Glenn Beck, CNN Headline News
Fighting Radical Islam -
by Raymond Ibrahim
American Middle East analysts often claim that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate organization, nothing like the more radical Salafis. If true, what do we make of the fact that the most intolerant, anti-American, hate-filled Salafis and jihadis also happen to be the greatest and staunchest supporters of Morsi? Doesn’t such unequivocal support indicate shared ideologies and goals?
Consider: A few weeks ago, while discussing the ongoing protests against Egypt’s President Muhammad Morsi—himself a leader of the Brotherhood—Sheikh Abdullah Badr, an Al Azhar trained scholar and professor of Islamic exegesis, made the following assertion on live TV:
“I swear to Allah, the day those who went out [to protest], and at their head, the [Coptic] Christians—I say this at the top of my voice—the day they think to come near Dr. Morsi, I—we—will pop their eyes out, and the eyes of all those who support them, even America; and America will burn, and all its inhabitants. Be assured, the day Dr. Morsi is touched by any hand whichever, and connected to whomever, by Allah it will be the last day for us. We will neither leave them, nor show them any mercy.”
Badr’s “radicalism” is well documented. On various occasions he has openly declared on live TV that he hates and is disgusted by Christians, that he will “ cut the tongue” of anyone who offends Islam (adding “Let the whole world burn, but Islam not be mocked”), and that those Egyptians protesting against Morsi are “mischief makers” who should be “ hung on trees” (a distinct allusion to Islamic crucifixion as prescribed in Koran 5:33). Interestingly, he was recently arrested again, but not for the aforementioned hate-mongering and incitements to kill those against Morsi, but rather for insulting an Egyptian actress on live TV, calling her, among other things, a “whore.”
At any rate, under Hosni Mubarak, Badr and other intolerant Islamic supremacists were imprisoned. Under Mohammed Morsi, Badr—as well as numerous jihadis who were on death-row for their acts of terror—have been freed.
This alone speaks volumes concerning the behind-the-scenes relationship between the Brotherhood and jihadis.
Then there is radical cleric Wagdi Ghoneim, who was sentenced to five years under Mubarak and banished from Egypt for his anti-infidel hate-mongering—again, only reportedly to return under Morsi. He, too, is as radical as they come. For example, after cursing the late Coptic pope to hell and damnation during his funeral, he openly threatened Egypt’s Christian minority with genocide. Among other “pledges of loyalty” to Morsi, he has incited Muslims to wage jihad on and even kill anyone protesting against the Muslim Brotherhood president, portraying such Muslims as apostates who want to see Islam wiped out of Egypt.
Salafi sheikhs Badr and Ghoneim are in good company. Months back, any number of radical clerics went out of their way to show their support for Morsi—including by issuing fatwas calling for the deaths of any and all Egyptians who protest against his rule.
Thus Islam’s most radical Salafis and jihadis see themselves as defenders of the Muslim Brotherhood, even as Western analysts and policy makers insist there is a deep divide between the “moderate” Brotherhood on the one hand, and the “radical” Salafis on the other.
Yet the question remains: If Morsi and the Brotherhood are “moderates”—or, as U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper once described them, “ largely secular“—why do the most vile “radicals” fully support them? Could it be that the dividing line between them—a line which hopeful or naïve Western policymakers are heavily banking on—is not so stark after all, is not so black and white?
In fact, radical Salafi support for “moderate” Morsi is simply a reflection of the fact that the radicals, the Salafis and jihadis—as opposed to many Western leaders and analysts—understand and fully support the Muslim Brotherhood president’s agenda: The establishment of full Sharia law in Egypt.
And, once empowered, Sharia has no black and whites—this they all know.
Raymond Ibrahim , a Middle East and Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, he is best known for his book, The Al Qaeda Reader . Mr. Ibrahim's dual-background—born and raised in the U.S. by Egyptian parents —has provided him with unique advantages to understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets.
by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser
When it became clear that the suspects in the Boston terror attacks were the Tsarnaev brothers, two young Muslim men, media calls poured in for my thoughts into the motivations of these radicalized men. My life’s work has been dedicated to countering the narrative these brothers got swept into.
