The Third Jihad

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Terrorist Targeting of Women: Confronting the Brutal Face of Islamism

by: 
Raheel Raza
Teaser: 

What do these three groups, Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS, which are terrorizing our world today, have in common?

According to a UNICEF report published this week, an estimated 800,000 children in and around Nigeria were forced from their homes by Boko Haram extremists. This report was published almost a year after the mass kidnappings of nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok. There are reports that many of these kidnapped girls were terrorized, raped and later forced to marry their captors.

On the other side of the world, the Taliban have been consistently targeting women and girls. Human Rights Watch's World Report for 2015 says that there continue to be threats to women's rights and freedom of expression. The report notes that other setbacks for women's rights in 2014 included a continuing series of attacks on, threats toward, and assassinations of, high-profile women, including policewomen and activists, to whom the government failed to respond with any meaningful measures to protect them in the future. Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head for asking for education, is a sad testimony to the Taliban's hatred toward educated and empowered women and its terrorist attacks on unarmed schoolgirls.

In between these two worlds, there exists yet another terrorist threat to women. The Islamic State (ISIS) has consistently targeted women in their brutal battle for control of the Muslim world. In this process, members of ISIS have perpetrated barbaric and horrific attacks on minority Yazidi women. Haleh Esfandiari, the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, explains how the extremist group attacks women when they seize an area. "They usually take the older women to a makeshift slave market and try and sell them. The younger girls, basically they ... are raped or married off to fighters," Esfandiari said. "It's based on temporary marriages, and once these fighters have had sex with these young girls, they just pass them on to other fighters."

What do these three groups, Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS, which are terrorizing our world today, have in common?

  • They are Islamists touting political Islam over the spiritual message and looking for political power and hegemony in the Muslim world
  • Their ideology is: We are the only ones who know the truth; we will lead and others should follow without questioning our tactics, and only then will they find salvation (perhaps a few virgins thrown in for fun); The West is evil and we will teach them a lesson; our ideology must engulf the Muslim world with the establishment of a Caliphate.
  • They work on creating terror among their victims by using tactics of intimidation and threats both physical and emotional.
  • As they operate in countries where there is little accountability or law enforcement, they are able to get away with acts of violence and terror, mostly against women and minorities.

Those of us living comfortable lives in North America, sometimes think that this is all happening "out there somewhere," and that we are safe from these terrorists. We live in a country where we embrace liberal democracy, gender equality, freedom of speech and individual freedoms, so we naïvely think that everyone who comes here has the same values. Wrong. Those are the very values that the terrorists abhor, as they tell us time and again.

We must be aware that there are organizations and individuals right here in the United States and Canada who have exactly the same ideology as Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS. The only difference is that these North American organizations are required to follow the law of the land. They therefore cannot use violent measures against women and minorities quite so overtly while living here; so they resort to subversive tactics.

They nevertheless follow similar ideologies as other terrorist groups:

  • Follow us -- we will represent you as we are the ones on the right path.
  • Others (especially women) who are speaking of reform and change within the Muslim world are heretics and not really good Muslims because many of them do not wear a hijab.
  • These "heretics" are friends with the "infidels" so how could they be true representatives of Islam or Muslims?
  • We will tell you what "authentic" Islam is, and anyone questioning the status quo is an Islamophobic racist bigot, so we will help you play the "victim card."

This is a message that resonates not only from some pulpits, but from some Muslim organizations based in U.S. and Canada, which like to say that they are the voice of the majority of Muslims living here. What is frightening is how many people fall into the trap of believing them, including some of the mainstream media.

It is not surprising, therefore, that a film such as Honor Diaries, which exposes injustices and violence against women in Muslim-majority societies, is a slap in the face of some of these North American Muslim organizations. They cannot handle the truth; they have been caught, cornered and trapped. The only way to deflect the issue is to intimidate and silence those who speak out. Like Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS, they specifically target women because they think they are the weaker gender.

In many instances, these subversive organizations have succeeded in suppressing free speech by aggressively intimidating academic institutions. Recently Asra Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, experienced Duke students trying to cancel her speech.

Recently, at The University of South Dakota, one screening of Honor Diaries was cancelled, and at another screening, there were threats and intimidation toward the faculty and the speaker.

This threatening, silencing and censoring is the other face of terrorism; it is no wonder that one such organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, famous for trying to silence free speech, finds its name on the terrorist list published even by the United Arab Emirates.

 

Raheel Raza is an award-winning author, journalist, and filmmaker on the topics of jihad and sharia. She is president of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and an activist for human rights, gender equality, and diversity. She is one of nine women's rights activists who took part in Clarion Project's film "Honor Diaries" which breaks the silence on honor violence against women.

This article appeared originally in GatestoneInstitute.org

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An Egyptian Christian woman mourns the killing of Christians by Islamists in Egypt. (Photo: © Reuters)

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The Dallas Cartoon Attack and the New Gag Rule

by: 
Bill Ozanick
Teaser: 

Appeasement of radical Islamists by the mainstream media will merely vitalize them and indubitably encourage future threats. 

