Thursday, December 17, 2015

Is Islam Reformable?

By Amil Imani

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, and a host of others believe that Islam can and should be reformed. But how?

The idea of reforming Islam is not entirely new. But Islam cannot be reformed the way Christianity was. For one, Islam claims that it is the perfect eternal faith for mankind. Divisions have happened and will continue to occur in Islam. Yet reformation has not happened in nearly 1,400 years and is not going to happen. In the mind of millions of Muslims, Islam is carved in granite, just the way it is. No change. Allah's book is sealed.

About the only universal agreement that exists among Islamic scholars is that every word of the Qur'an is the word of Allah and is not subject to human modification, ever. The Hadith enjoys a similar sacrosanct standing. And of course, the faithful Muhammad's conduct as recorded in the Sunna is the model to be emulated. Hence, one can pick and choose, but one cannot discard or revise any part of the Islamic scripture. For this reason, a Martin Luther-type reformation has not happened and will not likely ever happen within Islam.

Numerous people have tried it in every imaginable way. The Mu'tazelis tried it, the Sufis tried it, and hundreds of old and new schools tried it, and they all failed. Many open-minded Muslim intellectuals have tried reforming Islam, including Muhammad Ali of Egypt, Sayyid al-Qimni, Nasr Abu Zayd, Khalil Abdel-Karim, Abdolkarim Soroush, Mohammed Arkoun, Mohammed Shahrour, and Ahmed Subhy Mansour. Sheikh Mansour was fired from Al-Azhar University after expressing his Hadith rejector views. Edip Yuksel, Gamal al-Banna, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Ahmed Al-Gubbanchi, Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, and Faraj Foda, Taha were hanged in 1985 under the sharia regime of Jaafar al-Nimeiri, and Foda was assassinated in 1992 by al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya. Persian scholar and historian Ahmad Kasravi was also assassinated by Fada'iyan-e Islam (the devotees of Islam).

Thus, Islam is not reformable for the following primary reasons:

* At the heart of the problem is the Qur'an, Islam's sacred book, considered as literally perfect and the immutable words of Allah.

* Islam is a perfect religion.

Qur'an 5:3: Today have I perfected your religious law for you, and have bestowed upon you the full measure of My blessings, and willed that self-surrender unto Me shall be your religion.

How can fallible, limited humans possibly reform or improve the handiwork of the all-knowing, all-wise Author of the Universe?

Freedom of all forms is anathema to Islam, which is squarely based on total submission to the dictates and will of Allah. Muslims must obey Allah and His Messenger.

Qur'an 33:36: And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying.

* Violence is part and parcel of Islam.

Qur'an 2: 216: Fighting is ordained for you, even though it be hateful to you; but it may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you: and God knows, whereas you do not know.

* Reforming Islam requires discarding sharia, and also purging the Qur'an itself of enormous suras that are not only patently false, but totally repugnant to a civilized humanity. This line of thinking, to sanitize Islam, is explicitly forbidden in the Qur'an.

Qur'an 2:85: Do you, then, believe in some parts of the divine writ and deny the truth of other parts? What, then, could be the reward of those among you who do such things but ignominy in the life of this world and, on the Day of Resurrection; they will be consigned to most grievous suffering? For God is not unmindful of what you do.

* Islam is a super-religion.

Muslims consider Islam a super-religion and the final religion of Allah. Judaism and Christianity are the only other two religions that are granted a grudging minimal recognition by Islam. All other religions and those without religion are blasphemy and blasphemous.

In short, Islam is not reformable. Reforming Islam requires purging of its sacred book, the Qur'an. In so doing, we have a different religion, not Islam.

Muslim leaders advance to their positions of leadership in Islam Inc.'s numerous subsidiaries by cleverly and ruthlessly navigating their way through the hierarchical labyrinth of cutthroat competition. Kissing up and demonstrating unconditional loyalty to the higher-ups is required. Undeviating, total devotion to the charter of the corporation as defined and promoted by the particular subsidiary, while vigilantly exploiting any opportunity for climbing up to the next rung of the ladder of leadership is a prime requisite of staying in the game.

The individuals who attain high leadership positions in Islam have invested their all with great acumen and gone through a tortuous wringer for years to attain their positions. They deeply covet that position and will do absolutely nothing to rock the boat.

The individual who ascends to a high leadership position must craftily and successfully work his way through a maze of high intrigues for many years. These leadership positions are greatly coveted, and the person would hardly be inclined to do anything that would endanger his status. The slightest deviation by any of the Islamic high clergy entails tremendous risks. The late grand Ayatollah Ali Montazeri of Iran, for instance, who was initially tapped by Khomeini to become his successor, was disgraced and placed under house arrest for daring to voice his concerns about the Islamic government's summary mass execution of political prisoners.

The profession of a clergy is to attract a select segment of men, men who have already significantly bought into the Islamic charter and its methods. As these men undergo formal indoctrination, a culling process takes place. Hundreds of thousands of these men, for a variety of reasons, do not advance very far. A great number of Muslims function in lower positions for the rest of their lives. They are the drones, so to speak. They loyally keep working the rank-and-file Muslim believers in villages and towns, making them toe the line and pay their tributes and cash to their parasitic handlers, who continue their highly successful smoke and mirror charade. A significant number may leave the ordination altogether, for a variety of reasons, and begin earning their living like the rest of the people.

In short, those who claim that they want to reform Islam want to transform it by stripping it of a great many provisions that are anathema to civilized humanity. These people are trying to make a new religion out of the old, with none of the divine authority that was supposedly bestowed upon Muhammad to form and launch his religion.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Islam: Not Just a Religion

By Tom Trinko

Americans are having a hard time discussing the problem of Muslim immigration and assimilation because Islam is not just a religion; it's a whole way of life, civil and spiritual.

The First Amendment was written because Christians of all denominations believed that while people's religious beliefs are the basis for the law, no one Christian group should be supported by the power of the federal government.  After all, that's why many Americans had fled England.

Islam, according to many Muslims, rejects that principle and declares that all authority belongs to Islam.  It's as though Catholics believed that the pope should be the ultimate authority for setting the fine you have to pay if you get a speeding ticket.

It's important to note that it doesn't matter what Islam "really teaches" so long as there are a lot of Muslims who say Islam supports theocracy and terrorism.  We have to deal with reality, not some hypothetical "pure" Islam.

Because Islam demands Muslims' full civil as well as spiritual assent, it's fundamentally different from any faith that Americans are truly familiar with – which makes discussing it difficult.  Is someone saying we should reject Muslim immigrants because of their religion, as Americans understand it, or because some Muslims believe that the Constitution must bow before the Quran, or because some Muslims believe that violence can be used in honor killings and to avenge insults against Mohammad?

While it's true that the majority of American Muslims are quite comfortable with the Constitution, the reality is that Islam lays claim to worldly authority in every nation.  That means that it's possible to reject Muslim immigrants not because of their faith, but because it's not irrational to assume that the first civil loyalty of at least some Muslims, especially those from Muslim-majority countries, is to Islam, not the Constitution.

The current Muslim situation is not the first time America has been concerned with immigrants because of their faith.  Historically, America discriminated against Catholics and Catholic immigration because many Protestants erroneously believed that Catholics wanted to establish a theocracy in America.  Many laws with a religious test resulted from that concern.

