Archive for the ‘Ayaan Hirsi Ali’ category

Kamala Harris Goes Silent When Confronted with True Sex-Based Oppression

June 24, 2017

Kamala Harris Goes Silent When Confronted with True Sex-Based Oppression, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, June 23, 2017

Last week, Sen. Kamala Harris became the left’s designated victim of the month because she was interrupted by Republican Senators during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Harris kept interrupting the witness, Attorney General Jeff Session, so it’s debatable whether she had a genuine grievance. Nonetheless, the Democrats and their media allies were quick to level hackneyed allegations that, once again, sexist patriarchs have tried to silence a woman “speaking truth to power.”

The next day, two women with genuine grievances of sexism testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, of which Harris, regrettably, is a member. The women were our friend Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Asra Q. Noman.

Both were born into deeply conservative Muslim families. Ayaan is a survivor of female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Asra defied Shariah by having a baby while unmarried.

Both have been threatened with death by jihadists for things they have said and done. Ayaan cannot appear in public without armed guards.

You might have thought that Sen. Harris would show considerable interest in what these victims of sexism had to say. If so, you don’t grasp that Harris’ slavish adherence to the left’s taboo against calling out Islamists trumps any real commitment she may have to women’s rights.

Here, as told by Ayaan and Asra in the New York Times, is what happened:

The Democrats on the panel, including Senator Harris and three other Democratic female senators — North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill — did not ask either of us a single question.

This wasn’t a case of benign neglect. At one point, Senator McCaskill said that she took issue with the theme of the hearing itself. “Anyone who twists or distorts religion to a place of evil is an exception to the rule,” she said. “We should not focus on religion,” she said, adding that she was “worried” that the hearing, organized by Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, would “underline that.” In the end, the only questions asked of us about Islamist ideologies came from Senator Johnson and his Republican colleague, Senator Steve Daines from Montana.

Ayaan and Asra nail the meaning of what went down:

[W]hat happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives when it comes to confronting the brutal reality of Islamist extremism and what it means for women in many Muslim communities here at home and around the world.

When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But we’re still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation.

They will be waiting for a long time.

Ayaan and Asra continue:

[W]hen we speak about Islamist oppression, we bring personal experience to the table in addition to our scholarly expertise. Yet the feminist mantra so popular when it comes to victims of sexual assault — believe women first — isn’t extended to us. Neither is the notion that the personal is political. Our political conclusions are dismissed as personal; our personal experiences dismissed as political.

That’s because in the rubric of identity politics, our status as women of color is canceled out by our ideas, which are labeled “conservative” — as if opposition to violent jihad, sex slavery, genital mutilation or child marriage were a matter of left or right. This not only silences us, it also puts beyond the pale of liberalism a basic concern for human rights and the individual rights of women abused in the name of Islam.

Why aren’t leftists willing to call out Islamic extremism? Ayaan and Asra offer this explanation:

Partly they fear offending members of a “minority” religion and being labeled racist, bigoted or Islamophobic. There is also the idea, which has tremendous strength on the left, that non-Western women don’t need “saving” — and that the suggestion that they do is patronizing at best. After all, the thinking goes, if women in America still earn less than men for equivalent work, who are we to criticize other cultures?

This is extreme moral relativism disguised as cultural sensitivity. And it leads good people to make excuses for the inexcusable.

The silence of the Democratic senators is a reflection of contemporary cultural pressures. Call it identity politics, moral relativism or political correctness — it is shortsighted, dangerous and, ultimately, a betrayal of liberal values.

Ayaan and Asra have said it all. Almost. Another point needs to be made.

Sen. Harris and her fellow female committee members are cowards. If they believe Ayaan and Asra are presenting a misleading picture of Islam, based on their “exceptional” experiences, then take them on. Make the point by asking probing questions, the way Harris’ cheerleaders think she did with Jeff Sessions.

Harris wouldn’t do it. She probably recognized that Ayaan would have carved her up to the point that even her cheerleaders couldn’t have declared her the victor. So the supposedly fearless ace ex-prosecutor took the coward’s way out and tried to minimize the extent to which Ayaan and Asra were heard.

Ayaan and Asra conclude:

We believe feminism is for everyone. Our goals — not least the equality of the sexes — are deeply liberal. We know these are values that the Democratic senators at our hearing share. Will they find their voices and join us in opposing Islamist extremism and its war on women?

This is the only off-key note in their article. The goals and values of Ayaan and Asra are not the goals and values of Harris and most of her fellow Democrats.

As for the voices of Harris and her colleagues, what you hear, or in this case didn’t hear, is what you get.

Why Does the West Keep Colluding with Terrorists?

