Posted tagged ‘Trump and Islamists’

Trump Should Block Obama Move to Send Stolen Jewish Religious Artifacts to Iraq

September 10, 2017

Trump Should Block Obama Move to Send Stolen Jewish Religious Artifacts to Iraq, The Point (Front Page Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, September 10, 2017

I don’t expect Tillerson to care. Between McMaster at the NSC, Mattis on Defense and Tillerson, foreign policy is under the control of the usual Islam Firsters who are very concerned with Muslim feelings, particularly in the oil states, and very little else. And so the old Obama plan to turn over stolen Jewish religious items to a hostile Islamic regime is moving forward.

But President Trump can and should block the move. It’s the right thing to do. And Jewish activists should make that case.

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The Point has been covering this story for a while. This goes back to 2013.

Iraq in the 40s had 350,000 Jews. Today it has somewhere between four and none.

Despite that the Obama administration plans to send the Jewish Archive consisting of religious artifacts, bibles, marriage contracts, community records and private notebooks seized by the Iraqi Secret Police from the Jewish community back to Iraq.

The material is not the property of the Iraqi government, either Saddam’s regime which stole it, or its Shiite successor which claims to want it, but not the Jews who owned it. It’s the property of Iraqi Jewish refugees and their reconstituted communities in America, Israel and anywhere else.

The personal material, like marriage contracts and school books, should go to the families that owned them and to their descendants. The religious material, which a Muslim country that purged its Jewish and Christian communities has no use for, should go Iraqi Jewish religious communities wherever they are now.

Jewish bibles seized from the custody of the Nazi SS would not be sent to the German government. There is no reason to send Jewish bibles into the custody of the Iraqi government.

Despite that, the State Department has announced that the stolen Jewish property will be sent to the Iranian puppet regime in Baghdad.

The United States will return to Iraq next year a trove of Iraqi Jewish artifacts that lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to keep in this country, a State Department official said.

A four-year extension to keep the Iraqi Jewish Archive in the U.S. is set to expire in September 2018, as is funding for maintaining and transporting the items. The materials will then be sent back to Iraq, spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said in a statement sent to JTA on Thursday.

Rodriguez said the State Department “is keenly aware of the interest in the status” of the archive.

“Maintaining the archive outside of Iraq is possible,” he said, “but would require a new agreement between the Government of Iraq and a temporary host institution or government.”

No, it doesn’t. The archive doesn’t belong to the Iraqi government, but to the Jewish population that was ethnically cleansed from Iraq.

The United States recovered the archive and should have turned it over to the Jewish community. Instead we had a bizarre Kafkaesque process in which the archive was restored to be turned over to the thieves who stole it.

Jewish political leaders have invested a lot of energy into looted art in Europe. And that’s a worthwhile cause. Yet this is a far more compelling issue. The archive contains the history of a Jewish community. It matters far more than a Klimt painting. Sadly, the priorities are those of a secular Ashkenazi leadership that is uninterested in the Iraqi Jewish archive because it’s Sephardi and religious. Meanwhile the American Sephardi Federation’s Ashkenazi boss Jason Guberman-Pfeffer seems far more interested in defending the hateful anti-Israel prejudices of David N. Myers, than in fighting for the archive.

And, another factor was the reluctance of a largely liberal leadership to stand up to Obama.

The archive is set to be exhibited at the Jewish Museum of Maryland Oct. 15-Jan. 15. The exhibit page says the items include a Hebrew Bible with commentaries from 1568, a Babylonian Talmud from 1793 and an 1815 version of the Zohar, a Jewish mystical text.

“There is no justification in sending the Jewish archives back to Iraq, a country that has virtually no Jews and no accessibility to Jewish scholars or the descendants of Iraqi Jews,” Gina Waldman, founder and president of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, said Friday in a statement to JTA. “The U.S. government must ensure that the Iraqi archives are returned to its rightful owners, the exiled Iraqi Jewish community,”

Stanley Urman, executive vice president for Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, echoed Waldman in saying there was no justification for sending back the archive.

“This is Jewish communal property. Iraq stole it and kept it hidden away in a basement. Now that we’ve managed to reclaim it, it would be like returning stolen goods back to the thief,” Urman told JTA on Friday.

It’s exactly like it. Meanwhile here’s the bizarre anti-Semitic justification on the Iraqi side for wanting the archive. Here’s Al Arabiya’s explanation

Experts add that Israel is keen on obtaining the manuscripts in order to prove their claim that the Jews had built the Tower of Babel as part of its attempt to distort the history of the Middle East for its own interests.

Wonderful.

Harold Rhode, who discovered the trove while working as a Defense Department policy analyst assigned to Iraq’s transitional government, said he is “horrified” to think the material would be returned when it had been “stolen by the government of Iraq from the Jewish community.”

“It would be comparable to the U.S. returning to the German government Jewish property that had been looted by the Nazis,” he told The Jewish Week.

It’s exactly like it.

I don’t expect Tillerson to care. Between McMaster at the NSC, Mattis on Defense and Tillerson, foreign policy is under the control of the usual Islam Firsters who are very concerned with Muslim feelings, particularly in the oil states, and very little else. And so the old Obama plan to turn over stolen Jewish religious items to a hostile Islamic regime is moving forward.

But President Trump can and should block the move. It’s the right thing to do. And Jewish activists should make that case.

A Welcome Resignation at DHS

July 31, 2017

A Welcome Resignation at DHS, Power Line,  Paul Mirengoff, July 31, 2017

(Please see also, Break out the champagne: State Department officials quitting over “complete and utter disdain for our expertise.” Another pro-Islam official,  the Director of Countering Violent Extremism, leaves the Department of Homeland Security. — DM)

Selim’s resignation is evidence of a clear and welcome break by the Trump administration from Obama-era policy on countering radical Islam

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I try to write about both the good and the bad of the Trump administration, as I see things.Here’s an important addition to the good column:

George Selim, a prominent Obama administration holdover known for engaging fringe Islamic radicals, has resigned from the Department of Homeland Security. Selim left his post as director of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). . . .

