Saturday, June 11, 2005

Arab Criticism of Muslim Extremist Activities in the West

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD92105

Extremist Muslims in Western countries have come under increasing criticism by moderate Muslims who are familiar with the West through living in America or Europe, either temporarily or permanently. In three recently published articles, Arab academic and intellectuals harshly criticized their extremist activities.

In his article on the reformist website www.elaph.com, Dr. Ahmad Abu Matar, a Palestinian academic residing in Oslo, stated that Muslims in Europe foster conflict instead of coexistence. Muslims in Europe, he explained, are influenced by an extremist fundamentalist brand of Islam  and moderate Muslims are not speaking out adequately against this activity.

In the UAE daily Al-Itihad, Saudi journalist Turki Al-Dakhil, whose popular interview program on Al-Arabiyya television frequently hosts reformist Muslims, wrote about the hatred of the West that is spread by Muslims in the U.S., sharing his personal experience during his studies in the U.S. around the time of 9/11.

In the wake of Al-Dakhil's article, Tarek Hamo, a Kurdish journalist living in Germany, also criticized the actives of extremist Muslims in the West. In his article in www.elaph.com, Hamo accused Arab and Muslim states that seek to appease the extremists and to keep them away from political activity in their own countries, as well as the European host countries that are turning a blind eye to extremist activity  on grounds of "tolerance" and "religious freedom," and more recently, on grounds of a "dialogue of civilizations."

The following are excerpts from the three articles:


Muslims in Europe Foster Conflict, Not Coexistence

Dr. Ahmad Abu Matar wrote: "The presence of Muslims of all nationalities, and especially those of Arab nationality, has become a palpable phenomenon in all of the EU countries, and in Western Europe in particular. In some of these countries, like France, for instance, they number more than five million, and in many countries they have centers, institutions, and activities that they cannot sustain in their own Arab and Muslim countries."

As an example of activities conducted in the West that are not permitted in Arab countries, Abu Matar mentioned the Islamic Liberation Party, which "announces from London its political platform  to establish the Islamic caliphate over all corners of the earth  and declares that the party will suggest to the Queen of England that she convert to Islam, and thus will not have to pay the Islamic poll tax on non-Muslims [jizya]." As another example he cited the activities of Abu Hamza Al-Masri, the imam of Finsbury Park Mosque in London, who called for jihad and suicide bombings in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The third example he gave is the thousands of mosques and Islamic charitable organizations in Europe and America that publicly collect contributions, and in addition, receive annual budgets from European countries.

In light of the freedom of movement and action and the freedom to proselytize enjoyed by Muslims in Europe, Abu Matar assessed the behavior of Muslims, and especially Arabs, in the continent. According to him, "the last five years have been decisive in shaping the image of the Muslim Arab in Europe. Because of the incidents and practices that the European continent has experienced, the image of the Arab Muslim in the European lexicon has become: a terrorist who murders without a conscience or any human feeling...

"The European citizen has begun to feel that Europe has become a target for Islamic terrorism, particularly of the Arab type, because of the crimes he has witnessed  in reality, and not in the imagination or in a horror movie. Even screenwriters and directors of horror movies wouldn't conceive of some of these actions.

"It doesn't help that alongside these actions, [some] say that Islam forbids such actions and that their perpetrators are damaging Islam, since the actions are accompanied by a theological doctrine [elaborated] by those who claim to speak in the name of over a billion Muslims, and especially the triumvirate of Bin Laden, Al-Zarqawi, and Al-Zawahiri.

"None of the Arab or Muslim religious legal authorities responded to them or cast doubt on their legitimacy as representatives of Islam. On the contrary, there are fatwas from scores of ulama supporting these actions..."

Abu Matar cited a number of examples of crimes committed by Muslims in Europe and pointed to the public incitement to violence in mosques. He mentioned the case of Nur Al-Din Kaplan, whom a German court in Berlin decided to deport because of his incitement to violence and suicide bombings. The latter went into hiding, and for weeks the German police have been searching for him.

Another example is an open letter published by Ayman Al-Zawahiri in the summer of 2003, encouraging Muslim youth to attack European and American targets. Abu Matar adds that the Islamic proselytizer in Denmark, Said Mansour, goes a similar path, and distributes a cassette among the Muslims encouraging them to join Al-Zarqawi in Iraq.

"This immoral incitement," says Abu Matar, prompted the murder of the Dutch cinema director Van Gogh in November, 2004, by a young Dutchman of Moroccan origin. According to Abu Matar, "the incident only occurred because of the [atmosphere of] incitement in which the young murderer lived, the incitement of sheikhs who do not fear Allah and who consider everyone whose opinion differs from theirs to be an enemy of Islam."

In conclusion, Abu Matar states that Muslims in Europe promote conflict and do not encourage coexistence. "As a result of these actions... millions of the new generation of Muslims in Europe have become a source of fear and anxiety for decision-makers in European countries. This is because the new generation has fallen under the influence of extremist fundamentalists who interpret Islam as they see fit, and also because enlightened scholars and intellectuals haven't made a parallel intellectual effort to counter the extremist and deviant intellectual efforts of the fundamentalists."

"In their extremism, [the fundamentalists] are preventing the new generation of Muslims from internalizing the principles of freedom and enlightenment that have existed in European societies for over a century.

"[This enlightenment] enabled European societies to develop in every sphere and led to the humanistic tolerance that made Muslim presence in Europe possible....

"[In contrast to] this [Western] tolerance, Christians living in Arab countries have been forbidden for generations to build churches, except within [the framework of] tiresome conditions, and especially in Egypt  the land of the [Christian] Copts.

"What will these millions [of European Muslims] do in the Arab countries if the European countries, Canada, and the U.S. were to expel them? I say 'if' since these countries cannot expel them, not because they are afraid of the Muslims, but because their laws don't allow it...

"From what has been said here, one may conclude that those who speak falsely in the name of Islam have turned the Islamic presence in Europe and America into a presence of conflict instead of coexistence..." (1)


Allah Treated Us Mercifully When He Did Not Stop the Blood in the Veins of
the Jews and Christians So They Protected Us after 9/11

In his article titled "Oh Allah, Curse Them," Turki Al-Dakhil wrote: "An American friend of Arab origin told me that he went with his 13-year-old son to a demonstration for the Palestinian cause, held in a U.S. city. Everything went well until one of the demonstrators, in the grip of enthusiasm, took the U.S. flag and set it alight. My friend said to me: This instance saddened me, but I intentionally turned a blind eye  while my son commented that it was not fitting to thus treat the flag whose citizens we are...

"As soon as I heard the story I remembered the imam of the mosque where I attended Friday prayers when I studied in the northwestern U.S. The imam was an American of Palestinian origin, and it seemed to me that he thought a sermon was pointless unless he cursed the Jews and Christians every week.

"I saw [in the congregation] native-born Americans who had joined Islam not long ago, and mused at the curse applying to them, harming their parents and sometimes their wives, and their friends and co-workers.

"A few months later came the catastrophic events of 9/11. I met with a group of students from the Gulf states in the [U.S.] city where we were studying, and we discussed what we could do regarding our apprehensions about American reactions... We agreed that we would not go anywhere alone and would wait [to go together to the mosque] until the coming Friday  the first after the events.

"[That Friday], when the young Arabs reached the street where the mosque was, their hearts were beating like that of a sprinter. Their pulses quickened when they saw groups of Americans surrounding the mosque. They drew closer in dread  to discover that the groups were Christian organizations and 'hippies' who wanted to protect the Arab and Muslim worshipers from any attack that might occur as a reaction by Americans to [the Al-Qa'ida] raid on Manhattan.

"The sight was melodramatic. Those same people whom our imam customarily cursed every Friday and whom he asked Allah to exterminate, orphan their children, and widow their wives  and, when he was really fired up, whose blood he would also ask Allah to dry up in their veins  these same people came to serve as a human shield for our prayers.

"I remember that most of the worshipers believed, like parrots, the calls of the imam who angered me. I confess that I was too cowardly to oppose them in public, settling for conversations in closed rooms with some of my colleagues.

"But I thanked Allah greatly that he did not answer the calls of our imam... The American presence [near our mosque] continued every Friday for the next five or six weeks, and the governor joined them.

"Allah treated us mercifully when he did not stop the blood in the veins [of these Jews and Christians], and did not curse them or orphan their children..."(2)


Muslim Teachers are Spreading Hatred of the Infidel West Among Immigrant Muslim Children

Tarek Hamo, a Kurdish journalist residing in Germany, writes from a personal perspective: "In my many travels connected to my job in the Arab department of the Kurdish television channel... I meet many Islamists who, the moment they identify a Middle Eastern face, run to me, motivated by lust for religious preaching and dispiritedly talk of 'the state of the Muslim nation.'

"During the conversation (which develops the moment you respond to their greeting), you see that these people are bearing a tremendous amount of hatred for Europe and its culture (in which they live in dignity). Most of them, unfortunately, supported and still support Al-Qa'ida terrorism in New York, Madrid, and Baghdad...

