"A PhD student (that would be, "a Muslim PhD student" - CM) working at the University of NSW has been arrested by police after a notebook allegedly containing terrorist ideology inspired by Islamic State (no, inspired by... the Koran, Sira, and Hadiths.. inspired by... ISLAM- CM) was found on the eastern-suburbs campus.
"Police on Friday said a colleague of 25-yer-old Sri Lankan national Mohamed Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen (he might be from Sri Lanka, which is a majority-non-Islamic country, but his primary and real allegiance is to the Ummah, the Allah Gang or Mohammedan Mob, as indicated by his name, Mohamed; he should never have been given a student visa, he should never have been admitted into Australia - CM) found the notebook filled with locations and individuals that would be the subject of an alleged terrorist plot.
'It is understood that the alleged potential attack was planned for several months away(hmm.. "several months" would take us up to Christmas and New Year - CM) and involved iconic landmarks in Sydney.
'Police were called to the university, where Mr Nizamdeen works as an I.T. contractor (and how many others like him are there, all around the country, tertiary-educated, smiling toothily, nicely-groomed and besuited... and harbouring hatred in their hearts toward the dirty kuffar all around them? click on the link I've provided, to see photos of this latest mohammedan mobster - CM), on Thursday, and arrested and charged him with making a document connected to the preparation of a terrorist act.
"They are symbolic locations within Sydney", said NSW Police's Detective acting-Superintendent Mick Sheehy at a press conference on Friday morning.
'The PhD student was acting as a lone wolf (suuuure.... that's always said... and so often it turns out that they had enablers, supporters, handlers....oh, and I'd advise finding out what mosque, or mosques he attended, and surprise-raiding and searching that, too - CM) but "from documentation, he would affiliate with ISIS", acting Superintendent Sheehy said.
Lured by the dream of a restored Caliphate, a dream shared by every person raised within Islam. The dream of achieving Total World Domination, Islam, Islam, Uber Alles, as John Roy Carlson puts it in a chapter on the Muslim Brotherhood, in his book 'Cairo to Damascus". If there were no ISIS, it's perfectly possible that someone like this would Go Jihad anyway, as witness, for example, 9/11, or the Muslim jihad assaults on the London buses and underground in 2005 - there was no ISIS back then, when those attacks were carried out, but there was... Islam. That is all it takes. Islam, and a person who takes Islam fully to heart, who sets out to obey the jihad imperative and wage jihad fi sabil allah, who obeys the Quranic instruction to 'terrorise them" ('them' being.. the kuffar, the filthy disbelievers, anyone who isn't a Muslim). - CM
'Mr Nizamdeen has been in Australia on a student visa for several years completing his post-graduate studies.
It isn't just the obvious thugs with bushy beards and robes, from places like Somalia or Libya that we need to worry about; it's the sleek smilers with university degrees, like Mr Mohamed Nizamdeen. - CM
'He has returned to his native Sri Lanka (which non-Islamic country he no doubt hates and despises just as much as he hates and despises similarly-infidel Australia - CM) and "other areas" although police refused to specify where exactly he had visited.
Is he involved with any Islamic student association on campus? Does he attend a mosque? He might not, of course... he might have been engaging in 'muruna', 'blending in', the better to gull the stupid infidels around him, until it was... too late. Thank goodness that somebody took a peek at that notebook. - CM
'After arresting him at the university during the day, police executed a search warrant on his Zetland address in the middle of the night and a number of electronic items were seized for further examination.
'Police plan to conduct further searches on campus on Friday.
'Australian Federal Police's Detective-Superintendent Michael McTiernan told reporters that, while there was no ongoing threat to the public (pffft: there is an ongoing threat to the public so long as there are hundreds of thousands of pious Mohammeds just like Mr Mohammed Nizamdeen living on Australian soil - CM) the allegations of what was contained in the notebook were extremely serious.
"The charges laid against this person are serious and should not be underestimated. Today's result highlights the critical role the community plays in assisting us to combat terrorism", he said.
Somehow I suspect that it was not a Muslim colleague of Mr Nizamdden's who, on noticing what was in that notebook, raised the alarm.I am thankful that they did not allow the consideration of shrieks of "Islamophobia!" or "racism!" to deter them from making a quiet phonecall to the relevant authorities. - CM
'Mr Nizamdeen, who is understood to have no family ties in Australia (thank goodness for that! but, once again, does he belong to any Muslim student organisation or other social body? does he attend a mosque? - CM) briefly faced Waverley Local Court on Friday morning.
'He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused. He will return to court in eight weeks."
All very, very embarrassing for the University of New South Wales. Let this be a lesson to them, to think long and carefully before admitting overseas students- whether undergrads or, like this one, postgrads - with names like "Mohammed". And so to the follow-up report, also from Sally Rawsthorne for the Sydney Morning Herald, in which we predictably discover that his friends and colleagues are all so, so shocked!! shocked!! that such an apparently nice guy could have been plotting mass-murderous mayhem...
"Sri Lankan Student (sic: Muslim student from Sri Lanka - CM) Charged With Terror Offences in Sydney
'Star Sri Lankan student Mohamed Kamer Nilan Nizamdeen allegedly planned to attack a hit list of "symbolic" individuals and landmarks across Sydney in an ISIS-inspired lone-wolf (sic: he's not a lone wolf, he's part of the Ummah, the Allah Gang, the Mohammedan Mob.. that's all it takes for someone to Go Jihad - CM) terror attack that was foiled on Thursday when a co-worker stumbled across the list and alerted police.
'Mr Nizamdeen was arrested by police in dramatic raids on his office high above the University of New South Wales on Thursday, after a colleague in the university's I.T. business team found a notebook allegedly containing details of an "ISIS-affiliated" terrorist plot planned for the Harbour City in the next few months.
There is a picture in the article. It is captioned - "Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen appears in a 2016 promotional video for a project by the NSW Government body 'Study Sydney' and an education start-up. He was charged with terror offences on 31 August 2018.". - CM
'It is understood that the targets of the allegedly graphic threats included former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, ex-foreign minister Julie Bishop, and their Liberal Party colleague Bronwyn Bishop. The iconic landmarks included the Sydney Opera House, as well as police and railway stations.
'Fairfax Media understands that police are now tracking his financial transactions from the past few years to see if they went beyond sending money back to Sri Lanka.
'Those who know (or "who thought they knew.". - CM) the Sri Lankan(sic: his being 'Sri Lankan' is of far less significance than his being Muslim - CM) were in shock after the arrest, with multiple friends and neighbours saying they couldn't believe what Mr Nizamdeen is accused of doing.
If they are not Muslims, then they need to learn that Mohammed the long-dead warlord, founder of the cult of blood and war, namely, Islam, is believed, by Muslims, to have said, "War is deceit". And they need to learn about taqiyya, mudarat, kitman, tawriyya, taysir, and most especially muruna, 'blending in". But if any of them are Muslims, then they are not shocked or surprised at all, no matter how much they might feign to be; they know full well what his motivation would be... the 109 jihad verses in the Quran, and the sacralised example of the so-called 'prophet'.- CM
"I'm totally stunned", said one friend.
If this person is not a Muslim, then this person was not in fact a 'friend' of Mohamed Nizamdeen's, even if he thought he was. Because Muslims in their cult texts are repeatedly and strongly enjoined not to befriend non-Muslims - indeed, the instructions are to hold them in contempt - unless they do so feigningly, temporarily and temporisingly, for Muslim advantage. - CM
"Everyone says it, but he's such a normal guy. I never would have expected it."
You should have expected. His name was, after all, "Mohammed"; he is one of millions and millions of Mohammeds. As discussed in a classic little essay by Daniel Greenfield.
War is deceit. War is deceit. War is deceit. Mohammed said that; and this 'Mohammed', this person you thought was your 'friend', but who was plotting to mass-murder infidel Sydneysiders, was doing as Mohammed told him to do. - CM
'The IT business analyst was not previously known to police in Australia, and has no criminal record.
'It is understood that he has no family in Australia, and lives with a room-mate.
Is that room-mate Muslim or non-Muslim? - CM
'He had worked with NSW Police in 2016 to develop an app to help adapt to life in Australia (oh, the irony! - CM), which was presented at Parliament House.
'He was also selected as UNSW 'Hero of the Week' last year, telling an interviewer that material things are unimportant to him.
But promoting the advancement, and the very-this-worldly dominance, of Islam, Islam, Islam, and therefore of Muslims, is - now we discover - very important to him indeed... - CM
"Success for me, being happy, doens't always have to be about money, it's not about the high-ranking job. Success is if you're comfortable with where you are", he said.
Let us remember that the muezzin howls, "Come to success!" There is the dream of the Islamic paradise; there is the dream of Total World Domination, a global sharia despotism.. - CM
'Everyone says it, but he's such a normal guy. I never would have expected it" - Friends of the accused.
You weren't supposed to expect it; that's how this sort of jihad works. Attack from ambush.- CM
'Mr Nizamdeen's colleagues, who witnessed the police raids on the office on Thursday, said they were still reeling following the discovery of the notebook, and the subsequent arrest.
"It's very dramatic. We are all very shaken", said one colleague. "it's scary, thinking we were sitting next to someone plotting something horrible".
But you were and he was. And it is perfectly possible that other seemingly-nice, seemingly 'normal' tertiary-educated, nicely-dressed, sunnily-smiling apparently-westernised Muslims on the UNSW campus - whether they be staff or students or support-staff or admin - and on other campuses around Australia, are thinking of and planning and plotting the same sorts of horrible things that this bloke was plotting. - CM
'After the arrest on Thursday, plain-clothed detectives also raided the Zetland apartment where he had lived for four years and seized computers and mobile phones from the unit.