In 1836, the House of Representatives passed a resolution known as the ‘Gag Rule’ that shelved all petitions relating to slavery without hearing them, thus forbidding open discussion on the issue.

During this time, scores of pro-slavery individuals would reference passages such as, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling" (Ephesians 6:5) in defense of slavery. John Quincy Adams was one of the few congressmen who were adamant on discussing the issue of slavery.

Using a variation of tactics in attempting to read slavery petitions on the floor of the House, Adams retorted, “Am I gagged or am I not?” when Congress attempted to silence him from reading anti-slavery petitions. Adams understood that open dialogue was imperative in discussing critical issues. The Gag Rule would finally be annulled in 1844.

In the past couple decades, a newer, more subtle “gag rule” has slowly come into effect. This gag has been placed on the mass media by bullies who threaten violent rioting and even murder over cartoon drawings.

The majority of mass media companies have let pusillanimity – in the guise of religious sensitivity – triumph over objective reporting. This has been done on such an outrageous level that I am convinced there will be future college courses focused on the political correctness of our times – how and why it came about – and its nocuous implications.

Earlier this year, the office of Charlie Hedbo was attacked by those who explicitly said they conducted the operation to “avenge the prophet.”  In the wake of this event, the media had feigned solidarity with Charlie Hebdo and claimed that they supported free speech, but they would not even show the cartoons that had prompted such violence.

How is this not relevant to the news story? The Associated Press, CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox News and The New York Times all decided to not show the cartoon images. Strangely, The New York Times had no problem showing images of the blood bath at Charlie Hebdo’s office. Apparently this was relevant.

Perhaps the zenith of this distressing cowardice was the interview by Sky News with former Charlie Hebdo contributor, Caroline Fourest (see video below).

Such appeasement will merely vitalize the radical Islamists and indubitably encourage future threats. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali correctly stated after the attack, “The more we oblige, the more we self-censor, the more we appease, the bolder the enemy gets.”

Thus, it should be no surprise that a month after the Charlie Hebdo attack, another terrorist attack followed at a free speech meeting in Copenhagen where a famous (or infamous) cartoonist was in attendance. The attack left two dead and six wounded. Now, two gunmen opened fire at a “Draw Muhammad Contest” outside of Dallas, Texas.

Parents often tell their children that when dealing with a bully, the worst thing one can do is to appease him or her. The best thing one can do is stand up to the bully.

At the moment, Islam is the last mainstream religion where millions of adherents react bellicosely when their religion is ridiculed. 

Indeed, we are not far removed from the world-wide protests by Islamists in response to the tacky video that was uploaded to YouTube in 2012 entitled, “The Innocence of Muslims,” where hundreds were injured and more than 50 lives were lost.

Furthermore, it is hard to forget the rioting, burning and vandalizing of embassies by Islamists in response to a Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Ultimately, at least 200 people were killed as a result of those protests; a few Muslim countries even recalled their ambassadors from Denmark.  

All ideas – religious or not – need to be openly questioned, ridiculed and debated. Any idea - particularly religious – should be able to withstand a few cartoon drawings. 

Moreover, no one suffers more from radical Islam than Muslims. If the mainstream media outlets want to help expedite the process of ending such radical ideologies and open room for discussing critical issues, they must not give in to bullies. They must put an end to this current gag rule.  

Bill Ozanick is a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (class of 2017) in Washington, DC. He has written opinion pieces for The Malaysian Insider and the Diplomatic Courier. He can be followed on Twitter @BillOzanick

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Sky News' camera panned down when a former contributor to Charlie Hebdo tried to show the cover of the first magazine published after the attack.

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The Harassment Was Bad But What My Father Did Was Worse

by: 
Elliot Friedland
Teaser: 

An Egyptian woman describes the awful reality of non-stop harassment: every day, every hour, every minute.

At the end of April Clarion Project spoke with leading Egyptian women’s rights lawyer Reda el-Danbouki. We asked him about the situation women face in Egypt, which was ranked the worst place to be a woman in the Arab world in 2013.

He told us that women face harassment and worse on a daily basis, but are reluctant to go to the police.

By way of explanation, he shared a personal story of a close friend of his, Lamar aged 25, who was abused in the street and found the police to be on the side of her harassers rather than helping her. They dragged her father down to the station and proceeded to intimidate and insult her until she left the police station in tears.

ReadWhy Women in Egypt Don't Go to the Police When Molested here.

We got back in touch with Reda and Lamar to ask her some more questions about her life. Not only did she answer our questions, but she told us what has happened to her since.

In helping bring us Lamar's story, Reda told us that her story brought him to tears.

(Lamar’s name has been changed for her protection.)

How did it make you feel to be disbelieved by the authorities whose job it is to protect you?

Lamar: I went to the police and I imagined that they would help me, but I found that they have solidarity with harassers. They also harassed me themselves.

