Archive for the ‘Islam and Judaism’ category

Updated: Mordechai Kedar destroys Muslim claims to Jerusalem on Al-Jazeera TV – full video with English subtitles

December 27, 2017

When posted the video of Mordechai Kedar speaking on Al-Jazeera TV, I only had a subtitled version of a 2 minute segment. I noted that I didn’t have the full video with English subtitles and that I would update if I found it.

Reader Gideon Kantorovich very kindly sent me the video of the full interview (10 minutes) complete with English subtitles, which I hereby post below.

Enjoy Mordechai Kedar’s wit and his deep knowledge of Islam and Arab culture:

 

France Submits to Terrorism, Muslim Anti-Semitism

November 28, 2017

France Submits to Terrorism, Muslim Anti-Semitism, Gatestone InstituteGuy Millière, November 28, 2017

In France, since 2012, more than 250 people were killed by Islamic terrorism — more than in all other European countries combined.

No other country in Europe has experienced so many attacks against Jews. France is a country where Jews are murdered because they are Jews.

“Muslim believers know very well what is happening. Only a minority is violent. But as a whole, they do not ignore that their birthrate is such that one day, everything here will be theirs”. — Luc Ravel, Archbishop of Strasbourg.

In Bagneux, France, on November 1, 2017, a plaque placed in memory of Ilan Halimi, a young Jew murdered in 2006 by a “gang of barbarians”, was destroyed  and covered with graffiti. When a few days later, another plaque replaced it, the French government issued a statement that “hate will not win”.

There are many signs, however, that hate has already won and that France is sick. If these signs were already obvious a decade ago, they are even more obvious today. Voluntary blindness prevented them from being addressed.

Ilan Halimi was taken hostage in January 2006, then viciously tortured for three weeks. He was eventually abandoned, dying, on the edge of a road and died a few hours later.

Most of kidnappers, who were arrested a few days after the murder, were Muslims. They immediately confessed. They said they had chosen Halimi because he was a Jew and they thought that “all Jews have money”. Some added that Jews “deserve to suffer”.

They were tried behind closed doors. The leader, Youssouf Fofana, spat his bile against Jews and vehemently shouted the name of Allah during the whole trial, so the court could not hide that he was an Islamic anti-Semite. He was sentenced to “life” in prison — which in France means 18 to 20 years. If he had not assaulted his guards in the prison, he would already have been released. The other members of the gang, described by the prosecutor in a watered down way as “thugs looking for easy money”, were quieter and were handed down relatively light sentences. Today, almost all “the barbarians” are free.

Even books, accentuating the whitewash, describe the crime as just an ugly “sign of greed” among “poorly educated young people”.

In 2014, director Alexandre Arcady made a movie — 24 Days: The True Story of the Ilan Halimi Affair — to draw attention to what he perceived as a growing danger for Jews and for the French in general. The movie was a flop; almost no one paid attention to it, despite some murders just as sickening.

On March 19, 2012, in Toulouse, a 23-year-old Muslim, Mohammed Merah, entered the yard of a Jewish school and murdered three children and the father of two of them. He had already shot French soldiers, but shattering the heads of children at point blank range was an act of total horror. Three days later, besieged in his apartment, after having explained for hours to a negotiator why he had chosen Jewish children, he launched a last attack but was riddled with bullets by the police. He instantly became a hero in all the Muslim French suburbs; the anti-Semitic dimension of his act just contributed to his fame.

For many months, his name, Mohammed Merah, was a rallying cry for Muslim youths. The press, meanwhile, described him as a “lone wolf” and “lost child”.

When evidence accumulated showing that his brother, Abdelkader, an Islamist, had trained Mohammed and helped him prepare his butchery, he was arrested.

Abdelkader Merah’s trial last month was as ugly as that of the “gang of barbarians”, maybe even uglier. Abdelkader did not lose his temper. He expressed no regret. He calmly explained that jihad is a sacred duty for every Muslim; that he thought that his brother was “in paradise” and what the status of Jews is in the Koran. Mohammed and Abdelkader’s mother, Zoulikha Aziri, testified that they were “good sons”. Later, out of court, she said that “Allah orders Muslims to kill Jews”. (Abdelkader’s lawyer said that Abdelkader was not guilty of anything; that he was just a devout Muslim “practicing his religion”, and that he himself considered it an “honor” to defend Abdelkader.

Abdelkader was sentenced to twenty years in prison. If there is no appeal, and if he is no longer violent, he will be released in eight years. Abdelkader, while in jail, may still do what he was doing before: proselytize and repeat what he said in court about jihad. When he is released, he may well not stop. He will most likely not be arrested again.

His mother may well repeat that Allah orders Muslims to kill Jews: the command is, she thinks, an integral part of her faith. She will not be accused of incitement to murder. Hundreds of thousands of men and women openly say what she says.

There are thousands of Abdelkader Merahs. Some are in prison, some are not. Not only are 70% of prisoners in France Muslims, but prisons are now the main recruiting centers for jihadists in France.

Calls to jihad can be heard from countless mosques throughout the country each week. A recent book, Partition, lists the addresses of 150 of them.

Incitement to kill Jews is frequent in the almost 600 no-go zones that exist in France. Leaflets stipulating “if you meet a Jew, kill him”, were recently distributed in the Paris suburbs, near places where street prayers occur. “Death to Jews” and “Slit Jews’ Throats” can increasingly be heard in organized street protests. Synagogues have been attacked in Paris, Sarcelles and Marseilles.

In the five years since Mohammed Merah’s murders, French Muslims have attacked more Jews.

On May 24, 2014, Medhi Nemmouche, a gunman who had recently returned from Syria, opened fire in the Jewish Museum in Brussels and shot four people. On January 9, 2015, Amedy Coulibaly, a man who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, entered a kosher grocery store, took 19 people hostage, and shot four of them.

Recently, on April 4, 2017, a retired Jewish physician, Sarah Halimi, was viciously brutalized for an hour, then thrown off the balcony of her apartment. Her murderer, Kada Traore, who shouted “Allahu Akbar”, was deemed “mentally ill” and sent to an asylum.

Two attacks had a large number of casualties: one on November 13, 2015 in Paris and Saint-Denis (130 killed), and the other on July 14, 2016 on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice (86 killed). A priest, Fr. Jacques Hamel, was knifed to death while saying Mass. A businessman was beheaded by one of his employees. A police officer was shot on the Champs-Élysées. It does not stop.

On October 1, 2017, two women were slain in front of the Marseille central railway station. The murder of most of the journalists and editors at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 (12 killed) led, three days later, to a huge demonstration in Paris, but indifference quickly returned.

In France, since 2012, more than 250 people were killed by Islamic terrorism, more than in all other European countries combined. In addition, no other country in Europe has experienced so many attacks against Jews. France is a country where Jews are murdered because they are Jews.

Every year, Jews flee France by the thousands. Those who do not emigrate move to cities and neighborhoods where they hope they will be able survive without risking aggression.

Many non-Jews live in fear and remain silent.

The government does almost nothing. A few times a year, its members ritually denounce “anti-Semitism”, but never forget to mention that it comes from the “far right”. They only denounce “radical Islam” when the facts are so blinding obvious that it is impossible to do otherwise. If they can, they prefer to talk about people who were “radicalized“, without giving any details or explanation.

In August 2017, the Ministry of the Interior issued a statement that almost 300 jihadists were back from Syria and represent a risk. All of them could come back to France with French passports. None of them has been arrested.

In March 2015, the French intelligence services created a Report Card for the Prevention of Terrorist Radicalization (FSPRT); there are 15,000 names on it. Monitoring everyone would require nearly 160,000 police officers. Therefore, only a few dozen suspects, are under surveillance.

After France’s November 2015 attacks, a state of emergency was declared. It consisted mainly of sending soldiers and police officers to railway stations and airports, and placing guards and sandbags in front of synagogues and Jewish schools.

The state of emergency expired on November 1, 2017. It was replaced by a weak “anti-terrorism” law. Fewer soldiers and police officers will be deployed. “Security zones” will be created around events that appear “exposed to a terrorist risk”, and police controls will stand near such events. These controls, however, already exist. “Places of worship” will be “visited” if it “seems” they disseminate “ideas that could lead to terrorism”; then they could be closed for six months. Many “places of worship” already disseminate “ideas that lead to terrorism”; they are still open. Legal texts omit words such as “radical Islam”, “jihad” or “anti-Semitism”. They also do not include words such as “mosque” or “search”; instead, they speak of “places of worship” and “visit”. They also never define which “ideas” could “lead to terrorism”.

Yaffa Monsonego, the mother of one of Mohammed Merah’s victims, did not go to Abdelkader Merah’s trial. Her daughter, Myriam, was eight-years-old when she was shot. Monsonego said in a mainstream television interview that attending the trial would have been of no use; that French justice will never live up to what she and other families of victims feel every day, and that she is certain more murders will happen.