"Once, a Turkish imam approached me as I traveled on an express train to Brussels. After I indicated to him that he might sit down, he began to lament 'the state of the Muslim nation' and the 'deeds of the infidel West' and the Muslim rulers connected to it (who also, [in his view,] were certainly of Jewish-Crusader origin).

"When I asked him for his view on Turkey's joining the European Union and its ramifications for the Turks and their future, he stood up and said: 'This is a crusader plan, and its aim is [to change] the identity and history of the Turkish nation. Ultimately they  that is, the Westerners  want to meld the Muslims into the Christian region, and to conduct missionary activity amongst them.' In order to prevent this and to repel the 'Crusader attack,' he said, 'There is no substitute for establishing an Islamic caliphate.'

"After finishing his speech... he began to tell me about his work as a teacher of Muslim children in a German city, and how he makes them understand 'Islam and its fundamentals' and stresses to them 'the obligation not to assimilate into infidel German society, and to preserve their religion and identity'...

"This example is one of many, since many teach the children of Muslim immigrants the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam (which usually causes terrorism). They are sent from their countries by their organizations, and understand not a word of the host country's language... Their goal is to spread hostility and hatred among the Muslim workers and refugees, and to push them towards stories of religious wars and the atmosphere of 'the global conspiracy against the Muslims.'

"The ones responsible for the existence of these [extremists] are the Arab and Muslim countries that capitulated to the madness of the religious groups... and set their curricula in accordance with the desires of these groups, in order to appease them and to distance them from thinking of politics and 'earthly matters' [in their homelands].

"Also responsible for this are the European countries... that turned a blind eye to their [i.e. the extremists'] suspicious religious activity, on grounds of tolerance and religious freedom  and, more recently, on grounds of 'dialogue between civilizations.'

"Thus we see Mr. Tarek Ramadan, who participates in dialogue conferences with Muslims in the West, preaching 'European Islam.' Do you understand what European Islam is? This 'Islam' is not very different from the European Islam once offered by the Turkish fundamentalist leader Nijmuddin Erbakan [the Turkish prime minister who headed the Islamic Welfare Party] when he clarified wholeheartedly: 'Our aim is to put down roots in the European continent, and to act quietly and in accordance with the laws, so that one day we may see all of Europe Muslim!'..."(3)

Endnotes:
(1) http://www.elaph.com/ElaphWriter/2005/4/55793.htm, April 17, 2005.
(2) Al-Itihad (UAE), April 26, 2005. http://www.wajhat.com/details.asp?id=11414&a=1&journal=04/26/05 .
(3) http://www.elaph.com/ElaphWriter/2005/4/59059.htmm April 30, 2005.



*********************
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
E-Mail: memri@memri.org
www.memri.org

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Cutthroat! Terror plan for Citigroup

By ALISON GENDAR
and CORKY SIEMASZKO
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

A terrorism plot that sparked last summer's Orange Alert envisioned turning the Citigroup Center into "cutthroat shrapnel," according to a report yesterday.
In reconnaissance plans, accused terrorist Dhiren Barot, currently jailed in Britain, called the building a glass house whose panels could be turned into "a potential flying piece of cutthroat shrapnel," according to a CBS News report.

Barot carefully cased the landmark tower on Lexington Ave. and E. 53rd St. down to the smallest detail - even describing how the toilets could be used as a place to assemble a bomb.

"The documents were very detailed," NYPD Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told the Daily News. "They included, for example, how many seats there were around the conference table in the board room of the New York Stock Exchange [which he also scouted]. The level of detail showed they had engaged in serious reconnaissance."

Barot, 33, whose alleged Al Qaeda alias was Abu Eisa Al Hindi, checked out financial centers in Newark and Washington in addition to Citigroup and the Stock Exchange. A 50-page printout from his computer obtained by CBS revealed he was very thorough.

"Restrooms ... do not have fully enclosed ... doors," he wrote. "If anything is being assembled there ... rest it on the toilet seat. So it can't be seen."

Barot gave precise dimensions of support columns and mentioned they were coated with a "fire proof" material that was deemed "effective" except "for infernos such as ... the WTC," a reference to the 9/11 attacks.
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Spencer: All Religions Are Not Created Equal

This from a true warrior over at JihadWatch

I got an email this morning from someone who asked me: "Are you religious? Do you have a hidden agenda? Are you a christian, budhist, whatever?...I'm curious about your deepest motives."

I responded that there is nothing in the way of a hidden agenda about my religion. It is quite open, as anyone can see who takes a look at the Jihad Watch Book page, but that is a separate question from what I am doing at Jihad Watch. As I have said many times, Jihad Watch is for all those who are resisting jihad violence: Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, whatever. The Vice President of the Jihad Watch Board, Hugh Fitzgerald, and another principal member of the Board, Ibn Warraq, are atheists. I have no interest in the theocracy that many fantasize that Christians want to establish here. I am just trying to stimulate resistance to jihadist violence among all people.

My column below from Human Events should be read with that in mind: I am not engaging in religious triumphalism, but am noting clear distinctions when they actually exist. The resistance to jihad cannot prevail as long as this befogged moral and theological equivalence keeps attention from being paid to the real source of the problem.

Are all religions equal in their capacity to inspire fanaticism and violence? In the wake of the Koran flushing scandal, Tom Regan of the Christian Science Monitor blog wrote a piece to that effect. Even though that scandal has faded from the headlines, the attitudes Regan expressed remain—and interfere with our ability to resist the global jihad. Taking issue with the assertion by Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe that “Christians, Jews, and Buddhists don’t lash out in homicidal rage when their religion is insulted” and “don’t call for holy war and riot in the streets,” Regan wrote that Jacoby had made “an interesting point. There’s only one problem with it—it’s wrong.”
“Unfortunately,” declared Regan, “even a cursury [sic] scan of the headlines from the past few years, or even this past week, shows how wrong it is. Shall we talk about the religious leaders in Israel who have threatened violence and riots, and perhaps worse, to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his supporters, if he goes ahead with his disengagement plan?”

Did Ariel Sharon flush a Torah? Of course not. These people are angered because they think his plan threatens Israel’s survival, not because they think Sharon has insulted Judaism.

Regan goes on to mention the “Jewish religious zealot, who believed in 1995 that there was ‘a religious commandment’ to kill Yitzhak Rabin,” the “whole decades-long situation in Northern Ireland,” the “Christian militias who murdered hundreds of people in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982,” and “Serbian Christians who murdered 20,000 Muslims in 1995.” Not one example, in other words, of Jews or Christians murdering innocents because they believed their religion had been insulted.

The question here is not whether or not Jews or Christians commit violence. Of course they do. Human nature is everywhere the same. The question Regan is obfuscating is whether or not Islam as an ideology exhorts people to violence. Manifestly it does, and violence committed by members of other religious traditions does nothing to mitigate that fact: Islam is unique among world religions in having a developed doctrine mandating violence against unbelievers. This has spawned in our day a global network of Muslims dedicated to jihad. Are Jews targeting non-Jews, or Christians non-Christians, on a global basis? Of course not. Until the Muslim and non-Muslim world are ready to acknowledge the role of Islam in inspiring people to violence, that violence will continue.

Regan goes on to invoke those who threatened death to Michael Schiavo, and the murderers of abortionists. Yet no violence actually occurred in the Schiavo case—except that done to Terri Schiavo—and the murder of abortionists has been condemned by all mainstream Christian traditions. Where are the mainstream Muslim traditions that condemn jihad violence? The Free Muslims March Against Terror drew 50 people. Fifty. Why?

Our need to answer this question is not just Judeo-Christian boosterism, a chant of “Yea, team! The West is Best!” The nature of jihad violence has serious consequences for the Bush policy of attempting to destabilize terrorism by establishing democracies across the Middle East. It shows how difficult it will be to export the live-and-let-live attitude necessary to make for a society that enacts the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority. Thomas Jefferson said: “If my neighbor believes in one god, or twenty, is of no concern to me, it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” But is that exportable as a political credo to societies in which the legal tradition includes death for blasphemy and apostasy?

All religions are not the same, and do not have the same capacity to inspire violence. As un-PC as that is, it is the truth. It must be faced. Regan reflects conventional PC wisdom, to be sure—views that are held across the spectrum from Left to Right—and until this wisdom is seen for the hollow and deceptive thing it is, we are all that much more vulnerable
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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Steven Emerson on the Sami Al-Arian case: "Islamic Jihad on Trial"

Steven Emerson, with terrorism analysts Brian Hecht and Tally Aharony of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, are covering the Sami Al-Arian trial and prepared the following report for The Counterterrorism Blog:

The widely anticipated trial against former USF professor Sami Al-Arian commenced in the Middle District of Florida Courthouse Monday morning. In the most high profile, post-9/11 terrorism case in the U.S., Al-Arian and three co-defendants are charged in a 53-count indictment (Acrobat file) alleging their involvement in a Tampa-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) cell. In an attempt to secure the courthouse and deal with expected throngs of media and public attention, the U.S. Marshal Service cordoned off the perimeter of the building, placing large yellow barriers at every juncture. Heavily armed federal police monitored the entrances, creating a tense pre-trial atmosphere.

