Sunday, October 19, 2014

U.S. BLOCKS DEFENSE SHIPMENTS TO ISRAEL

by Marshall Frank

While we are fed constant news about ISIS, Ebola and a questionable police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, we seem to have lost interest in what is happening on the Israeli front, where rockets continue to pound civilian targets inside their borders and innocent people keep running for their lives. Hamas must love all the outside world’s distractions as they relentlessly fire missile on top of missile into Israeli civilian targets in the hopes of killing anyone for the sake of killing and terrorizing.

Nothing appears in American news feed – not easily found anyway – which tells more of the story, as the Obama administration has blocked all shipments of defensive armament support to Israel, our strongest ally (supposedly) in the middle east. No explanation given. This is reported in the Jewish Press, which is not known for making up false stories.

So this is where we’ve come. Not only is ISIS terrorizing Iraq and Syria into an Islamic State, target bombings be laughable, we are giving a lower (or no) priority to our Israeli partner’s survival. This falls completely into the objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islam.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

John L. Esposito:
Apologist for Wahhabi Islam

By Stephen Schwartz

Three things are immediately obvious when one examines the biography of John Louis Esposito, American academic expert on Islam. The first is that -- as noted by his official biographical listing of more than forty-five books and monographs, along with his standing as editor of several reference series -- he seems indefatigably prolific, though the bulk of his writings present interpretations of contemporary phenomena rather than original research. The second is that he luxuriates in honors, including those bestowed by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other parties in whose objectivity about Islamic affairs few can believe. Finally, his work has provided an unremitting "explanation" that amounts to a committed defense of radical, rather than traditional, Islam. Esposito aspires to become the chief interlocutor between the U.S., if not the West as a whole, and the Muslim lands -- especially the extremist elements in Islamic societies.
In his career as an academic and public intellectual, Esposito has emphasized his conviction that Islamist ideology is a path to liberation of Muslim societies from oppression, and, like many other Middle East studies experts, he is quick to accuse critics of Muslim radicalism of Islamophobia. He has accumulated a further sheaf of statements that should be embarrassing to him, but apparently is not. Most offensively, he stood up for Sami Al-Arian, who pled guilty in 2006 to a charge of providing services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization according to the U.S. government. At an August 18, 2007 fundraising event in Dallas for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a leading American Islamist group, Esposito declared, "Sami Al-Arian's a very good friend of mine."

On the same occasion, he affirmed his solidarity with "the Holy Land Fund [sic, Holy Land Foundation], but also with CAIR." Five principal leaders of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and the organization itself were found guilty in 2008 on 108 charges of support for Hamas. The U.S. authorities had already added HLF to the roster of Specially Designated Terrorist Organizations in 2001, but in the view of Esposito, as recorded on National Public Radio on October 22, 1994, Hamas was "a community-focused group that engages in 'honey, cheese-making, and home-based clothing manufacture.'"
On July 2, 2008, Esposito penned a lachrymose description, addressed to U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, of Al-Arian as a "dedicated family man. ... Sami Al-Arian is a proud, dedicated and committed American as well as a proud and committed Palestinian. He is an extraordinarily bright, articulate scholar and intellectual-activist, a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice."

Esposito is University Professor as well as Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is also the founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU) in Georgetown's Walsh School of Foreign Service, renamed the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) in 2005, after twelve years in existence, upon the receipt of a $20-million gift from the Saudi prince. Bin Talal became known to Americans in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when he attempted to hand a $10-million donation to then-mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani. The prince's check was accompanied by a declaration that "the government of the United States of America should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance towards the Palestinian cause." Giuliani returned the check and rejected Bin Talal's criticism. Four years later, Esposito evinced no such qualms.

Partly educated in and long employed by Catholic institutions, Esposito received his B.A. in philosophy from St. Antony's College, at Oxford in the U.K., in 1963; his M.A. in theology from St. John's University in New York three years later; and his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, with a minor in comparative religions, at Temple University (Philadelphia) in 1974. From 1975 to 1995 he taught at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, founded by members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and in 1993, he began his career at Georgetown, another Jesuit institution, with a two-year overlap between the two schools.

Aside from these credentials, Esposito has served as president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) and of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies, and also as vice chair of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID). In such activities, Esposito's sympathy for radicalism thrives: MESA is rife with anti-American, anti-Israel, and pro-Islamist propaganda camouflaged as scholarship, while CSID is an open advocate for Islamist ideology. Esposito is also vice president (2011) and president-elect (2012) of the American Academy of Religion.

