Posted tagged ‘Obama and Islamists’

A Dose of Reality in Riyadh

May 22, 2017

A Dose of Reality in Riyadh, Front Page MagazineBruce Bawer, May 22, 2017

Early on in his speech, Trump addressed his audience as friends and partners; within a few minutes, without pointing a finger, and without abandoning the collegial tone or the complimentary language, made it clear he was lecturing them. He was the boss, the capo di tutti capi, and he was laying down terms. This wasn’t Obama, who naively thought he could change the world with groveling apologies for the West, praise for Islam built on sheer fantasy, and yet another retelling of his own supposedly inspiring personal story – all the while oozing beta-male deference and docility. No; this was a man of power who – never once talking about himself – made expert use of that power, wielding an iron fist in a velvet glove. His message was unmistakable: either set aside this stupid religion (or at least rein it in, and now), join the modern world, and set your people free to dream, hope, create, grow, and prosper. Or else face the consequences. When, at the end, he summed up the assets of the Islamic world, he didn’t even mention Islam: he cited, among other things, its “spirit of enterprise” and ambitious young people. Where Obama had falsely attributed all kinds of past wonders to Islam, Trump imagined an implicitly Islam-free future in which the region could finally enjoy “glorious wonders of science, art, medicine, and commerce to inspire mankind.” 

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

On June 4, 2009, Barack Obama went to Cairo and delivered a speech, addressed to the Muslim world, that was full of praise for Islam and apologies on behalf of the West. In the address, entitled “A New Beginning” (“I’ve come here to Cairo,” he explained, “to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world”), he called the university at which he was speaking (which, if it were anywhere in the West, would probably not be able to gain accreditation) “a beacon of Islamic learning”; he blamed tensions between the West and Islam largely on Western “colonialism”; he said “Salaam aleikum” and kept referring to “the Holy Koran”; he asserted, in a ridiculous example of hyperbole, that “Islam has always been part of America’s story”; he served up a big wallop of revised history, giving Islam unmerited praise for centuries-old accomplishments in science, architecture, music, art, and medicine and even holding it up as “a model of tolerance and equality” (at one point, he seemed to imply that in some ways women’s rights are more advanced in the Muslim world than in the U.S.); and, with utter predictability, he quoted the the “Holy Koran” out of context, plucking out that favorite verse of all Western apologists that supposedly teaches “that if one kills an innocent, it is as if it he has killed all of mankind.”

And of course, as always, he talked about himself: a descendant of “generations of Muslims” in Kenya; a man who, in his Indonesian boyhood, daily heard the beautiful Islamic call to prayer; a president who had “known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.” As someone with such intimate ties to the Religion of Peace, asserted Obama, he saw it as part of his job to “fight against negative stereotypes of Islam.” Yes, he spoke about the need to fight terror, but he was quick to maintain that “Islam is not part of the problem” but rather “an important part of promoting peace.” He defended U.S. ties to Israel and recognized the “reality of the Holocaust,” but quickly pivoted to the “suffering” of Palestinians, the “pain of dislocation” they experienced, and the “daily humiliations” of the “occupation” – preaching, in short, to Israel from a Cairo pulpit. He quoted from the Talmud, but was careful not to call it holy. He implied that the histories of the Jews and Palestinians were equally tragic. And he preached to America too, suggesting that when Americans criticize the “choice” of women – and girls (!) – to wear hijab they were disguising their “hostility” to Islam “behind the pretense of liberalism.” Similarly, instead of thundering against the evil of 9/11, Obama apologized for the supposed excesses of some Americans’ responses to that atrocity, saying with nauseating chagrin that “in some cases it led us to acts contrary to our principles and our ideals.” Oh, and he vowed to close Guantánamo “by early next year.”

This Sunday, almost exactly as far into his presidency as Obama was when he gave his Cairo speech, Donald Trump spoke in Riyadh. For some of us, the very prospect of this appearance had been, to put it mildly, dismaying. Trump won the election, after all, largely because of his tough and bracingly realistic talk about Islam. Now, on his first trip abroad as president, he was going to Saudi Arabia. It was bad enough that this was a trip to a Muslim country. But Saudi Arabia isn’t just any Muslim country. It’s the mother of all Muslim countries. It’s the single most backward of them all. It’s a state sponsor of terrorism. It, and members of its royal family, have bankrolled mosques and madrassas and university departments of Middle Eastern Studies throughout the Western world – places that are nothing more than centers of Islamic propaganda. Most of the 9/11 hijackers, as the whole world knows, were Saudis. And the whole point of Trump’s visit to Riyadh was to celebrate a gigantic sale of U.S. arms to the Saudis on the premise that they represent a major bulwark against an even more dire threat, namely Iran. Nor was Trump just addressing the Saudis: also in attendance were the leaders of most of the other Muslim countries on the planet – in other words, a whole boatload of really nasty customers. It was hard not to conclude that Trump, like Obama, was going to try to brown-nose his way into a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims.”

The opening minutes of Trump’s speech certainly did nothing to dispel this expectation. It was gag-inducing to hear him praise the “magnificent kingdom” of Saudi Arabia, “the splendor of your country,” “the grandeur of this remarkable place,” and so on. It was absurd to hear him talk about working together with the ultra-extremist Saudis to eliminate “extremism.”