April 9, 2017

Why Does the West Keep Colluding with Terrorists? Gatestone InstituteDouglas Murray, April 9, 2017

What, after all, is the acceptable discourse — or “narrative” — on which we can agree to speak about the attacks in Stockholm, Berlin, Nice and elsewhere? Can the discussion be allowed to include the Islamic portion? Can anyone be allowed to say that the attackers act in the name of Islam, or must we continue to present all jihadist terrorists as people suffering from any affliction apart from that one?

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Like other criticisms of Hirsi Ali, the effort was to portray her as the problem itself rather than as the response to a problem.

That this type of campaign can succeed — that speakers can be stopped from speaking in Western democracies because of the implicit or explicit threat of violence — is a problem our societies need to face.

There is a whole pile of reasons why Islamists want to stop her explanations from being aired. But why — when the attacks keep on happening — do our own societies collude with such sinister people to keep ourselves the dark?

Only a fortnight after a vehicular terrorist attack in Westminster, London, another similar attack took place in Stockholm, Sweden. On one of the city’s main shopping streets, a vehicle was once again used as a battering-ram against the bodies of members of the public. As in Nice, France. As in Berlin. As so many times in Israel.

Amid this regular news there is an air of defeatism — a terrible lack of policy and lack of solutions. How can governments stop people driving trucks into pedestrians? Is it something we must simply get used to, as France’s former Prime Minister Manuel Valls and London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan have both suggested? Must we come to recognise acts of terror as something like the weather? Or is there anything we can do to limit, if not stop, them? If so, where would we start? One place would be to have a frank public discussion about these matters. Yet, even that is easier said than done.

There is a terrible symmetry to this past week in the West. The week began with the news that the Somali-born author and human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali had been forced to cancel a speaking tour in Australia. “Security concerns” were among the given reasons. A notable aspect of this issue, which has been made public, is that one of the venues at which Hirsi Ali was due to speak was contacted last month by something calling itself “‘The Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia Incorporated”. Nobody appears to know where this “incorporated” organisation comes from, but its purported founder — Syed Murtaza Hussain — claimed that the group would bring 5000 protestors to the hall at which Hirsi Ali was scheduled to talk. This threat is reminiscent of the occasion in 2009 when the British peer, Lord Ahmed, threatened to mobilise 10,000 British Muslims to protest at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster if the Dutch politician Geert Wilders were allowed to speak. On that occasion — as on this one — the event was cancelled. Promises to mobilise thousands of angry Muslims can have such an effect. But the long-term implications often get lost in the short-term outrage.

Other attacks on Hirsi Ali began, in fact, weeks before her now-cancelled tour had been due to start. On the web, for instance, a widely-watched video was disseminated showing a group of headscarf-covered Australian Muslim women. All were attacking Hirsi Ali and protesting her appearance in the country. Addressing her directly, they complained that, “Your narrative doesn’t support our struggles. It erases them.”

Like other criticisms of Hirsi Ali, the effort was to portray her as the problem itself rather than the response to a problem. Once again, mixing up (deliberately or otherwise) the arsonist and the firefighter, such groups present a homogenous, agreed-upon opinion — or “narrative” — as the only necessary answer to any problems that may or may not exist. Hirsi Ali, according to them, thinks the “wrong” things and says the wrong things. Therefore she must be stopped.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author and human-rights activist. (Image source: The Aspen Institute)

That this type of campaign can succeed — that speakers can be stopped from speaking in Western democracies because of the implicit or explicit threat of violence — is a problem our societies need to face. But in the meantime, we also have to face the reality that a shut-down of opinion has on our public policy as well as our public discourse.

What, after all, is the acceptable discourse — or “narrative” — on which we can agree to speak about the attacks in Stockholm, Berlin, Nice and elsewhere? Can the discussion be allowed to include the Islamic portion? Can anyone be allowed to say that the attackers act in the name of Islam, or must we continue to present all jihadist terrorists as people suffering from any affliction apart from that one?

In the middle of the week, at a memorial service in Westminster Abbey, the Very Reverend John Hall, Dean of Westminster, said that the UK was “bewildered” after the terrorist attacks of a fortnight earlier. He went on in his sermon to ask:

“What could possibly motivate a man to hire a car and take it from Birmingham to Brighton to London, and then drive it fast at people he had never met, couldn’t possibly know, against whom he had no personal grudge, no reason to hate them and then run at the gates of the Palace of Westminster to cause another death? It seems likely that we shall never know.”

If it is true that our societies are “bewildered”, as the Dean says, might it be because we have not heard a wide-enough range of possible explanations for such outrages — because we have deliberately cut ourselves off, by choice,- from the warnings of ex-Muslims such as Hirsi Ali? Amid the “narratives” that are acceptable and to be tolerated, perhaps we have failed to listen to the explanations that outline the sheer scale of the religious and societal problem now in front of us?

