Posted tagged ‘Islamists’

The West has finally woken up

March 17, 2017

The West has finally woken up, Israel National News opinion, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, March 17, 2017

Erdogan was insulted personally, as it suddenly appeared that the Dutch have their own will, and even worse, a sense of self-worth! They actually refused to continue their obeisance to the Sultan!

Holland is not alone: Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland do not support Erdogan’s desire to become all-powerful, and have also applied limitations to the arrival of his spokesmen to their territories. Erdogan is now calling for international bodies to punish the Netherlands.

Are we witnessing the beginning of a struggle for the soul of Europe, fought between the newly-strengthened Right and those trying to effect an Islamic takeover? 

Is this the beginning of a change in the process of Europe’s Islamization?

Does Europe have a European future?

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Holland’s current ruckus with Turkey is only the tip of the European iceberg, most of which is already under water.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a step backwards, look at reality from a distance, and see the larger picture, taking in the whole forest rather than just the individual trees. If we attempt to review what has been going on in the world since the British decision to leave the European Union and since Donald Trump’s November 16th election victory, it is just possible that the picture emerging is that of a West beginning the fight against Islam after 8 years of submission disguised by a fragile mask of political correctness.

A not insignificant number of factors add up to a wide and inclusive picture: the fact that it is now permissible to say the words “Islamic terror” in the USA, the attempts to limit Muslim immigration to that country, Trump’s decision to finish off ISIS, the strengthening of rightist parties in Europe, the unsuccessful but serious possiblity that Geert Wilders might have been elected in Holland, the discovery of a gigantic weapons cache in Spain – these are only a small example of the issues that have been part of public discourse over the last few months.

It seems that the West has decided to wake up and shake off the Muslim takeover of the public and political agenda. More and more anti-Islamist phenomena are being seen in Europe and America, those called “Islamophobic” by Muslims and their support groups, who define them as irrationnal fears of Islam and Muslims. Opponents of Islam are not only members of shaven-headed gangs, neo-Nazis, tattoo-covered beer drinkers, but ordinary people, upstanding and honest citizens, who have become seriously anxious about what is happening in Europe and the USA.

They observe the cultural change flooding Europe with troubled eyes, noting the immigrants, many of whom come to live off government benefits, the increase in violence, the abusive and negative attitude towards European women in particular, the damage to the younger generation. The average European is very disturbed by Muslim women’s face-coverings, he sees that custom as a cultural red line. Western culture is based on revealing oneself in interpersonal contacts and covering one’s face contradicts this basic premise. In the West’s perception of things, those who hide their faces are criminals – like bank robbers or murderers with face masks – and this is the reason for the instinctive dislike Europeans have for seeing Muslim women wearing face-coverings in public places.

A good many Europeans have developed intense antagonism towards Islamists because of the behavior of some Muslims, mostly young ones, in the public space: noise, wild driving, male and female Islamic apparel, street prayer, mosque construction, muezzin calls to prayer in the middle of the night, burqinis at the beach and swimming pools, media reports of bigamy and polygamy among the immigrants, honor killings of girls and women, influences on school curricula and the food served to  pupils – and much more. Each one of the items listed above might have passed without making waves, but the combination of all of them draws a worrying impression of an alien culture that is increasingly threatening to overpower the West’s culture and way of life.

What can be observed in Europe and the USA today, is a counter-reaction, perhaps the shaking-up of a Western society which has succeeded in removing the mask of political correctness and has set out to battle this troubling development, in an attempt to recover its Western lifestyle, character and the once dominant public expression of that lifestyle. Will this necessarily lead to violence? Maybe not, but what not a few Muslim immigrants are about to discover is that Western socities are changing their attitudes to Muslim immigration and to Muslim demands whose purpose is the creeping Islamization of the European environment.

Holland as a test case: Enough of Erdogan

The background to what is happening today between Holland and Turkey is to be found in over 400 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries; Holland is one of the largest investors in the Turkish economy; over 2000 Dutch companies function in Turkey; trade between the two countries surpasses 10 billion dollars annually and at least a million Dutch tourists visit Turkey every year. At least 400,000 Turkish citizens, 2.5% of the Dutch population, live in Holland. Sounds good, even great, so far.

But what is happening now is the result of long years of European submission to Erdogan’s outlandish behavior, his impulsivity, crude manners and speech, and his flooding Europe with Syrian refugees and other, mostly Muslim, migrants. The Dutch were the first to protest, but the dispute has spilled over into other European countries.

The last round of bad blood between Turkey and Europe began a few days ago, when Erdogan attempted to send government ministers to Europe to encourage the millions of Turks living in Europe and who have the right to vote in Turkey, to endorse the changes in Turkey’s constitution that will strengthen his position. He intends to turn Turkey into a country where the president is not simply a symbolic figure as Erdogan is supposed to be today, but an executive holding the reins of the legislature, on the lines of the USA.

Holland is going through a process of reflection, one that has strengthened the radical right and its leader, Geert Wilders. A short five years ago, he was considered an untouchable racist, but recently, he became a serious candidate for leadership of the country. The Dutch have realized, somehwat belatedly, that their warm acceptance of Muslim migrants turned their country into a preferred destination, and are turning solidly to the right, trying to backtrack and save their homeland from an ever-growing Islamic invasion.

Despite the tense atmosphere and this growing anti-Islamism, Erdogan – head of an Islamist, Muslim Brotherhood-style party – decided to send his ministers to Holland in order to achieve even more power for himself. Did he go mad? Not at all, he simply doesn’t take Europeans into account in the slightest, has ignored them for years with impunity – after all, they let him get away with whatever he wanted to do from the day he gained power in 2002. The Dutch have decided that they have had enough of this and refused to allow the Turkish ministers to enter Holland and speak to their voters. The ministers’ intention, it should be stressed, was to reach the industrial port city of Rotterdam, which has a Muslim majority.

Erdogan was insulted personally, as it suddenly appeared that the Dutch have their own will, and even worse, a sense of self-worth! They actually refused to continue their obeisance to the Sultan! They refused to allow the plane bringing the Turkish foreign minister to land in Holland and stopped its family minister’s car at the border. They were unimpressed by Turkey’s threats of economic sanctions and the preventing of Dutch airlines from landing on Turkish soil. Erdogan compared them to Nazis and fascists, although Holland was a victim of the Nazis. At this point, the weapon chosen by both sides is that of recalling ambassadors.