 

How often do women get harassed just walking the streets? Have many of your friends had similar experiences?

Lamar: Women are being harassed every day, every hour and every minute. I am being harassed by my co-workers and sometimes even by my manager. I am being harassed on public transportation, on the streets, while coming back home and even by my neighbors. My friends suffer the same problem.

 

Who do you feel in Egypt cares about these issues that you can turn to and talk with?

Lamar: The only ones who care about this subject are civil society organizations, and of course I can also talk to Reda el-Danbouki.

 

Why did the police bring your father to the station? 

Lamar: The police insisted that my father will come in order to humiliate me and force me to withdraw the complaint even though I am perfectly capable of filing a complaint and I have the right to do so.

 

Is harassment more common at certain hours of the day and in specific places?

Lamar: There is no specific time for harassment. It happens everywhere and all the time.  

 

How does the legal system deal with cases of harassment if they reach court?

Lamar: If a case gets to the court, most of the time molesters are found not guilty. It is like the judges encourage molestation. In very rare, rare cases you have verdicts against them.

 

Why do you think harassment is so widespread in Egypt?

Lamar: Harassment and molestation is widespread in Egypt because we live in a patriarchal society. They think that we women are their property, it’s like we are the food they eat or just a fruit they buy. We are merely bodies in their eyes, they see us only as breasts and behinds. They don’t see our minds and they don’t care about it.  

 

What do you think can bring about change in Egypt and stop this rampant harassment?

Lamar: Things can be changed in Egypt if we prepare the women and empower them. This has to come from the decision-makers. We also need to have a female police force that will deal with these issues, meet with victims of harassment and help them.

The youth civil society organizations have the ability to stop it, but most of them are working without any support. They desperately need more money and to have broader reach.

 

After answering our questions Lamar  told us what has happened to her since she last spoke with Reda el-Danbouki to tell him about her harassment. This is what she said:

For the last two days my father has been beating me severely, and he doesn’t allow me to leave the house. I called the police and told them that I was imprisoned, that my father beats me and also gave them the address of the house, but the police didn’t respond. One senior police officer told me “you must have done something bad and that’s why he beats you.” He didn’t help me at all and he slammed down the phone. 

 

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Still from a Public Service Announcement in Egypt.

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If Miliband Bans ‘Islamophobia’, I will Test The New Law

by: 
Douglas Murray
Teaser: 

Brits go to the polls on May 7. The front runner, Labour's Ed Miliband is talking up the legislation.

I am out of the country at the moment and I see that Ed Miliband has used the opportunity to ‘say’ in an interview with the ‘Muslim News’ that he will outlaw ‘Islamophobia’ if he becomes Prime Minister. I use ‘say’ because ‘Muslim News’ has never seemed to me an especially reputable outlet for news, Muslim or otherwise. And I say ‘Islamophobia’ in scare quotes because, well, the term deserves them.

There are many things to say about this, but allow me confine myself to three points:

  1. If Ed Miliband does become Prime Minister and chooses to make ‘Islamophobia’ illegal would he mind letting us know what he thinks ‘Islamophobia’ is? After all a ‘phobia’ is an irrational fear. The Charlie Hebdo staff were often called ‘Islamophobes’ before (and after) two Islamists went into their magazine’s office and shot most of them in the head. If there is such a thing as ‘Islamophobia’ and it is indeed an ‘irrational’ fear, would Ed mind telling us whether it was ‘rational’ or ‘irrational’ of the Charlie Hebdo staff to be fearful of elements of Islam? An answer before 7 May would be helpful.
  2. I cannot help noticing that some actual, serious ‘hate-speech’ occurred while Labour were last in power, yet nothing seemed to have been done. Consider this speech by Michael Adebolajo at a ‘Unite Against Fascism’ rally in 2009. What else was Adebolajo doing here other than inciting anti-non-Muslim violence and prejudice? Of course Michael Adebolajo actually followed words with deeds and went on to behead Drummer Lee Rigby. Where were the hate-speech laws that day?
  3. And finally, I hate to grandstand, but I suppose I should point out that if Ed Miliband were to become Prime Minister and were to decide to make what people call ‘Islamophobia’ illegal then I’m very happy to test the law straight away. Indeed I will immediately put on a gathering of academics, writers, Quranic-scholars and philosophers – Muslim and non-Muslim – to discuss Islam. It is possible that some of those gathered may disagree with the foundational claims of Islam. I, for instance, may repeat my belief – not being a Muslim – that it is highly unlikely that the Quran was ‘dictated’ by God. This is not only my belief. It is also the belief of Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Christians (some Anglican priests excepted), atheists and ex-Muslims, to name only a few minority groups. And so the problem Prime Minister Ed will find is that:

a) What I am saying is true.
b) The ‘Islamophobia’ industry will continue to describe this truth as ‘Islamophobia’.
c) Ed will have made ‘Islamophobia’ illegal.
d) Ed will have made the truth illegal.