But unlike the baseless scare over something the Catholic Church did not teach – namely, that the pope should be running America – Islam does teach, at the very least in the minds of many Muslims, that all countries should be theocracies.  If anyone doubts that a large fraction of Muslims believe that Islam calls for sharia law, one only has to look at how things are run in most Muslim-majority countries.  One can look in vain for all the Catholic-majority countries run by the pope or his bishops.

Pakistan is nominally a democracy with religious freedom, but non-Muslims can be killed for preaching their faith – hardly compatible with the American view of religious liberty.  On the other hand, Ireland legalized so called same-sex marriage – hardly an indication of Catholic theocracy.

The critical question is, what fraction of Muslims who wish to come to America reject the idea that their first civil loyalty is to Islam?  It's hard to tell, since there seems to be a dearth of polling of American Muslims where they are asked about sharia law.  But according to a Pew survey, support for sharia law is fairly common among Muslims in a wide variety of countries.

For the first time in its history, America is facing the question of how to deal with people whose religion is often interpreted by many of its adherents, as opposed to its detractors, to reject the principles of democracy and religious liberty.

With nearly 3,000,000 Muslims in America and a major terror attack requiring the support of only a handful of people, it doesn't take a large percentage of radicals to create serious problems.

In the end, the real question – considering that whenever and wherever Muslims have a chance, at least some of them try to institute sharia law, even if only for Muslims, and considering the widespread belief that advancing Islam justifies terrorism – is, is it reasonable to let a lot of poorly educated hardcore Muslims into the U.S.?  Even if Islam does not teach that a Muslim's first civil loyalty is to Islam, the reality is that it appears that a lot of Muslims think that it does.  Contrary to liberal beliefs, America is not strengthened by bringing in people who disagree with our founding principles.

Most Americans support the commonsense solution of differentiating between radical Muslims and those Muslims who can accept the Constitution instead of sharia law.  Liberals, however, are causing controversy by condemning Christians for crimes of the ancient past while ignoring real issues with Islam.

Liberals have a strong incentive to ignore Islamic extremists because Muslims in America tend to be Democrats (70%) and not Republicans (11%).  However, it is strange, if one assumes that liberals are trying to be coherent, that the same liberals who condemn Christianity because of the Crusades, defensive wars designed to free Christians from Islamic oppression that occurred centuries ago, become strangely silent in the face of modern radical Islam.

It's odd that liberals who tar all Christians for the crimes of one nutcase who attacked Planned Parenthood are unwilling to admit that some terrorists are inspired by the writings of a fanatical conqueror who advocated slaughter of those who opposed him and who married a six-year-old girl.

Saying we are at war with those who have an extremist view of Islam and not with all those Muslims, and there are a lot, who don't believe in the use of violence to spread Mohammad's heresy seems to make excellent sense, yet liberals reject associating Islam with people who say they are killing in the name of Islam and who can cite chapter and verse where the Quran supports them.

Perhaps we could have a better national dialog if liberals didn't ban Christian refugees while ignoring the potential problem associated with bringing in Muslims, whose faith may lead them to put Islam ahead of America on civil matters.  That doesn't mean we have to ban Muslim immigration, and it certainly doesn't mean we should condemn all Muslims, but it does mean we should have a plan in place to ensure that the Muslims we let in share our view of civil authority vis-à-vis religious authority.

While liberals are right when they say that declaring that all Muslims, especially all American Muslims, are evil is playing into the hands of extremists, it's also wrong to simply ignore the links between Islam and terrorism and the fundamentally different natures of Christianity and Islam.  We can't be safe if we bury our heads in the sand and ignore the root cause of Islamic terrorism.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Islam Is A Religion Of Violence

By Ayaan Hirsi Ali

In the past few weeks, both Russia and the United States have escalated their military campaigns against the Islamic State. As the brutal jihadist group continues to wreak havoc in Syria and Iraq, Foreign Policyasked author of Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, and United States Institute of Peace acting Vice President Manal Omar, one of the foremost voices on peace and Islam, to debate what is behind this newest breed of extremism and how can it be defeated. In the age of al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and Boko Haram, is there a link between the violence these groups perpetrate and the faith they profess?

In the 14 years since the attacks of 9/11 brought Islamic terrorism to the forefront of American and Western awareness and then-President George W. Bush launched the “Global War on Terror,” the violent strain of Islam appears to have metastasized. With tracts of Syria and Iraq in the hands of the self-styled Islamic State, Libya and Somalia engulfed in anarchy, Yemen being torn apart by civil war, the Taliban resurging in Afghanistan, and Boko Haram terrorizing Nigeria, policymakers are farther away from eliminating the threat of violent Islamism than they were when they began the effort. In fact, Western countries are increasingly witnessing domestic attacks such as the murder of British military drummer Lee Rigby and the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, the shootings at Parliament Hill in Canada in 2014, the attacks at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and at a Jewish supermarket in Paris this past January, and most recently the terrorist attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on a military recruiting center and naval compound.

But does this violent extremism stem from Islam’s sacred texts? Or is it the product of circumstance, which has twisted and contorted Islam’s foundations?

To answer this, it’s worth first drawing the important distinction between Islam as a set of ideas and Muslims as adherents. The socioeconomic, political, and cultural circumstances of Muslims are varied across the globe, but I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims in the world today based on how they envision and practice their faith.

The first group is the most problematic — the fundamentalists who envision a regime based on sharia, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version and take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else. I call them “Medina Muslims,” in that they see the forcible imposition of sharia as their religious duty, following the example of the Prophet Mohammed when he was based in Medina. They exploit their fellow Muslims’ respect for sharia law as a divine code that takes precedence over civil laws. It is only after they have laid this foundation that they are able to persuade their recruits to engage in jihad.

The second group — and the clear majority throughout the Muslim world — consists of Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence or even intolerance towards non-Muslims. I call this group “mecca Muslims.” The fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts.

More recently, and corresponding with the rise of Islamic terrorism, a third group is emerging within Islam — Muslim reformers or, as I call them, “modifying Muslims” — who promote the separation of religion from politics and other reforms. Although some are apostates, the majority of dissidents are believers, among them clerics who have come to realize that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of political violence.

The future of Islam and the world’s relationship with Muslims will be decided by which of the two minority groups — the Medina Muslims and the reformers — wins the support of the meccan majority. That is why focusing on “violent extremism” is to focus on a symptom of a much more profound ideological epidemic that has its root causes in Islamic doctrine.

To understand whether violence is inherent in the doctrine of Islam, it is important to look at the example of the founding father of Islam, Mohammed, and the passages in the Quran and Islamic jurisprudence used to justify the violence we currently see in so many parts of the Muslim world. In Mecca, Mohammed preached to his fellow tribesmen to abandon their gods and accept his. He preached about charity and the conditions of widows and orphans. (This method of proselytizing or persuasion, called dawa in Arabic, remains an important component of Islam to this day.) However, during his time in Mecca, Mohammed and his small band of believers had little success in converting others to this new religion. So, a decade after Mohammed first began preaching, he fled to Medina. Over time he cobbled together a militia and began to wage wars.

Anyone seeking support for armed jihad in the name of Allah will find ample support in the passages in the Quran and Hadith that relate to Mohammed’s Medina period. For example, Q4:95 states, “Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home).” Q8:60 advises Muslims “to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know.” Finally, Q9:29 instructs Muslims: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

Mainstream Islamic jurisprudence continues to maintain that the so-called “sword verses” (9:5 and 9:29) have “abrogated, canceled, and replaced” those verses in the Quran that call for “tolerance, compassion, and peace.”