'Investigators from the multi-agency Joint Counter-Terrorism Team say that the notebook found by a co-worker contained details of Sydney identities and landmarks that Mr Nizamdeen was allegedly plotting to attack in the following months, NSW joint counter-terrorism team commanded Detective Acting Superintendent Mick Sheehy said.
"There is a number of locations and individuals named in that document who are potential targets", he told reporters on Friday morning.
'Police do not anticipate making any further arrests", he said.
Sure they don't. But have they found out what mosque, if any, he attended during those past four years in Australia? What mosque/s his family attend, back in Sri Lanka? Does he belong to a Muslim student association and if so, what kinds of 'preachers' and 'speakers' are invited by that organisation? Did he belong to such an organisation back in Sri Lanka, assuming that that was where he did his undergraduate studies? - CM
'While police say that the I.T. student "would affiliate with ISIS", he has not been charged with being a member of a terror group.
He is a member of a terrorist organisation-cum-crime 'family'-cum-death-cult that hides in plain sight - the Ummah, or Mohammedan Mob. - CM
"At this stage it appears that this is an individual acting on his own. There is certainly some further investigation that is required, but again it is a matter that is before the courts", said Acting Superintendent Sheehy.
'He has returned to his native Sri Lanka, and has travelled to a number of other overseas destinations, which police on Friday refused to detail.
'Mr Nizamdeen briefly faced Waverley Local Court on Friday morning charged with one count of making a document connected with the preparation of a terrorist act.
'He did not apply for bail, which was formally refused. He will next appear in Central Local Court on October 24.
'Police say that Mr Nizamdeen is on a student visa that expires in September, and was in the process of applying for a new one.
'Instead, the AFP have applied for a Criminal Justice Stay visa, so that they can prosecute him.
Try him, convict him, jail him; and then, at the end of his jail term, deport him. After which he becomes a headache for majority-non-Islamic Sri Lanka, who would be well advised to annul his Sri Lankan citizenship status and expel him to some part of the dar al Islam. - CM
"We will allege that this person was in possession of a document that was used in the preparation of a terrorism offence", said the Australian Federal Police's Detective Superintendent Michael "Mick" Tiernan. "The charges laid against this person are serious and significant and should not be underestimated".
"Police are now working to investigate how Mr Nizamdeen allegedly became radicalised".
He was raised as a Mohammedan, by Mohammedan parents. And so, unsurprisingly, he Went Jihad. Got Muslims? Got Mosques? Got Jihad. As Joseph Schacht, in his monumental scholarly tome, "An Introduction to Islamic Law', states succinctly, "The basis of the Islamic attitude towards unbelievers is the law of war. They must be converted, or subjugated, or killed". - CM
Dutch police identify Amsterdam stabbing suspect as 19-year-old Afghan
What a surprise. I bet they are stumped as to his motive though. From Reuters.
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch police said a man who stabbed and seriously injured two people at Amsterdam’s main train station on Friday was a 19-year-old Afghan with a German residence permit.
Police said the man seemed to have randomly picked his two victims in the busy hall of Amsterdam central station at around midday. He was shot and taken to a hospital by police where he was being interrogated, police and the Amsterdam city council said in a joint statement.
“The investigation into the incident is ongoing”, the authorities said. “All scenarios are taken into consideration, including a terrorist motive.” Maybe the authorities are getting the idea; the police did shoot him, after all.
Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman, 21, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 30 years at the Old Bailey for plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May in a bomb and knife attack on 10 Downing Street. The Islamic State terrorist planned to bomb the gates of 10 Downing Street, kill guards and then attack Theresa May with a knife or gun.
The trial had heard how Rahman was encouraged by an uncle who travelled to Syria to fight and was killed in a drone strike last June. Two other uncles had been jailed in August 2016 for funding terrorism.
His concerned mother had moved to north London (from Birmingham) to get away from their influence, and Rahman was referred to the de-radicalisation Channel programme. But Rahman spun a web of lies to Channel and went on to plot his attack over the course of two years.
In August last year he was arrested on suspicion of sending indecent images to under-age girls, but never charged. An examination of his mobile phone raised concerns he was harbouring extremist views.
The defendant revealed his plans, saying: "I want to do a suicide bomb on Parliament. I want to attempt to kill Theresa May. "There are lorries here with big gas tankers, if a brother can drive it next to Parliament I will bomb."
By early November last year, he appeared settled on an attack on 10 Downing street with a suicide bomb, gun or knife. He told an undercover officer: "(God willing) will be very big if I'm successful. I can't mess up. I can't get (martyrdom) if I get caught."
On November 18 last year, Rahman carried out reconnaissance around Whitehall. Two days later, he bought a rucksack from Argos before meeting an undercover officer in Brixton for it to be fitted with explosives.
Australia: Adelaide-Resident Muslim, Somali 'Refugee', Accused of Being Islamic State Member, On Trial
She was arrested in May last year. Now she comes to trial. Note: She arrived in Australia at the age of 13, with her parents and siblings, as Somali "refugees". Had Australia a ban on admitting Muslims - no matter what their sob stories - we would not have had to worry about, monitor, arrest and expensively try - and then, no doubt, expensively incarcerate - this nasty little piece of work, who had a fine collection of gruesome beheading videos on her mobile phone, even as she was studying nursing - nursing!
As reported by the ABC's court reporter, Rebecca Opie, this week.
"Adelaide Woman (sic: "Adelaide-Resident Muslim Woman" - CM) Accused of Being Islamic-State Member Faces Trial"
'A Supreme Court jury has been warned they will be exposed to gruesome and graphic evidence during the trial of an Adelaide woman accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation.
An Adelaide-resident Somali Muslim woman accused of having joined the Muslim terror and jihad organisation, Islamic State. - CM
'Zainab Abdirahman-Khalif, 23, has pleaded not guilty to knowingly being a member of the Islamic State (IS) group between July 2016 and May 2017.
'In his opening address, Commonwealth prosecuor Chris Winneke, Q.C., said that at the time of the alleged offending, Ms Abdirahman-Khalif lived with her mother and two brothers at Mansfield Park, in Adelaide's northwest.
Not all Muslims in Australia live in the most heavily-Islamised regions of Sydney and Melbourne. The Ummah is getting in everywhere, all around the country; and everywhere they go - even in tiny Adelaide, the City of Churches - there are those that, like this female, Go Jihad, or try to. - CM
'He said that in March 2016 she quit her diploma of science and technology at the University of South Australia, which she had been studying in pursuit of becoming a nurse (and isn't that a thought to fill one with disquiet, that there are Muslims, in western countries, studying to become doctors, or nurses, who are ... filled with the orthodox hatred of and contempt for us filthy kuffar, that orthodox Islam instils in them feom birth. That the Muslim nurse or greasily-smiling Muslim doctor who fronts up to your hospital bed, may have a mobile phone stuffed with... beheading videos. - CM) and decided to "follow a different path".
She chose jihad fi sabil allah... - CM
"The crown case is that on July 13, 2016, unbeknown to her family (suuuure.. how do you know they didn't know all about it, and approve? - CM) and using her savings, she purchased over the internet a one-way ticket [from Adelaide] to Istanbul in Turkey... for departure the following day", Mr Winneke said.
If, by this point, she was being monitored, and they knew what she was up to... the sensible thing would have been to let her go. And then... annul her Australian citizenship status, and prevent her from ever returning to Australia. And then we would have been rid of her. - CM
"So on July 14, 2016, without telling her mother and brothers that she was leaving the country (really? again, how do we know she didn't tell them?? or that they didn't suspect a thing? really? this is the daughter of a Somali Muslim family... there wouldn't be a thing she did or said that they - and the rest of the Somali Muslim 'community' established in Adelaide - wouldn't have their little beady eyes fixed upon - CM) with only hand luggage and very little funds... she set out for the airport."
'The court heard that she was detained prior to boarding, and prevented from getting onto the flight.
"The crown case is that the defendant, in leaving Australia and going to Turkey, was ultimately going to make contact with Islamic State and commence to live in territory held by Islamic State as a member of that society, and as a follower of the leader of that organisation", Mr Winneke said.
And given that she did so intend, her Australian citizenship should have been declared null and void, since she had de facto rejected, repudiated and renounced it. - CM
"Dozens of Videos Found on Accused's Phone.
"Mr Winneke said that Ms Abdirahman-Khalif was in communication with three young African women (three young Muslim women - CM) who carried out a bombing in Mombasa, Kenya, in September 2016, for which IS later claimed responsibility.
In other words: a bombing ordered by Islamic State. - CM
"It's not the Crown's case that the defendant is in any way involved in the organisation or commission of any specific events at all", he said. "But the Crown does have evidence that suggests that the defendant had some knowledge that the event(sic: he should have said, "the attack" - CM) in Mombasa was going to occur", Mr Winneka said.
And did she tell any Aussie infidel law-enforcement authorities about it? No, she did not. She did not 'rat' on her fellow Muslims to the Australian authorities who could have gotten in touch with the Kenyan authorities and warned them that an attack was being planned. She kept mum. She is therefore complicit. - CM
'The court heard that 378 audio files associated with I.S. were found on her phone, along with 125 videos from an I.S. media organisation, 62 of which contained extremist material including executions.
'Executions'. Or, rather, "ritual murders carried out to the tune of allahu-akbar". - CM
"It heard that there was also a photo on her phone of her in Islamic dress pointing to the ceiling, which is a pose associated with the group (but they didn't invent it; this gesture is part of the repertoire of historic Islam - CM), and a video she had filmed of herself with an I.S. song playing in the background.
'Jurors warned of evidence containing violence.
'Justice David Peek warned jurors that they would be exposed to graphic and gruesome evidence from images and video footage found on the defendant's mobile phone.
"It contains a great deal of Islamic State propaganda, much military training, fighting, explosions... there are references to suicide bombers", he said. "Wounded persons and dead bodies are seen in various states and positions, most are obviously adult males, but some may be women and children".