But then something happened. Even as he continued to serve up the usual glowing rhetoric about Islam being “one of the world’s great faiths,” and to refer to this and that as being “holy,” he made a couple of exceedingly elegant transitions. First, he began mixing the ethereal praise with realistic businessman-type talk about the value of international partnership. “We are not here to lecture, to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship,” he said. “Instead, we are here to offer partnership” between the West and the Muslim world – a partnership that would bring prosperity to future Muslim generations. But he underscored the fact that in order for such a partnership to work, something would have to change. And it would have to change a lot. The Islamic world, he insisted, had to turn into a place where young Muslims could grow up “innocent of hatred.” And then he spelled out the results of that hatred, presenting first a roll call of some of the “barbaric attacks” on America – 9/11, Boston, San Bernardino, Orlando – and then a list of other places (“Europe, Africa, South America, India, Russia, China, and Australia”) where that hatred has manifested itself.

However delicately he worked his way around to it, it was nothing less than an accusation.

No, he didn’t explicitly charge Muslim leaders with funding terrorism – but he told them, in no uncertain terms, that they needed to cut off funds to terrorists. Nor did he explicitly blame Islam for terror or explicitly call it evil (as much as some of us would have loved to hear him do so) – but he came tantalizingly close to doing so, speaking bluntly about the “vile creed,” the “wicked ideology,” the “craven ideology”, that underlies terror. He did use the word “evil.” And, yes, he spoke of “Islamic” (not “Islamist” or “radical Islamic”) terror. And he made it clear he wasn’t just talking about terrorism – he was talking about Islam itself. He condemned “the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.” He warned: “barbarism will deliver you no glory. Piety to evil will bring you no dignity.”  Yes, “piety to evil.” Even as he continued to make flattering references to Islam, they felt increasingly pro forma, and it became increasingly manifest that he was identifying that religion as the root not just of terror but of all that is primitive and barbaric about that portion of the world in which it is most commonly practiced. In one remarkable passage, he listed a number of wonders of the Arab region of which his listeners should be proud. What was remarkable was that they were all wonders that dated to pre-Islamic times. In short, he was reminding these people that they had a proud history, a proud identity, that predated their prophet and that could, if they wished, help form the foundation of a new, free, forward-looking culture.

Of course, even to express such thoughts, in some Islamic countries, is considered heretical, illegal; but Trump did it in such a masterly way that you could imagine some of these Muslim big shots sitting there trying to figure out whether they should be offended or not.

In fact, it was all quite masterfully done. Early on in his speech, Trump addressed his audience as friends and partners; within a few minutes, without pointing a finger, and without abandoning the collegial tone or the complimentary language, made it clear he was lecturing them. He was the boss, the capo di tutti capi, and he was laying down terms. This wasn’t Obama, who naively thought he could change the world with groveling apologies for the West, praise for Islam built on sheer fantasy, and yet another retelling of his own supposedly inspiring personal story – all the while oozing beta-male deference and docility. No; this was a man of power who – never once talking about himself – made expert use of that power, wielding an iron fist in a velvet glove. His message was unmistakable: either set aside this stupid religion (or at least rein it in, and now), join the modern world, and set your people free to dream, hope, create, grow, and prosper. Or else face the consequences. When, at the end, he summed up the assets of the Islamic world, he didn’t even mention Islam: he cited, among other things, its “spirit of enterprise” and ambitious young people. Where Obama had falsely attributed all kinds of past wonders to Islam, Trump imagined an implicitly Islam-free future in which the region could finally enjoy “glorious wonders of science, art, medicine, and commerce to inspire mankind.”

Yes, it would have been terrific to hear an American president spell out the truth about Islam in a less nuanced, less diplomatic fashion. And it was frankly bizarre to hear Trump, in his closing moments, singling Iran out as uniquely malevolent after having heaped praise on other equally nefarious regimes whose leaders were right there in the room with him. But we critics of Islam have our jobs and Trump has his. Given the occasion and the purpose, this was, even at its worst, an immense improvement over Obama’s Cairo oration, and, at its best, a convincing assertion of authority, a strongly pitched demand for radical transformation, and a perfectly calibrated use of the carrot-and-stick approach.

No, international Islam is almost certainly beyond meaningful reform. But history has shown that it can at least be contained and controlled in ways that give citizens of Muslim-majority countries a certain degree of freedom and that keep to a minimum the scale of violence in the West originating in those countries. (The rampant Islamization of the West, and the concomitant increase in home-grown Islamic terror, are separate questions.) And no, a single speech can’t accomplish much of anything. But Trump’s tough presentation in Riyadh, if followed up by equally tough interactions with our “friends” in that audience, may well get a few things, here and there, moving in welcome directions.

Trump, Unlike Obama, Addressed ‘Islamic Terror’ Directly

May 21, 2017

Trump, Unlike Obama, Addressed ‘Islamic Terror’ Directly, BreitbartJoel B. Pollak, May 21, 2017

President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama delivered addresses to the Muslim world at roughly the same point in their respective presidencies.

But unlike Obama, who attempted to appease Islamic resentment of the West by admitting America’s faults, Trump’s speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday emphasized terrorism and challenged the Arab and Muslim world to foster peace by “honestly confronting the problem of Islamic extremism, and the Islamists, and Islamic terror of all kinds.”

The first difference between the two speeches was the setting. Trump addressed a summit of Arab and Muslim leaders at a conference to deal with terrorism. Obama, by contrast, invited members of the Muslim Brotherhood to his address at Al-Azhar University in Cairo.

Trump rallied the nations of the region to deal with a problem in their midst; Obama gave legitimacy to a banned group associated with terror and extremist ideology.

Obama began his address by focusing on western guilt:

More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

In contrast, Trump began by declaring that “Muslim countries must take the lead in combating radicalization. He said that he was not there to lecture to others about how to worship, but to call for unity “in pursuing the one goal: … to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces that terrorism brings with it every single time,” singling out “young Muslim men and women.”

Trump went further, taking on “terrorism and the ideology that drives it.” He listed recent terror attacks in the U.S. and around the world, and noted that “the deadliest toll has been extracted from the innocent people of Arab and Muslim nations.” The optimism of the region, he said, was “held at bay by bloodshed and terror.” And he added: “There can be no co-existence with this violence.”