Holland is not alone: Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland do not support Erdogan’s desire to become all-powerful, and have also applied limitations to the arrival of his spokesmen to their territories. Erdogan is now calling for international bodies to punish the Netherlands.

Are we witnessing the beginning of a struggle for the soul of Europe, fought between the newly-strengthened Right and those trying to effect an Islamic takeover?

Is this the beginning of a change in the process of Europe’s Islamization?

Does Europe have a European future?

Time will tell, as will elections, but along with the political and public struggle, it is worthwhile for Europeans to consider having children. Without more children, the Europeans are marching proudly towards becoming a museum exhibit.

Written for Arutz Sheva, translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky.

A Muslim Reformer Speaks Out About His Battle Against Islamism And PC

January 30, 2017

A Muslim Reformer Speaks Out About His Battle Against Islamism And PC, The Federalist, January 30, 2017

dr-jasser

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser stands at the forefront of the Muslim Reform Movement (MRM), which celebrated its first anniversary on December 4, 2016. He and representatives from fourteen other Muslim reform groups formed the MRM, which held its inaugural press conference on December 5, 2015.

There, they announced their two-page declaration of principles that discusses counterterrorism, human rights, and secular governance. In a nod to Martin Luther nailing his 99 theses to the door of the All Saint’s Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517, several MRM members then taped their principles to the door of the Islamic Center of Washington DC.

The following is an interview with Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, CEO of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) and co-founder of the MRM. Jasser is a physician and former U.S. Navy officer whose parents fled Syria. Jasser agreed to reflect on the MRM’s one-year anniversary, the current battle between reformists and Islamists, and the Syrian Civil War.

The Muslims Working to Reform Islam

Q (Postal): What is the MRM, and what are its main objectives?

A (Jasser): The Muslim Reform Movement is a coalition of diverse Muslim organizations and leaders. We wanted to articulate the versions of Islam that we knew and loved, and that were compatible with modernity. We determined that the clearest way to define ourselves was to create a simple “declaration” of principles and goals. The declaration is a firewall of principles that we as Westerners and “modern Muslims” who believe in freedom, liberty, and universal human rights would not compromise.

Whether it is the rejection of any Islamic state and its identity, any caliphate (a global unification of many Islamic states), or the institutionalization of sharia (Islamic jurisprudence as interpreted by Islamic jurists), our Muslim Reform Movement felt that the only way to truly counter-radicalize Muslims is through an unapologetic defense of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and modern society. Our principles stand in stark contrast to the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights (of 1991) which was based in the interpretations of sharia of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Q: What events spurred the creation of the MRM?

A: While each of us began separate journeys against Islamism after 9/11 (and some even before), it was the Arab Awakening that brought us all together. So-called “secular” military dictatorships across the Muslim majority world have been profoundly suffocating critical inquiry. (I say “so-called” because these dictatorships essentially govern with sharia.)

I would, for example, put Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Syria in this category, though Turkey is a waning democracy cum Islamist dictatorship and Iran is an outright theocracy. Muslims cannot reform their interpretations of Islam under the boots of regimes that manifest interpretations of Islam through blasphemy, apostasy, and treason laws.

The Arab Awakening signaled to Muslims across the world that there was an opportunity for renewed critical thought by the people against the religious establishment and its tyrannical regimes. Unfortunately, since 2011, and perhaps even in the last 1,000 years, the Islamists were far better funded and organized. These opportunities gave way to large-scale violence, war, and chaos rather than heralding reform and modern institutions. Tunisia is thus far perhaps the one exception.

We reformists observed the rise of radical Islam’s attacks against the West since 9/11, and realized that we have a responsibility as Americans, patriotic Westerners, free thinkers, Muslims, and parents to counter and defeat the ideological underpinnings of Islamism.

Q: What accomplishments of the MRM have you seen in the past year? What are its goals?

A: Our greatest accomplishment to date is our declaration. While we are disappointed in the relative silence from most Muslim leaders, we recognize that their avoidance and inability to critique it has also demonstrated that it is on target. Our declaration has also withstood scrutiny from those who have been skeptical of the capacity of Muslims to have modern interpretations of Islam.

Given that we seek to counter a global theo-political establishment, our growth has certainly not been as rapid as we would like, but we are proud of how far we have come in a year.

Our successes as a coalition are highlighted by the successes of each of our respective organizations and leaders. I encourage readers of this interview to look into the works of each of these leaders, and help them make them known. Raheel Raza, Sohail Raza, and Hasan Mahmud with Muslims Facing Tomorrow in Toronto; Imam Usama Hasan with Quilliam Foundation in London; Asra Nomani, journalist and author; Farahnaz Ispahani, former member of Pakistan’s parliament, in Washington DC; Naser Khader in Denmark; myself, Courtney Lonergan, and Arif Humayun with our AIFD in Phoenix; Salma Siddiqui with the Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations in Canada; Tahir Gora, author, journalist, activist, in Toronto, Canada; Tawfik Hamid, Islamic thinker and reformer, Oakton, Virginia, to name a few, have all continued to grow in their programmatic reach.

We had our second annual retreat in Phoenix in October 2016 and expanded our strategic plan for the next few years. In 2017, we hope to see government, academia, media, and the interfaith establishment begin to give reformist Muslims from the MRM an equal seat at the table of any public conversations regarding Muslims and Islam.

On the government front, domestic and foreign policies should be directed by a “liberty doctrine” which engages Muslims positively on the principles embodied in our declaration and refutes those who reject any part or all of the declaration. Homeland security and foreign policy needs to focus more on “countering violent Islamism” rather than the nebulous “countering violent extremism.”

Q: In the MRM’s inaugural press conference, you said American mosques that reject the MRM’s declaration of principles are part of the problem, while those that accept the principles are part of the solution. How many mosques did the MRM approach? Did most of these mosques accept or reject these principles?

A: We spent significant resources on this outreach over a period of ten months. We reached out through snail mail, e-mail, and telephone to over 3,000 mosques and over 500 known public American Muslims. We received only 40-plus rather dismissive responses from our outreach, and sadly less than ten of them were positive. In fact, one mosque in South Carolina left us a vicious voice mail threatening our staff if we contacted them again.

