22-year old graduate student showed a discussion group a video extract of a debate between Jordan Peterson, one of Canada’s most brilliant, courageous, and rigorous academics, and the transgender advocate Nicholas Matte. For this heinous offence of neutrally presenting two sides to a current news story and public controversy, Shepherd was the subject of complaint, official harassment, and a nauseating Star Chamber which, fortunately, she surreptitiously recorded.
In the course of her lengthy interrogation, she was informed that unnamed students of undisclosed number were “disturbed and upset” for unspecified reasons and that Shepherd had created a “toxic climate” and an “unsafe learning environment,” and had violated the university’s “gender and violence policy,” and had incited “gender-based transphobia” by presenting, with contrary argument, the views of Peterson. The inquisitors falsely described Peterson as a “white supremacist” who “targeted and harassed” transgender students and incited “transphobia” in a manner that is illegal under human rights legislation. Shepherd was accused of committing an act morally indistinguishable from presenting a speech by Hitler. In fact, she presented a debate (and there is nothing wrong with playing a speech by Hitler in an academic place in an appropriate context — he was an evil man but an important historic figure). It need hardly be added that comparing Hitler and Peterson is outrageous and defamatory, as well as monstrously unrigorous academically — Jordan Peterson would not agree with one opinion Hitler expressed in his adult life.
Peterson would not agree with one opinion Hitler expressed in his adult life
Shepherd let it be known that she had recorded the session, where she was grilled by two faculty members, in the presence of an official devoted to assistance for those of minority sexual orientation or in a state of sexual transition or ambiguity. There was no official response from the administration or the academic gender police until Shepherd’s release of the tape to the media after about a week, which gave it wide and sympathetic play. (It must be said that almost the entire Canadian media, across the political spectrum, handled the issue intelligently, and generally took the side of Shepherd.) Once the rock was lifted on this process and the force of public opinion could be detected, the WLU leadership wobbled and crumpled in a familiar display of instant capitulation by university administrations at the first indication of headwinds. It appears to be the modus operandi of that university in particular to surrender at once to any adversity, but it is satisfying that the university at least caved in the right direction this time, to a justly aggrieved complainant and not to the totalitarian spirit of those who arraigned her. There was great agitation among the university’s alumni and financial benefactors, and tepid apologies were issued, which contained some self-serving flimflam about protecting sensibilities.
But if Shepherd had not recorded the session and circulated it, she would have been consigned to the doghouse of the politically incorrect. The cowardice of the regime limped to the aid of the winner of the media and public relations contest, as the University of Toronto did last year when transgender groups tried to force Peterson to address them in a special vocabulary, the words “he, she, and you” being somehow disrespectful. That it took a week to elicit a climb-down from them, and that they were no paragons of contrition, makes it clear how little principle, as opposed to tactical manoeuvre, was involved. Nothing in this case, as the well-spoken and brave Shepherd told the inquiry, is what universities are supposed to be or how they should act.
It appears to be the modus operandi of that university to surrender at once to any adversity
The last time Wilfrid Laurier University was tested publicly on a controversy anything like this was when a project to commission and unveil statues of all of Canada’s 23 prime ministers was cancelled and the initial statue, of the country’s principal founder, John A. Macdonald, was removed because of complaints and threats from aboriginal groups. This disgraceful episode, in February 2015, elevated the false claims of a few native activists that Macdonald was anti-aboriginal and tried to eradicate their culture above the facts that Macdonald was friendly with a number of native leaders, gave the natives the right to vote, and did his best, by the lights of the time (which were not entirely illuminating) to assist the native people to participate fully in Canadian life. (Of course, that he was the chief architect of the only trans-continental, bicultural, parliamentary confederation in history, now the oldest functioning political institutions of any important country in the world except Great Britain and the United States, and a great statesman even in the time of Lincoln, Palmerston, Disraeli, Gladstone and Bismarck, was irrelevant.)
Macdonald (inevitably) was portrayed by the complaining native militants as a Hitler also, as if Macdonald would have approved anything Hitler did after he was mustered out of the German army as a decorated corporal. (Surely, if he had had a chance to reflect upon it, the last thing Adolf Hitler would have expected, just before he discharged a bullet into his head as his wife of one day took poison, in their bunker with the Red Army only a few hundred yards away, was that his name would be invoked to discredit liberal-minded democrats and believers in free elections and academic exchange in ostensibly free countries 70 years later. The Fuehrer thought the democracies degenerate then; he would likely find nonsense like this a flattering vindication of that judgment.)