A DHS source familiar with the situation. . .explained that Selim often clashed with Trump administration officials who sought to do away with the past president’s policies. Senior officials effectively quashed Selim’s efforts to maneuver Obama White House policies and strategies into the new administration, leaving a frustrated Selim with resignation as his only option.

I wrote about CVE here, describing it as a slush fund for CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, Jordan Schachtel of Conservative Review notes that Selim admitted to hosting hundreds of meetings with officials from the CAIR, an Islamic advocacy group that federal prosecutors have labeled as a Muslim Brotherhood front group that was created to achieve the ends of Hamas (a U.S.-designated terrorist organization).

The premise of CVE is that the best way to fight violent extremists is with “non violent extremist” Salafi clergy who have the most influence on them. As Daniel Greenfield has said:

What it really comes down to is paying Muslims to argue with other Muslims on social media. And hope that the Muslims we’re paying to do the arguing are the good kind of extremists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and not the bad kind of extremists, like ISIS. Even though they’re both vicious killers.

Greenfield added:

CVE not only doesn’t fight terrorism, it perpetuates the whole reason for it by outsourcing our interaction with domestic Muslims to the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s a big part of how we got a terrorism problem in the first place. CVE’s promoters have convinced us that the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is by partnering with Islamic terrorists.

In reality, the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is not to “parse different flavors of Islam,” as Greenfield put it, but to distinguish between those citizens whose allegiance we have and those whose allegiance we do not have. However, to quote Greenfield again, CVE “rejects the idea that Muslims should be expected to show their allegiance [to the United States] and instead demands that the United States show its allegiance to them.” It thus “inverts the balance of citizenship and invests the United States in an unspoken religious debate.”

One of the consequences of this approach was the watering down the FBI’s counterterrorism training materials, including the elimination of valuable information that would help agents identify terrorists. According to Patrick Poole, this “purge” contributed to clues being missed by the FBI in major terrorism cases, including last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon

Thus, Selim’s resignation is evidence of a clear and welcome break by the Trump administration from Obama-era policy on countering radical Islam.

Trump in Poland: “Our Civilization Will Triumph”

July 7, 2017

Trump in Poland: “Our Civilization Will Triumph”, Front Page MagazineRobert Spencer, July 7, 2017

Trump in Warsaw wasn’t just paying lip service to unattainable ideals, any more than Obama was when he said that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” Obama worked very hard to make sure that would be true, and now his successor is working very hard to ensure that Judeo-Christian civilization survives instead. Americans can be grateful that we do not, for the moment, have (as Trump as said) a President of the world, but a President of the United States.

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Interrupted repeatedly by chants of “Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!” as he was speaking in Poland on Thursday, President Trump delivered a ringing affirmation that he would defend Western civilization: “Just as Poland could not be broken, I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail, our people will thrive, and our civilization will triumph.”

Now, we’re used to Presidents affirming that civilization will triumph. Barack Obama did it, too. Trump’s remarkable innovation here, and sharp departure from the example his predecessor set, is in declaring that Western civilization would triumph. Barack Hussein Obama, by contrast, was famous for declaring the triumph of Islamic civilization, most notably when he told the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2012: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

If the future is not to belong to those who are perceived as slandering the prophet of Islam, Sharia blasphemy laws criminalizing criticism of Islam will have to have been imposed; people aren’t likely to give up criticizing Muhammad voluntarily, especially as jihad terror attacks incited by his teachings become an ever more common feature of life in the West. Thus if the future doesn’t belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam, it will be because the freedom of speech has been extinguished and Islamic values have prevailed: Islamic civilization will have triumphed.

If that was not what Barack Obama wanted, he never gave any indication of it during eight years in the White House. The Democrats constantly pointed to his killings of bin Laden and al-Awlaki as indication that he was tough on terrorism, but amid foreign and domestic policies indefatigably supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and its auxiliaries in the United States, unstinting opposition to the freedom of speech regarding criticism of Islam, and an appalling deal that gave aid and comfort to the Islamic Republic of Iran, those killings only made clear that while Obama evidently opposed violent jihad, he had no serious objection to other methods of Sharia imposition and Islamization.

In Warsaw Thursday, Trump offered a radically different vision. “We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism,” he declared. “And we will prevail. We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.”

We cannot accept those who reject our values.” After eight years of Obama acting as if the freedom of speech and the right to bear arms were burdens to be cast off rather than rights to be defended, this is an extraordinary statement. It is also one of the reasons why Trump’s notorious “travel ban” contains a little-noted directive that is clearly designed to preserve American values. The March 6 executive order states:

To be more transparent with the American people and to implement more effectively policies and practices that serve the national interest, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall, consistent with applicable law and national security, collect and make publicly available the following information:…information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including so-called “honor killings,” in the United States by foreign nationals.

Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (Reliance of the Traveller o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. In this case the victim was the murderer’s daughter, a victim to the culture of violence and intimidation that such laws help create.

The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’” And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”

Until the encouragement Islamic law gives to honor killing is acknowledged and confronted, more women will suffer. President Trump is trying to keep women from suffering in this way in the United States.

That element of the executive order is the kind of thing that is involved in ensuring that “our civilization will triumph”: stopping the encroachment of Sharia values in the United States. Trump in Warsaw wasn’t just paying lip service to unattainable ideals, any more than Obama was when he said that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” Obama worked very hard to make sure that would be true, and now his successor is working very hard to ensure that Judeo-Christian civilization survives instead. Americans can be grateful that we do not, for the moment, have (as Trump as said) a President of the world, but a President of the United States.

