Posted tagged ‘Islamic supremacy’

Persecution of Alevis in Turkey: Threats, Arbitrary Arrests

January 18, 2018

Persecution of Alevis in Turkey: Threats, Arbitrary Arrests, Gatestone InstituteUzay Bulut, January 18, 2018

Alevis are a religious minority Turkey with a distinct faith, philosophy, and culture that largely upholds secularism and humanism. Turkey’s Alevi community is estimated in the tens of millions — up to 25% of the population, making up the country’s largest minority. But the number is only an approximation, because legally, Alevis in Turkey are “non-existent”. The Turkish government does not officially recognize them, so it does not include them in a census and counts them as “Muslims.

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Just like the Christian, Jewish, and Yazidi communities in Turkey, Alevis have also been victims of Islamic supremacism for centuries — both in the Ottoman Empire and in the Republic of Turkey.

In Istanbul, the door of an Alevi family was vandalized with a red symbol. “Get out, heathen” and “Islam” were written on the door.

Turkey’s membership in the NATO since 1952, its negotiations for full membership to the EU since 2005, and its countless military, economic, and diplomatic agreements with the West, have done nothing to reduce the persecution against religious minorities in the country.

Pressures against the Alevi community in Turkey are becoming alarmingly commonplace.

Just like the Christian, Jewish, and Yazidi communities in Turkey, Alevis have also been victims of Islamic supremacism for centuries — both in the Ottoman Empire and in the Republic of Turkey.

Alevis are a religious minority Turkey with a distinct faith, philosophy, and culture that largely upholds secularism and humanism. Turkey’s Alevi community is estimated in the tens of millions — up to 25% of the population, making up the country’s largest minority. But the number is only an approximation, because legally, Alevis in Turkey are “non-existent”. The Turkish government does not officially recognize them, so it does not include them in a census and counts them as “Muslims.”

Recently, officials at the Istanbul airport seized the passport of Fatma Tunç, the wife of a dissident author, Aziz Tunç. Mrs. Tunç was preparing to board a plane to Germany when she was told by officials that her passport has been cancelled because “there are dangerous people in her family” and that for her to travel outside of Turkey, her husband and son would have to return. Aziz Tunç’s passport has also been cancelled due to his being prosecuted at a political trial in Turkey.

Mr. Tunç, a columnist and the author of two books about the 1978 Alevi massacre in the city of Maraş in southeastern Turkey, and his son, have been living in exile in Germany for the past two years, as a result of government persecution. “This is downright hostage-taking,” he said.

“It is illegal, immoral, and inhumane. This has not only been done to me. This has been done to many people in Turkey… As can be seen, there is… unrestrained tyranny [in Turkey]. And we are forced to live in exile because we express these things. And we are punished like this.”

Pressures against the Alevi community in Turkey take several forms — such as mass murders, the lack of official recognition of their places of worship, and arbitrary arrests. Particularly since the failed coup d’état against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016, many Alevis have been arrested for allegedly having ties with something the Turkish government calls the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization” (FETO), naming it after Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who has for years been living in exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. The Turkish government after accuses Gülen of organizing the attempted coup.

Other examples of the persecution of Alevis include:

Erkan Topçu, a high school teacher and the head of the Mürteza Alevi Bektashi Education and Culture Association in the city of Isparta, for example, was arrested within the investigation of the coup for “being a member of FETO” in October 2016.

Also in October, 2016, Hasan Ateş, an Alevi dede (faith leader) in the city of Izmir, was also arrested for being a member of FETO and for “using Bylock”, an encrypted messaging app, which has been linked to FETO by the government.

Unfortunately, the government’s crackdown on Alevis has been escalating; now, Alevi journalists are also targeted. TV10, the television channel known as “the voice of Alevis”, was closed down in September 2016 after the failed coup, allegedly “for threatening national security and belonging to a terror organization.”

Two officials of the Alevi-run TV10, Veli Büyükşahin and Veli Haydar Güleç were arrested on January 10. Recently, Kemal Demir, an employee of TV10, was also arrested.

“These detentions and the government’s intentional harassment of the Alevi media have no meaning other than attempting to shape the Alevi media,” said Şükrü Yıldız, former chairman of TV10, and called the arrests “an attack against the Alevi faith and resistance.”

Alevi citizens are also threatened inside their homes: red crosses and threatening graffiti are drawn on their doors and walls.

Last November, unknown perpetrators painted red crosses on the front doors of 13 Alevi homes.

A week later, in Bahçelievler district of Istanbul, the door of another Alevi family was marked with a similar red symbol. “Get out, heathen” and “Islam” were also written on the door.

The vandalism of Alevi homes concern the Alevi community, to say the least; they have been exposed to many massacres and pogroms in Turkey. These include but are not limited to the 1921 Kocgiri Massacre, 1937-1938 Dersim (Tunceli) Massacres, 1938 Erzincan Zini Gedigi Massacre, 1978 Malatya Massacre, 1978 Sivas Massacre, 1978 Maras Massacre, 1980 Corum Massacre, 1993 Sivas Massacre and 1995 Istanbul, Gazi Quarter Massacre.

The faces of many of the victims who were murdered in the 1993 Sivas massacre are featured on this poster, used in a 2012 commemoration in Germany. (Image source: Bernd Schwabe, Wikimedia Commons)

Alevis were victims of other physical attacks in Ortaca, Mugla in 1966, in Elbistan, Maras in 1967, in Hekimhan, Malatya in 1968, and in Kirikhan, Hatay in 1971, among others. During these massacres or pogroms, many Alevi residents were murdered or had to flee their cities.

“If you go to the Kizilay city center in Ankara today and ask people if they are Alevis, the majority will deny it,” said Kemal Bulbul, an Alevi author and rights activist, explaining that Alevis hide their identity due to the systematic persecution and discrimination Alevis they have suffered.

“For what has been experienced cannot be erased from memories. Alevis were not only massacred in Yozgat, Tokat, Amasya, but also in Thrace and the Mediterranean. The Alevi dargahs (shrines built over the graves of revered religious figures) have been raided, plundered, burnt down, and destroyed.”

Alevism: A faith outside Islam

The founding government of the Republic of Turkey, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, banned Alevism and its places of worship in 1925, while institutionalizing Sunni Islam through the establishment of Diyanet (Directorate of Religious Affairs) in 1924. The Diyanet was, and still is, a major violation of secularism. Since that ban, Alevism has not been officially recognized; Alevis have been deprived of religious liberty and freedom of expression regarding their faith.

Alevism is a distinct religion, philosophy and culture, the existence of which predates Islam. Alevism upholds secularism and humanism. A common misconception about Alevism is that it is a sect or an interpretation of Islam.

A group of Alevi dedes and pirs (faith leaders) carried out a workshop on Alevism in the city of Dersim (Tunceli) in 2015; there, they agreed that Alevism is a faith outside Islam.

Mustafa Genç, an Alevi dede (faith leader), one of the Alevi representatives who attended the workshop, said that Alevism and Sunni Islam “are never on the same line”:

“In Sunnism, they pray five times a day and fast for a month. These things do not exist in the Alevi faith. According to our faith, God is in the human and not in the sky. In the Alevi faith, women are sacred and to divorce a woman is the most difficult thing. This is not the case in Sunnism. Sunni Muslims think a man can marry four women.”