Fiascoes like this raise the question of how this society allowed its education system to become steadily poorer the more money it stuffed into it. And how did we allow our centres of higher learning to degenerate into these theatres of the absurd where stupefying sums are squandered to enable questionably qualified people to teach largely irrelevant material in life-assured sinecures of six-hour work weeks with three months annual holidays, while thoughtful discussion is suppressed, all to produce masses of under-educated people largely unqualified to get or hold a serious job? Obviously, the answer is complicated, and some of it was touched upon a few weeks ago when I excerpted from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation publication that the solution to deteriorating school testing results was to eliminate the tests.
We must produce the workers society needs, even if we have to call plumbers bachelors of sanitary engineering
I take advantage of Shepherd’s persecution to propose the outline of a radical plan for the resuscitation of Western education. In addition to deunionizing the schools, testing all the teachers and students for objective competence levels each year and rewarding them all meritocratically, (i.e. those who fail do not proceed farther until they pass), we must get over our collective snobbery about skilled work and trades and produce people who can do the work society needs and will pay for, even if we have to call plumbers bachelors of sanitary engineering. Much of undergraduate university could be put online and the personnel could be thinned out accordingly. The untouchability of tenured professors must be revoked in cases of egregious abuse, just as the protection of incompetent or indolent teachers must be ended. Any strikes should be interpreted as acts of resignation. Abstruse university courses, which will include propagandistic examinations of very absurd and faddish subjects, should be cut back somewhat, and possibly made more expensive than more productive disciplines and curriculum. Any university that fails to maintain normal freedom of expression and encourage civilized exchange should have its charter revoked.
The immense financial savings from ending this culturally suicidal indulgence of mediocrity and self-induced public ignorance would enable generous rewards for the best teachers and professors, and the balance of the savings could be rebated to lower and middle income taxpayers; they could spend and invest the money they have earned more wisely and productively than our governments can, and they don’t have to skim the profits from the alcoholic beverage, gambling and marijuana businesses to do it. The retiring chief justice of Canada has falsely accused Canada of attempting cultural genocide on native people; in fact we are inadvertently trying to practice it on ourselves.
I'm not sure how peaceful in the long run Sufis actually are; they follow the same flawed Mohammed as their example of perfection and the same Koran with its verses of the sword abrogating everything peaceful that came before. But to IS they are the wrong kind of Muslim and therefore a threat. From Sky News.
A bomb and gun attack in the north Sinai has brought new devastation to Egypt, with at least 235 killed in one of the country's most brutal assaults in memory.
Gunmen wreaked havoc in a mosque in the town of Bir al Abed, targeting the Sufi Muslim community that worshipped there. The mosque was largely attended by Sufi Muslims, seen as non-believers by Islamic State.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Egypt's state news agency MENA said it "appeared" to have been carried out by IS.
Some analysts think Sufism - a movement known for its mystical and introspective approach to Islam - is targeted by Islamic State because it is seen as a non-military threat to the group.
"The Sufis are succeeding in drawing hundreds of youths from the terrorist organisation in a way the military hasn't been able to do," Mr Sabry, a journalist and analyst who has worked extensively in the Sinai, said. "And I believe that the most important point, for ISIS, is to eliminate their ideological rival rather than a military rival."
IS did not take immediate responsibility for the Friday attack, but reports said it showed the hallmarks of the group. Its Egypt branch has killed hundreds of people in the north Sinai, targeting the army as well followers of Sufism and Christianity.
It views Sufi practices - such as different kinds of chanting or prayers, and maintaining the shrines of holy figures, and a focus on achieving purity to witness the presence of God - as against Islam.
In the troubled north Sinai, where the Sufi community has been firmly established for centuries, there has been a long-running struggle with newer hardline Salafi groups like IS. Jihadists last year beheaded an elderly Sufi leader on charges of witchcraft, and the group published a newsletter saying combating Sufism was a priority.
Followers of the belief system have suffered attacks elsewhere, too. Leaders and shrines are targeted in low-level violence in Iraq and Syria, as well as more spectacular attacks: last November 52 people were killed and this February 83 died in an IS attack on a Sufi shrine, both in Pakistan.
