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Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #100 on: March 16, 2008, 09:03:33 PM »

And it protects everyone’s property — including women’s — from being taken from them. Unlike in Iran, where wearing a head scarf is legally mandated and enforced by special religious police, the Islamist view in most other Muslim countries is that the head scarf is one way of implementing the religious duty to dress modestly — a desirable social norm, not an enforceable legal rule.

**Uh-huh, ask the women in muslim countries (like parts of France) what happens to them in public if they don't wear the hijab in public. We won't get into what happens to women in Saudi Arabia either.**

And mandating capital punishment for apostasy is not on the agenda of most elected Islamists.

**Not yet. Besides, there is no need for it to be a legal process when observant muslims are glad to kill an apostate without governmental sanction, as is happening in muslim enclaves in europe, Canada and Texas.**

For many Muslims today, living in corrupt autocracies, the call for Shariah is not a call for sexism, obscurantism or savage punishment but for an Islamic version of what the West considers its most prized principle of political justice: the rule of law.

**Again, it's not about "the rule of law", it's about imposing "Islamic law".**

The Sway of the Scholars

To understand Shariah’s deep appeal, we need to ask a crucial question that is rarely addressed in the West: What, in fact, is the system of Islamic law? In his lifetime, the Prophet Muhammad was both the religious and the political leader of the community of Muslim believers. His revelation, the Koran, contained some laws, pertaining especially to ritual matters and inheritance; but it was not primarily a legal book and did not include a lengthy legal code of the kind that can be found in parts of the Hebrew Bible. When the first generation of believers needed guidance on a subject that was not addressed by revelation, they went directly to Muhammad. He either answered of his own accord or, if he was unsure, awaited divine guidance in the form of a new revelation.

**This is why under sharia law allows for girls as young as 9 to be married to adult men. Muhammad's 3rd. wife, Aisha was 6 when he married her. Being a prophet of god, Muhammad waited until she was 9 before consummating the marriage. He was in his 50's at this time. Isn't sharia wonderful?**

With the death of Muhammad, divine revelation to the Muslim community stopped. The role of the political-religious leader passed to a series of caliphs (Arabic for “substitute”) who stood in the prophet’s stead. That left the caliph in a tricky position when it came to resolving difficult legal matters. The caliph possessed Muhammad’s authority but not his access to revelation. It also left the community in something of a bind. If the Koran did not speak clearly to a particular question, how was the law to be determined?

The answer that developed over the first couple of centuries of Islam was that the Koran could be supplemented by reference to the prophet’s life — his sunna, his path. (The word “sunna” is the source of the designation Sunni — one who follows the prophet’s path.) His actions and words were captured in an oral tradition, beginning presumably with a person who witnessed the action or statement firsthand. Accurate reports had to be distinguished from false ones. But of course even a trustworthy report on a particular situation could not directly resolve most new legal problems that arose later. To address such problems, it was necessary to reason by analogy from one situation to another. There was also the possibility that a communal consensus existed on what to do under particular circumstances, and that, too, was thought to have substantial weight.


This fourfold combination — the Koran, the path of the prophet as captured in the collections of reports, analogical reasoning and consensus — amounted to a basis for a legal system. But who would be able to say how these four factors fit together? Indeed, who had the authority to say that these factors and not others formed the sources of the law? The first four caliphs, who knew the prophet personally, might have been able to make this claim for themselves. But after them, the caliphs were faced with a growing group of specialists who asserted that they, collectively, could ascertain the law from the available sources. This self-appointed group came to be known as the scholars — and over the course of a few generations, they got the caliphs to acknowledge them as the guardians of the law. By interpreting a law that originated with God, they gained control over the legal system as it actually existed. That made them, and not the caliphs, into “the heirs of the prophets.”

Among the Sunnis, this model took effect very early and persisted until modern times. For the Shiites, who believe that the succession of power followed the prophet’s lineage, the prophet had several successors who claimed extraordinary divine authority. Once they were gone, however, the Shiite scholars came to occupy a role not unlike that of their Sunni counterparts.

Under the constitutional theory that the scholars developed to explain the division of labor in the Islamic state, the caliph had paramount responsibility to fulfill the divine injunction to “command the right and prohibit the wrong.” But this was not a task he could accomplish on his own. It required him to delegate responsibility to scholarly judges, who would apply God’s law as they interpreted it. The caliph could promote or fire them as he wished, but he could not dictate legal results: judicial authority came from the caliph, but the law came from the scholars.

The caliphs — and eventually the sultans who came to rule once the caliphate lost most of its worldly influence — still had plenty of power. They handled foreign affairs more or less at their discretion. And they could also issue what were effectively administrative regulations — provided these regulations did not contradict what the scholars said Shariah required. The regulations addressed areas where Shariah was silent. They also enabled the state to regulate social conduct without having to put every case before the courts, where convictions would often be impossible to obtain because of the strict standards of proof required for punishment. As a result of these regulations, many legal matters (perhaps most) fell outside the rules given specifically by Shariah.

The upshot is that the system of Islamic law as it came to exist allowed a great deal of leeway. That is why today’s advocates of Shariah as the source of law are not actually recommending the adoption of a comprehensive legal code derived from or dictated by Shariah — because nothing so comprehensive has ever existed in Islamic history. To the Islamist politicians who advocate it or for the public that supports it, Shariah generally means something else. It means establishing a legal system in which God’s law sets the ground rules, authorizing and validating everyday laws passed by an elected legislature. In other words, for them, Shariah is expected to function as something like a modern constitution.

The Rights of Humans and the Rights of God

So in contemporary Islamic politics, the call for Shariah does not only or primarily mean mandating the veiling of women or the use of corporal punishment — it has an essential constitutional dimension as well. But what is the particular appeal of placing Shariah above ordinary law?

The answer lies in a little-remarked feature of traditional Islamic government: that a state under Shariah was, for more than a thousand years, subject to a version of the rule of law. And as a rule-of-law government, the traditional Islamic state had an advantage that has been lost in the dictatorships and autocratic monarchies that have governed so much of the Muslim world for the last century. Islamic government was legitimate, in the dual sense that it generally respected the individual legal rights of its subjects and was seen by them as doing so. These individual legal rights, known as “the rights of humans” (in contrast to “the rights of God” to such things as ritual obedience), included basic entitlements to life, property and legal process — the protections from arbitrary government oppression sought by people all over the world for centuries.

**Lies, lies, lies. Where did this magical islamic land exist? Were there rainbows and unicorns and halal gumdrop trees there too?**


Power User
Posts: 42529

« Reply #101 on: March 25, 2008, 07:57:30 AM »

How al Qaeda Will Perish
March 25, 2008; Page A22

Do minors require their parents' consent to become suicide bombers? Believe it or not, this is the subject of an illuminating and bitter debate among the leading theoreticians of global jihad, with consequences that could be far-reaching.

On March 6, Al-Sahab, the media arm of al Qaeda, released a 46-minute video statement titled "They Lied: Now Is the Time to Fight." The speaker is Mustafa Ahmed Muhammad Uthman Abu-al-Yazid, 52, an Egyptian who runs al Qaeda's operations in Afghanistan, and the speech is in most respects the usual mix of earthly grievances, heavenly promises and militant exhortations. It's also an urgent call for recruits.

"We call on the fathers and mothers not to become a barrier between their children and paradise," says Abu-Al-Yazid. "If they disagree who should first join the jihad to go to paradise, let them compete, meaning the fathers and the children. . . . Also, we say to the Muslim wives, do not be a barrier between your husbands and paradise." Elsewhere in the message, he makes a "special call to the scholars and students seeking knowledge. . . . The jihad arenas are in dire need of your knowledge and the doors are open before you to bring about the virtue of teaching and jihad."

These particular appeals are no accident. Last year, imprisoned Egyptian radical Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif, a.k.a. "Dr. Fadl," published "The Document of Right Guidance for Jihad Activity in Egypt and the World." It is a systematic refutation of al Qaeda's theology and methods, which is all the more extraordinary considering the source. Sayyed Imam, 57, was the first "emir" of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, many of whose members (including his longtime associate Ayman al-Zawahiri) later merged with Osama bin Laden and his minions to become al Qaeda. His 1988 book, "Foundations of Preparation for Holy War," is widely considered the bible of Salafist jihadis.

Now he has recanted his former views. "The alternative" to violent jihadism, he says in an interview with the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat (translated by Memri), "is not to kill civilians, foreigners and tourists, destroy property and commit aggression against the lives and property of those who are inviolable under the pretext of jihad. All of this is forbidden."

Sayyed Imam is emphatic on the subject of the moral obligations of the would-be jihadist. "One who lacks the resources [to fight jihad] is forbidden to acquire money through forbidden means, like [burglary]," he says, adding that "Allah does not accept martyrdom as atonement for a mujahid's debts." As for a child's obligations toward his parents, he adds that "it is not permitted to go out to fight jihad without the permission of both parents . . . because acting rightly with one's parents is an individual obligation, and they have rights over their sons."

"This has become pandemic in our times," he adds in a pointedly non-theological aside. "We find parents who only learn that their son has gone to fight jihad after his picture is published in the newspapers as a fatality or a prisoner."

These "Revisions," as Sayyed Imam's book is widely known in Arab intellectual circles, elicited a harsh and immediate response from unreconstructed jihadists. "What kind of guidance does the 'Document' offer?" asked al Qaeda commander Abu Yahyha Al-Libi in a March 9 Internet posting. "Is it guidance that tells the mujahadeen and the Muslims: 'Restrain yourselves and [allow] us [Arab regimes] to shed your blood'?"

Even more sarcastic was Zawahiri himself. "Do they now have fax machines in Egyptian jail cells?" he asked. "I wonder if they're connected to the same line as the electric-shock machines." Zawahiri then penned a 215-page rebuttal to Sayyed Imam, whom he accuses of serving "the interests of the Crusader-Zionist alliance with the Arab leaders."

The gravamen of the hardliners' case against Sayyed Imam is that he has capitulated (either through force or persuasion) to the demands of his captors, and has become, in effect, their stooge. The suspicion seems partly borne out by Sayyed Imam's conspicuous renunciation of any desire to overthrow the Egyptian regime. One Turkish commentator, Dogu Ergil, notes that "in prison many jihadist inmates were encouraged by the Interior Ministry and security apparatus to engage in religious dialogue with clerics from al-Azhar," a Sunni religious university overseen by the state. Mr. Ergil calls this part of a deliberate "counter-radicalization program" by the Egyptian government.

But whatever Sayyed Imam's motives, it is the neuralgic response by his erstwhile fellow travelers that matters most. There really is a broad rethink sweeping the Muslim world about the practical utility -- and moral defensibility -- of terrorism, particularly since al Qaeda began targeting fellow Sunni Muslims, as it did with the 2005 suicide bombings of three hotels in Amman, Jordan. Al Qaeda knows this. Osama bin Laden is no longer quite the folk hero he was in 2001. Reports of al Qaeda's torture chambers in Iraq have also percolated through Arab consciousness, replacing, to some extent, the images of Abu Ghraib. Even among Saudis, a recent survey by Terror Free Tomorrow finds that "less than one in ten Saudis have a favorable opinion of Al Qaeda, and 88 percent approve the Saudi military and police pursuing Al Qaeda fighters."

No less significant is that the rejection of al Qaeda is not a liberal phenomenon, in the sense that it represents a more tolerant mindset or a better opinion of the U.S. On the contrary, this is a revolt of the elders, whether among the tribal chiefs of Anbar province or Islamist godfathers like Sayyed Imam. They have seen through (or punctured) the al Qaeda mythology of standing for an older, supposedly truer form of Islam. Rather, they have come to know al Qaeda as fundamentally a radical movement -- the antithesis of the traditional social order represented by the local sovereign, the religious establishment, the head of the clan and, not least, the father who expects to know the whereabouts of his children.

It would be a delightful irony if militant Islam were ultimately undone by a conservative, Thermidor-style reaction. That may not be the kind of progress most of us imagined or hoped for. But it is progress of a kind.

Power User
Posts: 42529

« Reply #102 on: April 07, 2008, 04:27:00 PM »

This piece aggressively articulates what many fear is the case:

Adapted from Dr. Peter Hammond's book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The
Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat.

Islam is not a religion nor is it a cult. It is a complete system. Islam has
Religious, legal, political, economic and military components. The religious
Component is a beard for all the other components. Islamization occurs
When there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their so-called
"religious rights." When politically correct and culturally diverse Societies
Agree to "the reasonable" Muslim demands for their "religious
Rights," they also get the other components under the table. Here's how it
Works (percentages source CIA: The World Fact Book (2007)).

As long as the Muslim population remains around 1% of any given country
They will be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to anyone.
In fact, they may be featured in articles and films, stereotyped for their
Colorful uniqueness:

United States -- Muslim 1.0%
Australia -- Muslim 1.5%
Canada -- Muslim 1.9%
China -- Muslim 1%-2%
Italy -- Muslim 1.5%
Norway -- Muslim 1.8%

At 2% and 3% they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and
Disaffected groups with major recruiting from the jails and among street

Denmark -- Muslim 2%
Germany -- Muslim 3.7%
United Kingdom -- Muslim 2.7%
Spain -- Muslim 4%
Thailand -- Muslim 4.6%

From 5% on they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their
Percentage of the population. They will push for the introduction of halal
(clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs
For Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature
It on their shelves -- along with threats for failure to comply. (United States).

France -- Muslim 8%
Philippines -- Muslim 5%
Sweden -- Muslim 5%
Switzerland -- Muslim 4.3%
The Netherlands -- Muslim 5.5%
Trinidad & Tobago -- Muslim 5.8%

At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to
Rule themselves under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islam
Is not to convert the world but to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

When Muslims reach 10% of the population, they will increase lawlessness
As a means of complaint about their conditions (Paris -- car-burnings). Any
Non-Muslim action that offends Islam will result in uprisings and threats
(Amsterdam -- Mohammed cartoons).

Guyana -- Muslim 10%
India -- Muslim 13.4%
Israel -- Muslim 16%
Kenya -- Muslim 10%
Russia -- Muslim 10-15%

After reaching 20% expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations,
Sporadic killings and church and synagogue burning:

Ethiopia -- Muslim 32.8%

At 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and
Ongoing militia warfare:

Bosnia -- Muslim 40%
Chad -- Muslim 53.1%
Lebanon -- Muslim 59.7%

From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution of non-believers and other
Religions, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a
Weapon and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels:

Albania -- Muslim 70%
Malaysia -- Muslim 60.4%
Qatar -- Muslim 77.5%
Sudan -- Muslim 70%

After 80% expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide:

Bangladesh -- Muslim 83%
Egypt -- Muslim 90%
Gaza -- Muslim 98.7%
Indonesia -- Muslim 86.1%
Iran -- Muslim 98%
Iraq -- Muslim 97%
Jordan -- Muslim 92%
Morocco -- Muslim 98.7%
Pakistan -- Muslim 97%
Palestine -- Muslim 99%
Syria -- Muslim 90%
Tajikistan -- Muslim 90%
Turkey -- Muslim 99.8%
United Arab Emirates -- Muslim 96%

100% will usher in the peace of "Dar-es-Salaam" -- the Islamic House of
Peace -- there's supposed to be peace because everybody is a Muslim:

Afghanistan -- Muslim 100%
Saudi Arabia -- Muslim 100%
Somalia -- Muslim 100%
Yemen -- Muslim 99.9%

"Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me
Against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against
My cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against
The world and all of us against the infidel. -- Leon Uris, "The Haj"

It is good to remember that in many, many countries, such as France, the
Muslim populations are centered around ghettos based on their ethnicity.
Muslims do not integrate into the community at large. Therefore, they
exercise more power than their national average would indicate.

Adapted from Dr. Peter Hammond's book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The
Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat..
Power User
Posts: 42529

« Reply #103 on: February 13, 2009, 02:25:19 PM »

Concerning the doctrines of deceit:
Power User
Posts: 42529

« Reply #104 on: February 23, 2009, 05:59:25 PM »

Death to the Infidels! Uh, Never Mind.

London's Daily Telegraph reports that one of the founding fathers of contemporary Islamist terrorism has had a change of heart:

Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, who goes by the nom de guerre Dr Fadl, helped bin Laden create al-Qaeda and then led an Islamist insurgency in Egypt in the 1990s.  But in a book written from inside an Egyptian prison, he has launched a frontal attack on al-Qaeda's ideology and the personal failings of bin Laden and particularly his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Twenty years ago, Dr Fadl became al-Qaeda's intellectual figurehead with a crucial book setting out the rationale for global jihad against the West.

Today, however, he believes the murder of innocent people is both contrary to Islam and a strategic error. "Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers," writes Dr Fadl.
The Telegraph notes that terrorist movements often go through a "process of disintegration" that "begins with a senior leader publicly denouncing his old colleagues. Dr Fadl's missives may show that al-Qaeda has entered this vital stage." Vital would seem the wrong choice of adjective, though, wouldn't it?

Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #105 on: March 18, 2009, 08:00:43 PM »

- Pajamas Media - -

Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Torments of the Grave
Posted By Raymond Ibrahim On March 14, 2009 @ 12:00 am In . Positioning, Books, Culture, History, Middle East, World News | 27 Comments

Why do some Muslims become suicide bombers or “martyrs”? In fact, these two near antithetic words — on the one hand, broken, desperate suicides, on the other, heroic martyrs — intrinsically demonstrate the radically different epistemologies the average Westerner and Muslim will articulate their answer through. In other words, that Westerners consider them suicides while Muslims consider them martyrs in and of itself speaks volumes on motivation.

To the secular Western mind, such Muslims are simply frustrated: oppressed and depressed, and with nothing to lose, these Muslims (so the logic goes) end their suffering in the name of some “noble” cause — be it the “liberation of al-Aqsa” or the razing of U.S. skyscrapers. All their talk about Islam, “obligations,” or 72 dark-eyed virgins is but a cover for their true motivation: “revenge” on the one hand, escape from an oppressive existence on the other. Most recently, “shame” has been cited as another culprit: al-Qaeda has been raping and thereby shaming [1] women — and [2] men — into becoming “martyrs.”

Conversely, from a purely Muslim point of view, becoming a martyr is not only a guarantee to eternal paradise — which, if many secular Westerners deem “silly,” the devotees of Allah take very seriously — but a paradise that may appeal to some of man’s most libidinous desires. Thus, whereas the Christian heaven is purely spiritual — “they shall neither marry nor give into marriage” (Matthew 22:30) and not necessarily “enticing” — some Muslim accounts of paradise are downright hedonistic.

Scriptural references demonstrative of this are many. Consider Koran 36:55-56: “For the inhabitants of paradise on that day shall be engaged in joyous activities [shughlin fakihun] — they and their wives, reclined on raised cushions.” A number of the most authoritative exegetes, such as Ibn Kathir (see [3] here), have interpreted “engaged in joyous activities” as meaning “they will be busy deflowering virgins.” (See also [4] al-Jalalayn’s tafsir, where he concurs.)

That said, it is of course difficult to accept that any Muslim man would become a suicide bomber primarily because he wants to copulate in perpetuity — even if Islam’s prophet is on the record saying that men in heaven will have the sexual potency of 100 men (to better handle the countless maidens). Also, what about women, who have increasingly taken to becoming suicide bombers? Surely sex is not their motivation.

However, before concluding that Muslims become suicide bombers purely out of desperation, frustration, or shame, it should be borne in mind that, aside from the theological guarantee of a hedonistic paradise, there is yet another, antithetical reason that may subtly compel Muslims to seek martyrdom.

This is the little-known doctrine of ‘adhab al-qabr, or the “torments of the grave.” Anyone familiar with Islam’s texts has repeatedly come across this curious phrase; anyone who has listened to Muslim sermons has been severely warned against it. The torments of the grave are a very real doctrine that has the tendency to drive believers to despair — I have watched grown men and women on Arabic satellite relay the terror this doctrine has worked in their lives — making them eager to do whatever is necessary to avoid it.

Based on a close reading of Islam’s texts, the following account represents Sunni Islam’s standard teachings of after-death experiences:

First, the soul is said to return to the corpse while it is interred. As the pallbearers carry the body to the grave, its soul follows behind crying, “Oh my, wherever are they taking me?!” — all while the gaping grave moans, “I am the house of strangeness; I am the house of loneliness; I am the house of dust; I am the house of worms.”

After being laid to rest by the gravediggers, the dead “hear” the gravediggers as they walk away — implying, as the forthcoming torments suggest, and ulema maintain, that the dead experience “physical” sensations. (Perhaps this is why Muslims are in the habit of offering audible “greetings” to the dead — who “hear” — whenever they pass their graves?)

