Sunday, June 27, 2010
Seth Mandel - THE JEWISH STATE - June 25, 2010
Reading the reports on the state of newspapers today, and following the New Media revolution, you couldn't be blamed for thinking advertising and the riddle of the online paywall are the media's most pressing challenges.
Such is life, and worry, in a free country.
In reality, while newspapers are struggling in the West (from 2007-2009, the industry's revenue dropped by 30 percent in the U.S., according to the OECD), journalists elsewhere in the world -- especially in repressive states -- put their lives on the line. It is this combination -- falling revenue and the constant threat of death -- that has pushed Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury's newspaper to the brink.
Choudhury's paper, The Weekly Blitz , is published out of Bangladesh. When it was founded in 2003, advertising revenue wasn't an issue. But as soon as the Blitz started publishing pro-Israel editorials, local businesses in this Muslim country immediately started shunning the paper. Later that year, Choudhury was arrested at the airport heading to a writer's conference in Tel Aviv, tortured for 10 days, and kept in solitary confinement for 17 months at a Dhaka prison.
He is still on trial for sedition, blasphemy, and treason, for which he would be executed if found guilty.
Choudhury speaks eloquently about the fight against radical Islam and the moral imperative of supporting Israel. He is an unabashed Zionist, which many of our readers -- who filled a room in November 2009 to hear him speak -- know well.
In that speech, Choudhury mentioned that the police protection he was finally granted after the intervention of the U.S. Congress -- most notably Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) -- has been removed. As if on cue, six weeks after Choudhury gave that speech in New Brunswick, armed robbers broke into his home. The commotion woke the neighbors, and the men fled.
Such incidents have become routine, unfortunately, though Choudhury refuses to flee Bangladesh or convert out of Islam. "I remain important to the Muslims because I am a Muslim," Choudhury said back in November. "The moment I become an ex-Muslim, it makes no difference. If you want to reform a class, you need to be a member of the club. I am a member of Islam and I demand a reform in Islam... preaching hate is not the Islam that I follow; the Islam I follow is where I can embrace a Jew as a brother."
He has always been frank about his Zionism. "Today, Israel is suffering, tomorrow the world will suffer," he told me when we first met. Israel, he said, "is a land blessed by God. And God will protect his land."
And it goes without saying that bravery has never been a weakness for him. But now he is in the position of needing our help. It can't be easy for him to ask for it, but it should be easy for us to answer the call. A wealthy businessman in Bangladesh recently offered to buy Choudhury's paper for a generous sum, but Choudhury knows the man's intention: to silence one of the few pro-Israel, pro-Western voices in the East. Choudhury declined, choosing principles over money.
"But, now, our very sustainability has become almost impossible," Choudhury wrote in a message to readers. "Each month, we are losing [a] huge amount of money in continuing the print and online edition of this newspaper. For any newspaper, it is absolutely impossible to sustain without any advertisement revenue." He included the email address: ediblitz [at]yahoo.com at which he could be contacted by those willing to help.
Choudhury will get no help whatsoever from his fellow countrymen, who at best ignore him and at worst wish the government would end his troublemaking once and for all. So he needs the West to step up to the plate. Jewish organizations should do what Choudhury's close friend Richard Benkin did when he first heard Choudhury was in danger. Benkin references the one-word response Moses gave God when he was called from the burning bush: Hineni -- here I am.
Advertising revenue would be great, though a grant would be even better. We are blessed with philanthropists aplenty, and Israel has no more courageous defender than Choudhury. This is the first time he has ever made such an appeal. It has been two weeks since Choudhury published that request, and, he told me, "the situation is still unchanged. Weekly Blitz is in the very worst economic constraint."
"Today, I stand before you, the people of Bangladesh and in fact the entire Muslim world as a witness; a witness that Israelis want above all else peace and justice," Choudhury was to say in that speech prepared, but never delivered, to the writer's conference in Tel Aviv. "And those who spread false rumors to the contrary around the world, and especially in Muslim countries, are, frankly, either deluded or dishonest. I also stand before you perhaps as a living contradiction: a Zionist, a defender of Israel, and a devout, practicing Muslim, living in a Muslim country."
Israel needs such fire more than anything; yet this flame is in danger of being snuffed out. "Please pray for us," Choudhury told me this week. We should, and we will. But if all we can do is pray, we haven't done enough.
Seth Mandel is the managing editor of The Jewish State.
Monday, June 21, 2010
"STAND WITH US" CONFRONTS GAZA FLOTILLA SPEAKERS
BY: FERN SIDMAN
On Thursday evening, June 17th, members of Stand With Us, the pro-Israel student advocacy organization staged a raucous demonstration outside The House of the Lord Church on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn, as they confronted the allegations leveled against Israel in its role in the May 31st commando raid on the "Free Gaza Flotilla" ship, the Marvi Marmara. The former Turkish MP and IHH activist Ahmet Faruk Unsal who had been scheduled to speak was denied access to the USA, however Viva Palestina organizer Kevin Ovenden and filmmaker Lara Lee, who claim they were passengers on the ship, took the podium to spew forth invective against Israel for the attack that left nine Turkish terrorist nationals dead.
Sponsored by a litany of anti-Israel and pro-Hamas organizations such as Al-Awda-New York: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the Muslim American Society, American Muslims For Palestine, NYC Labor Against the War, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, the Arab Muslim American Federation, Labor For Palestine, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, Action for a Progressive Pakistan, and the ANSWER Coalition among others, the speakers called for "an international war crimes" tribunal to be established in order to bring Israel to "justice" for what they perceive as an act of "piracy and murder".
Approximately 40 member of Stand With Us and other concerned citizens stood directly across the street from the church holding aloft signs saying, "Humanitarian Aid Workers Don't Carry Knives, Axes and Metal Bars", "Israel: We Stand With You” and "Shame on Turkey" while chanting "Terrorists - Yes; Humanitarians - No". Clearly, the implications of the demonstrators was that the Turkish sponsored flotilla, under the aegis of the IHH, which stands for the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, is not an Islamic charity but rather a group with direct links to terrorist organizations.
According to news reports, Turkish security forces, in 1998, raided the IHH’s headquarters in Istanbul and found weapons, explosives, instructions for making IEDs and a flag with a jihad message. As former French counter-terrorism magistrate, Jean-Louis Bruguière, who was involved in the raid, has explained: “It was clearly proven that some of the NGO’s work was not charity. It was to provide a facade for moving funds, weapons and mujahedeen to and from Bosnia and Afghanistan.”
The IHH is also a member of the Saudi-based umbrella organization, the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir), led by Sheikh Yusuf Quaradawi, who is considered the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Every year the Union of Good, whose top officials include Hamas members, channels millions of dollars to Hamas-controlled organizations in the West Bank and Gaza.
Avi Posnick, the local chapter leader of Stand With Us said, "We are here today to counter the bald faced lies and egregious propaganda that are being hurled against Israel inside this church. Based on video and personal testimonies, Israel has been exonerated from any wrongdoing but these speakers, who allege to be humanitarians, but are just the opposite; choose not to look at the truth. Israel did not randomly kill "innocent” people aboard the Marvi Marmara but rather defended herself against terrorists with the intent to kill Israeli commandos and with the intent of smuggling weapons to Hamas forces in Gaza."
Referencing a June 15th article by Jerusalem Post reporter Caroline Glick in which she wrote: "Led by US President Barack Obama, the West has cast its lot with Hamas against Israel. It is not surprising that Obama is siding with Hamas. His close associates are leading members of the pro-Hamas Free Gaza outfit. Obama's friends, former Weatherman Underground terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and William Ayres participated in a Free Gaza trip to Egypt in January. Their aim was to force the Egyptians to allow them into Gaza with 1,300 fellow Hamas supporters. Their mission was led by Code Pink leader and Obama fundraiser Jodie Evans. Another leading member of Free Gaza is former US senator from South Dakota James Abourezk. All of these people have open lines of communication not only to the Obama White House, but to Obama himself", New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind who represents the 48th assembly district in Boro Park and was present at the demonstration said, "I am not at all surprised. Obama has created a political atmosphere that not only endangers Israel but the entire Western world."
"My question is: Where are all the Zionist organizations? Where are all the pulpit rabbis? Why aren't they here today and why don't we hear their collective voices of outrage and indignation against the Obama administration's pressure on Israel to empanel an investigative committee to find out what really happened on the Marvi Marmara, when we all know that the State of Israel was being attacked by terrorists? Why isn't the Zionist leadership, especially here in New York organizing rallies and demonstrations against the nefarious policies of this administration as it pertains to Israel?" Assemblyman Hikind declared.
Citing the abject silence on the part of his colleagues in the Democratic party, Hikind intoned, "We can expect little or nothing in terms of strong opposition to Obama's Middle East agenda from our elected officials in the Democratic party. Their reluctance to voice their concern about Israel's predicament speaks volumes about their allegiance to partisan politics and their repudiation of the concerns of their constituencies."
By: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
When we started our journey, back in 2003, as one of the periodicals in Bangladesh, no one really had any problems with us. We even were receiving advertisements from the local advertisers. But, during mid 2003, when we started publishing positive articles and editorials on Israel and some other issues, which were almost considered to be taboo in Bangladesh, local advertisers swiftly turned away their faces from us.
Then I was arrested on November 29 2003, at Dhaka International Airport, on my way to Tel Aviv for attending a peace conference. The then Bangladesh Nationalist Party [BNP]-led Islamist government used the state machinery in placing me on remand for 10 days, thus mentally and physically torturing with the 'hope' of extracted a confessional statement. They considered me to be a Zionist Spy.
Later the government sent to an isolated cell at Dhaka Central Jail, where I was detained for 17 months in extreme hit and humidity.
In 2004 [January], the government brought sedition, treason and blasphemy charges against me. According to Bangladeshi law, sedition bears capital punishment.
I was not allowed to attend my mother's funeral when she passed away on August 9, 2004.
At the intervention of Congressman Mark Steven Kirk and relentless effort by Dr. Richard L Benkin [my Jewish brother] as well as Congressional aide Jeff Phillip, I was released on bail on April 30, 2005 from Dhaka Central Jail.
The sedition, treason and blasphemy charge is still hanging on me and every month I have to appear in the court to face trial. Though Bangladesh's present government is renewing its commitment in fighting Islamist militancy, it is reluctant in dropping the charge, fearing reaction from the Islamists.
On my release, Weekly Blitz resumed its publication in 2005 and since then, we never received even a single advertisement in our print edition. Only two or three advertisements were offered by some philanthropists and my supporters with a small amount of money, which is again not enough for Weekly Blitz to sustain for a week. But, still, my profound gratitude and admiration for those kind hearted people, who stood for us, during our difficult days.
From the mid of 2008, Weekly Blitz is again seeing extreme adversities in continuing its publication. In the same year, our office was attacked and we were evicted from our own office, illegally by some politically blessed thugs.
Thanks to Dr. Daniel Pipes and Middle East Forum, for helping us in taking a new office just in May this year. The entire amount received from MEF has already been spent for the new office and furniture.
Sensing our inability and economic adversities in running Weekly Blitz, a business tycoon with heavy affiliation with an Islamist party offered to buy the entire newspaper with an amount equivalent to US$ 300K. They even continued to offer us much higher amount, if we were ready to sell the newspaper. We knew they were planning to buy Weekly Blitz for turning it into a newspaper like all others in the Muslim nation, mostly spreading message of hatred against Israel and Jews. Their intention was to morally kill our newspaper. We did not bow to such dirty desire of the Islamists.
But, now, our very sustainability has become almost impossible. Each month, we are losing huge amount of money in continuing the print and online edition of this newspaper. For any newspaper, it is absolutely impossible to sustain without any advertisement revenue.
Can we expect, some of the philanthropists or organizations, who want this only anti-Jihadist newspaper in the Muslim world to sustain, would kindly help us with advertisements or grants? Such help is so much urgent for us. And, this is for the first time; we are making this appeal.
Please help us! And also refer our appeal to everyone you know. This is such critical time for us. Your actions and help can help us stay alive. If you are willing to help Weekly Blitz, kindly write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can kindly send cheques or wire transfer the amount of Advertisement Cost, Grant or Donation. Also you can donate through Paypal by visiting the website of the online edition of Weekly Blitz at www.weeklyblitz.net
By: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
America is defined by the last phrase of its national anthem: The land of the free and the home of the brave. Freedom, in all its forms, is its greatest legacy, which the nation has bravely fought many wars on many fronts to preserve against the unceasing assaults of totalitarianism of all stripes. Time and again, the heroes of the nation bravely sacrificed their lives to protect freedom and liberty.
Currently, America is faced with the insidious, multifaceted, and most deadly threat of Islamism. Since Islam has been around for centuries, there is a tendency to ignore or even deny the threat it poses to humanity. Various concessions are made, some of them as good faith offerings and some in the hope of placating the Islamists. Yet, concessions to threats are appeasements. And appeasements have never solved any problems. They only whet the appetite of the aggressor, give it more power, and make it even more dangerous.
Very unfortunately, in today’s world, Islamists [including political Islam] are set as Islam’s locomotive that takes the Islamic train on its demolition course. Instead of promoting peace, many of the so-called leaders of the ‘Muslim Ummah’ are engaged in fuelling Jihad and killing innocent people in the name of religion. And sadly, such elements are gradually growing influence everywhere in the world as well brainwashing some of the naïve global leaders like Barack Hussain Obama, who continues to appease Islamists without sensing the degree of threat it poses to his very own country.
Islam and democracy are incompatible. As democracies practice their magnificent accommodating belief, they knowingly or unknowingly lay the track for the advancing train wrecking that is Islam. Radical Islamism threatens to set a new record for brutality, contrary to the contention that there is no reason to worry about it. Jihadist Wahabism’s tentacles are reaching out from its cradle in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf Arab Emirates. The Petrodollar flush Sunni-Shia zealots are liberally financing mosques, Madrassas [Islamic indoctrination schools], Islamic centers at universities, front organizations and lobbyists to promote the Wahhabi or Shiite virulent Islamism in every part of America. That makes America the Vulnerable.
Activities of Tablighi Jamaat is gradually increasing in United States, and according to recent statistics disclosed during last year’s largest Tablighi congregations in Bangladesh, more than four hundred Tablighi groups are actively working in various so-called community mosques or in disguise mostly targeting young Americans with the goal of converting them initially to Islam and later giving them Jihadist provocations.
What is Tablighi jamaat?
Tablighi Jamaat [Conveying Group] is a Muslim missionary and revival movement. Their activities are not limited to the Deobandi community.
Leaders of Tablighi Jamaat claim that the movement is strictly non-political in nature, with the main aim of the participants being to work at the grass roots level and reaching out to all Muslims of the world for spiritual development.
Tablighi Jamat seeks to revitalize Muslims around the world. It is claimed that their ideology and practices are in strict accordance with Qur'an and Sunnah.
Despite their affiliation and influence of the prominent scholars of Deoband, they do not focus any particular sect or community. It gathers its members and aids in community activities such as mosque building and education.
Tabligh maintains an international headquarters, the Markaz, in Nizamuddin, Delhi and has several national headquarters to coordinate its activities in over 80 countries. Throughout its history it has sent its members to travel the world, preaching a message of peace and tolerance. It organizes preachers in groups [called Jamaats, meaning Assembly]. Each group, on average, consists of 10 to 12 Muslims who fund themselves in this preaching mission.
The second largest gathering of Muslims after the Hajj [the pilgrimage to Mecca] is known as Bishwa Ijtema, a non political gathering of Muslims from all over the world hosted by the leaders of "International Tabligh Jama'at". It takes place in Tongi which is on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The Tablighi Jamaat was founded in the late 1920s by the well known scholar Maulana Ilyas [Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhelvi] in the Mewat province of India. The inspiration for devoting his life to Islam came to Ilyas during his second pilgrimage to the Hejaz in 1926. Maulana Ilyas put forward the slogan, 'Come O Muslims! Be Muslims'. This expressed the central focus of Tablighi Jamat, which has been renewing Muslim society by renewing Muslim practice in those it feels have lost their desire to devote themselves to Allah and the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.
Maulana Ilyas was a prominent member of the movement and throughout Tabligh's history there has been a degree of association between scholars of Deoband and Tablighi Jamat. Tabligh was formed at a time in India when some Muslim leaders feared that Indian Muslims were losing their Muslim identity to the majority Hindu culture.
In 1978, construction of the Tablighi mosque in Dewsbury, England commenced. Subsequently, the mosque became the European headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat.
Ameer [Emir] or Zimmadar are titles of leadership in the movement. The first Ameer, also the founder, was Maulana Ilyas [1885-1944], second was his son Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhalawi and the third was Maulana Inaam ul Hasan. Now there is a shura which includes two leaders: Maulana Zubair ul Hasan and Maulana Saad Kandhalawi. In Pakistan the duties of the Ameer are being served by Haji Abdulwahhab. Maulana Muhammad Zakariya al-Kandahlawi is also among the prestigious personalities of the Jamaat, as he compiled the famous book Fazail-e-Amal.
With the ascent of Maulana Yusuf, Ilyas´ son, as its second emir (leader), the group began to expand activities in 1946, and within two decades the group reached Southwest and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Initially it expanded its reach to South Asian diaspora communities, first in Arab countries then in Southeast Asia. Once established, the Tablighi Jamaat began engaging local populations as well.
Although the movement first established itself in the United States, it established a large presence in Europe during the 1970s and 1980s. It was especially prominent in France during the 1980s. The members of Tablighi Jamat are also represented in the French Council of the Muslim Faith. Tabligh's influence has grown, though, in the increasing Pakistani community in France, which has doubled in the decade before 2008 to 50,000-60,000.
However, Britain is the current focus of the movement in the West, primarily due to the large South Asian population that began to arrive there in the 1960s and 1970s. By 2007, Tabligh members were situated at 600 of Britain's 1350 mosques.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the movement made inroads into Central Asia. As of 2007, it was estimated 10,000 Tablighi members could be found in Kyrgyzstan alone.
By 2008 it had a presence in nearly 80 countries and had become a leading revitalist movement. However, it maintains a presence in India, where at least 100 of its Jamaats go out from Markaz, the international headquarters, to different parts of India and overseas.
There are many celebrated personalities associated with this movement:
These include the former Presidents of Pakistan, Muhammad Rafiq Tarar and Farooq Leghari [Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari], and former President of India, Dr. Zakir Hussain who was also associated with this movement. Major General Ziaur Rahman, former President and Chief of Army Staff of the Bangladesh Army, was a strong supporter and member of Tablighi Jamaat, and popularized it in Bangladesh.
Lieutenant General [R] Javed Nasir of the Pakistan Army and former head of Inter-Services Intelligence along with former Prime Minister of Pakistan, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq have also been linked with the movement.
Other well-known politicians such as Dr. Arbab Ghulam Rahim the former chief mininster of Sindh, and Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq, former Pakistani Federal Minister for Religious Affairs have strong ties with the Tablighi activities.
Many well-recognized writers and scholars, such as Dr. Nadir Ali Khan [famous Indian writer] and others are deeply related with it.
Among Pakistani cricket professionals, Shahid Afridi, Saqlain Mushtaq, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed; and the former Pakistani cricketers Saeed Anwar, Saleem Malik are active members. It is also widely believed that Pakistani middle order batsman Mohammad Yousuf embraced Islam with the help of the Tablighi Jamaat. Others include South African batsman Hashim Amla.
This movement also includes eminent directors and producers including Naeem Butt.
Former renowned singer and pop star Junaid Jamshed has close links with Jamaat, and his departure from professional singing career is attributed as the result of his inclination towards this movement.
