Saturday, August 29, 2009

Governor Charlie Crist

Written by Nonie Darwish
Hudson Institut

29 August 2009

The US government must protect its citizens not only from the terrorism of jihad, but also from Islamic Laws condemning Muslims to death and that encourage vigilante street justice.
How can a former Muslim like Rifqa, or like myself, live in peace in America when there are neighborhood mosques reading scriptures, to their believers telling them to kill Muslims who left the religion?.
Even if 10% of Muslims in America follow Sharia as it is taught, we are in trouble. Muslim scriptures such as the Sahih hadith by Mohammad 9:50 states: “No Umma (a member of the Muslim community) should be killed for killing a Kaffir (an infidel). . . Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.”
There is no peace for the apostate, not even in the West. The above threat is real and will increase exponentially with the growth of the Muslim population and those who demand Sharia as a religious right. No religion should give the right to its followers to kill others, period.
In spite of the clear danger to the life of Muslims who leave Islam, both the legal system and mainstream media still don’t get it. The most recent case in the US of the 17-year old girl, Rifqa Bary, is an example.
US courts need proof (even though it is clearly stated in Islamic law books) that Islamic Law condemn apostates to death and encourage any Muslim on the street, even family members, to kill them. The Western media do not seem to be interested in the topic. That is the same media that dedicates weeks of valuable air time to ridiculous claims of human rights violations.
Ms. Bary, Muslim convert to Christianity, had good instincts when she realized the great danger to her life, escaped from her home in Ohio and sought protection from the Christian community in Orlando Florida. If she had not escaped, she could have been yet another statistic of Muslims killed for leaving Islam.
The following are some laws on apostasy in mainstream Sharia books:
Apostates are to be given three days to repent and return to Islam. If s/he refuses, s/he is immediately killed. All Sharia books agree unanimously on this point. (Hanafi law in general, Shafi’i law f1.3, Hanbali law (from Al Mughni), Maliki law and Codified Islamic law).It is obligatory for the caliph to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does, it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed. There is no indemnity for killing an apostate, or any expiation, as it is killing someone who deserves to die
Testimony of apostates is not admissible. An apostate does not inherit from Muslim parents.
Marriage of an apostate is immediately dissolved if the spouse is and remains Muslim. The above laws have kept Muslims enslaved inside the iron curtain of the Islamic State under penalty of death for 1400 years and still continues. Laws encouraging the killing of non-Mulims, especially those who left Islam, also extend to non-Muslim nations, not just individuals. According to Sharia, non-Muslim nations are invited to convert to Islam; if they refuse, a jihad war must begin. The commandment to wage violent wars against non-Muslim countries was given a pretty name by Sharia; jihad became a sacred duty for every Muslim head of State and individual.
It is astounding how many Muslims have been desensitized to feeling of any sympathy or guilt toward murdered victims of apostasy laws and jihad. In Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and so on, the majority of the population believe that apostates must be killed and that jihad against non-Muslim countries a badge of honor. I do not wish to see the same desensitization happen in the West, but the silence of Western media is deafening.
Former Muslims need protection now from the US government and court system. We need protection from Sharia Islamic Law.
Nonie Darwish, ex-Muslim and author of the book on Sharia, Cruel and Usual Punishment

Friday, August 28, 2009

Governor Charlie Crist protecting Rifqa Bary

Governor Charlie Crist

"Morris Sadek"
Governor Christ,
Before you allow Rifqa Barry to be placed in mortal jeopardy by sending her back to certain death in Ohio, you must read and learnabout apostasy and honor killings of females within Islam in the USA and elsewhere or you're negligent, irresponsible and not suitedfor public office.
There was an entire program on Fox News earlier this year about the very subject. This is not uncommon in the United States.
morris sadek Fsq
Egyptian attorny
special legal consultant Dc Bar
president of national American coptic Assembly - usa

"Governor Charlie Crist"
"Governor Charlie Crist"
Thank you for contacting Governor Charlie Crist and sharing yourconcerns about Ms. Fathima (Rifqa) Bary. The Governor asked that Irespond on his behalf. Governor Crist is committed to protecting Ms. Bary's health, safety andwelfare. Governor Crist directed the Secretary of the Department ofChildren and Families, George Sheldon, to petition the court forplacement in shelter and custody under the Florida Department ofChildren and Family Services (Department). As a result, the courtplaced Ms. Bary in protective custody and she is now in a licensedfoster care home under the supervision of the Department. The Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services and theGovernor's General Counsel represented the Governor at a court hearingon August 21 to determine Rifqa's status. The judge left Rifqa in herFlorida foster home until the next hearing in September. Following thejudge's ruling, Governor Crist issued the following statement:"I am grateful to Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson for his decision to grantFathima Rifqa Bary the right to remain in Florida. The first and onlypriority of my administration in this case, is the safety and wellbeingof this child. I am grateful for the good work of Department ofChildren and Families Secretary George Sheldon and my General Counsel,Rob Wheeler, for personally advocating the administration's position byattending today's hearing. We will continue to fight to protect Rifqa'ssafety and wellbeing as we move forward."Thank you again for taking the time to contact Governor Crist.


Warren Davis

Office of Citizen Service

The Revelation of Rifqa

Written by Faith J. H. McDonnell
Front Page Magazine

28 August 2009

Fhatima Rifqa Bary
The most well publicized honor killing in America is one that did not take place. Seventeen year old Rifqa Bary disappeared from her home in New Albany, Ohio in mid July, and surfaced in Florida on August 10, 2009.
The teenager, who comes from a Sri Lankan Muslim family, sought refuge in Orlando with a pastor and his wife whom she had met through a Facebook prayer group. At a jurisdiction hearing in an Orlando juvenile court on August 21, Rifqa testified that she had fled because her father threatened to kill her for shaming the family by leaving Islam and becoming a Christian.
“My life is at stake,” Rifqa said in an earlier interview. “My dad threatened me. I was ready to die, these were my thoughts, that I’ll be a martyr for Christ, let it be so! But the Lord led me here somehow through His grace . . . . . it’s been God’s hand protecting me the entire time. But I’m fighting for my life.”
Rifqa is far more fortunate than Amina and Sarah Said of Dallas, who were shot to death in an Islamic honor killing by their father, Yaser Abdel Said, an Egyptian-born cab driver. No one has had the opportunity to strangle Rifqa, as was done to Aqsa Parvez, a sixteen year old in Ontario whose father killed her for refusing to wear a hijab.
Rifqa is the one who got away, and whose photograph, thank God, is not found in the tragic gallery of honor killing victims from all over North America and Europe put together by advocate and activist Pamela Geller on her Atlas Shrugs blog. Another difference between Rifqa and the other bright, beautiful young women killed by their Islamist fathers, brothers, and husbands is that her testimony to her faith in Jesus Christ is now reverberating around the world. At the August 21 hearing, Rifqa told Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson, “I’ve been a Christian for four years of my life. . . . I assure your Honor, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.” Because of this, says author Brigitte Gabriel, the danger for Rifqa Bary is “far beyond honor killing.”
“This girl has committed apostasy,” Gabriel said on Fox News, “She has committed a crime against the Ummah, or nation state of Islam.” Gabriel went on to explain that apostasy was punishable by death according to all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, as well as the Koran, the Hadith – the words of Mohammed himself, and particularly the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence which guides Islam in Sri Lanka. “She is in dire danger not only from her family because she has soiled the honor of the family, but from the Islamic community in Columbus, Ohio who feel it is their duty to kill her according to their religion,” Gabriel explained.
Judge Dawson found Rifqa’s story feasible enough to rule that she be kept in protective custody in Florida until a further hearing on September 3 decides her ultimate fate, but a skeptical media has insinuated that Rifqa is nothing more than a rebellious, hormonal teenager from a loving Muslim family, brainwashed by Christians.
It’s easy to be cavalier when it is not your own life at stake. And Christians are always easy targets. Just throw around phrases such as “crusade” and “right-wing” and the article writes itself! Less understandable is that both secular and Christian women’s groups have made virtually no statements in support of Rifqa.
Secular feminists and mainline church women rail against misogyny, homophobia, patriarchy in the church, masculine images of God, and other forms of gender injustice. Evangelical women’s groups seem to fall into two categories. They are either absorbed with issues closer to home – marriage, family, finances, and domestic political issues such as abortion or homosexuality – or they are embracing the lately-awakened sense of “justice” among evangelical progressives.
Unfortunately, the anti-torture,/pro-environment,/make poverty history/reform health care “evangelical” progressives don’t seem to include the petite teenager’s life and death struggle as a justice issue. Those few that have spoken of Rifqa Bary mostly echo the media’s skepticism, painstakingly demonstrating their tolerant, open minds when it comes to Islam.
An August 13 blog entry on a notable Christian women’s blog, Her.maneutics epitomizes this cautious, uber-tolerant attitude of many evangelicals. “The Persecuted Rifqa Bary?” the title inquires doubtfully. Blogger Katelyn Beaty frowns that Rifqa’s story is being used by Christian bloggers and media “as proof of Islam’s violent roots and the cost of following Christ.” Following Christ is costly “no matter who’s doing the following,” comments Beaty, equating high school ridicule and social ostracism with say, beheading . She adds that the evidence of Islam’s violent roots “is disputable” in the case of Rifqa.
Just as the secular media did, Beaty throws suspicion on Pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz of Global Revolution Church. Inadverently, she uses several of the same key talking points that the Council on American Islamic Relations (C.A.I.R.) has put forth in their efforts to discredit Rifqa.
She quotes the Bary family attorney who claimed that Bary was not afraid until she met Pastor Lorenz. Beaty adds signficantly that Lorenz “holds Bary tightly throughout the video.” Beaty also notes that the famous scholar of Islam Sgt. Jerry Cupp of the Columbus missing person’s bureau “disputes Bary’s claims, telling The Columbus Dispatch that Mohamed Bary has known about his daughter's conversion for months and appears to be caring.”
Guess what, Sgt. Cupp and Ms. Beaty. Appearing to be caring is called taqiya. And Beaty does not mention, that other sources say that the police talked to friends and teachers of Rifqa who informed them that Rifqa was in fear for her life and had been the victim of abuse already. Beaty does cite author and founder of Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer, who calls Rifqa’s situation a “slow-motion honor killing,” but then exclaims that The Christian Post “audaciously lists Bary’s story in its ‘persecution’ news file.” I wonder where she would suggest they list it. Beaty concludes that believers can rejoice that “this teenager has come to Christ in a cultural context in which it would be difficult to betray her parents' teaching.” Describing conversion to Christ as betrayal of the teachings of Islam is a rather odd way for a fellow Christian to phrase the situation, but not unheard of. A speaker on religious persecution at the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches some years ago spoke similarly when she stated disapprovingly that the only Christians who “experience difficulties” in Iran were those who “have chosen to leave the communities of faith into which they were born.” Finally, says Beaty, “none of this requires that Christians be quick to use Bary's claims to prove that Muslims — in this case, her parents and mosque leaders — are intent on killing Bary because their beliefs make them inherently violent.” She instructs incongruously that “we should also remember the Christians worldwide who actually risk death by Muslims for following Christ: like those in Pakistan and Nigeria.” But the words of Mohammed, "If anyone changes his religion, kill him" (Hadith – Sahih Al-Bukhari 9.84.57) mean the same thing in Ohio that they do in Asia, and Africa.
Perhaps Beaty and others like her should consider that many of those who have been “quick” to believe Rifqa Bary are not interested in proving a point about Muslims, but in protecting a vulnerable girl, convinced that when it comes to honor killing and apostasy it is better to err on the side of caution than to add another name and face to the list of the dead.
The best assessment of most of the American Christian church’s comprehension of life under Islamic law came from Rifqa herself. Trying to explain the danger she faces from her Muslim parents, the Islamic community in the Columbus, Ohio area, and the entire Ummah, she exclaimed despairingly, “I’m fighting for my life, you guys don’t understand. You don’t understand.”
Faith J. H. McDonnell directs The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan.