The prominent Alevi scholar Mehmet Bayrak also emphasizes that Alevism is a distinct religion, separate from Islam.

“As our people [in Turkey] only think of divine religions when religion is discussed, they cannot comprehend that Alevism is a distinct religion. They immediately ask ‘Who is the Allah and prophet of Alevism?’. However, there is a category called natural religions and they still exist. And Alevism is one of them.”

Bayrak explains that Alevism took certain things from other religions and gave certain things to them and is much closer to Christianity than to Islam.

“For example, one cannot see one tenth of the similarity between Alevism and Christianity in the similarity between Alevism and Islam…. Islam has a history of at least 1400-1500 years and they [Alevis and Muslims] have lived side by side or with one another in this area. So, Alevism took some motifs from Islam and melted them within itself. For example, there is a massive difference between the culture of Ali in Alevism and the Ali in Islam. Alevism created a new, distinctive cult of Ali.”

Bayrak lists some of the differences between Alevism and Islam:

“Islam has five pillars. Alevism do not practice any of them. For example, Alevis fast but it is completely different from the fasting in Islam. Alevis do not do pilgrimage [to Mecca], they do not say shahada[the Islamic declaration of faith]. And Alevis do not do salah [five daily prayers] … For someone to be a Muslim, they should also accept the requirements of faith (iman). Muslims say, ‘I believe in the God of Islam and its prophet; I believe in the book of Islam; I believe in the afterlife; I believe benevolence and evil come from Allah.’ Alevis do not believe any of these things. They carry out neither the pillars nor the requirements of faith of Islam. So, Alevism is a distinct faith. And it is completely wrong to see Alevism as an entity, version, denomination or sect of Islam.”

According to Bayrak, one of the reasons why some Alevis say they are Muslim is their misconceptions about their own religion. “Due to the centuries-long propaganda they have been exposed to, some of them think that they are true Muslims,” says Bayrak, and adds that a more alarming reason for their denial is fear of persecution.

“As Alevis are still under political, social, and cultural pressures, they are still scared of saying that Alevism is outside of Islam. It is impossible for them to express themselves freely.”

Turkey’s membership in the NATO since 1952, its negotiations for full membership to the EU since 2005, and its countless military, economic, and diplomatic agreements with the West, have done nothing to reduce the persecution against religious minorities in the country.

Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist born and raised in Turkey. She is presently based in Washington D.C.

Trump’s national security strategy holds the hidden key to defeating jihadism

January 4, 2018

Trump’s national security strategy holds the hidden key to defeating jihadism, Washington ExaminerBen Weingarten, January 4, 2017

Domestically, the administration’s failed “countering violent extremism” policy at best ignored Islamic supremacist ideology in counterterrorism efforts, and at worst actively empowered the Islamic supremacist ideologues themselves under the guise of “community engagement.”

If the Trump administration’s newly released national security strategy is to govern U.S. national security and foreign policy, this long national and international nightmare may soon be over.

According to the strategy, the “most dangerous threat” to America is no longer “violent extremists” (or climate change), but rather “jihadist terrorists.”

The Trump administration should be applauded for this monumental change in our national security strategy. It should be encouraged to make the strategy concrete by drafting and implementing a modern-day NSC-68 for the global jihadist movement: A comprehensive plan to defeat jihadist actors state and non-state, violent and non-violent, overt and covert, availing ourselves of every resource and tool we have in every realm. The fate of Western civilization – facing an enemy that as the national security strategy suggests wishes to subjugate us to Sharia tyranny – hangs in the balance.

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The Obama administration’s purge of the lexicon of Islamic supremacism from our national security and foreign policy apparatus was one of the single most detrimental manifestations of its delusional worldview.

The scrubbing of Islamic terms and concepts from government training and policy materials, while Islamic terrorists engaged the U.S. in battle, reflected an inability or unwillingness to openly and honestly recognize our jihadist enemy and their threat doctrine. If you do not know or refuse to understand your enemy, and their goals, tactics, and strategies, they will be well-positioned to defeat you.

In the Obama administration’s purge could be found the seeds of its singularly disastrous policy towards the Islamic world, in which it found itself actively colluding with those who wish to destroy us.

Globally, the administration aidedabetted, and enabled the world’s leading state sponsor of jihad in Iran and its proxies (as the new drug-running-for-Iran Deal revelations regarding Project Cassandra remind us) elevated the Muslim Brotherhood on the Sunni side and Hezbollah on the Shia side as “political Islamist” forces with whom the U.S. could do business, and sought to create “daylight” by punishing and endangering our staunchest moral, ideological, and strategic ally in Israel.

Domestically, the administration’s failed “countering violent extremism” policy at best ignored Islamic supremacist ideology in counterterrorism efforts, and at worst actively empowered the Islamic supremacist ideologues themselves under the guise of “community engagement.”

If the Trump administration’s newly released national security strategy is to govern U.S. national security and foreign policy, this long national and international nightmare may soon be over.

According to the strategy, the “most dangerous threat” to America is no longer “violent extremists” (or climate change), but rather “jihadist terrorists.”

These jihadists are no longer deemed “nihilistic,” nor are their aims considered nonsensical.

The document says:

Jihadist terrorists such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida…spread a barbaric ideology that calls for the violent destruction of governments and innocents they consider to be apostates. These jihadist terrorists attempt to force those under their influence to submit to Sharia law.

Further, the administration asserts that we are at war with “fanatics who advance a totalitarian vision for a global Islamist caliphate that justifies murder and slavery, promotes repression, and seeks to undermine the American way of life.”

The ramifications of accurately defining our enemy and describing what animates them go many orders of magnitude beyond just supplanting political correctness with truth.

As the national security strategy details, the U.S. intends to fight its adversaries using every means of federal government power. To the degree to which we have a clear-eyed understanding of the jihadist enemy, we can orient all of our assets towards its threat doctrine and defeat it.

If indeed the U.S. government is allowed to study the Islamic supremacist threat doctrine and devise a national security and foreign policy commensurate with it, we could reverse the tide of a war with the global jihadist movement that I believe we have been losing.

The Trump administration should be applauded for this monumental change in our national security strategy. It should be encouraged to make the strategy concrete by drafting and implementing a modern-day NSC-68 for the global jihadist movement: A comprehensive plan to defeat jihadist actors state and non-state, violent and non-violent, overt and covert, availing ourselves of every resource and tool we have in every realm. The fate of Western civilization – facing an enemy that as the national security strategy suggests wishes to subjugate us to Sharia tyranny – hangs in the balance.

Ben Weingarten is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and the Founder & CEO of ChangeUp Media, a conservative media consulting and production company.

Rethinking “Radicalization”: Dutch Researcher Discusses What Makes a Homegrown Terrorist

December 26, 2017

Rethinking “Radicalization”: Dutch Researcher Discusses What Makes a Homegrown Terrorist, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, December 26, 2017

(Terrorism is obviously bad and we need to do our best to prevent it. However, my principal concern is about political Islam, aka Islamism. Islamists often do not need to engage in terrorism; they can rely instead on whatever democratic processes are available to Islamise nations. Look at Canada, for example. “Islamophobia” laws restrict free speech about Islam and its anti-democracy, pro-theocracy tendencies. In America, CAIR fights “Islamophobia” as well as organizations which want Muslims to respect American law. Here’s video on America and Sharia law.

