Archive for the ‘Islamic honor’ category

Why There Is No Peace in the Middle East

October 14, 2017

Why There Is No Peace in the Middle East, Gatestone Institute, Philip Carl Salzman, October 14, 2017

Many Middle Easterners see the disasters around them, and blame outsiders: “It is the fault of the Jews”; “The British did this to us”; “The Americans are to blame.”[5] Many Western academics and commentators say the same, dignifying this counter-historic theory with the label “postcolonialism.” But given that tribal dynamics were dominant in the region for a thousand years since the foundation of Islam, and thousands of years before that, blaming outsiders for regional dynamics is hardly credible. Nonetheless, “postcolonialists” will claim that pointing to regional culture as the foundation of regional dynamics is “blaming the victim.” We in the West, unlike Middle Easterners, love “victims.” But what if Middle Easterners are victims of the limitations and shortcomings of their own culture?

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

Peace is not possible in the Middle East because values and goals other than peace are more important to Middle Easterners. Most important to Middle Easterners are loyalty to kin, clan, and cult, and the honour that is won by such loyalty.

There was no group and no loyalty above the tribe or tribal confederation until the rise of Islam. With Islam, a new, higher, more encompassing level of loyalty was defined. All people were divided between Muslims and infidels, and the world was divided between the Dar al-Islam, the land of believers and peace, and Dar al-harb, the land of unbelievers and war. Following the tribal ideology of loyalty, Muslims should unite against infidels, and would receive not only honour, but heavenly rewards.

Honour is gained in victory. Losing is regarded as deeply humiliating. Only the prospects of a future victory and the regaining of honour drives people forward. An example is the Arab-Israel conflict, in the course of which the despised Jews repeatedly defeated the armies of Arab states. This was not so much a material disaster for the Arabs, as it was a cultural one in which honor was lost. The only way to regain honor is to defeat and destroy Israel, the explicit goal of the Palestinians: “from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.” This why no agreement over land or boundaries will bring peace: peace does not restore honor.

We in the West, unlike Middle Easterners, love “victims.” But what if Middle Easterners are victims of the limitations and shortcomings of their own culture?

Living as an anthropologist in a herding camp of the Yarahmadzai tribe of nomadic pastoralists in the deserts of Iranian Baluchistan clarified some of the inhibitions to peace in the Middle East. What one sees is strong, kin-based, group loyalty defense and solidarity, and the political opposition of lineages, whether large or small.[1] This raised the question how unity and peace could arrive in a system based on opposition.

Peace is not possible in the Middle East because values and goals other than peace are more important to Middle Easterners. Most important to Middle Easterners are loyalty to kin, clan, and cult, and the honour which is won by such loyalty. These are the cultural imperatives, the primary values, held and celebrated. When conflict arises and conflict-parties form based on loyal allegiance, the conflict is regarded as appropriate and proper.

The results of absolute commitment to kin and cult groups, and the structural opposition to all others, can be seen throughout Middle Eastern history, including contemporary events, where conflict has been rife. Turks, Arabs and Iranians have launched military campaigns to suppress Kurds. Meanwhile, Christians, Yazidis, Baha’is and Jews, among others, have been, and continue to be ethnically cleansed. Arabs and Persians, and Sunnis and Shiites, each try to gain power over the other in a competition that has been one of the main underlying factors of the Iraq-Iran war, the Saddam Hussein regime, and the current catastrophe in Syria. Turks invaded Greek Orthodox Cyprus in 1974 and have occupied it since. Multiple Muslim states have invaded the minuscule Jewish state of Israel three times, and Palestinians daily celebrate the murder of Jews.

Some Middle Easterners, and some in the West, prefer to attribute the problems of the Middle East to outsiders, such as Western imperialists, but it seems odd to suggest that the local inhabitants have no agency and no responsibility for their activities in this disastrous region, high not only in conflict and brutality, but low by all world standards in human development.

If one looks to local conditions to understand local conflicts, the first thing to understand is that Arab culture, through the ages and at the present time, has been built on the foundation of Bedouin tribal culture. Most of the population of northern Arabia at the time of the emergence of Islam was Bedouin, and during the period of rapid expansion following the adoption of Islam, the Arab Muslim army consisted of Bedouin tribal units. The Bedouin, nomadic and pastoral for the most part, were formed into tribes, which are regional defense and security groups.[2]

Bedouin tribes were organized by basing groups on descent through the male line. Close relatives in conflict activated only small groups, while distant relatives in conflict activated large groups. If, for example, members of cousin groups were in conflict, no one else was involved. But if members of tribal sections were in conflict, all cousins and larger groups in a tribal section would unite in opposition to the other tribal section. So, what group a tribesmen thought himself a member of was circumstantial, depending on who was involved in a conflict.

Relations between descent groups were always oppositional in principle, with tribes as a whole seeing themselves in opposition to other tribes. The main structural relation between groups at the same genealogical and demographic level could be said to be balanced opposition. The strongest political norm among tribesmen was loyalty to, and active support of, one’s kin group, small or large. One must always support closer kin against more distant kin. Loyalty was rewarded with honour. Not supporting your kin was dishonourable. The systemic result was often a stand-off, the threat of full scale conflict with another group of the same size and determination acting as deterrence against frivolous adventures. That there were not more conflicts than the many making up tribal history, is due to that deterrence.

There was no group and no loyalty above the tribe or tribal confederation until the rise of Islam. With Islam, a new, higher, more encompassing level of loyalty was defined. All people were divided between Muslims and infidels, and the world was divided between the Dar al-Islam, the land of believers and peace, and Dar al-harb, the land of unbelievers and war. Following the tribal ideology of loyalty, Muslims should unite against infidels, and would receive not only honour, but heavenly rewards.