Although the defendant received abundant support over the years from diverse groups of individuals and organizations, when push came to shove, support for Sami Al-Arian at the scene appeared to be low. One local television reporter candidly revealed that the contingency of about a dozen pro-Al-Arian protesters were the same group that is present at almost every protest from environmental issues to anti-war rallies here in Tampa. Support from the Muslim community was even more underwhelming, save for a few family members and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) official, Ahmed Bedier.

Before opening statements even began, defense attorneys made an issue of the conspicuous and atypical security measures outside the court, arguing that the barriers would lead the jury to perceive the defendants as being dangerous.

The prosecution initiated its opening statements with a retelling of the January 22, 1995 Beit Lid bombing in Israel by the PIJ. Assistant U.S. Attorney Walter “Terry” Furr told the jury that, pursuant to the bombing, President Clinton designated PIJ, among others, as a terrorist organization. Describing the PIJ as “one of the most deadly terrorist organizations in the world” whose stated aim is the “annihilation of Israel,” the prosecution painted the defendants as a “group of intellectual elitists” who managed and financed the U.S. PIJ cell. Furr also told the jury that the 1994 PBS documentary “Jihad in America” (produced by Steven Emerson) was the “triggering event” that started a greater media inquiry into the affairs of Sami al-Arian and his affairs in Tampa.

Furr spent the next several hours detailing a series of immigration violations, perjury, money laundering, and an overall conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. A bombshell revealed during the opening statement involved a letter written by Al-Arian to a Kuwaiti financier praising the Beit Lid bombing as a symbol of what the PIJ could do for the Palestinian cause, soliciting funds for future attacks. Although Al-Arian admitted in recent years to having written the letter, he has maintained that he never “mailed” it. Furr told the jury that evidence will show that Al-Arian in fact had the letter hand-couriered out of the country.

In contrast to the Government’s fact-laden presentation, Al-Arian’s defense attorney Bill Moffitt made an emotional appeal to the jury about First Amendment rights and “our nation’s great heritage” of supporting and tolerating all speech, no matter how unpopular. However, Moffitt seemed to concede that Al-Arian was in fact a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad for a time, citing various wiretap conversations in which Al-Arian discusses “wanting out” if the PIJ would not create a non-violent branch. When later asked about this concession by reporters, Moffitt was coy and evasive.

Day two of the trial began with the opening statements of the remaining three defendants. Strategically, the attorneys went to great lengths to distance their individual clients from both Sami Al-Arian and from the Government’s depiction of a tight-knit terrorist cell. In turn, the attorneys for Sammeh Hammoudeh, Ghassan Ballut, and Hatem Fariz attempted to characterize their clients as scholarly, family men who were very much involved in religious and legitimate charitable endeavors.

The prosecution opened its case with an exhaustive and often mind-numbing lesson on a multitude of immigration forms and regulations, before delving into the analysis of the defendants’ actual immigration forms. The Governments’ first witness, U.S. Immigration official Timothy Shavers, answered a series of questions by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Zitek relating to specific immigration violations apparent in the immigration documents introduced as Government exhibits.

The prosecution appeared to be attempting to show that Sami al-Arian and Sameeh Hammoudeh perjured themselves by not listing their affiliations with the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP), World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), and PIJ on their immigration forms. Likewise, Zitek focused on the fact that Sami al-Arian was the signatory on all the immigration forms and visa sponsorships, as the Chairman of WISE, for Sameeh Hammoudeh, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah and Bashir Nafi.

Of particular note, in the process of Zitek’s questioning of Shavers, documents revealed that Bashir Nafi (PIJ founder) and Ramadan Abdullah Shallah (current Secretary General of PIJ) listed the same “foreign address” in London on their immigration forms when petitioning to work for WISE.

The judge and jury appeared frustrated and frankly tired during the Government’s direct examination of Shavers. As the jury was leaving for a break during the questioning, Judge Moody quipped, “And you were wondering how this trial could possibly last six months?” At the end of the day, the Judge urged Zitek to figure out a way to speed things up when he resumes his questioning of Shavers or “bring a supply of No-Doz” for everyone.

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Non-Mexican migrants swamp immigration, border agencies

By Chris Strohm
cstrohm@govexec.com

Record numbers of non-Mexican migrants are being caught illegally trying to enter the United States, raising national security concerns, overwhelming federal agencies, and leaving legislators and law enforcement authorities grappling with how to handle the situation.

So far this fiscal year, the Border Patrol has apprehended almost 100,000 undocumented migrants from countries other than Mexico - commonly called OTMs. The majority were caught along the southern border. That number is projected to reach about 150,000 by the end of this fiscal year, which is a 200 percent increase compared to fiscal 2004, according to the Border Patrol.


"The numbers are staggering," said Border Patrol spokesman Salvador Zamora.


The Border Patrol is on pace to apprehend about 1.2 million illegal immigrants this fiscal year, which is about the same as last year. Out of that, about 12 percent are OTMs, which represent a small -- but growing -- portion of undocumented immigrants caught illegally entering the country.


The situation has also created a human rights disaster, with hundreds of people dying in the southern desert each year trying to sneak across the border. Citizen groups also are patrolling border lands, contending that the federal government has failed to protect the borders and enforce immigration laws. Organizers of the groups say they will continue their operations until the federal government does more.


Lawmakers, policymakers and federal law enforcement officials are grappling with how to handle the situation. Some now say that an approach based primarily on law enforcement no longer works, and argue that fundamental change in U.S. immigration policy is needed, such as a guest-worker program that legally recognizes migrants who come to the United States for work and pose no threat.


Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., plan to introduce what they say will be "comprehensive immigration reform" legislation by the end of this month. The bill is tentatively titled the Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act. They already have published the first section, which deals with enforcement.


Cornyn is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship. Kyl is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security.


"The current border crisis has been years in the making, but it now appears to have reached a critical mass," Kyl said during a joint hearing of the subcommittees Tuesday.


Cornyn added: "What we are proposing is we not only enhance border security to deal with people as they come across illegally, but we're also going to provide resources for interior enforcement ... and then we're also going to [create] a workable mechanism for prospective employers to deal with prospective employees who can legally work in the country."


Policy Drift


Enforcement of border and immigration law falls to the Homeland Security Department's bureaus of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. CBP is responsible for enforcement along the border, while ICE handles interior enforcement.


C. Stewart Verdery Jr., former DHS assistant secretary for border and transportation security policy and planning, said he was skeptical of a guest-worker program when President Bush first announced one in January 2004. "But two years in the trenches has convinced me that I was wrong," Verdery said during the hearing. "It is the passage of a properly developed and properly funded guest-worker program that will bring massive improvements to border security, and thus homeland security."


He added that implementing an effective program will be expensive. Millions of migrants will have to be vetted, placing new requirements on consular officials and ports of entry. The U.S. government also may have to increase resources to help U.S. residents prove their citizenship when applying for jobs.


"This is not going to take some kind of plus-up or shuffling money around," Verdery said. "If you want to build out an expansive system that can handle the influx, it's going to take a massive new amount of money."


CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner told Government Executive in May that the Border Patrol is "overwhelmed." According to Bonner, most people illegally crossing the southern border are "economic migrants" seeking any kind of work. He said a guest-worker program would give those migrants a legal way to enter the country and help the Border Patrol focus on apprehending criminals or those who mean to do the country harm. He added that the country also needs a beefed-up sanctions program for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.


National Security Concerns


Concerns about OTMs from special interest countries -- such as Iraq, Syria and Iran -- were amplified, however, when former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary James Loy testified in February before the Senate Intelligence Committee on national security threats to the United States.


"Recent information from ongoing investigations, detentions and emerging threat streams strongly suggest that al Qaeda has considered using the Southwest border to infiltrate the United States," Loy said in written testimony. "Several al Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico, and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons."


CBP spokesmen told Government Executive in May that they are concerned terrorists might try to exploit the southern border, but they have no specific information such incidents have occurred.


Mexican nationals caught illegally trying to enter the country are bused back to the border if they do not have a criminal record. OTMs, however, are sent to ICE detention centers, where they are released into the U.S. public if they do not have a felony conviction and do not pose a threat to national security. ICE is required by law to release illegal aliens who pose no threat. Those migrants are given a notice to appear in court. Border Patrol agents call it "a notice to disappear."


ICE has released about 1 million illegal aliens into the country to date. Out of that, about 465,000 never showed up for their court hearing, and about 85,000 have criminal records.


Bonner said releasing illegal immigrants is counterproductive to border security.


"I can tell you that when you do that, the message goes down to El Salvador, to Brazil - frankly, to China - that if you get across the border, surrender yourself to the Border Patrol, because you're going to be released, you're going to get walking papers," Bonner said.


"It's a mindless cycle and we need to break it," he added.


But ICE couldn't hold everybody if it wanted to. The agency's Office of Detention and Removal can only hold up to 22,000 detainees, 85 percent of which are mandatory holds.


"The reality is you cannot lock up every single person who comes across the border illegally because the system was not set up that way," said ICE spokesman Manny Van Pelt. "The reality is there isn't enough prison space in the United States."