But even in the wake of Islamist terror, media wanted to focus on “fears” of a so-called backlash against American Muslims that could ensue following such attacks. In a free society, violence may certainly breed further violence. But, thought leaders in media, government and academe play a major role in shaping what are the dominant narratives.
In the end it’s all about the narrative, and for too long the narrative in the Muslim community has been one-sided.
In the U.S., the Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, have dominated the American Muslim narrative. Their strategy and constituency demand an obsession on “Muslims as victims” or “Muslims as misunderstood” especially when attacks like those in Boston occur. Almost universally, the current predominant narrative is: “Muslims are victimized by American hate at home and abroad.” Nowhere to be found is the counter-narrative that “Muslims love American liberty and law more than that of ‘Muslim nations.’ ”
These groups may not preach violence but they have developed the Islamist grievance narrative into a monopoly on the Muslim consciousness. They ignore the fact that our best protection against anti-Muslim bigotry would be for the public to see us Muslims actually take ownership beyond the denial. America would then see us as assets rather than as liabilities.
This victim narrative played a profound role in creating these monsters. Recently, Boston saw two high-profile convictions of American Muslims for aiding al-Qaida: Aafia Siddiqui from Brandeis in 2010 and Tarek Mehanna from MIT in 2011. In response, far too many local Muslim leaders decried them as victims and portrayed them as such in area mosques and the community.
The first story in The Arizona Republic about local American Muslims after the bombing gave leading Islamist apologists like CAIR-AZ’s Imraan Siddiqi a venue to selfishly admonish Americans not to victimize innocent Muslims by seeking “retribution.” That seems hardly an appropriate talking point in the wake of terror committed by Islamist radicals on our watch. America needs to see us own the problem.
Attacks like those in Boston need to be a unifying point for us to address the underlying root of Islamist extremism — political Islam. We must start by looking at what starts them down the path to radicalization, not what ends that path. The bombing is not just about the brothers Tsarnaev. They are the tip of the iceberg of a global battle between narratives.
The battle of narratives needs to give Muslim youth an alternative that helps them fall in love with their American identity while also staying strong in their faith and fully rejecting the intoxicant that is political Islam.
Muslims need to take ownership of this fight and not allow the Islamist grievance narrative to monopolize the identity of our youth. True non-Islamist Muslims need to present a louder voice that says we are proud of the totality which is America, our nation, and would rather live nowhere else or in no other way.
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is the president of the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy, founded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. He is the author of Battle for the Soul of Islam. Dr. Jasser served 11 years as a medical officer in the U. S. Navy and was Staff Internist for the Office of the Attending Physician to the U.S. Congress.
Editor's Note: As reported by ClarionProject.org, Toronto, Canada Police Inspector Ricky Veerppan recently threatened that if Rabbi Mendel Kaplan allowed anti-Islamist activist Pamela Geller, to speak at his synagogue, Kaplan would lose his job as a chaplain with the police department. The following is a letter written by Salim Mansur, member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, to Police Chief Eirc Jolliffe of the York Regional Police .
I am writing to you this letter on hearing pressure applied to Rabbi Mendel Kaplan of the Chabad Flamingo Synagogue in Thornhill to cancel an event with Ms. Pamela Geller.
I am a Muslim, a tenured professor in a prestigious Canadian university, the University of Western Ontario in London. I am appalled that in this day and age we continue to hear regularly how the liberal democratic tradition of Canada and the West is being systematically shredded by institutions sworn to protect it.
Free speech is the most fundamental right of a free society; constrain it, strip it, shred it, and then let us not be surprised our society will be turned into a society such as one from where I fled as a young man to find freedom in the West, and I remain ever grateful that Canada took me in and gave me the opportunity to pursue my own dreams.
I pray you consider any decision you make that ends up taking another step in undermining the tradition of free speech that made the West, and Canada as a part of it, the most flourishing, open, and free culture in the entire history of mankind. Each one of us are responsible that this tradition is preserved, protected, and passed on to the unborn generations what we inherited.
