Views From Kennewick

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Fitzgerald: Saudi Arabia ridimensionato

January 06, 2007

Why has the American government not read Saudi Arabia the riot act? Why haven't the hate-filled pamphlets collected at mosques around the country that were built and are now maintained by Saudi money brought together by Rice or Bush and put out on a table at the White House? And then the Arab ambassadors could all be invited over to see this "Special Exhibit," an exhibit to which representatives of all the major networks and the major newspapers here and abroad will be invited and urged to cover?

And then why does Bush or someone else not have a little private meeting with the enraged Saudi Ambassador, to tell him that there is much more in that sort of "Special Exhibit" -- which could of course tour the country -- if he doesn't stop funding the mosques and madrasas in this country, and stop allowing Saudi money to pay for Muslim missionaries in the prisons, to prey on the psychically as well as economically marginal.

If the American government had a mind to do it, it could bring the Saudi government around in no time.

But it doesn't, because so many former government officials and those who listen to them are directly or indirectly on the Saudi or other Muslim dole. Who pays Eugene Bird, and pays for the ads of the "Council for the National Interest" that is virtually identical in its views to the Saudi government? Who pays for "consultancy" by Raymond Close, or James Akins? Who pays for that magazine about the Middle East, full of Arab propaganda, that another ex-diplomat, Andrew Kilgore, runs? Who pays or has paid fees to Brent Scowcroft? To George McGovern? What Presidential libraries have been battening on Saudi and other Arab money? Who has received those million-dollar lecture fees in Kuwait, or from that Arab-funded lectureship at the Fletcher School (hint: Bush, Clinton)? Who has been getting what?

Ask yourself why since 1973 there has been not a move toward decreasing, through the simple device of taxes, demand for oil and gasoline? Why for thirty years did American energy policy consist of trusting "our staunch ally Saudi Arabia" to keep prices low, when it never happened, and never could have happened? Why was no one aware until the last year or two of what, inevitably, OPEC oil revenues would fund? Why was Prince Bandar the only foreigner allowed in on the plans for invading Iraq? Why today do we worry about what the Sunni Arabs want, and believe that we have a duty to remain in Iraq to protect those Sunnis (i.e., keep the "catastrophe of civil war" from happening)?

And that is just the beginning of the list of questions that need to be asked.

Meanwhile, as long as the Saudi "royal" family (self-anointed monarchs since they defeated the Jabal Shammar in 1920, or soon thereafter) exists, and appropriates most of the nation's wealth, there will be those who will as Muslims find their resentment and outraged channeled into Islam as the total explanation of everything. And terrorism will continue in Saudi Arabia until the end of time. Let it. The only business the Infidel world should have with Saudi Arabia is to attempt to have as little business with Saudi Arabia.

For the moment great sums of money flow in, and they will continue to flow in. But this does not mean that every effort cannot be made to diminish that flow of money (instead of aiming at a ludicrously irrelevant "energy independence" for the United States, which is both unachievable and would have no effect on Saudi Arabia or other Muslim oil states, for oil not sold to America will simply be sold to others, unless collective demand goes down).

Saudi Arabia needs to be "ridimensionato" -- that is to say, cut down to size. "Money can buy everything - except civilization." It is a barbarous place; its government is barbarous, its economy barbarous, the mental state of its inhabitants barbarous. A very few, who have spent a long time in the West, can appear to have acquired the habits of thought of Western man. And a very few of those may actually manage to do so. But no one should be fooled by the oleaginous new ambassador, Al-Jubeir.

Posted by Hugh at January 6, 2007 01:03 PM

CAIR Seethes, Whines, Lies After Boxer Rescinds Award

January 06, 2007

Charles Johnson at LGF has a terrific summary of how CAIR is putting pressure on Barbara Boxer for rescinding her award to Basim Elkarra. He ably documents Nihad Awad's disingenuous statements.

Here is Awad teaming with convicted terrorist Ismail Royer at IslamOnline.

And here is Daniel Pipes documenting that Royer was a CAIR official when he was arrested.

I fully agree with Charles that Boxer will cave forthwith, and Elkarra will get his award.

Posted by Robert at January 6, 2007 12:24 PM

Saturday, January 06, 2007

CAIR Seethes, Whines, Lies After Boxer Rescinds Award

The Council on American Islamic Relations is seething, whining, and lying in response to Barbara Boxer’s surprisingly un-dhimmi-like action: Sen. Boxer rescinds award to Muslim leader after seeing criticism.

Boxer’s communication’s director, Natalie Ravitz, said a letter withdrawing the certificate was sent to Elkarra on Dec. 21.

Ravitz said two former members of the council had been sentenced to prison. She also said that CAIR had refused to label Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations.

Ghassan Elashi, a founding member of the Texas chapter of CAIR, was sentenced in October to 80 months in prison for engaging in financial transactions with Hamas leader Musa abu Marzook.

Ismail Royer, a former CAIR communications specialist, was indicted in 2003 on charges of being part of a conspiracy to support terrorist activities overseas and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Awad, the group’s national director, said CAIR strongly condemned bin Laden by name after the Sept. 11 attacks. He said Elashi and Royer were not involved with CAIR when they committed their crimes.

“This is true guilt-by-association,” he told The Sacramento Bee. “We have tens of thousands of members nationwide, and it will be very unfair to hold the organization responsible for the actions of an individual.”

Asked about criticism that the council had failed to condemn Hamas or Hezbollah, he said, “We have condemned attacking civilians regardless of whether they are Israelis or Palestinians.” [Notice that he fails to condemn Hamas or Hezbollah. —ed.]

I fully expect Boxer to cave in to the pressure and re-issue the award to Elkarra.

But it’s important to note that Nihad Awad is lying again. Both Ghassan Elashi and Ismail Royer were indeed working for CAIR when they committed the crimes for which they were convicted.

Ghassan Elashi: CAIR & Ghassan Elashi; Partners in Islamic Terrorism?