Esposito's wanderings in Islamic affairs have led him along paths that appear distinct to an outsider, but which all end in the same place: advocacy for Islamist governance. His published works include the 2003 volume Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gülen Movement (Syracuse University Press), coauthored with M. Hakan Yavuz -- an enthusiastic depiction of the ideological movement directed by the leading Turkish Islamist Fethullah Gülen, presented in the volume as equivalent to "Turkish Islam" in general. This book was followed by a 2010 collection of encomia to Gülen, titled Islam and Peacebuilding: Gülen Movement Initiatives, co-edited with Ihsan Yilmaz and published by Bluedome Press, an apparent Gülenist enterprise. The Gülen movement comprises a major element in the political apparatus created by the Islamist Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish acronym, the AKP; led by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; and holding power in Turkey since 2002.

Esposito has also collaborated with the Turkish academic Ibrahim Kalin, currently a visiting researcher at Georgetown, on a new book, Islamophobia and the Challenge of Pluralism in the 21st Century, published in March 2011 by Oxford University Press. Kalin, a senior adviser to Erdoğan, actively supports the AKP line that "Turkey is certain to increase its multi-leveled engagement policy in the Arab world." This for the Al-Jazeera broadcasting system in June 2011, following the third national electoral triumph for the AKP, which Kalin hailed as "a victory not only for Prime Minister Erdoğan but also for Turkish democracy."

Esposito has also toiled in the ideological fields of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which awarded him its 1996 World Book Prize, although his C.V., which differs from his Georgetown biography, doesn't name the book. But his most notable service -- by far -- is to Saudi Arabia and its official Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. In his endeavors, Esposito has availed himself of three females he has mentored through careers in academia and public policy: Natana DeLong-Bas, Hadia Mubarak, and Dalia Mogahed. The activities of these scholars, whom Esposito has nurtured, offer further evidence of Esposito's radicalizing influence within Middle East studies.

Georgetown graduate DeLong-Bas, who also taught at Brandeis, is now a part-time faculty member in the theology department at Boston College. In 2004 she wrote Wahhabi Islam: from Revival to Global Jihad, also published by Oxford, and produced, as she noted, with the encouragement of Esposito, with whom she had coauthored an edition of one his earlier tomes, Women in Muslim Family Law (Syracuse, 2002). Further, DeLong-Bas acknowledged the assistance of three prominent Saudis in writing her Wahhabi apologia: Prince Faisal Bin Salman, whose title she left unmentioned; Abdallah S. al-Uthaymin, son of a Wahhabi cleric; and Fahd as-Semmari, director of the King Abd Al-Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives, in Riyadh, for which she expressed thanks for financial support.

Here the Esposito method was laid bare: thanks to his sponsorship, Saudi money subsidized a U.S. academic product intended to ameliorate the image of Wahhabism, the most extreme fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in modern times, and the inspirer of so-called "Salafi" radicals, from the Muslim Brotherhood through the South Asian jihadist movement founded by Abul Ala Mawdudi to al-Qaeda. In the mind of DeLong-Bas, Wahhabism could be considered, as noted in a review of the book, "peaceful, traditional, spiritual, and even feminist."

DeLong-Bas outdid herself, however, in an interview with the Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat on December 21, 2006. Therein she denied that Wahhabism was extreme; that Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and the movement's foremost ideologue, Sayyid Qutb, were jihadists; and, most incredibly, that there was evidence for the involvement of the then-living Osama bin Laden in the 9/11 attacks.

Next among Esposito's prominent female disciples came Hadia Mubarak, a researcher at CMCU, who arrived there via a post as national president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) of the U.S. and Canada and as a board member of CAIR, two leading components of the "Wahhabi lobby" in the U.S. She had received her B.A. from Florida State University and was accepted at Georgetown for graduate work. There she became inveigled in an unsuccessful but nonetheless disreputable effort to transfer $325,000 to ACMCU from the Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC), a fifty-seven-member international body created in 1969 to "protect" the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem from Israel. Mubarak then went to work for the Gallup Poll's Muslim World Project.

At Gallup, Mubarak joined another Esposito protégée, Dalia Mogahed. Born in Egypt and possessor of an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, Mogahed was Esposito's coauthor in what may have been his most successful -- and certainly his most widely-cited -- book, Who Speaks For Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, published in 2008 by Gallup Press. As Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), described the volume, Esposito and Mogahed claimed that "'everyday Muslims' are so similar to ordinary Americans that 'conflict between the Muslim and Western communities is far from inevitable.'" Satloff continued:

Similar arguments have been made before; some of this is true, some is rubbish, much is irrelevant[.] ... The question often revolves around a disputed data point: Of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, how many are radicals? ... The book draws on a mammoth, six-year effort to poll and interview tens of thousands of Muslims in more than 35 countries with Muslim majorities or substantial minorities[.] ... The answer to that all-important question, the authors say, is 7 percent[.] ... The not-so-hidden purpose of this book is to blur any difference between average Muslims around the world and average Americans, and the authors rise to the occasion at every turn.