As for the example of Mohammed, Sahih Muslim, one of the six major authoritative Hadith collections, claims the Prophet Mohammed undertook no fewer than 19 military expeditions, personally fighting in eight of them. In the aftermath of the 627 Battle of the Trench, “Mohammed felt free to deal harshly with the Banu Qurayza, executing their men and selling their women and children into slavery,” according to Yale Professor of Religious Studies Gerhard Bowering in his book Islamic Political Thought. As the Princeton scholar Michael Cook observed in his book Ancient Religions, Modern Politics, “the historical salience of warfare against unbelievers … was thus written into the foundational texts” of Islam.

There lies the duality within Islam. It’s possible to claim, following Mohammed’s example in Mecca, that Islam is a religion of peace. But it’s also possible to claim, as the Islamic State does, that a revelation was sent to Mohammed commanding Muslims to wage jihad until every human being on the planet accepts Islam or a state of subservience, on the basis of his legacy in Medina. The key question is not whether Islam is a religion of peace, but rather, whether Muslims follow the Mohammed of Medina, regardless of whether they are Sunni or Shiite.

Today, the West is still struggling to understand the religious justification for the Medina ideology, which is growing, and the links between nonviolence and violence within it. Two main viewpoints have emerged in the debate on the causes of violent extremism in Islam. The difference between them is reflected in the different terminology used by proponents of the rival views.

Popular academics such as John Esposito at Georgetown and author Karen Armstrong believe that religion — Islam, in this case — is the “circumstantial” bit and that the real causes of Islamist violence are poverty, political marginalization, cultural isolation, and other forms of alienation, including real or perceived discrimination against Muslims. These apologists for Islam use words such as “radicalism,” “violent extremism,” and “terrorism” to describe the various attacks around the world committed in the name of Islam. If Islam is mentioned at all, it is to say that Islam is being perverted, or hijacked. They are quick to assert that Islam is no different from any other religion, that there are terrible aspects to other religions, and that Islam is in no way unique. That view is more or less the “official” view of policymakers, not only of the U.S. government, but also of most Western countries (though policy changes are beginning to appear on this front in some countries such as the U.K., Canada, and Australia).

But the apologists’ position has been a complete policy failure because it denies the religious justifications the Quran and the Hadith provide for violence, gender inequality, and discrimination against other religions.

Proponents of the alternative view, such as the late academic Patricia Crone and author Paul Berman, rely on different terms such as “political Islam,” Islamism, Salafism, Wahhabism, and Jihadism. All of these terms are designed to convey the religious basis of the phenomenon. The argument is that an ideological movement to impose sharia law, by force if necessary, is gaining ground across the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and even in Europe. In a speech this past July, British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “[S]imply denying any connection between the religion of Islam and the extremists doesn’t work, because these extremists are self-identifying as Muslims. The fact is from Woolwich to Tunisia, from Ottawa to Bali, these murderers all spout the same twisted narrative, one that claims to be based on a particular faith. Now it is an exercise in futility to deny that.” I agree.

The view that the ideology of radical Islam is rooted in Islamic scripture understands fully the cause of terrorism; it takes religious arguments seriously, and does not view them as a mere smokescreen for underlying “real” motivations, such as socio-economic grievances. This school of thought understands that the problem of radicalization begins long before a suicide bomber straps on his vest or a militant picks up his machine gun; it begins in mosques and schools where imams preach hate, intolerance, and adherence to Medina Islam.

Western governments have tried to engage with “moderate Muslims”: imams and community leaders who denounce terrorist attacks and claim to represent the true, peaceful Islam. But this has not amounted to meaningful ideological engagement. These so-called moderate representatives of Islam insist that violence has nothing to do with Islam and as a result the intolerant and violent aspects of the Quran and the Hadith are never acknowledged or rejected. There is never any discussion about change within Islam to bring the morally outdated parts of the religion in line with modernity or genuine tolerance for those who believe differently.

Despotic governments, civil war, anarchy, economic despair — all of these factors doubtless contribute to the spread of the Islamist movement. But it is only after the West and, more importantly, Muslims themselves recognize and defeat the religious ideology on which this movement rests that its spread will be arrested. And if we are to defeat the ideology we cannot focus only on violent extremism. We need to confront the nonviolent preaching of sharia and martyrdom that precedes all acts of jihad.

We will not win against the Medina ideology by stopping the suicide bomber just before he detonates himself, wherever he may be; another will soon take his (or her) place. We will not win by stamping out the Islamic State or al Qaeda or Boko Haram or al-Shabab; a new radical group will just pop up somewhere else. We will win only if we engage with the ideology of Islamist extremism, and counter the message of death, intolerance, and the pursuit of the afterlife with our own far preferable message of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Islam is the world’s most violent religion

By: Nicolai Sennels

Together with a number of research assistants, the Danish linguist Tina Magaard spent three years examining the texts of the 10 largest religions. The purpose was to investigate whether any of the religions incite violence.

The conclusion was clear: “The texts of Islam is clearly distinct from the other religions texts as it to a higher degree call for violence and aggression against followers of other faiths. There are also direct incitement to terror. … Moreover, in the Qur’an hundreds of invitations to fight against people of other faiths.”

The verses are in black and white and without mitigating context. One of the verses that deal with non-Muslims is: “So when you meet those who disbelieve, strike their necks until you have inflicted slaughter upon them.” (Qur’an, 47: 4).

Violent in practice
Islam is not only the world’s most violent religion in writing. A huge study, based on in-depth interviews with 45,000 subjects confirms that it is also the world’s most violent religion in practice.

The study shows that Islam is the only religion in the world where people become more violent, the stronger they believe in their religion.

The fact that Islam is the world’s most violent religion is most likely the reason why Muslims since September 11, 2001, has committed more than 27,000 deadly terrorist attacks in the name of Islam. This corresponds to approximately 2000 a year or five a day.

Another fact is that the number of Muslims in the Western world is increasing dramatically and that they are becoming still more religious: 75 percent of Muslims inside Europe think that the texts of the world’s most violent religion must be taken literal.

This is probably why 80 percent of young Turks in Holland see “nothing wrong” in waging Jihad against non-Muslims. And that 27 percent of all young French and 14 percent of all young British under 25 sympathize with the genocidal terror organisation Islamic State. This includes most probably the vast majority of young Muslims in these two countries.

Europe is about to face its greatest challenge ever.

Monday, November 16, 2015

To Save Paris, Defeat ISIS

By Roger Cohen

The Paris slaughter claimed by the Islamic State constitutes, as President François Hollande of France declared, an “act of war.” As such, it demands of all NATO states a collective response under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. This says that, “An armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”

Alliance leaders are already debating what that response should be. Hollande has spoken to President Obama. Other NATO countries, including Germany and Canada, have expressed solidarity. Indignation and outrage, while justified, are not enough.

The only adequate measure, after the killing of at least 129 people in Paris, is military, and the only objective commensurate with the ongoing threat is the crushing of ISIS and the elimination of its stronghold in Syria and Iraq. The barbaric terrorists exulting on social media at the blood they have spilled cannot be allowed any longer to control territory on which they are able to organize, finance, direct and plan their savagery.