On April 13, 2005, Ghassan Elashi, founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Texas (CAIR – Texas) chapter, long-time associate of CAIR’s top leadership, and beneficiary of CAIR fund-raising support, was convicted on Islamic terrorism related charges in Dallas, Texas.

According to the federal indictment, Elashi was laundering money for Islamic terrorist organizations from 11/95 through 4/01 (pages 21 & 22).

Dating back to the early 1990s, Elashi had close ties to CAIR’s leaders. Elashi founded the CAIR – Texas chapter sometime before October, 2000 (CAIR – Texas first appeared as an affiliate on the CAIR National web site in October 2000).

Therefore, it is evident Elashi was a high-ranking CAIR official at the time he committed the pro-terrorist crimes for which he was found guilty by a jury of our fellow American citizens.

Here’s a page at the Saudi-funded site Islam Online in which Nihad Awad himself joins with none other than convicted terrorist Ismail Royer for a seminar on Mobilizing Muslims in America. (I’ve saved a local copy of this page in case it mysteriously disappears.)

More on Ismail Royer and CAIR’s ties to terrorists from Daniel Pipes: CAIR’s Legal Tribulations.

For several years, one of my severest and most persistent critics has been one Randall (“Ismail”) Royer, an American convert to Islam. Here’s a typical comment of his from his weblog dated Sept. 17, 2002: after calling me a “pop bigot” he comments on my “War on Campus” article with the following elevated and elegant commentary: “[Pipes] has served up another steaming shovelful of fertilizer. What a joy it is to read this guy. His stuff requires no real effort to deconstruct, no deliberate propaganda analysis to realize how he intends to deceive the reader.”

I mention this unsavory person because today he was indicted and arrested for his association with terrorism, specifically his having joined the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba, traveled to Pakistan, done propaganda work for it, and “fired at Indian positions in Kashmir.” In addition, the indictment also states that Royer “possessed in his automobile an AK-47-style rifle and 219 rounds of ammunition” in September 2001. The grand jury charges that Royer “did unlawfully and knowingly begin, provide for, prepare a means for, and take part in a military expedition and enterprise to be carried on from the United States against the territory and dominion of India, a foreign state with whom the United States was at peace.”

It’s also worth noting that Royer was working for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), militant Islam’s most aggressive political organization in North America, when he began training with Lashkar-e-Taiba. (He served there variously as a communications specialist and a civil rights coordinator; see an IslamOnline “Live Dialogue” for him sharing a by-line with CAIR’s executive director, Nihad Awad.) This means that CAIR now has a record of at least two former employees indicted and arrested in 2003 on terrorism charges; the other was Bassem Khafagi, CAIR’s director of community relations before his arrest this January. Oh, and one must not forget that a member of CAIR’s advisory board, Siraj Wahhaj, was named as one of the “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the attempt to blow up New York City monuments nearly a decade ago. So, CAIR not only apologizes for terrorism but is now implicitly accused of having more direct links to it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

INVASION at the Mexican Border

Guardsmen overrun at the Border

12 News
Jan. 4, 2007 02:44 PM
video National Guard unit stormed while patroling the border
video Border attack raises security concerns

A U.S. Border Patrol entry Identification Team site was overrun Wednesday night along Arizona's border with Mexico.

According to the Border Patrol, an unknown number of gunmen attacked the site in the state's West Desert Region around 11 p.m. The site is manned by National Guardsmen. Those guardsmen were forced to retreat.

The Border Patrol will not say whether shots were fired. However, no Guardsmen were injured in the incident.

The Border Patrol says the incident occurred somewhere along the 120 mile section of the border between Nogales and Lukeville. The area is known as a drug corridor. Last year, 124-thousand pounds of illegal drugs were confiscated in this area.

The Border patrol says the attackers quickly retreated back into Mexico.
Border Story

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A TROP Original

Hate Speech?

(Not According to CAIR)

Muslims are the vilest of animals…”

“Show mercy to one another, but be ruthless to Muslims”

“How perverse are Muslims!”

“Strike off the heads of Muslims, as well as their fingertips”

“Fight those Muslims who are near to you”

“Muslim mischief makers should be murdered or crucified”

Hate speech? Incitement to violence? Sounds like it to us, but a knowledgeable Muslim would have to disagree.

Why would Muslims not consider this to be hate speech? How is it that we can post these quotes with full certainty that CAIR won't be contacting the media (or Congress) with wild-eyed accusations of Islamophobia?

Well, for one thing, we don’t actually agree with any of these statements, of course. But the real reason is that Muslims themselves actually believe these quotes to be the literal, eternal word of Allah. In fact, CAIR is promoting this hate speech on their own website! It is actively propagating the very literature that contains these comments, even while sanctimoniously claiming that it is working against hate and violence.

But… isn't CAIR a Muslim organization? What’s the catch?

Well, if you haven’t guessed it already, these are quotes from the Qur’an in which we've replaced the word ‘Christian’, ‘Jew’ or ‘unbeliever’ with the word ‘Muslim.’

Here is how they actually appear in the literature that groups like CAIR are pushing:

Sura (8:55) - Surely the vilest of animals in Allah's sight are those who disbelieve

Sura (48:29) - Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves

Sura (9:30) - And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah... Allah (Himself) fights against them. How perverse are they!

Sura (8:12) - I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them

Sura (9:123) - O you who believe! Fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness

Sura (5:33) - The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement

These verses come from five different places in the Qur’an. There are dozens of others scattered throughout that advocate violence in open-ended fashion. There are hundreds more that speak of hatred and hell toward Christians, Jews, and other non-believers. (Is it any wonder that the Muslim world is split largely between those who tacitly support Islamic terror and those who do nothing about it?)

Very few of these verses are bound by historical context within the text of the Qur’an, and any appeal to external sources for mitigation would apply also to the tiny handful of verses that are used (disingenuously) to promote Islam as being loving and tolerant. More importantly, there are far more violent verses than ones of tolerance, and most were “revealed” later, thus abrogating the handful of earlier ones.