Trump’s Warsaw Speech Evoked Reagan’s Cold War Rhetoric, Not The Alt-Right’s

July 7, 2017

Trump’s Warsaw Speech Evoked Reagan’s Cold War Rhetoric, Not The Alt-Right’s, The Federalist, July 7, 2017

President Trump gave a stirring defense of western civilization on Thursday morning in Warsaw ahead of the G-20 summit in Germany. In a remarkably candid speech about the threats facing the West, Trump praised Poland for resisting communist and Nazi efforts “to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity—indeed the very essence of your culture and your humanity.”

Speaking at Krasinski Square in front of the iconic Warsaw Uprising monument marking Poland’s 1944 resistance to Nazi occupation, Trump proclaimed, somewhat dramatically, “Just as Poland could not be broken, I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail, our people will thrive, and our civilization will triumph.”

The world hasn’t heard such language from a U.S. president since Ronald Reagan inveighed against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. But apparently it’s racist and fascist these days to talk about resisting tyranny and defending western values—or even to talk about western civilization as such. The Guardian worried about Trump’s use of the word “civilization,” noting that he used it ten times, and claiming the speech “pits western world against barbarians at the gates” and calls for “a clash of civilisations.”

Vox blurted out the headline, “Trump’s speech in Poland sounded like an alt-right manifesto,” calling it “a speech that often resorted to rhetorical conceits typically used by the European and American alt-right. It sounded, at times, not just like the populists of the present but the populists of the past.” The New Republic’s Jeet Heer tweeted that Trump’s speech, “is evidence of how alt right still has a voice in White House” and later posted a commentary saying it “redefined the West in nativist terms.”

Even The Atlantic‘s James Fallows compared Trump’s rhetoric to the Nazi propaganda film, “Triumph of the Will,” saying Trump “represents our country as just another tribe.”

JFK Also Praised Poland’s History and Culture

These reactions belie a worldview that rejects entirely the very idea of “western civilization,” and insists that appeals to Enlightenment principles and cultural cohesion are inherently racist and fascist. And there’s a reason for that. As my colleague David Harsanyi noted, “many of the same people who believe Western values are alt-right dog-whistles want you to adopt a new set of values that have nothing to do with the founding principles and everything to do with their policy preferences.”

But Trump was espousing what used to be considered a fairly standard understanding of western values. “We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression,” he said. “We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives… And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom.”

Progressives today reject almost all of this—not because Trump is invoking the rhetoric of the alt-right, but because they have moved so far to the left. In fact, far from echoing the blood-and-soil language of the alt-right, Trump’s rhetoric here sounds a lot like the rhetoric deployed in speeches about Poland by Reagan or John F. Kennedy during the Cold War.

Back then, Poland was under communist control, its government a puppet of the Soviet Union and its people prisoners of a tyrannical regime. In a 1960 speech to the Polish-American Congress, then-senator Kennedy recalled his time in Poland in 1939, and Poland’s history fighting the Nazis during World War Two: “After the war, I visited the Polish cemetery in Italy. Some of you who have been there may recall that at the cemetery are written the words, ‘These Polish soldiers for your freedom and theirs have given their bodies to the soil of Italy, their hearts to Poland, and their souls to God.’”

He went on to address the oppression of Poland by the Soviet Union, saying, “we must never… recognize the Soviet domination of eastern Europe as permanent. We must never do it. Poland’s claim to independence and liberty is not based on sentiment or politics. It is rooted in history, and it is to history that we must address ourselves.”

Kennedy called not only for a defensive military buildup so that the Russians would know “that the route of military force can no longer be open to them,” but also for increasing cultural ties to Poland, saying the United States must “strive to restore the traditional identification which Poland has had with the Western European community, which goes back into history. It is tied by culture ties. Poland has always looked to the West, never to the East.” The Polish people, he said, “have not accepted the idea that their culture, their religious heritage, their traditions, can be destroyed by domination by a foreign power.”

Reagan Invoked God, Heritage, and History

Two decades later, Poland was still under communist rule, its government still a puppet of the Soviet Union, but things had begun to change. When Reagan took office in 1981, the Solidarity movement in Poland was building steam. Led by future Polish president Lech Wałęsa and supported by members of the Catholic Church and the anti-Soviet left, Solidarity organized as a free trade union in opposition to communist rule.

By the end of 1981, Poland’s authoritarian government would declare martial law in an effort to crush Solidarity. Reagan gave a speech on December 23 addressing the situation, and praised the Polish people for showing their resistance by placing lit candles in their windows. He said the exiled former Polish ambassador, Romuald Spasowski, had requested that on Christmas Eve a lighted candle burn in the White House window as a “small but certain beacon of our solidarity with the Polish people,” and urged all Americans to do the same that Christmas Eve, invoking God, heritage, and history:

Once, earlier in this century, an evil influence threatened that the lights were going out all over the world. Let the light of millions of candles in American homes give notice that the light of freedom is not going to be extinguished. We are blessed with a freedom and abundance denied to so many. Let those candles remind us that these blessings bring with them a solid obligation, an obligation to the God who guides us, an obligation to the heritage of liberty and dignity handed down to us by our forefathers and an obligation to the children of the world, whose future will be shaped by the way we live our lives today.

Six months later, in his famous Westminster speech to members of the British Parliament, Reagan cast the Soviet Union in the same stark terms that Trump today reserves for ISIS and North Korea. He warned of “totalitarian forces in the world who seek subversion and conflict around the globe to further their barbarous assault on the human spirit. What, then, is our course? Must civilization perish in a hail of fiery atoms? Must freedom wither in a quiet, deadening accommodation with totalitarian evil?”