The Sufi community in the Sinai, Mr Sabry said, is one known for its persistence, and after enduring many attacks on clerics and holy places it will take a lot to shatter the strength it's built up over many years.But he said there is a fear that such a spectacular and horrific attack could indicate more brutality to come. "If it's the beginning of a pattern it could be the beginning of a war against Sufis that could be much more more terrifying," he said.
Armed police have stood down following reports of shots fired on London's Oxford Street and at Oxford Circus Tube station. Cordons have been lifted on Oxford Street, where shoppers were earlier warned to "go into a building" amid fears over a possible terror-related incident.Oxford Circus and Bond Street stations have also now been reopened.
Met Police said: "Given the nature of the information received, the Met responded in line with our existing operation as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers.Officers working with colleagues from British Transport Police carried out an urgent search of the area.
Scotland Yard said "Given the nature of the info received we responded as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers."
This seems to have been a mass panic. A reliable source who has his ear very close to the London ground tells me it is believed ot have been caused by a wrongfully thrown firework the noise of which sparked panic.
It may have been deliberate to spread alarm, affect morale and maybe induce complacency for the next time. It may have been some little t**rag who wants pole-axing. It may have been an unfortunate accidental act.
The good thing is that the police, transport officials and security services were on the ground and dealing with it quickly, so it was good practice for them.
All or nothing at all, three quarters of a country never appealed to him, nor did the idea of a political entity called Northern Ireland that was created in 1920 comprising the six northeastern counties of Ireland in the province of Ulster. Gerry Adams is still adamant about the need for a united Ireland. As a political entity the Republic of Ireland, first called the Irish Free State was created in 1922. On November 18, 2017 Adams, the 69 year old president of Sinn Fein, the left wing political party, since 1983, announced it was time for a change and that he would not run for another term in 2018, or seek re-election to the Parliament of the Republic of Ireland, the Dail Eirean, which he represented in the border constituency of Louch.
Adams has been the dominant person in Irish republican politics for over 30 years, an individual whose activity made Sinn Fein, founded in 1905, a political force and a dominant group in the republican movement. He has been a major political figure, among other things an MP in the British Parliament in Westminster for the constituency of West Belfast for a number of years. However, like his party colleagues he was an absentee from Westminster, unwilling to take his seat in order to avoid the obligatory House of Commons oath of loyalty to the Queen.
The essential controversial aspect of the complex Adams is the amnesia about his membership, role, and indeed leadership of the IRA, the Irish Republican Army. He had entered politics to defend the Catholic minority in northern Ireland from discrimination and attacks by Loyalist extremists, as did other Catholic republicans concerned with discrimination in employment, housing, and police actions. His introduction was the civil rights march in Londonderry (Derry to the republicans) on October 5, 1968. But this led to his membership in the IRA which he never admitted and whose actions he never condemned.
Ambiguity surrounds him. Is Adams to be regarded as a terrorist or helpful in peacemaking? At the core of the problem is his denial, against the opinion of unprejudiced people that he was a member of the IRA. His father was an IRA member who was jailed for eight years for his activity in an ambush. Adams may, probably, have joined the IRA in the 1960s and became its Commander. The armed wing of the IRA, the Provisionals, was a violent group to which 1800 deaths are attributed between 1970 and 1997.
It is almost certain Adams was a member of the IRA Army Council and was involved in the Bloody Friday July 1972 events when the IRA set off 26 bombs in and around Belfast. In recent years, Adams was accused of taking part , indeed ordering, in December 1972 the execution of a women, wrongly accused of being a police informer; her body was not found until 2003.
It is worthwhile to compare Adams with his long time associate Martin McGuiness, an acknowledged proud member of the IRA, who admitted his role, and who renounced terrorism and became the chief negotiator for Sinn Fein in peace talks.
McGuiness is assumed to have been the IRA chief of staff., and the second in command of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre in Londonderry. But he became minister of education bewteen 1999-2002 in the power sharing arrangement, and on May 8, 2007 became deputy first minister, under Ian Paisley, his former rival, the loyalist politician, Protestant religious leader, and founder of the Democratic Unionist Party, DUP.
On an historic occasion, McGuiness met Queen Elizabeth and exchanged handshakes, a highly symbolic union of nationalists and unionists. He even toasted the Queen at Windsor Castle. He was admitted, but Adams was not, to President Obama's St. Patrick's Day celebration, for "security" reasons.