A journalist said on radio that, by not naming and not fighting evil, France betrays all those who want to live safely, and abandons the country to those who are crushing it. He reminded his listeners that the presence of Islamic anti-Semitism in France is older than they could imagine, and mentioned a young disc jockey, Sebastien Sellam, murdered in Paris by his Muslim neighbor in 2003, just because he was a Jew. The journalist said the destruction of the plaque placed in memory of Ilan Halimi was a way of killing him a second time.

A few weeks ago, Luc Ravel, Archbishop of Strasbourg, said that those who run the country bury their heads in the sand; and that while Islamists are tried, the trial of radical Islam in France is not even considered. He added that all French political leaders know a population replacement is in progress that will quickly have much more serious consequences than those already evident today: “Muslim believers know very well what is happening. Only a minority is violent. But as a whole, they do not ignore that their birthrate is such that one day, everything here will be theirs”.

Luc Ravel, Archbishop of Strasbourg, recently said that French political leaders know a population replacement is in progress that will quickly have much more serious consequences than those already evident today. (Image source: Peter Potrowl/Wikimedia Commons)

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron, while in Abu Dhabi on November 8 to inaugurate a museum, said: “Those who want to make you believe that anywhere in the world, Islam is destroying other monotheisms and other cultures are liars who are betraying you”.

On November 13, back in Paris to pay homage to the victims of the attacks two years earlier, Macron participated in a release of multicolored balloons, watched them float to the sky, then laid flowers where the victims were killed. The plaques state that they were “murdered”, but not that they were victims of terrorism. Soon, the word “terrorism” could also disappear from France’s vocabulary.

In Submission, a novel published on January 7, 2015, ironically the same day as the Charlie Hebdo murders, its author, Michel Houellebecq, foresaw that words would disappear, that Islamic terrorism would lead France toward submission, and that the Jews would leave the country. He was right.

Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.

No Tolerance for Extremism

June 16, 2017

No Tolerance for Extremism, Gatestone InstituteDenis MacEoin, June 16, 2017

What May plans to do will take us far, but not far enough. Her weakness, set against Corbyn’s show of strength, undermines the likelihood of any serious changes to how Britain tackles the Islamic threat. Bit by bit, the political fear of appearing xenophobic or “Islamophobic” will reassert itself. Labour will make sure of that. Members of parliament with substantial numbers of Muslim constituents will answer calls to water down any legislation that can be labeled as discriminatory to Muslims. It is only when we come to terms with the fact that terrorist attacks are not being carried out by Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha’is, Quakers or the members of any religion except Islam.

***********************

At the moment, the bar for taking extremists out of circulation is set ridiculously high. People known for their own extremism that reaches pre-terrorist levels should not be walking the streets when they have expressed support for Islamic State (ISIS) or tried to head to Syria or called for the destruction of Britain and other democracies or allied themselves to people already in prison. Their demand for free speech or freedom of belief must never be elevated above the rights of citizens to live safely in their own towns and cities. It is essential for parliament to lower the bar.

Is this to be the political landscape for the future, where groups of people demanding death and destruction are given the freedom of the streets whilst those wishing to hold a peaceful celebration are prevented from doing so?

To see extremist Islam as a “perversion” of Islam misses an important point. The politically correct insistence that radical versions of Islam somehow pervert an essentially peaceful and tolerant faith forces policy-makers and legislators, church leaders, rabbis, interfaith workers and the public at large to leave to one side an important reality. Flatly, Islam in its original and classic forms has everything to do with today’s radicals and the violence they commit. The Qur’an is explicit in its hatred for pagans, Jews and Christians. It calls for the fighting of holy war (jihad) to conquer the non-Muslim world, subdue it, and gradually bring it into the fold of Islam. Islam has been at war with Europe since the seventh century.

On the Sunday morning after the terrorist attacks in London the night of June 3, British Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the nation in a powerful speech. It deserves to be read in full, but several points stand out and call for a response.

We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change and they need to change in four important ways.

First, while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.

It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam.

Lower down, she enhances that by saying:

Second, we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide.

No one who has watched the endless stream of radical Muslim preachers who appear on YouTube or who post extremist, anti-Western, anti-democratic, or anti-Semitic opinions on Facebook would object to May’s stricture. But given earlier attempts to rein in the providers of so many internet spaces in a demand for better scrutiny and the removal of radicalizing material from their sites, we must remain pessimistic about how far May or any other Western leader can bring effective pressure to bear. Without strong financial disincentives, these rulers of the internet will pay little heed to the concerns of the wider public and our security services.

Perhaps May’s strongest statement comes some lines later:

While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is — to be frank — far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.

Here, she puts her finger on the most sensitive yet compelling reason for our vulnerability. The democracies have been and still are weakened by the very things that in other contexts give us strength. May speaks rightly of our “pluralistic British values”. But those values include freedom of speech, freedom of religion, open-mindedness, and tolerance — things that are not held as desirable values in any Muslim country. Such values are key to our survival as free and tolerant people unrestricted by any overarching ideology. Yet May is right. Even toleration has its limits. While allowing Muslims to live in our societies with full freedom to live their lives according to the tenets of their faith is desirable expression of our openness and love for humanity, we have been tolerant of radical Islam and even traditionalist and conservative Islam where it leads into radicalization and an extremism that erupts in physical assaults, fatalities, and, as intended, widespread public fear.

For years, we have known the identities of radical Islamic preachers and extremist organizations, but we have allowed them to bring their hatred for us onto university and college campuses, into mosques and Islamic centres, and even onto our streets, where they set up stalls to speak and hand out literature. Scroll down here or here to find long lists of radical individuals and organizations, few of which have even been banned. Few terrorist suspects have ever been deported. In a Telegraph article from 2015, one reads:

Here is an astonishing figure to mull over. In the past 10 years, the UK has deported just 12 terrorism suspects from its shores under its Deportation with Assurances (DWA) scheme. In the same period, France deported more than 100 more. The British figures come from a review of the DWA programme that is unlikely to be published until after the general election. It suggests, as we have always suspected, that the UK remains a soft touch for foreign-born jihadists.

It took eight years, 15 court cases and a £25 million bill to keep the hate preacher and terrorist fighter Abu Hamza and his huge family in the UK before he was finally deported (to the United States) in 2012, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment. In that same year, Theresa May (then Home Secretary) was frustrated because another sinister figure, Abu Qatada, could not be deported to Jordan because the European Court of Human Rights had ruled against it for fear of his being tortured there. But in 2013, once Jordan agreed not to do so, he was sent there only to be tried and set free. Last year, he used Twitter to urge Muslims to leave the UK for fear of persecution and “bloodshed” — a possible encouragement to would-be jihadis to head abroad. May spoke vehemently against the Strasbourg ruling:

It is simply isn’t acceptable, that after guarantees from the Jordanians about his treatment, after British courts have found that he is dangerous, after his removal has been approved by the highest courts in our land, we still cannot deport dangerous foreign nationals.

The right place for a terrorist is a prison cell. The right place for a foreign terrorist is a foreign prison cell far away from Britain.

We constantly undermine ourselves by our need to be principled. This is an ongoing problem in politics. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour Party, is frequently described as a man of principle, and in many ways that judgement seems fair. Certainly, he has stuck by his socialist principles even if they have led him to adopt positions not well aimed at creating security for Britain. He has supported the IRA; refused many times to condemn their terrorist attacks; has called Hamas and Hizbullah his “friends” and invited their representatives to the British parliament. If that were not enough, he has boasted of his opposition to every piece of anti-terrorist legislation parliament has tried to pass.

In a 2015 interview just shown by the tabloid newspaper The Sun, Corbyn spoke with the Bahrain-based LuaLua Television. Although The Sun is not a reliable source, the clip from the interview shows Corbyn speaking in English with an accurate Arabic translation in subtitles. The interviewer speaks in Arabic. What are alarming are Corbyn’s statements, including a criticism of the UK government laws preventing would-be fighters who have travelled to Syria and from returning to the UK:

The British government’s response has been to try to make it impossible for them to travel, to restrict their ability to travel, to take upon themselves the ability to remove passports and, strangely, to deny people the right of return – which is legally a very questionable decision.

Surely no responsible politician would want to make it easy for jihadi fighters to come and go between Syria and the UK, especially while Islamic State is encouraging jihadis who leave to go back to European countries to carry out acts of terror — which seems to be exactly what has been happening.