Honour is gained in victory.[3] Self-sacrifice in the attempt is lauded, but honour comes from winning. Having lost and being a victim is not an esteemed position in Arab society. Having lost in a political struggle results in loss of honour. This is felt deeply as a loss that should be corrected. Losing is regarded as deeply humiliating. Only the prospects of a future victory and the regaining of honour drives people forward. An example is the Arab-Israel conflict, in the course of which the despised Jews repeatedly defeated the armies of Arab states. This was not so much a material disaster for the Arabs, as it was a cultural one in which honour was lost. The only way to regain honour is to defeat and destroy Israel, the explicit goal of the Palestinians: “from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.” This why no agreement over land or boundaries will bring peace: peace does not restore honour.

None of this is unknown to Arab commentators, who repeatedly refer to the tribal nature of their culture and society. Of course, today, few Middle Easterners live in tents and raise camels, but villagers and urbanites share the same tribal assumptions and values. According to the Tunisian intellectual Al-Afif al-Akhdar, the Arabs cherish their “deep-culture of tribal vengefulness” and consequent “fixated, brooding, vengeful mentality.”[4] Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has said that “We need an ideological revolution; our tribal mentality has destroyed our society.”

Dr. Salman Masalha, an Israeli Druze literary intellectual, argues:

“The tribal nature of Arab societies is deeply embedded in the past, and its roots date back through Arab history to the pre-Islamic era. … Since Arab societies are tribal in nature, the various forms of monarchies and emirates are the natural continuation of this ingrained social structure in which tribal loyalty comes before all else.”

Mamoun Fandy, an Egyptian-born American scholar, wrote in the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat:

“The Arabs, even after the arrival of Islam, were never “ideological” people who sought to develop an intellectual vision of ourselves and the outside world. Instead, we are the people of blood relations and family ties, or “Shalal” as we call it in Egypt. … Despite the fact that Islam was the greatest intellectual revolution in our history, we, as Arabs, have succeeded in adapting Islam to serve the tribe, the family, and the clan. Islamic history began as an intellectual revolution, and as a history of ideas and countries; however, after the beginning of the Orthodox Caliphate, it was transformed into a somewhat tribal state. The State of Islam became the Umayyad State, and after that the Abbasid, the Fatimid, and so on and so forth. This means that we now have a history of tribes instead of a history of ideas. … Has this tribal history, alongside tribal and family loyalties and the priority of blood relations over intellectual relations gone forever after the “Arab spring?” Of course not; what has happened is that the families and tribes have dressed themselves up in the cloak of revolutions in Yemen and in Libya, and in Egypt the opposition consists of tribes rather than concepts.”

Pictured: Bedouin men in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The history of the Middle East, the centuries of tribal wars, and the ongoing fissures in Arab society all testify to the Arab tribal culture and structural opposition. There may have been good reasons to stick with tribal culture and organization in pre-modern times: states and empires were despotic, exploitative, and heavily dependent on slave-labor, and tribal organization gave some people a chance to remain independent. In recent times, with the modern state model, governments in the Middle East have tried to establish states, but these have foundered on tribal loyalties and oppositions, which do not fit with constitutional states. Rulers in the region have all turned to coercion to maintain their positions, making all Muslim states in the region despotic.

Many Middle Easterners see the disasters around them, and blame outsiders: “It is the fault of the Jews”; “The British did this to us”; “The Americans are to blame.”[5] Many Western academics and commentators say the same, dignifying this counter-historic theory with the label “postcolonialism.” But given that tribal dynamics were dominant in the region for a thousand years since the foundation of Islam, and thousands of years before that, blaming outsiders for regional dynamics is hardly credible. Nonetheless, “postcolonialists” will claim that pointing to regional culture as the foundation of regional dynamics is “blaming the victim.” We in the West, unlike Middle Easterners, love “victims.” But what if Middle Easterners are victims of the limitations and shortcomings of their own culture?

Philip Carl Salzman is Professor of Anthropology at McGill University, Canada.


[1] Philip Carl Salzman, Black Tents of Baluchistan, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000.

[2] Philip Carl Salzman, Culture and Conflict in the Middle East, Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2008.

[3] Frank Henderson Stewart, Honor, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.; Gideon M. Kressel, Ascendancy through Aggression, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1996.

[4] Quoted in Barry Rubin, The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Hoboken, NY: Wiley, 2006), 80-81.

[5] Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel, NY: Free Press, 2007, p. 47.

Raheel Raza Hopes To Be The Muslim Extremists Hate Most

February 6, 2017

Raheel Raza Hopes To Be The Muslim Extremists Hate Most, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, February 6, 2017

1963-1

Just a month into 2017 and America’s hot-button issues are already clear: women, radical Islam, and the civil rights of Muslims in the West. The Trump presidential campaign, fraught as it was with controversy over his comments about women, sexual harassment, immigration and Muslims, has been followed, in his presidency, by protests, political debates, executive orders, and above all, confusion.

Sorting out that confusion requires profound understanding of the issues. And the irony here is that few people understand them better than do Muslim women – particularly the Muslim women who stand up against radical Islam and who denounce the abuse and oppression of women in Muslim countries. They, best of all, know what it means to be the victim of sharia laws that deny them even the most basic of human rights. They, best of all, recognize the portions of the Quran that can be – and are – manipulated by extremists to suit their needs. They, too, best recognize those areas of their faith that must be modernized, that need to be reformed, to suit modern understanding of basic human rights, human dignity, democracy, and justice.