Every soul, once entombed along with its body, is tried by two angels. The hadith states: “His [the dead's] soul returns to his body; then two angels arrive and sit him up for questioning” — specifically, “Who is your lord, what is your religion, who is your prophet?” If he answers Allah, Islam, and Muhammad, respectively, he is granted paradise; if not, the torments begin.

While these questions appear deceptively easy to answer, and thus even the most nominal Muslim should be able to pass this ghoulish inquisition unscathed, the reason Muslims fear failing the test may be associated with Islam’s infamous fatalism: “Those who believe, Allah will strengthen with a firm word, in this world and the hereafter; but the unjust he leads astray [in this world and the hereafter]. Allah does what he will” (Koran 14:27). Ulema have interpreted this verse as revolving around the angels’ interrogation and the ability of the dead — or rather, Allah’s desire for them — to answer right or wrong.

As for infidels and nominal Muslims (al-muslim al-‘assi), their response to each of the angels’ questions is inevitably: “Uh, uh … I don’t know.” After being verbally chastised by the angels and a “voice from heaven,” the torments begin in earnest.

First, the angels pulverize the body with a “massive iron hammer” — one that “has no equal [in power and size] in the world.” In the process, “he [the dead] cries out in such a manner that all creation — minus humans and jinn [supernatural beings] — hear him.” Another hadith states that this hammer is such that “if a mountain was struck by it, the mountain would crumble into dust; the dead [man] is struck such a blow that he crumbles into dust — but Allah reassembles him, and he is struck again,” apparently in perpetuity.

Next, the grave is said to “tighten” around the corpse, till its bones pop and crack — all while the soul is still trapped inside, suffering, suffocating. Some ulema maintain the dead — with their souls experiencing these travails — stay in this position till judgment day.

Then comes the turn of the tomb-snake, known as al-shaja‘ al-aqra’ (roughly translated as the “bald brave one”); designed by Allah to torment the dead, this snake “eats his [the dead's] flesh, from head to toe; then his flesh returns, and it [the snake] eats his flesh from toe to head, and so on.” Yet another hadith has not one snake, but 70 dragons: “Allah shall set upon him 70 dragons, such that if one of them were to blow upon the earth, the earth would fail and wither away. They will rend and tear, maul and mull upon him until the day of reckoning” — all while he continues screaming, though no human or jinn hears. Still another hadith declares that the dead will be attacked by 99 dragons; each dragon will consist of 70 serpents; each serpent will have nine heads — for a total of 62,370 serpent heads tormenting the corpse in perpetuity.


At this point, the (especially) Western reader may think all this absurd, that no Muslim can truly believe such things, that this is all moot and can hardly ever drive anyone to action, much less suicide. That (according to Muhammad) one of the greatest “sins” responsible for sending people to the torments of the grave is failing to properly clean oneself after urinating may further lead to the conviction that this is all farcical, hardly a reason to bring Muslims to despair.

Yet here again we are entered into the tricky realm of epistemology: every civilization has its own particular sources, physical or metaphysical, whence knowledge, and thence “truth,” is articulated. For mainstream Islam, the Koran first, followed by the vast corpus of hadith — particularly the “canonical six,” which the aforementioned account of graveyard torments is mostly based on — form the basis of all truth and reality.

Moreover, everything written in these sources is generally taken literally. Thus the same literalism that compelled Islam’s most authoritative institution, al-Azhar, to issue a fatwa prompting [6] women to “breastfeed” strange men, compels Muslims today to accept the torments of the grave literally — pounding mallets, 62,370 snapping serpents, and all.

Anyone who closely follows Arabic-Islamic TV will further know that the torments of the grave, as described, have instilled fear and terror in the lives of Muslims. I have personally watched an al-Haya TV episode where a young Muslim woman, in tears and almost hysterical, was describing her morbid fear of the torments. I have also seen the ulema on Iqra TV, also in tears, lament the fate of those (”moderate”) Muslims who are destined to experience the torments of the grave. Other recovering Muslims maintain that sheikhs regularly cultivate fear of the torments of the grave in the lives of the youth.

The fact is, Muslims, even the most pious among them, have good reason to be fearful of the torments of the grave: Talking about his pious dead companion, Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh, Muhammad observed, “The grave has an oppressive tightness, and were [it possible for] anyone to escape this, Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh would have done so, for he is the one for whom the Throne of the All-Merciful shook.” Moreover, there is the famous hadith where Muhammad said, “My umma shall be split into 73 sects — all of which will go to the fire [hell], except one which shall be saved.” In other words, few Muslims have any guarantees that they will not visit the torments of the grave.

Still, what does any of this have to do with the jihad in general, or suicide bombing/martyrdom operations in particular? Plenty. Inasmuch as the torments of the grave clearly terrify Muslims, so too are there clear-cut ways of evading them. Three have been ascertained. The first two are quite haphazard: Muslims who happen to die on Friday (al-jum‘a, the day of Muslim congregation) and Muslims who happen to die of stomach aches are exonerated from the torments. Why? The prophet said so.

However, the ulema have been quick to point out and stress a third way — dying as a “martyr” fi sabil Allah (in the cause of Allah), i.e., during the jihad. In fact, in a hadith I first encountered when translating al-Qaeda texts for [7] The Al Qaeda Reader, Muhammad said:

The martyr is special to Allah. He is forgiven from the first drop of blood [that he sheds]. He sees his throne in paradise, where he will be adorned in ornaments of faith. He will wed the ‘aynhour [wide-eyed virgins] and will not know the torments of the grave and safeguards against the greater horror [hell]. Fixed atop his head will be a crown of honor, a ruby that is greater than the world and all it contains. And he will copulate with seventy-two ‘aynhour and be able to offer intercessions for seventy of his relatives.

And here one sees that, alongside the enticement of celestial copulation, the torments of the grave have the potential to terrify Muslims into “martyrdom.” This also begs the question: if these torments of the grave have the capacity to terrorize Muslims into considering a premature death fi sabil Allah, how much more can fear of Islam’s hell — the “greater horror” — goad Muslims to seek out martyrdom, which not only safeguards against the torments of the grave but hell itself?

The torments of the grave are a reminder of how important it is to take Islam’s doctrines — no matter how quaint or esoteric — seriously; dismissing them out of hand, since they seem silly to “us,” is arrogance. Anyone who truly wishes to ameliorate the phenomenon of Muslim suicide bombings, while taking into account all those “secular” reasons — poverty, frustration, desperation — should also, to be thoroughly holistic, take into account the psychological damage created by such arcane doctrines.

Finally, it is well to observe that, if little-known doctrines such as the torments of the grave have the capacity to goad Muslims into seeking martyrdom, how much more can be expected from the very well-known doctrinal obligation of jihad itself?

Article printed from Pajamas Media:

URL to article:

URLs in this post:
[1] women:
[2] men:
[3] here:
[4] al-Jalalayn:

[5] Image:
[6] women to “breastfeed” strange men:
[7] The Al Qaeda Reader:
Power User
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« Reply #106 on: December 09, 2009, 05:47:16 AM »

Maj. Nidal Hasan's lawyer is considering an insanity plea as a strategy for his client. That might be the only legal option available to the man accused of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood. But Nidal Hasan should also consider a religious option: repentance.

He should take responsibility for his horrific act of violence. He should beg for forgiveness from God for murdering 13 people and injuring 31 more. He should apologize to the families of the victims. He should ask for forgiveness from his fellow members of the military, and from the American people, as he betrayed our entire nation—including Muslim-Americans who are paying the price for his shameful and un-Islamic actions.

Maj. Hasan is granted the presumption of innocence in our courts of law, be they civilian or military. His military-appointed lawyer will likely advise him not to confess to anything. Legally, that may be sound advice. But religiously that advice cuts against the grain of the divine value of justice. Maj. Hasan must take responsibility for committing two major sins in Islam—the murder of his fellow citizens and the violation of two oaths he took.

Maj. Hasan took an oath as a member of the U.S. military to defend our country. He also took a Hippocratic oath to protect his patients. The violation of these oaths is a violation of the Quranic principle which states that making a pledge to anyone is tantamount to making a pledge to God. The Quran states: "(Be not like those) who use their oaths as a means of deceiving one another" (16:92).

His now infamous PowerPoint presentation is rife with distortions of the Quran. Entitled "The Koranic Worldview As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military," it provides anything but a Quranic perspective. Maj. Hasan's critical fault in understanding the Quran was his failure to distinguish between two very important categories of verses: those tied to the specific context of seventh-century Arabia, and those that are absolute and permanent.

He ignores the Quranic mandates, for example, to stand for justice even if it is against your own interest, and to avoid transgression in the pursuit of justice. Yet the most troubling part of his presentation are his conclusions. One of them is: "Muslims are moderate (compromising) but God is not." There are two critical flaws in this one sentence.

OpinionJournal Related Stories:
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Reuel Marc Gerecht: Major Hasan and Holy War
After the Fort Hood Massacre
.First, to make any kind of declaration about God being unforgiving violates Islam's central teachings of mercy and compassion. The Quran makes it clear that human beings are meant to embody God's generous spirit. To argue otherwise is to violate God's will and Islam's goal of peacemaking.

Second, being moderate is about upholding religious values while working with other members of society for the greater good. Extremists believe they are compromising their Islamic values when living in the West. This is not true. And Muslim-haters oblige them with the converse, when they argue that the West should not tolerate Muslims. This is not just.

Maj. Hasan's hodgepodge of verses from the Quran and quotes from extremists left out the most important Quranic verse in his section on enjoining peace and forgiveness: "God invites you into the abode of peace" (10:25). Nor did he include the admonition by the Prophet Muhammad never to harm the innocent and never to target noncombatants.

Nidal Hasan doesn't just need legal support; he needs religious consultation that could help him see the enormity of his situation when he faces his Creator. Unfortunately, he may become an icon for violent extremism, leading other young people and civilians to their deaths.

So what should the U.S. government do? Consider allowing Muslim-American religious leaders to meet with Nidal Hasan. Muslim leaders could encourage him to repent. And they could engage Maj. Hasan on his deeply flawed understanding of Islam, explaining that the Quran is an instrument to take people from darkness to light, not the opposite.

Nidal Hasan is reportedly reading letters. I hope he reads this article, for his sake and for the sake of our country.

Mr. Al-Marayati is executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
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« Reply #107 on: December 13, 2009, 11:59:44 PM »

U.S. Muslim leader explains how Fort Hood jihadist misunderstands Islam
Here is that rare thing, an attempt to show with specific Qur'anic citations how an Islamic jihadist is misusing the Qur'an and misunderstanding the true, peaceful teachings of Islam. Usually those who assert such things are extremely vague about just how Islam and the Qur'an are being misused.

Unfortunately, however, this is written by Salam al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) -- a fact that immediately arouses suspicion. MPAC, for example, has trafficked in moral equivalence between jihadists and anti-jihadists regarding Israel. It was no surprise when the organization joined CAIR and other groups in 2004 in signing a "Joint Muslims/Arab-American Statement on Israel Violence in Gaza." The organizations echoed some of the most virulent rhetoric that jihadists employ in their offensives against the Jewish state, condemning "Israel's recent indiscriminate killings of innocent Palestinians, including many children," without even mentioning the targeting by Palestinian suicide bombers of Israeli citizens on buses and in restaurants, or the Israeli government's diametrically opposed policy of never targeting civilians.

Such extreme rhetoric was nothing new for MPAC. On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, on a Los Angeles radio show, al-Maryati added fuel to the wildest, most paranoid conspiracy theories about the attacks that had just unfolded: "If we're going to look at suspects we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what's happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies."

This was not al-Maryati's only outburst of anti-Israeli malevolence. Daniel Pipes recounts a "February 1996 incident when a Palestinian named Muhammad Hamida shouted the fundamentalist war cry, Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great), as he drove his car intentionally into a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem, killing one Israeli and injuring 23 others. Before he could escape or hurt anyone else, Hamida was shot dead. Commenting on the affair, Mr. Al-Marayati said not a word about Hamida's murderous rampage but instead focused on Hamida's death, which he called 'a provocative act,' and demanded the extradition of his executors to America 'to be tried in a U.S. court' on terrorism charges."

Al-Maryati in 1996 equated violent jihadists with the Founding Fathers: "Most Islamic movements have been branded as terrorists as a result of the rising extremism from a handful of militants. American freedom fighters hundreds of years ago were also regarded as terrorists by the British."

"Repentance is the only option for the Fort Hood killer," by Salam al-Marayati in the Wall Street Journal, December 9 (thanks to all who sent this in):

[...] Maj. Hasan took an oath as a member of the U.S. military to defend our country. He also took a Hippocratic oath to protect his patients. The violation of these oaths is a violation of the Quranic principle which states that making a pledge to anyone is tantamount to making a pledge to God. The Quran states: "(Be not like those) who use their oaths as a means of deceiving one another" (16:92).
QED, eh? Salam al-Marayati would have us believe that it's very simple: the Qur'an says don't break your oaths, Hasan broke his oath, and so Hasan, despite appearances to the contrary, is a Muslim heretic, a Misunderstander of Islam.

Unfortunately, however, there are indications in the Hadith that oaths taken to Infidels don't have that unbreakable character. Muhammad, of course, said, "War is deceit." He also said, "By Allah, and Allah willing, if I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath."

Muhammad said this in the context of being able to do something better for his men than what he had promised to do, and so al-Marayati may argue that shooting up Fort Hood was in no way better than remaining loyal to the U.S. military, but from the jihadist point of view a jihad against Infidels is certainly better than submitting to those Infidels. After all, Muhammad also said, when asked what was the best deed, that jihad was best after professing faith in Islam. He also recommended to his followers that they break their oaths if they found a better course of action.

Those who would say that Qur'an trumps Hadith whenever there is a contradiction, and that therefore oaths are always and everywhere binding upon Muslims, must then explain why that has never been understood as such in the Islamic world. History is full of examples of Muslims breaking oaths and treaties with Infidels. Were they all misunderstanding Islam?

In any case, al-Marayati mentions none of this. And why not? He could have given a much more convincing and honest presentation if he had acknowledged the existence within Islamic tradition of justifications for oath-breaking, and explained -- if he could -- why they did not excuse Hasan's behavior. But he didn't.

His now infamous PowerPoint presentation is rife with distortions of the Quran. Entitled "The Koranic Worldview As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military," it provides anything but a Quranic perspective. Maj. Hasan's critical fault in understanding the Quran was his failure to distinguish between two very important categories of verses: those tied to the specific context of seventh-century Arabia, and those that are absolute and permanent.
Here al-Marayati implies, without offering specifics, that the martial verses of the Qur'an that Hasan quoted are understood by mainstream Islamic theology to apply only to seventh-century Arabia. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Very early in the history of Islam, Muslims noticed and began to grapple with how Muhammad's messages changed in character over the course of his prophetic career. Muhammad's earliest biographer, a pious Muslim named Ibn Ishaq, explains the progression of Qur'anic revelation about warfare. First, he explains, Allah allowed Muslims to wage defensive warfare. But that was not Allah's last word on the circumstances in which Muslims should fight. Ibn Ishaq explains offensive jihad by invoking a Qur'anic verse: "Then God sent down to him: 'Fight them so that there be no more seduction,' i.e. until no believer is seduced from his religion. 'And the religion is God's', i.e. Until God alone is worshipped."

The Qur'an verse Ibn Ishaq quotes here (2:193) commands much more than defensive warfare: Muslims must fight until "the religion is God's" - that is, until Allah alone is worshipped. Ibn Ishaq gives no hint that that command died with the seventh century.

Nor do all contemporary Islamic thinkers believe that that command is a relic of history. According to a 20th century Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh 'Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid, "at first 'the fighting' was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory." He also distinguishes two groups Muslims must fight: "(1) against them who start 'the fighting' against you (Muslims) . . . (2) and against all those who worship others along with Allah . . . as mentioned in Surat Al-Baqarah (II), Al-Imran (III) and At-Taubah (IX) . . . and other Surahs (Chapters of the Qur'an)." (The Roman numerals after the names of the chapters of the Qur'an are the numbers of the suras: Sheikh 'Abdullah is referring to Qur'anic verses such as 2:216, 3:157-158, 9:5, and 9:29.)

This understanding of the Qur'an isn't limited to the Wahhabi sect of Saudi Arabia, to which Sheikh 'Abdullah belongs, and which many Western analysts imagine to have originated Islamic doctrines of warfare against unbelievers. Jihad theorist Sayyid Qutb, who was not a Wahhabi, subscribes to the same view of the Qur'an. In his jihad manifesto Milestones, he quotes at length from the great medieval scholar Ibn Qayyim (1292-1350), who, says Qutb, "has summed up the nature of Islamic Jihaad." Ibn Qayyim outlines the stages of the Muhammad's prophetic career: "For thirteen years after the beginning of his Messengership, he called people to God through preaching, without fighting or Jizyah, and was commanded to restrain himself and to practice patience and forbearance. Then he was commanded to migrate, and later permission was given to fight. Then he was commanded to fight those who fought him, and to restrain himself from those who did not make war with him. Later he was commanded to fight the polytheists until God's religion was fully established."

Qutb summarizes the stages: "Thus, according to the explanation by Imam Ibn Qayyim, the Muslims were first restrained from fighting; then they were permitted to fight; then they were commanded to fight against the aggressors; and finally they were commanded to fight against all the polytheists." He further quotes Ibn Qayyim as emphasizing the need to wage war against and subjugate non-Muslims, particularly the Jewish and Christian "People of the Book": "After the command for Jihaad came, the non-believers were divided into three categories: one, those with whom there was peace; two, the people with whom the Muslims were at war; and three, the Dhimmies....It was also explained that war should be declared against those from among the 'People of the Book' who declare open enmity, until they agree to pay Jizyah or accept Islam. Concerning the polytheists and the hypocrites, it was commanded in this chapter that Jihaad be declared against them and that they be treated harshly." Qutb says that if someone rejects Islam, "then it is the duty of Islam to fight him until either he is killed or until he declares his submission."

In fact, some classical Islamic theologians are as far from thinking that the verses commanding jihad against Infidels no longer apply in our own age as you can get. Some assert that the Verse of the Sword (Qur'an 9:5, "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them") abrogates no less than 124 more peaceful and tolerant verses of the Qur'an. Tafsir al-Jalalayn, a commentary on the Qur'an by the respected imams Jalal al-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Mahalli (1389-1459) and Jalal al-Din 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr al-Suyuti (1445-1505), asserts that the Qur'an's ninth sura "was sent down when security was removed by the sword." Another mainstream and respected Qur'an commentator, Ibn Kathir (1301-1372), declares that Qur'an 9:5 "abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty, and every term....No idolater had any more treaty or promise of safety ever since Surah Bara'ah [the ninth sura] was revealed." Ibn Juzayy (d. 1340), yet another Qur'an commentator whose works are still read in the Islamic world, agrees: the Verse of the Sword's purpose is "abrogating every peace treaty in the Qur'an."

None of them say that the Verse of the Sword applies only to the seventh century.

Ibn Kathir makes this clear in his commentary on another "tolerance verse": "And he [Muhammad] saith: O my Lord! Lo! these are a folk who believe not. Then bear with them, O Muhammad, and say: Peace. But they will come to know" (43:88-89). Ibn Kathir explains: "Say Salam (peace!) means, 'do not respond to them in the same evil manner in which they address you; but try to soften their hearts and forgive them in word and deed.'" However, that is not the end of the passage. Ibn Kathir then takes up the last part: "But they will come to know. This is a warning from Allah for them. His punishment, which cannot be warded off, struck them, and His religion and His word was supreme. Subsequently Jihad and striving were prescribed until the people entered the religion of Allah in crowds, and Islam spread throughout the east and the west."

And so today. The Saudi Sheikh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajid (1962-), whose lectures and Islamic rulings (fatawa) circulate widely throughout the Islamic world, demonstrates this in a discussion of whether Muslims should force others to accept Islam. In considering Qur'an 2:256 ("There is no compulsion in religion,") the Sheikh quotes Qur'an 9:29, as well as 8:39 ("And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allaah), and the religion (worship) will all be for Allaah Alone [in the whole of the world]"), and the Verse of the Sword. Of the latter, Sheikh Muhammad says simply: "This verse is known as Ayat al-Sayf (the verse of the sword). These and similar verses abrogate the verses which say that there is no compulsion to become Muslim."

Underscoring the fact that none of this is merely of historical interest is another Shafi'i manual of Islamic law that in 1991 was certified by the highest authority in Sunni Islam, Cairo's Al-Azhar University, as conforming "to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community." This manual, 'Umdat al-Salik (available in English as Reliance of the Traveller), spends a considerable amount of time explaining jihad as "war against non-Muslims." It spells out the nature of this warfare in quite specific terms: "the caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians . . . until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax." It adds a comment by a Jordanian jurist that corresponds to Muhammad's instructions to call the unbelievers to Islam before fighting them: the caliph wages this war only "provided that he has first invited [Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians] to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya) . . . while remaining in their ancestral religions."