This will be a problem, won’t it?

Anyhow – I must say that I’m not at all disheartened by the news from my homeland. Indeed I now have a sneaking desire for Ed to become PM and am rather looking forward to the results.

Douglas Murray is the Associate Director at the Henry Jackson Society. This item was republished with permission of The Spectator, where it originally appeared .

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(Photo © Wikimedia Commons / Elliot Moore)

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Reporting from the Iraqi Frontlines

by: 
Hermoine Macura
Teaser: 

An Australian TV journalist offers her take on the tragedies of Iraq and Syria under Islamic State.

The Clarion Project recently got in touch with Hermoine Macura – the first Australian female English speaking TV News Anchor in the Middle East, and also one of the area’s most recognized faces. Born in Sydney, Australia, Hermoine recently returned from a trip to Iraq where she was on the front lines covering the humanitarian crisis and genocide currently unfolding due to Islamic State.

As an Australian, how did you end up in the Middle East?

I first decided to focus on the Arab world simply because it is the most misunderstood and misrepresented part of the world. I first arrived, soon after September 11th, 2011. I was astonished by how different it was to how the media portrayed it. Despite some cultural setbacks and religious customs that cause harm, people were so kind and hospitable and it was relatively quite safe. Until the Syrian war, I’d often driven by myself across most Arab countries – I love the Arab people, their language and culture. Its so beautiful and rich – they have so much to offer the world.

You’ve been covering the Syrian humanitarian crisis and gender-based violence. Tell us more?

Out of all my years as a journalist, the Syrian crisis has been the worst war I have ever seen. I still recall being on the borders of Syria, near Mafraq when the first refugees were flooding into Jordan – many were evicted from their homes and their families massacred. Most were women and children – many of whom were raped and tortured. I interviewed women who had endured the most heinous things I have ever heard of a human being having to endure. From pregnant mothers having their babies cut out of their stomachs to women being raped with weapons and rodents. The refugee camps were full of women and children. Today, a war is not fought on the battleground between equal sides with soldiers – today a woman’s body is the new battleground to shame and humiliate the opposition.

What about the rise of Islamic State?

Most non-Arabs only heard about Islamic State following the execution of American James Foley in 2014. However before that tragic incident, Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups had displaced, raped, tortured and killed more than 1.5 million Arabs, with the majority being Muslims. The total number of displaced people had reached about 4 million as of February 2015. No one has really paid much attention to the innocent people or the minority groups such as the Christians, Shia Muslims or Yazidi’s who have systematically been enslaved, raped and beheaded as well by Islamic State. Today, oppression in the Arab world has reached unprecedented proportions with the emergence of Islamic State, which has now turned their expansion campaign into a mass genocide wherever they go across Balad al Sham. Most Arab Muslims don’t support them, however they have enough supporters to make them a regional and international threat to freedom and democracy.

You recently returned from Iraq. What’s the situation like on the ground there?

Iraq is such a beautiful land with such a rich and diverse culture – so it has been devastating to see the country in such crisis. American journalist Thomas Freidman once said at a panel I was on that “Saddam’s Iraq was like a grenade waiting to go off and the U.S. threw itself on top of it and took the full impact.” This is absolutely true – however the biggest mistake the Americans made after liberating the country was not locking down its borders. It’s because of this reason that Islamic State has been able to unite with other splinter groups and advance across from Syria into Iraq so easily. As they sweep across the land, they raid and rob every village in their path. They take everything: peoples lives, gold, money and the women and children as slaves. No one is spared, except those that agree to accept their version of radical Islam. There have been countless reports of torture, enslavement and rape of women and children.

What did you see when you travelled across Iraq?

I have met hundreds of families and women, who have lost their kids and young women to Islamic State. Many young girls I met were kidnapped from their village and sent to satellite locations where they were raped and tortured by at least three Islamic State soldiers a day for months. Some escaped to share their ordeal, others are still trapped in houses, cells and camps across Syria and Iraq. Many were given heroin to sedate them; so that they would be more submissive to the torture and unable to escape. Some girls are as young as 12 years old. Many survivors shared stories of how their entire families including their children were killed or beheaded even though they are Muslims.

What is being done to help them?

There are UNHCR camps that offer basic care, however the need is so great, and many people don’t know where to go and are trying to find their families or relatives. Some camps and humanitarian groups offer psychological support and medical care for victims of rape and torture, but it isn’t enough to meet the need and current demand.  

What’s happening on the frontlines?

The international air strikes have helped to win some battles, however, they are not as effective as a ground operation. The recent airstrikes did help the Pashmerga and the PKK to liberate Kobane from Islamic State in late January 2015. The women soldiers that were fighting on the ground alongside the men are amazing. They serve in the army for free and are trained in combat exactly the same way as the men. Some came face to face with Islamic State fighters and even killed some Islamic State generals with snipers. While I don’t believe that violence is the best solution, when it comes to defending your life and freedom – these women are my heroes – I don’t think I’ve seen such bravery in my lifetime on the frontlines.