'The jurors were told that they would also see footage of captives being executed (sic: ritually murdered - CM) by knfie, sword, or firearm, but that the videos had been edited to stop just before the person's (sic: the victim's - CM) death.
"That material that is to be shown is both graphic and gruesome, and you will see things like blood, brain fragments, severed heads placed on bodies", Justice Peek said.
And this 23 year old female was avidly watching this sort of stuff, collecting it, poring over it. As so many, many other young Muslims do... The English author of a blog called 'Defend the Modern World' spoke of attending university alongside Muslim students, and of his horror when he discovered that some of these students, young men, were regularly watching - and obviously deriving great enjoyment from watching - videos of actual beheadings of actual people. - CM
'The court heard that Ms Abdirahman-Khalif lived in refugee camps in Kenya until she was 13 years old, and moved to Australia with her family, who are of Somali origin (who are devout Muslims of Somali ethnicity - CM), in 2009.
The whole family should never have been allowed into Australia. - CM
'She studied at the Islamic College of South Australia until 2011, and completed year 12 at Roma Mitchell Secondary College.
In other words: for most of her life she has been pickled in Islam. Note that most of her secondary schooling did not take place in a secular Aussie school, but in an Islamic school. What did she learn there? Has anyone properly and thoroughly examined the curriculum at the 'Islamic College of South Australia'? How about a surprise inspection? And.. what mosque, or mosques, did - and does - her family attend? And is anyone monitoring them? Do we know what is preached there? Have they, too, been surprise-inspected? Investigated 'undercover', to find out what is said when the Muslims there think that dirty kuffar ears are not listening? - CM
'The trial is expected to run for four weeks and will hear evidence from a number of witnesses, including an academic expert in terrorist activities in the Middle East.
But somehow I don't think that that 'expert' will be, say, Mordechai Kedar, or Raphael Israeli, or even Australia's own Dr Mark Durie, or ex-Muslim Daniel Shayesteh.
"Alleged Islamic State Member Admitted to Being Caught "Red-Handed" By Police, Court Told.
"A woman (sic: a Muslim woman - CM) accused of being part of the Islamic State (I.S.) terrorist group told police that she was unaware of how images of beheadings ended up on her mobile phone, an Adelaide court has heard.
Oh, pull the other leg, milady, it has bells on. You really expect us to believe that? ROFLMAO. And even if somebody else put them there.. why did you keep them there, rather than deleting them instantly? - CM
'Zainab Abdirahman-Khalif, 23, is on trial in South Australia's Supreme Court, after pleading not guilty to knowingly being a member of the Islamic State terrorist organisation between July 2016 and May 2017.
'The court was told that she was heard on audio recording, admitting that she was caught "red-handed" by police with a photo on her phone, although it was not specified what that particular photo depicted.
"The court heard that she was detained at Adelaide Airport in July 2016, after buying a one-way ticket online to fly from Adelaide to Istanbul.
"It heard that she took only carry-on luggage and $170 in savings, which, the prosecution alleges, was not enough to return home.
We should have let this jihad camp-follower go... and then annulled her Aussie citizenship and passport. - CM
'She was interviewed by detectives and placed under arrest for attempting to enter a declared area, but the court heard that she was never charged with that offence, and was released from custody the following morning.
"Prosecutor Chris Winneke, Q.C., said police later searched her family's Mansfield Park home.
By which time, no doubt, she and the family had had plenty of time to try to get rid of anything "hot".The house should have been surprise-searched before she was released, not after. And any mosque or mosques with which the family is or has been associated should also have been surprise-searched. And the premises of the Islamic College of South Australia. - CM
'On the second day of his opening address, Mr Winneke said that in September 2016 Ms Abdirahman-Khalif spoke to someone about police searching her home. "She said, "You know, when they knocked on the front door, I have deleted the three, Telegram, Snapchat, Messenger. God loves me, praise is to be to God", he said.
'Mr Winneke said the defendant discussed deleting photos, books, history and video material, and told the person she was talking to, "The men caught me red-handed, the screenshot you sent me".
"The discussion involved uploading pictures in Telegram, writings in Arabic, and others leaving countries using other people's identification, to board a boat to Yemen", he said.
'The court heard that Ms Abdirahman-Khalif was interviewed by police detectives in February 2017.
"She said it was rubbish that she was a member of I.S.", Mr Winneke said.
Of course she would have said that. Muslims lie, Muslims lie, Muslims lie. - CM
"She did concede that she was aware that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the leader of (IS). She didn't know how images of beheadings and the like got onto her mobile phone."
No, she said she didn't know. Oh, suuuuuure she didn't know. - CM
'Jury played interview with counterterrorism officers.
One wonders whether any of those officers are instructed about the many and various forms of Muslim deceit: taqiyya, mudarat, muruna, taysir, kitman, tawriyya.. or in the special Islamspeak whereby terms like 'justice' or 'truth' or 'oppression' that mean one thing for non-muslims, mean something quite different, for Muslims. - CM
'Mr Winneke said that in a text conversation Ms Abdirahman-Khalif had described herself as "muwahideen", which was how members of IS referred to themselves.
"In a discussion concerning her being in Adelaide, she wrote - "Qadarallah, it was my destiny for me to be here, sis...there are not a lot of muwahideen, just me".
And that is one too many. But there are plenty of other Muslims, and I'm sure she will not be the only to Go Jihad. Got Muslims? Got Mosques? Got Jihad. Tiny provincial Adelaide, once known as "the city of churches", has been colonised by Muslims. If there is an 'Islamic College of South Australia', then surely there is a mosque, and most likely, mosques. And where there are Muslims and mosques there is or will be jihad, sooner or later. - CM
'She was arrested and charged with knowingly being a member of a terrorist organisation, in May 2017.
In fact, the Islamic State is the least of our worries. The whole of the Ummah, the Mohammedan Mob, the Allah Gang, could quite reasonably be described as a terrorist organisation... - CM
'The jury was played an interview recording where Ms Abdirahman-Khalif can be heard telling counter-terrorism officers, after her detainment at Adelaide Airport, that she was travelling to Turkey for a holiday and to find aid work.
"I want to help, you know, I want to be part of aid workers", she said.
It all depends on what you mean by 'help', and what you mean by 'aid workers'... - CM
'When asked if she knew of any aid organisations in Turkey, she said she could not remember the name.
Any Islamic 'aid' organisation or 'charity' is likely to be involved in or supporting or enabling Jihad in some way or other, in any case. - CM
'She said she had not contacted any aid organisations because she thought she would do that once she got there.
Hm. - CM
'The court heard that her parents were "shocked" (oh, they're always 'shocked', the pickled-in-Islam families of those who are caught waging or attempting to wagr or plotting to wage Jihad... but I don't believe them, I don't believe for one second that they really didn't know, or that they are surprised at all by the fact that one of their own has decided to answer the call to Jihad - CM) when they were told she had been detained trying to leave the country, because they thought she was at university.
Oh, suuure they did. - CM
"Mr Winneke previously told the court that Ms Abdirahman-Khalif had quit her studies at the University of South Australia to "follow a different path".
How soon before her departure did she quit that university? I assume she was living at home with her parents. She' s the Muslim daughter of devout Muslim parents who sent her to an Islamic college for most of her secondary schooling. There's no way that they wouldn't know what she was up to. They would surely know that she had quit her studies and stopped attending university.
The trial continues; no doubt there is more to come.
An expensive trial. How much of Australia's limited resources has had to be expended to monitor this creature, to arrest her, and now to try her? If she is found guilty, then we must expensively incarcerate her. If she gets off.. then there is a Muslim running around Australia who likes to gloat over beheading videos. Not the only one so to do, either, I daresay. Not a comforting thought. To repeat: we'd all be better off, all of us non-Islamic Aussies, if this creature - and her parents, and her brothers - had never been allowed into the country in the first place. - CM
Corbyn Must Go as Leader of the British Labour Party
by Michael Curtis
At the length truth will out. If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. Now the truth about the venomous presence of antisemitism in the British Labour Party is being told, told in all its lack of glory. In July 2018 three Jewish newspapers in Britain simultaneously wrote United We Stand stating that a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn would pose "an existential threat" to Jewish life in the UK.
A month later, in August 2018, more than 30,000 British citizens signed a petition organized by the Campaign against Antisemitism, an organization to educate people about the issue, calling on Corbyn to resign as leader of the Labour Party. In the House of Commons, Dame Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking in East London, who lost family members in the Holocaust called Corbyn a "racist and antisemite," and asserted that the Labour Party was a "hostile environment" for Jews.
At the outset, it should be clear that the complaints and allegations against the persistence of Labour Party antisemitism and his refusal to condemn it is not motivated by animus against Corbyn but results from perusal of his utterances and actions and his non-actions and silences. Any animus is in fact displayed by supporters of Corbyn. One influential close ally, is Len McCluskey general secretary of Unite, the second largest, with 1.2 million members, trade union in UK, who spoke of Jewish "truculent hostility," and called on Jewish community leaders, whose motives he somewhat surprisingly said he did not understand, to "dial down the rhetoric." There can be no misunderstanding of the motives of McCluskey and Unite. In a statement of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, issued on July 11, 2014, a call was made for sanctions against Israel which was described as an "apartheid state."
Even Corbyn himself in March 2018 recognized, if belatedly, that antisemitism has occured in pockets of the Labour Party "causing pain and hurt to our Jewish community in the LP and the rest of the country." However, over the years Corbyn has denied he is personally antisemitic, though he has uttered classic tropes which suggest otherwise. This can now be judged by videos recently made public, that he shared platforms and took part in events with antisemities, terrorist sympathisers, and other political extremists, and never publicly challenged them.
