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Crafty_Dog
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« on: May 11, 2007, 12:31:40 PM »

All:

I will be posting more about this point, but it seems to me that we need to have a thread dedicated to how to communicate with the Muslim world.

I begin with a piece from the WSJ.

Marc
==================

Boos for Al-Hurra
May 11, 2007; Page A10
We've been watching the debate over Al-Hurra, the U.S.-funded Middle East TV channel that has lately developed a reputation as a friendly forum for terrorists and Islamic radicals. A bipartisan group of Congressmen has called for Al-Hurra's news director, former CNN producer Larry Register, to resign -- and it's time he and his supervisors gave taxpayers some answers.

With an annual budget over $70 million, Al-Hurra is part of the long arm of America's public diplomacy in the Middle East. The network was established to provide a credible source of information in the region, in a market dominated by Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya. The goal was to help start a discussion about freedom and democracy. Instead, the network seems to have aligned itself with everyone else in pandering to the so-called Arab street.

The shift began when Mr. Register took over last November. As journalist Joel Mowbray has detailed in these pages, Al-Hurra has made a practice in Mr. Register's tenure of friendly coverage of camera-ready extremists from al Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist groups. Most famously, the network gave more than 60 minutes of airtime to Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah, who informed viewers that Hezbollah was "facing a strategic and historic victory." Under Mr. Register, Holocaust denial panels became "Holocaust existence panels." People like al Qaeda operative Muhammed Hanja received airtime to celebrate America's "defeat" on September 11.

Mr. Register's defense has been, in essence, that if Al-Hurra doesn't run anti-American content, no one will watch. He seems to have misunderstood his assignment: Al-Hurra is not meant to compete with Al-Jazeera but to offer an alternative view of the Middle East from those of either its dictators or jihadis.

But Al-Hurra is not alone in its failures. VOA and Radio Farda in Iran also stray into broadcasts that wax critical on U.S. policies. Here's betting those outlets see more scrutiny in coming days, and there's plenty of people besides Mr. Register to question -- starting with the Broadcasting Board of Governors that is charged with the network's oversight.

The BBG failed to investigate Mr. Register's change of journalism-marketing strategy when criticism began to emerge. After Mr. Mowbray's original article in March, Joaquin Blaya, chairman of the Board's Middle East Committee, wrote us a letter dismissing the criticism. Mr. Blaya was more accommodating in a second letter that we ran May 9 -- perhaps because he's feeling heat from Capitol Hill.

He certainly hasn't felt any heat from Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes, who sits on the board and has also preferred to see no evil. Ms. Hughes has conceded that the Nasrallah interview was "a violation of our policy." But in a speech to the Board of Governors and Freedom House last week, she missed an opportunity to clarify what is expected of Al-Hurra in return for taxpayer support. On Wednesday, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Mr. Register is doing "a very good job."

Al-Hurra (which means "the free one") can be a useful tool in the battle of ideas that is crucial to the war on Islamic extremism. But if it and its sister broadcasts are merely going to provide one more outlet for anti-U.S. propaganda, who needs them? Dissidents in Soviet Russia and its satellites once looked to Radio Free Europe and VOA as sources of truth they weren't getting from local media. Nobody thinks the Cold War would have ended sooner if they had offered more airtime to the Kremlin.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2007, 05:10:22 PM »

Although I suppose it would be accurate to call this piece propaganda, but we need to remember that this hatred is part of the landscape in the Muslim world and has been since before modern Israel.

http://www.terrorismawareness.org/islamic-mein-kampf/

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2007, 09:48:58 PM »

Tawfik Hamid speaks truth to power in the usually reliably dhimmi Wall Street Journal, echoing points we have often made here:
To bring an end to Islamophobia, we must employ a holistic approach that treats the core of the disease. It will not suffice to merely suppress the symptoms. It is imperative to adopt new Islamic teachings that do not allow killing apostates (Redda Law). Islamic authorities must provide mainstream Islamic books that forbid polygamy and beating women.

Accepted Islamic doctrine should take a strong stand against slavery and the raping of female war prisoners, as happens in Darfur under the explicit canons of Shariah ("Ma Malakat Aimanikum"). Muslims should teach, everywhere and universally, that a woman's testimony in court counts as much as a man's, that women should not be punished if they marry whom they please or dress as they wish.

We Muslims should publicly show our strong disapproval for the growing number of attacks by Muslims against other faiths and against other Muslims. Let us not even dwell on 9/11, Madrid, London, Bali and countless other scenes of carnage. It has been estimated that of the two million refugees fleeing Islamic terror in Iraq, 40% are Christian, and many of them seek a haven in Lebanon, where the Christian population itself has declined by 60%. Even in Turkey, Islamists recently found it necessary to slit the throats of three Christians for publishing Bibles.

Of course, Islamist attacks are not limited to Christians and Jews. Why do we hear no Muslim condemnation of the ongoing slaughter of Buddhists in Thailand by Islamic groups? Why was there silence over the Mumbai train bombings which took the lives of over 200 Hindus in 2006? We must not forget that innocent Muslims, too, are suffering. Indeed, the most common murderers of Muslims are, and have always been, other Muslims. Where is the Muslim outcry over the Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq?

Islamophobia could end when masses of Muslims demonstrate in the streets against videos displaying innocent people being beheaded with the same vigor we employ against airlines, Israel and cartoons of Muhammad. It might cease when Muslims unambiguously and publicly insist that Shariah law should have no binding legal status in free, democratic societies.

It is well past time that Muslims cease using the charge of "Islamophobia" as a tool to intimidate and blackmail those who speak up against suspicious passengers and against those who rightly criticize current Islamic practices and preachings. Instead, Muslims must engage in honest and humble introspection. Muslims should--must--develop strategies to rescue our religion by combating the tyranny of Salafi Islam and its dreadful consequences. Among more important outcomes, this will also put an end to so-called Islamophobia.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2007, 10:14:17 PM »

I admit to being moved by this.
====================

The Evils of Holocaust Denial
By ABDURRAHMAN WAHID and ISRAEL LAU
June 12, 2007; Page A17

BALI, Indonesia -- Today, religious leaders from many faiths and nations will gather here for a landmark conference in a unique place -- an island of tolerance, not terrorism. In a world in which religion is manipulated to justify the most horrific acts, it is our moral obligation not only to refute the claims of terrorists and their ideological enablers but also to defend the rights of others to worship differently: in freedom, security and dignity.

While there are many things that can be said and done to advance this cause, one issue in particular stands out as something we religious leaders must unite in denouncing: Holocaust denial. This denial is not a new phenomenon. Yet it is becoming an increasingly pervasive one. Long a hobbyhorse of the neo-Nazis and other figures from the fringe, it is gaining currency among millions of people who are either ignorant of history or are being misled by their media, their governments or -- sad to say -- their own religious authorities.

 
A scene from the liberation of Auschwitz.
In recent years, we have seen that notorious 19th century Russian forgery, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," being widely disseminated in bookshops from London to Cairo. We have seen Hitler's "Mein Kampf" become a bestseller in Turkey. We have seen schools in Britain stop teaching the Holocaust for fear of offending their students. We have seen notorious academic frauds invited by the president of Iran to raise "questions" about the Holocaust -- as if this is just another controversy in which all opinions are equally valid. We have seen the Holocaust deniers use the fashions of moral relativism and historical revisionism to deny not just truth but fact, all the while casting themselves as martyrs against censorship.

Worst of all, we have seen Holocaust denial being turned to an insidious political purpose: By lying about the events of the past, the deniers are paving the way toward the crimes of the future. They are rendering that well-worn yet necessary phrase "Never Again" meaningless by seeking to erase from the pages of history the very event that all people of good faith seek never to repeat.

Let us be clear: The real purpose of Holocaust denial is to degrade and dehumanize the Jewish people. By denying or trivializing the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis and their allies, the deniers are seeking to advance their notion that the victims of the 20th century's greatest crime are, in fact, that century's greatest victimizers. By denying or trivializing the Holocaust, the deniers are seeking to rob Jews of their history and their memory -- and what is a people without history and memory?

Indeed, by denying or trivializing the Holocaust, the deniers are perpetrating what is, in effect, a second genocide. Extinguished as they were from the ranks of the living, Hitler's Jewish victims are now, in effect, to be extinguished from the ranks of the dead. That is the essence of Holocaust denial.

Yet even as we recognize the threat that Holocaust denial poses to Jews everywhere, we must also be cognizant of the peril it represents to people of all faith traditions. Nations or governments that historically have given free rein to Jew-hatred -- whether in Medieval Europe or Inquisition-era Spain or 1930s Germany -- have invariably done lasting damage to themselves as well.

Today, the countries in which Holocaust denial is most rampant also tend to be the ones that are most economically backward and politically repressive. This should not be surprising: Dishonest when it comes to the truth of the past, these countries are hardly in a position to reckon honestly with the problems of the present. Yes, the short-term purposes of unscrupulous rulers can always be served by whipping up mass hysteria and duping their people with lurid conspiracy theories. In the long term, however, truth is the essential ingredient in all competent policy making. Those who tell big lies about the Holocaust are bound to tell smaller lies about nearly everything else.

Holocaust denial is thus the most visible symptom of an underlying disease -- partly political, partly psychological, but mainly spiritual -- which is the inability (or unwillingness) to recognize the humanity of others. In fighting this disease, religious leaders have an essential role to play. Armed with the knowledge that God created religion to serve as rahmatan lil 'alamin, or a blessing for all creation, we must guard against efforts to demonize or belittle followers of other faiths.

Last year, Muslims from Nigeria to Lebanon to Pakistan rioted against what they saw as the demonizing of their prophet by Danish cartoonists. In a better world, those same Muslims would be the first to recognize how insulting it is to Jews to have the apocalypse that befell their fathers' generation belittled and denied.

Sadly, we do not live in such a world. Yet if radical clerics can move their assemblies to hatred and violence -- as was the case during the Danish cartoons episode -- then surely moderate and peace-loving clerics can also move theirs to rise above their prejudices and facilitate good relations between peoples of different faiths. In the words of the Holy Quran, which echo the story of creation from the book of Genesis: "Oh mankind! We created you from a single pair, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another, and not to despise each other."

Today in Bali, we look forward to hearing different ideas from diverse voices on how to advance this divine goal. Facing up frankly to the evil of Holocaust denial will be evidence that the conferees are "living in truth" and determined to act against hatred.

Mr. Wahid is the former president of Indonesia and co-founder of the LibForAll Foundation. Mr. Lau, a survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp, is the former Chief Rabbi of Israel. Today's conference in Bali, "Tolerance Between Religions: A Blessing for All Creation," is cosponsored by LibForAll Foundation, the Wahid Institute and the Museum of Tolerance.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2007, 10:38:54 AM »



June 20, 2007
Journey into Islam
By Tony Blankley

I have just finished reading a deeply disheartening book by my friend
Professor Akbar Ahmed. Dr. Ahmed is the former Pakistani high commissioner
to Britain and member of the faculties of Harvard, Princeton and Cambridge,
current chair of Islamic Studies at American University -- and is in the
front ranks of what we Westerners call the moderate Muslims, who we are
counting on to win the hearts and minds of the others.

I first met Professor Ahmed shortly after Sept. 11. He, his friends and I
broke bread several times and discussed the condition of Islam and the West.
He graciously agreed to share a stage with me at the National Press Club to
debate with me the merits of my book, "The West's Last Chance: Will We Win
the Clash of Civilization?" As my book was very harshly received by many
Muslims around the world, I don't doubt that Dr. Ahmed shared that stage
with me at some risk at least to his reputation -- if not more.

We even considered doing a weekly cable TV show on the clash of civilization
from our different (but respectful) points of view -- although nothing came
of it. Dr. Ahmed is a worldly man of letters who profoundly believes that
collective good can be accomplished by individual acts of good conscience --
that each of us (Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu) must connect with others and
live out our convictions for our common humanity in the face of tribalism,
religion and other dividing forces. Thus, his reach out to me, a fiery
American nationalist TV commentator and editor to find if not complete
common ground, at least common friendship.

His new book, "Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization," is thus
particularly heartbreaking for me. As a trained anthropologist, he took
three of his students on a six-month journey around the Muslim world to
investigate what Muslims are thinking.

His conclusion: Due to both misjudgments by the United States and
regrettable developments in Muslim attitudes, "The poisons are spreading so
rapidly that without immediate remedial action, no antidote may ever be
found." And Dr. Ahmed has always been an optimist.

He divides Muslim attitudes into three categories named after Indian Muslim
cities that have historically championed them: Ajmer, Aligarh and Deoband.

Ajmer represents peaceful Sufi mysticism, Aligarth represents the instinct
to modernize without corrupting Islam, Deoband represents non-fatalistic,
practical, action-oriented orthodox Islam. It traces to Ibn Taymiyya, a
14th-Century thinker who lived when Islam was reeling from the Mongol
invasions. He rejected Islam's prior easy, open acceptance of non-Muslims.

In short, Dr. Ahmed is an Aligarth. As a young man he was one of new
Pakistan's best and brightest, led by Pakistan's founding father and first
president, Dr. Jinnah. They hoped to build a modern democracy, overcome
tribalism and the more obscurantist aspects of Islam while still being "good
Muslims." The Deobands are the Bin Ladens and all the other Muslims we fear
today.

Even one or two years ago, I think Dr. Ahmed was reasonably hopeful that his
views had a fighting chance around the Islamic world. So, my jaw dropped
when I got to page 192 of his new book and he described his thoughts while
in Pakistan last year on his investigative journey: "The progressive and
active Aligarth model had become enfeebled and in danger of being overtaken
by the Deoband model ... I felt like a warrior in the midst of the fray who
knew the odds were against him but never quite realized that his side had
already lost the war."

He likewise reported from Indonesia -- invariably characterized as
practicing a more moderate form of Islam. There, too, his report was
crushingly negative. Meeting with people from presidents to cab drivers,
from elite professors to students from modest schools (Dr. Ahmed holds a
respected place in the Muslim firmament around the globe), reports that 50
percent want Shariah law, support the Bali terrorist bombing, oppose women
in politics, support stoning adulterers to death. Indonesia's secular legal
system and tolerant pluralist society is being "infiltrated by Deoband
thinking ... Dwindling moderates and growing extremists are a dangerous
challenging development."

Although I dissent from several of Dr. Ahmed's characterizations of the Bush
Administration, Washington policymakers and journalists should read this
book because it delivers a terrible message of warning both to those who say
things aren't as bad as Bush says, and we can rely on the moderate voices of
Islam -- with a little assist from the West -- winning; and for those who
argue for aggressive American action to show our strength to the Muslims
(because, in Bin Laden's words, they follow the strong horse).

To the first group he says that the "moderate" voice is in near hopeless
retreat across the Muslim world. Don't count on them. To the second group he
says, whatever Bush's intentions, our aggression only strengthens our
enemies.

I think he knows his solution is forlorn: "Although the planet's societies
are running against time ... [we must] transcend race, tribe and religion
and cherish our common humanity, every individual must become the message."
Let us pray.

But for those of us who don't expect the milk of human kindness to suddenly
start flowing, it behooves us to read Professor Ahmed's honest assessment of
the real state of Muslim world attitudes and coldly re-assess our various
policy prescriptions in its light.

These are grim times, but we must resist indulging ourselves in hopeful
fantasies. Every piece of our national security calculations must be
realistically assessed against the available facts. What is working, what
isn't, what to do?

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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2007, 01:34:00 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/06/20/video-ex-terrorist-walid-shoebat-on-the-jihadist-mindset/

Stuff worth reading on addressing the global jihad.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2007, 06:26:15 PM »

http://www.douglasfarah.com/article/217/the-bush-admini...slim-brotherhood.com

Jun 22, 09:40
The Bush Administration's Outreach Program to the Muslim Brotherhood

The New York Sun writes that the Bush administration is quietly laying the groundwork for reaching out to the Muslim Brotherhood. What it doesn’t say is that the Muslim Brotherhood, through its chapter in the United States (CAIR, ISNA et al) have already launched one of the most successful outreach programs of any group in the country.

The U.S. government has formally named these groups as part of the Muslim Brotherhood. They have met recently with senior leaders of the Pentagon, DHS, DOD and have been in the White House across two administrations.

Only the Justice Department’s naming of the groups as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case kept these same groups from being the stars at an ill-conceived “outreach” event hosted by AG Alberto Gonzalez.

So outreach to the Brotherhood, especially in this country, is not a new policy at all. Everyone from the FBI to the NSC has been bullied, pushed, cajoled and duped into meeting with them, despite their well-documented ties to terrorism, terrorist organizations and terrorist leaders.

The question to me is not whether to talk to the Muslim Brotherhood, here, in Egypt or its international structure. One can have legitimate reasons for doing so. The question is the underlying premise of the conversations. If we recognize they are a political-religious movement committed to the cause of creating a unified Islamic state across the world, including the United States, and will use any means available to do so-and still think there are strategic interests the dictated discussions-then that is legitimate.

But we are being told repeatedly and erroneously that these groups are our friends and possible allies. And that is simply not true.

Why the pressure now to reach out to the group that is directly, organically tied to Hamas, runs a multi-billion dollar financial empire, and has been the spawning ground of every major salafist jihadi movement and leader?

The drive to legitimize the Muslim Brotherhood is being driven by Robert Leiken and other academics who have forgotten, apparently, any lessons they ever learned during the Cold War. (For a look at Leiken’s shifting positions during that time, particularly his gullibility on the Sandinistas, see Patrick Poole’s American Thinker piece).

I am not going to rehash the arguments raised by Leiken and those of us in response to him. I just want to point out that the entire project of legitimizing the Brotherhood is built on a deliberate misstatement of the truth.

I am rather surprised that Leiken and others with his experience in Central America (my own included), where the Sandinistas, particularly, lied, used front groups and battled to define the language that was used to grossly mislead us all. Leiken admitted to being fooled by them.
As they say, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

The MB, on an international level (individual country chapters vary, but the international structure is running the expansion programs in Europe and the United States) is essentially a front group. It uses people adept at speaking our language, relating to issues we understand and working very hard and successfully to achieve a particular agenda. In this case it is the Islamization of the United States and Europe. They have said this publicly and repeatedly.

They cannot use violence now against the United States, as they themselves say, because they do not have the means to take over by force. Yousef al Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential theologian, has made clear, this clear in his writings:

“We depend on others for military power. Those against whom we want to launch our offensive jihad are the same people who make all sorts of weapons and sell them to us. But for them, we would be unarmed, defenseless and unable to do anything!
That being the case, how can we talk of launching offensives to subject the whole world to our Message, when the only weapons we can muster are those given us by them and when the only arms we can carry are those they agree to sell us.”