Satloff noted that at a WINEP event hosted for Mogahed, she admitted that "[t]he book is a book about the modern Muslim world that used its polling to inform its analysis. So that's important: It's meant for a general audience, and it's not meant to be a polling report." Mogahed is also known for her lighthearted treatment of Islamic law as protective of women, among other adventures in the company of extremists.

These slippery methods, inculcated by Esposito in his three female acolytes, exemplify, as much as his own signed work, the outlook Esposito has adopted and pursued throughout his career. In a remarkably candid 2005 interview with him in a periodical, The Muslim Weekly, the paper's writer, Scott Jaschik, noted Esposito's repellent cynicism:

Esposito's career took off after the Shah of Iran fell in 1979, and everyone could see the power of political Islam. "I owe my Lexus and my career to the Ayatollah Khomeini," he tells his students at Georgetown.

Jaschik further wrote:

It is an article of faith to many policy makers...that Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood are terrorist groups who should be denied any role in political discussions or civil society. Esposito -- while condemning suicide bombings and attacks on civilians as 'immoral' -- says these groups cannot be written off.

During the recent upheavals in the Middle East, when one would expect Esposito, as an expert on Islam and revolution, to be at the forefront of advocacy for change in countries where dictatorships had used Islam as a cover for political oppression, the Georgetown professor was and has been uncharacteristically quiet, limiting his comments to vague, perfunctory blog articles loaded with stereotypes. In one, co-authored with yet another CMCU researcher, Sheila Lalwani, we read:

Policymakers must move beyond policies that equated protection of national interests with the stability and security of regimes and were driven more by fear of the unknown than support for Western principles of self-determination, democracy and human rights.

In another, signed with Dalia Mogahed, we find:

Old habits die hard[.] ... Clinging to a failed narrative and the threat of a hostile Islamist takeover, risks succumbing to the temptation to 'encourage' or influence a specific outcome in Arab elections which will validate the concerns of Egyptians and others in the Arab world.

That's the real Esposito, even if somewhat watered down: discounting the threat of radical Islam even as it makes a flamboyant entry, particularly in the Egyptian Revolution. Yes, indeed, old habits do die hard. On that point, there can be no disagreement with John Louis Esposito.

Stephen Schwartz is executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism. He wrote this article for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

Three things are immediately obvious when one examines the biography of John Louis Esposito, American academic expert on Islam. The first is that -- as noted by his official biographical listing of more than forty-five books and monographs, along with his standing as editor of several reference series -- he seems indefatigably prolific, though the bulk of his writings present interpretations of contemporary phenomena rather than original research. The second is that he luxuriates in honors, including those bestowed by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other parties in whose objectivity about Islamic affairs few can believe. Finally, his work has provided an unremitting "explanation" that amounts to a committed defense of radical, rather than traditional, Islam. Esposito aspires to become the chief interlocutor between the U.S., if not the West as a whole, and the Muslim lands -- especially the extremist elements in Islamic societies.

In his career as an academic and public intellectual, Esposito has emphasized his conviction that Islamist ideology is a path to liberation of Muslim societies from oppression, and, like many other Middle East studies experts, he is quick to accuse critics of Muslim radicalism of Islamophobia. He has accumulated a further sheaf of statements that should be embarrassing to him, but apparently is not. Most offensively, he stood up for Sami Al-Arian, who pled guilty in 2006 to a charge of providing services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization according to the U.S. government. At an August 18, 2007 fundraising event in Dallas for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a leading American Islamist group, Esposito declared, "Sami Al-Arian's a very good friend of mine."

On the same occasion, he affirmed his solidarity with "the Holy Land Fund [sic, Holy Land Foundation], but also with CAIR." Five principal leaders of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and the organization itself were found guilty in 2008 on 108 charges of support for Hamas. The U.S. authorities had already added HLF to the roster of Specially Designated Terrorist Organizations in 2001, but in the view of Esposito, as recorded on National Public Radio on October 22, 1994, Hamas was "a community-focused group that engages in 'honey, cheese-making, and home-based clothing manufacture.'"

On July 2, 2008, Esposito penned a lachrymose description, addressed to U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, of Al-Arian as a "dedicated family man. ... Sami Al-Arian is a proud, dedicated and committed American as well as a proud and committed Palestinian. He is an extraordinarily bright, articulate scholar and intellectual-activist, a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice."

Esposito is University Professor as well as Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is also the founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU) in Georgetown's Walsh School of Foreign Service, renamed the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) in 2005, after twelve years in existence, upon the receipt of a $20-million gift from the Saudi prince. Bin Talal became known to Americans in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when he attempted to hand a $10-million donation to then-mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani. The prince's check was accompanied by a declaration that "the government of the United States of America should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance towards the Palestinian cause." Giuliani returned the check and rejected Bin Talal's criticism. Four years later, Esposito evinced no such qualms.