Yet these are the people who also are most virulently attacked. Muslim fundamentalists accuse them of not being “really” Muslim. They are called apostates, and their lives and families threatened. Some non-Muslims accuse them of lying, of being part of an underground “stealth jihad” conspiracy aimed at Islamizing the West. Their work takes selflessness, determination, and extraordinary courage.

Among those leading that fight is writer-activist Raheel Raza, a Pakistani-born Canadian and author of Their Jihad, Not My Jihad: A Muslim Canadian Woman Speaks Out. As a human rights leader, she has spoken out loudly against gender inequality in Muslim families, called for a ban on the hijab and burqa in Canada, and condemned groups that support the introduction of sharia law in the West. In 2012, she founded Muslims Facing Tomorrow, an organization with a core mission “to reclaim Islam for, as the word itself means, securing Peace for all people, and to oppose extremism, fanaticism and violence in the name of religion” while supporting Enlightenment ideals of free speech and democracy.

Most notably, she participated in Paula Kwestin’s award-winning documentary “Honor Diaries.” Described as a “movement to expose women’s rights in the Middle East,” the film exposes hard truths about honor violence and the oppression of women in the Muslim world. In a discussion with other female Muslim leaders in the film, Raza minced no words: “We need systematic change in the Muslim world.”

The Investigative Project interviewed Raza about her views, her courage, her work, and her vision for both Muslims and the West in the years ahead.

(This transcript was edited lightly for style and clarity.)

Abigail R. Esman What made you first feel you needed to speak out as a Muslim woman on the issues you now champion?

Raheel Raza: While I was growing up in Pakistan, I lived in a culture that considered women should be seen and not heard. There was also an honor based environment where everything was about “what others will say.” I rebelled against this and gender discrimination at a young age (for which I was always in trouble). I left Pakistan when I was very young to embrace the West for its values of gender equality, freedom of expression and a liberal democracy. I found my voice and have never stopped speaking out for those who do not have a voice.

ARE: What was the initial response like? Did it cause you to doubt what you were doing?

RR: The initial response was more against my gender, i.e. how can a Muslim woman speak out? Not against the content because deep down people know that I am speaking from within my faith and also addressing a compelling issue that affects Muslim majority society in a deep way. I never doubted what I am doing because the intention is to reform the way Muslims interpret and implement the faith.

ARE: When and why did you create Muslims Facing Tomorrow? Do you feel you are meeting your objectives?

RR: We launched Muslims Facing Tomorrow in 2012 with an intent and vision to be an alternate narrative to the voices of extremists. We are about ideas, as it is a violent ideology that we have to defeat. We are slowly but surely meeting our objectives because the world is hearing our voice to understand that there are Muslims who are the largest victims of radical Jihad and that we are concerned citizens who are speaking out.

ARE: Have you faced threats from radical Muslims for your work? If so, how have you handled them?

RR: Yes, of course – how else would I know that they are listening? I am the proud recipient of a fatwa, death threat and hostile emails. I am also listed as number six on the website of the world’s most hated Muslims, and I plan to become number one.

ARE: “Honor Diaries” was an extremely important project – but a controversial and difficult one. What made you want to get involved?

RR: I have always been committed to women’s rights and have worked on this my entire adult life. Three years ago I was approached by the producer of “Honor Diaries” about the idea of having ‘voices from within’ – Muslim women speaking on the issue. I agreed, with one condition: that this would not be scripted because for too long we (Muslim women) have been scripted, so they agreed, and [the] rest is history.

ARE: Do you feel the film has been successful in influencing change?

RR: “Honor Diaries” has been very successful in implementing and influencing change because it is more than a film. It’s a movement which has picked up traction globally. In Canada we sent copies of the film to each Member of Parliament and as a result, we have Bill S-7, which is a bill about zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices. Similarly in [the] UK, a law was passed making female genital mutilation and forced/underage marriage a criminal offence. I gave testimony in the Swedish Parliament about Honor Based Violence and also addressed the UK House of Lords as a result of which there is a bill which is being tabled. We screened “Honor Diaries” at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, so overall it has won awards and was the first documentary to openly address these issues.

Now of course there are many others, which gives us hope. “Honor Diaries” also empowered the victims of honor-based violence to speak out because they felt the solidarity, so we have activists on the ground all over the globe who are working on these critical issues.

The movement has now become even more important because it has led to a yearly event called CWFF — the Censored Women’s Film Festival — in which Honor Diaries hosts films by not-yet-known film makers on taboo topics that have had pushback.

ARE: More recently, many of your fellow modern Muslim activists [such as and Shireen Qudosi and Asra Nomani] supported Donald Trump for president. You, I gather, did not. What would you say to them?

RR: In a way I do support Mr. Trump, although he is brash with his words. However when I look at eight years of the Obama administration, nothing was done to defeat a radical jihadist ideology. In fact Mr. Obama could not even articulate the words! So the radicals felt empowered and grew in numbers and action as we have seen with the slew of terrorist attacks last year. Mr. Trump (for all his faults) has addressed the issue head on and has also put out feelers to say that he will dialogue and sit with reform minded Muslims around the table to find solutions. This has yet to happen but I am hopeful that change will come to this global threat.

ARE: You had at one time called for a stop on immigration to Canada from countries with high terror rates. Now President Trump has issued his executive order in the U.S. against specific countries, but also not including other, obvious sponsors of terrorism like Saudi Arabia. What are your thoughts on this move?