Also, if there is no caliph, Muslims must still wage jihad. In any case, the desire to restore the caliphate ultimately highlights the expansionist, imperialist, totalitarian, globalist aims of the jihad movement, even as today it presents itself as a defensive action against Western evils. That expansionism is based on Qur'anic passages such as 9:29 and the life and teachings of Muhammad. The Pakistani Brigadier S. K. Malik's 1979 book The Qur'anic Concept of War (a book that carried a glowing endorsement from Pakistan's then-future President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who said that it explained "the ONLY pattern of war" that a Muslim country could legitimately wage) delineates the same stages in the Qur'anic teaching about jihad: "The Muslim migration to Medina brought in its wake events and decisions of far-reaching significance and consequence for them. While in Mecca, they had neither been proclaimed an Ummah [community] nor were they granted the permission to take up arms against their oppressors. In Medina, a divine revelation proclaimed them an 'Ummah' and granted them the permission to take up arms against their oppressors. The permission was soon afterwards converted into a divine command making war a religious obligation for the faithful."

Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, Assistant Professor on the Faculty of Shari'ah and Law of the International Islamic University in Islamabad, in a 1994 book on Islamic law quotes the twelfth century Maliki jurist Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd. Ibn Rushd reports on a consensus (ijma) among Muslim scholars on jihad warfare - and in traditional Islamic legal terms a consensus among scholars, once reached, cannot be modified. "Why wage war?" asks Ibn Rushd, and then he answers his own question: "Muslim jurists agreed that the purpose of fighting with the People of the one of two things: it is either their conversion to Islam or the payment of jizyah." Nyazee concludes: "This leaves no doubt that the primary goal of the Muslim community, in the eyes of its jurists, is to spread the word of Allah through jihad, and the option of poll-tax [jizya] is to be exercised only after subjugation" of non-Muslims.

But if this is so, why hasn't the worldwide Islamic community been waging jihad on a large scale up until relatively recently? Nyazee says it is only because they have not been able to do so: "the Muslim community may be considered to be passing through a period of truce. In its present state of weakness, there is nothing much it can do about it."

Al-Marayati could, here again, have assuaged doubts by discussing Islam's martial teachings and explained -- if he could -- why Hasan was not appropriating them properly. But he didn't.

He ignores the Quranic mandates, for example, to stand for justice even if it is against your own interest, and to avoid transgression in the pursuit of justice. Yet the most troubling part of his presentation are his conclusions. One of them is: "Muslims are moderate (compromising) but God is not." There are two critical flaws in this one sentence.
First, to make any kind of declaration about God being unforgiving violates Islam's central teachings of mercy and compassion. The Quran makes it clear that human beings are meant to embody God's generous spirit. To argue otherwise is to violate God's will and Islam's goal of peacemaking.

Second, being moderate is about upholding religious values while working with other members of society for the greater good. Extremists believe they are compromising their Islamic values when living in the West. This is not true. And Muslim-haters oblige them with the converse, when they argue that the West should not tolerate Muslims. This is not just.

Maj. Hasan's hodgepodge of verses from the Quran and quotes from extremists left out the most important Quranic verse in his section on enjoining peace and forgiveness: "God invites you into the abode of peace" (10:25). Nor did he include the admonition by the Prophet Muhammad never to harm the innocent and never to target noncombatants....

Here again, it all depends on how one defines "innocent."
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« Reply #108 on: December 14, 2009, 08:10:58 AM »

UK Imam: "Non-Muslims are never innocent, they are guilty of denying Allah and his prophet"
The Anjem Chaudary video has, of course, been circulating for quite some time -- it was already old when we posted it in December 2006 -- but it bears repeating whenever you hear a Muslim spokesman in the West claiming that Islam forbids the killing of innocent civilians. Why is it so hard to get a definition of "innocent" in this context?

"Report: Non-Muslims Deserve to Be Punished," from FoxNews (thanks to PNM):

A report posted on Islam Watch, a site run by Muslims who oppose intolerant teachings and hatred for unbelievers, exposes a prominent Islamic cleric and lawyer who support extreme punishment for non-Muslims — including killing and rape.
A question-and-answer session with Imam Abdul Makin in an East London mosque asks why Allah would tell Muslims to kill and rape innocent non-Muslims, including their wives and daughters, according to Islam Watch.

"Because non-Muslims are never innocent, they are guilty of denying Allah and his prophet," the Imam says, according to the report. "If you don't believe me, here is the legal authority, the top Muslim lawyer of Britain."

The lawyer, Anjem Choudary, backs up the Imam's position, saying that all Muslims are innocent.

Click here to watch the interview with Islamic lawyer Anjem Choudary.

"You are innocent if you are a Muslim," Choudary tells the BBC. "Then you are innocent in the eyes of God. If you are not a Muslim, then you are guilty of not believing in God."

Choudary said he would not condemn a Muslim for any action.

"As a Muslim, I must support my Muslim brothers and sisters," Choudary said. "I must have hatred to everything that is not Muslim."
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« Reply #109 on: January 12, 2010, 12:22:17 PM »

Saudi Arabia: Top Scholar Calls Al Qaeda Membership Un-Islamic
January 12, 2010
A senior Saudi cleric declared that joining al Qaeda is forbidden by Islam, Middle East Online reported Jan. 12. Speaking to the Okaz newspaper, Sheikh Abdul Mohsen al-Obeikan, a leading religious scholar and adviser in King Abdullah’s court, reiterated the official Saudi stance that al Qaeda’s philosophy is one of “takfirism,” or accusing others of apostasy. “Takfir thinking” is forbidden in Islam, he said.
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« Reply #110 on: January 12, 2010, 12:57:00 PM »

Nothing new there. The Saudi ulema does what the Saudi royals wish.
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« Reply #111 on: January 12, 2010, 04:16:20 PM »

I know that.  It just seemed fair to mention it.  smiley
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« Reply #112 on: October 08, 2010, 05:59:55 PM »

I saw today that the Islamo-fascists in Pakistan have bombed a Sufi mosque yet again.

This got me to thinking about the various times I have run across indications that Sufism (Sufiiism?) is a tolerant strand of Islam-- which is why the Islamo-fascists do not tolerate it and regard it as apostasy.

Anyway, the purpose of this post here is to call upon the considerable intellectual capabilities of this board to be on the lookout for worthy discussions of Sufi-ism and whether Sufis can be allies in Civilization's war with the Barbarians of Islamo-fascism.
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« Reply #113 on: October 08, 2010, 07:46:14 PM »

Iraqi Sufis donate to Hamas, boast of jihad activity in Iraq

Sufis applaud Hamas' jihad

Many times over the years, when I have pointed out that all the orthodox Islamic sects and schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach the necessity to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers, people have countered by invoking the Sufis, whom they believe to be entirely peaceful and devoted to a wholly spiritualized form of Islam.

Unfortunately, this is not the case, and has never been the case, as Andrew Bostom showed here: Sufis from al-Ghazali to the present day have taught the necessity of jihad warfare, and have participated in that warfare. Here is more evidence: Iraqi representatives of the Naqshabandi Sufi order meet with Khaled Mashaal of Hamas, praise his jihad, donate jewelry to him, and boast of their own jihad attacks against Americans in Iraq.

"Hamas Leader Khaled Mash’al Meets with Iraqi Terrorists and Accepts Their Women’s Gold," from MEMRI, January 22 (thanks to Andrew Bostom):
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« Reply #114 on: October 15, 2010, 11:48:53 PM »
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« Reply #115 on: January 12, 2011, 07:43:33 AM »
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« Reply #116 on: February 09, 2011, 07:52:30 AM »

Much here worth noting:

With Egypt’s nearly 60-year-old order seemingly collapsing, many are asking whether the world’s single-largest Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), is on the verge of benefiting from demands for democracy in Egypt, the most pivotal Arab state.

Western fears to the contrary, the MB is probably incapable of dominating Egypt. At best, it can realistically hope to be the largest political force in a future government, one in which the military would have a huge say.

The MB and the Egyptian State

The fear of Islamism for years allowed the single-party state to prevent the emergence of a secular opposition. Many secular forces were aligned with the state to prevent an Islamist takeover. Those that did not remained marginalized by the authoritarian system. As a result, the MB over the years has evolved into the country’s single-largest organized socio-political opposition force.

Even though there is no coherent secular group that can rival the MB’s organizational prowess, Egypt’s main Islamist movement hardly has a monopoly over public support. A great many Egyptians are either secular liberals or religious conservatives who do not subscribe to Islamist tenets. Certainly, the bulk of the people out on the streets in the recent unrest are not demanding that the secular autocracy be replaced with an Islamist democracy.

Still, as Egypt’s biggest political movement, the MB has raised Western and Israeli fears of an Egypt going the way of Islamism, particularly if the military is not able to manage the transition. To understand the MB today — and thus to evaluate these international fears — we must first consider the group’s origins and evolution.

Origins and Evolution of the MB

Founded in the town of Ismailia in 1928 by a schoolteacher named Hassan al-Banna, the MB was the world’s first organized Islamist movement, though Islamism as an ideology had been in the making since the late 19th century. It was formed as a social movement to pursue the revival of Islam in the country and beyond at a time when secular left-leaning nationalism was rising in the Arab and Muslim world.

It quickly moved beyond just charitable and educational activities to emerge as a political movement, however. Al-Banna’s views formed the core of the group’s ideology, an amalgamation of Islamic values and Western political thought, which rejected both traditional religious ideas as well as wholesale Westernization. The MB was the first organizational manifestation of the modernist trend within Muslim religio-political thought that embraced nationalism and moved beyond the idea of a caliphate. That said, the movement was also the first organized Islamic response to Western-led secular modernity.

Its view of jihad in the sense of armed struggle was limited to freedom from foreign occupation — British occupation in the case of Egypt and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. But it had a more comprehensive understanding of jihad pertaining to intellectual awakening of the masses and political mobilization. It was also very ecumenical in terms of intra-Muslim issues. Each of these aspects allowed the movement to quickly gain strength; by the late 1940s, it reportedly had more than a million members.

By the late 1930s, there was great internal pressure on the MB leadership to form a military wing to pursue an armed struggle against the British occupation. The leadership was fearful that such a move would damage the movement, which was pursuing a gradual approach to socio-political change by providing social services and the creation of professional syndicates among lawyers, doctors, engineers, academics, etc. The MB, however, reluctantly did allow for the formation of a covert militant entity, which soon began conducting militant attacks not authorized by al-Banna and the leadership.

Until the late 1940s, the MB was a legal entity in the country, but the monarchy began to view it as a major threat to its power, especially given its emphasis on freedom from the British and opposition to all those allied with the occupation forces. The MB was at the forefront of organizing strikes and nationalist rallies. It also participated, though unsuccessfully, in the 1945 elections.

While officially steering clear of any participation in World War II, the MB did align with Nazi Germany against the United Kingdom, which saw the movement become involved in militancy against the British. MB participation in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war further energized the militants. That same year, the covert militant entity within the movement assassinated a judge who had handed prison sentences to a MB member for attacking British troops.

It was at this point that the monarchy moved to disband the movement and the first large-scale arrests of its leadership took place. The crackdown on the MB allowed the militant elements the freedom to pursue their agenda unencumbered by the movement’s hierarchy. The assassination of then-Prime Minister Nokrashy Pasha at the hands of an MB militant proved to be a turning point in the movement’s history.

Al-Banna condemned the assassination and distanced the movement from the militants but he, too, was assassinated in 1949, allegedly by government agents. Al-Banna was replaced as general guide of the movement by a prominent judge, Hassan al-Hudaybi, who was not a member of the movement but held al-Banna in high regard. The appointment, which conflicted with the MB charter, created numerous internal problems and exacerbated the rift between the core movement and the militant faction.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian government’s October 1951 decision to abrogate the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian treaty set off nationwide agitation against British rule. Armed clashes between British forces and Egyptians broke out. The MB’s militant faction took part while the core movement steered clear of the unrest. It was in the midst of this unrest that the 1952 coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser against the monarchy took place. The MB supported the coup, thinking they would be rewarded with a political share of the government. The cordial relationship between the new Free Officers regime and the MB did not last long, however, largely because the military regime did not want to share power with the MB and, like the monarchy, saw the MB as a threat to its nascent state.

Initially, the new regime abolished all political groups except the MB. The Nasser regime, in an attempt to manage the power of the MB, asked it to join the Liberation Rally — the first political vehicle created by the new state. Unsuccessful in its attempts to co-opt the MB, the Nasser regime began to exploit the internal differences within the movement, especially over the leadership of al-Hudaybi. The MB leader faced mounting criticism that he had converted the movement into an elite group that had reduced the movement to issuing statements and had taken advantage of the notion of obedience and loyalty to the leader to perpetuate his authoritarian hold. However, al-Hudaybi prevailed, and the MB disbanded the covert militant entity and expelled its members from the movement.

In 1954, the regime finally decided to outlaw the MB, accusing it of conspiring to topple the government and arresting many members and leaders, including al-Hudaybi. Meanwhile, the military regime ran into internal problems with Nasser locked in a power struggle with Gen. Muhammad Naguib, who was made the first president of the modern republic (1953-54). Nasser succeeded in getting the support of al-Hudaybi and the MB to deal with the internal rift in exchange for allowing the MB to operate legally and releasing its members.

The government reneged on its promises to release prisoners and the complex relationship between Nasser and al-Hudaybi further destabilized the MB from within, allowing for the militant faction to regain influence. The MB demanded the end of martial law and a restoration of parliamentary democracy. Cairo in the meantime announced a new treaty with London over the Suez Canal, which was criticized by the al-Hudaybi-led leadership as tantamount to making Egypt subservient to the United Kingdom.

This led to further police action against the movement and a campaign against its leadership in the official press. The Nasser government also tried to have al-Hudaybi removed as leader of the MB. Between the internal pressures and those from the regime, the movement had moved into a period of internal disarray.

The covert militant faction that was no longer under the control of the leadership because of the earlier expulsions saw the treaty as treasonous and the MB as unable to confront the regime, so it sought to escalate matters. Some members allegedly were involved in the assassination attempt on Nasser in October 1954, which allowed the regime to engage in the biggest crackdown on the MB in its history. Thousands of members including al-Hudaybi were sentenced to harsh prison terms and tortured.

It was during this period that another relative outsider in the movement, Sayyid Qutb, a literary figure and a civil servant, emerged as an influential ideologue of the group shortly after joining up. Qutb also experienced long periods of imprisonment and torture, which radicalized his views. He eventually called for the complete overthrow of the system. He wrote many treatises, but one in particular, “Milestones,” was extremely influential — not so much within the movement as among a new generation of more radical Islamists.

Qutb was executed in 1966 on charges of trying to topple the government, but his ideas inspired the founding of jihadism. Disenchanted with the MB ideology and its approach, a younger generation of extremely militant Islamists emerged. These elements, who would found the world’s first jihadist groups, saw the MB as having compromised on Islamic principles and accepted Western ideas. Further galvanizing this new breed of militant Islamists was the Arab defeat in the 1967 war with Israel and the MB’s formal renunciation of violence in 1970.

Anwar Sadat’s rise to power after Nasser’s death in 1970 helped the MB gain some reprieve in that Sadat gradually eased the restrictions on the movement — but retained the ban on it — and tried to use it to contain left-wing forces. After almost two decades of dealing with state repression, the MB had been overshadowed by more militant groups such as Tandheem al-Jihad and Gamaa al-Islamiyah, which had risen to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s. Close ties with Saudi Arabia, which sought to contain Nasserism, also helped the organization maintain itself.

While never legalized, the MB spent the years after Sadat’s rise trying to make use of the fact that the regime tolerated the movement to rebuild itself. Its historical legacy helped the MB maintain its status as the main Islamist movement, as well as its organizational structure and civil society presence. Furthermore, the regime of Sadat’s successor, Hosni Mubarak, was able to crush the jihadist groups by the late 1990s, and this also helped the MB regain its stature.

The MB thus went through different phases during the monarchy and the modern republic when it tried to balance its largely political activities with limited experiments with militancy, and there were several periods during which the state tried to suppress the MB. (The first such period was in the late 1940s, the second phase in the mid-1950s when the Nasser regime began to dismantle the MB and the third took place in the mid-1960s during the Qutbist years.)

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« Reply #117 on: February 09, 2011, 07:53:33 AM »

MB beyond Egypt

Shortly after its rise in Egypt, the MB spread to other parts of the Arab world. The Syrian branch founded in the late 1930s to early 1940s grew much more radical than its parent, wholeheartedly adopting armed struggle — which sparked a major crackdown in 1982 by Syrian President Hafez al Assad’s regime that killed tens of thousands. In sharp contrast, the MB in Jordan in the early 1940s very early on established an accommodationist attitude with the Hashemite monarchy and became a legal entity and founded a political party.

Until the Israeli capture of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 war, the Palestinian and Jordanian branches constituted more or less a singular entity. The Gaza-based branch was affiliated with the Egyptian MB, which Israel used to weaken the Palestine Liberation Organization. Those elements went on to form Hamas in 1987, which has pursued its activities on a dual track — political pragmatism in intra-Palestinian affairs and armed struggle against Israel. Hamas also emerged in the West Bank though not on the same scale as in Gaza.

Similarly, in the Arabian Peninsula states, Iraq and North Africa, there are legal opposition parties that do not call themselves MB but are ideological descendants of the MB. The parent MB, by contrast, was never legalized and has never formed a political party per se. While the MB in Egypt is the parent body and there is a lot of coordination among the various chapters in different countries, each branch is an independent entity, which has also allowed for a variety of groups to evolve differently in keeping with the circumstances in the various countries.

Despite dabbling in militancy, Egypt’s MB always remained a pragmatic organization. Egypt’s true militant Islamists in fact represent a rejection of the MB’s pragmatism. Decades before al Qaeda came on the scene with its transnational jihadism, Egypt was struggling with as many as five different jihadist groups — born out of a rejection of the MB approach — fighting Cairo. Two of them became very prominent: Tandheem al-Jihad, which was behind Sadat’s assassination, and Gamaa al-Islamiyah, which led a violent insurgency in the 1990s responsible for the killings of foreign tourists. The jihadist movement within the country ultimately was contained, with both Tandheem al-Jihad and Gamaa al-Islamiyah renouncing violence — though smaller elements from both groups joined up with the al Qaeda-led transnational jihadist movement.

Global perceptions of the MB and of political Islamists have not distinguished between pragmatist and militant Islamists, especially after the 9/11 attack and rising fears over Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s successes. Instead, the MB often has been lumped in with the most radical of the radicals in Western eyes. Very little attention has been paid to the majority of Islamists who are not jihadists and instead are political forces. In fact, even Hamas and Hezbollah are more political groups than simply militants.

There is a growing lobby within the United States and Europe, among academics and members of think tanks, that has sought to draw the distinction between pragmatists and radicals. For more than a decade, this lobby has pushed for seeking out moderates in the MB and other Islamist forces in the Arab and Muslim world to better manage radicalism and the changes that will come from aging regimes crumbling.


Because Egypt has never had free and fair elections, the MB’s popularity and its commitment to democracy both remain untested. In Egypt’s 2005 election, which was less rigged than any previous Egyptian vote, given the Bush administration’s push for greater democratization in the Middle East, MB members running as independents managed to increase their share of the legislature fivefold. It won 88 seats, making it the biggest opposition bloc in parliament.

But the MB is internally divided. It faces a generational struggle, with an old guard trying to prevent its ideals from being diluted while a younger generation (the 35-55 age bracket) looks to Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a role model.

The MB also lacks a monopoly over religious discourse in Egypt. A great many religious conservatives do not support the MB. Egypt also has a significant apolitical Salafist trend. Most of the very large class of theologians centered around Al-Azhar University has not come out in support of the MB or any other Islamist group. There are also Islamist forces both more pragmatic and more militant than the MB. For example, Hizb al-Wasat, which has not gotten a license to operate as an official opposition party, is a small offshoot of the MB that is much more pragmatic than the parent entity. What remains of Tandheem al-Jihad and Gamaa al-Islamiyah, which renounced violence and condemned al Qaeda, are examples of radical Islamist groups. And small jihadist cells inspired by or linked to al Qaeda also complicate this picture.

Taken together, the MB remains an untested political force that faces infighting and competitors for the Islamist mantel and a large secular population. Given these challenges to the MB, confrontation with the West is by no means a given even if the MB emerged as a major force in a post-Mubarak order.

The MB is also well aware of the opposition it faces within Egypt, the region and the West. The crumbling of the Mubarak regime and perhaps the order that damaged the MB for decades is a historic opportunity for the movement, which it does not wish to squander. Therefore it is going to handle this opportunity very carefully and avoid radical moves. The MB is also not designed to lead a revolution; rather, its internal setup is such that it will gradually seek a democratic order.