Many famed actors and models including Moin Akhter, Hammad Khan Jadoon and many others are strongly affiliated with the movement.
Several business men, industrialists, millionaires are actively serving in the movement.
Tablighi Jamaat terror connection:
Policy analysts and Islamist scholars are fiercely divided in their assessments of Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic revivalist organization that has spread from its origins in India in the 1920s to the broader Muslim world.
Policy communities, for their part, have depicted the Tablighi Jamaat as a "gateway to terrorism" and contend that the organization poses numerous, underestimated security risks. The group appeared peripherally in such high-profile cases as those of Jose Padilla, Richard Reid and John Walker Lindh, all of whom allegedly used the group as their stepping stone to radicalism. However, the Islamic studies community tends to depict Tablighi Jamaat, which roughly translates to "group to deliver the message of Islam," as a revivalist organization that eschews politics in its quest to reform society. What accounts for these starkly different accounts, and how can one resolve some of the deeply perplexing questions surrounding this important and secretive organization?
In an attempt to better understand this movement and its social, political, and potential security implications, the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted Eva Borreguero, visiting Fulbright Scholar at Georgetown University´s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, to present some of the key findings of her ongoing research on the Tablighi Jamaat. This talk drew on Borreguero´s recent fieldwork in India and Pakistan, two important centers for the Tablighi Jamaat. This USIPeaceBrieing highlights Borreguero´s arguments, as well as some of the important issues that arose during the discussion that followed her presentation.
Tablighi Jamaat: Gateway to Terrorism?
In Britain, France, and the United States, the Tablighi Jamaat has appeared on the fringes of several terrorism investigations, leading some to speculate that its apolitical stance simply masks "fertile ground for breeding terrorism." While acknowledging the involvement of the movement´s individuals, Borreguero discounted the claims made against the organization itself.
Borreguero began her assessment by providing an historical overview of this complex movement. Maulana Muhammad Ilyas founded the Tablighi Jamaat in 1925, against the backdrop of the British Empire and a waning Muslim identity in South Asia. Believing that social, political, and economic hardships beset Muslims in India, Ilyas sought a return to a pristine form of Islam from the heterodox variants flourishing in South Asia. For nearly two decades, the Tablighi Jamaat operated mainly within South Asia. With the ascent of Maulana Yusuf, Ilyas´ son, as its second emir [leader], the group began to expand activities in 1946, and within two decades the group reached Southwest and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Initially it expanded its reach to South Asian diaspora communities, first in Arab countries then in Southeast Asia. Once established, the Tablighi Jamaat began engaging local populations as well. Although the group first established itself in the United States, Britain is the current locus of the group in the West, primarily due to the large South Asian population that began to arrive there in the 1960s and 1970s.
Structure, Composition, and Work:
Despite its secretive nature, Borreguero offered some insights into the organizational structure of the Tablighi Jamaat. The general conception of the group is of a nebulous collection of loosely affiliated, itinerate jamaats. While this is one major component of the group, there is a fixed, hierarchical network of elders and mosques, and the two components do overlap. According to Borreguero, the core of the organization is comprised of "full-time" Tablighis who comprise the shura [council] and who are usually the elders of the mosques affiliated with the group.
In addition to this core, there are the traveling Tablighis who undertake proselytizing missions over varying durations. Formed into jamaats of approximately ten people, these Tablighis’ missions last three days, forty days, four months, or one year. The jamaat’s destination and desired area of focus generally determines the length of these missions. Those who go for three days concentrate on a local city, while a jamaat traveling for a month will do so throughout their country. The longer tours of four months to one year generally take the Tablighis abroad.
During these tours, the jamaat—under the leadership of its emir—stays at a local mosque, which serves as its base for the duration. Four or five members of the group conduct daily ghast, during which they visit neighborhoods [or neighborhoods with large Muslim populations if in a non-Muslim country] and homes, asking the men of the household to attend mosque for Maghrib [sunset] prayers. Those who attend are offered the dawa [invitation] as the Tablighis outline their six principles and encourage attendees to form their own jamaat. Members voluntarily work for the organization and there is no registration process in the group. Participants are free to leave the movement at any time. Consequently, Tablighi Jamaat has a loose, informal recruitment process and attracts members of varying commitment. For example, some members only engage in group activities episodically, while others will do so annually. All of these factors contribute to the uncertainty regarding Tablighi Jamaat´s membership numbers.
Tablighis in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have competing claims as to which comprises the movement’s international headquarters. Those in India contend that Nizamuddin [India] is the base, since the movement grew out of the Deoband school of Islam and it is in Delhi that the group was founded. However, elders in Raiwind [Pakistan] and Tongi [Bangladesh] dispute Nizamuddin’s final authority, citing their countries´ majority Muslim populations and claiming that the organization can operate more openly.
South Asia is by far the most significant region for the group, with Mecca and Medina also serving as important geographical symbols. The organization is diverse and includes persons from nearly every sector of society across the countries of South Asia and beyond. Within South Asia, members of the lower-middle class and the business community have joined the group and some members even hold government posts. In the West, second and third generation Muslim diaspora make up the main pool of Tablighis. This demographic usually has little knowledge of Islam but are also not fully assimilated to culture in the West. According to Borreguero, the Tablighi Jamaat "is a source of re-Islamization that provides an alternative to religious institutions." These individuals tend to be well-educated, multilingual, and have lived in both the West and a Muslim country. She noted that the Tablighi Jamaat also has some appeal to marginal members of society [petty criminals, drug abusers, and so on] who are looking for a renewed identity that submerges them in a community of piety.
Keys to the Success of the Tablighi Jamaat:
Borreguero sees several salient features which explain the Tablighi Jamaat´s successful transformation from a local South Asian movement into a robust transnational phenomenon, including its simple message, its non-political character, the authority of its leadership, and its policy of secrecy.
Borreguero addressed the persistent question of how a group so devoted to proselytizing a pristine form of Islam and inner spiritual transformation can coexist with modern society, and specifically whether such a group warrants scrutiny because of its revivalist beliefs.
While recognizing the numerous reports that link Tablighi Jamaat to militancy in various forms, her fieldwork yielded little evidence to support the most sweeping of these claims. During her interviews with Tablighis, they tended not to opine on politics. However, she conceded that for some Tablighis—as individuals—this might not be enough. She claimed that there is no evidence thus far that the group as a whole is involved with militant groups, such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, while acknowledging the potential role that individual Tablighis may have played in them. She claimed that the Tablighi Jamaat remains neutral on these groups, neither condemning nor supporting their actions.
To some analysts, this neutrality is enough to make them culpable. Borreguero admits that militant groups may try to infiltrate the Tablighi Jamaat in order to gain a cover for obtaining visas and traveling abroad. Also, individual members may come to find that the movement’s principles are too apolitical and neutral for their liking. Members of militant groups often attend the Tablighi Jamaat´s Ijtima [congregation] in Raiwind, where they hand out recruitment pamphlets. It is thus possible that a flame sparked and fueled by Tabligh could begin to burn out of control.
Borreguero, however, stressed that once this extreme position is taken, the individual relinquishes his or her membership to the Tablighi Jamaat. She also believes that any overt connection with these groups is not in the best interest of the Tablighi Jamaat. As stated above, the movement’s neutrality allows cordial relations with authorities, or at least keeps them from incurring official harassment. Any collusion with militant outfits would likely invite official proscription, especially in Western societies.
While much light was shed on the Tablighi Jamaat, many questions still remain. To some, its official secrecy and peripheral links to some nefarious individuals have nullified its choice to remain outside politics. But, as scholar Barbara Metcalf writes, "Islamic movements [like the Tablighi Jamaat] may have many goals and offer a range of social, moral, and spiritual satisfactions that are positive and not merely a reactionary rejection of modernity or ´the West.´ Quite simply, these movements may, in the end, have much less to do with ´us´ than is often thought." Borreguero´s insights provided a gateway to better assess the group´s motives and machinations. It may well be that the study of the Tablighi Jamaat as an apolitical traditionalist movement gives an alternate lens through which security concerns over Islamist groups´ hostility toward the West can be viewed.
Every fall, over a million almost identically dressed, bearded Muslim men from around the world descend on the small Pakistani town of Raiwind for a three-day celebration of faith. Similar gatherings take place annually outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Bhopal, India. These pilgrims are no ordinary Muslims, though; they belong to a movement called Tablighi Jamaat ["Proselytizing Group"]. They are trained missionaries who have dedicated much of their lives to spreading Islam across the globe. The largest group of religious proselytizers of any faith, they are part of the reason for the explosive growth of Islamic religious fervor and conversion.
Despite its size, worldwide presence, and tremendous importance, Tablighi Jamaat remains largely unknown outside the Muslim community, even to many scholars of Islam. This is no coincidence. Tablighi Jamaat officials work to remain outside of both media and governmental notice. Tablighi Jamaat neither has formal organizational structure nor does it publish details about the scope of its activities, its membership, or its finances. By eschewing open discussion of politics and portraying itself only as a pietistic movement, Tablighi Jamaat works to project a non-threatening image. Because of the movement's secrecy, scholars often have no choice but to rely on explanations from Tablighi Jamaat acolytes.
As a result, academics tend to describe the group as an apolitical devotional movement stressing individual faith, introspection, and spiritual development. The austere and egalitarian lifestyle of Tablighi missionaries and their principled stands against social ills leads many outside observers to assume that the group has a positive influence on society. Graham Fuller, a former CIA official and expert on Islam, for example, characterized Tablighi Jamaat as a "peaceful and apolitical preaching-to-the-people movement." Barbara Metcalf, a University of California scholar of South Asian Islam, called Tablighi Jamaat "an apolitical, quietist movement of internal grassroots missionary renewal" and compares its activities to the efforts to reshape individual lives by Alcoholics Anonymous. Olivier Roy, a prominent authority on Islam at Paris's prestigious Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, described Tablighi Jamaat as "completely apolitical and law abiding." Governments normally intolerant of independent movements often make an exception for Tablighi Jamaat. The Bangladeshi prime minister and top political leadership, many of whom are Islamists, regularly attend their rallies, and Pakistani military officers, many of whom are sympathetic to militant Islam, even allow Tablighi missionaries to preach in the barracks.
Yet, the Pakistani experience strips the patina from Tablighi Jamaat's façade. Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif [1990-93; 1997-99], whose father was a prominent Tablighi member and financier, helped Tablighi members take prominent positions. For example, in 1998, Muhammad Rafique Tarar took the ceremonial presidency while, in 1990, Javed Nasir assumed the powerful director-generalship of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's chief intelligence agency. When Benazir Bhutto, less sympathetic to Islamist causes, returned to the premiership in 1993, Tablighis conspired to overthrow her government. In 1995, the Pakistani army thwarted a coup attempt by several dozen high-ranking military officers and civilians, all of whom were members of the Tablighi Jamaat and some of whom also held membership in Harakat ul-Mujahideen, a U.S. State Department-defined terrorist organization. Some of the confusion over Tablighi Jamaat's apolitical characterization derives from the fact that the movement does not consider individual states to be legitimate. They may not become actively involved in internal politics or disputes over local issues, but, from a philosophical and transnational perspective, the Tablighi Jamaat's millenarian philosophy is very political indeed. According to the French Tablighi expert Marc Gaborieau, its ultimate objective is nothing short of a "planned conquest of the world" in the spirit of jihad.
Origins and Ideology:
The prominent Deobandi cleric and scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalawi [1885-1944] launched Tablighi Jamaat in 1927 in Mewat, India, not far from Delhi. From its inception, the extremist attitudes that characterize Deobandism permeated Tablighi philosophy. Ilyas's followers were intolerant of other Muslims and especially Shi´ites, let alone adherents of other faiths. Indeed, part of Ilyas's impetus for founding Tablighi Jamaat was to counter the inroads being made by Hindu missionaries. They rejected modernity as antithetical to Islam, excluded women, and preached that Islam must subsume all other religions. The creed grew in importance after Pakistani military dictator Zia ul-Haq encouraged Deobandis to Islamize Pakistan.
The Tablighi Jamaat canon is bare-boned. Apart from the Qu'ran, the only literature Tablighis are required to read are the Tablighi Nisab, seven essays penned by a companion of Ilyas in the 1920s. Tablighi Jamaat is not a monolith: one subsection believes they should pursue jihad through conscience [jihad bin nafs] while a more radical wing advocates jihad through the sword [jihad bin saif]. But, in practice, all Tablighis preach a creed that is hardly distinguishable from the radical Wahhabi-Salafi jihadist ideology that so many terrorists share.
Part of the reason why the Tablighi Jamaat leadership can maintain such strict secrecy is its dynastic flavor. All Tablighi Jamaat leaders since Ilyas have been related to him by either blood or marriage. Upon Ilyas' 1944 death, his son, Maulana Muhammad Yusuf [1917-65], assumed leadership of the movement, dramatically expanding its reach and influence.
Following the partition of India, Tablighi Jamaat spread rapidly in the new Muslim nation of Pakistan. Yusuf and his successor, Inamul Hassan [1965-95], transformed Tablighi Jamaat into a truly transnational movement with a renewed emphasis targeting conversion of non-Muslims, a mission the movement continues to the present day.
While few details are known about the group's structure, at the top sits the emir who, according to some observers, presides over a shura [Council], which plays an advisory role. Further down are individual country organizations. By the late 1960s, Tablighi Jamaat had not only established itself in Western Europe and North America but even claimed adherents in countries like Japan, which has no significant Muslim population.
The movement's rapid penetration into non-Muslim regions began in the 1970s and coincides with the establishment of a synergistic relationship between Saudi Wahhabis and South Asian Deobandis. While Wahhabis are dismissive of other Islamic schools, they single out Tablighi Jamaat for praise, even if they disagree with some of its practices, such as willingness to pray in mosques housing graves. The late Sheikh ´Abd al ´Aziz ibn Baz, perhaps the most influential Wahhabi cleric in the late twentieth century, recognized the Tablighis good work and encouraged his Wahhabi brethren to go on missions with them so that they can "guide and advise them." A practical result of this cooperation has been large-scale Saudi financing of Tablighi Jamaat. While Tablighi Jamaat in theory requires its missionaries to cover their own expenses during their trips, in practice, Saudi money subsidizes transportation costs for thousands of poor missionaries. While Tablighi Jamaat's financial activities are shrouded in secrecy, there is no doubt that some of the vast sums spent by Saudi organizations such as the World Muslim League on proselytism benefit Tablighi Jamaat. As early as 1978, the World Muslim League subsidized the building of the Tablighi mosque in Dewsbury, England, which has since become the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat in all of Europe. Wahhabi sources have paid Tablighi missionaries in Africa salaries higher than the European Union pays teachers in Zanzibar. In both Western Europe and the United States, Tablighis operate interchangeably out of Deobandi and Wahhabi controlled mosques and Islamic centers.
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing:
The West's misreading of Tablighi Jamaat actions and motives has serious implications for the war on terrorism. Tablighi Jamaat has always adopted an extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam, but in the past two decades, it has radicalized to the point where it is now a driving force of Islamic extremism and a major recruiting agency for terrorist causes worldwide. For a majority of young Muslim extremists, joining Tablighi Jamaat is the first step on the road to extremism. Perhaps 80 percent of the Islamist extremists in France come from Tablighi ranks, prompting French intelligence officers to call Tablighi Jamaat the "antechamber of fundamentalism." U.S. counterterrorism officials are increasingly adopting the same attitude. "We have a significant presence of Tablighi Jamaat in the United States," the deputy chief of the FBI's international terrorism section said in 2003, "and we have found that Al-Qaeda used them for recruiting now and in the past."
Recruitment methods for young jihadists are almost identical. After joining Tablighi Jamaat groups at a local mosque or Islamic center and doing a few local dawa [proselytism] missions, Tablighi officials invite star recruits to the Tablighi center in Raiwind, Pakistan, for four months of additional missionary training. Representatives of terrorist organizations approach the students at the Raiwind center and invite them to undertake military training. Most agree to do so.
Tablighi Jamaat has long been directly involved in the sponsorship of terrorist groups. Pakistani and Indian observers believe, for instance, that Tablighi Jamaat was instrumental in founding Harakat ul-Mujahideen. Founded at Raiwind in 1980, almost all of the Harakat ul-Mujahideen's original members were Tablighis. Famous for the December 1998 hijacking of an Air India passenger jet and the May 8, 2002 murder of a busload of French engineers in Karachi, Harakat members make no secret of their ties. "The two organizations together make up a truly international network of genuine jihadi Muslims," one senior Harakat ul-Mujahideen official said. More than 6,000 Tablighis have trained in Harakat ul-Mujahideen camps. Many fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s and readily joined Al-Qaeda after the Taliban defeated Afghanistan's anti-Soviet mujahideen [Jihadists].
Another violent Tablighi Jamaat spin-off is the Harakat ul-Jihad-i Islami. Founded in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, this group has been active not only in the disputed Indian provinces of Jammu and Kashmir but also in the state of Gujarat, where Tablighi Jamaat extremists have taken over perhaps 80 percent of the mosques previously run by the moderate Barelvi Muslims. The Tablighi movement is also very active in northern Africa where it became one of the four groups that founded the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria. Moroccan authorities are currently prosecuting sixty members of the Moroccan Tablighi offshoot Dawa wa Tabligh in connection with the May 16, 2003 terrorist attack on a Casablanca synagogue. Dutch police are investigating links between the Moroccan cells and the November 2, 2004 murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
There are many other cases of individual Tablighis committing acts of terrorism. French Tablighi members, for example, have helped organize and execute attacks not only in Paris but also at the Hotel Asni in Marrakech in 1994. Kazakh authorities expelled a number of Tablighi missionaries because they had been organizing networks advancing "extremist propaganda and recruitment." Indian investigators suspect influential Tablighi leader, Maulana Umarji, and a group of his followers in the February 27, 2002 fire bombing of a train carrying Hindu nationalists in Gujarat, India. The incident sparked a wave of pogroms victimizing both Muslims and Hindus. More recently, Moroccan authorities sentenced Yusef Fikri, a Tablighi member and leader of the Moroccan terrorist organization At-Takfir wal-Hijrah, to death for his role in masterminding the May 2003 Casablanca terrorist bombings that claimed more than forty lives.
Tablighi Jamaat has also facilitated other terrorists' missions. The group has provided logistical support and helped procure travel documents. Many take advantage of Tablighi Jamaat's benign reputation. Moroccan authorities say that leaflets circulated by the terrorist group Al-Salafiyah al-Jihadiyah urged their members to join Islamic organizations that operate openly, such as Tablighi Jamaat, in order "to hide their identity on the one hand and influence these groups and their policies on the other." In a similar vein, a Pakistani jihadi website commented that Tablighi Jamaat organizational structures can be easily adopted to jihad activities. The Philippine government has accused Tablighi Jamaat, which has an 11,000-member presence in the country, of serving both as a conduit of Saudi money to the Islamic terrorists in the south and as a cover for Pakistani jihad volunteers.
There is also evidence that Tablighi Jamaat directly recruits for terrorist organizations. As early as the 1980s, the movement sponsored military training for 900 recruits annually in Pakistan and Algeria while, in 1999, Uzbek authorities accused Tablighi Jamaat of sending 400 Uzbeks to terrorist training camps. The West is not immune. British counterterrorism authorities estimate that at least 2,000 British nationals had gone to Pakistan for jihad training by 1998, and the French secret services report that between 80 and 100 French nationals fought for Al-Qaeda.
A Trojan Horse for Terror in America?