(– DM)

On Nov. 2, 2004, Dutch filmmaker and writer Theo van Gogh left his home and set off to work, riding his bicycle as he did most days through the quiet streets of Amsterdam.

Minutes later, 26-year-old Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim angered by van Gogh’s writings and films about radical Islam, fired eight shots at the filmmaker. As Van Gogh stumbled, Bouyeri shot again, then stabbed him with a butcher knife, piercing straight through his chest. Then he sliced across Theo van Gogh’s throat in a failed effort to decapitate him before stabbing him one final time. It was, as many later said, the country’s 9/11, the arrival of Islamist terrorism to the tranquil tulip fields and calm canals of the Netherlands.

Mohammed Bouyeri acted alone, but he was a leading member of what later became known as the Hofstadgroep (Hofstad Group), a loosely-knit circle of Dutch Muslim youth from Amsterdam and The Hague with extremist ideas and half-hatched plans to execute terrorist attacks around the country. In the days following Van Gogh’s death, police raided a home in The Hague, arresting seven Hofstadgroep members after a standoff lasting several hours.

Their trials, and the trials of other members, have shaped much of the Dutch understanding of Islamist terrorism both for citizens and law enforcement. Above all, the cases showed definitively that European Muslims could be radicalized, and that even Muslims raised in the West had become a threat.

In fact, as Bart Schuurman, a research Fellow at the International Centre for Counterterrorism in The Hague, argues in his upcoming book, Becoming A European Homegrown Terrorist, the Hofstadgroep case ultimately came to define homegrown jihadism in Europe. Thanks, too, to the work of Dutch journalists Janny Groen and Annieke Kranenberg, studies into the women in and around the Hofstadgroep have provided important insights into the radicalization of Muslim women in the West, and their role in homegrown jihad.

For his research, Schuurman spoke with Hofstadgroep members and studied the police interviews with the Hofstadgroep to better understand their actions and thought processes.

On the eve of the publication of his new book, Schuurman talked to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) about his findings, what they say about the making of a homegrown terrorist, and how his research can help bring new insights to the fight against Islamist terror.

Abigail R. Esman: The Hofstadgroep was limited to the Netherlands, and the group preceded (by over a decade) the rise of ISIS and even social media. How is knowledge about that group still useful for a more global and more contemporary analysis of home-grown terrorism?

Bart Schuurman: The Hofstadgroep is indeed an older case as it was active between 2002 and 2005. As such, it was part of what could be called the first wave of European homegrown jihadism. I argue that insights we can derive from how and why people became involved in the Hofstadgroep are still relevant now for several reasons. First of all, like the current foreign fighter phenomenon, the Hofstadgroep’s extremist inner-circle also initially tried to join jihadist insurgencies overseas. Only when this failed, did some of them begin to consider and plan terrorist attacks in the Netherlands. Secondly, the Hofstadgroep was not a phenomenon unique to the Netherlands, but one example of the broader phenomenon of European homegrown jihadism that is still with us today. While much has changed in terms of context, such as a shift in focus from Afghanistan to Syria, many of the underlying dynamics driving involvement in this type of terrorism remain unaltered. I think that the field of terrorism studies sometimes has the unwarranted tendency to see every development in the terrorist threat as heralding a fundamentally ‘new’ situation to which our previous explanations and theories are of little to no utility. I’d argue it’s exactly the opposite; especially because it’s relatively easier to access high-quality data on older cases, they are a great resource for informing the ongoing debate on what can motivate (and prevent!) people from becoming involved in terrorism.

ARE: Are there any other groups like the Hofstadgroep today, either in the Netherlands or elsewhere?

BS: In ideological terms, the Hofstadgroep could be broadly characterized as driven by an extremist Salafi-Jihadist worldview and focused on waging a ‘defensive’ jihad against what they saw as Western geopolitical aggression and the threat posed by heresy and apostasy. I think it’s safe to say that such views have continued to be embraced by Islamist extremists in the Netherlands and Europe more broadly, although it is difficult to assess the scale on which this has occurred. But it is crucial to distinguish between holding radical or extremist views and becoming involved in any capacity in terrorist violence. The vast majority of radicals never cross this threshold. What I think we see today in Europe is that relatively small numbers of (would-be) jihadist terrorists continue to pose a serious threat and that they are embedded in a broader ‘radical milieu’ from which they draw support. While this threat is a very real one, I think it is important to keep in mind that these individuals and groups are not representative of the Muslim community as a whole. A key observation that we sometimes miss, is that Muslims are in fact the number one victims of groups like [ISIS] and al-Qaeda when we look at the violence in countries like Syria and Iraq.

ARE: What did you learn about the personalities of those likely to join such groups, or to act as lone wolves? (Is there also a similarity between those who join groups and lone wolf attackers?)

BS: Most researchers would agree that there is no such thing as a terrorist profile, at least not one of any practical utility. Most terrorists are relatively young and most are male; beyond that considerably diversity has been observed in terms of socioeconomic background, family obligations etcetera. None of which means that personality factors cannot play a role at all. In fact, things like past involvement in violence or previous socialization to extremist beliefs can be important parts of the explanation for why someone became involved in terrorism. Perhaps the most important thing that I took away from my Hofstadgroep study in terms of the influence of personality factors, is that extremism and terrorism cannot simply be explained as stemming from psychopathology or deprivation. On the whole, group-based terrorists are not driven (primarily) by mental health problems or lack of opportunities to pursue alternative career paths in society. The uncomfortable truth is that, for many of these individuals, involvement in terrorism is a more or less conscious decision. An interesting finding about lone actors is that many of them did not ‘go it alone’ for tactical considerations, but because they failed to join or form a terrorist cell of their own. This may tie into the higher prevalence of mental health problems among lone actor extremists, which can make them appear untrustworthy or simply disagreeable and therefore prevent them from being truly accepted by other extremists.

ARE: Is there a difference between those who join local groups and the lone wolf types who are influenced by ISIS and Al Qaeda? That is to say, do they see the larger terror groups in the same way Hofstadgroep members saw their own group?

BS: Again, while some lone actors (Unabomber, Breivik) make a conscious decision to operate alone, many would have liked to join others but failed to do so. But both lone actors and participants in groups like Hofstad are generally heavily-influenced by the larger radical milieu of which they are a part; taking inspiration from videos, writings, speeches etc. of leading figures and groups.

ARE: You distinguish between radicalization and fanaticism in your work. Can you explain what these are?