The most weighty stinging comment on Corbyn, an unprecended attack, has come in August 2018 from Lord Sacks, Cambridge and London university educated, Chief Rabbi 1991-2013. who referred to Corbyn as a person who had legitimized the public expression of hate. Sacks was unqualified in remarks of an indigo hue: within living memory of the Holocaust, Britain has an antisemite as the leader of the Labour Party and Her Majesty's Opposition. The danger is that where he leads others will follow. According to Sacks, Corbyn's hate defiles British politics. He is low, dishonest, and dangerous. First he denies, then he equivocates, then he obfuscates.
Sacks was particularly incensed by revelation of remarks Corbyn had made in 2013 at a meeting of the Palestinian Return Center where he attacked a group of "British Zionists" who had dared to criticize a speech by Palestinian Ambassador Manuel Hassassian. Those Zionists, Corbyn said, had two problems. One is that they don't want to study history. The second is that having lived in the country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they "don't understand English irony. ... Manuel does understand English irony."
Sacks saw this as the most offensive statement made by a senior British politician since Enoch Powell. Like Powell, the leader using the langusge of classic prewar European antisemitism, Corbyn depicts an entire group of British citizens as essentially alien with implications of double loyalty. Corbyn said "Zionists," but "Jews" were implicit, unable to appreciate irony, a figure of speech absent in his own speeches. Corbyn was not only offensive, but ignorant and foolish. All Jews, Isaiah Berlin once said, who are conscious of their identity as Jews are steeped in history. Jews, we know have too much history, and too little geography. Corbyn may be a slow or inattentive reader. Otherwise, he can start with Jewish irony in the Bible, and more recently in British novelist Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question.
By a remarkable coincidence, the case of Enoch Powell and his controversial 1968 "Rivers of Blood" speech was being discussed when Sacks referred to it in August 2018. In February 2018 Powell's former constituency of Wolverhampton, for which he was an MP, 1950-74, planned to remember him with a blue plaque. As a result of opposition by many, including those who intended to tear it down or deface it, the plan was scraped. In his speech Powell proposed control and limit to mass immigration into Britain, especially from the black Commonwealth: we must, he said, "be mad as a nation to permit the annual flow of some 50,000 dependents." The country must prevent discrimination against the native population. Curiously in spite of the invective, Powell had never used the phrase "Rivers of Blood," but had alluded to the poet Virgil, who wrote " like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood."
Corbyn's statements and the recent emergence of video footage occasion a comment. One video shows him in 2014 in Tunisia attending a cermony honoring three "Palestinian martrys," the Black September group, and its founder, Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad) responsible for torturing and then for the assassination of 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympic games. He denied laying a wreath but said he was "present though not actually involved in it." However, he mislaid the truth since photos show him with a wreath. They also show him close to the grave of Atef Bseiso, intelligence chief of PLO, also involved in the 1972 massacre, who was killed in Paris in June 1992.
Corbyn urged an end to the "stranglehold of elite power and billionaire domination" over large parts of the British media, familiar in many antisemitic utterances. His remarks echoed and were praised by David Duke, Holocaust denier, Grand Wizard of Ku Klux Klan, and Nick Griffin, former leader of the neo-Nazi British National Party.
Corbyn was also defended by Haneen Zoabi, Israeli-Arab member of the Knesset, who calls Israel a "fascist" state, about his remarks concerning speeches made by British MPS, but which she, and LP members insisted were written by Israeli diplomats concerning the Gaza flotilla raid in May 2010. Zoabi was aboard the ship Mavi Marmara, along with IHH activists affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, who tried to end the Israeli blockde of Hamas in Gaza. Israeli commandos boarded the ship and were attacked by IHH, 10 of whom died in the fighting.
Corbyn in 2011 called for Holocaust Memorial Day to be changed to Genocide Memorial Day to reflect that Nazis targeted not only Jewish people.
In 2010 he hosted an event and made no comment when a speaker compared Israeli policy with Nazi policies. Again in 2013, at a meeting of the Palestinian Return Center he compared Israeli control of the West Bank to the Nazi occupation of Europe, with endess roadblocks, imprisonment, irrational behavior by the military and the police, "of the very sort that is recognizable by many people in Europe who suffered occupation during World War II."
In an interview on TV on August 12, 2012 concerning a terrorist incident, Corbyn said that Israel had an interest in violence in the Sinai, though it was Islamic jihadists who attacked an Egypian army base, killing 16 Egyptians.
Corbyn has endorsed BDS, with the argument that "I think the boycott campaign is part and parcel of a legal process that has to be adopted. Sanctions against Israel are the appropriate way of promoting the peace process." He described former foreign minister Tzipi Livni as a war criminal.
No one will accuse Corbyn of being a war criminal, but equally he is not the best that the UK can offer to cleanse the disease of antisemitism. The Labour Party for its own good and for the good of the country should end his position as leader. Dayanu, enough is enough.
Other tourists may remember London for its spectacular sights and history, but I remember it for Islam. When I was visiting the U.K. as a teenager in 2006, I got lost in an East London market. There I saw a group of women wearing head-to-toe black cloaks. I froze, confused and intimidated by the faceless figures. It was my first encounter with the niqab, which covers everything but a woman’s eyes.
This summer, I found myself heading back to the U.K. as it was plunging into a debate over Islamic dress. Boris Johnson, the country’s former foreign secretary and London’s ex-mayor, wrote a column opposing attempts to ban face-covering veils. Nonetheless, he added, “it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes.” The responses could hardly have been more heated.
I wanted to cut past the polemics and experience London’s Muslim communities for myself. My first visit was to Tower Hamlets, an East London borough that is about 38% Muslim, among the highest in the U.K. As I walked down Whitechapel Road, the adhan, or call to prayer, echoed through the neighborhood. Muslims walked in one direction for jumu’ah, Friday prayer, while non-Muslims went the opposite way. Each group kept its distance and avoided eye contact with the other. A sign was posted on a pole: “Alcohol restricted zone.”
Women and girls were dressed in hijabs, niqabs and abayas (robes). Some of the males wore skullcaps and thawbs, Arabic tunics, with their trousers tailored just above the ankles as per Muhammad’s example. The scene could have been lifted out of Riyadh, a testament to the Arabization of Britain’s South Asian Muslims. At the barbershop, women waited outside under the hot sun while their sons and husbands were groomed.
Inside the East London Mosque, visitors were expected to dress “modestly.” Headscarves were provided at reception for any woman who showed up without one. A kind man on staff showed me around the men’s quarters. He gave me a bag filled with booklets about Islam. In one, Muslims are encouraged to “re-establish the Shari’ah,” or Islamic law. Those who ignore this mandate are “of little worth to any society.”
That night, I visited the Houses of Parliament. Rifle-carrying police officers greeted me when I stepped out of the Tube. The extra security was mobilized in response to last year’s car and stabbing attack in Westminster by Khalid Masood, who killed five people. Outside the station, there are roadblocks along Westminster Bridge and a new security fence in front of the palace yard. I asked an officer about Masood’s attack. “I’d rather not talk about it,” he replied. “I was there that day.”
Forty-eight hours later, I woke up to the news that a car had rammed a Westminster security barrier. Police arrested Salih Khater, a 29-year-old Sudanese refugee who had been given asylum and British citizenship. Three people were injured in the attack. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, expressed support for banning vehicles from parts of Parliament Square.
Next I visited Leyton, another district in East London where some Muslim social norms prevail. An Arab cafe near the Tube station was filled with men; no women were inside. An Islamic bookstore sold hijab-wearing dolls for children. The dolls had blank, featureless faces, since human depictions are prohibited in conservative Islam.
I stopped outside the Masjid al-Tawhid, a South Asian Salafi mosque and madrassa (school), just before afternoon prayer time. A group of girls in robes and veils walked around back, toward the dumpsters, where the women’s entrance is located. I later saw the Islamic Shari’a Council of Leyton. This community has religious, educational, business and legal institutions to maintain a separate identity.
All this gave me pause. But I was unprepared for what I would see next in Luton, a small town 30 miles north of London and the birthplace of the English Defense League, which has held unruly anti-Muslim demonstrations. At the Central Mosque, I met a friendly group of Punjabi-speaking young men. “You’ve come to see Luton?” one struggled to ask me in English. The young men asked me to follow them through the town center.
Within minutes, we walked by three other mosques, which were vibrant and filled with young men coming and going. We passed a church, which was closed and decrepit, with a window that had been vandalized with eggs. We squeezed by hundreds of residents busy preparing for the Eid al-Adha holiday. Girls in hijabs gathered around tables to paint henna designs on their hands. All the businesses had a religious flair: The eateries were halal, the fitness center was sex-segregated, and the boutiques displayed “modest” outfits on mannequins. Pakistani flags flew high and proud. I never saw a Union Jack.
The men finally led me to a discreet building that housed a small Islamic center. They spoke privately to its imam. I was led upstairs to see him. The imam asked me if I was prepared to convert. Apparently there had been some miscommunication with the young men. I told the imam I wasn’t ready for that, but I would appreciate any literature I could take home. He led me to a bookshelf and said I could have whatever I wanted. I grabbed the first booklet that was in English. It was by Zakir Naik, a fundamentalist preacher from India. “The Qur’an says that Hijab has been prescribed for the women,” the booklet explained in one section, “so that they are recognised as modest women and this will also prevent them from being molested.”
Other tourists might remember London for Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus and Big Ben. I’ll remember it for its failed multiculturalism. Or perhaps this is what successful multiculturalism looks like.
Iceland, Antisemitism, and the “Turkish Abductions”
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Recently I learned, from an article by Manfred Gerstenfeld, something about which I had been unaware: the long record of antisemitism in Iceland, both bizarre and horrific, given that the Icelanders throughout their history had virtually no Jews in their country, and no dealings with Jews outside their country. As so often, Jews need not be present for antisemitism to flourish; they so often can be an abstract object of hatred.