Partly educated in and long employed by Catholic institutions, Esposito received his B.A. in philosophy from St. Antony's College, at Oxford in the U.K., in 1963; his M.A. in theology from St. John's University in New York three years later; and his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, with a minor in comparative religions, at Temple University (Philadelphia) in 1974. From 1975 to 1995 he taught at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, founded by members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and in 1993, he began his career at Georgetown, another Jesuit institution, with a two-year overlap between the two schools.

Aside from these credentials, Esposito has served as president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) and of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies, and also as vice chair of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID). In such activities, Esposito's sympathy for radicalism thrives: MESA is rife with anti-American, anti-Israel, and pro-Islamist propaganda camouflaged as scholarship, while CSID is an open advocate for Islamist ideology. Esposito is also vice president (2011) and president-elect (2012) of the American Academy of Religion.

Esposito's wanderings in Islamic affairs have led him along paths that appear distinct to an outsider, but which all end in the same place: advocacy for Islamist governance. His published works include the 2003 volume Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gülen Movement (Syracuse University Press), coauthored with M. Hakan Yavuz -- an enthusiastic depiction of the ideological movement directed by the leading Turkish Islamist Fethullah Gülen, presented in the volume as equivalent to "Turkish Islam" in general. This book was followed by a 2010 collection of encomia to Gülen, titled Islam and Peacebuilding: Gülen Movement Initiatives, co-edited with Ihsan Yilmaz and published by Bluedome Press, an apparent Gülenist enterprise. The Gülen movement comprises a major element in the political apparatus created by the Islamist Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish acronym, the AKP; led by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; and holding power in Turkey since 2002.

Esposito has also collaborated with the Turkish academic Ibrahim Kalin, currently a visiting researcher at Georgetown, on a new book, Islamophobia and the Challenge of Pluralism in the 21st Century, published in March 2011 by Oxford University Press. Kalin, a senior adviser to Erdoğan, actively supports the AKP line that "Turkey is certain to increase its multi-leveled engagement policy in the Arab world." This for the Al-Jazeera broadcasting system in June 2011, following the third national electoral triumph for the AKP, which Kalin hailed as "a victory not only for Prime Minister Erdoğan but also for Turkish democracy."

Esposito has also toiled in the ideological fields of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which awarded him its 1996 World Book Prize, although his C.V., which differs from his Georgetown biography, doesn't name the book. But his most notable service -- by far -- is to Saudi Arabia and its official Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. In his endeavors, Esposito has availed himself of three females he has mentored through careers in academia and public policy: Natana DeLong-Bas, Hadia Mubarak, and Dalia Mogahed. The activities of these scholars, whom Esposito has nurtured, offer further evidence of Esposito's radicalizing influence within Middle East studies.

Georgetown graduate DeLong-Bas, who also taught at Brandeis, is now a part-time faculty member in the theology department at Boston College. In 2004 she wrote Wahhabi Islam: from Revival to Global Jihad, also published by Oxford, and produced, as she noted, with the encouragement of Esposito, with whom she had coauthored an edition of one his earlier tomes, Women in Muslim Family Law (Syracuse, 2002). Further, DeLong-Bas acknowledged the assistance of three prominent Saudis in writing her Wahhabi apologia: Prince Faisal Bin Salman, whose title she left unmentioned; Abdallah S. al-Uthaymin, son of a Wahhabi cleric; and Fahd as-Semmari, director of the King Abd Al-Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives, in Riyadh, for which she expressed thanks for financial support.

Here the Esposito method was laid bare: thanks to his sponsorship, Saudi money subsidized a U.S. academic product intended to ameliorate the image of Wahhabism, the most extreme fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in modern times, and the inspirer of so-called "Salafi" radicals, from the Muslim Brotherhood through the South Asian jihadist movement founded by Abul Ala Mawdudi to al-Qaeda. In the mind of DeLong-Bas, Wahhabism could be considered, as noted in a review of the book, "peaceful, traditional, spiritual, and even feminist."

DeLong-Bas outdid herself, however, in an interview with the Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat on December 21, 2006. Therein she denied that Wahhabism was extreme; that Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and the movement's foremost ideologue, Sayyid Qutb, were jihadists; and, most incredibly, that there was evidence for the involvement of the then-living Osama bin Laden in the 9/11 attacks.

Next among Esposito's prominent female disciples came Hadia Mubarak, a researcher at CMCU, who arrived there via a post as national president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) of the U.S. and Canada and as a board member of CAIR, two leading components of the "Wahhabi lobby" in the U.S. She had received her B.A. from Florida State University and was accepted at Georgetown for graduate work. There she became inveigled in an unsuccessful but nonetheless disreputable effort to transfer $325,000 to ACMCU from the Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC), a fifty-seven-member international body created in 1969 to "protect" the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem from Israel. Mubarak then went to work for the Gallup Poll's Muslim World Project.