Obama, too, had emphasized that many of the victims of groups like Al Qaeda were Muslim. Like Obama, Trump distanced terror from faith, suggesting terrorists falsely used the name of God, and implying that the problem was not limited to Islam, But Trump did not shy away from the link to Islam, whereas Obama sought to absolve Islam itself of any link with terrorism.

Obama said: “Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.” Obama never even used the word “terror.” He simply referred to “violence against civilians” by “extremists,” whom he never connected directly to Islam.

In contrast, Trump told the gathering in Saudi Arabia to “[d]rive them [terrorists] out from your places of worship,” and exhorted the nations present to make sure “terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil.”

Obama defended America to the Muslim world by emphasizing America’s connection to Islam — almost describing the U.S. as a Muslim nation itself. “[L]et there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America,” Obama declared. He cited exaggerated population figures for Muslims in the U.S.: “nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today,” he claimed.

Trump, in contrast, praised the achievements of the Arab and Muslim world in the region itself, but did not try to remake America in Islam’s image. Trump also spoke in a forthright manner about the persecution of Jews, whereas Obama irritated Israelis by claiming Israel was created because of the Holocaust.

Both presidents were gracious to their audience. Both downplayed the idea of interfering in the affairs of the Muslim world, unlike earlier administrations. Trump offered the Saudis the “friendship, and hope, and love” of the American people, and praised his hosts as the guardians of “the two holiest sites in the Islamic faith.” Trump also praised the arms deal he had reached with Saudi Arabia the day before, which he said would help both sides.

Obama was somewhat less focused on Egypt itself, but was effusive in his praise of Islam in general, crediting it — with some exaggeration — with making the European enlightenment possible, and with fostering religious tolerance.

Yet Trump was clear about the need to confront Iran as a common challenge to peace in the entire region. He even implied that regime change was an ultimate goal of U.S. policy toward Iran. Obama, in contrast, appeased Iran and accepted blame, publicly, for a “role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government” in the 1950s.

Early media reports suggest that Trump’s speech is being described as “moderate,” because he did not use the signature phrase “radical Islamic terror.” That is not accurate: the principal objection to Obama’s evasion was the absence of the word “Islam,” which Trump addressed directly. But if that is indeed how the speech was received, then Trump achieved something great indeed: identifying the eradication of Islamic terror as a “moderate” value.

MEF Sues DHS for Hiding Information on Its Funding of Islamists

May 1, 2017

MEF Sues DHS for Hiding Information on Its Funding of Islamists, Middle East Forum, May 1, 2017

(Is the “deep state” again the problem? The Department of Justice should confess judgment and agree to the release of all pertinent records following a diligent but prompt search. — DM) 

In July 2016 then-DHS Secretary Jeh C. Johnson assured lawmakers that CVE grant applicants would be carefully vetted.

“The CVE program should be canceled altogether,” said Sam Westrop, director of MEF’s Islamist Watch project. “And guidelines should be put in place to make sure that extremist groups like MPAC never receive taxpayer money to counter extremism.”

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

Philadelphia – May 1, 2017 – The Middle East Forum has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to secure the release of documents related to the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) grant program.

The grant program, which began last year, is intended to assist “efforts at the community level to counter violent extremist recruitment and radicalization to violence,” but MEF was concerned about U.S. Islamist groups – themselves radicals – receiving CVE funds. Indeed, grant recipients have included the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), an organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and a long history of sanitizing Islamist terrorism.

On January 10, MEF filed a detailed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with DHS seeking documents about the selection criteria and specific decisions in awarding CVE grants. The request indicated that the documents are mostly located at the DHS Office for Community Partnerships (OCP), headed by George Selim.

Having failed to receive even a response to its request within the 20-day period mandated by law, MEF contacted DHS. Finally, on March 23, DHS FOIA officer Ebony Livingston informed us that the request had been routed to the Federal Emergency Management System (FEMA), which found no pertinent records.

On April 26, MEF filed a lawsuit alleging that DHS violated the law by not only failing to produce the documents, but failing even to conduct a search for the documents.

The complaint, prepared by attorney Matt Hardin, a specialist in FOIA litigation, seeks injunctive relief compelling DHS “to search for and produce all records in its possession responsive to plaintiff’s FOIA request.”

“We filed a detailed FOIA request, specifying the documents we were looking for and where they likely were,” said MEF Director Gregg Roman. “DHS not only failed to produce the documents, it failed even to conduct a search and closed our case without bothering to tell us. This is not just unacceptable but illegal.”

The case has been assigned to Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. It bears noting that Judge Lamberth previously handled FOIA litigation concerning former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“The CVE program should be canceled altogether,” said Sam Westrop, director of MEF’s Islamist Watch project. “And guidelines should be put in place to make sure that extremist groups like MPAC never receive taxpayer money to counter extremism.”


The Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, is dedicated to defining American interests in the Middle East and protecting America from Islamist threats. It achieves its goals through intellectual, activist, and philanthropic efforts.

Middle East: A Shift from Revolution to Evolution

April 8, 2017

Middle East: A Shift from Revolution to Evolution, Gatestone InstituteNajat AlSaied, April 8, 2017

The lesson the Trump administration might learn from the disastrous mistakes of its predecessor is that the main sources of terrorism in the region are political Islam and all its related religious groups. All these radical groups, including ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Jabhat Al-Nusra and Hamas have been spawned by a political Islam driven by the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The fight, therefore, should not be against Islam, but against political Islam. Islam needs to be practiced the way other religions are, as a private personal faith that should be kept separate from public life and politics, and whose expression should be confined to worship only.