Of course, for many Muslims, such as those critics of Hirsi Ali in Australia, there is a clear reason why they want to stop her speaking. Were people to hear her, they would realise the vast enormity of the challenge ahead of us and the depth and breadth of its nature. Her audiences would discover the defensive play around the world in which many Muslim organisations are engaged — a campaign to limit speech precisely in order to protect their own interpretation of their religion and keep out any other.

It is, however, the dissenting, silenced voices such as Hirsi Ali’s that are precisely the voices the world needs to hear at present. How tragic that a week that began with a silencing, should end with yet another all-too-predictable terrorist attack — one which Sweden will do as much to fail at comprehending as Britain did two weeks before her.

Hearing from voices such as that of Hirsi Ali could lift the fog of our “bewilderment” and explain, for instance, what does motivate some people to drive a car or truck into crowds of people going about their lives. There is a whole pile of reasons why Islamists want to stop her explanations from being aired. But why — when the attacks keep on happening — do our own societies collude with such sinister people to keep ourselves in the dark?

Australia: Muslim women accuse Ayaan Hirsi Ali of “white supremacism”

April 5, 2017

Australia: Muslim women accuse Ayaan Hirsi Ali of “white supremacism” Jihad Watch

Ms Ali, a former Muslim turned atheist who spent part of her childhood in Saudi Arabia, has called for a reformation of Islam so the Koran isn’t taken literally and individual rights are respected…..

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Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali has hit back at Australian Muslim women for accusing her of being a white supremacist and a misogynist, describing them as apologists for terrorist groups.

Anyone who criticizes Islam legitimately for its Sharia-sanctioned abuse of women, apostates and infidels is deemed “a white supremacist” and an “Islamophobe.” The absurdity of referencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali (who has herself been victimized in the name of Islam) as a “white supremacist” exposes the stealth agenda of Islamic supremacists, along with the useful idiots who assist them in advancing their Sharia objectives.

“‘Shutting people up raising awareness about Sharia law’: Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali hits back at Muslim women accusing her of being a ‘white supremacist’ – after she was forced to cancel Australian tour over security”, by Stephen Johnson, UK Daily Mail, April 5, 2017:

Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali has hit back at Australian Muslim women for accusing her of being a white supremacist and a misogynist, describing them as apologists for terrorist groups.

Six Muslim women, including four wearing hijabs, feature in a video describing the Somali-born writer and former refugee as someone who marginalises followers of Islam.

The three-minute clip, posted on Facebook by a group called Persons of Interest, describes Ms Ali as a racist and sexist person.

They overlook how she is a black woman who campaigns against female genital mutilation.

‘This is the language of patriarchy and misogyny. This is the language of white supremacy. This is the language used to justify war and genocide,’ the women say.

They posted the video on Monday, after Ms Ali’s AHA Foundation and event organisers Think Inc announced she had abruptly cancelled her Australian tour for security reasons.

Speaking from the United States, Ms Ali accused the woman of ‘carrying water’ for Islamist extremist groups campaigning for a global caliphate based on sharia law.

The 47-year-old former Dutch politician linked them to the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed in its home nation, Islamic State and Boko Haram, which captured 276 schoolgirls in 2014.

Moroccan Soup Bar owner Hana Assafiri, who featured in the video, is the same person who was a spokeswoman for a change.org petition calling for Ms Ali’s Australian tour to be cancelled.

That petition was authored by Islamic Museum of Australia board director Sherene Hassan.

Daily Mail Australia contacted Ms Assafiri for comment on Tuesday.

However, on Monday she declined to criticise sharia law, which secular Muslims reject.

‘Sharia law is a whole massive conversation we need time to discuss and debate with,’ she said.

‘It’s not something I can give you a quick sound bite.’

Zerin Firoze, a former Muslim turned atheist who lives in New York, denounced the video.

‘This is the dumbest video I have seen recently,’ she said on Facebook.

‘Ex-Muslims like Ayaan Hirsi Ali are not demonising Muslim women or Islam.

‘Islam itself demonises Muslims, especially Muslim women.’

Ms Ali, a former Muslim turned atheist who spent part of her childhood in Saudi Arabia, has called for a reformation of Islam so the Koran isn’t taken literally and individual rights are respected…..

Political Islam Is Today’s Anti-American ‘Long March Through The Institutions’

March 27, 2017

Political Islam Is Today’s Anti-American ‘Long March Through The Institutions’, The Federalist, , March 27, 2017

(I agree with nearly everything Hirsi Ali says, except for her last paragraph:

We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

As written, what she proposes comes dangerously close to, and could easily be construed to be the same as, Canada’s new “anti-Islamophobia” law. We should not be required to be tolerant of Islamism or any other ideology; we should be free to criticize it for being what it is. Those who try to defend it should be as well, disgusting though they may be. 