A trenchant observation, and honest. It is, however, not a disavowal of violence, merely a recognition that tactically it is impossible for the moment.

Leiken et al of course ignore these writings and rely on the fundamental lie being perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood now: That the MB has rejected the Islamist teachings of Sayid Qutb, articulated in “Milestones,” and is instead now embracing Hasan al Hudaybi’s writings in “Preachers not Judges.”

I and others wrote about how preposterous this thesis is, and I won’t rehash it all here. But it is classic double-speak we knew so well in Marxism (takiyya in the Islamist conception). They want to get rid of us. They will engage in any strategy that will advance that goal.

This is what is so disheartening about the current debate, especially when people like former senior FBI officials like Mike Rolince deliberately misstate the facts.

Let’s understand who CAIR, ISNA and the International Muslim Brotherhood are. Then, when we properly define them and their agenda, rather than letting them dictate the terms of the debate, there can be honest discussion about whether outreach is in our strategic interest.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2007, 06:27:20 PM »

Second post of the day:

Radical Outreach
Bush coddles American apologists for radical Islam

By Steve Emerson

At Wednesday’s rededication ceremony of the Saudi-funded Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., President Bush missed a perfect opportunity to repudiate apologism for radical Islam, and instead announced his latest plan to get the Muslim world to stop hating America: appoint a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Bush praised the OIC, saying, “We admire and thank those Muslims who have denounced what the Secretary General of the OIC called ‘radical fringe elements who pretend that they act in the name of Islam.’” The special envoy’s mission, Bush said, would be to “listen and learn” to OIC ambassadors.

While this may sound nice, it is rooted in complete ignorance of the rampant radicalism, pro-terrorist, and anti-American sentiments routinely found in statements by the OIC and its leaders, including referring to “Islamophobia” — and not the mass slaughter of innocents in the name of Islam — the “worst form of terrorism,” as OIC did last May.

In 2002, the OIC published its “Declaration on International Terrorism.” Therein, the authors stated, amongst other outrageous claims, that there was no such thing as Palestinian terrorism, writing, “We reject any attempt to associate Islamic states or Palestinian and Lebanese resistance with terrorism.” To the OIC, groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and Hezbollah are not terrorists, but “freedom fighters.”

This is just the beginning of a litany of the OIC’s wrongs.In March 2006, OIC General Secretary Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu embraced Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal at a press conference at OIC’s headquarters. Ihsanoglu whitewashed: “With its win, Hamas begins a new stage in the development of the Palestinian issue. We assure that Hamas will deal with all national and international requirements in a practical and logical way.”

At a “special session” of the OIC in August of the same year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for “the elimination of the Zionist regime,” a statement that OIC failed to condemn. Moreover, the OIC has repeatedly backed Iran’s nuclear ambitions. As Ishanoglu said in April, “All member states of the OIC and I have obviously supported Iran's right to access peaceful nuclear technology,” despite clear indications that the Iranian regime’s uranium-enrichment program is designed chiefly to make nuclear weapons.

And then, there is OIC’s explaining away of the 9/11 attacks, which “expressed the frustration, disappointment, and disillusion that are festering deep in the Muslims’ soul towards the aggressions and discriminations committed by the West.”

These are the people that President Bush feels the need to “listen and learn” from. And the Bush administration’s wishful thinking extends beyond his feelings toward the OIC, to the very location where Bush was giving his speech.

The 2005 Freedom House report on the Saudi-led radicalization of American mosques specifically identifies the Washington Islamic Center as a hotbed of hatred. In the past decade, I personally collected numerous copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion from the mosque. The Freedom House report chronicles the center’s extremism: imams instructed their students to distance themselves from the West, forbade Muslim students from wearing the traditional cap and gown at during University graduation, and warned that participating in American holidays was the “most dangerous form of imitating the unbelievers, the most destructive and the most prevalent among the Muslims.”

The center’s library included a Saudi text book for 11th graders that described “the role of the Jews in the corruption of the European way of life,” and that Jews used “innocuous-sounding themes as ‘progress and civilization’ or ‘individual freedom’ to destroy Europe.”

There are many more examples in the report. Unfortunately, the President’s lack of awareness is not limited to the OIC and the Washington Islamic Center, but also to the officials of the so-called “moderate” Muslim organizations whom the FBI, Department of Justice, Defense Department, and Department of State routinely invite to meetings and hearings.

In his speech, Bush said, “This enemy falsely claims that America is at war with Muslims and the Muslim faith, when in fact it is these radicals who are Islam's true enemy.” Yet that very talking point is the refuge of America’s supposedly mainstream Muslim organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Islamic Society of North American (ISNA).

In March 2002, in response to an FBI raid of Islamist organizations in Northern Virginia, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said, “This is a war against Islam and Muslims… Our administration has the burden of proving otherwise.” In February 2004, MPAC Vice Chairman Aslam Abdullah said, “in the name of the ‘war on terror,’ Islam and Muslims have become a target in America and elsewhere,” and in June 2004 Abdullah accused President Bush of engaging in “a religious and racist agenda and prejudice against Islam, Muslims, and Arabs.” In 2004, Louay Safi, a top ISNA official, went further, writing that the “assertion by ‘world leaders’ that the war on terrorism is not a war on Islam is nothing but a piece of propaganda and disinformation that was meant to appease Western Muslims and to maintain the coalition against terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Bush’s own Justice Department recently formally named CAIR and ISNA as Muslim Brotherhood–front groups, listing them as unindicted co-conspirators in the largest terrorist financing case in U.S. history, against the Holy Land Foundation, an alleged Hamas front group.

In his wrongheaded outreach to the OIC, the president aligns with those who think the West is responsible for Islamic terrorism. Bush himself has said we “abandoned Muslims in the Middle East to tyrants and terrorists.” Yet Wahhabism was born in the 18th century, long before Western colonialism in the Middle East and the resulting appointment of despotic rulers. It was the fascist Muslim Brotherhood that gave birth to terrorist groups like al Qaeda and Hamas, and it is the absence of a reformation that keeps the Muslim world boiling and in regression.

Unfortunately, despite his best intentions, the president gave the wrong speech at the wrong time. Perhaps the most telling indicator of his error was the fact that hours after his speech, CAIR, the un-indicted co-conspirator in the Hamas case in Dallas, congratulated the president on the appointment of a representative to OIC. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

— Steve Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism,
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ODU1YWMyN2M4MWY0OW...MzY0MTM1Yjg1NGY5ZTQ=

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2007, 09:10:14 AM »

The new British PM has orderd that reference's to terrorism no longer use the world "Muslim".  See e.g. this report from Fox a few days ago:
==========
Report: British Prime Minister Bans Use of 'Muslim' in Connection With Terrorism
Wednesday, July 04, 2007

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has instructed his ministers not to use the word "Muslim" in connection with the recent terrorist incidents in Glasgow and London, the Daily Express reports.

The phrase "War on Terror" has also been dropped in an effort to improve community relations with the nation's Islamic community, the paper reported.

Click here to read the Daily Express report.

“There is clearly a need to strike a consensual tone in relation to all communities across the UK,” a spokesman told the paper. “It is important that the country remains united.”

The move has drawn some criticism from Brown's opponents in the Tory Party.

“I don’t know what purpose is served by this," Tory member Philip Davies told the paper. "I don’t think we need (to) pussyfoot around when talking about ­terrorism.”
========================
 Here's one response to this:
========================



Article published Jul 6, 2007
Call it like it is


Diana West - Q: Who is winning the really important war of ideas — the one between the West and itself? A: Not the side that understands jihad as a foundational Islamic institution.

This is nothing new. From September 11 onward, the yeoman effort of elites has been to wrench "Islam" away from all acts of jihad. But now, particularly after the London and Glasgow attacks, their efforts have achieved a deeper level of denial, and, worse, broader consensus.

The new British prime minister, Gordon Brown, has directed ministers to omit "Muslim" when discussing (Muslim) terrorism. And forget the generic "war on terror"; even that pathetic phrase is off limits. (This has absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Brown's unctuously stated goal to make Britain "the gateway for Islamic finance.") The new Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith (love that "i" ending) refers to British Muslims as "communities" — maybe a prelude to not mentioning them at all. Both have done the "perversion of a great faith" dance to enlightened applause, taking cues from the unpublished "EU Lexicon," which reportedly nixes such "offensive" phrases as "Islamic terrorism."

British literary lions couldn't agree more. Philosopher John Gray and historian Eric Hobsbawm recently said on British television that even the word "Islamist" was "unfair" because "it implied a strong link to Islam." Never mind the link is doctrinally accurate. Better to accommodate mortal threat without identifying its Islamic roots. Instead of defending their nations — for starters, stopping Islamic immigration and, with it, the progression of Islamic law into Western societies — our elites have decided to pretend Islam isn't there at all.

In the media, the effort is misleading to the point of farce. Joel Mowbray, writing at the Powerline blog, noted that the New York Times has identified Britain's Muslim terrorists as "South Asian people" — which, considering Britain's largest South Asian population is Hindu, is beyond absurd. "Diverse group allegedly in British plot," the Associated Press reported, missing that unifying Islamic thread. "All 8 detainees have ties to health service," wrote the Toronto Star, "but genesis of terror scheme still eludes investigators."

If they read Robert Spencer's jihadwatch.org, the essential daily compendium of jihad and dhimmi news, they might get a clue. But, very ominously, Mr. Spencer's Web site is being blocked by assorted organizations which, according to his readers, continue to provide access to assorted pro-jihad sites. Mr. Spencer reports he's "never received word of so many organizations banning this site all at once." These include the City of Chicago, Bank of America, Fidelity Investments, GE IT, JPMorgan Chase, Defense Finance and Accounting Services and now, a federal employee in Dallas informs him, the federal government.

Reason given? Some Internet providers deem the factually based, meticulous analysis on display at jihadwatch.org to be "hate speech." This should send Orwellian shivers up society's spine, but, alarmingly, such reactions to jihad analysis are increasingly the norm.

Case in point: Objecting to a recent column characterizing his views as being non-comprehending or indifferent to jihad, Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, senior counterinsurgency adviser to our forces in Iraq, wondered in an e-mail whether I "may not like Muslims, and that's your choice." It was a long e-mail — one of several — but even these few words convey the viewpoint, increasingly prevalent, that discounts the doctrinal centrality of Islam to jihad violence convulsing the world, from Iraq to London. In the mental no-jihad zone (and, in Lt. Col. Kilcullen's case, despite what he calls his "significant personal body count of terrorists and insurgents killed or captured"), only personal animus can explain alarm over the Islamic institution of jihad (let alone dhimmitude). "Alternatively," he wrote, "you may think Islam contains illiberal and dangerous tendencies."

I may think? I do think "tendencies" such as jihad and dhimmitude. "Again," he said, "you're entitled to that view."

"That view" is increasingly absent at the top, where Islam itself is politically and strategically beside the point. Consider current military thought, as expressed by Lt. Col. Kilcullen: Typical terrorists, he wrote, are "driven by fundamentally non-religious motivational factors." I wonder which non-religious motivational factors inspired Glasgow's terror-docs to scream "Allah, Allah" while ramming a flaming car into the airport.

Of course, it gets worse. Debate now divides the Pentagon over a new lexicon for Centcom. At stake is the Islamic term "jihad" itself, which could become officially verboten within the ranks of the fighting force that is actually supposed to defeat it.

This might leave us speechless, but it better not shut us up.
======================

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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2007, 08:28:57 PM »

To borrow from a leftist group "Silence=Death". This is especially true regarding the global jihad.
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2007, 07:36:09 AM »

Public Diplomacy for Dummies
The Bush administration falters in the battle of ideas.

BY BRET STEPHENS
Tuesday, July 10, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Late last month, President Bush gave an address at the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., where he announced that the United States would for the first time appoint an observer to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. "Our special envoy will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states and will share with them America's views and values," he said. "This is an opportunity for Americans to demonstrate to Muslim communities our interest in respectful dialogue and continued friendship."

To say public diplomacy hasn't been this administration's forte is a truism and an understatement. Still, it's hard to recall any presidential initiative as spectacularly misjudged and needless since Ronald Reagan paid tribute to Nazi soldiers at Bitburg. The OIC's signal contribution to date has been a decades-long boycott by Muslim countries against Israel. The Islamic Center is a Saudi-funded institution that, as Freedom House documented in 2005, distributes Wahhabi religious literature. Charming tidbit: "It is forbidden for a Muslim to be the first in greeting an unbeliever, even if he had prestigious position. This is due to many established holy traditions, in this matter, like his [Prophet Muhammad] saying [peace be upon him]: Do not be first, in greeting the Jews and the Christians."

Dutifully in attendance at the president's speech was Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes. Critics of the administration usually point to Mr. Bush's policies and his public persona as the source of America's declining stock in global public opinion surveys. But public diplomacy is also the job of American embassies and ambassadors, taxpayer-funded broadcasting corporations such as Voice of America, military officials and especially Ms. Hughes. In theory, their job is to wage a battle of ideas against radical Islam. In practice and effect, however, too often reality is otherwise.


Take the case of career diplomat Francis Riccardione, currently the U.S. ambassador to Egypt. In interviews with the Egyptian media, Mr. Riccardione has said that American officials have "no right to comment" on the case of Ayman Nour, the former opposition leader imprisoned on trumped-up charges; that faith in Egypt's judiciary is "well-placed," and that president Hosni Mubarak--now in his 26th year in office-- "is loved in the U.S." and "could win elections [in America] as a leader who is a giant on the world stage." Mr. Riccardione also admits he "enjoyed" a recent film by Egyptian artist Shaaban Abdel Rahim, best known for his hit song "I Hate Israel."

Or take the Voice of America's Persian Service. According to a Farsi-speaking source who tracks the broadcasts, during last year's war between Hezbollah and Israel, VOA reporter Nazi Beglari opined that "Hezbollah ended the Israeli occupation in the past and is doing it again." Camera shots lingered over toys scattered near bomb sites and a burnt page of the Quran--evidence, presumably, of Israel's intent to destroy Islam and murder Muslim children.

Then there is Ms. Hughes herself. During one of her first overseas ventures as public diplomacy czarina, Ms. Hughes visited Indonesia--the world's largest Muslim country--where she met its very own Bono, rock star Ahmad Dhani. Mr. Dhani had recently released his album "Laskar Cinta," or "Warriors of Love," a deliberate and political response to the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Laskar Jihad. Ms. Hughes seemed enthralled by both the message and the messenger.

"Hughes met Dhani, praised him to the skies, and said 'people like you are exactly what we need,'" recalls C. Holland Taylor, an American who runs the LibForAll foundation with which Mr. Dhani is associated. "She then asked us whether he would be willing to work with the State Department, whether he'd be willing to travel and whether there was anything she could do for him. We answered all three questions affirmatively. Since then there's been a vast silence."

LibForAll is itself a model of what a competent public diplomacy effort in the Muslim world should look like. Mr. Taylor, a former telecom executive who moved to Jakarta in the 1990s and speaks fluent Indonesian, has engaged influential and genuinely reform-minded Muslims--as opposed to the faux "moderates" on whom Mr. Bush lavished praise at the Islamic Center--to articulate and defend a progressive and tolerant version of Islam.

In its brief life, LibForAll has helped turn back an attempted Islamist takeover of the country's second-largest Muslim social organization (with 30 million members), translated anti-Wahhabist books into Indonesian, sponsored a recent multidenominational conference to denounce Holocaust-denial, brought Mr. Dhani to Colorado to speak to U.S. military brass, and launched a well-researched "extremist exposé" in order, Mr. Taylor says, "to get Indonesian society to consciously acknowledge that there is an infiltration occurring of radical ideology, financed by Arab petrodollars, that is intent on destroying Indonesian Islam."

For his efforts, Mr. Taylor has been cold-shouldered by the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta--more proof that when it comes to public diplomacy the U.S. government functions with its usual genius and efficiency. But there's more at work here than a bumbling and insipid bureaucracy. As the scholar Carnes Lord notes in his useful book on public diplomacy, "Losing Hearts and Minds," America's public diplomatists "are today no longer as convinced as they once were that America's story is after all fundamentally a good one, or believe an alternative, negative story is at least equally plausible." Hence someone like Mr. Riccardione can say, when asked about discrimination in Egypt (where a Coptic population amounting to about 10% of the population has one member in the 444-seat parliament) that it "happens everywhere, even in the U.S."

No doubt a dose of moral equivalence served Mr. Riccardione's purposes in getting through his interview without a rhetorical scrape. No doubt, too, maintaining (or pretending) a blissful ignorance about the ideology being propagated by the Islamic Center served Mr. Bush's political purposes. But if effective public diplomacy is really as vital in the war on terror as everyone appears to agree it is, we need better ambassadors, better administrators and a better sense of who we need to engage and how. At least Mr. Taylor has a clue. The administration could stand to learn from him.
Mr. Stephens is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board. His column appears in the Journal Tuesdays.

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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2007, 08:14:30 AM »

Second post of the morning:

WSJ

What About Muslim Moderates?
By R. JAMES WOOLSEY and NINA SHEA
July 10, 2007; Page A21

Islamist terrorism has led the American and British governments in the past month to launch separate public diplomacy programs aimed at engaging Muslims at home and abroad. A quick comparison shows the two initiatives are headed in opposite directions. At least the Brits have finally got it right.

The Bush administration is building bridges to well-funded and self-publicized organizations that claim to speak for all Muslims, even though some of those groups espouse views inimical to American values and interests. After years of pursuing similar strategies -- while seeing home-based terrorists proliferate -- the Blair-Brown government is now more discerning about which Muslims it will partner with. Stating that "lip service for peace" is no longer sufficient, the British are identifying and elevating those who are willing to take clear stands against terrorism and its supporting ideology.

 
Thus, in a major address at a two-day government conference early last month (titled "Islam and Muslims in the World Today"), then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, with Gordon Brown in attendance and hosting a reception, vowed to correct an imbalance. He stated that, in Britain's Muslim community, unrepresentative but well-funded groups are able to attract disproportionately large amounts of publicity, while moderate voices go unheard and unpublished.

Mr. Blair emphasized that Islam is not a "monolithic faith," but one made up of a "rich pattern of diversity." The principal purpose of the conference, Mr. Blair stressed, was to "let the authentic voices of Islam, in their various schools and manifestations, speak for themselves." He was as good as his word.

Invitations to participate in the assembly were extended to the less-publicized, moderate groups, such as the Sufi Muslim Council, the British Muslim Foundation and Minhaj-ul-Quran. Notably absent from the program was the Muslim Council of Britain, a group that claims to represent that nation's Muslims but is preoccupied with its self-described struggle against "Islamophobia" -- a term it tries to use to shut down critical analysis of anything Islamic, whether legitimate or bigoted.