RR: President Trump is implementing his election promises so no surprise here. I had suggested a temporary moratorium in Canada from countries that fund and promote terrorism because the safety and security of my country is paramount to the future of my children and grand children.

On not including some countries, I can’t comment on the inner workings of the U.S. political system as I am not American but we should wait and watch where this goes.

ARE: Still, the work you do is not easy, and often misunderstood. What keeps you going?

RR: Activism is never easy – you go against the flow and the status quo. It’s doubly challenging if you happen to be a woman. I do this work for the future of the next generation. This is for a better world for my children and grandchildren. In a way I am very spiritual and I believe that each one of us is answerable to the creator about what we did when the world was burning. I can sleep at night knowing I am doing my part. The backlash against me is a very small drop in the ocean of work that has to be done, so I continue despite the challenges.

Anger, Honor and Freedom: What European Muslims’ Attack On Speech Is Really About

June 30, 2016

Anger, Honor and Freedom: What European Muslims’ Attack On Speech Is Really About, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, June 30, 2016

1052

Indeed, much of the Muslim violence in Europe is about exactly this: intimidating non-Muslims into a fearful capitulation, where words like “I hate Muslims” and drawings of Mohammed become extinct because the Muslim communities insist that it be so. It is about forcing Westerners to rearrange their lives, their culture, to accommodate the needs and values and culture of Islam. It is about control, and the power over freedom. And it is about creating a culture in which honor is injured by words and restored through violence and terror.

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

“Clash of civilizations,” some say. Others call it the “failure of multiculturalism.” Either way, the cultural conflicts between some Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide continue to play out as Western countries struggle to reconcile their own cultures with the demands of a growing Muslim population.

But herein lies the problem: in many ways, the two cultures are ultimately irreconcilable. There is no middle ground. And hence, the conflicts and the tugs-of-war continue.

Over the past two months, the events surrounding controversial Dutch columnist Ebru Umar have encapsulated that “clash” at its core, a salient metaphor for the tensions, particularly in Europe, between the West’s Muslim populations and its own. More, they illuminate the enormity of the problems we still face.

Umar is no stranger to the spotlight, or to the wrath of Dutch Muslims who read her many columns, most of them published in the free newspaper, Metro. For years, the Dutch-born daughter of secular Turkish immigrants has raged against the failure of other Dutch-born children of immigrants, mostly Moroccan, to assimilate into the culture of their birth. She loudly condemns Dutch-Moroccan families for the shockingly high rates of criminality and violence among Dutch-Moroccan boys – as much as 22 times the rate of Dutch native youth – a phenomenon she ascribes to their Islamic upbringing and their parents’ refusal to allow their children to mingle among the Dutch.

But her critiques have earned her no converts. Instead, Dutch-Moroccan youth, whom she calls “Mocros,” have regularly taunted her, both online and in the street.

This past April, however, Umar added a new team of enemies to her portfolio: when, in response to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erodogan’s demand that a German satirist be prosecuted for insulting him on TV, Umar tweeted “f***erdogan,” Dutch Turks turned on her in fury. “How dare you insult our president!” cried these Dutch-born subjects of Holland’s King Willem-Alexander. And while Umar took a brief holiday on the Turkish coast, one such Dutch-Turk turned her in to the police. She was arrested at her vacation home in Kusadasi, and though released the following day, was forbidden to leave the country. The charge: Insulting the Turkish president. It took 17 days before discussions between Holland’s prime minister and Turkish authorities enabled her to return to the Netherlands.

But she could not return home. In her absence, Umar’s home had been burgled and vandalized, the word “whore” scrawled on a stairway wall. Death threats followed her both in Turkey and on her return. When it became clear she could not ever return to the apartment she had lived in for nearly 20 years, she announced on Twitter (Ebru Umar posts constantly on Twitter) that she would be moving out.

Meantime, in Metro and elsewhere, she continued her criticism of Moroccans and, as she herself notes, of Islam overall.

And so it was that on the day Ebru Umar moved out of her apartment in Amsterdam, a group of Dutch-Moroccans in their twenties came to see her off, taunting her with chants: Ebru has to mo-o-ve, nyah nyah.” Though furious, she ignored them – until one of them began to film her loading her belongings into her car. For Umar, being taunted by the very people whose threats had forced her from her home in the first place was bad enough: but this violation of what little privacy remained for her was more than she could take. She grabbed her iPhone and began filming them right back. “Go ahead,” she challenged. “Say it for the camera.”

Scuffles ensued, and soon one of the Moroccans had her iPhone in his hand. The others laughed. Then they ran away. Umar filed a police report and, still smarting, took to Twitter once again: “C**t Moroccans, I hate you,” she posted. “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, I hate you and I hate your Muslim brothers and sisters, too. F**k you all.” (It is important to note that, however offensive, the expression “c**t Moroccans” is a common epithet in the Netherlands.)

But, hey – she was angry. Her phone had been snatched from her hand in a brutal, aggressive gesture that left her feeling violated and, vulnerable. She had just been forced to leave her home. She had endured prison, a criminal inquiry, and death threats, all at the hands of the same group on whom she now spewed her fury.

Her words may have been harsh or inappropriate, but they were words. She had not struck her tormenters as they filmed her. She did not call for their demise, or strap a bomb around her waist and visit the local mosques.

She took to Twitter and said: I hate you.

“But hate,” she tells me later in an e-mail, “is just an emotion.” And in a column penned more than two years ago, she observed, “Hate me till you’re purple, but keep your claws off me.”