Mosques, whether in the Arab and Muslim world or in the West, should be places of worship only and must not transformed to centers for polarizing society or for recruitment by political religious groups.

After each Islamist terrorist attack in the West, the public is divided into two camps: one angry and one indifferent. The problem with defeating Islamist terrorism seems to be that either it is attacked by conservatives who call Islam an evil cult or it is forgiven entirely by liberal apologists. What, then, is the answer?

One of the main failures in Western analyses of the origins of terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa is that the West attributes them to a lack of democracy and a lack of respect for human rights. This is, indeed, part of the cause, but the root of the problem is a lack of development and modernity. U.S. President Donald Trump did not exaggerate when he said that the Obama administration’s foreign policy was disastrous. It was catastrophic mainly for two reasons. One was the knee-jerk support for the “Arab Spring” and for extremist Islamic political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The second was the alliances the Obama administration built with unreliable countries such as Qatar, which supports radical political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, Obama made the mistake of continuing to try to appease Iran’s theocratic regime.

The Arab Spring’s uncalculated, hasty attempt to establish so-called democracy only generated more turmoil and chaos in the region. Certain radical political groups simply exploited the elections to serve their own political and sectarian agendas; that swoop for power only resulted in more authoritarian and dictatorial regimes, as have played out, for instance, in Egypt, where we have witnessed the murder of civilians and police officers by the Muslim Brotherhood. In other countries, the situation is even worse; attempts to install democracy have totally destroyed the state and facilitated the spread of terrorist militias, as in Libya.

It is ironic that Western countries and their advocates stress the need to apply democratic practices in Arab countries, but evidently do not recall that development and secularism preceded democracy in Western Europe. The United Kingdom, which has the oldest democratic system, did not become fully democratic until 1930. France became fully democratic only in 1945, 150 years after the French Revolution.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, at the Arab Summit in Jordan on March 28, 2017 delivered a speech in which he indicated his continuous support for the Muslim Brotherhood:

“If we are serious about focusing our efforts on armed terrorist organizations, is it fair to consider any political party we disagree with as terrorist? Is our goal to increase the number of terrorists?”

Many Arab leaders were infuriated by his speech; at the forefront was President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, who left the Arab Summit Hall during the speech to meet King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Most Arab leaders and analysts, in fact, are enraged by Qatar’s continuous support for Islamist political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, because these groups are a threat to their national security.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt speaks at the Arab Summit, on March 29. The previous day, Sisi walked out of a speech by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. Sisi was infuriated by Al-Thani’s declaration of support for the Muslim Brotherhood. (Image source: Ruptly video screenshot)

Another consequence of Obama’s foreign policy — in particular attempts to get close to Iran’s hostile regime — has been a fraying of relationships with old Arab allies of the United States. Some of Obama’s advisors thought that replacing Saudi Arabia with Iran was somehow “better” for the United States, if Iran “is beginning to evolve into a very civilized and historically important country” — an analysis that can be described as completely short-sighted.

The Saudi regime, with all its flaws, is a monarchy run by princes; the Iranian regime is a theocracy run by clerics. The Saudi regime is not a theocratic regime but a hybrid structure, which is neither wholly secular nor wholly religious. As such, the religious class functions under the authority of the ruling class. Princes are driven by self-interest; clerics are driven by ideology. In terms of extremism, the Iranian regime is pushing for hegemony, whilst Saudi Arabia has been taking only a defensive, rather than an expansionist, position.

The motivation of Saudi Arabia in exporting mosques world-wide and installing radical Saudi imams is defensive, not expansionist as in Iran. Saudi Arabia’s impetus is to confront Iran’s hegemony and the spread of its hostile ideology. It is this strategy, which Saudi Arabia has practiced since 1979 to balance Iran’s power and to combat its rebellious ideology, that must change.

That Iran’s Khomeini regime sought to embarrass Saudi Arabia — a country that is home to Islam’s two holiest mosques, in Mecca and Medina — by portraying it as not sufficiently Islamic, meant that the foundational Islamic Wahhabism of the Saudi Kingdom was aggressively reinforced. This emphasis resulted in even more constraints being put in place in Iran: especially on entertainment. Since the Khomeini revolution in 1979, all plays, fashion shows, international events, and cinemas have been banned. As for women, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has increasingly harassed them. As for minorities, especially Shia challenging the Iranian Shia regime and its support for Shia militias — particularly the dominant Revolutionary Guards — books were published attacking the Shia:

More books appeared, attacking the Shias and especially Khomeini’s views. These books – like the arguments of Khomeini’s followers – rejected modern thinking as an “intellectual invasion.” Saudi Arabia, considered the guardian of Sunni Islam, spent billions of dollars on challenging the Khomeini-backed Shiites.

This religious one-upmanship — a competition over which body can be the “most religious” — must stop. Saudi Arabia would do well to understand that in order to confront the hegemony of the Iranian theocratic regime, the answer is not to radicalize Saudi society but to return to the way it was before 1979.

The best way to defeat the rebel hostile regime in Iran might be through creating an inclusive and tolerant society in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia needs to change its approach towards Iran because the current strategy has not worked. The current strategy has done nothing except to strengthen the Iranian regime’s dominance; distort, globally, the image of Saudi Arabia and accelerate terrorism.

The lesson the Trump administration might learn from the disastrous mistakes of its predecessor is that the main source of terrorism in the region are political Islam and all its related religious groups. All these radical groups including ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Jabhat Al-Nusra and Hamas have been spawned by a political Islam driven by the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Extremist jihadists such as Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam and Ayman al-Zawahiri were all taught by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Political Islam practiced by the Iranian theocratic regime has been comfortably generating Shia radical militias, including the terrorist group, Hezbollah. The fight, therefore, should not be against Islam, but against political Islam. Islam needs to be practiced the way other religions are, as a private personal faith that should be kept separate from public life and politics, and whose expression should be confined to worship only. Mosques, whether in the Arab and Muslim world or in the West, should be places of worship only and must not transformed to centers for polarizing society or for recruitment by political religious groups. Unfortunately, Western countries have turned a blind eye to the political activities inside these mosques.