80 percent of US mosques have been radicalized by Saudis according to expert on terrorism

Richard Bean
According to Yehudit Barsky, head of the AJC's Division on Middle East and International Terrorism, over 80 percent of mosques in the US have been radicalized by the Wahhabi form of Islam.
According to the article found here, Barsky notes, "The United States has a hard time understanding the extremists' ideology. Americans don't like to interfere in the religion of other people. But, the reality is that this isn't religion, but a politicized radical ideology. It's very dangerous." I suggest you read the entire article to find more information about this subject from Barsky.
I have seen the proliferation of Saudi funded mosques first hand. When I lived overseas in Central Asia, it was well known that Saudi's funded the building of hundreds of mosques just in my local city alone. In a matter of years, the country had seen a handful of mosques turn into thousands. Oil money pours in, along with the extremist ideology that accompanies it. The Wahhabi form of Islam is not moderate; it is an ultra-conservative form of Islam.
It is important to note that not all forms of Islam are radical. We must be careful to limit our criticisms to the particular groups they apply to, and in this case, we must limit our criticism to the Wahhabi sect. It should also be noted that even though Barsky states 80 percent of mosques have been radicalized in America, this doesn't mean that 80 percent of Muslims in America are extremists. Hopefully, the moderate voice within Islam will reclaim the dominance within the Islamic community that it once appeared to have. And most importantly, we must pray that our Muslim friends will accept Christ as their Lord. Only through Jesus can they truly know God and worship Him. This means we need to learn about the beliefs of our Muslim friends, know how to share with them, and be willing to have a discussion with them about the truth of Christianity.
Reach out to your Muslim friends and be willing to share with them the love of Christ, the truth of His message, and the everlasting life that only He gives.
For more info:
Yehudit Barsky on AJC
Wahhabi Wiki
Other important sects in Muslim History

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saving Rifqa

Written by Nonie Darwish
Front Page Magazine

24 August 2009

Fhatima Rifqa BaryIt’s a well-documented reality that Muslims who leave Islam often risk death, but that’s a reality that the mainstream media has yet to acknowledge. Take the case of 17-year-old Rifqa Bary. A Muslim teenager who secretly converted Christianity, recently fled her Ohio home to a Christian community in Orlando, Florida, when she realized that her life was in danger.
If she had not escaped, she could have been yet another Muslim murdered for apostasy. Indeed, according to Bary, her own father had threatened her life if she converted. Although her father claims that he is not a danger to his daughter, Bary has been placed in foster care until her claims can be investigated.Media outlets have approached the case with notable surprise, but in fact it is not so shocking: Islamic law, or Sharia, specifically condemns apostates to death and encourages Muslims to kill apostates – even if, as in Bary’s case, they are family members or children. Consider some commandments on apostasy found in mainstream Islamic texts:
1. Apostates are to be given three days to repent and return to Islam. If the apostate refuses, he or she will be killed immediately. Books on Islamic Sharia agree unanimously on this point. For instance, Muslim scriptures such as the Sahih Hadith by the prophet Mohammad 9:50 states: “No Umma [a member of the Muslim community] should be killed for killing a Kaffir [an infidel]. . . Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.”
2. It is obligatory for a Muslim caliph to ask the apostate to repent and return to Islam. If he does, his return to the fold is accepted; but if he refuses, he must be killed.
3. There is no indemnity for killing an apostate, nor is there any expiation required, since killing an apostate is tantamount to killing someone who deserves to die.
4. The testimony of apostates is not admissible in Sharia courts.
5. An apostate cannot claim an inheritance from Muslim parents.
6. The marriage of an apostate is immediately dissolved if the spouse is and remains Muslim.
The above laws have kept Muslim apostates enslaved inside Islamic states under penalty of death for 1400 years and counting. But laws encouraging the killing of non-Muslims, especially those who leave Islam, also extend to non-Muslim nations. According to some interpretations of Sharia, non-Muslim nations are invited to convert to Islam and, if they refuse, a jihad war must begin. This jihad is a sacred duty for every Muslim.
Besides terrorizing apostates, such laws have a destructive effect on devout Muslims. It is astounding how many Muslims feel no sympathy or guilt toward murdered victims of apostasy laws. In Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, for instance, aside from some brave dissidents, there is wide acceptance of the notion that apostates must be killed and that jihad against non-Muslim countries is a badge of honor.
The media’s deafening silence on the threat of Sharia law, not least to apostates, risks encouraging a similar desensitization among Muslims living in the West.
There is a role for authorities to play, as well. The U.S. government must protect its citizens not only from the terrorism of jihad, but also from Islamic laws condemning Muslims to death and encouraging vigilante street justice.
How can a former Muslim like Rifqa Bary, or like myself, live in peace in America when there are neighborhood mosques reading scriptures to their believers telling them to kill Muslims who have left the religion? Even if only 10 percent of Muslims in America follow Sharia as it is taught, the threat remains real. As Bary’s case darkly illustrates, there is no peace for a Muslim apostate – not even in the West.

Nonie Darwish is an American of Arab/Muslim origin.

Killing Rifqa

Written by Andrew Bostom
American Thinker

24 August 2009

Fhatima Rifqa Bary

Rifqa Bary faces death for her apostasy from Islam, while the media ignores the solid religious and institutional grounding for the practice. Today. In America.
Magdi Allam, is an intrepid Egyptian-born writer and vociferous critic of jihadism who was publicly converted to Christianity from Islam by Pope Benedict XVI during an Easter eve service in St Peter's Basilica broadcast worldwide, Saturday March 22, 2008. Writing at the time of his public apostasy, Allam highlighted the West's weakness and flaccidity, foremost, its stifling multiculturalism.
Allam decried the multicultural ethos for blandly asserting the "equality" of cultural and religious mores, even abjuring rational criticism of Islamic religious bigotry -- such as authoritative Islam's living, consensus jurisprudence that those who apostasize from Islam must be killed -- lest the tender sensibilities of Muslims be offended. He noted how in his adopted homeland of Italy, every Muslim can go to a mosque, but in the Muslim world there is ongoing and long-standing discrimination against religious minorities -- notably Christians -- entirely ignored by Western multiculturalists, of all ilks. Allam observed, moreover, the perverse phenomenon that in Western countries,
"When a Westerner decides to convert to Islam, that's fine, but when a Muslim converts to Christianity, it is suddenly the end of the world. Everyone condemns him, as though he has done something of which he should be ashamed."And Allam concluded with this appropriately stern warning:
"I say that it is time to put an end to the abuse and the violence of Muslims who do not respect the freedom of religious choice. In Italy there are thousands of converts to Islam who live their new faith in peace. But there are also thousands of Muslim converts to Christianity who are forced to hide their faith out of fear of being assassinated by Islamic extremists who lurk among us. If in Italy, in our home, the cradle of Catholicism, we are not prepared to guarantee complete religious freedom to everyone, how can we ever be credible when we denounce the violation of this freedom elsewhere in the world."
The unassuming and previously unknown Rifqa Bary, has now become, arguably, America's most conspicuous apostate from Islam to Christianity. Truncated, grossly warped media depictions of her plight demonstrate that the American chattering classes remain stubbornly unwilling to even acknowledge, let alone confront Islam's malevolent doctrinal intolerance, ignoring Magdi Allam's plaintive appeal.
Rifqa Bary is a 17 year-old Sri Lankan native who was living in New Albany, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus) until recent dramatic events precipitated her flight to Orlando, Florida. An excellent student and High School cheerleader, Rifqa apostasized from Islam, clandestinely practicing Christianity for some 4-years by her account. Hard evidence, i.e., a FaceBook webpage captured by Pamela Geller -- consistently ignored by the media, including Fox News -- clearly documents that she was a professing Christian over two years ago, at any rate.
Geller's singularly tenacious and thorough reporting has provided the chronology and context which elucidates Rifqa Bary's plight. Rifqa was "exposed" as a Christian apostate from Islam by her father's Columbus area mosque -- the Noor Islamic Center, a hotbed of jihadism and Jew- and other infidel hatred. As Bary's August 18th legal petition records,
"The child's parents are devout followers of Islam and members of the extreme Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Columbus, Ohio. This is where the internationally known Hamas cleric, Salah Sultan, was the resident scholar before being banned from the United States. Salah Sultan is known as a global terrorist who publicly advocates the killing of Americans and Jews. The largest cell of Al Qaeda operatives was operating from the largest mosque in the Columbus area. Columbus is one of the cities under current investigation concerning the U.S. operations of Al-Qaeda.
The child is a target for the radical Muslim community of Columbus, Ohio."Subjected to paternal abuse (bruises on Rifqa's limbs classmates allegedly brought to the attention of her High School counselor), Rifqa ultimately felt compelled to flee Ohio in July when her father threatened to murder his "apostate" daughter. She found temporary refuge in Orlando, Florida with Reverend Blake Lorenz, pastor of the Orlando-based Global Revolution Church, whom she had met through an online Facebook group. With Lorenz at her side, Rifqa Bary provided this desperate appeal (captured in full on YouTube) during an ~ 6-minute interview with WFTV:
"If I had stayed in Ohio, I wouldn't be alive. In 150 generations in family, no one has known Jesus. I am the first -- imagine the honor in killing me? There is great honor in that, because if they love Allah more than me, they have to do it. It's in the Koran. I'm fighting for my life. You guys don't understand. ... I want to worship Jesus freely, that's what I want. I don't want to die."This past Friday August 21, Orlando Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson's decision granted her the right to remain protected within Florida's foster care system until another hearing is held September 3rd.
The mainstream media narrative, in stark contrast to Pamela Geller's hardboiled (while patent) shoe leather reporting, was apparently developed via inept, lazy and uninformed pseudo-investigation, and imbued with an impenetrable "see no Islam" mentality. Hence the repeated media portrayals of Rifqa Bary as a delusional teenage rebel, "brainwashed" to leave her loving middle-American Muslim home by a Florida-based fringe Christian cult. Although Fox News television has at least reported the story, it has also been a (the?) major purveyor of this warped narrative, and its coverage has been devoid of the critical Islamic context -- in legal theory and practice -- regarding apostasy.
Fox News legal analysts -- with the exception of one who hosted a pellucid ~ 4-minute discussion by security expert Frank Gaffney -- have endlessly spoken about "jurisdiction," Florida versus Ohio, yet they appear incurious about the corpus of germane Islamic jurisprudence -- which remains applicable in our era -- sanctioning the killing of apostates. Fox News has ignored moving and informed written public appeals in support of Rifqa Bary by two prominent, remarkably courageous Muslim apostate intellectuals who have sought refuge in America, Nonie Darwish, and Wafa Sultan.
Fox News has also failed to provide its vast audience with the insights of the most authoritative contemporary scholar on apostasy in Islam -- Ibn Warraq, author of the definitive modern work on the subject, "Leaving Islam." Mr. Warraq is also a refugee from lethal Islamic intolerance now living in America. All three of these individuals -- Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, and Ibn Warraq -- are readily accessible to Fox News, but the media giant has thus far chosen not to interview them and share their views.
Punishment by death for apostasy from Islam is firmly rooted in the most holy Muslim texts -- both the Koran (verses such as 2:217 and 4:89) and the hadith (i.e., collections of the putative words and deeds of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, as compiled by pious Muslim transmitters), as well as the sacred Islamic Law (the Shari'a). For example, Muhammad is reported to have said "Kill him who changes his religion," in hadith collections of both Bukhari and Abu Dawud.
There is also a consensus by all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (i.e., Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafi'i), as well as Shi'ite jurists, that apostates from Islam must be put to death. Averroes (d. 1198), the renowned philosopher and scholar of the natural sciences, who was also an important Maliki jurist, provided this typical Muslim legal opinion on the punishment for apostasy:
"An to be executed by agreement in the case of a man, because of the words of the Prophet, ‘Slay those who change their din [religion]'...Asking the apostate to repent was stipulated as a condition...prior to his execution."The contemporary (i.e., 1991) Al-Azhar (Cairo) Islamic Research Academy-endorsed Shafi'i manual of Islamic Law, 'Umdat al-Salik (pp. 595-96) states:
"Leaving Islam is the ugliest form of unbelief (kufr) and the worst.... When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostasizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed. In such a case, it is ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed."The media's ignorance (or denial) of relevant Islamic jurisprudence on apostasy is compounded by its obliviousness to public pronouncements by North American Muslim legal scholars and clerics urging draconian punishments for Muslims who renounce Islam in Canada, or the US.
Syed Mumtaz Ali, the late architect of Canada's Sharia (Islamic Law) tribunal, and law professor Ali Khan, for example both advocated extending Islamic apostasy laws to the West. Mumtaz Ali, in a disturbing essay, affirmed the traditional Islamic legal viewpoint that apostates must "choose between Islam and the sword," arguing further that if Canada were to act in accord with its own Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian government must grant the country's Islamic community authority to punish those Muslims who apostasize, or malign their faith.
Washburn (Topeka, Kansas) University Law Professor, Ali Khan, another practicing Muslim, provided a more original, but no less chilling rationale for Muslims in the West to violate -- fatally -- the basic freedom of conscience of their co-religionists. Khan argued in The Cumberland Law Review that apostasy from Islam is an "attack" upon "protected knowledge," which if deemed (i.e., by some Islamic tribunal one must assume!) to be "open, hostile, and voiced contemptuously," justified punishment by death. Ali Khan is convinced that traditional Islamic law precepts antithetical to freedom of conscience nevertheless trump this foundational Western freedom, because,
"Islam is the truth beyond doubt. [And] [t] hese rules preserve the dignity of protected knowledge, discouraging an ‘easy in, easy out' attitude toward Islam."
Just this April, Harvard Muslim chaplain Taha Abdul-Basser explained approvingly to a Muslim student that the traditional Islamic practice of executing apostates from Islam, remained both venerable, and applicable:
"There is great wisdom (hikma) associated with the established and preserved position (capital punishment), and so, even if it makes some uncomfortable in the face of the hegemonic modern human-rights discourse, one should not dismiss it out of hand."
With the exception of my colleague Diana West, the mainstream media completely ignored this important and revealing story, emanating from Harvard, no less.
Rifqa Bary's public apostasy from Islam is a watershed event which will gauge just how far into the depths of stultifying Islamic correctness we have descended. Diana West recently provided this unflinching assessment of what is at stake if we fail to muster the requisite moral and intellectual fortitude:
"...the war against alienating Islam is not a war I want to fight - and no adherent of Western liberty could believe it is the war we want to win. Indeed, this war effort turns out to be the same thing as fighting for Islam. It calls us to self-censorship, self-abnegation, self-extinguishment. It depends on and encourages our submission."[Note: I would like acknowledge my indebtedness to the work of two exceptionally courageous, and intellectually honest journalists, Pamela Geller, and Diana West. Pamela has done the only serious investigative reporting on Rifqa Bary's case. Diana West coined the apt phrase, "see no Islam" as part of her unique, ongoing analysis of the dhimmitude of the American intellectual class.]
Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When Will Westerners Stop Westernizing Islamic Concepts?