Alternative Proposals


Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar testified on Tuesday that his agency wants to expand a process known as expedited removal to all its sectors. The process allows illegal immigrants to be more quickly processed and transported back to their home countries, reducing the amount of time that they are held in U.S. detention centers from more than 80 days to an average of 26 days.


"Agents are frustrated out there," Aguilar said. "But I can tell you that the reason that this is happening is because of the lack of detention space."


The Border Patrol launched expedited removal nine months ago at its sectors in Tucson, Ariz., and Laredo, Texas. Aguilar said expanding the program to other southern border sectors is "coming soon." When pressed, he said "within a matter of months," but added that DHS has to approve expanding the program.


Some also say that major structural changes are needed. The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Heritage Foundation released a report in December arguing that ICE and CBP should be merged. Janice Kephart, former counsel to the 9/11 commission and author of a staff report on terrorist travel, has been telling Congress that a new Department of Immigration and Border Protection should be created. She says border security remains "woefully inadequate" and gets shortchanged compared to other priorities within DHS.


Organizers of civilian border patrols are trying to stir up a national movement. They plan to establish citizen camps in all southern border states by this fall, as well as some northern border states. They also plan to picket employers in the country who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. They say they will continue the camps until the government orders the military or National Guard to secure the borders. They also want a 400 percent increase in the budgets for ICE and CBP.


Although CBP initially criticized the patrols, Bonner told lawmakers in May that his agency is evaluating whether it can make effective use of citizen volunteers.


Said Bonner: "We want any kind of force multiplier we can get."
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Three more arrests in Lodi terrorism case

U.S. official foresees additional developments before end of week
By Sean Holstege, Michele R. Marcucci, David M. Drucker, STAFF WRITERS
The Argus

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday their investigation of two Lodi men charged with lying to the FBI about involvement in al-Qaida terrorism training camps in Pakistan is widening, with three more arrests.
The FBI arrested Hamid Hayat, 22, and his father, Umer, 47, on Sunday after they failed a polygraph test and later confessed that the younger Lodi man attended training camps in northeast Pakistan, according to a federal affidavit filed Tuesday. Both men are U.S. citizens.

Three Lodi men, all Pakistani, have been arrested sincethe weekend on immigration charges.

According to the FBI affidavit, Hamid Hayat told agents that he attended his grandfather's madrassah religious school and a "jihadist" training camp for six months in 2003 and 2004 near Rawalpindi, a teeming city of 1.4 million people near the Pakistani capital. He described an al-Qaida camp that trained recruits in weapons use, explosives, interior room tactics and hand-to-hand combat, according to the affidavit.

Hamid also confirmed, according to the affidavit, that he was trained on "how to kill Americans," used pictures of President Bush during target practice and requested to return to the United States to attack "hospitals and large food stores."

There are 49 California hospitals and no large food stores on a 2003 state list of terrorist targets obtained by the Oakland Tribune.

Prosecutors downplayed fears of an imminent plot, suggesting Hamid Hayat's testimony is inconsistent with signals from intelligence chatter.

"We do not have information that these or any other sectors in the United States have been primarily targeted or are specifically vulnerable to an attack," FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter said.

"We did not find these guys in the middle of executing an attack. That did not happen," said McGregor Scott, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Scott said investigators are "still accumulating evidence." He described the investigation as ongoing and evolving, and he suggested that there would be more developments in the case by the end of the week.

Hamid Hayat, a worker at fruit-packing plant, is due in federal court in Sacramento for a bail hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Nowinski on Friday. Nowinski denied bail to his father, Umer, on grounds that he was a flight risk and a danger to the community. Umer, an ice cream truck driver, admitted giving his son $100 a month to attend the training camps, according to the FBI affidavit.

Two Sacramento area attorneys representing the Hayats did not return calls Wednesday.

Hamid Hayat had been under investigation for an "extended period of time" Slotter said. Agents seized videotapes, photographs, mail, prayer books and a computer.

Hayat was first interviewed by the FBI on May 29 in Japan, when he was trying to return from Pakistan. His name was flagged on a federal "no-fly list" and Korean Airlines Flight 23 from Seoul to San Francisco International Airport was diverted to Tokyo, after about five hours over the Pacific Ocean.

Canadian authorities refused to accept the flight, said a Transportation Security Administration source on condition of anonymity. After being questioned in Japan, Hayat was downgraded to a passenger screening list requiring additional security and was allowed to fly to San Francisco, where he arrived early Monday.

Diverted flights due to red flags in the passenger screening system are rare. A French flight to San Francisco International Airport was diverted about Christmas 2003.

Meanwhile, immigration officials confirmed they detained three men linked to a Lodi mosque one block from the Hayat home. Lodi Muslim Mosque imam Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammad Adil Khan were arrested on immigration violation charges. Their attorney, Saad Ahmad, said his clients have not violated the terms of their visas.

"These are prominent members of the mosque, religious clergymen. They are very actively involved in interfaith communities," Ahmad said. "These two law-abiding people have been wronged, and we will prove it. There's no terrorism charges."

His clients are being held separately, one in San Jose and the other in Sacramento.

Also Wednesday, Khan's son, Mohammad Hassan Adil, 19, was arrested on immigration violations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice told the Sacramento Bee.

The only charges against Hamid and Umer Hayat involve providing false statements to the FBI. News of the arrests are hitting hard the Pakistani community in Lodi, which numbered about 700 in the 2000 U.S. Census.

"We're concerned about people rushing to judgment. We really don't know the details. We'll just have to wait and see how it plays out in the courts," said Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Sacramento Valley.

A female cousin of Hamid Hayat told the Los Angeles Times that he went to Pakistan with his mother to visit relatives and arrange some marriages.

Another relative, Usama Ismail, 19, told the New York Times the accusations are "total lies," noting that Hamid "did not go to a terrorist training camp."

"Even if they did say that, that's because the FBI made them say what they wanted them to say," Ismail reportedly said.

Still, a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office said the "long-term, ongoing investigation" conducted by the Sacramento Joint Terrorism Task Force involved "several search warrants" in Lodi and involved the mosque. The Sacramento Bee reported that, according to his family, Umer Hayat was wired by the FBI when he met the detained mosque leaders before their arrest.

The mosque has been the cause of a rift in Lodi's Pakistani community.

The mosque run by Ahmed recently sued Khan and other former leaders, claiming they had defrauded it of more than $200,000. According to the lawsuit, the mosque sold 7 acres and gave Khan the proceeds, which he used to set up a new nonprofit, the Farooqia Islamic Center, under his own name. The lawsuit alleges that Khan is in the country illegally.

His attorney, Gary Nelson, called the case "baseless." Financial statements filed with California Secretary of State's Office show that the Farooqia center takes all of its income from contributions and spends one-third of its operating expenses on travel.
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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Lisa Graves AClU Idiot

Senate Gives FBI More Patriot Act Power

By LAURIE KELLMAN

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI would get expanded powers to subpoena records without the approval of a judge or grand jury in terrorism investigations under Patriot Act revisions approved Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Some senators who voted 11-4 to move the bill forward said they would push for limits on the new powers the measure would grant to law enforcement agencies.

``This bill must be amended on the floor to protect national security while protecting Constitutional rights,'' said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

Ranking Democrat Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., supported the bill overall but said he would push for limits that would allow such administrative subpoenas ``only if immediacy dictates.''

Rockefeller and other committee members, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also are concerned that the bill would grant powers to federal law enforcement agencies that could be used in criminal inquiries rather than intelligence-gathering ones.

Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said the bill places new checks and balances on the powers it would grant, such as new procedures that would allow people to challenge such administrative orders. He called the Patriot Act ``a vital tool in the war on terror'' and lauded the Democrats who voted for it in spite of misgivings.

Portions of the Patriot Act - signed into law six weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks - are set to expire at the end of 2005. The bill would renew and expand the act.

The bill also must be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Feinstein and other Democrats planned to again offer amendments.

Overall, Rockefeller said, the committee gave a nod to most of the Patriot Act in its first few years fighting the nation's new enemies.

``We concluded that these tools have helped keep America safe ... and should be made permanent,'' Rockefeller said in a statement.

Still, civil libertarians panned the bill and the closed-door meetings in which it was written.

``When lawmakers seek to rewrite our Fourth Amendment rights, they should at least have the gumption to do so in public,'' said Lisa Graves, the ACLU's senior counsel for legislative strategy. ``Americans have a reasonable expectation that their federal government will not gather records about their health, their wealth and the transactions of their daily life without probable cause of a crime and without a court order.''

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On the Net:

Senate Intelligence Committee: http://intelligence.senate.gov/

FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/
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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Still Think Out-of-Control Immigration From Mexico is a Good Idea?

Islam Is Gaining a Foothold in Chiapas

By Jens Glüsing

Long a bastion of Catholicism, southern Mexico is quickly turning into a battleground for soul-savers. Islam, too, is gaining a foothold and the indigenous Mayans are converting by the hundreds. The Mexican government is worried about a culture clash in their own backyard.

Subcomandante Marcos of Chiapas entered into an alliance with a Muslim movement in the mid-1990s.
Anastasio Gomez, a Tzotzil Mayan from Mexico, fondly remembers his pilgrimage to Mecca. He circled around the Kaaba, the highest sanctuary of Muslims, seven times. At Mount Arafat he prayed to Allah and then he, together with 15 other Indians, sacrificed a sheep before boarding the flight back to their Mexican home.