The First Amendment recognizes our right to freedom of speech because it helps good to prevail over evil; the possibility that it may occasionally permit the reverse is not a valid argument against freedom of speech. It may be an argument — which I reject — that we are no longer capable of living in a free society. Criminalization of free speech because it may be considered “intolerant” of any religious or political view can be the end of free speech and produce a society congruent with that which the Islamists desire. — DM)

 

It cannot be said often enough that the United States is not at war with Islam or with Muslims. It is, however, bound to resist the political aspirations of Medina Muslims where those pose a direct threat to our civil and political liberties. It is also bound to ensure that Mecca Muslims and reforming Muslims enjoy the same protections as members of other religious communities who accept the fundamental principles of a free society. That includes protection from the tactics of intimidation that are so central to the ideology and practice of political Islam.

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It is refreshing and heartening that President Trump acknowledges the need for an ideological campaign against “radical Islam.” This deserves to be called a paradigm shift.

President Bush often referred to a “war on terror,” but terror is a tactic that can be used for a variety of ideological objectives. President Obama stated that he was opposed to “violent extremism” and even organized an international summit around this subject. Yet at times he made it seem as if he worried more about “Islamophobia” than about radical Islam.

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, Obama declared: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” In what follows, however, I shall refer to “political Islam” rather than radical Islam.

Political Islam is not just a religion as most Western citizens recognize the term “religion,” a faith; it is also a political ideology, a legal order, and in many ways also a military doctrine associated with the campaigns of the Prophet Muhammad. Political Islam rejects any kind of distinction between religion and politics, mosque and state. Political Islam even rejects the modern state in favor of a caliphate. My central argument is that political Islam implies a constitutional order fundamentally incompatible with the U.S. Constitution and with the “constitution of liberty” that is the foundation of the American way of life.

Yes, Islamists Have Everything to Do with Islam

There is no point in denying that political Islam as an ideology has its foundation in Islamic doctrine. However, “Islam,” “Islamism,” and “Muslims” are distinct concepts. Not all Muslims are Islamists, let alone violent, but all Islamists—including those who use violence—are Muslims. I believe the religion of Islam itself is indeed capable of reformation, if only to distinguish it more clearly from the political ideology of Islamism. But that task of reform can only be carried out by Muslims.

Insisting that radical Islamists have “nothing to do with Islam” has led U.S. policy makers to commit numerous strategic errors since 9/11. One is to distinguish between a “tiny” group of extremists and an “overwhelming” majority of “moderate” Muslims. I prefer to differentiate among Medina Muslims, who embrace the militant political ideology adopted by Muhammad in Medina; Mecca Muslims, who prefer the religion originally promoted by Muhammad in Mecca; and reformers, who are open to some kind of Muslim Reformation.

These distinctions have their origins in history. The formative period of Islam can be divided roughly into two phases: the spiritual phase, associated with Mecca, and the political phase that followed Muhammad’s move to Medina. There is a substantial difference between Qur’anic verses revealed in Mecca (largely spiritual in nature) and Qur’anic verses revealed in Medina (more political and even militaristic). There is also a difference in the behavior of the Prophet Muhammad: in Mecca, he was a spiritual preacher, but in Medina he became a political and military figure.

It cannot be said often enough that the United States is not at war with Islam or with Muslims. It is, however, bound to resist the political aspirations of Medina Muslims where those pose a direct threat to our civil and political liberties. It is also bound to ensure that Mecca Muslims and reforming Muslims enjoy the same protections as members of other religious communities who accept the fundamental principles of a free society. That includes protection from the tactics of intimidation that are so central to the ideology and practice of political Islam.

Background on Today’s State of Affairs

The conflict between the United States and political Islam in modern times dates back to at least 1979, when the U.S. embassy in Tehran was seized by Islamic revolutionaries and 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days. In the decades that followed, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania reminded Americans of the threat posed by political Islam.

But it was not until the 9/11 attacks that political Islam as an ideology attracted sustained public attention. The September 11, 2001, attacks were inspired by a political ideology that has its foundation in Islam, specifically its formative period in Medina.

Since 9/11, at least $1.7 trillion has been spent on combat and reconstruction costs in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The total budgetary cost of the wars and homeland security from 2001 through 2016 is more than $3.6 trillion. Yet in spite of the sacrifices of more than 5,000 armed service personnel who have lost their lives since 9/11 and the tens of thousands of American soldiers who have been wounded, today political Islam is on the rise around the world.

Violence is the most obvious—but not the only—manifestation of this trend. Jihadist groups have proliferated all over the Middle East and North Africa, especially where states are weak and civil wars rage (Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Syria, not forgetting northern Nigeria). Islam-inspired terrorists also have a global reach. France is in a permanent state of emergency, while the United States has been profoundly shaken by terror attacks in Boston (the Marathon bombers); Fort Hood, Texas; San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida; and Ohio State University, to name but a few.