BS: I have been critical of the concept of radicalization for a long time. Although it has become a household term since 2004, it doesn’t really explain how and why people become involved in extremism and terrorism. Radicalization suffers from lack of a clear definition and it is inherently subjective. A century ago, those in favor of extending voting rights to women were often labeled radicals by their opponents. Few would (hopefully!) dare make that same argument now. Not only do our views of what is ‘radical’ change over time, but by associating radicalization so closely with terrorism, we have lumped together activists who, although we may disagree with them, are essentially advocating change while remaining within the limits of the liberal democratic order, with individuals and groups committed to the use of extreme violence to get what they want. If that isn’t problematic enough, most interpretations of radicalization continue to overstate the degree to which beliefs influence behavior. Saying someone was ‘radicalized’ prior to committing a terrorist act doesn’t really help us understand that act; there are millions of people with radical or extremist views and the vast majority of them never become involved in terrorism in any way, shape or form. So while extremist beliefs are usually an important component of the overall picture of why people commit terrorism, they are insufficient by themselves to function as an explanation. For that reason, I think we should stop talking about radicalization and instead study the pathways to lead to involvement in terrorism, as this implicitly draws attention to the multitude of factors that constitute such processes. Fanaticism struck me as a more useful concept because, as it was developed by British psychologist Max Taylor, it recognizes that not all ‘fanatics’ will act on their beliefs but stipulates conditions under which they are more likely to do so. “Fanaticism” is thus able to overcome, at least to some degree, “radicalization’s” greatest shortcoming; namely, why the vast majority of radicals never become terrorists.

ARE: Why are fanatics more likely to become violent?

BS: It is more a question of when, rather than why. Fanaticism (or radicalism, if you will) is more likely to actually lead to violence when 1) the beliefs adhered to are distinctly militant; 2) when the fanatic/radical also holds to millenarian views, such as that the apocalypse is nigh and can be hastened by the individual believer; and 3) (to me most importantly) when the radical/fanatic is not exposed to contrarian views that can challenge his/her extremist convictions or inject some grey into a black/white world-view.

ARE: You also indicate that the Hofstadgroep members were less concerned with creating change than with making a statement about their own Islamic identity. In a way, it seems you are saying it was more about themselves than about the world. That’s an interesting perspective for me, because it parallels my own ideas about terrorists being narcissists, and I wonder if this isn’t in fact true of other terrorists and terror groups – not just Islamist. Is this a view or an approach to terrorism we have overlooked? Maybe we’ve been missing the real picture. Or is it some of both?

BS: I am always a bit careful using terms like narcissism because people can then be quick to pathologize such statements. But there is definitely something interesting going on in terms of identity. A key question for me is always; why would anyone join a terrorist group? The most likely outcomes are death or a life in prison. Now, while jihadists (at least profess to) want to die for their beliefs, terrorism has a much longer and broader history than Islamist extremism alone. There have been many secular terrorist groups who were not keen to go to an afterlife. So, what does terrorism offer that can make some people takes these risks? A large part of the answer lies, I believe, in the attractions of group membership. Things like status within a particular community, the notion of being part of something grandiose and important, the feeling of living an important and exciting life, the comradeship formed under fire, these are key factors binding people to terrorist groups, whether we’re talking about [ISIS], the IRA or the Italian Red Brigades. I think it would be great to delve more deeply into such factors in future research.

ARE: Finally: How can your research help counterterrorism analysts and law enforcement going forward?

BS: I hope that my work will be able make a contribution to the work of counterterrorism policymakers and practitioners in two ways. First of all, by providing a unique primary-sources based account of how and why involvement in a key example of European homegrown jihadist group occurred, I hope to contribute to their subject-matter expertise. More importantly, I hope that my findings will challenge counterterrorism professionals to keep critically re-examining the assumptions about such processes that they use to guide their own work.

Britain: The “Islamophobia” Industry Strikes Again

December 20, 2017

Britain: The “Islamophobia” Industry Strikes Again, Gatestone InstituteBruce Bawer, December 20, 2017

The new report is a remarkable document. Among its premises is that “anti-Muslim hate crime” is a major crisis in the U.K. that demands urgent action by politicians, police, educators, employers, civil-society groups, the media, and pretty much everybody else. As for the far more serious matter of crimes committed by Muslims, the report mentions them only within the context of discussions of anti-Muslim hate. In the town of Rotherham alone, for example, in accordance with orthodox Islamic attitudes toward “uncovered” or “immodest” infidel females, over 1400 non-Muslim girls are known to have been sexually abused by so-called Muslim “grooming” gangs in recent years – but the epidemic of “grooming” is cited in the Runnymede report only as one item on a list of practices and phenomena that it identifies as contributing to British “stereotypes” about Muslims. Similarly, here is the Runnymede Trust report’s solitary reference to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie: “In Britain…many Muslims felt unsupported in their reaction to Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and faced a backlash from those who they felt prioritized freedom of speech above respect for minorities.” The point here is apparently that Britons who stood up for Rushdie’s right not to be slaughtered for writing a novel were guilty of Islamophobia.

The British government’s program Prevent, the part of its counterterrorism strategy that seeks to inhibit the radicalization of British subjects, also comes in for criticism in Runnymede’s report. Prevent is faulted both for being rooted in the notion (which it finds offensive, true or not) that the chief terrorist threat to the country is posed by “Islamist terrorists” (a term that the report puts in scare quotes) and for “put[ting] the onus on Muslim communities.” The report charges that because the British government, as part of the Prevent program, monitors (for example) imams who preach violence against the West, Prevent represents a violation of free speech. I can find no record of the Runnymede Trust ever criticizing the zealous attempts by British authorities to silence critics of Islam – a practice that has led to the banning from the U.K. of prominent American critics of Islam, even as the government has continued to permit preachers of violent jihad to enter the country

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The Runnymede Trust report’s solitary reference to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie states: “In Britain… many Muslims felt unsupported in their reaction to Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and faced a backlash from those who they felt prioritized freedom of speech above respect for minorities.” Apparently, Britons who stood up for Rushdie’s right not to be slaughtered for writing a novel were guilty of Islamophobia.

Much of Runnymede’s report is devoted to the high levels of Muslim poverty and unemployment in the U.K. — but instead of seeking reasons for this problem in Islam itself, it blames this problem primarily on “institutional racism,” while avoiding the ticklish question of why Hindus, whom one would also expect to be victims of “institutional racism” in Britain, are economically more successful than any other group in that nation, including ethnic British Christians.

The Runnymede report points out that domestic violence and child abuse are also committed by Westerners; the difference, needless to say, is that while FGM and honor violence enjoy widespread approval in Muslim societies and communities, where they are viewed as justifiable (if not compulsory) under Islam, domestic violence and child abuse are universally condemned in Western society and are never defended on cultural or religious grounds.

Founded in 1968, the Runnymede Trust describes itself as “the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank.” Its chair is Clive Jones CBE, a former executive at Britain’s ITV; its director is Omar Khan, a Governor of the University of East London and member of a variety of advisory groups involving ethnicity and integration. Runnymede’s reports are taken extremely seriously, and its recommendations heeded, at the highest levels of the British government.

In 1994, Runnymede published a report on anti-Semitism. Its title, A Very Light Sleeper, was borrowed from a statement by the author Conor Cruise O’Brien: “Anti-Semitism is a very light sleeper.” Now, anyone familiar with contemporary Britain knows that the alarming contemporary rise in Jew-hatred in that country – as in all of western Europe – is principally a consequence of the growing population of Muslims. But the Runnymede Trust’s report seemed designed mainly to divert attention away from that fact. Tracing anti-Semitism through Luther, Voltaire, Marx, Henry Ford, and Hitler, the report did a splendid job of implicitly identifying anti-Semitism as a Western phenomenon – a product of what the report presented a distinctively Western tendency to divide the world into “us” and “the Other.”