In 2002, Corbyn addressed a large anti-Israel rally in London attended by Hizbullah supporters, several radical preachers including Abu Hamza, and 300 members of al-Muhajiroun, a banned extremist organization. According to one left-wing newspaper:

None of these groups called (openly at least) for the destruction of the state of Israel. It was a different story though for the ultra-reactionaries of such organisations as Al Muhajiroun, who held placards reading, “Palestine is muslim”. They chanted, “Skud, Skud Israel” and “Gas, gas Tel Aviv”, along with their support for bin Laden. Two would-be suicide posers were dressed in combat fatigues with a ‘bomb’ strapped to their waists. This section accounted for no more than 200-300, but they made a noise far out of proportion to their numbers.[1]

Stories concerning Corbyn’s support for jihadis was plastered on the front pages of several newspapers one day before the general election on June 8. He may never take charge of our national security, but following the results of the election, which proved disastrous for May and her Conservative party, it is now not entirely unimaginable that he may yet form a minority government. Overconfidence in her party’s strength, a hardline stance on Brexit, and a lack of concern in her Manifesto for public sensitivities concerning the National Health Service, social care and pensions led May to lose the confidence of much of the public, especially some, such as the elderly, who were traditional Tory voters. The campaign she ran turned out to be very badly handled. The two advisers who worked on it have just resigned, and large numbers of citizens, including 60% of Conservatives, are calling on her to resign. She no longer commands the large parliamentary majority of which she was so sure when she called the election, in fact she has no majority at all without pairing with the backward-looking Democratic Unionist Party, founded by bigoted Ian Paisley in 1971 and now the largest party in Northern Ireland. Many predict that the alliance will soon founder.

Whoever remains in power in coming months, the threat of terrorism has risen to the top of the agenda as a public preoccupation. Except that almost nobody talked much about it in the days after the London Bridge attack leading up to the election. Alarmingly, large numbers of young people rushed to vote for the leader of the one party that will do the least to combat that threat. The abolition of student fees or other right-on issues mattered so much more. And yet, in a matter of months, the British people have grown frightened of a beast our political correctness and laxity helped create, a Frankenstein monster that has risen from its slab and shows no signs of lying back down again. This beast has, in a few fell swoops, changed the nature of politics in Britain as it has elsewhere.

Jeremy Corbyn is the last person to whom we should entrust our future safety, yet he is now in a position to water down or cancel any legislation that might ensure more preparedness and better control. Theresa May, whatever her political disaster, has at least promised firmness in our relations with the Muslim community, identifying the problem and calling for action.

That promise of action is exemplified in her statements that:

If we need to increase the length of custodial sentences for terrorist-related offences — even apparently less serious offences — that is what we will do. Since the emergence of the threat from Islamist-inspired terrorism, our country has made significant progress in disrupting plots and protecting the public. But it is time to say “Enough is enough”.

On June 6, addressing party supporters in Slough, and again speaking about resistance to terrorism, she went farther, saying:

I mean longer prison sentences for those convicted of terrorist offences.

I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terrorist suspects back to their own countries.

And I mean doing more to restrict the freedom and movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they are a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.

And if our human rights laws get in the way of doing it, we will change the law so we can do it.

Clearly, not even May can ride roughshod over essential human rights values and legislation, things put in place to protect the public. Now, with Corbyn looking over shoulder, tough and measured action is in jeopardy. It is clear nonetheless that an excessive concern for the rights of dangerous individuals and hostile communities has served to take away vital protections for the lives of British citizens. This misguided generosity is linked to a growing worry that we have been too relaxed about individuals who have later gone on to commit atrocities in our midst. Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who murdered 22 concert-goers, including several children, during an Ariane Grande concert in Manchester, had been reported to the authorities no fewer than five times, yet had been allowed to walk free enough to take forward his mission to kill and maim.

Youssef Zaghba, one of the three attackers on London Bridge and Borough Market on June 3, had been stopped in Bologna in 2016 carrying terrorist literature while trying to fly to Istanbul en route for Syria. He told officers “I am going to be a terrorist”, was arrested but later released. His name was flagged on an international terrorism database and the Italian authorities notified the British security services. Allowed to go to the UK, he helped kill seven people and injure more.

Even more alarmingly, his accomplice, Khuram Butt, a Pakistani-born British man, was well above the horizon. He had been reported to the security services and was alleged to have been an associate of Anjem Choudary, a radical preacher now serving time in jail for his support for Islamic State. Butt had defended Choudary by calling a Muslim opposed to the preacher an apostate (murtadd); and in 2016, he had appeared in a Channel 4 television documentary where he was seen with others in a park holding an ISIS flag and at two events attended by radical preachers who had been arrested for radicalizing others. One of those preachers, Mohammed Shamsuddin, has said: “Our message is deadly, we are calling for world domination, and for Sharia for the UK.”

In 2015, MI5, the UK’s domestic intelligence service, stated that it had 3,000 extremists on its watchlist. According to Business Insider:

There are 6,000 employees at GCHQ and 4,000 at MI5. But there are up to 3,000 terror suspects in the UK. At the French ratio, you would need 60,000 officers to track them all. That’s almost half of Britain’s total number of police officers, 127,000.

What this means, in effect, is that thousands of potential terrorists are left free to live with little interference from the police or MI5. Raising the number of police, as Jeremy Corbyn demands, would place a heavy strain on the economy of a country sailing into uncharted waters as it leaves the EU. The answer must be, as May suggests, a different approach to human rights legislation. At the moment, the bar for taking extremists out of circulation is set ridiculously high. People who are known for their own extremism that reaches pre-terrorist levels should not be walking the streets when they have expressed support for Islamic State or tried to head to Syria or called for the destruction of the UK and other democracies or allied themselves to people already in prison. Their demand for free speech or freedom of belief must never be elevated above the rights of citizens to live safely in their own towns and cities. It is essential for parliament to lower the bar.

That the police and security services are avoiding any real confrontation with Islamists is clear from the contents of this letter, sent on June 7 to the Daily Mail by pro-Israel activist Clive Hyman. It makes troubling treading:

On 18th June, Muslims will be holding a march in central London to celebrate Al-Quds Day. In previous years these marches have called for the destruction of Israel and death to the Jews, and the marchers have carried signs to this effect and flags supporting Hamas, Hezbollah and ISIS. Despite requests from both the Christian and Jewish communities for this march to be cancelled because of the violence it will incite amongst those participating and their followers, Mayor Khan and the Metropolitan police have refused to do so, their reason being that there has been no violence at these marches in previous years.

By comparison, an event to honour Israel organised by Christians United for Israel for 22nd June has been cancelled apparently because Mayor Khan and the Metropolitan Police cannot guarantee the safety of those who wish to attend.

Is this to be the political landscape for the future, where groups of people demanding death and destruction are given the freedom of the streets whilst those wishing to hold a peaceful celebration are prevented from doing so?

As might be expected, leftists have rejected May’s appeal for changes in human rights legislation. They argue that she will need to declare a state of emergency, something that can only be invoked when the life of the nation is under threat. This is not incorrect, since all democracies have to avoid potential dictators using changes in the law to give themselves powers they might not otherwise have. But that is not the whole story.

What May plans to do will take us far, but not far enough. Her weakness, set against Corbyn’s show of strength, undermines the likelihood of any serious changes to how Britain tackles the Islamic threat. Bit by bit, the political fear of appearing xenophobic or “Islamophobic” will reassert itself. Labour will make sure of that. Members of parliament with substantial numbers of Muslim constituents will answer calls to water down any legislation that can be labelled as discriminatory to Muslims. It is only when we come to terms with the fact that terrorist attacks are not being carried out by Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha’is, Quakers or the members of any religion except Islam.

Regrettably May herself fell into a politically-correct trap in her speech, when she said in reference to Islamic radicalism, “It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.” It is easy to see what she means by this — that she wants to distance radicalism and terrorism from the majority of decent Muslims in the UK, the ones like Sara Khan who work to create a British Islam based on the best Islamic values in alliance with the British values May rightly extols. However, to see extremist Islam as a “perversion” of Islam misses an important point. The politically correct insistence that radical versions of Islam somehow pervert an essentially peaceful and tolerant faith forces policy-makers and legislators, church leaders, rabbis, interfaith workers and the public at large to leave to one side an important reality. If not tackled head-on, that reality will not go away.

In a June 3 speech, British Prime Minister Theresa May regrettably fell into a politically-correct trap, when she said in reference to Islamic radicalism, “It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.” (Photo by Hannah McKay/Pool/Getty Images)

Flatly, Islam in its original and classic forms has everything to do with today’s radicals and the violence they commit. The Qur’an is explicit in its hatred for pagans, Jews, and Christians. It calls for the fighting of holy war (jihad) to conquer the non-Muslim world, subdue it, and gradually bring it into the fold of Islam. Muhammad himself led his followers into battle and sent out expeditions out of Arabia before his death in 632. The astonishing Islamic conquests that followed in the Middle East, Europe, and far beyond into Central Asia and India turned a swathe of territories into Islamic fiefdoms, and most of these remain under Muslim rule today. The Ottoman Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453 not only destroyed the Eastern Orthodox Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire), but is still regarded by Muslims as a turning point in the history of the world. The subsequent Ottoman conquests across eastern Europe were only halted when the King of Poland John III Sobieski (1629-1696) defeated a massive Turkish army under the command of Sultan Soleiman I outside the city of Vienna.