Raymond Ibrahim
Recently, Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today wrote an article about Muslim zakat, wherein I was referenced as a "critic of Islam." She then followed up with another article titled "Critic questions the aims and ends of Islamic charity," dedicated to examining my views on zakat.
While I appreciate Ms. Grossman's initiative, what especially interests me is that her response exemplifies the problems originally highlighted in my article, "The Dark Side of Zakat: Islamic Charity in Context," which Ms. Grossman takes to task.
I had written: "From what American schoolchildren are being taught by their teachers to what Americans are being told by their presidents, concepts unique to Islam are nowadays almost always 'Westernized.'… [T]his phenomenon has resulted in epistemic (and thus endemic) failures, crippling Americans from objectively understanding some of Islam's more troublesome doctrines."
It is, therefore, a bit ironic that Ms. Grossman's entire article is a testimony to this phenomenon. For starters, even though I indicated Muslims are actually forbidden from bestowing zakat onto non-Muslims, her opening sentence stubbornly describes zakat as a "mandate to be charitable." Surely "charity" that discriminates according to religion cannot be deemed all that "charitable," a word that, in a Western context, is connotative of universal beneficence.
Ms. Grossman is also decided that Muslims engaged in that timeless Islamic phrase fi sabil Allah—most literally, "the path of Allah"—include "anyone from seminary students to imams to missionaries"; conversely, I supposedly read it "as a straight pipeline to violent jihadists."
Fair enough. Unfortunately, however, when it comes to the significance of Islamic terminology, neither her opinion nor mine matters much; how Islam's authoritative schools of jurisprudence (specifically, the four madhahib) have interpreted fi sabil Allah is all that matters. And Islam's juridical rulings are such that fi sabil Allah is synonymous with the concept of violent jihad.
For example, in its section on zakat, the Arabic-English edition of the standard legal text, 'Umdat as-Salik, translates fi sabil Allah as "those fighting for Allah." Next to the index entry for fi sabil Allah, it simply says "see jihad."
The following zakat-related anecdote from Islamic history is further illuminating: After Muhammad's death in 632, several Arab tribes, while still identifying themselves as Muslims, refused to pay zakat, much of which was being used to fund ongoing military operations. Abu Bakr, the first "righteous" caliph, responded by launching the Apostasy Wars, which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Arabs. In this context, neither the uses of zakat, nor Abu Bakr's murderous response, seem very "charitable." (Whoever heard of killing people for not being "charitable" enough?)
As a result, the same canon of Islamic law (the Sharia) that unequivocally forbids Muslims from giving zakat (financial assistance) to non-Muslims, advocates giving it to what we call "jihadists." This is a simple fact, played over and over again—not my opinion, nor something that is "open to interpretation."
Ms. Grossman's concluding questions are further indicative of the widespread tendency to recast Muslim concepts into Western terms. She asks the reader: "Do you think believers may support those 'in the path of Allah' in a religious sense, just as Christians might support missionaries evangelizing for Christ? Or do you read that as code for nefarious purposes?"
Aside from the fact that—alas, and once again—what any of us "think" is totally irrelevant, these questions demonstrate the all too common inability to transcend one's own culturally-ingrained notions of right and wrong, ascribing to them a universal pedigree. For just as Ms. Grossman's Western sensibilities inform her that zakat, which has to do with giving money, must always be "charitable," so too do they inform her that funding violence, jihadi or otherwise, must always be "nefarious."
Yet she may be surprised to discover that men such as Osama bin Laden actually see their jihad—yes, with all the death and destruction entailed—as an act of altruism, as an ugly means to a beneficent end (see Koran 2:216), that is, the establishment of Islamic law across the world (which is, incidentally, another Muslim duty). One of the most renowned Muslim clerics and hero of modern day jihadists, Ibn Taymiyya, has written at great length describing jihad as the ultimate expression of "love." And, at any rate, it seems a safe bet that most Muslims will be inclined to adhere to his opinions, i.e., his fatwas, as opposed to Ms. Grossman's casual thoughts on the matter.
The lesson here? Well meaning Americans would do well to cease interpreting age-old Muslim doctrines—from jihad to zakat—according to their Western epistemology and instead rely on the standard rulings of mainstream Islam, as articulated by its authoritative schools of jurisprudence. That is, after all, what Muslims do.
Postscript: As it happens, I recently relayed much of this to Ms. Grossman, and she responded in another entry, the gist of which is that, just because a religion teaches something, does not mean its adherents follow it. She writes:
As clear as Jewish law is on the dietary rules, most Jews do not keep kosher. As clear as evangelical preaching in many denominations is that Christ is essential to salvation, most people say all good people go to heaven, regardless of their faith or lack of same [italics added].
This is, of course, true; thus one should differentiate between the teachings of the various religions (which are often objective and ascertainable) and the actual practices of their adherents (which are often neither). The natural corollary to Ms. Grossman's Jewish and Christian examples is that "As clear as Islamic law is on the obligation of jihad and the need to fund it, most Muslims ignore it."
Unfortunately, this position offers little comfort: It took only 19 Muslims to commit the horrendous events of 9/11.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Egypt: Sick Man of the Middle East

Written by Fawaz A. Gerges
CNN 25 August 2009
Fawaz Gerges says the U.S. downplayed the serious political and economic difficulties of Egypt's regime.
(CNN) -- After smiling broadly for the TV cameras and complimenting one another, U.S. President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak provided little food for thought about what really transpired between them in an Oval Office meeting Tuesday.
Historically, the atmospherics of presidential summits are as important, if not more so than the substance. The Obama-Mubarak get-together is an example of where symbolism trumped political reality.
The American president warmly welcomed his Egyptian counterpart to the White House, his first visit in five years, and praised him as a "leader and a counselor and a friend of the United States."
Mubarak reciprocated by saluting Obama "for all his efforts with regard to the Palestinian issue." He said that Obama's address to the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt, was "great and fantastic" and removed all concern in Muslim minds that "the U.S. was against Islam."
Beyond the rhetorical hyperbole, there are underlying structural tensions and differences in the U.S.-Egyptian relationship that both camps consciously played down and ignored.
If Mubarak and his close advisers really want to know how the American foreign policy establishment views their regime today, they should closely read the alarming and gloomy reports and analyses written by influential think-tanks, policy-journals, human rights organizations, media outlets, and hearings and testimonies by the United States House of Representatives committee on international relations.
Mubarak is portrayed as the sick man of the Middle East, and Egypt is seen as a country in decline. A near-consensus exists that the Arab world's most populous nation -- 82 million people -- is teetering on the brink of social precipice. These observers warn that if social and political conditions are not improved, Egypt could ultimately become a political liability rather than a strategic asset.
In the last five years Mubarak did not visit Washington, as he used to do annually, because he said he was unhappy with the "'stances" of the Bush administration. Bush earned Mubarak's ire because of his publicly aggressive promotion of democracy and human rights and the turmoil caused by America's invasion and occupation of Iraq which allowed Iran to gain the upper hand there and spread its influence in the region.
Early on, the Obama foreign policy team decided to return U.S.-Egyptian relations to the pre-Bush era -- more emphasis on regional security and stability than on internal political governance and democracy.
In this foreign policy architecture, Egypt performs three important regional functions to Washington: mediating in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, keeping Hamas under control, and counterbalancing Iranian influence in the Arab arena.
The Obama approach is based on an old formula dating back to the late 1970s, one that rewards Cairo -- providing Egypt with $2 billion annually in U.S. foreign aid -- for doing Washington's bidding in a volatile and unstable Middle East.
It is then no wonder that in the White House meeting, Obama and Mubarak spent most of the time discussing ways and means to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions. There appeared to be no breakthrough on either track.
The American president labored hard to lower expectations of a breakthrough on the Palestinian-Israeli front. What Obama diplomatically tried to communicate is that little progress has been achieved so far, and that there is a long way to go. Do not hold your breath for an American peace plan yet.
Despite being urged by human rights groups to seek guarantees from President Mubarak about making measurable progress in the fields of human rights and democracy, Obama did not publicly press his Egyptian counterpart to undertake political reforms.
Speaking following their White House meeting, Obama acknowledged that there "are some areas where we still have disagreements," presumably over political governance. Yet the American president neither mentioned what those disagreements are nor uttered the words "rule of law" and "human rights," in deference to his Egyptian guest.
Disheartened by Obama's embrace of Mubarak, a prominent Egyptian dissident, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, criticized Obama in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal for conducting "old-style foreign policy with Arab tyrants" and urged him to support democracy and the rule of law.
The government-controlled media in Cairo hailed Mubarak's visit as "historic" and said it showed Egypt is a pivotal regional actor, strategically indispensable to Washington. However, the reality is much more complex.
In private, U.S. officials are terribly anxious about the potential for political and social instability in Egypt and the lack of mechanism for succession. They are deeply concerned that President Mubarak, a frail 81 years old and now in his 28th year in power, has repressed legitimate political dissent and turned Egypt, historically the cultural capital of the Arab world, into a weak and declining power plagued by chronic poverty, pervasive corruption and the rise of extremism.
The statistics paint a grim portrait of life for ordinary Egyptians. According to the World Bank's World Development Indicators, 43.9 percent of Egyptians live on less than $2 a day. Young people under 30, who represent more than 60 percent of the population, suffer disproportionately and cannot find good jobs or afford marriage, with one in four young Egyptians sitting idle, the United Nations says.
Exacerbating the dire economic situation, Arab regimes, including the Egyptian regime, have allowed the rich to grow richer at the expense of the poor and to flaunt their wealth before the eyes of a population struggling to survive.
According to the United Nations, the proportion of Egyptians living in absolute poverty increased in the first part of the decade, while the economy has been growing at up to 7 percent a year, filling the coffers of a small, wealthy elite.
Growth has not trickled down to the poor majority pressed by high inflation, particularly a 50 percent increase in food prices in recent years. The surge of labor unrest -- according to some estimates, Egypt has seen at least 250 strike actions this year -- is a testament to the gravity of the socioeconomic situation.
The Mubarak regime should not lose sight of the fact that a country's worth and value stem from the strength of its open society and the individual freedoms enjoyed by its citizens. Western leaders, including Americans, respect governments viewed as legitimate and have disdain for illegitimate authority, even those of clients.
Unfortunately, in Egypt the divide between those who govern and the governed has never been wider than it is today. This is a potential recipe for political catastrophe for the Mubarak regime and the Egyptian people alike.
Editor's note: Fawaz A. Gerges, who holds the Christian A. Johnson Chair in Middle Eastern Studies and International Affairs at Sarah Lawrence College, is on a research trip to the Middle East. His most recent book is "The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global."
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Fawaz A. Gerges