Hollande left no doubt that that the attacks were “prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside.” ISIS, or one of its affiliates, has also claimed responsibility for the recent downing of a Russian passenger jet, with the loss of 224 lives. The United States and Britain believe these claims are credible.

It was wrong to dismiss ISIS as a regional threat. Its threat is global. Enough is enough. A certain quality of evil cannot be allowed physical terrain on which to breed. Pope Francis declared the Paris attacks “not human.” In a sense he is right. But history teaches that human beings are capable of fathomless evil. Unmet, it grows.

To defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq will require NATO forces on the ground. After the protracted and inconclusive Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is reasonable to ask if this would not be folly. It is also reasonable to demand – and many will – whether military action will only have the effect of winning more recruits for ISIS as more lives and treasure are squandered. Terrorism, the old nostrum has it, can never be completely defeated.

Such arguments are seductive but must be resisted. An air war against ISIS will not get the job done; the Paris attacks occurred well into an unpersuasive bombing campaign. Major powers, including Russia and China, have vigorously condemned the Paris attacks. They should not stand in the way of a United Nations resolution authorizing military action to defeat and eliminate ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Regional powers, especially Saudi Arabia, have an interest in defeating the monster they helped create whose imagined Caliphate would destroy them.

SIS is slick and effective. It has a well-run propaganda machine and an ideology compelling to disaffected Muslim youth persuaded of Western perfidy. The combination of medievalist literalism and technological prowess has produced a fanatical army of borderless appeal. But ISIS is far from insuperable in military terms. Western intelligence is now elaborate. The almost certain killing in an air strike Thursday of Mohammed Emwazi (known as Jihadi John), the Islamic State’s most wanted executioner, demonstrated this.

It is not enough to say, as the Obama Administration has up to now, that ISIS will be defeated. These words lack meaning without a corresponding plan. There is time pressure because time is being used precisely to plan new atrocities.

With each one, the possibility of a spiral of religious and sectarian violence in strained European societies increases. Hatred of Muslims seems to be on the rise. The Bataclan, the club targeted in the Paris attacks, has, as the French magazine Le Point pointed out, been a frequent meeting-place for Jewish organizations.

The killings occurred as hundreds of thousands of desperate Muslim refugees from Syria are streaming into Europe. This is not the time to turn on them, but to help them, even if extreme vigilance is needed. They, too, in their vast majority, are fleeing ISIS, as well as the indiscriminate violence of President Bashar al-Assad. Nonintervention in Syria has proved a policy fraught with bloodshed and danger, now seeping into Europe.

The battle will be long. Islam is in a state of fervid crisis, riven by the regional battle of Sunni and Shia interests (read Saudi Arabia and Iran), afflicted by a metastasizing ideology of anti-Western hatred and Wahhabi fundamentalism, seeking a reasonable accommodation with modernity. The scourge within it can probably only be defeated from within, by the hundreds of millions of Muslims who are people of peace and are as appalled as any sentient being at the Paris slaughter. Their voices need to be raised in unambiguous and sustained unison.

Crushing ISIS in Syria and Iraq will not eliminate the jihadi terrorist threat. But the perfect cannot be the enemy of the good. Passivity is a recipe for certain failure. It is time, in the name of humanity, to act with conviction and power against the scourge of the Islamic State. Disunity and distraction undermined past military efforts to defeat the jihadis. Unity is now attainable and with it victory.

Main target in Paris attack: Jewish concert hall

By Ari Yashar

Bataclan Theater in Paris, the concert hall where most of the bloodshed was seen on Saturday as 82 out of a total of more than 128 people were murdered in six coordinated attacks claimed by Islamic State (ISIS), was owned by Jews.

In the attack, four terrorists armed with assault rifles shouting "Allahu akbar" (Allah is greater) stormed in during a concert by the US rock group Eagles of Death Metal. They executed hostages one by one.

Three of them blew up their explosive belts in suicide attacks as anti-terror police ended the siege at 12:30 a.m. local time, while a fourth was shot by police. Next to one of the attackers, a Syrian passport of a man who entered Europe via Greece as a "refugee" was found.

The French magazine Le Point reported on Saturday that a member of the radical group Army of Islam told French security services back in 2011 that "we had planned an attack against the Bataclan because its owners are Jewish."

Bataclan Theater was also targeted back in 2004 when the Israeli hip-hop duo of Subliminal and Hatzel performed there, despite threats by Islamists that nearly closed the performance. In a 2006 repeat, the venue gave in to the pressure and canceled the show in advance, forcing the Zionist rap stars to perform elsewhere.

Anti-semitic motives

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Saturday expressed its outrage at the attack while noting on the Jewish connection of the concert hall.

"We join with the international community in loudly condemning these barbaric and heinous terror attacks, which have claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people going about their lives," said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO.

"Words cannot express our shock at these despicable attacks in Paris. This was an outrageous, cowardly and premeditated assault not just on the people of France, but on all freedom loving people around the world."

"While the investigation continues and the terrorists’ motivations are still unclear, we are deeply concerned at reports that the Bataclan Theater has long been a locus of anti-Zionist groups. We hope the French authorities will investigate the possibility that virulent anti-Semitism was a motive in the attack," added Greenblatt.

"Having been in Paris earlier this month, I can attest to the resolve and strength of the people of that great city, and know that they will emerge from this tragedy stronger and more united. We stand in solidarity with the French people during this terrible time, and support the efforts of the French government to locate and apprehend those behind the attacks and bring safety and security to all of France.

"Earlier this year, Paris endured the brutality of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, an assault on free expression. We also saw the violent killing committed at Hyper Cacher, a heinous act of anti-Semitism directed squarely against the Jewish community, one of a series of murderous acts in recent years intended to terrorize French Jews. As happened after these incidents, we know that the City of Light will rise again from the darkness and prevail over those who would seek to use terror as a blunt instrument against freedom and democracy. In the aftermath of this attack we must all rise up and say, 'JeSuisFrancais!'"

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Arab with the knife and the murder of the Jew. Over 100 years of excuses

By David Collier

During the height of the second Intifada, the media and politicians in general were adamant, only total desperation could cause one human being to walk onto a bus full of innocent civilians and blow himself up. This twisted logic unashamedly blames the victims for the act of violence that kills them and removes personal responsibility from the terrorist. It is also a logic that only applies in Israel, as we find the same media and the same politicians have no trouble identifying the true cause of the brutal violence when it hits closer to home.

On April 30th 2003, at about 00:45, 22-year-old Asif Muhammad Hanif entered Mike’s Place, a live music tourist pub on the Tel Aviv beachfront. Asif, from London and his friend, Omar Khan Sharif from Derby, had been born, grew up and were educated in the UK. Their entire itinerary had been planned using the latest Lonely Planet Guide book and they had spent the evening with a hundred other tourists at the Hayarkon Hostel, just up the road. Upon entering the pub, Asif detonated his bomb, killing 3 and injuring 50, with the damage restricted by the brave actions of Avi Tabib, the security guard. One of the fatalities was 29-year-old French born Dominique Haas, a personal friend of mine. It would be difficult to argue that Asif and Omar were any more desperate than you or I. Young, British and university educated, they had their whole lives before them, but simply believed there was more to gain from murdering Jews in Tel Aviv instead.