Of course, no civilization is more virulently anti-Semitic than Islamic civilization. But the Runnymede Trust’s 1994 report presented as gospel the at best exaggerated notion that medieval Islamic societies were tolerant of Jews, who were thus “able to play a full part” in those societies. To the extent that the report acknowledged the reality of today’s Muslim anti-Semitism, it depicted that prejudice (a) as being confined to “extremist” groups, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, that (it was quick to emphasize) are also hostile to many Muslim countries; (b) as being caused by anger over the fact that Jerusalem, “the third most sacred place for Muslims after Mecca and Medina,” is controlled by Israel; or (c) as being caused by irrational fears of the sort that also exist in Christianity and other religions.

But when it came to Jews and Muslims, the thrust of the report is summed up in its assurance that the Koran also “refers to Jews and Christians as People of the Book” – never mind that the Koran also refers to Jews as “apes and swine,” describes them as cursed, calls on Muslims to kill them, and forbids Muslims from befriending them. Reading Runnymede’s report on anti-Semitism, one gathered the impression that it was compiled mostly so that Runnymede could be able to point to it and say that it had, in fact, issued a report on anti-Semitism.

The reality is that the Runnymede Trust does not appear to be terribly interested in anti-Semitism. For many years, it has seemed to be far more exercised about the purported pervasiveness of anti-Muslim prejudice in the U.K. In 1997, it published a report, Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, which “was launched at the House of Commons by then-Home Secretary Jack Straw.” Of its 60 recommendations, many were ultimately implemented. This year, on the twentieth anniversary of that report, Runnymede issued a new, 106-page report, Islamophobia: Still a Challenge for Us All, edited by Farah Elahi and Omar Khan.

The new report is a remarkable document. Among its premises is that “anti-Muslim hate crime” is a major crisis in the U.K. that demands urgent action by politicians, police, educators, employers, civil-society groups, the media, and pretty much everybody else. As for the far more serious matter of crimes committed by Muslims, the report mentions them only within the context of discussions of anti-Muslim hate. In the town of Rotherham alone, for example, in accordance with orthodox Islamic attitudes toward “uncovered” or “immodest” infidel females, over 1400 non-Muslim girls are known to have been sexually abused by so-called Muslim “grooming” gangs in recent years – but the epidemic of “grooming” is cited in the Runnymede report only as one item on a list of practices and phenomena that it identifies as contributing to British “stereotypes” about Muslims. Similarly, here is the Runnymede Trust report’s solitary reference to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie: “In Britain…many Muslims felt unsupported in their reaction to Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and faced a backlash from those who they felt prioritized freedom of speech above respect for minorities.” The point here is apparently that Britons who stood up for Rushdie’s right not to be slaughtered for writing a novel were guilty of Islamophobia.

In the town of Rotherham, England, in accordance with orthodox Islamic attitudes toward “uncovered” or “immodest” infidel females, over 1400 non-Muslim girls are known to have been sexually abused by so-called Muslim “grooming” gangs in recent years. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

The report does acknowledge the reality of what it euphemistically calls “the terrorist threat,” but it never seriously addresses this threat and excuses this failure by explaining that “this report is about Islamophobia.” While noting, moreover, claims that some individuals that Islam “should be subject to criticism” because it “is a system of beliefs,” the report maintains that this “focus on ideas (or ‘ideologies’) has obscured what instead should be a focus on people.” The point apparently being that even if you’re criticizing Islam strictly as a set of ideas, that act of criticism is still being directed at people – which, again, makes you an Islamophobe. Several paragraphs of the report are, indeed, devoted to a convoluted “explanation” of why, even though Islam is not a race, Islamophobia is nonetheless a form of racism.

The British government’s program Prevent, the part of its counterterrorism strategy that seeks to inhibit the radicalization of British subjects, also comes in for criticism in Runnymede’s report. Prevent is faulted both for being rooted in the notion (which it finds offensive, true or not) that the chief terrorist threat to the country is posed by “Islamist terrorists” (a term that the report puts in scare quotes) and for “put[ting] the onus on Muslim communities.” The report charges that because the British government, as part of the Prevent program, monitors (for example) imams who preach violence against the West, Prevent represents a violation of free speech. I can find no record of the Runnymede Trust ever criticizing the zealous attempts by British authorities to silence critics of Islam – a practice that has led to the banning from the U.K. of prominent American critics of Islam, even as the government has continued to permit preachers of violent jihad to enter the country.

Much of Runnymede’s report is devoted to the high levels of Muslim poverty and unemployment in the U.K. – but instead of seeking reasons for this problem in Islam itself, it blames this problem primarily on “institutional racism,” while avoiding the ticklish question of why Hindus, whom one would also expect to be victims of “institutional racism” in Britain, are economically more successful than any other group in that nation, including ethnic British Christians.

There is nothing in the Runnymede Trust report about Islamic theology – about jihad, sharia, the caliphate, the systematic subjugation of women, the execution of adulterers and apostates and gays. Audaciously, a chapter on women and Islam reduces the whole question to “Western stereotypes of Muslim women as oppressed, passive victims.” Female genital mutilation (FGM) and honor violence, the report asserts, have been “sensationalized” by the British media. In an effort to downplay the importance of these phenomena, the Runnymede report points out that domestic violence and child abuse are also committed by Westerners; the difference, needless to say, is that while FGM and honor violence enjoy widespread approval in Muslim societies and communities, where they are viewed as justifiable (if not compulsory) under Islam, domestic violence and child abuse are universally condemned in Western society and are never defended on cultural or religious grounds.

As for Islamic patriarchy, the report insists that patriarchy exists in the West as well as in the Islamic world. The report’s repeated endeavors to draw this kind of moral equivalency are so patently absurd – and desperate – that they do not even merit a civilized response. Indeed, the report itself – whose authors are manifestly determined throughout to absolve Islam of any blame for anything whatsoever, and to attribute every ill afflicting the British Muslim community to Islamophobia – would not merit any comment at all if the Runnymede Trust were not taken as seriously as it is in the corridors of British power.

Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.

Dawa: Sowing the Seeds of Hate

November 4, 2017

Dawa: Sowing the Seeds of Hate, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, November 4, 2017

“In Western countries, dawa aims both to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and to bring about more extreme views among existing Muslims. The ultimate goal of dawa is to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with strict sharia.” — Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her book, The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Counter It.

The ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic state in the United States could hardly be much clearer. The pretense of caring for “diversity” and “inclusion” that ICNA displays on its public website cannot be characterized as anything other than an attempt at dissimulation, as is the stated goal of “establishing a place for Islam in America.”

If Western leadership is unable to fathom the danger posed by organizations such as Tablighi Jamaat, iERA and ICNA, and, according to critics, others such as CAIR and ISNA — let alone do something about it, instead of endlessly obsessing over “Islamophobia” — Qaradawi could be proven right.

While the West is preoccupied with fighting “hate speech”, “Islamophobia” and white supremacist groups, it appears more than willing to ignore the cultivation of Muslim hate speech and supremacist attitudes towards non-Muslims.