In 2015, after Islamist attacks in Paris, French president François Hollande declared that “We are in a war against terrorism, jihadism, which threatens the whole world.” But Islam has been at war with Europe since the seventh century. The beheadings, crucifixions, massacres and demolitions of towns and churches carried out by Islamic State today are replicas of wider atrocities carried out by the Muslim conquerors of Spain in the 8th century.[2]

Jihad wars against the Byzantines were carried out twice a year. Spain and Portugal were occupied for centuries until the Christian kingdoms of the north drove the Muslims out, in a process that itself took some centuries. The Ottomans continued to be a threat down to their defeat in the First World War. From the sixteenth to late eighteenth centuries, the Muslim slavers, known as the Barbary pirates, dominated the Mediterranean and took more than a million Christian slaves to North Africa. In the nineteenth century, jihad wars against European colonists were frequent.[3] Today, Europeans and others are fighting wars against Islamic radicals from Afghanistan to Iraq to Syria, and on the streets of our own cities.

To be at war is justification for extreme measures. Deportation and internment are unattractive, just as the measures Western countries have been forced to take against their enemies in other wars. But set next to the threat of unending terror in our cities, and given the nature of the people we will deport or intern, they are probably not as bad as the alternative. We will not execute terrorists (just as Israel has never executed the thousands of terrorists who have murdered its citizens) nor torture them or harm their families. Minor adjustments to our human rights laws and the lowering of the bar a bit on what we consider unacceptable are all we need. But that will not stop Jeremy Corbyn and his terrorist-supporting friends crying that such measures will be a “slippery slope” that will set back community relations by decades.

Dr. Denis MacEoin has recently completed a large study of concerns with Islam. He is an Arabist, Persianist, and a specialist in Shi’i Islam. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

______________________________________________

[1] See also here.

[2] See Darío Fernández-Morera, The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise, Wilmington, 2016, chapters 1 and 2.

[3] See Rudolph Peters, Islam and Colonialism: The Doctrine of Jihad in Modern History, The Hague, 1979, especially chapter 3.

John Kerry with popcorn

December 31, 2016

John Kerry with popcorn, Israeli National News, Jack Engelhard, December 31, 2016

I suppose Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” will have to be re-spooled. So will a hundred more Bible-themed films.

With a simple abstention on the part of Samantha Power at the UN, the history of the world has been rewritten.

Jewish and Christian cultures have been cleansed out of existence…and will remain so until Donald Trump fixes this and brings the United States back to its senses.

Apparently the Bible got it all wrong and so did Hollywood, according to Barack Obama, John Kerry and Security Council Resolution 2334, which denies Jewish rights to Judea/Samaria and Jerusalem and instead hands all of it over to the Palestinian Arabs (who were invented in 1964, by the way).

So as of Friday, December 23, when that maneuver was passed by the UN, no Jews fit the picture. Only Arabs may answer the casting call as stars and extras.

DeMille made two versions of the Biblical Exodus, the first in 1923 and then again in 1956. Both times, using Jewish and Christian theologians as technical advisers, he used the Hebrew Bible as a blueprint – and both times those were Hebrews emerging from slavery in Egypt onward toward the Promised Land that was first Canaan and finally Judea/Israel.

The heroes were Jews. No Palestinian Arabs in sight.

So what’s to be done when we watch those films again – by which I also mean Otto Preminger’s 1960s “Exodus” and Melville Shavelson’s 1966 “Cast A Giant Shadow” where this time it’s about modern Israel being re-captured and still the heroes are Jews – as principally played by Paul Newman and Kirk Douglas.

Can we still cheer? Can we still be entertained? Can we still learn? How – when everything has been turned upside down?

To moviegoers, is Moses still a hero? Is King David still a hero, as depicted in the 1951 film “David and Bathsheba,” starring Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward.

Again, no Palestinians in sight, and no demands for a two state solution from either the Bible or Hollywood.

Or are we to root for Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas when that movie comes out?

Arab terrorists  — who last month tried to burn Israel to the ground — are the world’s heroes.

That’s where we are today, as Sci-Fi writer Richard Matheson imagined a world taken over by mutants.

There were no Palestinians anywhere near Jerusalem for King Vidor’s 1959 epic “Solomon and Sheba,” starring Yul Brynner and Gina Lollobrigida. Solomon builds a Jewish Temple, in Jerusalem, to fulfill the oath from his father David and according to the measurements provided by Hebrew Scriptures.

Well, that will have to be revised and rewritten, won’t it, to please Obama, Kerry, Article 2334, and the 14 nations that voted to expunge Jerusalem from Jewish sovereignty going back to the Bible. Hollywood often goes back to the Bible and now Christianity has likewise been expunged.

In movies such as “Ben-Hur and “The Robe” and “King of Kings” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” – still no Palestinians.

All the action takes place in and around Jerusalem, which was ruled by the Romans but populated by the Jews.

But there were no Jews in Jerusalem, if you ask John Kerry…or even if you ask the entire United Nations.

Our story as told through Hollywood for Christians and Jews, must now be told from a far different point of view.

Plus the old reliable classics, if they are ever to be shown again, will never be seen with the same eyes.

So buy your popcorn and watch Yasser Arafat deliver the Sermon on the Mount, and behold Mahmoud Abbas divide the Red Sea.

The victors, as we know, write the history. The victors also write the screenplay.

But there are many more pages to go and do not bet on them having the final word.

The first and last Tycoon will not be found at MGM or Paramount Pictures or at the UN. He is keeping score and He has other plans.

Europe’s Compassionate Hatred of Israel

December 22, 2016

Europe’s Compassionate Hatred of Israel, Gatestone Institute, Bat Ye’or, December 22, 2016

(Please see also, Obama sits while the UN moves toward a boycott of Israel. — DM)

The Jerusalem Declaration of UNESCO seeks to Islamize, with the help of many governments in Europe and other Christian countries, the ancient history of the people of Israel.

But what does this declaration mean for Europe and Christianity? Wasn’t Christianity born out of Israel? Wasn’t Jesus a Judean Jew, as were the apostles and evangelists? Or was it Islam that Jesus was preaching, in Arabic and in the mosques?

Where are the great Catholic or Protestant voices to protest against this Islamization of Christianity? This passivity, this indifference makes you think that Europe will soon look more like Lebanon.

European countries recognize terrorism everywhere except in Israel, where they themselves are allies of these terrorists whom they call “freedom fighters” or “militants”, against “occupation”.

This alliance has ruined Europe — because the enemies of Israel are also enemies of Christianity and of Europe. How can you ally yourself with those who want to destroy you, without in fact dying yourself?

The same obsessive hatred Hitler had for Israel, which led to the ruin of Europe, has persisted today in the European Union against the Jewish State. The great irony is that in trying to destroy Israel, Europe has destroyed itself.

Today we are witnessing the coming of the worldwide caliphate. This expression means that the Muslim view of history is currently prevailing in international institutions. We see it with the Jerusalem Declaration of UNESCO, this palace of revisionism. The Jerusalem Declaration seeks to Islamize, with the help of many governments in Europe and other Christian countries, the ancient history of the people of Israel.

The Venice Declaration of 1980, issued by the European Community, which tried to force Israel to survive in an indefensible territory, already prescribed its disappearance and replacement with a people that had never even manifested itself before 1969 — and all with the assistance of the Soviet Union and especially France. The Islamization of Jerusalem and the delegitimization of the State of Israel were already set out in the Venice Declaration, which to this date the European Union has continued to view as valid.

The Venice Declaration of 1980 was a gift from the European Community to the Arab League, aimed at reestablishing good economic relations with Arab countries, which had been angered by the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979, a peace Europe had not been able to prevent. Jewish holy sites and the survival of the Jewish State were sacrificed by the European Community in exchange for petrodollars.

Since that time, the European Union has expressed remorse for the Holocaust and love and compassion for Israel, but has continued to support, fund and encourage a population whose mission is the destruction of Israel, as proclaimed in its doctrine, and with which Europe is quite familiar. European countries zealously spend billions to promote a worldwide Palestinian campaign of hatred against the State of Israel. They recognize terrorism everywhere except in Israel, where they themselves are allies of these terrorists, whom they call “freedom fighters” or “militants”, against “occupation”. The so-called “Jewish occupation” of Judea and Samaria refers to land that was conquered by war and occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967, and from where Palestinian Jews were killed, or dispossessed and expelled.

Does not this policy, championed by France, remind you of something? During WW II, the Pétain-Hitler and the fascists’ alliance with the Mufti of Jerusalem, head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, sought the extermination of the Jewish people, whom they accused of being the cause of evil. Today, this same policy, this same alliance, has set itself the same objective with the same motivation: Israel, to them, is the cause of the wars in the Middle East and must be wiped out. Men from the 1940s have passed away, but their heirs kept their policy, disguising it under compassion and love, driving Israel to suicide “for its own good”. Of course!