It is now October 2015 and Jews are again being murdered on the streets of Israel. Today, we are being told the reason Arabs are murdering innocent Jews is because the ‘status quo’ on the Temple Mount is being threatened. It is a false rumour that has been used before, but let us embark on an historical exercise and follow this logic to its obvious conclusion.

This from Gaza in October 2015. For those that haven’t watched it, the call for stabbing, the knife, the religious references is highly disturbing viewing.

But logic works a certain way, and in the given argument if we remove the said cause, the effect should just disappear. So let us step back a year.

It is 2014. The status quo on the Temple Mount is not being threatened. This is an attack by a 16-year-old terrorist who began stabbing Jewish customers at the Rami Levy supermarket in Mishor Adumim.

You can read more about the attack here. The reason given by western media and politicians alike for the violence of late 2014, was that the conflict in Gaza earlier in the year had created a feeling of desperation and a need for revenge. If that is the case, let us go further back.

It is October 2000, the conflicts against Hamas run Gaza are still a decade away, but the 2nd Intifada is upon us, Israelis are about to be murdered on the streets of Netanya, Afula, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, anywhere in fact that they can be reached. Two Israelis, Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossi Avrahami having accidently entered Ramallah, were ‘arrested’ by PA policemen and taken to the local Police Station. There they were ‘beaten, stabbed, had their eyes gouged out, and were disembowelled’ by a mob of Palestinians.

The picture is of Aziz Salha, one of the ‘lynchers’, waving his blood-stained hands from the police station window. Salha was later arrested by Israel and sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. The general consensus amongst politicians and the western media was that this outbreak of brutal violence was the result of Ariel Sharon provoking the Palestinians by stepping foot on Temple Mount. If that is the case, let us go further back.

It is September 1999 and Ariel Sharon’s foot has not yet been placed on Temple Mount. Haifa couple Sharon Steinmetz and Yehiel Finfeter went hiking in the Megiddo region when they were stabbed and murdered by an Israeli Arab, Abdullah Salah Aghbariya. ‘Aghbariya reportedly first attacked Finfeter, 25, with a knife and stabbed him several times in front of his girlfriend, before hitting her with a rock and stabbing her to death. Although the terrorist suggested he had murdered these two ‘because they were Jewish’, the media and politicians of the time were having none of it. They suggested that the late 1999 tension was caused not by the self declared hatred of Jews of the terrorist, but by the friction and stagnation of the peace process. If that is the case, let us go further back.

It is late 1993 and the stagnation of the peace process is yet to be seen on the distant horizon. ‘Hope’ is now the keyword as Israelis and Palestinians embark on a mission of mutual recognition that results in the beginning of the Oslo peace process. Within weeks, on 24/9/1993, Yigal Vaknin became the first of many victims of this process, as he was stabbed to death in an orchard near the trailer home where he lived. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

The violence over the coming years, some of the most brutal seen inside Israel since 1948 was explained away as a ‘side effect’ of the peace process itself. Over 250 Israelis died in the years immediately following the Oslo accord, sacrificed for a peace that never came. Western media and politicians explained away these terrorist actions as the desperate measures of extremists intent on stopping the process. If that is the case, let us go further back.

It is 21st March 1989 and the Oslo Peace Process is not yet even a seed in Yossi Beilin’s mind. The first Intifada has hit its peak and Muhammad Zakut, an Arab construction worker in Tel Aviv began randomly stabbing Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv on the Jewish holiday of Purim. Zakut stabbed three Israelis with a commando knife as he shouted “God is great.” One of the victims, Kurt Moshe Schallinger, 73, was killed as he left his car on a Tel Aviv street full of children in costume.

Zakut received a life sentence, but like Aziz Salha from the Ramallah lynching, Zakut was released as part of the Gilad Shalit exchange. Around 160 Israelis were murdered during the first Intifada, with western press and politicians blaming frustration at the ‘occupation’ and the building of settlements for the outbreak of violence. So if that is the case let us go further back.

It is 1966. The entire West Bank and Gaza are in Arab hands and there is no ‘occupation’. Not a single settlement exists.  The situation has been the same for 17 years and because most of the attacks against the Jews in Israel began beyond the border, the terrorists were armed with guns or explosives rather than knives. There were massacres on buses, attacks on trains, archaeologists, cross border shootings and numerous sniper attacks. The knife still made its appearance with an attack against the odd shepherd, kidnap rape and murder of women and various random attacks where specific details have been lost through time. Between 1949 and 1967, when Israel was in existence completely behind the ‘Green Line’, hundreds of Jewish people were murdered in Israel.

Rather than take the available option and declare a Palestinian State, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) was formed in Cairo in 1964 with the intention of destroying Israel. Through all this violence, western media and the politicians placed the blame on the tensions in the region caused by the status of the refugees created during the War of Independence that followed the birth of the State of Israel. If that is the case, let us go further back.

It is December 2nd 1947. There are no refugees, no occupation and Israel does not yet even exist. The Arabs of the area have not yet even labelled themselves as Palestinians. It is 3 days after the United Nations voted in favour of Partition, pushing a two state solution that the Arabs totally rejected. The Arabs begin a riot in Jerusalem, with 8 Jews reported as being killed. The New York Times pointed out that it was the knife that was the weapon of choice.

The killings had begun even earlier with an ambush against buses near Kfar Syrkin on November 30th, and the following months were to see escalating violence as civil war erupted throughout the British Mandate of Palestine. Arabs began to leave the region within weeks, with 100,000 having fled by March. In January irregular Arab armies entered the arena to wipe the Jews out and the neighbouring Arab nations declared openly Israel would never be born. It is impossible to calculate precise Jewish losses over each period in a conflict that was to turn from civil to regional war, but in total over 6000 Jews were to be killed in the following 18 months. Proportionally more than the UK lost in the entire 7 years of WW2. According to western politicians and media of the time, this, all because of the ‘understandable’ Arab reaction to resolution 181 and partition. If this is the case, let us go further back.

It is April 19–20, 1936. There is no partition, no Israel, no settlements, no occupation and no refugees. Even the original suggestions of partition first raised by the Peel commission are still some time away. But ‘The Bloody Day in Jaffa’ is upon us and the first day of the ‘Great Arab Uprising’. By the end of the first week, 17 Jews had been murdered.

The revolt was to last 3 years and led to an almost absolute curb on Jewish immigration into British Palestine. The British, and the media placed the blame for the murders and the violence of the revolt on Arab opposition to growing Jewish immigration that was caused by Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. If this is the case, let us go further back.

It is 19th August 1929. There is no partition, no Israel, no settlements, no occupation and no refugees. Adolf Hitler is out of jail, but yet to receive major popular support at an election. Zionist immigration is still on the slow dripping 4th Aliyah rather than fast flowing 5th Aliyah. A young Sephardic Jew named Abraham Mizrachi was stabbed to death by an Arab near Mea Shearim. The following Friday, August 23rd, a violent Arab demonstration took place at the Western Wall and that afternoon a massacre of Jews in Jerusalem began (17 Jews murdered). The violence spread across British Palestine and in the coming days, Hebron (65+ massacred) and Safed (18+ massacred) saw the worst of the incidents.