Here is where Ebru Umar’s story becomes the story of the Western world. In response to her words (“I hate you. F*** you”), several Muslims – Moroccans and others – filed charges against her for hate speech. (Though ironically, “I hate you” does not legally qualify as “hate speech.”) Such words are an attack upon their honor, a humiliation: and if there is one thing experts on Arab and Muslim culture will agree on, it is the significance of humiliation and honor in governing their lives. For this, Dutch Moroccan youth threaten Umar on the streets, and have done so, she says, for years: after all, she insults them.

1664

But in truth, it isn’t just the youth. The broader Muslim community stands by, silent: they do not condemn the youth who taunt her, who rip her telephone from her hands, or post things on the Internet like “We hate you, too – can you please kill yourself?” or “Oh, how I hope she ends up like Theo van Gogh.”

Theo van Gogh, also a controversial columnist, was shot and stabbed to death in 2014 by a radical Dutch-Moroccan Muslim.The commenter wishing her the same fate used the name “IzzedinAlQassam,” the founder of modern Palestinian jihad, and an icon of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

For people like this, it doesn’t matter that Umar – or van Gogh – inflicted no violence, any more than it mattered that the editors of Charlie Hebdo were not violent. It was the insult, the humiliation – to them, to Islam, to Mohammed – that mattered: and an insult, a humiliation, deserves a violent response.

Indeed, much of the Muslim violence in Europe is about exactly this: intimidating non-Muslims into a fearful capitulation, where words like “I hate Muslims” and drawings of Mohammed become extinct because the Muslim communities insist that it be so. It is about forcing Westerners to rearrange their lives, their culture, to accommodate the needs and values and culture of Islam. It is about control, and the power over freedom. And it is about creating a culture in which honor is injured by words and restored through violence and terror.

When Umar says “I hate you,” what she hates, really, isn’t the Moroccans who attacked her or their “Muslim brothers and sisters.” What she hates is this – this effort, this battle over honor and speech and freedom, and this clash between violence and expression, guns and conversation.

“I don’t want Muslims to leave,” she tells me, again by e-mail. “I want them to embrace the Enlightenment, Western society, the Netherlands.” And in turn, she calls on the Dutch to “set rules: no violence in any sense. And stop using culture or religion as an excuse for behavior.”

Ebru Umar’s words. More of us should listen.

The Next Syrian Refugee Crisis: Child Brides

February 27, 2016

The Next Syrian Refugee Crisis: Child Brides, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, February 26, 2016

1371UNICEF graphic

Muslim Father who Shot Daughter is the Most Popular Man in Pakistan

February 1, 2016

Muslim Father who Shot Daughter is the Most Popular Man in Pakistan, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, January 31, 2016

honor

Some cultures really are different. And bad. Very, very bad. Rotten, evil bad.

A 19-year-old Pakistani woman named Saba Qaiser fell in love against her family’s wishes and ran off to marry her boyfriend. Hours after the marriage, her father and uncle sweet-talked her into their car and took her to a spot along a riverbank to murder her for her defiance — an “honor killing.”

First they beat Saba, then her uncle held her as her own father pointed a pistol at her head and pulled the trigger. Blood spewed, Saba collapsed and her father and uncle packed her body into a large sack and threw it into the river to sink. They then drove away, thinking they had restored the family’s good name.

Incredibly, Saba was unconscious but alive. She had jerked her head as the gun went off, and the bullet tore through the left side of her face but didn’t kill her. The river water revived her, and she clawed her way out of the sack and crawled onto land. She staggered toward a gasoline station, and someone called for help.

About every 90 minutes, an honor killing unfolds somewhere in the world, usually in a Muslim country. Pakistan alone has more than 1,000 a year, and the killers often go unpunished.

According to M. Steven Fish’s hoax study though, Pakistan isn’t that much more dangerous than America. But murdering women in Pakistan is a victimless crime. In fact, it makes you really popular.

The police arrested Saba’s father, Maqsood, and the uncle, Muhammad, and their defense was that they did the right thing.

“She took away our honor,” Maqsood said from his jail cell. “If you put one drop of piss in a gallon of milk, the whole thing gets destroyed. That’s what she has done. … So I said, ‘No, I will kill you myself.’”

Maqsood said that after shooting Saba he went home and told his wife, “I have gone and killed your daughter.” He added: “My wife cried. What else could she do? I am her husband. She is just my wife.”

Tremendous pressure was applied to Saba by community elders to pardon her father and uncle. In the end, her husband’s older brother — the head of her new family — told her to forgive and move on. “There is no other way,” he said. “We have to live in the same neighborhood.”

Saba complied, and her father and uncle were released from prison. “After this incident, everyone says I am more respected,” her father boasted. “I can proudly say that for generations to come none of my descendants will ever think of doing what Saba did.”

The families still live near each other, although the father insists he will not try again to kill Saba.

This is the culture that mass Muslim migration is bringing to America and Europe. Is it any wonder that  crimes like Cologne happen?

Obama: “That’s Not Who we Are.” Part I, America and Islam

January 18, 2016

Obama: “That’s Not Who we Are” Part I, America and Islam, Dan Miller’s Blog, January 18, 2016

(The views expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

Obama keeps telling us what America is not. What does He think she is? Does He think that Obama’s America is America, or that His supporters are what America is? Does He think they make America great? Will America become acceptable to Obama, and hence “who we are,” only after He or His successor finishes her fundamental transformation?