The United States in recent years has had considerable experience in dealing with Islamist forces with Turkey, under the AKP, being the most prominent example. Likewise in Iraq, Washington has dealt with Islamists both Sunni (Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi for many years was a prominent figure in the Iraqi chapter of the MB called the Iraqi Islamic Party) and Shiite (Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq leader Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, Muqtada al-Sadr, etc.) as part of the effort to forge the post-Baathist republic.

That said, the MB of Egypt is viewed as a very opaque organization, which increases U.S. and Israeli trepidations. Neither of these powers are willing to place their national security interests on the assumption that the MB would remain a benign force — as it appears to be — in the event that it came into power. Concerns also exist about potential fissures within the organization that may steer the movement into a radical direction, especially when it comes to foreign policy issues such as the alliance with the United States and the peace treaty with Israel.

The possible looming collapse of the 60-year Egyptian order presents a historic opportunity for the MB to position itself. Even though the movement has remained pragmatic for much of its history, seeks to achieve its goals via constitutional and electoral means, and has opted for peaceful civil obedience and working with the military as a way out of the current impasse, its commitment to democratic politics is something that remains to be seen. More important, it is expected to push for a foreign policy more independent from Washington and a tougher attitude toward Israel.

At this stage, however, it is not clear if the MB will necessarily come to power. If it does, then it will likely be circumscribed by other political forces and the military. There are also structural hurdles in the path of the MB’s taking power. First, the ban on the movement would have to be lifted. Second, the constitution would have to be amended to allow for religious parties to exist for the MB to participate as a movement. Alternatively, it could form a political party along the lines of its Jordanian counterpart. Being part of a future coalition government could allow the United States to manage its rise. Either way, the MB, an enormously patient organization, senses its time finally may have come.

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« Reply #118 on: February 09, 2011, 11:10:56 AM »

Dealing with the MB is like dealing with moderate nazis.
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« Reply #119 on: February 09, 2011, 09:28:07 PM »

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« Reply #120 on: February 12, 2011, 08:31:30 AM »

Reliability unknown:
Obama Allies Organizing Terrorists

By Scott Wheeler


What does the US Department of Justice have in common with the radical Muslim Brotherhood? It turns out a close associate of our Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez will soon be advising this fundamentalist group on how to takeover and run Egypt, further destabilizing this critical arena. The Executive Director of Perez's former organization is planning on teaming up with the Muslim Brotherhood in the overthrow of the Egyptian government. To the point, Thomas Perez was president of Casa de Maryland, a group known to advocate for illegal alien rights, just prior to joining the DOJ. The group's current Executive Director, Gustav Torres, is also on the board of directors of an extremist group called The Organizers Forum.  This group has chosen to ignore the organic democracy movement made up of many pro US demonstrators and declare the unpopular Muslim Brotherhood as the winner of the rulers' roulette in Egypt.

"Our fall 2011 International Dialogue will be located in Egypt where we will meet with labor and community organizers and other activists in Cairo.  There are exciting changes and developments that are currently taking place in Egypt with elections coming soon to determine leadership transitions in what has been an autocratic regime, now challenged by the Muslim Brotherhood" reads The Organizers Forum website.

But the Muslim Brotherhood came to this rebellion late and appears to be waiting on the sideline for the chaos there to provide them an opportunity to use its signature method, violence, to take control of this strategically situated country. What is so strange about The Organizers Forum is its declaration that the Muslim Brotherhood is the group opposing the "autocratic regime" when in fact informed analysts know that it is not - at least not until their experienced well-connected community organizer brethren arrive from the United States. 

The group's board of directors reads like a who's who of Obama associates including: Mary Gonzales, Associate Director of the Gamaliel Foundation; and Wade Rathke, Chief Organizer of ACORN just to name a couple.

There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation reported about the Muslim Brotherhood in the media since the uprising in Egypt. To be clear, for years, counterterrorism experts both inside and outside of the US government have sought to have the Muslim Brotherhood listed as a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization by the State Department. Most consider it the godfather of all violent terrorist organizations, having founded HAMAS and al Qaida. Ayman al Zwahiri, al Qaida's number two behind Osama bin Laden, was a leader in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which has been outlawed in Egypt and responsible for a significant assassination attempt - on President Hosni Mubarak in 1995.

Bruce Tefft, a retired CIA officer and a founding member of the CIA's counter terrorism bureau told this column, "The Muslim Brotherhood created the PLO and HAMAS" and counts among its membership "both al Zawahiri and bin Laden." The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is also the chapter that spawned Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the September 11 attacks.

When Obama visited Cairo in 2009, many noticed a strange move by the administration to invite members of the Muslim Brotherhood to attend his speech, typically the kind of people that the Secret Service would screen out of presidential events. In June of 2009, Fox News reported,


"Khaled Hamza, editor of the Muslim Brotherhood Web site, confirmed to that 10 members of the Brotherhood's parliamentary bloc received official invitations to attend the speech." Read more:


So much of what Obama has done since being elected President has made the bizarre seem normal. Through sound analysis one easily views connections between violent Left-wing groups in the United States and violent Islamic terrorist organizations in the Middle East, Obama would be unquestionably close to the nucleus of the chart.

Imagine dancing between two such disparate and dangerous organizations as Bill Ayer's Weather Underground and the terrorists of Hamas.  These two factions joined only in the bloody pool of the death Western Freedom.

Over the past several months this column has questioned what the anti-American Left has in common with radical Islam.  Hyperbole aside, the answer lies in their mutual hatred of the United States.  And Obama seems to have far more in common with them than he does with any patriotic American.

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« Reply #121 on: February 14, 2011, 03:04:59 AM »

Yes, yes I know Geraldo is an idiot , , ,
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« Reply #122 on: February 15, 2011, 08:33:54 AM »

CAIRO—Moaz Abdel Karim, an affable 29-year-old who was among a handful of young activists who plotted the recent protests here, is the newest face of the Muslim Brotherhood. His political views on women's rights, religious freedom and political pluralism mesh with Western democratic values. He is focused on the fight for democracy and human rights in Egypt.

A different face of the Brotherhood is that of Mohamed Badi, 66-year-old veterinarian from the Brotherhood's conservative wing who has been the group's Supreme Guide since last January. He recently pledged the Brotherhood would "continue to raise the banner of jihad" against the Jews, which he called the group's "first and foremost enemies." He has railed against American imperialism, and calls for the establishment of an Islamic state.
After Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on Friday amid the region's most dramatic grassroots uprising since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Brotherhood became poised to assume a growing role in the country's political life. The question for many is: Which Brotherhood?

The Muslim Brotherhood, the outlawed Egyptian Islamist opposition group is plagued by rifts between young and old, reformist and hard-liner, and between big city deal-making politicians, and conservative rural preachers. Charles Levinson explains.
It was Mr. Karim and his younger, more tolerant cohorts who played a key role organizing the protests that began on Jan. 25 and ultimately unseated a 29-year president. But it's the more conservative, anti-Western old guard that still make up by far the bulk of the group's leadership.

Mr. Badi, the current leader, wrote an article in September on the group's website in which he said of the U.S. that "a nation that does not champion moral and human values cannot lead humanity, and its wealth will not avail it once Allah has had His say."

He wrote in that same article that "resistance is the only solution against the Zio-American arrogance and tyranny, and all we need is for the Arab and Muslim peoples to stand behind it and support it... We say to our brothers the mujahideen in Gaza: be patient, persist in [your jihad], and know that Allah is with you..."

On Monday, meanwhile, Mr. Karim stood shoulder to shoulder at a press conference with youth leaders from half a dozen mostly secular movements, to lay out their vision for how Egypt's transition to democracy should proceed and to praise the Army for cooperating. Their top demand: a unity government that includes a broad swath of opposition forces.

The Brotherhood, whose leaders Mr. Karim butted heads with in recent weeks, put out a similar message on Saturday calling for free and fair elections. Seeking to allay fears that it would make a power grab, the Brotherhood also said it wouldn't run a candidate in presidential elections or seek a majority in parliament.

Both Egyptians and outsiders, however, remain wary. They are unsure about how the group will ultimately harness any newfound political gains and whether its more-moderate wing will, in fact, have lasting clout.

"It's never entirely clear with the Brothers," says Josh Stacher, a political science professor at Kent State University who spent years in Egypt studying the organization. "It's a big group, with lots of different points of view. You can find the guy always screaming about Israel and then you got the other guys who don't care about Israel because they're too busy worrying about raising literacy rates."
Israel, which shares a long and porous border with Egypt, fears that if a moderate wing of the Brotherhood exists—and many in Israel's leadership are skeptical that it does—it could be shoved aside by more extreme factions within the group.

The Brotherhood's conservative wing has for years put out anti-Israel comments and writings, and helped fund Hamas, the Palestinian militant group. It has also spoken out in support of attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"If the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power, through elections or some other way, that would be a repeat of 1979 in Iran," when moderate governments installed after the shah gave way to the ayatollahs, says a senior Israeli official. "It's something we're looking at with great caution."

The U.S. appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach, with officials saying in recent days it should be given a chance. President Barack Obama, in an interview with Fox News, acknowledged the group's anti-American strains, but said it didn't enjoy majority support in Egypt and should be included in the political process. "It's important for us not to say that our only two options are either the Muslim Brotherhood or a suppressed Egyptian people," he said.
The outlawed Islamist opposition group is plagued by rifts between young and old, reformist and hard-liner. There are big city deal-making politicians, and conservative rural preachers who eschew politics in favor of proselytizing Islam.

Egypt's government has long highlighted the group's hard-line wing as a threat to the country. Yet its selective crackdowns have historically empowered the very hard-liners it has sought to undermine, analysts and Brotherhood members say.

The conservative leadership's autocratic leadership style within the movement, its lack of tolerance for dissenting opinions and its preference to conduct business behind closed doors have all contributed to deep skepticism among outsiders about the Brotherhood leadership's stated commitment to democracy.

In recent years, meanwhile, the group's pragmatic wing has forged a historic alliance with secular opposition activists. Their role in the unseating of Mr. Mubarak appears to have given them a boost in a struggle for influence with the Brotherhood's fiery old guard.

"The Muslim Brotherhood as a whole doesn't deserve credit for this revolution, but certain factions within the movement absolutely do, generally those that have more modern views," says Essam Sultan, a former member of the group who left in the 1990s to form the moderate Islamist Wasat, or Centrist, Party. "That wing should get a massive bounce out of this."

Whether that bounce will be enough to propel the more-moderate Brothers to a permanent position of influence—or what their legislative agenda would actually be—is one of the key unknowns in Egypt's political evolution.

In many ways, this faction resembles conservative right-of-center politicians elsewhere in the Arab world. They espouse a view of Islam as a part of Egyptian heritage and argue that democracy and pluralism are central Islamic values. They are pious and socially conservative, and reject the strict secularism that is a feature of most Western concepts of liberal democracy.

On Wednesday, when it was still unclear whether Mr. Mubarak would step down, Essam el-Eryan, one of the only reformists currently on the group's 12-member ruling Guidance Council, said in a statement that the group didn't seek the establishment of an Islamic state; believed in full equality for women and Christians; and wouldn't attempt to abrogate the Camp David peace treaty with Israel—all tenets espoused by Brotherhood leaders over the decades. Mr. el-Eryan said those Brothers who had suggested otherwise in their writings and public comments in recent days and years had been misunderstood or weren't speaking for the organization.

Founded in the Suez Canal town of Ismailiya in 1928 by a 22-year-old school teacher, the organization used violence to battle the British occupation in the 1940s.

The group allied with some young officers to overthrow the king in 1952 and bring Gamal Abdel Nasser to power, only to become implicated in an assassination attempt on Nasser two years later. He responded with a fierce crackdown, sending the group's leadership to prison for years, and its membership ranks into exile.

The Muslim Brotherhood abandoned violence in the years that followed, formally renouncing it as a domestic strategy in 1972. But some of its offspring have taken a bloodier path. Some former members established the group responsible for the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Al-Sadat in 1981, and others have allied with Al Qaeda.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, an older generation of leftist and Islamist student activists battled each other violently on college campuses. Egypt's opposition grew increasingly ineffective, partially as a result of those rifts.

"We saw three successive generations of Brotherhood leaders fail to bring change, and we learned from their mistakes," says Mr. Karim, one of the leaders of the group's youth wing.

Brotherhood and secular leaders say the seeds of the cooperation that drove this year's protests were planted in the early 2000s when Israel's crackdown on the second Palestinian uprising and the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq brought secularists and Islamists alike into the streets to protest a common cause.

Then, in 2005, the Brotherhood struck a key victory in the parliamentary elections, winning an all-time high of 88 seats. Though officially banned, the organization is tolerated and allowed to put up candidates as independents.

Many of the Brotherhood lawmakers were pragmatists compared to the hard-line members of the group who preferred to stay out of politics. They were more open to working with other groups to forge compromises, and won plaudits from secular opposition leaders by focusing their legislative efforts on fighting an extension of the country's emergency law.

They also stood up for the independence of the judiciary and pushed for press freedoms, and didn't work to ban books or impose Islamic dress on women—moves many critics had feared.

"In the past, Muslim Brothers in parliament sometimes made noise about racy books or the Ms. Egypt beauty pageant, and it made a lot of us uncomfortable," says Osama Ghazali Harb, head of the National Democratic Front, a secular opposition party. "They didn't do this in the last five years."

The regime responded to the Brothers' newfound parliamentary prowess with one of the most brutal crackdowns in the group's history. Instead of coming down on the organization's hard-line leaders, it focused on the movement's moderates.

"The government wants them to be secretive, hard-line, because it makes them fulfill the role of the bogey man that they're propped up to be," says Kent State's Mr. Stacher. "You don't want soft and squishy huggable Islamists, and you don't want sympathetic characters. You want scary people who go on CNN and rail against Israel."

Eighteen Brotherhood legislative staffers drafting education and health-care reform bills were among hundreds arrested. So, too, were the leading pragmatists on the movement's 12-man leadership bureau.

The power vacuum was quickly filled by conservatives, who in 2007 put out a platform paper walking back many of the group's more-moderate views.

It stated, for example, that neither women nor Christians were qualified to run for president. Casting further doubts on the organization's commitment to the separation of church and state, the paper called for a religious council to sign off on laws.

Rifts between conservatives and reformers in the group began to flare into the open. The group's moderates argued that the paper was only a draft and never officially adopted.

In the 2008 elections to the Brotherhood's Guidance Council, hard-liners nearly swept the field, according to people familiar with the group. Only one seat on the leadership council is held by a consistent reformist, say these people, as well as one of the two alternate members who would step in should someone be arrested or die.

During this same period, Mr. Karim, from the Brotherhood's youth wing, says his relationships with activists in other groups were being cemented through online networks. "The new media allowed me to connect with the other" activists in Egypt, he says. "And I realized that there are things we agree on, like human-rights issues and political issues."

Past partnerships between the Brotherhood and secular parties had been top-down short-lived agreements born of political necessity.

This latest alliance formed more organically, say several young activists who are working with the Brotherhood.

"We just got to know, trust and like each other, even—believe it or not—the Brothers," says Basim Kamel, a 41-year-old leader in Mohamed ElBaradei's secular movement.

As conservatives were gaining influence within the Muslim Brotherhood's leadership ranks, Mr. Karim and his fellow youth cadres were growing impatient.

He says they began arguing with their superiors, saying the group was losing credibility in the street because they weren't out protesting for democracy like the secular activists were.

In November 2008, the Brotherhood's then-leader Mahdy Akef called for "establishing a coalition among all political powers and civil society" to challenge the "tyranny that Egypt is currently witnessing."

Mr. Akef couldn't be reached for comment, but those familiar with the group's inner workings say the shift came as the leadership realized they risked losing their youth cadres, particularly after a series of high-profile defections by young Brotherhood activists.

When Mr. ElBaradei returned to Egypt in February 2010 to lead an alliance of opposition groups, many of them youth-driven, the Muslim Brotherhood backed him, formalizing a partnership that had already gelled among the rank and file.

The alliance was uneasy at times. When other opposition groups voted to boycott November's parliamentary elections, for example, the Brotherhood broke ranks and ran.

After the uprising in Tunisia in January, Brotherhood youth, including Mr. Karim, met with the leaders of other youth movements and decided to plan a similar uprising in Egypt.

A group of about 12 youth leaders, including Mr. Karim, met secretly over the course of two weeks to figure out how to plot a demonstration that would outfox security forces.

The Brotherhood's senior leadership refused to endorse their efforts at first. They ultimately agreed to allow members to participate as individuals—and to forgo holding up religious slogans that the Brotherhood might have used in the past, such as "Islam is the solution," or waving Korans.

—Summer Said in Cairo and Richard Boudreaux in Jerusalem contributed to this article.
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« Reply #123 on: February 18, 2011, 02:23:14 PM »

« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 06:49:49 PM »     


Wonderful: Muslim Brotherhood’s “spiritual leader” to preach in Tahrir Square tomorrow

posted at 6:15 pm on February 17, 2011 by Allahpundit

I linked it a week ago, but if you haven’t yet read Lee Smith’s analysis of how Qaradawi’s emergence in Egypt could mirror Khomeini’s return to Iran from exile, read it now. (“Qaradawi approves of wife-beating, he defends female genital mutilation and signs off on female suicide bombers, and he attacks Shia for trying to subvert Sunni nations.”) And bear in mind, not only is the Brotherhood an international movement, Qaradawi himself is already internationally famous throughout the region for his show on Al Jazeera. So the spectacle of his appearance in Tahrir Square — no doubt to be carried live on AJ — is something that could galvanize fanatics in Egypt and beyond, reaching other Sunni countries that have gone wobbly like Yemen. Or, in the ultimate worst-case scenario, Saudi Arabia.

    For the first time since he was banned from leading weekly friday prayers in Egypt 30 years ago, prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi will lead thousands in the weekly prayers from Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday.

    Sources told Al Arabiya that a military force will accompany the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars from his home to Tahrir Square, provide security for the prayers and accompany him back to his residence…

    Sheikh Qaradawi confirmed in a telephone call with the German Press Agency that he would lead tomorrow’s prayers in Tahrir, with hundreds of thousands expected to attend.

Once you’re done with Lee Smith’s piece, dive into this post at Hit & Run by Stephen J. Smith collecting evidence on the wires (and beyond) that the Saudis are already hard at work inside Bahrain to crush the Shiite protests there. That’s not surprising — a Saudi intervention was expected there at some point given how high the stakes are — but the extent of their presence is a shock. Hit & Run makes it sound like a full-fledged invasion, with at least one eyewitness reporting that Saudi tanks are “everywhere.” The Journal also reports a full military crackdown, replete with troops now in control of the square where protesters demonstrated for three days, but they seem to believe it’s the Bahraini military at work. Until last night, the demonstrations had been comparatively upbeat, with some protesters even advocating leaving the king in power if legal reforms could be worked out. Now it’s a death struggle, literally: “Shouts of ‘Death to the al-Khalifa’ have increasingly been heard.”

If the Saudis are scared now, wait until tomorrow when Qaradawi leads the region-wide democracy parade. Exit question: There’s no way the U.S. wants this guy seizing the moment in Egypt, especially with our “friends” in Riyadh getting nervous. Is this the best proof yet of how little leverage we have left over the Egyptian military?
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« Reply #124 on: February 19, 2011, 11:55:27 AM »

Tunisian Microcosm
February 19, 2011 John Hinderacker

Yesterday a Catholic priest from Poland who taught at a school outside Tunis was first beaten and then beheaded, presumably by Muslims. Several thousand normal Tunisians turned out to protest against the murder. The T-shirts in the photo below say "Tunisia secular." The signs say "Tunisia for all" and "Terrorism is not Tunisian."

This is, in microcosm, the battle that is taking place across much of the Arab world.
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« Reply #125 on: February 19, 2011, 12:08:15 PM »

Muslims beheaded someone?

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« Reply #126 on: February 19, 2011, 01:14:18 PM »

Doug is right.  It looks like we are now seeing whether it will be a struggle between civilization and barbarism or between Islam and everyone else.
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« Reply #127 on: February 19, 2011, 01:42:48 PM »

Beheading in the Name of Islam

by Timothy R. Furnish
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2005, pp. 51-57

Images of masked terrorists standing behind Western hostages in Iraq and Saudi Arabia have become all too common on Arabic satellite stations such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Manar. Islamist websites such as Muntadiyat al-Mahdi[1] go further, streaming video of their murder.