Within the United States, the cases of American Taliban John Lindh, the "Lackawanna Six," and the Oregon cell that conspired to bomb a synagogue and sought to link up with Al-Qaeda, all involve Tablighi missionaries. Other indicted terrorists, such as "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla, and Lyman Harris, who sought to bomb the Brooklyn Bridge, were all members of Tablighi Jamaat at one time or another. According to Robert Blitzer, head of the FBI's first Islamic counterterrorism unit, between 1,000 and 2,000 Americans left to join the jihad in the 1990s alone. Pakistani intelligence sources report that 400 American Tablighi recruits received training in Pakistani or Afghan terrorist camps since 1989.
The Tablighi Jamaat has made inroads among two very different segments of the American Muslim population. Because many American Muslims are immigrants, and a large subsection of these are from South Asia, Deobandi influences have been able to penetrate deeply. Many Tablighi Jamaat missionaries speak Urdu as a first language and so can communicate easily with American Muslims of South Asian origin. The Tablighi headquarters in the United States for the past decade appears to be in the Al-Falah mosque in Queens, New York. Its missionaries—predominantly from South Asia—regularly visit Sunni mosques and Islamic centers across the country. The willingness of Saudi-controlled front organizations and charities, such as the World Muslim League, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth [WAMY], the Haramain Foundation, the International Islamic Relief Organization [IIRO] and others, to spend large amounts of money to co-opt the religious establishment has helped catalyze recruitment. As a result Wahhabi and Deobandi influence dominate American Islam.
This trend is apparent in the activities of Tanzeem-e Islami. Founded by long-term Tablighi member and passionate Taliban supporter, Israr Ahmed, Tanzeem-e Islami flooded American Muslim organizations with communications accusing Israel of complicity in the 9/11 terror attacks. A frequent featured speaker at Islamic conferences and events in the United States, Ahmed engages in incendiary rhetoric urging his audiences to prepare for "the final showdown between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world, which has been captured by the Jews." Unfortunately, his conspiracy theories have begun to take hold among growing segments of the American Muslim community. For example, Siraj Wahhaj, among the best known African-American Muslim converts and the first Muslim cleric to lead prayers in the U.S. Congress, is also on record accusing the FBI and the CIA of being the "real terrorists." He has expressed his support for the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and advocating the demise of American democracy.
Tablighi Jamaat has appealed to African American Muslims for other reasons. Founded by Elijah Mohammed in the early 1930s, the Nation of Islam was essentially a charismatic African American separatist organization which had little to do with normative Islam. Many Nation of Islam members found attractive both the Tablighi Jamaat's anti-state separatist message and its description of American society as racist, decadent, and oppressive. Seeing such fertile ground, Tablighi and Wahhabi missionaries targeted the African American community with great success. One Tablighi sympathizer explained, The Umma [Muslim community] must remember that winning over the black Muslims is not only a religious obligation but also a selfish necessity. The votes of the black Muslims can give the immigrant Muslims the political clout they need at every stage to protect their vital interests. Likewise, outside Muslim states like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Pakistan need to mobilize their effort, money, and missionary skills to expand and consolidate the black Muslim community in the USA, not only for religious reasons, but also as a farsighted investment in the black Muslims' immense potential as a credible lobby for Muslim causes, such as Palestine, Bosnia, or Kashmir—offsetting, at least partially, the venal influence of the powerful India-Israel lobby.
Not only foreign Tablighis but also the movement's sympathizers within the United States enunciate this goal. The president of the Islamic Research Foundation in Louisville, Kentucky, a strong advocate of Tablighi missionary work, for instance, insists that "if all the Afro-American brothers and sisters become Muslims, we can change the political landscape of America" and "make U.S. foreign policy pro-Islamic and Muslim friendly." As a result of Tablighi and Wahhabi proselytizing, African Americans comprise between 30 and 40 percent of the American Muslim community, and perhaps 85 percent of all American Muslim converts. Much of this success is due to a successful proselytizing drive in the penitentiary system. Prison officials say that by the mid-1990s, between 10 and 20 percent of the nation's 1.5 million inmates identified themselves as Muslims. Some 30,000 African Americans convert to Islam in prison every year.
The American political system tolerates all views so long as they adhere to the rule of law. Unfortunately, Tablighi Jamaat missionaries may be encouraging African American recruits to break the law. Harkat ul-Mujahideen has boasted of training dozens of African American Jihadists in its military camps. There is evidence that African American Jihadists have died in both Afghanistan and Kashmir.
Tablighi Jamaat: The Future of American Islam?
Tablighi Jamaat has made unprecedented strides in recent decades. It increasingly relies on local missionaries rather than South Asian Tablighis to recruit in Western countries and often sets up groups which apparently model themselves after Tablighi Jamaat but do not acknowledge links to it.
In the United States, such a role is apparently played by the Islamic Circle of North America [ICNA]. Founded in 1968 as an offshoot of the fiercely Islamist Muslim Student Association, ICNA is the only major American Muslim organization that has paid open homage to Tablighi founder Ilyas. The monthly ICNA publication, The Message, has praised Ilyas as one of the four greatest Islamic leaders of the last 100 years. While the relationship between ICNA and Tablighi Jamaat is not clear, the two organizations share a number of similarities. They both embrace the extreme Deobandi and Wahhabi interpretations of Islam. ICNA demonstrates disdain for Western democratic values and opposes virtually all counterterrorism legislation, such as the Patriot Act, while providing moral and financial support to all Muslims implicated in terrorist activities. An editorial in the ICNA organ, The Message International, in September 1989 bemoaned the "uncounted number of Muslims lost to Western values" which was a "major cause for concern." In 2003 and 2004, ICNA has collected money to assist detainees suspected of terrorist activities, participated in pro-terrorist rallies, and mounted campaigns on behalf of indicted Hamas functionary Sami al-Arian. Like Tablighi Jamaat, ICNA initially drew its membership disproportionately from South Asians. As with Tablighi Jamaat, ICNA demands total dedication to missionary work from its members. Because many ICNA members spend at least thirty hours per week on their mission, their ability to independently support themselves is unclear. Many cannot hold full-time jobs. ICNA's recruitment efforts have borne fruit, though. All ICNA members are organized in small study groups of no more than eight people, called NeighborNets. As in a cult, these cells provide support and reinforcement for new recruits, who may have sought to fill a void in their lives. Its yearly convocations, patterned on the annual Tablighi Jamaat meetings in South Asia, now attract some 15,000 people.
The estimated 15,000 Tablighi missionaries reportedly active in the United States present a serious national security problem. At best, they and their proxy groups form a powerful proselytizing movement that preaches extremism and disdain for religious tolerance, democracy, and separation of church and state. At worst, they represent an Islamist fifth column that aids and abets terrorism. Contrary to their benign treatment by scholars and academics, Tablighi Jamaat has more to do with political sedition than with religion.
U.S. officials should focus on reality rather than rhetoric. Pakistani and Saudi support for Tablighi Jamaat is incompatible with their claims to be key allies in the war on terror. While law enforcement focuses attention on Osama bin Laden, the war on terrorism cannot be won unless al-Qaeda terrorists are understood to be the products of Islamist ideology preached by groups like Tablighi Jamaat. If the West chooses to turn a blind eye to the problem, Tablighi involvement in future terrorist activities at home and abroad is not a matter of conjecture; it is a certainty.
The Tablighi Role in the Global Jihadism:
However, there are indeed some links between Tablighis and the world of jihadism. First, there is evidence of indirect connections between the group and the wider radical/extremist Deobandi nexus composed of anti-Shiite sectarian groups, Kashmiri militants and the Taliban. This link provides a medium through which Tablighis who are disgruntled with the group’s apolitical program could break orbit and join militant organizations.
One apparent manifestation of this nexus was a purported militant offshoot of TJ, Jihad bi al-Saif [Jihad through the Sword], which was established in Taxila, Pakistan. Members of this group were accused of plotting a coup against former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1995. Yet, because of the organization’s extreme secrecy, little is known about it other than that it is believed to have developed in reaction to the TJ’s apolitical, peaceful stance.
The TJ organization also serves as a de facto conduit for Islamist extremists and for groups such as al Qaeda to recruit new members. Significantly, the Tablighi recruits do intersect with the world of radical Islamism when they travel to Pakistan to receive their initial training. We have received reports that once the recruits are in Pakistan, representatives of various radical Islamist groups, such as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, the Taliban and al Qaeda, are said to woo them actively — to the point of offering them military training. And some of them accept the offer. For example, John Walker Lindh — an American who is serving a prison sentence for aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan — traveled with Tablighi preachers to Pakistan in 1998 to further his Islamic studies before joining the Taliban.
Because of the piety and strict belief system of the Tablighis and their focus on calling wayward Muslims back to an austere and orthodox Muslim faith, the movement has offered a place where jihadist spotters can look for potential recruits. These facilitators often offer enthusiastic new or rededicated Muslims a more active way to live and develop their faith. Although the TJ promotes a benign message, the same conservative Islamic values espoused by the Tablighis also are part of jihadist ideology, and so some Muslims attracted to the Tablighi movement are enticed into becoming involved with jihadists.
Additionally, because of its apolitical belief system, TJ seems to leave a gap in the ideological indoctrination of the individual Tablighi because it essentially asks the novice to shun politics and public affairs. The problem in taking this belief system from theory to practice, however, is that some people find they cannot ignore what is happening in the world around them, especially when that world includes wars. This is when some Tablighis become disillusioned with TJ and start turning to jihadist groups that offer religiously sanctioned prescriptions as to how "good Muslims" should deal with life’s injustices.
Once a facilitator identifies such candidates, he often will segregate them from the main congregation in the mosque or community center and put them into small prayer circles or study groups where they can be more easily exposed to jihadist ideology. [Of course, it also has been shown that a person with friends or relatives who ascribe to radical ideology can more easily be radical].
Examples of people making the jump from TJ to radical Islam are the two leading members of the cell responsible for the July 7, 2005, London bombings — Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shahzad Tanweer. Both had life-changing experiences through their exposure to TJ, though by 2001 the men had left the Tablighi mosque they had been attending in the British city of Beeston, because they found it to be too apolitical. They apparently were frustrated by the mosque’s elders, who forbid the discussion of politics in the mosque.
After Khan and Tanweer left the Tablighi mosque, they began attending the smaller Iqra Learning Center bookstore in Beeston, where they reportedly were exposed to frequent political discussions about places such as Iraq, Kashmir and Chechnya. The store’s proprietors reportedly even produced jihad videos depicting crimes by the West against the Muslim world. Exposed to this environment, the two men eventually became radicalized to the point of traveling to Pakistan to attend a terrorist training camp and then returning to the United Kingdom to plan and execute a suicide attack that resulted in the death of them both.
TJ also is used by Jihadists as cover both for recruiting activities, as discussed above, and for travel. Like Khan and Tanweer, many jihadists desire to travel to Pakistan for training, while others want to get to Afghanistan, Kashmir or other places to fight jihad. However, the travel environment is far different today than it was in the early 1980s, when 747 jetliners packed with Jihadists from Saudi Arabia and other places flew into Pakistan en route to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
Foreigners traveling to Pakistan today cannot enter the country without a visa, and Pakistani authorities are no longer inclined to issue visas to Jihadists, as Jeffrey Battle and the other members of the Portland Seven had to learn the hard way. Shortly after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the friends traveled to China with the intention of entering Afghanistan by way of Pakistan. Once at the Chinese-Pakistani border, however, they found they could not enter Pakistan without a visa. After spending a frustrating month trying to obtain visas from the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing, the seven aspiring Jihadists decided to go their separate ways.
Battle, who reportedly once served as a bodyguard for Black Panther leader Quanell X, later attempted to obtain a visa to Pakistan by saying he was affiliated with TJ. The Pakistanis, probably recognizing him from his prior [and apparently somewhat vocal] visa attempts, denied him again, though he was able to get a visa to travel to Bangladesh using the feigned connection to TJ. Unable to make his way from Bangladesh to Pakistan or Afghanistan, however, Battle returned to the United States, where he was later arrested. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of seditious conspiracy and waging war against the United States.
Similarly, in the spring of 2001 the members of the so-called Lackawanna Six cell traveled to Pakistan under the pretext of studying the Islamic religion and culture at the TJ training center. In reality, the men traveled through Pakistan to Afghanistan, where they attended training at the al-Farooq camp, a training site being run by al Qaeda. Again, the men used TJ as cover for travel, though there is no indication that TJ played any real part in their alleged plot.
Although the TJ organization unintentionally serves as a front for, or conduit to, militant organizations such as al Qaeda, there is no evidence that the Tablighis act willingly as a global unified jihadist recruiting arm. Rather, such activities appear to occur without the knowledge or consent of TJ leaders. Additionally, because of the very size of the organization and it activities in Muslim communities in the West, a great many Muslims have had some sort of contact with the group. TJ itself, however, is not an intentional propagator of terrorism.
Man behind the Cordoba Mosque:
Faisal Abdul Rauf The prospective developer of a $100 million, 13-story mosque 600 feet from Ground Zero presents himself as a Muslim moderate. Yet Kuwait-born Faisal Abdul Rauf also boasts of his issue from an "Egyptian family steeped in religious scholarship". Indeed, Feisal Rauf's Muslim Brotherhood provenance, radical by definition, is as authentic as it gets.
Rauf's father, Dr. Muhammad Abdul Rauf [1917-2004] - an Egyptian contemporary of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna - conveyed to Feisal his family's long tradition of radicalism, which he acquired at Islam's closest equivalent to the Vatican, Al-Azhar University. The elder Dr. Rauf studied and taught there before fleeing Egypt in 1948. That year, Feisal Abdul Rauf was born in Kuwait.
Imam Faisal Rauf has planned for some time to further develop his father's U.S. Islamic expansionism. In 1990, Rauf opened the tiny al-Farah Mosque at 245 West Broadway in lower Manhattan. Area residents did not even notice the mosque until 2006, when the New York State Liquor Authority [SLA] refused to license a new bar on the same block and started yanking others' liquor licenses.
Rauf attended grammar school and high school in the UK and Malaysia, according to his biography. He probably first lived in America only in 1965, at age 17, when his father moved from Malaysia to New York to plan and head the Islamic Cultural Center [not built until the mid-1980s]. Rauf then obtained a BS in physics at Columbia University. In 1971, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Rauf's father headed the Islamic Center on Massachusetts Ave. His father, buried in Suitland, MD, at the for-profit Washington National Cemetery, also founded three Malaysian Islamic studies programs, including the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
Rauf's early UK education and familiarization with American popular culture and values made him an acutely adept practitioner of Islamic taqiyya - deceptive speech and action to advance the interests and supremacy of Islam. To further that Islamic advancement, Rauf in 1997 established the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). His Kashmir-born wife Daisy Kahn, an interior designer by profession, has run the organization since 2005.
Rauf then began cultivating new spheres of influence. In about summer 2002, Rauf started lecturing on Islam at the 750-acre southwestern New York campus of Chautauqua Institution, a 136-year-old non-profit where religion director Joan Brown Campbell took Rauf under her wing. Under the rubric of the "Abrahamic" faiths, a convenient cover for Rauf's Islamic activities, Campbell subsequently named him the prospective head of a Muslim house now planned on campus by another Rauf brainchild - the 501(3)c organization Muslim Friends of Chautauqua. Rauf also befriended Karen Armstrong, the former British nun and devotee of Islam.
In 2003, Rauf befriended leaders of Denver's Aspen Institute, including former executive director and four-term Aspen mayor John S. Bennet. In 2004, under ASMA auspices, Rauf organized a meeting of 125 young Muslims and formed Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow. With Bennet's help, he co-founded the Cordoba Initiative in Aspen, purportedly to "improve" Muslim-West relations. Rauf gets funding from a variety of other liberal organizations, including, for example, Gloria Steinem's Ms. Foundation.
Now, the same Rauf is set to construct a mosque at Ground Zero, which he claims will prove that ‘Islam is not a violent faith’.
As Islamic attacks on September 11, 2001, destroyed the World Trade Center towers, falling jet debris simultaneously crushed the five-story 1923 structure some 600 feet away that until that morning housed a robust Burlington Coat Factory store. Over the ruin of the former retail outlet, Rauf now plans to build a 13-story, $100 million mosque. Rauf says the Cordoba Initiative bought the former retail building to prove to the world that Islam is not a violent faith.
Imam Rauf says that New York Muslims provided nearly $5 million in cash to buy the Park Place building. Yet in fiscal 2009, Rauf's ASMA received large international donations. In the year ended June 30, 2009 - days before Feisal closed the purchase - ASMA received at least $1.3 million. The largest donation, $576,312, came from Qatar. That Persian Gulf nation has long harbored terror financiers, and even the government stands accused of funding international terrorism. Qatar also has, for decades, hosted Muslim Brotherhood spiritual chief Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The elderly sheikh, a large and founding shareholder in the terror-financing al-Taqwa Bank, champions sharia law, wife beating, and suicide bombing.
ASMA also received $481,942 from Holland's Millennial Development Goals Fund [MDG3], $144,752 from New York's Carnegie Corporation, $53,664 from the U.N. Population Fund [UNFPA], plus donations from the Rockefeller Brothers and Hunt Alternatives funds, among others.
The Ground Zero mosque plan is more than a little reminiscent of a program initiated by Rauf's late father in 1965. That year, Muhammad R. Abdul Rauf moved to New York to plan and head a huge Islamic Cultural Center that took decades to realize. He bought prime Manhattan real estate at 96th St. and 3rd Ave - roughly two thirds of a city block - apparently with $1.3 million in funding from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Libya. The late Rauf long retained some of that land in a personal trust. But when construction started on the $17 million mosque in 1984, it had received funding from 46 Islamic nations. By 2010, the enormous Islamic complex had added another two buildings. Since 1984, its founders-envisioned apartment unit has been restricted to Muslims alone.
Whenever Feisal first considered building a mosque across from Ground Zero, he had the idea firmly in mind by 2004, when he wrote What's Right with Islam. The book was translated into many languages. In Indonesia's Bahasa, its title translates as "The Call from the WTC Rubble." Rauf promoted the book in December 2007 at a Kuala Lumpur gathering of Hizb ut Tahrir – a terror outfit banned in Germany since 2003, and also outlawed in Bangladesh, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, among other places - and ideologically akin to the Muslim Brotherhood. Both seek to replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law [Sharia], and eventually impose Islam and Sharia law worldwide. Most North American Muslim Brotherhood organizations avoid widely publicizing that aim. The Hizb Ut Tahrir however, at a July 2009 Khalifah conference at a suburban Chicago Hilton, openly promised to replace capitalism with Islam and Sharia law.
Now, Imam Rauf is set to construct his dream project, wherefrom possibly the radical Islamists will start Islamization of America. This will not be a mere mosque, but a tower of terrorism to further flex the muscle of militant Islam right inside the heart of United States.
Hope Americans will realize this, before it is too late!
By: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Indian American Intellectual’s Forum [IAIF], which is based in New York City, USA has issued a press release condemning the forthcoming Indian movie named ‘Dear Friend of Hitler’. This movie is being directed by Rakesh Ranjan Kumar and eminent Indian actors Anupam Kher and Neha Dhupia are playing key roles in it.
IAIF in its press release said, “In the history of humanity Hitler is regarded as an ultimate evil that sent six million Jewish to the gas chambers and propelled the world to second world war that caused the death of tens of millions of people. Hence this news has sent shock waves to many Israeli friends of India in Israel, UK , USA and many other countries.”
According to IAIF, this movie is funded by notorious drug and arms baron dealer Dawood Ibrahim, who operates from United Arab Emirates and Pakistan and it is even reported that Dawood works for Pakistani intelligence agency named ISI [Inter Service Intelligence].
According to the official synopsis of the film, it gives audiences a glimpse into Hitler's "insecurities, his charisma, his paranoia and his sheer genius."