At Gallup, Mubarak joined another Esposito protégée, Dalia Mogahed. Born in Egypt and possessor of an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, Mogahed was Esposito's coauthor in what may have been his most successful -- and certainly his most widely-cited -- book, Who Speaks For Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, published in 2008 by Gallup Press. As Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), described the volume, Esposito and Mogahed claimed that "'everyday Muslims' are so similar to ordinary Americans that 'conflict between the Muslim and Western communities is far from inevitable.'" Satloff continued:

Similar arguments have been made before; some of this is true, some is rubbish, much is irrelevant[.] ... The question often revolves around a disputed data point: Of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, how many are radicals? ... The book draws on a mammoth, six-year effort to poll and interview tens of thousands of Muslims in more than 35 countries with Muslim majorities or substantial minorities[.] ... The answer to that all-important question, the authors say, is 7 percent[.] ... The not-so-hidden purpose of this book is to blur any difference between average Muslims around the world and average Americans, and the authors rise to the occasion at every turn.

Satloff noted that at a WINEP event hosted for Mogahed, she admitted that "[t]he book is a book about the modern Muslim world that used its polling to inform its analysis. So that's important: It's meant for a general audience, and it's not meant to be a polling report." Mogahed is also known for her lighthearted treatment of Islamic law as protective of women, among other adventures in the company of extremists.

These slippery methods, inculcated by Esposito in his three female acolytes, exemplify, as much as his own signed work, the outlook Esposito has adopted and pursued throughout his career. In a remarkably candid 2005 interview with him in a periodical, The Muslim Weekly, the paper's writer, Scott Jaschik, noted Esposito's repellent cynicism:

Esposito's career took off after the Shah of Iran fell in 1979, and everyone could see the power of political Islam. "I owe my Lexus and my career to the Ayatollah Khomeini," he tells his students at Georgetown.

Jaschik further wrote:

It is an article of faith to many policy makers...that Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood are terrorist groups who should be denied any role in political discussions or civil society. Esposito -- while condemning suicide bombings and attacks on civilians as 'immoral' -- says these groups cannot be written off.

During the recent upheavals in the Middle East, when one would expect Esposito, as an expert on Islam and revolution, to be at the forefront of advocacy for change in countries where dictatorships had used Islam as a cover for political oppression, the Georgetown professor was and has been uncharacteristically quiet, limiting his comments to vague, perfunctory blog articles loaded with stereotypes. In one, co-authored with yet another CMCU researcher, Sheila Lalwani, we read:

Policymakers must move beyond policies that equated protection of national interests with the stability and security of regimes and were driven more by fear of the unknown than support for Western principles of self-determination, democracy and human rights.

In another, signed with Dalia Mogahed, we find:

Old habits die hard[.] ... Clinging to a failed narrative and the threat of a hostile Islamist takeover, risks succumbing to the temptation to 'encourage' or influence a specific outcome in Arab elections which will validate the concerns of Egyptians and others in the Arab world.

That's the real Esposito, even if somewhat watered down: discounting the threat of radical Islam even as it makes a flamboyant entry, particularly in the Egyptian Revolution. Yes, indeed, old habits do die hard. On that point, there can be no disagreement with John Louis Esposito.

Stephen Schwartz is executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism. He wrote this article for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Negating the Propagandist Ruse of NPR

by Tabitha Korol

NPR’s political position is heard by many, and its audience is led to sympathize with the Islamic enemies of civilization. Our very future is in upheaval and I challenge NPR’s motives, ethics, and sense of responsibility.

I have written NPR (Notorious for Palestinian Revisionism) in the past, regarding its position on the war of Islam against Israel, the Jews and Christians worldwide. Whether it is Hamas, ISIS, Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, and even the most ludicrous appellation – “religion of peace,” their goal is the same: global conquest and the spread of Islam and Sharia law. The Hamas charter applies to all Muslims, including Palestinians, and how it obligates them to continue their 1400 years of bloodshed until the world is entirely Islamic, under Allah. Their history and plans are clearly delineated in the first paragraph of their Covenant – they obliterated cultures before and will continue doing so in the future. What is it about “obliterate” that NPR doesn’t understand?

Hamas Covenant

In the name of the Most Merciful Allah

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it just as it obliterated others before it. Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts.”

Hamas’s name means Islamic Resistance Movement in Arabic -- violence. They will never recognize the State of Israel’s right to exist as an independent sovereign nation, and Islam intends to “wipe it out as it wiped out what went before.” Moslems follow Mohammad’s behavior and decrees for jihad against all who reject Allah as their god and Mohammad as their prophet. They wiped out civilizations before in the Middle East, destroyed artifacts to erase all remnants of their existence, and they continue their malevolence, death, destruction, enslavement and looting. Their methods are numerous and adaptable, using violence as needed, and stealth jihad where it is more prudent. They will decapitate for expediency, but infiltrate into government and schools, using propaganda and deceit. They are inventive and methodical, and above all, dedicated.