Hermoine Macura is the first Australian female English-speaking TV News Anchor in the Middle East, and also one of the area’s most recognized faces. Prior to establishing Straight Street Media in 2012, Hermoine was one of the main Anchors on Dubai One TV’s Emirates News. Her book, Faces of the Middle East will be available in the United States in June 2015. www.facesofthemiddleeast.com

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'Terrorists Must Not Dictate Our Justice System'

by: 
M. Zuhdi Jasser, MD

When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts associated with the terror attack he helped to carry out at the 2013 Boston Marathon, we at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) joined the nation in feeling that the verdict opened the door to at least some level of closure for all affected. 

While the horrors of that day can never be erased, there is healing in bringing one of the monsters responsible to justice.

The verdict has also spurned a debate our country has been having for quite some time: is it right to put a criminal to death? 

This time, however, the criminal is a terrorist, acting in support of a global ideology which seeks the demise of all who do not submit to its whims; and the debate on whether or not to execute Tsarnaev has raised the question: should the United States not sentence Tsarnaev to death because it might inspire further acts of terror?

While supporters of AIFD and anti-Islamist reform may espouse a range of views regarding capital punishment as a general matter, it is important to address the question of Tsarnaev as “martyr” in the eyes of Islamists and would-be terrorists the world over. 

It is imperative to refuse, with conviction, and without apology, to make any decision in our American justice system based on how they may or may not react. Islamists will never be defeated by appeasement or negotiation. A strong, sound defeat is the only answer.

If Tsarnaev is sentenced to death, will radicals the world over treat him as a martyr? Absolutely. (By the way, Rolling Stone helped to guarantee this.) Will they use the sentence to rally their base and gain new supporters? Without a doubt. Should this certainty impact the punishment chosen by our courts? Definitely not. Why? 

Because the simple fact is that he and other radicals are and will always be treated as martyrs and heroes by those who wish us harm. Even those not sentenced to death, like Aafia Siddiqui (“Lady Al-Qaeda”), Tarek Mehanna and others have inspired campaigns from the U.S. to Pakistan, with supporters ranging from well-intentioned but naïve university students to violent Islamists. 

Individuals like Siddiqui and Mehanna, despite being very much alive, are treated as martyrs and heroes by the likes of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. ISIS even demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui when it proposed a prisoner exchange, claiming that they’d release journalist Steven Sotloff.

Changing how we sentence criminals because it might upset terrorists who already hate us doesn’t just fail to keep us safe. 

It is part and parcel of the lax behavior that led to ignoring the obviously dangerous intentions of Nidal Hasan and his inspiration, Anwar al-Awlaki. 

(Awlaki was rightly recognized as an enemy combatant, but well after he had already incited murderous violence.) In this war, our security was better served with Imam al-Awlaki dead than alive, and the same would go for both Hasan and Tsarnaev.

Allowing terrorists to dictate our justice system is an appeasement that is far more dangerous to American security and values than the ephemeral risk taken by carrying out justice against those who have attacked us. 

As Americans, we must insist that we not change the strength of our sentencing standards in order to appease those who seek our destruction. Instead, we must demand that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – and all who carry out acts of terror – be punished to the very fullest extent of the law.  

American Muslims should be at the forefront of efforts demanding this. The only antidote to the global ideology of the Tsarnaevs, ISIS, Mehanna, and Siddiqui is the empowerment of liberty-minded American Muslims. 

It is only through firm conviction and consistent dedication to our values that we will defeat the victim mantra and murderous ideology that was behind the horrific attacks of April 15, 2013.

M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. is the Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).

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A tribute to the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon terror attack. (Source: © Wikimedia Commons/Ingfbruno)

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King Salman Talks Tolerance But Rewards Bigotry Promotion

by: 
Ali Alyami
Teaser: 

The Saudi ruling monarch should set a good example of religious tolerance and accept “The Other” regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, beliefs and religious orientation.

Ten days after he bestowed a prestigious Saudi prize on Dr. Zakir Naik, an extremist admirer of Osama Bin Laden and a bigoted promoter of enslaving and raping women and of denigrating other beliefs, King Salman called on Muslims to shun religious intolerance.

During a reception for a throng of Muslim “scholars” in his palace on March 10, 2015, the newly inducted king told his compliant recipients of Saudi largess that “We have to follow what is stated in the Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Prophet and his followers.”  

“The Custodian” of Islam, King Salman, and the interpreter and promoter of its holy books, Dr. Naik, seem to be on the same page. They are committed into upholding, implementing and enforcing the content and “supremacy” of the Quran, the Shariah and the Hadith as they understand them and as they see fit. Dr. Naik, the president of the Islamic Research Foundation and the recipient of the prestigious Saudi prize (King Faisal International Prize and the $200,000 that comes with it), who is also a supporter of Osama Bin Laden, has repeatedly told his estimated 100 million Muslim followers (in person and in visual and print media) “there are many verses in the Koran which say you can have sex with your wife and with whatever your right hand possesses,” their enslaved women.