And yet, this is the book that CAIR wants people to read! This is what CAIR considers to be holy text, even to the extent that an exact replica of the Qur’an (grammatical errors and all) is said to be on a table in heaven guarded by angels.

So, the next time you hear CAIR smugly accusing its critics of “hate speech,” just remember what the organization's agenda really is:

They don’t mind hate speech directed at non-Muslims. In fact, they promote it.

They don't mind religious minorities being denied rights that Muslims have in Muslims societies. In fact, they plug fatwas and religious literature that encourage discrimination.

They don't even mind the vast amount of terrorism in the name of Islam. In fact, they refuse to acknowledge and denounce more than 99% of it, including the on-going genocide against black Africans by Arabs.

The language of civil rights and tolerance is merely a tool of convenience for prominent Muslim organizations in the West to advance the cause of Islamic supremacy. A true civil rights organization, however, is concerned about rights for all people, regardless of race or religion, and this is something that Islam has never been able to produce... and probably never will...

At least according to our Qur’an!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Timely Death of a Butcher

Oh please, outrage all over the world at the hanging of Sadam Insane. Give me a break.


C'mere and I'll humiliate your lame self.

Some criticize the trial through eyes of other judicial systems. We must keep in mind this was an Iraqi judicial system, the Iraqi government, and the Iraqi people got justice.

Could it have played out at a more opportune time? Possibly.

Could Shites have acted like men rather than barbarians? Sure.

Could Shites and Sunnis ever get along. Doubtful and who gives a rats patoot?

Does it make any great difference? NO.

A brutal sick man is dead. Justice is served.

Get over it.


Singing CAIR’s Tune, On Your Dime
As the Bush administration squanders a trust, Democrats prepare a new “Sister Souljah Moment.”

By Andrew C. McCarthy

On a weekend when the Bush administration achieved a new CAIR-friendly low, a prominent Democrat, following the lead of other prominent Democrats, distanced herself very publicly from the unsavory Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The Transportation Security Administration is the executive agency created after 9/11 to protect American travelers. Yet, Americans viewing its website this weekend could not have felt very protected. Aghast, instead, would have been the proper response to this posting. As if snuggling up to CAIR, coercing our law-enforcement and intelligence professionals to endure CAIR’s Islamic “sensitivity training,” and inviting CAIR to weigh in on our nation’s foreign policy were not enough, we now have a Bush-administration agency publishing an unedited CAIR press release on publicly subsidized, official government Internet space.

In this instance, right under TSA’s emblem and a memorial banner depicting the late President Gerald R. Ford, Americans were treated to a news announcement beneath the big blue headline, “CAIR Welcomes TSA Hajj Sensitivity Training.” If you have the stomach for it, compare this TSA posting to the official CAIR press release from which it cribbed. They are identical.

This is naked proselytism on behalf of an Islamic interest group. Americans will no doubt be thrilled to learn, through TSA’s good offices, about CAIR’s delight that our travel-safety agency “has provided special training about Islamic traditions related to the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, to some 45,000 airport security officers[,]” and that this “cultural sensitivity training includes details about the timing of Hajj travel, about items pilgrims may be carrying and about Islamic prayers that may be observed by security personnel.”

And that’s just the warm-up. TSA also wants you to know that CAIR, or rather, we, as CAIR is apparently now referred to,

“welcome the fact that airport security officers nationwide will now be better informed about Islamic traditions relating to Hajj," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "This proactive effort on the part of the Transportation Security Administration demonstrates that there is no contradiction between the need to maintain airline safety and security and the duty to protect the religious and civil rights of airline passengers." [Oh, really?]

Hooper said representatives of CAIR chapters nationwide have met with TSA, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials on issues related to cultural sensitivity and national security.

Outstanding! Don’t you feel safer now? And how’s this for the final paragraph of an official United States government public statement:

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Evangelism aside, this is a shockingly incomplete and misleading version of what CAIR is and what it does. It is, in fact, the lobbyists’ own propaganda version.

Nowhere, for example, does the TSA, a key component of the Bush Homeland Security Cabinet Department, mention a word about CAIR’s embryonic ties to Hamas — a designated foreign terrorist organization under U.S. law since 1995. CAIR, you see, was birthed by a Hamas creation: the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). Several of CAIR’s top officials, including its founders, Omar Ahmed and Nihad Awad, were high-ranking IAP officers (respectively, its president and public-relations director). Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s communications director, and now TSA’s go-to guy, is a former IAP employee — and, though you would never know it from the TSA, Hooper makes no secret that he would like to see the United States become an Islamic country under sharia law. As it happens, the IAP was started in 1981 by high-ranking Hamas operative Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook. Long a specially designated global terrorist under U.S. law, Marzook is also currently wanted on a U.S. terrorism indictment in Chicago, and named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a second U.S. terrorism indictment (which explains that he helps run Hamas’s “Political Bureau,” the branch responsible for “directing and coordinating terrorist attacks”). But he’s believed to be in Syria with other Hamas heavyweights, so maybe, using the Iraq Study Group strategy, we should just negotiate with him. In any event, so incestuous is the Hamas/IAP tie that, in 2004, a federal judge found the IAP liable for Hamas’s terrorist murder of an American citizen in Israel.

Nowhere does the TSA explain that when CAIR was founded in 1994, part of the seed money came from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLFRD). The assets of HLFRD were frozen in 2001 based on the U.S. Treasury Department’s conclusion that it provided “millions of dollars annually that is used by HAMAS.” Prior to HLFRD’s being shut down, CAIR also helped it raise money, according to Senate testimony by terrorism experts Steven Emerson and Matthew Epstein. Awad, CAIR’s executive director, indignantly denied Emerson’s claim of a CAIR/HLFRD connection, calling the seed-money claim an “outright lie” in Senate testimony on September 10, 2003, and insisting, “Our organization did not receive any seed money from HLFRD. CAIR raises its own funds and we challenge Mr. Emerson to provide even a shred of evidence to support his ridiculous claim.” Emerson then came up with some pretty good shreds — like the documentation showing a $5,000 wire transfer from HLFRD to CAIR (see Emerson July 13, 2005, testimony, p. 9 & n.53), and the IRS Form 1023 on which HLFRD disclosed the contribution (see Epstein Sept. 10, 2003, testimony, p. 11 & n.20). Thus shredded, Awad was forced to concede, in later Senate testimony, that “the amount in question was a donation like any other.” Right.