The danger of these religious political groups is that they do not believe in democracy or human rights; they just use elections to grasp power in order to impose a system of “Islamic Caliphate” as their only form of government. Most of these groups use religion as an ideology to oppose governments other than their own, and when they are criticized or attacked, they play the role of the oppressed.

The Trump administration needs to take advantage of the fact that the majority of people in the Middle East and North Africa have lost faith in religious political groups, especially since the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Tunisia.

Before the Arab Spring, support for these groups was huge; now it stands at less than 10% of the population. This study was conducted in the Arab world, not including Turkey. The Muslims who support Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are the Muslim Brotherhood.

Most recent polls indicate that the majority of people in Arab and Muslim countries prefer religion to be kept separate from politics.

The country that is working the most systematically to fight these religious political groups in the region is the United Arab Emirates (UAE). There are several institutes and think tanks researching how to combat these groups. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), has given a robust analysis of these groups and how to combat them in his book, The Mirage. In it, he cites a study on public opinion on political religious groups: A survey of the UAE population, on how these groups are able to influence the public by taking advantage of certain flaws in the system: 53.9% because of corruption; 47.9% because of poverty and 29.1% because of an absence of civil society groups that confront these opportunists.

The Middle East-North Africa region will undoubtedly have to go through several stages before it can successfully establish democracy. An evolutionary developmental approach will definitely be better than the failed revolutionary democratic one pursued by the Obama administration.

Secularization is also crucial in the fight against terrorism. Trying to build a democracy before going through the stages of secularism and political reformation — which includes rectifying existing flaws, such as corruption; modernization which means the liberation of the region from extremist totalitarian religious dogma and all other forms of backwardness in order to kick-start a renaissance; and scientific development — will not only be inadequate but will actually generate more terrorism by helping radicals to keep gaining power. It would be like a farmer who wants to plant roses in arid desert soil full of thorns.

NATO Ally Turkey Working with U.S. Muslim Brotherhood

April 4, 2017

NATO Ally Turkey Working with U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, Center for Security Policy, April 3, 2017

Osama Abu-Irshaid (National Director of American Muslims for Palestine, AMP, a founding member of the USCMO), USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal (center) and Naeem Baig (President of the Islamic Center of North America, ICNA, a founding member of the USCMO) outside AK Party Headquarters in Ankara, Turkey, during an August 2014 visit

While the Center for Security Policy has followed the activities of the USCMO, MLFA and AMJA, the realization of just how closely the Turkish government at the highest level is working in collusion with these Muslim Brotherhood-associated groups to thwart any legal measures that may be directed their way by the new Trump administration and Department of Justice led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions still comes as something of a shock. The U.S. Brotherhood and its international partners were way ahead of the Trump team in foreseeing a possible renewal of legal risk and liability under this new management and began taking steps to confront it. They bring significant financial and legal resources to the fight, plus, as we now see, state-level backing from NATO member Turkey whose pro-HAMAS stance has long been known.

But given that an official organization of the Ankara regime is now operating a large Center (with numerous associated centers and mosques) barely thirteen miles from the U.S. Capitol and working there in collaboration with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood to thwart possible legal actions by the U.S. government is certainly noteworthy. As the international as well as U.S. Muslim Brotherhood gear up for coming confrontations, so must U.S. national security leadership as well.

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

During the 2016 U.S presidential campaign, senior leadership figures of the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) began strategic planning to ensure the advancement and protection of the group’s objectives, no matter who won the White House. USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal and HAMAS dba Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad set plans in motion to defend the Muslim Brotherhood’s Civilization Jihad inside the U.S. Those objectives were first exposed and described in the Center’s 2015 publication, in Star Spangled Shariah: The Rise of America’s First Muslim Brotherhood Party.

Joining directly in those efforts then and now is the pro-HAMAS Turkish government, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). The groundwork for what is now a close working relationship began well before the March 2014 announcement of the USCMO’s formation, but it is known that on 15 May 2013, a visiting President Erdoğan placed a ceremonial stone on the 16-acre construction site that would become the Turkish Diyanet Center of America in Lanham, Maryland. The following year, in August 2014, a USCMO delegation led by Secretary General Oussama Jammal traveled to Ankara to meet with President Erdoğan and AK Party leaders. And then, on 29 December 2014, in a recorded video message, Dr. Mehmet Görmez, President of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), addressed the 13th Annual MAS-ICNA (Muslim American Society-Islamic Circle of North America) Conference in Chicago, Illinois and discussed a gift for all Muslims: the Turkish Diyanet Center of America. Of note for the future of the US Muslim Brotherhood-Turkish relationship, this conference was sponsored by the Turkish-backed American Zakat Foundation and included the first-ever attendance of a Turkish-American group at a MAS-ICNA conference.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shaking hands with USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal during the USCMO delegation reception with Erdoğan in NYC in September 2016
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressing an assembly of US Muslim Brotherhood leadership during the week of the September 2016 UN General Assembly meeting. USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal is in the front row at the far right, Mazen Mokhtar, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society (MAS), can be seen in the middle, and Nihad Awad, CAIR Executive Director, is seated at the far left. Awad also welcomed the Turkish government delegation to CAIR’s WDC headquarters that same week.