We will continue to persevere with our outreach. On the one hand, we see the open hypocrisy of American Islamist groups effectively working together to sign documents, such as the recent “Open Letter to Donald Trump.” But to get their attention as reformists against Islamism, we face an uphill battle. If it’s grievances against Americans, people quickly sign on to almost anything. But getting people to sign on to an internal honest declaration of reform is like pulling teeth.

I can guess why we had shortcomings in outreach. If we had more funding, we could study this more scientifically. “Muslim” and “Islamic” institutions are often Islamist and thus unlikely to sign on to our declaration. Some estimate that 70-80 percent of Muslim organizations and mosques in the U.S. are die-hard Islamist. However, this needs to be put into an appropriate context. American Muslims, especially Sunni, are not tied to any clergy or organized “mosque” for faith practice or membership so the majority (60-70 percent) of American Muslims do not regularly participate in mosques or established Muslim institutions.

No one knows truly how that majority of Muslims feels about Islamist ideologies. National security is in desperate need of helping us study that. Our MRM is dedicated to creating new Western Muslim institutions outside the mosques and outside the “establishment” Islamist leadership to appeal to Muslims estranged from Islamist political tribalism. We have not been able to effectively reach out to the majority of Muslims because of resources and the absence of effective platforms.

The Muslim Reform Movement Versus Islamism

Q: What are the key differences between Muslim reformers and Muslim Islamists?

A: Reformers reject any Islamic state and its legal apparatus empowered through sharia. Reformers believe that individual Muslims have a right to publicly criticize Muslim thought leaders and their legal interpretations. Islamists believe that democracy is majoritocracy and thus in countries where Muslims are a majority, the national identity should be “Islamic” or “Muslim” and sharia should govern the legal system. Islamists believe that the rights of all citizens come from Islam and the state’s legal system and public discourse should be based upon Islamic precepts and exegesis. They view the mosque and its pulpit as the center of that political movement.

Reformers, however, believe that the rights of all citizens come from God and thus all citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim, are created equal and the legal system and public discourse should be based in reason. Reformers believe rights belong to human beings, not to ideas, while Islamists believe that the legal system should protect certain ideas (like Islam) from public defamation. Islamists believe in some form of a theo-political system domestically, and ultimately globally in some form of caliphate. Reformers believe in secular governance, and reject any and all forms of the Islamic state and the global caliphate.

We at AIFD are currently working on a formal response to the “Letter to Baghdadi” signed by Western Islamists. While it admonishes the head of ISIS, Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi for illegitimacy in declaring jihad, establishing an Islamic state and a caliphate among other interpretations of Islamic law by al-Baghdadi, it is also a full-throated defense of an Islamic state, a caliphate, armed jihad, and other Islamist fundamentals that stand in stark contrast to Western secular liberal ideals and universal human rights.

Q: Do you believe the MRM is seeking to reform Islam itself, or Muslim interpretation of Islam? Does such reform require a change in the way Muslims interpret doctrine, or does it require Muslims to adopt humanist values apart from Islam?

A: Your question is the very reason we called this movement the Muslim Reform Movement rather than Islamic reform. If you define Islam as Wahhabi Islam or Salafi Islam, then yes we are reforming that. However if you define Islam as the Islam of the God of Abraham then we believe we are simply modernizing the interpretation to one commensurate with twenty-first century universal principles of human rights.

We understand that many may feel that Islam at its core or at its founding was problematic. But what should matter to the free world is not the origins of Islam but how Muslims are interpreting Islam in the twenty-first century.

We reformists are Muslims who are reforming the interpretation of Islam away from an Islam tied to the political construct of an Islamic state and sharia. Like the Founding Fathers of America, who sought to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s by preventing the establishment of religion by government, we too seek to interpret Islam in a way that separates mosque and state. Just as Muslims can embrace medical, natural, and computer science, we can embrace political science beyond the constructs of the seventh century.

Q: In the last 30 years, Saudi Arabia has spent more than an estimated $100 billion to fund the spread of Wahhabism worldwide (in contrast to the $7 billion the USSR spent spreading communism from 1921 through 1991). How does the MRM hope to compete with these vast Saudi expenditures?

A: That’s the elephant in the room. The West needs a major information program to advance ideas of liberty. The hope is that the free world will take the side of liberty, and theocracies and quasi-theocracies will fall.

Q: You and other members of the MRM have criticized the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the past. CAIR’s vision, mission, and core principles at first glance appear to be liberal and tolerant. What are the MRM’s concerns with CAIR?

A: The MRM believes, of course, that civil rights—chiefly, freedom of speech and religious expression—are cornerstones of our democracy, and we absolutely support efforts to protect these. CAIR can, to the untrained eye, seem to be in support of these principles as well.

However, this Hamas offshoot is hardly a true champion of civil rights. They silence dissidents, and initiate and actively support campaigns targeting LGBT Muslims, ex-Muslims, and more generally all anti-Islamists. Any cursory review of their practices reveals that they are not the progressive element they claim to be. On the contrary, they represent the very worst elements within our community.

They are, in essence, one of the centerpieces of the DC lobby of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC is today’s “neo-caliphate” and it seeks to keep the West on constant ideological defense apologizing for its so-called “Islamophobia.” That defensiveness then prevents us in the West from dealing with the deep ideological cancer of the Islamic state (sharia state) identity movements.

Q: You and other members of the MRM have also criticized the Muslim Brotherhood. There are currently bills in both the House (H.R. 377) and Senate (S. 68) that, if passed, would designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Do you support that legislation, and why or why not?

A: Personally, I support the designation of the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. This is a group that has been responsible for the targeting of Christians, Jews, and dissidents, the persecution of minority Muslims, and the abuse, torture, and murder of women, gay people, and other marginalized groups. It has also made significant efforts to export its hateful ideology internationally.

I think we have to be strategic with regards to the global “Ikhawni” or Brotherhood movement. I would compare it in the Cold War to fighting the militant version of communism as embodied in the Soviet threat, versus other versions of communism. Odds are there are links between communist parties and global Soviet sympathies but outlawing “communist parties” would have made counter-ideology and monitoring far more difficult.