Here is what Gerstenfeld reported, followed by my comments:
Whenever the media mention Iceland in the context of Israel, it is usually to report negative news. One recent development is a petition going around the country not to participate in the Eurovision contest, which will be held next year in Israel. So far this petition has received 11,000 signatories. That is significant in a country with only about 350,000 inhabitants. (Apparently the national broadcaster nevertheless intends to participate in the Eurovision program.)
The petition in Iceland to not participate in the Eurovision contest to be held next year in Israel garnered 11,000 signatures. But that leaves 339,000 people who did not sign, and even after we deduct for those younger than 18 (non-voters and non-petition signers), at least 250,000 adult Icelanders apparently did not wish to boycott Israel. That’s 25 Icelanders not against Israel (or perhaps even for Israel) for every one Icelander who, in signing the petition, could be considered anti-Israel. Not a cause for alarm.
It is difficult to find in Iceland’s history more than one substantial occasion when it played a positive role for Israel or Jews. The Icelandic representative at the UN, Ambassador Thor Thors, was the rapporteur for the 1947 Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). This committee recommended partitioning the British Mandate into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. In his autobiography, Abba Eban reports that Thors was “magnificent” in introducing the recommendation to the General Assembly where the vote would be taken.
Pro-Israel groups should start reminding present-day Icelanders of Thor Thors’ “magnificent” help at the U.N. in 1947 — and then wonder aloud, more in sorrow than in anger, as to what happened to that previous sympathy, and where today’s “Thor Thors” were to be found. Of course, his current avatars, given the more than seventy years of jihad against Israel, would no longer be promoting a “two-state solution,” but rather, Israeli deterrence as the only way to keep the peace.
In 2015, the city council of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, decided to boycott Israeli products. A week later, Reykjavik’s Mayor, Dagur B. Eggertsson, amended the proposal so that the city would be boycotting only those goods produced in the “occupied” areas. Council members said the boycott was a symbolic act designed to support Palestinian statehood and condemn Israel’s alleged policy of apartheid. The Icelandic Foreign Ministry said the city council’s decision was not in line with the country’s policy.
The city council of Reykjavik was responded to forcefully by Yair Lapid, leader of the Israeli Yesh Atid party and a former finance minister, who asked the members of Reykjavik’s city council whether the boycott included Microsoft Office, cellphones, cameras, and Google, all of which contain elements that are produced in Israel. Lapid added that if the answer to all these questions is yes, he wishes them an enjoyable life until their sadly unavoidable heart attack, as pacemakers are also an Israeli invention.
For such a small country, Iceland has caused a great deal of international mischief this century. It made the international press in 2008 in a major way when it suffered a systematic banking breakdown. Bearing in mind the relative size of its economy, its financial collapse was the largest the world had ever seen.
This has nothing to do with antisemitism in Iceland. Why bring it up? It only distracts from the matter at hand.
In 2011, Iceland’s parliament was the first country in Western Europe to recognize a Palestinian state. The foreign minister at the time, Ossur Skarphedinson, was extremely anti-Israel. Iceland’s Birgitta Jonsdottir was the first parliamentarian of any country to visit participants of the failed second Gaza flotilla.
Sadly, all true.
Iceland’s attitude toward Jews, both recently and in the past, can be described as wretched. The latest indignity was a proposal this year to be the first country in Europe to ban circumcision. In addition to politicians, 400 doctors supported the bill.
This is not evidence of antisemitism. The opposition to circumcision, which also affects Muslims, is not necessarily prompted by antisemitism. There are both medical and ethical arguments against circumcision. Many of the doctors who oppose it consider it a human rights issue, because those being circumcised have no say in a matter that affects their bodies. These doctors are not for banning circumcision outright, but for delaying it until the person affected is old enough to make his own, informed decision. Nor are all Jews for circumcision. To quote Dirk van Dijk: “The growing resistance to circumcision stems not only from medical and secular organizations, but comes also from within religious communities themselves. In the US and Israel, more and more Jewish parents are abandoning circumcision in lieu of rituals that do not lead to an infringement of physical integrity.”
Iceland attracted much negative international attention for this. Reinhard Marx, the cardinal of Munich and Chairman of the Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Community, denounced the bill as an attack on religious freedom. The bishop of the National Church of Iceland said the ban could criminalize Judaism and Islam in that country and result in the barring of individuals who adhere to those religions.
Again, why should we not believe those doctors who claim to be against circumcision on medical and ethical grounds? Why must we assume they are necessarily antisemitic? Can “religious freedom” be invoked to justify every practice, such as, for example, polygamy for Muslims?
The leading Republican and Democrat on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee together urged Iceland not to support the proposed bill. They wrote to the Icelandic ambassador in Washington, saying: “While Jewish and Muslim populations in Iceland may be small, your country’s ban could be exploited by those who stoke xenophobia and anti-Semitism in countries with more diverse populations.” The Conference of European Rabbis announced that it had managed to convince doctors, academics, and heads of organizations of all faiths to call the proposal “anti-Semitic.”
The Conference of European Rabbis may have managed to convince others to call the proposal “antisemitic,” but that does not make it so. There are Jewish doctors who believe the practice of circumcision should be ended. They can be found online. Are they antisemitic?
There are many other examples of anti-Semitic behavior in Iceland’s past. Iceland gave warm refuge to the Estonian Nazi war criminal Evald Mikson. At the end of the 1980s, Nazi hunter Ephraim Zuroff tried to bring Mikson to trial for his involvement in the murder of Jews in Estonia. This led to many Icelandic media attacks against Israel. The country’s government took more than 10 years after Zuroff’s initial appeals to set up a commission to investigate Mikson’s war crimes. Only after his death did the investigators find that he had indeed committed atrocities.
The delay of Icelandic authorities in investigating Mikson, the attacks in the Icelandic media on Nazi hunter Ephraim Zuroff, and on Israel for wanting to put this war criminal on trial — these are intolerable examples of antisemitism. Nothing justifies them.
In 2004, Iceland offered asylum to Bobby Fischer, the extremely anti-Semitic former chess world champion. In 2004 he was arrested in Japan and held for several months for using a passport that had been revoked by the US government. Fischer fought extradition to the US. Eventually, he was granted an Icelandic passport and citizenship by a special act of the Althing, Iceland’s parliament. This allowed him to live in Iceland until his death in 2008. (As an aside, he praised the September 11 attacks.)
Bobby Fischer, lest we forget, had steadily descended into madness in the last few years of his life, as was indicated by, among many other things, his antisemitism (Fischer’s mother was Jewish). He was not offered asylum out of the blue by Iceland; he requested it. Fischer was granted Icelandic citizenship, however, not because of his antisemitic or any other views. The Icelanders remembered that he had brought them worldwide attention in 1972 with the championship chess match that he played against Boris Spassky, and it was that which caused the Althing to grant him his request for citizenship.
Many cases of anti-Semitism in Iceland over the centuries have been described by Vilhjalmur Örn Vilhjálmsson, an expert on the country’s history towards the Jews. One example concerns the deportation in 1938 of an impoverished German Jewish refugee to Denmark. The Icelandic authorities at that time offered to cover all costs for his expulsion to Nazi Germany if Denmark refused him entry. Decades after the war, similar cases became known.
Iceland behaved terribly toward that refugee. But it was not worse than many other countries that refused to accept, and turned back, Jewish refugees, in 1938-39, including the United States and Canada, both of which refused to allow the MS St. Louis, carrying 937 such desperate refugees, to land, forcing it to return to Europe.
Vilhjálmsson also published the fact that several Icelandic members of the Waffen SS fought for Nazi Germany, and others served in concentration camps. He added that after the war various former members of Iceland’s Nazi party quickly “attained high positions in society, including a couple of chiefs of police, a bank director and some doctors.”
A disgrace which the Icelanders need to be reminded of. Who were those members of the Waffen SS who fought for the Nazis or served in the concentration camps? What former members of Iceland’s Nazi party rose after the war to high positions? What were their names and what positions did they attain?
Iceland’s anti-Semitism still continues. Every year during the Lent period before Easter, daily hymns full of hatred for the Jews are read out by distinguished citizens and broadcast on Iceland’s public radio station. These texts were written in the 17th century – many years before the first Jews arrived in the country – by the Christian priest, poet, and anti-Semite Halgrimur Petterson. One hymn, entitled “The Demand for Crucifixion,” reads: “The Jewish leaders all decide that Jesus must be crucified. The Prince of Life their prey must be. The murderer set at liberty.” In 2012, the Simon Wiesenthal Center tried in vain to stop this hateful practice.
Again, the refusal of Icelanders to stop using what are unambiguously antisemitic hymns should be widely publicized. If the practice, for now, cannot be stopped, at least let it be better known.
The evidence for antisemitism in Iceland in Gerstenfeld’s indictment is convincing, but would be even stronger if certain irrelevancies were not included. It is wrong to cite Iceland’s financial meltdown as having anything to do with antisemitism. Similarly, the Althing’s providing Bobby Fischer with a passport and citizenship had nothing to do with his antisemitism; it was payback for his having put Reykjavik on the map in 1972 with his world chess championship match with Boris Spassky.
What should we do with this information on Iceland Gerstenfeld has assembled?
Spread the word. Online. On call-ins to radio shows. In newspaper and magazine articles. In lectures, or in questions to lecturers. Attempt to interest inquiring journalists for such television programs as 60 Minutes, in covering this unknown side of Icelandic life: “Not everything in Iceland is about volcanoes, geysers, chess games, and fish — there is also antisemitism. We came to find out why.”
Perhaps Icelanders can be reminded, too, of the poisoning of Robert Spencer on May 11, 2017, by an Icelander of the predictably left-wing, pro-Muslim, anti-Israel kind, offended by Spencer’s warnings, based on the texts and teachings of Islam, about jihad. No one in Iceland seemed particularly alarmed at this attempt at murder; in a tiny country where everyone is known to the authorities, there was a strange delay in the investigation, and now, more than 15 months later, the police have still done little to nothing about this case.