Additionally, the  xenophobic TV evangelist, who is scornful of other beliefs’ informed his large number of followers that “enslaving the families of the kuffar (non-Muslims) and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharia,” Islamic law. King Salman insists that Muslims must “follow what is stated in the Quran.”  

The Muslim people need to ask themselves if this is what Islam is or has become – a mitigating tool of enslavement, rape and intolerance of the overwhelming majority of the world’s population, most of whom are more socially, politically and scientifically advanced and religiously more tolerant than most Muslims.   

Is it conceivable that King Salman did not know what Dr. Naik preaches, stands for and advocates, prior to honoring him for “his service (disservice) to Islam,” especially Naik’s explanation of the Quran?

King Salman told the religious experts in his palace in Riyadh, “We have to follow what is stated in the Qur’an.” Does one assume that enslaving Muslim and non-Muslim women and raping them is “stated” in the Quran as Dr. Naik argues?

Is this the Islam Dr. Naik wants “every Muslim” to be a terrorist to defend? Defend Islam against whom, Muslims who use it to inflict death and destruction on each other or against non-Muslims who welcome and allow Muslims to build religious sanctuaries in their countries and to worship freely?

Dr. Naik is not the only influential Muslim who advocates unspeakable deeds in the name of religion and its texts.

Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and other groups and individuals also promote malicious religious incitements with the intent of inflicting death and destruction on a multitude of Muslims and non-Muslims in order to gain power. They all quote the Quran, Shariah and Hadith to justify their atrocious actions. Their manifestos and recruiting manuals are filled with direct quotes from Muslim texts that Dr. Naik, King Salman, Mullah Omar and the Imams of the Red Mosque in Pakistan inculcate Muslims to follow and defend.

Calling on Muslims to “shun intolerance” contradicts the Saudi rulers’ well-documented actions of intolerance of religious differences at home and among different sects and brands of Islam, as exemplified by the raging Sunni-versus-Shi’a conflicts in which the Saudis play a major role.

It’s no secret that the centuries’ old conflicts and the current pervasive carnage in most Arab and other Muslim countries are deeply rooted in religious animosity, or assertions of who is a better and more authentic Muslim.

King Salman’s predecessor, King Abdullah, became some kind of global hero due his overt personal (not policy) advocacy of international interfaith dialogues, none of which was held in Muslim countries because that would mean acceptance of and recognition that other faiths are legitimate beliefs.

As the ruler of the land where Islam was established and where Muslims’ holy shrines are located, King Salman, along with his ruling family and the zealous religious establishment, shoulders a huge responsibility toward their muzzled and religiously divided population, the Arab people and other Muslims worldwide. King Salman can lead by example at home. He can eliminate discriminatory policies based on religion and gender at home if he hopes for other Muslims to “shun intolerance.”

The question is: how can King Salman and his intolerant clerics reconcile between rewarding people like Dr. Naik for commanding Muslims to reject and resent major religions (and their adherents) and call such incitements a service to Islam?

King Salman is right, some Muslims are leaving Islam and an astonishing number of Muslims are becoming more cynical of Islam and Muslims, in general, than at any time in Muslim history.

This trend is not likely to stop or be reversed because more Muslims attribute their misfortunes and social backwardness to Islam and to those who use religion as tool of violence, oppression, discrimination and manipulation.

The most severe critics of Islam are not Jews or Christians, but Muslims and ex-Muslims who found solace in other religions or in no religion.

The Saudi ruling dynasties can lead the way by setting a good example of religious tolerance and acceptance of “The Other” regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, beliefs and religious orientation.

Ali Alyami is the director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia.

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Subversive Groups Suppress Free Speech in America

by: 
Raheel Raza
Teaser: 

The other face of terrorism is revealed by one of the remarkable women of the film Honor Diaries.

We live in a country where we embrace liberal democracy, gender equality, freedom of speech and individual freedoms, so we naïvely think that everyone who comes here has the same values. Wrong. Those are the very values that the terrorists abhor.

We must be aware that there are organizations and individuals right here in the United States and Canada who have exactly the same ideology as Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS. The only difference is these North American organizations are required to follow the law of the land.

In many instances, these subversive organizations have succeeded in suppressing free speech by aggressively intimidating academic institutions.

This threatening, silencing and censoring is the other face of terrorism.

According to a UNICEF report published this week, an estimated 800,000 children in and around Nigeria were forced from their homes by Boko Haram extremists. This report was published almost a year after the mass kidnappings of nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok. There are reports that many of these kidnapped girls were terrorized, raped and later forced to marry their captors.