Also dropped from the speaking roster was the leading European Islamist Tariq Ramadan, who, while denied a visa by the United States, has been a fixture at official conferences on Muslims in Europe. The grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr. Ramadan is fuzzy on where he stands on specific acts of terror -- and he infamously evaded a challenge by Nicolas Sarkozy to denounce stoning.

Mr. Blair committed funds to improve the teaching of Islamic studies in British universities; announced a new effort to develop "minimum standards" for imams in Britain; and, most significantly, declared that henceforth the government would be giving "priority, in its support and funding decisions, to those leadership organizations actively working to tackle violent extremism." Routine but vague press releases against terrorism would no longer do.

A few days later, British backbone was demonstrated again with the knighting of novelist Salman Rushdie. Since 1989, when Iran's mullahs pronounced one of his works "blasphemous," Mr. Rushdie has lived under the shadow of a death threat, the first fatwa with universal jurisdiction against a Muslim living in the West. With the news that Britain would honor him, extremist Muslims rioted. But many Western Muslim reformers, increasingly threatened by death threats and murderous fatwas themselves, cheered the Brits. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Dutch parliamentarian who was born a Muslim in Somalia, wrote: "The queen has honored the freedom of conscience and creativity cherished in the West."

On the eve of his departure from office, Mr. Blair gave a television interview taking on those he once courted -- British Islamists who have been quick to level charges of Islamophobia and oppression against Britain and the United States: "The reason we are finding it hard to win this battle [against terror] is that we're not actually fighting it properly. We're not actually standing up to these people and saying, 'It's not just your methods that are wrong, your ideas are absurd. Nobody is oppressing you. Your sense of grievance isn't justified.' . . . Some of what is written on this is loopy-loo in its extremism."

Contrast this with the Bush administration's new approach. On June 27, President Bush delivered his "Muslim Initiative" address at the Washington Islamic Center in tribute to the 50th anniversary of that organization's founding, by Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism is the state religion of Saudi Arabia, and its extremist ideology often flows with the kingdom's money. The Islamic Center is not an exception.

A few years ago when we were with Freedom House, concerned Muslims brought us Saudi educational material they collected from the Washington Islamic Center that instructed Muslims fundamentally to segregate themselves from other Americans. One such text stated: "To be dissociated from the infidels is to hate them for their religion, to leave them, never to rely on them for support, not to admire them, to be on one's guard against them, never to imitate them, and to always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law."

Though Mr. Bush's remarks were intended for all American Muslims, the administration left the invitation list to Washington Islamic Center's authorities. Predictably, they excluded the truly moderate, who are not Saudi-founded or funded: the Islamic Supreme Council of America, the American Islamic Congress, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, the Center for Eurasian Policy, the Center for Islamic Pluralism, the Islam and Democracy Project, the Institute for Gulf Affairs, the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia and many others.

These organizations are frequently shut out of U.S. government events and appointments on the basis that they are considered insignificant or "controversial" by the petro-dollar-funded groups. The administration makes a terrible mistake by making such Wahhabi-influenced institutions as the Washington Islamic Center the gate keepers for all American Muslims.

The actual substance of Mr. Bush's mosque speech -- particularly good on religious freedom -- was overshadowed by the announcement of its single initiative: America is to send an envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference. Based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the OIC was created explicitly to promote hostility to Israel, and its meetings largely consist of ritualistic Israel-bashing. At one last year, Iran's president called for the "elimination of the Zionist regime." It has no mechanism for discussing the human rights of its member states, and thus has never spoken out against Sudan's genocide of Darfuri Muslims. It is advancing an effort to universalize Islamic blasphemy laws, which are applied as often against speech critical of the governments of OIC member states as against profanities. Last month the OIC council of foreign ministers termed Islamophobia "the worst form of terrorism." Currently no Western power holds either member or observer status at the OIC.

The Bush administration is now actively considering whether its public diplomacy should reach out to Muslim Brotherhood groups. While such groups may pay lip service to peace, they do not denounce terror by Hamas, a Brotherhood offshoot. It keeps as its motto: "Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." By choosing those whose definition of terror does not include the murder of Jews, honor killings and lethal fatwas against Muslim dissidents and reformers, the U.S. government makes them look strong -- particularly in the shame-and-honor culture of the Middle East -- and strengthens their hand against the real moderates and reformers.

Great Britain, as we were reminded over the past week, has much work ahead in defeating Muslim terror, as well as in overcoming the misguided form of multiculturalism of its recent past. Not all of Britain's measures will be right for America, with our First Amendment. But the British Labour Party socialists appear to have done one major thing right that this American Republican administration has not: Reach out to Muslim leaders who are demonstrably moderate and share our values, even though they may not have petrodollar-funded publicity machines.

While we don't have a Queen to dub knights, Americans do have distinct way of honoring our heroes. Mr. President, confer the Medal of Freedom on one of our own outstanding Muslim-American citizens. For a selection of honorees, look at who was not invited to your recent speech. If Islamists charge "Islamophobia," repeat after Tony: "Loopy loo. Loopy loo."

Mr. Woolsey, co-chair of the Committee on the Present Danger, was Director of Central Intelligence 1993-1995. Ms. Shea is the director of the Center for Religious Freedom of the Hudson Institute.
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« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2007, 08:31:57 AM »

HEARTS AND MINDS

What About Muslim Moderates
London does a better job than Washington reaching out to them.

BY R. JAMES WOOLSEY AND NINA SHEA
Sunday, July 15, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Islamist terrorism has led the American and British governments in the past month to launch separate public-diplomacy programs aimed at engaging Muslims at home and abroad. A quick comparison shows the two initiatives are headed in opposite directions. At least the Brits have finally got it right.

The Bush administration is building bridges to well-funded and self-publicized organizations that claim to speak for all Muslims, even though some of those groups espouse views inimical to American values and interests. After years of pursuing similar strategies--while seeing home-based terrorists proliferate--the Blair-Brown government is now more discerning about which Muslims it will partner with. Stating that "lip service for peace" is no longer sufficient, the British are identifying and elevating those who are willing to take clear stands against terrorism and its supporting ideology.

Thus, in a major address at a two-day government conference early last month (titled "Islam and Muslims in the World Today"), then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, with Gordon Brown in attendance and hosting a reception, vowed to correct an imbalance. He stated that, in Britain's Muslim community, unrepresentative but well-funded groups are able to attract disproportionately large amounts of publicity, while moderate voices go unheard and unpublished.





Mr. Blair emphasized that Islam is not a "monolithic faith," but one made up of a "rich pattern of diversity." The principal purpose of the conference, Mr. Blair stressed, was to "let the authentic voices of Islam, in their various schools and manifestations, speak for themselves." He was as good as his word.
Invitations to participate in the assembly were extended to the less-publicized, moderate groups, such as the Sufi Muslim Council, the British Muslim Foundation and Minhaj-ul-Quran. Notably absent from the program was the Muslim Council of Britain, a group that claims to represent that nation's Muslims but is preoccupied with its self-described struggle against "Islamophobia"--a term it tries to use to shut down critical analysis of anything Islamic, whether legitimate or bigoted.

Also dropped from the speaking roster was the leading European Islamist Tariq Ramadan, who, while denied a visa by the United States, has been a fixture at official conferences on Muslims in Europe. The grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr. Ramadan is fuzzy on where he stands on specific acts of terror--and he infamously evaded a challenge by Nicolas Sarkozy to denounce stoning.

Mr. Blair committed funds to improve the teaching of Islamic studies in British universities; announced a new effort to develop "minimum standards" for imams in Britain; and, most significantly, declared that henceforth the government would be giving "priority, in its support and funding decisions, to those leadership organizations actively working to tackle violent extremism." Routine but vague press releases against terrorism would no longer do.

A few days later, British backbone was demonstrated again with the knighting of novelist Salman Rushdie. Since 1989, when Iran's mullahs pronounced one of his works "blasphemous," Mr. Rushdie has lived under the shadow of a death threat, the first fatwa with universal jurisdiction against a Muslim living in the West. With the news that Britain would honor him, extremist Muslims rioted. But many Western Muslim reformers, increasingly threatened by death threats and murderous fatwas themselves, cheered the Brits. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Dutch parliamentarian who was born a Muslim in Somalia, wrote: "The queen has honored the freedom of conscience and creativity cherished in the West."

On the eve of his departure from office, Mr. Blair gave a television interview taking on those he once courted--British Islamists who have been quick to level charges of Islamophobia and oppression against Britain and the United States: "The reason we are finding it hard to win this battle [against terror] is that we're not actually fighting it properly. We're not actually standing up to these people and saying, 'It's not just your methods that are wrong, your ideas are absurd. Nobody is oppressing you. Your sense of grievance isn't justified.' . . . Some of what is written on this is loopy-loo in its extremism."

Contrast this with the Bush administration's new approach. On June 27, President Bush delivered his "Muslim Initiative" address at the Washington Islamic Center in tribute to the 50th anniversary of that organization's founding, by Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism is the state religion of Saudi Arabia, and its extremist ideology often flows with the kingdom's money. The Islamic Center is not an exception.

A few years ago when we were with Freedom House, concerned Muslims brought us Saudi educational material they collected from the Washington Islamic Center that instructed Muslims fundamentally to segregate themselves from other Americans. One such text stated: "To be dissociated from the infidels is to hate them for their religion, to leave them, never to rely on them for support, not to admire them, to be on one's guard against them, never to imitate them, and to always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law."

Though Mr. Bush's remarks were intended for all American Muslims, the administration left the invitation list to Washington Islamic Center's authorities. Predictably, they excluded the truly moderate, who are not Saudi-founded or funded: the Islamic Supreme Council of America, the American Islamic Congress, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, the Center for Eurasian Policy, the Center for Islamic Pluralism, the Islam and Democracy Project, the Institute for Gulf Affairs, the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia and many others.

These organizations are frequently shut out of U.S. government events and appointments on the basis that they are considered insignificant or "controversial" by the petro-dollar-funded groups. The administration makes a terrible mistake by making such Wahhabi-influenced institutions as the Washington Islamic Center the gate keepers for all American Muslims.

The actual substance of Mr. Bush's mosque speech--particularly good on religious freedom--was overshadowed by the announcement of its single initiative: America is to send an envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference. Based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the OIC was created explicitly to promote hostility to Israel, and its meetings largely consist of ritualistic Israel-bashing. At one last year, Iran's president called for the "elimination of the Zionist regime." It has no mechanism for discussing the human rights of its member states, and thus has never spoken out against Sudan's genocide of Darfuri Muslims. It is advancing an effort to universalize Islamic blasphemy laws, which are applied as often against speech critical of the governments of OIC member states as against profanities. Last month the OIC council of foreign ministers termed Islamophobia "the worst form of terrorism." Currently no Western power holds either member or observer status at the OIC.





The Bush administration is now actively considering whether its public diplomacy should reach out to Muslim Brotherhood groups. While such groups may pay lip service to peace, they do not denounce terror by Hamas, a Brotherhood offshoot. It keeps as its motto: "Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." By choosing those whose definition of terror does not include the murder of Jews, honor killings and lethal fatwas against Muslim dissidents and reformers, the U.S. government makes them look strong--particularly in the shame-and-honor culture of the Middle East--and strengthens their hand against the real moderates and reformers.
Great Britain, as we have been reminded recently, has much work ahead in defeating Muslim terror, as well as in overcoming the misguided form of multiculturalism of its recent past. Not all of Britain's measures will be right for America, with our First Amendment. But the British Labour Party socialists appear to have done one major thing right that this American Republican administration has not: Reach out to Muslim leaders who are demonstrably moderate and share our values, even though they may not have petrodollar-funded publicity machines.

While we don't have a Queen to dub knights, Americans do have distinct way of honoring our heroes. Mr. President, confer the Medal of Freedom on one of our own outstanding Muslim-American citizens. For a selection of honorees, look at who was not invited to your recent speech. If Islamists charge "Islamophobia," repeat after Tony: "Loopy loo. Loopy loo."

Mr. Woolsey, co-chair of the Committee on the Present Danger, was Director of Central Intelligence 1993-1995. Ms. Shea is the director of the Center for Religious Freedom of the Hudson Institute.

WSJ
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2007, 11:50:30 AM »

Wasn't quite sure in which thread to put this one.
======

Support for suicide bombings against civilians has fallen sharply across the Muslim world since 2002, a major survey has suggested.

However, 70% of Palestinians interviewed said they believed such attacks were sometimes justifiable.
The Global Opinion Trends survey, by the US-based Pew Research Centre, polled 45,000 people in 47 countries.
It also found widespread optimism in poor countries that the next generation will enjoy better lives.
And it suggested that people viewed the US as the most friendly country in the world and the most feared.


Sectarian tension

In Lebanon, Bangladesh, Jordan, Pakistan and Indonesia, the proportion of Muslims who support suicide bombing has declined by half or more since 2002.
But in areas of conflict, the results are different - 70% of Palestinians said that suicide bombings against civilians were sometimes justifiable.
There is also declining support among Muslims for Osama Bin Laden. In Jordan, just 20% express a lot or some confidence in Bin Laden, down from 56% four years ago.


However, the survey found broad concern among Muslims that tensions between Sunni and Shia are not limited to Iraq and represent a growing problem for the Muslim world.
The survey also suggests that as countries and families grow richer, optimism increases, as well as support for ruling governments.
In Latin America, the poll results indicate that despite the electoral success of a new generation of left-wing leaders, the majority of respondents believe that people are better off living in a market economy.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...as/6914959.stm
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2007, 09:42:39 AM »

At State Dept., Blog Team Joins Muslim Debate
               
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
Published: September 22, 2007
WASHINGTON — Walid Jawad was tired of all the chatter on Middle Eastern blogs and Internet forums in praise of gory attacks carried out by the “noble resistance” in Iraq.

 
A page from the Web site Arabs Gate, one of the sites where a State Department blog team has contributed to the debate.
So Mr. Jawad, one of two Arabic-speaking members of what the State Department called its Digital Outreach Team, posted his own question: Why was it that many in the Arab world quickly condemned civilian Palestinian deaths but were mute about the endless killing of women and children by suicide bombers in Iraq?

Among those who responded was a man named Radad, evidently a Sunni Muslim, who wrote that many of the dead in Iraq were just Shiites and describing them in derogatory terms. But others who answered Mr. Jawad said that they, too, wondered why only Palestinian dead were “martyrs.”

The discussion tacked back and forth for four days, one of many such conversations prompted by scores of postings the State Department has made on about 70 Web sites since it put its two Arab-American Web monitors to work last November.

The postings, are an effort to take a more casual, varied approach to improving America’s image in the Muslim world.

Brent E. Blaschke, the project director, said the idea was to reach “swing voters,” whom he described as the silent majority of Muslims who might sympathize with Al Qaeda yet be open to information about United States government policy and American values.

Some analysts question whether the blog team will survive beyond the tenure of Karen P. Hughes, the confidante of President Bush who runs public diplomacy. The department expects to add seven more team members within the next month — four more in Arabic, two in Farsi and one in Urdu, the official language of Pakistan.

The team concentrates on about a dozen mainstream Web sites such as chat rooms set up by the BBC and Al Jazeera or charismatic Muslim figures like Amr Khaled, as well as Arab news sites like Elaph.com. They choose them based on high traffic and a focus on United States policy, and they always identify themselves as being from the State Department.

They avoid radical sites, although team members said that jihadis scoured everywhere.

The State Department team members themselves said they thought they would be immediately flamed, or insulted and blocked from posting. But so far only the webmaster at the Islamic Falluja Forums (www.al-faloja.info) has revoked their password and told them to get lost, they said.

Not that they don’t attract plenty of skeptical, sarcastic responses. One man identifying himself as an Arab in Germany commented that they were trying to put lipstick on a pig. During Congressional testimony last week by Gen. David H. Petraeus, for example, the two-man team went into chat rooms to ask people their opinion.

“God bless America, the giving mother,” went one sarcastic response, going on to say that everything the United States does goes into “the balance of your pockets, I mean the balance of your rewards.” Another noted that Iraqis were better off before the invasion, while a third jokingly asked the Digital Outreach Team for a green card.

Mr. Jawad’s responses tend toward the earnest: “We do not deny that the situation in Iraq is difficult, but we are achieving success in decreasing the level of violence there with the contribution of the Iraqis who care about their nation and who reject the terrorists and killers who target their victims based on sect,” he wrote at one point. He directed the green card writer to the Web sites describing how to apply.

Mr. Jawad and his colleague, Muath al-Sufi, are circumspect about biographical details that would allow readers to pigeonhole them by their roots, religion or education. Mr. Jawad, would only say that he is in his 30s, was born in Texas and raised around the Arab world. Mr. Sufi also said he was in his 30s.

The team said certain topics repeated regularly, including arguments over the accusations that American soldiers tortured Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and President Bush’s comment that the fight against terrorism is a “crusade.” Much time is also spent trying to douse the Internet brush fires that erupt whenever prominent Americans from talk-show hosts to politicians make anti-Muslim remarks of the “bomb Mecca” variety.

Each response is carefully shaped in English by the team and translated into often poetic Arabic.

“We try to put ourselves in the mindset of someone receiving the message,” said Duncan MacInnes, the director of the Counterterrorism Communication Center, of which the Digital Outreach Team is one branch. “Freedom for an Arab doesn’t necessarily have the same meaning it has for an American. Honor does. So we might say terrorism is dishonorable, which resonates more.”

Analysts said they had been surprised by the positive response, with people seemingly eager to engage, although the overall impact was impossible to assess. “They are not carrying the slogans of liberalization or democratization across the region,” said Adel al-Toraifi, a Saudi political analyst. “They are talking about peace and dialogue, and I think that makes it difficult for those debating them to justify criticizing them.”

Mr. Toraifi said the postings had generated some debate in the Arab world and had been the subject of a column in an Algerian newspaper lauding the State Department for discussing policy with ordinary people, something the writer said the Algerian government would never do.

Indeed, several analysts said having State Department employees on the Web helps to counter one source of radicalization — the sense that Washington is too arrogant to listen to the grievances of ordinary Arabs, so violence is the sole means to attract attention.

Mr. Jawad and Mr. Sufi say that in their roughly two dozen weekly postings they avoid all religious discussions, like whether jihad that kills civilians is legitimate. They even steer clear of arguments, instead posting straightforward snapshots of United States policy.

Mr. Jawad is often maligned as a “U.S. agent,” including by Radad, the man of the “just Shiites” remark. After Mr. Jawad wrote that all life was equally worth preserving, part of the man’s response was, “Don’t you think an agent of Arab nationality deserves to be killed?”