"In Islam, race plays no role," the young man says joyously. His enthusiasm is understandable. After all, in his home state of Chiapas, Mexico's poorest, the indigenous people are viewed as second class humans, and whites and Mestizos treat the Indian majority as if they weren't there. In the southern Mexican provincial metropolis San Cristóbal de las Casas, the descendants of the Maya even have to move onto the street if a white person approaches them on the sidewalk.

Gomez, 23, converted to Islam eight years ago; ever since then, he has called himself Ibrahim. On his first pilgrimage seven years ago, the Indian was still something of an anomaly. Today, however, Muslim women in headscarves have become a common sight on the streets of San Cristobal.

Conquerors from Spain

About 300 Tzozil-Indians have converted to Islam in recent years and it's a development that is beginning to worry the Mexican government. Indeed, the government even suspects the new converts of subversive activity and has already set the secret service onto the track of the Mayan Muslims. Mexican President Vincente Fox has even gone so far as to say he fears the influence of the radical fundamentalists of al-Qaida.

But the Indians have no interest in political extremism. Rather, they belong to the Sunni, Murabitun sect that was founded by the Scotsman Ian Dallas and is seen as an offshoot of a Moroccan religious order. The Murabitun followers represent a sort of primal Islam: Earning interest profits through money lending is a no-no and they preach a literal interpretation of the Koran.

"The see themselves as restorers of Islam," says the anthropologist Gaspar Morquecho, author of a study of the Muslims of Chiapas. "Their defiance of capitalism is similar in many respects to the critique of globalization espoused by many left-wingers."



DPA
More and more Mayans are finding their way to Mecca.
While the Mayan Muslims in Chiapas have been receiving extra attention of late, the Tzotzil conversion has been underway for some time. In the mid 1990s, a group of Spanish Muslims embarked to Latin America to spread the word; their leader was Aureliano Perez, who is now worshipped by the Maya-Muslims as Emir Nafia. He offered the Zapatista rebels fighting under Subcomandante Marcos, whom Perez supported, an ideological-religious alliance. Marcos was hesitant to enter the odd pact, but the Muslim missionaries were unperturbed: They discovered that the Tzotzil Indians made up the majority of the Zapatista rebels and were quite open to the teachings of the prophet Mohammed.

The battle for the souls of Chiapas is nothing new. In the 16th century, the Spanish conquistadors used brute force to convert the Indians to Catholicism. Half a millennium later, evangelical preachers from the US have turned Latin America into a religious battleground in their efforts to lure Catholics away from the Church. In the town of San Juan Chamula alone -- whose church is seen as something of a spiritual center by the Tzotzil Indians and attracts thousands of tourists a year -- there are 11 different congregations seeking to save the souls of the Indians.

The loss of cultural roots

The Catholics, however, are still, for the most part, in control. They belong to the mafia-esque former state party PRI run the town hall and the lucrative weekly market. In face of the advance of the evangelists, however, they fear that their influence may be waning and they have chased out more than 30,000 protestant Indians out of San Juan Chamula in the last three decades and hundreds have been killed or assaulted. Most of the refugees settled down in the slums on the outskirts of San Cristobal. Cut off from their cultural and religious roots, the Indians are easy prey for all manner of soul-savers.

"In Islam, the Indians rediscover their original values," claims Esteban Lopez, the Spanish secretary general of the Muslim community. "The Christians destroyed their culture." He presents the use and abuse of alcohol as proof. Alcoholism is wide-spread under Tzotzil Indians and the strict ban on spirits in Islam helps many to break the vicious circle of addiction and poverty.

In San Cristobal, the Mayan Muslims run a pizza shop and a carpenter workshop and they are seen by the whites as hard-working and diligent. In a Koran school, children learn Arabic and five times a day they pray in the backroom of a residential building. Empty congregation halls are not a problem for the new Muslims: Converted Muslims vow to witness the teachings of Mohammed among their families.

Anastasio Gomez -- aka Ibrahim -- for example, has managed to convert his entire family. He is especially proud of the conversion of his 100-year-old grandfather who was member of a Christian sect. "He was wandering from religion to religion all his live. Now he has found his peace of mind with Allah," says Ibrahim.
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Strategy to Take Down Al Qaida Foot Soldiers

By Rowan Scarborough
THE WASHINGTON TIMES


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The Pentagon is discussing war-strategy changes for defeating Islamic terrorists that would place more emphasis on killing, capturing or discouraging midlevel operators who enable top al Qaeda leadership to function.
Interviews the past week with Bush administration officials show that policy-makers are thinking the only way to ultimately win the war is to take down the lower-level operators who form the networks that support Osama bin Laden and scores of other al Qaeda lieutenants around the world.
President Bush, in assessing progress in the war, often cites the statistic that 75 percent of known al Qaeda leaders have been killed or captured. The strategy has been generally that if you cut off the head of al Qaeda, the body will eventually die.
But more than three years into the war on terrorism, some officials are leaning toward a new policy that would place just as much emphasis on taking foot soldiers off the street.
"DOD is pushing a strategy of going after the al Qaeda network," a well-placed administration official told The Washington Times. "Getting the leadership alone is not going to do it."
The source said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is "putting pressure on the system" to come up with new ideas, but has not endorsed a new plan.
One official, who asked not to be named, said the recent arrests of two American al Qaeda planners are examples of how the United States can methodically disable terrorist cells, leaving chieftains with few to carry out their orders.
Another change being discussed in an ongoing interagency review by the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and White House National Security Council is a strategy that emphasizes this is a war that targets Islamic extremism, not Islam itself.
"We have to convince Muslims that al Qaeda is their mutual enemy," said the administration official.
There is a belief by some officials that the phrase "war on terror" is not specific enough, said a second official.
And a third topic is finding new ways to discourage Muslim clerics from preaching hate and encouraging violence.
The Washington Post first reported last week that the Bush team is re-evaluating its anti-terror strategy. The Times subsequently conducted interviews to learn details of some of the ideas.
Officials told The Times there is some frustration at the review's slow pace. One called it a "complicated process" and blamed the National Security Council staff at the White House for delays in pushing all sides to agree.
"The Pentagon has been trying to overcome a lot of resistance," said the second Bush official. "Anytime they make their case, they get resistance."
That official said the Pentagon wants the intelligence community to put more emphasis on signal intercepts to identify al Qaeda foot soldiers.
The United States is essentially fighting a three-front war: Iraq, Afghanistan and the global theater.
U.S. Special Operations Command, based in Tampa, Fla., was designated by Mr. Rumsfeld in 2003 as the combatant command in charge of global counterterror operations. Socom has set up a relatively new structure, the Center for Special Operations, to do the battle planning.
Two defense sources said Socom has struggled to set up the battle-planning staff and coordinate with regional commands.
"Trust me," said one of the sources. "Changing from supporting to supported and getting cooperation from the regional commands have been difficult, at best." "Supported" refers to a command, such as U.S. Central Command, that plans and carries out its own missions. Until 2003, Socom was a "supporting" command, meaning it carried out missions dictated by others.
Said Col. Samuel T. Taylor, a command spokesman, "I disagree with anyone's assertion that Socom is struggling. A major transition, such as the one we are undergoing, requires extensive planning and coordination. ... We are moving forward in the right way, at an appropriately rapid pace."
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Monday, June 06, 2005

From JihadWatch:

U.S. fears Islamic awakening: Ayatollah Khamenei
No, the U.S. doesn't fear an Islamic awakening. The U.S. is refusing to acknowledge that an Islamic awakening would be anything it would need to fear. The U.S. is tarring with charges of "bigotry" and "racism" anyone who dares point out that people like Khamenei talk this way, and that Islam has a political and violent character that some (not all) Muslims are pressing forward. How far it will allow the jihadists to go before admitting that these so-called "bigots" and "racists" were right is anybody's guess: right now both Left and Right are killing any chances moderate Muslims may ever have had (which were slim at best from the outset) by assuming, and commanding others to assume, that the work they would need to do to neutralize violence within Islam has already been done, and that there is already a strong basis in Islam for pluralism, democracy, and freedom of conscience. How long will it be until the force of events make them admit that they were wrong?

From the Tehran Times, with thanks to Designnut:

TEHRAN -- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Saturday described U.S. movements in the region as passive positions adopted in response to the awakening of Muslim nations.
In a speech at a mourning ceremony marking the 16th anniversary of the death of the late Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei stated that Imam Khomeini made a significant contribution to efforts to weaken U.S. dominance over the region.

He said Imam Khomeini's success in establishing the Islamic Republic in Iran and initiating the awakening movement among Muslim nations had led the United States to take actions to rein in this movement through passive positions.

The U.S. military presence around Iran may appear to indicate its power, but a careful analysis of developments in the region shows that the U.S. has taken passive positions against the Islamic awakening movement, he added.

The Supreme Leader said the failure of the Greater Middle East Initiative is a sign of such positions adopted by the U.S. government to control the struggles of nations fighting against its hegemony.