Nowhere does the TSA say a thing about the several persons connected to CAIR who have been convicted of federal felonies, including terrorism offenses. Ghassan Elashi, for example, is a founder of both CAIR’s Texas chapter and … HLFRD, the aforementioned Hamas piggy-bank. Elashi has already been convicted of terrorism related charges twice — once in 2006 for funneling money to Marzook and Hamas, and once in 2005 for illegal transactions with Libya and Syria. He is currently awaiting trial on yet another terrorism indictment — this one for using HLFRD to funnel millions more to Hamas. Then there is Randall Royer, a CAIR communications specialist and civil-rights coordinator who is now serving a 20-year prison sentence after his conviction on explosives and firearms charges in the “Virginia Jihad” case. (At his guilty plea, Royer admitted to recruiting would-be jihadists for terrorist training in Pakistan.) Bassem Khafagi, CAIR’s community-affairs director, also makes this dishonor roll: deported to Egypt after convictions for visa and bank fraud. (He’s also a founder of the Islamic Assembly of North America, which reportedly is under federal investigation.) And let’s not forget Rabih Haddad, a fundraiser for CAIR’s Ann Arbor chapter who was deported to Lebanon after a “charity” he founded, the Global Relief Foundation, was designated as a terrorist facilitator by the Treasury Department for providing support to al Qaeda. (Like CAIR, Global Relief also got money from HLFRD.)

Nowhere does the TSA mention that CAIR vigorously opposed the Patriot Act, just like it agitates against all sensible national-security measures. Nor are we told that CAIR is suing the National Security Agency over the administration’s own terrorist-surveillance program to monitor al Qaeda communications into and out of the United States. So don’t hold your breath waiting for the ACLU, CAIR’s co-plaintiff in the NSA case, to rouse itself over the First Amendment implications of the TSA’s website. After all, what’s the big deal about government-sponsored indoctrination of a blatant Islamic agenda — in the midst of a war in which Islamic terrorists threaten all our civil liberties — when there surely must be a crèche in some remote middle-American town that needs bulldozing?

And nowhere does the TSA tell Americans about CAIR’s transparent efforts to thwart the FBI’s routine investigative and intelligence-gathering activities. On this last point, Americans may be surprised to learn, as Daniel Pipes relates, that “on the eve of the U.S. war with Iraq[,] ... CAIR distributed a ‘Muslim community safety kit’ that advised Muslims to ‘Know your rights if contacted by the FBI.’ It tells them specifically, ‘You have no obligation to talk to the FBI, even if you are not a citizen. … You do not have to permit them to enter your home. … ALWAYS have an attorney present when answering questions.’”) (Emphasis in original.)

But not to worry: CAIR is just a civil-rights organization that “enhance[s] the understanding of Islam” while “promot[ing] justice and mutual understanding.” Why shouldn’t your government spend your tax dollars to reproduce its press releases? Why shouldn’t it spend your tax dollars to school agents on what “pilgrims” may be toting along for Hajj travel at a time when you’re forbidden from carrying a four-ounce bottle of shampoo through airport security?

While the Bush administration continues to enrage its supporters by romancing this besotted organization, top Democrats — having just run rings around GOP strategists in the midterm elections — are mobilizing in a different direction with the 2008 campaign already in swing.

Newsweek reports that, in California, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer has just rescinded the “certificate of accomplishment” her office awarded (she says, without her knowledge) to Basim Elkarra. Why? Because of Elkarra’s close association with CAIR, for whose Sacramento office he is executive director. According to Newsweek, Boxer’s press spokeswoman said the senator “‘expressed concern’ about some past statements and actions by the group, as well as assertions by some law enforcement officials that it ‘gives aid to international terrorist groups[.]’”

Boxer indicated that she had been “influenced by previous critical statements about CAIR made by her Democratic colleagues Sens. Richard Durbin of Illinois and Charles Schumer of New York.” She’s right. As Pipes notes, “Senator Charles Schumer ... describes [CAIR] as an organization ‘which we know has ties to terrorism.’... Senator Dick Durbin ... observes that CAIR is ‘unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect.’”

The more the American people learn about CAIR, the more odious they are going to find it, and the more outraged they are going to be that the Bush administration — which for now embodies the Republican party in the public mind — has cozied up to it. Along those lines, the Newsweek article features a picture of President Bush with CAIR executive director Awad right after 9/11 — notwithstanding Awad’s by then solid record of statements supporting Hamas and its atrocities. (On PowerLine Saturday, Scott Johnson provided several of Awad's more notable public comments, including his assertion, “I'm in support of Hamas movement more than the PLO[,]” and his explanation that the “military undertakings” (which is to say, the suicide bombings) of Hamas were legitimate because “[t]he United Nations Charter grants people who are under occupation [the right] to defend themselves against illegal occupation.”)

The Newsweek article, further, is perhaps the millionth exemplar of the CAIR playbook’s page-one response to all criticism, to wit: How can anyone possibly criticize us for terrorism support when executive-branch agencies like the FBI and DHS openly attend our fundraisers, seek our help for community outreach, and compel their agents to attend our cultural-awareness instruction (also known as, “sensitivity training”)?

This highly effective rhetorical defense is one CAIR is able to make precisely because of the administration’s recklessness. To be sure, the Bush administration is not the first to go this route. The Clinton administration was just as deeply in CAIR’s tank. Awad was appointed to a “Civil Rights Advisory Panel to the White House on Aviation Safety and Security” (yes, aviation safety and security) in 1997; and now-Senator Hillary Clinton hosted CAIR at the White House while First Lady, even as Awad, Emerson recalls, was waxing Ahmadinjad-like: “
[The Jews] have been saying, ‘next year to Jerusalem’; we say ‘next year to all of Palestine!’” But President Bush has made vigilance against terrorists and their abettors his signature issue, and that has made his executive branch’s CAIR kowtowing especially unseemly.