According to latest news, actor Anupam Kher staunchly defended his decision to play Adolf Hitler, finally was forced to step out from this movie at the protest of thousands of his fans. In a statement he said, “Considering the ill-will that the project is generating among my fans, I wish to withdraw from it as I respect their sentiments.”
Meanwhile, Neha Dhupia showed that she has it in her to take on the challenging role of Eva Braun at the launch party of Dear Friend Hitler.
Neha is excited to play the Eva Braun role. She is already researching for her character by watching historical footage and past films made on Eva. The former Miss India (2002) is slowly building her resume with diverse acting roles such as playing a village thug Munni gangster in With Love To Obama, and her first international project, IFC's Bollywood Hero, opposite Chris Kattan.
It is a million dollar question as to why suddenly growing Indian cine Capital Bollywood has decided to make a movie on a devil like Hitler. Many believe that this movie might be a sabotaging project of some anti-Indian elements to some how put Indo-Israel and Indo-US relations into jeopardy. On the other hand, some believe that, this very project shows clearly how anti-Semitism is spreading wings in some of the Asian nations.
In most of the Muslim countries, anti-Semitism and anti-US or anti-Israel sentiment is secretly funded by Iran or some other terror patron nations. Iran in particular, spends millions of dollars every year in spreading hate speech in the Muslim nations through publications, movies and other media. On the other hand, controversial television channels like Al Jazeera or Peace TV are working with a very specific goal and mission of poisoning the minds of Muslim masses against United States, Israel and the West by portraying the very theme of War on Terror as ‘War against Islam’.
Monday, June 14, 2010
BARACK OBAMA UNMASKED
A review of "THE MANCHURIAN PRESIDENT"
Barack Obama's ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists
By; Aaron Klein, with Brenda J. Elliott
Reviewed by: FERN SIDMAN
American journalist, author and radio host, Aaron Klein, along with historian and researcher, Brenda J. Elliott blow the lid off the dome of silence surrounding the Obama administration as they boldly unmask the nation's 44th president in their latest chilling monograph entitled. "The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists" (WND Books - May 2010). Providing close to 900 footnotes and countless pages of documentation they reveal surreptitious ties to radical leftists of all stripes. If the title of this book sounds at all familiar, it is a takeoff on the 1959 political thriller novel by Robert Condon called "The Manchurian Candidate" in which the son of a prominent US political family has been brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for the Communist party.
While Klein does not infer that President Obama is part of a Communist sleeper cell, he does present an exhaustive investigation into President Obama's background and his radical ties to pivotal figures in the Communist movement, both inside the White House and out who also happen to be major players in crafting legislation, including the economic stimulus package. This weighty tome weaves a complex spider's web of a narrative that is replete with a plethora of names and organizations of radical leftists, hitherto unknown by the public, who helped shape Obama's ideology and career.
Starting with Obama's childhood affiliation as a Sunday school attendee at the First Unitarian in Honolulu, a radical activist church that not only served as sanctuary for draft dodgers in the 1960s and 70s but had strong links to the even more radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Klein embellishes on the movement that gave birth to the underground terrorist offshoot called Weatherman. It was through this organization that Obama liaison Bill Ayers achieved fame as a Pentagon bomber-conspirator and a notorious leftist student agitator. Ayers summed up the Weatherman ideology which he referred to as "an American Red Army" by saying, "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents."
Klein informs us that Obama worked directly with Ayers in Chicago back in 1988, after Ayers resurfaced from his underground status amid multiple criminal charges related to his extremist activities. The charges were dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct. The two were introduced by Gerald "Jerry" Kellman, a Marxist acolyte of radical community organizer Saul Alinsky, and thus, a professional association was forged as Obama served with the Ayers' run community advocacy coalition called the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, or ABC. When Obama launched his political career in 1995, the venue for his first fundraiser was the Chicago apartment of Bill Ayers and the two served alongside each other from 1995 to 2000 on a $100 million education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge or CAC.
Says Klein, "To underscore Ayers' radical mentality in 1995, while he worked closely with Obama, the unrepentant terrorist gave an interview in that year for author Ron Chepesiuk's book Sixties Radicals, in which Ayers stated, "I'm a radical, leftist, small 'c' communist."
Following the guidelines of Alinsky-like tactics of working within the system to overthrow the capitalist structure of American government, Klein speaks of Obama's direct links to the CAC's role in "disbursing money through various far-left community organizers, such as ACORN." Such Socialist led organizations and unions like Project VOTE!, the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the AFL-CIO (the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), AFSCME (American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees) and the Apollo Alliance are also directly linked to ACORN and Obama cronies with "questionable" ties. Quoting from a 2001 book by Jarol B. Manheim, "The Death of a Thousand Cuts: Corporate Campaigns and the Attack on the Corporation", Klein says that "by 1986, ACORN had forged institutional ties with AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils in at least 30 cities" and that ACORN's "People's Platform" included such radical reformist objectives as "free medical care, a public defender system, the elimination of the state income tax for low income people and higher welfare benefits."
Obama's associations with the Nation of Islam, Black Liberation Theology and black political extremists are also revealed in nuanced detail, as Klein sheds light on the fact that Obama attended the million man march organized by Nation of Islam leader and rabid Jew hater, Louis Farrakhan. For over 20 years Obama attended the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago where Farrakhan gave guest lectures at the behest of anti-American extremist preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Klein also uncovers the fact that the Nation of Islam was on Obama's payroll in the early days of his political career and that his senior advisor, David Axelrod also maintained ties to radical Islam through his association as a board member of St. Sabena's Church in Chicago which served as a haven for black nationalists of the Nation of Islam variety.
The backgrounds of other key Obama advisors and "Czars" such as Valerie Jarrett, Van Jones, Andy Stern, Cass Sunstein and John Holdren are also carefully scrutinized by Klein as well as their political leanings and the influence they wield in this current administration. Ghastly epiphanies proliferate, as Klein documents the fact that Communist Party member, Frank Marshall Davis who would become a mentor to the young Barack Obama in Hawaii worked closely with Vernon Jarrett, Valerie Jarrett's father-in-law in at least three communist dominated organizations in Chicago in the late 1940s. Former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, who resigned his post in September of 2009, was forced out of his job by allegations of association with a Marxist group during the 1990s. Having been arrested several times during the 90s for political activism, Jones was quoted in a November 2005 interview with the East Bay Express as saying that while in jail, ""I met all these young radical people of color -- I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, 'This is what I need to be a part of.'"
"The Manchurian President" also exposes how Obama's health-care policy, masked by moderate populist rhetoric, was pushed along and partially crafted by extremists. Some of them reveal in their own words that their principal aim is to achieve corporate socialist goals and a vast increase in government powers.
Klein was recently quoted on FOX news as saying, "It is clear that Barack Obama has ties to an anti-American fringe nexus that was instrumental in building his political career from the beginning all the way through now." He adds that, "I believe this work is crucial to Americans from across the political spectrum, including mainstream Democrats who should be alarmed that their party has been hijacked by an extreme-left bent on permanently changing the party to fits its radical agenda."
This meticulously documented piece of outstanding investigative research is a must read for all good citizens of this great country who are concerned with the future of our cherished freedoms and values.
Monday, June 7, 2010
DEMONSTRATORS SAY "NO" TO MOSQUE AT GROUND ZERO
BY: FERN SIDMAN
"No mosque at Ground Zero" was the rallying cry of the day, as thousands of angry demonstrators gathered for a rally to oppose the proposed construction of a 13-story mosque just blocks away from the site of the 9/11 attacks. A palpable patriotism and zeal filled the air on Sunday afternoon, June 6th as Zucotti Park at the corner of Church and Liberty Streets in lower Manhattan was filled to capacity. Rally attendees who came from as far as Chicago and Los Angeles held signs saying, "Ground Zero is a War Memorial - No Mega Mosque here", "You Can Build a Mosque at Ground Zero - When Can We Build a Synagogue in Mecca?", "Pack Your Sharia and Get out", "Mayor Bloomberg: This Mosque Has Radical Ties - and you still approve?" Hundreds of American flags blew in the summer breeze as speakers representing every walk of life condemned the notion of a mosque being erected near the site of the former World Trade Center's twin towers.
The Cordoba Initiative, headed by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is the chief sponsor of the project that is to be called The Cordoba House, a name that refers to the city in Spain which, in the Middle Ages, was a center of Islamic culture and learning. Cordoba was also the seat of an Islamic caliphate in which Jews and Christians suffered under second-class dhimmi status and was the site of large-scale pogrom, perpetrated by Muslims, in the year 1011.
The proposed mosque will be built at 45 Park Place, which is the site of a four story edifice built in 1857 and was a Burlington Coat retail store until 9/11, when part of the plane's landing gear crashed through the roof. The building which currently houses a mosque will be razed to make room for the new structure. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission could conceivably thwart the intended project if they determine that the building has historic status, thus rendering it a landmark. Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Commission said a hearing is scheduled to take place on that very subject. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has weighed in on the issue and has expressed support for the project.
Imam Rauf insists that the $150 million project is meant to heal the wounds of 9/11. "We've approached the community because we want this to be an example of how we are cooperating with the members of the community, not only to provide services but also to build a discourse on how Muslims and non-Muslims can cooperate together to push back against the voice of extremism", he said.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy says there are more productive ways to fight Islamic extremism and has questions about the financing. According to reports, the building that occupies the site was purchased last year for $4.85 million in cash by Soho Properties, a real estate company run by Muslims. Imam Rauf, who is also the founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement was an investor in that transaction.
Dr. Jasser said that with such a financial commitment, there needs to be full disclosure about where the money is coming from. "There should be transparency about who those investors are; whether that money is coming from a domestic source or not, and if it's coming from foreign interests we need to know, because I think that's a liability, and it shows that there is another agenda rather than domestic security and tranquility" he said.
Organized by such organizations as 'Stop the Islamization of America', Families of the 9/11 Victims, The New York City Firefighters, the Tea Party Activists of Brooklyn and Staten Island among other such groups, the rally goers stood in the scorching heat and listened to the impassioned words of the litany of speakers. "We're not here today to condemn Muslims or Islam" said Pamela Geller, executive director of 'Stop the Islamization of America', "but we are here today to condemn the kind of mosque that will teach the very same radical ideology that gave birth to the 9/11 attacks", she intoned. "Building a mosque just several blocks away from Ground Zero is an insult and an affront to every single person that was killed on 9/11, to their families, to the first responders and every concerned American who cherishes liberty, democracy and freedom" she continued.
"3000 pairs of eyes are looking down at us today" declared James Lafferty of the Virginia Anti-Sharia Task Force who traveled to New York to speak at the rally. "We must stand together as a free people and tell the world that we will fight the imposition of Sharia law until our last breath. These evil, cowardly bastards who took the lives of those proud Americans on 9/11 will be remembered forever and this mosque which represents the triumph of Islamic fanaticism will not be built if we have anything to say", he said. Mr. Lafferty received thunderous applause when he said, "The good people of the USA must also stand in solid unity with the Israel Defense Forces who are waging a war against Hamas terrorism as was evidenced several days ago when they intercepted a Turkish based flotilla of ships whose aim it was to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. It is the IDF who is on the front lines in the battle against Islamic radicalism and we must support them".
Dr. Babu Suseelan, a Hindu human rights activist told the crowd, "We Hindus and Sikhs have a story to tell. Islamists killed 80 million of us since 700 AD and they continue to kill us. They destroyed 3000 glorious temples and built mosques over them. In the last 60 years, Islamists in Pakistan wiped out infidel Hindu and Sikh populations. At one time we represented 25% of the population and now we are less that 1%. Know this: The 9/11 mosque is not a symbol of understanding. It is a symbol of conquest. Imam Rauf is a master of Taqiyya, which is the use of deception to forward the agenda of Islam. What Faisal Shahzad failed to accomplish in Times Square on May 1st with overt jihad, Imam Rauf will succeed with stealth jihad."
"Not here! Not now!" was the resounding theme of the speech delivered by Jay Townsend, the GOP candidate of the US Senate from New York who will be challenging the incumbent Charles Schumer in the upcoming November elections. "The wounds have not healed, Imam", he said. "And we cannot so soon forget. The hatred that spawned this assault on our sensibilities is still taught in too many of your mosques and inscribed into too many of your prayer rugs. Not here, not now, until you have excised the hatred that is inscribed in the school books of your impressionable young. Not here, not now, until you are willing to say that Israel has the right to exist, that the people of Israel have a right to a life absent of fear of a nuclear armed tyrant who denies the Holocaust" he declared.
Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a co-organizer of the rally referenced a June 5th article in the New York Post that said, "The imam behind a proposed mosque near Ground Zero is a prominent member of a group that helped sponsor the pro-Palestinian activists who clashed violently with Israeli commandos at sea this week. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is a key figure in Malaysian-based Perdana Global Peace Organization, according to its website. Perdana is the single biggest donor ($366,000) so far to the Free Gaza Movement, a key organizer of the six-ship flotilla that tried to break Israel's blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip Monday."
Members of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI) also made their presence known at the rally through their visual depiction of the heinous murders committed by radical Islamists around the globe. "We are glad that the speakers here today drew a distinction between the Islamic faith and those who commit murder in the name of Allah. We work with Muslims and ex-Muslim dissidents who oppose the pernicious ideology of radical Islam and we are an inclusive alliance of people of all religions and nationalities who cherish freedom" said Dr. Marvin Belsky, a retired internist.
Responding to the remarks of the "Dean" of the White House Press Corps, 89 year old Helen Thomas who told a reporter on May 27th, following a celebration of Jewish Heritage Day at the White House that "the Jews should get the heck out of Palestine. The Palestinians are occupied by those who stole their land. They should go home to Poland and Germany, America, anywhere", Dr. Belsky said, "Ms. Thomas is a disgrace to the White House press corps and she should have her press credentials revoked. She is a virulent anti-Semite that should be roundly condemned."
Other speakers included Anders Gravers of Stop the Islamization of Europe, Simon Deng, the Sudanese ex-slave and campaigner for human rights for Sudanese Christians, Richard Connerney, a philosophy professor at Pace University, Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian ex-Muslim and author of "Now They Call Me Infidel" and "Cruel and Unusual Punishment", Nelly Braginskaya, a 9/11 family member who lost her son, Larry Savinkin, father of Vladimir Savinkin, 21 and president of the September 11th Family Group uniting 9/11 families from the Russian-American community, Dan Maloney, New York Director of the Gathering of Eagles organization and congressional candidate in District 4 in New York, Germano Rivera, who recovered remains on 9/11, Nabil Asaad and Dr. Esmat Zaklama, Coptic Christian human rights activists, Pamela Hall of SIOA-NY and a human righhts activiist, Herb London of the Hudson Institute, and Beverly Carlson of the Band of Mothers, among others.
The rally organizers urged those in attendance today to continue their work against the mosque in their localities and they were exhorted to return for yet another rally in opposition to the mosque on September 10th. The rally concluded with the singing of "God Bless America".
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
THE JEWISH STATE UNDER SIEGE
Angry demonstrators fire back
BY: FERN SIDMAN
As the world continues to demonize Israel for her role in defending her citizens in the Gaza flotilla debacle, livid Jewish demonstrators pushed back against the onslaught of invectives being hurled at the Jewish state in a rally that was staged on Tuesday evening, June 1st in front of the Turkish Consulate on E 46th Street and 1st Avenue, outside of the United Nations. Organized by the organization called RAJE, the Russian American Jewish Experience, over 300 rally attendees took to the streets in defense of Israel. Holding aloft such signs that read "Israel: We Stand With You", "Gaza Peace Activists Don't Use Clubs or Knives" and "Peace Activists Should Not Support Hamas", the demonstrators held both Israeli and American flags and called for an end to Hamas terrorism.
Dovid Ha'Ivri of the Shromron Liaison office and a resident of the Israeli settlement of Tapuach said, "Any country in the world has a right to defend themselves and Israel is no different. Clearly, this purportedly "Free Gaza" flotilla was filled with Hamas supporters who refused to cooperate with the Israeli military. They had their own nefarious agenda and it's just too bad that the lives of our commandos were put in jeopardy. Orders should have been given that the Mavi Marmara be sunk. Israel has nothing to apologize to the world for and certainly Turkey has no right to pass judgment on Israel after the Holocaust that they inflicted on the Armenian population."
Just several blocks away in front of the Israeli Consulate, several thousand pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas apologists gathered for their own raucous demonstration in which they spewed forth their own inimitable brand of vitriol against Israel. "The Israelis are murderers and pirates and they should be tried for war crimes and genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza" said Ahmed Wahad of the organization Al-Awda. Insisting that the mission of the flotilla activists was purely a humanitarian one, he denied allegations that the people on the Mavi Marmara brutally assaulted Israeli commandos as they descended on to the ship. "Look, the people in Gaza are suffering due to the inhumane Israeli blockade of food, medicine and other essential supplies and these people on the boat were victimized by the savage Israeli occupiers", he continued.
Members of the anti-Israel contingent began marching down East 42nd Street towards Times Square shouting, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" and "No more US tax dollars for Israel" as they called for the end of the 'occupation' of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
Video evidence of the incident reveals quite clearly that the Israeli commandos came aboard the boat peacefully, without the intention to inflict harm, when they were set upon by passengers wielding metal pipes, clubs, and knives. Several pistols were stolen from the commandos and shots were fired as one commando was thrown overboard into to side boat.
"It's really pretty simple. At one time such terrorist groups as Hamas and Hezbollah believed that the best way to destroy Israel was to murder our citizens either through conventional warfare and through suicidal terrorist attacks. They woke up and came to the conclusion that such actions only garner sympathy for Israel. Now, they are keenly cognizant of the fact that the war they are fighting is through the media and world opinion, so the best way to destroy us is to force us into a position to kill them", said Meir Epstein, 52, of Monsey, NY who traveled down to attend the pro-Israel rally.
Across the street from the Turkish consulate stood Turkish nationals and members of the vehemently anti-Israel Neturei Karta movement who continued to berate Israel while leveling epithets laced with hatred at members of the pro-Israel contingent. "Murderers, occupiers and pirates" they shouted while calling for the annihilation of Israel. "Israel should not exist because it is a racist state and we oppose the Jewish character of the state. Why should the Jews have their own country, when the land that they live on was stolen from the Palestinians. A country composed of Jews cannot be a true democracy", said Fagria Behar, a Turkish national.
The defiant pro-Israel faction continued to shout, "Am Yisroel Chai", (the people of Israel live) and "We have the right to self-defense" while police kept both sides separated behind barricades. "The fact that the UN saw fit to hold an emergency security council session to condemn Israel is nothing new", said Ronn Torrosian, a renowned New York publicist and a board member of RAJE. "It is cesspool of Jew hatred and what these so called peace activists on the Turkish vessel pulled off was nothing short of a cleverly devised anti-Semitic lynching" he added.
What best summed up the collective thoughts of the pro-Israel rally goers was a sign featuring an Israeli flag and the words under it: "It's better to have a Jewish State that's hated by the whole world than an Auschwitz that's loved by it."
Monday, May 31, 2010
TENSIONS BUILD AT MEETING ON GROUND ZERO MOSQUE
A June 6th rally opposing the construction is planned
BY: FERN SIDMAN
A palpable tension filled the air on Greenwich Street in lower Manhattan on Tuesday evening May 25th, as an emotionally charged meeting was held by Manhattan's Community Board 1 over the proposed construction of a 13-story mosque and cultural center just blocks away from Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 twin towers terror attacks.