It is a cultivation that occurs especially in the process of dawa, the Muslim practice of Islamic outreach or proselytizing, the results of which seem to have been on show this week in a downtown New York terror attack. The terrorist, Sayfullo Saipov, originally from Uzbekistan, was apparently only radicalized after he moved to the United States. The mosque he attended in New Jersey had been under surveillance by the NYPD since 2005. A 2016 U.S.-commissioned report said Uzbek nationals were “most likely to radicalize while working as migrants abroad,” according to the U.S. State Department.

On the surface, dawa, or outreach — in person or online — appears to be a benign missionary activity, about converting non-Muslims. Legal in Western societies, it is allowed to proceed undisturbed by the media or government. Dawa generally attracts little attention, except when members of an outreach organization suddenly turn up in the headlines as full-fledged jihadists.

Politicians and the media in the West seem to prefer viewing Islam solely as a religion and not as a political system that, according to critics, seeks to impose its own laws and regulations, sharia, on the world.

According to the Somali-born Muslim dissident and author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, however, in her recent bookThe Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Counter It:

“The term ‘dawa’ refers to activities carried out by Islamists to win adherents and enlist them in a campaign to impose sharia law on all societies. Dawa is not the Islamic equivalent of religious proselytizing, although it is often disguised as such… [It] includes proselytization, but extends beyond that. In Western countries, dawa aims both to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and to bring about more extreme views among existing Muslims. The ultimate goal of dawa is to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with strict sharia.”

Somali-born Muslim dissident and author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, wrote in her recent book that in the West, the ultimate goal of dawa (the Muslim practice of Islamic outreach or proselytizing) “is to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with strict sharia.” (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

Presumably, the last thing a society would want are groups that cloak political activity in religious practices, protected under the precepts of freedom of religion.

In the Philippines, recently, members of the dawa organization known as Tablighi Jamaat (“Group that Propagates the Faith”) entered the country under the guise of missionary activity — that they were going to participate in the Tablighi Jamaat’s annual gathering there. It turned out, however, that they had come to wage jihad together with Isnilon Hapilon, the late “emir” of Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

The Tablighi Jamaat has been described by the expert on Islam and journalist, Innes Bowen, in her 2014 book, Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Trent, as “a Deobandi missionary movement and one of the largest Islamic groups in the UK… it has quietly grown into one of Britain’s most successful Islamic movements. Vast numbers of British Muslims have spent time in its ranks”[1]. However, the Tablighi Jamaat was largely unknown in the UK, until it emerged that several British Muslims charged with terror offences had all spent time[2] in the organization. Among these terrorists were Richard Reid, the “shoe-bomber,” and three of the four perpetrators of the London 7/7 terrorist attacks. The American enemy combatant, John Walker Lindh, who aided the Taliban, was associated with the Tablighi Jamaat; and the San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook prayed in San Bernardino at the Dar al Uloom al Islamiyyah mosque, described as a “haven for Tablighi Jamaat activists.”

The movement, according another expert on Islam, Yoginder Sikand, in his 1998 study of the Tablighi Jamaat , sought “to promote a sense of paranoia and even disgust of non-Muslim society”[3]. He quoted a prominent British promoter of the Tablighi Jamaat as saying:

“a major aim of tabligh is to rescue the ummah [Muslim community] from the culture and civilization of the Jews, Christians and (other) enemies of Islam to create such hatred for their ways as human beings have for urine… and excreta…”.

The Tablighi Jamaat has been described in the Middle East Quarterly, in an article called “Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad’s Stealthy Legions“, as a wolf in sheep’s clothing:

“Tablighi Jamaat is not a monolith: one subsection believes they should pursue jihad through conscience…while a more radical wing advocates jihad through the sword … in practice, all Tablighis preach a creed that is hardly distinguishable from the radical Wahhabi-Salafi jihadist ideology that so many terrorists share”.

Nevertheless, Tablighi Jamaat remains a legal, active organization, which yields a considerable influence over Muslims in Europe, especially the UK and the United States. Already in 2003, the deputy chief of the FBI’s international terrorism section, Michael J. Heimbach, said, “We have a significant presence of Tablighi Jamaat in the United States and we have found that Al-Qaeda used them for recruiting now and in the past.” One 2011 undercover video segment from the Darul Ulum Islamic High School in Birmingham, England, associated with the Tablighi Jamaat, showed that Muslim children were taught Muslim supremacy. Eleven year olds were taught that Hindus “have no intellect” and “drink cow piss”. The teacher also said, “You are not like the non-Muslims out there… All that evil that you see in the streets… people not wearing Hijab properly, people smoking… you should hate it…” The children were also told:

“You need to free yourself from the influence of the Shaitan [Satan] and of society… The Kuffar [derogatory term for non-Muslims] have brought so many new things out there…They are controlling your minds… Are you part of those who prefer their way of life: The way of the Kuffar over the way of the Prophet?”

Both US and Dutch intelligence once seemed aware of the imminent danger of dawa organizations. In 2004, a Dutch government report identified threats to Dutch society from the practice of dawa and concluded that an “interaction or even interwovenness of Dawa and Jihad demonstrate the relationship between the various forms of radical Islam and the phenomenon of radical-Islamic terrorism.”

The study also distinguished various kinds of dawa, both overt and covert, and the threats emanating from it:

“Dawa may be aimed at trying to convince Muslim communities that non-Muslim communities are hostile towards Islam and wish to oppress or even destroy it. Dawa may also serve to convince Muslim communities that the values and standards of non-Muslims are incompatible with those of Islam and should therefore be considered as depraved. In such a form of Dawa, Muslim communities are often encouraged to emphasise (in a provocative way) the differences with other groups and sometimes also to express their contempt and hatred towards standards and values and the culture of non-Muslims”.

It would appear that Western governments have largely unlearned — at least officially — these insights into dawa as a tool for fostering feelings of Muslim supremacy and hatred of non-Muslims. Instead, they engage in endless, misguided obsessions over “Islamophobia.” Their unlearning should be a cause for concern.

Other dawa organizations also operate in the West. One is the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA), led by two converts, Abdur Raheem Green and Hamza Andreas Tzortis, that works globally to spread Islam. Unlike the Tablighi Jamaat, it focuses its missionary efforts on non-Muslims. Its leaders have made racist, supremacist and anti-democratic statements such as, again, calling non-Muslims, “kuffars.” Green has said that, “The purpose of the jizya [protection money, or “tax”, paid by non-Muslims to Muslims] is to make the Jew and the Christian know that they are inferior and subjugated to Islam,” and “If a Jew or Christian is found walking down the street, a Muslim should push them to the side”. He has also said that the “immediate problem” for Muslims in Britain is being surrounded by “kuffar” and that one of the only justifications for Muslims to remain in the UK is to “call the kuffar to Islam.”

Tzortis has said that apostates who “fight against the community[…] should be killed” and that, “we as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom.” He has also spoken in favor of child marriage. He admits that he used to be a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical Islamic organization, but that he left the organization for “scholastic and philosophical reasons.” In a statement on the iERA website, Tzortis and Green try to distance themselves from some (unspecified) past statements by writing, “some of the anachronous statements attributed to iERA personnel have been either clarified or publicly retracted, and were never made at university campuses.”