The massacres and killings were to lead to the Shaw Commission analysing the cause of tension. It found Arab leaders had created and spread propaganda calculated to incite the trouble. They spread rumours of a Jewish takeover of Temple Mount (sound familiar). The commission believed that the underlying cause was Jewish immigration and the threat that local Arabs felt a Jewish presence in Palestine brought. This is no different than if today, wild mobs streamed into towns in Europe or the US that have large immigrant populations with the intent to carry out bloody massacres against innocent civilians. But for the British, world politicians and the media this was excuse enough for Jews to be killed.  So if this is the case, let us go even further back.

It is 1920. There is no partition, no Israel, no settlements, no occupation, little immigration and no refugees. Even the Mandate has not yet officially begun. San Remo, the conference that was to decide the fate of the Middle East has not yet occurred. We are now back in Jerusalem at the time of the Neba Musa festival. A time that was to see riots that had Arabs murdering Jews in yet another ‘excusable’ massacre in Jerusalem. The knives were out again.

5 Jews were murdered and 216 were injured. The Palin Commission of Inquiry (don’t the British love making up excuses for violence against Jews) found that Arab disappointment at the non-fulfilment of the promises of independence was the primary cause. So if this is the case, let us go even further back.

It is 1910. We have left British Palestine, because it does not yet exist. There has been no promise of independence to the Arabs, there is no Balfour declaration, no Mandate, no partition, no Israel, no settlements, no occupation and no refugees. Ariel Sharon’s foot has not even been born. We are in Shiraz to witness a massacre of Jews in 1910 that was sparked by a blood libel (also 1892 & 1897). Twelve were killed, another fifteen were stabbed or hit with bludgeons or bullets and many more were injured. We can then travel back even further before the very beginning of the Zionist movement, to the Damascus affair and the blood libel of 1840. And we find contemporary ‘mob attacks on Jewish communities throughout the Middle East’. We also find Jews were being murdered throughout the 19th century, just for being Jews, in Aleppo (1850, 1875), in Damascus (1840, 1848, 1890), in Beirut (1862, 1874), in Dayr al-Qamar (1847), in Jaffa (1876), in Jerusalem (1847, 1870 and 1895), in Cairo (1844, 1890), in Mansura (1877), in Alexandria (1870, 1882), and in Damanhur (1871, 1873, 1877, 1891). Each and every one before the first Zionist congress took place in 1897.

Before the partition, before Israel, before the settlements, before the ‘occupation’, before the refugees, before Sharon walked onto Temple Mount, before the ‘wall’, before immigration, before Balfour and before even Zionism itself. In the beginning there was an Arab with a knife and he murdered a Jew, simply because he was a Jew. It is an absurd logic that attempts to blame Zionism for creating violence against Jews when Zionism *only came about* because of relentless violence against Jews; both in Europe and in the Middle East. You cannot place the cart before the horse. Enough with the excuses.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Obama Throws Christian Refugees to Lions

by Raymond Ibrahim

  • Why are Christian minorities, who are the most to suffer from the chaos engulfing the Middle East, the least wanted in the United States?
  • To the Obama administration, the only "real" refugees are those made so due to the actions of Bashar Assad. As for those who are being raped, slaughtered, and enslaved based on their religious identity by so-called "rebel" forces fighting Assad -- including the Islamic State -- their status as refugees is evidently considered dubious at best.
  • The Obama administration never seems to miss an opportunity to display its bias for Muslims against Christians. The State Dept. is in the habit of inviting scores of Muslim representatives but denying visas to solitary Christian representatives. While habitually ignoring the slaughter of Christians at hands of Boko Haram, the administration called for the "human rights" of the jihadi murderers.
  • In Islamic usage, the "cause of Allah" is synonymous with jihad to empower and enforce Allah's laws on earth, or Sharia. In this context, immigrating into Western lands is a win-win for Muslims: if they die in the process somehow, paradise is theirs; if they do not, the "locations and abundance" of the West are theirs.
  • Muslims all around the U.S. are supporting the Islamic State and Muslim clerics are relying on the refugee influx to conquer Western nations, in the Islamic tradition of Hijrah, or jihad by emigration.

The fate of those Iraqi Christians who had fled from the Islamic State only to be incarcerated in the United States has finally been decided by the Obama administration: they are to be thrown back to the lions, where they will likely be persecuted, if not slaughtered, like so many Iraqi Christians before them.

Fifteen of the 27 Iraqi Christians that have been held at a detention center in Otay Mesa, California, for approximately six months, are set to be deported in the coming weeks. Some have already been deported and others are being charged with immigration fraud.

Many of the Iraqi Christian community in San Diego -- including U.S. citizen family members vouching for the refugees -- had hopes that they would eventually be released. Mark Arabo, a spokesman for the Chaldean community, had argued that "They've escaped hell. Let's allow them to reunite with their families." One of the detained women had begged to see her ailing mother before she died. The mother died before they could reunite, and now the daughter is to be deported, possibly back to the hell of the Islamic State.

Why are Christian minorities, who are the most to suffer from the chaos engulfing the Middle East, the least wanted in the United States?

The answer is that the Obama administration defines refugees as people "persecuted by their government." In other words, the only "real" refugees are those made so due to the actions of Syrian President Bashar Assad. As for those who are being raped, slaughtered, and enslaved based on their religious identity by so-called "rebel" forces fighting Assad -- including the Islamic State -- their status as refugees is evidently considered dubious at best.

As Abraham H. Miller argues in "No room in America for Christian refugees":

"What difference does it make which army imperils the lives of innocent Christians? Christians are still be[ing] slaughtered for being Christian, and their government is incapable of protecting them. Does some group have to come along -- as Jewish groups did during the Holocaust -- and sardonically guarantee that these are real human beings?"

In fact, from the start of Western meddling in the Middle East in the context of the "Arab Spring," Christians were demonized for being supportive of secular strongmen like Assad. In a June 4, 2012 article discussing the turmoil in Egypt and Syria, the Independent's Robert Fiskscoffed at how Egyptian presidential candidate "Ahmed Shafiq, the Mubarak loyalist, has the support of the Christian Copts, and Assad has the support of the Syrian Christians. The Christians support the dictators. Not much of a line, is it?"

More than three years later, the Western-supported "Arab Spring" proved an abysmal failure and the same Christian minorities that Fisk took to task were, as expected, persecuted in ways unprecedented in the modern era.

The Obama administration never seems to miss an opportunity to display its bias for Muslims against Christians. The U.S. State Dept. is in the habit of inviting scores of Muslim representatives but denying visas to solitary Christian representatives. While habitually ignoring the slaughter of Christians at hands of Boko Haram, the administration called for the "human rights" of the jihadi murderers. And when persecuted Egyptian Copts planned on joining the anti-Muslim Brotherhood revolution, Obama said no. Then there is the situation that every Arab nation the Obama administration has meddled in -- for example, Libya and Syria -- has seen a dramatic nosedive in the human rights of Christian minorities.

The Obama administration's bias is evident even regarding the Iraqi Christians' illegal crossing of the U.S.-Mexico border, the occasion on which they were arrested. WND correctly observes: "At the same time the Obama administration [is] deporting Christians, it has over the years allowed in hundreds of Muslim migrants from Africa and the Middle East who crossed the Southern border the same way the Chaldeans did."

Meanwhile, as the Obama administration nitpicks at the definition of refugee and uses it against severely persecuted Christian minorities, it turns out that four out of five migrants -- or 80 percent -- are not even from Syria.