"The Americans know that they have no future in the Islamic world. For this reason, they have resorted to passive positions to stop the Islamic awakening of nations from becoming revolutionary movements and also to delay the unquestionable triumph of nations," he told participants at the ceremony held at the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini, located just south of Tehran.

This has been acknowledged in the recent remarks of U.S. officials about the war in Iraq, Ayatollah Khamenei said.

"The Americans have said that if they had not attacked Iraq, the religious Iraqi forces would have toppled Saddam in a short time," he said to chants of "Death to America". "This reality shows that their actions in the region are taken out of fear of the consequences of the Islamic awakening."

Ayatollah Khamenei said another approach that the world powers, particularly Britain, have always adopted to confront the Islamic awakening has been attempting to foment disunity between Shias and Sunnis.

"The invisible hand of the Zionists and other foreigners in the bloody incidents and blasts in mosques and religious sites… is completely active," he said. "All Muslim nations, particularly the people of Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, must promote unity and solidarity and be aware of the plots of the enemies of Islam to foment discord among them."...

An Arab preacher, Abu Mahdi Saleh, praised Imam Khomeini as an exemplary leader who never deviated from the path of Islam despite all obstacles and problems that he had to face.

“The Islamic Revolution led by Imam Khomeini was a gift from God,” he noted.
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Daniel Pipes Weblog

Weblog (May 1 - 31, 2005)
The Muslim American Society's Goals I wrote about the Muslim American Society in "The Islamic States of America?" and how it seeks to replace the Constitution with the Koran. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross takes this further today in "MAS's Muslim Brotherhood Problem," where he looks closely at the MAS Minnesota website and notes that it calls on members to fulfill their "duties as outlined in the Message of the Teachings by Imam [Hasan] Al-Banna." Gartenstein-Ross then takes a look at The Message of the Teachings and finds that it instructs Muslims that they must work on reforming their government

so that it may become a truly Islamic government. … By Islamic government I mean a government whose officers are Muslims who perform the obligatory duties of Islam, who do not make public their disobedience, and who enforce the rules and teachings of Islam.

Al-Banna also instructs that Muslims should "Completely boycott non-Islamic courts and judicial systems. Also, dissociate yourself from organisations, newspapers, committees, schools, and institutions which oppose your Islamic ideology." Al-Banna also condones in this book spreading Islam with violence: "Always intend to go for Jihad and desire martyrdom. Prepare for it as much as you can."

The universality of Islamic law comes up repeatedly. MAS requires adjunct members to read To Be a Muslim by Fathi Yakun, which states that: "Until the nations of the world have functionally Islamic governments, every individual who is careless or lazy in working for Islam is sinful." Adjunct members also must read Sayyid Qutb's Milestones, which makes jihad a central obligation of Muslims.

Comment: Those of us who watch the growth of radical Islam in the United States tend to focus on the noisy organizations like CAIR, MPAC, and ISNA. The Muslim American Society, which claims 53 chapters and 10,000 members, tends to go about its work quietly; it is none the less dangerous – and perhaps more so – for that. (May 25, 2005) Permalink


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MSM Criticizes CAIR, CAIR Brazens It Out Just five days ago, Sharon Chadha and I criticized the mainstream media for mindlessly repeating CAIR's bogus statistics (see "CAIR's Hate Crimes Nonsense." Now, to my no little amazement, National Public Radio did a segment (granted, on the "Day to Day" program at 4 a.m., but one has to start somewhere) reported by Mike Pesca. It's titled "Non-scientific approach used by activist groups to obtain statistics supporting their claims about hate crimes" and the transcript is not online, so I am using the one provided at NEXIS.

It starts with host Alex Chadwick noting the "dubious methodology" of statistical reports on hate and bias. He hands the story to Pesca, who picks up with the CAIR annual report and the "fair amount of media attention" it got, mentioning articles in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, and Associated Press. Pesca points out one problem – that "any bias incident, from a Muslim being yelled at from a passing car, to a Muslim being profiled on a plane, can wind up in CAIR's report." He then quotes the CAIR report's author, Arsalan Iftikhar, acknowledging that some cases should not have been included. Alluding to the piece by Chadha and me, Pesca continues:

Soon after it was issued, the report was jumped on by a few conservative commentators who called it inaccurate. Two different men, originally reported as victims, have been charged with setting fire to their own businesses. Iftikhar says the removal of those cases does not affect the overall trend the report documents. Even so, the vagaries in the numbers point to the difficulty of compiling accurate statistics.

Spoken like a true Islamist – never apologize, never retreat. Caught with fraudulent stats, Iftikhar brazens it out, denying that the inaccuracies have any importance. Or, as a New York Times editorial ineffably expressed it in another context, "fake but accurate." Still, the important thing here is that NPR has questioned CAIR's reliability, and that is a major step. (May 23, 2005) Permalink


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Islamist Supremacism in Miniature A recent development at the University of Michigan's Flint campus summarizes the radical Islamic program in small compass. Shena Abercrombie of the Flint Journal reports how the Muslim Student Association took over a small space called the Meditation Room, used for non-denominational prayer services. Starting in November 2004, non-Muslim students began complaining about Muslim students monopolizing the room by filling it with their religious artifacts and also with anti-Israel literature. The room came to be filled with prayer rugs and books, the walls held posters, awards from the Muslim Student Association, and framed Islamic pictures.

Muslim students responded to the non-Muslim complaint with the usual line: "I do think that the current political climate does contribute to Islamophobia. … I do think that the reaction would have been different if the room was used predominantly by Christians or Jews," said Bishr Aldabagh of the MSA. Also, the brave student who initiated the complaint about Islamist aggression, Zea Miller, said he was subsequently stalked, harassed, and insulted. "I did this on behalf of others who were afraid to. It was not bigoted. I would have done this against any group who usurped the room. Now, at every move I'm being accused of anti-Muslim behavior. I am not anti-Muslim."

The Hillel Student Organization supported Miller. "The room is really important to us also, [and] we don't feel comfortable using it the way it is right now," said its president, Katie Segal. "The inside and outside had a lot of anti-Zionist propaganda and pictures and paraphernalia." Segal also denied the "Islamophobia" claim. "I think they're going to use that as their cover."

Finally, in March, the school posted rules for use of the Meditation Room that disallow leaving one's materials behind. Since then, peace apparently has returned.

Comments: (1) Islamists are always aggressive, no matter how small the stakes. (2) Islamists can be beaten back. (May 23, 2005) Permalink


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Does Terrorism Advance the Islamist Cause? The Islamist movement has two wings, one illegal and violent, the other legal and political. I believe the latter enjoys better prospects of success than the former. That's because law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and military forces know how to deal with the illegal and the violent, but the Western world lacks the muscles to defend itself from an insidious radical movement.

For these reasons, I consider the major terrorist assaults – 9/11, Bali, Madrid, Beslan – to be failures. They foul the nest and they rouse Westerners to action. Or, as I put it after the murder of Theo van Gogh, "Islamist terrorism in the West is counterproductive because it awakens the sleeping masses; in brief, jihad provokes crusade. A more cunning Islamist enemy would advance its totalitarian agenda through Mafia-like intimidation, not brazen murders."

Then along comes the irrepressible Mark Steyn who argues in the National Review ("A War Without Polkas") why 9/11 makes sense from the Islamist viewpoint. I am not convinced, but he does make an interesting case. He starts by assuming that Europe will be Muslim:

That being so, why louse things up by flying planes into buildings? Why not just lie low and in the fullness of time everything you want will come your way? The Wahhabists have successfully radicalized hitherto moderate Muslim communities from Albania to Indonesia; they've planted their most radical clerics as in-house padres throughout U.S. prisons and even the armed forces. Why screw things up by doing something so provocative it meets even [former secretary of defense] Bill Cohen's criteria for a response?

Here's why. It's always useful to test the limits of your adversaries, and, though it cost them their camps in Afghanistan and much of their leadership, the 9/11 attacks exposed many useful tidbits about the decadence of the West — the worthlessness of the post-modern NATO "alliance" and the active hostility of many of its key members to the United States, the immense deference accorded not just to Islam but to the most radical Islamic groups, especially when it comes to immigration and other aspects of national security. Many Islamists might have suspected all this, but it's heartening to have it confirmed: If the "sleeping giant" is hard to wake up, his European pals aren't sleeping so much as in irreversible comas. …

But the real battleground is the West itself, the heart of Europe, where bombs in Spain, murders in the Netherlands, "honor killings" in Germany prompt only shrugs or preemptive capitulation from the political class.

In other words, Steyn is saying, successful terrorist attacks boost Islamist morale and provide good intel. True, but this is not worth it. I see these atrocities as radical Islam's indulgences, not its path to victory. (May 23, 2005) Permalink


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Michael Isikoff, Meet Salman Rushdie Though myself critical of the Newsweek reporting about the Koran in the toilet, it is important to keep in perspective who is to blame for the rioting that caused sixteen deaths in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The responsibility lies squarely and uniquely on the radical Islamic movement, not on American reporters or even American soldiers. As many others have pointed out, there are plenty of legitimate responses to blasphemy, but murderous rampage is not one of them.