The iERA evidently enjoys a large platform on UK campuses. According to a report on extremist events on UK campuses in the academic year 2016/17, iERA was behind 34 out of the total 112 events that took place that year. Unlike the far-right fringe groups recently banned by British Home Secretary Amber Rudd — the mere support of such groups is punishable by up to 10 years in prison — the iERA is free to carry on its dawa activity undisturbed[4] and does so at an incredible pace. According to the organization’s Facebook page, in October 2017 alone iERA or its representatives were active doing dawa in Canada, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and in the United States. The iERA also trained 15 dawa leaders from all over the world — from Iceland and Poland to Honduras and Finland — in a recent online dawa training program.

In the United States, the iERA works with the Muslim American Society (MAS) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), according to the iERA website. ICNA, a leading Muslim organization in the US, is actively involved in dawa, and in 2015 ran “Global Dawa day,” which referred to Tzortis’s training course.

According to ICNA’s 2013 Members Handbook (for its female members), the organization considers itself an Islamic movement which is an

“organized and collective effort waged to establish Al-Islam in its complete form in all aspects of life. Its ultimate objective is to achieve the pleasure of our Creator Allah and success in the hereafter through struggle for Iqamat-ad-Deen [the establishment of Islam in its totality]. Islamic movements are active in various parts of the world to achieve the same objectives”.

The ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic state in the United States could hardly be much clearer. The pretense of caring for “diversity” and “inclusion” that ICNA displays on its public website cannot be characterized as anything other than an attempt at dissimulation, as is the stated goal of “establishing a place for Islam in America.” ICNA already has a place for Islam in America — it presumably wants to expand that place until nothing else is left.

The 2013 Members Handbook describes that ICNA’s work proceeds in “stages.” One of the stages is dawa, or “effective outreach.”

“Those who accept the truth of Islam are provided with appropriate Islamic literature and given the opportunity to become a Muslim. They are made part of the Islamic Ummah as brothers and sisters.”

The Members Handbook goes on to describe how already in the 1970s:

“ICNA established its own forums for dawah work at the local, regional, and national level. It established vital institutions at the national level for support of its dawah activities… Recognizing other movement oriented groups in this land, ICNA continues to coordinate and combine its efforts with them”.

In fact, ICNA has a separate project called the “Why Islam Dawah Project,” which

“aims to organize the dawah work in North America in a professional and effective manner. Highlights of the project are Toll-Free number for non-Muslims; Distribution of Islamic literature… Dawah through Media; Dawah in Prisons; Campus Dawah Support; Dawah Flyers Online; Dawah through Email”.

ICNA is considered by experts such as Steven Emerson, Founder and Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, to be linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Its spiritual leader, Yusuf al Qaradawi, has preached that the West will be conquered by Islam — not through the sword, but through dawa.

If Western leaders are unable to fathom the danger posed by organizations such as Tablighi Jamaat, iERA and ICNA, and, according to critics, others such as CAIR and ISNA — let alone do something about it, instead of endlessly obsessing over “Islamophobia” — Qaradawi could be proven right.

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

New Jersey: Court forbids residents to mention “Islam” or “Muslim” at public hearing on mosque construction

August 2, 2017

New Jersey: Court forbids residents to mention “Islam” or “Muslim” at public hearing on mosque construction, Jihad Watch

The Quicks reside within 200 feet of the proposed mosque construction in a zoned residential area. Yet, the settlement agreement prohibits them from describing the many unique features of Islamic worship which will impact design of the building, traffic density, water and sewage, traffic control problems, road construction, and parking arrangements. 

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Most Americans have no idea how severely imperiled the freedom of speech really is. I discuss in detail in my new book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies). But as this fundamental freedom slips away, most people don’t even care. Look: Kardashians!

“Court: Residents Can’t Mention ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’ At Public Hearing on Mosque Construction; Thomas More Law Center Files Federal Lawsuit,” Thomas More Law Center, August 1, 2017:

ANN ARBOR, MI – In a settlement agreement, which reads more like an instrument of surrender, Bernards Township (“Township”), New Jersey officials agreed that, in addition to a $3.5 million payment to Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (“ISBR”), residents and citizens of the Township are prohibited from commenting on “Islam” or “Muslims.” at the upcoming public hearing to approve the settlement. Astonishingly, a federal judge approved the prohibition as a fully enforceable Order of the Court.

As a result of this suppression of speech, the Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, yesterday, filed a lawsuit in the New Jersey Federal District Court on behalf of Christopher and Loretta Quick. The lawsuit was filed by TMLC affiliated New Jersey attorney, Michael Hrycak. Mr. Hrycak was assisted by TMLC staff attorney, Tyler Brooks. The TMLC is representing the Quicks without charge.

TMLC’s lawsuit alleges that Bernards Township’s settlement agreement constitutes a prior restraint on speech based on content, as well as, a violation of the Establishment Clause because it prefers Islam over other religions. The lawsuit asks the court to: declare that the settlement agreement is unconstitutional; and to enter a preliminary and permanent injunction against its enforcement….

The Quicks reside within 200 feet of the proposed mosque construction in a zoned residential area. Yet, the settlement agreement prohibits them from describing the many unique features of Islamic worship which will impact design of the building, traffic density, water and sewage, traffic control problems, road construction, and parking arrangements. According to the settlement agreement, ISBR is permitted to make statements concerning Christians and Jews and their places of worship, but in contrast, the Agreement prohibits commentary relating to Islam or Muslims. In fact, ISBR has previously discussed the Christian and Jewish religions and their places of worship.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented: “As we have previously documented, ISBR has taken the extraordinary step of concealing significant links on their website to a radical group named by the federal government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in America history, the Islamic Society of North America (“ISNA”). ISNA is claimed by the Muslim Brotherhood as one of “our organizations.” According to internal documents seized by the FBI, the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy is to engage in a “grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within . . .”

Thompson continued, “While claiming that the Township had a religious animus against Muslims, ISBR hid from the public view its animus toward Christians and Jews, by not only hiding anti-Christian and anti-Semitic verses published on its website, but also hiding its significant ties to ISNA. Instead of standing up to defend its citizens against ISBR’s hate-filled anti-Semitic and anti-Christian bias, the Township colluded with ISBR’s “Civilization Jihad” by capitulating to payment of millions of dollars to ISBR, allowing the construction of the new mosque and Islamic center in violation of zoning codes, and now even suppressing speech concerning Islam or Muslims at a public meeting.”

In March 2016, ISBR filed a lawsuit in the New Jersey Federal District Court alleging that Bernards Township had discriminated against the Islamic Society when it declined to approve the construction of a large mosque on a lot that was far too small to handle the contemplated structure. And in November 2016, the United States represented by the U. S. Justice Department filed a second lawsuit against the Township on similar grounds. The settlement agreement covers both lawsuits….

Germany’s Quest for ‘Liberal’ Islam

July 6, 2017

Germany’s Quest for ‘Liberal’ Islam, Gatestone InstituteVijeta Uniyal, July 6, 2017

(Please see also, President Trump’s Remarks to the People of Poland. — DM)

Recently, after dragging its feet for years, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany had agreed to call a march against Islamist terror. The Muslim organization boasted 10,000 registered participants for the “Not with us — Muslims and friends against violence and terror” rally, scheduled for June 17 in Cologne. On the much awaited day, only a few hundred people turned up, many of them ordinary Germans flanked by a huge media entourage. “Many Turkish weddings are larger than this demonstration,” wrote Robin Alexander, columnist in Die Welt.