Mr. Jawad wrote back in part, “It seems to me that many people are quick to offer judgments based on political views so those who oppose them are always agents and infidels. Which leads to law of the jungle, which is not just, but chaotic.”

Mona el-Naggar contributed reporting from Cairo.
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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2007, 12:23:13 PM »

Second post of the morning:

Although the Egyptian Government is usually on the other side of things, this article seems relevant to the subject of this thread:

===========

WSJ

Egyptian Exile
By JOSHUA MURAVCHIK
September 22, 2007

Far from the public eye a drama is playing out that will have the utmost consequences for the Bush administration's goal of promoting democracy in the Middle East. The region's most prominent dissident, Egyptian sociologist Saad Edin Ibrahim, suddenly finds himself in a kind of perambulatory exile, hopping from conference to conference -- in nine countries in the last three months. The one place he dare not go is home to Egypt because well-placed officials have warned him not to put himself within President Hosni Mubarak's grasp.

What has Mr. Ibrahim done to enrage President Mubarak? He has loudly advocated democracy in public writings, interviews with Western reporters, and, most unforgivably, in a face-to-face meeting with President George W. Bush. As a result, members of Mr. Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party filed nine formal requests with the state prosecutor's office this summer for indictments against Mr. Ibrahim, for "damaging the state's economic interests" and even "treason." The state-run press has conducted a smear campaign against him.

Most recently, Egypt's largest paper, Al Ahram, carried a front-page editorial signed by Osama Saraya, its editor-in-chief, that branded Mr. Ibrahim an "agent" of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and a "criminal." Still more ominously, the author averred that Mr. Ibrahim had "repeated his old crime itself by giving false information to a foreign reader" to obscure "the environment of freedom and reform that Egypt lives in."

The real point of this absurd argument was to encourage and justify a repetition of the ordeal to which the Egyptian state subjected Mr. Ibrahim seven years ago. In 2000 he became the region's most celebrated political prisoner when he was jailed on spurious charges stemming from the efforts of his Ibn Khaldun Center to monitor Egyptian elections. Altogether he spent two years behind bars before Egypt's highest and most politically independent judicial body, the Court of Cassation, overturned his conviction. Alas, this did not come before his health had been permanently damaged.

Torture is all too common in Egyptian prisons, but his jailers were reluctant to leave scars on Mr. Ibrahim because the U.S. government followed his case closely. (He is married to an American and holds American as well as Egyptian citizenship.) Instead they resorted to sleep deprivation. After 45 days of being roughly wakened each time he started to doze, Mr. Ibrahim suffered a stroke.

A fit, athletic man who was still jogging at the age of 60, Mr. Ibrahim, 68, now walks with a severe limp. Another term in prison could literally seal his doom. Worse, Egyptian dissidents do not put it past the intelligence services, or mukhabarat, to arrange an "accident" that would rid Mr. Mubarak of this meddlesome advocate without generating the international campaign that will ensue if he is imprisoned. They point to the recent mysterious defenestration in London of Ashraf Marwan, an alleged spy for Israel, whose death the Israeli press suggests may have been caused by Egyptian agents. Fears of such dirty tricks are not paranoid: Just prior to Mr. Ibrahim's imprisonment in 2000 an unidentified truck ran his car into a ditch.

The campaign against Mr. Ibrahim is the latest evidence that Egypt is marching backwards on democracy and human rights. In his 2005 state of the union address, President Bush had called upon "the great and proud nation of Egypt [to] show the way toward democracy in the Middle East." When Mr. Mubarak announced Egypt's first ever presidential election, it seemed as if his exhortation was being heeded. To no one's surprise, the election was not fair, but hopes for the future were kindled by Mr. Mubarak's pledge to inaugurate an era of political reform after his re-election.

Instead, Mr. Mubarak had his main competitor, Ayman Nour, tossed in prison on trumped up charges, where he languishes in declining health. Mr. Mubarak then pushed through constitutional "reform" in the form of 35 amendments adopted as a single indivisible package, precluding meaningful deliberation. This was followed by arrests of dissident bloggers and other critics -- both secular and Islamist -- and then by the vicious persecution of a group of "Quranists," Muslim reformers who want a return to original Scripture as opposed to subsequent interpretations that are often more narrow-minded. Now, the hounding of Mr. Ibrahim completes the mockery of the hopes of 2005.

The new attacks on Mr. Ibrahim began in late May this year when the wife of the emir of Qatar hosted a conference to launch the Arab Foundation for Democracy. The Qatari government endowed it with $10 million with which to support reformers in the region, and Mr. Ibrahim was named to the board. Some of Egypt's state-controlled media portrayed the whole operation as a front for Mr. Ibrahim's disloyal activities. Ironically, he had been condemned previously for accepting Western donations for pro-democracy work, but now it turned out that Arab donations were no better. Apparently it was the purpose of the funds, rather than their source, that made them taboo.

A week later, Mr. Ibrahim spoke at a conference on democracy held in Prague, where President Bush met with him and dissidents from other countries. The Egyptian press again went into high dudgeon -- some even dubbing Mr. Ibrahim's organization the "Son of Zion Center" -- when Mr. Bush, in his highly publicized speech there, mentioned Ayman Nour as one of those "who couldn't join us because they are being unjustly imprisoned." The other absentees named by Mr. Bush were from Belarus, Burma, Cuba and Vietnam. The Egyptian government bristled at being placed in such company and accused Mr. Ibrahim of putting Mr. Bush up to it.

In his own Prague remarks, Mr. Ibrahim appealed to Western governments: "As freedom fighters, we ask you to stop supporting dictators in our countries. . . . in the name of stability and continuity." Soon thereafter, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reduce U.S. aid to Egypt by $200 million unless that country showed progress on human rights. Mr. Mubarak blamed Mr. Ibrahim.

All of this has profound consequences not only for Mr. Ibrahim and Egypt, but for Washington, too. Mr. Ibrahim is being persecuted more for the actions of the U.S. president and Congress than for what he, himself, did. Can we tolerate this? In May, the Syrian dissident, Kamal Labwani, was sentenced to years in prison for the simple act of meeting U.S. officials. But Syria is a hostile state, an unindicted coconspirator in the Axis of Evil. Egypt, in contrast, is an ally to which we give $2 billion each year.

This relationship, of course, is exactly the problem. No U.S. administration wants to butt heads with Egypt, and the Senate declined to go along with the House's conditional cut in Egypt's aid.

Mr. Mubarak may see Mr. Ibrahim's alleged offenses as a matter of national honor. But is our own national honor not also at stake if someone, an American citizen no less, is persecuted for holding a conversation with the president of the U.S.? Somehow, Mr. Bush and Congress must convey a stern warning to Mr. Mubarak: Hands off Saad Edin Ibrahim.

Mr. Muravchik, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is writing a book about democrats in the Middle East.

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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2007, 12:50:54 PM »

The unfortunate truth is that a fair election in Egypt may well result in the Muslim Brotherhood gaining power. It's the old "One man, one vote, one time" scenario.
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2007, 01:06:29 PM »


Woof GM:

I certainly appreciate your point, but let me offer this: 

The same thing as you properly predict with the MB in Egypt just happened with Hamas in Palestine/Gaza.  I know that some have used this to say that President Bush's push for democracy is foolishness.  However, to me it seems like what happened with Hamas has been a good thing.  No longer are we pushing Israel to negotiate with a government that does not represent its people nor can commit them.  No longer does the world subsidize the PA government as it did before.  The Gaza strip has been declared , , , what was it?  "hostile territory"? as Israel begins to shut down electricity and other essentials.  Would any of this have been possible without the election of Hamas?

What would happen if the MB took over Egypt via elections?

In the big picture are we better off standing by our convictions, or supporting yet again another problematic regime out realism?

The question is just that-- a question, not an argument.
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2007, 01:35:26 PM »

In many ways, Egypt is the cultural center of gravity for the arab world. The majority of tv, movies and radio produced in arabic is created in Egypt. This is why despite the various dialects of arabic, Egyptian Arabic is understood everywhere. If the MB took power in Egypt, I fear a possible wave of MB based revolution through the region, creating the restored caliphate Osama has been calling for. I really don't want to see the pyramids and other monuments go the way of the Buddhas of Bamyan.
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« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2007, 01:28:29 PM »

Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2007
My Dinner with Ahmadinejad

By Richard Stengel

The invitation was on creamy stationery with fancy calligraphy: The Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran "requests the pleasure" of my company to dine with H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The dinner is at the Intercontinental Hotel — with names carefully written out at all the place settings around a rectangular table. There are about 50 of us, academics and journalists mostly. There's Brian Williams across the room, and Christiane Amanpour a few seats down. And at a little after 8pm, on a day when he has already addressed the U.N., the evening after his confrontation at Columbia, a bowing and smiling Mahmoud Admadinejad glides into the room.
This is now an annual ritual for the President of Iran. Every year, during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, he plots out a media campaign that — in its shrewdness, relentlessness, and quest for attention — would rival Angelina Jolie on a movie junket. And like any international figure, Mr. Ahmadinejad hones his performance for multiple audiences: in this case, the journalists and academics who can filter his speech and ideas for a wider American audience.
The format of the evening is curious. In his calm and fluent voice — "dear friends," he calls us — he requests that we not ask questions, but make statements, so that he can react to them in a form of dialogue. The academics are not shy. They make statements not only about the need for dialogue and reconciliation, but castigate the Iranian government for chilling press freedoms and for arresting Iranian-American scholars who were only trying to foster better relations between America and Iran. Throughout, Ahmadinejad is courtly, preternaturally calm, and fiercely articulate.
After an hour, he is ready to respond. He does so first with a half-hour ode to the relationship between man and God that might have been dictated by the Persian poet Rumi. "I believe that Almighty God created the universe for mankind. Man is God's most important creation and it is through him that we appreciate the beauties of the universe. God has sent man here on a mission." That mission, he says, is to pursue love, justice, kindness and dignity. In fact, he repeats those works so often that it begins to sound like a mantra: Love. Justice. Kindness. Dignity. He speaks with the quiet zeal of a not-very-flamboyant televangelist. "The pursuit of justice through love and kindness and human dignity can end all conflicts on earth," he says. "Inshallah."
When it comes time for him to address the comments, he does so by citing each speaker by name — 23 in all, he notes. In contrast with what he calls the lack of respect and dignity accorded to him at Columbia — where, he says, he found it odd that an academic institution which prizes tolerance would treat him without any — he addresses each person carefully and patiently. Some highlights:
- Iran has not violated any of the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ahmadinejad says. He has proposed a multilateral uranium enrichment program with different nations, and can't understand why no one has taken up his offer.
- The US and Iran can play a positive role together in Iraq. "If the US withdraws from Iraq, good things will happen," he says. "I believe that the Iraqi people can rule themselves."
- In the Middle East, Ahmadinejad says the world must allow the Palestinians to decide their future for themselves: "That is the human solution to sixty years of instability." He refers to Israel only as "the Zionist regime" and does not mention the Holocaust.
- Ahmadinejad claims there are thirty newspapers published in Iran that are opposed to his government, citing that as evidence of press freedom in Iran.
- In answer to a question about how he viewed Hitler's legacy, he says, "I view Hitler's role as extremely negative, a despicably dark face."
- He notes that Americans don't understand Iranian history, saying that the movie 300 — with which he seems intimately familiar — was a "complete distortion of Iranian history." Iran, he says, has never invaded anyone in its history.
Finally, in response to a question about whether war with Iran was growing more likely, he says, "Mr. Bush is interested in harming Iran. But I believe there are wise politicians in America who will prevent such a war. We hate war. We would not welcome it. But we are prepared for every scenario. Yet I don't think war will happen."
With that, Ahmadinejad says he has an early morning appointment the next day, and that he welcomes greater dialogue like this evening. And then, still composed, and with the same slightly mysterious smile that never leaves his face all evening, he bows deeply and heads upstairs.
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« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2007, 10:07:14 AM »

This from today's NY Times.  One wishes that the anthros had a different point of view, but , , , there it is.
============================

Op-Ed Contributor
A True Culture War
NY Times
By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
Published: October 27, 2007
Chicago

IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists to Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?

A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon “human terrain” program to embed anthropologists in combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers as “a crucial new weapon” in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know more about the local cultural scene.

How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the Pentagon’s new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in a brutal war of occupation; if you don’t support the mission then you shouldn’t support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars don’t want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.

Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR’s “Diane Rehm Show” to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My first reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists are not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish various nonlethal missions.

These anthropological “angels on the shoulder,” as Ms. McFate put it, offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly understood human terrain — telling them when not to cross their legs at meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily Post.

More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist, wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind the unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the door of someone’s home in Iraq, while exclaiming, “Hi, we’re here from the government; we’re here to understand you.”

Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments, sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life was to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on “love Thursdays” and do some “hanky-panky.” “Stop imposing your values on others,” was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and I found it heartwarming.

I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing the peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted a much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their values on others. Instead, they made room — their famous “millet system” — for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its distinctive way of life.

When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional ethics.

Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath. And I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association to do so at this time.

The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military should know more rather than less about other ways of life — of course it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to begin to play a far more significant educational role in the formulation of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won’t have to answer some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.

Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative human development at the University of Chicago, is the author of “Thinking Through Cultures.”

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« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2007, 11:00:00 AM »

A nice rhetorical flourish here, but perhaps it misses the point about the central role of Kurdish separatism in the mix?

---------

“If there is one idea that Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, share on how to fight the war on terror, it is that we need to reach out to and win the hearts and minds of the moderate, modern, peaceable, more secularist Muslims and empower them to defeat by both persuasion and other methods the radical, violent fundamentalists in their religion. That would be a very, very good idea. But consider the Turkish experience in the past six years. The Turks are the moderate, modern, peaceable, more secularist Muslims. Moreover our countries have been close allies for a half-century. And Turkey has had extensive friendly commercial relations with Israel. They are Turks, not Arabs, and are therefore less susceptible to the emotional plight of the West Bank Arabs under Israeli occupation. And yet we have lost the Turks almost as badly as we have lost the angriest fundamentalist Arab Muslims. If we can’t keep a fair share of their friendly attitude, how do we expect to win the much vaunted and awaited hearts and minds campaign?” —Tony Blankley
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« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2007, 10:43:27 AM »

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles...1-12B71D02ADD7


What I Said
By David Horowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | 10/30/2007

[The following is a speech given by David Horowitz at the University of Wisconsin last Monday as part of the university’s Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week program]

I understand that the cold weather set in just to day so I planned this event to warm things up. Actually, it wasn’t my plan to warm things up. The heat has been provided by a national hate campaign organized by the political left to intimidate and discredit the student organizers of the event and prevent the discussion they hoped to stimulate from taking place. Some of this hate crowd is present tonight. Yes, I can hear you. You attack this event by alleging that it is put on by racists and bigots and Islamo-phobes. I’m going to disappoint you, if you listen. This evening is not about prejudice against Muslims. On the contrary, this evening is on behalf of all those Muslims who are oppressed by Islamo-Fascism, which you would know if you read what we have said.
If you want to understand what this week is about, here is the poster we designed to announce our events. What it shows is a soccer field in Afghanistan. The figure with the AK-47 is a Taliban soldier. And this poor woman, who is about to have her head blown off at point blank range by an AK-47 has been accused of sexual improprieties, which violate Islamic law. As you may or may not know, in countries where Sharia, which is Islamic law, is imposed by the state, women cannot be witnesses. So this poor woman had no defense. Nor could other women testify in her behalf. Islamic law forbids it. The person who shot the video from which this still is taken asked the Taliban why they were doing this on this soccer field. It happens the United States, in its never-ending generosity, gave Afghanistan that soccer field. The Taliban soldier replied, “Well, if the United States will give us a place for executions, we will play soccer on the soccer field.” These are the religious barbarians we face.
Every person in this photo is a Muslim. The victim is a Muslim. There are 130 million girls in Islamic countries who have had their genitals sliced off at puberty, without anesthetic, because sexual pleasure in a woman is held to be evil by some perverted interpretation of Islamic law. The clitorectomies are to save these girls from evil. This evening and this week is to protest that barbaric treatment of young Muslim women. There are 4,000 homosexuals who have been executed in Iran. This evening is to protest that as well. There are 52 countries in the world where there have been honor killings of Muslim women. If a Muslim woman is raped, her family is shamed. Remove the stain of that shame, one of her relatives, a brother, a cousin, parent, murders her. This is a week to bring awareness about that barbaric practice by Islamo-fascists and to try to stop it.
One of our concerns in this regard is the failure of the Women’s Studies Movement to educate students about these atrocities. There are probably 600 Women’s Studies programs on American campuses, which focus on the unequal treatment of women in society. We have had a very hard time locating a single class which focuses on the oppression of women under Islamic law.
As you probably know, women under Islamic law get half the inheritance a man does. In some countries where Sharia is enforced, women can’t even get an education. In Saudi Arabia, there is currently a campaign for women’s liberatiion which is attempting to get women the right to drive an automobile. To drive an automobile! Why aren’t Women’s Studies Departments up in arms about this? You can probably go to a Women’s Studies class at this university and learn about the oppression of women in the faculty lounge, but you can’t learn about the oppression of women in Tehran or Riyadh or Kuala Lumpur.
For the information of our opponents here tonight, this week is already a tremendous success, because no matter how hostile you are to what you imagine to be our views, which have been unbelievably distorted in the attacks this week, you yourselves are already now discussing the issues we set out to raise: “Why is it that American feminists are not up in arms about the savage abuses of women by Islamo-fascists, about those 130 million young girls who have their genitals sliced off?”
So we have already done a service to Muslim women all over the world just by raising this. I know that there are the people who feel that the Muslim community is under threat here. But think of the Muslim community in Algeria where between 150,000 and 200,000 moderate Muslims were slaughtered in the 1990s, by an organization calling itself Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb. Think about the Muslims in the Sudan who are being slaughtered by a Taliban-like regime, simply because they don't subscribe to the regime's version of Islam. This is a serious problem in the Islamic world where (except for the nation of Turkey, which seems to be going in the other direction) there is a lack of separation of church and state. What that means is if radical clerics get in control of the state, they will use the state law to enforce their version of the Qur'an.
In Iran, just last week, the modesty police issued a new edict that couples can't hold hands in public. If you want the definition of a totalitarian state, it's a state that controls every aspect of a person's life. Religions, and particularly Islam, are concerned with many aspects of a person’s life. Religion is about morality, about the family, and about social relations. So when interpretations of religious law are enforce by the political state that’s the end of all freedom. It means one set of priests is going to have the power state behind their interpretation of what you can and cannot do. The end result of that process is this poor woman in the photo who is about to have her head blown off by an AK-47 for violating a government edict about her sex life. I don’t think there is anybody in this room who would support that. I hope there isn’t.
That’s really what we intended to do with this week, to make people aware of this problem. I have called it “Islamo-Fascism.” That is not a term designed to say that all Muslims or a majority of Muslims are fascists. In fact a majority of Muslims are either victims of Islamo-Fascists or threatened by them. The FoxNews channel anchor and other misguided individuals think that the term “Islamo-Fascism” is hate speech. That’s the same thing as saying the term should be banned. In a democracy, at least in our democracy as it has been degraded by so-called liberals today, the way you ban ideas is by calling them “hate speech.” But saying that Islamo-Fascism implicates all Muslims make no logical sense.
We use the term “Italian Fascism” without assuming that all Italians are fascists. Hitler did not even win a majority of the vote in Germany, yet we use the phrase “German Fascism” without implying that all people of German descent are fascists. People like Alan Colmes will throw around the term “white racism” pretty casually. Everyone in this room has either used the phrase “white racism” or read it without objection. Do you mean to call every white person a racist when you use that term? That would make Alan Colmes a racist. Yet that’s precisely what the opponents of Islamo-Fascism week seem to be claiming.
The hateful attacks on this week are, in fact quite stupid, when you think about what they are claiming. If I intended to come on a college platform and say hateful things about all Muslims, I would be hooted off the stage. No campus organization would invite me to say such things and if I did say them I would never be invited by any campus organization again. Since no one on a college campus is prepared to hear hate speech, why bother to protest it in advance. It’s self-discrediting. Yet we live in such Orwellian times that no one laughs when the left makes these preposterous claims.
So, on the one hand, the hate campaign against us is a very stupid campaign, although it is also malicious. On the other, it is quite sinister. When you are called a racist from one end of the country to another, when you are identified as somebody who is preaching hate against a religious or ethnic or racial group, someone is going to believe those charges. The effect, in other words, is to put a target on your back. Which is why there is so much security present tonight...
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« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2008, 01:50:58 PM »

WSJ

Benazir's Legacy
By MARK A. SIEGEL
February 16, 2008; Page A10

This week's publication of Benazir Bhutto's "Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West" is bittersweet to me, her friend and collaborator on the book, which was written in her last days. Many mullahs may hate the book, but so might many in the U.S. State Department. It takes on both the West and the Islamic world equally, exposing the dysfunctions of their respective world views, and puts Pakistan at the epicenter of the dual crises that were Benazir's themes -- the internal crisis within Islam and the crisis between Islam and the West.