It will be recalled that Erdoğan himself joined U.S. President Barack Obama on 2 April 2016 at the opening ceremonies for the Diyanet Center of America, located on a large 16-acre site in Lanham, Maryland. The Diyanet Center, also known as the Turkish American Cultural Center (TACC), is a wholly-owned facility of The Presidency of Religious Affairs, an official state institution of the Turkish government.

Under the Trump administration, the USCMO is especially concerned with legal issues, as calls were heard during the 2016 campaign urging that the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) HAMAS terror funding trial be re-opened to pursue possible cases against the more-than-200 unindicted co-conspirators named by the Department of Justice. Apparently concerned over possible vulnerability should the books of mosques, Islamic Centers and Muslim Brotherhood front groups come under renewed official scrutiny, CAIR and other members of the USCMO therefore engaged the services of the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), itself a founding member of the USCMO.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the first major event to be co-sponsored by the USCMO, TACC and the MLFA in the Trump era will be a 13 May 2017 Muslim Non-Profit Leadership Conference, to be held at the Diyanet Center of America. Among the program topics are Safeguarding 501(c)3 status; Board fiduciary responsibilities; record keeping and disclosure requirements; Fundraising regulations, state registrations, unrelated business income; and Banking regulations, FDIC, DOJ, Watchlists, international charitable giving.

One of the MLFA’s top legal representatives, now working openly with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, is U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander (ret.) Charles Swift, formerly of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Swift, a 1984 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who was recognized by the Muslim Brotherhood for his legal role advocating for client Salim Ahmed Hamdan in the U.S. Supreme Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfield 548 US 557 (2006). This role doubtless contributed to the choice of Swift as Director and Counsel for the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA), a project of the Muslim Legal Fund of America led by Executive Director Khahil Meek.

The MLFA’s CLCMA project presents itself as dedicated to two primary missions:

    • “Challenging governmental security measures affecting Muslim communities which encroach upon the constitutional liberties guaranteed to all.”
    • “Protecting the rights of Muslim individuals and organizations in the United States to exercise their constitutionally and statutorily protected rights to worship.”
Pictured left to right: “Jihadis in Suits” Nihad Awad, Khalil Meek, Oussama Jammal

In apparent pursuance of these missions, the MLFA continues actively to seek the release from federal prison of defendants in the HLF trial, which concluded in late 2008 with a unanimous guilty verdict on all 108 counts. The MLFA also engages in lawfare, using lawsuits as an offensive means of shutting down opposition to its civilization jihad operations. For example, as noted by the Thomas More Law Center in the 2009 case of Joe KAUFMAN, Appellant, v. ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF ARLINGTON, Texas, Islamic Center of Irving, DFW Islamic Educational Center, Inc., Dar Elsalam Islamic Center, Al Hedayah Islamic Center, Islamic Association of Tarrant County, and Muslim American Society of Dallas, Appellees, No. 2-09-023-CV: “The head of that organization [MLFA], Khalil Meek, admitted on a Muslim radio show that lawsuits were being filed against Kaufman and others to set an example. Indeed, for the last several years, Muslim groups in the U.S. have engaged in the tactic of filing meritless lawsuits to silence any public discussion of Islamic terrorist threats.”

More recently, in response to U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s early March 2017 revised executive order to restrict immigration from six Muslim-majority nations, the MLFA working in conjunction with the USCMO, is referring all Muslims to its “advisory prepared by Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America.” The MLFA may cloak itself in the colors of Star Spangled Shariah as a “constitutional rights organization” but Executive Director Khalil Meek still whines that “We continue to be troubled by this administration’s ongoing attempts to single out Muslims for adverse actions. Such blatant discrimination is a violation of our nation’s constitutional freedoms of speech, expression and religion.”

Finally, it is worth taking note of the following guidance. The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) provides the authoritative juridical backup on Islamic Law (shariah) for the American Muslim community and U.S. Islamic legal organizations such as the MLFA. Addressing the U.S. Muslim community on 28 November 2016, shortly after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, AMJA issued the following bracing statement:

“No one could possibly be unaware of the political storm that has recently overtaken this country…For this reason, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America is addressing the Imams, Islamic workers and the entire Muslim community with permanent values that must be emphasized during this stage as well as a number of principles to be used in dealing with these events, what has happened as well as what is expected to happen…Islam, with respect to its belief and legal foundations, is unalterably fixed. It does not accept any replacement for change. (emphasis added)

While the Center for Security Policy has followed the activities of the USCMO, MLFA and AMJA, the realization of just how closely the Turkish government at the highest level is working in collusion with these Muslim Brotherhood-associated groups to thwart any legal measures that may be directed their way by the new Trump administration and Department of Justice led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions still comes as something of a shock. The U.S. Brotherhood and its international partners were way ahead of the Trump team in foreseeing a possible renewal of legal risk and liability under this new management and began taking steps to confront it. They bring significant financial and legal resources to the fight, plus, as we now see, state-level backing from NATO member Turkey whose pro-HAMAS stance has long been known.

But given that an official organization of the Ankara regime is now operating a large Center (with numerous associated centers and mosques) barely thirteen miles from the U.S. Capitol and working there in collaboration with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood to thwart possible legal actions by the U.S. government is certainly noteworthy. As the international as well as U.S. Muslim Brotherhood gear up for coming confrontations, so must U.S. national security leadership as well.

Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen

March 29, 2017

Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen, American Thinker, Rabbi Aryeh Spero, March 29, 2017

(Please see also, Pope Francis Tells EU Leaders: Populism Is ‘Egotism.’ — DM)

Instead of fighting and becoming angry, we light candles and turn off the lights in tall buildings. We vow to fight a nonspecific theory called “terrorism” instead of protecting our borders from whom and where it is precisely coming. In response to the terrorism in our cities, we call for even more multiculturalism and appeasement. We have become the pitiful we, pathetic, because of Barack Obama’s repeated sermonette of: “That’s not who we are.” Whenever suggestions were made for the urgent need to monitor some of the mosques or the young men most likely to commit future terrorist acts against us, Obama would declare: “That’s not who we are.”