2146During WW II, the alliance of Pétain and Hitler with the Mufti of Jerusalem sought the extermination of the Jewish people, whom they accused of being the cause of evil. Today, this same policy, this same alliance, has set itself the same objective with the same motivation: Israel must be wiped out.

Now, with the declaration of UNESCO, we are witnessing the suppression of the history of the Israeli people – the “Holocaust of Memory”, as defined by Giulio Meotti — with the EU joining in.

But what does UNESCO’s declaration mean for Europe and Christianity? Wasn’t Christianity born out of Israel? Don’t churches tell the history of the people of Israel in their paintings, sculptures and stained glass windows? And isn’t the Bible, this historical shrine of the people of Israel for more than two millennia, left open on every pulpit of these churches? Hasn’t it been read? Commented on for twenty centuries? Wasn’t Jesus a Judean Jew, as were the apostles and evangelists?

Or was it Islam that Jesus was preaching, in Arabic and in the mosques?

If Israel never had a history in Judea, then Christianity and the Bible are lies. Are the ancient texts attesting to the existence of Israel from the time of the Pharaohs, Assyria, the Greeks, the Romans all lies? And the Arch of Titus in Rome, did that Menorah on there come from the mosque? There were not even any mosques around at that time — not even in Arabia.

What the UNESCO’s declaration is forcing us to accept is not just the destruction of our identity and culture, and the replacement of Christianity — a graft of Israel — with the Muslim faith, but also the destruction of the principle underlying Western civilization itself: reason, the very thing that lifts man above the beasts. We see that Israel, in its defense of the historical principle of its legitimacy, is also theologically protecting the legitimacy of Christianity, also linked to the Bible.

But if this declaration is not true, then the Jewish State’s sovereignty over Jerusalem is legal. And if it is legal, why has no one heard the protests of human rights defenders? How many Christians are there in the world? Two and a half billion? How many of these protested? A million? A hundred thousand? Ten thousand? Fifty, if that? And where are the great Catholic or Protestant voices to protest against this Islamization of Christianity? This passivity, this indifference, makes you think that Europe will soon look more like Lebanon.

This UNESCO declaration, to which Europe raised no objections — with the exception of four countries, whose abstention was not a protest, but an act of cowardice — is the very charter of the Islamization of Europe and of Christianity. It details a policy that dovetails with what we see unfolding with mass-immigration and its consequences starting in 1973, the date when the European Community allied itself with the enemy of Israel, the PLO. It is this policy of alliance with the enemies of Israel that led to the abandonment of the Lebanese Christians when they were attacked by the Europe-supported Palestinians. It was this policy that led to the denial of the history of jihad, of dhimmitude and of the tragedy of Christians, hostages in the Arab world — because Palestinians embody jihadist and dhimmitude values against Jews, Christians and Europe.

Europe’s alliance with the enemies of Israel, for the purpose of delegitimizing and destroying it, has simply continued the policies of Hitler and Pétain; but how can you destroy Israel without destroying Christianity? What would Christianity be without the Bible, the prophets, a Jewish Jesus, the universal values that these teach? This alliance has ruined Europe — because the enemies of Israel are also enemies of Christianity and of Europe. How can you ally yourself with those who want to destroy you, without in fact dying yourself?

The same obsessive hatred Hitler had for Israel, which led to the ruin of Europe, has persisted today in the European Union against the Jewish State. The great irony is that in trying to destroy Israel, Europe has destroyed itself.

The people of Europe will regain their freedom and identity by extricating themselves from this Euro-Arab alliance that joins them in a genocidal scheme against Israel and the West, in which they themselves are both protagonists and victims. Then and only then will they be able to help those Muslims who are bravely struggling to release their brethren from the hatred disfiguring the human face — jihadi hatred — and persuade them to accept human diversity. We have neglected these Muslims. They have been fighting alone for both them and us. It is imperative to help them.

The Vatican Submits to Islam (2006-2016)

October 16, 2016

The Vatican Submits to Islam (2006-2016), Gatestone Institute, Giulio Meotti, October 16, 2016

“[Pope Benedict XVI] has doubted publicly that it can be accommodated in a pluralistic society… and tempered his support for a programme of inter-religious dialogue run by Franciscan monks at Assisi. He has embraced the view of Italian moderates and conservatives that the guiding principle of inter-religious dialogue must be reciprocità. That is, he finds it naive to permit the building of a Saudi-funded mosque, Europe’s largest, in Rome, while Muslim countries forbid the construction of churches and missions.” — Christopher Caldwell, Financial Times.

In that lecture, Benedict did what in the Islamic world is forbidden: freely discussing faith. He said that God is different from Allah.

Since then, apologies to the Islamic world have become the official Vatican policy. Pope Francis denied that Islam itself is violent and claimed that the potential for violence lies within every religion, including Catholicism. Previously, Pope Francis said there is “a world war” but denied that Islam has any role in it.

“It is clear that Muslims have an ultimate goal: conquering the world…But we find it hard to recognize this reality and to respond by defending the Christian faith (…) I have heard several times an Islamic idea: ‘what we failed to do with the weapons in the past we are doing today with the birth rate and immigration’. The population is changing. If this keeps up, in countries like Italy, the majority will be Muslim (…) And what is the most important achievement? Rome.” — Monsignor Raymond Burke, US Catholic leader.

If 9/11 was the declaration of jihad against the West, 9/12 will be remembered as one of the most dramatic knee-bends of the Western cultural submission to Islam.

On September 12th 2006, Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) landed in Bavaria, Germany, where he was born and first taught theology. He was expected to deliver a lecture in front of the academic community at the University of Regensburg. That lesson would go down to history as the most controversial papal speech of the last half-century.

On this, the 10th anniversary of the speech, the Western world and the Islamic world both owe Benedict an apology, but unfortunately, the opposite happened: the Vatican has apologized to the Muslims.

In his lecture, Pope Benedict clarified the internal contradictions of contemporary Islam, but he also offered a terrain of dialogue with Christianity and Western culture. The Pope spoke of the Jewish, Greek and Christian roots of Europe’s faith, explaining why these are different from Islamic monotheism. His talk contained a quote from the Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman”.

This keg of dynamite was softened by a quotation from a Koranic sura of Mohammed’s youth, Benedict noted, “when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat”, and which says: “There is no compulsion in religion.”

Pope Benedict’s talk was not a surprise. “It is no secret that the Pope worried about Islam”, Christopher Caldwell noted in the Financial Times.

“He has doubted publicly that it can be accommodated in a pluralistic society. He has demoted one of John Paul II’s leading advisers on the Islamic world and tempered his support for a programme of inter-religious dialogue run by Franciscan monks at Assisi. He has embraced the view of Italian moderates and conservatives that the guiding principle of inter-religious dialogue must be reciprocità. That is, he finds it naive to permit the building of a Saudi-funded mosque, Europe’s largest, in Rome, while Muslim countries forbid the construction of churches and missions”.

In Regensburg, Benedict staged the drama of our time and for the first time in the Catholic Church’s history — a Pope talked about Islam without recycling platitudes. In that lecture, the Pope did what in the Islamic world is forbidden: freely discussing faith. He said that God is different from Allah. We never heard that again.

The quotation of Manuel II Palaeologus bounced around the world, shaking the Muslim umma [community], which reacted violently. Even the international press was unanimous in a chorus of condemnation of the “Pope’s aggression on Islam.”

The reaction to Pope’s speech proved that he was right. From Muslim leaders to the New York Times, everybody demanded the Pope’s apologies and submission. The mainstream media turned him into an incendiary proponent of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations.” In the Palestinian Authority area, Christian churches were burned and Christians targeted. British Islamists called to “kill” the Pope, but Benedict defied them.

At the same time, in Somalia, an Italian nun was shot. In Iraq, a Syrian Orthodox priest was beheaded by al-Qaeda and mutilated after the terrorists demanded that the Catholic Church to apologize for the speech. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood pledged retaliations against the Pope. A Pakistani leader, Shahid Shamsi, accused the Vatican of supporting “the Zionist entity.”Salih Kapusuz, number two in the party of the Turkey’s then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, compared Pope Benedict XVI to Hitler and Mussolini. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, insisted that the words of the Pope belong to “the chain of US-Israeli conspiracy,” and accused Benedict of being part of the “Crusader conspiracy.”

Security around Pope Benedict was soon massively increased. Two years later, the Pope had been barred from speaking at Rome’s most important university, La Sapienza. After the Regensburg affair, Benedict would not be the same anymore. Islamists and Western appeasers had been able to close his mouth.

A few days after the lecture, exhausted and frightened, Pope Benedict apologized. I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address … which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims,” the Pope told pilgrims at his Castelgandolfo summer residence. The quote did not “in any way express my personal thoughts. I hope this serves to appease hearts.”