But the legacy of Gerry Adams remains and the future of Northen Ireland remains unresolved. The republicans, mostly Catholic, primarily want to be part of the Republic of Ireland though the conflict is basically territorial, not religious.
The Northern Ireland entity functioned as a self governing region of the UK, United Kingdom, with headquarters at Stormont, outside of Belfast, and controlled by Protestant Unionists who did not want to be part of a self ruled Ireland. Violence occured, with over 3,500 killed and more than 50,000 injured over the 30 year period known as the time of Troubles. It was the multilateral Belfast Agreement, Good Friday April 10, 1998, that set up a devolved system of government and introduced power sharing in Belfast. The coalition between the two groups ended in January 2017 when the chief nationalist group, Sinn Fein withdrew from the coalition. effectively bringing governing to a standstill.
Can peace come and the coalition be restored? Sinn Fein is now the largest left wing party in the republic of Ireland , with 23 of the 158 seats, and the largest national party in the Northern Ireland Assembly with 27 of 90 seats. If love is not present can hatred be ended between the two sides? As Adams is departing his party leadership,
Sinn Fein appears to have increased its demands, especially for the use of the Irish language to be given the same legal status as English and to legislate same sex marriages.
The Troubles of the late 20th century seemed to be over after the 3,600 killed between 1968 and 1998. The essential problem is whether Sinn Fein nationalists can return to support power sharing, or whether the problems of culture and identity will continue. Will Sinn Fein still honor the memory of IRA, and continue to commemorate IRA members killed in conflict? The answer is made more uncertain because the whole issue is interrelated with the problem of Brexit in Britain and the likelihood that the citizens of the Republic of Ireland would have to pay higher taxes if it absorbed the northern six counties.
This much we have been able to piece together: the current Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, son of the late Rafik Al-Hariri, also once a Prime Minister, was summoned to Saudi Arabia on the night of November 2. He promptly flew off from Beirut, assuming that the discussions he had had in Saudi Arabia a few days before were to be continued. Those talks had been about how best to deal with Hezbollah, and Hariri had apparently been relaxed and happy after them, feeling that he and the Saudis were close to an understanding. He expected to be met at the airport in Riyadh on November 3 by the usual welcoming crew of Saudi princes and officials, but none of them were there. Instead, it appears he was unceremoniously whisked away, his telephone impounded, and taken to his house in Riyadh — the Hariri family made its fortune in Saudi Arabia, and owns many properties there — where he was placed under a kind of house arrest.
He was then asked to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday. Kept waiting for four hours — an ominous sign of displeasure — he finally was ushered in to see the Crown Prince. Instead of more talks about how to handle Hezbollah, Hariri was presented with a resignation speech, written by the Saudis, that he was directed to deliver on television. He did so, as instructed by his Saudi masters. The sight of the Lebanese Prime Minister, resigning in Riyadh, clearly under Saudi pressure, sent shock waves through Lebanon. Since then, Saad Hariri has made remarks on several occasions about a possible return to Lebanon, but still has not done so. Depending on your point of view, either he was being held prisoner in Riyadh by the Saudis, or he was afraid to return to Lebanon lest Hezbollah murder him, as they murdered his father. Most observers appear to believe that he is being held against his will in Saudi Arabia, and that Hezbollah has no intention of killing him precisely because he is too weak, and too scared, to effectively oppose them. Meanwhile, the Maronite President, Michel Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah, has refused to accept Hariri’s resignation, which technically still leaves him as Prime Minister; Aoun has confirmed that Saad Hariri was being “detained.” The Saudis then decided to let him go — to Paris, which is where he met President Macron on November 18, and as of this writing, he has in Paris yet again promised that he would be returning to Beirut.
The Saudi problem with Saad Hariri is that they believe he is too weak to confront Hezbollah. But one wonders if they realize just how impossible, at this point, it would be for Saad Hariri, or any Sunni in Lebanon, to try to take on Hezbollah. In his talks with the Saudis, he had tried to explain this, arguing for avoiding confrontation with the Shi’ite militia and terror group. That was not what the Saudis wanted to hear. They are said to favor replacing Saad with his older brother Bahaa, who is now living in Saudi Arabia; Bahaa Hariri issued a statement blasting Iran and its Lebanese proxy. He accused Hezbollah of seeking “to take control of Lebanon.” And, of course, he also expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia for “decades of support” for Lebanon’s national institutions.