Similarly with the Ikhwan, Turkey’s AKP, Tunisia’s Ennahda, and so many other Islamist parties are part of the “Ikhwani” movement. We will never defeat all of their common Islamism by declaring them terror groups. Authoritarian regimes in the Middle East have proven that such designations often serve as arson to the Islamist fire.

Q: What are your thoughts on branding any criticism of Islam as “Islamophobia?” Does such branding have any impact on your reform efforts?

A: I have spoken about this for well over a decade, and invite your readers to look at my and my organization’s discussions of this. While some anti-Muslim bigotry is real, “Islamophobia” is a word often thrown around by Islamists to silence any critical discussion of Islam, Muslims, and—most significantly—the common pathways of radicalization from Islamism.

The obsession some have with “Islamophobia” means that these conversations are censored if not entirely shut down, and reformers like me are maligned, harassed, and threatened not just from within our community, but from those outside of it as well.

Non-Muslims in particular need to learn that it is not bigotry to discuss radicalization. It is bigotry to hate people based on their religion, appearance, gender, sexual orientation, or race. It is not bigotry to want to combat a force—Islamism—that in fact promotes bigotry and violence against all marginalized peoples.

The Syrian Civil War

Q: As an American of Syrian descent, whose parents fled Syria for the United States in the mid 1960s, what if anything do you think the United States should do to resolve the Syrian refugee crisis?

A: America must remain a refuge for the downtrodden and oppressed who share our values. But in order to remain so, we must also remain the safest country in the world, committed to our principles and to promoting them in the world. We are and will always be “the last best hope” for freedom and that “city on a Hill” for those who seek liberty.

I have advocated at great length for a robust vetting system against any and all Islamists, whether violent or nonviolent. I have also advocated for comprehensive integration programs that help new arrivals integrate their Muslim and Arab identities with their identities as American residents and perhaps future citizens.

Q: Are you concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood will rise to power in Syria currently, or in any post-Assad Syria?

A: There is always the concern that an Islamist force will replace a dictatorship, but this question is also often used to advocate for inaction against brutal dictatorships. Further, it is not even the primary question on the table right now, as far as I’m concerned.

Several years ago, this question was used to allow Assad to remain in power. Today, over half a million people are dead, including many of the very reformers and lovers of liberty that could have saved my parents’ homeland from the twin evils of Islamist theocracy and secular fascism.

Make no mistake, Assadists and their Iranian benefactors are the Shia jihadist side of the Islamist coin opposite the Sunni Islamists of ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood. The truth is that whatever emerges first from this genocide may be intensely problematic, and we will have to address that as well. Most revolutions often need multiple iterations before there is ever a chance for liberal democracy. But first, we must address the ongoing genocide.

Q: How do you see the Syrian civil war ending?

A: First, I don’t call this a “civil war.” It is not. It is a conflict wherein the people rose against a dictatorial regime, and that regime responded with genocidal mass rape, torture, and murder, aided by the Russians, Iranians, and global inaction. In the end, Syria could become a more formalized Iranian or Russian proxy, or it could be taken over by radical elements that are anti-Assad, anti-Ba’ath, and anti-Khomeinist. Remember, the Sunni Islamists are fueled and radicalized by their Saudi, Qatari, and Turkish Islamist benefactors.

The only solution to this Shia-Sunni Islamist stalemate is to build a third pathway of secular liberalism and civil society away from all forms of Islamist tyranny. As in the Cold War, the West needs to slowly work with those groups who share our values with a long-term vision rather than futile and ineffective short-term whack-a-mole programs.

The author would like to thank Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser for participating in this interview.

Ethics Commissioner launches investigation of PM Trudeau

January 16, 2017

Ethics Commissioner launches investigation of PM Trudeau, CIJ NewsIlana Shneider, January 16, 2017

justin-trudeau-25-photo-cijnewsJustin Trudeau. Photo: CIJnews

Aga Khan is the 49th Hereditary Imam of the world’s 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, whose Aga Khan Foundation Canada, a registered lobbyist organization, received tens of millions of dollars from the federal government.

“Justin Trudeau acts like the laws don’t apply to people like him”, Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose wrote on her Facebook page. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knew what he did was against the law. All he had to do was say no, but he couldn’t resist the billionaire lifestyle vacay. He lives in a completely different world.”

Section 14.1 of the Conflict of Interest Act states that “neither a Member nor any member of a Member’s family shall accept, directly or indirectly, any gift or other benefit, except compensation authorized by law, that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the Member in the exercise of a duty or function of his or her office.”

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An independent parliamentary watchdog has launched an investigation into Prime Minister Trudeau for possible violations of the Conflict of Interest Act, the National Post reported.

It is the first time in Canada’s history that a sitting prime minister will be investigated by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

By using the private helicopter belonging to Aga Khan during a secret vacation in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Trudeau may have violated federal law and breached the Act which forbids ministers from flying in private or chartered aircraft except under specific conditions, such as an emergency.

Aga Khan is the 49th Hereditary Imam of the world’s 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, whose Aga Khan Foundation Canada, a registered lobbyist organization, received tens of millions of dollars from the federal government.

According to Andrew Scheer, MP for Regina-Qu’Appelle and candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, these facts raised a question regarding a possible conflict of interest.

Following the revelations about Trudeau’s stay at Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas, which included the Prime Minister’s family, Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan, Liberal Party president Anna Gainey and their respective spouses, the ethics commissioner’s office told the Toronto Star that it has started a “preliminary review” of Trudeau’s tropical vacation.

“Justin Trudeau acts like the laws don’t apply to people like him”, Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose wrote on her Facebook page. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knew what he did was against the law. All he had to do was say no, but he couldn’t resist the billionaire lifestyle vacay. He lives in a completely different world.”

Section 14.1 of the Conflict of Interest Act states that “neither a Member nor any member of a Member’s family shall accept, directly or indirectly, any gift or other benefit, except compensation authorized by law, that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the Member in the exercise of a duty or function of his or her office.”

In addition to a possible violation of the federal law, a group called “Les musulmans du Quebec” (Quebec Muslims) slammed Trudeau for vacationing at a resort owned by a “supporter” of the Syrian regime following a revelation by SANA, Syria’s official news agency, that Aga Khan and Syria’s president Bashar Assad have a close relationship.