Followed by every lame apology is another NPR report to the ill-informed, vulnerable public, using every myth and canard to claim Palestinian victimization by Israel. If there were a modicum of sincerity and honest journalism, the reporters would properly investigate incidents and compare their findings with those of the Jerusalem Post or Arutz Sheva before going to print.

Hamas, a Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, Canada, the European Union and Japan, yet NPR continues to transmit its dishonesty to the masses. Hamas is responsible for suicide bombings, murder tunnels, unspeakable slaughter and mayhem, and the launching of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles to harm innocent civilians and children in Israel (not to mention the chaos, kidnapping and enslaving of students in Africa) and is now restoring to daily routine their 7th century barbarian practice of chopping heads of innocent civilians to Europe and America.

Be reminded that this death cult has no qualms about victimizing their own women and children, using them as human bombs and human shields to gain public sympathy. By contrast, it has been proven that the IDF does its utmost to avoid civilian casualties when retaliating against Hamas forces. Israel is a small home to many religions and nationalities, fighting for its survival amid a sea of 1.3 billion trained, obedient, riot-ready Muslims on a land mass a thousand times the size of Israel. Americans benefit from Israel’s industry, creativity, accomplishments in science and medicine. NPR’s staff would live freely in Israel, but eventually face a subservient life and horrific death in an Islamic country, yet they support the global Islamic cause as though they were mad or suicidal. Even NPR is being hoodwinked by its deceptive reporters.

Therefore I need to convey that Israel was vindicated by the United Nations’ damage assessment of Gaza. They confirm that Israel attacked Hamas targets with restraint.

· Israel did not retaliate by rote against Hamas’s systematic attacks on civilian targets, but bombed specific facilities, bases, weapons and tunnels.

· Most of the damage was limited to areas of 25 meters or less, and most of Gaza was not damaged – less than 5 percent of Gaza was hit by the IDF.

· The most populated areas were disproportionally UNdamaged, or had limited damage.

· The areas reported in the UN damage assessment report are compatible with the IDF briefings on Hamas’s battle areas.

· When Hamas deliberately concentrated its terror against Israeli civilians from densely populated urban areas in Gaza, the areas were undamaged.

· Israel demonstrated exceptional efforts to minimize collateral damage by warning civilians, thereby forfeiting the surprise effect; they were guided by security rather than retaliatory or political expediency.

· Israel followed surgical bombing tactics, not carpet bombing, not random or indiscriminate.

· Most Israeli bombing hit terror-related sites, such as multiple tunnel entrances and shafts, and mortar and missile launching sites.

· Fifteen percent of Hamas rockets and mortars were short, hitting civilian targets inside Gaza.

Does NPR grasp that their protection emboldens Muslims to increase their evil against the world, and that what Islam does in Israel, England and Sweden will soon become conventional in America? Perhaps NPR can explain how its staff is preparing to survive our destruction. Any stealth funds they receive will only guarantee that they will not be eaten by the Islamic crocodile first; but they will be eaten.

NPR’s Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has reported that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are “seen” as illegal, rather than asserting that they are legal under the Balfour Declaration, San Remo Treaty, League of Nations’ Palestine Mandate (article 6), and UN Security Council Resolution 242. She has reported that Israeli residents are violent toward Palestinian residents, but statistics prove otherwise.

NPR reported that Mayor Goldsmith “said” there was a massacre of the Fogel family, but not that the massacre occurred, thereby questioning the occurrence and diminishing its importance and impact. Ignoring Palestinian violence, arson and stone throwing, Garcia-Navarro added there was “no justice for Palestinians.” Mike Shuster’s report on the Second Intifada, and Daniel Schorr’s report on the Gaza Flotilla, among others, were severely skewed.

Most recently, NPR reported the number killed in Gaza, without explaining the civilian count -- those women and children intentionally centered in the war zone to increase the horror, as Westerners express their shock at why Israelis kill so many “innocents.” NPR fails to inform the public that the IDF does and did warn citizens to flee an area that will be counterattacked, and that these dead are victims of their own people.

Will NPR ever realize that honorable journalism might be used to motivate and unite citizens to save our world before we run out of time?

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Persistence of Islamic Slavery

By: Robert Spencer

The International Criminal Court recently issued warrants for the arrest of Ahmed Haroun, the minister for humanitarian affairs of Sudan, and Ali Kosheib, a leader of that country’s notorious janjaweed militia. The Sudanese government has refused to hand over the two for prosecution. Charges include murder, rape, torture and “imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty.” Severe deprivation of liberty is a euphemism for slavery. Egypt’s Al-Ahram Weekly observed not long ago that in Sudan, “slavery, sanctioned by religious zealots, ravaged the southern parts of the country and much of the west as well.”