Of the last 16 years, the worst year for terrorism was 2014, with 93 countries experiencing attacks and 32,765 people killed. The second worst was 2015, with 29,376 deaths. Last year, four radical Islamic groups were responsible for 74 percent of all deaths from terrorism: the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. Although the Muslim world itself bears the heaviest burden of jihadist violence, the West is increasingly under attack.

How large is the jihadist movement in the world? In Pakistan alone, where the population is almost entirely Muslim, 13 percent of Muslims surveyed—more than 20 million people—said that bombings and other forms of violence against civilian targets are often or sometimes justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies.

Disturbingly, the number of Western-born Muslim jihadists is sharply increasing. The United Nations estimated in November 2014 that some 15,000 foreign fighters from at least 80 nations have traveled to Syria to join the radical jihadists. Roughly a quarter of them come from Western Europe.

Yet the advance of political Islam manifests itself not only in acts of violence. Even as billions are spent on military intervention and drone strikes, the ideological infrastructure of political Islam in the United States continues to grow because officials are concerned only with criminal conspiracies to commit acts of violence, not with the ideology that inspires such acts.

According to one estimate, 10−15 percent of the world’s Muslims are Islamists. Out of well more than 1.6 billion, or 23 percent of the globe’s population, that implies more than 160 million individuals. Based on survey data on attitudes toward sharia in Muslim countries, total support for Islamist activities in the world is likely significantly higher than that estimate.

What Scholarship on Political Islam Says

There are two sets of academic literature aimed at helping policy makers grapple with the threat of radical Islam. In the first set, Islamic religious ideas form a marginal factor at best. Authors such as John Esposito, Marc Sageman, Hatem Bazian, and Karen Armstrong argue that a combination of variables such as poverty and corrupt political governance lies at the root of Islamic violence. They urge the U.S. government and its allies to tackle these “root causes.”

For these authors, devoting attention to religious motives is at best irrelevant, and at worst a harmful distraction. They are not concerned about political Islam as an ideology, only about individual acts of violence committed in its name.

A second set of scholars—which is growing in importance—sees a radical ideology derived from Islamic theology, principles, and concepts as the driving force of our current predicament. Scholars such as Michael Cook, Daniel Pipes, Jeffrey Bale, and David Cook, and authors such as Paul Berman and Graeme Wood, acknowledge that factors such as poverty and bad governance are relevant, but argue that U.S. policy makers should take seriously the religious ideology that underlies Islamist violence.

The failed polices since 9/11 (and even before) in the struggle against radical Islam were built on false premises derived from the first set of literature, which absolves Islam wholly of the atrocities that it inspires. As the failure of American strategy since 2001 has become increasingly clear, however, the view has gained ground that the ideology underlying Islamist violence must be tackled if our efforts are to be successful.

This view is not only held by a few Western scholars. All over the world, there are now Muslims who are engaged in a long-overdue process of reassessing Islamic thought, scripture, and laws with a view to reforming them. These Muslim reformers can be found in positions of leadership in some governments, in universities, in the press, and elsewhere. They are our natural allies. An important part of our future policies in the war on Islamic extremism should be to encourage and empower them.

It’s Time to Understand Dawa

From 9/11 until now, the dominant Western response to political Islam has been to focus only on “terror” and “violent extremism.” This approach has failed. In focusing only on acts of violence, we have ignored the ideology that justifies, promotes, celebrates, and encourages those acts. By not fighting a war of ideas against political Islam (or “Islamism”) as an ideology and against those who spread that ideology, we have made a grave error.

If Islamism is the ideology, then dawa encompasses all the methods by which it is spread. The term “dawa” refers to activities carried out by Islamists to win adherents and enlist them in a campaign to impose sharia law on all societies. Dawa is not the Islamic equivalent of religious proselytizing, although it is often disguised as such by blending humanitarian activities with subversive political activities.

Dawa as practiced by Islamists employs a wide range of mechanisms to advance the goal of imposing Islamic law (sharia) on society. This includes proselytization, but extends beyond that. In Western countries, dawa aims both to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and to bring about more extreme views among existing Muslims. The ultimate goal of dawa is to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with strict sharia. Islamists rely on both violent and nonviolent means to achieve their objectives.

Dawa is to the Islamists of today what the “long march through the institutions” was to twentieth-century Marxists. It is subversion from within, the use of religious freedom in order to undermine that very freedom. After Islamists gain power, dawa is to them what Gleichschaltung (synchronization) of all aspects of German state, civil, and social institutions was to the National Socialists.

There are of course differences. The biggest difference is that dawa is rooted in the Islamic practice of attempting to convert non-Muslims to accept the message of Islam. As it is an ostensibly religious missionary activity, proponents of dawa enjoy a much greater protection by the law in free societies than Marxists or fascists did in the past.