The February 2002 decapitation of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, true to its intention, horrified the Western audience. Chechen rebels, egged on by Islamist benefactors, had adopted the practice four years earlier,[2] but the absence of widely broadcast videos limited the psychological impact of hostage decapitation. The Pearl murder and video catalyzed the resurgence of this historical Islamic practice. In Iraq, terrorists filmed the beheadings of Americans Nicholas Berg, Jack Hensley, and Eugene Armstrong. Other victims include Turks, an Egyptian, a Korean, Bulgarians, a British businessman, and a Nepalese. Scores of Iraqis, both Kurds and Arabs, have also fallen victim to Islamist terrorists' knives. The new fad in terrorist brutality has extended to Saudi Arabia where Islamist terrorists murdered American businessman Paul Johnson, whose head was later discovered in a freezer in an Al-Qaeda hideout. A variation upon this theme would be the practice of Islamists slitting the throats of those opponents they label infidels. This is what happened to Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, first gunned down and then mutilated on an Amsterdam street,[3] and to an Egyptian Coptic family in New Jersey after the father had angered Islamists with Internet chat room criticisms of Islam.[4]

The purpose of terrorism is to strike fear into the hearts of opponents in order to win political concession. As the shock value wears off and the Western world becomes immunized to any particular tactic, terrorists develop new ones in order to maximize shock and the press reaction upon which they thrive. In the 1970s and 1980s, terrorists hijacked airliners to win headlines. In the 1980s and 1990s, the car bomb became more popular; Palestinian terrorists perfected suicide bombings in the 1990s. But what once garnered days of commentary now generates only hours. Decapitation has become the latest fashion. In many ways, it sends terrorism back to the future. Unlike hijackings and car bombs, ritual beheading has a long precedent in Islamic theology and history.
Apologetics and Reality

Some American commentators say that Islamist decapitations are intended as psychological warfare and devoid of any true Islamic content. Imam Muhammad Adam al-Sheikh, head of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, for example, claimed incorrectly that "beheadings are not mentioned in the Koran at all."[5] Asma Afsaruddin, an associate professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Notre Dame, also misrepresented Islamic theology and history when she told a reporter, "There is absolutely no religious imperative for this."[6] The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as well as the American Anti-Arab Discrimination Committee (ADC) have both signed on to a statement that such killings "did not represent the tenets of Islam."[7] Sam Hamod, former director of the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., claimed that the Qur'anic passage on beheading unbelievers did not actually mean that people should be killed.[8] Such fulminations have had an effect: the Western news media has, perhaps as a result of political correctness or its own bias, twisted the reality of Islamic history and propagated such revisionism. With such apologetics, Western academics either display basic ignorance of their fields or purposely mislead. The intelligentsia's denial of any religious roots to the recent spate of decapitation has parallels in the logical back flips and kid-glove treatments in which many professors engaged in order to deny a religious basis for violent jihad.[9] Afsaruddin and Hamod aside, Islamists justify murder and decapitation with both theological citations and historical precedent.
Decapitation in Islamic Theology

Groups such as Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi's Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad (Unity and Jihad) and Abu 'Abd Allah al-Hasan bin Mahmud's Ansar al-Sunna (Defenders of [Prophetic] Tradition)[10] justify the decapitation of prisoners with Qur'anic scripture. Sura (chapter) 47 contains the ayah (verse): "When you encounter the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike off their heads until you have crushed them completely; then bind the prisoners tightly."[11] The Qur'anic Arabic terms are generally straightforward: kafaru means "those who blaspheme/are irreligious," although Darb ar-riqab is less clear. Darb can mean "striking or hitting" while ar-riqab translates to "necks, slaves, persons." With little variation, scholars have translated the verse as, "When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks."[12]

For centuries, leading Islamic scholars have interpreted this verse literally. The famous Iranian historian and Qur'an commentator Muhammad b. Jarir at-Tabari (d. 923 C.E.) wrote that "striking at the necks" is simply God's sanction of ferocious opposition to non-Muslims.[13] Mahmud b. Umar az-Zamakhshari (d. 1143 C.E.), in a major commentary studied for centuries by Sunni religious scholars, suggested that any prescription to "strike at the necks" commands to avoid striking elsewhere so as to confirm death and not simply wound.[14]

Many recent interpretations remain consistent with those of a millennium ago. In his Saudi-distributed translation of the Qur'an, 'Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali (d. 1953) wrote that the injunction to "smite at their necks," should be taken both literally and figuratively. "You cannot wage war with kid gloves," Yusuf 'Ali argued.[15] Muhammad Muhammad Khatib, in a modern Sunni commentary bearing the imprimatur of Al-Azhar university in Cairo, says that while traditionalist Muslims tend to see this passage as only applying to the Prophet's time, Shi'ites "think it is a universal precept."[16] Ironically, then in this view, Zarqawi has adopted the exegesis of his religious nemeses. Perhaps the most influential modern recapitulation of this passage was provided by the influential Pakistani scholar and leading Islamist thinker S. Abul A' la Mawdudi (d. 1979), who argued that the sura provided the first Qur'anic prescriptions on the laws of war. Mawdudi argued

    Under no circumstances should the Muslim lose sight of this aim and start taking the enemy soldiers as captives. Captives should be taken after the enemy has been completely crushed.[17]

Accordingly, for soldiers of Islam, victory should be the only consideration. Status of prisoners of war was open to interpretation. Mawdudi maintained that the verse did not clearly forbid execution of prisoners but that "the Holy Prophet understood this intention of Allah's command, and that if there was a special reason for which the ruler of an Islamic government regarded it as necessary to kill a particular prisoner (or prisoners), he could do so."[18] As do many Islamists, Mawdudi cited historical examples of the Prophet Muhammad ordering the execution of prisoners, such as some Meccans captured at the Battle of Badr in 624 C.E. and at least one Meccan seized at the Battle of Uhud in the following year. While such examples do not directly address decapitation, they do allow for murder of prisoners-of-war. Mawdudi's interpretation, though, does not sanction the execution of hostages. Only the government, and not individual Muslim soldiers, could determine the fate of captives.[19]

Another, albeit less-frequently, cited Qur'anic passage also sanctions beheadings of non-Muslims. Sura 8:12 reads: "I will cast dread into the hearts of the unbelievers. Strike off their heads, then, and strike off all of their fingertips." In the original text, the relevant phrase is adrabu fawq al-'anaq, "strike over their necks." This verse is, then, a corollary to Sura 47:3. Yusuf 'Ali is one of the few modern commentators who addresses this passage, interpreting it as utilitarian: the neck is among the only areas not protected by armor, and mutilating an opponent's hands prevents him from again wielding his sword or spear.[20] The point of this opening phrase—to "cast dread" or, as some translations have it, "instill terror"—has now been adopted by Islamist terrorists to justify decapitation of hostages.
Decapitation in Islamic History

While some Islamists might justify murder of prisoners on Qur'anic prescription, others reinforce their conclusions by drawing analogies to events during the almost 1,400 years of Islamic history. Here beheading of captives is a recurring theme. Both Islamic regimes and their opposition have utilized beheadings as both military and judicial policy.

The practice of beheading non-Muslim captives extends back to the Prophet himself. Ibn Ishaq (d. 768 C.E.), the earliest biographer of Muhammad, is recorded as saying that the Prophet ordered the execution by decapitation of 700 men of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina for allegedly plotting against him.[21] Islamic leaders from Muhammad's time until today have followed his model. Examples of decapitation, of both the living and the dead, in Islamic history are myriad. Yusuf b. Tashfin (d. 1106) led the Al-Murabit (Almoravid) Empire to conquer from western Sahara to central Spain. After the battle of Zallaqa in 1086, he had 24,000 corpses of the defeated Castilians beheaded "and piled them up to make a sort of minaret for the muezzins who, standing on the piles of headless cadavers, sang the praises of Allah."[22] He then had the detached heads sent to all the major cities of North Africa and Spain as an example of Christian impotence. The Al-Murabits were conquered the following century by the Al-Muwahhids (Almohads), under whose rule Castilian Christian enemies were beheaded after any lost battles.

The Ottoman Empire was the decapitation state par excellence. Upon the Ottoman victory over Christian Serbs at the battle of Kosovo in 1389, the Muslim army beheaded the Serbian king and scores of Christian prisoners. At the battle of Varna in 1444, the Ottomans beheaded King Ladislaus of Hungary and "put his head at the tip of a long pike … and brandished it toward the Poles and Hungarians." Upon the fall of Constantinople, the Ottomans sent the head of the dead Byzantine emperor on tour to major cities in the sultan's domains. The Ottomans even beheaded at least one Eastern Orthodox patriarch. In 1456, the sultan allowed the grand mufti of the empire to personally decapitate King Stephen of Bosnia and his sons—even though they had surrendered and, seven decades later, the sultan ordered 2,000 Hungarian prisoners beheaded. In the early nineteenth century, even the British fell victim to the Ottoman scimitar. An 1807 British expedition to Egypt resulted in "a few hundred spiked British heads left rotting in the sun outside Rosetta."[23]

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« Reply #128 on: February 19, 2011, 01:54:56 PM »

Good to see the research on that GM.
Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." So goes the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood.

What's extraordinary about this maxim is the succinct way that it captures the political dimension of Islam. Even more extraordinary is the capacity of these five pillars of faith to attract true believers. But the most remarkable thing of all is the way the Brotherhood's motto seduces Western liberals.

Readers of this paper are familiar with the genesis of the Muslim Brotherhood: its establishment in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna; its history of terrorism; its violent offshoots such as al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamait Islamiya, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and others across the Muslim world. Readers may also recall the brutal crackdowns on the Brothers by autocratic regimes in the Middle East—particularly in Egypt under Nasser and in Syria during the Hama massacre of 1982.

As a result of these crackdowns, the Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s (after Nasser's regime executed the Islamist philosopher Sayyid Qutb in 1966) and started a gradual process to participate in conventional politics. This renunciation—and the Brotherhood's involvement in the Egyptian uprising, neither violent nor dominant—has prompted some commentators to encourage the American government to engage with the Brothers as legitimate partners in Middle Eastern affairs.

Like a drug addict after years in rehab, the Brotherhood is now regarded as clean. Precisely because of its troubled past, so the argument goes, it can be counted on to help lead the people of Egypt into a new era of political reform.

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David Klein
 .These commentators claim the Brotherhood will be a better partner for the U.S. than the ousted President Hosni Mubarak because it is a grass-roots movement with a significant civic and economic role in Egyptian society. They liken the Brotherhood to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party, which is widely admired in the West for its moderate Islamism, offering Turks the attractive combination of economic development and religious identity. According to this view, moderate Islamism is like Christian democracy in postwar Western Europe.

In recent days, Essam El-Errian and Tariq Ramadan have expressed such views in the New York Times and the Herald Tribune. A member of the Brotherhood's Guidance Council, Mr. El-Errian wrote that his organization has an "unequivocal position against violence" and aims "to achieve reform and rights for all." According to his account, the Brotherhood has no desire to play a dominant role in a new government, and it won't put forward a candidate for the presidency.

Mr. Ramadan, the grandson of the Brotherhood's founder, predictably painted the group as peaceful. If it had ever done anything to make anyone doubt its peaceful credentials, he argued, it was the fault of the oppressive regimes supported by America and other Western powers.

Neither Mr. El-Errian nor Mr. Ramadan mentioned that the Muslim Brotherhood's motto is still in place, let alone its implications. At least Mr. El-Errian admitted that the movement does not want a Western-style secular liberal democracy, since such democracies reject the role of religion in public life.

These apologists for the Muslim Brotherhood are targeting two audiences. The first is the small but influential liberal elite in the U.S. and its larger counterpart in Europe, which has never been comfortable supporting the likes of Mr. Mubarak and would love to believe in a touchy-feely moderate Islamism.

Read More.The Post-Islamist Future
By Maajid Nawaz
.The second audience is the mainly young people who initiated the uprising and have kept it going with social-networking sites and other modern media tools. Young people in the streets of Cairo cannot help but be attracted to the force that has been the most tenacious and consistent opposition to the hated dictator. And they are mostly Muslims, after all.

Yet the youth also are not entirely ignorant of the drastic changes that Islamists impose on the societies that they end up governing—banning alcohol, music, movies, nightclubs. Muhammad Akef Mahdi, one of the supreme leaders of the Brotherhood in Egypt, has said in various interviews that the Brotherhood wants to purge the press of un-Islamic content and to seek conformity between the cinema and theater and the principles of Islam.

The Brotherhood's political skill is formidable and it seems to be achieving its goals—namely, insistence from gullible Westerners that there should be elections as soon as possible and at least tacit support from young Egyptians whose votes it will need to win.

Rather than running op-eds by the likes of Mr. Ramadan, the Western press would better serve Egyptians by exposing the Brotherhood's hidden agenda. Due to the limits on press freedom in Egypt, many educated Egyptians and other Arabs depend on the Western media for news and analysis. To deny them close scrutiny of the Brotherhood's past and future plans is unforgivable.

Instead of simply pushing for elections at the earliest opportunity, Western commentators should be pushing for more time—above all, to allow the drafting of a new Egyptian constitution. Such a constitution would introduce checks and balances, eliminate the one-party system, and guarantee the protection of human rights. In particular, it would safeguard Egypt against the imposition of Shariah law.

True, constitutions can be discarded by tyrants or religious fanatics if they assume power. But the introduction of a well-designed constitution would make it harder for them to do so. It would also make it easier for the U.S. and other foreign observers to ensure that any future elections are free and fair.

Anyone who believes that a truly democratic outcome in Egypt is the real goal of the Muslim Brotherhood has failed to understand—or purposefully ignored—the group's motto.

Ms. Ali, a former member of the Dutch parliament, is the author most recently of "Nomad: From Islam to America—A Personal Journey through the Clash of Civilizations" (Free Press, 2010) and is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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« Reply #129 on: February 19, 2011, 01:58:17 PM »

The left loves totalitarians, no matter if it's Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot or the Muslim Brotherhood.

Funny how that works.
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« Reply #130 on: February 19, 2011, 02:16:14 PM »

....To be loved by the left.

Stalin's songbird

The New Yorker didn't quite find room to detail Seeger's long habit of following the Stalinist line.

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The New Yorker has another of its affectionate profiles of old Stalinists, this time the folk singer Pete Seeger. A regular old American, they say, a guy who would stand by the side of the road at 85 holding up a sign reading simply "Peace." A "conservative" really, who "believes ardently in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights". And over the years he sang for peace, and for civil rights, and for the workers. And he built his own house on a hilltop. What's not to like?

Oh, sure, they mention in parentheses that he "knew students at Harvard who were Communists and, with the idea in mind of a more equitable world, he eventually became one himself". Outside parentheses, writer Alec Wilkinson reassures us that Seeger did eventually quit the Party.

Somehow, though, they didn't quite find room to detail Seeger's long habit of following the Stalinist line. Take the best example, his twists and turns during the FDR administration. Seeger tells Wilkinson that when he was at Harvard during the late 1930s he was trying to "stop Hitler" and he became disgusted with a professor who counselled appeasement. Maybe so. But after the Hitler-Stalin pact, he and his group the Almanac Singers put out an album titled Songs of John Doe that called Franklin D Roosevelt a warmongering lackey of JP Morgan.

    Franklin D, listen to me,
    You ain't a-gonna send me 'cross the sea.
    You may say it's for defense
    That kinda talk ain't got no sense.

Then within months Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. The album was pulled from the market and reportedly destroyed. The Almanac Singers quickly produced a new album, Dear Mr President, that took a different view of FDR and the war:

    Now, Mr President
    You're commander-in-chief of our armed forces
    The ships and the planes and the tanks and the horses
    I guess you know best just where I can fight ...
    So what I want is you to give me a gun
    So we can hurry up and get the job done!

As the ex-communist scholar Ronald Radosh puts it, "Seeger was antiwar during the period of the Nazi-Soviet Pact; pro-war after the Soviet Union was the ally of the United States; and anti-war during the years of the Cold War and Vietnam".

Seeger is not the only aging Stalinist to get the misty-eyed treatment from elite journalists. It's a staple of the New York Times and other eastern establishment journals: features on communist summer camps or communist old folks' homes or communist schools in Greenwich Village ("the Little Red School House for little Reds"); profiles of aging but still feisty communist journalists; glowing obituaries of lifelong communists who "championed civil liberties".

And it's an appalling double standard. Imagine a morally neutral, affectionate profile of a nostalgic 80-year-old Nazi. It doesn't happen, it wouldn't happen. We're still making movies about the crimes of Nazism, a totalitarian regime that lasted 12 years, while you can count on the fingers of one hand the Hollywood movies about the bloody 70-year rule of the Communist Party. Alan Charles Kors, the editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, wrote recently: "We rehearse the crimes of Nazism almost daily, we teach them to our children as ultimate historical and moral lessons, and we bear witness to every victim. We are, with so few exceptions, almost silent on the crimes of Communism."

To everything there is a season. We can only hope that soon it will be the season for holding accountable those who worked for Stalinist tyranny, as we have held accountable those who worked for National Socialist tyranny.
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« Reply #131 on: February 21, 2011, 10:01:36 AM »

US will become Muslim:
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« Reply #132 on: February 21, 2011, 10:07:43 AM »

At least Oklahoma can still have sharia......
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« Reply #133 on: February 21, 2011, 10:56:14 AM »

An interesting report squarely on point of the subject of this thread , , , from a suspect source cheesy

TUNIS — The Tunisian revolution that overthrew decades of authoritarian rule has entered a delicate new phase in recent days over the role of Islam in politics. Tensions mounted here last week when military helicopters and security forces were called in to carry out an unusual mission: protecting the city’s brothels from a mob of zealots.

Police officers dispersed a group of rock-throwing protesters who streamed into a warren of alleyways lined with legally sanctioned bordellos shouting, “God is great!” and “No to brothels in a Muslim country!”

Five weeks after protesters forced out the country’s dictator, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisians are locked in a fierce and noisy debate about how far, or even whether, Islamism should be infused into the new government.

About 98 percent of the population of 10 million is Muslim, but Tunisia’s liberal social policies and Western lifestyle shatter stereotypes of the Arab world. Abortion is legal, polygamy is banned and women commonly wear bikinis on the country’s Mediterranean beaches. Wine is openly sold in supermarkets and imbibed at bars across the country.

Women’s groups say they are concerned that in the cacophonous aftermath of the revolution, conservative forces could tug the country away from its strict tradition of secularism.

“Nothing is irreversible,” said Khadija Cherif, a former head of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, a feminist organization. “We don’t want to let down our guard.”

Ms. Cherif was one of thousands of Tunisians who marched through Tunis, the capital, on Saturday demanding the separation of mosque and state in one of the largest demonstrations since the overthrow of Mr. Ben Ali.

Protesters held up signs saying, “Politics ruins religion and religion ruins politics.”

They were also mourning the killing on Friday of a Polish priest by unknown attackers. That assault was also condemned by the country’s main Muslim political movement, Ennahdha, or Renaissance, which was banned under Mr. Ben Ali’s dictatorship but is now regrouping.

In interviews in the Tunisian news media, Ennahdha’s leaders have taken pains to praise tolerance and moderation, comparing themselves to the Islamic parties that govern Turkey and Malaysia.

“We know we have an essentially fragile economy that is very open toward the outside world, to the point of being totally dependent on it,” Hamadi Jebali, the party’s secretary general, said in an interview with the Tunisian magazine Réalités. “We have no interest whatsoever in throwing everything away today or tomorrow.”

The party, which is allied with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, says it opposes the imposition of Islamic law in Tunisia.

But some Tunisians say they remain unconvinced.

Raja Mansour, a bank employee in Tunis, said it was too early to tell how the Islamist movement would evolve.

“We don’t know if they are a real threat or not,” she said. “But the best defense is to attack.” By this she meant that secularists should assert themselves, she said.

Ennahdha is one of the few organized movements in a highly fractured political landscape. The caretaker government that has managed the country since Mr. Ben Ali was ousted is fragile and weak, with no clear leadership emerging from the revolution.

The unanimity of the protest movement against Mr. Ben Ali in January, the uprising that set off demonstrations across the Arab world, has since evolved into numerous daily protests by competing groups, a development that many Tunisians find unsettling.

“Freedom is a great, great adventure, but it’s not without risks,” said Fathi Ben Haj Yathia, an author and former political prisoner. “There are many unknowns.”

One of the largest demonstrations since Mr. Ben Ali fled took place on Sunday in Tunis, where several thousand protesters marched to the prime minister’s office to demand the caretaker government’s resignation. They accused it of having links to Mr. Ben Ali’s government.

Tunisians are debating the future of their country on the streets. Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the broad thoroughfare in central Tunis named after the country’s first president, resembles a Roman forum on weekends, packed with people of all ages excitedly discussing politics.

The freewheeling and somewhat chaotic atmosphere across the country has been accompanied by a breakdown in security that has been particularly unsettling for women. With the extensive security apparatus of the old government decimated, leaving the police force in disarray, many women now say they are afraid to walk outside alone at night.