Reagan’s answer was an emphatic “no.” He again spoke of about Poland’s role in western civilization and its cultural lineage, saying, “Poland is at the center of European civilization. It has contributed mightily to that civilization. It is doing so today by being magnificently unreconciled to oppression.”

He closed that speech with language that would surely scandalize the progressives at Vox and The New Republic, calling the contest against totalitarianism “a crusade for freedom that will engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation. For the sake of peace and justice, let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to determine their own destiny.”

Europe’s Political Elites Are a Threat to The West

Trump’s Warsaw speech should be understood in this historical context. The president rightly sees the contest between radical Islamic terrorism and the West as a contest between totalitarianism and freedom. He also rightly sees the growing tension between the European Union and the citizenry of European nations as a contest between authoritarian bureaucracy and representative, limited government. His remarks Thursday were aimed at ISIS, but also at a European elite that doesn’t have the inclination or will to defend its borders or cultural heritage.

That’s why Trump said: “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”

Trump isn’t just referring to ISIS when he alludes to those who would destroy western civilization. He’s also pointing to European political elites who undermine their own societies by cultural relativism and its resulting slavish and destructive adherence to open borders and mass migration.

Reagan and JFK understood that communism sought ultimately to destroy western civilization and replace it with something else. That’s why they often spoke of civilization and cultural heritage during the Cold War. Trump is saying something similar about the political elites who now rule Europe, and he’s not wrong. That mainstream media outlets like Vox and The Atlantic are scandalized by this is evidence not of Trump’s radicalism, but of their own.

John is a senior correspondent for The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.

Hugh Fitzgerald: No Room at the Inn for an Iftar Dinner

June 26, 2017

Hugh Fitzgerald: No Room at the Inn for an Iftar Dinner, Jihad Watch

The Washington Post has reported — drop a ready tear — that there will be no Iftar Dinner this year in the White House:

For the first time in nearly two decades, Ramadan has come and gone without the White House recognizing it with an iftar or Eid celebration, as had taken place each year under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

And the article by Amy Wang attempts to suggest that the “tradition” of the Iftar Dinner goes all the way back to Thomas Jefferson who, as is well known, was asked by a visiting Muslim envoy of the Bey of Tunis, one Sidi Soliman Mellimelli,  to postpone the dinner to which Jefferson had invited him, along with others, until after sundown, which Jefferson, as a matter of courtesy, did.

The Post continues:

Jefferson’s decision to change the time of the meal to accommodate Mellimelli’s [the envoy from the Bey of Tunis] observance of Ramadan has been seized on by both sides in the 21st-century debate over Islam more than 200 years later. Historians have cited the meal as the first time an iftar took place in the White House — and it has been referenced in recent White House celebrations of Ramadan as an embodiment of the Founding Father’s respect for religious freedom. Meanwhile, critics on the far right have taken issue with the characterization of Jefferson’s Dec. 9, 1805, dinner as an iftar.

Notice how in the Post article it is “historians” (disinterested, authoritative, not to be doubted) who cite that 1805 meal as the first Iftar dinner in the White House,  while those who deny that the meal was an “Iftar dinner” are described as being on the “far right,” apparently for no other reason than that very denial.

What actually happened is clear for those without an insensate need to make Islam, as Barack Obama has repeatedly  claimed it was, “always part of America’s story.” And you can be as left-wing as all get out, and still recognize that Jefferson was not putting on an Iftar dinner. A little history will help:  Mellimelli came to Washington as the envoy of the Bey of Tunis. The Americans had blockaded the port of Tunis, in order to force the Bey to halt his attacks on American shipping. Mellimelli was sent to make an agreement that would end the blockade. Invited by Jefferson to a dinner at the White House set for 3:30 (dinners were earlier in those pre-Edison days of our existence), he requested that it be held after sundown, in accordance with his Muslim practice, and Jefferson, a courteous man, obliged him. There is no hint that the dinner had changed in any way; no one then called it, or thought of it, as an “Iftar dinner.” Mellimelli himself did not describe it as an “Iftar dinner.” There is no record of it being anything other than the exact same dinner, the same menu, with wine (no removal of alcohol as would be necessary were it a real Iftar dinner), the only change being that of the three-hour delay until sunset. Nothing Jefferson said or did at the time, or in his later writings,  indicates that he thought of that delayed dinner as an “Iftar dinner”; nor did he think he was in any way honoring Islam.

In fact, Jefferson had a very dim view of Islam, which came out of his experience in dealing with the Barbary Pirates, that is, the North African Muslims (in Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli), who attacked Christian shipping and seized ships and Christian sailors, and then demanded ransom. The sums were not trivial; the American Republic found itself spending 20% of its national budget on such payments. These continued until Jefferson became President, stopped the practice of paying such tribute, and instead made war on the Barbary Pirates. And that worked.

In 1786, years before he became president, Jefferson, along with John Adams, met with the Tripolitanian envoy Sidi Haji Abdrahaman in London.  Perhaps by then Jefferson had read the Qur’an he had purchased in 1765 out of curiosity (no one knows how much of that Qur’an Jefferson  may have read, or when, though some Muslim apologists have baselessly claimed he must have bought his Qur’an out of sympathetic interest in Islam.) If he did read it,  it would have helped him to understand the motivations of the North African Muslims. Certainly by the time he became President in 1801, he was determined not to negotiate with the Barbary Pirates, but to implacably oppose with force these Muslims whom, he knew from his encounter with Abdrahaman in London, were permanently hostile to all non-Muslims.

In London, Jefferson and Adams had queried the Tripolitanian ambassador “concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury” for the Americans had done nothing to deserve being attacked, and the ambassador replied, as Jefferson reported:

“It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise.”