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

The fear and scrambling of citizens in London a few days ago was a humiliating scene, wherein a powerful city and its entire government came to a halt because of one man, an Islamist with an axe and a truck. We have seen similar things happen in other major Western cities. Humiliating the West is one of the primary goals of militant Islam. It is a victory for their deity, as demonstrated by the ubiquitous shouts of “Allahu Akhbar” prior to the terror act, a time-worn declaration of Islamic victory and humiliation of the infidel. The multiculturalists do not see it as a humiliation against us, for the us — an us with an identity — is no longer important or recognized by them. In contrast, those on the other side killing and reshaping us have a confidence and pride in their identity.

Instead of fighting and becoming angry, we light candles and turn off the lights in tall buildings. We vow to fight a nonspecific theory called “terrorism” instead of protecting our borders from whom and where it is precisely coming. In response to the terrorism in our cities, we call for even more multiculturalism and appeasement. We have become the pitiful we, pathetic, because of Barack Obama’s repeated sermonette of: “That’s not who we are.” Whenever suggestions were made for the urgent need to monitor some of the mosques or the young men most likely to commit future terrorist acts against us, Obama would declare: “That’s not who we are.”

When it comes to Islamic terror or shariah imposition, Obama and other globalists preach a type of defenselessness and impotence: something we have to abide. For many liberals, virtue signaling, the epitome of vanity, is more important than saving lives, even the lives of their countrymen.

Heroic people, however, know exactly who they are: They are those who defend their country and families from terrorism, death and injury. People with an identity know who they are and thus fight for it. Transnationalists don’t… and, with sophistry, try to stop others from doing so.

As uber-multiculturalists, these globalist leaders are making a nation’s accommodation to Islam, and the incorporation of Islamic ways and demands, the litmus test of multicultural compliance. Islam is their fast-track tool for transforming Western societies and is being catapulted by them into religious and cultural stardom. It is being romanticized as the new global commonality and outlook, a catchall for all that is right-minded and progressive. By being the new “victim” of Western intolerance and oppression, Islam is automatically elevated and ennobled as something enlightened and most tolerant, especially by those abandoning and running from their Christian ancestry and upbringing and seeking an exotic system in which to pour all their utopian and rebellious yearnings.

Many in the political class demonizing Americanism and nationalism are celebrating transnationalism, which is being pushed today by global multiculturalists. Until now, Western countries retained with pride their distinctive culture and norms, while recognizing and enjoying the varied qualities found in nations different than their own. Transnationalism is radically different. It wishes to denude each Western country of its uniqueness and severely marginalize that segment of the population wishing to preserve and live by the historic values and customs of their country. It is banal uniformity on a global scale, often a consequence of embarrassment and repudiation of anything overtly Christian or Old Testament.

Transnationalism takes power away from a country’s people and imposes laws and norms from above by an almost interchangeable global ruling class which treats its country’s patriots as malcontents and second class, as “unenlightened” citizens entitled to fewer freedoms than anti-nationalists or preferred minorities. The ruling class has more sympathy and identity with the ruling class of other countries than with citizens of their own country. It is cosmopolitanism run riot, so that American liberals, for example, feel a kinship more with Parisians than those from Peoria.

Whereas until very recently, highly patriotic leaders were chosen to lead countries, under the mantle of transnationalism leaders are advanced who downplay and characterize as “extreme” the patriotic members within society. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in America, Angela Merkel in Germany, as well as the Scandinavian and Flemish leaders, the EU and the Hague, are representative of those in an expanding political class and club who see their power deriving from a global multiculturalism that marginalizes conservative voters to ineffective fringes.

These leaders reinforce and aid each other by speaking to voters beyond their own country. They speak of the need of voters elsewhere to elect those candidates who will be part of a globalist order and fraternity upon which rests the “guarantee of peace, harmony, prosperity, and environmental purity”. Transnationalism is the age-old universalist and socialist dystopia come true, just under a new nomenclature. Those opposed are labeled xenophobic; those questioning open borders are labeled racist. No one has a right any longer to an opinion except those issuing leftist, transnational creeds. These accusations, the name calling, are some of the most powerful weapons in the globalist arsenal.

Many making the accusations of xenophobia live in rarified societies and neighborhoods or in high-end and fashionable apartment buildings with security guards and doormen, immune from the consequences of Open Borders, loss of manual jobs, overseas nation-building, and the harmful effects arising from perfunctory background checks and superficial vetting.

It is not American nationalism that warrants our alarm, rather transnationalism and fierce multiculturalism. In the name of faux morality and twisted tolerance it seeks to erase the identity, touchstones, and values that made us who we are. It imperils our future.

What to Remember in Fighting Radical Islam

February 28, 2017

What to Remember in Fighting Radical Islam, Gatestone InstituteSaied Shoaaib, February 28, 2017

Religious reform in Islam did not find support, as it did in the West. What does Trump need to do? There needs to be a stop to any form of cooperation with the varieties of political Islam and certainly the terrorist organizations.

Add to that: Dismantle the ideology that produces Islamic terrorism by supporting the disintegration of the ideology of terrorism through Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic schools, mosques, books, radio stations and television stations. Dry up the external financing and private Saudi and Gulf Islamic institutions in the West. And thus give to the Muslims what is normal in the West. We need to promote other Islamic religious choices, completely out of the ideology of the Islamic terrorist prison, and to encourage being part of the building and development of human civilization rather than the cause of its destruction.