Achouri Thouraya, a 29-year-old graphic artist, says she has mixed feelings toward the revolution.

She shared in the joy of the overthrow of what she described as Mr. Ben Ali’s kleptocratic government. But she also says she believes that the government’s crackdown on any Muslim groups it considered extremist, a draconian police program that included monitoring those who prayed regularly, helped protect the rights of women.

“We had the freedom to live our lives like women in Europe,” she said.

But now Ms. Thouraya said she was a “little scared.”

She added, “We don’t know who will be president and what attitudes he will have toward women.”

Mounir Troudi, a jazz musician, disagrees. He has no love for the former Ben Ali government, but said he believed that Tunisia would remain a land of beer and bikinis.

“This is a maritime country,” Mr. Troudi said. “We are sailors, and we’ve always been open to the outside world. I have confidence in the Tunisian people. It’s not a country of fanatics.”

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« Reply #134 on: February 23, 2011, 12:56:11 PM »

WASHINGTON—Aside from the Middle East's beleaguered autocrats, another group is reeling from the roiling unrest: al Qaeda.

Since its creation in 1988, al Qaeda's principal mission has been to topple what it calls the "near enemy": regimes ruling Arab states that don't apply fundamentalist Islamic law. Egypt, a close U.S. ally and uneasy friend of Israel, was a particular priority, especially for the group's No. 2, Egyptian Ayman al Zawahiri, who was imprisoned there for his role in the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat.

But in less than three weeks, a ragtag group of protesters and Egypt's secular military succeeded where al Qaeda failed and toppled the Mubarak regime.
What's less clear is how the unrest in Libya will play out, since that country hosts a cadre of hard-core extremists who have long fought the regime and Col. Moammar Gadhafi has vowed to keep cracking down violently on demonstrators.

The normally prolix Mr. Zawahiri was conspicuously silent as protests swept through capitals from Tripoli to Tehran. The last week, he issued a 34-minute lecture on Egyptian history. It made no reference to the Tunisian or Egyptian uprisings or the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. Instead, he referred to Mr. Mubarak's son, who has been sidelined during Egypt's transition, as the "anticipated leader," and spent more time talking about Napoleon than the Middle East's turmoil.

Terrorism analysts believe al Qaeda's senior leadership is reeling. In some ways, the largely nonviolent, secular and pro-democracy revolts amount to a rejection of the group's core beliefs. They were also successful.

"It's not just a defeat. It's a catastrophe, the worst thing that has happened since al Qaeda was created," said Jean-Pierre Filiu, an expert on al Qaeda and affiliated groups at the University of Sciences Po in Paris.

President Barack Obama alluded to this notion last week, when he said during a press conference: "I also think an important lesson … that we can draw from this is, real change in these societies is not going to happen because of terrorism. … It's going to happen because people come together and apply moral force to a situation."

How significant a blow al Qaeda will take from the current unrest will be in part determined by how the leaders of the Middle East adapt. A harsh crackdown from the remaining regimes could fuel the group's narrative of oppression. A swift and successful transition to democracy, particularly in Egypt, could do much the opposite. Additionally, the unrest in Libya could provide an opening for extremist Islamists in the eastern part of the country to reassert themselves.

But even the rise of Islamist political parties in countries such as Egypt wouldn't be a win for al Qaeda—the terrorist group is bitter enemies with the Muslim Brotherhood. And in countries such as Yemen, where al Qaeda today has a much stronger operational foothold, terrorism analysts highlight the secular nature of recent protests and conclude that al Qaeda's message doesn't have much grassroots appeal.

Mr. Zawahiri's belated reaction is the clearest indication the revolts have stunned al Qaeda leadership. In recent years he has been among al Qaeda's most visible spokesmen, firing off audio and video messages explaining the terror group's take on current events.

Some experts speculate that al Qaeda leadership is pinned down by U.S. drone strikes on the Afghan-Pakistan border, frustrating their ability to react to events. Mr. Zawahiri's message was composed between Jan. 5 and Feb. 4.

Other jihadists issued statements in the wake of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, ranging from tepid praise for the regime's toppling to stern admonitions for protesters not to embrace democracy.

Three days before Mr. Mubarak left office, al Qaeda in Iraq, an affiliate group, released a statement that highlighted the gulf between the protesters in Tahrir Square and the jihadis on the sidelines: "Beware of the tricks of un-Islamic ideologies, such as filthy and evil secularism, infidelic democracy, and putrid idolic patriotism and nationalism," it said.

Mr. Zawahiri struck a similar tone, warning of perils of democracy, or "the desire of the majority without abiding by any value or moral or ideology."

None of the statements have had a major impact. "It would have been better for them to shut up," said Mr. Filiu, the al Qaeda expert. "It's the first time al Qaeda's senior leadership has shown themselves to be so out of touch," he said.

Some terrorism experts caution that al Qaeda could take advantage of a stunted transition to regain strength, especially inside Egypt. "For this to become a real body blow [to al Qaeda], Egypt has got to work," said Daniel Byman, a terrorism expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Any new Egyptian government could cut cooperation with the U.S. on counter-terrorism operations. Also, the role of the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood will be crucial to determining the future appeal of al Qaeda.

Former Islamic militants agree the uprising has been a short-term catastrophe for al Qaeda—overshadowing the regular drumbeats of terrorist attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan—but caution that the departure of Mr. Mubarak won't end its appeal.

"There's been no revolution in Tunisia or Egypt—just the military taking over. It's still the old regime," said Noman Benotman, a former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a jihadi movement close to Osama bin Laden in the 1990s. Mr. Benotman is senior analyst at the Quilliam Foundation, a counterextremism think tank in London, and played a leading role in the Libyan government's program to deradicalize Islamist militants in recent years.

That deradicalization program was seen as a success. The leadership of the Libyan terror outfit, while nominally merged into al Qaeda's North African branch, officially renounced the violent tactics it used in the 1990s. However, the eastern part of the country is seen as a hotbed of young extremists. One 2008 cable released by whistleblowing site WikiLeaks called "Die Hard in Derna," chronicles the city's role as a "wellspring" of violent radicals who have gone to fight U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Benotman said across the Arab world, including Libya, there is "a small minority that is still violently radical" that has not been swayed by recent events, and which could turn even more radical as ideas such as democracy, free speech, and human rights spread in the region.

"In the short term, this is a huge blow to al Qaeda. In the long term, I'm afraid not so much," he said.

Write to Keith Johnson at
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« Reply #135 on: February 23, 2011, 12:59:14 PM »

second post of the morning:

MOSCOW—In his direst comments on the uprisings yet, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that the revolutions spreading across the Arab world could lead to "decades" of turmoil and the rise of Islamism.

"In some cases, we could be talking about the disintegration of big, densely populated countries," Mr. Medvedev told top security officials. "Fanatics" could come to power, he warned. "That would mean fires for decades and the further spread of extremism." He didn't mention any specific countries.

Since popular uprisings began sweeping across the region last month, the Kremlin's cool response to demonstrators and their calls for ousting long-serving leaders has contrasted to the much more supportive reaction from the U.S. and Europe.

"It annoys the Kremlin that the West seems to support any revolution," said Sergei Markov, a senior legislator from the ruling United Russia Party. "We in Russia have seen revolutions, and they often start out like the February one and end like the one in October," he added, referring to the 1917 revolutions in Russia which first brought a parliamentary government, followed by the Bolsheviks.

Opposition leaders say the Kremlin's caution actually reflects deep-seated fears about the possibility an Egyptian scenario could be played out in Russia. They dismiss Russian officials' claims that upheaval inevitably brings extremists to power as a self-serving justification for continued authoritarianism.

Kremlin officials brush off those criticisms, as well as comparisons to countries like Egypt. "The Kremlin doesn't se much danger of it being repeated here," said Mr. Markov.

Moscow's fears of unrest at home peaked in 2005, officials and analysts said, when a wave of so-called color revolutions swept pro-Western governments into power in several countries in the former Soviet Union. The Kremlin protected itself by cracking down on opponents and the western groups it believed were seeking to foment instability. Many of the pro-Western governments have since been replaced, reducing Moscow's sense of alarm.

Some in the Russian leadership believe the current string of revolutions in the Mideast also is the result of western instigation. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, seen as one of the country's most powerful officials and a top hardliner, hinted in an interview that Google Inc. executives played a role in "manipulating the energy of the people" in Egypt.

Others in the Russian leadership take a less conspiratorial view. Yevgeny Primakov, a former prime minister and prominent expert on the region, told state television Tuesday that "these are purely internal events." He noted how surprised Washington seemed by the sudden "social explosion," as he described it.

In his comments to security officials Tuesday, Mr. Medvedev warned that the instability in the middle east could complicate the situation in Russia's own Muslim regions. He was speaking in Vladikavkaz, a city in the heart of the volatile North Caucasus region, where Islamist terrorist attacks are almost-daily events.

At least in the short term, the Middle East instability could benefit Russia's economic interests. Officials said Tuesday higher oil prices could lead the country's sovereign wealth fund to more than double this year, to about $50 billion. State-controlled gas giant OAO Gazprom, meanwhile, said this week that the turmoil should lead its European customers, who had increasingly been shifting to suppliers in North Africa, to take another look at Russian gas.

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« Reply #136 on: February 24, 2011, 09:35:01 AM »

"Terrorism analysts believe al Qaeda's senior leadership is reeling. In some ways, the largely nonviolent, secular and pro-democracy revolts amount to a rejection of the group's core beliefs. They were also successful.

"It's not just a defeat. It's a catastrophe, the worst thing that has happened since al Qaeda was created," said Jean-Pierre Filiu, an expert on al Qaeda and affiliated groups at the University of Sciences Po in Paris."

Wishful thinking, disguised as analysis.
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« Reply #137 on: February 24, 2011, 10:20:29 AM »

Jihadist Opportunities in Libya
February 24, 2011

By Scott Stewart

As George Friedman noted in his geopolitical weekly “Revolution and the Muslim World,” one aspect of the recent wave of revolutions we have been carefully monitoring is the involvement of militant Islamists, and their reaction to these events.

Militant Islamists, and specifically the subset of militant Islamists we refer to as jihadists, have long sought to overthrow regimes in the Muslim world. With the sole exception of Afghanistan, they have failed, and even the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan was really more a matter of establishing a polity amid a power vacuum than the true overthrow of a coherent regime. The brief rule of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council in Somalia also occurred amid a similarly chaotic environment and a vacuum of authority.

However, even though jihadists have not been successful in overthrowing governments, they are still viewed as a threat by regimes in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. In response to this threat, these regimes have dealt quite harshly with the jihadists, and strong crackdowns combined with other programs have served to keep the jihadists largely in check.

As we watch the situation unfold in Libya, there are concerns that unlike Tunisia and Egypt, the uprising in Libya might result not only in a change of ruler but also in a change of regime and perhaps even a collapse of the state. In Egypt and Tunisia, strong military regimes were able to ensure stability after the departure of a long-reigning president. By contrast, in Libya, longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi has deliberately kept his military and security forces fractured and weak and thereby dependent on him. Consequently, there may not be an institution to step in and replace Gadhafi should he fall. This means energy-rich Libya could spiral into chaos, the ideal environment for jihadists to flourish, as demonstrated by Somalia and Afghanistan.

Because of this, it seems an appropriate time to once again examine the dynamic of jihadism in Libya.

A Long History

Libyans have long participated in militant operations in places like Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq. After leaving Afghanistan in the early 1990s, a sizable group of Libyan jihadists returned home and launched a militant campaign aimed at toppling Gadhafi, whom they considered an infidel. The group began calling itself the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in 1995, and carried out a low-level insurgency that included assassination attempts against Gadhafi and attacks against military and police patrols.

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Gadhafi responded with an iron fist, essentially imposing martial law in the Islamist militant strongholds of Darnah and Benghazi and the towns of Ras al-Helal and al-Qubbah in the Jabal al-Akhdar region. After a series of military crackdowns, Gadhafi gained the upper hand in dealing with his Islamist militant opponents, and the insurgency tapered off by the end of the 1990s. Many LIFG members fled the country in the face of the government crackdown and a number of them ended up finding refuge with groups like al Qaeda in places such as Afghanistan.

While the continued participation of Libyan men in fighting on far-flung battlefields was not expressly encouraged by the Libyan government, it was tacitly permitted. The Gadhafi regime, like other countries in the region, saw exporting jihadists as a way to rid itself of potential problems. Every jihadist who died overseas was one less the government had to worry about. This policy did not take into account the concept of “tactical Darwinism,” which means that while the United States and its coalition partners will kill many fighters, those who survive are apt to be strong and cunning. The weak and incompetent have been weeded out, leaving a core of hardened, competent militants. These survivors have learned tactics for survival in the face of superior firepower and have learned to manufacture and effectively employ new types of highly effective improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

In a Nov. 3, 2007, audio message, al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri reported that the LIFG had formally joined the al Qaeda network. This statement came as no real surprise, given that members of the group have long been close to al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. Moreover, the core al Qaeda group has long had a large number of Libyan cadre in its senior ranks, including men such as Abu Yahya al-Libi, Anas al-Libi, Abu Faraj al-Libi (who reportedly is being held by U.S. forces at Guantanamo Bay) and Abu Laith al-Libi, who was killed in a January 2008 unmanned aerial vehicle strike in Pakistan.

The scope of Libyan participation in jihadist efforts in Iraq became readily apparent with the September 2007 seizure of a large batch of personnel files from an al Qaeda safe house in the Iraqi city of Sinjar. The Sinjar files were only a small cross-section of all the fighters traveling to Iraq to fight with the jihadists, but they did provide a very interesting snapshot. Of the 595 personnel files recovered, 112 of them were of Libyans. This number is smaller than the 244 Saudi citizens represented in the cache, but when one considers the overall size of the population of the two countries, the Libyan contingent represented a far larger percentage on a per capita basis. The Sinjar files suggested that a proportionally higher percentage of Libyans was engaged in the fighting in Iraq than their brethren from other countries in the region.

Another interesting difference was noted in the job-description section of the Sinjar files. Of those Libyan men who listed their intended occupation in Iraq, 85 percent of them listed it as suicide bomber and only 13 percent listed fighter. By way of comparison, only 50 percent of the Saudis listed their occupation as suicide bomber. This indicates that the Libyans tended to be more radical than their Saudi counterparts. Moroccans appeared to be the most radical, with more than 91 percent of them apparently desiring to become suicide bombers.

The Libyan government’s security apparatus carefully monitored those Libyans who passed through the crucible of fighting on the battlefield in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and then returned to Libya. Tripoli took a carrot-and-stick approach to the group similar to that implemented by the Saudi regime. As a result, the LIFG and other jihadists were unable to pose a serious threat to the Gadhafi regime, and have remained very quiet in recent years. In fact, they were for the most part demobilized and rehabilitated.

Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, oversaw the program to rehabilitate LIFG militants, which his personal charity managed. The regime’s continued concern over the LIFG was clearly demonstrated early on in the unrest when it announced that it would continue the scheduled release from custody of LIFG fighters.

The Sinjar reports also reflected that more than 60 percent of the Libyan fighters had listed their home city as Darnah and almost 24 percent had come from Benghazi. These two cities are in Libya’s east and happen to be places where some of the most intense anti-Gadhafi protests have occurred in recent days. Arms depots have been looted in both cities, and we have seen reports that at least some of those doing the looting appeared to have been organized Islamists.

A U.S. State Department cable drafted in Tripoli in June 2008 made available by WikiLeaks talked about this strain of radicalism in Libya’s east. The cable, titled “Die Hard in Derna,” was written several months after the release of the report on the Sinjar files. Derna is an alternative transliteration of Darnah, and “Die Hard” was a reference to the Bruce Willis character in the Die Hard movie series, who always proved hard for the villains to kill. The author of the cable, the U.S. Embassy’s political and economic officer, noted that many of the Libyan fighters who returned from fighting in transnational jihad battlefields liked to settle in places like Darnah due to the relative weakness of the security apparatus there. The author of the cable also noted his belief that the presence of these older fighters was having an influence on the younger men of the region who were becoming radicalized, and the result was that Darnah had become “a wellspring of foreign fighters in Iraq.” He also noted that some 60-70 percent of the young men in the region were unemployed or underemployed.

Finally, the author opined that many of these men were viewing the fight in Iraq as a way to attack the United States, which they saw as supporting the Libyan regime in recent years. This is a concept jihadists refer to as attacking the far enemy and seems to indicate an acceptance of the transnational version of jihadist ideology — as does the travel of men to Iraq to fight and the apparent willingness of Libyans to serve as suicide bombers.

Trouble on the Horizon?

This deep streak of radicalism in eastern Libya brings us back to the beginning. While it seems unlikely at this point that the jihadists could somehow gain control of Libya, if Gadhafi falls and there is a period of chaos in Libya, these militants may find themselves with far more operating space inside the country than they have experienced in decades. If the regime does not fall and there is civil war between the eastern and western parts of the country, they could likewise find a great deal of operational space amid the chaos. Even if Gadhafi, or an entity that replaces him, is able to restore order, due to the opportunity the jihadists have had to loot military arms depots, they have suddenly found themselves more heavily armed than they have ever been inside their home country. And these heavily armed jihadists could pose a substantial threat of the kind that Libya has avoided in recent years.

Given this window of opportunity, the LIFG could decide to become operational again, especially if the regime they have made their deal with unexpectedly disappears. However, even should the LIFG decide to remain out of the jihad business as an organization, there is a distinct possibility that it could splinter and that the more radical individuals could cluster together to create a new group or groups that would seek to take advantage of this suddenly more permissive operational environment. Of course, there are also jihadists in Libya unaffiliated with LIFG and not bound by the organization’s agreements with the regime.

The looting of the arms depots in Libya is also reminiscent of the looting witnessed in Iraq following the dissolution of the Iraqi army in the face of the U.S. invasion in 2003. That ordnance not only was used in thousands of armed assaults and indirect fire attacks with rockets and mortars, but many of the mortar and artillery rounds were used to fashion powerful IEDs. This concept of making and employing IEDs from military ordnance will not be foreign to the Libyans who have returned from Iraq (or Afghanistan, for that matter).

This bodes ill for foreign interests in Libya, where they have not had the same security concerns in recent years that they have had in Algeria or Yemen. If the Libyans truly buy into the concept of targeting the far enemy that supports the state, it would not be out of the realm of possibility for them to begin to attack multinational oil companies, foreign diplomatic facilities and even foreign companies and hotels.

While Seif al-Islam, who certainly has political motives to hype such a threat, has mentioned this possibility, so have the governments of Egypt and Italy. Should Libya become chaotic and the jihadists become able to establish an operational base amid the chaos, Egypt and Italy will have to be concerned about not only refugee problems but also the potential spillover of jihadists. Certainly, at the very least the weapons looted in Libya could easily be sold or given to jihadists in places like Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria, turning militancy in Libya into a larger regional problem. In a worst-case scenario, if Libya experiences a vacuum of power, it could become the next Iraq or Pakistan, a gathering place for jihadists from around the region and the world. The country did serve as such a base for a wide array of Marxist and rejectionist terrorists and militants in the 1970s and 1980s.

It will be very important to keep a focus on Libya in the coming days and weeks — not just to see what happens to the regime but also to look for indicators of the jihadists testing their wings.

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« Reply #138 on: February 26, 2011, 10:44:24 AM »

By BARI WEISS For 18 days, the people of Cairo massed in Tahrir Square to bring down their pharaoh. Many carried signs: "Mubarak: shift + delete," "Forgive me God, for I was scared and kept quiet," or simply "Go Away." Barbara Ibrahim, a veteran professor at the American University in Cairo, wore large photographs of her husband—Egypt's most famous democratic dissident—as a makeshift sandwich board.

Her husband, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, couldn't be there. After being imprisoned and tortured by the Mubarak regime from 2000 to 2003, he went into a sort of exile, living and teaching abroad. But the day Hosni Mubarak gave up power, Feb. 11, Mr. Ibrahim hopped a plane from JFK International. Landing in his native Cairo, he went directly to the square.

"It was just like, how do you say, the day of judgment," Mr. Ibrahim says. "The way the day of judgment is described in our scripture, in the Quran, is where you have all of humanity in one place. And nobody recognizes anybody else, just faces, faces."

And what faces they were: bearded, shorn, framed by hijabs, young, old—and at one point even a bride and groom. "The spirit in the square was just unbelievable," says Mr. Ibrahim, whose children and grandchildren were among the masses. "These people, these young people, are so empowered. They will never be cowed again by any ruler—at least for a generation."

For the 72-year-old sociologist, the revolution against Hosni Mubarak has been many years in the making. His struggle began 10 years ago with a word: jumlukiya. A combination of the Arabic words for republic (jumhuriya) and monarchy (malikiya), the term was coined by Mr. Ibrahim to characterize the family dynasties of the Mubaraks of Egypt and the Assads of Syria.