Benazir and I worked on this project over the last very difficult days of her life, through assassination attempts, house arrest, emergency rule, martial law and constant harassment and intimidation. We had reason to know that all of our conversations and email exchanges were intercepted and monitored by the Musharraf regime. What we could not know, of course, was that this book would become Benazir's untimely final legacy.

 
Benazir believed that the international terrorist movement has two primary aims. First, the jihadists seek to reconstitute the concept of the caliphate, politically uniting the great Muslim populations of the world. Second, they seek to provoke the much debated clash of civilizations between Western values and Islam that they hope will result in the domination of a medieval interpretation of Islam that rejects modernity and pluralism. Benazir hoped to pre-empt this collision through reconciliation with the West and mobilization of the moderates within the world's 1.4 billion Muslims.

Benazir was critical of Western governments that in the past helped Muslim monarchs and dictators suffocate democratic movements and democratic governance. But she condemns Muslim hypocrisy as well. She says that while one billion Muslims around the world seem united in their outrage at the war in Iraq and the deaths of Muslims caused by U.S. military intervention, there is little similar outrage against the sectarian civil war in Iraq that has led to far more casualties. Benazir castigates Muslim leaders and intellectuals for criticizing harm inflicted on fellow Muslims by the West, but remaining deadly silent when confronted with Muslim-on-Muslim violence. She finds the Muslim community's silence about genocide in Darfur particularly reprehensible.

In her book, Benazir seeks to educate the West about what she believed to be the true nature of Islam. From the core of her being she rejects those who would use Islam to justify acts of terror; who pervert, manipulate and exploit religion for their political agendas. Chronicling and cataloging their assertions against democracy, pluralism, tolerance to other religions and societies, equality for women, and rejection of technology and modernity, she shows through specific citations of the Quran that the jihadist interpretations are not only antithetical to Islam but specifically prohibited by it.

Benazir believed that extremism thrives under dictatorship, and is nurtured and fueled by it. She believed that when people lose faith in the political process, frustration and despair lead them to reach out to extra-governmental solutions. That is exactly what she believed is happening in Pakistan today. The U.S. is once again "dancing with a dictator" by supporting President Pervez Musharraf, a policy that will come back to haunt America. Despite the administration casting its lot with a military dictator, extremism has flourished.

Benazir Bhutto and I collaborated on "Reconciliation" while she planned her return to Pakistan to contest parliamentary elections that all polls indicated she would win. Mr. Musharraf repeatedly denied requests for meaningful security for Benazir, even after the heinous assassination attempt against her on Oct. 19 that left 179 dead. The State Department continued to dismiss repeated expressions of concern about her safety. When Congress sent letters and made phone calls, Congress was ignored.

And on Dec. 27 Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, in the heart of the nation's military garrison. On Monday Pakistan will hold the national elections for which Benazir returned. The U.S. Congress has demanded that these elections be free, fair, transparent and internationally monitored. The U.S. State Department however, seems content to concede that the elections will not be free and fair but still (somehow) "good." In Islamabad these words are seen as a green light to rig with impunity.

Benazir Bhutto gave her life for the principles in which she believed. It is time for the Bush administration to tell Mr. Musharraf that anything less than free and fair elections is unacceptable and that an electoral fraud will not stand.

Mr. Siegel collaborated with Benazir Bhutto on the recently published book "Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West" (Harper). He is a partner at Locke Lord Strategies in Washington, D.C.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
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« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2008, 07:10:36 AM »

Islam at the Ballot Box
By AMIR TAHERI
February 21, 2008; Page A17

Pakistan's election has been portrayed by the Western media as a defeat for President Pervez Musharraf. The real losers were the Islamist parties.

The latest analysis of the results shows that the parties linked, or at least sympathetic, to the Taliban and al Qaeda saw their share of the votes slashed to about 3% from almost 11% in the last general election a few years ago. The largest coalition of the Islamist parties, the United Assembly for Action (MMA), lost control of the Northwest Frontier Province -- the only one of Pakistan's four provinces it governed. The winner in the province is the avowedly secularist National Awami Party.

 
Despite vast sums of money spent by the Islamic Republic in Tehran and wealthy Arabs from the Persian Gulf states, the MMA failed to achieve the "approaching victory" (fatah al-qarib) that Islamist candidates, both Shiite and Sunni, had boasted was coming.

The Islamist defeat in Pakistani confirms a trend that's been under way for years. Conventional wisdom had it that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the lack of progress in the Israel-Palestine conflict, would provide radical Islamists with a springboard from which to seize power through elections.

Analysts in the West used that prospect to argue against the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy in the Middle East. These analysts argued that Muslims were not ready for democracy, and that elections would only translate into victory for hard-line Islamists.

The facts tell a different story. So far, no Islamist party has managed to win a majority of the popular vote in any of the Muslim countries where reasonably clean elections are held. If anything, the Islamist share of the vote has been declining across the board.

Take Jordan. In last November's general election, the Islamic Action Front suffered a rout, as its share of the votes fell to 5% from almost 15% in elections four years ago. The radical fundamentalist group, linked with the Islamic Brotherhood movement, managed to keep only six of its 17 seats in the National Assembly. Its independent allies won no seats.

In Malaysia, the Islamists have never gone beyond 11% of the popular vote. In Indonesia, the various Islamist groups have never collected more than 17%. The Islamists' share of the popular vote in Bangladesh declined from an all-time high of 11% in the 1980s to around 7% in the late 1990s.

In Gaza and the West Bank, Hamas -- the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood -- won the 2006 general election with 44% of the votes, far short of the "crushing wave of support" it had promised. Even then, it was clear that at least some of those who run on a Hamas ticket did not share its radical Islamist ideology. Despite years of misrule and corruption, Fatah, Hamas's secularist rival, won 42% of the popular vote.

In Turkey, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won two successive general elections, the latest in July 2007, with 44% of the popular vote. Even then, AKP leaders go out of their way to insist that the party "has nothing to do with religion."

"We are a modern, conservative, European-style party," AKP leader and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan, likes to repeat at every opportunity. In last July's general election, the AKP lost 23 seats and, with it, its two-third majority in the Grand National Assembly.

AKP's success in Turkey inspired Moroccan Islamists to create a similar outfit called Party of Justice and Development (PDJ). The PDJ sought support from AKP "experts" to prepare for last September's general election in Morocco. Yet when the votes were counted, the PDJ collected just over 10% of the popular vote, winning 46 of the 325 seats.

Islamists have done no better in neighboring Algeria. In the latest general election, held in May 2007, the two Islamist parties, Movement for a Peaceful Society and Algerian Awakening, won less than 12% of the popular vote.

In Yemen, one of the Arab states where the culture of democracy has struck the deepest roots, a series of elections in the past 20 years has shown support for Islamists to stand at around 25% of the popular vote. In the last general election in 2003, the Yemeni Congregation for Reform won 22%.

Kuwait is another Arab country where the holding of reasonably fair elections has become part of the national culture. In the general election in 2006, a well-funded and sophisticated Islamist bloc collected 27% of the votes and won 17 of the 50 seats in the National Assembly.

In Lebanon's last general election in 2005, the two Islamist parties, Hezbollah (Party of God) and Amal (Hope) collected 21% of the popular vote to win 28 of the 128 seats in the parliament. This despite massive financial and propaganda support from the Islamic Republic in Iran, and electoral pacts with a Christian political bloc led by the pro-Tehran former Gen. Michel Aoun.

Many observers do not regard Egypt's elections as free and fair enough to use as a basis for political analysis. Nevertheless, the latest general election, held in 2005, can be regarded as the most serious since the 1940s, if only because the Islamist opposition was allowed to field candidates and campaign publicly. In the event, however, Muslim Brotherhood candidates collected less than 20% of the popular vote, despite widespread dissatisfaction with President Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian rule.

Other Arab countries where elections are not yet up to acceptable standards include Oman and Bahrain. But even in those countries, the Islamists have not done better than anywhere else in the region. In Tunisia and Libya, the Islamists are banned and thus have not put their political strength to the electoral test.

Afghanistan and Iraq have held a series of elections since the fall of the Taliban in Kabul and the Baath in Baghdad. By all standards, these have been generally free and fair elections, and thus valid tests of the public mood. In Afghanistan, Islamist groups, including former members of the Taliban, have managed to win around 11% of the popular vote on the average.

The picture in Iraq is more complicated, because voters have been faced with bloc lists that hide the identity of political parties behind a blanket ethnic and/or sectarian identity. Only the next general election in 2009 could reveal the true strength of the political parties, since it will not be contested based on bloc lists. Frequent opinion polls, however, show that support for avowedly Islamist parties, both Shiite and Sunni, would not exceed 25% of the popular vote.

Far from rejecting democracy because it is supposed to be "alien," or using it as a means of creating totalitarian Islamist systems, a majority of Muslims have repeatedly shown that they like elections, and would love to join the global mainstream of democratization. President Bush is right to emphasize the importance of holding free and fair elections in all Muslim majority countries.

Tyrants fear free and fair elections, a fact illustrated by the Khomeinist regime's efforts to fix the outcome of next month's poll in Iran by pre-selecting the candidates. Support for democratic movements in the Muslim world remains the only credible strategy for winning the war against terror.

Mr. Taheri is author of "L'Irak: Le Dessous Des Cartes" (Editions Complexe, 2002).

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
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« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2008, 12:32:19 PM »

The largest survey to date of Muslims worldwide suggests the vast majority want Western democracy and freedoms, but do not want them to be imposed. The poll by Gallup of more than 50,000 Muslims in 35 nations found most wanted the West to instead focus on changing its negative view of Muslims and Islam.

The huge survey began following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US.

The overwhelming majority of those asked condemned them and subsequent attacks, citing religious reasons.

The poll, which claims to represent the views of 90% the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, is to be published next month as part of a book entitled Who Speaks For Islam? What A Billion Muslims Really Think.

New policies
According to the book, the survey of the world's Muslim community was commissioned by Gallup's chairman, Jim Clifton, shortly after US President George W Bush asked in a 2001 speech: "Why do they hate us?"


The radicals are better educated, have better jobs, and are more hopeful with regard to the future than mainstream Muslims - but they're more cynical about whether they'll ever get it.
John Esposito
Author, Who Speaks For Islam?

Mr Bush wondered why radical Islamist militant groups such as al-Qaeda hated democratically elected governments, as well as "our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assembly and disagree with each other".

But one of the book's authors, John Esposito, says the survey's results suggest Muslims - ironically even many of the 7% classing themselves as "radical" - in fact admire the West for its democracy and freedoms. However, they do not want such things imposed on them.

"Muslims want self-determination, but not an American-imposed and defined democracy. They don't want secularism or theocracy," said the professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington.

"What the majority wants is democracy with religious values."


The poll sought to answer a question asked by George Bush

Mr Esposito said "radical" Muslims believed in democracy even more than many of the moderate Muslims questioned.

"The radicals are better educated, have better jobs, and are more hopeful with regard to the future than mainstream Muslims," he added.

"But they're more cynical about whether they'll ever get it."
The research also indicates most Muslims want guarantees of freedom of speech and would not want religious leaders to have a role in drafting constitutions.

Those polled also said the most important thing the West could do to improve relations with Muslim societies was to change its negative views towards Muslims and respect Islam.

The authors said the conflict between Islam and the West was not inevitable, but needed decision makers to listen and consider new policies if the extremists on both sides were not to gain ground.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...as/7267100.stm
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« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2008, 07:52:29 PM »

John Esposito is a Saudi funded shill. This book is pretty obviously just a psyop to pacify the western masses.
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« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2008, 09:56:19 AM »

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTUwY2QyNjA0NjcwMjExMzI2ZmJiZTEzN2U1YjYyZjE=&w= MQ==


Islam’s ‘Public Enemy #1’
Coptic priest Zakaria Botros fights fire with fire.

By Raymond Ibrahim

Though he is little known in the West, Coptic priest Zakaria Botros — named Islam’s “Public Enemy #1” by the Arabic newspaper, al-Insan al-Jadid — has been making waves in the Islamic world. Along with fellow missionaries — mostly Muslim converts — he appears frequently on the Arabic channel al-Hayat (i.e., “Life TV”). There, he addresses controversial topics of theological significance — free from the censorship imposed by Islamic authorities or self-imposed through fear of the zealous mobs who fulminated against the infamous cartoons of Mohammed. Botros’s excurses on little-known but embarrassing aspects of Islamic law and tradition have become a thorn in the side of Islamic leaders throughout the Middle East.

Botros is an unusual figure onscreen: robed, with a huge cross around his neck, he sits with both the Koran and the Bible in easy reach. Egypt’s Copts — members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East — have in many respects come to personify the demeaning Islamic institution of “dhimmitude” (which demands submissiveness from non-Muslims, in accordance with Koran 9:29). But the fiery Botros does not submit, and minces no words. He has famously made of Islam “ten demands,” whose radical nature he uses to highlight Islam’s own radical demands on non-Muslims.




The result? Mass conversions to Christianity — if clandestine ones. The very public conversion of high-profile Italian journalist Magdi Allam — who was baptized by Pope Benedict in Rome on Saturday — is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, Islamic cleric Ahmad al-Qatani stated on al-Jazeera TV a while back that some six million Muslims convert to Christianity annually, manyof them persuaded by Botros’s public ministry. More recently, al-Jazeera noted Life TV’s “unprecedented evangelical raid” on the Muslim world. Several factors account for the Botros phenomenon.

First, the new media — particularly satellite TV and the Internet (the main conduits for Life TV) — have made it possible for questions about Islam to be made public without fear of reprisal. It is unprecedented to hear Muslims from around the Islamic world — even from Saudi Arabia, where imported Bibles are confiscated and burned — call into the show to argue with Botros and his colleagues, and sometimes, to accept Christ.

Secondly, Botros’s broadcasts are in Arabic — the language of some 200 million people, most of them Muslim. While several Western writers have published persuasive critiques of Islam, their arguments go largely unnoticed in the Islamic world. Botros’s mastery of classical Arabic not only allows him to reach a broader audience, it enables him to delve deeply into the voluminous Arabic literature — much of it untapped by Western writers who rely on translations — and so report to the average Muslim on the discrepancies and affronts to moral common sense found within this vast corpus.

A third reason for Botros’s success is that his polemical technique has provenirrefutable. Each of his episodes has a theme — from the pressing to the esoteric — often expressed as a question (e.g., “Is jihad an obligation for all Muslims?”; “Are women inferior to men in Islam?”; “Did Mohammed say that adulterous female monkeys should be stoned?” “Is drinking the urine of prophets salutary according to sharia?”). To answer the question, Botros meticulously quotes — always careful to give sources and reference numbers — from authoritative Islamic texts on the subject, starting from the Koran; then from the canonical sayings of the prophet — the Hadith; and finally from the words of prominent Muslim theologians past and present — the illustrious ulema.

Typically, Botros’s presentation of the Islamic material is sufficiently detailed that the controversial topic is shown to be an airtight aspect of Islam. Yet, however convincing his proofs, Botros does not flatly conclude that, say, universal jihad or female inferiority are basic tenets of Islam. He treats the question as still open — and humbly invites the ulema, the revered articulators of sharia law, to respond and show the error in his methodology. He does demand, however, that their response be based on “al-dalil we al-burhan,” — “evidence and proof,” one of his frequent refrains — not shout-downs or sophistry.

More often than not, the response from the ulema is deafening silence — which has only made Botros and Life TV more enticing to Muslim viewers. The ulema who have publicly addressed Botros’s conclusions often find themselves forced to agree with him — which has led to some amusing (and embarrassing) moments on live Arabic TV.


Botros spent three years bringing to broad public attention a scandalous — and authentic — hadith stating that women should “breastfeed” strange men with whom they must spend any amount of time. A leading hadith scholar, Abd al-Muhdi, was confronted with this issue on the live talk show of popular Arabic host Hala Sirhan. Opting to be truthful, al-Muhdi confirmed that going through the motions of breastfeeding adult males is, according to sharia, a legitimate way of making married women “forbidden” to the men with whom they are forced into contact — the logic being that, by being “breastfed,” the men become like “sons” to the women and therefore can no longer have sexual designs on them.

To make matters worse, Ezzat Atiyya, head of the Hadith department at al-Azhar University — Sunni Islam’s most authoritative institution — went so far as to issue a fatwa legitimatizing “Rida’ al-Kibir” (sharia’s term for “breastfeeding the adult”), which prompted such outrage in the Islamic world that it was subsequently recanted.