The Pope may have said that to stop further violence. But since then, apologies to the Islamic world have become the official Vatican policy.

“The default positions vis-à-vis militant Islam are now unhappily reminiscent of Vatican diplomacy’s default positions vis-à-vis communism during the last 25 years of the Cold War,” wrote George Weigel, a US leading scholar. The Vatican’s new agenda seeks “to reach political accommodations with Islamic states and foreswear forceful public condemnation of Islamist and jihadist ideology.”

Ten years since the Regensburg lecture, relevant as ever after ISIS’s attacks on European soil, another Pope, Francis I, has tried in many ways to separate Muslims and violence and always avoided mentioning that forbidden word: Islam. As Sandro Magister, one of Italy’s most important journalists on Catholic issues, wrote: “In the face of the offensive of radical Islam, Francis’s idea is that ‘we must soothe the conflict’. And forget Regensburg.”

The entire Vatican’s diplomatic body today carefully avoids the words “Islam” and “Muslims,” and instead embraces a denial that a clash of civilization exists. Returning from World Youth Day in Poland last August, Pope Francis denied that Islam itself is violent and claimed that the potential for violence lies within every religion, including Catholicism. Previously, Pope Francis said there is “a world war,” but denied that Islam has any role in it.

1624-1In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI (left) said what no Pope had ever dared to say — that there is a link between violence and Islam. Ten years later, Pope Francis (right) never calls those responsible for anti-Christian violence by name and never mentions the word “Islam.” (Image source: Benedict: Flickr/Catholic Church of England | Francis: Wikimedia Commons/korea.net)

In May, Pope Francis explained that the “idea of conquest” is integral to Islam as a religion, but he quickly added that some might interpret Christianity, the religion of turning the other cheek, in the same way. “Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence,” the Pope claimed in 2013. A year later, Francis declared that “Islam is a religion of peace, one which is compatible with respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence.” He claimed that it is the ills of global economy, and not Islam, that inspire terrorism. And a few days ago, the Pope said that “people who call themselves Christians but do not want refugees at their door are hypocrites.”

Pope Francis’s pontificate has been marked by this moral equivalence between Christianity and Islam, which also obfuscates the crimes of Muslims against their own people, Eastern Christians and the West.

But there are brave cardinals who still speak the truth. One is the US Catholic leader Raymond Burke, who is featured in a recent interview with the Italian media, in which he said:

“It is clear that Muslims have an ultimate goal: conquering the world. Islam, through the sharia, their law, wants to rule the world and allows violence against the infidels, such as Christians. But we find it hard to recognize this reality and to respond by defending the Christian faith (…) I have heard several times an Islamic idea: ‘what we failed to do with the weapons in the past we are doing today with the birth rate and immigration’. The population is changing. If this keeps up, in countries like Italy, the majority will be Muslim (…) Islam realizes itself in the conquest. And what is the most important achievement? Rome.”

Unfortunately, Rome’s first bishop, Pope Francis, seems deaf and blind to these important truths. It took five days for Benedict XVI to apologize for his brave lecture. But he opened a decade-long season of the Vatican’s excuses for Islamic terrorism.

Pope Francis is still awaited for a visit at the church of St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, where Father Jacques Hamel was murdered by Islamists this summer. That killing, ten years after the Regensburg lecture, is the most tragic proof that Benedict was right and Francis wrong.

A Ramadan Piece: The “Other” Islam

July 5, 2016

A Ramadan Piece: The “Other” Islam, Gatestone InstituteSalim Mansur, July 5, 2016

(A fascinating history of the battle between political Islam and non-political Islam. The battle continues. — DM)

♦ Abrahamic monotheism as represented in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, precedes and stands apart from politics as an ethical vision that transcends history. It was a vision which invited people to embrace their common humanity as created and gifted by one omnipotent deity, and to follow a revealed code of ethics for righteous living, holding the promise of peace with an end to interminable conflicts that divided people into warring tribes.

♦ Thoughtful Muslims, for nearly a century before the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the Caliphate, had been writing about the need for an Islamic reform. Europe’s cultural advancement following the Reformation and Enlightenment held up a mirror for the Islamic world to follow in similar direction to similar ends. There was a consensus among Muslims that Islam was not intrinsically opposed to the modern world, and a readiness to follow in the footsteps of the West.

♦ This is the “other” Islam. This is submission to truth, whose most righteous exemplar was Abraham when his faith was tested by his Deity, according to the Hebrew Bible, to sacrifice his son. And this is the faith of Sufis who took Muhammad’s message to people in places far removed from the desert confines of Arabia. It is simply, as the Qur’an reminds (30:30), deen al-fitrah, the natural religion, or inclination, of man to know his Creator. There is no return of this “other” Islam; it never went missing.

The cover of the January 1976 issue of Commentary magazine announced its main story, “The Return of Islam,” by Bernard Lewis. The year of publication coincided with the coming end of the fourteenth century of Islam, and the anticipation of a new Islamic century beginning in 1979. Forty years later this essay by Lewis, widely recognized and respected as the most eminent scholar on the Middle East and Islam alive today, came to be celebrated as the first warning of the coming upheaval inside the world of Islam.

Lewis’s essay was a corrective to viewing the Middle East and its people, Arabs and Muslims, in terms of Western values. “Modern Western man,” wrote Lewis, “being unable for the most part to assign a dominant and central place to religion in his own affairs, found himself unable to conceive that any other peoples in any other place could have done so… [or to] admit that an entire civilization can have religion as its primary loyalty.” This meant, Lewis continued, the “inability, political, journalistic, and scholarly alike, to recognize the importance of the factor of religion in the current affairs of the Muslim world”.

Recent events have proven that Lewis was correct in pointing to this critical flaw in much of Western understanding of Islam and Muslims. But the title of the essay was unfortunate and misleading; there was no “return of Islam” for Muslims, since at no point in Islamic or Muslim history had Islam been missing, or dormant.

Instead of the “return of Islam,” it was the return of political Islam, or Islamism. Lewis’s essay was a timely review of Muslim history in terms of political Islam. But political Islam is but one facet of Islam. It is a recurring mistake to see political Islam as the defining feature of Islam that obscures Islam’s spiritual dimension, which is more vital than the coarse authoritarian features of political Islam.

In antiquity, politics was inseparable from religion. It might be said that politics was the handmaiden of religion. A ruler among people in ancient times was a chief priest, or a demigod. This feature of the ancient world in which religion and politics were bound together could be described as “theopolitics”, and Islam was as much influenced in its history by theopolitics as were Judaism and Christianity.

Lewis wrote:

“The three major Middle Eastern religions are significantly different in their relations with the state and their attitudes to political power. Judaism was associated with the state and was disentangled from it; its new encounter with the state at the present time raises problems which are still unresolved. Christianity, during the first formative centuries of its existence, was separate from and indeed antagonistic to the state with which it only later became involved. Islam from the lifetime of its founder was the state, and the identity of religion and government is indelibly stamped on the memories and awareness of the faithful from their own sacred writings, history, and experience.”

A lot of history is compressed in this passage, and so some misreading of that history is inevitable. Lewis went on to discuss Islam as being entwined with political Islam since its inception. “Islam was associated with power from the very beginning,” wrote Lewis, “from the first formative years of the Prophet and his immediate successors.” Consequently, in Islam “religion is not, as it is in Christendom, one sector or segment of life, regulating some matters while others are excluded; it is concerned with the whole of life—not a limited but a total jurisdiction.”

The problem with Lewis’s view of Islam is that he uncritically accepted the theology of political Islam. This theology was constructed during the three centuries after the Prophet Muhammad when, in the course of events between the seventh and the tenth century of the Common Era, Arabs came to rule a vast empire. It was consistent with the temper of late antiquity, and it put a stamp on Islam ever since that most Muslims have accepted without questioning.

Abrahamic monotheism as represented in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, however, precedes and stands apart from politics as an ethical vision that transcends history. It was a vision which invited people to embrace their common humanity as created and gifted by one omnipotent deity, and to follow a revealed code of ethics for righteous living, holding the promise of peace with an end to interminable conflicts that divided people into warring tribes.

It was the resistance of pagans and polytheists to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam at their origins that compelled their early followers in the course of their respective histories to seek in politics protection for their religious beliefs. In Judaism and Islam, the founders — Moses and Muhammad — combined in their personalities the roles of prophet, warrior, and statesman. The life of Jesus, in this respect, was different.

In Moses’s case, he never entered the promised land, and it was left to his successors to eventually found a state for the Jews. In the instance of Muhammad, there is the question that has divided Muslims ever since his death: was his prophetic mission primarily to establish an Islamic state that would define, for Muslims for all times, Islam as the ideal arrangement in which religion and politics were one and indivisible?