It is worth remembering: The prestige the current Justice Department, the FBI, the new DHS, and this administration enjoy as guardians of our nation’s security against Islamic terror is not just of their own making. It is a trust painstakingly built on years of the blood, sweat, and tears of predecessors who dedicated themselves to fighting this evil — who said, “you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists,” and actually meant it. Rest assured, they did not do it so the resulting cachet could be thoughtlessly squandered on the likes of CAIR.

The next presidential election, like the last, is principally going to be about American national security against a profound threat, an existential threat, to our way of life — what Frank Gaffney aptly calls the “War for the Free World,” and Norman Podhoretz “World War IV.” It is going to be won by the candidate who convinces us that he — or she — is serious about what we’re up against.

Look at CAIR, see the Bush administration’s solicitude, and watch Senator Boxer’s deft maneuver. You can just feel a “Sister Souljah Moment” coming on for some smart Democrat who wants to be president — a Democrat who can credibly say, “In my administration, we’ll be focused on CAIR’s disturbing connections, not attending its fundraisers and lectures.” It doesn’t even have to be authentic. It only has to be convincing theater … given impact by a sympathetic media and the opposition’s folly.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies .

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Middle East and Islam Dominate U.S. Public Life

It's about as official as can be: in the words of an Associated Press end-of-year story, "Events in the Mideast shaped much of how we [Americans] viewed 2006."

As voted by AP members, only one of the top 10 news stories of 2006 (#5, Congressional scandals) had nothing to do with the Middle East. Five of them were entirely Middle Eastern or Muslim in content (#1 Iraq; #6 Saddam Hussein convicted and executed, #7 the still-unnamed Lebanon war during the summer, #9 the London airliner plot, #10 the disaster in Darfur). Four of them were in substantial part Middle Eastern or Muslim (#2 the U.S. elections, #3 nuclear standoffs with North Korea and Iran, #4 illegal immigration, #7 Donald Rumsfeld resigns as secretary of defense).

Comments: (1) This domination of the news is not a sudden thing but has been building over decades; though less dramatic the case, I recall the Middle East having an outsized media presence when I entered the field in 1969 - and that was before several Arab-Israeli wars, the 1973-74 oil crisis the Iranian revolution, the Kuwait war, and other mega-events.

(2) This prominence does not mean that the Middle East and Muslims are more important than other regions and peoples, but that they are more in ferment. Little breaking news came out of the Soviet Union in its time or China today, but endless twists and turns take place in - and are reported prominently from - Gaza or Iraq. (December 31, 2006)

Islamists in the Hospital Ward

A number of incidents are showing the deep incompatibility of radical Islam with modern medicine. Here are a trio to get this blog going, with more examples to be listed, in reverse chronological order, as they occur:

A typical anti-bacterial gel found in UK hospitals.

Muslim visitors refuse anti-bacterial gel: British hospitals offer dispensers with anti-bacterial gel outside wards so that visitors can be sure not to bring in such infections as MRSA and PVL. But the gel contains alcohol, prompting some Muslims to refuse to use the hand cleansers on religious grounds. A National Health Service employee, Theresa Poupa told in December 2006 of her experience visiting a sick relative at the London Chest Hospital:

I could not believe it - the signs are large enough and clear enough but they just took no notice and walked straight onto the ward. I was there almost every day for three weeks and I saw it repeated dozens and dozens of times. When I raised the matter with the nursing staff they just shrugged and said that Muslims were refusing to use the gel because it contained alcohol. They said they couldn't force visitors to use the gel and I understand that - but I was astonished that anyone who didn't wash their hands was allowed onto a ward. I know the dangers that bugs like MRSA can cause. They kill hundreds of patients a year.

Male refused treatment by female doctors: A 17-year-old male shepherd from Konya, Turkey, referred to only as "A.G.," arrived at the Konya Testing Hospital complaining of swollen testicles. He was sent to get ultrasound tests, but two headscarved (i.e., Islamist) female radiology doctors refused him service. Not receiving proper attention, A.G. later had one of his testicles removed by operation. The case has provoked much attention. The hospital's head of urology, Celal Tutuncu, portrayed the case as very "black and white," and said that action would be taken. Members of the opposition CHP party raised the case in parliament in December 2006. A CHP lawyer, Atilla Kart, noted that "This is the destruction wrought by religious references spilling over into public administration."

Male relatives preventing female patients from being treated by male doctors: So rampant is the problem in France of Muslim husbands preventing their wives and other female relatives from being treated by male doctors (for example, women in labor have not had epidurals because the anesthetist was a man) that Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin reportedly planned in February 2004 to propose legislation to stop this from happening (how he plans to do this is not explained). (December 29, 2006)

Mosque in Cordoba, Church in Damascus

Spain's Islamic Board wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI to be allowed to pray in Cordoba Cathedral, on the grounds that the building was originally a mosque before being transformed into a church in the thirteenth century. "What we wanted was not to take over that holy place," reads the Islamic Board's letter, "but to create in it, together with you and other faiths, an ecumenical space unique in the world which would have been of great significance in bringing peace to humanity."

The Islamic Board took this initiative after senior Catholic clergy announced they "did not recommend" this step and indeed declared themselves unprepared to permit the cathedral's shared use with any other faith. On an operational level, security guards in the cathedral are said often to prevent Muslims from praying inside the medieval mosque that surrounds its church structure.

The Islamic Board's general secretary, Mansur Escudero, complained that some in the Church feel threatened by Spain's growing Muslim population. "There are reactionary elements within the Catholic Church, and when they hear about the construction of a mosque, or Muslim teachings in state schools, or about veils, they see it as a sign we are growing and they oppose it."