After four hours of rancorous public debate, hostilities reached a zenith when members of the board voted 29-1 with 10 abstentions in support of the plan. Several board members proposed a postponement of the vote until the next meeting in order to obtain more detailed information about funding of the project and the organizations sponsoring it, but the motion failed.
The Cordoba Initiative, headed by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is the chief sponsor of the project that is to be called The Cordoba House, a name that refers to the city in Spain which, in the Middle Ages, was a center of Islamic culture and learning. Cordoba was also the seat of an Islamic caliphate in which Jews and Christians suffered under second-class dhimmi status. It was the site of a large-scale pogrom, perpetrated by Muslims, in the year 1011.
The mosque will be built at 45 Park Place, is the site of a four story edifice built in 1857 and was a Burlington Coat retail store until 9/11, when part of the plane's landing gear crashed through the roof. The building which currently houses a mosque will be razed to make room for the new structure. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission could conceivably thwart the intended project if they determine that the building has historic status, thus rendering it a landmark. Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Commission said a hearing is scheduled to take place on that very subject.
Failing to abide by Roberts Rules of Order, project opponents jeered at the speakers and yelled comments such as, "You're building over a cemetery!" while holding signs that read, "Show respect for the 3000" among other things. Among the groups standing in opposition to the proposed mosque are the Families of the 9/11 Victims, the Tea Party activists of Staten Island and Brooklyn, the New York City Firefighters, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), Jihad Watch and the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI).
Pamela Geller, executive director of "Stop Islamization of America' (SIOA), an organization that is spearheading the June 6th rally to protest the proposed mosque blasted the Cordoba Initiative and its leader, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, saying the project is "an insult to the people who were murdered there on 9/11 to build a mosque that will teach the same holy book, the same belief-system, that motivated the 9/11 terrorists." She added that, "In Islam there is a history of placing mosques over the cherished sites of conquered people: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where the Dome of the Rock now stands, and the conversion of the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople into a mosque are two of the most famous examples, but there are thousands of others. In the Islamic world a mosque at Ground Zero would be no less unmistakably a sign of Islamic triumphalism and supremacism."
Before the vote, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said that he understood the sensitivities of the families of the 9/11 victims. "I don't think anybody wants to do anything to disrespect those families. They made the ultimate sacrifice" he said. "At the same time, we have to balance diversity and look for opportunities to bring different groups together." Stringer released a statement on behalf of the community board saying that support of the construction of the mosque "sent a clear message that our city is one that promotes diversity and tolerance."
Stringer has been the target of disparaging remarks by Tea Party activist Mark Williams who has called the proposed center a monument to the terror attacks. Stringer has defended his position in support of the plans to build the mosque and has denounced what he perceives to be offensive speech directed at him or at Muslims.
Council member Margaret Chin said early in the meeting that those who assume a posture of strong resistance to the plans for the proposed mosque are "haters and bigots." The reference was directed at members of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI) and others who held aloft signs condemning the decision of the board to support this endeavor. According to a 1991 article in "The City Journal" author Richard Brookhiser revealed Ms. Chin's political agenda. He states, "For Ms. Chin had risen to prominence by way of the Communist Workers Party, a Maoist sect that decided several years ago to begin infiltrating mainstream politics."
Satya Dosapati, a leader of the Hindu Human Rights Watch and an active member of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam said that "my observation has been that people are waking up to the very real threat that Islamic radicalism represents." Mr. Dosapati is working on mobilizing the large Hindu population in central New Jersey and is arranging buses to the rally on June 6th. "We need exceptionally large numbers of people to attend this rally if we want our voices to be heard. We are assembling at 12 noon on June 6th at Zucotti Park on the corner of Church and Liberty Streets and we beseech all those who are concerned about the future of democracy, liberty and freedom to come out."
Imam Rauf insists that the $150 million project is meant to heal the wounds of 9/11. "We've approached the community because we want this to be an example of how we are cooperating with the members of the community, not only to provide services but also to build a discourse on how Muslims and non-Muslims can cooperate together to push back against the voice of extremism", he said.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy says there are more productive ways to fight Islamic extremism and has questions about the financing. According to reports, the building that occupies the site was purchased last year for $4.85 million in cash by Soho Properties, a real estate company run by Muslims. Imam Rauf, who is also the founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement was an investor in that transaction.
Dr. Jasser said that with such a financial commitment, there needs to be full disclosure about where the money is coming from. "There should be transparency about who those investors are; whether that money is coming from a domestic source or not, and if it's coming from foreign interests we need to know, because I think that's a liability, and it shows that there is another agenda rather than domestic security and tranquility" he said.
Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the author of ten books on the nature of Islam expressed doubts about the purportedly benign views of Imam Rauf. "After the 9/11 attacks, Imam Rauf was quoted on the CBS 60 Minutes program of September 30, 2001 as saying, "US policies were an accessory to the 9/11 crime. In the most direct sense Osama Bin Laden was made in the USA". It is clear from the language that Imam Rauf uses now as opposed to back in 2001 that he is a prototypical dissembler as he boldly insinuated that American foreign policy was to blame for the heinous atrocities that took the lives of close to 3,000 people on 9/11" he said.
"Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is an open proponent of Sharia, which institutionalizes discrimination against Jews, Christians, women, and others, and denies freedom of speech and freedom of conscience" said Pamela Geller of SIOA. Her sober warning was crystal clear: "If we do not confront this threat now, then in the future we will see increasing assertiveness from Islamic supremacists in this country; demanding that we accept elements of Islamic law, and increasing conflict as free Americans see their rights being abridged and Muslims set up as a privileged class here."
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The problem lies in Pakistan
You are right that the "Afghan mission can still be made a worthwhile one, but not if it is left to drift rudderless". However, it is not the goals that need to be debated but rather the strategy.
Unfortunately, the root of the problem continues to be ignored: namely, the Pakistani military and intelligence's support for the various militant groups in Afghanistan as part of their expansionist policy of "strategic depth". The military and intelligence also play a double game as part of their half-hearted co-operation with Nato forces by attacking militant groups that directly threaten Pakistan's stability but providing early warnings and escape routes during security operations against those that do not. This is done in order to receive financial aid from countries such as the US.
Hence, increasing the number of troops could defeat the militant groups in Afghanistan, but the victory would be short-lived as they could simply retreat into Pakistan as they did in the period 2002-2004 and then infiltrate Afghanistan again, similarly to what happened in 2005 and 2006, as can be observed by the sudden spike in the number of troop deaths from 2005 onwards.
At the same time, the situation would deteriorate if Nato forces were to simply withdraw. The militant groups would be strengthened, and the Pakistani military and intelligence would be emboldened to pursue their policy of "strategic depth".
Given the close co-operation between al-Qa'ida, the Taliban Shura based in Quetta, and Punjab-based groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was responsible for the Mumbai attacks, the threat to the whole of South Asia would be increased, and in turn to the West itself, since India and Pakistan both have nuclear arsenals.
Thus, we must confront the Pakistani military and intelligence on this issue, rather than assuming that we have, in Obama's words, a relationship of "mutual trust" with Pakistan, and try to make them assume responsibility for the situation. This would allow for a safe withdrawal plan that would also put an end to the Pashtun nationalist insurgency in Afghanistan that has arisen in response to the prolonged presence of Nato forces.
Monday, May 24, 2010
TENS OF THOUSANDS MARK ISRAEL'S 62nd ANNIVERSARY
BY: FERN SIDMAN
Fashionable 5th Avenue in New York City morphed into a virtual sea of blue and white on Sunday afternoon, May 23rd, as thousands marched down the famed thoroughfare in a passionate display of support for the State of Israel on her 62nd birthday. The flag of Israel was a ubiquitous site, as marchers representing synagogues, schools, yeshivos and Jewish organizations from around the tri-state area held aloft this indefatigable symbol of Jewish statehood with pride while hoisting decorative banners and signs calling for a united Jerusalem. Scores of spectators from all over the country lined the parade route and joyfully cheered on the marchers as they raised their collective voices in tribute to the glorious legacy of Israel.
For over 20 blocks, Hebrew songs blared through loudspeakers on the abundance of floats representing organizations and businesses supporting Israel as marching bands, dance troupes and choral societies provided their own unique backdrop to the day's festivities. Throngs of ebullient students representing such local area schools as Yeshiva of Flatbush, Magen David, Shulamith High School for Girls, Yeshiva of Manhattan Beach and the East Midwood Hebrew Day School proudly chanted, "Am Yisroel Chai" (the nation of Israel lives) as they paid homage to the rich heritage, ancestry, and history of the Jewish homeland.
Others schools and groups participating in the 2010 Salute to Israel parade included the Yeshiva of Central Queens, Yeshiva University High School for Boys and Girls, the JCH of Bensonhurst, HAFTR - Hebrew Academy of Far Rockaway and the Five Towns, the Jewish Foundation School, the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach, the Moshe Aaron Yeshiva High School, the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, the Kings Bay YM-YWHA, the Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls, the North Shore Hebrew Academy High School, the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, the Sephardic Heritage Alliance, the Solomon Schecter Day Schools of Bergen, Essex and Union counties in New Jersey, United Synagogue Youth, the Ramaz School, the Westchester Jewish Conference, Temple Israel of Great Neck, Tzofim Tzabar - Friends of Israel Scouts, the Republican Jewish Coalition, RAJE - Russian American Jewish Experience, the Jewish War Veterans, among many others.
Float sponsors included the American Friends of Magen David Adom, the America-Israel Friendship League, Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim, El Al Airlines, the B'nai Zion Foundation and the 92nd Street YM-YWHA.
The parade was not without a polemical element as opponents of the Jewish state gathered along the parade route between 58th and 59th Streets to voice their animus towards Israel. Members of the vociferously anti-Israel Chassidic sect known as Neturei Karta carried Palestinian flags and shouted epithets against the Zionist movement while holding signs saying, "Authentic rabbis oppose the creation of Israel". They were joined by members of the ANSWER Coalition, a left wing pro-Palestinian conglomerate who lambastes Israel as a "racist, apartheid state".
Directly across the street stood members of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI), a nascent organization representing Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and ex-Muslims whose objective is to graphically depict the heinous atrocities committed by radical Islamists against all infidels. Andrew Upton, a founding member of HRCARI said, "We are here today to remind all Americans that Israel is on the front lines in the struggle against radical Islam. If we strengthen Israel, we thereby strengthen all of humanity as radical Islam represents the greatest threat to our freedoms since Nazism prior to World War II."
Christian supporters of Israel such as Linda Rivera of Manhattan also joined the HRCARI counter-protest. Said Ms. Rivera," The Jewish people are finally back in the land that G-d gave them as an everlasting possession and anybody who attempts to steal this land from the Jews is declaring war on G-d. The Obama administration has expressed nothing but extreme hostility towards our stalwart ally Israel while coddling our terrorist enemies such as Iran and that is nothing short of reprehensible."
"Haven't we learned from history that we can't appease terrorists?", intoned Coretta James, an African American woman and fervent supporter of Israel. "I am here today to say as a black woman, that our president if a blatant anti-Semite who should be ashamed of himself for his wayward policies concerning Israel. The Jewish nation cannot be coerced into making a so called 'peace' with an enemy who has sworn her destruction such as the Palestinian leadership", she added.
Rabbi Chaim Shimon of the Millinery Synagogue in Manhattan said, "We are here today to show our solidarity with the one and only Jewish nation. As a Torah observant Jew, my message to President Obama concerning his relations to Jews and Israel comes directly from the Bible which states, 'Those who bless you will be blessed and those who curse you will be cursed'. Mr. President - keep your hands off our holy city of Jerusalem because the G-d of Israel is watching over you."
As the parade reached its conclusion, both marchers and spectators headed towards the "Summerstage" in Central Park for the 17th annual Concert in the Park for Israel. Headlining at this year's musical tribute to Israel were renowned singers Eitan Katz, Gershon Veroba, Dr. Meyer and Baruch Abittan, Jerry Markowitz, Izzy Kieffer, Michael Ian Elias, Elad Snir, accompanied by Israeli pianist extraordinaire Shlomi Aharoni and such groups as Pey Dalid and the Maccabeats (a Yeshiva University a cappella group), among others
The concert, emceed by radio personality Nachum Segal, (JM in the AM), was dedicated to Jerusalem never being divided, not giving up any land anywhere in Eretz Yisroel, and standing up to the mullahs of Iran. Mr. Segal introduced such speakers as New York State Assemblyman David Weprin, director of the Igud HaRabonim, Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie of the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue, Manhigut Yehudit international director, Shmuel Sackett, Rabbi David Algaze of the Chavurat Israel synagogue in Forest Hills, Rev. Michael Faulkner (Congressional candidate for the 15th district in northern Manhattan), and executive director of the Shomron Liason Office, David HaIvri.
The keynote speakers were MK Danny Danon, Chairman of the World Likud movement and deputy speaker of the Knesset and Michael S. Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee. "Israeli settlements are not an obstacle to peace in the Middle East" said MK Danon. "They are assets to Israel that must be preserved at all costs", he intoned. Mr. Danon, a member of the Betar Zionist youth movement founded by the legendary Zionist revisionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky said that "Jerusalem will remain undivided; despite the pressure that Israel finds herself under by the Obama administration. The real threat to peace and stability in the region is the Iranian nuclear threat which is very real and very lethal and that is something that the US is reluctant to confront in the strongest terms", he declared. In a private interview subsequent to his speech Mr. Danon said, "If need be, Israel has the nuclear capability to deal with Iran's burgeoning nuclear arsenal. Israel did not attend the recent global nuclear summit in Washington because we don't need to be on the receiving end of pressure regarding nuclear disarmament, especially now, as the clock is ticking concerning a possible strike against us by Iran."
"We need very clear indications from Washington concerning its commitment to Israel's security", said Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee. "And the major obstacle here is that we're not getting any indications from the Obama administration about what they are planning to do about the danger that Israel finds herself in, vis-a-via the Iranian nuclear threat. It is our belief that Israel should not be exhorted to make territorial concessions in the name of a false peace. We know that we cannot appease terrorists and the Palestinian Authority and the other Iranian proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah are clearly dedicated to Israel's annihilation", he said.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
HON. JOHN BOLTON KEYNOTES AT JRP/ATERET COHANIM DINNER
BY: FERN SIDMAN
Warning of the existential perils to Israel, the United States and the entire western world that a nuclear empowered Iran represents, the Honorable John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations delivered a powerful address as keynote speaker at the 2010 Jerusalem Reclamation Project/Ateret Cohanim dinner on Thursday evening, May 13th at Terrace on the Park.
Citing the plethora of misinformation and misimpressions that swirl around the status of Israel, Jerusalem and its surrounding settlements, Ambassador Bolton made several oblique references to the current strain in US-Israeli relations and chastised the Obama administration for pressuring Israel to cease construction of new homes for Jewish residents in East Jerusalem. "People should be able to buy and sell property in Jerusalem, as in any other country, and clearly peace in the region is not dependent on Israel making territorial concessions", he intoned. Referring to the chilly reception and humiliating treatment that was accorded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his most recent visit to Washington, Ambassador Bolton said, "Today, Afghan president Hamid Kharzi was treated to a gala lunch at the White House and shown the kind of respect that we display to our allies. Lest we forget that Israel is our staunchest ally in the Middle East and as such the prime minister of Israel should receive the same respect."
Debunking the ubiquitous myth that peace in the Middle East will be achieved by settling the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ambassador Bolton opined, "The Palestinians are being exploited by their own leaders and the US should not force either proximity or direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians because there is no legitimate Palestinian entity to negotiate with. The US needs to stop digging the hole that they're in because undertaking this huge diplomatic task that will result in failed negotiations will leave the US in a much weaker position."
Calling Iran the "cradle of terrorism", Ambassador Bolton said, "Iran has been developing nuclear weapons for the last 20 years and neither diplomacy nor economic sanctions will be effective deterrents against them. Iran has been hiding from IAEA inspectors, concealing data and destroying concrete proof of nuclear facilities. He also provided evidence of Iran's nuclear ties to the rogue country of North Korea, whose nuclear power plant in Syria was destroyed in a 2007 attack by Israel and spoke of Iran's financing of such terrorist groups as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban. "Because of the ethnic dissatisfaction in Iran, a regime change is warranted and the ousting of the Islamic revolutionary regime that came to power there in 1979", he said to rousing applause. Until that time he said that "Iran cannot be contained or deterred" and suggested that Israel might be put in a position to launch a pre-emptive strike while there are no clear indications from Washington that it will support such a venture.
The ambassador concluded by thanking the members of the JRP/Ateret Cohanim for their unflinching devotion to building Jerusalem and for their tireless efforts on its behalf of its people. The Jerusalem Reclamation Project and Ateret Cohanim are organizations predicated on fulfilling a generations old dream of rebuilding and securing a united Jerusalem, strengthening Jewish roots and reestablishing thriving Jewish communities that are centered around educational institutes in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. Referring to Jerusalem as the "heart and soul" of the Jewish nation, its activities include establishing educational centers, helping to renovate old buildings, installing and maintaining security systems and initiating other Jewish educational projects in an effort to revitalize this important area and have a greater Jewish presence in and around the Old City.
The guests of honor at this year's dinner were Dr. Joseph Frager and Mr. Mel Wadler. Dr. Frager, a renowned gastroenterologist, is the chairman of the board of The Jerusalem Reclamation Project and is widely regarded as one of the leading Jewish activists of today. Mr. Wadler is one of the founding members of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and established its first office in his home back in 1984. He is a tenacious visionary who has become a driving force in the JRP.
Philanthropists Joseph and Helen Mermelstein were this year's recipients of the auspicious Jerusalem Chai award and were hailed for their "tireless work on behalf of Jews around the world." Credited with securing the release of former Soviet prisoner of conscience Anatoly (Natan) Sharansky, the Mermelsteins are also active in helping the settlements in Judea and Samaria by donating swimming pools, basketball courts and day-care centers.
The Bonei Yerushalayim honorees of 2010 included three very special people. Mark and Galina Moerdler have been active involved in various Jewish causes including the JRP, Children of Chernobyl and Amit. Their exemplary dedication and commitment to Jerusalem and Israel is manifested through their constant support of JRP initiatives.
Introduced by Shani Hikind who is the JRP executive vice president, Mr. Moe Tawil was described as a "man of action and devotion" and "a Moses in our time" for his stalwart support of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Mr. Tawil was born into a family steeped in the Sephardic traditional way of life where education, the study of Torah and Yirat Hashem were woven into the fabric of their daily lives. Mrs. Hikind said that Mr. Tawil was a true Ohev Yisroel who cares deeply for his brethren and that he confided in her that "Torah is the secret to his longevity."
Other Jewish luminaries were also present at the dinner including Rabbi David Algaze of the Chavurat Yisrael synagogue in Forest Hills, New York. Commenting on the recent terrorist attempt in Times Square on May 1st by Pakistani born American citizen, Faisal Shahzad, Rabbi Algaze said, "If our elected officials and the media do not name the enemy as radical Islamists, we will never find them. While stereotyping and profiling any group is abhorrent we must realize that Islam is like no other culture. It seeks worldwide domination in the form of a caliphate and their doctrine is based on the teachings of Muhammed who called for the death of all infidels. Islamic mosques and madrassas are breeding grounds for this kind of nefarious ideology and their preachers and imams cannot stop it."
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D) representing the 48th assembly district in Boro Park since 1982 and husband of Shani Hikind of the JRP said of the burgeoning Iranian nuclear threat, "As Ambassador Bolton suggested in his speech, Israel may have no choice but to make the first move against Iran for self-preservation reasons and not to take action may prove to be worse later on." Opining on the US position of such an engagement by Israel he said, "the Obama administration has been a disaster for Israel and the US. This administration has done everything in its power to undermine Israel's security, and thus the ultimate security of the United States."