Worse, Islamist groups have enjoyed not just protection but at times official sponsorship from government agencies duped into regarding them as representatives of “moderate Muslims” simply because they do not engage in violence. Islamist groups that have been treated in this way include:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)
The Islamic Society of Boston

For organizations engaging in dawa, the main elements of the strategy are:

  • to have well-organized Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood claim to speak on behalf of all Muslims, while marginalizing Muslim reformers and dissidents.
  • to take ownership of immigration trends to encourage the “Islamization” of Western societies by invoking hijra, the emigration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina.
  • to reduce women to the status of reproductive machines for the purpose of demographic transformation.
  • to take advantage of the focus on “inclusion” by progressive political parties in democratic societies, then to force these parties to accept Islamist demands in the name of peaceful coexistence.
  • to take advantage of self-consciously progressive movements, effectively co-opting them.
  • to increase Islamists’ hold over the educational system, including some charter schools, “faith” schools, and home schooling.

Typically, Islamists study target societies to identify points of vulnerability. In the United States, Islamists focus on vulnerable African-American men within prison populations, as well as Hispanic and Native American communities. Recent targets of Islamist infiltration include the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter.

Agents of dawa also systematically lobby private-sector organizations, governments, and international bodies:

  • They seek to pressure governments to accede to Islamist demands on the grounds of freedom of religion or status as a religious minority.
  • They urge the United Nations and the European Council to combat “Islamophobia” by devising what amounts to censorship guidelines for politicians and journalists and by punishing those who dissent.
  • They press institutions such as the Associated Press to distort the language they use to suit Islamist objectives.
  • They wage sustained campaigns to discredit critics of radical Islam.

The Sinews of Dawa

The global infrastructure of dawa is well funded, persistent, and resilient. From 1973 through 2002, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia spent an estimated $87 billion to promote dawa efforts abroad. Josh Martin estimates that, since the early 1970s, Middle Eastern charities have distributed $110 billion, $40 billion of which found its way to sub-Saharan Africa and contributed heavily to Islamist ideological indoctrination there.

Nongovernmental organizations in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia continue to distribute large sums overseas to finance ideological indoctrination and activities. Powerful foundations such as the Qatar Foundation continue to grant financial support and legitimacy to radical Islamic ideology around the world.

Many Islamic charitable foundations use zakat (mandatory charity) funds to mix humanitarian outreach with ideological indoctrination, laying the ground for future intolerance, misogyny, and jihad, even if no violence is used in the short term. When informal funding mechanisms are included, the zakat funds available could reach “hundreds of billions of dollars” worldwide each year.

The Key Problem Is Using Our Freedoms to End Them

Let it be said explicitly: The Islamists’ program is fundamentally incompatible with the U.S. Constitution, religious tolerance, the equality of men and women, the tolerance of different sexual orientations, and other fundamental human rights.

The biggest challenge the United States faces in combating political Islam, however, is the extent to which agents of dawa can exploit the constitutional and legal protections that guarantee American citizens freedom of religion and freedom of speech—freedoms that would of course be swept away if the Islamists achieved their goals.

In 2010, one senior American intelligence analyst summed up our predicament: “In the US there are First Amendment issues we’re cognizant of. It’s not a crime to radicalize, only when it turns to violence . . . America is thus vulnerable to a threat that is not only diversifying, but arguably intensifying.”

To give just one example: A cleric in Maryland, Imam Suleiman Bengharsa, has openly endorsed the Islamic State, posted gruesome videos, and praised terrorist attacks overseas. As of February 2017, however, he remains a free man and U.S. authorities insist nothing can be done against him because he has not yet plotted to commit a specific act of violence. One expert has said that Imam Bengharsa “can take his supporters right up to the line. It’s like making a cake and not putting in the final ingredient. It’s winks and nods all the way.” This is what we are up against.

The global constitution of political Islam is formidable. The Muslim Brotherhood, with its numerous American affiliates, is an important component, but not the only one. Even if one were able to eliminate the Brotherhood overnight, the ideological infrastructure of dawa would remain powerful. The network of radical Islamist preachers, “charities,” and organizations that perpetuate political Islam is already well established inside and outside the United States.

To resist the insidious advance of political Islam, we need to develop a strategy to counter not only those who use violence to advance their politico-religious objectives—the jihadists—but also the great and complex ideological infrastructure known as dawa, just as we countered both the Red Army and the ideology of communism in the Cold War. Focusing only on “terror” as a tactic is insufficient. We ignore at our peril the ideological infrastructure that supports political Islam in both its violent and its nonviolent forms.