And later, Jefferson reported to Secretary of State John Jay and to Congress at greater length, with a nearly identical quote from the ambassador:

“The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

These reports do not sound as if they came from someone who thought well of Islam. The more dealings Jefferson had with the representatives of the Barbary states, and the more he learned from them directly of the tenets of the faith, the more he began to understand the aggressive nature of Islam, the centrality of Jihad, the inculcation of permanent hostility toward non-Muslims, and the heavenly reward for Jihadis slain in battle.

The Iftar dinner “tradition” begins not with Jefferson in 1805, and that three-hour delay in a meal that was otherwise unchanged, but with our latter-day interfaith outreach presidents — Clinton, Bush, Obama — each of whom, in his own way, has managed to ignore or misinterpret the texts and teachings of Islam.

That “tradition” of Iftar dinners in the White House is less than 20 years old, as compared with the other “tradition,” ten times as long, that is, the 200 years of Iftar-less presidencies. That short-lived “tradition”  has been ended, for now, by an administration that, for all of its self-inflicted wounds and woes in other areas, continues to exhibit a better sense of what Islam, foreign and domestic, is all about, than its predecessors, and has no desire to obliquely honor it.

The interfaith outreach farce that the Iftar Dinner at the White House embodies, honoring Islam — while, all over the world, every day brings fresh news of Muslim atrocities against non-Muslims, more than 30,000 such attacks since 9/11/2001 alone, not to mention attacks as well  against other Muslims deemed either of the wrong sect, or insufficient in the fervor of their faith — now comes to an end, if only for four years. That is certainly what Jefferson (and John Adams, and that most profound presidential student of Islam, John Quincy Adams), if not The Washington Post, would have wanted.

And since John Quincy Adams has been mentioned, why doesn’t The Washington Post take it upon itself to share with its readers what that most scholarly of our presidents wrote about Islam. It does not date. And it might prove most instructive.

DHS John Kelly Defunds, Disinvites Islamic Groups Favored By Barack Obama

June 25, 2017

DHS John Kelly Defunds, Disinvites Islamic Groups Favored By Barack Obama, BreitbartNeil Munro, June 25, 2017

(Please see also DHS Denies Grant to Islamic Radicalization Enabler MPAC. Several more Islamist organizations defunded. — DM)

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Administration officials have eliminated 2016 plans to fund Islamic groups allied to former President Barack Obama, and declined to schedule a 2017 Islamic ‘Iftar’ dinner where those groups were able to show their political influence to the ambassadors of wealthy Islamic countries.

The turnaround was made public on Friday when the Department of Homeland Security announced a revised list of the organizations which are getting DHS funds to help prevent young Muslims from becoming jihadis. The new list replaced an Obama list announced January 13, 2017, and it dropped a $800,000 grant for an Islamic seminary in Los Angeles, and a $393,000 grant for a linked organization, the Muslim Public Affairs Council Foundation.

The foundation is a spin-off of the D.C.-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, whose leaders were frequent advisors to Obama and his deputies, where they lobbied for a national strategy of letting semi-segregated Islamic political communities and groups — but not the FBI — play the leading role in combating Islamic terrorism.

Kelly explained his new pro-integration strategy in a June 22 event held in Congress, where he acknowledged that Islamic terrorists are acting for sincere religious reasons, saying:

They are out there doing what they think is their religion and think [it is] what they are supposed to be doing … What I’ve elected to do is take what little money I have in this regard and give it to what I consider to be the time-proven things — law enforcement from an outreach point of view and communities developing relationships … so that there’s an open line of communication so they know if they see this [advocacy or preparation for violence] happening in the home or they see it happening — that is to say, the move towards radicalism — or they see it happening in the churches or mosques, they know to call someone before that person typically crosses the line.

The departments June 23 statement emphasized that funding will be given to groups that cooperate with law enforcement:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will award 26 grants — totaling $10 million for two years of programming — to organizations that will work to improve the security of our communities and prevent terrorism. Grantees were selected in part because of their potential to support law enforcement and other frontline defenders, to demonstrate programmatic effectiveness, and to use taxpayer resources efficiently to create independently sustainable programs. Grants were approved for local law enforcement agencies, state and local government agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations.

Kelly’s new funding list eliminated grants to several additional organizations, including $400,000 for Life After Hate Inc., $499,998 for the Somali-focused Ka Joog organization in Minneapolis, $40,000 for the Muslim American Leadership Alliance, and $396,585 for Unity Productions Foundation, whose lawyer in Mazen Asbahi.

In turn, Kelly shifted the money to the Global Peace Foundation in New Jersey, and to Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Minneapolis, and the Heartland Democracy Center in Minneapolis, where many local Somalis have preserved strong ties to Islamic armed groups in their homeland.

The funding cut-off came one day before the final day of the 2017 Ramadan season. In prior years, Obama invited Muslim ambassadors and U.S.-based Muslim allies to share a fast-breaking “Iftar dinner” at the White House. At Obama’s final 2016 Iftar, the attendees chanted “Four More Years!”

Trump’s officials did not explain why President Donald Trump choose to not hold an annual Iftar dinner this year.

One likely reason is that many Arab Muslim countries are bitterly divided against each other. For example, Saudi Arabia is threatening the neighboring countries of Quater, is waging war in neighboring Yemen, and is in a cold war with Iraq and Iran. Those divides between Islamic countries created a diplomatic headache for officials trying to decide cost costs and benefits of inviting the ambassador from each country for the Iftar dinner.

A second likely reason is that officials did not want to invite some of the Islamic advocates who worked with Obama’s deputies. For examples, the invitees to Obama’s Iftar dinners included the president of MPAC, Salam Al-Marayati, whose grant was cut June 23.