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
LUCKNOW: Darul Uloom Deoband, the self-appointed guardian for Indian Muslims, in a Talibanesque fatwa that reeked of tribal patriarchy, has decreed that it is "haram" and illegal according to the Sharia for a family to accept a woman's earnings. Clerics at the largest Sunni Muslim seminary after Cairo's Al-Azhar said the decree flowed from the fact that the Sharia prohibited proximity of men and women in the workplace.
"It is unlawful (under the Sharia law) for Muslim women to work in the government or private sector where men and women work together and women have to talk with men frankly and without a veil," said the fatwa issued by a bench of three clerics. The decree was issued over the weekend, but became public late on Monday, seminary sources said.
At a time when there is a rising clamour for job quotas for Muslims in India and a yearning for progress in the community that sees itself as neglected, the fatwa, although unlikely to be heeded, is clearly detrimental.
Even the most conservative Islamic countries, which restrict activities of women, including preventing them from driving, do not bar women from working. At the peak of its power, the Taliban only barred women in professions like medicine from treating men and vice versa. But there was a never a blanket ban on working, although the mullahs made it amply clear that they would like to see the women confined to homes.
The fatwa, however, drew flak among other clerics.
"Men and women in Sharia are entitled to equal rights. If men follow the Sharia, there is no reason why women can't work with them," said Rasheed, the Naib Imam of Lucknow's main Eidgah Mosque in Aishbagh.
Mufti Maulana Khalid Rasheed of Darul Ifta Firangi Meheli -- another radical Islamic body which also issues fatwas -- criticized the Deoband fatwa as a retrograde restriction on Muslim women.
The fatwa was in response to a question whether Muslim women can take up government or private jobs and whether their salary should be termed as `halal' (permissible under the Sharia) or `haram' (forbidden).
Well-known Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, however, justified the fatwa. "Women in Islam are not supposed to go out and earn a living. It's the responsibility of the males in the family," he said. "If a woman has to go for a job, she must make sure that the Sharia restrictions are not compromised," he added, citing the example of Iran, where Muslim women work in offices but have separate seating areas, away from their male counterparts.
In Lucknow, a city with strong secular and progressive traditions, where Muslim families train their daughters to be doctors, engineers and executives, there was a sense of shocked disbelief even in conservative quarters that such a decree could come from those who consider themselves to be advocates of the community.
"I am also a working woman and also ensure that my Sharia is not compromised," said Rukhsana, a lecturer at a girl's college in Lucknow and a member of the executive committee of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). "It's not necessary that one would have to go against the Sharia when going to work."
"Name one Islamic country which does not have a national airline and does not hire airhostesses? If I know correctly, even the Saudi Airlines has hostesses and they don't wear a veil," said Shabeena Parveen, a computer professional in the city.
Source: The times of India
ALLAHABAD: In a judgment with far-reaching implications, the Allahabad high court has ruled that a non-Muslim bride must convert to Islam to marry a Muslim. Failing that, the matrimony with a Muslim man would be void as it would contradict Islamic dicta and tenets of the Quran, the court said.
The ruling on Monday by a division bench comprising Justices Vinod Prasad and Rajesh Chandra, came on a writ petition filed by Dilbar Habib Siddiqui. The petitioner had sought quashing of an FIR registered against him on March 17 under sections 323, 366 and 363 of IPC with Naini PS, Allahabad and prayed the court not interfere in his peaceful matrimonial life with Khushboo Jaiswal. The judges directed a speedy probe into the marriage of Siddiqui and ordered the cops to separate Khushboo Jaiswal, who was lodged in Nari Niketan, and hand her over to her parents.
The primary question for adjudication was on whether the FIR could be quashed or not. A perusal of the contents of the FIR indicated that Khushboo Jaiswal was alleged to have been abducted by the petitioner three months prior to its lodging. However, the petitioner had succeeded in preventing the FIR from being registered. The FIR was filed by the girl's mother, Sunita Jaiswal, who alleged that the petitioner had abducted her daughter. She contended that Khushboo never converted to Islam and there was also no documentary evidence to suggest so.
"In our above conclusion we are fortified by the fact that in the affidavit filed by Khusboo herself subsequent to her alleged contract marriage, she has described herself as Khushboo and not by any Islamic name. As Khushboo, she could not have contracted marriage according to Muslim customs. In those documents she has addressed herself as Khushboo Jaiswal," the verdict said.
"Thus, what is conspicuously clear is that Khushboo Jaiswal never converted and embraced Islam and therefore her marital tie with the petitioner Dilbar Habib Siddiqui is a void marriage since the same is contrary to Islamic dicta and tenets of Holy Quran," the court ruled.
Source: The Times Of India
HUMAN RIGHTS RAINBOW COALITION STAGES RALLY IN TIMES SQUARE
BY: FERN SIDMAN
On Tuesday evening, May 11th, the crossroads of the world, better known as Times Square in Manhattan was the scene of a passionate display of fortitude as members of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam gathered for a rally to expose the existential perils that radical Islam represents to the Western world. Standing just a few blocks from the place where 30 year old Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani born and Taliban trained American citizen attempted to detonate his vehicle filled with deadly explosives on May 1st in order to murder as many tourists and innocent civilians as possible, the leaders of this rainbow coalition of activists sounded a clarion call as onlookers watched and listened.
Comprised of Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and ex-Muslims, the HRCARI is a nascent organization that champions the rights of those who have been victimized and slaughtered by Muslim extremists. Having staged its very first rally in Times Square in May of 2009, their ranks have swelled over the last year with those who are deeply concerned about the cultural indifference to the burgeoning growth of Islamic radicalism.
Charles Jacobs, a board member of the HRCARI and a writer for The Jewish Advocate in Boston said, "Our purpose here today is two-fold. We are here to send a clear message to the press and politicians who have intentionally obfuscated the nature of this most recent terrorist attempt by not labeling the enemy as radical Islam and acquiescing to political correctness. We are also here to educate the public about the pernicious agenda of those radical Islamists who would love nothing more than to obliterate our cherished values of democracy, freedom and liberty."
"The Western world is mired in self-doubt and self-guilt that has been imposed upon us by those post-modern forces on the left and in the sphere of academia who believe we are deserving of the animus of our enemies", he ruefully observed.
Holding aloft signs and banners saying, "Elected Officials and Mass Media - Unveil The Truth: Radical Islam Attacks Humanity", "Stop Billions of Saudi Oil Money that are Funding Worldwide Radical Islamic Intolerance and Terror", "Reform Radical Islmamic Madrassas: Stop Teaching Hate" and displaying placards of those Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, women and gays who have been summarily murdered by brutal Islamic regimes, the rally attendees graphically described the horrific consquences of being an "infidel" in the Muslim world. Martin Rosenthal, a rally attendee from Queens held a homemade sign that said, "Queers Against Radical Islam" and spoke of the heinous atrocities committed against both gay men and women in such countries as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Narain Kataria, the founder of the Indian American Intellectuals Forum said, "Since 9/11/2001, the followers of the so called "religion of peace" have carried out 15101 deadly terrorist attacks and killed more than 75,000 people. It does not requite a rocket scientist to tell us that the aim of the Jihadist is to dominate the entire world, force all of us to surrender and to plant the Islamic flag in Washington, London, Jerusalem and New Delhi, not to mention New York City." He also spoke the mass slaughter of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan. "Pakistan is the nursery of terrorism. Pakistan is the epicenter of Jihad. Pakistan is the most untrustworthy ally in the war on terror. Pakistan is fooling us. They use sophistry and subterfuge to hoodwink us", he declared.
"What we need here in America and throughout the free world is intellectual clarity", said Madeline Brooks, the Manhattan chapter head of Act For America, a national human rights organization that stridently opposes radical Islam and serves as a bulwark against the mendacity of multi-cultural relativists in the progressive camp. "We here in New York are faced with mortal danger each day. We are the prime terror target on this planet. We are in daner of being nuked and the government's denial of this threat only leaves us in a much weaker state and undermines the confidence of the people who reside here. That is the reality of radical Islam and we do ourselves a grave injustice by not confronting it head on with the gravitas that it demands" she continued.
John Kenneth Press, a PhD in history and the author of "Culturism: A Word, A Value, Our Future" (2007 - Social Books) said, "Culturism is a political philosophy, art and science based upon the understanding that cultural diversity is real and important. Western culture believes in free speech, feminism, and the separation of church and state. Islam, for example, does not. Western culture is based on individuals applying their intelligence towards progressive and productive ends. For 1400 years there has been a worldwide Jihad fueled by radical Islam whose objective is death and destruction of all infidels and the sooner that we give voice to this, the sooner that we demand that our government consider this threat as a moral and physical exigency, the sooner we can increase our chances of not falling prey to an Islamic caliphate."
"21st century Nazism is now tantamount to radical Islam" said Andrew Upton, a board member of HRCARI. "There is someone here today holding a sign saying, "Queers Against Radical Islam". We applaud this person for spotlighting the fact that gays and lesbians are considered worthy of death in Islamic countries as are women who are consistently victims of honor murders by male family members for attempting to divorce their husbands, for being raped, for not allowing themselves to be party to forced marriages and for purported violations of Sharia law", he said.
At the conclusion of the rally, the participants took their signs and banners and staged a march throughout the Times Square area calling on all concerned citizens to lobby their elected officials and the press to "jettison the fraud of multi-cultural relativism and politcal correctness in the name of our survival."
Monday, April 26, 2010
THOUSANDS RALLY FOR ISRAEL IN NEW YORK CITY
BY: FERN SIDMAN
"Obama - Stop Pressuring Israel" was the rallying cry of the day, as over 2000 supporters of Israel gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York City on Sunday afternoon, April 25th to express their views on the current strain in relations between the United States and Israel. Organizers of the rally had expected thousands more to attend but the inclement weather kept many away.
The rally was sponsored and organized by the Jewish Action Alliance, an pro-Israel activist organization that is renowned for championing issues of Jewish security. Beth Gilinsky, the spokesperson and chief strategist of the Jewish Action Alliance said, "We are outraged that President Obama is scapegoating Israel and wants to expel Jews from their homes in Jerusalem. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton display more anger about a Jewish family building a home in Jerusalem than Iran building a nuclear bomb." Expressing the sentiments of those in attendance at the rally, she said, "Vast segments of the Jewish community will not tolerate the President's continuing attacks on Israel. Grassroots Jewry will not be silent."
Noticeably absent from the lengthy roster of organizations endorsing this rally were the major American establishment Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress, the ADL of B'nai Brith, the American Jewish Congress and the United Jewish Appeal. It has been suggested that these liberal Jewish organizations are supportive of President Obama's agenda in the Middle East and don't want to damage their relations with the current administration. Amongst the plethora of organizations endorsing and participating in the rally were, Stand With Us, a college campus activist organization that spotlights hate speech against Israel, Christians and Jews United for Israel, Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, Artists 4 Israel, Z Street, The Jerusalem Reclamation Project, The Center For Defense of Democracies, the AISH Center, AMCHA; Coalition for Jewish Concerns, The Jewish Political Education Foundation and the Endowment for Middle East Truth.
Radio talk show host Steve Malzberg and columnist Rabbi Aryeh Spero served as the masters of ceremony as they introduced a litany of speakers representing a broad spectrum of both Jewish and non-Jewish support for Israel. Rabbi Yaakov Spivak of Monsey, NY, a longtime Jewish activist, radio talk show host and a Daily News columnist intoned, "President Obama, we're here today to tell you something. In Warsaw, they told Jews where we could build, in Lodz they told Jews where we could build, in Paris they told Jews where we could build. You will never tell us where to build in Jerusalem. We are home and Israel is our country. You are not our landlord and we are neither a vassal state nor a banana republic. Our mandate to be here today is none other than our holy Tanach, our bible which says, 'For the sake of Zion I will not be silent and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not be quiet."
"The Jewish people are G-d's chosen people" said Rev. Michael Faulkner, an African American minister representing the New Horizon Church. "I remind those in the Obama administration that those who bless the Jewish people will be blessed and those who curse the Jewish people will be cursed. Israel is the only stable, democratic ally in the Middle East and this relationship must be preserved and protected. The strength of the land of Israel and the Jewish people lies with their G-d and I call upon all Jews to return to the mandate of the Almighty G-d of Israel and His holy Torah" he said
Holding aloft signs saying, "Jerusalem: Israel's United and Eternal Capitol", "Hillary Clinton: Pressure Iran, Not Israel", "Obama: Stand Up for America, Stop Bowing to Saudi Kings!" and "Obama: Jews Will Not Be Silent", the rally participants passionately expressed their anger at the shift in US foreign policy as it pertains to Israel. Jackie Donney, 55, a Christian supporter of Israel who traveled from Newton, Pennsylvania to attend the rally said, "Look, we all know the background of Barack Obama. He is a disciple of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, one of the greatest haters of Israel and America. I think it is downright sinful that Obama has placed such tremendous pressure on Israel to make major territorial concessions in the name of a false peace. The Palestinian government is an Iranian proxy and such is bent on the destruction of Israel and the Western world. Just look what happened when Israel forcibly evicted Jews from Gush Katif. It didn't bring peace and now the US is demanding that Israel relinquish parts of Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria. I say, 'Never, Never, Never'".
Another rally attendee, Rabbi Joseph Rosenbluh of the Young Israel of Vandeveer Park in Brooklyn said, "In our Tehillim (the Book of Psalms), we learn that our ultimate salvation lies with our Almighty G-d. It is up to all Jews to ferociously cleave to Hashem (G-d), to walk in His ways and to follow His commandments. In every generation we find that there is no shortage of Jew haters and other miscreants who seek our destruction. There is a new Pharoah in town (Obama) who does not know Joseph (the Jewish people) and we comprehend from our history that G-d will deal with our enemies if only we acknowledge His majesty and glory."
A formidable contingent of Hindu and Sikh supporters of Israel was also present at the rally. "We understand all to well that a policy of appeasement towards Islamic radicalism will never bring peace to Israel or the civilized world, declared Satya Dosapati of the Hindu Human Rights Watch. "As Hindus, we have been massacred by Muslims for thousands of years. If President Obama really believes that isolating and demonizing Israel and publicly humiliating Israel's prime minister is not emboldening our Islamic enemies, then something is really wrong. Israel is a peace seeking nation and we unequivocally support their right to their homeland. The world must realize that if Israel falls then the entire world will come under the domination of a blood thirsty Islamic caliphate", he continued.
Meir Rosenblatt, of Passaic, New Jersey said, "At the most recent AIPAC convention, Secretary Clinton said that Israel must relinquish Judea and Samaria in order to maintain both a democratic and Jewish state. It is clear that Israel is sitting on a demographic time bomb that is all too real. 20 years ago there were only two Arab members of Knesset and now there are 10. The Arab birthrate is skyrocketing while the Jewish birthrate is not. There is no educated Jew that can honestly say we weren't warned that this would happen. Rabbi Meir Kahane, of blessed memory spoke of this back in the late 1970s and everyone called him a racist and a fascist because they didn't want to hear the painful truth. Now we have boxed ourselves in a corner because we didn't listen to his prescient message."
Helen Freedman of the Americans for a Safe Israel said, "There is no way to establish peace with those who call for your destruction on a daily basis. That is exactly what the Palestinian propaganda campaign is all about. Lies, half-truths and distortions. AFSI is promoting the idea of "Shalom" (peace) through the concept of "Shalem" (a whole Israel). There can only be peace through strength and security. When the Arabs realized that they could not prevail against Israel militarily, they embarked on a course of diplomatic destruction and we are here to speak truth to the canards that they espouse."
Other speakers included Joan Peters, author of the critically acclaimed book, "Of Time Immemorial", Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, Dr. Herbert London of The Hudson Institute, New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind who represents the 48th assembly district in Brooklyn and a stalwart Jewish activist and supporter of Israel, radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa and founder of the Guardian Angels, Faith McDonnell of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, Joy Brighton of Stop Shariah Now, Rabbi David Algaze of the World Committee for the Land of Israel, Tamar Edelstein of Crown Heights Women, Bhupinder Bhurji of the Naamdari Sikh Foundation, Lori Lowenthal Marcus of Z Street, State Senator Reuben Diaz, Susan Cohen of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Mallory Danaher of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Narain Katarian of the Hindu Human Rights Watch.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
What bravery! Let's pray for her protection ... From FoxNews via The New York Post (emphasis added):
Brave 'Arab Idol' Finalist Blasts Clerics on Popular Show
A burqa-clad contestant on the Arabic version of "American Idol" landed in the finals after bravely blasting hard-line Muslim clerics on live television, sparking outrage among religious conservatives in the Middle East.
Unlike the wildly popular Fox show, contestants in the Middle Eastern version recite traditional and original poetry rather than sing.
While most regale the audience with odes to the beauty of Bedouin life and glory of their rulers, Hissa Hilal stunned audiences last week by attacking Muslim religious leaders as "vicious in voice, barbaric, angry and blind," and guilty of "preying like a wolf" on people seeking peace.
She specifically blasted fatwas -- declarations by imams that often incite violence -- as a side of the extremism that is "creeping into our society."
"I have seen the evil in the eyes of fatwas, at a time when the permitted is being twisted into the forbidden," Hilal recited, speaking with only a hint of her eyes visible through her black veil.
Naturally, her verse has inspired numerous death threats on Islamic militant Web sites.
But her brave words clearly tapped a nerve, as she was wildly cheered by the audience and voted into the competition's final round.
"My poetry has always been provocative," said Hilal, a housewife and mother of four from Saudi Arabia. "It's a way to express myself and give voice to Arab women, silenced by those who have hijacked our culture and our religion."
Her poem was specifically seen as a direct assault on a prominent Saudi cleric who issued a fatwa against those who call for the mingling of men and women. More broadly, Hilal was also seen as attacking all the hard-line religious leaders who have widespread influence throughout the Middle East.
"Killing a human being is so easy for them, it is always an option," she said.
Hilal said she is concerned by the threats, but "not enough to send me into hiding."
She worries more whether her newfound fame might turn her life upside-down -- facing a fate like that of "Britain's Got Talent" songbird Susan Boyle, who melted down under the spotlight.
"I worry how I will be perceived after the show is over, when judgment is passed and people begin to talk about my performance and ideas," she said. "I worry the lights of fame will affect my simple and quiet existence."
Poetry is hugely popular in Middle Eastern countries, with prominent poets rising to rock-star levels of fame.
On the show, which is called "The Million's Poet" and is broadcast from Abu Dhabi across the entire region, contestants are rated by their voice, style of recitation and the subject matter.
The judges gave Hilal top marks for her impassioned performance and tackling a controversial topic. Their opinions, coupled with voting from people in the audience and through text messages by viewers, landed her in the final round.
"Hissa Hilal is a courageous poet," said judge Sultan al-Amimi, who manages Abu Dhabi's Poetry Academy. "She expressed her opinion against the kind of fatwas that affect people's lives and raised an alarm against these ad hoc fatwas coming from certain scholars who are inciting extremism."
What a brave lady! May the Lord protect her!
[Submitted by kmacginn at Hummers & Cigarettes]
The recent criticism of Geert Wilders’ views on Islam by the leading lights of the conservative movement has created much indignation and surprise in certain quarters.
If conservative analysts with strong national security credentials couldn’t be convinced of Islam’s threat, getting the point across to the centrist politicians who define and execute policy will indeed be even tougher.