Muslim slavers in the Sudan primarily enslave non-Muslims, and chiefly Christians. According to the Coalition Against Slavery in Mauritania and Sudan (CASMAS), a human rights and abolitionist movement, “The current Khartoum government wants to bring the non-Muslim black South in line with Sharia law, laid down and interpreted by conservative Muslim clergy. The black animist and Christian South has been ravaged for many years of slave raids by Arabs from the north and east and resists Muslim religious rule and the perceived economic, cultural, and religious expansion behind it.”

The BBC reported in March 2007 that slave raids “were a common feature of Sudan’s 21-year north-south war, which ended in 2005….According to a study by the Kenya-based Rift Valley Institute, some 11,000 young boys and girls were seized and taken across the internal border -- many to the states of South Darfur and West Kordofan….Most were forcibly converted to Islam, given Muslim names and told not to speak their mother tongue.” One modern-day Sudanese Christian slave, James Pareng Alier, was kidnapped and enslaved when he was twelve years old. Religion was a major element of his ordeal: “I was forced to learn the Koran and re-baptised “Ahmed.” They told me that Christianity was a bad religion. After a time we were given military training and they told us we would be sent to fight.” Alier has no idea of his family’s whereabouts. But while non-Muslims slaves are often forcibly converted to Islam, their conversion does not lead to their freedom. Mauritanian anti-slavery campaigner Boubacar Messaoud explains: “It’s like having sheep or goats. If a woman is a slave, her descendants are slaves.”

Anti-slavery crusaders like Messaoud have great difficulty working against this attitude because it is rooted in the Qur’an and Muhammad’s example. The Muslim prophet Muhammad owned slaves, and like the Bible, the Qur’an takes the existence of slavery for granted, even as it enjoins the freeing of slaves under certain circumstances, such as the breaking of an oath: “Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom” (5:89). But while the freeing of a slave or two here and there is encouraged, the institution itself is never questioned. The Qur’an even gives a man permission to have sexual relations with his slave girls as well as with his wives: “The believers must (eventually) win through, those who humble themselves in their prayers; who avoid vain talk; who are active in deeds of charity; who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess, for (in their case) they are free from blame…” (23:1-6). A Muslim is not to have sexual relations with a woman who is married to someone else – except a slave girl: “And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you” (4:24).

In the past, as today, most slaves in Islam were non-Muslims who had been captured during jihad warfare. The pioneering scholar of the treatment of non-Muslims in Islamic societies, Bat Ye’or, explains the system that developed out of jihad conquest:

The jihad slave system included contingents of both sexes delivered annually in conformity with the treaties of submission by sovereigns who were tributaries of the caliph. When Amr conquered Tripoli (Libya) in 643, he forced the Jewish and Christian Berbers to give their wives and children as slaves to the Arab army as part of their jizya [tax on non-Muslims]. From 652 until its conquest in 1276,
Nubia was forced to send an annual contingent of slaves to Cairo. Treaties concluded with the towns of Transoxiana, Sijistan, Armenia, and Fezzan (Maghreb) under the Umayyads and Abbasids stipulated an annual dispatch of slaves from both sexes. However, the main sources for the supply of slaves remained the regular raids on villages within the dar-al-harb [House of War, i.e., non-Islamic regions] and the military expeditions which swept more deeply into the infidel lands, emptying towns and provinces of their inhabitants.[1]

Historian Speros Vryonis observes that “since the beginning of the Arab razzias [raids] into the land of Rum [the Byzantine Empire], human booty had come to constitute a very important portion of the spoils.” As they steadily conquered more and more of Anatolia, the Turks reduced many of the Greeks and other non-Muslims there to slave status: “They enslaved men, women, and children from all major urban centers and from the countryside where the populations were defenseless.”[2] The Indian historian K. S. Lal states that wherever jihadists conquered a territory, “there developed a system of slavery peculiar to the clime, terrain and populace of the place.” When Muslim armies invaded India, “its people began to be enslaved in droves to be sold in foreign lands or employed in various capacities on menial and not-so-menial jobs within the country.”[3]

Slaves faced pressure to convert to Islam. In an analysis of Islamic political theories, Patricia Crone notes that after a jihad battle was concluded, “male captives might be killed or enslaved…Dispersed in Muslim households, slaves almost always converted, encouraged or pressurized [sic] by their masters, driven by a need to bond with others, or slowly, becoming accustomed to seeing things through Muslim eyes even if they tried to resist.”[4] Thomas Pellow, an Englishman who was enslaved in Morocco for twenty-three years after being captured as a cabin boy on a small English vessel in 1716, was tortured until he accepted Islam. For weeks he was beaten and starved, and finally gave in after his torturer resorted to “burning my flesh off my bones by fire, which the tyrant did, by frequent repetitions, after a most cruel manner.”[5]