Botros played the key role in exposing this obscure and embarrassing issue and forcing the ulema to respond. Another guest on Hala Sirhan’s show, Abd al-Fatah, slyly indicated that the entire controversy was instigated by Botros: “I know you all [fellow panelists] watch that channel and that priest and that none of you [pointing at Abd al-Muhdi] can ever respond to him, since he always documents his sources!”

Incapable of rebutting Botros, the only strategy left to the ulema (aside from a rumored $5-million bounty on his head) is to ignore him. When his name is brought up, they dismiss him as a troublemaking liar who is backed by — who else? — international “Jewry.” They could easily refute his points, they insist, but will not deign to do so. That strategy may satisfy some Muslims, but others are demanding straightforward responses from the ulema.

The most dramatic example of this occurred on another famous show on the international station, Iqra. The host, Basma — a conservative Muslim woman in full hijab — asked two prominent ulema, including Sheikh Gamal Qutb, one-time grand mufti of al-Azhar University, to explain the legality of the Koranic verse (4:24) that permits men to freely copulate with captive women. She repeatedly asked: “According to sharia, is slave-sex still applicable?” The two ulema would give no clear answer — dissembling here, going off on tangents there. Basma remained adamant: Muslim youth were confused, and needed a response, since “there is a certain channel and a certain man who has discussed this issue over twenty times and has received no response from you.”

The flustered Sheikh Qutb roared, “low-life people like that must be totally ignored!” and stormed off the set. He later returned, but refused to admit that Islam indeed permits sex-slaves, spending his time attacking Botros instead. When Basma said “Ninety percent of Muslims, including myself, do not understand the issue of concubinage in Islam and are having a hard time swallowing it,” the sheikh responded, “You don’t need to understand.” As for Muslims who watch and are influenced by Botros, he barked, “Too bad for them! If my son is sick and chooses to visit a mechanic, not a doctor — that’s his problem!”

But the ultimate reason for Botros’s success is that — unlike his Western counterparts who criticize Islam from a political standpoint — his primary interest is the salvation of souls. He often begins and concludes his programs by stating that he loves all Muslims as fellow humans and wants to steer them away from falsehood to Truth. To that end, he doesn’t just expose troubling aspects of Islam. Before concluding every program, he quotes pertinent biblical verses and invites all his viewers to come to Christ.

Botros’s motive is not to incite the West against Islam, promote “Israeli interests,” or “demonize” Muslims, but to draw Muslims away from the dead legalism of sharia to the spirituality of Christianity. Many Western critics fail to appreciate that, to disempower radical Islam, something theocentric and spiritually satisfying — not secularism, democracy, capitalism, materialism, feminism, etc. — must be offered in its place. The truths of one religion can only be challenged and supplanted by the truths of another. And so Father Zakaria Botros has been fighting fire with fire.
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« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2008, 10:51:40 AM »

All:

This post could have gone in various threads, but I wound up putting it here because this is a point that is important to understand in developing our abiilty to communicate effectivley with the Muslim world.

Marc
===========================

The Sunni-Shiite Terror Network
By AMIR TAHERI
March 29, 2008; Page A9
WSJ

The American presidential election campaign took a bizarre theological turn recently when Barack Obama accused John McCain of not being able to distinguish Sunnis from Shiites.

The exchange started when Sen. McCain suggested that the Islamic Republic in Iran, a Shiite power, may be helping al Qaeda, a Sunni outfit, in its murderous campaign in Iraq and elsewhere. Basing its position on received wisdom, the Obama camp implied that Sunnis and Shiites, divided as they are by deep doctrinal differences, could not come together to fight the United States and its allies.

 
The truth is that Sunni and Shiite extremists have always been united in their hatred of the U.S., and in their desire to "bring it to destruction," in the words of Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar.

The majority of Muslims does not share that hatred and have no particular problem with the U.S. It is the country most visited by Muslim tourists and it attracts the largest number of Muslim students studying abroad.

But to understand the problem with extremists, it is important to set aside the Sunni-Shiite divide and focus on their common hatred of America. Theology is useless here. What we are dealing with is politics.

For Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, the slogan "Death to America" was as important as the traditional device of Islam "Allah Is The Greatest" – hence his insistence that it be chanted at all public meetings and repeated after each session of the daily prayers. And to that end, Khomeinists have worked with anyone, including brother-enemy Sunnis or even Marxist atheists.

The suicide attacks that claimed the lives of over 300 Americans, including 241 Marines, in Lebanon in 1983, were joint operations of the Khomeinist Hezbollah and the Marxist Arab Socialist Party, which was linked to the Syrian intelligence services. The Syrian regime is Iran's closest ally, despite the fact that Iranian mullahs regard the Alawite minority that dominates it as heretics or worse. Today in Lebanon, Tehran's surrogate, Hezbollah, is in league with a Maronite Christian faction, led by ex-Gen. Michel Aoun, in opposition to a majority bloc that favors close ties with the U.S.

For more than a quarter century, Tehran has been host to the offices of more than three dozen terrorists organizations, from the Colombian FARC to the Palestinian Hamas and passing by half a dozen Trotskyite and Leninist outfits. It also finances many anti-American groups and parties of both extreme right and extreme left in Europe and the Americas. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has bestowed the Muslim title of "brother" on Cuba's Fidel Castro, Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, Bolivia's Evo Morales and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega. Communist North Korea is the only country with which the Islamic Republic maintains close military-industrial ties and holds joint annual staff sessions.

George Ibrahim Abdallah, the Lebanese maverick who led a campaign of terror in Paris in the 1980s on behalf of Tehran, was a Christian. So was Anis Naqqache, who led several hit-teams sent to kill Iranian exile opposition leaders. For years, and until a recent change of policy, Tehran financed and offered shelter to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Marxist movement fighting to overthrow the Turkish Republic. Why? Tehran's displeasure with Turkish membership of NATO and friendship with the U.S.

Yes, Mr. Obama might ask, but what about Sunni-Shiite cooperation?

The Islamic Republic has financed and armed the Afghan Sunni Hizb Islami (Islamic Party) since the 1990s. It's also financed the Front for Islamic Salvation (FIS), a Sunni political-terrorist outfit in Algeria between 1992 and 2005.

In 1993, a senior Iranian delegation, led by the then Islamic Parliament Speaker Ayatollah Mehdi Karrubi, attended the Arab-Muslim Popular Congress organized by Hassan al-Turabi, nicknamed "The Pope of Islamist Terror," in Khartoum. At the end of this anti-American jamboree a nine-man "Coordinating Committee" was announced. Karrubi was a member, along with such Sunni eminences as Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mr. Turabi and the Algerian Abdallah Jaballah. The fact that Karrubi was a Shiite mullah did not prevent him from sitting alongside Sunni sheikhs.

In 1996, a suicide attack claimed the lives of 19 American servicemen in Al Khobar, eastern Saudi Arabia. The operation was carried out by the Hezbollah in Hejaz, an Iranian-financed outfit, with the help of the Sunni militant group "Sword of the Peninsula."

In 2000, Sunni groups linked to al Qaeda killed 17 U.S. servicemen in a suicide attack on USS Cole off the coast of Yemen. This time, a Shiite militant group led by Sheikh al-Houti, Tehran's man in Yemen, played second fiddle in the operation.

In Central Asia's Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Tehran has for years supported two Sunni movements, the Rastakhiz Islami (Islamic Awakening) and Hizb Tahrir Islami (Islamic Liberation Party). In Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, Tehran supports the Sunni Taleshi groups against the Azeri Shiite majority. The reason? The Taleshi Sunnis are pro-Russian and anti-American, while the Shiite Azeris are pro-American and anti-Russian.

There are no Palestinian Shiites, yet Tehran has become the principal source of funding for radical Palestinian Sunni groups, notably Hamas, Islamic Jihad and half a dozen leftist-atheist minigroups. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh refuses to pray alongside his Iranian hosts during his visits to Tehran. But when it comes to joining Khomeinist crowds in shouting "Death to America" he is in the forefront.

With Arab oil kingdoms no longer as generous as before, Iran has emerged as the chief source of funding for Hamas. The new Iranian budget, coming into effect on March 21, allocates over $2 billion to the promotion of "revolutionary causes." Much of the money will go to Hamas and the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah.

In Pakistan, the Iran-financed Shiite Tehrik Jaafari joined a coalition of Sunni parties to govern the Northwest Frontier Province, until they all suffered a crushing defeat at last month's parliamentary elections.

The fact that the Sunnis and Shiites in other provinces of Pakistan continued to kill each other did not prevent them from developing a joint, anti-U.S. strategy that included the revival of the Afghan Taliban and protection for the remnants of al Qaeda. Almost all self-styled "holy warriors" who go to Iraq on a mission of murder and mayhem are Sunnis. And, yet most pass through Syria, a country that, as already noted, is dominated by a sect with a militant anti-Sunni religious doctrine.

Next month, Tehran will host what is billed as "The Islamic Convergence Conference," bringing together hundreds of Shiite and Sunni militants from all over the world. The man in charge, Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Taskhiri, has described the goal of the gathering to be delivering "a punch in the face of the American Great Satan."

Still, Mr. Obama might ask: what about al Qaeda and Iran?

The 9/11 Commission report states that Tehran was in contact with al Qaeda at various levels before the 2001 attacks. Tehran has admitted the presence of al Qaeda figures in Iran on a number of occasions, and has arranged for the repatriation of at least 13 Saudi members in the past five years. The Bin Laden family tells us that at least one of Osama's sons, Sa'ad, has lived in Iran since 2002.

Reports from Iran claim that scores of Taliban leaders and several al Qaeda figures spend part of the year in a compound-style housing estate near the village of Dost Muhammad on the Iranian frontier with Afghanistan. One way to verify these claims is to allow the world media access to the area. But Tehran has declared large segments of eastern Iran a "no-go" area, even for its own state-owned media.

In short, the claim that al Qaeda and the Khomeinists, not to mention other terrorist groups operating in the name of Islam, would not work together simply because they have theological differences is both naive and dangerous.

Messrs. McCain and Obama do not need to know about doctrinal differences between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. The problem they face is not theological but political. All they need to know is that there are deadly and determined groups dedicated to destruction of the U.S. in the name of a perverted version of Islam, and that they need to be resisted, fought and ultimately defeated.

Mr. Taheri's new book, "The Persian Night: Iran and the Khomeinist Revolution," will be published later this year by Encounter Books.
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« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2008, 11:26:38 AM »

I had a fair amount of inner chatter over which thread in which to post this.  If it is PC (and a pretty fair case can be made that it is), then it belongs in the PC thread.  That said, the claim is made that this will facilitate effective communication with the Muslim world (and hinder it here amongst us Infidels) so I post it here:
===========

U.S. aims to unlink Islamic, terrorism

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
May 7, 2008

U.S. officials are being advised in internal government documents to avoid referring publicly to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups as Islamic or Muslim, and not to use terms like jihad or mujahedeen, which "unintentionally legitimize" terrorism.


"There' s a growing consensus [in the Bush administration] that we need to move away from that language," said a former senior administration official who was involved until recently in policy debates on the issue.



Instead, in two documents circulated last month by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the multiagency center charged with strategic coordination of the U.S. war on terror, officials are urged to use terms such as violent extremists, totalitarian and death cult to characterize al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.



"Avoid labeling everything 'Muslim.' It reinforces the 'U.S. vs. Islam' framework that al Qaeda promotes," according to "Words that Work and Words that Don't: A Guide for Counter-Terrorism Communication," produced last month by the center.



"You have a large percentage of the world' s population that subscribes to this religion," the former official said. "Unintentionally alienating them is not a judicious move."



The documents, first reported by the Associated Press, were posted online last week by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.



They highlight developments in the Bush administration' s strategy for its war on terror that have been fiercely criticized by some who have been its closest allies on the issue, and apparently are being ignored by the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.



Some commentators noted after President Bush' s State of the Union speech in January that Mr. McCain had stopped using the term Islamic terrorism, instead referring — as the NCTC guide recommends — to "terrorists and extremists — evil men who despise freedom, despise America, and aim to subject millions to their violent rule."


But in a recent interview with The Washington Times, a McCain aide said the senator would continue to use the term Islamic terrorism.


Daniel Sutherland, who runs the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, insisted that the avoidance of the term Islam in conjunction with terrorism "is in no way an exercise in political correctness. ... We are not watering down what we say."



"There are some terms which al Qaeda wants us to use because they are helpful to them," he said.



The "Words That Work" guide notes, "Although the al Qaeda network exploits religious sentiments and tries to use religion to justify its actions, we should treat it as an illegitimate political organization, both terrorist and criminal."



Instead of calling terrorist groups Muslim or Islamic, the guide suggests using words like totalitarian, terrorist or violent extremist — "widely understood terms that define our enemies appropriately and simultaneously deny them any level of legitimacy."


By employing the language the extremists use about themselves, the guide says, officials can inadvertently help legitimize them in the eyes of Muslims.



"Never use the terms 'jihadist' or 'mujahedeen' ... to describe the terrorists," the guide says. "A mujahed, a holy warrior, is a positive characterization in the context of a just war.


In Arabic, jihad means 'striving in the path of God' and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our enemies jihadis and their movement a global jihad unintentionally legitimizes their actions."



A longer document produced by Mr. Sutherland' s office and also circulated by the NCTC compiles advice from Islamic community leaders and religious professionals in the United States about terminology officials should use and avoid.



"Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims," says officials should use "terms such as 'death cult,' 'cult-like,' 'sectarian cult,' and 'violent cultists' to describe the ideology and methodology of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups."


It also recommends eschewing the terms Islamist or Islamism — the advocacy of a political system based on Islam — "because the general public, including overseas audiences, may not appreciate the academic distinction between Islamism and Islam."


The use of the term may be accurate, the document says, but "it may not be strategic for [U.S. government] officials to use the term."

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/...725367235/1001
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« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2008, 10:09:30 AM »

How good it feels to read something like this coming from a major player in the Muslim world.
==================

The Obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian Peace
By ABDURRAHMAN WAHID and ABDUL A'LA
May 10, 2008; Page A11

The prolonged Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a far-reaching impact not only upon the lives of those who dwell in the Holy Land, but upon virtually every nation and community on earth. On a daily basis, self-interested parties are callously manipulating the most basic values of humanity and religion in order to advance their personal or political interests. Sectarianism, violence, arrogance and deception are constantly subverting the fundamental values of life, and turning religious principles upon their heads.

This horrific process demands that every moral human being, religious community and nation throughout the world contemplate this tragedy and offer assistance, however small, to help resolve the profound human crisis in the Holy Land. Peace is both a process and a goal that the world can neither morally nor practically afford to push off into the future yet again.

We must develop and implement concrete strategies to resolve the conflict, while inspiring hope that peace can actually be achieved. The problem is that the various obstacles to peace seem nearly impossible to eliminate. These obstacles are rendered even more severe by the fact that both major parties in the conflict harbor groups absolutely convinced of the correctness of their mutually exclusive views and agendas. Such groups reject not only the rights, but the very existence, of the other side.

The corrosive effect of this phenomenon is the evocation and rationalization of the use of violence, either through terrorism or militarism. Prejudiced views on both sides, not only by those directly engaged in the conflict, but by their allies as well, further stoke the flames of hatred and violence.

These prejudices contaminate public discourse throughout the world, and are constantly exploited by Middle Eastern regimes that fuel anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic emotions for political purposes, while displaying little or no actual concern for the well-being of the Palestinians themselves.

Under such conditions, it is nearly impossible for sincere dialogue even to occur, much less to develop or flourish. Instead, the cycle of violence breeds a hardening of mutual hatred.

The Palestinian side routinely condemns its enemy as a colonial power whose entire population is demonized as "imperialists," while the Israeli side brands its political opponents as terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers.

For six decades, the peace process has been conducted primarily by self-interested political players who cannot penetrate to the heart of the underlying problems, much less resolve them. This gives rise to deeply cynical views on the part of certain groups on both sides, who view the peace process as absurd, its goals unobtainable, and continued violence better than compromise.

Yet the difficulties that have swamped every Israeli-Palestinian peace process to date do not mean that achieving peace is impossible. Rather, they point to the need for a new and more holistic path to peace in the Middle East. This path would mobilize the populations of Israel and Palestine toward this goal, with the active encouragement and support of the rest of the world.

The December 2007 visit to Israel and Palestine by a group of Indonesian ulama from the world's two largest Muslim organizations – LibForAll Foundation and the Indonesian Peace Delegation – represents one such effort, and the first step in a larger, systematic process. Conducted under the joint aegis of LibForAll Foundation and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, members of the group consistently observed that the silent majorities on both sides of the conflict sincerely desire an end to the cycle of violence, and peace for themselves and their children. This is remarkable, given the decades of incitement to hatred and violence in Palestinian mosques, schools and mass media, and a political culture that eschews compromise.

It is tragic that the voice of the people – full of an honest and sincere longing for peace – should be drowned out by violence and the narrow interests of politicians and extremists on both sides. We have a responsibility to amplify the voices of the innocent who pay with their blood and sorrow the price of others' ambitions and hatred.

We must also strengthen and facilitate the people's efforts to pressure their political elites – in a manner that is focused, intense and vocal, yet simultaneously civilized – to create a just and lasting peace.

Palestinians and Israelis need the world's support to create a new reality, in which the highest values of religion and humanity are restored to their proper dignity. We must also help Muslim populations – not only in Palestine, but throughout the Arab world – to rise to embrace a profoundly spiritual and tolerant understanding of Islam, and a humanistic attitude toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that acknowledges the legacy of suffering on all sides. Such an attitude is a necessary precondition for recognizing Israel's unique history and right to exist, while truly advancing the interests of Palestinians as well.

Last year's LibForAll/Indonesian Peace mission to Israel and Palestine was designed to initiate such a process. After the religious leaders who participated returned to Indonesia, they faced intense condemnation from Muslim extremists, who accused them of having betrayed their Palestinian brethren and embarrassed Indonesia's Muslim community. Yet there is nothing shameful about working to realize the highest values of religion – which God intended to serve as a blessing, and not a curse, to all of humanity.

Although the obstacles to peace in the Holy Land may appear insurmountable, it is the responsibility of religious leaders on all sides to attempt the impossible, and to accept whatever threats, slander and stigma may follow.

Mr. Wahid is the former president of Indonesia and co-founder of LibForAll Foundation. Mr. A'la is an associate dean of graduate studies at Sunan Ampel Islamic State University in Surabaya, Indonesia.
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« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2008, 09:16:45 AM »

Democracies Can't Compromise on Core Values
By NATAN SHARANSKY
June 16, 2008

As the American president embarked on his farewell tour of Europe last week, Der Spiegel, echoing the sentiments of a number of leading newspapers on the Continent, pronounced "Europe happy to see the back of Bush." Virtually everyone seems to believe that George W. Bush's tenure has undermined trans-Atlantic ties.