In a particularly striking criticism of Wilders, conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer asserts that “What he [Geert Wilders] says is extreme, radical, and wrong. He basically is arguing that Islam is the same as Islamism. Islamism is an ideology of a small minority which holds that the essence of Islam is jihad, conquest, forcing people into accepting a certain very narrow interpretation [of Islam]. The untruth of that is obvious.”
Without commenting on the merits of Dr. Krauthammer’s critique, it is pertinent to note that it is his opinion. This is true of Geert Wilder’s reasoned views on Islam as well. After all, both have not quoted any scientific study to back their assertions.
If Islam is a threat as some claim, what would it take to persuade that certain fundamental attributes of Islam enshrine it a violent ideology of conquest?
The key to settling what Islam stands for is to let science, not opinion, dictate the debate. This is reality crystallized by an analogy:
There was a time when a male lion was seen as an embodiment of a great and dominant hunter of a pride. This perception reflected the majority of opinions at a certain time. However, various studies conducted in ensuing years told a different story: that female lions were the real hunters of a pride. That is, statistics of female lions hunting for their pride dominated the overall hunting pattern of a pride. These statistics put to rest the specific question of who hunted the most in a pride. In fact, these statistics form the definitive scientific basis of these studies.
More than a few Muslims have claimed that they engage in jihad (a religious war waged to advance the cause of Islam at the expense of unbelievers) because Islamic scriptures command them to do so.
Even nations representing Muslim communities—Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran—have taken to sponsoring jihad worldwide, on the basis of the scriptures.
There are widely varying opinions on the root cause of this—the dominant one is that the relevant Islamic scriptures have been misinterpreted. As with the discussion of the lions, a corresponding scientific query would be to find out the extent or the statistics of dislike of unbelievers and their conquest in the Islamic doctrines.
Recently, Bill Warner of the Center for the Study of Political Islam has carried out a groundbreaking statistical analysis of Islamic doctrines.
I summarize his studies by noting that about sixty-one percent of the contents of the Koran are found to speak ill of unbelievers or call for their violent conquest; at best only 2.6 percent of the verses of the Koran are noted to show goodwill toward humanity. Moreover, about seventy five percent of Muhammad’s biography (Sira) consists of jihad waged on unbelievers.
While there might be some subjectivity to the above analysis, the overwhelming thrust of the inferences should be noted.
This overall thrust exposes the sheer absurdity of excusing the Koran-inspired terror on the so-called “selective interpretation” of the Muslim holy book or its “verses being taken out of context.”
The burden of scientific or statistical evidence suggests that Islam is an intolerant religion that drives its followers toward a violent conquest of unbelievers.
If such is the thrust of the Islamic doctrines, their propagation would lead to increased violence directed at non-Muslims. Indeed, rise in Muslim extremism of the past decades is directly correlated with hundreds of billions of dollars spent by government-linked Saudi charities to “propagate” Islam worldwide.
Not surprisingly, even in the modern context, manifestations of Islamic supremacy and conquest are the norm, rather than the exception. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden outlined a condition for terror attacks against America to cease: “I invite you to embrace Islam.” During the past sixty years most non-Muslim minorities—tens of millions—in all Muslim-majority regions of South Asia were terrorized into leaving for nearby non-Muslim-majority lands. All of this points to conquering land and people for Islam.
America’s policy approach to the Muslim world has been clouded by misrepresentations of Islam’s character. For instance, in one of the most important foreign policy initiatives of his presidency, in the now-famous Cairo speech, Obama observed that “[America and Islam] overlap, and share common principles—principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
We are left with the grim reality that at the fundamental level America’s policies toward the Muslim world are based on false premises—and hence, are untenable. This reality must be acknowledged widely before alternate policies can be devised.
We live in the era of science that has brought unprecedented security, development, health and prosperity. Yet, we have allowed opinions to dictate debate and policy on an existential threat. The importance of letting science drive policy couldn’t be clearer on the subject of Islamic radicalism.
The writer is a U.S.-based nuclear physicist and author of the book Defeating Political Islam: The New Cold War. His email is email@example.com.
With thanks to The West, Islam and Sharia
Friday, April 9, 2010
INTELLECTUALS WELCOME TARIQ RAMADAN TO COOPER UNION
BY: FERN SIDMAN
On Thursday evening, April 8th, the vaunted hero of the American left and the denizens of the "politically correct" intellectual enclaves made his return appearance at Cooper Union in New York City. In a panel discussion entitled, "Secularism, Islam and Democracy: Muslims in Europe and the West", Tariq Ramadan, the formerly "exiled" professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford University took center stage at the forum sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of University Professors, PEN American Center, the American Academy of Religion and Slate Magazine. The audience of approximately 600 people consisted of those who call him “slippery,” “double-faced,” “dangerous,” but his left-wing apologists refer to him as “brilliant,” a “bridge-builder,” and a “Muslim Martin Luther.”
Controversy has swirled around Ramadan, for the better part of his adult life. He is the grandson of Hassan al Banna, who in 1928 founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and is the son of Said Ramadan who is credited with bringing the Muslim Brotherhood to Germany where it eventually spread throughout Europe.Born in Switzerland, when his father was exiled from Egypt by Gamal Abdul Nasser, Ramadan studied philosophy, literature and social sciences at the University of Geneva and pursued a Master's degree in philosophy and French literature. He received his PhD in Arabic and Islamic studies. He is best known for his dangerously duplicitous positions on Islamic radicalism. His passive and ostensibly reasoned posture while speaking to Western audiences betrays his bellicose commitment to the furtherance of Sharia law that he reserves exclusively for Muslim only gatherings.
The web site of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy says of Ramadan:
"Ramadan is a self proclaimed Salafi-reformist whose version of reform appears to basically be a modernization of the political system prevalent at the time of the Prophet Mohammed rather than advocacy for individual liberty and the separation of mosque and state. A 'rock star' among the many European Muslims, namely Islamists, Ramadan is considered the most cited individual on Islam in Europe. Ramadan eloquently uses language that supports the precepts of non-violence and involvement in western society, yet he does not distance himself in any way or nearly adequately from the supremacy of political Islam and the concept of the Islamic State. His excuse is that he is speaking "from within Muslims". But this prevents a real understanding of his ideas on political Islam, the Islamic state and Sharia versus constitutional republics and the establishment clause. It prevents a real understanding of his position on the Muslim Brotherhood and thus becomes actual tacit support of the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ramadan has been unacceptably deceptive on issues related to Sharia such as laws against apostasy, proscribed punishments under Islamic law, the continued viability of the Islamic state and the Ummah, one law versus Sharia law, and real equality for women in all settings to name a few. His positions remain essentially in line with the Muslim Brotherhood-which remains against the best interests of Muslims. His access to media portrays a homogeneity to Muslim opinions which is outright false and denies the real diversity in Muslim communities and ideologies."
Ramadan accepted the tenured position of Henry R. Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame University in February 2004, but that August, U.S. Customs officials denied Ramadan entry into the country under the "ideological exclusion provision" of the Patriot Act. The university filed a petition on Ramadan's behalf but hearing nothing from the government, he resigned from the post in December 2004. Ramadan was later denied other attempts to get visas so he could honor speaking engagements with the ACLU, the American Association of University Professors and the PEN American Center being among the groups wanting to host him and arguing on his behalf in the ensuing legal wars. After a federal judge ordered the government to make a decision on Ramadan's pending visa request, his application was denied in September 2006, with a U.S. consular officer concluding the academic's actions "constituted providing material support to a terrorist organization."The government's evidence was $940 Ramadan gave to two charity groups that the U.S. Treasury Department linked to Hamas in August 2003 On January 20, 2010, the American State Department had decided, in a document signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to lift the ban that prohibited Ramadan (as well as Professor Adam Habib from South Africa) from entering the United States. And now, Ramadan has triumphantly returned to the US for what some call the "Tariq Ramadan American Islamist Victory Tour 2010".
Ramadan was introduced by Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, which litigates cases concerning dissent, discrimination, detention, surveillance and due process. He was counsel to the plaintiffs in American Academy of Religion v Chertoff, the lawsuit that ended the ban on Ramadan. Hailing him as the sacrificial lamb of the Bush administration's anti-Islamic agenda, Jaffer said this evening was dedicated "to creating a safe political space for the exchange of ideas".
The panel was moderated by Jacob Weisberg, the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of The Slate Group, which publishes Slate Magazine and other web sites. Weisberg introduced the other members of the panel, but noted that the evening would focus on the philosophies of Tariq Ramadan and that he'd be asking some hard hitting questions. The other panel members included Dalia Mogahed, a Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and the co-author of a book entitled, "Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think", George Packer, a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq", Joan Wallach Scott, professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advance Study and the author of the "Politics of the Veil". She is known internationally for writings that theorize gender as an analytic category.
Ramadan took the lectern and thanked the sponsoring groups for championing his free speech rights and then went on to say that while he is sharply critical of American policy vis-a vis Iraq and Afghanistan, he is not anti-Western and feels that Muslims in Europe can maintain a pro-Western lifestyle while closely adhering to their Islamic beliefs. He said that Islamic women were now taking their place in the forefront of those who frame the debate on the dual role of Muslims in a secular European culture and those who remain faithful to Koranic principles.
"Islam is really a Western religion and Muslims in Europe can and should be loyal citizens of the countries in which they live. Many people are scared of the Muslim presence in Europe but we know that we can integrate diversity through secularism, humility, respect and consistency. Muslim women are informing the process and if you look at them you think they're oppressed but when you hear the way they think and speak, they're clearly a driving force in Islam", said Ramadan.
Concerning his thoughts on the Bush administration, Ramadan intoned, "Bush implied that all Muslims were 'others', they were different and somehow dangerous. While I am a vocal opponent of US policy in the Middle East, all I am saying is that I am against the murder of Iraqi civilians and I am waiting for the new administration to be an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I am still waiting because I don't see it as of yet in the Obama administration"
Ramadan's detractors view his rhetoric quite differently. "Tariq Ramadan's entry into America needs to be met with open dialogue from the Muslim Community, non-Muslim organizations and the media on the real threat of Political Islam," says M. Zuhdi Jasser, the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). "It is incumbent on all Americans, especially American Muslims, to engage Ramadan at any opportunity to demonstrate that the US Constitution trumps the construct of the Islamic State." He went on to say, "To give Ramadan an unfettered platform for his dissimulation while also perpetuating his message of victimization is to give him and his clerical colleagues a status which will forever retard real reform within Muslim thought. Real reform comes from those Muslim leaders with the personal strength of character to call for an end to the Islamic state and the separation of mosque and state. Ramadan has not. Rather he is a soft tongued global instrument of political Islam against the bulwark of real freedom and liberty as we know it in the United States."
Pajamas Media columnist and prolific author, Phyllis Chesler stated in a March 25, 2010 article entitled, "Bin Laden Threatens America, NYC Welcomes Tariq Ramadan", "Ramadan is not my problem, I know him for the snake he is. Rather, it would be the sight of so many Americans who’ve glamorized him, who are fooled by him, who have come to worship Death at his feet."
Panelist George Packer of The New Yorker magazine asked Ramadan why he never roundly condemned his grandfather, Hassan al Banna, for his unyielding support and succor of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who spent years in Nazi Germany and advocated the mass extermination of the Jews. Ramadan danced around the question saying that his grandfather was misquoted and that he never advocated a totalitarian or fascist regime but only supported the Mufti in terms of his fierce opposition to the creation of the State of Israel. Packer pressed Ramadan on this point and asked how his grandfather could flagrantly align himself with someone who extolled such a pernicious philosophy of classical anti-Semitism. Ramadan refused to admit that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was anti-Semitic but rather claimed that he was righteous in his position that Palestine should not be colonized by the Jews of Europe or the West.
Charges of anti-Semitism have dogged Ramadan since he penned an article in 2003 entitled, “Critique of the (New) Communalist Intellectuals.” Ramadan’s main argument was that “French Jewish intellectuals” — like Bernard-Henri Lévy, Alain Finkielkraut, Bernard Kouchner, André Glucksmann and Pierre-André Taguieff (in fact not Jewish at all) — who used to be “considered universalist intellectuals” had become knee-jerk defenders of Israel and thus “had relativized the defense of universal principles of equality and justice.” Ramadan was trying to turn the tables on those who accuse Muslims of obsessing about their victimhood by accusing “Jewish intellectuals” of doing precisely that, thinking of just their own tribal concerns, while Ramadan’s pursuit of justice for Palestinians was supposedly part of a universalist project.
On the question of the rampant oppression of women in the Muslim world, panelist Joan Wallach Scott, a Ramadan supporter, asserted that the issue of gender equality "has been used as a veil" to divert attention from the "social inequality" of Muslims in the Western hemisphere. Citing purported discriminatory practices against Muslims in such countries as France, Scott said that "unemployment is higher for Muslims in France than it is for French nationals" and that Muslims are viewed as "inferior" in the West. From a historical perspective she described Muslims as a "colonized people", subject to prejudice in its most banal form.
Refusing to address such pervasive misogynistic practices in the Islamic world as forced marriages, stonings, beatings, immolations and honor murders of women, Scott pointed to what she perceived as the sheer hypocrisy of the Western patriarchy who she claims are trying to interfere with the reproductive rights of American women, but are "suddenly concerned and overly involved in the oppression of Muslim women," She concluded by saying that Muslim women wear head scarves, veils, burqas and hijab on their own volition and not because they are coerced by the religious dictums of Islamic culture. She called gender equality a "political tool" that has nothing to do with protecting the rights of Muslim women.
Ramadan also heaped criticism on Dutch intellectual, feminist activist, writer, and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who also happens to be a prominent critic of Islam. "Ali believes that Islam is problematic and that one cannot be a Muslim and open to democracy at the same time. She believes that the only way to be a Muslim is to become an ex-Muslim", Ramadan exclaimed. He remained silent on the issue of the religious dogma of Islam that opposes any government that is not ruled by Sharia law or the practice of religious apartheid that is practiced in many Muslim countries.
When questioned about his statements pertaining to homosexuals being anathema in Islamic law and how the Muslim world is being forced to accept homosexuality in order to appear politically correct and more Westernized, Ramadan deftly skirted the question by figuratively tipping his hat to "political correctness" by saying "this is how Muslims perceive the world is viewing them, not how they perceive themselves. You can disagree with someone being gay but we should respect that person and not tell him or her that they are not a Muslim because of this."
The evening concluded with the reading of several pithy questions from audience members that were read aloud by the moderator. It was not at all difficult to see that Ramadan had not fooled everyone as challenging questions were presented to him by the audience and several people commented that in order to understand the real Tariq Ramadan, they should read the books entitled "The Islamist, The Journalist, and the Defense of Liberalism: Who's Afraid of Tariq Ramadan?" by Paul Berman and "Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan" by Caroline Fourest.
Ramadan continues his charade in the next few weeks in such cities as Chicago, Detroit, Washington and Garden Grove, California. May the forces of truth have the temerity to boldly confront this purveyor of mendacity.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Sir, Helen Brown (letter, April 6) points out that the cathedral at Córdoba is inside a vast mosque built centuries earlier, but the mosque was in turn built atop the Visigothic monastery of San Vicente.
However, the demand that Muslims be allowed to pray inside Córdoba cathedral is reasonable, so long as the same rights are granted for Christians to be allowed to pray inside places such as the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, which was built over a Byzantine church and contains a shrine that is said to contain the head of John the Baptist.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf, Son of Hamas Leader in the West Bank: The God of Islam Suffers from Split Personality; Muhammad - a False Prophet
The following are excerpts from an interview with Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf, the son of Sheik Hassan Yousuf, Hamas leader in the West Bank. Yousuf Jr. converted to Christianity, and recently revealed that he had collaborated with Israel. The interview aired on BBC Arabic on March 12, 2010.
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: I have said, and I continue to say, that my problem is not with Hamas or with the Muslims. My problem is with the God of Islam and with the Prophet of Islam. With regard to... There were continuous conflicts, which drove me to think about which direction I would like my life to go. Of course, the torture carried out by Hamas on its people in prison, their stupidity, and their political inadequacy drove me to speak out.
Interviewer: Are you saying that your views on what you call "the Islam of Hamas" are what led you to collaborate with the Israelis?
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: Who said there is the Islam of Hamas and the Islam of Al-Qaeda?
Interviewer: That's what you are saying, more or less.
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: No, I am not saying that. What I am saying is that Islam is Islam, and the Koran is the Koran. The Koran suffers from a split personality, and the God of Islam suffers from a split personality. All the Muslims who follow the God of Islam interpret Islam as they like, but this does not negate the terroristic and murderous character of Islam, which incites people, through the Koran, to kill people and blow themselves up.
Interviewer: Where does the Koran call for terrorism?
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: Go to Surat Al-Tawba, verses 5 and 29. The problem is that Muslims do not understand their own religion. I call upon the Muslims to read their Koran and understand it, before they say that Islam is a religion of peace and compassion.
Interviewer: I asked you...
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: The God of Islam calls to kill any non-Muslim. The God of Islam calls to kill me today.
Interviewer: But don't you agree that Islam recognizes other religions, exalts Jesus, recognizes Judaism, and so on? Do you or do you not accept this?
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: There are several unreliable views of several Islamic thinkers, but their authority does not supersede that of the God of Islam, who said: "Slay the People of the Book wherever you find them."
Interviewer: How can you say that? Did the Koran call to slay the People of the Book?
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: He said: "Slay the polytheists wherever you find them." Read the surah.
Interviewer: But the People of the Book are not polytheists, are they?
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: If you want to ague with me – let's argue. Is Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, the supreme role model for the Muslims?
Interviewer: What do you think?
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: Did Muhammad kill the Jews of Khaybar, or didn't he? You tell me. Why distort the facts? The Muslims must be honest with themselves and with the rest of the world. Muhammad – the supreme role model for the Muslims – killed the Jews of Khaybar, of Qureiza, and of Nadhir. He killed their children and captured their women. This is the supreme role model for the Muslims.
Interviewer: So your problem is with history, not with the present.
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: My problem is with that false prophet, Muhammad, and with the God of Islam.
The Muslims are not terrorists by nature. They are among the best nations, in my opinion. However, if the Muslims continue to cover for the terrorists, and to glorify and honor terrorists who blow themselves up, killing children, they will continue to be accomplices. My father is an accomplice.
Israel has been acting with violence, and killed innocent people. It killed people with or without a reason, but mistakes may happen. Every country on the face of the earth makes mistakes, not only Israel. The difference between Israel and Hamas...
Interviewer: When Israel kills innocent people, this is a "mistake," but when others kill innocent people, it is not?
Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf: Killing is a mistake – regardless of who the killer is – but Hamas has no principles, no laws, and no limits, whereas Israel is bound by law and constitution. If there is a racist Israeli, he will stand trial. Give me one example of a Hamas official who stood trial.
In my view, if Islam were implemented properly, this would spell the destruction of the Arab and Muslim world – the whole world, in fact – because every Muslim would become a Bin Laden.
The Christians have been persecuted for the past 14 centuries – not by the Muslims, but by the God of Islam. The persecution begins in the Koran and in the behavior of the Prophet of Islam.
View Film Clip Here.
With thanks to MEMRI
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
From Heretics Crusade:
As I have reported before in Congress there is a group that purports to represent the concerns and needs of ALL Muslims working for Congress, and indeed all Muslims in America and those affected by US policy.