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

In every Muslim-majority country, especially in the Middle East, the Islamic terrorist genie came out from under the ashes, built the Islamic state and threatened the West — both with terrorist operations and from inside, in a more surreptitious, seemingly peaceful manner, as the Muslim Brotherhood does.

It is important to understand that Islam is a religion that includes, in its structure, political power that governs and controls and spreads the force of arms.

US President Donald J. Trump has succeeded in naming a jihadi problem, political Islam, but it is hard to single out defective products from the factory without closing the factory — if one does not want them to appear again.

This does not mean that what Trump intends to do is not important; on the contrary, we need him after most Western politicians faced Islamic terrorism awkwardly, if they faced it at all. Sometimes they even cooperated with these terrorist organizations, invited their members to the White House; to Iftar dinners during Ramadan, and hugging what they falsely call “moderate Islam” — especially the Muslim Brotherhood, the incubator that most terrorist organizations come out of — instead of the true “moderate Muslims” who have been struggling to be heard above the crush of “influence,” infiltration and petro-dollars.

We can say that so far “Trumps’s recipe” for facing radical Islam had been tried before and failed. Dictatorships and military regimes in the Middle East, such as the presidents of Egypt Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak, and now el-Sisi, faced political and radical Islam. Russia did, and Saddam did in Iraq, Gaddafi in Libya, Bourguiba in Tunisia and others.

Perhaps the saddest failure is the Turkish model. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk built a dictatorship-state on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. He decisively confronted all forms of political Islam, and destroyed the military wing of the army that dreamed of restoring that Empire. Atatürk founded a dictatorship guarded by the army’s broad powers, but within a constitutional and legal framework, to deter Islamists who might want to change his modernist structure. It was also meant to stop any move to Islamic rule that might want to change the relatively open and pro-Western ideas of the Kemalist Republic.

Atatürk dominated the religious institutions, and made them work for him; they gave him a legitimate Islamic platform. He wanted Islamic culture to prevail, but under his control.

Unfortunately, this model also failed. Turkey’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prosecuted the leaders of the army with trumped-up testimony; lowered the retirement age of the judiciary to force them out; fired educators, jailed journalists is building his Islamic state step by step.

1920-1Many Western politicians have cooperated with Islamists and Islamist organizations. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

In every Muslim-majority country, especially in the Middle East, the Islamic terrorist genie came out from under the ashes, built an Islamic state and threatened the West — both with terrorist operations and from inside, in a more surreptitious, seemingly peaceful manner, as the Muslim Brotherhood does.

Most of those who fought Islamic terrorism focused their efforts on the hunt for dangerous products from the factory of Islamic ideology, such as Anwar al-Awlaki or Osama bin Laden. This is important, but no one tried to shut down and destroy the factory itself.

Perhaps we remember that the West, in the fight against the ideology of communism, used weapons only rarely. The major part of the fight was against the ideology itself: encouraging and supporting its opponents, and disseminating ideas to counter those the Communists were exporting. There was a focus on the disadvantages of Communist ideology, such as oppression, tyranny and human rights violations. And suddenly the world woke up one day to find the Soviet Empire collapsed from inside.

We need from the West a positive energy to rebuild the civilization after the destructive energy that hollowed it out. And we need to dismantle the prevailing Islamic ideology that produces terrorism.

It is important to understand that Islam is a religion that includes, in its structure, political power that governs and controls and spreads the force of arms. First the Islamic prophet Muhammad published his call peacefully for nearly 13 years in Mecca, when the Quran verses called for tolerance, freedom of belief and other human values. But then Muhammad and some of his companions moved to the city of al-Madina and turned religion into a political authority aiming to expand and defend itself. It entered into a political and military struggle against its opponents within al-Madina and outside, especially with his tribe of Quraish.

At that time, Muhammad established what we might call political Islam. It was based on a new call: that Islam was no longer interested in the relationship between the individual and his God, as well as a good relationship with those around him, whether they agreed with his religious faith or not.

He turned the religion into a ruling political organization, undertaking to control — religiously, politically, socially and economically — Muslims and others. It builds on the culture of the tribe, spreads the force of arms and increases its numbers and the territories governed by them.

It became the religion of loyalty — meaning loyalty to the governor and vice-versa.

This structure continued after the death of Muhammad. Many ruled out of Quraish, the most prominent Turks, Al-Othmanin and the Ottoman Empire that expanded through force of arms to Persia; swept away the Christian Byzantine Empire; conquered by force North Africa, the Middle East, Greece, Spain and Eastern Europe

During this long history was established the Islamic culture that now prevails among the millions of Muslims in all corners of the world. It was founded on the sacred religious texts: the verses of the Quran and hadiths (the Prophet’s biography). Add to this a religious jurisprudence established during this imperial tide that swept the world. All of this, ordinary Muslims imprison inside them, unhappy. Some of them become potential soldiers for terrorist organizations and all varieties of political Islam.

This culture, prevalent in the West, is backed by money from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, especially Qatar, and often backed by money from the West itself — along with many politicians, often opportunistic.

What is the solution? From within. Islamic political power controls the Islamic world, whether military or in an everyday dictatorial form.

Religious reform in Islam did not find support, as it did in the West. What does Trump need to do? There needs to be a stop to any form of cooperation with the varieties of political Islam and certainly the terrorist organizations.

Add to that: Dismantle the ideology that produces Islamic terrorism by supporting the disintegration of the ideology of terrorism through Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic schools, mosques, books, radio stations and television stations. Dry up the external financing and private Saudi and Gulf Islamic institutions in the West. And thus give to the Muslims what is normal in the West. We need to promote other Islamic religious choices, completely out of the ideology of the Islamic terrorist prison, and to encourage being part of the building and development of human civilization rather than the cause of its destruction.