“Thanks Trudeau for spending your vacation at Agha Khan, the donor for the criminal Bashar [Assad]. Ignorance has no place in government. Shame”, the group, which has more than 9,400 members, posted on its Facebook page on January 6, 2017.

Why Trump’s bid to amplify Muslim reformers will keep Americans safer

December 30, 2016

Why Trump’s bid to amplify Muslim reformers will keep Americans safer, The Hill, Cynthis Farahat, December 29, 2016

sisi_egypt_president_458617936© Getty Images

Sisi’s supporters say the Obama administration’s tolerance of Islamism and harsh criticism of Egypt’s counter-terrorism efforts have been an enormous obstacle. In contrast, Trump’s campaign expressed “strong support for Egypt’s war on terrorism” and pledged that “under a Trump Administration, the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead.”

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The recent terror attacks in Berlin and Zurich highlight once again the danger that radical Islamism poses to the West. While many are searching for ways to improve security and defeat the threat on the ground, few appear to appreciate that the decisive blow against Islamism can only be administered by leaders in the Middle East.

President-elect Donald Trump pledged during his last major foreign policy speech before the election to “be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East” “amplify their voices.”

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and most of the political and media establishment in Egypt warmly embraced this policy. After meeting with the Republican nominee on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, Sisi told CNN he had “no doubt” Trump would make a strong leader. Sisi was also the first Arab leader to telephone Trump after his election win.

Egyptian affections for Trump are partly fueled by distaste for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who many Egyptians believe conspired with the Muslim Brotherhood to help elect Islamist Muhammad Morsi as president in 2012 (after which she was greeted in Egypt with protestors hurling tomatoes).

However, the main attraction of Trump in the eyes of many Egyptians is his staunch anti-Islamism.

Since coming to power in 2013, Sisi has spoken passionately about the need for an Islamic reformation. For Sisi, Islamism isn’t merely a ruinously bad blueprint for modern governance and a chronic source of security threats, it is also a wedge fueling outside hostility to Muslims, both Islamists and non-Islamists alike. In a 2015 New Year’s Day speech at al-Azhar University, the world’s most prestigious seat of Sunni Islamic learning, Sisi warned that the “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years” are “antagonizing the entire world” and “caus[ing] the entire umma [Muslim world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction.”

Not surprisingly, Sisi has faced opposition in the region, especially from Turkey, Qatar, and powerful figures in the Saudi royal family, who have opened their media to Brotherhood operatives to attack Sisi and even call for his assassination. One of the only Arab governments openly backing Sisi’s uncompromising stance on Islamists is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which in 2014 designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization (along with two of its U.S.-based affiliates, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society).

Within Egypt, Sisi’s calls for a religious revolution have made him extremely popular, but he has faced fierce resistance from Islamists, who still dominate many sectors of Egyptian civil society and exert influence in government, particularly the judiciary.

Sisi’s supporters say the Obama administration’s tolerance of Islamism and harsh criticism of Egypt’s counter-terrorism efforts have been an enormous obstacle. In contrast, Trump’s campaign expressed “strong support for Egypt’s war on terrorism” and pledged that “under a Trump Administration, the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead.” Walid Phares, a foreign policy advisor for the president-elect, stated in an interview that Trump will work to pass legislation designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

Trump’s election appears to have emboldened Sisi to step up his Islamic reformation campaign. Just days later, Sisi pardoned 82 prisoners, among them Islam Behery, a former TV host and prominent leader of a growing neo-Mu’tazilah-style movement that claims Islamic scriptures are man-made and should not overrule reason and critical thinking.

Behery’s movement has gained sweeping popularity as horrors committed by Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and other Sunni jihadist groups have mounted in recent years.

Many across the Arab world, and Egyptians in particular, are hopeful that the election of Donald Trump will open a new page of cooperation between the United States and those who are seeking to challenge Islamic extremism in the war of ideas. Only together can we defeat the Islamists wreaking carnage on the streets in the West.

Cynthia Farahat is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a columnist for the Egyptian daily Al-Maqal.

The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.;

It’s A Global Jihad, Stupid

December 23, 2016

It’s A Global Jihad, Stupid, Huffington Post, Raheel Raza, December 21, 2016

(I was alerted to this article this morning via an e-mail from Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. — DM)

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Now that Donald J. Trump is officially the President-elect of the United States, moderate Muslims like myself are hoping he changes course and refuses to surround himself with radical Muslim advisors, or members of the so-called “Islamophobia Industry” – who actually have the nerve to call real moderate Muslims – like me – an Islamophobe.

The politically correct status quo, and ominous silence on the issue of global jihad, will only give us more terror and mayhem. We need change. Whether that means pausing immigration from terror-producing countries or “extreme vetting” of new immigrants, let’s not be afraid to have the conversation.

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Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a fellow reformist Muslim, has just suggested a new mantra in the fight against terror: “It’s the global jihad, stupid.”

I totally concur, as a moderate Muslim woman who wrote a book on radical Islam, has taken part in various documentaries, penned numerous op-eds on the issue, and toured Pakistan, parts of the Middle East and recently Europe (in fact last week I was in Berlin at the exact spot where the terrorist struck) – all in search for the root causes of radicalization.

What I found is simple: the Islamists are waging a global war – a global jihad – against the West.

We can call it a clash of civilizations; a third world war; we can listen to endless analysis given by so-called experts who cry “racism” or “Islamophobia,” we can disguise the real issue under the umbrella of political correctness, or hide behind a victim ideology – but that does nothing to change the reality.

The reality is: this is a global jihad and its target is the West.

When the radical Islamists tell us it is a jihad, while they are killing us, why are Western governments and media seemingly unable to accept reality for what it is?

The answer to this question is simple, not stupid, if we only take a moment to clear the cobwebs, to get over our Western liberal guilt and take a close hard look at where we are.

Western governments have been taking advice from Muslim advisors who are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. And law enforcement agencies are aligning themselves with organizations that have subversive agendas.

Take a look at Mr. Obama’s invitees to the White House for Ramadan and Eid celebrations – they’re certainly not reformist Muslims. We have Keith Ellison making a run for the DNC. In Europe we see Tariq Ramadan (grandson of Hasan al Banna) posing as a celebrity and a voice for European Muslims, and organizations like CAIR in Canada and USA insist that they speak for all Muslims.