EGYPT: Christians Split Over Presidential Scion

Written by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani
Inter Press Service
25 August 2009CAIRO, Aug 24 (IPS) -
Leaders of Egypt's Coptic Christian Church have voiced support for Gamal Mubarak, son of President Hosni Mubarak, as preferred candidate for president. Concurrently, however, some Coptic activists are calling for demonstrations against what they see as official state bias against Christians.
"Comments in support of Gamal Mubarak by church officials don't represent the opinion of all Egypt's Copts," Youssef Sidhoum, editor-in-chief of Coptic weekly Al-Watani told IPS. "Calls for strikes and demonstrations by online Coptic activists, meanwhile, represent only the views of a small minority within the Coptic community."
Christians are estimated to represent between six and 12 percent of Egypt's population of some 82 million, although precise figures are notoriously difficult to ascertain. Most Christians belong to the Egyptian Orthodox, or Coptic church, while the rest of the population is almost entirely Sunni Muslim.
Pope Shenouda III, the Egyptian Coptic Church's highest authority, appeared to give his support to presidential scion Gamal Mubarak, who many believe is being groomed to succeed his aging father.
"The majority of the public loves Gamal Mubarak and would prefer him (for president) over anyone else," Shenouda said in a Jul. 27 interview on Arabic- language satellite channel On TV. "At the appropriate time, I and the Coptic community will give our opinions of Gamal."
Ever since he was appointed head of the ruling National Democratic Party's (NDP's) supremely influential Policies Committee in 2002, conjecture about Gamal's presidential ambitions has been rife. In recent months, speculation reached fever pitch, with many informed sources declaring that that "inheritance" of the presidency from father to son was "imminent".
The pope's statements, therefore, caused a considerable stir in the independent and opposition press.
In an editorial entitled 'The Pope and Inheritance', Coptic writer Gamal Asaad challenged Shenouda's assertions. "Where did he get the idea that the majority of the public prefer Gamal? Did he hold a national referendum?" Asaad asked in the Aug. 5 edition of independent daily Al-Dustour.
Sidhoum, who enjoys a close relationship with the church, likewise stressed that Shenouda's statements did not represent the opinion of all of Egypt's Copts.
"Shenouda is the leader of the Egyptian Coptic community in spiritual matters only, not political ones," he said. "His opinion of Gamal is a personal one based on personal considerations.
"There are roughly ten million Copts in Egypt of all different social, political and economic stripes," added Sidhoum. "It's ludicrous to suggest they all support Gamal Mubarak for president."
Hafez Abu Saeda, secretary-general of the Cairo-based Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR), also criticised Shenouda's statements, which he described as "uncharacteristically political."
"With all due respect to the pope, who usually avoids controversial political issues, it is not his place to take such positions," Abu Saeda told IPS. "The EOHR calls on all religious institutions, Christian and Muslim, to maintain a safe distance from politics."
Yet despite the criticisms, last week saw two more prominent Coptic leaders expressing like sentiments.
On the sidelines of President Mubarak's recent meeting with the U.S. President in Washington, Bishop Al-Anba Bishoy, secretary of the Egyptian Coptic Church's Holy Synod, also declared that the Egyptian public "likes Gamal Mubarak."
"He (Gamal Mubarak) listens to the people and visits poverty-stricken areas of the country," Bishoy was quoted as saying in independent daily Al-Masri Al-Youm on Aug. 20. "Gamal doesn't like to promote himself, but he visits the people that need to be heard and helps ease their difficulties."
Bishoy went on to express confidence in Gamal's "ability to lead Egypt in the future."
The younger Mubarak received similar endorsement from church spokesman Bishop Al-Anba Morcos, who, according to Al-Masri Al-Youm, described him as "the kind of economy man that the country needs."
An investment banker by profession, Gamal Mubarak - and his circle of business-friendly associates in the Policies Committee - has led the charge towards trade liberalisation and integration into the global economy. Despite considerable public opposition, he has consistently pushed for privatisation of state assets and opening the country to foreign investment.
According to Abu Saeda, the church's apparent support for Gamal at least partly reflects longstanding Coptic fears of an Islamist government. "Most Egyptian Copts support the ruling party largely owing to the fear of an Islamist alternative, which they worry could adversely affect their rights," said Abu Saeda.
He went on, however, to warn against making generalisations about the political orientations of all Copts.
"In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the church instructed Copts to vote for the NDP," said Abu Saeda. "Nevertheless, those elections saw Copts voting for Muslim Brotherhood candidates in some cases."
But while church officials express support for a Gamal Mubarak presidency, some Coptic activists accuse Mubarak's NDP of harbouring an official bias against Coptic Christians.
The last week of July saw the appearance of a group on social networking website Facebook urging Copts to stage a labour strike Sep. 11, Coptic New year. According to a statement on the site, dubbed "Copts for Egypt", the action is meant to express resentment over what they perceive as official bias by the state.
Notably, however, Egypt's Coptic Church - along with Egypt's Catholic and Anglican churches - officially rejected the appeal. "The church will not participate in this strike," a Coptic Church spokesman was quoted as saying in the local press. "The church does not get involved in politics."
According to Sidhoum, there is a degree of official bias against Copts at the state level, the most prominent indication of which is the lack of Coptic representation in the upper echelons of government. "But this new call to strike is directed only at Copts and not at all Egyptians," he said, "which itself shows a degree of bias."

USA, CIA Created Sunni Islamic Terrorism

Tuesday, 25 August 2009
USA, CIA Created Sunni Islamic Terrorism
By Lee Jay WalkerTokyo Correspondent
Twin Towers in Flame —The Sept. 11 attacks were a series of suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the US on Sept. 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 Islamist terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked 4 passenger jet airliners.The hijackers intentionally crashed 2 of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in NYC. 2,974 people died in the attacks.
The United States of America is clearly responsible for the dire situation in modern day Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the consequences of this is that global Sunni Islamic jihadists are still bent on causing more mayhem. So why did ex-President Jimmy Carter, and other leaders of America, develop such a pro-Sunni Islamic terrorist network? Also, why aren’t past leaders like Jimmy Carter and ex-National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, being made accountable for their failed policies?
Of course it is true that radical Islam is not a new concept and Sunni Islamic forces have used terror and war since the 7th century. After all, you will find very few traces of Christianity in modern day North Africa outside of Egypt and the same applies to Buddhism in modern day Afghanistan. Similar statements can be used about the defeat of Zoroastrianism by Islamic forces or the ongoing marginalization of Hinduism in modern day Pakistan.
Yes, “Islamic apologists” will point the finger at past Christian misdeeds in South America, and so forth, or they will make up a multitude of excuses. However, in the 21st century we are still witnessing the ongoing Islamic jihad movement and this movement desires to crush religious liberty, freedom, democracy, the rights of women, and the richness of diversity.
Yet the real tragedy is simple, because democratic forces, creeping secularism, moderate versions of Islam, and so forth, were springing up throughout the Middle East and much further afield where Muslims were a majority. Therefore, in nations like Indonesia the Christian faith was allowed to spread and Muslims and Christians had a united bond, this bond was humanity.
It appeared that the “notion of Islamic jihad” was on the wane, just like radical Christian forces had been challenged by new ideas in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Therefore, pan-Arabism, socialism, and other forces, alongside passive Islam, was changing the make-up of society.
This is an over-simplification because the topic is so vast, however, new laws were being implemented in nations like Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Syria, and a host of other mainly Muslim nations, whereby greater freedoms were being enforced. So just like Europe, which once had its brutal Catholic-Protestant inter-wars, a new era looked liked it was going to “dawn.”
However, this era was soon about to collapse but the reasons behind this collapse are galling because the hands of America and Saudi Arabia can be found everywhere. Therefore, let us now focus on the unleashing of Sunni Islamic “dark forces” via American and Saudi Arabian sponsorship of terrorism.
To place an exact date is complex because links between America and radical Sunni Islamic forces run deep but it is clear that democratic forces, nationalistic movements, pan-Arabism, socialism, and other more moderate forces were seen to be the enemy. For example, Egypt went from being secular under Nasser to adopting Islamic laws under the pro-American, Anwar Sadat.
The same scenario would happen in Pakistan because America welcomed General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who took power in the late 1970s. Therefore, Pakistan was transformed into a more Islamized nation whereby laws and other institutions would be Islamized. In time the USA would strengthen their ties with Zia-ul-Haq in order to fund the Islamic insurgency in Afghanistan.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) implemented Operation Cyclone and this policy was aimed at supporting the Afghan Mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski began a new policy whereby America would support radical Islam in the full knowledge that this meant supporting terrorism and a movement which supported killing all apostates from Islam and persecuting women.
Just like Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski, the next leader of America, Ronald Reagan, would continue this policy. Jimmy Carter stated that “The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is the greatest threat to peace since the Second World War.” However, the greatest threat to global peace was America and the Sunni Islamic terrorist movement which was funded by the CIA and other important American operatives.
For unlike communism or pan-Arabism, or other political ideologies, these movements are temporary. Yet radical Islam had sprouted up throughout history after periods of relative decline and it is not a movement which can be switched on and off. After all, we are talking about a radical ideology which is fused with religion and this makes it more potent.
Therefore, both political parties in America were involved in the funding of radical Sunni Islam. People like Michael G. Vickers, a Special Forces NCO, was commissioned by the CIA to support radical Islamic forces. Of major importance was coordination and launching attacks against the Soviet Union which would prove to be successful. Given this, Vickers, and other covert operatives, would train terrorists and in time they would unleash a force that could not be contained.
The CIA’s regional head, Gustav Avrakotos, alongside people like Charlie Wilson, Gordan Humphrey, Fred Ikle, William Casey, Joanne Herring, and a host of others, were all responsible in spreading radical Islam in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, the “dark forces” of radical Sunni Islam were being unified via enormous funding and military training. So the CIA, political leaders, and the people mentioned above, would all play their role in the future destabilization of Afghanistan and Pakistan and in making September 11th happen.
Of instrumental importance was Pakistan and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) unit which would work hand-in-hand with the CIA and other covert networks. Other nations were also involved, including the British, because MI6 and the SAS, would help to train Islamic terrorists and of course Saudi Arabia would provide ample funds in order to spread radical Sunni Islam.
Therefore, America, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, funded “the year zero Islamic jihadists” for different reasons. For China, it was based on hostile factors related to the Soviet Union. Yet it is clear that America and Saudi Arabia were instrumental in spreading radical Islam and of course the British “tail” also “wagged” in order to appease Washington.
Between 1981-1987 the USA provided over US$3.2 billion dollars and this was followed by a further $4.2 billion dollars. More important, the CIA, MI6, the SAS, and other covert agencies, were involved in training radical Islamists. The outcome being a multi-ethnic jihadist movement which would be armed and trained by America, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and others, but with America and Saudi Arabia being the cornerstone, and with Pakistan being the unifying factor because of geopolitical factors.
So major Sunni Islamic warlords like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar would be funded and trained. Hekmatyar in turn would develop relations with Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda and the nucleus of this would come by helping Maktab al-Khadamat.
The late Benazir Bhutto stated that “You are creating a Frankenstein.” Benazir Bhutto stated this when she met President George H. W. Bush in the late 1980s. This “Frankenstein” would certainly come back to haunt America and Pakistan, and of course undermine Afghanistan to this day.
Given this, then it is abundantly clear that the killing of Christian converts from Islam, stoning women to death, flogging people, chopping hands and feet off because of Islamic Sharia punishments, were all tolerated by America and the people who supported radical Islam in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. So why no accountability, after all, America supports war crimes in the Balkans but why not try past America leaders or CIA operatives, and others, who have unleashed mayhem and disaster?
Even today, America is “turning a blind eye” towards Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan and Pakistan are in crisis. Yet look at the people on the ground, it is women who now fear persecution in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is minorities, like Shia Muslims, Christians, Ahmadiyya’s, and others, who face death daily or the fear of persecution.
September 11th, the destruction of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the spread of radical Islam to moderate nations like Indonesia, can all be blamed on past American leaders and names that I have mentioned already. So why aren’t these people facing the consequences of their actions?
For they have unleashed “a potent” and radical Sunni Islamic movement which is destroying the fabric of society in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Just like the same Islamists caused mayhem and bloodshed in Algeria and other parts of the world. The road to September 11th and “year zero Islamic jihadists” was created by the forces of America and Saudi Arabia, alongside other important players like Pakistan. Yet what about real accountability and “the real story being told?”