On the other side of the world, the Taliban have been consistently targeting women and girls. Human Rights Watch's World Report for 2015 says that there continue to be threats to women's rights and freedom of expression. The report notes that other setbacks for women's rights in 2014 included a continuing series of attacks on, threats toward, and assassinations of, high-profile women, including policewomen and activists, to whom the government failed to respond with any meaningful measures to protect them in the future. Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head for asking for education, is a sad testimony to the Taliban's hatred toward educated and empowered women and its terrorist attacks on unarmed schoolgirls.

In between these two worlds, there exists yet another terrorist threat to women. The Islamic State (ISIS) has consistently targeted women in their brutal battle for control of the Muslim world. In this process, members of ISIS have perpetrated barbaric and horrific attacks on minority Yazidi women. Haleh Esfandiari, the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, explains how the extremist group attacks women when they seize an area. "They usually take the older women to a makeshift slave market and try and sell them. The younger girls, basically they ... are raped or married off to fighters," Esfandiari said. "It's based on temporary marriages, and once these fighters have had sex with these young girls, they just pass them on to other fighters."

What do these three groups, Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS, which are terrorizing our world today, have in common?

·         They are Islamists touting political Islam over the spiritual message and looking for political power and hegemony in the Muslim world

·         Their ideology is: We are the only ones who know the truth; we will lead and others should follow without questioning our tactics, and only then will they find salvation (perhaps a few virgins thrown in for fun); The West is evil and we will teach them a lesson; our ideology must engulf the Muslim world with the establishment of a Caliphate.

·         They work on creating terror among their victims by using tactics of intimidation and threats both physical and emotional.

·         As they operate in countries where there is little accountability or law enforcement, they are able to get away with acts of violence and terror, mostly against women and minorities.

Those of us living comfortable lives in North America, sometimes think that this is all happening "out there somewhere," and that we are safe from these terrorists. We live in a country where we embrace liberal democracy, gender equality, freedom of speech and individual freedoms, so we naïvely think that everyone who comes here has the same values. Wrong. Those are the very values that the terrorists abhor, as they tell us time and again.

We must be aware that there are organizations and individuals right here in the United States and Canada who have exactly the same ideology as Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS. The only difference is that these North American organizations are required to follow the law of the land. They therefore cannot use violent measures against women and minorities quite so overtly while living here; so they resort to subversive tactics.

They nevertheless follow similar ideologies as other terrorist groups:

·         Follow us -- we will represent you as we are the ones on the right path.

·         Others (especially women) who are speaking of reform and change within the Muslim world are heretics and not really good Muslims because many of them do not wear a hijab.

·         These "heretics" are friends with the "infidels" so how could they be true representatives of Islam or Muslims?

·         We will tell you what "authentic" Islam is, and anyone questioning the status quo is an Islamophobic racist bigot, so we will help you play the "victim card."

This is a message that resonates not only from some pulpits, but from some Muslim organizations based in U.S. and Canada, which like to say that they are the voice of the majority of Muslims living here. What is frightening is how many people fall into the trap of believing them, including some of the mainstream media.

It is not surprising, therefore, that a film such as Honor Diaries, which exposes injustices and violence against women in Muslim-majority societies, is a slap in the face of some of these North American Muslim organizations. They cannot handle the truth; they have been caught, cornered and trapped. The only way to deflect the issue is to intimidate and silence those who speak out. Like Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS, they specifically target women because they think they are the weaker gender.

In many instances, these subversive organizations have succeeded in suppressing free speech by aggressively intimidating academic institutions. Recently Asra Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, experienced Duke students trying to cancel her speech.

Recently, at The University of South Dakota, one screening of Honor Diaries was cancelled, and at another screening, there were threats and intimidation toward the faculty and the speaker.

This threatening, silencing and censoring is the other face of terrorism; it is no wonder that one such organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, famous for trying to silence free speech, finds its name on the terrorist list published even by the United Arab Emirates.

Raheel Raza is an award-winning author, journalist, and filmmaker on the topics of jihad and sharia. She is president of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and an activist for human rights, gender equality, and diversity. She is one of nine women's rights activists who took part in Clarion Project's film "Honor Diaries" which breaks the silence on honor violence against women.

This was originally posted by Gatestone Institute.

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Raheel Raza

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What's Behind the Obsession with the Niqab Among the World’s Islamists?

by: 
Tarek Fatah
Teaser: 

The niqab today is not just a medieval symbol of female servitude, it also serves as a flag of Islamism.

In Khaled Hosseini’s soul-piercing novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, the character Nana, a poor, unwed mother, tells her five-year-old daughter, Mariam: “Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam.”

Hosseini’s best-selling novel was about life in Afghanistan, but in the 30 words above he sums up the way men govern the lives of women across much of the Muslim world.

Like Mariam, millions of Muslim girls are told very early in life by their mothers that their place in society is one of submission; submission not to God, but to man.

Hosseini’s 2007 book remained at number one on the New York Times bestseller list for four months.

In its first week on the market, it sold over one million copies.

But if there is someone who seems not to have read the novel, it’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau’s recent championing of the niqab as a basic human right has aided Islamism in Canada and undermined millions of liberal Muslims around the world.