Comment: The Muslim demand is all very reasonable - but only if Muslims permit reciprocal rights to Christians. For example, the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus is built over a Byzantine church and to this day contains a shrine said to contain the head of John the Baptist; Christians should be granted leave to pray there. Or the grandest church of Byzantium, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, for centuries a mosque and now a museum - it too should be made available for Christian services. The Vatican has made reciprocity the cornerstone of its relations with Muslims, and this looks like a simple place to start implementing that policy.

St John's Shrine, which is inside the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus.

(December 26, 2006)

Is the Hatay Problem Solved?

Ever since the French government ceded the Alexandretta province of Syria to Turkey in 1939, its control by Ankara has been a sore, obstructing the two countries' relations and at times exacerbating crises between them, most recently in 1998.

Hatay, a province of Turkey since 1939. Alexandretta (or Iskanderun) is its capital.

It therefore came as a bombshell to read yesterday an article by Yoav Stern, "Turkey singing a new tune," in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that the 66-year-old problem has been solved, and all the more so as the news comes bye-the-bye in an article about Turkish-Israeli relations.

The question asked by Channel 2's analyst for Arab affairs, Ehud Ya'ari, brought a satisfied smile to the face of Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom at the joint press conference held last Tuesday in Jerusalem with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. Ya'ari asked the most interesting question at the press conference, which touched on the territorial conflict between Syria and Turkey. "Can Syria's recognition last month of full Turkish sovereignty over the Hatay province be seen as a precedent for the case of the Golan Heights?" Ya'ari asked.

Everyone waited suspense fully for an answer from Gul, who immediately perceived a trap. He answered with diplomatic finesse, without batting an eyelid: "The two cases are not similar, there is no territorial disagreement between Turkey and Syria, and in the second case, the United Nations determined that the territory is occupied."

The question illustrates the way in which Turkey's relations with Syria resemble Israeli-Syrian relations. On the territorial level, there is a long-standing conflict between the two countries, which was finally resolved last month, away from the eyes of the media. The conflict involved a region known as the Hatay province in Turkey and Alexandretta in Syria. Conquered in 1938 by the Turkish army, the Turks view it as an inseparable part of their country. The Syrians view it as a part of their homeland that was torn away with the consent of the French during the Mandate period, before the Syrians achieved independence. The Syrians point to the Arab residents of the region to bolster their claim.

Ever since Syrian independence in 1946, the area has been a source of constant tension. Until last month. Turkey and Syria spent a year and a half preparing a free-trade agreement between the two countries. Two Syrian prime ministers and the president - Mohammed Mustafa Mero, Naji al-Otari and Bashar Assad - visited Ankara. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a return visit last month and finally signed an agreement in Damascus.

Even more surprisingly, this Ha'aretz article was cited today as a source of information on the agreement by the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, implying that the Turkish press knew nothing of this major accord, apparently signed on December 22.

Looking back on the coverage of that summit meeting, one finds just hints of such a deal. Here is Burak Akinci's account for Agence France-Presse, dated December 22 and titled "Turkey, Syria sign free-trade accord amid warming ties on Erdogan visit."

Former foes Turkey and Syria signed a free-trade accord and said they had agreed to put their differences behind them during a visit Wednesday by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan, at the start of a two-day mission, and his Syrian counterpart Mohammed Naji Otri signed the deal, which had been under negotiation for several years. .

A Turkish diplomatic source said Damascus lifted its reservations to signing the trade deal "after a certain accord" was reached on Turkey's sovereignty in the southern province of Hatay, formerly Alexandretta, on which Syria had claims.

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian president Bashshar al-Asad, getting along.

This all very elusive. Two questions come to mind: (1) How can such a major development not be reported on? One imagines that the Syrian regime is not exactly eager to have the news reported on, while the Turk leadership is willing to keep quiet about its victory, if that is the price it must pay. (2) Where exactly do things stand on Hatay? Has Bashar Assad given up Syrian claims in perpetuity, or something lesser? Has the claim been removed from schoolbooks, government maps, political rhetoric, and so on?

Comment: If the Syrians really have abandoned this claim, it was foreshadowed already four years ago. Here is Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara, quoted in an Agence France-Presse report from February 5, 2001 (not online):

Asked about Damascus' claims over the southern Turkish province of Hatay, which is often shown as Syrian territory on Syrian maps, Shara said that "maybe several years" were needed to settle the problem. "Issues that seem sensitive today, could be easily resolved in the future when the bilateral climate reaches a level at which they will not pose difficulties," the Syrian minister said. "It is wrong to give priorities to such issues now becuase this could harm cooperation in other fields ... In the end they will be resolved, but we should not push more than we have to."

(January 10, 2005)

Jan. 24, 2005 update: Ehud Ya'ari, cited above, has fleshed out the picture in his Jerusalem Report column dated today, "Syrian Overture" (not online):

For years I've made it a rule to read every article that political columnist Rosanna Boumunsef writes in An-Nahar, Lebanon's most important daily. She knows what she's talking about and writes with precision.

So too with her column of December 28, following the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Syria. She quotes Lebanese Druse leader Walid Jumblatt, who of late has become the most vocal spokesman for opponents of Syrian rule in his country: "Syria has gotten over its Alexandretta complex," Jumblatt asserted, "and agreed to having Europe on its border." In other words, Syria has given up its 65-year-old claim to the sanjak (province) of Alexandretta (Iskanderun) on the Mediterranean coast, realizing that with Turkey due to join the European Union, there is no chance whatsoever of returning the province to Arab rule.

Alexandretta was given up by Syria's mandatory ruler, France, in 1939 and annexed by Turkey, which renamed the province Hatay. Turkish settlement in the region totally changed the demographic balance, reducing the relative size of the Arab minority. A year ago Syrian leader Bashar al-Asad visited Ankara for the first time, and he carefully avoided saying a word about the contested territory. Since then there's been a rapid rapprochement between the two countries, which as recently as 1998 were on the verge of war because of Syria's support for the Kurdish rebellion led by the PKK. Recently, when Erdogan visited Damascus in turn, an agreement was signed on jointly building a dam on the Orontes River on the border between Alexandretta and Syria - putting an official seal on Syria's acceptance of the loss of the sanjak.