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Christian on the run in Egypt

Sunday, 23 August 2009
A Christian on the run in Egypt

Maher El Gohary is something his Muslim compatriots can't fathom: a convert to Christianity. He and his daughter live like fugitives, moving frequently to avoid those who'd like to see him dead.

Christians and Muslims clashed in 2005 at St. George's Church in Alexandria, Egypt, where Muslims demanded an apology for a play they said was offensive to Islam. (Alexandria Tomas / EPA / October 22, 2005)
Reporting from Alexandria, Egypt - It is a clear day along the coast, but in a bungalow off the beach, Maher El Gohary sits behind a locked door with an open Bible and a crystal cross, suspicious of every voice and sandal scraping past outside.
He and his daughter, Dina, live like refugees, switching apartments every few months, not wanting to get close to neighbors. Gohary's life has been threatened, his dogs have been killed, and it's been suggested that he's insane or possessed by spirits. He is a man this Muslim nation cannot fathom: a convert to Christianity. "Islam is the only thing Egyptians are 150% sure of. If you reject Islam, you shake their belief and you are an apostate, an infidel," he says. "I can see in the eyes of Muslims how much my conversion has really hurt them."Egypt's Coptic Christians, who represent about 10% of the population, have veered from coexistence to violence with the Muslim majority. Bloody clashes recently erupted between Copts and Muslims over land disputes and restrictions on churches.But converts, such as Gohary, are even more unsettling. Islamists believe that Muslims who forsake their religion should be punished by death.Gohary wants to be called Peter and refuses to yield. He has filed a lawsuit asking an Egyptian court to officially recognize him as a Copt by changing the denomination on his national ID card from Muslim to Christian. The court ruled against him in June, finding that Gohary's baptism documents from the Coptic Orthodox Church were "legally invalid." The verdict is on appeal.The case highlights the religious and political complexities that drive modern Egypt. The nation often seems at battle with itself as it attempts to balance the ideals of a democracy with laws steeped in Islamic principles. Freedom of religion is guaranteed in the constitution, but fatwas, or religious edicts, from clerics subject converts from Islam to persecution and threats. The government treads uneasily, not wanting to anger religious conservatives who stubbornly guard Islam's grip on society. Converts such as Gohary "should be killed by authorities," says Abdul Aziz Zakareya, a cleric and former professor at Al Azhar University. "Public conversions can lead to very dangerous consequences. The spreading of a phenomenon like this in a Muslim society can cause many unwanted results and tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims." A tall man in blue shorts and rimless glasses, Gohary, 56, looks as if he is ready to walk the beach. But he and Dina have just moved to the three-room bungalow. Their suitcases are still packed; the only thing hanging on the walls is a clothesline. Listening for noises outside, Gohary speaks of how years earlier the teachings of Jesus, especially parables on forgiveness and loving your enemy, changed his life."In Islam, if you steal your hands are cut off, but in Christianity you can be forgiven," he says. "This compassion is what attracted me."Back then he was a young cadet at the police academy, inspired by a Christian bunkmate who ignored the taunts of Muslim recruits. Gohary, the son of a police general, began reading the Bible. He left the academy and by his mid-20s had drifted away from Islam and was calling himself a Christian. He went through a series of jobs, he says, but was often fired or quit after being harassed when it was discovered he was no longer a Muslim.He married in 1994, but his wife refused to convert. The couple divorced and Dina, who lives on and off with both parents, was tugged between faiths. "I've always felt Christian," says Dina, a lithe 15-year-old who doesn't look away when she speaks. "But my mom has taken me to sheiks to convince me of Islam. She made me wear the hijab and go to the mosque against my will. My father and I are in danger. A man with a beard once grabbed me and told me that 'if you and your dad don't stop, I'll kill you both.' "In 1997, Gohary remarried and later moved to a farm. His second wife converted to Christianity. Her family and friends were angry, and Gohary says the farm was vandalized, his trees cut down, his dogs killed. He sold the property and he and his wife planned to move to Cyprus. Dina's mother and Gohary share custody of their daughter and authorities did not allow her to leave Egypt. Gohary and his wife spent a year in Cyprus but he returned to be with Dina and ensure she was exposed to Christianity. Gohary says he received a baptismal certificate from the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cyprus in 2005 after having been baptized by an archbishop in Egypt. The court rejected both certificates, questioning the jurisdiction of the documents and saying there was no "clear evidence" of baptism. Gohary is reportedly the second Egyptian Muslim convert to Christianity who has tried unsuccessfully to have his religious identity officially changed. The first, Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy, went into hiding after his home was set ablaze. Religious statistics in Egypt are often manipulated and unreliable; estimates on converts to Christianity range from several thousand to hundreds of thousands.Early this year, the courts showed a degree of religious tolerance by ruling that members of the minority Bahai faith could be issued ID cards that didn't identify them by religion. They previously had the option of only Muslim, Christian or Jew. Gohary's lawyer, Nabil Ghobrial, says judges are more hostile toward converts and are ignoring the law and ruling on "their personal religious beliefs." Says Gohary: "I'm not so much afraid of the government anymore. It's conservative Muslims who worry me. Some of them believe whoever kills me is rewarded. When I go to court, I'm surrounded by police protection." Voices pass Gohary's door on the way to the beach. The margins of his Bible pages are scrawled with notations; he flicks from the Old Testament to Letters of Paul. A friend delivers sodas, sits for a while and disappears. Dina unpacks.Gohary listens at the door. He doesn't want an unexpected knock, and says he and his daughter will stay here a month or so and then move on.

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Amro Hassan of The Times' Cairo Bureau contributed to this report.

Egyptian Police Detain Family of Abducted Christian Girl

(AINA) -- On August 21, 2009
the family of 14-year-old missing Coptic girl Nagafa Mahrous went to Al-Marg police station to identify their daughter but was detained by the police "on orders from the State Security."
Nagafa, whose family reported her missing on on 6/14/2009, arrived at the police station dressed in a Burqa and told her parents she has converted to Islam and is now married. She was accompanied by 33-year old plumber Ramadan Ibrahim, whom she said was her husband. She had gone to the police to establish the fact that she was married and filed a complaint against her family demanding an official pledge from them for non-harassment.
Nagafa used the identity of her 19-year-old sister, Awatef, who went missing 15 years ago. Using her sister's data she had a national identity card issued with the name of Awatef and was therefore able to change her religion and get married. "Of course she has not thought of that alone, she is still a child," said Nabil Ghobrial, Coptic activist and attorney of the Mahrous family, in an audio interview with Wagih Yacoub of the Middle East Christian Association (MECA).
According to Ghobrial, the Al-Marg Police Captain, Walid Abdel-Aziz, refused to issue a police report at first, under the pretext that the family has to prove that Nagafa is a minor, and then refused to give them the police report number.
Ghobrial accused Nagafa Mahrous and Ramadam Ibrahim of falsification of official documents, Ramadan with abduction and rape of a minor (which Captain Abdel Aziz refused to document in the report) and the Islamic marriage clerk (ma'azoun) with issuing a marriage certificate to a minor.
When the abducted girl's family came to leave the police station, Captain Walid Abdel-Aziz detained them "on orders from the State Security."
"The abducted girl's mother, her 13-year-old brother Hany and her grandfather were detained, which is a flagrant violation of the Mahrous family's civil rights," Ghobrial said. All concerned would be presented to the Public Prosecution on the following day.
All parties were presented to the prosecution on 22nd August. Commenting on the session, Attorney Ghobrial said that all those held in custody were released without any charges, including the 14-year-old Nagafa and her so-called Muslim husband Ramadan Ibrahim. "Although the Prosecutor admitted that the official document were falsified no charges were brought against any one." he told Yacoub of MECA. "It was also found out that the Islamic marriage clerk knew that the minor girl was still Christian, he documented that she was Muslim with the name of Mariam." He also added that the police pressured the family to pledge not to harass their 14-year-old daughter.
"I am informing the President of the Republic and the Interior Minister that a family comes to the police station reporting the abduction of their minor daughter and they get detained unlawfully 'on orders from the State Security,'" said Ghorbrial. "Besides, how can a child be detained? Where are the laws protecting the rights of the child?"
Ghorbrial criticized Al-Azhar for converting a 14-year-old girl in the absence of the Advice and Guidance Committee, as specified by the Registry Office. A law regulating the Advice and Guidance committees was passed in 1863 by Isma'il Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt, according to which a Copt only converts to Islam after attending sittings with these committees, which were attended by a priest, to ensure a sincere desire on his part to convert without being subjected to any pressure.
With the advent of the 1952 Revolution, this law was abolished, to be replaced by various laws in the same vain, until 1997 when The Interior Ministry agreed with Alazhar that the Fatwa Council would send the documents of those wishing to convert to Islam to the State Security. Matters went on as usual, giving the right to the concerned families to be present, which in many cases led to the would-be converts revising their decision and remaining Christian. In 2004 the Ministry of Interior unilaterally stopped the use of the Advice and Guidance Committees without acquiring a ministerial decree canceling the law regulating the procedures for conversion into Islam.
It is widely believed that the Interior Ministry cancelled the Advice and Guidance Committees as a result of the exposure of its complicity in forced Islamization of Coptic minor girls (AINA 7-18-2009, 7-30-2009, 8-11-2009).
Ghobrial said "There is nothing in the law which gives powers to the Fatwa Council."
According to the renowned Coptic political analyst Magdy Khalil, not one case of minor abduction and rape was ever presented by the Ministry of the Interior to the judiciary, making it an accomplice in these terrible crimes.
"In many cases of forced Islamization Coptic minor girls, the State Security conspires to facilitate the criminal act, misleads the bereaved families of the victims and turns them from victim to accused," he said.
Ghobrial believes there is a strong Islamic cell operating in the Al-Marg district of Cairo north, which is working on the Islamization of Christian minors and falsifying their papers.
"My collegues and I have been working for quite some time on the Coptic issue and there are many cases of girls being abducted and who go missing in Al Marg," he said. "We found out that the State Security participates in the abduction of Coptic minor girls. They are then kept away until they reach the age of 18 years, after which the police closes the case file relevant to that girl and she becomes a de facto Muslim."
By Mary Abdelmassih