I submit your intentions might very well be of some merit as a guardian of law and order. But those pushing for preventing Ms. Pamela Geller from speaking by putting pressure on Rabbi Mendel to deny the use of his synagogue for holding her event are people I know very well.
[ad] These are people, Muslims as I am, who come from cultures that have no respect for individual rights and freedoms enshrined in our constitution, and while making home here in Canada have no respect for the culture of this country. They need to learn the culture of a free society, of a society that is open to debates and discussions however painful this might be to someone else's sensibilities.
But if you concede to their demands, all that you would be doing is indulging them, heeding their wishes and threats, and slowly, intentionally or not, bending Canada's tradition in the direction of the ruined cultures of these people which they have brought with them and want to push into our society.
I hope you will think hard and think clearly given your responsibility and defend the tradition of liberal democracy based on rule of law, individual freedom and free speech. I might just remind you that it was in defending this tradition that time and time again your compatriots went across oceans to distant places and were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice so that freedom there might take root by defeating the forces of tyranny.
It often takes immense courage to do what is right, whether to refuse going to the back of a bus in a segregated society or protecting the right of someone to speak, especially when one disagrees with what might be spoken.
I pray God gives you the courage to do what is right in this instance.
Salim Mansur, PhD
Department of Political Science
University of Western Ontario
See ClarionProject.org's interview with Salim Mansur:
By Barry Rubin
The current conventional wisdom about terrorism, Islamism, and the Middle East is being bent, but not broken, by two events. On one hand, there is the Boston bombing; on the other hand, developments in Syria and to a lesser extent Egypt. What’s happening?
In the Middle East, the misbehavior of Islamist movements is becoming more apparent. In Egypt, there is the repression of the Muslim Brotherhood regime, which may actually intend to create a non-democratic Sharia state! Parallel behavior in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Turkey is under-reported but occasionally surfaces.
The most important single story at the moment, though, is Syria. Basically, the Obama Administration has woken up and recognized what was easily apparent two years ago: They are helping to put radical, anti-American Islamists into power! They are helping to provide them with advanced weapons which might be used for activities other than what is intended!
When the government wakes up it nudges the media to get up also. What is quite startling is the extent to which the mass media is responsive to government policy, at least this government’s policy. I want to explain this carefully in order to be fair.
Take this article in the New York Times , which can be summarized as saying that Islamist rebels’ gains in Syria create a dilemma for the United States. Now this is an article about U.S. policy so naturally it describes how that policy is changing.
Yet at the same time, one wants to ask: Why haven’t the policy consequences of this situation been described continuously in the past? If a big truck is headed straight at you on the highway, might not the media sitting in the front passenger seat shout out a warning? Does it have to wait for the driver to notice and then it can say something?
And even so the diffidence is astonishing. It is good that the newspaper notices that the rebels are largely comprised of, "Political Islamists inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood and others who want an Islamic- influenced legal code." But why even now one can say “Islamic- influenced?”
For many years they have made it clear that they seek a total Islamic (in their interpretation) state. It is the precise equivalent of describing Chinese Communists more than sixty years ago, as they approached victory in their country’s civil war, as “agrarian reformers.”
This story also parallels the much larger-scale debate about the Boston bombings. There’s a long piece in the New York Times about the Boston bombers. The lead gives the flavor of its argument:
“It was a blow the immigrant boxer could not withstand: after capturing his second consecutive title as the Golden Gloves heavyweight champion of New England in 2010, Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev, 23, was barred from the national Tournament of Champions because he was not a United States citizen.”
The title of the piece is, “A Battered Dream, Then a Violent Path.” In other words , Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not allowed to win a boxing championship because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. Blocked by bad treatment from America, he became more Islamic and turned to terrorism.
Of course, it is vital to develop an accurate picture of the terrorists’ background and explain the factors providing a personal motivation. On the other hand, it is something quite different to suggest that if the United States was nicer to Muslims and perhaps gave people citizenship more easily, there would not have been terrorism in Boston.
Why is this fundamentally dishonest in the way it is being presented in most of the public debate? Because the voices enhanced by control over the most powerful microphones focus in on the political theme they want to push, excluding other factors in the context of their topic.