Another frequent Obama guest was Mohamed Magid, a Sudanese cleric who heads the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in Northern Virginia. Magid is a former president of the Islamic Society of North America and was invited to shape anti-terrorism policy at the FBI and DHS. Both Al-Marayati and Magid have pushed so many Islamist claims that Obama’s deputies even tried to conceal their presence at the 2011 Iftar dinner.

During his eight years in office, Obama never invited Islamic reformers, such as Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a pro-Western Muslim group, to his Iftar dinners.

In response to Kelly’s shut-out from the grants, MPAC issued a protest in which it frankly admitted that it seeks to exclude the FBI from Islamic societies in the United States, such as mosques and affiliated community centers, or neighborhoods with a large Islamic population:

The notification letter we received today explained that upon further review, MPAC was excluded [from the grants] because we did not meet the criteria of working with law enforcement to counter violent extremism. This is true. Our position on this issue has consistently centered on community-led initiatives that improve mental health resources, access to counseling, and a host of other social services without [MPAC’s emphasis] the involvement or spectre of law enforcement.

While we have developed working relationships with law enforcement agencies in the past to improve officer training and the reporting of hate crimes, we have never conflated this work with community responses to issues of vulnerability and alienation. To do so would fundamentally compromise our ability to provide safe and nurturing spaces. Our grant application embodied those core principles, and its ultimate rejection by the Trump administration clearly demonstrates a dramatic and worrying change in approach…

The Trump Administration’s mishandling of the grant process underscores two fundamental flaws in its CVE [Countering VIolent Extremism] policy: it focuses on criminal investigations in a non-criminal space ….  The exclusion of groups like MPAC point to a DHS that is ineffective in coordinating with communities and unconstitutional in its treatment of a religious minority. MPAC will continue challenging the trajectory of the Trump administration’s efforts in this space by advocating for a holistic approach that empowers rather than sidelines communities, focuses on all forms of violent threats, and fosters a climate of trust over fear. We are considering all legal options in light of these changes.

The MPAC strategy of excluding law-enforcement from Muslim civic groups reflects a broader effort by Islamic advocates to create and expand segregated Islamic neighborhoods throughout the United States, each of which is to be ruled by Islamic laws, in partial cooperation with federal and state law enforcement.

In 2005, for example, just four years after the 9/11 atrocity by 19 militant Islamists, Al-Maryati called for excluding law-enforcement from still-small Muslim communities. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, he told a meeting of the Islamic Society of North America that:

Counter-terrorism and counter-violence should be defined by us … We should define how an effective counter-terrorism policy should be pursued in this country. So, No. 1, we reject any effort, notion, and suggestion that Muslims should start spying on one another. Everywhere I go either somebody tells me that officials have met with them publicly or they tell me that they know who those folks are that are representing law enforcement. So we know they have communicated one way or the other with the Muslim community… The question is how do you deal with it in a healthy, open, transparent manner? That is why we are saying have them come in community forums, in open-dialogues, so they come through the front door and you prevent them having to come from the back door.

MPAC also has close ties to another defunded group, the “Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School,” an Islamic seminary whose president is named Jihad Turk. In February, the group announced it would decline funding from Trump’s DHS, although Obama’s DHS planned to award it $800,000.

This award was based on a proposal submitted in the summer of 2016 by Bayan Claremont, operating as a division of the Claremont School of Theology (CST), for a two-year project entitled “Flourishing Communities.” This project sought to elevate the capacity of non-profits and community organizations working to improve interreligious cooperation, civic engagement, and social justice. We will continue to pursue these goals with the support of our community and those who stand with us in solidarity.

The self-policing strategy favored by Al-Marayati and others was partly embraced in the Obama administration”s “Countering Violent Extremism” policy.

The policy refused to identify Islamic doctrines as the cause of Islamic attacks, and also tried to treat Islamic attacks as generic “violent extremism,” and also similar to violence by small-government groups, by ‘Nazi’ National Socialists, or by anti-abortion advocates. “Any approach that would single them [Islamic beleivers] out or target [Islamic adherents] for discrimination is not only wrong and un-American, but it would also be counter-productive because it would reduce the strength—the antibodies we have to resist terrorism,” Obama claimed in March 2016.

Obama’s deputies, including Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson, also gave a leading role to MPAC and its leaders, including Al-Maryati.

After Obama’s departure, MPAC hired one of Obama’s policy aides, Zaki Barzinji. According to MPAC, Barzinji was “Senior Associate Director of Public Engagement and President Obama’s Liaison to Muslim-Americans… he was responsible for significantly deepening engagement and representation of Muslim communities across the country.”

Obama hired other members of Islamic groups to serve at the DHS. For example, Kareem Shora was appointed to be the director of the Community Engagement Section at DHS, even though he had worked at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. In a 2010 speech, for example, Shora said “We were not attacked by a faith [on 9/11]. We were attacked by violent extremists who were hijacking a faith … I felt, as a Muslim American, that I was attacked twice on 9/11 … those people attacked my own religion. They warped what the religion is all about, and so it is actually a very serious issue for me personally.”

Shora also used his speech to boast of his continued advocacy for Islamic groups: “Three years ago I had my name on [AADC] lawsuits against DHS, now I’m here speaking on behalf of DHS. I haven’t changed – the same exact points I made against special registration [of Muslim migrants] in 2007,  I’m making internally in DHS in 2010.”

Shora’s LinkedIn page says he still holds the DHS job.

Shora’s hiring also shows how Obama sought to absorb immigrant Islamic believers into the Democrats’ “diversity coalition.”