Well; they don’t speak for me. And they don’t speak for the majority of Muslims.
But they do speak to Western leaders and media. Over the past number of years; many bad decisions have been made – based on those whispers-in-the-ear from the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamist apologists. If you ever wonder how bad decisions get made – that’s how.

Now that Donald J. Trump is officially the President-elect of the United States, moderate Muslims like myself are hoping he changes course and refuses to surround himself with radical Muslim advisors, or members of the so-called “Islamophobia Industry” – who actually have the nerve to call real moderate Muslims – like me – an Islamophobe.

The politically correct status quo, and ominous silence on the issue of global jihad, will only give us more terror and mayhem. We need change. Whether that means pausing immigration from terror-producing countries or “extreme vetting” of new immigrants, let’s not be afraid to have the conversation.

Let’s not be afraid to use our common sense. And let’s have the courage to call it what it is:

It’s a global jihad, stupid!

Western culture, as it is now, deserves its fate

December 20, 2016

Western culture, as it is now, deserves its fate, Israel National News, Giulio Meotti, December 19, 2016

(Sometimes I am glad that I am seventy-five and probably won’t be around to see the forecast outcome. Can we cure the idiocy of academia in Obama’s America, or will it persist via the students? — DM) 

Islamists will have no trouble taking over a culture that deems Shakespeare too white, Greek yoghurt the subject of academic studies, and turns theaters into safe spaces.

Which is the fate of a theater if it becomes a “safe space,” the most grotesque academic neologism that serves to protect minorities from potentially “offensive arguments”? This is what happened at the famous Chicago theater, Second City, the school of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. That theater, since the election of Donald Trump, has become a “safe space,” this by installing a panel at the entrance announcing that it will sanction “homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic and racist comments”.

And how to complete this iconoclastic rage if not with the removal of William Shakespeare’s portrait from the entrance of Literature departments, such as that of the University of Pennsylvania? Students and professors have replaced a painting of the British poet in the Fisher-Bennett Hall with that of a lesbian and African American poet, Audre Lorde. The gentle smile of the great poet, as it was immortalized by Martin Droeshout in 1623, disturbed the students.

First was Georgetown University, which publicly distanced itself from the poet. “The Shakespeare File”, a dossier compiled by a committee of academics including the poet Anthony Hecht and the critic John Hollander, gave an overview of the courses offered by seventy prestigious American universities. “The abandonment of Shakespeare is not just a trend. It is the norm,” they concluded.

Now there are even feminists who interpret Shakespeare’s dramas as the battle of sexes. So the blood that flows from Julius Caesar’s wounds is the feminization of the male at the time of death. Nothing less! Coppelia Kahn of Brown University argues that Shakespeare in “Romeo and Juliet” wanted to describe the cruelty of a patriarchal society that encourages young people to commit acts of “phallic violence”.

At Yale, the students recently promoted a purge of Shakespeare and Milton – too male too white. The Literature Department of Pennsylvania therefore voted to remove the portrait of Shakespeare “to affirm the commitment to a greater inclusion” said the head of the English department, Jed Est.

The famous liberal inclusion through prohibitions.

So forget “Macbeth” and “The Merchant of Venice”. Now the students can read “the influence of lesbianism in literature”. The question is not what a theatre has become if it is turned into a safe space. But can a civilization and culture survive if it replaces Shakespeare with an Afro-American-Lesbian poetess? The answer is that it cannot.

Take the miserable condition of the “studies” published in journals. Perin Gurel, professor at the University of Notre Dame, has just published an essay in the Journal of Critical Studies on Food in which she analyses the success of greek yogurt. Simple, that success is because it is “white” and thus a form of unconscious racial supremacism. The feminist Carol J. Adams coined the term “feminized protein” to attack the breeding of female animals. In the journal called Progress in Human Geography, Mark Carey just published an essay entitled “Glaciers, gender and science”, in which calls for the creation of a “feminist glaceology”. California University, for example, brings out a magazine entitled “Race and Yoga”, while the Journal on Dance, published at Cambridge, discovered that pilates is really “racist”.

The European Journal of Cultural Studies did researched on “Finnish rap”. The Journal on Gender Studies is not ashamed to publish articles on the “improvement of the erection as a projection of masculinity”. The University of Leeds, UK, has published a research about “the phenomenology of the gay genitals”.

It is an inescapable conclusion: Western culture, if judged on the basis of how it is now, deserves to be destroyed by the Islamists.

Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre survivor: “We need to stop saying Islam is a religion of peace”

October 29, 2016

Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre survivor: “We need to stop saying Islam is a religion of peace”, Jihad Watch, 

As a secular Muslim, Zineb El Rhazoui is allowed to say in the mainstream what others are excoriated as “anti-Muslim extremists” for saying. The truth is true no matter who says it, but in today’s culture of identity politics, it’s truer when coming from racially and culturally approved voices.

“Zineb el Rhazoui, Charlie Hebdo survivor, discusses why the world needs to ‘Destroy Islamic Fascism,’” by Emma-Kate Symons, New York Times (of all places), October 18, 2016:

She leads a clandestine existence, on the move and under 24-hour guard as France’s most protected woman. Yet Zineb El Rhazoui, the Charlie Hebdo journalist who happened to be in Casablanca on January 7 last year, the day terrorists “avenging the Prophet” massacred nine people at the satirical magazine in Paris, believes she has a duty to defy Islamists desperate to silence her.

Shaken but undeterred by the fatwas and relentless, precise death threats issued via social media to “kill the bitch” since she helped produce the publication’s first survivors’ issue following the attack — and spoke about it in Arabic for the Arab press — the Moroccan-French writer refuses to assume an anonymous identity. Fleeing Paris or abandoning her human rights activism, and her unforgiving critiques of the religion she grew up with, are also out of the question.

“I don’t have the right to renounce my struggle, or to give up my freedom,” says the reporter and sociologist of religion in an interview with Women in the World, during a recent trip to New York, as part of French president Francois Hollande’s delegation when he received the Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s World Statesman Award for 2016. “If the French state protects me it is not little individual me: What is being protected is my freedom to be irreverent, and freedom of expression, so I should exercise this even more because I enjoy this protection.”