As part of a four-step program, let Iceland attempt, if not to rid itself of the curse of antisemitism, at least to dilute its potency.
First, make Icelanders aware of the manifestations of antisemitism in their folkways — their many hymns, for example, where Jews are grimly depicted as Christ-killers — that they have so far refused to abandon, despite entreaties by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Second, remind Icelanders of the volunteers from their country who joined the Waffen SS or served as guards in the Nazi concentration camps. Remind them, too, of how these people, when they returned to Iceland, were not shunned, but rather, attained high and respectable positions in Icelandic society. Do not hesitate to name and shame.
Third, remind Icelanders that their country gave refuge to an Estonian Nazi murderer, Evard Mikson. The Nazi hunter Ephraim Zuroff had wanted to put Mikson on trial; the Icelandic press attacked not Mikson, but Israel. The Icelanders took more than ten years even to set up a committee to investigate Mikson; by the time they concluded there was sufficient evidence to put him on trial, he had long been dead.
Fourth, remind Icelanders that it was not Jews who kidnapped and enslaved between 400 and 800 Icelanders in what became known as the “Turkish [that is, Muslim] Abductions.” This was in one month, from June 20 to July 19, 1627. In a month-long series of attacks, Muslim raiders from Algeria and Morocco swooped down on Icelandic coastal villages, killing many dozens of the inhabitants, and seizing hundreds of captives to be sold into slavery back in Barbary. Some of those who were enslaved were well treated (if a slave can be said to be “well treated”) while, as Guttormur Hallsson, a captive from eastern Iceland, reported in a letter written in Barbary in 1631, other Icelanders were slaves of “savage, cruel, hardhearted tyrants, who never stop treating them badly, and who force them to labour and toil with scanty clothing and little food, bound in iron fetters, from morning till night.”
The Icelanders ought long ago to have learned a lesson from being on the receiving end of violent Jihad. It was one of the most sensational events in the history of their country. It would be salutary for them to remember it.
Antisemitism may help to explain some — not all — Icelanders’ continuing myopia about Islam. For antisemitism is both a moral and a political failure. The moral failure can be seen in the diseased sympathy for a Nazi war criminal, and for treating Icelandic volunteers returning from service in the Waffen SS as fine fellows. The political failure arises from the fact that antisemitism can blind those who suffer from it to the meaning of Islam. Iceland has focused on the “plight of the Palestinians” — being the first European state to recognize “Palestine” — and displays an evident want of sympathy for Israel as it tries to defend itself from Jihad. Their attention fixed on a false menace, the Icelanders largely ignore a real one. Iceland, which had only seven Muslims in 1971, and 465 in 2013, now has over a thousand. That’s a steep rise, but given the small numbers, the country has not yet, unlike France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, had to endure a demographic deluge. It still has time — just — to wake up.
It's still the same old story, a fight for power and glory. Although the trade war between the U.S. and China dominates the news headlines, more attention must be given to the crucial issue that China is a formidable imperial colonial power, exhibiting the latest form of foreign domination over populations and polities that are weaker or less developed. The significant issue for Washington, D.C. is that China is aspiring to the leader of the world. It is alarming that recent statements by Chinese personalities focus on the old concept of tianxia, or "all under heaven," ending chaos in the world.
We are informed by the former Chinese foreign minister that China is "a big country and other countries are small countries, and that's a fact." One facet of this is that China has more than 800 million internet users, more than the U.S. and India combined. Equally significant is that China is posing itself not only as a superpower but as an alternative to Western democracy, liberalism, or capitalism.
The immediate problem is the unwillingness of the Chinese to enter into a deal in the trade war with the United States, perhaps the biggest in economic history. The reality is a U.S. trade deficit, $376 billion in 2017, an increase of $28 billion from 2016. This results from U.S. importing $506 billion worth of goods from China, and exporting goods valued at $130 billion. Understandably, the U.S. is concerned about unfair trade practices, particularly the theft by China of intellectual property, and a variety of restraints on U.S. goods.
Yet, in spite of continuing friction, it is unlikely that the bitter trade war will lead to any kind of military confrontation or use of force. Nevertheless, U.S. policy makers are conscious of the challenge of Chinese developments, economic, political, cultural, and geostrategic, which are altering the balance of power in international relations between the two countries.
Chinese international influence is likely to increase now that the 64 year old Xi Jinping was in March 2018 unanimously, really 99.8% of the vote, reelected President of the People's Republic of China Xi has been general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, CCP, since November 2012, and president since March 2013. Previous presidential limits of two terms were removed. Xi is therefore a powerful figure, has consolidated power, exercising virtual absolute control, as head of state, CCP chief, and chair of the military commission that controls the armed forces.
There is the ideological challenge. China is still nominally Marxist and the power of the Leninist type CP remains. To make this apparent, China contributed a large bronze statue of Karl Marx to his native city of Trier on the 200th anniversary of his birth on May 1918. Xi, like his predecessor Deng Xiaoping, has combined the Leninist concept of the dominant role of the CCP with a more open market economy and reforms. Most of China's economic growth in recent years has come from the private sector.
However, Xi's ambitious policy formula is "Socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era," which entails a large role for the CCP which leads government, military, society, schools. He regards the Chinese autocracy, which combines restrictions on political freedom with economic growth and technological development, as more viable than Western liberal sysyems. Ideologically, China has used "Panda Diplomacy," soft power, activity that includes a presence in art forums, musical and dance festivals, and cultural exchanges, and more than 500 Confucius Institutes in university campuses throughout the world. China is a competitor in political and cultural influence as well as in world trade and global security, and reform of global governance. The question can be raised, is the center of gravity of the world economy shifting from Atlantic to the Pacific?
Soft power and geostrategic influence go together, as is illustrated in a number of ways. One is the 16+1, formed in 2012, a grouping of 11 EU and 5 Balkan central and Eastern European countries led by China, involved in investment, transport, science, and finance. It is a gateway to Western Europe and useful for political purposes such as policy about the South China Sea, countering the Dalai Lama, and preventing Taiwan independence, and preventing criticism of human rights violations and environmental standards.
Another body is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, that came into force in 2003, the Eurasian political, economic, and security body led by China and including Russia, and four Central Asian republics. It is the largest regional organization in terms of geographical coverage and population.
China's recent activity in military and stragetic matters is troubling. It already has ports in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In 2015 it established its first overseas military base at Djibouti, off the Horn of Africa, ten miles from a U.S. base. The Chinese base is useful for commercial purposes, to protect its commerce and Chinese nationals abroad, but also as a strategic asset since it controls access to the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean as well as Europe, Africa, and the Far East, and access to Middle East oil. Interestingly, China does not define Djibouti as a military base, but as a support or logistical facility.
For some time China has been developing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the ambitious policy to expand trade, with operations in direct rail lines and ralroads, ports, pipelines, highways, all built and funded by China to connect with countries.
About this there are however two problems. One is that there is more recognition China has negotiated lop sided deals. An example of this is the case of Sri Lanka that cannot pay back the $8 billion it owes China. It therefore agreed to lease its port in Hambantota for 99 yesrs. The second issue is that cyber espionage is linked to the BRI to spy on companies and countries, such as Belarus, the Maldives, Cambodia, and European nations.
China has been exerting control over much of the South China Sea, building artificial islands, and installing military equipment there, using fishing boats protected by coastguard ships. This has been happening though China has ignored the ruling of The Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 that the Chinese claim to a large part of the Sea was invalid. The U.S. must respond by insisting on freedom of navigation.
Once, the UK and France were Africa's main trading partners, now it is China. In 2014 China-Africa trade amounted to $200 billion. Moreover, between 2000 and 2011 China spent more than $73 billion investing in natural resources, mines , oil wells and other projects in Africa. Many African counties have been recipients of Chinese finance, the largest amount going to Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia.
In Nigeria a $5 billion infrastructure project was built in return for oil rights.
The tallest building with 2,500 seat capacity in Ethiopia was built and maintained by China, and in 2011 was the venue where the Africa Union summit was held. Chinese donations or assistance take many forms; hospitals in Luanda, Angola, the major road from Lasaka, Zambia's capital, to Chirundu in the southeast; stadiums in Sierra Leone and Benin; sugar mill and sugarcane farms in Mali; construction company in West Nigeria, water supply project in Mauritania, and a considerable number of schools, anti-malaria centers, agricultural technology demonstration centers, and shoe factories.
Criticism of Chinese activity has come from the unlikely country of Malaysia which is indebted for projects that are not viable or necessary, and is $250 billion in debt.
Mahathir Mohamad, the 93 year old, former prime minister 1981-2003, and again reappointed on May 1, 2018 spoke strongly on August 20, 2018 that a new version of colonialism was happening because poor countries are unable to compete with rich countries. Beneftits mostly went to China which wants raw materials for its economic growth. Mohamad wants to renegotiate free trade, but also fair trade.
Unquestionably, China wants to achieve great power status, to play a global role in the world order now that it is the second largest economy in the world, and has supplied billions throughout the world to constructbrail, highway, port , power plant facilities. Does it have a genuine message of peace and multiculturalism? Or is it a case of do or die?
WARNING: The video linked to in this story contains graphic content!
On Friday, my Toronto Sun colleague Farzana Hassan made a plea asking Canadian Muslims to phase out the practice of animal sacrifice as an offering to God after the annual Hajj to celebrate Eid al-Adha every year.
However, her plea of sanity to Muslim Canadians to abandon the tradition of slaughtering animals and simply donating the equivalent money to charity, may have fallen on deaf ears.