However, Obama’s CVE strategy failed to win much support among the media-magnified Islamic advocates, religious leaders, and political groups, who wanted even greater self-segregation and autonomy from the nation’s laws, plus more U.S. pressure on Israel. The lack of support for law enforcement coincided with the violent emergence of long-planned attacks by Muslims in San Bernardino and at the Orlando nightclub.

The legitimacy and credibility of many groups that claim to speak for Muslims in America are unclear. Many immigrants and Americans who are born into Muslim families ignore the tenets of Islam, and also ignore the well-funded political groups that are described as their representatives by Democrats and the media.

A 2011 Pew report, for example, showed that 48 percent of Muslims in America said that Islamic political groups had not done enough to condemn Islamic terrorism — while only 34 percent say the groups have done as much as they should.

A 2011 survey by Gallup reported that only 5.5 percent of Muslims in America felt they were best represented by the Islamic Society of North America. That survey also reported that only 28 percent of Muslims in America thought the Islamic groups were sufficiently vocal against terrorism.

Moreover, U.S. government’s don’t delegate law-enforcement roles to groups that define themselves by ethnic affiliations or religious tenets, such as Italian men’s clubs or the Catholic Church. Instead, people deal with government through their elected local, state and federal legislators, and through judges, but not via panels of religious leaders and agency officials.

U.S.: Strategic Objectives in the Middle East

June 22, 2017

U.S.: Strategic Objectives in the Middle East, Gatestone InstitutePeter Huessy, June 22, 2017

On relations with the Palestinian Authority, the administration has moved to improve matters but has not moved to advocate a two-state solution — for which there is no contemplated security framework sufficient to protect Israel.

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The new “test” of our alliance will be whether the assembled nations will join in removing the hateful parts of such a doctrine from their communities.

What still has to be considered is the U.S. approach to stopping Iran from filling the vacuum created by ridding the region of the Islamic State (ISIS), as well as Iran’s push for extending its path straight through to the Mediterranean.

The tectonic plates in the Middle East have shifted markedly with President Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and his announced new regional policy.

The trip represented the beginning of a major but necessary shift in US security policy.

For much of the last nearly half-century, American Middle East policy has been centered on the “peace process” and how to bring Israel and the Palestinians to agreement on a “two-state” solution for two peoples — a phrase that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to say.

First was shuttle diplomacy during 1973-74 in the Nixon administration; then second, in 1978, the Camp David agreement and the recognition of Israel by Egypt, made palatable by $7 billion in new annual US assistance to the two nations; third, the anti-Hizballah doctrine, recently accurately described by National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster, as Iran, since 1983, started spreading its terror to Lebanon and elsewhere in the region. This last effort was often excused by many American and European analysts as a result somehow, of supposed American bad faith. Fourth, came the birth, in 1992, of the “Oslo Accords” where some Israelis and Palestinians imagined that a two-state solution was just another round of negotiations away.

Ironically, during the decade after Oslo, little peace was achieved; instead, terror expanded dramatically. The Palestinians launched three wars, “Intifadas,” against Israel; Al Qaeda launched its terror attacks on U.S. Embassies in Africa; and Iran, Hizballah, and Al Qaeda together carried out the forerunner attacks against America of 9/11/2001.

Since 9/11, despite wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism has not only failed to recede; on the contrary, it has expanded. Iran has become the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism, and the Islamic State (ISIS) has tried to establish a transnational “Islamic caliphate.” Literally tens of thousands of terror attacks have been carried out since 9/11 by those claiming an Islamic duty to do so. These assaults on Western civilization have taken place on bridges, cafes, night clubs, offices, military recruitment centers, theaters, markets, and sporting events — not only across the West but also in countries where Muslims have often been the primary victims.

Particularly condemnable have been the improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, perpetrated to a great extent by Iran, according to U.S. military testimony before Congress.

All the while, we in the West keep trying to convince ourselves that, as a former American president thought, if there were a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, most of the terrorist attacks we see in Europe and the United States “would disappear.”

No matter how hard we may rhetorically push the “peace process”, there is no arc of history that bends naturally in that direction. Rather, nations such as the United States together with its allies must create those alliances best able to meet the challenges to peace and especially defeat the totalitarian elements at the core of Islamist ideology.

If anything, the so-called Middle East “peace process” has undercut chances of achieving a sound U.S. security policy. While the search for a solution to the Israel-Palestinian “problem” dominated American thinking about Middle East peace for so many decades, other far more serious threats materialized but were often ignored, not the least of which was the rise of Iran as the world’s most aggressive terrorist.

The United States has now moved in a markedly more promising and thoughtful direction.

The new American administration has put together an emerging coalition of nations led by the United States that seeks five objectives:

(1) the defeat of Islamic State;

(2) the formation of a coalition of the major Arab nations, especially Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to clean up in their own back yards financing terrorism and providing terrorists with sanctuary. As Elliott Abrams, an adviser to former U.S. President George W. Bush, cautions us, however, this will not be an easy effort: “Partnerships with repressive regimes may in some cases exacerbate rather than solve the problem for us” but, Abrams says, “gradual reform is exactly the right approach…”;

3) “driving out” sharia-inspired violence and human rights abuses from the region’s mosques and madrassas;

(4) a joint partnership with Israel as part of an emerging anti-Iran coalition — without letting relations with the Palestinian authority derail United States and Israeli security interests; and

(5) the adoption of a strategy directly to challenge Iran’s quest for regional and Islamic hegemony, while ending its role in terrorism.

Defeating Islamic State

Defeating ISIS began with an accelerated military campaign and a new American-led strategy to destroy the organization rather than to seek its containment. According to the new U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, “Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia. We’re going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis. (Dept. of Defense/Brigitte N. Brantley)

So far, the United States coalition has driven ISIS from 55,000 square kilometers of territory in Iraq and Syria.