“It’s totally crazy. I have done nothing against the law and have nothing to hide, yet I live with security while those who threaten us are free,” El Rhazoui declares with an air of shock and anger that underscores the arbitrariness and brutality visited on a 34-year-old woman condemned to living on the run and mostly in the shadows. “And if you call them by their names you are Islamophobic and racist. I am racist? I can teach them a few things about Arab culture. I can show them how to discover its richness and the diversity of their culture. I believe this culture deserves universality because you can be Arab, Muslim and a free thinker.”…

Detruire Le Fascisme Islamique (Destroy Islamic Fascism), being released in France this week, takes the battle of ideas directly to the ideologically-driven zealots who inspired the assassins of her dear friend Charb (Stephane Charbonnier), late editor of Charlie Hebdo who preferred “to die standing than to live on my knees.”

Obtained exclusively by Women in the World, the book dedicated to “Muslim atheists” is an unapologetic strike against the strict application of Islam by imitating the first Salafists or “pious ancestors.” The Prophet Mohammed and his companions, whose violent exploits are contained in “bellicose texts from a barbaric 7th-century Bedouin tribal context,” exhibited codes of behavior El Rhazoui insists have no place in the modern world and can be directly connected to terrorism. “The most abject crimes of Islamic State are but a 21st-century remake of what the first Muslims accomplished under the guidance of the Prophet,” she writes, noting that sexual and domestic slavery, the massacre of non-Muslims (notably Jews), pedophilia, pillage, polygamy and summary executions were all adopted from pre-Islamic societies. The book is also the journalist’s way of carrying on the legacy of her dead comrades, who reveled in their right to mock established religion and fanatics everywhere — with Islam no exception to their traditional French anti-clerical ridicule — through satire and caricature.

Formerly the magazine’s religion writer, El Rhazoui is in the throes of joining the exodus of staff breaking from the magazine under its new management. Flush with cash from international donations, the fundamentally altered publication, she disappointedly explained, “will probably never again draw the Prophet” out of fear of more reprisals.

“[And] those who think that only a handful of madmen are capable of killing for a cartoon of Mohammed forget that everywhere that Islam reigns as the religion of the state, caricatures and cartoons in the press are repressed”.

El Rhazoui’s book, dedicated to “Muslim atheists,” is an unapologetic strike against the strict application of Islam.

Religion of peace and love?

“We need to admit that Islamism today is applied Islam,” El Rhazoui — who describes herself as an “atheist of Muslim culture” –writes, responding to politicians, religious figures, Islamophobia opponents and media commentators who claim after every jihadist attack that “real Islam” has nothing to do with such terror.

“When we apply Islam to the letter it gives Islamism, and when we apply Islamism to the letter it gives terrorism. So we need to stop saying Islam is a religion of peace and love. What is a moderate Islamist? An Islamist who doesn’t kill?”

The essay-length book is in the grand French polemical tradition of Emile Zola whose J’accuse denounced the anti-Semitism of the French state and establishment during the Dreyfus Affair, on the eve of the 20th century. El Rhazoui, who holds Moroccan and French citizenship, takes aim at a very 21st-century phenomenon: what she abhors as the “intellectual fraud” of Islamophobia, which pretends to be about anti-racism but in her reckoning is used as a weapon to silence all critics of Islam and the ideas behind it as automatically hostile towards all Muslims. Epitomized by the French Collective Against Islamophobia (CCIF), this deliberate strategy vilifies as Islamophobic voices such as El Rhazoui’s who dare question the religion the CCIF and fellow travelers define only through the prism of their own fundamentalism.

The notion of Islamophobia doesn’t even exist in Muslim countries, the author points out, because outside the West, criticism of the religion or Mohammed is officially “categorized as blasphemy.”

“Unable to pass blasphemy laws in Europe, groups like the CCIF employ a dangerous “semantic confusion,” she said. On the CCIF site it is written “Islamophobia is not an opinion: it is an offense.”

“This is very dangerous because it has even entered the dictionary as hostility towards Islam and Muslims. Yet criticism of an idea, of Islam or of a religion cannot be characterized as an offense or a crime. I was born and lived under the Islam of Morocco and live in France and I have the right criticize religion and this dictatorship of Islamophobia that says I have no right to criticize! If we criticize Christianity it doesn’t mean we are Christianophobes or racist towards the ‘Christian race.’”

The widespread pressure to self-censor is severe, El Rhazoui says.

“You can no longer speak about Islam without saying it’s a religion of peace and love. But when you open any book in Islam what do you find? Violence, blood, oppression of women and hate for other religions.

“Of course you can find this in other religions, however we are talking about something written many centuries ago during a barbaric time for humanity. As long as we don’t talk about this, and keep repeating that Islam is a religion of peace and love, many people will continue to believe the Koran is a constitution, and that rather than being a book written 15 centuries ago reflecting a particular context, it is a legal constitution to apply today.”

Zineb El Rhazoui feels she is carrying on the legacy of her dead Charlie Hebdo comrades.

After completing high school in Morocco, El Rhazoui studied languages and the sociology of religion, obtaining a Master’s degree from Paris’s prestigious social science graduate school EHESS. In her twenties she returned to the country of her birth to work as a journalist at Le Journal Hebdomadaire, becoming a campaigner for secular liberties, such as the right to break the fast and even snack in public during the month of Ramadan. This act of non-violent resistance earned her her first fatwa, ahead of her involvement in the movement supporting the Arab Spring in 2011. The wave of personal attacks and threats that came after her collective protest against Ramadan rules prompted her to leave Morocco again for France where she began to report for Charlie Hebdo, bringing her memories of having “vomited up compulsory religious classes” in a country where “being Muslim is not a choice” unless you’re Jewish or Christian.

Extreme personality cult

So-called Islamic fascism, seen in its most extreme form in groups like ISIS, shares characteristics in common with all extreme-right fascisms, El Rhazoui argues, because it combines an intense personality cult around Mohammed as the incarnation of the nation. It also employs widespread systems of suspicion and denunciation, exemplified by “sartorial branding” — for example Burkinis or niqabs — that allow for immediate identification and targeting of non-adherents. There are also familiar fascist tropes of repressive sexism against women and homosexuals, armed militias, adoption of a flag, and a strategy that confers the benign status of ‘Muslim women’ to heavily veiled adherents in the West, and characterizes them, disingenuously, as victimized objects of exclusion.