Where to begin? The article includes a photo of the future terrorist as a baby in Dagestan with his parents and his uncle. His uncle is wearing a Russian army uniform. Now again in the photo he is a baby but the point might be raised: Isn’t Tamerlan Tsarnaev more a product of Russian than of U.S. conditions? After all, his family was involved in a conflict against the Russian state; he and his brother were largely shaped by that environment. He went back and forth to Russia and took instruction from terrorist groups which had arrived at al-Qaida from that basis.
But the authors cannot focus on this issue. Why not? Well, obviously they want to blame America first but also there is a big land mine there. Pointing out that immigrants—legal or otherwise—may bring with them hatred, grievances, and cultural formations inimical to America that makes a point in the immigration debate which would be the exact opposite of what they want.
Of course, different people bring different attitudes. It is the job of the immigration system to profile the immigrants to decide who is going to be a good citizen or even who should be let in. Was it a mistake that Tamerlan’s brother did become a U.S. citizen pretty easily? No, it was neither a mistake nor a conspiracy. It was the way profiling was defined that made it possible.
To have a serious discussion about why some immigrants become loyal, productive citizens and others become terrorists would be an important discussion. But it cannot happen at present because it would have to include factoring in such things as personal responsibility, gratitude to one's adopted country, and even--totally unthinkable--the need to keep in mind the immigrant's original home. The latter point is not to make it a focus to block people from the Middle East.
On the contrary, those who wanted to flee or had to do so were often motivated because they wanted to live in a democratic, free country and not under revolutionary Islamism. If you are in the United States, you will be meeting a lot more such people, especially from Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria very soon.
A second point would be to stress the benefits that the Tsarnaev brothers and their family were given. Among them were welfare payments, a scholarship, acceptance without bias into American society, permissiveness even when they violated its tenets and laws (beating up his girlfriend), not doing anything to them despite suspicion of being potential terrorists (unlike what would have happened in Russia), and so on. Against that long list of things, the article had to focus on the one setback as they key to everything.
Here, too, however, the articles of the New York Times article cannot go. For to step into this territory would require considering the failure of a historic policy to assimilate immigrants that has been replaced by Multiculturalism; the abandonment of patriotism and the distaste for America and its society daily expressed by the citizens of Boston met by the Tsarnaevs; and the idea of entitlement and the welfare state that pervaded their concept of America.
Yes, there is ample material for biographical and psychological writing. But what about, for example, this potential lead for the article:
Tamerlan Tsarnaev found in America a society that did not require him to become loyal to the country, to understand how well it treated his family, and how he could actually spend his time reading terrorist sites on the Internet while his beaten wife worked 80 hours a week and his family collected welfare. Spoiled by good treatment from America he became more Islamic and turned to terrorism.
Why is such a theme inconceivable? Because of the reporters’ politics and ideology. Deborah Sontag has won lots of awards. But in my neighborhood she’s best known as the reporter who covered Israel at a time when it was beset by the worst Palestinian terrorism. And then, after the Palestinian leaders had rejected peace and a two state solution, when they were fostering the deliberate murder of civilians she concluded that they, “blocked by bad treatment from [Israel]…turned to terrorism.”
The journalist Joan Walsh explained this ruling ideology from a different angle. All this stuff about Islam and Chechens “In the end, it’s not important.” She added:
“I really do think that this whole discussion…proves once again that race is entirely a political and social construct….We really don’t want to acknowledge these boys have as much in common with Timothy McVeigh and – actually, more to the point, with school shooters. The Columbine killers, James Holmes then really they do with hardened jihadis….They are a product of America as well as a product of alienation.”
One wonders why Walsh didn’t say: They are a product of America as well as a product of alienation, Islam, and a radical revolutionary Islamist movement.”
She couldn’t say that as that would transcend her ideology and make her unpopular in her milieu. Her internal cultural-intellectual censor wouldn’t let her do that.
Reducing the motives for terrorism into psychobabble is to disarm one’s society from being able to combat terrorism. It is amazing to see a democratic society’s intellectual assets turn to the task of systematic obfuscation as even the most ridiculous arguments flourish.