The answer to this question was surrounded in controversy right from the moment of the Prophet’s last illness before his death. The controversy over his succession, and what such succession meant, tore apart the immediate followers of the Prophet, and incited tribal warfare, fratricide and schisms that since then have provided the backdrop to Muslims in respect to their own understanding and practice of Islam as religion and politics.

Islam as the Abrahamic vision of man’s relation with God was supplanted by the theology of political Islam. The process began in the midst of the Prophet’s last illness and accelerated with his death. The majority Sunni sect in Islam coalesced around the view that the immediate successors of the Prophet, elected or chosen, ought to be the closest companions of Muhammad, and their rulings in the formative stage of Muslim history became the standard by which subsequent generations of Muslims innovated the requirements of ruling an empire.

Those Muslims who dissented from the majority view represented by Sunni Islam were the Shi’a, or the party of Ali. Ali was a cousin of the Prophet, raised from his childhood in the Prophet’s household and, hence, the closest companion of Muhammad. Ali was also the Prophet’s son-in-law by marriage to Fatima, his only surviving child. The Shi’a Muslims believed Ali was the designated successor of the Prophet because of their familial ties, but he was forcefully denied the succession by those who usurped it immediately following the Prophet’s demise. Shi’a Islam evolved as the main minority sect with its own theopolitics within Islam.

The first Muslims were Arabs of the desert, the Bedouins, among whom Muhammad was born. Their tribalism persisted despite the Prophet’s warnings and it shaped Islam from the first hour of the post-Prophetic history. Sectarianism within Islam was the unavoidable outcome of clan and tribal conflicts among the first Muslims, and the Sunni-Shi’a divide became the main cleavage as a result, setting the template of further divisions as sects proliferated over time in the history of Islam.

Less than a century after the Prophet’s death in 632 C.E., his followers, the Bedouin Arabs, became the rulers of an empire that stretched from the Iberian Peninsula in the West to the Indus River in the East. There was nothing in the Qur’an, or in the traditions of the Prophet, to instruct these Arabs on the mechanics of administrating an empire. They took to imitating the rulers of Persia, whom they defeated, and adopted the administrative manuals of both Byzantine and Persian officialdom to rule the lands and peoples they conquered. And in order to provide legitimacy in the name of Islam to Arab rule in Damascus and later in Baghdad, the ulema(religious scholars) worked out the details of law and society, the Sharia, derived from the Qur’an and the Prophetic traditions.

The origin of Islamic culture and civilization lies in the empire that Bedouin Arabs, through the force of arms, established in a very short period. This was also the origin of political Islam, which came to represent the dominant face of Islam as theopolitics.

The fight that erupted, with the news of the Prophet’s demise, among his closest companions over succession related to temporal power that the Prophet had exercised, and not his role as a Messenger of God (Rasul Allah). This fight culminated in 680 C.E. with the defeat of the Prophet’s grandson, Husayn, killed and decapitated in the field of Kerbala, close to the banks of the Euphrates in Iraq, by the army sent out by Yazid I, the Ummayad Caliph of the rapidly expanding Islamic empire.

The event in Kerbala was a watershed in the history of Islam. Ethnic Arabs, recently converted to Islam, delivered Husayn’s cruel end. Ever since, this crime, as sordid as the crucifixion of Jesus, has stained Muslim history with the mark of Cain.

After Kerbala, it could no longer be said that Islam, as Abrahamic monotheism, guided politics ethically along the path of justice and mercy. Instead, the politics that surfaced upon the death of the Prophet hardened after the killing of Husayn, and politics henceforth came to define Islam as faith, culture, and society.

699In the Battle of Kerbala, depicted in Abbas Al-Musavi’s painting, Husayn, the son of Ali and grandson of Muhammad, was killed along with his family and all his followers by the armies of the Umayyad Caliphate. It was the most crucial moment in the split between Shi’a and Sunni Islam. (Image source: Brooklyn Museum)

The Ummayads in Damascus, the imperial capital, were the first dynastic rulers among Arabs in Islamic history. The founder of the dynasty, Muawiyyah, seized power following the murder of Ali, the fourth Caliph and the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet. With the Ummayads the institution of the Caliphate, which was an innovation to fill the void of leadership among the Arabs in Medina following Muhammad’s death, adopted the pomp and pageantry of the Persian and Byzantine rulers. The Caliphate, from that first century of Islamic history until its abolition in 1924 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was the embodiment of Oriental Despotism.

Those Muslims who witnessed the tribal conflicts erupt after the Prophet’s demise and recoiled in revulsion from politics turned inward in seeking union with the divine mystery, as mentioned in the Qur’an. They sought solace in the spiritual dimension of Islam and emulated the Prophetic tradition of withdrawal from the world through prayer and meditation. They became the founders of the Sufi, or mystical, tradition in Islam. This was the “other” face of Islam, distinct from political Islam.

The physical expansion of the Islamic empire was carried forth by the armies of the Caliphs. But the spread of Islam as a faith tradition was a slow process, carried forth by Sufi missionaries belonging to various fraternal orders and independent of political rulers of the world of Islam.

There is a world of difference in conversion brought about at the point of sword of conquering armies, and conversion that results from the communion of hearts and minds among people. The latter is more genuine and transformative than the former in every religion. The Qur’an itself — verse 49:13 — warned the Prophet that the acceptance of Islam by the Arabs of the desert was one of submission in the face of defeat, and that belief had not entered their hearts. This verse might be read as forewarning of crimes Muslims would commit through history in the cause of political Islam, beginning with the killing of Husayn in Kerbala.

Political Islam from its outset was an inquisition. It began with Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, when he subverted the Islamic principle stated in the Qur’an — “there is no compulsion in religion” (2:256) — and declared war on those Arab tribes who withheld their loyalty from him following the death of the Prophet. The “Ridda Wars,” or the “Wars of Apostasy,” launched by Abu Bakr inaugurated political Islam, and since then, the precedent he set for Muslim-on-Muslim violence has plagued Islamic history into our times.

The role of the a’lem (pl. ulema; religious scholars) was instrumental in the making of political Islam. The ulema provided legitimacy to the Ummayad Caliphs in Damascus in the period of intra-tribal conflicts that had led to the killings of the three Caliphs (Umar, Uthman, and Ali) after Abu Bakr and then the massacre in the field of Kerbala.

The consensus of the ulema — accepted by those who eventually came to represent the majority Sunni Muslims (the word “Sunni” derived from Sunna, meaning following the path or tradition of the Prophet) — was that political and social order however provided and maintained was preferable to fitnah (disorder). This consensus provided doctrinal legitimacy to the Caliphs. In return, the Caliphs recognized the special function of the religious scholars and jurists in the drafting, codification, and implementation of Sharia, or Islamic laws.

As a result of this bargain between men wielding swords and men wielding pens, the foundational arrangement of political Islam was firmly established. It was an arrangement consistent with the thinking prevalent in antiquity that religion (deen in Arabic) prescribed the totality of human affairs. This meant, as it was understood by the ulema in the formative period of Islamic history, that the primary function of state and government (dawlat in Arabic) was the establishment of the rule of Sharia. As Ann K.S. Lambton in her study, State and Government in Medieval Islam(1981), observed:

“The law precedes the state and is immutable at all times and under all conditions. The state is there to carry out the law. To disobey a law or to neglect a law is not simply to infringe a rule of the social order: it is an act of religious disobedience, a sin, and as such involves a religious penalty.”

Once the bricks and mortar of political Islam were set in the making of the Islamic civilization, Islam as the official doctrine of the state and empire clearly demarcated the norm as prescribed in the Sharia and made the ulema its official guardians. The Islamic state was a nearly perfect embodiment of a closed totalitarian system designed by men towards the end of the first millennium of the Common Era, and any suggestion of change or adoption of new idea in matters of either religion or politics was condemned as bid’ah (heresy deserving punishment).

But Muslim dissidents who viewed the doctrine of political Islam, or what might also be referred to as “official” Islam, as an aberration, went underground and kept the “other” Islam free from the shackles of politics. Beneath the hardened features of political Islam, the “other” Islam of Sufis provided solace to Muslims by tending to their humanity in the light of God’s most favoured attributes of mercy and compassion.

The “other” Islam, unlike political Islam, is not bound by time and space. It is directed to man’s inner yearnings for that which is eternal. It plunges in search of the inner meaning of the Qur’an as the Word of God, and the assuredness that God’s mercy is not denied to any of His creations. The Qur’an states, “We are nearer to man than his jugular vein” (50:16), reassuring man that he is not alone and God is not some distant uncaring deity.

Whereas the defining characteristic of political Islam was religion inseparable from politics, in “other” Islam politics was the corruption of religion and the dissolution of belief. Hence, from the perspective of “other” Islam, the Sharia as the corpus of Islamic laws codified by the ulema and sanctioned by the Caliphs was a poor, even corrupt, representation of the divine Sharia (in Arabic, a “path”) imprinted in the hearts of all believers as the path to acquiring God’s infinite grace.

ii.