The very next day a resident of Milton, Ont., went live on Facebook showing himself skinning a cow that was hung face down from the blades of a forklift. The man gave a running commentary about his cow cutting prowess, boasting that within half an hour the cow would be cut up into pieces.
The animal’s head appears to move, though the forklift it was suspended from is also moving, but it is not clear whether the animal was still alive during the skinning an certainly animal rights group and others have raised that concern.
No sooner had the video gone on Facebook Live that people reacted in outrage, denouncing what seemed like animal slaughter in a backyard. Within the hour, the video was deleted but not before it was downloaded.
The scene was grotesque and seemed to be in the backyard of a home in Milton, but Police determined it was outside an under-construction mosque.
Ontario’s Agriculture ministry has launched an investigation into the slaughter, with Minister Ernie Hardeman calling the video “disgusting and gruesome.”
“There is absolutely no tolerance for this sort of treatment of animals in our province or in our backyards,” Hardeman said. “The Ministry has been speaking with investigative bodies regarding the incident, and will have more to say following the results of the investigation.”
Halton Regional Police have now been asked by the City of Milton to investigate the slaughter of the cow ...
Halton Police’s Sgt. Dana Nicholas told me, “With regards to the slaughtered cow in Milton, I can confirm that we have received a complaint from the Town of Milton staff requesting we look into animal cruelty.” Sgt. Nicholas confirmed the “video is believed to have taken place around the Muslim holiday of Eid” but clarified that the location was not a home backyard, but in a temporary mosque in Milton.
. . . another police official told the Sun an officer “very familiar with farming operations” was handling the investigation and believed the cow “was clearly dead and was in the early stages of being butchered.”
When I inquired how Halton Police had come to the determination that the animal was not slaughtered in a cruel manner, and who made that call, the butcher or the health department of the city, Sgt. Nicholas wrote back: “I have no other information regarding this occurrence.”
Ancient Nabatean tomb carved into boulder in Mada'in Saleh (Saudi Arabia)
Islam has always divided the world, both spatially and temporally, in two. Spatially, the world is divided into Dar al-Islam, where Islam dominates and Muslims rule, and Dar al-Harb, the House of War, where Unbelievers still manage to dominate. Temporally, Muslims see the world as divided into the period after the message of Islam was brought to Muhammad, and the pre-Islamic period, dismissively called the Jahiliyya, or Time of Ignorance, of little worth or interest.
There is plenty of news coming out of Saudi Arabia today that suggests change is in the air. Women can now drive. Cinemas have reopened after decades of being closed. The religious police have been told by the government, that pays their salaries, that they are to curb their aggressive ways. A Saudi academic, Abdulhameed Hakeem, the head of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah, has declared on an Arab-language TV station that Jerusalem is as holy to Jews as Mecca and Medina are to Muslims, and called on Arabs to accept Israel’s claims, its “historic right,” to the city. Crown Prince Muhammad has told Mahmoud Abbas to take whatever deal is offered him and to stop expecting endless Saudi and other Arab support. There are clear signs that Israel and Saudi Arabia have been sharing intelligence about their common enemy, Iran.
But even more surprising than all of these changes is the new attitude of the Saudis to their own past. The Saudis have destroyed mosques, burial sites, homes, and historical locations associated with Muhammad and many of the personalities of early Islamic history. The destruction of these Muslim sites has been relentless. It includes:
The mosque at the grave of Sayyid al-Shuhada’ Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib.
The Mosque of Fatima Zahra.
The Mosque of al-Manaratain.
Mosque and tomb of Sayyid Imam al-Uraidhi ibn Ja‘far al-Sadiq
Four mosques at the site of the Battle of the Trench in Medina.
The Mosque of Abu Rasheed.
Salman al-Farsi Mosque, in Medina.
Raj’at ash-Shams Mosque, in Medina.
Cemeteries and tombs:
Jannat al-Baqi in Medina, leveled, still open access for men (since women are advised against visiting cemeteries in Sunni Islam).
Jannat al-Mu’alla, the ancient cemetery at Mecca.
Grave of Hamida al-Barbariyya, the mother of Imam Musa al-Kazim.
Grave of Amina bint Wahb, Muhammad’s mother, bulldozed in 1998.
Graves of Banu Hashim in Mecca.
Tombs of Hamza and other casualties of the Battle of Uhud were demolished at Mount Uhud.
Tomb of Eve in Jeddah.
Grave of the father of Muhammad, in Medina.
The house of Mawlid where Muhammad is believed to have been born in 570. Originally turned into a library, it now lies under a rundown building which was built 70 years ago as a compromise after Wahhabi clerics called for it to be demolished.
The house of Khadija, Muhammad’s first wife. Muslims believe he received some of the first revelations there. It was also where his children Zainab bint Muhammad, Ruqayyah bint Muhammad, Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad, Fatimah, Qasim and Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad were born. After it was rediscovered during the Haram extensions in 1989, it was covered over and it was made into a library.
A Hilton hotel stands on the site of the house of Islam’s first caliph, Abu Bakr.
House of Muhammed in Medina, where he lived after the migration from Mecca.
Dar e Arqam, the first Islamic school where Muhammad taught. It now lies under the extension of the Masjid Alharam of Mecca.
Qubbat’ al-Thanaya, the burial site of Muhammed’s incisor that was broken in the Battle of Uhud.
Mashrubat Umm Ibrahim, built to mark the location of the house where Muhammad’s son, Ibrahim, was born to Mariah.
Dome which served as a canopy over the Well of Zamzam.
Bayt al-Ahzan of Sayyida Fatima, in Medina.
House of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, in Medina.
Mahhalla complex of Banu Hashim, in Mecca.
The Saudis have not even bothered to systematically destroy what remains from pre-Islamic times; they haven’t in the past tried to discover, catalogue, or study whatever physically remains from the Time of Ignorance. Their attitude has been one of malign neglect. Let those ancient sites fall into complete ruin, perhaps even be completely forgotten. But all that has apparently changed.
Now comes the announcement that Saudi Arabia is intent on preserving pre-Islamic heritage sites, such as a date palm oasis from the Stone Age, in a break with the austere strain of fundamentalism that has dominated the country for decades. This is part of the kingdom’s efforts to open up to the wider world, including preserving, and even repairing, sites that might attract tourists. It is also a sign of a growing nationalism. Not all Saudis want to ignore their pre-Islamic history, but would like to learn what happened in Arabia before Islam. This is a natural human desire: History Exists! Our History Exists! and we want to know about it.
Wahhabis regard the veneration of objects and buildings, especially those from the time of the earliest Islam or even the time predating Islam, as tantamount to idolatry. These sites have been deliberately neglected or subject to outright destruction. But under reforms pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has vowed to promote a more moderate form of Islam, the kingdom has allocated $1 billion to preserve its heritage.
“National heritage wasn’t an easy trip, to get people to reflect and go back, especially the antiquities. All the discussions that were about antiquity, this is not Islamic, this is Islamic, this is I think behind us now,” said Prince Sultan bin Salman, head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).
In other words, the kingdom is now willing to preserve not just Islamic sites (it’s too late to save so many of those mosques, cemeteries, and buildings associated with Muhammad and important early Muslims that have been destroyed in Mecca and Medina), but also sites that are pre-Islamic, which would once have been unthinkable. The 62-year-old royal, Prince Sultan bin Salman, a son of the king and an older half-brother of the crown prince, spoke in a recent interview about ongoing cooperation with senior Muslim scholars, including bimonthly discussions with the Grand Mufti, the kingdom’s top religious figure, about the latest “discoveries.” Talking to the Grand Mufti is a way to help ensure his approval for preserving and promoting a pre-Islamic site for tourists. Recently the natural agricultural oasis of Al-Ahsa, its 25,000 acres containing both fresh- and hot-water springs, and vast tracks of date palms, received such approval. And that approval also extended to the archaeological sites in the oasis that date to the Neolithic period. This June, Al-Ahsa became the country’s fifth UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a source of pride for Saudis.
Another UNESCO site, Madain Saleh, is a 2,000-year-old city carved into the rocks of the northern desert by the Nabateans, the pre-Islamic Arab civilisation that also built Petra in neighboring Jordan. It is now the center of a multi-billion dollar tourism project the authorities are developing with French support.
In the past, the Saudis would simply have destroyed such pre-Islamic sites — up to 150 such sites have been destroyed, or neglected them entirely, letting them fall into ruin. For anything dating from the time of Jahiliyya, it was believed, were without value. Visits were discouraged.
But views have changed. Now pre-Islamic sites are being spruced up, and promoted as tourist sites. The canny royals, keeping in mind the “conservatives” who remain unconvinced that pre-Islamic structures deserve attention, have produced for their benefit an “Islamic” justification for preserving and studying sites that date from the Time of Ignorance. The study of that time, the tourism-minded royals insist, will help both Believers and Infidels to more fully appreciate Islam:
“Ibelieve you cannot understand Islam as a great religion if you are dismissing completely what happened before Islam,” Prince Sultan said.
“That’s why we focused on hundreds of pre-Islamic sites, pre-history because this is a story that cannot be understood without being looked at in its own holistic and complete sense.”
He said up to 150 important sites had been intentionally destroyed or lost to urban development before the government adopted its new policy of protecting pre-Islamic monuments.
Saudi Arabia hopes that finding, studying, and reviving such sites will do two things. First, it will bolster national identity — these are the sites that fill in the pre-Islamic past, supply Saudis with more of the history of their own country, about which they have been ignorant and about which, in an amazing reversal of Jahiliyya-dismissal, they are now encouraged to learn and to celebrate. Will the day come when the Nabataeans be studied with respect in Saudi schools?