This includes the women in my own family, not to mention my late mother, who threw away the niqab in 1946.

The controversy began with the case of Zunera Ishaq, a Pakistani immigrant who wanted to take her Canadian citizenship oath with her face covered.

On being told she could not do so, she went to court and won the right not to remove her veil, while taking the oath.

Ottawa has appealed this lower court decision with Prime Minister Stephen Harper mounting a vigorous attack on the niqab.

He told the House of Commons:

“This is a society that is transparent, open and where people are equal, and I think we find that (not uncovering one’s face while taking the oath of citizenship) offensive.”

A few days later, he told the Commons, “Why would Canadians, contrary to our own values, embrace a practice at that time that is not transparent, that is not open and, frankly, is rooted in a culture that is anti-women?”

Harper emphasized many moderate Muslims agreed with the government’s position of banning the niqab from citizenship courts.

For his part, Trudeau tried to portray Harper as racist, equating Muslim women not being permitted to wear face masks in citizenship court to the plight of Jews who fled Nazi Germany, but were not allowed to enter Canada.

Trudeau could not have been more wrong.

While the Jews on board the St. Louis were not permitted to land in Canada, and went back to near certain death, the Muslim immigrant, Zunera Ishaq, was welcomed to Canada after leaving the Islamic State of Pakistan.

Leaving her specific case aside, what is it about this piece of cloth that triggers so much self-righteous angst among so many followers of Islam?

How could the covering of a woman’s head or face — which is not a requirement of the Qur’an — end up as the most defining symbol of Islam?

And what is the rationale behind the obsession with the niqab among the world’s Islamists?

The fact is, the niqab and, I would argue, the hijab, are today not just medieval symbols of female servitude; they also serve as flags of Islamism, dictated by the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world and its equivalent in South Asia, the Jamat-e-Islami.

 

Tarek Fatah, is a Canadian writer, broadcaster and anti-Islamist Muslim activist. He is the author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and the founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress.

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Women are forced to wear the niqab in public in Saudi Arabia (Photo: © Reuters)

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The "Shockingly Anti-Western Views" of Supposed Moderates

by: 
Tarek Fatah
Teaser: 

Many of these Islamists wear multiple masks. Within the poltical sphere, be it the NDP, the Liberal Party or the Tories and the Bloc, the same men and women who spout hate, masquerade as ‘moderate’ Muslims, and sprinkle just enough words about ‘multiculturalism’, ‘charter rights’ and ‘pluralism’ to fool many in all the parties.

San Grewal is a Toronto Star reporter who first burst into limelight after 9/11 when he did a story on the hate being preached in Toronto-area mosques.

Five years later, in the  August 13, 2006 issue of the Toronto Star, Grewal, writes with sadness how the “fear of Muslims” has seeped into Canada as well as the UK, and how, as repugnant as this fear is, in his opinion many Muslims are actually contributing to this fear, by their anti-western views, while living in the west.

Grewal writes:

“But I regret to say that, in five years reporting since 9/11, I have met too many Muslims across the GTA who express extremely anti-western views. I have visited more than two dozen mosques and, in 2001, wrote of shockingly anti-western views expressed in many of them. I have also heard recent evidence in court against many of the 18 co-accused in the alleged terrorism plot by young Canadian Muslims to destroy buildings, kidnap politicians and harm innocent civilians. Yes, they are innocent until proven guilty. And yes, many Muslims in Canada have responded to the charges with the level of disgust the allegations warrant. But as each community Muslim steps forward to tell me — the brown-skinned reporter who surely must be sympathetic — that the charges of possible “homegrown” terrorism are part of a government conspiracy, I can’t help but shake my head and wonder, just how far apart are we from them.”

These are words from a journalist who sees himself as friend of the Muslim community. If Muslims do not pay heed to him, we risk a crisis that we will not be able to handle. By burning Israeli flags and waving Hizbollah’s Kalashnikov banners in Toronto, Muslim Canadians do no service to themselves. We simply alienate those who would be more than happy to be on our side as our advocates in our time of need.

The real problem is that many of these Islamists wear multiple masks. Within the poltical sphere, be it the NDP, the Liberal Party or the Tories and the Bloc, the same men and women who spout hate, masquerade as "moderate" Muslims, and sprinkle just enough words about "multiculturlaism," "charter rights" and "pluralism" to fool many in all the parties.

In the meantime the vast majority of Muslim Canadians, the 9-to-5 middle class secular liberal folks go unnoticed. Why? Because we don’t “look like Muslims”.

It is astonishing that the same guys who give feiry anti-west sermons are also working hand in glove with the RCMP and CSISRead and reflect.

 

Tarek Fatah, is a Canadian writer, broadcaster and anti-Islamist Muslim activist. He is the author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and the founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress.

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The yellow Hezbollah flag worn by women at the 'Al Quds Day' protest in Toronto.

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