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Muslim Brotherhood: A Moderate Islamic Alternative to al-Qaeda or a Partner in Global Jihad?

Saturday, 22 August 2009
The Muslim Brotherhood: A Moderate Islamic Alternative to al-Qaeda or a Partner in Global Jihad?
Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi

The Muslim Brotherhood is increasingly at the center of a heated political controversy in the U.S. and among its Western allies. Foreign Affairs, an important weathervane of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, featured in its March-April issue an article by Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood had become a moderate organization.
The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the British House of Commons issued a report in the summer of 2007 concluding: “As long as the Muslim Brotherhood expresses a commitment to the democratic process and non-violence, we recommend that the British Government should engage with it and seek to influence its members.” Ironically, while prominent voices in the West are calling for a new political dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Arab world many serious analysts warn about its continuing violent nature and global ambitions.
At a meeting of the National Defense and Security Committee of the Egyptian Parliament held in January 2007, Muslim Brotherhood parliament member Mohammed Shaker Sanar openly admitted that the Muslim Brotherhood was not committed to Western democratic values. He said that nothing about the organization had changed. “The organization was founded in 1928 to reestablish the Caliphate destroyed by Ataturk….With Allah’s help [the Muslim Brotherhood] will institute the law of Allah.”
This year, newly revealed federal court documents that were accepted into evidence during the trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation revealed further the inner thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood about its global mission. A sixteen-page Arabic document discloses: “The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.”
The Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda differ regarding tactics but share a common strategy. Al-Qaeda favors an implacable jihad to destroy the economies of the Western countries. The Muslim Brotherhood supports terrorism and jihad against foreign presence in the Islamic world, but its top priority is constructing a Muslim infrastructure in the West which will slowly but surely enable it to rule during the 21st century. As far as the final goal is concerned, there are no policy differences between al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The two organizations have the same objective: to place the entire world under an Islamic caliphate.

The Muslim Brotherhood is increasingly at the center of a heated political controversy in the U.S. and among its Western allies. On April 23, Newsweek speculated about whether the attendance of a Muslim Brotherhood leader at a diplomatic party held by the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Francis Ricciardone, might signal a shift in the Bush administration’s policy toward the worldwide radical Islamic movement. Indeed, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also had a brief exchange with the Muslim Brotherhood member at the event, where he heard a brief rationalization of the policies of Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood branch that has engaged in suicide bombing attacks and is recognized as an international terrorist organization.
Finally, Foreign Affairs, an important weathervane of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, featured in its March-April issue an article by Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood had become a moderate organization.1 The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which seeks to reach out and influence the American political system posted on its website the Foreign Affairs piece on the Muslim Brotherhood. And James Traub echoed many of their arguments in the New York Times Magazine on April 29, 2007, in which he claimed that “the Muslim Brotherhood, for all its rhetorical support of Hamas, could well be precisely the kind of moderate Islamic body that the administration says it seeks.”
The opening of a relationship between Washington and the Muslim Brotherhood would represent a major reversal in U.S. policy in the war on terrorism. After all, the Muslim Brotherhood has been widely regarded in the Arab world as the incubator of the jihadist ideology that led to the rise of radical Islamic militant organizations. A former Kuwaiti Minister of Education, Dr. Ahmad Al-Rab’i, argued in Al-Sharq al-Awsat on July 25, 2005, that the founders of most modern terrorist groups in the Middle East emerged from “the mantle” of the Muslim Brotherhood.2 A recently disclosed British Foreign Office memo from January 17, 2006, which was leaked to The New Statesman, indeed admitted, “The Egyptian Government perceives the Muslim Brotherhood to be the political face of a terrorist organization.”
Ironically, while prominent voices in the West are considering opening a political dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Middle East many columnists are still warning about its hostile intentions. Thus, Tariq Hasan, a columnist for the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, alerted his readers on June 23, 2007, that the Muslim Brotherhood was preparing a violent takeover in Egypt, using its “masked militias” in order to replicate the Hamas seizure of power in the Gaza Strip.3 And writing on October 23, 2007, in the Saudi-owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat, columnist Hussein Shobokshi wrote that “to this day” the Muslim Brotherhood “has brought nothing but fanaticism, divisions, and extremism, and in some cases bloodshed and killings.” Thus, both Arab regimes and leading opinion-makers in Arab states still have serious reservations about the claim of a new moderation in the Muslim Brotherhood.
There are understandable reasons why Arab regimes reach such conclusions; Abdullah Azzam, the teacher and mentor of Osama bin Laden, was a member of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood. Bin Laden’s current deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was heavily influenced by the ideology of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.4 And Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the mastermind of the 9/11 attack, joined the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait in his youth.5 Even in recent years the Muslim Brotherhood’s publication in London, Risalat al-Ikhwan, maintained its jihadist orientation; it featured at the top of its cover page in 2001 the slogan, “Our mission: world domination” (siyadat al-dunya). This header was changed after 9/11, but the publication still carried the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto which includes: “jihad is our path; martyrdom is our aspiration.”
Despite this unambiguous historical record, parts of the U.S. intelligence establishment have in the past entertained working with the Muslim Brotherhood. Robert Baer, who was a CIA case officer in the Middle East for its Directorate of Operations, describes how the CIA’s station chief in Khartoum, Milton Beardon, did not reject the idea of working with members of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood in order to topple the Libyan leader, Mu’ammar Qaddafi.6 In 1986, Bearden would go on to become the CIA station chief in Islamabad, where he became instrumental in working with the most militant Afghan mujahideen, many of whom were allied with the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadi groups, in their war against the Soviet Union.7
In 2005, after his retirement, Bearden would join other ex-intelligence officials, like Alastair Crooke, from Britain’s MI-6, in seeking to launch a dialogue in Beirut with radical fundamentalist groups, including the Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood, Hizbullah, and Hamas.8 Thus even though the work of Western intelligence agencies in the 1980s produced the “blowback” that was witnessed with the rise of al-Qaeda in the 1990s, there has been a constant school of thought in the West believing in the advisability of working with the representatives of radical Islam, in general, and the Muslim Brotherhood, in particular.
Indeed this school of thought has been making important inroads; the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the British House of Commons issued a report in the summer of 2007 concluding: “As long as the Muslim Brotherhood expresses a commitment to the democratic process and non-violence, we recommend that the British Government should engage with it and seek to influence its members.”9 The underlying assumption of this recommendation is that the Muslim Brotherhood has indeed become a more moderate organization, just as Leiken and Brooke argue in their Foreign Affairs article. For that reason, it is important to carefully analyze their arguments in order to ascertain whether they have any basis

U.S. Policy Toward Radical Islam: The Muslim Brotherhood Debate
The September 11 attack prompted the American administration to change both its domestic and foreign policies and to initiate a comprehensive campaign against radical Islam, which preaches global jihad, and the countries developing weapons of mass destruction that threaten the United States. Promoting the idea of democracy is at the core of President Bush’s foreign policy, which seeks to support democratic governments or those aspiring to democracy and to exert pressure on the Arab regimes to adopt the principles of democracy and human rights as a way of battling religious fundamentalism. The president’s initiative kindled an argument between those who regard it as an effective way of creating an alternative to the Al-Qaeda-Muslim Brotherhood school of radical Islam and those who feel that conditions in the Middle East are not yet ripe and that such an initiative is liable to achieve the opposite result and pave the way for a radical Islamic takeover of the current regimes.
Dr. Robert S. Leiken, director of the Immigration and National Security Program at the Nixon Center in Washington, and Steven Brooke, a researcher at the Center, have called upon the American administration to institute a dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood to promote democratization in the Islamic world. They published an article in the March-April 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs called “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood” in which they advise the American administration to enter into a strategic alliance with the organization, which they refer to as “moderate,” calling it a “notable opportunity” to use the Brotherhood to promote American interests.
They have also written that “When it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood, the beginning of wisdom lies in differentiating it from radical Islam and recognizing the significant differences between [the] national Brotherhood organizations [operating in various parts of the world]. That diversity suggests Washington should adopt a case-by-case approach, letting the situation in each individual country determine when talking with – or even working with – [the branches of] the Brotherhood is feasible and appropriate….Washington should be taking stock of its interests and capabilities in the Muslim world – a conversation with the Muslim Brotherhood makes strong strategic sense.”
Leiken and Brooke based their recommendation on the assumptions that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate, has a constructive approach to democracy, and is a potential partner for America and the West. This article will contrast Leiken and Brooke’s main arguments with facts taken from official, public Muslim Brotherhood sources.