Second, the Saudis are now hoping these sites will attract tourists, both local and foreign. They are keenly aware that the world is weaning itself from oil. As electric cars proliferate, as solar and wind take market share away from oil, the Saudis are being forced to think ahead. They have big plans for expanding their tourism. They already accommodate large numbers of religious travelers — 2.35 million are expected to come this year on the hajj. But only 200,000 regular tourists now arrive yearly, most of them from Arab countries. The Saudis promise that they will increase the tourism budget, up from $27.9 billion in 2015, to $46.6 billion in 2020.
If even the Saudis, who have for decades been destroying much of their nation’s heritage, can now persuade themselves that what physically remains from the Time of Ignorance is no longer to be despised or ignored but, rather, to be re-incorporated into the national narrative, one that provides them with a source of pride, that should be welcomed. For it is one of the ways that the authority of the most fanatical Muslims, those who will continue to insist that anything, from a single inscription to a Nabatean city, that dates from the time before Islam, is worthless, can be undermined.
His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz is President for Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage. And it is Tourism and the National Heritage sites (including pre-Islamic sites that have suddenly become cause for celebration rather than destruction), on which that Tourism now relies, that may together loosen, if anything can, the hitherto firm hold of Wahhabism on the most devout of Saudi Arabs. That Wahhabism explains the destruction of so much of Saudi Arabia’s past, for the Wahhabis worry about buildings associated with Muhammad, his family, and the earliest Muslims becoming objects of veneration. They also, of course, are uninterested in everything from the Time of Ignorance.
This new way of regarding physical remains from the Jahiliyya, as a source of both national pride and tourist money, may come to naught; the “conservative” clergy, and their “conservative” allies among the royals, are still very powerful. The well-publicized handful of reform-minded, or perhaps more exactly, “change-minded’ princes — especially Prince Muhammad bin Salman and Prince Sultan bin Salman — may yet be pushed from power in a palace coup. Not all his fellow princes approve of Prince Muhammad monopolizing the limelight. Al Qaeda has warned the Crown Prince that his reforms are “sinful.” But right now, the more advanced Saudis appear to have chosen to rediscover, study, promote, and honor, their pre-Islamic history. And they, and we, should make the most of it.
Hatem Bazian is a Palestinian-born professor at UC Berkeley, whom I would describe as a two-trick pony. His two big issues in life are demonizing Israel and complaining about Islamophobia. His resume includes being co-founder of American Muslims for Palestine, which is a funder of the Students for Justice in Palestine (also founded by Bazian), a nationwide organization of brown shirts who go around disrupting pro-Israel events on campuses and bullying Jewish students,.In addition, Bazian founded the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Center at UC Berkeley, which sounds impressive, but actually occupies a broom closet in Barrows Hall, but big enough to hold a computer to hold all the "documentation." In addition to all that, Bazian actually called for an "intifada" in the US while speaking to an audience in 2004. If that's not enough, he has a long litany of anti-semitic statements to add to his "resume." In short, he is an embarrassment to UC Berkeley. Unfortunately, UC Berkeley is never concerned with being embarrassed, so people like Bazian will always have a job..
Now Bazian has come out with his own history of the ill will that exists between the US and the Islamic Republic of Iran and the issue of "Islamophobia" in the US. Problem is that Bazian leaves out very important details. Did I say "details"? I should have said major events.
"The othering process directed at Muslims was unleashed by the political elites that wanted to craft a strategy to contest and maintain power in the post-Cold War era, which included a heavy emphasis on the massive military expenditures, which might had been cut after the defeat of the Soviet Union."
So if I get this right, according to Bazian, the end of the Cold War meant that US leaders had to find a new boogy man, and Islam in general fit the bill. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 had already happened, and it is interesting that Bazian does not devote one word to the taking of American diplomats as hostages in Iran when our embassy in Teheran was stormed. Nor does Bazian mention anything about Iran's sponsorship of international terrorism. Nor is there any mention of all the times the Iranians have promised to destroy the US and Israel. Do you think those items might have something to do with our problems with the Iranian regime? How about the slaughter of their own people when they dare to protest in the streets of Iranian cities? If we favorted Sunni jihadist Islam during the USSR war in Afghanistan, boy have we learned our lesson.
As for Islamophobia itself, Bazian conveniently leaves out any reference to Islamic terrorism (as well as the Iranian hostage crisis). Likewise, there is no mention of 9-11. This is like writing a history of World War II and not mentioning the invasion of Poland, Pearl Harbor or the Holocaust. And this man is supposed to be a scholar and a professor at a world renowned university?
As for the "clash of civilizations" (which is real), I would argue that the clash was brought about by militant Islam, which also believes in the "clash" and has declared war on the West. Islam seeks to impose itself on the rest of the world, either peacefully or violently and by force. There is most definitely a clash of civilizations between freedom and democracy on the one side and totalitarianism under the guise of religion on the other, all of which is lost on Hatem Bazian.
It takes a genius of a clown like Tuvia Tenenbom to piece together the American Tragedy in a drive-in tour de force that spans the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave from coast to coast, from north to south, from Alaska to Hawaii. Our roaming reporter and natural actor drops in on all kinds of folks, getting them to speak their minds, such as they are, and making us forget the vast empty spaces where nothing is worthy of mention and even the boredom is too flat and weary for words. Tuvia T., a man of theater, artfully creates the illusion of unity of time, space, and action out of thousands of kilometers of loose ends.
And that’s not all! In a six-month (was it only six months?) road trip in the USA, he finds enough people actually present in public places to converse with, however scantily, and fill 400 pages with notable quotes. Like an archeologist putting together a Greek urn out of a pile of broken bits, Tenenbom distills the essence of early 21st century America with bits and pieces of locations, characters, and dialogue. It is so funny to read. And so sad, once you’ve assimilated the whole journey.
The American tragedy is, by definition, the inextricable association of the best and the worst. The USA is an upstart nation founded by Europeans that fled their oppressive culture and established a glaring contradiction of their origins. From there, the nation is built in layers like a “mille feuille” (that they call a “napoleon”) of refugees and fortune hunters. Let it be called a melting pot (what a strange idea when you think of it) or a tossed salad, the only way it could work is, as Tenenbom writes, by forcing them to abandon their ancestral cultures… and get nothing in return. That’s the land of opportunity. So little to master. Just get the knack of things and fly.
Kenan Malik and the Art that Connects Europe and Islam
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Recently an article — “Look at art for the deep connection between Europe and Islam” — appeared in the Guardian. The author, Kenan Malik, sometimes a critic of, and sometimes a sly apologist for, Islam, claimed that there was a deep respect in Renaissance Europe for the world of Islam. “Embodied in the Renaissance view is certainly a sense of Islam as the other. But it is intertwined with curiosity, respect, even awe. There is a willingness, too, to reach beyond the otherness of Islam and to see the Muslim world not as demonic or exotic but as a variant of the European experience.” He states this; he does not prove it. Do “curiosity, respect, even awe’’ adequately describe what the people of Western Christendom felt about the world of Islam as they watched, in horror, as the Muslim Turks steadily conquered all of Byzantium, including, on May 29, 1453, what had been for 500 years the largest and most splendid city of Christendom, Constantinople?
Malik offered as his sole evidence of this “deep connection between Europe and Islam” in art a single painting by Gentile da Fabriano, “The Adoration of the Magi,” from 1423, or rather, he offered a single detail in that painting, in which, the author claimed, he could detect Arabic writing in the halos of Joseph and Mary. But as Robert Spencer has pointed out, this Arabic “writing” was not “writing” at all, but merely the use of what is called Pseudo-Kufic, a script that the Europeans of that time believed was also used in the time of Jesus. Pseudo-Kufic was used as a decorative element, in non-Arabic contexts, usually associated with the Holy Family, especially with Mary. And far from being a sign of respect for Islam and the Arabs, it appears that the artists who painted in a bit of Pseudo-Kufic wished to express a cultural universality for the Christian faith, by blending together various written languages, at a time when European Christians entertained hopes for converting the Muslims.
But Gentile da Fabriano’s painting is significant in a different way. It points out not what connects, but what separates, Islam and Western Christendom. It is a work of art that by what it depicts could never have been produced by Muslims. Not just because it is an example of high Renaissance Christian art, with its subject the birth of Christ. No, it could not have been produced by Muslims because it shows sentient beings. In Islam, the depiction of living creatures in paintings was considered to be forbidden, haram. This prohibition on such depictions comes from the hadith in which Muhammad says an angel will not enter a dwelling that has a dog or images (of living creatures), and from still others where he himself refused to enter a house that contained such images (including those found on curtains and cushions), thus demonstrating in his own behavior, as a Model of Conduct, what all Muslims must emulate. And from this comes the paucity of painting and sculpture in the Islamic tradition. No portraits, no scenes of domestic life, no scenes taken from history, no animal paintings, no religious paintings, no mythological paintings, no statues. Uninhabited landscapes are okay, though rarely produced. Geometric patterns as an ornamental element are best of all.
Set Gentile da Fabriano’s masterpiece, or a hundred thousand other paintings by European artists, beside examples of Islamic art — the geometric patterns of tiles in mosques, the Iznik tulips, the Qur’anic calligraphy — and you will understand the difference between the richness of the European artistic tradition and the deep impoverishment of Islamic art, because of some hadith that long ago prohibited images of living creatures. Muslim artists have been the first victims of this prohibition, that diminished their permissible modes of expression.
Kenan Malik might have written a different kind of article. He might have used the Gentile da Fabriano painting as the occasion for an appreciation of Western art, and to take Islam to task for not allowing the human form and face to be depicted at all. He could have written that it was time for Muslim artists to allow themselves the artistic freedoms that non-Muslim artists have always enjoyed, and to slip off the mind-forged manacles that have so limited what their talents, as artists, were allowed to produce during the last 1400 years. But that would have meant criticizing Islam, in an important matter, that challenges the example of Muhammad himself, and that is something that Kenan Malik, though he has in the past taken issue with aspects of Islam, is not prepared to do.