For example, people who go on suicide terrorist missions don’t get to be hardened jihadis because they don’t live long enough. And the whole point is that they can behave that way because they don’t need to be “hardened.” They can already:
(1) Settle into an identity that fits with revolutionary activity and terrorism;
(2) Get huge encouragement from an existing movement that even rules entire countries;
(3) Receive direct training from terrorist forces that operate in safe havens;
(4) Don’t believe that their identities and grievances are mere constructs. One doesn’t fight and die for a construct.
I am strongly reminded of a discussion many years ago with a brilliant CIA psychiatrist who laid the foundation for understanding the thinking of modern terrorists. One of the things he did was to divide them into two categories. There were those whose parents would, at least generally, approve of their violent acts and those that wouldn’t.
He didn’t mean here that the individual parents would cheer them—though that was possible—but that they were approved of by their social-intellectual milieu. That’s why Islamist terrorists are numbered in the tens of thousands and people like Holmes and McVeigh can be counted on the fingers of your two hands.
A few days ago I asked a first-rate, veteran journalist with much experience in this area whether she had ever interviewed parents who denounced their children’s actions. She replied, “No. And if they did they’d know enough to keep their mouths shut.” Of course, that would be because in Palestinian society they would be themselves isolated and renounced for opposing jihad or at least armed struggle.
In the Boston case, the Tsarnaev brother’s mother cheered them and blamed America. What is in play here is not alienation from America but hatred of it based on a pre-existing template, combined with a willingness to take its benefits as if they were owed to oneself.
Note: The title of this article is drawn from Oscar Wilde, "The Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name." That's a phrase from his poem about homosexuality in Victorian England. Every society has such things forbidden to discuss. The problem for American society is that its official quarters act as if the country is still in its Victorian Age and that race, gender, religious bias, and homosexuality fall into that category. In fact, there are quite a different set of unspeakable truths, taboo concepts for American society, defined by a new version of intellectual repression called Political Correctness.
Barry Rubin is a professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, the Director of the Global Research and International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, and a Senior Fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism. Rubin has written and edited more than 40 books on the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, with publishers including Harvard, Yale, Oxford, and Cambridge University Press.
By Dr. Daniel Pipes
The Tsarnaev brothers pulled off their terrorist attack with great skill but made a fatal mistake in letting their faces and bodies be seen at a heavily photographed international sporting event. This meant that multiple images of them were available for a massive law enforcement squad to comb over and, after three days, identify them by name and appearance.
This rapid identification was not unprecedented – the London police had done likewise in the July 2005 suicide bombings but because none of the four perpetrators survived that attack, that was more a theoretical achievement than a practical one. To the best of my knowledge, the Tsarnaevs were the first terrorists to be tracked down via still and video pictures.
In retrospect, the brothers should not have exposed their appearances. But how to avoid doing so? Hoodies leave the face exposed. Ski masks arouse suspicion in temperate weather, as do Halloween masks all but one night a year, and stocking masks at any time.
Obviously, they should have put on Islamic full body covers that show only the eyes ( niqabs) or nothing at all ( burqas). Wearing these garments has multiple and unique virtues, totally hiding the wearers' identity; being legitimate attire in any weather and in any place; permitting the discreet transport of weapons; giving off the helpfully false impression of being worn by women, which both reduces suspicion and misleads witnesses; usefully creating a social barrier; maximizing personal prerogatives; and being ideologically appropriate, sending an unmistakable Islamist signal.
The niqab exposes the eyes, which is a drawback that sunglasses can compensate for; and it has the great virtue of allowing the terrorist to see around him better than the burqa. Both carry the disadvantage, however, of making the wearers more conspicuous when setting off devices or fleeing the scene.
One must expect future non-suicide bombers to turn to niqabs or burqas. (As many terrorists and criminals repeatedly have done so (see my 16,000-word blog on this topic).
But why wait for them to engage in more murders? Why close the barn door only after the horse has run away? Far smarter would be to ban whole-body covers in public places now, before tragedy occurs.
See related reports about the proliferation of burqa-wearing bank robbers that have already hit the U.S., Canda and Europe.