Leiken and Brooke: The Muslim Brotherhood has Embraced Democratic Western Values
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna as an organization seeking to combat the secularization of the emerging Egyptian state. But it evolved into an organization that saw itself struggling against Western civilization, as a whole, in order to advance what it defined as Muslim civilization.10 It quickly spread and established branches in dozens of countries within the Middle East and even beyond.
According to Leiken and Brooke,
The Muslim Brotherhood is a collection of national groups with differing outlooks, and the various factions disagree about how best to advance its mission. But all reject global jihad while embracing elections and other features of democracy….The [Muslim Brotherhood] followed the path of toleration and eventually came to find democracy compatible with its notion of slow Islamization.
A distinction should be made between how the Muslim Brotherhood regards democracy [as positive] and how Al-Qaeda regards it [as infidel]….Many analysts, meanwhile, sensibly question whether the Brotherhood’s adherence to democracy is merely tactical and transitory….There is slim evidence that the Brotherhood has pondered what it would do with power. Although it has been prodded by the electoral process to define as its slogan “Islam Is the Solution”….And in extensive conversations with the Muslim Brotherhood’s disparate allies throughout the Middle East, we heard many expressions of confidence that it would honor democratic processes.
The Muslim Brotherhood does indeed participate in political activity and defend the democratic process. That is not, however, because it has accepted the principles of Western democracy as Leiken and Brooke have claimed, but rather because the democratic process can be exploited to establish an Islamic regime which will then obviate democracy, as was made evident by its platform in the 2007 Egyptian parliamentary elections.11 The organization claimed to be participating in the elections because “the Muslim Brotherhood preaches the path of Allah…[and therefore it is participating] to fulfill Allah’s commands in peaceful ways, using existing constitutional institutions and a decision determined by the ballot box.” That is, democracy is Islam’s ingress to power. The Muslim Brotherhood platform also noted that “the rule in [Egypt] must be republican, parliamentary, constitutional and democratic in accordance with the Islamic Sharia,” and that “the Sharia ensures liberty for all.” The organization does not accept the principle of the separation of church and state, and the Islamic rule they aspire to is, for them, a realization of democracy.
Leiken, Brooke and the Muslim Brotherhood all use the same word, democracy, but their definitions and interpretations are worlds apart. Interviewed on September 17, 2007, by the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Karama,12 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef said that the organization’s campaign slogan would be “The Sharia is the Solution” and that human rights and democracy would be included under Sharia rule. He devoted his May 12, 2007, weekly missive to an exposition of democracy as seen through Muslim Brotherhood eyes. He said that only Islam, which was given to men by Allah, was the expression of true democracy. He wrote that “Islam preceded…doctrines and ideologies devised by men. The final, absolute message from heaven contains all the values which the secular world claims to have invented….Islam and its values antedated the West by founding true democracy, exemplified by the Shura [the advisory council under the Caliphs] and Islam’s respect for the equality of other religions….With regard to liberty, Islam reached a goal which secular preachers have not, for the liberty promised by Islam is genuine in every way, even in faith and religion….As to the claim that Islam does not recognize civil authority, the authority of Islam is democratic…it is genuine liberty, it provides equality in practice and is transparent, it neither oppresses nor robs any man of his rights….It is on that foundation and with those values that the Muslim Brotherhood calls for justice, equality, and liberty.”13
‘Akef has never equivocated regarding his views on Western democracy. On April 30, 2005, he told the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Ahram that the Muslim Brotherhood opposed American democracy because it was “corrupt and serves the American agenda….The Muslim Brotherhood has held demonstrations against foreign intervention and against any democracy that serves the Americans….[American] democracy is corrupt because it wants to destroy the [Islamic] nation, its faith and tradition.”14 He told the BBC that Western democracy was “unrealistic” and “false.”15
One of ‘Akef’s examples of America’s “corrupt values” is the attempt to stop female circumcision in Africa. On July 12, 2007, he wrote that “[the Americans] spend billions of dollars and endlessly plot to change the Muslim way of life, they wage war on Muslim leaders, the traditions of its faith and its ideas. They even wage war against female circumcision, a practice current in 36 countries, which has been prevalent since the time of the Pharaohs.”16

Leiken and Brooke: The Muslim Brotherhood Opposes Jihad against the West and Does Not Incite Muslims to Wage Jihad
According to Leiken and Brooke, the Muslim Brotherhood deters Muslims from violence and channels them into politics and charity work. They based that claim on having been told the following:
A senior member of the Egyptian Brotherhood’s Guidance Council in Cairo said, “If it weren’t for the Brotherhood, most of the youths of this era would have chosen the path of violence.”
The leader of the Jordanian Islamic Action Front, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party in Jordan, said that his group outdoes the government in discouraging jihad: “We’re better able to conduct an intellectual confrontation…[than] a security confrontation with the forces of extremism and fanaticism.”
The Brotherhood claims success at sifting radicalism out of its ranks through organizational discipline and a painstaking educational program….If a Muslim Brother wishes to commit violence, he generally leaves the organization to do so…[and is] more likely to join the moderate center rather than to take up jihad.
The Muslim Brothers are intent on achieving national [not global] goals, as opposed to the jihadists who want international murder….The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt pursues internal issues, not jihad.
However, according to the Muslim Brotherhood, jihad, that is, holy war against the infidels, is one of the fundamental elements spread by the Muslim Brotherhood. The organization’s ideology, as it appears on its official website, regards “the prophet Muhammad as its leader and ruler, and jihad as its path.”17 Jihad has a global strategy beyond self-defense, it is the unceasing attack on every infidel rule, intended to widen the borders of the Islamic state until all mankind lives under the Islamic flag.
Clicking the links “The Goals of the Muslim Brotherhood” and “Muslim Brotherhood Measures” leads to explanations of jihad based on the writings of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. Jihad, it is noted, is Islam’s most important tool in effecting a gradual takeover, beginning with the Muslim countries, moving on to reestablishing the Caliphate over three continents in preparation for a conquest of the West, and finally instituting a global Islamic state. The following are quotations from the organization’s website:
We want a Muslim individual, a Muslim home, a Muslim people, a Muslim government and state that will lead the Islamic countries and bring into the fold the Muslim Diaspora and the lands robbed from Islam and will then bear the standard of jihad and the call [da'wah] to Allah. [Then the] world will happily accept the precepts of Islam….The problems of conquering the world will only end when the flag of Islam waves and jihad has been proclaimed.18
The goal is to establish one Islamic state of united Islamic countries, one nation under one leadership whose mission will be to reinforce adherence to the law of Allah…and the strengthening of the Islamic presence in the world arena….The goal…is the establishment of a world Islamic state.19
And if prayer is a pillar of the faith, then jihad is its summit…and death in the path of Allah is the summit of aspiration.20
It is evident that the Muslim Brotherhood does not hide its global aspirations and the violent path it intends to follow to achieve them. The Muslim Brothers are meticulous in their step-by-step plan first to take over the soul of the individual and then the family, people, nation and union of Islamic nations, until the global Islamic state has been realized. The principle of stages dictates the Muslim Brotherhood’s supposed “moderation,” which impressed Leiken and Brooke so deeply. However, that “moderation” will gradually vanish as Muslim Brotherhood achievements increase and acceptance of the existing situation is replaced by a strict, orthodox Muslim rule whose foreign policy is based on jihad.
Unlike Leiken and Brooke, who minimize the importance of jihad in the Muslim Brotherhood’s world concept, for ‘Akef it is at the center of the struggle against the United States, the West, Israel, and other infidel regimes. He regards Islam as waging “a battle of values and identity” against the forces of “imperialism” and the “Anglo-Saxons” attacking the Arab-Muslim world “on the pretext of spreading democracy, defending minority rights, and opposing what they call terrorism.” He advises Muslims to adopt “the culture of resistance against the invasion,” explaining that Allah gave “the occupied, oppressed nations jihad and resistance as a means of achieving freedom.” He added that “the culture of resistance to invasion and occupation have intellectual, military, and economic aspects. Experience in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan have proved that resistance is not imaginary or fictitious or impossible, but rather it is possible when the [Islamic] nation presents a united front and uses its weapons and faith to face an imperialist, whether he comes with arms or inundates us with his ideas, values, or obsolete morality.”21
In a recent weekly missive, ‘Akef declared a new strategy adopted by the Brotherhood to confront Western imperialism and the satanic alliance between the U.S. and Israel based on supporting the “resistance” in any Muslim country under foreign occupation, including Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan. For the first time, ‘Akef called upon the Brotherhood to grant not only financial and material support but to join the resistance to achieve freedom for the Muslim nation.22
One of the planks of the Muslim Brotherhood platform in the Egyptian Parliamentary elections in 2005 dealt expressly with that aspect, stating that “it is important to support national resistance movements in all the occupied Arab lands in every way possible.”23 During the war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah during the summer of 2006, ‘Akef called upon Egyptian President Mubarak and the other Arab leaders to support “the Lebanese resistance,” and it was implied that the Muslim Brotherhood had a broad military infrastructure in place. ‘Akef said that he was “prepared to send 10,000 jihad fighters immediately to fight at the side of Hezbollah” if the Egyptian government would permit it.24
The links between the Muslim Brotherhood and global terrorism were also made evident by the reception Hassan al-Turabi, a high-ranking Muslim Brother and at that time one of the heads of Sudan, provided for Al-Qaeda in the early 1990s. In 1991, accepting al-Turabi’s personal invitation, Osama bin Laden moved from Saudi Arabia to Sudan and established a terrorist network there. In addition, al-Turabi founded the Popular Arab and Islamic Conference, some of whose members were the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, and the Egyptian Jihad. The Conference met in April 1991, December 1993, and March 1995.25 In August 1993, in the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center, the United States included Sudan in its designated list of terrorism sponsoring states.26 Prior to the U.S. led attack on the Taliban regime, the Muslim Brotherhood actually had training camps in Afghanistan, where it worked with Kashmiri militants and sought to expand its influence in Central Asian states, especially Tajikistan.27
Similarly, in the Gaza Strip, Hamas (the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood) enables the various Islamic terrorist organizations – including Al-Qaeda branches – to operate unhampered. One of the factions, the Army of the Nation (more commonly known as the Army of Islam and openly boasts of direct connections with Al-Qaeda), participated in joint terrorist attacks with Hamas and was responsible for the abduction of BBC journalist Alan Johnston in March 2007. Sources in the Gaza Strip said that to secure Johnston’s release, Hamas gave it $5 million and more than a million rounds of ammunition for Kalashnikov rifles and promised not to harm its operatives.28 Interviewed for the Ilaf Website on July 17, 2007, Abu Ashur, right-hand man of Army of Islam chief Mumtaz Durmush, admitted that the Army of Islam had “adopted Al-Qaeda’s principles” and was working toward the establishment of an Islamic state in the Gaza Strip and the liberation of Palestine. He said that Al-Qaeda both sent money to finance the Army of Islam and gave it instructions.29

Leiken and Brooke: The Muslim Brotherhood Does Not Reject the Possibility of Recognizing the State of Israel
Even on the central issue of Israel, each national organization calls its own tune. Every Muslim Brotherhood leader with whom [Leiken and Brooke] spoke claimed a willingness to follow suit should Hamas recognize the Jewish state….Zawahiri expressed the jihadist view saying, “No one has the right, whether Palestinian or not, to abandon a grain of soil from Palestine, which was a Muslim land and which was occupied by infidels.” The Muslim Brotherhood does not stress the religious aspect, and that enrages the jihadists. Compare the statement from the Brotherhood’s Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who argues that “the enmity between us and the Jews is for the sake of land only,” with this one from Zawahiri: “[Allah], glory to Him, made religion the cause of enmity and the cause of our fight.”
Yet in reality, the Muslim Brotherhood leadership has repeatedly proclaimed that the movement will never recognize the State of Israel or its right to exist.30 ‘Akef, interviewed by the daily Filisteen al-Muslima in 2005, glorified in the increase in the number of Palestinian “resistance organizations” [i.e., terrorist organizations], calling them “a great blessing,” if only they would all unite to work for “the genuine goal, the expulsion of the Zionists from the land of Palestine.” He called the State of Israel “a foreign body which by virtue of its nature cannot remain where it is.”31 In October 2007, he again stated that the Muslim Brotherhood vigorously opposed the idea of recognizing Israel and that this position was “one of the movement’s basic principles and will not be negotiated.” He said that “as far as the movement is concerned, Israel is a Zionist entity occupying holy Arab and Islamic lands…and we will get rid of it no matter how long it takes.”32
Completely contradicting Leiken and Brooke’s claims, the Muslim Brotherhood justifies its position toward Israel with religious arguments similar to those of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s second in command. ‘Akef, like Zawahiri, has said that “no one has the right to give up one inch of Palestinian soil, for the land of Palestine is the natural right of its [Arab] inhabitants and of all Arabs and Muslims.” He has also said that “those rights [of Muslims to Palestine] cannot be negotiated, and no one can waive them, nor does posterity have the right to waive them under any pretext….Our religion does not permit acceptance of the loss of the land and the contamination of the holy places.”33
Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood fully agrees with Al-Qaeda regarding Palestine, basing its position on the Islamic faith and on jihad as the way of achieving the final goal. That goal is the destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of a state ruled by Islamic law on its ruins. Leiken and Brooke’s claim that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has moderate views regarding Israel is extremely strange, to say the least. Qaradawi is known for his radical fatwas, for providing religious Islamic justification for carrying out suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians, for a fatwa permitting Palestinian women to carry out such attacks,34 for brainwashing Palestinian youth into joining the jihad, and for raising funds for charitable societies in the Palestinian Authority affiliated with Hamas.35 Sheikh Qaradawi, considered Hamas’ spiritual mentor, is well known in the Muslim world, is often interviewed, and often expresses his opinions publicly. Thus it is particularly strange that his views were not known to Leiken and Brooke.
Like Zawahiri, Qaradawi’s view of the Jews is filtered through religious hatred. He has written that “today the Jews are not the Israelites praised by Allah, but the descendants of the Israelites who defied His word. Allah was angry with them and turned them into monkeys and pigs, and that is why they are called a stiff-necked race. Allah pledged they would suffer until they gave up their tyranny, corruption, and crime, which is what they have employed in Palestine. Among the slaves of Allah, the faithful will be those who carry out Allah’s pledge regarding the Jews.” He also said that today the Jews have the same character faults as the Jews in the Qur’an, “they are evil, deceitful, and violate agreements.”36 The future will lead to a total victory of Muslims over Jews: “There is no doubt,” he said, “that the battle in which the Muslims overcome the Jews [will come]…. In that battle the Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them.”37