And while Christian minorities pose little threat to the United States -- indeed, they actually bring benefits to U.S. security -- Muslims all around the U.S. are supporting the Islamic Stateand Muslim clerics are relying on the refugee influx to conquer Western nations, in the Islamic tradition of Hijrah, or jihad by emigration. As Koran 4:100 puts it:
And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance. And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him -- his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah.

In Islamic usage, the "cause of Allah" is synonymous with jihad to empower and enforce Allah's laws on earth, or Sharia. In this context, immigrating into Western lands is a win-win for Muslims: if they die in the process somehow, paradise is theirs; if they do not, the "locations and abundance" of the West are theirs.

All the while, the Obama administration is turning away Christian refugees fleeing the same hostile Muslim forces as Muslims -- who are being welcomed into America and Europe.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Inside Jihad

An insider's uncompromising exposé

By Danusha V. Goska

Here's my four-sentence review of Dr. Tawfik Hamid's new book Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works; Why It Should Terrify Us; How to Defeat ItBuy this book. Read this book. Refer to this book. Share this book.

I've read and reviewed counter-jihad classics by bestselling experts including Robert Spencer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bernard Lewis, Andrew Bostom, Wafa Sultan, Brigitte Gabriel, Mosab Hassan Yousef, and Phyllis Chesler. I think highly of each. This is how good Inside Jihad is. If someone said to me, "I want to read just one book about jihad." I'd give that reader Dr. Hamid's book.

Inside Jihad is brief. Hamid's style is direct and fast-paced. He says what he needs to say without sensationalism, emotionality, literary ambition, or apologies. He pulls no punches. 

Tawfik Hamid was born and raised in Egypt, the most populous Middle Eastern country. He was raised Muslim. Hamid's mother was a teacher; his father, a surgeon and a private atheist who taught him to respect Christians and Jews. The family observed the Ramadan fast but had little other religious observance. Arabic is his first language and he has studied the Koran in the original Arabic. From 1979-82, he was a member of Jamaa Islamiya, a terrorist group. He met Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al-Qaeda. 

Hamid grew up under Gamal Abdel Nasser's pan-Arab socialism. Nasser wanted to modernize Egypt. He suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood, executed one of its leaders, Sayyid Qutb, and curtailed travel to and from Saudi Arabia, fearing Wahhabi influence.

The 1973 Oil Embargo sparked a revival of Islam. Muslims concluded that Allah rewarded Saudi Arabia for the Saudis' strict religious observance. Allah's reward was the Saudi ability to humble the United States.

Islamization in Egypt "started mildly enough." Hamid warns the reader to pay careful attention to slow Islamization. He says that the same methods that were used in Egypt are now being used in the West. "The more we surrender" he warns "the more Islamists will demand."

The camel's nose under the tent was something few could object to: individual prayer. Previously, if an employee interrupted his workday to perform one of Islam's mandated five daily prayers, it was perceived as bizarre. Now it was admirable.

Another straw in the wind: the hijab. In school photos taken before the 1970s, many Egyptian girls are without hijab. After America's humbling in the oil shock, more and more girls began to wear hijab. Men stopped wearing gold wedding bands; gold was deemed "un Islamic" for men. More toxic Islamizations, including Jew-hatred, followed. Imams preached that Jews are monkeys and pigs and that they poisoned Mohammed.

Islamization on campus also began in an innocuous way: Islamists used the moments before class began to talk about Islam. One day, the Christian professor of one class said that it was time for discussion of Islam to stop and the academic hour to begin. The Islamists called the professor an infidel and broke his arm. "The Christian students were terrified," Hamid reports.

"I remember the first time I looked at a Christian with disdain," Hamid reminisces. He was reading a required textbook. The book told him that Mohammed said, "I have been instructed by Allah to declare war and fight all mankind until they say 'No God except Allah and Mohammed is the prophet of Allah.'" Hamid, who had previously had Christian friends, turned to a Christian student and said, "If we applied Islam correctly, we should be doing this to you."

Jamaa Islamiya actively recruited medical students like Hamid. It took six months for Hamid to become "sufficiently indoctrinated."

Hamid details several lures that recruiters used to bring young people into their movement:
  • fear of hell,
  • a demonization of critical thinking,
  • a sense of superiority over non-Muslims,
  • suppression of any emotional life outside of Islamism,
  • suppression of sexual expression,
  • a promise of sex for jihadis,
  • and upholding of Mohammed as the perfect example, beyond criticism.

Author Don Richardson estimates that one in eight verses in the Koran mentions Hell. By contrast, the Old Testament mentions Hell once in every 774 verses, and it is never described as graphically as it is described in the Koran. Hamid quotes Islamists using many Koranic passages that vividly describe Hell to terrorize potential members: "garments of fire shall be cut out for them … burning water will be poured over their heads causing all that is within their bodies as well as the skins to melt away … they shall be held by iron grips; and every time they try in their anguish to come out of it, they shall be returned and told 'Taste suffering through fire to the full!'" Infidels in Hell will eat thorns and drink scalding water as if they were "female camels raging with thirst and disease." Their intestines will be cut to pieces.

Another method used to Islamize recruits was "al-fikr kufr" – "one becomes an infidel by thinking critically."

Recruiters flattered recruits, telling them that they were superior to non-Muslims. "Take not Jews and Christians for friends," they quoted from Koran 5:51. Jews are monkeys and pigs: Koran 5:60. Those who worship Jesus are infidels: Koran 5:17. Do not offer the greeting "As-salamu alaykum," or "peace be with you," to Christians or Jews; whenever you meet Christians or Jews in a road, force them to its narrowest alley: Sahih Muslim. Muslims who did not carry out jihad were also inferior.

Terror recruits' emotional outlets were cut off. They were forbidden from creating or consuming music, dance, or visual art. They were discouraged from having sex, but lured with promises of great sex in paradise. The houris – dark-eyed virgins – are graphically described in Muslim literature as very soft, without complaint, and easily satisfied. Houris regain their virginity immediately after sex. Men are promised organs that never go limp. Mohammed, recruits were assured, could have sex with eleven women in an hour.

Finally, the example of Mohammed himself was not to be questioned. Mohammed married a six-year-old. He raped war captives, in one case immediately after decapitating the captive's brother and father and after she had witnessed her mother being carried off also to be raped. Mohammed approved of the dismemberment of Um Kerfa, a poetess who criticized him. Mohammed is the "perfect example, worthy of emulation." Muslims today must unquestioningly approve these behaviors.

Hamid's fellow extremists were aware that Muslim countries were no longer in the cultural forefront. Islam had spread as far as Spain and India in only the first century after Mohammed's death. Terror recruits believed that early Islam's success was caused by strict adherence to Islamic doctrine. They believed that their strict observance could bring back Islam's early dominance.

Some wonder how women could be recruited into a movement that keeps them in an inferior position in relation to men. Hamid clarifies: Muslimahs were told that they would be superior – to infidel women.

Hamid expounds uncompromisingly on the power and importance of hijab. He insists that when prominent Westerners such as Nancy Pelosi and Laura Bush travel to Muslim countries and wear hijab, they are making a grave error. Hijab is not "a neutral, or merely traditional, fashion statement." Hijab's purpose "is not modesty or to encourage observers to focus on a Muslim woman's personality." Hijab exists to proclaim "deep Islamic doctrinal connections to slavery and discrimination. Western women who cover themselves are unwittingly endorsing an inhumane system." Hijab's purpose, Hamid argues persuasively, is to create a society where superior free Muslimahs are visually distinct from inferior infidel slave women.