Boumunsef quotes Asad as saying in private conversations with several of his guests that he is proud of his success at establishing warm ties with Turkey "despite the sharp territorial dispute." Asad added that "in this framework, Syria can reach peace with Israel as well." What did he mean by that? It's not clear, but Boumunsef cautiously asks, "Is the meaning of these statements that flexibility is possible in dealing with other issues, similar to his pragmatic approach to Alexandretta?"

That is: Could it be that one day Syria will deal with the Golan Heights as it is now dealing with Alexandretta?

Let's stress: Syria has not signed on to any concession concerning Alexandretta. In principle, it maintains its claim to sovereignty there. But one official commentator, Imad Shu'eibi, head of the Center for Strategic Studies in Damascus, has made clear that in fact it's been decided to "put off for coming generations" the dream of Syrian Alexandretta, and to not let the dispute prevent cooperation in other areas.

The Syrians have a very hard time explaining in public their surrender to the Turks. They are also signaling that the Golan is different. Foreign Minister Farouk Al-Shara has even made a point of correcting the impression that Asad is ready for negotiations "without preconditions," and has explained that insisting on a return to the June 4, 1967 lines is not a "condition" but a "legitimate necessity."

But one cannot avoid concluding from the Alexandretta business that Syria does not regard its borders as eternally sacred. And not only has it accepted the loss of Alexandretta, but in a border agreement signed last month with Jordan, Damascus adopted another principle: Demography can result in border corrections. Syria got Jordan's assent to annexing land along the Yarmuk River where Syrian peasants settled after the Syrian invasion of Jordan in Black September, 1970, and in exchange gave up land to Jordan in other areas.

Asad's pragmatic flexibility on borders may indicate that wider strategic concerns are getting preference over the old slogans about holding on to "every grain of sand" and the oaths never to forget "usurped" land. So there is reason to see whether the young president is willing to consider cautiously a change in Syria's stance toward Israel without demanding that withdrawal from the Golan be the first, immediate, topic on the agenda.

Ya'ari then goes on the consider the implications of the the Hatay recognition for the Golan Heights and Israel.

May 28, 2005 update: In a news item on a Syrian missile that malfunctioned and exploded in southern Hatay, Agence France-Presse gives a little background on Hatay: Syria and Turkey, it writes, "share a long border, and Hatay, which is claimed by Syria, is at its western end." Reiterating this point, AFP notes that, "Despite the improved ties between the two countries, two sticking points remain: the waters of the Euphrates River, which has its source in Turkey, and the status of Hatay."

Comment: Either Agence France-Presse has forgotten its own reporting (see its December 22, 2004 coverage from Damascus, quoted above) or the Syrians still are claiming Hatay. Which is it?

Dec. 22, 2006 update: Two years after the signing of this accord, the Syrian tourism ministry still shows a map that claims Hatay as an integral part of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Map on the Syrian Ministry of Tourism website. (This identical map appears whether one uses the English, French, or Arabic versions of the website.)

Comment: Is Damascus playing the same game with Ankara that the Arabs do all the time with Jerusalem, that is, sign an agreement and then ignore it?

Iran Gives Iraq One Billion Dollar Loan

Tehran (AFP) -- Iran is set to loan $1bn to Iraq for reconstruction of the war-torn country, the official news agency IRNA reported on Saturday.

"The Islamic republic will give Iraq a $1bn loan for reconstruction of this country," Economy Minister Davoud Danesh Jafari was quoted as saying by the economy ministry's public relations department.

"The Iraqi side has committed to using Iranian contractors and experts for the infrastructure projects that will be defined through coordination with Iran," Danesh Jafari said, without giving details on the conditions of the loan.

Iran has signed an agreement with a visiting delegation headed by Iraq's Finance Minister Bayan Baqer Jabr al-Zubaidi to this end.

"We are very happy to have signed this agreement only a few days after submission of the budget bill to the Iraqi parliament," Jabr al-Zubaidi was quoted as saying.

The loan would be allocated for construction and completion of power plants, roads, hospitals and schools, the Iraqi minister said.

Iran and Iraq fought a war between 1980-1988 but ties have warmed considerably since the fall of Saddam, with Tehran becoming one of the closest allies of the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

Iraq's $20bn reconstruction process has been hampered by violence, corruption and bureaucratic red tape, with nearly $9bn going unaccounted for, according to US federal agency monitoring the work.

Earlier this year, Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq's reconstruction, was quoted as saying the money was missing because of almost "non-existent oversight" by the Coalition Provisional Authority.

The entity governed Iraq in the aftermath of the March 2003 invasion.

This is a WorldNetDaily printer-friendly version of the article which follows.
To view this item online, visit

Monday, January 1, 2007

Muslims shout at Jesus' home:
'Islam will dominate the world'

March through town of Nazareth 'meant to intimidate Christians'

Posted: January 1, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Aaron Klein

© 2007

Muslims march through Nazareth, Israel, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2006 (WND photo)

NAZARETH – Islamic groups held a large militant march down the main streets of Nazareth this weekend, highlighting for some here the plight of Christians in this ancient city where Muslims have become a majority and members of the dwindling Christian population say they suffer regular intimidation.

Nazareth, considered one of the holiest cities for Christians, is described in the New Testament as the childhood home of Jesus. It contains multiple important shrines and churches, including the famous Church of the Basilica of the Annunciation, the site at which many Christians believe the Virgin Mary was visited by the Archangel Gabriel and told that she had been selected as the mother of Jesus.

The Islamic Movement, the main Muslim political party in Nazareth, said it organized yesterday's march to celebrate Eid ul-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, which commemorates the Muslim belief Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Ishmael for Allah.