Leiken and Brooke: The Muslim Brotherhood is Not an International Organization with a Single Agenda
According to Leiken and Brooke, there is no Islamist Comintern. The Brotherhood’s dreaded International Organization is in fact a loose and feeble coalition scarcely able to convene its own members….The ideological affiliations that link Brotherhood organizations internationally are subject to the national priorities that shape each individually.
In a December 2005 interview with the London-based daily newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat, ‘Akef boasted that the movement was “the largest organization in the world,” and said that “a [Muslim] person who is in the global arena and believes in the Muslim Brotherhood’s path is considered part of us and we are part of him.”38 In a different interview he revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood operated in more than 70 countries. When asked if the Muslim Brotherhood leader served all the movement’s branches, he answered that it did, saying “the Muslim Brothers have the same guide [leader] all over the world. And [the heads of the movement's branches] outside Egypt have the title of Inspector General. Every region is free to make its own decisions and determine its own policy, but there are certain general issues on which we take a stand.”39
In an in-depth interview with Al-Jazeera, Yusuf Nada, the Muslim Brotherhood’s “foreign minister,” explained the relations between the world leadership in Egypt and the various branches around the world. He said that the movement had one guide [i.e., Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef] and no other. There were, he said, representatives who met for specific purposes. When asked if the Shura council operated the various branches, Nada answered in the affirmative.40
In an interview with Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Sheikh Kamal Helbawy, the founder of the Muslim Association of Britain and one of the founders of the Muslim Council of Britain, revealed how the Muslim Brotherhood operated globally. He said there was “coordination at the global level… similar to federal [coordination]. Meetings and consultations are held [regularly]….Every aspect is the subject of consultations….The Muslim Brotherhood’s main headquarters are in Egypt, and the Supreme Guide is Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef. There are independent organizations [i.e., within the federal structure] outside Egypt….International coordination has not ceased and will never cease, unless there are the means [for collaboration], which will hopefully bring about…the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate following the path of the prophet [Muhammad]….Coordination is continuous in the Islamic movement [the Muslim Brotherhood] between regions, not individuals. The regions choose whoever is capable of participating in international coordination [that is, in the Shura council]….In regions where Islamic movement activity is just beginning, the focus is usually on construction, education, and studies, guided by activists preparing for the future.”41
Therefore, it can be seen that Muslim Brotherhood authority rests with the Supreme Guide, Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef, but the branches in the various host countries are able to act independently as necessary. The situation of Muslim Brotherhood activists in Syria, where the organization’s activities are banned by law, is different from that in Jordan, where they can operate freely. Every branch throughout the world is committed to the movement’s ideology as set down by Hassan al-Banna and to the decisions made by the world leadership. Thus the policies expressed by ‘Akef are binding and are the true voice of the movement.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Global Goals
Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, a staunch Islamist, who in the past was a candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, issued a fatwa in April 2003, describing how Islam would conquer Europe and defeat Christianity by exploiting Western liberalism and democracy. It would be made possible, he promised, by spreading Islam until it was strong enough to take over the entire continent. He wrote that “it is eminently clear that the future belongs to Islam, and that the religion of Allah will be victorious and will, by the grace of Allah, conquer all other religions.” His prediction was based on an Islamic tradition according to which the prophet Muhammad said that one of the signs of redemption in Islam would be the initial conquest of Constantinople and then the conquest of Rome.
According to Qaradawi, “Constantinople was conquered in 1453 by a 23-year old Ottoman named Muhammad ibn Murad, whom we call Muhammad the Conqueror. Now what remains is to conquer Rome. That is what we wish for, and that is what we believe in. After having been expelled twice, Islam will be victorious and reconquer Europe….I am certain that this time, victory will be won not by the sword but by preaching and [Islamic] ideology….The conquest of Rome and the spread of Islam East and West will be the fruit of the seed we plant and entail the return of the Caliphate, which treads the straight path [of Islam] and is based on the path of the prophets….[The Caliphate] is worthy of leading the nation to victory.”42
Like Qaradawi, ‘Akef does not hide the Muslim Brotherhood’s aspirations to lead a world Islamic revolution. He has stated that “the path of the Muslims is global,” and Islam is the “religion of humanity.” The Caliphate, he explained, is “the home of the entire [Islamic] nation, not only of the Muslim Brotherhood….We want…the Arab-Muslim world to be one nation, relying on the words of Allah: ‘This is your nation, one nation.’”43
At a meeting of the National Defense and Security Committee of the Egyptian Parliament, held in January 2007, Muslim Brotherhood parliament member Mohammed Shaker Sanar openly admitted that the Muslim Brotherhood was not committed to Western democratic values. He said that nothing about the organization had changed. “The organization was founded in 1928 to reestablish the Caliphate destroyed by Ataturk….With Allah’s help [the Muslim Brotherhood] will institute the law of Allah.”44
This year newly revealed federal court documents, accepted into evidence during the trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, revealed further the inner thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood about its global mission. A sixteen-page Arabic document, entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal of the Group,” established that it sought to create “a stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood.” In explaining the “role” of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America, the memorandum discloses: “The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers, so that it is eliminated, and God’s religion [i.e. Islam] is made victorious over all other religions.”45

Conclusion and Evaluation
The thesis presented by Leiken and Brooke was inspired by impressions received during conversations with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose names are not mentioned and who are quoted neither fully nor accurately. It is clear that both Leiken and Brooke were duped by the ambiguity of their interlocutors’ rhetoric, which was tailored for Western ears and meant to lull suspicions and hide genuine intentions. Leiken and Brooke were deeply impressed by the support given by the Muslim Brotherhood for “democracy,” but they failed to understand that for the Muslim Brotherhood and the West, the word has two completely different meanings. As far as the Muslim Brotherhood is concerned, Islamic rule expresses “true democracy,” and that is the only kind to which they are committed.
The Muslim Brotherhood poses a serious threat to the West. It hides behind ambiguous terminology, which makes the organization appear moderate and enables it to operate freely in its host countries, thereby establishing a convenient base from which to disseminate radical Islamic ideology among the growing Muslim communities. Once that has been achieved, demography and radically-minded public opinion will enable the Muslim Brotherhood to take over a government by “democratic” means. That will signal the last day of Western democracy in that country and the installation of an Islamic government, whose objective will be to export radical Islamic rule to other countries, the next step in realizing the vision of a world Caliphate. In Europe the sand is running out, and a showdown with the Muslim Brotherhood is closer than anyone suspects. However, to a certain extent, the focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict delays the realization of Islamic aspirations in Western Europe.
As far as the Muslim Brotherhood is concerned, Spain is an occupied country, as are other regions in Europe that were once under Islamic control. The organization’s “pragmatism” is manifested by its willingness to postpone a confrontation until it has garnered sufficient political (or military) power to shake the ruling governments to their foundations and effect a complete reversal. The collapse of the moderate Arab regimes into radical Islamic hands is likely to accelerate the empowering of an Islamic state that regards the West and its culture as the chief enemy.
The Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda differ regarding tactics but share a common strategy. Al-Qaeda favors world Islamic recruitment for a revolution made possible by terrorist attacks and an implacable jihad to destroy the economies of the Western countries and expel Western presence from Muslim regions. The Muslim Brotherhood supports terrorism and jihad against foreign presence in the Islamic world, but its top priority is constructing a Muslim infrastructure in the West that will slowly but surely enable it to rule during the 21st century. The organization’s stance is that an Al-Qaeda attack against the West at this time might hamper the Islamic movement’s buildup and focus the West on the threat implicit in Muslim communities. However, as far as the final goal is concerned, there are no policy differences between Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The two organizations have the same objective: to place the entire world under an Islamic caliphate.
The Muslim Brotherhood is involved in terrorism and provides religious Islamic justification for suicide bombing, terrorism, and terrorist attacks against American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jihad in all its aspects, including military, is perceived as the prime tool in the battle against the West. It is difficult to find a common set of interests for the United States and the Muslim Brotherhood, as do Leiken and Brooke. Collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood, while turning a blind eye to their intentions, both overt and hidden, is tantamount to paving the way for their “democratic” takeover of the moderate Arab regimes (similar to the bitter experience of the Legislative Council elections in the Palestinian Authority in January 2006) and for harming the United States’ most vital interests in the Middle East. It is not easy to understand why Leiken and Brooke have recommended that the American administration consider the Muslim Brotherhood a potential partner, given that the United States is its principal enemy. The organization actively seeks to destroy America’s status as a world power and to replace it with an Islamic power whose foreign policy will be based on jihad and the spread of Islam.
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1. Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke, “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood” in Foreign Affairs, March/April 2007. For an initial response to Leiken and Brooke, see Patrick Poole, “Mainstreaming the Muslim Brotherhood,” Front Page Magazine, March 26, 2007.
2. MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 941.
3. ”Warnings in the Egyptian Press: The Muslim Brotherhood Is Going the Way of Hamas in Gaza,” MEMRI, Special Dispatch, No. 1638, June 28, 2007.
4. Montasser al-Zayat, The Road to Al-Qaeda: The Story of Bin Laden’s Right-Hand Man (London: Pluto Books, 2004), p. 24.
5. 9/11 Commission Report, p. 145.
6. Robert Baer, See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism (New York: Crown Publishers, 2002), pp. 86-88.
7. Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, (New York : Penguin, 2004), pp. 147-156.
8. See:
9. Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Eighth Report (London: The United Kingdom Parliament, July 25, 2007), Section 5, No. 161. See:
10. Richard P. Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969) pp. 224-231.
25. Ami Ayalon, ed., Middle East Contemporary Survey (Boulder, Col.: Westview Press, 1991), pp. 182-184
27. See British Intelligence document in Roland Jacquard, In the Name of Osama Bin Laden (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), pp. 263-267.
28. Al-Quds al-Arabi, July 5, 2007.
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38. Al-Sharq al-Awsat (London), December 11, 2005.
45. “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” May 22, 1991.
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Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd. and is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.