Islamists "despise women who did not wear hijab. We considered them vain … we believed they would burn in Hell." Further, "the hijab serves to differentiate between slave girls and women who are considered free … it creates a feeling of superiority among the women who wear it." The Koran promises that women who wear hijab will not be "molested." Women without hijab are slaves and can be raped without guilt.

Australia's foremost Muslim cleric restated this Islamist position in 2006. In Sydney, fourteen Muslim men gang-raped non-Muslim women. Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali said that it was the victims' fault. "If you take out uncovered meat" and cats eat it, the cats are not to blame. Women possess "igraa," "the weapon of enticement."

Hamid emphasizes that hijab is both vanguard and emblem of Islamic supremacy. During their 1953 meeting, the first thing Sayyid Qutb asked Nasser to do was to force women to wear hijab. A YouTube video documents this conversation. In the video, Nasser is speaking to a large assembly. When he repeats Qutb's demand, the crowd laughs. One wag shouts out, "Let him wear it!" Nasser points out that Qutb's own daughter does not wear hijab. The crowd laughs even more, and bursts into applause. This video is at least fifty years old. It is a reminder that fifty years ago, countries like Egypt and Iran were modernizing. Women, in cities at least, could be seen in public in miniskirts and without hijab.

Hamid reports that the Muslim Brotherhood does not announce its end goal openly. "They pose as peacemakers … The Muslim Brotherhood will accept circumstances that offend their beliefs – temporarily – if doing so will advance their goals." They will – temporarily – permit western dress for women and alcohol consumption. This is all part of taqiyya. The Muslim Brotherhood has a four stage plan: at first, merely preach. Then, move on to participation in public life. Next, consolidate power "while faking legitimacy." Finally, enforce sharia.

A few turning points turned Hamid away from Islamism, for example, when a fellow terror recruit described his plot to bury alive an Egyptian police officer.

Hamid had been studying the Bible so that he could better debate Christians. Jesus' words haunted him. "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" He asked himself, what profit to Islam if it subjugated the entire world but lost its soul? "Exposure to the Bible was crucial in helping me question the violent aspects of Salafist teaching."

His medical studies also gave him pause. "I wondered if the divine DNA molecule was violent. Did it attempt to conquer the rest of the cell? Did it try to force other cellular components to behave like itself? It did not. Rather, it worked harmoniously within an organism to create and sustain life."

The clincher for Hamid was "the existence of alternative forms of Islamic teaching." Hamid met Muslims called "Quranics," who reject the hadiths. The Quranics "stood against killing apostates, against stoning women for adultery, against killing gays. They viewed the Islamic Conquests as immoral and senseless." The Quranics "allowed me to think critically." "If this alternative sect had not been available, it would have been much more difficult for me to resist jihadism."

After recounting his own history, Hamid turns his attention to the international scene. Hamid makes mincemeat of a slew of Islam-apologetic arguments. He insists that it is utterly wrong-headed to blame Islamism on poverty, global warming, lack of education, discrimination, Islamophobia, dictatorial regimes, colonialism, imperialism, or the treatment of Palestinians by Israel. President Obama's statement that ISIS is "not Islamic," was the "most ill-informed utterance of all."

Hamid stresses that one must attend to what Muslims say to each other, in Arabic, about their faith, not just what propagandists in the West say in English to a media that never seems to hit Muslims with any hard questions. Hamid cites the example of prominent Saudi Sheikh Sale al-Fawzan. Al-Fawzan says that "slavery is part of Islam" and "slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long as there is Islam." Anyone who tries to extract slavery and jihad from Islam is an "infidel." Familiarity with such pronouncements would have prepared the world for ISIS' practices.

Dr. Hamid's righteous indignation – and his courage – reach heroic heights when he castigates his fellow Muslims, not just for being passive in the face of terror, but for secretly applauding it. "A large percentage of Muslims today passively approve of Islamic terror," he says. "They minimize it, shift the blame, or do nothing." They are "secretly proud." Terrorism gives them "a sense of victory and power."

Muslims often can't bring themselves to perceive terrorists as bad people. "It is widely believed that a Muslim who fulfills the Five Pillars of Islam is virtuous" – whether he's a terrorist or not. "Islamists cannot be bad Muslims because they perform the superficial rituals."

Hamid unpacks in detail several different taqiyya strategies Muslim apologists use to mislead Westerners into thinking that they oppose terrorism while in fact supporting it. Hamid lists seven questions that must be answered by any spokesperson for Islam. Every American politician should read these pages; voters should photocopy them and mail them to elected officials. Students should have them on hand before they head off to college.

"Many Muslims seem to have this tendency to point fingers at anyone but themselves," he observes. Islam fosters a "culture of deflection" that "makes it very difficult for Islam to correct itself." Many insist that Muslims did not carry out the 9-11 attacks. It was the Jews! They insist. "This denial is a form of passive terrorism." Hamid writes perceptively that "Redemption from shame is not and can never be the product of denial. It comes rather from honestly admitting fault and then confronting it openly."

I'll mention that Islam, unlike Christianity, lacks the ritual of confession. For two thousand years, Christians have been following scriptural dictates to confess their sins to others, and to atone for them. Self-examination is valued in Christian-influenced cultures – enough so that politicians caught in scandals are often advised to appear on the highest-rated talk show that will book them and to offer a "mea culpa," a phrase from Catholic confession. There is no comparable Muslim ritual.

Hamid is equally gloves-off in his criticism of the West. He reminds the reader of how gradually and innocuously Islamization had begun in Egypt. He says weak Western military response to jihad is comparable to using too few antibiotics to treat an infection. Surviving bacteria become resistant, and more virulent. He lambastes moral relativism. He utterly rejects comparisons between jihadis and fundamentalist Christians and Jews. Hamid singles out one voice – that of pseudo-scholar Karen Armstrong – for special condemnation. He accuses Armstrong and others like of her "paving the way for Islamic barbarity." Armstrong is "spectacularly representative of the multicultural revisionism and moral backsliding that are helping to cripple efforts at genuine reform of Islam."

His critique of Western liberals' enabling of jihadis is echoed in many memoirs by Islam-critical Muslims and former Muslims, including Ayaan Hirsi Ali. "It is strange how Christianity is constantly assailed by Western progressives" including the American Civil Liberties Union. "The ACLU said nothing about installing Islamic footbaths in restrooms … at a taxpayer-funded public institution in 2007." Hamid sticks his hand in a real hornet's nest: immigration. He believes America should change its policies to weed out jihadis.

Dr. Hamid remains a Muslim. He loves his religion, and he wants to save it. By writing this book and speaking out as he has, he is risking his life to do so. The final portion of the book offers his complete re-interpretation of Islam and the Koran, and his plan for defeating extremism.

Muslims like Dr. Tawfik Hamid inspire my hope and admiration. In his excellent book, one sentence struck me as most poignant and worth lengthy pondering. "I often wonder how al-Zawahiri would have turned out if his childhood religious education had promoted love instead of hate and violence." Dr. Hamid is doing his part to re-interpret his beloved natal faith, Islam, in a peaceful and loving way. One can only wish him good fortune in that herculean effort.
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