“Benefits” of the Iran Scam

By virtue of the now-implemented Iran nuke “deal,” Iran’s possession of an atomic and/or hydrogen bomb will be delayed for a few years unless she cheats (as in the past), reneges on the “deal” or out-sources nuke development to her long term partner, North Korea.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is now reaping the benefits of more than $100 billion in immediate sanctions relief plus a settlement of Iranian claims amounting to $1.7 billion.

Secretary of State John Kerry said today that the settlement is $400 million debt and $1.3 billion in interest dating back to the Islamic revolution. That’s separate from the sanctions windfall Iran will receive.

Iran will also benefit on a long-term basis from trade with countries formerly prohibited by sanctions.

According to Tasnim News Agency,

Back in June 2015, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei had outlined the general policies of the country’s 6th quinquennial development plan.

On defense and security, the proclamation necessitated an increase in Iran’s defense capabilities at the level of a regional power in order to fulfill the national interests by allocating at least 5 percent of the national budget to boosting the defense power. [Emphasis added.]

With increased funding, Iran will be able to increase its already substantial support for Shiite terrorism throughout the Middle East; it will likely do so.

Iranians continue to experience Islamic human rights. Here’s a link to an article titled The Real War on Women in a Nightmarish Islamic State by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh. An Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, he is the president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University.

When it comes to executions, girls are systematically more vulnerable due to the Islamist penal code of Sharia law.

Let’s take a look at the Islamist state of Iran, which creates its laws from the legal codes of Sharia and Quran. The first type of discrimination is related to age: girls are held criminally accountable at the maturity age of 9 Lunar years. (This will automatically put girls at a higher risk of execution by the court.)

Iranian ruling politicians hold the highest record when it comes to the most executions per capita in the world. Intriguingly, in the last two years that the so-called moderate, Hassan Rouhani, has been in office, there have been more than 2000 executions conducted in Iran. That is nearly 3-4 executions a day.

More importantly, Iranian leaders are also the largest executioner of women and female juveniles. Some of these executions were carried out on the mullahs’ charge of ‘Moharebeh’ (enmity with Allah), or waging war against Allah, ifsad-i Fil Arz (Sowing Corruption on Earth), or Sab-i Nabi (Insulting the Prophet). [Emphasis added.]

There are three methods of execution for women and female juveniles: 1. Stoning  2. Public hanging 3. Shooting. Some women are also beaten so severely in the prison that they die before reaching the execution. Shooting, which is the fastest method of the three for execution, has not been used since 2008. Instead, the most common method to execute women is public hanging or stoning. Some of these women are flogged right before they are hanged. Public hanging not only imposes fears in the society but also aims at dehumanizing and controlling women as second-class citizens. According to the Islamist penal code of Iran, women offenses are classified as: Hadd, Diyyih, Ta`zir, and Qisas. [Emphasis added.]

Please read the entire article. Isn’t it heartwarming that “we” are giving even more than a mere $100 billion to Iran? Perhaps some of the new money can be used to buy sharper stones and new devices for hangings. How about some new torture devices?

Islam, The Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates

The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas-affiliated Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) claims to represent Muslims in America. They do represent those who favor terrorism and despise human rights (in the name of which they ironically claim to act).

[T]he Council on American-Islamic Relations, is a prominent Islamic group, but which has a long history of involvement with extremist and terrorist causes. In 2009, during the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial, U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis concluded that, “The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR… with the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas.” [Emphasis added.]

During the trial, CAIR was designated an “unindicted co-conspirator.” As a result of CAIR’s apparent links to a terrorist movement, the Justice Department in 2009 announced a ban on working with CAIR. The FBI also severed relations.

The FBI’s no-work-with-CAIR policy was commonly ignored, according to a liberally redacted Justice Department report released in 2013, and now appears to have become moribund. CAIR representatives are often invited to the Obama White House:

[F]or the past seven years, the Obama White House has opened its doors to the entire spectrum of radical Islamist groups, just like CAIR. These groups have rationalized the actions of Islamic terrorist groups that have killed Americans, warned American Muslims against cooperating with law enforcement, smeared genuine Muslim moderates like Zuhdi Jasser and Asra Nomani as traitors and accused anyone who dared to utter the term “radical Islam” as “Islamophobic.” These are the groups that the White House should have marginalized. The fact that Obama legitimized radical Islamist groups will be his real legacy. [Emphasis added.]

Returning to the previously quoted article about CAIR and whom it claims to represent,

Very few American Muslims, however, seem to feel that CAIR is a legitimate ambassador for American Islam. According to a 2011 Gallup poll, about 88% of American Muslims said that CAIR does not represent them. Muslims all over the world, in fact, apparently do not think CAIR is a moderate or legitimate Muslim group: in 2014, the United Arab Emirates, a pious Muslim state, designated CAIR a terrorist organization, along with dozens of other Muslim Brotherhood organizations.

In reality, American Muslims are extremely diverse, and no single group can claim to speak on their collective behalf. American Islam comprises dozens of different religious sects and political movements, many of which advocate distinctly different ideas. But for Islamist bodies such as CAIR, it suits their agenda if American Muslims are portrayed as a monolithic community. If American Muslims can be seen as homogenous, then a group such as CAIR has a better claim to represent their interests.

Even CAIR’s own research, however, undermines their claim to speak on behalf of American Muslims. A 2011 report reveals that a majority of American mosques are not affiliated with any American Islamic body.

Addressing a conference in 2000, Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, a Muslim cleric and secretary general of the Italian Muslim Assembly, explained that, “[CAIR] is a Muslim Brotherhood front organization. It works in the United States as a lobby against radio, television and print media journalists who dare to produce anything about Islam that is at variance with their fundamental agenda. CAIR opposes diversity in Islam.”