“The literary corpus of Islam is so stuffed with damning accounts it would be difficult to cleanse it without altering the fundamentals of dogma,” El Rhazoui writes.

“If the terrorists of Daesh [ISIS] behead those they judge to be miscreants, that is because they draw on their legislation in the texts like the 8th surah of the Koran, al-Anfal, verse 12: “Remember what Your Lord revealed to the angels : I am with you, so support those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. You can strike them above the neck and strike off every fingertip”.

‘You can be Arab, Muslim and a free thinker’

Drawing on her personal experience and scholarly knowledge of Islam’s core Arabic texts, the politics of the post-Arab Spring Middle East, and the wellspring of reformism and dissidence embraced within the multi-faceted Islamic civilization, El Rhazoui’s book is an impassioned response to all the extremists who want to see her and her fellow opponents of politico-religious repression dead.

The greatest racism is, El Rhazoui argues, the racism of the Islamist ideology that forbids marriage with people who are not Muslims, and that rejects women. “That is the definition of racism and fascism and we must say it,” the writer adds.

“Today Islam in the world only has a role as a civilization. A civilization is defined by many things and not uniquely by religion — but also by its geographical heritage, its artistic, culinary and sartorial traditions and by literature.

“The Muslim religion has its place in the modern world if it submits itself fully to the laws that rule humanity today: universal principles of equality between men and women, sexual and individual freedom, and equality for all, no matter your creed or religion. Until Islam has admitted this and accepted that the freedom of men and women is superior to it, Islam will not be acceptable.”

‘Islamophobia whiners’

Destroy Islamic Fascism aims to puncture the hypocrisy and faux-intellectual “fakery” (the author’s word) of “Islamophobia whiners” and other “collaborationists” from across the political spectrum — particularly the hard left, “Crypto-Islamist” anti-racists on a quest for a new “Muslim proletariat,” certain feminists, cultural relativists and so-called moderate Imams. All these “willing accomplices” do is distort the noble cause of fighting racism to give undeserved legitimacy to an ideology that at its most extreme results in the horrors of Islamic State, the author says, but also makes the lives of millions of Muslims living in Islamic countries downright miserable.

“What do these Islamophobia whiners say to the millions of individuals who live in Islamic theocracies and dream of liberty?” El Rhazoui concludes in her book. “Who speaks about the nightmare of a woman who decides to cross the streets of Algiers, Casablanca or Cairo in a skirt?… those who would like to drink a glass of alcohol in countries where you have to flout the law to do it? … about homosexuals, pariahs of Muslim societies, who often only have the choice of death, prison or exile? Who speaks about this youth born Muslim but dreaming of a normal life, these teens attacked for having had a romance?”

The summer furore over Burkini bans in France agitated the author who deplored the cynical rush of Islamists and their Western sympathizers in the media, academia and politics to celebrate the controversial swimsuit as a form of “liberation” and simultaneously a banal piece of cloth preferred by “Muslim women,” even though most never wear it.

“Western media, in an intolerable readiness to oblige, have defended the Burkini as a ‘freedom’ and a legitimate cultural expression of a part of humanity,” she said, but pointed out that “in Muslim countries the beaches are not filling up with Burkinis, but they are emptying themselves of women. From one year to another, they are disappearing from the public space, because the veil has never been anything except an extension of the walls of their harem to the exterior.”

As for mainstream or moderate Muslim clerics, El Rhazoui tells Women in the World that during the Burkini debate in France not one Imam stood up and said “Hey, wait a minute, you can be Muslim and wear a [regular] bathing suit.”

History will judge those who have monopolized the debate, given a platform to Islamist fundamentalism and even given it a guarantee of acceptability, the author of Destroy Islamic Fascism told Women in the World. “This is just betrayal and it is collaboration with one of the worst forms of fascism that exists today,” she said.

According to the writer, who is repeatedly accused of bigotry, the “Islamophobia ruse” is driven by “great ignorance” and a lack of understanding of the culture of Islam and what Islam with a big ‘I’ is — “they ignore its complexity and that there have always been opposition currents and progressive and liberal pushes from within.”

“The accomplices don’t recognize the struggles playing out today in Arab countries will inevitably be won by the democrats and free people. No fascism or totalitarianism has ever been able to win in the long haul of history. The people who are the allies and collaborators of this totalitarianism today will be judged by history and seen as accomplices to this criminal ideology to which they have given a veneer of respectability.”

For El Rhazoui the true racism emerges from a condescending approach to Islamic culture that decrees an Islamic woman in a burqa is congenitally not free and that her “race” is the burqa. “We present the fundamentalists as being a race and this only shows the contempt we have for this culture. It is absolutely intolerable,” she says.

Survivor syndrome

Women in the World asked El Rhazoui how she manages to keep up her spirits, and continue her struggle for the freedom to dissent after everything that has happened since January 2015.

“It is a question people often ask me,” she said with a perceptible tremor in her voice. “But when you live through these moments in which you are confronted by a reality as cruel and simple as life and death, you realize can put many things in perspective.

“Straight after the attacks, like many of my colleagues I felt guilty for having stayed alive. I said to myself ‘Those who are dead are dead for all our work, and some are dead when it wasn’t even their work. But it was my work because I am a journalist and I am still here.’ And then you understand this is all part of survivor syndrome, which is normal when you survive a massacre like that.

“As you start to heal you say, ‘I am lucky to be alive and if I am still here perhaps that is because I still have something to do.’ I understood long before the attack on Charlie, when I engaged in a struggle for individual liberties and democracy in Morocco, that when you fight against totalitarianism, whether it is political or religious, you should never give your enemies the pleasure of stopping living. We fight so that everyone can have a free and happy life and we must continue to live this same life.

Still a day doesn’t go past when she doesn’t think of her old colleague Charb and their many heated discussions.

“He was someone who was extremely lucid and for whom the concepts were clear. He was a true humanist who didn’t fear being accused of being racist because for him it was absurd.”

El Rhazoui’s deconstruction of Islam is also a defense of Muslims, she reasoned, as “salvation will come when we stop aligning the identity of an entire community with the most fundamentalist people who pretend to represent it.”

“We have to extend a hand to all these Muslims who are free people, who have questioned their heritage, and who are fighters for liberty, battling for the same values as us but in a context controlled by Islamists,” she says….