What will now happen? Will the Saudis be able to impose Bahaa Hariri as Prime Minister, or someone else to their liking, perhaps in exchange for a few billion dollars in military aid for the Lebanese Army, the only military force inside Lebanon at present possibly capable of preventing a complete takeover by Hezbollah? Imagine a situation, for example, where Saad Hariri returns, but following the script the Saudis gave him — making him an offer he couldn’t refuse — he sticks to his resignation, urges the Lebanese to accept his brother Bahaa in his stead, and then Bahaa, made prime minister, and ensconced in the prime minister’s residence, finds himself surrounded by troops of Hezbollah, with Hassan Nasrallah denouncing Bahaa Hariri as a “Saudi puppet” and demanding someone else, more to their liking, be put in as prime minister. What would the Sunnis in Lebanon then be able to do to oppose Hezbollah? The answer is: at the moment, very little.
What position should the American government take in all this geopolitical confusion? Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabis spread an unusually noxious version of Islam, Wahhabism, through the thousands of mosques and hundreds of madrasas that they have built, and staffed, around the world. Their school texts are full of anti-Jewish and anti-Christian venom. 15 of the 19 terrorists on 9/11 were Saudis. And some Christians in Lebanon, it has to be recognized, look to the Shi’a for protection, as islamically less threatening to them than the Sunnis. It has been the same in Syria, where the Alawites, who practice a kind of Shi’ism, have always protected that country’s Christians. Saudi Arabia is hardly a natural ally of the West.
But despite all that, there are reasons for favoring the Saudi project in Lebanon. As of now, the greatest threat to the West’s interests is Iran, because of the aggression of its leaders, and its geopolitical expansionism, and its nuclear project, which it might finally bring to a successful conclusion if it chose not to honor the agreement with Washington. Iran is, at this point, the most dangerous Muslim country in the world. It is at war against Sunnis, both directly and by proxy, in Yemen, where the Shi’a Houthis have withstood months of Saudi bombing in Sana, in Syria, where Iran and Hezbollah have helped the despot Bashar al-Assad to stay in power, by successfully fighting, through its Hezbollah proxy, the uber-Sunnis of ISIS, even though that meant siding, but not cooperating, with the hated Great Satan, America, and, at the same time, fighting the more liberal Sunni opposition forces to Assad, which put them on the side opposite to the Great Satan.
Right now, in Saudi Arabia, there is a new king-in-waiting, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who promises all kinds of changes. He appears willing to challenge widespread corruption. (He also has the ability, useful for a Saudi prince, to be a hypocrite, having just bought a yacht from a Russian vodka tycoon for 500 million dollars, a sum far larger than he could normally afford even on his princely subsidy.) He promises to build a giant megacity, NEOM, to help transition Saudi Arabia off of its oil-based economy, a city where Saudis will have real work in private enterprises, including in high-tech businesses, rather than continue to be coddled in those unchallenging government jobs that are now safe sinecures for 2/3 of Saudi workers. The new megacity he envisions will also help to promote a social revolution, for he plans to allow men and women to work side by side, and to free women from being treated like wards of their male relatives. But whatever grand plans are made for progress domestically, the Saudi rulers worry constantly about the ambitions of a malevolent Shi’a Iran.
Meanwhile, the Saudis and their Sunni allies, in Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, are rightly alarmed by the military aid, including weapons, training, and in some cases troops, from Iran and its proxy Hezbollah, that support Shi’a in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The Saudis for now are no military threat to the West. Iran and Hezbollah, on the other hand, have been a vocal threat (“Death to America!”) to Western interests, with both growing in military power, ever since Ayatollah Khomeini arrived on the scene in 1979 to see justice done, beginning with the seizure of the American embassy.
The choice is clear: between Iran and Saudi Arabia, both of them intolerant Muslim states, choose to support the one that poses a lesser threat. That would be, for now, Saudi Arabia, which may in fact be liberalizing (as the Crown Prince promises), and its allies, especially the Emirates, and Egypt, both now ruled by enlightened despots (in the Emirates, there are several) who deserve Western support. Iran and Hezbollah now threaten Sunnis all over the Middle East, and also, of course, the Jews of Israel. The Saudis can do two things. First, right now, almost immediately, they can supply the Lebanese army with enough weaponry from their own stores to hold Hezbollah in check. But that’s only a stopgap measure. Second, what Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies need to do is to create in Lebanon, from the ground up, a Sunni militia capable not just of holding Hezbollah at bay, but in pushing it back, or perhaps even over the border into Syria. Saudi Arabia can send unlimited amounts of military equipment to such a Sunni militia. It can also outfit and supply Sunni Arab troops, most likely from Egypt and Jordan (and their governments could be paid substantial sums by the Saudis for these “volunteers”), to help local Sunnis defend “Lebanon’s sovereignty from Iran.” There could also be smaller contingents of Sunni troops from Saudi Arabia and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, just to give it even more legitimacy in Arab eyes. This militia needs to be created quickly, in months, not years, while Iran still has its hands full in Iraq and Yemen, and before it has consolidated Bashar al-Assad’s rule in Syria.