Political Islam and the Islamic civilization it inaugurated was time-bound as a theopolitical system constructed in a certain historical period or context. It was a construct of late antiquity and the early medieval era. Since it was a fixed and closed system, it was invariably given to decay and dissolution.

During the Middle Ages, the Islamic civilization flourished just as other civilizations had. As Abdus Salam (1926-1996) — a physicist of Indo-Pakistani origin and the first Muslim scientist awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1979 — observed in one of his lectures, the world of Islam and the world of Christianity (Europe) were more or less at a similar stage of development around the middle of the seventeenth century.

The evidence of this relative equality of the two civilizations, Salam suggested, could be seen in their technological achievements represented by the two monuments, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England, completed about the same time. Some two decades later, Salam observed,

“there was also created — and this time only in the West — a third monument, a monument still greater in its eventual import for humanity’s future. This was Newton’s Principia, published in 1687.”

Newton’s monument had no counterpart in India, or anywhere else in the Muslim world.

The Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution, led by men of astounding intellect from Leonardo da Vinci to Galileo and Newton, propelled Europe out of the medieval age into the making of the modern world. But Islamic civilization, held together by political Islam, descended into a death spiral. A century after Newton published his major work, the Ottoman Empire was turning irreversibly into a pale shadow of a civilization that once had threatened the powers of Europe at the gates of Vienna.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington by the Islamist terrorists of al Qaeda, Bernard Lewis published What Went Wrong? (2002). It was Lewis’s effort to answer why, and how, the world of Islam had failed to accommodate the imperatives of the modern world.

“In most of the arts and sciences of civilization, medieval Europe was a pupil and in a sense a dependent of the Islamic world,” wrote Lewis.

“And then, suddenly, the relationship changed. Even before the Renaissance, Europeans were beginning to make significant progress in the civilized arts. With the advent of the New Learning, they advanced by leaps and bounds, leaving the scientific and technological and eventually the cultural heritage of the Islamic world far behind them.”

The civilizational success of political Islam in late antiquity and the early medieval era ironically carried within it the seeds of its own decline and demise. World War I eventually put an end to the anachronism that the Ottoman Empire had become, and the abolition of the Caliphate was a formal effort to bury political Islam for good.

Thoughtful Muslims, for nearly a century before the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the Caliphate, had been thinking and writing about the need for an Islamic reform. Europe’s cultural advancement following the Reformation and Enlightenment held up a mirror for the Islamic world to follow in similar direction to similar ends.

In India under British rule, for instance, there were a significant number of Muslims who painfully recognized the malaise of Islamic societies and offered remedy for their advancement into the modern world. Among them the notable were Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-98), the founder of the Aligarh University; Syed Ameer Ali (1849-1928), jurist and historian; and Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), poet and philosopher.

One of the most important works was published in 1925 by Ali Abd al-Raziq (1888-1966), an Egyptian scholar and jurist at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. In his seminal work, titled al-Islam wa ‘Usul al-Hukm (Islam and the Fundamentals of Authority), al-Raziq pointed out that there was no basis in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet for the institution of the Caliphate.

Al-Raziq was not someone from outside the ranks of the ulema, or a lay scholar unfamiliar with the intricacies of Islamic jurisprudence and theology in the construction of Sharia. He was a student of Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) at al-Azhar, when Abduh had been appointed the Grand Mufti of Egypt.

Al-Raziq’s main contention was based on the distinction between spiritual and temporal authority. He indicated that the confusion among Muslims in the period after the Prophet arose from their inability to distinguish between the Apostolic role of Muhammad and the authority he derived as the Messenger of God (Rasul Allah), and the Caliphate as a temporal institution. Al Raziq wrote:

“Muhammad was but an apostle, sent on behalf of a religious summons, one pertaining entirely to religion and unmarred by any taint of monarchy or of summons to a political state; and he possessed neither kingly rule nor government, and he was not charged with the task of founding a kingdom in the political sense, as this word and its synonyms are generally understood.”

Al-Raziq was denounced by his peers. He was made to appear before the Council of the Greatest Ulema of Al-Azhar to hear the judgment against him, as his license to teach and practice law was revoked. Egypt was then ruled under Britain’s supervision, which likely saved al-Raziq from even more severe punishment.

But al-Raziq had stripped away the argument of traditional Islam on the sanctity of the Caliphate, and with it went the idea of Sharia being sacred. In the half-century following the abolition of the Caliphate by Mustafa Kemal, Muslims under European rule gained their independence as new states emerged in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world of Islam.

This period in the middle decades of the last century was a period of intense expectations on the part of Muslims for progress in their living conditions. A massive effort was invested to make the transition from the world of pre-Newtonian knowledge and learning to the modern world of science, industry and democracy.

There was a consensus among the rich and the poor that Islam was not intrinsically opposed to the modern world. There was a readiness among Muslims to follow in the footsteps of the West.

This consensus was reflected in a well-known and widely circulated aphorism attributed to Muhammad Abduh. On returning to Cairo from a visit to Europe, Abduh told his students, “I travelled in the West and found Islam, but no Muslims; I have returned to the East and find Muslims, but not Islam.”

The transition into the modern world, however, proved immensely complex and difficult. Europe’s transition had required several generations and a couple of centuries to break away from the feudal age into the modern age. The resistance from those invested in the ancien arrangements of society and culture was immense, and wars that followed were fierce.

Something similar to the European experience was unavoidable for Muslims in their effort to break from the hold of their traditional culture. And not unlike the wars in Europe, wars within the world of Islam since the 1970s are symptoms of the Muslim struggle to transit into the modern world.

iii.

The abolition of the Caliphate in 1924 was the formal announcement of political Islam’s death. But it refused to die, even as it was laid to rest. Its twitching was felt in the deep dark interior of the world of Islam, in remote and unwelcome places such as Nejd inside Arabia.

Here in Nejd, the medieval theology of Ibn Taymiyyah had struck roots. It had impressed an eighteenth-century itinerant preacher in the region, Abdul Wahhab (1703-92), who turned Ibn Taymiyyah’s extremist thinking into an even more rigid and austere doctrine, hostile to all things inimical to the Bedouin tribal culture of his time and environment.

Abdul Wahhab’s version of political Islam impressed a local tribal chief, and the marriage of convenience between the preacher and the tribal leader gave birth to the first Saudi state in the interior of Arabia. But when it sent tribal warriors to raid towns inside the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire, it provoked the Caliph of Islam in Istanbul, on whose orders this nascent state of the Wahhabi ruler was destroyed.

But the eventual collapse of the Ottoman Empire provided the conditions for the rebirth of the Saudi state as a kingdom under Abdul Aziz ibn Saud in the 1920s. Fortune, in the guise of great power politics, smiled upon him. He seized the support offered by the British, in return for influence in a region of strategic importance. The discovery of oil made the Saudi kingdom a prize to be protected by the Western powers, first Britain and later the United States, with far reaching consequences for the rest of the world, and even more so for the world of Islam and Muslims.

Any modernizing revolution is hugely disruptive. The movement from one stage of social development to another is not linear; it is, instead, filled with zigzags and reversals at every stage of the process toward an uncertain future.

When a people, however, pushes back against this process of change in their midst, or seeks to abort it, this reactionary effort pins its hopes on longing for an idealized past. The Newtonian revolution and the emergence of modern Europe made political Islam anachronistic. Wahhabism, as the official doctrine of the Saudi kingdom, was much more than a return of the most extreme version of political Islam in the early decades of the last century. It was, and remains, a demented effort of the most backward people within the world of Islam to remain culturally tied to antiquity, or jahiliyya (the age of ignorance), which Islam at its origin derided and rejected.

Political Islam in whatever version — Wahhabism, Khomeinism, Ikhwanism (the Muslim Brotherhood) and their derivatives — has no answer for Muslims on how to make their historic transition into the modern world. It can continue to rage against the modern world until its civilized inhabitants, including Muslims, have had enough of its destructiveness and obliterate it.

Then that vision of Abrahamic monotheism, which Muhammad was mysteriously directed to deliver to his people, will be emancipated from political Islam.

This message Muhammad was given admonished Arabs for their lack of faith, provided them with ethics for living honorably, told them in no uncertain term that the God of Abraham made no distinction among nations and people who believe in Him, and that on the Day of Final Reckoning, they need have no fear if they strive in doing what is right.

This is the “other” Islam. This is submission to truth, whose most righteous exemplar was Abraham when his faith was tested by his Deity, according to the Hebrew Bible, to sacrifice his son. And this is the faith of Sufis who took Muhammad’s message to people in places far removed from the desert confines of Arabia. It is simply, as the Qur’an reminds (30:30), deen al-fitrah, the natural religion, or inclination, of man to know his Creator. There is no return of this “other” Islam; it never went missing.