Slavery was taken for granted throughout Islamic history, as it was, of course, in the West as well up until relatively recent times. Yet while the European and American slave trade get stern treatment attention from historians (as well as from reparations advocates and guilt-ridden politicians), the Islamic slave trade, which actually lasted longer and brought suffering to a larger number of people, is virtually ignored. (This fact magnifies the irony of Islam being presented to American blacks as the egalitarian alternative to the “white man’s slave religion” of Christianity.) While historians estimate that the transatlantic slave trade, which operated between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, involved around 10.5 million people, the Islamic slave trade in the Sahara, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean areas began in the seventh century and lasted into the nineteenth, and involved 17 million people.[6]

And when pressure came to end slavery, it moved from Christendom into Islam, not the other way around. There was no Muslim William Wilberforce or William Lloyd Garrison. In fact, when the British government in the nineteenth century adopted the view of Wilberforce and the other abolitionists and began to put pressure on pro-slavery regimes, the Sultan of Morocco was incredulous. “The traffic in slaves,” he noted, “is a matter on which all sects and nations have agreed from the time of the sons of Adam...up to this day.” He said that he was “not aware of its being prohibited by the laws of any sect” and that the very idea that anyone would question its morality was absurd: “No one need ask this question, the same being manifest to both high and low and requires no more demonstration than the light of day.”[7]

However, it was not the unanimity of human practice, but the words of the Qur’an and Muhammad that were decisive in stifling abolitionist movements within the Islamic world. Slavery was abolished only as a result of Western pressure; the Arab Muslim slave trade in Africa was ended by the force of British arms in the nineteenth century.

Besides being practiced more or less openly today in Sudan and Mauritania, there is evidence that slavery still continues beneath the surface in some majority-Muslim countries as well -- notably Saudi Arabia, which only abolished slavery in 1962, Yemen and Oman, both of which ended legal slavery in 1970, and Niger, which didn’t abolish slavery until 2004. In Niger, the ban is widely ignored, and as many as one million people remain in bondage. Slaves are bred, often raped, and generally treated like animals.

A shadow cast by the strength and perdurability of Islamic slavery can be seen in instances where Muslims have managed to import this institution to the United States. A Saudi named Homaidan Al-Turki, for instance, was sentenced in September 2006 to 27 years to life in prison, for keeping a woman as a slave in his home in Colorado. For his part, Al-Turki claimed that he was a victim of anti-Muslim bias. He told the judge: “Your honor, I am not here to apologize, for I cannot apologize for things I did not do and for crimes I did not commit. The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors. Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors was the focal point of the prosecution.” The following month, an Egyptian couple living in Southern California received a fine and prison terms, to be followed by deportation, after pleading guilty to holding a ten-year-old girl as a slave. And in January 2007, an attaché of the Kuwaiti embassy in Washington, Waleed Al Saleh, and his wife were charged with keeping three Christian domestic workers from India in slave-like conditions in al-Saleh’s Virginia home. One of the women remarked: “I believed that I had no choice but to continue working for them even though they beat me and treated me worse than a slave.”

All this indicates that the problem of Islamic slavery is not restricted to recent events in the Sudan; it is much larger and more deeply rooted. The United Nations and human rights organizations have noted the phenomenon, but nevertheless little has been done to move decisively against those who still hold human beings in bondage, or aid or tolerate others doing so. The UN has tried to place peacekeeping forces in Darfur, over the objections of the Sudanese government, but its remonstrations against slavery in Sudan and elsewhere have likewise not resulted in significant government action against the practice. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also noted the problem, but as HRW observes, “the government of Sudan has stonewalled on the issue of slavery, claiming it was a matter of rival tribes engaging in hostage taking, over which it had little control. That is simply untrue, as myriad reports coming out of southern Sudan have made abundantly clear.” For Islamic slavery to disappear, a powerful state would have to move against it decisively, not with mere words, and accept no equivocation of half-measures. In today’s international geopolitical climate, nothing could be less likely.

Notes:

[1] Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996, p. 108.
[2] Speros Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century, Berkeley, 1971. P. 174-5. Quoted in Bostom, Legacy of Jihad, p. 87.
[3] K. S. Lal, Muslim Slave System in Medieval India, Aditya Prakashan, 1994. P. 9.
[4] Patricia Crone, God’s Rule: Government and Islam, Columbia University Press, 2004. Pp. 371-372. Quoted in Bostom, Legacy of Jihad, p. 86.
[5] Giles Milton, White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam’s One Million White Slaves, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004. P. 84.
[6] Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, Prometheus, 2005, pp. 89-90.
[7] Quoted in Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Oxford University Press, 1994. Reprinted at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/lewis1.html.
Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.