The Congressional Muslim Staffer’s Association website reads in part:
"The Congressional Muslim Staffers Association (CMSA) was established in 2006, during the 109th Congress, and is an officially recognized Congressional staff association registered with the Committee on House Administration. Every Congressional term, the CMSA receives sponsorship from a Congressional Member(s) to be registered with the Committee on House Administration. Congressmen Ellison and Carson are the current CMSA sponsors for the 111th Congress…
The CMSA is a valued resource to Congressional Members and staff, conducting programs that increase their awareness about the diverse Muslim American community and presenting the plurality of the community’s social and political perspectives and concerns…
Any Muslim Congressional employee is considered a CMSA member regardless of their level of participation or the degree that they publicly identify themselves as “Muslim”…"
So, here we have a group that CLAIMS to represent virtually all Muslims and former Muslims who happen to work for Congress, they also claim to represent the views of “mainstream” American Muslims, yet they only invite Islamist friendly speakers and only link to Islamist friendly resources and to conservative Islamic Law sites.
In my previous pieces regarding the CMSA I have shown the bias that seems to permeate almost all the the links and people associated with the group. Today I want to address a new concern, elections of the CMSA executive board.
Now the CMSA website declares in no uncertain terms that:
"The Executive Board is elected on an annual basis, with its term being congruent with the calendar year beginning on January 1st and ending December 31st. Board elections are held in late November/early December. Elections are coordinated by an Ex-Officio Board Member who cannot run for any Executive Board position. "
The only problem with that is that the Executive Board changed not a single member from last year, no election was announced on the site and no candidates were provided, nor was there any listing of votes received.
Read It All...
H/T: Guy DeWhitney
DEMONSTRATORS SQUARE OFF AT THE WALDORF ASTORIA
BY: FERN SIDMAN
Chants of "Free, Free Palestine" and "Israel Is Here To Stay" resounded along New York City's Park Avenue, as both anti-Israel forces and pro-Israel supporters squared off in front of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Tuesday evening, March 9th, while inside the hotel the organization known as The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces gathered for their annual gala fundraising dinner. The guest of honor and keynote speaker for this year's dinner was Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi, Chief of Staff of the IDF.
As part of their Israel Apartheid Week activities, 13 anti-Israel organizations including Adalah-NY, American Jews for a Just Peace, Codepink, Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, the International Action Center, Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism, Jews Say No!, the New York Collective of Radical Educators, the Green Party of New Jersey, The Islamist Thinkers Society, Progressive Democrats of America, the National Lawyers Guild - NY Chapter, the Judson Church, Women in Black and other assorted pro-Palestinian apologists gathered outside the Waldorf Astoria to condemn the role of the IDF in the 2008/9 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Referring to Gen. Ashkenazi as "the butcher of Gaza" the demonstrators claim that "Israeli military forces launched a brutal attack on the 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza. Over a 22 day period the Israeli military killed more than 1400 people and destroyed factories, hospitals and homes."
The 500 demonstrators staged a rancorous protest outside the hotel as they held aloft such signs saying, "From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free", "Israel is a Terrorist State," "No More US Tax Dollars for Israel" and “Nuremberg Justice For Israeli War Criminals”. Lamis Deuk, a spokesperson for the Palestinian contigent said, "The very same people who murdered Palestinian women and children in Gaza are being honored here tonight at a $1000 a plate dinner, while the Palestinian people in Gaza are starving as a result of Israeli blockades that prevent delivery of food and medical supplies." When asked about the role that Hamas had played in provoking the Israeli initiative in Gaza through the constant barrage of lethal Kassam rockets into such Israeli towns as Sderot, Deuk said, "Israel is an occupying force that has systematically oppressed the Palestinian people and the very establishment of a Jewish state is inherently racist. This is why Hamas had a legitimate right to attack the oppressors."
Chanting, "Free, Free Palestine", "Israel is a Terrorist State" and "End the Occupation Now" the demonstrators called for the end of US aid to Israel and condemned the Obama administration for pandering to the Israeli lobby.
Across the street, about 100 pro-Israel demonstrators representing such organizations as the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam, Americans for A Safe Israel, Stand With Us, and the Zionist Organization of America staged an intrepid counter-protest as they stood as a bulwark against the calumnies of the anti-Israel faction. Many members of the group wrapped themselves in Israeli flags and held signs saying, “Suicide Bombing is Mass Murder;” “Hamas Targets Civilians, Israel Targets Terrorists;” “The IDF Protects Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and Bahai”.
"The Israeli army is the most moral and ethical fighting force in the world" declared Rabbi David Algaze of Congregation Chavurat Yisrael of Forest Hills, New York. "They have displayed the utmost restraint when battling Hamas terrorists, murderers and criminals and the lies that are being spewed forth by misguided Jews and the forces of radical Islam must be confronted in the strongest of terms" he continued. 'Let the world know that the Jewish people will not be intimidated by those who seek to demonize and delegitimize Israel. We are exceptionally proud of the members of the IDF and we will continue to support the right to defend ourselves from those who seek to eradicate us."
Concerning the conclusions of the UN mandated Goldstone Report, Rabbi Algaze said, "The Goldstone Report is replete with glaring inaccuracies and omissions. It was a terribly biased investigation and these people here today who are excoriating Israel are just using this report as a pretext for the expression of their venom for Israel. What they are really saying is that Israel has no right to exist at all and neither do the Jewish people."
Helen Freedman, president of Americans for a Safe Israel said, "Why is it that the oppressed has been turned into the oppressor? The world knows that Hamas intentionally used their own women and children as human shields in Gaza in order to vilify Israel. The world knows that Hamas is an Iranian proxy and is being bankrolled by oil rich Islamic countries. The world knows that countless Jewish lives in Israel and around the world have been snuffed out by Islamic suicide bombers and the world remains deafeningly silent."
Arish Sahani of the Indian Intellectuals Forum and a member of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam said, "The Palestinians are inciting war against Israel and Israel has every right to defend herself and her citizens just like any other country in the world would. Why is Israel held to a higher standard and why are Jews compelled to be constant victims. Why aren't they given the right to fight back against sworn enemies just like everybody else. The answer is that the forces of radical Islam are guided by the Koran which is in essence a manual for war; a manual for the disrespect for the sanctity of life. The Koran obligates Muslims to murder all civilized people who are not Muslims and this war against freedom and democracy will never stop."
Other demonstrators such as Chuck Waxman from Queens, a representative of the Jabotinsky movement and a former member of Brit Trumpeldor of America, also known as Betar, an activist Zionist organization said, "these Islamic radicals incessantly preach hatred of Jews and anyone who is not Muslim. Their mission is to murder Jews, to denigrate Jews through cleverly disguised propaganda and bald faced lies. Rather than Hamas and their terrorist supporters making demands on Israel, we call upon Hamas to release Corp. Gilad Shalit."
Dr. Marvin Belsky, the chairman of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam said, "The tragedy of today's demonstration lies in the fact that we are severely outnumbered by our enemies. Every Jewish establishment organization was informed of this counter-protest and none of them showed up to support Israel and the Jewish nation. The HRCARI is a nascent movement who has its collective finger on the pulse of radical Islam and we are cognizant of the dangers to the Western world that such a movement represents. Fascists come in all stripes and radical Islamists are in the forefront of usurping our freedoms and liberties. Make no mistake about it; if the world remains mute while Israel is being raked over the coals, the US, Europe and the rest of the free world will be next. The time is long overdue for Jewish organizations to take a leading role in exposing the nefarious agenda of radical Islam and to stridently oppose the deleterious ramifications of their well oiled propaganda machine."
Sunday, March 7, 2010
THE COLOR AND HUE OF A NEW GENERATION OF ARTISTS
Artists 4 Israel Counter Anti-Israel Propaganda through Education
BY: FERN SIDMAN
Hip Hop artists and graffiti virtuosos from New York painting their way throughout Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Sderot? Who'd a thunk it, but it appears that a new organization called Artists 4 Israel will be doing just that. Founded about a year ago following Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, young artists in the New York area had just about enough of the incessant anti-Israel propaganda being spewed forth by the "politically correct" denizens of the radically left-wing enclaves that figure so prominently in the eclectic world of the New York artist and decided to do something about it.
Taking a courageously bold stance in their support for Israel, a cadre of young artists led by New York artists Craig Dershowitz, Tara Lyn Gordon and Seth Wolfson and several others were determined to debunk the ubiquitous myths that circulate about Israel being a racist, apartheid state and a callous war machine bent on the destruction of its enemies. Thus, Artists 4 Israel was born as an umbrella organization for graffiti and street artists, alternative poets and playwrights, hip hop musicians, modern dance troupes, photographers, sculptors and rap chanteurs to express their support for Israel as an open and free pluralistic society that fosters artistic license and expression. Through the implementation of highly inventive educational modalities as well as original street theater and other creative outlets they have succeeded in opening the hearts and minds of a new generation.
"Hamas started a culture war. We decided to be pro-active rather than defensive. Artists 4 Israel is the offense. Rather than countering the misconceptions, lies and hate preached by the terrorist funded Hamas culture war against Israel, A4I utilizes the arts to tell our own stories and create our own narratives highlighting the rights, beauty and strength of Israel", intoned Craig Dershowitz, a founding member of the group.
For the last year, this seminal movement of collective artists and culture warriors has virtually exploded within the parameters of the chic art scene by "creating their own narrative" and garnering support in the bastions of the downtown art gallery world. "When the war in Gaza broke out, our artists started painting really great signs for the pro-Israel demonstrations that were held and people took notice of the fact that our signs were way more powerful than those of Israel's detractors. Subsequently, we held a pro-Israel art gallery showing in Manhattan that drew close to 500 people and 85% of those in attendance were contemporary artists under the age of 30. It was then that we knew that Artists 4 Israel could really have a major impact in the liberal arts community", said Mr. Dershowitz
Other awareness initiatives began soon thereafter including "The Keffiyah Exchange Program" which was modeled on the NYPD's Cash for Guns program. While the keffiyah fashion craze has gripped the artists community, many in the Jewish world are disturbed by the jihadist symbolism that it represents. As such, Artists 4 Israel is offering "Free Stuff for Stupid Scarves" in partnership with a number of clothing brands, bars and restaurants and is giving away gifts to anyone who gives up their keffiyah at any of their drop off locations.
In order to spotlight the brutal oppression of women by male hegemonies in Islamic countries, Ariists 4 Israel
has created a campaign to "dress down radical Islam" by sending out their own civilian cops or "fashion police" to hand out what appears to be tickets to immodesty dressed women on New York's most populous streets. In actuality, these tickets are postcards addressed to the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, DC protesting their nation's treatment of women as inherently inferior beings. The A4I web site says, "Israel is a country of many freedoms, including equal rights and protection for women. By contrasting these liberties with the oppression and subjugation practiced by Israel's neighbors Artists 4 Israel demonstrates the strength of Israel's democracy".
Empowering and educating young artists is also a major tenet of Artists 4 Israel and as such the group conducts programs on high school and college campuses. Artists 4 Israel teaches students that they have the power to use their individual talents and creativity to become advocates of their chosen causes. A4I offers practical guidance and leadership training to help students affect change."What makes our organization effective is the fact that we are totally inclusive and we reach out to everyone, irrespective of religion, race or nationality. While we are an advocacy group for Israel, we are non-political and we do not take stances on issues pertaining to the conflicts between religious and non-religious factions in Israel or the disparity of viewpoints between the left wing or right wing parties", said Mr. Dershowitz.
The highlight of this year's A4I activities will take place from April 24th until May 2nd, when Artists 4 Israel will be sending some of America's most famous street and graffiti artists to Israel on their "Murality" project. Murality joins the words "mural" and "morality" to display an ideal of justice within and through art. "Israel is a country that is predicated on the highest levels of morality and ethics" said Mr. Dershowitz and "we want our artists (who are not Jewish) to experience this first hand."
The artists will be traveling to Sderot, Kiryat Gat, Herzliyah, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to battle terror and rockets with messages of unity and peace. In Sderot and Kiryat Gat the artists will be conducting art therapy classes with the children of these war torn communities who often experience post-traumatic stress disorder. These children and the entire community will join with the artists to transform the grim reminders of terrorism into soaring masterpieces of freedom and expression. While in Sderot, they will paint bomb shelters, Chabad's rocket defense walls, army bases, the Jewish National Fund's Indoor Recreational Center and Ateret Esther, the only school not fully protected from rocket attacks. In Kiryat Gat they will transform bombed out buildings into living art installations. In Jerusalem, they will design murals for "The Story of Hope", a haven for Jewish women trapped in abusive relationships with Arab partners. In Tel Aviv, the artists will organize a large scale art exhibit of their works for the entire community in one day.
"Our art ambassadors will be painting from the time they wake up in the morning until the time they go to bed", said Mr. Dershowitz. We want them to maximize their time and efforts as the artists hope to share their gift with as many of Israel's residents and organizations as possible" he continued. Artists 4 Israel has also attracted the attention of Israeli performance artists including Meital Dohan, a leading actress in the Showtime series "Weeds", who contacted A4I indicating her interest in becoming involved in this endeavor and has been chosen to be the official spokesperson for the "Murality" project in Israel.
"It is our fervent hope that this trip to Israel will prove that America's avantgarde arts community supports Israel by sharing a message of hope and peace from America to Israel" said Mr. Dershowitz.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
It can't be easy being a moderate Muslim when the Politically Correct authorities and media treat YOU like the bad guys while using Jihadists as Liasons.
Unfortunately this piece is only a LITTLE satirical; mostly it is just sadly true.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
As a teacher myself, I found the following news story disconcerting (emphasis added):
Christian teacher 'forced out' after complaining Muslim pupils praised 9/11 hijackers as 'heroes'
A Christian teacher yesterday claimed he was forced out of his job after complaining that Muslim pupils as young as eight hailed the September 11 hijackers as heroes.
Nicholas Kafouris, 52, is suing his former school for racial discrimination.
He told a tribunal that he had to leave his £30,000-a-year post because he would not tolerate the 'racist' and 'anti-Semitic' behaviour of Year 4 pupils.
The predominantly Muslim youngsters openly praised Islamic extremists in class and described the September 11 terrorists as 'heroes and martyrs'.
One pupil said: 'Don't touch me, you're a Christian' when he brushed against him.
Others said: 'We want to be Islamic bombers when we grow up', and 'The Christians and Jews are our enemies - you too because you're a Christian'.
Mr Kafouris, a Greek Cypriot, taught for 12 years at Bigland Green Primary School in Tower Hamlets, East London.
According to Ofsted 'almost all' its 465 pupils are from ethnic minorities and a vast proportion do not speak English as a first language.
The teacher claims racial discrimination by the school, its headmistress and her assistant head after they failed to take action about the comments made by pupils to him.
He said there was a change in attitude of the pupils after the atrocities of September 11, 2001. They told him: 'We hate the Christians' and 'We hate the Jews', despite his attempts to stop them.
He said he filled out a Racist Incident Reporting Sheet but claimed headmistress Jill Hankey dismissed his concerns.
In a statement submitted to the Central London Employment Tribunal he said: 'Miss Hankey proceeded to excuse and justify the pupil's behaviour, conduct and remarks to me as if I had no right to be offended by the child's remarks and conduct.
'Amongst Miss Hankey's justifications for the child's remarks, she said, "If the child was older, say 15, I might take it more seriously. He's only nine - he's only doing it to wind you up".'
He added: 'I felt the head's behaviour and conduct towards me amounted to direct religious discrimination. I was intimidated in the way she spoke to me which indicated "Don't come back with such issues again".'
Mr Kafouris, a bachelor, said the comments became more frequent after the head did nothing about the initial incidents.
There are several factors here to consider: With Kafouris being a Greek Cypriot, could that trigger ethnic discrimination? If Kafouris' claims are, indeed, truthful, how can the school and its administrators not act? What if the situation involved White students harassing a Black teacher, or vice versa? Would the administration also just say the problem is due to the students' young age and should, therefore, not be taken seriously?
Source: UK's Mail Online
H/T: Hummers & Cigarettes
Monday, February 8, 2010
Free speech is not merely an ornamental bauble found in liberal democratic societies. It is the well-fought ground upon which the structures of such societies have been constructed.
It is free speech in practice, or its ideal subscribed to, that has distinguished Europe and western civilization from all others past and present. Its absence or suppression is the main feature of totalitarian culture.
Yet free speech has never been entirely free from siege by special interests.
Except for the United States where free speech is constitutionally protected by the first amendment, the exercise of free speech can still be constrained by the guardians of public interests as we see in the case of the Dutch MP Geert Wilders, indicted and brought to court for offending Muslims in Holland.
The trial of Wilders is as much a step backward from the ideal of free speech as it is indicative of how free people willingly compromise their freedom by forgetting their history.
In indicting Wilders for hate speech, the Dutch, and their Western supporters, have turned their backs to the long line of defenders of free speech as the cornerstone of liberty, from Spinoza and Voltaire to Emile Zola.
No modern thinker has written as clearly and forcefully on liberty, and what it means in the most fundamental sense of freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, as did John Stuart Mill.
All subsequent writings on the subject are mere footnotes or parenthetical circumlocutions of those who have not abandoned the quest of abridging free speech — even as they present themselves as defenders of freedom — by claiming to protect the rights of others.
Mill contended it would be wrong any time for a government, even if it represented completely the will and opinion of the entire people under its rule, to control or suppress the opinion of an individual. Such coercion, in Mill’s view, was illegitimate.
He wrote: “The best government has no more title to it than the worst. It is as noxious, or more noxious, when exercised in accordance with public opinion than when in opposition to it. If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
Western societies in general have fallen short of Mill’s expressed ideal of liberty, but any infringement of that ideal has smacked of bad faith. In recent years, multiculturalism was propounded as if to ease the conscience of liberals — those who believe in liberty as Mill wrote about — when they do illiberal things such as penalizing free speech.
The irony lost upon those eager to protect others from being offended by the exercise of free speech, particularly when it comes to the subject of religion, is that such offence was the necessary solvent for the reform of Christianity and the church — reforms that contributed to the making of the modern, secular, liberal and democratic West.
In protecting Muslims from those who offend them, the West ill-serves Islam and those Muslims who seek its reform. Muslims need untrammelled free speech to awaken to the awareness of how totalitarian and comatose is their culture.
Source: Toronto Sun
H/T: Poste de veille
La liberté d’expression n’est pas simplement un colifichet décoratif des sociétés démocratiques libres. C’est le fondement durement acquis sur lequel ont été érigées les structures de ces sociétés. C’est la pratique de la liberté de parole, ou l’accord avec cette idée, qui distinguent l’Europe et la civilisation occidentale de toutes les autres civilisations, passées et présentes. Son absence, ou sa limitation, sont le trait majeur des cultures totalitaires.
Pourtant, la liberté d’expression n’a jamais été complètement exempte des assauts que lui livrent des intérêts particuliers.
Sauf aux États-Unis, où elle bénéficie de la protection constitutionnelle du premier amendement, l’exercice de la liberté de parole peut toujours être limité par les gardiens des intérêts publics, comme on le voit avec le cas du député hollandais Geert Wilders, inculpé et traîné en justice pour avoir offensé les musulmans en Hollande.
Le procès de Wilders représente tout à la fois un pas en arrière par rapport à l’idéal de liberté d’expression et une illustration de la manière dont des peuples libres laissent sans s’y opposer remettre en cause leur liberté en oubliant leur propre histoire. Lire la suite...
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- Iraq 'to appeal Blackwater verdict'
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- Iran's Mousavi Says He Is 'Ready for Martyrdom'
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- MASH Award Latest Recipient: Jasper Schuringa
- Iran Attempted to Smuggle 1,350 Tons of Uranium
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- Iran Update
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- Bomber's Last Phone Call to His Father
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- Judge rules security guards' rights violated in Ba...
- Pakistan kills Arab, Bangladeshi al Qaeda operativ...
- Waterboard Abdulmutallab!
- Misunderstanders of Islam attack security forces i...
- Houston Muslim group hawked Al-Qaeda imam al-Awlak...