He first described jumlukiya on television during the June 2000 funeral of Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad. Then he wrote about it in a magazine article that "challenged all the autocrats of the region to open up and have a competitive election."

The magazine appeared on the morning of June 30, 2000. But it vanished from Egyptian newsstands by midday. By midnight, Mr. Ibrahim was arrested at his home. "Then began my confrontation with the Mubarak regime—the trials, and three year imprisonment, and the defamation, all of that. That was the beginning."

Not a month before, he had written a speech about women's rights for Mr. Mubarak's wife Suzanne—Mr. Ibrahim had been her thesis adviser in the 1970s at the American University in Cairo, when her husband was vice president to Anwar Sadat. None of it mattered. In the end, some 30 people connected to Mr. Ibrahim's Ibn Khaldun Center—the Muslim world's leading think tank for the study of democracy and civil society—were rounded up.

Most were ultimately released. But Mr. Ibrahim was tried in a cage within a courtroom, sentenced for "defaming" Egypt (criticizing Mr. Mubarak) and "embezzlement" (for accepting a grant to conduct election monitoring through his center). His stints in prison—always in solitary confinement and, for a period, enduring sleep deprivation and water torture—left him with a serious limp. The former runner now relies on a cane.

Yet he believes that his case helped create the atmosphere for this year's uprising. "It started as a series of challenges with individuals. With me, with [liberal opposition leader] Ayman Nour . . . What you saw is the accumulation of all these incremental steps that have taken place in the past 10 years," he says.

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 ."But to give credit where it is due," Mr. Ibrahim adds, "the younger generation was more innovative and far more clever than we were by using the technology at their disposal. These guys discovered the tools that could not be combated by the government." He notes that many of them, like Wael Ghonim from Google, operated from outside of Egypt. "That's something new."

With elections set for September, the most urgent question facing Egypt is how to structure the democratic process—and how dominant the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood may become. In a 2005 election, the Brotherhood won 20% of the seats in parliament. According to the Ibn Khaldun Center's research, the group could earn about 30% in an upcoming vote.

Mr. Ibrahim thinks that holding elections six months from now is "not wise." If he had his druthers, it would be put off for several years to allow alternative groups to mature. Still, he insists that the Brothers—some of whom he knows well from prison, including senior leader Essam el-Erian—are changing.

"They did not start this movement, nor were they the principal actors, nor were they the majority," he says. When they showed up in Tahrir Square on the fourth day of the protests, most were members of the group's young guard. Mr. Ibrahim points out that they didn't use any Islamist slogans. "Their famous slogan is 'Islam is the solution.' They use that usually in elections and marches. But they did not." This time, they chose "Religion is for God, country is for all." That slogan dates to 1919 and Egypt's secular nationalist movement.

What's more, some Brothers carried signs depicting the crescent and the cross together. "One of the great scenes was of young Copts [Christians], boys and girls, bringing water for the Muslim brothers to do their ablution, and also making a big circle—a temporary worship space—for them. And then come Sunday, the Muslims reciprocated by allowing space for the Copts to have their service. That of course was very moving. "

Maybe so. But this week Muslim Brotherhood member Mohsen Radi declared that the group finds it "unsuitable" for a Copt or a woman to hold a high post like the presidency. Then there's the Brotherhood's motto: "'Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." Looking around Egypt's neighborhood, it's not hard to guess what life would be like for Coptic Christians, let alone women, under a state guided by Quranic Shariah law.

"That's still their creed and their motto," Mr. Ibrahim says. "What they have done is to lower that profile. Not to give it up, but to lower it." He adds that the Brothers have promised not to run a candidate for the presidency for the next two election cycles.

To skeptics like me, such gestures seem like opportunism—superficial ploys aimed at winning votes, not a genuine transformation. I press Mr. Ibrahim and he insists that the younger guard is evolving, and that they are "fairly tolerant and enlightened." Enlightened seems a stretch, but nevertheless, what other option is there? Banning the Brotherhood, as the Mubarak regime did, is a nonstarter.

If Mr. Ibrahim is a fundamentalist about anything, it's democracy. And his hope is that participating in the democratic process will liberalize the Muslim Brothers over the long term. They "have survived for 80 years, and one mechanism for survival is adaptation," he says. "If the pressure continues, by women and by the middle class, they will continue to evolve. Far from taking their word, we should keep demanding that they prove that they really are pluralistic, that they are not going to turn against democracy, that they are not going to make it one man, one vote, one time."

He compares the Brothers to the Christian Democrats in Western Europe after World War II. "They started with more Christianity than democracy 100 years ago. Now they are more democracy than Christianity." True, but the Christian Democrats never embraced violent radicalism in the way the Muslim Brotherhood has.

Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP)—formerly the Virtue Party—is a more recent model. "The Muslim Brothers seem to be moving in the same direction," he says.

That would probably be a best case, but it too is problematic. The AKP—and, by extension, contemporary Turkey—is democratic but hardly liberal. Over the past decade, it has dramatically limited press freedom, stoked anti-Semitism, supported Hamas, and defended murderous figures like Sudan's Omar al-Bashir.

Still, the Turkish scenario is far better than the Iranian one—the hijacking of Egypt's revolution by radical clerics like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who returned from Qatar to Cairo last week. For his part, Mr. Ibrahim doesn't think that Mr. Qaradawi—a rock-star televangelist with an Al Jazeera viewership of some 60 million—is positioned to dominate the new Egypt as Ayatollah Khomeini dominated post-1979 Iran.

Mr. Qaradawi had messages of Muslim-Christian unity for the hundreds of thousands who heard him preach in the square. But about Jews, he has said that Hitler "managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers [Muslims]."

When I asked Mr. Ibrahim about the scourge of anti-Semitism in the Middle East generally, he's dismissive. "Have you seen any pogroms in Morocco or Tunisia or Egypt?" he asks rhetorically. As I point out, though, the Arab Middle East has had a negligible Jewish population since 1948, when roughly 800,000 Jews were expelled. It's hard to carry out a pogrom when Jews aren't around.

So what if the Brothers prove increasingly radical, not moderate? "I would struggle against them. . . . As a democrat and as a human rights activist I would fight, just as I fought Mubarak, like I fought Nasser. All my life I've been fighting people who do not abide by human rights and basic freedoms."

Might he run for political office when his professorship at New Jersey's Drew University ends in May? "I'm 72 years old. And I'd really like to see a younger generation." But, he adds, "in politics you never say no."

"I am more interested in having the kind of presidential campaign similar to what you have here or in Western Europe. . . . That's part of creating or socializing our people into pluralism—to see it at work, to have debates, to have a free media," he says.

One political role he's already playing is as an informal adviser to Obama administration officials, his friends Michael McFaul and Samantha Power, scholars who serve on the National Security Council staff. But he doesn't mince words about Mr. Obama's record so far. The president "wasted two and a half years" cozying up to dictators and abandoning dissidents, he says. "Partly to distance himself from Bush, democracy promotion became a kind of bad phrase for him." He also made the Israeli-Palestinian conflict his top priority, at the expense of pushing for freedom. "By putting the democracy file on hold, on the back burner, he did not accomplish peace nor did he serve democracy," says Mr. Ibrahim.

'Dislikable as [President Bush] may have been to many liberals, including my own wife, we have to give him credit," says Mr. Ibrahim. "He started a process of some conditionality with American aid and American foreign policy which opened some doors and ultimately was one of the building blocks for what's happening now." That conditionality extended to Mr. Ibrahim: In 2002, the Bush administration successfully threatened to withhold $130 million in aid from Egypt if Mr. Mubarak didn't release him.

So what should the White House do? "Publicly endorse every democratic movement in the Middle East and offer help," he says. The least the administration can do is withhold "aid and trade and diplomatic endorsement. Because now the people can do the job. America doesn't have to send armies and navies to change the regimes. Let the people do their change."

Ms. Weiss is an assistant editorial features editor at the Journal.

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« Reply #139 on: February 28, 2011, 11:03:05 AM »

Published: February 27, 2011
For nearly two decades, the leaders of Al Qaeda have denounced the Arab world’s dictators as heretics and puppets of the West and called for their downfall. Now, people in country after country have risen to topple their leaders — and Al Qaeda has played absolutely no role.

 In fact, the motley opposition movements that have appeared so suddenly and proved so powerful have shunned the two central tenets of the Qaeda credo: murderous violence and religious fanaticism. The demonstrators have used force defensively, treated Islam as an afterthought and embraced democracy, which is anathema to Osama bin Laden and his followers.
So for Al Qaeda — and perhaps no less for the American policies that have been built around the threat it poses — the democratic revolutions that have gripped the world’s attention present a crossroads. Will the terrorist network shrivel slowly to irrelevance? Or will it find a way to exploit the chaos produced by political upheaval and the disappointment that will inevitably follow hopes now raised so high?

For many specialists on terrorism and the Middle East, though not all, the past few weeks have the makings of an epochal disaster for Al Qaeda, making the jihadists look like ineffectual bystanders to history while offering young Muslims an appealing alternative to terrorism.

“So far — and I emphasize so far — the score card looks pretty terrible for Al Qaeda,” said Paul R. Pillar, who studied terrorism and the Middle East for nearly three decades at the C.I.A. and is now at Georgetown University. “Democracy is bad news for terrorists. The more peaceful channels people have to express grievances and pursue their goals, the less likely they are to turn to violence.”

If the terrorists network’s leaders hope to seize the moment, they have been slow off the mark. Mr. bin Laden has been silent. His Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, has issued three rambling statements from his presumed hide-out in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region that seemed oddly out of sync with the news, not noting the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, whose government detained and tortured Mr. Zawahri in the 1980s.

“Knocking off Mubarak has been Zawahri’s goal for more than 20 years, and he was unable to achieve it,” said Brian Fishman, a terrorism expert at the New America Foundation. “Now a nonviolent, nonreligious, pro-democracy movement got rid of him in a matter of weeks. It’s a major problem for Al Qaeda.”

The Arab revolutions, of course, remain very much a work in progress, as the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, orders a bloody defense of Tripoli, and Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, negotiates to cling to power. The breakdown of order could create havens for terrorist cells, at least for a time — a hazard both Colonel Qaddafi and Mr. Saleh have prevented, winning the gratitude of the American government.

“There’s an operational advantage for militants in any place where law enforcement and domestic security are weak and distracted,” said Steven Simon, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-author of “The Age of Sacred Terror.” But over all, he said, developments in the Arab countries are a strategic defeat for violent jihadism.

“These uprisings have shown that the new generation is not terribly interested in Al Qaeda’s ideology,” Mr. Simon said. He called the Zawahri statements “forlorn, if not pathetic.”

There is evidence that the uprisings have enthralled some jihadists. One Algerian man associated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the network’s North African affiliate, welcomed the uprisings in a weekend interview and said militants were returning from exile to join the battle in Libya, arming themselves from government weapons caches.

“Since the land is in chaos and Qaddafi is helping through his reactions and actions to increase the hatred of the population against him, it will be easier for us to recruit new members,” said the Algerian man, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Salman. He said that Libyans and Tunisians who had fought in Iraq or Afghanistan were now considering a return home.

“There is lots of work to do,” he said. “We have to help the people fighting and then build an Islamic state.”

Abu Khaled, a Jordanian jihadist who fought in Iraq with the insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, suggested that Al Qaeda would benefit in the long run from dashed hopes.

“At the end of the day, how much change will there really be in Egypt and other countries?” he asked. “There will be many disappointed demonstrators, and that’s when they will realize what the only alternative is. We are certain that this will all play into our hands.”

Michael Scheuer, author of a new biography of Mr. bin Laden and head of the C.I.A.’s bin Laden unit in the late 1990s, thinks such enthusiasm is more than wishful thinking.

Mr. Scheuer says he believes that Americans, including many experts, have wildly misjudged the uprisings by focusing on the secular, English-speaking, Westernized protesters who are a natural draw for television. Thousands of Islamists have been released from prisons in Egypt alone, and the ouster of Al Qaeda’s enemy, Mr. Mubarak, will help revitalize every stripe of Islamism, including that of Al Qaeda and its allies, he said.

“The talent of an organization is not just leadership, but taking advantage of opportunities,” Mr. Scheuer said. In Al Qaeda and its allies, he said, “We’re looking over all at a more geographically widespread, probably numerically bigger and certainly more influential movement than in 2001.”

If Al Qaeda faces an uncertain moment, so does the Obama administration. For a decade, the United States has been preoccupied with the Muslim world as a source of terrorist violence — one reason both the Bush and Obama administrations had friendly relations with the authoritarian governments now under fire.

It was such a dominant theme of American policy that even Colonel Qaddafi, the quixotic and brutal Libyan leader who President Obama said Saturday should step down, had drawn American praise as a bulwark against jihadists. A cable from the American Embassy in Tripoli briefing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before a 2008 visit called Libya “a strong partner in the war against terrorism,” noting “excellent” intelligence cooperation and specifically lauding Colonel Qaddafi’s efforts to block the return of Libyan militants from Afghanistan and Iraq and to “blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam.”

Such perceived dividends of cooperation with the likes of Colonel Qaddafi are now history, and that is a point not lost on the C.I.A., the State Department and the White House. As during the United States’ halting adjustment to the fall of Communist governments from 1989 to 1991, officials are scrambling to balance day-to-day crisis management with consideration of how American policy must adjust for the long term.

“There has to be a major rethinking of how the U.S. engages with that part of the world,” said Christopher Boucek, who studies the Middle East at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “We have to make clear that our security no longer comes at the expense of poor governance and no rights for the people in those countries.

“All of the givens,” Mr. Boucek said, “are gone.”

Souad Mekhennet contributed reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan.

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« Reply #140 on: February 28, 2011, 01:42:49 PM »

Abu Khaled, a Jordanian jihadist who fought in Iraq with the insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, suggested that Al Qaeda would benefit in the long run from dashed hopes.

“At the end of the day, how much change will there really be in Egypt and other countries?” he asked. “There will be many disappointed demonstrators, and that’s when they will realize what the only alternative is. We are certain that this will all play into our hands.”

Michael Scheuer, author of a new biography of Mr. bin Laden and head of the C.I.A.’s bin Laden unit in the late 1990s, thinks such enthusiasm is more than wishful thinking.

Mr. Scheuer says he believes that Americans, including many experts, have wildly misjudged the uprisings by focusing on the secular, English-speaking, Westernized protesters who are a natural draw for television. Thousands of Islamists have been released from prisons in Egypt alone, and the ouster of Al Qaeda’s enemy, Mr. Mubarak, will help revitalize every stripe of Islamism, including that of Al Qaeda and its allies, he said.

“The talent of an organization is not just leadership, but taking advantage of opportunities,” Mr. Scheuer said. In Al Qaeda and its allies, he said, “We’re looking over all at a more geographically widespread, probably numerically bigger and certainly more influential movement than in 2001.”
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« Reply #141 on: May 15, 2011, 09:42:42 PM »

The smut in bin Laden's compound reveals the Muslim world's dirty secret: porn is rife, everyone looks at it—and the U.S. finds it in militants' hideouts all the time.

The discovery of an "extensive" porn library in Osama bin Laden's compound kicked off the predictable wave of jokey headlines. Everyone from the New York Post ("Osama Gone Wild") to Radar Online ("Debbie Does Pakistan") delightfully reveled in the irony of the find.

But should we really be that surprised that leader of one of the world's most notorious terrorist groups was living with a collection of smutty pictures or videos? In the Muslim world, conspiracy theorists are likely to call the porn story a hoax, claiming the stash was planted by the U.S. after killing bin Laden to embarrass him. Pornography, however, is the Muslim world's dirty little secret, rife in even the most conservative realms—including among the extremists.

 EPA / Landov Called fuhsha in Arabic, pornography is considered haram, or illegal, according to most interpretations of Islam, because it publically exposes a person’s awrah, the Arabic word for the zones forbidden from public eye. The debate over pornography, masturbation, and the line between the erotic and the pornographic is a serious one in the Muslim community. Muslims today are negotiating these issues much like the West started doing decades ago.

In fact, the porn found in the bin Laden compound was probably not even much of a surprise to the American forces who discovered it. Porn is frequently found by military teams who engage in “sensitive site exploitation” in raids on militant hideouts and safe houses, according to current and former U.S. military officials. All such finds are evaluated for use “in an information operation (IO) campaign to mold public opinion.”

Hours after the news of the porn stash, Christine Fair, a Georgetown University terrorism expert, wrote on her Facebook page, “Of course they found porn! Every damned jihadi loves porn.” Indeed, the “USG,” or U.S. government has become so accustomed to finding porn, she said, it has “media analysts” designated to analyze the porn looking for “messages.” They work on “document exploitation.”

“Some of the Muslim societies that are the most repressive toward women...also have some of the highest rates of pornography usage in the world."

"The USG has recovered terabytes of the stuff from terrorist computers," Fair wrote, noting that "kiddie porn" is included in the mix. Current and former U.S. officials have acknowledged that porn featuring sex with animals also gets picked up regularly. Fair said the U.S. government has had to hire counselors to minimize the trauma to the many young twentysomething analysts poring over the porn.

It’s not clear whether bin Laden himself viewed any of the porn. On CNN, bin Laden's biographer Peter Bergen said he thought the porn wasn’t likely for the al Qaeda leader's “personal consumption.” But its presence speaks to the contradictions that permeate Muslim society.

Last year, Google ran an analysis of its search queries and concluded Pakistan is the leading nation in sex-related, porn content searches, leading Fox News to dub the nation “Pornistan.” Iran came in third on the overall list, and Egypt was fifth. (Google later partially backtracked on its findings, saying that its sample size was too small to be definitive.)

Small or not, we don't need Google to tell us Muslims are looking at porn. Pakistan is home to a bustling porn black market, as well as a lucrative business enterprise and tradition of exotic dancing, called mujras. Just last month, a Muslim member of parliament from the Islamic Prosperous Justice Party in Indonesia resigned after being caught watching porn on the floor of parliament. He was, ironically, a proponent of anti-porn legislation, a hypocrisy that may sound familiar to Americans who are used to seeing their conservative lawmakers busted for the very behaviors they speak out against.
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« Reply #142 on: June 13, 2011, 09:44:20 AM »

Gives new meaning to "internal struggle", does it not?
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« Reply #143 on: September 30, 2011, 10:49:49 AM »

This is exactly the type of subject matter where Pravda on the Hudson must be read with particular care.  Caveat lector!