There is also a palpable sense in Europe that America will move closer to Europe in the years ahead, especially if Barack Obama wins the presidential election.

But while Mr. Bush is widely seen by Europeans as a religious cowboy with a Manichean view on the world, Europe's growing rift with America predates the current occupant of the White House. When a French foreign minister, Hubert Védrine, declared that his country "cannot accept a politically unipolar world, nor a culturally uniform world, nor the unilateralism of a single hyper power," President Clinton was in the seventh year of his presidency and Mr. Bush was still governor of Texas.

The trans-Atlantic rift is not the function of one president, but the product of deep ideological forces that for generations have worked to shape the divergent views of Americans and Europeans. Foremost among these are different attitudes toward identity in general, and the relationship between identity and democracy in particular.

To Europeans, identity and democracy are locked in a zero-sum struggle. Strong identities, especially religious or national identities, are seen as a threat to democratic life. This is what Dominique Moisi, a special adviser at the French Institute of International Relations, meant when he said in 2006 that "the combination of religion and nationalism in America is frightening. We feel betrayed by God and by nationalism, which is why we are building the European Union as a barrier to religious warfare."

This attitude can be traced back to the French Revolution, when the forces fighting under a universal banner of "liberty, equality and fraternity" were pitted against the Church.

In contrast, the America to which pilgrims flocked in search of religious freedom, and whose revolution amounted to an assertion of national identity, has been able to reconcile identity and freedom in a way no country has been able to match. That acute observer, Alexis de Tocqueville, long ago noted the "intimate union of the spirit of religion and the spirit of liberty" that was pervasive in America and made it so different than his native France.

The idea that strong identities are an inherent threat to democracy and peace became further entrenched in Europe in the wake of World War II. Exponents of what I call postidentity theories – postnationalism, postmodernism and multiculturalism – argued that only by shedding the particular identities that divide us could we build a peaceful world. Supranational institutions such as the EU, the International Court of Justice and the United Nations were supposed to help overcome the prejudices of the past and forge a harmonious world based on universal values and human rights.

While these ideas have penetrated academia and elite thinking in the U.S., they remain at odds with the views of most Americans, who see no inherent contradiction between maintaining strong identities and the demands of democratic life. On the contrary, the right to express one's identity is seen as fundamental. Exercising such a right is regarded as acting in the best American tradition.

The controversy over whether Muslims should be able to wear a veil in public schools underscores the profound difference in attitudes between America and Europe. In Europe, large majorities support a law banning the veil in public schools. In the U.S., students wear the veil in public schools or state colleges largely without controversy.

At the same time severe limits are placed on the harmless expression of identity in the public square, some European governments refuse to insist that Muslim minorities abide by basic democratic norms. They turn a blind eye toward underage marriage, genital mutilation and honor killings.

The reality is that Muslim identity has grown stronger, has become more fundamentalist, and is increasingly contemptuous of a vapid "European" identity that has little vitality. All this may help explain why studies consistently show that efforts to integrate Muslims into society are much less effective in Europe than in America, where identity is much stronger.

Regardless of who wins in November, the attitudes of Americans toward the role of identity in democratic life are unlikely to change much. Relative to Europe, Americans will surely remain deeply patriotic and much more committed to their faiths.

Europeans, meanwhile, may move closer to the Americans in their views. The recent shift to the right in Europe – from the victory of conservative leaders like Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi to the surprise defeat of the leftist mayor of London, Ken Livingston – might partially reflect a belated awareness there that a unique heritage is under assault by a growing Muslim fundamentalism.

The logic of the struggle against this fundamentalist threat will inevitably demand the reassertion of the European national and religious identities that are now threatened.

Europeans are now saying goodbye to Mr. Bush, and hoping for the election of an American president who they believe shares their sophisticated postnational, postmodern and multicultural attitudes. But don't be surprised if, in the years ahead, European leaders, in order to protect freedom and democracy at home, start sounding more and more like the straight-shooting cowboy from abroad they now love to hate.

Mr. Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident, is chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. He is the author, most recently, of "Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy" (PublicAffairs).

See all of today's editorials and op
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« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2008, 09:27:34 AM »

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/88_say_free_speech_is_good_but_only_53_oppose_ban_on_hate_speech

Death, by a thousand cuts.
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« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2008, 02:56:36 AM »


How to Win the War of Ideas
By JAMES K. GLASSMAN
June 24, 2008

Military action against insurgents, terrorists and those who give them safe harbor is essential. It is working now in Iraq, and has helped keep Americans safe since 9/11. But as President Bush's National Strategy for Combating Terrorism put it two years ago, "In the long run, winning the War on Terror means winning the battle of ideas."

Many of the strongest supporters of ideological engagement can be found in the Department of Defense, starting with Secretary Robert Gates, who reminded senators earlier this year that the Cold War was "as much a war of ideas as it was of military power." Unfortunately, since the rise of Islamic terror, we haven't done enough on this front.

That's changing. Throughout the government and the private sector, the war of ideas is in early renaissance. The enthusiasm is bipartisan, and we have the opportunity to leave a robust legacy for the next administration.

But what kind of war of ideas will fit the terrorist threat today? First, we need to get the goal straight.

While educational exchanges and other such efforts seek over the long term to encourage foreigners to adopt more generally favorable views of the United States, the war of ideas today should have a different, specific focus. The aim must be to ensure that negative sentiments and day-to-day grievances toward the U.S. and its allies do not manifest themselves in violence. We want to create an environment hostile to violent extremism, especially by severing links between al Qaeda and like-minded groups and their target audiences.

For starters, we should confront the ideology of violent extremism directly. The most credible voices here are those of Muslims themselves – especially Islamists – who have publicly disavowed al Qaeda's methods and theology. Lately such apostates include Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, also known as Dr. Fadl, who laid the foundation for the movement's bloody ideology and has now repudiated it, and Noman Benotman, a Libyan close to Osama bin Laden who rebuked al Qaeda bluntly last year.

Our public diplomacy efforts should encourage Muslims, individuals and groups, to spread the denunciations of violence by these men and others far and wide. But non-Muslim Americans themselves should not shrink from confidently opposing poisonous ideas either.

A second approach to the war of ideas may, in the long run, be even more effective. Call it "diversion."

The ideology that motivates al Qaeda and similar groups is based on the notion that believers have a duty to carry out the excommunication (and execution) of unbelievers, or even of those who collaborate with unbelievers, or refuse to resist them. This ideology posits a Manichean world, divided into two camps: one practicing the terrorists' version of Islam, the other not.

This is a fantasy, but a distressingly powerful one. Our vision is a pluralistic world with many peaceful and productive choices on how to order one's life. The task is not to persuade potential recruits to become like Americans or Europeans, but to divert them from becoming terrorists.

We do that by helping to build networks (virtual and physical) and countermovements – not just political but cultural, social, athletic and more: mothers against violence, video gamers, soccer enthusiasts, young entrepreneurs, Islamic democrats. For example, there is an emerging global network of families of Islamic victims of terrorist attacks. While winning hearts and minds would be an admirable feat, the war of ideas needs to adopt the more immediate and realistic goal of diverting impressionable segments of the population from being recruited into violent extremism.

Unlike the containment policy of the Cold War, today's diversion policy may not primarily be the responsibility of government. My own job, as the interagency leader for the war of ideas, is to mobilize every possible American asset – public and private, human and technological – in the effort.

Where does Iran fit in? The pool of future suicide bombers and insurgents is sustained by people like the leadership of Iran. Both of the approaches I have outlined – ideological confrontation and diversion – should appeal to a proud and sophisticated Iranian population that is open to pluralistic ideas.

What we seek is a world in which the use of violence to achieve political, religious or social objectives is no longer considered acceptable, efforts to radicalize and recruit new members are no longer successful, and the perpetrators of violent extremism are condemned and isolated.

Military success is necessary, but it is not sufficient – for the simple reason that we face as an enemy not a single nation, or even a coalition, but a stateless global movement. Without a vigorous war of ideas, as we kill such adversaries others will take their place.

Mr. Glassman was sworn in on June 10 as under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
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« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2008, 03:05:15 AM »

The following cuts against the aspirations of the preceding post:
================


Bookshelf
Unfriendly Fanatics
By C. HOLLAND TAYLOR
FROM TODAY'S WALL STREET JOURNAL ASIA
June 24, 2008

My Friend the Fanatic
By Sadanand Dhume
(Text Publishing, 271 pp., A$34.95)

 
Terrorist acts perpetrated in the name of Islam have dominated news headlines for years, yet Western readers are often left wondering what motivates such radicalism, and how it spreads. Few nations are more strategically vital to the struggle for the "soul" of Islam than Indonesia. Home of the world's largest Muslim population and democracy, Indonesia's ancient traditions of pluralism and tolerance are under siege by a well-organized and heavily financed extremist movement.

The current radical trends in Indonesia are inextricably linked to Islam's 700-year history in the East Indies. Sunni Islam arrived peacefully in what is now Indonesia, brought by Arab, Indian and Chinese merchants active in the fabled spice trade. Once they acquired sufficient economic power, such merchants established Islamic city-states that rebelled against, and ultimately destroyed, the pre-existing Hindu-Buddhist kingdom of Majapahit. It was only the subsequent military and political triumph of indigenous Javanese in 1586 – following a bloody, century-long struggle – that preserved the region's pluralistic and tolerant traditions, in the form of a deeply spiritual understanding of Islam that did not conflict with pre-existing faiths.

In "My Friend the Fanatic," journalist Sadanand Dhume guides the reader deftly through the whirlpool these currents have created. Descriptions of a young, charismatic author titillating avant-garde audiences in the nation's capital – with her sexually provocative short stories and performance art – alternate with on-the-scene reportage of Muslim radicals' success at mobilizing grassroots support throughout the vast archipelago. Mr. Dhume took an unusual trek through Indonesia's lush, tropical landscape with Herry Nurdi, the "fanatic" of the book's title and editor of Sabili, a mass-circulation extremist magazine whose explicit goal is to undo radical Islam's history of failure in Indonesia and assure its final triumph.

By some counts at least, Mr. Nurdi and his ilk are winning. In recent years, extremists have taken advantage of regional autonomy to impose Shariah-based regulations in nearly 70 of Indonesia's 364 local regencies. These laws, among other things, compel women and girls to wear so-called "Muslim" clothing that reveals only the face, hands and feet, even if they are Christian; require students, civil servants and even couples applying for marriage to demonstrate an ability to read the Quran; and effectively restrict women from going out at night without a male relative.

Mr. Dhume's description of the extremists' rise will be dispiriting to those who view democracy as an antidote to radicalism. Indeed, one of the most striking facts he reports is the extent to which those leading the charge to institutionalize radicalism in Indonesia today are directly linked to postindependence rebellions and failed extremist movements from the past. Whereas their ideological forebears (and literally, in many cases, their fathers or grandfathers) were crushed by Indonesian nationalists committed to upholding Indonesia's secular constitution and pluralist state ideology, the new generation of radicals use democracy and the symbols of Islam to erode and ultimately destroy Indonesia's heritage of religious pluralism and tolerance. This phenomenon is rendered possible and dramatically accelerated by the tendency of opportunistic politicians and political parties – often corrupt and lacking in Islamic legitimacy – to engage in a "chase to the lowest common denominator" of Islam, in a cynical attempt to prove their Muslim bona fides.

Unfortunately, the current government in Jakarta – led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – has done little to retard the rapidly metastasizing phenomenon of political Islam. This threatens not only religious minorities such as the Muslim Ahmadiyah sect and Christians, but also the safety and security of the Indonesian nation-state itself. Just this month, in fact, religious extremists beat a group of moderates marching for religious freedom on the grounds of the national monument, in full view of onlooking police and the nearby state palace.

While Mr. Dhume argues convincingly about the radicals' current strength and momentum, he is strangely silent about their most vocal and effective opponents, who represent the world's best hope for a truly democratic and tolerant Islam. Virtually absent from Mr. Dhume's book are the valiant efforts of Indonesian Muslim leaders to stem the Arab petrodollar-funded tide of radical Islam, and thereby uphold the secular foundations of the Indonesian nation-state. Former President Abdurrahman Wahid, a member of the LibForAll Foundation which I head, has vigorously opposed the Islamist agenda and succeeded at blocking many of their initiatives. So, too, have other key leaders of the Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, the world's biggest Muslims organizations, which are based in Indonesia and boast 70 million followers.

Islam's future – as a religion of peace and tolerance, or of hatred, violence and supremacy – may well hinge upon Indonesia's destiny, as Middle East financial backers and their indigenous allies well know. Mr. Dhume is pessimistic, sensing that the "totalitarian cast" of the extremist movement will "grind what remained of a once proud culture to a hollow imitation of Arabness." Yet while the situation is undoubtedly grave, it is far from hopeless. Indonesia boasts a moderate public and self-confident Muslim leaders who do not conflate Islam with arrogance, extremism, supremacy or violence. Mr. Dhume's book shows that the battle is raging, but its conclusion is far from preordained.

Mr. Taylor is the chairman & CEO of the LibForAll Foundation, a nonprofit that works to reduce religious extremism worldwide and discredit the use of terrorism.
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« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2008, 09:06:05 AM »

The core problem is, jihadists aren't "radicals" or "extremists", they are just observant muslims.
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« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2008, 09:06:07 AM »

Fight Terror With YouTube
By DANIEL KIMMAGE
Published: June 26, 2008
Baku, Azerbaijan
NY Times

AL QAEDA made its name in blood and pixels, with deadly attacks and an avalanche of electronic news media. Recent news articles depict an online terrorist juggernaut that has defied the best efforts by the United States government to counter it. While these articles are themselves a testimony to Al Qaeda’s media savvy, they don’t tell the whole story.

When it comes to user-generated content and interactivity, Al Qaeda is now behind the curve. And the United States can help to keep it there by encouraging the growth of freer, more empowered online communities, especially in the Arab-Islamic world.

The genius of Al Qaeda was to combine real-world mayhem with virtual marketing. The group’s guerrilla media network supports a family of brands, from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (in Algeria and Morocco) to the Islamic State of Iraq, through a daily stream of online media products that would make any corporation jealous.

A recent report I wrote for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty details this flow. In July 2007, for example, Al Qaeda released more than 450 statements, books, articles, magazines, audio recordings, short videos of attacks and longer films. These products reach the world through a network of quasi-official online production and distribution entities, like Al Sahab, which releases statements by Osama bin Laden.

But the Qaeda media nexus, as advanced as it is, is old hat. If Web 1.0 was about creating the snazziest official Web resources and Web 2.0 is about letting users run wild with self-created content and interactivity, Al Qaeda and its affiliates are stuck in 1.0.

In late 2006, with YouTube and Facebook growing rapidly, a position paper by a Qaeda-affiliated institute discouraged media jihadists from overly “exuberant” efforts on behalf of the group for fear of diluting its message.

This is probably sound advice, considering how Al Qaeda fares on YouTube. A recent list of the most viewed YouTube videos in Arabic about Al Qaeda included a rehash of an Islamic State of Iraq clip with sardonic commentary added and satirical verses about Al Qaeda by an Iraqi poet.

Statements by Mr. bin Laden and his chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, that are posted to YouTube do draw comments aplenty. But the reactions, which range from praise to blanket condemnation, are a far cry from the invariably positive feedback Al Qaeda gets on moderated jihadist forums. And even Al Qaeda’s biggest YouTube hits attract at most a small fraction of the millions of views that clips of Arab pop stars rack up routinely.

Other Qaeda ventures into interactivity are equally unimpressive. Mr. Zawahri solicited online questions last December, but his answers didn’t appear until early April. That’s eons in Web time.

Even if security concerns dictated the delay, as Mr. Zawahri claimed, this is further evidence of the online obstacles facing the world’s most-wanted fugitives. Try to imagine Osama bin Laden managing his Facebook account, and you can see why full-scale social networking might not be Al Qaeda’s next frontier.

It’s also an indication of how a more interactive, empowered online community, particularly in the Arab-Islamic world, may prove to be Al Qaeda’s Achilles’ heel. Anonymity and accessibility, the hallmarks of Web 1.0, provided an ideal platform for Al Qaeda’s radical demagoguery. Social networking, the emerging hallmark of Web 2.0, can unite a fragmented silent majority and help it to find its voice in the face of thuggish opponents, whether they are repressive rulers or extremist Islamic movements.

Unfortunately, the authoritarian governments of the Middle East are doing their best to hobble Web 2.0. By blocking the Internet, they are leaving the field open to Al Qaeda and its recruiters. The American military’s statistics and jihadists’ own online postings show that among the most common countries of origin for foreign fighters in Iraq are Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen. It’s no coincidence that Reporters Without Borders lists Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria as “Internet enemies,” and Libya and Yemen as countries where the Web is “under surveillance.” There is a simple lesson here: unfettered access to a free Internet is not merely a goal to which we should aspire on principle, but also a very practical means of countering Al Qaeda. As users increasingly make themselves heard, the ensuing chaos will not be to everyone’s liking, but it may shake the online edifice of Al Qaeda’s totalitarian ideology.

It would be premature to declare Al Qaeda’s marketing strategy hopelessly anachronistic. The group has shown remarkable resilience and will find ways to adapt to new trends.

But Al Qaeda’s online media network is also vulnerable to disruption. Technology-literate intelligence services that understand how the Qaeda media nexus works will do some of the job. The most damaging disruptions to the nexus, however, will come from millions of ordinary users in the communities that Al Qaeda aims for with its propaganda. We should do everything we can to empower them.

Daniel Kimmage is a senior analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
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« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2008, 06:42:36 AM »

Calling All Pakistanis 
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: December 2, 2008
NYT

On Feb. 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?

After all, if 10 young Indians from a splinter wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party traveled by boat to Pakistan, shot up two hotels in Karachi and the central train station, killed at least 173 people, and then, for good measure, murdered the imam and his wife at a Saudi-financed mosque while they were cradling their 2-year-old son — purely because they were Sunni Muslims — where would we be today? The entire Muslim world would be aflame and in the streets.

So what can we expect from Pakistan and the wider Muslim world after Mumbai? India says its interrogation of the surviving terrorist indicates that all 10 men come from the Pakistani port of Karachi, and at least one, if not all 10, were Pakistani nationals.

First of all, it seems to me that the Pakistani government, which is extremely weak to begin with, has been taking this mass murder very seriously, and, for now, no official connection between the terrorists and elements of the Pakistani security services has been uncovered.