Merkel and Germany’s establishment have their ground game covered ahead of the election, and know full well where their political interests lie. The question is, do the German voters know where their best interests lie?

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However, the media-driven PR campaign backfired as the news of the opening of the Berlin ‘liberal mosque’ reached Muslim communities in Germany and abroad. The liberal utopian dream quickly turned into an Islamist nightmare.

Why do Muslim organizations in Germany fail to mobilize within their communities and denounce Islamist terrorism? Because, if there really is a belief that “international terrorism should not be depicted as a problem belonging to Muslims alone” this view seems to indicate that, in general, Muslims do not see it as their problem.

The newly unveiled ‘liberal mosque’ in Berlin was supposed to showcase a ‘gentler’ Islam. An Islam that could be reformed and modernized while it emerges as the dominant demographic force in Europe. German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle touted the opening of the mosque as a “world event in the heart of Berlin.”

“Everyone is welcome at Berlin’s Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque,” Deutsche Welle wrote, announcing the grand opening last month. “Women and men shall pray together and preach together at the mosque, while the Koran is to be interpreted ‘historically and critically.'”

German reporters and press photographers, eager to give glowing coverage, thronged to witness the mosque’s opening on July 16 and easily outnumbered the handful of Muslim worshipers. Deutsche Welle reported: “fervent enthusiasm in the media and political realm.”

“For me there is no contradiction in being a Muslim and a feminist at the same time,” Seyran Ates, the mosque’s female imam told the German reporters.

“With Islam against Islamism,” wrote Germany’s leading weekly Der Spiegel. “Society in general will lionize [Imam Ates] as the long-awaited voice of Muslims that speaks clearly against Islamist terror,” prophesied another German weekly, Die Zeit.

The Washington Post, not to be outdone by German newspapers, hailed the mosque’s female founder Ates for “staging a feminist revolution of the Muslim faith.”

In what can only be described as one-way multiculturalism, a Protestant church in Berlin’s Moabit district had vacated its prayer hall to make way for this new mosque.

Prayers at the opening of the Ibn-Rushd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin, Germany on June 16, 2017. Seyran Ates, the mosque’s female imam, is pictured in the second row, wearing a white robe. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

However, the media-driven PR campaign backfired, as the news of the opening of the Berlin ‘liberal mosque’ reached Muslim communities in Germany and abroad. The liberal utopian dream quickly turned into an Islamist nightmare. Islamic fanatics from near and far started flooding the Berlin mosque with death threats. Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the foremost authority on Sunni Islam, issued a fatwa forbidding the ‘liberal mosque.’

The British newspaper The Guardian reported:

[The mosque’s Imam Ates] said she had received “300 emails per day encouraging me to carry on”, including from as far away as Australia and Algeria, but also “3,000 emails a day full of hate”, some of them including death threats.

Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta al-Masriyyah, a state-run Islamic institution assigned to issue religious edicts, issued a statement on Monday declaring that the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque’s practice of men and women praying side by side was incompatible with Islam, while the legal department of Egypt’s al-Azhar university reacted to news from Berlin with a fatwa on the foundation of liberal mosques per se.

After countless death threats, the newspapers reached out to Aiman Mazyek, head of the Central Council of Muslims. He shrugged his shoulders and said there were 2100 mosques in Germany and he “doesn’t need to comment on each and every one of them.” As the Berlin-based newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported this week, the ‘liberal’
Mosque’s Iman was finally granted “around-the-clock heightened police protection.”

Within days, this was the second establishment-backed project devised to spruce up the image of Islam in Germany, to go up in flames.

Recently, after dragging its feet for years, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany had agreed to call a march against Islamist terror. The Muslim organization boasted 10,000 registered participants for the “Not with us — Muslims and friends against violence and terror” rally, scheduled for June 17 in Cologne. On the much awaited day, only a few hundred people turned up, many of them ordinary Germans flanked by a huge media entourage. “Many Turkish weddings are larger than this demonstration,” wrote Robin Alexander, columnist in Die Welt.

Germany’s largest Islamic organization, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, DITIB, decided to skip the anti-terror demonstration. DITIB stated that Muslims fasting in Ramadan cannot be expected to “march and demonstrate for hours.” DITIB controls about 900 mosques in Germany and has 800,000 members.

The German daily, Die Welt, reported on DITIB General Secretary Bekir Alboga’s stated reason behind their withdrawal from the anti-terror march:

“We Muslims are striving to feel the spirituality of the special month that gives us power for the rest of the year.” Through the daily Quran recitation, fasting and helping the needy — in addition to the physical exertion from such a demonstration — political initiatives such as the planned anti-terrorism march are minimized during Ramadan.

“Had we been informed early enough about the rally and its date we would have suggested planning it for after the Ramadan and roping in other Muslim — and also non-Muslim organizations — because international terrorism should not be depicted as a problem belonging to Muslims alone.”

DITIB evidently did not want to divert fasting Muslims away from their spiritual pursuits, but it had no problem using its mosques and preachers to spy in Germany on behalf of Turkey’s Erdogan regime. In January, DITIB officials admitted that their preachers acted as informants for the Turkish regime.

This is not the first time in Germany that Muslim leaders thwarted an “anti-terror march”. The so-called “vigil of Muslims” at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, after the Islamist terror attack on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, was also apparently a disappointment. As it turned out, the “vigil” was not even “Muslim”. It had been financed and stage-managed from the chancellery of Angela Merkel. As Die Welt revealed:

“That time, too, painfully few Muslims turned out. It later emerged that that Muslim organizations only called the vigil after the initiative of a staffer from Chancellor’s office and gentle pressure from the Minister of Interior. The expenses of the ‘Muslim vigil’ were borne by the Christian Democratic and Social Democratic Parties.”

Why do Muslim organizations in Germany fail to mobilize within their communities and denounce Islamist terrorism? Because, if there really is a belief that “international terrorism should not be depicted as a problem belonging to Muslims alone” this view seems to indicate that, in general, Muslims do not see it as their problem.

The Turkish-Islamic organization DITIB would, it seems, prefer to see Christian, Hindu and Jewish organizations address the non-existent problem of terrorism within their communities, than to address the real issue of radicalization of youth within its own congregations or the recruitment by Islamists insides its mosques.

Do not, however, expect the German state to make the Muslim leadership responsible for its failings. The Merkel government continues to hand over millions of euros to DITIB despite what critics regard as behavior that is “unacceptable.”

These stage-managed campaigns to fix the image of Islam in Germany come at an interesting time. With less than three months until the German general election, Chancellor Merkel’s government, with her career at stake, is probably hesitant to take on Islamic organizations with ability to mobilize the “Muslim vote”. Last year’s state election in Berlin already saw such a mobilization.

The September election will effectively be a referendum on Merkel’s “open door” migrant policy. The media’s peddling the liberal, gentler Islam will definitely help ease the German voters’ anxiety, given the ongoing demographic transformation of the country in the wake of the continued mass-migration from Arab and Muslim countries.

Merkel and Germany’s establishment have their ground game covered ahead of the election, and know full well where their political interests lie. The question is, do the German voters know where their best interests lie?

Vijeta Uniyal, a journalist and news analyst, is based in Germany.