CAIRO — By force of this year’s Arab revolts and revolutions, activists marching under the banner of Islam are on the verge of a reckoning decades in the making: the prospect of achieving decisive power across the region has unleashed an unprecedented debate over the character of the emerging political orders they are helping to build.
Few question the coming electoral success of religious activists, but as they emerge from the shadows of a long, sometimes bloody struggle with authoritarian and ostensibly secular governments, they are confronting newly urgent questions about how to apply Islamic precepts to more open societies with very concrete needs.
In Turkey and Tunisia, culturally conservative parties founded on Islamic principles are rejecting the name “Islamist” to stake out what they see as a more democratic and tolerant vision.
In Egypt, a similar impulse has begun to fracture the Muslim Brotherhood as a growing number of politicians and parties argue for a model inspired by Turkey, where a party with roots in political Islam has thrived in a once-adamantly secular system. Some contend that the absolute monarchy of puritanical Saudi Arabia in fact violates Islamic law.
A backlash has ensued, as well, as traditionalists have flirted with timeworn Islamist ideas like imposing interest-free banking and obligatory religious taxes and censoring irreligious discourse.
The debates are deep enough that many in the region believe that the most important struggles may no longer occur between Islamists and secularists, but rather among the Islamists themselves, pitting the more puritanical against the more liberal.
“That’s the struggle of the future,” said Azzam Tamimi, a scholar and the author of a biography of a Tunisian Islamist, Rachid Ghannouchi, whose party, Ennahda, is expected to dominate elections next month to choose an assembly to draft a constitution. “The real struggle of the future will be about who is capable of fulfilling the desires of a devout public. It’s going to be about who is Islamist and who is more Islamist, rather than about the secularists and the Islamists.”
The moment is as dramatic as any in recent decades in the Arab world, as autocracies crumble and suddenly vibrant parties begin building a new order, starting with elections in Tunisia in October, then Egypt in November. Though the region has witnessed examples of ventures by Islamists into politics, elections in Egypt and Tunisia, attempts in Libya to build a state almost from scratch and the shaping of an alternative to Syria’s dictatorship are their most forceful entry yet into the region’s still embryonic body politic.
“It is a turning point,” said Emad Shahin, a scholar on Islamic law and politics at the University of Notre Dame who was in Cairo.
At the center of the debates is a new breed of politician who has risen from an Islamist milieu but accepts an essentially secular state, a current that some scholars have already taken to identifying as “post Islamist.” Its foremost exemplars are Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party in Turkey, whose intellectuals speak of a shared experience and a common heritage with some of the younger members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and with the Ennahda Party in Tunisia. Like Turkey, Tunisia faced decades of a state-enforced secularism that never completely reconciled itself with a conservative population.
“They feel at home with each other,” said Cengiz Candar, an Arabic-speaking Turkish columnist. “It’s similar terms of reference, and they can easily communicate with them.”
Mr. Ghannouchi, the Tunisian Islamist, has suggested a common ambition, proposing what some say Mr. Erdogan’s party has managed to achieve: a prosperous, democratic Muslim state, led by a party that is deeply religious but operates within a system that is supposed to protect liberties. (That is the notion, at least — Mr. Erdogan’s critics accuse him of a pronounced streak of authoritarianism.)
“If the Islamic spectrum goes from Bin Laden to Erdogan, which of them is Islam?” Mr. Ghannouchi asked in a recent debate with a secular critic. “Why are we put in the same place as a model that is far from our thought, like the Taliban or the Saudi model, while there are other successful Islamic models that are close to us, like the Turkish, the Malaysian and the Indonesian models, models that combine Islam and modernity?”
The notion of an Arab post-Islamism is not confined to Tunisia. In Libya, Ali Sallabi, the most important Islamist political leader, cites Mr. Ghannouchi as a major influence. Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fotouh, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader who is running for president in Egypt, has joined several new breakaway political parties in arguing that the state should avoid interpreting or enforcing Islamic law, regulating religious taxes or barring a person from running for president based on gender or religion.
A party formed by three leaders of the Brotherhood’s youth wing says that while Egypt shares a common Arab and Islamic culture with the region, its emerging political system should ensure protections of individual freedoms as robust as the West’s. In an interview, one of them, Islam Lotfy, argued that the strictly religious kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the Koran is ostensibly the constitution, was less Islamist than Turkey. “It is not Islamist; it is dictatorship,” said Mr. Lotfy, who was recently expelled from the Brotherhood for starting the new party.
and Elections
Egypt’s Center Party, a group that struggled for 16 years to win a license from the ousted government, may go furthest here in elaborating the notion of post-Islamism. Its founder, Abul-Ela Madi, has long sought to mediate between religious and liberal forces, even coming up with a set of shared principles last month. Like the Ennahda Party in Tunisia, he disavows the term “Islamist,” and like other progressive Islamic activists, he describes his group as Egypt’s closest equivalent of Mr. Erdogan’s party.
“We’re neither secular nor Islamist,” he said. “We’re in between.”
It is often heard in Turkey that the country’s political system, until recently dominated by the military, moderated Islamic currents there. Mr. Lotfy said he hoped that Egyptian Islamists would undergo a similar, election-driven evolution, though activists themselves cautioned against drawing too close a comparison. “They went to the streets and they learned that the public was not just worried about the hijab” — the veil — “but about corruption,” he said. “If every woman in Turkey wore the hijab, it would not be a great country. It takes economic development.”
Compared with the situation in Turkey, the stakes of the debates may be even higher in the Arab world, where divided and weak liberal currents pale before the organization and popularity of Islamic activists.
In Syria, debates still rage among activists over whether a civil or Islamic state should follow the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad, if he falls. The emergence in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria of Salafists, the most inflexible currents in political Islam, is one of the most striking political developments in those societies. (“The Koran is our constitution,” goes one of their sayings.)
And the most powerful current in Egypt, still represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, has stubbornly resisted some of the changes in discourse.
When Mr. Erdogan expressed hope for “a secular state in Egypt,” meaning, he explained, a state equidistant from all faiths, Brotherhood leaders immediately lashed out, saying that Mr. Erdogan’s Turkey offered no model for either Egypt or its Islamists.
A Brotherhood spokesman, Mahmoud Ghozlan, accused Turkey of violating Islamic law by failing to criminalize adultery. “In the secularist system, this is accepted, and the laws protect the adulterer,” he said, “But in the Shariah law this is a crime.”
As recently as 2007, a prototype Brotherhood platform sought to bar women or Christians from serving as Egypt’s president and called for a panel of religious scholars to advise on the compliance of any legislation with Islamic law. The group has never disavowed the document. Its rhetoric of Islam’s long tolerance of minorities often sounds condescending to Egypt’s Christian minority, which wants to be afforded equal citizenship, not special protections. The Brotherhood’s new party has called for a special surtax on Muslims to enforce charitable giving.
Indeed, Mr. Tamimi, the scholar, argued that some mainstream groups like the Brotherhood, were feeling the tug of their increasingly assertive conservative constituencies, which still relentlessly call for censorship and interest-free banking.
“Is democracy the voice of the majority?” asked Mohammed Nadi, a 26-year-old student at a recent Salafist protest in Cairo. “We as Islamists are the majority. Why do they want to impose on us the views of the minorities — the liberals and the secularists? That’s all I want to know.”

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« Reply #144 on: December 18, 2011, 12:39:00 PM »

Shirk=Idolatry or polytheism


Kufur=Disbelief, or disbeliever in islam
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« Reply #145 on: January 05, 2012, 10:16:33 AM »

Muslim Brotherhood Realities New and Old
by Steven Emerson

IPT News
January 5, 2012
The votes still aren't fully counted in Egypt, but the Obama administration has seen enough to reverse long-standing and well-rooted policies to shun the theocratic, global Caliphate-minded Muslim Brotherhood, whose philosophy spawned terrorist movements from Hamas to al-Qaida.
High level meetings between American and Brotherhood officials reflect a "new political reality here [in Egypt], and indeed around the region," the New York Times reported in a front-page article Wednesday, "as Islamist groups come to power."
What is astounding and dangerous about the new U.S. recognition is the fact that Brotherhood leaders became more openly radical and militant once Mubarak was thrown out, issuing incendiary speeches calling for "martyrdom" operations against Israel and aligning with Hamas and other terrorist groups. Yet as the New York Times wrote, the Obama administration accepts as truthful "the Brotherhood's repeated assurances that its lawmakers want to build a modern democracy that will respect individual freedoms, free markets and international commitments, including Egypt's treaty with Israel," the Times reported.
But there's another reality that seems overlooked. And that's the Brotherhood's history of deception and duplicity, policies that reflect its modus operandi in gaining legitimacy in Egypt and around the world but still promoting a militant agenda. While some MB officials may tell American officials they will respect individual liberties and honor Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, it's not hard to find massive evidence that paints a different and more disturbing picture.
As we reported last week, the Brotherhood is poised to dominate the next Egyptian government after vowing last spring that it sought no such power. The group's deputy chief says the Brotherhood "will not recognize Israel under any circumstances" and may place the peace treaty before voters in a referendum.
Earlier this year, it tried to hide its bylaws and their calls for "need to work on establishing the Islamic State" from English-reading audiences, striking them from its website. Last week, however, Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie gave an address reminding followers of the agenda laid out by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. "It begins with the reform of the individual and then to start building the family and society, then the government; then the rightly guided caliphate, then instructing the world; instructing guidance, wisdom, truth and justice."
Brotherhood members must see their electoral success as a huge step in the direction of creating "the rightly guided caliphate." The United States would be foolish to differ.
It also would be foolish to overlook the Brotherhood's record.
After American commandos killed Osama bin Laden, the Brotherhood told English language audiences "one of the reasons for which violence has been practised in the world has been removed," Reuters reported. In Arabic, however, they referred to the mass-murdering al-Qaida founder with the honorary term of Sheikh and called him a shaheed, or martyr. The statement also criticized the American attack as an assassination.
Despite their reputations among some in the West as supposed moderates, Brotherhood officials routinely endorse terrorism. Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group in control of Gaza, declares itself to be the Brotherhood's Palestinian branch. Its peaceful intent includes recent reiterations of its commitment to violent jihad and its vow never to accept the state of Israel's right to exist.
"Our presence with the Brotherhood threatens the Israeli entity," Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said last month.
For all the talk of the Brotherhood renouncing violence, the Associated Press noted that "it supports Hamas in its 'resistance' against Israel."
But the Brotherhood's threat of violence is not limited to actions against Israel. Influential Brotherhood theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi endorsed kidnapping and killing American civilians in Iraq in 2004 as an "obligation so as to cause them to leave Iraq immediately."
More recently, Qaradawi has called on Muslims to acquire nuclear weapons "to terrorize their enemies" and sanctioned killing Israeli women because they serve in the army. He has prayed to be martyred while killing a Jew.
Incredibly, there has been no American confirmation or denial of an Indian newspaper report last week which indicated Qaradawi is helping broker peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, which itself is scandalous.
But this is the same administration whose Director of National Intelligence called the Brotherhood "a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence," during a February congressional hearing. James Clapper tried to walk this back in subsequent statements, but his assessment flew in the face of all the Brotherhood has said about itself since its founding in 1928, beginning with its motto:
"God is our goal, the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our way, and death in the service of God is the loftiest of our wishes."
There are good reasons why the United States does not deal with Iran or recognize Hamas government in Gaza: Granting unilateral recognition to totalitarian political movements or governments only emboldens their terrorist ideologies. Shunning, boycotting and ostracizing totalitarian movements and regimes that still promote violent ideologies and policies is the only proven way of undermining their legitimacy and containing them, short of military action. The Brotherhood, which supports the terrorist Hamas, can mouth to the West all the platitudes about peace it can muster. But the record of its actions and its statements in Arabic shows the emptiness of such words.
Here is Badie, the supreme guide, in October, following Israel's decision to release more than 1,000 prisoners, many of them Hamas killers, in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit: "The deal also proved that Israel only understands the language of force and resistance. This language is able, with God's permission, to liberate the Palestinian people suffering under the captivity of the Zionists."
Deception is part of the Brotherhood's modus operandi in America as well. Evidence in the largest terror-financing trial in U.S. history shows the Muslim Brotherhood created a network of Hamas-support organizations here, operating as the "Palestine Committee."
One exhibit, a 1991 "Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America," described the Brotherhood's work in the United States as a "kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all religions."
Court records provided "ample evidence" placing the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its founders in the Palestine Committee, but CAIR refuses to acknowledge those connections. The evidence prompted the FBI to cut off communication with CAIR, but plenty of U.S. politicians and policymakers continue to engage the group.
Even if U.S. government officials accept the premise that the Brotherhood is a new reality in international relations, it is profoundly troubling that the U.S. would unilaterally grant new-found legitimacy without extracting demonstrable concessions that the Brotherhood has truly changed its policies. We still carry great leverage, supporting Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid each year and through economic support from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Beyond the leverage of financial support, there are many options for the U.S. to pursue, as it did through an international boycott organized against South Africa when it existed as an apartheid state.
In legitimizing the Muslim Brotherhood more than any other previous administration, the U.S. undermines genuine secular and pluralist parties, admittedly in the minority in Egypt, but which hold out the only hope for alternatives to the empowerment of authoritarian policies of Islamist regimes. In the entire history of Islamist regimes taking over or winning by elections, there has never been an Islamist regime that has ever given up power peacefully.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration's embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt parallels its embrace of Muslim Brotherhood American branches and front groups whose officials say nice things on American television, yet continue to covertly spread the ideology of, and in many cases funded, Islamic militancy and terrorism. Throughout its history, Brotherhood groups and leaders around the world starting with al-Banna, its founder, in Egypt, have spread the incendiary conspiratorial doctrine that the West, Christians, Jews and infidels have secretly conspired to suppress Islam since 1095, the year of the first Crusade. And in the age of instant worldwide communications, this delusional paranoia that non-Muslims – especially the West, Jews and Christians are waging a war against Islam – has become the No. 1 factor in motivating Islamic terrorists to carry out their attacks. In Egypt as in the United States and Europe, Brotherhood leaders blamed Israel, Jews and the United States for the 9/11 attacks. Nearly every Islamic terrorist arrest in the United States has been described by Islamist leaders as evidence of a "war against Islam."
The Muslim Brotherhood, where ever it is around the world, from Cairo to Chicago, seeks to gain legitimacy thru a campaign of deception and penetration of western regimes and institutions. It defies common sense to grant unilateral legitimacy to the Brotherhood without demanding concrete actions to openly disavow its support for Islamic terrorist groups or stopping the spread of its mass incendiary message that there is a war against Islam.
Wittingly or unwittingly, the United States has now become a de facto enabler of a militant ideology that ultimately seeks the destruction of our own way of life.
Related Topics: Hamas, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), The Muslim Brotherhood  |  Steven Emerson

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« Reply #146 on: January 05, 2012, 10:26:11 AM »

Deception is part of the Brotherhood's modus operandi in America as well. Evidence in the largest terror-financing trial in U.S. history shows the Muslim Brotherhood created a network of Hamas-support organizations here, operating as the "Palestine Committee."
One exhibit, a 1991 "Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America," described the Brotherhood's work in the United States as a "kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all religions."
Court records provided "ample evidence" placing the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its founders in the Palestine Committee, but CAIR refuses to acknowledge those connections. The evidence prompted the FBI to cut off communication with CAIR, but plenty of U.S. politicians and policymakers continue to engage the group.

Even if U.S. government officials accept the premise that the Brotherhood is a new reality in international relations, it is profoundly troubling that the U.S. would unilaterally grant new-found legitimacy without extracting demonstrable concessions that the Brotherhood has truly changed its policies. We still carry great leverage, supporting Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid each year and through economic support from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Beyond the leverage of financial support, there are many options for the U.S. to pursue, as it did through an international boycott organized against South Africa when it existed as an apartheid state.
In legitimizing the Muslim Brotherhood more than any other previous administration, the U.S. undermines genuine secular and pluralist parties, admittedly in the minority in Egypt, but which hold out the only hope for alternatives to the empowerment of authoritarian policies of Islamist regimes. In the entire history of Islamist regimes taking over or winning by elections, there has never been an Islamist regime that has ever given up power peacefully.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration's embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt parallels its embrace of Muslim Brotherhood American branches and front groups whose officials say nice things on American television, yet continue to covertly spread the ideology of, and in many cases funded, Islamic militancy and terrorism.
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« Reply #147 on: March 07, 2012, 08:44:54 AM »

Many Muslims Are Making Many Atheists
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Here in Sydney, Australia, where I've been lecturing for a week, I may have had one Australian-born waitress or waiter and one Australian-born taxi driver. As is my wont, I ask all of them where they were born and, whenever possible, have some discussion about their native country.

I say "whenever possible" because, unlike in the United States --where taxi drivers, whether foreign- or American-born, are known for being talkative -- that has not been my experience in Sydney, where apparently the influence of the famous British reserve is still very much in evidence. I ask where the driver was born, he responds, and the discussion is pretty much ended.

But the waiters and waitresses have been quite willing to talk, and one of these discussions was of particular interest.

After attending a performance of Giacomo Puccini's "Turandot" at the magnificent Sydney Opera House, my wife and I dined at a nearby Italian restaurant overlooking the Sydney Harbor. I asked our young, personable waitress where she was from, and she said Iran. I then did what I almost always do when I meet an Iranian -- spoke the only thing I know how to say in Farsi (Persian): "Let's all go study with the ayatollah."

Many years ago, I asked an Iranian friend in Los Angeles how to say that phrase, figuring that if I were ever in Iran and arrested by the Revolutionary Guard, that might help me considerably more than, let us say, "Where is the men's room?"

It has become a terrific icebreaker with just about every Iranian emigre I have ever met. Some laugh out loud; others immediately "correct" me, insisting that the ayatollah is the last person anyone should ever study with; and others don't know what to make of me.

Our young waitress laughed herself silly and wondered how I ever learned such a phrase. I explained that I have numerous Iranian friends, living, as I do, in "Teherangeles" -- the name Iranians in Los Angeles give to the largest Iranian community outside of Iran, and a name with which she, though living in Australia, was well familiar with.

I asked Shakila if she was Muslim. She told me that though one could say she was a Muslim, she did not identify as such, that in fact she was an atheist.

She was not the first Muslim-born atheist from Iran I have met. And from what I am told, an entire generation of atheists has been produced by the Islamic Republic of Iran. How could it be otherwise?

Nothing produces atheists like despicable religious people. They do far more harm to religious faith than all the atheist writers and activists in the world put together.

Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, the ayatollahs, Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, the Taliban and all the other Islamist organizations actually decrease the number of believers in the world.

Over the course of time, people do not judge religions by their theology. Yes, some people convert to a religion thanks to its convincing theology. And many remain in a religion because of family ties, cultural norms and sheer inertia. But over time, religion -- and faith in God itself -- is judged by its fruit. Which is how it should be.

And the best known fruit of Islam today -- countries calling themselves Muslim, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Taliban Afghanistan, not to mention Islamist groups -- is so ugly that many millions of people are increasingly repelled by religion and by God.

It is not entirely fair, since there are beautiful people in every religion whose goodness goes unreported. But when the best-known actions of some of the most religious people in the world are kidnappings, slaughter, torture, mass murder of innocents, suicide bombings, beheadings and treatment of women unknown in recorded history, religion and faith in God suffer everywhere. Shakila is not alone.
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« Reply #148 on: March 18, 2012, 12:14:46 PM »

EDITORIAL: Destroy all churches

Obama silent while Saudi grand mufti targets Christianity



The Washington Times

 Friday, March 16, 2012

If the pope called for the destruction of all the mosques in Europe, the uproar would be cataclysmic. Pundits would lambaste the church, the White House would rush out a statement of deep concern, and rioters in the Middle East would kill each other in their grief. But when the most influential leader in the Muslim world issues a fatwa to destroy Christian churches, the silence is deafening.

On March 12, Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” The ruling came in response to a query from a Kuwaiti delegation over proposed legislation to prevent construction of churches in the emirate. The mufti based his decision on a story that on his deathbed, Muhammad declared, “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula.” This passage has long been used to justify intolerance in the kingdom. Churches have always been banned in Saudi Arabia, and until recently Jews were not even allowed in the country. Those wishing to worship in the manner of their choosing must do so hidden away in private, and even then the morality police have been known to show up unexpectedly and halt proceedings.

This is not a small-time radical imam trying to stir up his followers with fiery hate speech. This was a considered, deliberate and specific ruling from one of the most important leaders in the Muslim world. It does not just create a religious obligation for those over whom the mufti has direct authority; it is also a signal to others in the Muslim world that destroying churches is not only permitted but mandatory.

**Read it all.
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« Reply #149 on: March 25, 2012, 12:14:58 AM »

A local bookstore has “sold out” of a controversial marriage guide that advises Muslim men on how to beat their wives.


The 160-page book, published by Idara Impex in New Delhi, India, is written by Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, who’s described in the book’s foreword as a “prolific writer on almost every topic of Islamic learning.”

The store’s manager, who didn’t give his name, said the book had been sold out for some time, and the store’s owner, whom the manager identified as Shamim Ahmad, refused to comment for the story.

It wasn’t clear whether the shop has ordered more copies of the book, but it’s available at online Islamic bookstores and even through eBay.

In the book’s opening pages, it is written that “it might be necessary to restrain her with strength or even to threaten her.”

Later, its author advises that “the husband should treat the wife with kindness and love, even if she tends to be stupid and slow sometimes.”

Page 45 contains the rights of the husband, which include his wife’s inability to leave “his house without his permission,” and that his wife must “fulfil his desires” and “not allow herself to be untidy ... but should beautify herself for him ... ”

In terms of physical punishment, the book advises that a husband may scold her, “beat by hand or stick,” withhold money from her or “pull (her) by the ears,” but should “refrain from beating her excessively.”

Moderate Muslim voice Tarek Fatah says the shopkeeper should be charged for selling such a book.

“I wouldn’t say it’s hate, but it is inciting men to hit women,” said Fatah, who identified the book’s author as a prominent Islamic scholar. “This is new to you, but the Muslim community knows that this is widespread, that a woman can be beaten. Muslim leaders will deny this, but... ”

Male dominance over women has been making headlines for some time, with the recent lengthy trial and conviction of the Shafia family.

Mohammad Shafia, 59, his second wife, Tooba Yahya, 42, and their son, Hamed, 21, were each convicted in January on four counts of first-degree murder in what was characterized as an honour killing of four female family members as punishment for disobedience. They were handed life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Shafia’s three daughters and his first wife were found drowned in a car at the bottom of the Rideau Canal in Kingston, Ont., in June 2009.

Eric Brazau says he was flipping through the marriage guide while in the bookstore around a month ago.

Brazau bought it out of curiosity but was taken aback when he found dozens of chapters and passages giving Muslim husbands advice on controlling, restraining, scolding and beating their wives.

“At first, I thought that it is incredible that this kind of thing can be found in Canada,” said Brazau. “And then I thought, radical Islam is not coming to Canada, it is already here.”
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