It is not just that jihad is an extension of dawa; according to some observers, it is dawa by other means. Put differently, nonviolent and violent Islamists differ only on tactics; they share the same goal, which is to establish an unfree society ruled by strict sharia law. Institutionally, nonviolent Islamists have benefited from terror attacks committed by jihadists because such attacks make nonviolent Islamists appear moderate in the eyes of Western governments, even when their goals and values are not. This is known as the “positive radical flank effect. Ian Johnson, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, observed:

Al Qaeda was the best thing to happen to these [Islamist] groups. Nowadays, our bar is so low that if groups aren’t Al Qaeda, we’re happy. If they’re not overtly supporting terrorism, we think they’re okay. We don’t stop to think where the terrorism comes from, where the fish swim.

Dawa must therefore be countered as much as jihad.

Yet, as things stand, dawa cannot be countered. Its agents hide behind constitutional protections they would dismantle unhesitatingly were they in power. In 2017, Congress must therefore give the president the tools he needs to dismantle the infrastructure of dawa in the United States and to counter the spread of political Islam at home and abroad.

While recognizing that our freedoms are sacrosanct, we must also remember the wise words of Karl Popper, who memorably identified what he called “the paradox of tolerance,” namely that “unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance.”

If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise.

But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols.

We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

Don’t Leave Women Oppressed by Sharia Law Behind

March 9, 2017

Don’t Leave Women Oppressed by Sharia Law Behind, Center for Security Policy, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, March 9, 2017

There is a growing trend among some feminists to make excuses for Sharia law and claim it is nothing more than a personal moral guide, and therefore consistent with American constitutional liberties. Yet the rules that such “Sharia-lite feminists” voluntarily choose to follow are also invoked to oppress women—to marry them off, to constrain their economic and human rights, and to limit their freedom of expression—who have not consented to them. The moral conflict between Sharia and universal human rights should not be dismissed as a misunderstanding, but openly discussed.

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Wednesday is Wednesday is International Women’s Day, and the organizers of the Women’s March are holding another protest. This one is called A Day Without a Woman, in solidarity with those women who have lower wages and experience greater inequalities.

The protest encourages women to take the day off work, avoid shopping other than in small women- and minority-owned stores, and wear red.

The problems being protested against Wednesday—inequality, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity—are all too real for many disadvantaged women, but the legal protections for them are in place here in the United States. Women who are unfairly treated at work or discriminated against can stand up, speak out, protest in the streets, and take legal action. Not so for many women in other parts of the world for whom the hashtag #daywithoutawoman is all too apt.

Around the world women are subjected to “honor violence” and lack legal protections and access to health and social services. According to Amnesty International’s recent annual report, throughout the Middle East and North Africa, women and girls are denied equal status with men in law and are subject to gender-based violence, including sexual violence and killings perpetrated in the name of “honor.”

The relationship between the sexes in Muslim majority countries is inspired and often governed by a mix of tribal, traditional practices and Islamic law. Algerian author Kamel Daoud recently referred to this system as entailing “sexual misery” for both men and women throughout the Islamic world. Daoud favors the full emancipation of Muslim women, yet many commentators criticized him as being guilty of “Islamophobia,” a term increasingly used to silence meaningful debate.

International Women’s Day should be a day to raise our voices on behalf of women with no recourse to protect their rights. Yet I doubt Wednesday’s protesters will wave placards condemning the religious and cultural framework for women’s oppression under Sharia law. As a moral and legal code, Sharia law is demeaning and degrading to women. It requires women to be placed under the care of male guardians; it views a woman’s testimony in court as worth half that of a man’s; and it permits a husband to beat his wife. It’s not only women’s legal and sexual freedoms that are curtailed under Sharia but their economic freedoms as well. Women generally inherit half of the amount that men inherit, and their male guardian must consent to their choosing education, work, or travel.

In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, and parts of Nigeria, where Sharia law underpins the judicial system, women’s rights suffer greatly.

There is a growing trend among some feminists to make excuses for Sharia law and claim it is nothing more than a personal moral guide, and therefore consistent with American constitutional liberties. Yet the rules that such “Sharia-lite feminists” voluntarily choose to follow are also invoked to oppress women—to marry them off, to constrain their economic and human rights, and to limit their freedom of expression—who have not consented to them. The moral conflict between Sharia and universal human rights should not be dismissed as a misunderstanding, but openly discussed.

Many Western feminists struggle to embrace universal women’s rights. Decades ago, Germaine Greer argued that attempts to outlaw female genital mutilation amounted to “an attack on cultural identity.” That type of deference to traditional practices, in the name of cultural sensitivity, hurts vulnerable women. These days, relativism remains strong. Too many feminists in the West are reluctant to condemn cultural practices that clearly harm women—female genital mutilation, polygamy, child marriage, marital rape, and honor violence, particularly in non-Western societies. Women’s rights are universal, and such practices cannot be accepted.

The revival of part of the women’s movement, catalyzed by the election of Donald Trump, has deeper roots than can be seen on the surface. Like Wednesday’s protest, a large portion of Western feminism has been captured by political ideologues and postmodern apologists. Rather than protecting women’s rights, many feminists are focused on signaling opposition to “right-wing” politics.