Hezbollah has until now been virtually unopposed militarily by Sunni Lebanese. The Saudis have wanted Israel to enter the fray against Iran; the Israelis have not done so. But while they will not send their own troops to fight (and die) in what is a Muslim civil war, they will certainly help however they can in the creation of a Sunni militia, with Lebanese Sunnis, augmented by large numbers of volunteers from Egypt and Jordan, and guns, tanks, weapons systems supplied by Saudi Arabia. The “Rafidite dogs” of Hassan Nasrallah will not have an easy time maintaining their current control of Lebanon. And Israel will continue to do as it has been doing, bombing weapons depots and weapons factories of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, keeping that Shi’a militia from being resupplied.
Neither Hezbollah, nor Iran, will give up the prize they have won in Shi’a control of much of Iraq (not yet a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tehran, but close), a victory that was inevitable given that the Shi’a Arabs outnumber the Sunni Arabs three-to-one in Iraq. They have also won a place in the stony heart of Bashar al-Assad, who likely still needs the Iranians and Hezbollah to help him stay in power in his rump state, but the result is that Assad did not fall; he is still there, he was not overthrown as so many thought he would be; he controls all of Syria’s major cities. In Yemen, Iran is committed to helping its fellow Shi’a, the Houthis, who despite Saudi bombing, have maintained their control of the capital, San’a. Tens of billions of dollars have been spent by the Saudis on their bombing campaign, but they have failed to dislodge the Houthis who, if they were to control Yemen, could threaten all of southern Saudi Arabia. Given these setbacks for the Sunnis in Iraq and Syria and Yemen, the Saudis need a victory over the Shi’a somewhere, and Lebanon — where Hezbollah got its start — is now the place where such a victory might be won. But it requires building up, quickly, a large Sunni militia rivaling the size of Hezbollah, and properly equipped. Both Sunni and Shi’a Lebanese are equal in population; the Sunnis assumed the Lebanese army would protect their interests against Hezbollah. But that army never came close to the military power of Hezbollah, which initially presented itself as the great Arab defender of Lebanon against Israeli aggressors. Eventually it became clear that Hezbollah had its Shi’a sights set on Lebanon itself.
In Lebanon, the West should be supporting the Saudis, despite misgivings, because they are the most determined Arab enemy of Hezbollah. The man reputed to be their current candidate for prime minister, Bahaa Hariri, cannot really be expected to stand up to Hezbollah until provided with the military wherewithal. The Sunnis and Shi’a are evenly matched in population; each constitutes 27% of the Lebanese population. But the Shi’a have created, with help from Iran, and over many decades, a powerful militia, and claims of as many as 65,000 fighters, while the Sunnis in Lebanon did not. The Sunnis let things slide, hoping they could count on the Lebanese Army to protect their interests and withstand Hezbollah. But that’s not a task which that army could fulfill. It cannot be counted on to fight Hezbollah. There are many Shi’a in the Lebanese Army (some of whom also serve in Hezbollah), and also many Christians, who look to the Shi’a for support against the Sunnis. Their loyalty to the Lebanese state, and against Hezbollah, is uncertain. Furthermore, that army is greatly outmatched in weaponry by Hezbollah.
The Saudis could give more aid to the Lebanese army, immediately, just to keep it from collapsing should Hezbollah attack it as a “Saudi/Zionist” puppet, but most of its effort should be given over to the buildup of an entirely new force, a Sunni militia truly capable of taking the fight to Hezbollah. The Americans should enthusiastically endorse the idea of a strong militia in Lebanon to balance Hezbollah and behind it, Iran. It need not be identified as “Sunni,” but rather, as a coalition of the willing against Hezbollah. The weak performance of the Lebanese army can be passed over in silence.
How might Rex Tillerson respond?