Christian and Jewish faith dictates it was Isaac, not Ishmael, whom Abraham almost sacrificed.

(Story continues below)

Islamic Movement leaders paraded down Nazareth's main thoroughfare brandishing their party's green flag. Young Muslim men in battle gear marched and beat drums as a man on loudspeaker repeatedly exclaimed in Arabic, "Allah is great."

Hundreds of activists strutted screaming Islamist epithets, including "Islam is the only truth" and "Islam shall rule all."

Tens of thousands of Nazareth residents, seemingly mostly Muslim, congregated on the streets as the march passed by. Muslim children launched firecrackers into the sky, occasionally misfiring, with the small explosives landing dangerously close to the crowds.

Many of the town's Christian residents stayed away from the event, with the exception of Christian shopkeepers who worked in the area. WND observed as several Muslim youth marching in the parade started to charge at three local Christian shopkeepers but the youth stopped short.

Christian shopkeepers, right, confronted by several Muslim youth, during Muslim march through Nazareth, Israel, Dec. 31, 2006 (WND photo)

While the march was billed as a celebration, it's militant virtues were clearly visible. The event seemed more a show of force than a street party.

"The march is meant to intimidate Christians," said Saleem, a Nazareth Christian resident who asked that his last name be withheld for fear of what he said was "Muslim retaliation" for speaking out.

"It's part of the methods used by the Muslims in very obvious ways to create an atmosphere where the Christians should know the Muslims are the main power and we are not welcome anymore," Saleem said.

Ahmed Zohbi, a member of Nazareth's municipal council and the leader of an umbrella group consisting of the city's Islamic parties, denied Saleem's accusations, claiming there is "no problem" between Christians and Muslims in Nazareth.

"We just want to celebrate. The Muslims have nothing against our Christian brothers. Our communities may have differences but we live a peaceful coexistence," Zohbi told WND.

But Christians interviewed here said otherwise. Like Bethlehem's Christians, those in Nazareth spoke of attacks against Christian-owned shops and told stories of Christian women being raped by Muslim men. They noted several instances of interreligious violence and Muslim riots they said began when Muslims attacked Christian worshippers. The Muslims claimed Christians started the violence.

Israeli security officials say the majority of anti-Christian violence in Nazareth goes unreported because local Christians are too afraid to report crimes.

One Christian resident said violence and intimidation tend to increase around the time of local elections. The Islamic parties, once in the minority, are now one seat away from dominating Nazareth's city council.

"During the last elections, Muslims on the streets were openly threatening the Christians. They tried to stop some of the Christian cars from voting," said Saleem.

In October 2000, the Arab Christian mayor of Nazareth, Ramiz Jaraisy, was reportedly beaten by members of the opposing Islamist party.

Nazareth's Christian population, at times the majority during the city's long history, is now at about 37 percent, according to the Israeli Bureau of Statistics, which notes a regular downward trend.

The situation mirrors similar trends in West Bank and Gaza cities controlled or dominated by Muslim Arabs.

Siham el-Fahum, a Muslim Nazareth municipality member and a local historian, admits Christians are fleeing her city because of Christian-Muslim tension.

"There is no doubt the situation for Christians in Nazareth is bad," el-Fahum told WND.

"Christians like to live where life can be good for them, whereas Muslims are more attached to the community and will stay through tough times. Muslims in the city want more dominance and the only way to achieve that, logically, is at the expense of Christians. It's a delicate balancing act that is having negative consequences for Christians."

Like many Muslims here, el-Fahum claimed Christians several times "instigated" Muslim riots. But she said in the struggle for power, "the Muslims are definitely on the rise."

She said the core of the conflict began in 1998, when Israel approved a local Muslim request to build a mosque in front of the Church of the Annunciation.

Muslims wanted to build the mosque at an adjacent, 6,500-square-foot site, which they say is the burial place of a nephew of Saladin, the Muslim commander who led the army that defeated the Crusaders in 1187. The site previously housed a public school.

Christians charge the site was not previously considered holy by Muslims and that the planned mosque is meant to overwhelm the church.

Dave Parsons, a spokesman for the International Christian Embassy, said the proposed mosque might contain multiple spires that would tower over the Annunciation Church's large, black-coned dome.

In 2002, Israel rescinded permission to construct the mosque following worldwide outcry and protests from the Vatican and White House.

Nazareth Muslims temporarily occupied the site and erected a tent mosque. Islamic Movement leaders demanded Nazareth officials deed the property over to local Muslim authorities.

Muslims hold regular prayer services at the site neighboring the Annunciation church throughout the week, usually drawing large numbers of worshippers on Fridays.

Yesterday's afternoon service, attended by WND, was preceded by a sermon delivered by a prominent local sheik, who shouted into a loudspeaker, "Islam will dominate the world."

Muslim prayer service outside the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel, Dec. 31, 2006 (WND photo)

The sermon could be heard by clergy inside the Annunciation church.

The Islamic Movement's Zohbi told WND he is "optimistic" the mosque will eventually be built.

"It's just a matter of time before we (the Islamic parties) dominate the city council and then the situation will be different," he said.

Zohbi claimed the Muslim stake to the Nazareth site predates Christianity's. He said the Church of the Annunciation "was built in the 1950s."

While the church structure was indeed completely rebuilt in 1955, several previous churches there date back to the 5th century, about the same time the original Church of the Nativity was constructed in Bethlehem.

The original Annunciation church was destroyed during Muslim conquests. Reconstructed versions were burned during Crusader losses in the region. The church was rebuilt again in 1730, then later enlarged in 1877.

Archeologists say the first shrine at the church site was constructed in the middle of the 4th century, comprising an altar in the cave in which Mary is said to had lived.

Zohbi said he would only lead "peaceful" protests to built the mosque. Muslims in Nazareth have "no interest" in tensions or further violence with local Christians, he claimed.

But El-Fahum said it was only a matter of time before another round of anti-Christian riots were sparked.

"The tension is very palatable. The Christians know it. The situation is a powderkeg that can explode again at any time."