This incident brings to mind the even larger episode in 1989, when Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced novelist Salman Rushdie to death for his novel, The Satanic Verses, leading to the death of twenty people. I devoted a chapter of my book to the question "Blame Rushdie for the Furor?" In it, I looked at two main topics: Rushdie's own intentions to provoke vs. the prior history of blasphemous writings about Islam, and reached this conclusion:

despite the evident sacrilegious content of … others' writing, none of their works attracted Khomeini's ire. Rather, they continued quietly to be sold and read. This contrast with The Satanic Verses points to the absence of a predictable connection between the writing of sacrilege and retribution by Muslim authorities. These examples confirm the experience of all those who live with censorship; there is no way to guess in advance when the pot will be stirred. Some Muslims have done more than Rushdie and been punished less; others have done less and been punished more. According to strictly logical criteria, the demonstrators and Khomeini could have picked on any number of other books, or ignored Rushdie's. So, while it is true that Rushdie knew what he was doing, he could not have predicted what the Muslim response would be, for ultimately it was capricious.

Just as Rushdie cannot be held responsible for the death and disruption that followed his book's publication, so are Michael Isikoff and John Barry innocent in the current case. (May 20, 2005) Permalink


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How Many Islamists? Germany's interior minister, Otto Schily, spoke today at the release of the 2004 Verfassungsschutzbericht, the annual report by the domestic security agency that surveys Germany's extremist movements, as I have written, in a "frank and constructive way." Schily announced that, at the end of 2004, there were exactly 31,800 Islamist radicals resident in Germany, or 1 percent of the Muslim population of Germany.

This raises, again, that chestnut of a question: how many Muslims support the Islamist project? The current war clearly has very different dimensions depending on whether the answer is 1 percent or 50 percent. I proffered the estimate of 10 to 15 percent days after September 11, 2001; this figure has been questioned but has also been quite widely accepted.

Others have offered a wide range of numbers. Here is a sampling, in reverse chronological order:

Hisham Kabbani, head of Islamic Supreme Council of America: 5 to 10 percent of American Muslims are extremists. (Steven Vincent, "Where Are the Moderate Muslims?" The American Enterprise, April/May 2005, p. 27).

Kamal Nawash, head, Free Muslims Against Terrorism: "as many as 50 percent of Muslims around the world support the goals of the extremists." ("O'Reilly Factor," Fox News Channel, Aug. 5, 2004)

Daniel Yankelovich, pollster: At one extreme of Muslim society "are the hate-America Islamist fundamentalists, who are the most militant and totalitarian. The magnitude and influence of this group varies enormously. For example, in Indonesia this group has doubled, tripled, or quadrupled over the last few years. I would estimate that this group averages about 10% of all Muslims, with enormous variation from one Muslim country to another and particular strength in Arab nations." ("Cutting the Lifeline of Terror: What's Next After Iraq?" July 14, 2004, p. 20) (May 17, 2005) Permalink


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Don't Underestimate the Saudis It is easy to underestimate the Saudi leadership. It was not that long ago that they were predominantly Bedouin, remote from the modern world. They wear clothing that to a Western eye hardly inspires confidence. Their riches beyond avarice permit a self-indulgence that they fully partake of.

But the Saudi monarchy is a formidable institution that should not be sold short, one with many successful innovations to its credit.

I wrote today in "Will the Saudis Blow Up Their Own Oil Infrastructure?" about the extraordinary Saudi plans (revealed by Gerald Posner) to create "a single-button self-destruct system" on their oil and gas infrastructure, thereby rendering it useless for decades to come. This mechanism can serve either as a deterrent or (if it fell in the hands of some of the country's more radical elements) a suicide-bomb of global proportions.

This astonishing plan fits into a tradition of the Saudi leadership thinking outside the box. Other examples include:

The royal nomenklatura: The institution of the monarchy dates back millennia; so far as I know, the Saudis are the first to have expanded the reach of the family from a few individuals to a few thousand. Not only do royals occupy the key positions throughout the kingdom, but their numbers make them impervious to an assassination or other assault.
Naming the country after a ruling family: As the witticism puts it, Saudi Arabia is the only family-owned business with a seat at the United Nations.
Separate armed forces: Not wanting to be hostage to military officers, even royal ones, the monarchy relies on a national force to protect the borders, a tribal force to protect the family, and a mercenary force to guard the oil fields.
Making Wahhabism mainstream: What a century ago ranked as a fringe outlook has become perhaps the most authoritative form of Islam thanks to the dynasty's ideological dedication, its capture of Mecca and Medina, and its use of oil wealth.
Expanding the Wahhabi message worldwide: Through a massive effort, both legal (the "Wahhabi lobby" in the United States) and quasi-legal (Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation), and outright illegal (Al-Qaeda), the Saudis have promoted their brand of Islam to nearly all regions of the globe.
Non-governmental Saudis are also renowned for their imaginative prowess – think of as Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal in finance and Osama bin Laden in terrorism.

The Saudis collectively and individually should not be disdained but respected as a very worthy adversary. (May 11, 2005) Permalink


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In Praise of Routine Traffic Stops News comes today that Sami Ibrahim Isa Abdel Hadi, 39, was stopped for tailgating on Route 46 in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. Turns out, once the Bergen County police officer called in Abdel Hadi's North Carolina license plates, he learned that Abdel Hadi had been ordered deported to Brazil in December 2001 and is listed in the FBI's National Crime Information Center database. Even more interestingly, Abdel Hadi has a valid temporary I.D. from L & L Painting to paint the George Washington Bridge (a high-profile potential terrorist target).


Michael Wagner



This is hardly the first time that a routine traffic infringement has stopped actual or potential terrorists. In July 2004, Michael Wagner's not wearing a seat belt got him stopped in a SUV near Council Bluffs, Iowa, that had in it "flight training manuals and a simulator, documents in Arabic, bulletproof vests and night-vision goggles, a night-vision scope for a rifle, a telescope, a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and hundreds of rounds of ammunition."

Timothy McVeigh was stopped in April 1995 as he sped away from Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and injured more than 500 because his car lacked a license plate.

A New Jersey state trooper noticed Yu Kikumura's odd behavior at a New Jersey Turnpike rest stop in April 1988 and thoroughly searched his vehicle, finding three powerful homemade bombs. Kikumura, a member of the Japanese Red Army, was sentenced to thirty years in jail followed by deportation to Japan.

Three members of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (Walid Nicolas Kabbani, Georges Fouad Nicolas Younan, and Walid Majib Mourad) were stopped by Richford, Vermont's only policeman in October 1987, because he was suspicious of their movements. Indeed, they were smuggling a bomb from Canada to the United States.

There are plenty of other examples; I shall record them here as I become aware of them.

Comments: (1) It is remarkable how many criminals, terrorist and otherwise, make elementary traffic mistakes. (2) There is no substitute for law enforcement on the ground. (May 4, 2005) Permalink


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After the Internet … Billboards? Robert Spencer today shows some pictures of a billboard in Los Angeles Los Angeles (at Sunset Blvd. and Fairfax Ave.) that features his website plus the words "Dhimmitude," "Eurabia," and "Bat Ye'or."



That reminds me to note here that, as of January 2005, a billboard has been up, visible from I-95 north of Philadelphia, showing the Middle East Forum's name, logo, and slogan ("Promoting American Interests").



The Forum thanks Terry L. Steen, president of H.A.Steen Industries, Inc., for this excellent new way to make itself known to the general public. (May 3, 2005) Permalink


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An Imam on the Cathedral Staff Next Sunday, Nov. 14, the imam of the Islamic Center of Ahl Al-Beit, Ibrahim Kazerooni, will be installed on the staff of Denver's historic St. John's Episcopal Cathedral. Eric Gorski writes in today's Denver Post that "a new chapter in interfaith relations will be written" with this step, certainly in Denver and perhaps nationally. To which I add: perhaps anywhere on the globe.

Kazerooni, 46, an Iraqi immigrant and a Shiite, will serve as interim director of the church's "Abrahamic Initiative," a project to build bridges among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. He will not receive a salary for of the Abrahamic Initiative, but will have his tuition paid at the Iliff School of Theology, where he is pursuing a master's degree.

Comment: This move by the Episcopal church is ecumenical and constructive. I would, however, feel a lot better about it if some mosque in like spirit hired a pastor – an idea that at this moment borders on the absurd. (November 11, 2004) Permalink


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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Mind Control is Here

UNCHR: PROTECTING RELIGION

By Elizabeth Kendal
World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC)
Special to ASSIST News Service

AUSTRALIA (ANS) -- In an astonishing move on 12 April 2005, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) moved from promoting respect for human rights (the rights of humans) to promoting "respect for all religions and their value systems".

UNCHR: PROTECTING RELIGION – SPECIFICALLY ISLAM

On Tuesday 12 April 2005, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), meeting for its 61st session in Geneva, Switzerland, passed Human Rights Resolution 2005/3 entitled, "Combating Defamation of Religions". The text can be found at:
http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/E/CHR/resolutions/E-CN_4-RES-2005-3.doc

Islam On Line (IOL) reported it this way: "The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted on Tuesday, April 12, a resolution calling for combating defamation campaigns against Islam and Muslims in the West." (Link 1)

IOL quotes Cuba's delegate, Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez, who claimed that Islam has been the subject of a "very deep campaign of defamation". According to IOL, it is this defamation that breeds disharmony, hatred and discrimination.