He could say something like this:
The Islamic Republic of Iran, and its proxy and ally, Hezbollah, have for years been constructing a ring of fire around many of our allies. They are in Yemen, threatening Saudi Arabia from the south by supporting the uprising by Shi’a Houthis. They are in Iraq, where instead of bringing about national reconciliation, they support a winner-take-all approach for the Shi’a Arabs who, with three times the population of the Sunni Arabs, and with Iranian troops bolstering Shia militia, can impose their will on any Iraqi government. But the most serious interference by Iran has been in Lebanon, where it has helped to create and arm a militia, Hezbollah, that is now more powerful than the Lebanese army, that frequently stages marches to intimidate the Sunnis, and that has repeatedly been involved in terrorist attacks. Hezbollah is not just the enemy of a free Lebanon; it is our enemy, too. It was Hezbollah that, acting under Iran’s direction, bombed the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut on October 23, 1983, killing 241 Americans. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on Americans until 9/11. It was the deadliest day for our Marines since Iwo Jima. Those Americans, remember, were in Lebanon as peace-keepers. Apparently Iran and Hezbollah didn’t want peace to come to Lebanon. They didn’t want it in 1983, and they didn’t want it on February 14, 2005, when Hezbollah blew up a car carrying former Prime Minister Rafik Harari, because as a strong Sunni political figure, he stood in Hezbollah’s — and Iran’s — way. And Iran, with help from Hezbollah, has taken its bombing campaign to lands far from the Middle East. Iranian-backed terrorists bombed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992. In 1994, a single Hezbollah member bombed the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. In both attacks a total of 114 people were killed.
We want to declare our support for the new Saudi initiative, which is simply to create, for the people of Lebanon, a militia force capable of standing up to Hezbollah and, behind Hezbollah, Iran. As we understand it, the Saudis will supply weapons, as well as facilitating the recruitment and transport of volunteers from Egypt and Jordan. We look forward to working with our Saudi and Israeli partners in matters of intelligence sharing and logistics. For our part we will ensure that the skies over Lebanon remain free of Iranian planes. We are confident that not just the Sunnis in Lebanon, but others too, will come to see the necessity for such a force to offset Hezbollah. Christians in Lebanon, some of whom have allied with Hezbollah because they feared its retribution if they did not, will now be reassured that there is a militia powerful enough to protect all Lebanese from Hezbollah and Iran. There are also moderate Shi’a in Lebanon, opposed to, but fearful of, Hezbollah and Iran, who might welcome this new militia as counter-balancing Hezbollah. We do not see it as a “Sunni militia,” but as a militia open to all those, in Lebanon, and among its closest allies, who oppose the aggressive and tyrannical rule of Hezbollah and its master Iran.
The Chief of Staff of Israel’s military, General Gadi Eisenkot, recently announced — in an unprecedented interview with a Saudi newspaper — Israel’s complete agreement with Saudi Arabia that the main threat in the Middle East is Iran, that Iran must be stopped. He said that Israel stands ready to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia. Many believe that such intelligence sharing has already been going on; General Eisenkot did not deny it. He described Iran’s attempt to create two Shi’a arcs, as it seeks to take control of the Middle East, creating a Shi’ite crescent from Lebanon to Iran, and then another from the Gulf to the Red Sea. Eizenkot said, when asked about Iran’s intended goal. “We must prevent this from happening.”
The Saudis are clearly quite disturbed about the situation in Lebanon, as are its allies in Egypt and Jordan who, we know, would gladly offer volunteers for a militia which will be predominantly, but not exclusively, Sunni. We are now certain that Israel, too, will not just be sharing intelligence with the Saudis — and with their Lebanese, Egyptian, and Jordanian allies — but take steps, in concert with them, to prevent Iran’s supplying the latest weapons systems to Hezbollah.
We fully support the efforts of Saudi Arabia, together with Egypt, Jordan, and the Emirates, to create and sustain a powerful militia in Lebanon, in order to prevent a takeover of Lebanon by forces subservient to Iran. We all know what the threat to peace is in Lebanon. It’s Hezbollah. It’s Iran. And we are pleased that Israel and Saudi Arabia will be cooperating against a common enemy. Hassan Nasrallah may think he’s invincible, and can continue to ride roughshod over Lebanon, but there are many now cooperating to prove him wrong. The American government wishes them, and all the people of Lebanon, whatever their sect, well.