In truth, CAIR only speaks on behalf of a small extremist ideology that, as discovered by federal prosecutors, emerged across the United States during the 1990s out of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Although CAIR does not represent American Muslims, it managed, before the Holy Land Foundation terror trial in 2008, to persuade a great many people that it did. Enough time has passed that CAIR seems to believe it can try this move once again.

Are CAIR and other similar Islamist organizations who claim to represent Muslims in America who we are? Not according to a bill now pending in the Congress, which would

state that Congress believes the Muslim Brotherhood fits the State Department’s criteria of a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The Secretary of State would be required to designate the Brotherhood within 60 days or to provide a detailed report explaining why it does not. Three U.S.-based Brotherhood entities named in the bill are CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). [Emphasis added.]

The House version of the bill (HR3892) was introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) with Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Randy K. Weber (R-TX), Diane Black (R-TN) and Mike Pompeo (R-KS) as original cosponsors. They are now joined by Reps. Steve King (R-IA); Steven Palazzo (R-MS); Kay Granger (R-TX); Jim Jordan (R-OH); Steve Stivers (R-OH); Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Charles W. Dent (R-PA); Bill Johnson (R-OH) and David A. Trott (R-MI).

HR3892 was referred to the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on December 4, 2015. Two cosponsors, Rep. Gohmert and Rep. Trott, sit on that subcommittee.

The Senate version of the bill (S2230) was introduced by presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and later cosponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). It was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on November 3. Two of Senator Cruz’s presidential rivals, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) sit on that committee and have not taken a position on the bill.

Although the bill has yet to earn bi-partisan support at this early stage, it is supported by members of Congress from different spectrums of the Republican Party. It includes endorsers of the presidential campaigns of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich and not only supporters of Ted Cruz.

If enacted by the Congress, Obama will almost certainly veto it. If He signs it, He will ignore or bypass it as He often does.

Britain recently declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Here are thirteen quotes from the British Government’s review and Prime Minister Cameron’s official statement:

1. “The Muslim Brotherhood’s foundational texts call for the progressive moral purification of individuals and Muslim societies and their eventual political unification in a Caliphate under Sharia law. To this day the Muslim Brotherhood characterizes Western societies and liberal Muslims as decadent and immoral. It can be seen primarily as a political project.”

2.  “Aspects of Muslim Brotherhood ideology and tactics, in this country and overseas, are contrary to our values and have been contrary to our national interests and our national security.”

3.  “From its foundation the Muslim Brotherhood organized itself into a secretive ‘cell’ structure, with an elaborate induction and education program for new members…This clandestine, centralized and hierarchical structure persists to this day.”

4.  “The Hamas founding charter claims that they are the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Brotherhood treat them as such. In the past ten years support for Hamas (including in particular funding) has been an important priority for the MB in Egypt and the MB international network.”

5.  “From at least the 1950s the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood also developed an international network, within and beyond the Islamic world. Europe became an important base for the growing Muslim Brotherhood global network.”

6.  “The wider international network of the Muslim Brotherhood now performs a range of functions. It promotes Muslim Brotherhood ideology (including through communications platforms), raises and invests funds, and provides a haven for members of the Brotherhood who have left their country of origin to continue promoting Brotherhood activity.”

7.  “[F]or the most part, the Muslim Brotherhood have preferred non violent incremental change on the grounds of expediency, often on the basis that political opposition will disappear when the process of Islamization is complete. But they are prepared to countenance violence—including, from time to time, terrorism—where gradualism is ineffective.”

8.  “Muslim Brotherhood organizations and associated in the UK have neither openly nor consistently refuted the literature of Brotherhood member Sayyid Qutb which is known to have inspired people (including in this country) to engage in terrorism.”

9.  “[The review] concluded that it was not possible to reconcile these [MB] views with the claim made by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in their evidence to the review that ‘the Muslim Brotherhood has consistently adhered to peaceful means of opposition, renouncing all forms of violence throughout its existence.’”

10.  “In the 1990s the Muslim Brotherhood and their associates established public facing and apparently national organizations in the UK to promote their views. None were openly identified with the Muslim Brotherhood and membership of the Muslim Brotherhood remained (and still remains) a secret.”

11.  “[MB fronts] became politically active, notably in connection with Palestine and Iraq, and promoted candidates in national and local elections…sought and obtained a dialogue with Government….were active members in a security dialogue with the police.”

12.  “The Muslim Brotherhood have been publicly committed to political engagement in this country. Engagement with Government has at times been facilitated by what appeared to be a common agenda against al Qaida and (at least in the UK) militant Salafism. But this engagement did not take into account of Muslim Brotherhood support for a proscribed terrorist group and its views about terrorism which, in reality, are quite different from our own.”

13. “Senior Muslim Brotherhood figures and associated have justified attacks against coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The linked article goes on to note that

The U.S. government, without even conducting any kind of review of its own, issued a statement to the Investigative Project on Terrorism rejecting any ban or even any “de-legitimizing” of the Brotherhood at all. [Emphasis added.]

Do the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates represent Obama? Are they or Obama “what we are?” I don’t think so and hope not.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and reformation of Islam

In Heretic (which I reviewed here), Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote,

For years, we have spent trillions on waging wars against “terror” and “extremism” that would have been much better spent protecting Muslim dissidents and giving them the necessary platforms and resources to counter that vast network of Islamic centers, madrassas, and mosques which has been largely responsible for spreading the most noxious forms of Islamic fundamentalism. For years, we have treated the people financing that vast network — the Saudis, the Qataris, and the now repentant Emiratis — as our allies. In the midst of all our efforts at policing, surveillance, and even military action, we in the West have not bothered to develop an effective counternarrative because from the outset we have denied that Islamic extremism is in any way related to Islam. We persist in focusing on the violence and not on the ideas that give rise to it. [Emphasis added.]