Ehtasham Khan reports from Geneva for Rediff.com (India), "The resolution was pushed forward by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). It was put under Agenda Item 6 that deals with racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination." (Link 2)

It took a month of diplomatic lobbying, but the OIC nations managed to gain majority support and the resolution, which failed last year, was passed this year with 31 countries for, 16 against, five abstentions and one delegation absent.

Khan reports that the United States, United Kingdom and Israel were amongst those nations that voted against the resolution on the grounds that it was unbalanced and biased. Russia and China voted in favour while India was among those who abstained.

FLAWED AND DANGEROUS

UNCHR Resolution 2005/3 is flawed and dangerous. It completely fails to address the issue of human rights violations that are legitimised by discriminatory and barbaric religious mandates. Thus it protects the religious mandate above humans' rights.

The resolution was formulated by the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) and specifically seeks that Islam be protected from "defamation".

It is critical to note that "defamation" is normally defined as: "communication to third parties of false statements about a person that injure the reputation of or deter others from associating with that person." (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law)

Historically, inherent in the charge of defamation is the falsity of the statement. If a person can prove that their statement is true, they cannot be said to have defamed.

So, to echo Pilate, "What is truth?" Well the UNCHR resolution clarifies that for us also, stating, "Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism."

Clearly, accusing Islam of being associated with human rights violations is, according to the UNCHR, an act of defamation of Islam. This presents a serious challenge and threat to human rights advocates and reporters. The UNCHR resolution also guarantees that those who pursue an agenda to defame Islam will be branded "extremists".

The UNCHR resolution calls upon States to "actively combat defamation of religions, Islam and Muslims in particular especially in human rights forums". It also calls upon States to provide constitutional and legal protection of Islam against defamation and its consequences, i.e. lack of respect, or hatred.

The UNCHR resolution requests the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance to continue to examine the situation of Muslims and Arab peoples in various parts of the world and monitor defamation of Islam. The Special Rapporteur will report his findings to the Commission at its 62nd session (April 2006) and make recommendations to improve their situation.

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Links

1) UN Calls for Combating Anti-Islam Campaigns
GENEVA, April 12, 2005 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies)
http://islamonline.net/English/News/2005-04/12/article06.shtml

2) UN to monitor defamation of Islam
Ehtasham Khan in Geneva, 13 April 2005
http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/apr/12un2.htm
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Elizabeth Kendal is the Principal Researcher and Writer for the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC) www.worldevangelical.org/rlc.html. This article was initially written for the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis mailing list.
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Bynum: Desecrating History

Jihad Watch News Editor Rebecca Bynum weighs in on Newsweek-Afghan riot controversy.

So, what should we learn from the Great Qur’an Flushing Riots of 2005? Is this a story about the liberal media’s rush to print anything to discredit the military and by extension, the administration? Or is it about the insane overreaction of Muslims to the idea of “desecration” (a word along with apostasy, infidel, and beheading that a mere five years ago, all assumed had fallen from existence). Or is this story about the absurd double standard Muslim countries use in treating non-Muslim faiths and their holy books, especially the Bible, while demanding supreme “sensitivity” from the western world regarding their own beliefs and holy book? Certainly it was about all of those things, but it was also about something else as well. Something missed by the national media. A little something about the distortion and thus the “desecration” of history.
The rioting in Afghanistan seems to have started with demonstrations by students in the in Afghan capital on Tues. May 10. “Hundreds of students marched from a university campus into the eastern city of Jalalabad and blocked the main road toward the capital, Kabul, intelligence chief Sardar Shah said. There were no reports of violence. Television footage showed students chanting and calling for an apology for the alleged abuse of Islam's holy book. An object which witnesses said was an effigy of Bush could be seen burning.” These initial demonstrations were later reported to have been pre-planned long before the Qur’an flushing story broke.

The next day, Wednesday, May 11, the violence seems to have escalated with four people reported to have been killed and 70 injured in Afghanistan and it was also reported that the violence was spreading to Pakistan. The following day, Thursday the 12, the Turkish Press reported seven people had been killed in the rioting. By Friday, ABC News was reporting that the riots had spread to parts of Indonesia, Gaza and Hebron, and that nine more people had been killed in Afghanistan bringing to total number of people killed to 16. On Sunday, the day Newsweek retracted the Gitmo Qur’an flush part of the story, Reuters reported 16 dead as well.

Come Monday morning, conservative journals and talk show hosts nationwide gleefully jumped on the chance to further discredit still another major news media organization, whose already tarnished reputation slipped yet another notch in the public’s estimation (which was hard to do, because the public already trusted the media about as much as they trust used car salesmen). A slew of other news reports chocked up the death toll variously as 17, 18 or even 19 Afghanis dead, and yet on Wednesday, May 25, Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin reported that not a single name of even one victim had been released. “No details of the circumstances of the riots were released from any official sources – either U.S. or Afghan."

Well, surely it seems to me, if there had been funerals, those funerals would have turned into major media events. The entire world was watching as events unfolded, but those reporters who may have rushed to the scene in anticipation of the usual great funeral footage, filled with thousands of excited young men waving big guns and shouting along with the obligatory three or four fully draped females usually wailing, weeping and pointing to pictures (these people can really act out their grievances, both real and imagined) anyway, those reporters were left twiddling their thumbs.

“G2B has examined every English-language news story about these deaths through Lexis Nexis. G2B has scoured the Internet, including foreign and non-English-language news sources for any details of these deaths. And G2B has queried both U.S. and Afghan official sources for any details about these alleged deaths.

"No U.S. officials contacted can provide any corroboration for any deaths. And Afghan officials uniformly clam up with apprehension at the mere asking of questions.” And apparently, G2B is the only news organization that pressed it.

But must we scrape off our "Newsweek lied, people died" bumper stickers so soon? Mine hasn't even arrived yet. Or should we file this story along with the file on “what Yasser Arafat died from” along with the file on the “Jenin massacre,” along with the file on the "tragic killing of little Mohammed Al-Dura?" All this makes me wonder how much of the reporting that comes to us from the Arab press is reliable at all, and more importantly, how much of it that is, in fact, quite unreliable sails right through regardless. How do our fact checkers check facts, anyway? Do we need another, more rigorous standard of fact checking for reports coming from Muslim countries before we rush those screaming bumper stickers into print? Perhaps so.


Said a certain Jewish carpenter, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,” (Mark 2:27) which pretty well sums up the western world’s entire attitude towards authority, religious and governmental alike. In the universe of the western world, both government and religion are thought to exist only in order to serve mankind. Governments are instituted among men for their benefit, not the other way around. Muslims, on the other hand, believe they are actually born in order to serve Islam, God’s perfect system for man. Muslim morality is judged according to one and only one criterion: does it, or does it not promote Islam? All means to that end are justified by the Qur'an and are deemed moral, or more precisely, these actions are "permitted."
Westerners continually make broad assumptions based on “universal ideals.” Ideals, we think are so self-evident that everyone agrees. Secretary of State Rice has said, "Islam is a peaceful religion and so the notion that somehow flying airplanes into buildings or strapping a belt on yourself and blowing up other people is in the service of Islam is something, I think, that clearly perverts the religion and is resented by most respected Islamic scholars for very good reason -- by the way, I think probably rejected too by most people because who wants that to be the future for your children? Nobody." Which left me scratching my head wondering why she hadn't read the copious media reports from all over the Muslim world where any and all human sacrifice in the name of Islam is not only justified, but encouraged and routinely celebrated. In the Muslim world, human beings exist to serve and promote Islam, not the other way around. Why can’t we get that straight?

Maybe what we have here is a fear-inspiring fetish doctrine (Islam) born from a fear-inspiring fetish book (the Qur’an), in which not only is every word thought to be true, but also it is thought that ALL TRUTH is contained within this book. Predictably, this fetish “piety” leads directly to bigotry, fanaticism, superstition, intolerance, and the most atrocious of barbarous cruelties. Other than that, it’s a “beautiful” religion (cue scenes of Shangi-La and the Taj-Mahal from memory bank) and heaven help you if you say otherwise.

The Qur’an, like the Bible, is thought to contain history. The only problem with the history contained in the Qur’an is that isn’t actually history at all. Muslims will say it is “revealed” history, but nonetheless, by the traditional standard of recording events as they actually happen, or shortly thereafter, and then preserving that record over time, the Qur’an cannot be thought to contain any history except that of Muhammad and his immediate associates. Yet, the western world routinely accepts the notion of the “three Abrahamic faiths” just as though this Qur’anic history was actually, well, history. By doing so, we betray the historical Hebrew prophets, the very personages we are all supposed to “revere.”

The fact that Muslims are playing fast and loose with modern history then, should not surprise us. If a few extra bodies are thrown into a news report, if the cause of death of a major Muslim political figure is obscured, if atrocities are manufactured, well, we shouldn’t be surprised. We should be wary instead.
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