One of the organizers of the Women’s March movement recently tweeted: “If the right wing is defending or agreeing with you, you are probably on the wrong side. Re-evaluate your positions.”

I’m all for dissent, but that “us vs. them” mentality has caused political gridlock, even on humanitarian issues where the left and right should work together. Hostility and intolerance to others’ views have made rational discussion on important issues taboo. A robust defense of universal women’s rights should welcome support from both the left and the right, overcoming domestic partisan divisions in order to help women abroad attain their full rights.

This International Women’s Day, we should protest the oppression of women who have no access to legal protections. We should support those Muslim reformers, such as Asra Nomani, Zuhdi Jasser, and Irshad Manji, who seek to reform Islam in line with full legal equality between men and women. And we should strive to overcome domestic political divisions to defend the universality of women’s rights.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and the founder of the AHA Foundation, which exists to protect women and girls from abuses of the sort described in this article.

Originally published at the Daily Beast

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Slams Women’s March Organizer Linda Sarsour: ‘Defender Of Sharia’

February 2, 2017

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Slams Women’s March Organizer Linda Sarsour: ‘Defender Of Sharia’, Fox News via YouTube, February 1, 2017

 

Cometh the Hour, Cometh the (Wo)Man, Or, Ayaan Hirsi Ali for Ambassador to the U.N.

November 10, 2016

Cometh the Hour, Cometh the (Wo)Man, Or, Ayaan Hirsi Ali for Ambassador to the U.N., Jihad Watch

ayaan

Donald Trump’s first appointment – one he could announce urbi et orbi within the week, if the person I have in mind is willing – should be that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali as the next American ambassador to the United Nations.

What are her qualifications?

She is supremely intelligent, articulate – soft-spoken but steely – in speech, a lucid and impassioned writer, and, what never hurts in making a case at the U.N. or on television, unusually attractive.

She has written four books: The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam; Infidel: My Life; Nomad: From Islam to America. A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations; and Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.

Were she to be appointed, those books will no doubt be reprinted, and read, by diplomats at the U.N. who want to find out more about her, by people in chanceries all over the world, and even in courses on Islam (those that are not taught by propagandists for the faith).

She was born in Somalia, and spent her first nine years there. She then lived in Saudi Arabia and Kenya before moving to the Netherlands. There she worked with mistreated Muslim women, learned Dutch, and became a member of the lower house of the Dutch Parliament.

In the Netherlands, Ayaan Hirsi Ali had the freedom to study and question Islam, which ultimately led to her abandoning the faith forever. But she did not drop the subject. She did not forget what so disturbed her about Islam, a faith which, through no fault of her own, she was born into. She has seen Islam as it was practiced in Somalia, in Saudi Arabia, in Europe and in the United States. She was a friend of Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the movie Submission, about the position of women in Islam. For his pains, van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim. Ayaan Hirsi Ali moved to the United States.

As the American representative at the U.N., she would make the freshly-minted charge that the presidential election signaled the triumph of “white nationalists” look ridiculous. And on meeting with her predecessor to discuss the job, Hirsi Ali would be able to speak truth to Power.

And she would be able to drive the Muslim representatives mad with fury as no one else possibly could. Every attempt at Taqiyya or Tu-Quoque by these representatives will be held up by her for inspection and mockery. She will be able to quote – and will be sure to quote – from the Qur’an and the Hadith. What will they say? How can they respond? That she doesn’t know what Islam is all about? She knows.

Ambassadors from the non-Muslim lands have so far not dared to speak truthfully about Islam. No doubt some are willfully ignorant, or intolerably stupid, while others have a hypertrophied fear of offending the Muslims who are now in their midst, living in the countries that these diplomats represent. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ability to discuss Islam with authority, to quietly but relentlessly refute what the defenders of the faith offer, will at first be a source of secret delight. And then some of those formerly fearful representatives will be emboldened to add their voices to what started out as a chorus of one: Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

There is one more thing. It’s the matter of security. Wherever Ayaan Hirsi Ali goes, wherever she speaks, there must be bodyguards. There are already plenty of guards all over the U.N. But more would be needed to guard a particular person, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. There are logistical problems. There is the extra cost. But it would be worth it. The very presence of those bodyguards would be a constant reminder to everyone of the threat of Muslim terrorism and of what Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and others who leave Islam and proclaim the reasons for their apostasy, must endure. And that’s not a bad thing. It should even be possible to have the U.N. pay the bill for her security, because “the terrorism that threatens Ayaan Hirsi Ali threatens the world” – or at least for the American government to loudly make that request of the U.N. and, if turned down, at the very least make that refusal widely known, or even threaten to deduct the cost of that extra security from what our government contributes to the U.N.

As they used to say on Delancey Street, what’s not to like?