Here is a video of which Hirsi Ali was the executive producer. It features Muslim and former-Muslim women discussing Islam and the Islam-mandated male domination of women.

Here’s Part II of Honor Diaries:

Here’s a video characterizing Hirsi Ali as an “Islamophobe.”

Along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Azeezah Kanji — the featured speaker in the above video — has been very active in disparaging Hirsi Ali and Honor Diaries. Like CAIR, she has ties to the Obama White House and was named a “Champion of Change” by the White House in 2011. What changes in Islam does Ms. Kanji champion? None, apparently, of those intrinsic to it.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the CAIR, condemned Hirsi Ali as “one of the worst of the worst of the Islam haters in America, not only in America but worldwide.”

On becoming a U.S. Citizen

On becoming a U.S. Citizen

Who better represents American values? Hirsi Ali, once a refugee from Somalia and a proud citizen of the United States since April 25, 2013, or President Obama? In the immediately linked Wall Street Journal article, she offers suggestions on American immigration with which I plan to deal in a subsequent post. In the meantime, here is her 2014 address at the William F. Buckley Program at Yale University on the clash of civilizations. If you have not yet watched it, please do so. If you have watched it, please do so again. I just did. Every time I watch it, there is something I had not previously considered.

Conclusions

To Obama and His acolytes, Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance; the Islamic State, its equally non-peaceful and intolerant franchisees and other comparable terrorist organizations are “not Islamic.” If “not Islamic,” what are they?

Despite Obama’s many statements and gestures, He has yet to convince any Islamic terrorist group that it is not Islamic. He has convinced them only that He is ignorant of Islam, a liar or both.  Perhaps He needs a better joke writer.

Obama’s last State of the Union Message

was very striking for the one-sidedness and disproportion of the president’s concern for religious suffering.

President Obama worried that “politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or fellow citizens.”

But he couldn’t bring himself to worry aloud about the Christians being driven from Middle Eastern countries, the churches being burned from Nigeria to Malaysia, or the 22 Coptic Christians who were beheaded on video on a beach in Libya by Islamic supremacists.

Insulting Muslims: bad. Killing Christians: irrelevant. [Emphasis added.]

Will our next president at least make a concerted effort to un-transform Obama’s America? Will he name and fight our enemies, foreign and domestic? Or will he simply “go with the flow” and do none of the above. Much depends on who it is and on the composition of the Congress.

During the Democrat Party debate on January 17th, Hillary Clinton “linked herself to the president again and again. And again.” An Obama clone to continue Obama’s fundamental transformation of America is the opposite of what we need. Nor will merely “fixing” broken parts of the governmental apparatus with duct tape and bailing wire be satisfactory. As I wrote last September, To bring America back we need to break some stuff.

In later posts in this series, I hope to deal with immigration, race relations, the ways in which Obama is distorting the Constitution, the decline of education and Obama’s very foreign foreign policy.

Swedish Boy ‘Honor’-Killed; German Trangenders Stoned

January 18, 2016

Swedish Boy ‘Honor’-Killed; German Trangenders Stoned, Clarion Project, Meira Svirsky, January 18, 2016

Swedish-Boy-Honor-Killed-HPArminas Pileckas, 15, who was killed by Ahmed Mustafa Al Haj Ali, 14, who recently arrived in Sweden.

The importation of the culture of honor violence has arrived in Europe with migrants from Islamist countries. Two profoundly disturbing stories in particular are worth noting.

In Sweden, a 15-year old boy was stabbed to death by a 14-year old migrant from Syria on his first day back at school this term. The boy, whose family themselves were immigrants from Lithuania, was reported to have been protecting a young girl from a sexual assault from the Syrian boy in December. It was allegedly not the first time.

In retaliation, the Syrian boy plunged a knife in his back and heart on the first day back at school in January.

The victim’s father angrily related that in Sweden the press was in collusion with the government, saying that, with regards to the migrant problem, “Everything is being kept hidden.”

While the grieving father was not interviewed by the press, Swedish news Aftonbladet interviewed the father of the migrant boy, who claimed that his son was being bullied by the murdered boy. In what was described as a sympathetic interview, the father insisted, “The school did nothing to help him and establish his honor. Instead, my son had to meet this 15-year old every day. It made him very upset.”

Even if this version was correct (it was denied by the boy’s classmates as well as other indicators), killing a classmate is a way to “establish” one’s “honor?”  With no questions asked?

In Germany, immigrants from North Africa were arrested while stoning two transgender individuals near the city’s central train station. A police car fortuitously cruising the area broke up the attack perpetrated by three men, described as between the ages of 16 and 18.

Upon arrest, police reported that the men told them “such persons must be stoned.”

It is unacceptable that the culture of (so-called) “honor” be imported into host countries. The often manifest arguments of cultural relativism by Europeans (see Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker’s comments following mass sexual assaults in her city by migrants on New Year’s Eve) are paltry and lame excuses for the upholding of Western values. Even those who view themselves as the vanguards of human rights (feminists, anti-racism activists, social justice campaigners) shy away from criticism of the “Islamic other.”

While their criticism is eminently forthcoming for Western societies that fail to change fast enough and the way they deem acceptable, when it comes to criticism of human rights abuses inherent in sharia-based societies, they are markedly silent.