A New Coalition

Apart from a strategy to counter ISIS, the Trump administration also called on our allies in the Middle East to put together a new joint multi-state effort to stop financing terrorism. Leading the multi-state effort will be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States, which together will supposedly open a new center dedicated to the elimination of terrorist financing. Positive results are not guaranteed, but it is a step in the right direction.

According to Abdul Hadi Habtoor, the center will exchange information about financing networks, adopt means to cut off funding from terrorist groups, and hopefully blacklist Iran’s jihadist army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). These measures in turn will help eliminate the sanctuaries from which terrorists plot and plan.

This move also places emphasis on the responsibility of states to eliminate terrorism. As President Trump said, each country — where it is sovereign — has to “carry the weight of their own self-defense“, be “pro-active” and responsible for “eradicating terrorism”, and “to deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil”.

This determination was underscored by many Arab countries breaking diplomatic relations with Qatar for its support of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS. Most of Qatar’s Arab neighbors, including the Saudis, Egypt, and the UAE did so, while the US, although denouncing Qatar’s support of terrorism, continues to maintain access to, and use of, its critical military base there.

In short, the U.S. is playing good-cop, bad-cop in the region, while U.S. allies are putting together what Josh Rogin of the Washington Post described as “a regional security architecture encompassing countries on the periphery of Iran.”

Such an approach is not without risk: Turkey, allied with Iran and Qatar, has already has pledged to help Qatar defy the Gulf States’ trade cut-off. If Turkey, for example, seeks to move its promised aid shipments to Qatar through the Suez Canal, the ships could possibly be blocked by Egypt or attacked on the high seas. Does the U.S. then come to the assistance of a NATO member — Turkey — against an ally in the strategic coalition?

Drive Hateful Ideology Out

A companion challenge by the new American President underscored this new security effort. President Trump said to the assembled nations of the Islamic conference that they have to expel the ugly Islamist ideology from the mosques and madrassas that recruit terrorists and justify their actions.

Trump said: “Drive them out of your places of worship”. Such words had never been spoken so clearly by an American president, especially to the collection of nearly all the Islamic-majority countries (minus the Shi’ite bloc) gathered together.

The president’s audience doubtless understood that he was speaking of the doctrine of sharia (Islamic law). The new “test” of our alliance will be whether the assembled nations will join in removing the hateful parts of the doctrine from their communities. It was a sharp but critical departure from the previous American administration’s message in Cairo in 2009, and placed the Islamic doctrine that seeks to establish the sharia throughout the world in a contained context.

New Israeli Partnership

With Israel, the administration has cemented the next part of its strategy. Here the Trump administration successfully improved our political and military relations with Israel. Markedly so. One part of that effort was enhanced missile-defense cooperation called for in the FY18 United States defense budget, specifically to deal with Iranian and Iranian-allied missile threats.

On relations with the Palestinian Authority, the administration has moved to improve matters but has not moved to advocate a two-state solution — for which there is no contemplated security framework sufficient to protect Israel.

Challenge and Roll Back Iran

The final part of the administration’s strategy starts with a thorough review of our Iran strategy and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or “nuclear deal”, with Iran. As Max Singer recently wrote, even if we discount what secretive nuclear capability Iran may now have, the Iranian regime will at the very least be much closer to producing nuclear weapons down the road than when the JCPOA was agreed to.

As Ambassador John Bolton has warned the nuclear deal with Iran did nothing to restrain Iranian harmful behavior: “Defiant missile launches… support for the genocidal Assad regime… backing of then Houthi insurgency in Yemen… worldwide support for terrorism… and commitment to the annihilation of Israel” continue.

In addition, uranium enrichment, heavy water production, the concealed military dimensions of warhead development and joint missile and nuclear work with North Korea all lend a critical urgency to countering Iran’s lethal efforts. The United States did not make these counter-efforts any easier by providing to Tehran $100 billion in escrowed Iranian funds, equivalent to nearly one quarter of the Islamic Republic’s annual GDP.

The United States’ and Europe’s easing of sanctions on Iran has helped reintegrate Iran into global markets via mechanisms such as the electronic payment system run by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT). That, in turn, has helped Iran expand dramatically its military modernization budget by 33%, including deals worth tens of billions of dollars in military hardware with China and Russia.

Added to that is Iranian financial- and weapons-support for foreign fighters in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan. Iran’s significant support to the Houthi rebels in Yemen includes weaponry, financing and logistical support, including advanced offensive missiles. The Houthis regularly attempt to carry out missile attacks against Saudi oil facilities.

Such Iran activity is described by the Commander of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, as “the most significant threat to the Central Region and to our national interests and the interest of our partners and allies”.

As such, it can only be challenged through exactly the kind of military, political, and economic coalition the Trump administration is seeking to band together, which would include the Gulf Arab nations, especially Saudi Arabia, as well as Egypt, Jordan, and Israel.

The administration’s five-step strategy has a chance to work. It creates a policy to destroy ISIS; oppose Islamic terrorism and specifically the imposition of sharia; adopt measures to go after the financing of such terrorism; implement improvements in Gulf allies’ military capabilities — including missile defenses — parallel with pushing NATO members to meet their military spending obligations; put back into place a sound and cooperative relationship with Israel; and specifically contain and roll back Iranian hegemonic ambitions and its terror-master ways.

What still has to be considered, however, is the U.S. approach to stopping Iran from filling the vacuum created by ridding the region of ISIS, as well as Iran’s push for extending its path straight through to the Mediterranean.

If successful, some modicum of peace may be brought to the Middle East. And the arc of history will have finally been shaped toward America’s interests and those of its allies, rather than — however inadvertently — toward its mortal enemies.

Dr. Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis, a defense consulting firm he founded in 1981, and was the senior defense consultant at the National Defense University Foundation for more than 20 years.