At the same time, any reading of the Pakistani English-language press reveals Pakistani voices expressing real anguish and horror over this incident. Take for instance the Inter Press Service news agency article of Nov. 29 from Karachi: “ ‘I feel a great fear that [the Mumbai violence] will adversely affect Pakistan and India relations,’ the prominent Karachi-based feminist poet and writer Attiya Dawood told I.P.S. ‘I can’t say whether Pakistan is involved or not, but whoever is involved, it is not the ordinary people of Pakistan, like myself, or my daughters. We are with our Indian brothers and sisters in their pain and sorrow.’ ”

But while the Pakistani government’s sober response is important, and the sincere expressions of outrage by individual Pakistanis are critical, I am still hoping for more. I am still hoping — just once — for that mass demonstration of “ordinary people” against the Mumbai bombers, not for my sake, not for India’s sake, but for Pakistan’s sake.

Why? Because it takes a village. The best defense against this kind of murderous violence is to limit the pool of recruits, and the only way to do that is for the home society to isolate, condemn and denounce publicly and repeatedly the murderers — and not amplify, ignore, glorify, justify or “explain” their activities.

Sure, better intelligence is important. And, yes, better SWAT teams are critical to defeating the perpetrators quickly before they can do much damage. But at the end of the day, terrorists often are just acting on what they sense the majority really wants but doesn’t dare do or say. That is why the most powerful deterrent to their behavior is when the community as a whole says: “No more. What you have done in murdering defenseless men, women and children has brought shame on us and on you.”

Why should Pakistanis do that? Because you can’t have a healthy society that tolerates in any way its own sons going into a modern city, anywhere, and just murdering everyone in sight — including some 40 other Muslims — in a suicide-murder operation, without even bothering to leave a note. Because the act was their note, and destroying just to destroy was their goal. If you do that with enemies abroad, you will do that with enemies at home and destroy your own society in the process.

“I often make the comparison to Catholics during the pedophile priest scandal,” a Muslim woman friend wrote me. “Those Catholics that left the church or spoke out against the church were not trying to prove to anyone that they are anti-pedophile. Nor were they apologizing for Catholics, or trying to make the point that this is not Catholicism to the non-Catholic world. They spoke out because they wanted to influence the church. They wanted to fix a terrible problem” in their own religious community.

We know from the Danish cartoons affair that Pakistanis and other Muslims know how to mobilize quickly to express their heartfelt feelings, not just as individuals, but as a powerful collective. That is what is needed here.

Because, I repeat, this kind of murderous violence only stops when the village — all the good people in Pakistan, including the community elders and spiritual leaders who want a decent future for their country — declares, as a collective, that those who carry out such murders are shameful unbelievers who will not dance with virgins in heaven but burn in hell. And they do it with the same vehemence with which they denounce Danish cartoons.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 12:13:43 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2008, 09:07:40 AM »

“Because, I repeat, this kind of murderous violence only stops when the village — all the good people in Pakistan, including the community elders and spiritual leaders who want a decent future for their country — declares, as a collective, that those who carry out such murders are shameful unbelievers who will not dance with virgins in heaven but burn in hell. And they do it with the same vehemence with which they denounce Danish cartoons. “



I once saw a plaque on a wall which said,”I am my brother’s keeper”.  I thought to my self, I am responsible for my own actions and I will mind my own buisness.  I would not like others poking their noises into my business I will not do that to them.  The plaque haunted me though, I would think about it every now and again.  Why would some one put such a thing up?  Then 9/11 occurred.  I watched as the Muslim community did not denounce the terrorist.  Then it dawned on me.  I am my brother’s keeper.  We have to give up some rights in order to have a civilized society.  There has to be a limit at which we can not cross or allow others to cross without protest.  If we pass this limit we move one step closer to a state of nature and with each step down that path society diminishes until at some point it must be reformed.  This is what the fundamentalist are trying to do.  They wish to reform society to their twisted version.  If the common people of Pakistan do not stand up and protest the attacks in Mumbai the terrorist have moved society one step closer to the changing of society.
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« Reply #39 on: December 03, 2008, 10:52:24 AM »

The muslim masses will not condemn Mumbai, Bali, Beslan, 9/11, 7/7 or any other islamic terrorism because these are acts that stem from core islamic beliefs. It would be like jews condeming keeping kosher.
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Black Grass
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« Reply #40 on: December 03, 2008, 12:08:38 PM »

The muslim masses will not condemn Mumbai, Bali, Beslan, 9/11, 7/7 or any other islamic terrorism because these are acts that stem from core islamic beliefs. It would be like jews condeming keeping kosher.

I would agree and disagree. I work with a number of people originally or ethically Pakistani, and all of them condemn these acts. One common theme is that they actually blame the Saudi's for spreading radicalism in Pakistan.  But they also agree that no "official" condemnation would happen, because it would give creedance that it is Islam that is to blame which I can understand. No one expects the Vatican to apologize for the IRA.

Vince
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2008, 01:10:39 PM »

Quote
No one expects the Vatican to apologize for the IRA.

Well yes, but the Vatican would condemn violence perpetrated in the name of Christianity. Think your comparison is between apples and oranges.

The point remains that some fairly tame cartoons caused all sorts of outrage in Muslim circles, yet an incident orders of magnitude more horrific inspires little public outcry in the same circles. A case of misapplied outrage, yes?
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G M
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« Reply #42 on: December 03, 2008, 07:00:15 PM »

Cartoons of Mohammed cause protests and riots worldwide. Where is the outrage for this latest outrage?
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G M
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« Reply #43 on: December 03, 2008, 09:33:17 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/12/03/questions-that-answer-themselves-2/

Questions that answer themselves
posted at 2:43 pm on December 3, 2008 by Ed Morrissey   


Tom Friedman asks in his New York Times column today why we haven’t seen Muslims protesting in the street after the Mumbai attacks:

On Feb. 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?

After all, if 10 young Indians from a splinter wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party traveled by boat to Pakistan, shot up two hotels in Karachi and the central train station, killed at least 173 people, and then, for good measure, murdered the imam and his wife at a Saudi-financed mosque while they were cradling their 2-year-old son — purely because they were Sunni Muslims — where would we be today? The entire Muslim world would be aflame and in the streets.

So what can we expect from Pakistan and the wider Muslim world after Mumbai?


I can provide an answer: apathy and rationalization, and not just from Muslims.  Deepak Chopra blamed it on the Bush administration and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as if the causation was reversed.  While Bollywood condemned the terrorist attacks, some followed Chopra’s example.

Has Friedman seen massive protests in the streets against radical Islamist terrorists in these Muslim countries, ever?  Did any of them protest the 9/11 attacks, or the Madrid attack, or any of the large-scale attacks on Western civilians or previous attacks in India at all?  Either we heard ululating or deafening silence, punctuated with a few diplomatic missives about solidarity and the occasional criticism on the effect the attacks have on Muslims.

In other words, we can either expect delight or a collective yawn from the Muslim world.  It’s been a week since the attacks commenced.  Thus far, all we’ve gotten is the latter.  Why would this surprise Friedman, given the history?

And what does that tell us about the attitude towards the terrorists among the Muslim nations?  They may not endorse terrorist attacks, but they certainly don’t strenuously object to them, either.  While we’re wringing our hands over interrogation techniques, and not for bad reasons, they’re indifferent to mass murder.  At some point, the world — or in Friedman’s tiresome terminology, the “village” — will have to come to terms with that reality.

Muslims will not care about terrorist attacks until the cost becomes too high for them.  The risk-to-reward ratio hasn’t reached that level yet, and probably hasn’t come near it.  Mewling about the “village” and asking for a little outrage won’t do it, either.

Update: SANEworks has a few thoughts along the same lines.
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G M
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« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2008, 01:42:16 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/12/03/quote-of-the-day-410/

Here are the protests!
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G M
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« Reply #45 on: December 04, 2008, 08:20:40 AM »

**Finally, some expressions of regret!  evil **

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2008/12/apologetic-mumbai-killers-we-didnt-get-the-memo-about-obama.html

Apologetic Mumbai Killers: "We Didn't Get the Memo About Obama"

MUMBAI - Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving member of the 10-man team of Pakistani gunmen that left hundreds dead or wounded after a bloody three day rampage in Mumbai, today blamed the mayhem on an "email mixup" that left him and his colleagues unaware that Barack Obama had won election as President of the United States.

"What? Oh bloody hell, now you tell me," said Kasab, as he was led away in handcuffs by Indian security forces.

Kasab, 21, apologized to Indian President Pratibha Patil, explaining that no one in his group had known about the recent U.S. election results.

"Boy, talk about having egg on the face," said a visibly embarrassed Kasab. "If we knew Bush was on his way out, obviously we would have called off the crazy random baby-shootings and martyrdom stuff, and signed on with the Peace Corps or Habitat for Humanity. At this point I guess all I can say is 'my bad.'"

"Seriously, I can't even begin to tell you how shitty the whole situation makes me feel," he added dejectedly. "Don't get me wrong, I'm as thrilled as everybody else to find out Barack won the election, but this moment is always going to be bittersweet knowing that all those shootings were tragically unnecessary. Not to mention the six weeks I wasted in training camp."

Kasab, who is personally suspected of killing over 30 victims at point-blank range in a posh Mumbai hotel, was at a loss to explain how he and other members of the terrorist assault team remained unaware of the historic U.S. election results that many American analysts predicted would lead to an immediate and permanent outbreak of rapturous harmony and transcendent brotherly love throughout the universe.

"Jeez, I'm... I don't know, I just never got any kind of memo," said Kasab. "The ironic thing is that just the other day, when we were ritually shaving our testicles for final martyrdom, a bunch of us were talking about how great and symbolic it would be if the American infidels would only elect an handsome, articulate young African-American infidel. That way we could just lay down the suicide belts and scimitars and suitcase nukes and finally get involved in the positive aspects of community activism, like raising awareness for breast cancer research.  Look, I know it's a cliche to point fingers at the IT department, but our email system really sucks. And it's hard to find a decent wi-fi hot spot in Northwest Pakistan."

Tragically, though, it appears that internet connectivity was only the tip of the iceberg in a system-wide Obama news communication failure at Al Qaeda Headquarters.

"Obama won? Seriously?" said an astonished Abdul Aziz Qasim, Senior Media Affairs Director for Al Qaeda's Peshawar Office at an afternoon press conference announcing responsibility for the attacks. "I mean... you're positively sure of that?"

After a reporter screened a YouTube video for him showing Obama's election night celebration, Qasim angrily summoned his intelligence department.

"Have any of you seen this? Any of you?" shouted Qasim, jabbing at the laptop screen with his hook, as his staff awkwardly stared at their sandals. "Because it would have been nice to know about it TWO FUCKING WEEKS AGO."

"Can one of you idiots remind me why I pay you?" he continued. "Because all I know is that I'm the only one in this goddamn tent who ends up taking the heat from bin Laden and Zawahiri, and gets stuck doing the damage control caused by you stupid fuckups."

Regaining his composure, Qasim said that Al Qaeda would work to make amends with victims of the Mumbai tragedy, including sending flowers and handwritten apology notes containing 1000 rupee ($12.65) PakMart gift cards to the surviving families of all 173 dead. Wounded victims are slated to receive a 50 rupee coupon good at participating Waziristan Fried Chicken restaurants.

"Ultimately, I know the 'buck stops here,' but I just want to remind everybody in the infidel world that the only gripe that we've really ever had with you is about George Bush," said Qasim. "There's just something instantly irritating about that guy, you know what I mean? It's that smirk, the way he says 'nuke-u-ler' and all that 'evildoers' crap. There's only so much you can take of him before you start flying planes into skyscrapers or bombing subways, or shooting Hindus, or beheading Thai school teachers, and what-have-you."

"Believe me, now that Bush is out of the picture we're just as upset about those senseless killings as everybody else, especially those of us who actually did the senseless killing," he added. "All we ask is that the Indian judges not take it too hard on Ajmal. The poor kid feels bad enough already. It's not his fault he didn't find out about the infidel elections, you know how hard it is to get a decent Verizon cell in Mumbai. Now that we're all on the same page again it would be a great time for all of us, believers and infidels alike, to put all the nonsense of the Bush years behind us and rekindle that beautiful peace and friendship thing we all had going on back in 2000."

"I know my wife is looking forward to another Florida vacation -- even though she'll have to drop a few pounds to fit back into her beach chador," Qasim joked. "She was only ten when we were there for our honeymoon."

"Oh, before I forget, let me finally send our belated congratulations to President-Elect Obama," said the Al Qaeda spokesman. "Let me also say we're very sorry for the snafu in Mumbai, and hope this won't put a damper on our negotiations for the peaceful return of Spain. We're cool, right?"
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #46 on: March 09, 2009, 12:09:53 AM »

By TAWFIK HAMID
The film "Fitna" by Dutch parliament member Geert Wilders has created an uproar around the world because it links violence committed by Islamists to Islam.

Many commentators and politicians -- including the British government, which denied him entry to the country last month -- reflexively accused Mr. Wilders of inciting hatred. The question, however, is whether the blame is with Mr. Wilders, who simply exposed Islamic radicalism, or with those who promote and engage in this religious extremism. In other words, shall we fault Mr. Wilders for raising issues like the stoning of women, or shall we fault those who actually promote and practice this crime?

Many Muslims seem to believe that it is acceptable to teach hatred and violence in the name of their religion -- while at the same time expecting the world to respect Islam as a religion of peace, love and harmony.

Scholars in the most prestigious Islamic institutes and universities continue to teach things like Jews are "pigs and monkeys," that women and men must be stoned to death for adultery, or that Muslims must fight the world to spread their religion. Isn't, then, Mr. Wilders's criticism appropriate? Instead of blaming him, we must blame the leading Islamic scholars for having failed to produce an authoritative book on Islamic jurisprudence that is accepted in the Islamic world and unambiguously rejects these violent teachings.

While many religious texts preach violence, the interpretation, modern usage and implementation of these teachings make all the difference. For example, the stoning of women exists in both the Old Testament and in the Islamic tradition, or "Sunna" -- the recorded deeds and manners of the prophet Muhammad. The difference, though, is that leading Jewish scholars agreed to discontinue these practices centuries ago, while Muslim scholars have yet to do so. Hence we do not see the stoning of women practiced or promoted in Israel, the "Jewish" state, but we see it practiced and promoted in Iran and Saudi Arabia, the "Islamic" states.

When the British government banned Geert Wilders from entering the country to present his film in the House of Lords, it made two egregious errors. The first was to suppress free speech, a canon of the civilized Western world. The second mistake was to blame the messenger -- punishing, so to speak, the witness who exposed the crime instead of punishing the criminal. Mr. Wilders did not produce the content of the violent Islamic message he showed in his film -- the Islamic world did that. Until the Islamic clerical establishment takes concrete steps to reject violence in the name of their religion, Mr. Wilders's criticism is not only permissible as "controversial" free speech but justified.

So, Islamic scholars and clerics, it is up to you to produce a Shariah book that will be accepted in the Islamic world and that teaches that Jews are not pigs and monkeys, that declaring war to spread Islam is unacceptable, and that killing apostates is a crime. Such a book would prove that Islam is a religion of peace.

Mr. Hamid, a former member of an Egyptian Islamist terrorist group, is an Islamic reformer and senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.
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Chad
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« Reply #47 on: March 09, 2009, 01:39:49 PM »

WASHINGTON — President Obama declared in an interview that the United States was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/us/politics/08obama.html?_r=1&ref=politics


Stem cells have all but swept this under the rug.
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Chad
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« Reply #48 on: March 11, 2009, 11:08:26 AM »

WASHINGTON — President Obama declared in an interview that the United States was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/us/politics/08obama.html?_r=1&ref=politics


Stem cells have all but swept this under the rug.


Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:03pm IST
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taliban on Tuesday turned down as illogical U.S. President Barack Obama's bid to reach out to moderate elements of the insurgents, saying the exit of foreign troops was the only solution for ending the war.

Obama, in an interview with the New York Times, expressed an openness to adapting tactics in Afghanistan that had been used in Iraq to reach out to moderate elements there.

"This does not require any response or reaction for this is illogical," Qari Mohammad Yousuf, a purported spokesman for the insurgent group, told Reuters when asked if its top leader Mullah Mohammad Omar would make any comment about Obama's proposal.

"The Taliban are united, have one leader, one aim, one policy...I do not know why they are talking about moderate Taliban and what it means?"

"If it means those who are not fighting and are sitting in their homes, then talking to them is meaningless. This really is surprising the Taliban."

In Iraq, the use of Sunni Muslim community leaders to employ their people to patrol their neighbourhoods has been credited as one of the main reasons behind sharp falls in violence.

Obama did point out that compared to Iraq, the situation was more complex in Afghanistan, where nearly 70,000 foreign troops, 38,000 of them American, are due to be joined in coming months by another 17,000 U.S. soldiers.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has been leading Afghanistan since U.S.-led troops overthrew the Taliban in an invasion in 2001, welcomed Obama's proposal.

The number of foreign troops in Afghanistan has risen steadily since Taliban's ouster after they refused to hand over al Qaeda leaders responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

So has the level of Taliban attacks against the government and foreign forces, prompting Obama to term Afghanistan as a top foreign policy priority for his new administration.

Some Western politicians and military officers now say the war cannot be won by military means alone and a solution will have to involve some form of reconciliation.

Yousuf said expulsion of foreign troops was the only solution for Afghanistan's spiraling violence.

"Afghans know better how to decide about their destiny," he replied when asked if the Taliban were willing to hold talks with Karzai's government should and when the troops leave.


http://in.reuters.com/article/southAsiaNews/idINIndia-38433020090310
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2009, 11:40:41 AM »

BBG, JDN, and GM may be coming to this thread and in preparation of their arrival I would like to offer the following:

SPEAK IN POSITIVES.

For me it looks like this:

The American Creed (see our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution) declares that our inalienable rights come from The Creator.   In other words, they are not subject to limitation by man or state.  Amongst them are Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness-- in short, Freedom of Choice.  Freedom of Choice is informed by Freedom of Speech.  Freedom of Speech is made real by Separation of Church and State.  Ultimately we the well-armed unorganized militia enforce our rights against all comers.

Anyone who is comfortable with this can be a good American and can be my friend.

It is up to the Muslim world to define itself.

I will accept whichever choice it makes. 

If it limits itself to religion, fine.   Indeed, there is much there to admire and in the absence of fascist thuggery and intimidation I would be glad of conversation.

OTOH if it seeks to blend religious belief with the coercive power of the state, it is a fascist political ideology and per se seditious to the American Creed.  We need to be utterly clear on this:  Freedom of Religion has nothing to do with this. 

TAC!
Marc
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